FREE chick lit! Shame about the blurb!

Louise Wise

writers hate writing the synopsis while others hate the editing. Me?
I detest the blurb. Unlike the synopsis you have to make it exciting!
Make it sound like it’s full of exclamation marks without using them!
That’s how one writer advised me once, anyway!

OK, I’ll stop using them now. 
The Fall of the Misanthrope: I bitch therefore I am is only obtainable on Kindle at
the moment, but soon it will be made available as a paperback. And that means I
want my blurb to be perfect (I can easily change my Kindle doc.).
Here are
my chosen blurbs:
Available at the following:
(1) Welcome
to the dark side of chick lit
. (Love this bit! Will keep this.)
Anthrope is a woman not on the edge, but in an abyss. Love and friendship have
become memories, and are numbed in her heart.
(A bit Mills and Boon?) And that’s fine with her. She
doesn’t want to disturb them, because awakened, people die
. (Sounds like a horror novel!)
doesn’t know it but her heart is about to thaw and her curse is about to erupt. 

Valerie is trapped in an abyss of
unhappy memories. She is a woman on the edge and most people are happy for her
to stay there. Everyone is doing just fine without her. But when she begins to
thaw, and the terrible secrets surface, her world is changed forever. Do you
still want to be her friend
? (Short and sweet, but does it sound like chick lit? Hmm, not sure.)
to the dark side of chick lit…
(so love this bit.)
(3) Valerie’s
life fell apart a long time ago, the crux of her, like a mismatched jigsaw, is
pieced together in a vacuum of independence and self-preservation so strong
no-one is brave enough to see that it is all an act
. (OMG! A little bit Wuthering Heights, dontcha think?)
Love and
friendship remain memories; buried in her subconscious. She can’t disturb them,
because unearthed, people die.
(Maybe I should write horror?)
Kendal is prepared for the consequences, but will it unleash Valerie’s curse?
to the dark side of chick lit.
(Told you I loved this bit!)
(4)  How fragile is the human mind? Nurture or
nature? What makes us us?
(A bit documentaryish?)
Valerie Anthrope is a cut-throat business woman and happy being alone.
She answers to no-one. She’s The Boss.
(Oooh, if I hadn’t of written this
book, I’d have bought it because of that line! How clever am I!)
But enter Ellen in the guise of her fairy godmother wanting to make the
world rosy and smelling of marshmallow.
(Marshmallow? Maybe not so clever,
after all!)
How can Valerie cope with this burst of
sunshine? It gets worse, Ellen has a nephew who’s equally chirpy, but he thinks
it’s Valerie taking advantage of Ellen and sets out to take
her down a peg or two! (
Better. But where’s the ‘welcome
to the dark side of chick lit’ gone? Should I keep it?)
(5)  Follow The ‘fall’
(see, what I did there? Clever? Stupid?) of the Misanthrope. A dark chick
(got the ‘dark’ back in) that’s filled with humour and
warmth, and heart-wrenching moments of heartache when she discovers her heart can be
Valerie lost everything she cared about years ago, and she keeps on
losing those she loves. Not any more. Valerie is so determined to never to feel
that emotional pain again that she vows never to fall in love. Ever.

(6)  Valerie
Anthrope lives alone, and works alone. She is a bitch that no one wants to be
around, and that suits her fine. B
ut busybody, Ellen, is watching her and wants to ‘mend’ Valerie. In
fact, she makes it her mission. She thinks she’s a struggling broker for Sunny
Oak Brokerage and coerces her rich nephew into buying insurance. But nephew Lex
wants Valerie to become another notch on his bedpost.
While Valerie brings Lex down a peg or three, Lex teaches Valerie that
life is for the living. Only neither Lex nor Ellen realise that Valerie is
cursed, and the very reason that she is a bitch is that it keeps people from
(Too long? Not chick littey enough?)
(7)   Welcome,
to the dark side of chick lit
. (Yay!)
Being a
misanthropist is Valerie Anthrope’s defence.
She is a cut-throat business woman and happy being alone. She answers to
no-one. She has no time for romantic
trivialities, and definitely no time for Ellen who nominates herself as her
fairy godmother.
(I like! Think I’m getting the hang of this now!)
But what of Ellen’s playboy nephew? The one who Ellen coerces into
buying insurance from Valerie’s brokerage? The one who is full of himself and
smitten with Valerie’s cool demeanour. His cocky know-it-all manner, posse of
female admirers and playboy reputation are more than enough to put Valerie off
– or is it enough to keep her interested? After all, being in a relationship
with a playboy means there’s no burden of commitment.
Or is there?

Anyway, The Fall of the Misanthrope: I bitch
therefore I am
is FREE this weekend 21st – 24th
September. But in the meant time, if you’ve any suggestions for the blurb…?

July’s discussions will be…

social media

June over already? You sure? Crikey, I blinked and missed it, I reckon!

OK folks, the theme for July is social media.

Social media is important for writers,
but what’s your favourite?  Is it Twitter
that floats your boat? If it is, how on earth do you reach out to people when
you need followers? What about LinkedIn, has anyone fallen in love with that
seemingly lost tool? Is it lost?

Google Plus+ is new and seems a mix of Twitter and FB, and
what of Facebook itself? It’s full of people’s photos of their kids, isn’t it?
Have you tried Triberr? My Space? DevianArt? Live Journal, Tagged, Orkut,
Badoo, Ning… just how many are there? 

What about Pinterest? Pinning pictures to virtual boards? What’s the point of that? 

Just how do you juggle your time connecting and building the author platform?

These are just some of the questions we will be talking about. I have a few spare slots because of authors dropping out so if anyone wants to get in on the discussion…? Well, email me and let’s talk!

Among the social media chats I’d like to introduce you to a new paranormal author Fiona Mayne who will be spotlighting her new book – The Curse of Fin Milton – – A Spooky Ghost Story and Supernatural Romance. Sounds good, right? And I’ll be interviewing Serena Fairfax about her novel Where the Bulbul Sings and finding out about her writing routine.

See you then! 

When reviews count for nothing.

An article by Cindy McDonald


When Louise emailed me the topic of discussion for this blog as “sock puppets” I had absolutely no idea what she was talking about! 

Sock puppets? Sock puppets? 

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. 

Hokay, call me naive or uninformed but I didn’t realize that authors creating anonymous profiles on such sites as amazon and goodreads to write glowing reviews about their book was a problem. However as I read the forums, it soon became apparent that I was uninformed…naïve. 

But is it really a problem? 

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!

What’s an author to do? Truth-be-told, there’s not much that we can do. We must hope that our colleagues come to their senses and patiently wait for those stars and reviews to blow their way—like the rest of us. But while you’re waiting for that to happen, you’d better pray that you don’t fall victim to a different kind of sock puppet lurking in cyber space. This sock puppet is ugly and stinky and nasty. This sock puppet mirrors the missing sock from the dryer that lands up alongside the road in a filthy puddle, and it doesn’t give five stars or thrilling reviews. Oh no, this yucky sock wants to undermine the author’s credibility making them look foolish, and their work undesirable and undeserving of any reader’s consideration. They torment an author and are cruel beyond belief.

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?
Cindy McDonald
Author of The Unbridled Series

Hot CoCo
The Unbridled Series
That’s right, Coco Beardmore is sizzling hot and she’s landed in Mike West’s lap. Problem is Coco’s middle name is chaos! Her driving skills are a real bang-into Mike’s horse trailer. Her sultry seduction will set the room on fire-the kitchen that is.

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!

About Cindy McDonald

For the past twenty years Cindy has helped her husband, raise, train, and race thoroughbreds at their forty-five acre farm known as Fly-By-Night Stables.

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 and Kindle as well!

Virtual Book Tour Link

Do “Sock Puppets” Have No Shame?

An article by MK McClintock

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:

1. Sock Puppet
account made on an internet message board, by a person who already has an
account, for the purpose of posting more-or-less anonymously.

2. Sock Puppet
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.

McClintock is an entrepreneur, baker, photographer, tour host, reviewer, and multi-genre author. She was born on the west coast, but after less than eight years she left with her family to the Rocky Mountains. After more adventures around the country, business college, and culinary school, McClintock found a place to call home in Montana.
Over the years McClintock traveled the country and visited magnificent Scotland. She dreams of a time when life was simpler, the land rougher, and the journey more rewarding. With her heart deeply rooted in the past and her mind always on adventure, McClintock will always call Montana home.

Gallagher’s Pride Book Trailer:

Welcome to the dark side of chick lit…

Being a misanthropist is Valerie Anthrope’s defence.


She is a cut-throat business woman and happy being alone. She answers to no-one. She has no time for romantic trivialities, and definitely no time for Ellen who nominates herself as her fairy godmother.

But what of Ellen’s playboy nephew? The one who Ellen coerces into buying insurance from Valerie’s brokerage? The one who is full of himself and smitten with Valerie’s cool demeanour. His cocky know-it-all manner, posse of female admirers and playboy reputation are more than enough to put Valerie off – or is it enough to keep her interested? After all, being in a relationship with a playboy means there’s no burden of commitment.

Or is there?

The Fall of the Misanthrope is available for Kindle NOW
Chapter One 
The Fall of the Misanthrope
I bitch, therefore I am

There was that woman again.

I saw her out of the corner of my eye. She was
sitting on the wooden bench looking up at the church and then occasionally in
my direction. I crouched at the graveside, pushing stems of daisies and carnations
through the wire holes in the top of the vase.

Crikey, it was cold. I stood up and pulled my
gloves back on before stepping back to admire my handiwork. The flowers looked
pretty. There was a plaque – but only my brother was buried there, my parents’
ashes had been scattered over the top.
I picked up the paper the flowers had been
wrapped in and mashed it in my hands. I could still feel the curious stare of
the woman, whom I did my best to ignore. The bins were by the bench. I headed
over, keeping my head low.
‘Hello,’ she said.
I nodded, dropped the litter and turned away. I
pulled up the collar on my coat, not only to block out this stranger’s
inquisitive eyes but because the air was stinging my cheeks. I wondered how she
could sit for so long without freezing up.
‘I’m Ellen,’ she said. Good manners made me turn
‘I’m Valerie, good day.’ Oh, how very English and
polite, I thought, as I walked away.
‘November’s turned cold, hasn’t it?’ she said
standing and falling into step beside me. ‘Do you think we’ll have snow?’
I walked faster, but the woman kept pace with me.
‘We’ve been lucky with the weather so far, but I
think it can be safely said that winter has arrived,’ she said. ‘Are you a
winter person, Valerie?’
Not only had she invaded my space, she was asking
anal questions too. She didn’t bother to wait for an answer, which was good,
seeing as I wasn’t going to supply one but prattled on with another:
‘Who’re you visiting?’ She nodded over to my
brother’s grave.
‘Close family?’
With the gates in sight, I afforded her a brief
glance. ‘Not any more.’
Her smile waned a little, but I strode forward,
hoping to be first through the gates. But it didn’t happen like that and we
ended up locked together between black iron.
She burst into peals of laughter before stepping
back and allowing me to exit first. I gave her a no-nonsense smile, and stepped
through the gates towards my car. The car park was almost empty, so I couldn’t
understand why a bright red Mini was parked so close to my Vectra.
I heard Ellen giggling behind me, and I had a
horrible feeling the Mini was hers. I bleeped my car open, but there was no way
I could get access unless it was from the passenger side.
I turned to Ellen. She grinned at me, aimed the
keys and bleeped her car. ‘Brilliant things, aren’t they?’ she said.
She jiggled her keys. ‘These bleepy things.’
I placed my bag on the bonnet of my Vectra, and
pointed at her car. ‘You’ve an entire car park at your disposal, and you chose
to park not only next to me, but right on top so I can’t get in!’
She stared at me, but much to my chagrin, her
smile only got wider. She winked, then circled to the driver’s side of her car
where she slid behind the wheel. ‘Take care of that blood pressure of yours,’
she said and closed the door.
She drove away leaving me staring after her in
‘Cheeky bitch,’ I said. I climbed into my car and
drove towards work.
There was a holdup at the traffic lights, which I
couldn’t understand because the lights were green. Impatiently, I stabbed at my
horn with the heel of my hand, and a car in front of the car I was behind shot
off just as the lights changed to red. I noticed it was the Mini from the
graveyard. ‘Typical,’ I muttered.
I thought back to the first time I’d seen her. It
was summer time, and she was on that same bench and I was tending to the grave.
She’d smiled but hadn’t attempted to speak. Come to think of it, I’d seen her
before then too, and I remembered her because she was wearing a bright green
raincoat with a huge sunflower on the back. At first glance I thought it had
been a target board.
The lights changed and I eased my car forward. Obviously
she had lost family too, I thought. I’ll change my visits from the middle of
every month to the end. That way I’d not encounter her again.
I stepped inside the foyer of my office and, ignoring the lift, I
climbed the stairs. It wasn’t that I wanted the exercise, I just didn’t like
lifts. I didn’t like most things to be honest: animals, people, modern music,
Keith Lemon to name a few. I liked numbers and data. They were my forte; safe
and solid numbers.
The office block was only three storeys. The
first floor was all taken by one firm, and besides saying ‘hello’ we never
spoke at all. I shared the top floor with an accountancy firm. I rented the
largest office, which had a connecting door to a smaller one. The smaller
office was mine, and it overlooked Sallington Park; the other room was for my
Inside I heard the steady drone of office banter
between them – all two of them. I ran a financial advisory brokerage for Sunny
Oak. I pushed open the door.
‘Mr McFindley has called to cancel tonight’s
appointment,’ Tim informed me before I was barely over the threshold, ‘and I’ve
chased Tracey Sadark for her previous insurance details. She’s promised to
phone them through later this afternoon. I’ve three new appointments booked for
tonight and it’s only eleven o’clock! Oh, and I’ve ordered new stationery from
HQ, but there’s going to be a delay on stamps for the new logo.’ He jumped up
to give me his list and then proceeded over to the bubbling percolator and
poured me a coffee. He was Tim the Tireless. At five foot nothing and
approaching retirement age Tim would never walk if he could run.
‘And did you call Darren Yardley like I asked?’ I
‘Of course. He’s going to fax over his details.’ He
grinned and handed me a cup of steaming coffee that resembled tar – just as I
liked it. ‘I’ve arranged an interview for your new assistant at three tomorrow
afternoon.’ He whipped out his notebook. ‘I’ve her details –’
‘No, no, I‘ll check later,’ I said. I was keen to
get into the sanctuary of my office. My eyes fell on a pile of customer files
still sitting on top of the filing cabinet. ‘Paul?’ I said, pointing. ‘Why
hasn’t the filing been done?’
‘There isn’t any filing, Miss Anthrope,’ he said.
He insisted on calling me by my surname at all times. He’d only recently learned
to stop standing when I entered a room, so small mercies. I noticed that he was
busy sorting coloured paperclips into little piles of blue, red and pink, on
his desk.
‘What’s that then?’ I said, still pointing at the
He peered at me through his owl-framed glasses,
and then at the files. ‘Are they for filing?’
‘Yes, Paul,’ I said. ‘They were there yesterday
and probably before the weekend, too. Do it immediately, this inefficiently of
yours is getting ridiculous!’
Paul dived on a coloured paperclip and held it up
to the light as if admiring a diamond. ‘An orange paperclip,’ he said. ‘Now
these are unusual.’
Tim zoomed over to Paul’s desk proclaiming, ‘I’ve
a purple. Can’t get more unusual than that!’
Feeling a headache coming on I left them for my
office. Inside, I placed my coffee on my desk, and unbuttoned my coat but
didn’t take it off. I was still cold from the graveyard visit.
I touched the radiator. It was lukewarm. Rubbing
my hands together, I stared out of the window while trying to encourage warmth
from the radiator below. I’d meant to bring in my little heater from home but
forgot – must remember for tomorrow. I didn’t want the cold to put off my
interviewee. I hadn’t much success with staff; Tim and Paul were seemingly the
only ones I could hang on to.
Tim was my sales representative; he was good at
selling, or rather, talking. I think people signed on the dotted line just to
be rid of him. Paul, a general assistant, wanted to work fewer hours and I
thought hiring someone to job-share alongside him would be a good idea, with
the added benefit that he or she could be a sort of PA for me. I wanted to
concentrate on sales and presentations and leave the general running of the
office to someone else.
I vowed to try and be nice in the interview. It
wouldn’t be easy.