Clean Authors 99 Cent Ebooks Christmas Deal

December 19th, 2013

Clean Authors Christmas Sale

For a listing of 99 cent ebooks offered
go to 
CleanAuthors.com!!

Be sure to pick up Apprentice Cat by yours truly for $.99 today!

***

Upon Review: The Participants by Brian Blose

October 31st, 2013

I love to curl up with a nice, steaming cup of tea and a free book to review. In fact I subscribe to three book review sites: Book CrashBook Rooster and The Bookplex just so I can indulge in my favorite leisure activity. What’s even better is when an author contacts me for a review. If you’re an author looking for someone to review your book or short story, check out my Request a Review page.

Because I like to share the great reads I’ve found (and warn readers of the not-so-great finds), I developed a system:

  • One cup — worse than a cup of luke warm black pekoe
  • Two cups — it may be hot, but you’ll need plenty of sweetener just to tolerate it
  • Three cups — it’s not my favorite, but it beats going without
  • Four cups — nice and hot and only needs a smidge of sweetener to be perfect
  • Five cups — loose leaf vanilla Earl Grey, yummy

Sometimes a book or story doesn’t warrant a five cup rating, but it’s so good it can’t be missed. For those I include the “Must Read” starburst in front of the cup rating. You’ll find my cup rating above the picture of the cover. Enjoy!

The Participants by Brian Blose

Four Cup

 

 

 Here is the description that caught my attention:

Zack Vernon is an immortal Observer sent to watch the world on behalf of the Creator. When his suicide attempt fails spectacularly and earns him a spot on the national news, the other Observers are drawn to him.

They believe Zack to be the reincarnation of a rebellious Observer from a previous world. Several of them plan to punish him for the sins they believe he committed. One of them wants back the man she has loved through hundreds of worlds. But Zack remembers nothing before the present. All he wants is a chance to end his life.

The Good…

This story kept me turning pages, wanting to solve the mystery of the Observers and how they were different from the Participants. Each new chapter either dangled yet another piece of the puzzle in front of me or asked yet another question I wanted to know the answer to. This was perfect for someone like me who enjoys working out the whys and wherefores of an enigma.

The characters are well-developed and distinctive. Some, like Eric, actually scared me. Others, like Lacey, made me want to slap them until they acquired some sense. The tension and fear in Zach felt real and kept me rooting for him through the entire story.

I also enjoyed the twist at the end. It’s rare that an author can surprise me. Either I’ve figured it out long before the end or the twist comes off like a gimmick, but that is not the case in The Participants.

The Not-so-good…

I only have two complaints. The first is that the story is too short. I enjoyed reading it so much and invested so much energy into the characters that, by the end of the book, I was ready to find out what would happen in the next incarnation — or if there would even be a next one. Along with that was the disappointment that there isn’t a book 2. I would have loved it if either the story was longer or there was at least the promise of another book.

My second complaint is that there was more foul language and brutality than I am personally comfortable with. While I understand that serial killers are more likely to curse and their very nature necessitates brutality, I don’t have to enjoy it. I prefer torture and murder to happen off stage.

As for the cursing, it wasn’t just the serial killer. There were at least two others who swore more than I thought was necessary. Had the characters been in some kind of gang or had some other reason for speaking in such low terms, then I might have been able to overlook it.

The Overall…

I highly recommend The Participants by Brian Blose to anyone who enjoys a good puzzle with a plot twist, but beware that there is plenty of onstage brutality and swearing.

Upon Review: Seed Savers: Treasure by S. Smith

September 4th, 2013

I love to curl up with a nice, steaming cup of tea and a free book to review. In fact I subscribe to three book review sites: Book CrashBook Rooster and The Bookplex just so I can indulge in my favorite leisure activity. What’s even better is when an author contacts me for a review. If you’re an author looking for someone to review your book or short story, check out my Request a Review page.

Because I like to share the great reads I’ve found (and warn readers of the not-so-great finds), I developed a system:

  • One cup — worse than a cup of luke warm black pekoe
  • Two cups — it may be hot, but you’ll need plenty of sweetener just to tolerate it
  • Three cups — it’s not my favorite, but it beats going without
  • Four cups — nice and hot and only needs a smidge of sweetener to be perfect
  • Five cups — loose leaf vanilla Earl Grey, yummy

Sometimes a book or story doesn’t warrant a five cup rating, but it’s so good it can’t be missed. For those I include the “Must Read” starburst in front of the cup rating. You’ll find my cup rating above the picture of the cover. Enjoy!

 

Seed Savers: Treasure by S. Smith

Five Cup

 

 

 Here is the description that caught my attention:

In a future where growing your own food is against the law, three young friends risk their safety by studying the illegal subject of gardening. The children’s mentor, an elderly acquaintance named Ana, entices the children with her description of the food she knew as a child–food unlike the square, processed, packaged food they have always known. Constantly watching, however, is GRIM, the government agency that controls the nation’s food source and keeps in check all potential troublemakers. 

When Clare and Dante return home one day to find their tomato plant seized, and their mother jailed, they bolt, leaving behind Lily and Ana. Clare has heard of a place called “The Garden State,” and with their bikes, a little money, and backpacks, the children begin a lonely cross-country journey that tests them both physically and spiritually. Will they succeed in their quest to find a place of food freedom?  And can they, only children, help change the world?

The Good…

This was very fast read. In fact, I finished it in one afternoon, which, imho, means this would be the perfect length for younger readers. I also loved that the kids in the story weren’t dumbed down, but neither were they “gritty.” The use of scripture in the story was spare enough to feel necessary, yet used often enough to mark the book as Christian. Along with that is level of teaching. I feel that any young person who picks this book up will naturally pick up on the wonder of growing food.

The Not-so-good…

While the level of teaching is high in this book, there were a few places where the story was bogged down by information overload. However, those were few and did not make me want to put the book down and walk away.

The Overall…

Seed Savers: Treasure by S. Smith was a wonderful read that I plan to share with my science-loving, question-asking daughter and would highly recommend to other parents.

Promotional Event: 99 Authors, 99 Titles, for 99 Cents

December 9th, 2012

We are helping to organize a one day promotional event for 99 authors, 99 books, all for 99 cents each for one day only. The event is scheduled for Friday, Dec. 21, 2012. All genres and age groups will be included. There will be rafflecopter giveaways that total $990 worth of prizes! For the participating bloggersyou will be entered to win $500 for posting! Participating blogs will be sent the promotional posting information, easy to copy/paste, that will include the link to find the titles and for your readers to enter the giveaways. You will not have to post all 99 titles on your blog. This is to help gain awareness for the event as a whole. There will be an event banner to show your participation. If you are interested in participating, please fill out this short form.

Promotion in conjunction with The Indie Bookshelf and Jillian Dodd.
Below are some of the participating authors. A full list to come later.

Young Adult:

Jillian Dodd
Michelle Warren
Andrea Randall
Tiffany King
Ashley Wilcox
Jen Sterling
Sarah Billington
Lani Wendt Young
Michelle Mankin

Other authors:

C J Lyons
Diane Capri
Bob Mayer
Jen Talty
Steena Holmes
B C Burgess
Christine DeMaio-Rice
Cheryl Bradshaw
Maggie Myers
Elena Aitken
Melissa Brown
Charles Sheehan-Miles
Tammy Coons
Blaine Reimer
Colin Falconer
C A Kunz
Raine Thomas
C C Mackenzie
Suzanne Rock
Patricia Sands
Joanna Penn

Ebook Buyers: Can You Afford To Lose Them?

January 29th, 2012

ereader photoI recently read a guest post by Chris Keys, author of The Fishing Trip – A Ghost Story and Reprisal!: The Eagle Rises!, about the difficulties of selling self-published books.  According to Chris, he’s only sold about a dozen books.  It seems typical of independent authors, but here’s the catch: I looked for Chris’ book The Fishing Trip – A Ghost Story on Amazon and found that he only had it in print. (Update: Chris has now jumped on board and has his books in multiple formats, as well as taking advantage of the Kindle Unlimited program)

What really bothers me about this is that he used CreateSpace to publish his book.  I would think putting out a Kindle edition as well as a print edition would have been a no brainer.  It’s really too bad Chris didn’t go with both because I was poised to purchase an eBook edition, provided the price was right, on the spot.  I wishlisted the book, but that doesn’t mean I’ll remember to go back and buy it later.

I’m left wondering how many indie author sales are lost because of this kind of shortsightedness.  Between earning higher profits on lower prices and the immediate delivery (aka immediate gratification) of eBooks, how can anyone afford not to publish in electronic format?  That’s especially true now that epublishing is free on major bookseller sites like Barnes & Noble and Amazon and through 3rd party distributors like Draft2Digital and BookBaby.

I suppose many authors cringe at the idea of formatting their manuscript into eBook format. It’s not as difficult as you might think, though it does take some time. There are numerous articles on the web on how to do this, including “How to Format Ebooks” by Jamie Wilson and “Smashwords Style Guide” by Mark Coker. If you use Adobe InDesign, check out EPUB Straight to the Point by Elizabeth Castro. For basics on Kindle formatting browse Joshua Tallent’s Kindle Formatting web site.

If you still don’t want to try formatting your own book (or find you just can’t wrap your mind around it) then find someone who can. Indie Author April L. Hamilton of Publetariat warns us of taking the cheap route and simply converting a manuscript rather than having it formatted properly. It’s better to spend a little money on putting out a great book, than lose readers due to poor formatting.

Formatting is different from conversion in that formatting standardizes the manuscript and creates any companion files needed for the eBook while conversion is simply loading the work into a program and clicking a button. Conversion is easy. Formatting takes more time and effort.

Regardless of whether you choose to do it yourself or have someone else do it for you, if you want to get your book into the hands of more readers, don’t neglect the eBook format.

How important are multiple formats, especially ebooks, to you?

Photo by The Daring Librarian