‘Past events can be changed but one must be careful of how one does it because it’ll impact on the rest of one’s life.’—Dáire Quin, Modify your Destiny if you Must, 2003 Wide Awake Asleep No one saw Julie’s car … Continue reading
Coming soon… Village girl Julie Compton couldn’t wait to leave Potterspury, neither could she wait to turn her back on her mum, boyfriend and best friend when they cruelly conspired against her and turned her cossetted life upside down and inside … Continue reading
‘I’m scared’, Fly had said. He was never scared. He was her hero. Her rugged hero made up from all the romance books she’d read. Big, bold and beautiful—in an alien kind of way. Jenny’s from Earth. Fly’s from Itor. … Continue reading
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Jenny was stranded, but was she alone?
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Her senses were acute to sound, and her brain
nagged her to flee, but she remained motionless. The old, old trick: play dead.
Imagine being an astronaut.
Now imagine applying for a mission where you became one of the first humans to travel outside the solar system.
The training couldn’t prepare you for what was about to happen–the unimaginable.
Jenny Daykin, her co-travellers presumed dead, became shipwrecked on Eden.
She wasn’t alone.
Jenny Daykin, ordinary woman with an extraordinary dilemma: kill or be killed. Surrender or invade. Hunt or Hunted. Love or hate.
As the only survivors they rely on one another. But he isn’t human and the place she calls home, isn’t Earth
Jenny chose love. An emotion only felt by higher species such as you or I.
But do so-called ‘higher species’ need to have the thought-process of hope love? Or are such emotions mere survival instincts? Or, even, a disabling thought-process?
An error of human-kind?
Somehow, Jenny found herself wondering just that as she was forced to quell her emotions in order to survive.
No, it’s a competition to win having your name (book or website link) credited in the acknowledgements of my next book.
Initially, I was one of those writers who thought she’d craft a mind-blowing story—without sex and romance. Yeee-ah right. Now, what I say might sound like I sold my soul, but don’t start throwing fruits and vegetables at me yet!
The truth is romance—whether mainstream or erotica—sells the most books in the industry. You have to sit up and pay attention to that. So I did. I still wanted to write a story thick with plot, so thick that my reader’s gumboots would get stuck in the story remembering it for plot not sex. Yet, when I read a romance novel, I become so committed to the protagonists that I feel cheated if they slam the bedroom door in my face. I want to go all the way with them, every hot sweaty mile.
When I considered this, I knew what I had to give my readers. My first novel “Too Grand For Words” is about a woman named Moira Viterra. She’s a working girl (no not that kind of girl) devoted to the sea and the mariners who work on it. As a hobby, she writes. She’s also cursed. When Moira takes her crew to Las Vegas for a vacation, she meets Steven Porter, a mysterious but extremely handsome man who won’t divulge what he does for a living. Toted as the ‘Bill Gates’ of the movie industry, Steven single-handedly created a Hollywood dynasty, but putting a ring on a woman’s finger is the last thing he’ll ever do. Irony and synchronicity join hands to box Steven into a corner. If he gets what he wants, he’ll lose Moira and maybe his life.
My manuscripts usually start as daydreams. The characters take shape, and become fuller as the plot does. I’m not an outline writer. I’ve coined the name, ‘Paper Mache’ writer, instead. Translated, it means layer upon layer of scenes added throughout the editing process.
People have asked where I get my heroes. Truth is I work with a plethora of men. Haven’t seen a single one of them, but their often sexy voices lead a gals mind astray. Their features and characteristics are part fiction, part non-fiction. Anyone who interacts with me now knows they are what I call “book fodder”. It’s turned into a bit of a joke around work, but nevertheless, everyone, every word and everything is fair game.
As a writer of romance, you’ll notice some blushed cheeks and darting glances from people you know who read your work; especially when it comes to the love scenes. It took my husband a little getting used to. I believe his initial words were, “Where do you get this shit?” Followed by: doubt, jealousy, and finally, “Huh, let me read that, again.” Uh-huh (insert wink).
To be a writer you either have to be single and live in a cave or have a very supportive family who puts up with dust bunnies around the house. Luckily, I have the latter. I also have a new sweater from all those dust bunnies.
For those who aspire to write, more importantly, craft romance—there is two important things to remember. The first came from the director of marketing at Amazon who I recently saw at the Writer’s Digest Writing Conference in Hollywood. He said, “Don’t write shit.” Blunt but true. Secondly, never give up! The process of writing unto itself is often one of unrequited love. If your words weave a path toward heated kisses and heart-wrenching longing than consider yourself inspired, after all—love, hope and faith are the three strongest emotions that keep us human. It’s no wonder we can’t get enough!
Steven Porter’s successes are as rugged and powerful as he is. He owns Hollywood, but no woman has ever owned him. During a business trip to Las Vegas, he becomes lost in Moira’s siren eyes. It’s going to take an ocean full of seduction to get her to see his way.
Moira Viterra is a matriarch of the sea. Working with ship captains and gnarly mariners, she won’t let any man command her. But she can’t control the forces that keep her a recluse. An evening that begins with sizzling glances across a blackjack table ignites the heat in Steven enough to know Poseidon’s daughter is different.
Synchronicity and irony join hands to box him into a corner as Steven tries to hide who he really is from Moira. When Steven finds out Moira’s hiding her own secret, he’s faced with a decision that endangers his life, not just his heart.
Note: This book contains adult language used as profanity. ** A BookStrand Mainstream Romance
Natasza Waters resides between the Pacific Ocean and the Cascade Mountain range. To find out more about Natasza visit her author page on Amazon, or her blog/website above.
together? They are a totally different genres, aren’t they?
Yes and no.
Fantasy is just that – fantasy. With made-up worlds,
creatures and all things mystical, magic and spiritual. Science fiction is
expanding on what we already know. But it is still fiction, therefore made up.
history (what could have happened, say, if Hitler won WW2). With fantasy, it needn’t be explained. Magic can just be. Mythical animals can just be (although I wish someone would dream
up something different to vampires or werewolves!), because fantasy doesn’t need to be explained. We know it isn’t
real, yeah, science fiction isn’t necessarily real anyway, but it’s supposed to be.
Gravity, atmosphere and nebulae (posh word for cloud) need to be just right or else
your characters on your planet won’t look like Brad Pitt (or Angelina Jolie or
whoever/whatever floats your boat – or
spaceship!). It can’t be glossed over,
and it has to make sense.
than the speed of light? Completely impossible, so someone ‘invented’ the wormhole
(yes, I’m sceptical about them). So invent it and make it possible. It’s no good to say ‘it went faster than the
speed of light’. How? Why?
For argument’s sake, I’ll say science fiction and fantasy can blur into the
other as many books labelled ‘science fiction’ are really just sci-fi/fantasy.
I think, and this in only my personal opinion, it’s because technical advances
have disproved some of the things we thought would be possible one day i.e.
time travel. It isn’t and will never be possible, so therefore some books have
become fantasy. Of course, you’ll always get the real hard core, planetary,
time bending stories that are science fiction through and through.
with things that could happen (or could have happened) and fantasy deals with
things that never, in a zillion years, ever happen.
thoughts and I’d love to hear them.
My best selling sci-fi romance, Eden, was a stand-alone novel, but due to the many lovely email requests I’ve had asking for a follow up, I began writing the sequel this summer. Eden the End will be out early next year.
To find out more click!
Like any skill worth mastering, the
writing of science fiction surely takes a lifetime to master. That’s assuming
you’re one of the few who masters it at all. Realizing that, I knew I would
face countless challenges as I penned my first novel-length science fiction
work, Green Light Delivery. Because
of all the sci-fi I’ve read, I should have been able to predict many of these
challenges. Still, it turned out to be a very different view from the active
side of the creative process.
faces a sci-fi author is that of language. The issue presents itself as a
complex web of decisions for the writer, based on her intended audience, the
type of sci-fi she’s writing, and her own background and level of obsession.
contemporary or near-future sci-fi. This issue can manifest itself in a number
of ways, depending on the specifics of your story. Here are a few you should
expect to mull over:
but in the distant future, (a) will everyone still speak our current languages,
whether it makes sense or not (Planet of
the Apes), or (b) will you go through the massive effort of showing
linguistic developments (A Clockwork
Orange; and be aware that Anthony Burgess was a trained linguist).
involves humans, how will the humans communicate with the other species? (a) Will
the aliens have pain-stakingly learned English? (b) Will the human stumble by
in the alien language?
another level of decision:
language. (Please refer to caveat above, regarding linguistic skills. If you
are an author who struggles to comprehend its
versus it’s, or if you struggled in
Spanish 101, then inventing a grammatically consistent, credible language is
not the right choice for you. Almost nobody can do this well.)
small vocabulary or list of common phrases you can use to imply the alien
tongue, and then switch to English. That can be a useful way to imply a
language, and remind a reader that characters aren’t speaking English.
who don’t want to deal with the different languages at all. (c) Offer some sort
of universal translation device (This is hardest to pull off, unless you’re doing
Douglas Adams-style broad comedy or writing for Doctor Who.)
place in an alternative universe where there never has been such a thing as
English, you face different problems. You want your reader to assume that English
is standing in for the actual language of the planet/solar system. But what can
you do to show that this isn’t really English? I decided to invent proper names
(both of characters and places) and common nouns that didn’t sound like
English, and therefore reminded readers the they weren’t in Kansas anymore.
largely newly-coined words, can make sense:
is a Yeril with a bnarli in his forehead.
still guess that Webrid is the name
of a male character, Yeril is some
sort of category (tribe? region? species? school affiliation?) and bnarli is a thing that fits in his head
somehow. Keeping the word “forehead” is important in this example. It gives the
reader a familiar point of reference.
Invented words, introduced one at a time and used consistently, are easy to slide into the reader’s vocabulary, just as in any other genre a reader can be expected to learn and remember the names of new characters.
Webrid is a carter, like his mother and grandfather before him. It’s not glamorous work, but it mostly pays the bills, and it gives him time to ogle the sexy women on the streets of Bexilla’s capital. Mostly, he buys and sells small goods and does the occasional transport run for a client.
Then he gets mugged by a robot.
Now, with a strange green laser implanted in his skull and a small fortune deposited in his bank account, Webrid has to make the most difficult delivery of his life. He doesn’t know who his client is, or what he’s carrying, but he knows that a whole lot of very dangerous people are extremely interested in what’s in his head. Literally. And they’ll do whatever it takes to get it.
With the help of some truly alien friends, a simple carter will journey across worlds to deliver his cargo. And hopefully keep his head in the process.
Anne E. Johnson is based in Brooklyn and has published over thirty short stories in a variety of genres and for both adults and children.
Her first science fiction novel, Green Light Delivery, was published in June, 2012, by Candlemark and Gleam. She also writes novels for tweens. Her other novels include Ebenezer’s Locker and Trouble at the Scriptorium.
and Hello October!
October is all about science fiction and fantasy books. Writers are invited to write in about their genre. I’d like to know how they build their worlds, how do they research worlds that don’t exist and how far can they stretch reality and still remain credible.
If you have any questions to my line up of authors feel free to put your questions to them in the comment box below.
can’t find something to read that really grabs you? Well I had one of those
about 12 years ago and it made me decide to write my own…couldn’t be that
hard right?….umm not quite!
Military… also Cowboys, Firemen, Policemen… any who, I was really into
military/ romantic/ suspense at the time so I sat down and wrote what would end
up being the first in my Operation series. It started with Operation Summer
Storm, followed by Operation Willow Quest, and I have just released book number
three, Operation Swift Mercy. I’m
working on book four, Operation Avenging Angel, as we speak, so hopefully that will be out in
the next month or so.
who always seem to be in the wrong place at the right time! And it’s always the
women in their lives who get them there in the first place! Each man has his own book, and I have to tell
you, I have adored this journey these characters have taken me on. Since
starting the series I’ve fallen in love with all of them and they really have
become ‘real’ to me—it’s going to be very hard to write the end on book four!
the first three books and let you see for yourself what these guys get up to!
crime he didn’t commit. Summer Sheldon holds the key to his freedom-for a
hostage camp and she’ll hand over the evidence to clear his name. There’s just
one small catch. He has to take her with him. From the depths of a Cambodian
jungle to the tropical paradise of the Philippines, two unlikely allies are
forced to learn how to coexist or lose everything each holds dear. Together
they must expose a truth that leaves them both vulnerable to the ruthless
killer behind Tate’s nightmare. Murder, blackmail, and injustice brought them
together. Will Tate and Summer save Willow and restore Tate’s reputation in
time, or will they pay the ultimate price for honor?
job is to save Willow Sheldon’s delectable but antagonizing butt before she
gets herself killed.
easy. Willow Sheldon has a habit of finding trouble. As a photojournalist, her
job has often taken her to some dangerous places, but when Peter ‘Del’ Delaware
comes to her rescue, suddenly it’s no longer the hostile environment posing the
greatest threat to her safety. On the trail of an elusive weapons dealer,
Willow is determined to bring the man responsible for the nightmare of her past
to justice. If in doing so she also gets the scoop of the decade, then all the better.
From the tropics of the south pacific to the jungles of South America, these
two unlikely allies must learn to let down their defences in order to make it
tough…someone like a rough and ready Marine.
ex-boyfriend was behind an elaborate people smuggling movement, life as she
once knew it, ended abruptly. Finding herself on the run with no idea who to
turn to for help, her days seemed numbered. For Chase Maloney, everyone around him
seemed to be moving on, while he was simply marking time. When he decided to
take a short break from groomsmen duties to go fishing, the last thing he
expected to catch was a beautiful woman! Can they outrun a vicious killer, and hand
over the evidence to convict him, in time? Or will he find them first and
inflict swift vengeance?
When Louise emailed me the topic of discussion for this blog as “sock puppets” I had absolutely no idea what she was talking about!
Did she mean the puppets that my kindergarten teacher used to make out of her husband’s old worn-out tube socks to help her tell the class a nap-time story? I was most fond of Shari Lewis’ little sock, Lamb Chop—she was an adorable sock puppet—her little curly ears and long lashes and cutesy little lamb voice. Hmmm…somehow I was having a difficult time believing that the sock puppets from my childhood were what Ms. Wise was referring to…and with a little digging, a little Googling, I soon discovered that I was right. Nope, Louise was not interested in a blog about Lamb Chop—maybe some other time.
|Please note: This lamb is a stand-in.
The original Lamb Chop isn’t available for promo shots.
Yes, I understand that it is rather unethical and even dishonest, but really who are they hurting? Are they really boosting their sales with such trickery? Are the readers who take-out the time to read reviews fooled so easily? I think not.
As a matter of fact I’ve read comments in the forums from readers who claim that they are actually turned-off by authors whose book have nothing but five/four star ratings, accompanied by countless rave reviews. In fact those readers find these books…suspicious. Many even claim to “steer clear” of such authors/books.
These authors are actually hurting themselves, or not. Consider this: Are they taking down authors who are earning honest-to-goodness five stars and positive reviews? It’s looking that way.
Sad…don’t you think? C’mon, how many writers out there sit down at their computer and announce: I’m going to take months and months (possibly years) to write a novel that will earn me two star ratings, and poor reviews. Nonsense! We are pouring our heart and souls into our stories striving for those five stars and glorious reviews only to be looked at with arched brows of suspicion, as the question tumbles from the potential reader’s lips…is this author a sock puppet? Yikes!
Case-in-point: I was out to lunch last fall with a dear friend. As we sat in a quaint restaurant, we were discussing the latest books that we had been reading. My friend said that she had purchased a book from Amazon off a very bad group of reviews. She went on to say that the reviews were brutal to the point of claiming that the author should never attempt to write anything ever again. Wow! That’s just plain vicious! My eyes popped, and I asked my friend what she thought of said book. She loved it. She thought the writer was delightful and the story was most engaging. She couldn’t understand why the reviewers would write such awful things about the book or the author. I immediately encouraged my friend to write a positive review, and she assured me that she would.
At the time I was flabbergasted by the situation, but I had no idea that the sock puppets were out there, nor how serious the situation actually is. Many authors are targeted for such abuse—who knows why. My understanding (from the forums) is that Amazon is not very compliant to the removal of derogatory reviews, so if you fall victim to a stinky sock puppet’s remarks—you’re stuck with it, and you must hope that the readers, like my friend, will be forgiving and purchase your work to judge it for themselves. However, I did read that Goodreads does take this problem seriously and is trying to find ways to eliminate these pitiful puppets—both types.
I’m afraid that I am ruined for life. I will never look at a sock puppet in quite the same light—sorry Lamb Chop. The next time one of the kids yells from their bedroom “Hey I’m missing one of my socks from the wash!” The hair on the nape of my neck will stand on end, my spine will stiffen, and I will pray to the review Gods that I have not just unleashed a dirty little puppet into the world.
This brings me to my questions: How much leverage do you give reviews? Do you require good reviews and high star ratings to consider a book? Could you identify a sock puppet whether it is an obnoxious author looking for praise, or a dirty little snipe trying to undermine an author’s career?
Author of The Unbridled Series
But what’s worse is her mischievous Thoroughbreds ability to mimic their owner’s habit of screwing things up. It’s enough to send a normally calm and collected Mike West to the very edge.
But Mike’s not the only one having problems with women, his father Eric has bitten off more that he can chew, and he’s about to get spit out by two women: One that he’s in love with, and one that thinks he’s in love with her. Oh yeah, things are hot around Westwood Thoroughbred Farm… and someone’s about to get burned!
During those years Cindy has paid close attention to the characters that hang-out at the back-side of the track. She found the situations and life style intriguing. In 2005 she sat down at her computer and began a journey into writing about this life that few understand.
Cindy has recently retired from making her living as a professional choreographer and owned and operated a dance school since 1985. She studied at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School and with the Pittsburgh Dance Alloy at Carnegie Mellon University to name a few. She has choreographed many musicals and an opera for the Pittsburgh Savoyards.
Cindy’s Unbridled telescripts has received recommends from three film industry readers and has been a semi-finalist in the Scriptapalooza Contest, and finalist in the Extreme Screenwriting Contest, and now will become a book series. The first telescript to become a book is Deadly.Com which is available NOW on Amazon.com and Kindle as well!
|Virtual Book Tour Link|
Apparently I’m further behind in the lingo that I had originally thought, because when someone first mentioned sock puppets to me, I immediately thought about the silly diversion that adults use for kids when nothing else seems to work. I couldn’t have been further off from what the person had meant, so I did a little checking around online for the term (as used in the writing world) and came across these definitions in the online Urban Dictionary:
account made on an internet message board, by a person who already has an
account, for the purpose of posting more-or-less anonymously.
A fake personality, usually a ‘friend’ or ‘sister,’ created by a drama
queen/king for the sake of defending him/herself against others in an online
definitions may lack eloquence, but both are straight to the point. The influx
of books on the market, especially those by self-published authors have made it
difficult for readers to weed out the genuinely good books from the bad.
Readers go online to read reviews in order to help determine if they’d like to
read a book. They’re thrilled to see a book with only five-star ratings and
with a click, they buy it. They wait anxiously as it loads onto their eReader
or arrives in the mail. Two chapters in and they’re wondering if they purchased
the right book. One third of the way through and they’re thinking they wasted
their money. Halfway through they’re angry because they feel deceived . . . and
if they make it further than that, they’re probably going to go online and
write a scathing one-star review telling the world how much they disliked the
book and how they can’t believe they wasted good money and how everyone who
gave it five-stars was lying. Sound familiar?
is a concern which has arisen often lately and from what I’ve observed, it ends
up leading to disgraceful communications between authors and readers. It brings
out the worst in the online community and etiquette is thrown out the window in
order for the respective parties to defend their ratings.
what should be a place for readers to read genuinely honest and fair reviews,
has become a place where deceit makes book-buying a walking-on-eggshells
experience. Readers don’t want to get stuck with a rotten book – so who are
they supposed to trust?
not everyone is a so-called “sock puppet” and honest reviews can be found, but
unfortunately readers may have to dig a little. I have my own little rule of
thumb for reviews. First, I bypass the five star reviews and head straight for
the one-stars and work my way up. Unfortunately this can take a little time and
mine is precious, so I only do this for books that truly interest me. If a book
has only four and five star reviews, I read these carefully to determine if the
reviews are written by legitimate readers (one can often tell my looking at
that reviewers other reviews). Another good rule of thumb – I never purchase a
book where the author has gone online to comment on every mediocre or poor
review they receive.
what do you do when you’ve been duped by
a “sock puppet”? Should you take that as your cue to write one of those
one-star reviews defaming the book in every possible way? I believe there’s a
fair and civilized way to go about it. If a reader is determined to make a
point, why not try first to contact the author directly and mention that you
feel these “sock puppet” reviews have been posted and before you write your own
review revealing it, would the author like the chance to remove those reviews?
is where you should screech to a halt! What if the reviews are genuine? How can
a reader be certain? Ouch – this one is tough. Gut instinct? Super brain
powers? It’s a tough call, but many readers make it every day.
readers, there’s a civilized way to leave a comment, good or bad, and it
doesn’t hurt to be professional online, no matter how personal the comment is.
– This doesn’t mean you should never comment on a review, but other than to say
“Thank You” to a kind blogger who read and posted a genuine review for you,
it’s best to leave the comments to the readers. If you want to review your own
book, let the readers know what you’re doing and identify yourself. It will go
a long way with trust.
Puppets” – You’re out there, but readers are catching on and they’re watching
for you. Your next book could be the one they don’t buy.
It’s not worth it.