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Archive for April, 2014

I’m a bit hot in the cheeks having been a guest over on the Steamy Puddings blog talking about Dark Moon and things I’d much prefer not think about when I’m reading fiction. If you haven’t been over to Steamy Puddings, it’s worth a visit – particularly if you feel like a little bit of a visit on the naughty side.

I’d love to see you there.

This isn’t normally a post day for me, but I just read this blog post by Kristen Lamb and had to share it with you:

Everybody Arcs – How to Use Emotional Growth to Propel the Story and Capture the Reader

I just love the way Kristen explains things. I find her take very inspirational and it’s certainly helped me in my journey to publishing Dark Moon and Killing Me Softly. I hope you find her blog useful too.

I’ve been reading a lot about the virtues of reviews lately. Do they matter? Do people take any notice of them? Do they make people buy your books? Should writers read them? Should writers write them? How do you deal with the trauma of them?

DarkMoon_coverI’m actually not sure what the answer is to this. I’m not even sure whether they’ve made any difference whatsoever for Dark Moon or Killing Me Softly in regards to sales. What I do know is getting a good review is bliss and getting a bad one is a trip into the doldrums for a short time. I’ve been quite lucky and mostly had some really great reviews for both books. Here are some I’ve received for Dark Moon:

Carrie Reads A Lot blogDarkSiders DownunderStormy VixenA Bookworm’s ReviewsBrittany’s Thoughts blogElder Park Book ReviewsAussie Bookworm,

It has been lovely to receive these and I’m thrilled at the initial response to Dark Moon, but I’m also quite sure there will be people who don’t like my work either, because here’s the thing:

You can’t please everyone.

I wrote a blog a while ago on how writers should take criticism from judges when entering comps, (Judge’s Comments) and I think this is pertinent for how to take reading reviews. You just have to keep reminding yourself that this is just a person’s opinion, and being an opinion, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is the only truth about your work. Anyone can write a review and post it to Goodreads. Many people say this is a bad thing, and sometimes, it is, particularly when you get review trolls. But mostly, the people who leave reviews sincerely want to share their experiences of books. They might not be able to sling a sentence together properly half the time, and mostly just reiterate the plot of the book, but I think that if anyone is enthusiastic enough about reading to write a review, that is a good thing. Being enthusiastic about reading should never be denigrated or looked down on. I think, in its essence, it’s a wonderful thing. And I think, if they’ve had a strong enough response to my book, either positive or negative, to write a review about it, that I have done my job – I have got them emotionally involved.

It can be a tough thing though as a writer to swallow. These reviewers are not there to be nice all the time. They are Killing Me Softly Cover2expressing their feelings and thoughts, and sometimes how they see it is not how you, the writer, meant it. It can be bewildering sometimes how people view the words you sweated blood over. Sometimes they are so far off the mark from what you intended, you wonder if they read your book at all. And other times, the reviewer is so enthusiastic about what you have written, it flings you up onto a fluffy cloud of blissful contentment. Reading reviews on your books can be an up and down thing and I know many writers who search out every one and get so depressed at times that they can’t manage to write while they get over it. And I know others who don’t read them at all because of how they make them feel about their writing. Writers do tend to doubt their talent very easily.

I probably waver somewhere in the middle.  I don’t go looking for them, but if someone sends me a link, I’ll go read it. Sometimes it’s blissful, othertimes, not so much and sometimes just leaves me chuckling and shaking my head. But this experience has led me to institute a rule for the reviews I write myself. I won’t review anything that I give anything less than a 4 star review. Not that I think a 3 star review isn’t pretty good – I think 3 star reviews are good. But I want to share my thoughts on novels that I will read again, and for me, a 3 star review is a book that I enjoyed, and would even buy more from that author if I saw them, but I wouldn’t go back and read that book again. 4 and 5 star reviews, for me, mean that book is a keeper and worthy of a re-read.

I know a lot of writers don’t write reviews because they’ve been told it’s not a good thing to do. What I don’t think is a good thing to do is write a review that is nasty or about a book you don’t like. But I think sharing your joy about something you love – there is always something worthwhile in that. I would like to write more reviews of this kind for books I read, but I do read a lot and don’t have enough time to write reviews for all the books that I do love. I do feel kind of bad about this, but it is what it is.

And finally, do reviews make people buy books? Mostly for me, I buy books becuase someone has told me about a book they enjoyed – so word of mouth is a big seller of books for me personally. Sometimes though, I will read a review on a blog and think, ‘that sounds interesting’ and have bought it. Not a difinitive answer – I don’t think there is one – but reviews are an expression of a reader’s thoughts, and mostly, I think that isn’t bad.

Georgina PenneyI’m really thrilled to have Georgina Penney on my blog today. Not only has Georgina written a funny, witty and different new Chic Lit novel, Irrepressible You, but she has lived most of her fascinating life overseas in places that many romance books are set. Funnily enough, the setting of her new novel is Australia – I guess the grass is always greener! 🙂

Georgina has had many fascinating experiences in her life as an ex-pat, but one of those was trying to make certain she could still feed her addiction to romance books in places where that kind of thing might be frowned on. I find her stories fascinating. I hope you do too. Georgina, take it away…

Reading Romance in Saudi Arabia

When my husband and I decided to move to Saudi Arabia for his work, we received a massive list from the Australian recruiters detailing all the things we could and could not take to the sandy country. The list included anything that could be considered a “false idol,” as well as any photographs, books or movies. It was truly draconian and had me reconsidering our little scheme to play expat.

The false idol thing I could deal with. It was the books that had me worried. At the time we had a growing collection of about two thousand books and counting. E-books weren’t on my radar and the thought of leaving any of my collection behind was awful.

It took a lot of deliberation but in the end we decided to damn the consequences and take the lot. After all, we reasoned, what would be the worst that could happen. Everything would be confiscated? Well, we weren’t intending on moving back to Australia any time soon so if we left everything behind we’d have to sell it all or pay for storage.

Thank goodness we did because not long after arriving “in Kingdom” we discovered that most of the recruiter’s advice had been absolute bollocks. It took one trip into the capital city of the Eastern province to see that DVDs were readily available, albeit under the counter down in the souk. Paintings and figurines that could be considered false idols? They were everywhere. In fact, during my time in Kingdom I purchased a number of beautiful acrylic paintings, many of them featuring people, mostly women.

And books…well, that was the biggest surprise. The English section of the Jarir Bookstore in Khobar had shelf upon shelf stocked with romance novels, and not just any romance novels. I’m talking Fabio bedecked bodice rippers with busty ladies.

It would have to be experienced to truly understand how surreal it was to stand side by side with Saudi women dressed in a niqarb, black gloves and an abaya that pooled around their feet so no toes showed, who were inspecting the very same naughty novels that I was. I still remember making eye contact with one of these ladies and the half-guilty-half cheeky smile we shared.

I don’t know if the religious police have cottoned on to the fact that the English section of the Saudi bookshops are full of pirate captains and busty wenches but I hope they haven’t. Just the thought of those colorful shelves makes me a very, very happy lady.

Irrepressible You CoverIrrepressible You Blurb

You don’t become a notorious British celebrity without rubbing a few people the wrong way, which is why writer and comedian Ben Martindale has decamped to Australia until the latest media frenzy dies down.

When he meets Amy Blaine, a perky blonde who dresses like a 1950s pin-up girl, he knows he’s hit the satirical jackpot. He begins to fill his weekly London column with snarky observations about her life, clothes, and even their most intimate moments. It doesn’t occur to him that Amy, who is letting her guard down for the first time in her adult life, might be upset – after all, it’s hilarious, and his readers love her!

It isn’t until Amy discovers the extent of his betrayal that Ben begins to realise just how badly he’s cocked up the best thing that ever happened to him. But is it too late?

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You can find out more about Georgina by visiting her at:

 

 

DarkMoon_coverIt’s Thursday, and over on Dark Side DownUnder it’s Magic Thursday. It’s a particularly magical Thursday for me, because I was invited to talk about my new novel, Dark Moon. Given the site’s magical nature, I decided to talk about how my characters surprise me all the time with the things they say and do, and mostly the way they pop into my head, kind of like magic.

I’d love you to visit and let me know what surprises you. See you there.

DarkMoon_coverIt’s been a busy couple of weeks for me in regards to guest blogs. I’ve had a bit of an overlap today, so I’ll post about each of them so you can check them out if you want over the next few days. But today I am on Aussie Bookworm as Author of the Month. It’s pretty thrilling to be called ‘Author of the Month’. I don’t think I’ve ever been anything of the month before – so I’m feeling pretty special right about now.

I’m talking about my paranormal beliefs and why I write what I do. Come and check it out and leave a comment – comments are always good. Makes things more interesting if I know what you’re thinking too! 🙂

Romance Writers of Australia