Awaiting Dates

Awaiting Dates

Nasty Leftovers is in proofreading. I’m on pins and needles.

Then, yesterday, a review of Sudden Mission from Peter Younghusband, Australia, came out. The excitement is building. Here is the link to that review:

Booktrope (parent of my publisher Vox Dei) approved the cover concept. And, Scott Deyett, who did such a bang-up job on Sudden Mission, is hard at work getting the art for the Nasty Leftovers cover ready. This’ll be great!

Due to holidays and schedules, we’ll likely push the publication date from the original March 22 (proposed way back last fall), to early April. I’m waiting to get confirmation on that date. I have a few events to schedule around that.

I’m also working on a concept for the book trailer.

I also need to get writing on the third installment.

And, I have some granddaughters I must totally spoil for Valentine’s Day.

Looks like a busy next couple of months.

Here’s a little taste of Nasty Leftovers, just to whet your reading appetite.

“Hello, William,” Paul said. “I’m …”

“Paul,” William said. “And she is Amy. I know.”

Something felt unsettling to Paul. William was far more clear-headed than any of the other survivors they had brought in, but he was off-putting in voice and manner, and his face was hard.

“I see,” Paul said. “May we ask you a few questions?”

The man smiled, a cold, confident smile that chilled Paul’s blood. “You can ask me whatever you like.”

“How do you know who we are? Did someone here tell you?”

“No, I know who you are because he told me,” William said.

“He?” Paul said. “He, who?”

“The magnificent ruler of this place, his highness.”

“Do you know his name?”

“Yes.”

Paul waited. William just looked at him, then gave another contemptuous smile. “Do you actually expect me to give it to you? Really, Paul, you are such a child.”

Paul felt like a child. He felt small and weak and hopelessly outclassed.

“Do you—do you remember when we found you and brought you here a few days ago?” Amy asked. Her voice sounded uncertain and Paul suspected she’d spoken just to change the subject.

“Of course,” William said. “I was deliberately taken to a location where you would find me and bring me in.”

Paul suspected as much, but hearing the words made him uneasy. The demon wanted William to be here. It was all part of his plan.

“Yes, Paul. It is his plan. You should have stayed in your little community with your gardens, your solar power, and your church and friends. This mission was just a supreme waste of lives, fuel, and time. You have no hope of clearing this city. It belongs to my master and will stay that way.”

Keep writing.

 

 

Reviews revisted

Reviews revisited

Sudden Mission is a novel for middle-grade/young adult readers. This is a problem when trying to get promotional blog tours and reviews. It isn’t a cute story with a lot of illustrations and deals with some serious topics for young people.

It’s also a Christian-themed novel. This can stick in the craw of some reviewers and writer/reader bloggers. It also limits the bookstore shelves Sudden Mission might get on, or library collections that may include it.

The other challenge for Sudden Mission is getting reviews. Almost all the reviews so far are not from the book’s primary demographic (middle-grade to young adult). While it’s nice to get kudos from my peers (adults), it would be fantastic to get feedback from young people.

I do have some feedback on the back channel from young people who read Sudden Mission and loved it. But it isn’t public feedback. It turns out that getting a twelve- or fourteen-year-old to post a review on Amazon or YouTube, is like getting him or her to volunteer for a dental appointment.

Granted, a reader in the primary demographic probably doesn’t have an Amazon, Nook, or iBook account or a YouTube channel. However a parent can take this opportunity to help. If your young person read Sudden Mission, ask them how they liked it. Have them give you a couple of favorite things they liked about the book, or something they didn’t like. Write up a two or three sentence statement and post it for them, with their cooperation. Don’t force it. Make it an educational opportunity.

If it’s more convenient, post your young person’s review in the comments section here.

While back channel feedback is welcome, I usually get it second or third hand and get few details about what he or she liked or disliked. And I don’t get an opportunity to discuss the thoughts or criticisms. I’m pretty thick-skinned, so I can take criticism. One adult reviewer didn’t like the ending. I can see that and I respect that person’s opinion. That was also an adult’s view of things.

I would love a twelve- or fourteen-year-old’s thoughts on Sudden Mission. If you, your child, or grandchild read the book, please take a few minutes to post a rating or review. It’s appreciated more than you know.

Keep writing.

 

Catching Up

Catching Up:

The Storm

November 17, the largest storm event in 126 years blew through Eastern Washington. As a result, we were without power at our house for three days. Our children were without power for four, five, and six days.

Fortunately, there was no serious damage at our houses. But a lot of people in Spokane are still struggling to repair damage and get back on the grid. Avista, the power company here, has been working around the clock to get things back on line.

Thanksgiving

We had a lot to be thankful for, as we gathered at our oldest daughter’s house and celebrated the holiday with family. We are all healthy, doing well, and all had power again.

Prefunk the Holidays

The November promotion by my publisher, Booktrope, went well. During the free week, from Nov. 9 to 14, about 100 ebook copies of Sudden Mission were downloaded by readers.

We are still looking for final numbers on the sale price ebook, but the $2.99 price did draw interest. Some folks also bought the print copy. There were a couple points in November I was a best selling author on Amazon. What a roller coaster ride this is.

NaNoWriMo

November is also National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and a number of author friends participated. Many did accomplish the 50 thousand word goal and I cheered them on during the month. I hope I made some small contribution to their success.

I did not participate this year as I’m deep in the edit and rewrite of Nasty Leftovers, the sequel to Sudden Mission. 

Guest Blog Post

As we were still without power, I got a note from Wendy Van Camp that my guest blog about “Characters” went up on her site. You can read it here: No Wasted Ink.

I met Wendy at WorldCon 2015 here in Spokane and she invited me to write a guest blog and she will do a review of Sudden Mission sometime early in 2016.

Book Signing

I will be in Colfax, WA, Thursday, Dec. 3, from 3 to 6 pm selling and signing paper copies of Sudden Mission. If you are in the area, stop by the Whitman County Library in town and visit. If you have a copy already, I’ll be happy to sign it for you. If you want one, I’ll have a supply with me.

This is also Colfax’s Winter Festival, so there should be lots of things going on that day.

Keep writing.

 

Just So You Know

I don’t pay for reviews or ratings, or encourage reviews or ratings that are not honest.

While I may know some who reviewed Sudden Mission, the reviews or ratings they provided are honest. The readers base the reviews on their own reading of the book and their own opinion of the writing and of me as a writer.

This thing with the fake Amazon book reviews is nothing new or unknown. Fake reviews are a fact of life and not just in the book area. It is an issue on iTunes, Barnes & Noble and other venues. Music, apps, games, books–every product sold online–are all subject to fake reviews. There is a pretty lucrative side business that has sprung up to support lame or bad products.

When you look at a product online and see the reviews, it is important to critically read and examine them to get a feel for the real value of the product. You can see where the fake reviews fall flat and the real reviewers come forward with experience and evaluation.

Online merchants are taking steps now to try to stop the fake reviews, finally. They will still have fake reviews, though. They cannot stop all of them. That leaves it up to you the consumer to use your critical thinking skills and weed out the bad reviewers and find the good nuggets. Do not depend on Amazon, iTunes or other online merchants to completely police the fake reviewers. It just isn’t going to happen.

So, I’ll tell you now that I will never buy or seek a fake review for any of my work. It stands or falls on its own merit. If you like it, I hope you give it a rating or honest review. If you don’t, I hope for the same thing. Feedback from the audience is important and should never be marginalized by hacks and thieves.

If I talk about a product, book, or anything else it is because I bought it, use it, read it, tried it. I buy my own books, tools, and apps and will give honest ratings and reviews on them when the situation requires it. I expect the same from fans, readers, and reviewers.

While part of marketing involves providing advanced readers copies (ARCs) of books, reviewers who read and review books from these usually state something to that effect in their review. That is the role they play in the marketing engine and is not unethical. What would be unethical is if the reviewer gave a dishonest review (positive or negative) and didn’t reveal getting an ARC.

Thank you for your kind attention today and reading this far. And if you read Sudden Mission, give it a rating or review when you get a chance. I value your feedback.

Keep writing.

 

Reviews

Older movies and some older TV series, centered on New York City, often portray artists (playwrights, writers) as living and dying by the reviews of the local newspapers. Sometimes those stories are set in Los Angeles, too.

But, this is today. Yes, I want to see reviews. Lots of them. But, I don’t live or die by them.

When Sudden Mission launched in mid-August, we started a blog tour and got some bloggers to review the book. So far, the reviews have been positive. Generally short. But positive. That’s good to a point.

Then you get to Amazon and there are reviews there. One is especially good and from someone very close to the demographic Sudden Mission is written to. That same person posted her review on Goodreads and couple other sites. She is a voracious reader and does a lot of reviews.

The rest of the Amazon and Goodreads reviews, so far, are by adults and friends who like to read YA and young people fiction. Just because they are friends, though, doesn’t mean the praise is fluff. They are professionals and don’t mince words about story, writing, and quality. So, I’m thankful for their feedback.

This brings us to a review we tried to get earlier, but I just found on Tumblr. The reviewer, for some reason, didn’t get the review at the time promised. But, here it is and it is generally positive.

4amusingmuses Review

So, the reason for the late appearance isn’t because she didn’t like it. She did take me to task on one area. Character description. Fair enough. Some people like more, some like less description. I’m on the side that wants to leave the reader more latitude, or give them room to put themselves into the main character role. Still, she had some valid points and those are things we worked on in the editing process.

But, I’m not dying and will take the constructive input.

I’m sure there will be more comments and reviews that dislike one part or another of the story, my writing style, or some other aspect of the book. There may even be reviewers who trash the book due to a difference in philosophical views. That will be expected. It is the world of today and the anonymous reviewer has a lot of leeway in what they can say.

I don’t live and die by the reviews, though. Any attention, comment, rating, or review is good. This is especially true on Amazon. I think people use the reviews to determine if a book is something they want to read. The blurb helps, but the reviews can be the better tool.

I know I use them when trying to make a purchase decision on Amazon or other online retailers. I read the good ones and the bad ones. Then I make a judgement. I know I’m not alone.

If you are a reader, put up a rating on a book you read. Even if you don’t comment or review, the rating is a metric for what people think of the work. It helps other readers.

Keep writing and reading.