Feelin’ The Love Today!

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This is one of those mornings when you wake up to find lovely things in your Inbox. Nothing makes my cuppa Earl Grey go down better, I have to confess. First, I found my entire  Wake-Robin Ridge series was displayed today on Sally Cronin’s Summer Reading Blog feature. Wow! Such a nice thing to see! Thank you, Sally. To read (and mostly, to share far and wide, pleeze?) you can go HERE.

Then I discovered my latest book, Harbinger, was being featured on Rosie Amber’s blog as a #TuesdayBookBlog post, and with a 5-star review, no less. THANK YOU, Rosie! To see, and hopefully share, what Rosie thinks of Wake-Robin Ridge Book 3, go HERE.

This is the kind of thing that makes the LOOONG hours worthwhile. Just knowing there are some readers who enjoy my stories makes me happy I finally decided to give writing a go. And belonging to our caring and supportive community of writer and bloggers is the icing on the cake.

Color me happy . . . as a clam! 🙂

Sharing Janet Gogerty’s Great 5* Review of Wake-Robin Ridge

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One of the best things about The Write Stuff is the way our fellow writers and readers support each other. In addition to all the friendships and  helpful advice engendered here, this blog encourages the sharing and promoting of all our talented authors. Janet posted this review in the Comments section of Rosie’s post on August Reviews, and I just wanted to share it with all of you as a reminder of the ways we help each other. (And because it’s a terrific review, too. THANK YOU, Janet!) Enjoy!

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Even the two dogs will steal your heart in this gripping story.
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‘A great story teller’ was my first impression as I quickly got into this story, or rather two interwoven tales. I enjoy novels set in more than one time and in this book the chapter headings helpfully tell us when and where we are. I have never been to the USA and if I ever get there I would rather visit Wake-Robin Ridge than Disneyland! This is a rounded tale, a romance and ghost story, but also a delightful journey to a beautiful part of the USA. Two very different love stories and four very different lives. I was so involved, that half way through the novel I thought I had misread that it was also a ghost story, so when the first paranormal event occurred it came as a complete shock. Without giving anything away, the description of that first night of terror was more vivid than any horror movie. If I did visit the Blue Ridge Mountains, I would certainly not stay by myself! I look forward to reading more by this author.

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Now Permanently Priced at $.99
Wake-Robin Ridge Book 1

 

#Writing Craft: book review of WRITING DEEP POINT OF VIEW by Rayne Hall

I though I would share with you a review I did earlier today, and suggest that if you haven’t yet discovered Rayne Hall’s Writing Craft books, you might like to take a look.

This one is the newly published thirteenth volume, and other titles in the series include:

  • Writing Vivid Settings
  • Why does my book not sell?
  • Writing Fight Scenes
  • Twitter for Writers
  • Writing about Villains
  • The Word Loss Diet

These books are not aimed at beginners, but at authors who want to improve their craft. They are succinct and brimming with knowledge from an author of more than 50 books.

I consider myself a fair writer, and I learn something from every one.

So without further ado, here is my review:

Writing Deep Point Of View: Professional Techniques for Fiction Authors (Writer's Craft Book 13)Writing Deep Point Of View: Professional Techniques for Fiction Authors by Rayne Hall
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the thirteenth book in Rayne Hall’s Writer’s Craft Book Series, and like the others, it does what it says on the tin.
As an author, writing in deep point of view is a skill you will probably want to master, as it gives readers the most intense experience, allowing them not just to read about characters, but to inhabit their thoughts and emotions; to ‘become’ the character. This depth of identity with a fictional character is what makes the book live in a reader’s mind long after they’ve finished it, and drives them back for more as soon as they can get their hands on your next novel.
Using examples and exercises split into simple-to-follow categories, Hall makes the whole process simple to understand and execute. It isn’t a book for total beginners, rather for those ready to improve and expand their writing skills, so if that’s you, I’d advise you to grab a copy now.
On a personal level as a writer of fantasy novels, I found the chapters on character, sensory and gender filters (chapters 4 – 6) of particular interest, plus those on character thoughts and emotions (chapters 9 and 11), and I know I will be returning often to chapter 17, and its handy list of word choices.

View all my reviews

 

NEW Book Bloggers Hashtag #TuesdayBookBlog

#TuesdayBookBlog

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Most Twittering bloggers know about the benefits of ‘blog share’ days; it all started with Rachel Thompson and her fabulously successful #MondayBlogs.  Now, there is also #wwwblogs on Wednesday (Wednesday women writers), #SundayBlogShare, #ArchiveDay on Saturday, and many more.

Since Rachel started #MondayBlogs, she’s been battling against people using it for book promotion; her view is that you have six other days of the week to promote your books, but #MondayBlogs is about the writing itself ~ in other words, blog posts about anything other than your book! She now states that there should be no book promotion of any sort on #MondayBlogs, not even third party reviews, which is understandable as there are so many ways in which her guidelines can be abused.

Because there are so many avid readers, writers and book bloggers who understand the benefit of blog share days, Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team is introducing a new hashtag on Tuesdays, for book posts only: #TuesdayBookBlog. The first day this will be used is Tuesday, November 3rd.

As anyone who starts a hashtag knows, the main difficulty involved is dealing with ‘hashtag abuse’ ~ tweeters who spot a popular hashtag and add it to any tweet, whether relevant or not. We will do our best to limit this; please feel free to point someone in the right direction if you see this happening.

Reading Original

So what are the guidelines for #TuesdayBookBlog?

DO post:

Blog posts only!

Book reviews ~ either for your own books, or other people’s, or book reviews you’ve written on your blog.

Author Interviews ~ yours or others’.

Cover reveals ~ yours or others’.

Upcoming/new releases ~ yours or others.

Articles or guest posts about books/writers ~ you/yours or others’.

DO NOT post:

Anything that isn’t a blog post

Blog posts that aren’t about books/writers.

Porn.

Blatant promotion of an existing publication that isn’t a proper article – in other words, we don’t want to see a blog post that consists of nothing but the cover of your book, Amazon blurb and buy links. This was one of the ways in which #MondayBlogs was abused, after people were told they couldn’t use the hashtag for tweets with Amazon links.

To get the most out of #TuesdayBookBlog:

Retweet others on the hashtag and spread the word. Hashtags work best when you do your bit, too.

The power of Twitter is in the retweet, more than the tweet. Hashtag retweets are never guaranteed, but do remember that the more you do, the more you are likely to get back.

We hope you will achieve good results from #TuesdayBookBlog, and look forward to seeing you there!

#FabulousFridayGuestBlogger – Rosie Amber

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Today, our guest blogger is Rosie Amber, who is going to talk to us about how and why she does book reviews, where you can follow her blog, and how you can contact her if you’d like to submit something of your own for her or her team to review. Thank you for being here today, Rosie. Now take it away, Flower Lady! 🙂

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Thank you for inviting me to The Write Stuff blog today for a chat about book reviewing.  I’m Rosie Amber and I run a book reviewing blog at https://rosieamber.wordpress.com/
You can also find me on Twitter @rosieamber1

Why as a reader I think reviews are important

In today’s world the book market is reaching saturation point. Self-publishing and e-book opportunities have opened the doors to publishing which were once held closed by publishing houses. More and more people are buying books online where they look at the book cover, the book description and they check out other reader’s reviews.

I love reading and want to share the books I love with others, so what better way than by writing a review and posting it on various online platforms and book buying sites.

As a reviewer, I post reviews about nearly all the books I read as long as I can rate them 3* or above. Below this I won’t review, I feel a “no review” says as much as a 1 or 2*. If I’ve been asked to review the book for an author and it will be below 2*, I’ll contact the author with an appraisal of their book, with my thoughts on how it could be improved.

What makes a good review?

I write short reviews. I’ll explain the book genre up front, then if it’s not one a reader likes, they can move on. I’ll usually talk quickly about the main characters and where or when the book is set. I’ll then go on to give a bit of information about the storyline, so that readers can decide themselves if the book sounds enticing. I’ll finish with a summary of what I liked about the book and if necessary what didn’t work for me. If the book needed another run through editing I will mention that and it will reflect in my rating. It’s so important in this competitive market for writers to put out their VERY best piece of work and not rush to publish.

Running a review blog

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A year ago I filled my blog with all my own reviews, but my request list was getting long and I was being asked to review genres which I didn’t enjoy. So I created a book review team. Members join on a voluntary basis and review books around their own lives. There is no minimum or maximum number of books to read as long as they read and review a book in a month. We post reviews on Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com, Goodreads, reviewer’s blogs and I get a copy of each review which goes out on my own blog.

It is set up so that authors provide several copies of their work and we give them multiple reviews of the book all from one place.

It is complex, I’m fielding book review enquiries from authors, managing the review requests from the team, making sure they review within the one month and dealing with any of their queries, sending out notification to the author when the reviews comes in and drafting up my copy of each review for my blog. On top of that I have my own review request list which is currently around 50 books. I try to read a book in no longer than 2 days. This is a hobby, I have to work it around family life and part time employment. All the reviewing is free with no monetary values exchanged. This is important with the current Amazon clamp down on paid reviews and fake reviews breaching their rules.

Approaching us for a review

The best type of author wanting a review is one that has found my blog, spent a good time checking out the type of books we read, the style of reviews we write and actually getting involved with some of the posts via comments and sharing on social media. I hang out on Twitter a great deal.

Then when they have got a good feel for us I’m happy for them to make contact via the contact forms. There is a good set of instructions about the RIGHT way to go about it.

It’s very obvious if a new author finds my blog, “Follows” by joining and then fills in the book request form. I get all the e-mails, the one which says “You have a new follower” and when it’s followed by a book review request I KNOW the author has spent little time checking me out.

Then when they send a copy and paste review request or they call me Amber or no name at all, I get miffed. Most authors understand I’m busy reading and living my life and I will get to their book, some are a little impatient. DON’T OFFEND A REVIEWER BEFORE THEY’VE READ YOUR BOOK!

All I ask is that authors remember the team and I are human, we do this because we like reading, we won’t like every book we read but we won’t be rude or leave a 1* and no reason why. We spend several hours reading your book and thinking about a fair review all for free and in our own time so that you might benefit from others who will buy your book.

What else do we do on the blog?

I like to put fresh ideas out on the blog, so I get involved with other projects too. Every April I take part in the April A-Z Challenge, where bloggers from all over the world blog their way through the alphabet. This is a fantastic way to meet new people and make new friends/ followers. If anyone is trying to build up their blog, I recommend taking part in this free challenge. http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/

I also run my own free tours, I’ve just finished the third annual #RomancingSeptember tour with fellow blogger Stephanie Hurt. Earlier in the summer I also ran a Beach Reads tour and last year I ran a #MysteryNovember tour. These are hard work but a lot of fun for all that take part.

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This October I’m running a Readathon, where I’m inviting anyone who follows the blog to read and review three books and we’ll post their reviews.

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The #FridayFiveChallenge is a quick research post for people who blog. Each Friday people write a post about a book they found online after just a five minute search. The idea is to use a search term and then scan the book covers and choose a book from its cover/ book title. There’s time for a quick read of the book blurb and maybe a look at the number of reviews, then you must make an instant decision, would you BUY or PASS? The idea behind it is to look at it from a buyer’s POV. Many people now shop online for books and the thumb-nail book cover is often the first point of sale, get it right and hook the reader, get it wrong and they’ve passed you by.

There is plenty more, from my Wednesday Wing posts with tips from a readers POV, Resources for writers and posts by Avid readers, people who aren’t book reviewers but friends who say they’ve read a great book and tell you just a couple of lines about it.

Do drop in, say hello, pull up a chair and get comfy with people who LIKE books https://rosieamber.wordpress.com/

A Question, and a Request!

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Agatha Christie

The Question: Agatha and I have been wondering…where does the time go? No, I mean, really. Where does it go, once we’ve squeezed every bit of the life from a moment, and cast it aside, moving on to the next? Is there some graveyard for used hours somewhere? Or is it really relegated to crumbling photo albums and lines in a diary?

Just curious, here, on account of I seem to have lost a LOT of it lately. But I suppose that’s the nature of things–both losing time, and wasting more, wondering where it went. By my age, there are veritable slag heaps of lost time piled up behind me, but I’m finally learning that it doesn’t pay to worry about it. What does pay, sort of, is writing. So that’s where I’ve been in recent weeks. Writing my fingers down to bloody bones! Makes for a messy keyboard, but it does get me closer to the final line of Novel #4, anyway. And that brings me to the next part of this post.

The Request: I’ve said this before, and I’ll no doubt say it again. Most readers have no concept of just how important good reviews are to writers, most especially in this day of eBooks. If you’ve read a book you enjoyed, please, please consider posting a review on Amazon. Yes, even if the book is by a famous author who has sold millions of copies. Every single review has an impact on where they rank on Amazon, which, in turn, impacts how many new readers come across their book. Unless they are in the #1 spot, across all boards, they have room to move up, and increase their sales. And if you enjoyed their book, they’ve earned it.

Reviews are even more important for new writers, such as myself. When I balance the number of reviews Swamp Ghosts has gotten, for instance, against the number of emails and other comments I’ve received from folks who say they enjoyed the book, I know that a lot of them–most of them–aren’t leaving reviews. I think some don’t know how critical they are, and others actually mean to do it, but forget. Either way, it would sure be nice if everyone who enjoyed reading a book, mine included, would take five minutes to let the world know. It will increase sales dramatically, and for some authors, that can mean the difference in being able to continue writing versus having to get a second job, just to put food on the table. You can leave reviews on your blog or Goodreads, too, but the one that will make the biggest difference is the one you leave on Amazon.

Help your favorite writers succeed. Read and review. Rinse. Repeat. Rainbows will follow you everywhere you go, and sweet dreams will visit you every night. Okay, not really, but you WILL be doing a good thing. 🙂 Thanks!