Posts Tagged ‘Book review’

Blogging in 2012


Last year at this time I was committed to writing a blog a day. As you well know, I started out strong and fizzled out half way through. This year I am going to be much more realistic in my goals. I make no promises for a daily blog. I do hope to post weekly but if writing, teaching, and/or spending quality time with my family interfere, so be it. I will get back to posting as soon as possible.

At best this new plan will result in better blog content and more followers. At worst it will give me a little time to goof off and that’s not bad at all.

So, what can you expect to find here?

1. Installments of a fiction piece titled,  Girl in the Wind.

I’m not sure how long it will be or how it will end. It’s a story that is writing itself as I type it. Reading that last sentence will drive writers who have a clear outline in place before they begin a little crazy. I apologize for that. But, I’ve discovered that when a story starts telling itself it’s best to let it flow. I’m often delighted by how things work out in the process. In this case, I hope you will be too.

I repeat, the story is fiction. However, in places I will draw on my life for inspiration. If I write it well you will be left wondering what is true and what is pure imagination. When asked, I will smile an inscrutable smile and assure you I am innocent of all wrong doing. And please, don’t rely on whether or not I blush when saying so in order  to determine the truth of my assertion. Blushing  happens often to fair-skinned people like me and, at my age, it could be signaling the onset of a hot flash.

2. Guest bloggers. Authors, aspiring authors, bloggers and others with something of interest to writers and readers are invited to contact me about doing a guest blog.  Readers enjoy a change of pace from time to time and so do I.

3. Book reviews.  I will post my review on my blog, and Barnes& I also write a monthly book review column for About Families Publications with a circulation of 48,000 families. I prefer hard copies of books but I do have a Nook e-reader so I can accept electronic copies.

4. Odd comments and things of interest as they come to my attention.

Installment one of Girl in the Wind will be posted tomorrow with future installments appearing weekly after that. I look forward to your comments.



What to Write About?


There are so many things that need my attention today that I am almost paralyzed.  I still have work to do on my upcoming workshop at the Pennwriters Conference next week.  Next week! OMG it’s next week. Yesterday I realized that what has been far on the horizon for so long is now imminent and I’m not quite ready. I’ll get there. I always do but in this moment all I can think is, How on earth can I get it all done?

The Young Voices Awards call for submissions honoring books that Inspire, Mentor, and/or Educate readers of all ages just closed. That means I have to mail the book to the judges for review and scoring. This is another near monumental task that should be done this week. Oh boy.

Today I absolutely must get to the post office to mail the April Book of the Month to the young reader whose name wa selected in the monthly drawing sponsored by the Young Voices Foundation. I’ve already put the information about the May drawing up on the website so that’s one thing I can cross off the to-do list.

I sent my book review column to About Families Publications yesterday afternoon. Not as early as the editor would like it but not late either. About the same time I was hitting the send button on my keyboard two more books for review arrived in the mail. The good news is, I have three weeks before I have to submit another column.

It’s almost eleven o’clock and I’m still in my pajamas and robe. My tea has grown cold and I really need to go to the bathroom. Before I log off to take care of that pressing need and head out to deliver posters announcing my upcoming book signings at Dog Day Afternoon in Leesburg and Borders Express at Dulles Town Center I want to explain why you, my readers, have been subjected to this rant.  It’s because with all of that going on and more I could not think of a single thing to write about this morning. Stop by tomorrow when I hope to have something better to entertain you with.

I Hate Book Reviews!


As one who writers a regular book review column I hear versions of that expression more often than I’d like. On March 30th I posted a link to a site where an author rants in anger over a bad review.  As a writer I understand why these things happen.  The words we put on paper are more than symbols on the page. They represent our creative thought. They are the outward expression of an inner need to be heard.   They are the means by which we earn our livelihood. We love them as we love  our children. Even when they are far from perfect and in need of correction we want them treated with dignity and respect, and any discipline required should be ours to administer. I get that and I concur. Most of the time.

It is never my intention to write a negative review. I love books. I love writers.  Before turning to the opening page of a new book I polish my reading glasses, making sure to remove even the tiniest finger mark or smudge, then I brew a large cup of tea or hot chocolate and curl up in my favorite chair. The one with perfect lighting no matter what the time of day. If you could see me you’d notice the smile that appears as I wiggle my rear in happy anticipation. You may even remark on the similarity between me and a cat wearing a thick, cream mustache. 

Most of the time I close the book with a sigh of satisfaction. When I go to my office to write the review I have stars in my eyes. Rating stars that is.  * = Good; ** = Very Good;   *** = Recommended;   **** = Reviewer‘s Choice

You can see from the above designations that my intentions are good. The title of my column is By the Book. The way I see it, my job is to encourage people to read and most of the time it works out just that way. In the three years I’ve been reviewing books I’ve written only a handful of negative reviews. The most controversial of them being my review of Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. I stated that it’s a poorly written book that sends a bad message to young women about relationships. If you’d like to read the entire review let me know and I’ll post it on the blog.

 Despite the fact that fans around the world love it and in spite of the movie deals, etc. I  stand by my original assessment. I know the author doesn’t give a whit what I think.  She’s a huge  a success in her field. However, we both know that the best books are not necessarily the biggest sellers. Proof of that is the book It’s a Shore Thing by best-selling author Snooki , star of the Jersey Shore TV series.  My review of this book is usually concise.  Here it is: OMG!  WTF!

Another book I panned was a relationship book written by a minister who refers to his wife as Good Thing.  Talk about sexist, misogynistic crap.  This book is very bad. (It’s the Woman God Gave Me by Shon Hynemon)

The last one I’ll mentoin here has no business being in print. Every sentence is so full of commas it’s almost impossible to read making it a prime example of why self published books get no respect.  I urge this author to find an editor and do it fast.  (The Lycan Journal by Chad Long)

In cases like these it’s my job to warn people away. And I do it knowing that again I’ll hear the words, I Hate Book Reviews.  I continue to write my column because I know that for every bad book I come across there are thousands more waiting to be enjoyed in my comfy chair with the perfect lighting as I smile in anticipation of the joy another writer will feel when seeing four stars awarded to his or her book. So while some may hate them the truth is, I Love Book Reviews.

Self Published Author Flames Reviewer – OMG!


Who is at fault if we dont’ submit our best work?

As a writer who is traditionally published who also has a book coming out that was published by a non traditional  publisher and  who writes book reviews professionally, I find the rant by an author against a reviewer on Big Al’s Books and Pals blog appalling and  sadly indicative of why it’s so hard for self published writers to earn respect. Please weigh in with your thoughts on this very timely subject.

Click here to read the full exchange.

What do you think of the author’s behavior?

 What would you do if you read a less than favorable review of your book?

Is it ever a good idea to argue with a reviewer?

What can be learned from this exchange?