Friday, October 29, 2010

Book Review - The Thorn by Daron D. Fraley

If you're in the mood to read a fantasy-adventure story set on a different planet with likable characters you grow to love, have I got the book for you. The Thorn does all that and more. Here is the back blurb on the book.

Three tribes are at war on the planet Gan, unaware that the sign of Christ's birth on an unknown world--Earth--is about to appear in the heavens.

During a bloody skirmish with Gideonite troops, Jonathan of Daniel spares Pekah, a young enemy soldier, gaining his trust forever. These two distant brothers from estranged tribes covenant with each other to end the war being waged by a self-proclaimed emperor, and soon discover the intentions of a far more dangerous foe--a sinister general bent on ruling those he can bring into subjection and destroying all others.

I love books that take the hero on not only a physical journey but also a mental journey. Jonathan is a noble hero to follow. I felt his sorrow when he found his dead father. I fought alongside him as he saved his friend Eli. And I grew to appreciate his mercy as he forgave Pekah, his enemy, and welcomed him to join his ranks.

These three characters are very different, yet they compliment each other very well. Fraley has done a great job of getting into their heads and developing their motivation.

Is there anything that bothered me? I really wanted a strong, heroic female character to follow throughout the book, but that is just a personal preference. Did this stop me from reading? Of course not! The legend Fraley spins blended with prophecy made this a memorable tale.

To learn more about Daron D. Fraley and where you can purchase his books go to his website by clicking here.

(I received a free copy of this novel, but I reviewed it because I liked it.)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Writing Process.

All writers have their own process for writing a book. It may change with each story that they work on. Some follow their writing muse and let the story grow as they write. Others need only to plot out their beginning then rely on their muse to guide them. Many writers do extensive research first and after write the story. And then there are some who research and outline each chapter.

I've tried all of the above. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.

For my first romantic suspense I wrote by the method of following my muse. 

Muse is code for I didn't know what the heck I was doing from chapter to chapter, but I followed my heart. That book is still hand written and hidden in a box somewhere in the attic.

The next story I knew how I wanted to open the book. My inspiration was a lighthouse on the Oregon coast that was rumored to be haunted.  I'd done my research, visited the lighthouse, and was ready to start writing. Yet, I didn't know what was going to happen in my story from one chapter to the next. I was still relying on my muse.

After this experience I decided I needed to know the beginning and ending of my stories before I started writing. And that has worked very well for me. I have written many novels using this process. Give me the beginning and the ending and I'm good to go.

And then I started working on my new WIP. I had the beginning and the ending scenes in mind, and I even wrote a synopsis, so I knew what needed to happen in the book. BUT I have been struggling. So for the first time ever I've written a chapter by chapter outline of the novel on my handy dandy white board.

This isn't my white board, because right now mine has my story all over it. I can't tell you what a relief it is to look up at the board and know what I need to work on for the day. 

So here is my Wednesday writing tip: always be open to try a new process to write your story.

Do you have a routine that works for you? Please share. I may give it a try for my next book.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Part Three: My Journey to Publication

Last Monday in part two of my journey to publication, I left you with a teaser, saying that I attended a writing class where I met other writers who would become life-long friends.

But . . . 

I certainly didn't think so when I started the class. At that time in my life, I was more reserved and not very outspoken. I rarely raised my hand or commented. I didn't want to risk anyone finding out how very little I knew. 

And then the time came for us to read what we were working on. Talk about scared out of my ever-loving mind. Of course, I wanted everyone to absolutely love my writing. 

Did they?

Well, praise for my writing came in small doses, and I knew deep in my heart I was probably the weakest writer in the class. That didn't stop me. I still attended every week, learning all I could. 

A year flew by pretty fast and before I knew it the class was ending for the summer. However, most everyone wanted to keep meeting.

So we decided to form a writers group. We would come together once a week in each others homes. We were a group of novice writers with none of us published. 

But after a couple of years things began to change . . . 

Friday, October 22, 2010

Passion in Characters

Does your main character have passion? I'm not talking about love for someone else. 

No this is more along the lines of, what is it that your main character wants more than anything else in the world? Does he want to be cop, nurse, singer, or even president? Do you show your character's ambition towards achieving his goal? If not, you should.

Giving your main character passion not only makes them well rounded, but it also gives your readers someone they can cheer for. They want to see your character succeed. BUT they also want to see the pain and hardship he goes through to accomplish his goal. They want to be there with him as he fights incredible odds and yet comes out on top.

So how do you show passion? Let's look at a character that is one of my favorites, George Bailey from It's a Wonderful Life. Don't moan. I know it's an old film, but it's a classic for a reason . . . the character of George Bailey. George had passion. And though this is a movie, the filmmakers went to incredible lengths to show George's passion for travel.

First there's the scene of George picking up his suitcase from Mr. Gower. Excitement shines in George's eyes as he holds that suitcase and tells how he's going to see the world. But there's a delay in George's plans because his father dies. He makes an arrangement with his brother that George will stay home and run their father's business while little brother goes to college and when he's finished George then plans to finally see the world. 

So, of course, when little brother returns home he's married and his new wife wants her husband to work with her father. Where does this leave George? Postponing his travels again, but he falls in love and gets married. He still plans to see the world with his wife, but what happens? The banks fail and George uses his travel money to help the company business and all those families who need money. So does George ever get to see his dream come true? Yes, but not as he thought he would. He learns what his true passion is and so does everyone watching the movie.

George had passion. Okay that's on film, but what about a character in a book? 

In ways it's much easier in a book. Say Rachel wants to become a singer. She knows of an audition that could really send her on the right track for her career. You write how she sings to herself at work, how from the moment she gets up in the morning to the moment she goes to bed she visualizes going before the judges and belting out a song. She takes all her savings to buy the perfect outfit for the audition, even though she'll be short on rent money. But she believes with every fiber in her being that she's going to win. She has to win. Then the night before her big break Rachel feels a tickle in her throat. She takes extra vitamins to ward off a cold, eats chicken soup for supper and even goes to bed early. But despite all her efforts, she awakens to the worse sore throat she's ever had. Not to be stopped, she goes anyway. With a pocket full of throat lozenges, she goes before the judges. She opens her mouth to sing and . . .

I don't need to finish this story for you to know that Rachel has passion. Give your main character passion. Whether they see their dreams come true or not is up to you. Maybe, like George Bailey, your character will find out that what he really wanted out of life was something very different from what he first thought, but through it all give him passion.

If you want to see passion in a character take a look at the closing scene of It's a Wonderful Life. This shows George's true passion in his life.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010



I usually post a writing tip on Wednesday, 
but today is a very special day.

Lenny turns eleven today, which is so totally cool!!!
  Life has been rough for this brave little guy.
He has leukemia
and is being raised by his brothers.

Bloggers from all over the blog-o-phere are wishing him
a very happy birthday today.

You can read more about Lenny here.

Please drop by his blog and wish him

Wednesday's writing tip will be on Friday this week.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Part Two of My Journey to Publication

I stopped my tale last week after I had spoken with that know-it-all author.

You know, the one who thought only people who had published articles or worked on a paper could write a book. So after I cried and felt all sorts of worthless, I still wanted to write.

Though, I realized I needed more education. Idaho State University offered night classes in Idaho Falls, which was only six miles away, so I signed up for an English class. 

I had three little kids at the time and couldn't attend during the day. I really enjoyed learning. All too soon the class was over. I wanted to keep going, but couldn't afford it. My husband had lost his job. 
He finally found work in Salt Lake. 

So we moved our little family to the big city, and I had to go to work part time. BUT I still kept writing. I even tried to sell some articles. Unfortunately, I became very familiar with rejection letters.

Then one day I found an ad for a novel writing class being offered at Pioneer Craft House. The hitch was . . . the class was on Friday mornings, and I worked that day. 
I wanted to take that class so badly that I screwed courage to my backbone and asked my boss if I could switch and work a different day. He told me to go ahead.

Little did I know that I would meet other writers in that class who would become life-long friends.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Book Review - Pocket of Guilt by Dora Lee Thompson

Last year I met a man who had celebrated his 100th birthday. His life story was amazing. In fact, he'd written his autobiography. I felt very privileged to read it.

At one time in his life, my friend served a mission for our Church in Germany during the late 1930s. While serving there, he and his companion were invited to a rally. They arrived late. The place was packed, but there were a few seats on the stage, so he and his companion sat there. When Adolf Hitler walked in, my friend was shocked and amazed. At the time no one knew what Hitler would later do or the misery he would cause the world, but this was an event my elderly friend would long remember. My friend passed away last March. He'd led a very full life. What does this have to do with the novel, Pocket of Guilt? As I read this book, my thoughts often went back to my elderly friend and what he'd witnessed. This novel gives you a peek into that time era and a little of the German perspective, just like my friend's autobiography did for me.

Here is the back liner of the book.

The Schulz family, all members of the Mormon church, is trying to survive in Germany, during WWII. When Hitler invades Poland and the war officially begins, the family is quickly feeling its strains, as they have less and less food to eat. Anna Schulz often stands in line for hours, only to find the market shelves empty. This becomes the least of her worries though, when one by one, the men of the Schulz family head off to defend their country.

The story follows Dieter, the middle son, just ten years old when the war begins, as he learns to cope with the war around him. Read about his stubborn streak and spontaneity, and how it gets him into trouble, how he defies Hitler's law by giving aid to a Jew and subsequently finds himself in the biggest trouble of his life, and what happens when he has to decide between loyalty and love. Will Dieter ever be able to forgive himself for all the things he has had to do to survive the war, or will he have to live with his guilt forever?

My review:

Dora Lee Thompson has done a terrific job in her research for this novel. The reader learns about Hitler's Youth Camps, how tough it was to grow up during that time, and how, from day to day, families didn't know if they'd ever see their loved ones again. I felt the fear of air raids, the worry of providing food for loved ones, and the love of family ties as I read about the Schulz family and what they lived through. War is ugly and horrible no matter what side you're on. It causes ordinary people to do heroic things and sometimes to do shameful things in order to feed their families and stay alive. Those who maintain their honor are to be admired. And for those who stumble and fall, only a merciful Father in Heaven should be their judge.

This is an amazing story. Were there parts that bothered me? No story is without flaws. As an author, I am especially aware of certain story aspects. For me, there were several info dumps that slowed the pace, in some places point of view was mixed, and at times, I felt frustrated because the author missed great opportunities to show the inner turmoil of her characters. The outer conflict was terrific.  Homes were being destroyed and lives interrupted, men were being sent to serve in a war they didn't believe in and didn't want to fight. Their freedoms were stolen. Now that's strong outer conflict. But I missed deep, inner conflict to parallel the horrors of that horrible war.

Pocket of Guilt spans many years, 1939 to 1950. The focus is the Schulz family and how they survived during this trying time. However, the book felt rushed through key moments in history. I would have preferred a longer book so I could see more inner turmoil of the main characters as they witnessed the rise and fall of a dictator.

In the back of the book is a nice chronology of the Jewish Persecution in Germany that shows year by year how Hitler rose to power and persecuted the Jews. Also in the back of the book Thompson has provided notes on key chapters and Internet links where you can go to learn more about this time in history.

I think my elderly friend would have liked this book very much. I only wish he were alive so I could share it with him.

(I received a free copy of this book, which did not influence my review.)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Are You a Triple-Crown Writer?

Photo from Google

Last weekend I went with my family to see the new movie Secretariat. I knew that this legendary horse was a triple-crown winner, but I didn't know the background story and how much his owner believed in his abilities.

This started me thinking about how writers need to believe in their own abilities, but they also need be the trainer and handler of their writing. So let's look at the trainer, handler and devoted owner of your writing.

Have you had the right training? Have you studied your craft and educated yourself not only on grammar, punctuation, plot lines and characterization, but have you studied the market? Do you know which publishers are buying your genre? Do you know the name of the acquiring editor? Are you certain your manuscript is formatted to the publisher's specifications? Is your novel too long or too short? Okay, enough with the questions already. Just make certain you've had the right training.

To be a good handler you might need help. Are you in a critic group? Does your critique group give you constructive criticism that makes your manuscript stronger and publishable? Only you can decide. But I have found my critique group to be extremely valuable. Because I'm so close to my story I don't always see what others do. It is a tremendous help to have people you trust to help you fill in the holes. An agent can also help you handle your book. He/she can tell you what needs to be fixed in your story and has connections to the publishing world.

Devoted Owner:
Do you believe that you have what it takes to be a writer? If someone were to say that you can't write, would you fold? Or would you look him in the eye and say, yes I can? How do you handle rejection? Because even the best writers have had rejection letters and not only that, but they've had book reviewers rip their stories apart. Are you devoted enough to your craft that you can turn the other cheek and carry on? Can you go the distance?

If you can answered these questions, you might be a triple-crown writer and publish. I found this short trailer for Secretariat. It gave me motivation, and I thought you'd enjoy it as well. 

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Budding Writer

I thought you might like to learn how and why I became a writer. Don't yawn yet. 

It's just that I've been asked this question many times. Everyone travels a different road to publication, and maybe you can learn from my mistakes because my road was long with a lot of curves.

Once upon a time in a land far, far away, I was a budding writer. What makes a "budding" writer? 
Someone who loves to read. 

I have always loved books. One day in high school, my English teacher gave the class a challenge to write a short story. I don't remember the story I wrote, something about a tall, creepy-looking giant who nobody liked, anyway, my teacher was so impressed that she had me read it in front of the entire class. I guess she thought it was good. 

Then life happened, I got married at a very young age. After my first child was born I was suffering from the baby blues. My reading kicked up a lot while baby was sleeping!!! I read all the books I owned, then started on my mother's books. She had all the classics of Mary Stewart, Dorothy Eden, Phylis Whitney, Nora Lofts and on and on. After a while my wise mother suggested that I write a book.

I was shocked, and then I became excited. 

I wrote my first book in long hand. When I finished, I borrowed Mom's typewriter (it looked amazingly like this one) and typed up my manuscript. (Am I ever grateful for the computers we have today!)

With the novel finished, I called a published author. I wanted his advice about where I could send it. I don't remember this guy's name but he said, "What makes you think that you can write a book other people would want to read?"

I was crushed, and yes, I cried. 

So what did I do next?  You'll have to stop by next Monday, and I'll continue to tell you about my road to publication. ;)

Friday, October 8, 2010

Author Interview with Marlene Bateman

Last spring I did a signing with Marlene Bateman. Her new book Light on Fire Island had just been released. We didn't cross paths again until August. I asked if she would like to do an interview for my blog and she was happy to do it, but she was going out of town and I was about to launch the blog tour for The Stone Traveler. She's back home and the tour is over, so now I give you an interview with Marlene Bateman.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Always. I started writing in elementary school, and in Jr. High, decided I wanted to be a writer. But when I was in college, I got married and had children and put my dream on the sideline. After having four children, I started writing magazine articles and was published in a lot of magazines, including the Ensign and Friend.
Then, I started writing non-fiction and over the years, wrote six non-fiction books. The first two were Latter-day Saint Heroes and Heroines, Volume One and Latter-day Saint Heroes and Heroines Volume Two. These books are compilations of true stories about people in early Church history times who actually risked their life in defense of the gospel. I love all of the stories that went into these books—they are so inspiring and faith promoting.
My next three books are also compilations of true stories in early Church History, and are about angelic experiences. The first book in this series is called, And There Were Angels Among Them. As I started researching for this book, I found thousands of stories about angelic visitations and knew I had to narrow it down. So I selected only those experiences when a person either saw or heard an angel.
The second book is called, Visits From Beyond the Veil, and the third is; By the Ministering of Angels. Researching and writing these books was a marvelous experience. It made me realize how much Heavenly Father truly loves his children and that He is aware of us and our lives. It shows how much Heavenly Father loves us when He sends angels to help in time of need.
My latest non-fiction book, published last year, is called Brigham’s Boys. It tells the story of sixteen men who worked with Brigham Young as he brought the Saints across the plains and colonized the Great Basin area. The men who worked alongside Brigham were amazingly devout and hard working. They were always willing to serve, no matter how difficult the challenge.

Tell us a little bit about your book.
Light on Fire Island was published in March and is my first novel. I’m really happy that people have enjoyed it so much. I was tickled when it was #4 on Seagull Books bestseller list this spring.
I guess it’s the researcher in me that made me decide to have the settings for my novels be totally accurate. To do research on the setting on this book, I went to Fire Island, which is just south of Long Island, in New York. I took lots of pictures, talked with the people at the lighthouse, and took lots of notes and bought books about Fire Island. All of the details about the setting are accurate, from the number of steps in the lighthouse, to street names, to the flora and fauna that exist there.
The story tells about Celena Jackson, who was banished from her home five years ago by her father because of her allegiance to the Church. Her eleven-year old brother, Joshua, is the catalyst for her return when he calls and asks her to come back after their father, the keeper at the Fire Island Lighthouse, suffers a serious accident. Celena puts aside her bitterness toward her father and returns to fulfill a promise she made to her mother before she died.
However, Celena soon discovers that her father’s accident was no accident, but that someone deliberately tried to kill him. As she sets out to discover who tried to kill her father, and why, Celena has to struggle with her tangle of mixed emotions toward her father. But new information surfaces, helping her dissolve the bitterness she has harbored for so long.
As she investigates, Celena becomes worried about an old friend, Ethan. Although he has always been simple minded, Ethan appears to have become unhinged after his wife, Sarina, drowned two years ago. Ethan is convinced his wife was killed by ‘bad men’ and embroils Celena in the mysterious circumstances surrounding Sarina’s death. Could her death be connected to the attempt on her father’s life?
Two men, the charming Clint and handsome Daniel, bring romance into Celena’s life, but there are so many mysterious incidents that Celena doubts she can trust anyone. In addition,
Celena is close to finding out who is responsible for her father’s near-fatal accident and Sarina’s death when an attempt is made on her own life, making it clear that time is running out. She must discover who is trying to stop her—and why—before it’s too late.

Tell us about your other books you’re working on.
I’m working on two books. One is a novel that is set in Oregon and is called Charade. It is a mystery and again, has some romance in it. I recently traveled to Oregon, to Florence and Lake Oswego, the two cities where the novel is set. I took hundreds of pictures and lots of notes so that the background will be accurate.
This book tells the story of Erica Coleman, who works as a private investigator in Utah. She is visiting family in Oregon, when a close relative dies. Then, the discovery is made that this person was poisoned and Erica becomes determined to find out who the perpetrator is.
Soon, another murder occurs, making it more important than ever to find out who is behind these two deaths, which seem to be linked to Sun Coast, the family business.
As Erica tries to unravel the mystery, she ruffles feathers of family members, and watches as a romance blooms between her cousin Shaun and the lively Kristen, who recently began working at Sun Coast.
When Shaun is designated as the CEO of Sun Coast, Erica tries to help him become the leader she knows he can be, despite his insecurities and being sabotaged by his cousin Trent, whose ambition to become the CEO is encouraged by his scheming father, Randy.
Then, Erica is nearly run down by a speeding car. This convinces her that she is on the right track and makes her realize that she must redouble her efforts to discover the culprit before she becomes the third victim
The second book I’m working on is non-fiction, and is called; Gaze Into Heaven. I’m very excited about this book, which is a compilation of true, near-death experiences in early Church history.
There are a lot of books about modern day near-death experiences, but this one focuses solely on those that occurred in the early days of the Church. It has been an incredible, spiritual experience to research and compile these stories. My testimony of the gospel has increased and it is awesome to see how well these experiences agree with LDS church doctrine.

What inspires you and motivates you to write the very most?
I never have to try and find motivation to write—it comes as naturally as breathing. I’ve never had a day where I didn’t want to write, even when the writing is difficult, as it often is, I still have this insatiable, inner urge to write.

Is there an established writer you admire and emulate in your writing? Do you have a writing mentor?
I admire so many authors. I love Mauve Binchy, as well as Jan Karon. They have such great characters and tell such compelling stories. I also love reading Agatha Christie and also enjoy Anne Tyler.

Location and life experience can sprinkle their influence in your writing. Tell us about where you grew up and a little about where you live now - city? Suburb? Country? Farm? If you could live anywhere you want to live, where would that be?
I grew up in Sandy, Utah, a suburb of Salt Lake City. My father was a raised gladiolus for florists and was a small mink rancher, so I guess I’m a bit of a country girl. I love living in Utah, and until I visited Oregon, didn’t think I would ever see another place that matched it. If I couldn’t live in Utah, I’d head for Oregon.

 Bring us into your home and set the scene for us when you are writing. What does it look like? On the couch, laptop, desk? Music? Lighting, handwriting?
In our house, our “formal dining room” is my “computer room.” I have a large, L-shaped computer station. My desk is about eight feet from a large bay window and two side windows so as I work, I can look outside at our beautiful lawn, trees, and flowers. I love it!
I have two computer monitors, which my son talked me into and now I can’t live without them. When I’m working on novels, I have two large 2’x3’ artist boards that I tape my plotting outline to. One board is propped up on my right and the other is on my left, so if I have a question about what chapter I mentioned that Randy is in London, I can look at my outline and find it.
I also work on my laptop and when the weather is good, I go outside in our little gazebo to write out there. Ah, this is heaven—to write while being outdoors!
I have two little doggies; Biscuit, (a Westie) and Snickers, (a black and tan mini-dachshund) who are my constant companions. If I’m working inside, one settles down by my feet and sleeps while the other one takes a spot nearby to snooze. When I go outside to work, Biscuit and Snickers are ever alert and if they hear the smallest sound, they’ll run like crazy to the dog on the east, neighbor on the south, or chickens on the west, to bark like crazy and then look back at me to see if I am watching them and admiring what grand watchdogs they are.
Beside my computer is one essential; my candy dish. If I start getting tired, or hit a difficult spot, I pick up something to eat to stay awake or take my mind off the difficulties of writing. I’m careful, however, not to have high calories treats in my dish. Instead, I opt for smarties, jolly rancher candy, gummy bears, lemon drops, gum, etc. My husband likes to dehydrate fruit from the trees in our yard, so I usually have dried apples, peaches, apricots, or plums to chew on.
As for the hours I spend writing; I try to start working at 10 in the morning, after doing housework and yard work, then work until 12:30. After an hour and a half break to eat lunch, read, and if possible, take a 15 min. snooze, I return to my work, knocking off about 6:30. But there are a lot of things that take writing time, such as dentist or dr. appts., visiting teaching, cub scouts, etc., but I just try to go with the flow.

 Do you watch television or movies? If so, what are your favorites? Do they inspire your writing?
I love watching movies, but because I have a hearing loss, I only watch them on TV, or DVD’s, so I can have closed captioning. I love sit coms, especially the golden oldies like “I Love Lucy,” “Andy Griffith,” and “Mash”. I recently started watching Monk, a mystery-comedy series, which I find hilarious. I love it!!! He’s so quirky and strange and yet a sheer genius at solving mysteries. Unfortunately, the series just ended, but I was so in love with the show I bought the series on the internet. I don’t think they inspire my writing, although watching them brings out the critique in me when I see circumstances or situations that couldn’t possible happen, or deductions made out of the blue.

How has being published changed your life?
It really didn’t change my life much. I used to hope that it gave me a little more credibility with my children, but that was too much to hope for! As my children were growing up, they always felt Mom spent far too much time on the computer. I believe they thought that if I spent less time at my silly writing, and more on housework, that they wouldn’t have to do a job every day. Silly them! With seven children, I had to have each of them help, with or without writing!

Do you have any book signings, tours or special events planned to promote your book that readers might be interested in attending? If so, when and where? Also tell about your blog and website.
On Oct. 9th, I’ll be at the Seagull Book in Logan, Utah from noon to 1:30. I don’t have a blog, I’m technically challenged that way but am going to try and get in gear and get one started.
My website is My son put it together for me and didn’t like the background I choose, felt it was too fussy and feminine. But I’m a real flower lover, having been a florist for many years and I love it. I also love those cute little butterflies that flit and fly among the flowers!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Thank You! And Influencers . . .

Because I just finished the review blog tour for The Stone Traveler, I wanted to send the commenters on the journey and the reviewers of my novel a big . . .

It was such a delight to read playful comments about the journey and The Stone Traveler. Your participation made this tour a huge success!!!

And the reviewers were awesome as well! I had only one reviewer who didn't like my novel. I think one out of twenty-two is pretty good. You can't please everyone, and we all have different tastes when it comes to the fiction that we like.

I've had some people ask why in the world would I include a negative review on my tour. There are three reasons:
  • the reviewer sacrificed time to read my book
  • I'd asked for her opinion
  • and she was part of the tour. 

Did I feel bad that she didn't like my novel? Well, of course I did. But after years of writing and having my novels critiqued in my writers group, in the newspaper as well as online I'm used to criticism. I try to learn all I can from a review so my writing will become stronger.

And I learned something from this experience. I want reviewers to read my books.

But for those of you who are just starting out please be aware that reviewing and promoting may not be a good mix. If your main goal is to start a "good" buzz about your novel you may want to use "Influencers."

What's an Influencer? Until I happened upon Jody Heylund's blog and her post "Being an Influencer Isn't Just About Getting a Free Book" I didn't know.

She explained what an Influencer does verses what a Reviewer does. She said, "An Influencer is someone who wants to help in the promotion of a book . . . A Reviewer, on the other hand, can also help in the promotion--if they like the book and write a stellar review and recommend the book to others. But a Reviewer also has the option of sharing what they didn't like."

My reviewers did exactly what I asked them to do. They reviewed my book sharing what they liked and what they didn't. I believe they gave their honest opinions of The Stone Traveler to those who read their blogs. Twenty-one favorable reviews on a book is awesome! And I am very happy with the results.

My writing tip for today: if you have a novel coming out you might want to give a lot of thought to whether you want Reviewers to promote your novel or Influencers. 

Monday, October 4, 2010


Yesterday was my grandson, 
Jonathan's, first birthday.

And in a effort to be totally fair, 
I decided to have him draw the name 
for the winner of the contest.

It wasn't easy. 
He was soooo very excited
with all his grandpas and grandmas, and
uncles and aunts watching 
him play with his presents.

But he finally settled down enough
to focus on the job at hand.

Here he's fishing in the bowl of names.

Then he became distracted. 
So I tried to show him how to do it.

Ah, now he knows what to do.

But he pulled out ALL the names. 
And as much as I'd like to give 
everyone of the finalists a Kindle, 
it's not in the budget. 
So we put all the names back
and Daddy and Grandma stepped in to help.

Again a handful of names came out of the bowl,


One stuck in his hand. 
With everyone watching, 
I took the name from him.

The grand prize winner of the Kindle is . . . 

well you can't see the name very well, but it says . . .

Catia Nunes!!!


The Kindle will be in the mail shortly.

Thanks to everyone who participated.

You made the journey 
fun, exciting, and very memorable!


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