My Bookshelf: Deep Fried and Pickled

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Title: Deep Fried and Pickled

Series: The Rachael O’Brien Chronicles, Book #1

Author: Paisley Ray

Genre: Historical Fiction & Romance

Amazon Summary:
“It’s ’86, the era of Pop Rocks, Jelly shoes, and big hair bands. Rachael O’Brien’s freshman plan seems simple: Attend a southern college away from her hometown of Canton, Ohio, earn a degree, party, and meet cute guys—hopefully acing the latter two.

But being threatened by a jealous She-Devil, avoiding the advances of a thirty-something redneck, and discovering an art fraud scheme mess with her “to do” list. On top of her troubles at school, Rachael finds herself forging a new relationship with her emotionally shaken father after Mom abandons the family to pursue a psychic calling.

Bad decision-making, law-bending behavior, and surprise romances make freshman year challenging in Paisley Ray’s DEEP FRIED AND PICKLED quick-witted, south-of-the-Mason-Dixon romp.”

Cheers:

  • I really loved the characters, Macy especially.
  • It captured the feeling of going to college really well. I felt like I want to go back to college and live in the dorms (and considering I just graduated, the fresh horror of the dorms should have been enough to stop that feeling).
  • I liked that there was so much going on, what with her mom leaving and so much drama at school plus the art stuff.

Jeers:

  • I think that there should have been a little more focus on the crazy stalker thing at the end. I just personally thought it was amazing twist, but then it was over almost as soon as it started.
  • Personally, I wasn’t as invested in the art thief story line, but that’s just because I don’t really care about art. If I found out some big scandal like that had happened in my hometown I’d just shrug, so that’s kinda what I did in the story, but I did like the action and drama that went along with it.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes! The author (who was really friendly, by the way) offered this book in exchange for an honest review and said that a lot of older women liked the story (as in, the women who had been young during the time this book is set in) but being 21 I think that this book is really good for anyone who is college-aged. Basically, if you’re worried about starting college, nothing is going to be as bad as Rachel’s first year.

Shelled and Shucked, book three in the series, is free right now on Amazon through the 27th, so snag it now while it’s hot!

Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Fried-Pickled-Rachael-OBrien-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B00AABHU70

Author’s blog: http://www.heypaisleyray.com/

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How to Run a Book Review Blog

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So, there are a few things you need to do in order to run a book review blog. The list below should help out anyone new to blogging or who thinks their blog could use some improvement.

First, start a blog. I happen to be partial to WordPress.

Second, read a book. Preferably nothing by Ayn Rand, but that’s just me.

Next, review the book with a clear rating, either through a number of stars (which you explain the meaning of somewhere) or simply whether or not you would recommend it to other people.

Make it easy for authors to contact you. Either put your email address up or use a contact form thing on a designated contact page. If you run a book review blog, you can get free books. If you didn’t know that, you do now. It makes it easier for authors to spam tell you about their book they’re giving away for free. All they want in return is an honest review (and if they say “give me five stars or else” just ignore them).

A note: if you do want free books but not a certain genre, make that clear. Some authors will still ignore that, but if you don’t want to receive erotica and you’re under eighteen, usually stating that clearly will reduce the probability that authors will send requests to read their naughty things against your wishes. (However, I’m not sure if stating that you’re underage could welcome other safety problems as I’m 21 and haven’t thought about cyber security in a while… but yeah, don’t be Catfished by pedophiles. And stuff. I’m off topic.)

Finally, post book reviews regularly. It doesn’t have to be every day, but post often enough to make sure your blog looks active. This may also encourage you to read more, which is obviously a plus.

Random Writing Prompts

Anyone out of ideas for a story? Anyone tired of their current project and want to get sidetracked for a few hundred words? Well I’ve got some writing prompts for y’all. (I’m trying out this whole y’all thing. I’m not from the south but it’s such an efficient way of saying “you guys.”)

  • Write a story in the POV of an inanimate object. (Alright so this is just because I wrote a story in the POV of a banana but whatever.)
  • Write a story with only dialogue.
  • Write about something that happens in the great outdoors.
  • Write about something that happens in a fast food restaurant.
  • Write about someone being in incredible pain. (Emotional or physical, whichever.)
  • Write a character who swears every time they talk. (This may be me. The other night at work I called a chicken sandwich a “son of a whore.” Don’t be afraid to get creative.)
  • Write a story that starts off angry and ends up happy.
  • Write a story featuring two people with sexual or gender orientations you’ve never written about before.
  • Write about an argument such as dogs vs. cats or Pepsi vs. Coke. Kill off the loser.
  • Write about a serial killer doing the things in his mundane life.

Go crazy, guys. Make sure you post to your story below if you end up writing one.

The Peelers

I was born for one purpose. My duty in life is to provide nourishment to the Peelers, to help fuel their lives by giving my own. My life was dark for some time, a flash of brightness before I and my brothers were taken away from our home. I don’t know how much time passed between then and now, but here I sit surrounded by my brothers waiting to be chosen, to be given my chance to live.

I am still a young creature, firm and green like my brothers. I know that now, in the Choosing Place, is a critical time for us. If we are allowed to age on these shelves, we will die uneaten. Our coats will rot and we will turn to slime and there will be only regret and despair until there is nothing more. Our lives will be a waste.

We are thrown carelessly into a basket by a Peeler, all of my brothers and I. I am filled with joy to know that we have passed this critical test. We circle the Choosing Place as distant cousins and foreign things are thrown into the basket next to us. We come to the Gates of Freedom in the Choosing Place and the Handler puts us in bags for the Peeler.

Continue reading

An Author’s Meltdown

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So I’ve posted before on how to handle bad reviews and multiple times I have mentioned that an author should never respond to a review unless the reader is asking a genuine question (such as when is book 2 coming out). For those of you who missed it, there was a significant meltdown on Goodreads a few days ago. (Sorry I’ve been late about posting it, but my own book was just released and I am now working two jobs.)

The author went back and deleted his comments but I have the link to an archived page. I’ll provide the best snapshots then link to it below so you can see for yourself this hot holy mess. This is mostly for entertainment purposes since I don’t know of anyone who would react so badly and needs to be warned against it.

This was just…so unnecessarily wordy and pretentious. I just did not enjoy it at all. Which makes me sad because the summary says it’s for fans of Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, and World of Warcraft. Aka three of my favorite things. So how did I loathe this so entirely from page one? I don’t know.
-Reviewer

Sorry that my book evoked such a horrible response… I’m an indie author. I work over 100 hours a week to get my books to succeed so that I don’t have to be a slave anymore. This review is not good for my business, so unless your desire is to ruin my dreams, it would mean a great deal if you could remove this review from my work and forget about it. But if it’s your desire to hurt me financially and ruin my business, then it’s understandable why you would post such a harmful review
-Author

The book has a number of good reviews so far so obviously plenty of people enjoy it, I just wasn’t one of them… I hardly think one review by a single person who is in no way affiliated with any company or big name blogs is going to ruin you financially or otherwise…I think we both know being an author is going to come with positive and negative attention… I personally did not like the story, it wasn’t for me… My one review is not going to sink your life’s work. If you are only here to police your book, only allowing good things to be said about it, I think that says more about you than the reviewer… I’m not going to remove my review because that would be a lie. I read it, I did not enjoy it, I’m within my rights to say so.
-Reviewer

I’m not here to “police” Goodreads…. Leaving a 1 star review on a book says much more about what kind of person does such a thing, and then attacks it for being “pretentious,” which is an erroneous statement that is defamation at best…. I’m happy I could be your Ego’s stepping stone… I’m just always amazed that someone would go out of their way to slander someone’s work like this. [Goodreads] is like Yelp, where essentially the only people that use it for negative reviews are those that have nothing better going on in their lives… I would’ve rather you got your money back than curse my book with your toxic opinion of it because it’s “in your rights to do so.” Do you have empathy? …Or do you just look at other people like they’re automatons that you can slander as though your actions don’t manifest consequences? …400,000 children go missing each year in the US alone. Do you know where they’re going? Do you know who’s behind it? Do you know why the media is silent about it? Do you know how much a person risks to confront the evil that’s running amok in this world?…
-Author

Alright, a minor break. WTF is he bringing up kidnapping for????

For all the people that observe this exchange, when you leave a negative review on someone’s work, you are potentially driving away a person that could have had their life changed for the better by that work. For someone to leave such a toxic review on a book that contains so much gnosis, that people had to die in order to learn in the past, is an utter disgrace to the human condition… So again, by all means, leave the review up if you feel like it’s the moral thing to do, if you must have it on your Goodreads profile so people can see how relevant your low opinion of “The Tale of Onora” is. The review mocks the reviewer, not the book….
-Author

You do realize that every author in the entire world has had their work negatively reviewed, right? Like literally all of them. The best writers in the entire world have had their books torn apart on a much more public platform than Goodreads. Why do you think you are above that? Why is your work above criticism when others aren’t?
-Reviewer

Then other people caught sight of this exchange and started chiming in. Obviously, a lot of them were against the author’s behavior.

And all of you who are taking [reviewer]’s side, what you’re doing in the bigger picture is waging war on the consciousness of humanity. The end… What bothers me is when people that operated at a low level of consciousness defame the work of people that are trying to help humanity, and no one helps humanity better than artists…. You’re immoral for defending this 1 star review. What is wrong with your POISONED WORLDVIEW where you cannot understand the damage that [a 1 star review] does???
-Author

Um, okay. He’s like literally saying that he’s God’s gift to humanity.

There aren’t any sides, [author]. I’m not trying to fight with you or defame your work. I just simply, on my own, did not enjoy the book… Maybe, like you said, I’m not at a high enough level of…intellect or consciousness or whatever else to understand it the way you meant it to be read…. I’m just a reader. That still doesn’t change the fact that you don’t need to come on here and threaten me over it… No one would have even noticed this review if it hadn’t been turned into this giant argument over nothing.
-Reviewer

The reviewer feels threatened but is still staying calm. She’s not doing anything to escalate this.

You know what it feels like to… see someone write that about you? Wow. No shame. All of you that have commented on this thread are EXACTLY what is wrong with this world, and EXACTLY what is ENABLING what is wrong with this world by CONDONING it… I hope you contemplate what it means to tear someone’s work down on a public forum and have the cognitive dissonance to believe it’s anything other than bullying. You’re unraised.
-Author

Talk about cognitive dissonance.

This continues for some time, continuing to say how immoral giving a one star review is while others chime in to agree with “WTF” to the author.

What I stand for, what [my book] stands for, and what the people that read it on every continent represent is SELF-EVIDENT and needs NO defense. What you stand for is all that is IMMORAL, HARMFUL, and WRONG.
-Author

So there you go. The archive only lasts till page 2 of the comments, so I don’t know if he posted anymore because all his comments have been deleted.

Kids, if you’re confused, always avoid engaging with readers. Even if someone leaves a one star review saying “John Doe is a bag of dicks and I used his book to wipe my ass” you do not reply. You flag it and report it to Amazon/Goodreads and they’ll take it down if it’s pointlessly hateful like that. (Also, readers usually avoid reviews like that when looking for pros and cons of the book before buying.)

Archived link: http://archive.is/rFgtE#selection-5187.0-5187.216

Wildflower Crown is now available for purchase!

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Wildflower Crown is available on Amazon in eBook and paperback! Until Amazon gets around to joining the pages, here is the eBook link and here is the paperback link.

I’m super excited to share this with the world. I really like the story and I think you guys will too!

For those of you without money who are interested, I’m looking for reviewers and will give a free PDF or MOBI of Wildflower Crown in exchange for an honest review to be posted on Amazon, Goodreads, and your blog. You can comment below or use the contact form on my “contact” page to ask about getting a copy.

The Editing Never Ends

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This was the “final” copy of Wildflower Crown. The one that was completely corrected and without errors. Yeah. That’s like 150 markers. To be fair (to me), there were only two or three actual mistakes/typos. The rest were “Hmmm, I could totally word that better,” or “DIALOGUE TAG WHAT ARE YOU DOING GTFO.”

So yeah, this is a little reminder not to freak out over shitty first drafts. This is the 6th draft now. However, all I have to do is make sure that fixing all those little tab things didn’t mess up any spacing and then format it for Kindle and it’ll be ready for publishing. Depending on how much time it takes to go live, Wildflower Crown will be out sometime this weekend or early next week. (I don’t know about you guys, but I’m excited. My second book! Woo!)

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Seriously got down to one of these things. Didn’t even notice until I’d already shut the book. Good thing I didn’t find two more things to be super picky over :p

The Importance of Plot Bunnies

For those of you who don’t know what plot bunnies are, here is the official urban dictionary definition (can’t get more official than that).

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Alright, so ignore the fanfic thing. It can happen for any kind of story. Basically, you think of something or see something that is so inspirational you’re like OH MY GOD I HAVE TO WRITE THIS. I don’t know why it’s called a plot bunny. I was nine years old in 2003, so this has been around for a while.

Recently, I was attacked by plot bunnies. Or plot wolves, if you will. I had a super realistic dream (I don’t know if this is a thing all writers experience, because whenever I tell people about them they’re like “wtf”) about this land cursed by wolves. I woke up and I KNEW I had to write it. I started it right away and I’m at 12,000 words right now.

The strangest thing is that the story is coming together really well so far even though I’m pantsing (i.e., winging) it, though usually I plan a lot more. I’ve put aside the other project I wanted to work on this summer because the idea for this just completely consumes me.

BABY BUNNIES, BROWN, WHITE, GRAY

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A lot of people will say to ignore your plot bunnies, to put them in a box and only take them out when you need them. However, in real life putting bunnies in a box without attending to them will kill them all. Ideas are a bit like that. Even if something is a good idea, the more you put it off and think about it without acting the duller it can become. If you have some kind of breathtakingly amazing idea you can’t get our of your head, act on it.

Just… don’t make that a pattern. If you keep abandoning your stories at 20,000 words because something new distracts you you’ll never get anything done.

Wildflower Crown too was started with a plot bunny. Though I’ve changed that bunny so much it probably looks more like a bird now, it’s still the same basic idea I started with. I’m excited that I’ll be sharing the story with you guys soon!

My Bookshelf: Lola and the Boy Next Door

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Title: Lola and the Boy Next Door

Author: Stephanie Perkins

Genre: Young Adult/Romance

Amazon Summary:
“Lola Nolan is a budding costume designer, and for her, the more outrageous, sparkly, and fun the outfit, the better. And everything is pretty perfect in her life (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the negihborhood. When Cricket, a gifted inventor, steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.”

Jeers:

  • There was very little sympathy for Lola’s birth parents. People fall on hard times, it happens, and not everyone addicted to drugs is a terrible person.
  • I hated how long things dragged on with Max (the hot rocker boyfriend).
  • I think school is a much bigger deal in young people’s lives but she took away from that in order to force St. Clair and Anna in at the movie theater rather than just having standalone books.
  • The gift Cricket gives her at the end is like beyond what anyone could accomplish and is setting impossibly high standards (okay so I’m a little jealous but whatever).

Cheers:

  • I thought that the story was wonderfully 3D and I liked all the characters.
  • I loved Cricket, though I have no idea why he was actually into Lola.
  • It was a very sweet story and I enjoyed reading it.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes. I’d say read Anna and the French Kiss first, since the setting of Paris is way cooler than San Francisco (in my opinion) but all three books can be read in whatever order and you won’t be that confused. It’s really sweet and really captures the confusion of youth.

Amazon link:

http://www.amazon.com/Lola-Next-Door-Stephanie-Perkins/dp/0142422010/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top?ie=UTF8

My Bookshelf: Along for the Ride

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Title: Along for the Ride

Author: Sarah Dessen

Genre: Young Adult/Romance

Amazon Summary:
“Nights have always been Auden’s time, her chance to escape everything that’s going on around her.

Then she meets Eli, a fellow insomniac, and he becomes her nocturnal tour guide.

Now, with an endless supply of summer nights between them, almost anything can happen. . . .”

Jeers:

  • If you’ve read a lot of Sarah Dessen’s books this is going to be exactly the same.
  • Auden’s dad was a huge asshole from start to finish and that wasn’t really taken care of or addressed properly.

Cheers:

  • It’s a nice light-hearted read.
  • The characters are unique and the detail in the story really brings things to life.
  • I’ve read this a bunch of times and I’m still not sick of it. I think Sarah Dessen does a really good job of writing books young girls can identify with.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes, if you like stories about teenage girls finding themselves. If you like one Sarah Dessen book you’ll probably like them all, but if you read too many you start to see how similar they all are. As long as you’re not looking for high-brow literature, you’ll be fine reading Along for the Ride.

Amazon link:

http://www.amazon.com/Along-Ride-Sarah-Dessen/dp/0142415561