Monday, June 12, 2017

Why Should Readers Post Reviews of Books? By award-winning author Dana Wayne

The answer to that question is as varied as the people asking it. The bottom line is, a review is not only gold to an author, it is a valuable nugget for the reader as well. They provide the author with validation that someone besides friends and family appreciate their efforts. Even if the review is less than three stars, it is still beneficial, because, one, not everyone is going to like a specific book, and, two, maybe there is an area to improve upon.

There are literally thousands of new books released each month. When a reader wants something new, they typically start with authors they know, then move to someone they haven’t read before, relying on recommendations from friends, social media or suggestions from online retailers like Amazon to tempt readers with new selections.

Fine, but how do they know what selections to tempt them with? Simple: Algorithms. A fancy word for numbers. Numbers that are derived from multiple places, one is which is reviews. And it’s numbers only; not what you said or how many stars you rated it; just the fact that a review was posted. The more reviews a book receives, the higher up the food chain it goes and Amazon will then boost it with promotion.

While Amazon is not the only spot to place a review, it is the largest. Others like Barnes & Noble, Books a Million and Goodreads are also great places to post a review. Reviews don’t have to be a dissertation; they can be as simple or as in depth as you want them to be. Below are some tips to help you the next time you go to write a review:

1.      It is not necessary to purchase a book from Amazon (or any other retailer) to leave a book review.
2.      Reviews can be posted at any point, months or even years after you read it. There is no deadline to post.
3.      Reviews can be long or short; doesn’t matter. You can say something like “I loved the book and can’t wait for the next one” or go into detail about what you loved.
4.      By the same token, if you really didn’t like the book, take a moment to let the author know. Contact info is pretty much standard today and an email to say what you didn’t care for could help the author going forward.
5.      When leaving less than 3 stars, Please. Be kind, not hurtful. “I couldn’t get into the story” or maybe “didn’t care for this or that character” versus something like “this is crap.”

Writing is hard work. Rarely does it flow like a mountain stream. It takes months or even years to get a quality, finished product to market. And once it’s there, it takes more time and effort to promote. Most readers, myself included, rely on reviews to help us select our next favorite book. Are they the final determining factor? No, but they are extremely important.
So, the next time you reach ‘the end’ and sigh a contented breath because of the joy you found within those pages, take two minutes to post a review. Who knows? That may be the reason the next person picks up that book.
On behalf of writers everywhere, “thank you for your reviews.”



Awarding winning author Dana Wayne is a sixth generation Texan and resides in the Piney Woods with her husband of 39 years (and counting), a Calico cat named Katie, three children and four grandchildren. She routinely speaks at book clubs, writers groups and other organizations, and is a frequent guest on numerous writing blogs.

Her debut novel, Secrets of The Heart, was awarded Best in Texas, Contemporary Romance, 2017 by Texas Association of Authors, was a finalist for the 2017 Scéal Award for Contemporary Romance, a Reviewers Top Pick and on the Top 10 Books to Read This Winter from Books & Benches online magazine. Her second novel, Mail Order Groom was released in April, 2017, received 5-Star Reviews from Readers Favorite and Books & Benches online magazine.

Affiliations include Romance Writers of America, Texas Association of Authors, Writers League of Texas, East Texas Writers Guild, Northeast Texas Writers Organization, and East Texas Writers Association.


She can be reached through her website www.danawaye.com or via email at danawayne423@gmail.com.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

WOULD YOUR MARRIAGE SURVIVE INFIDELITY? by Linda Lee Greene


Let me say at the outset that my one and only marriage did not survive infidelity. But my divorce occurred many years ago, and I was a different person then. Given similar circumstances, would I pursue the same course of action now?

                To set the stage for this treatise, I grew up internalizing the American sitcom “Father Knows Best,” in which the wife and mother Margaret Anderson (glamorous actress Jane Wyatt) vacuumed the floors, if she ever did vacuum the floors, while her elegant neck was perpetually encircled by a string of perfect pearls and her slender movie-star silhouette was adorned in haute couture dresses. Her greatest tragedy was likely to be a bad perm day at the beauty parlor, and her adoring and loyal husband Jim’s (actor Robert Young) last nerve was apt to be jangled by a cloudburst on his golf day. “Adultery” was a word absent from their lexicon, and even its causes didn’t exist. Of course, my own parents resembled Margaret and Jim Anderson not even a smidgen, and neither did their “hum-drum” marriage. But I, we of my generation, wanted to believe the TV version to be the “real” thing, and all of us were convinced it was our true and only destiny.


                If you are familiar with the TV series “Mad Men,” you’ll get the picture of the vast differences in male and female relationships that beset my generation by the time we approached marriageable age. Drugs, sex, and rock n roll were cultural tsunamis that rearranged our world, and with the changes came rampant bed hopping, even by married individuals. In my experience, married men more than married women indulged in the sport then, and I was one among the majority who abstained. As with my girlfriends and female members of my family, in my heart of hearts, I remained a version of Margaret Anderson and my husband of Jim Anderson. Boy, was I wrong about him! And boy, was I wrong about me! I just bet, though, that if Margaret and Jim Anderson had been swamped by the swirling, dirty, drowning cultural waters of the 1960s and 1970s, they very well might have been swept into the divorce court, too.  

                It took me several years after my divorce to realize, or actually, to admit, that the infidelity was a symptom rather than its cause. And of course, the fact that it was the “accepted” rationale for breaking up our family blinded me to the truth, as well. I had all the evidence against the continuation of my marriage I needed, so why bother to dig any deeper than the specter of the “other women?” Among the “real” culprits were our unrealistic Margaret and Jim Anderson expectations of married life, as were secrets we hid from each other. Everyday proximity was another. “Familiarity breeds contempt” really is true. Is there anyone whom you hate more than your spouse at times, or maybe all the time to a degree—disdain, dislike, disrespect, disapproval, scorn—all the possible synonyms for hatred of him or her stuffed away somewhere in the sub-basement of your consciousness?  

                Nowadays, we have many more opportunities to be better informed about what it takes to forge and maintain a complimentary marriage, to learn new adaptations, and to stop and contemplate Hemingway’s avowal: “The world breaks everyone, and afterwards, many are strong at the broken places.” But I think he should have enlarged his statement with the actuality that many are left cripplingly or fatally weakened at the broken places. What are your thoughts on this subject? And more to the point, would your marriage survive infidelity?             



Linda Lee Greene’s latest novel “Cradle of the Serpent” explores the causes and consequences of infidelity in the long-term marriage of archaeologists Lily and Jacob Light. Hover your mouse here goo.gl/i3UkAV  to find it on Amazon. Look for her on Facebook and on Twitter @LLGreeneAuthor.   

Friday, June 2, 2017

Best-selling author Linda Lee Greene's latest novel

Best-selling author Linda Lee Greene’s latest novel CRADLE OF THE SERPENT (goo.gl/i3UkAV) is a story whose protagonist is a contemporary North American archaeologist named Lily Light. Her work centers on the “Great Serpent Mound” in Adams County, Ohio, USA. The book is written in the voices of Lily Light and her psychotherapist Michael Neeson. Lily’s therapy is based on her estrangement from her husband Jacob, also an archaeologist at work on a project in Arizona. Early in Lily’s therapy, Jacob is injured in a violent shooting at the edge of the Navajo Reservation there, and is left permanently paralyzed from his shoulders down. Lily also learns that a woman murdered at the scene of the crime was Jacob’s mistress.

During several of Lily’s therapy sessions, she experiences dream-states or time-travels in which she takes on the bearing of a young Indian female, a member of the indigenous clan of the mound’s original architects. Through her remarkable journey through time, Lily finds her way to the other side of her shattered life wrought by Jacob’s infidelity and its numerous catastrophic consequences.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Peggy M McAloon, Author and Activist Talks About Clean Water

I asked my author friend Peggy M McAloon to tell us something about herself we don't know. The following
is her compelling response:

When I retired as the National Account Manager for the National Association of Credit Management in Minneapolis, we sold our cabin and house in Minnesota, and purchased a lake home in Wisconsin. The house is nestled into a beautiful pine forest on the water’s edge with just enough birch, maple, and oaks to make the views nothing short of spectacular.
The first summer we were here, the lake started turning green about the middle of June. The term people here used was “blue-green algae” to describe the waters. Within weeks, I began having difficulty breathing whenever I went out into our beautiful yard. No matter how many questions I asked, I was told it was a form of algae and wouldn’t be the cause of my health decline.
My brother has a PhD in Microbiology, so I sent him two water samples by overnight mail. One sample was directly from the lake and the other was fixed with iodine as instructed. When the samples arrived at his lab, he assigned the project to a student working on her degree. Instead of using the safe tent method to test the samples, she worked on them on an open table.
Five hours later, she was rushed to the emergency room in extreme respiratory distress. The “simple algae” was actually a toxic form of bacteria known as cyanobacteria. It would have been simple to put the house back on the market and move, but I couldn’t do that to someone else. We decided to stay and try to make a difference.
For the past twelve years, I have been actively engaged in working for protections of our water resources.
I joined the lake association and quickly became the person in charge of communication. Newsletters were written and my husband and I became involved in stream monitoring to protect the local lakes.
Eventually, I attended the Wisconsin Lake Leaders Institute hosted by UW-Steven’s Point and the DNR. This commitment was made to help enhance skills and broaden capabilities of people in our lake communities, champion effective and communicative collaboration, and foster responsive and useful networks that support lake citizens.
In 2013, I was awarded the Minnesota State Society of the DAR Conservation Award and also with the National Society of the DAR Conservation Award. That was an enormous honor, as my mother was a DAR Regent in Iowa at one time.  http://chippewa.com/dunnconnect/community/mcaloon-receives-awards-minnesota-dar-presented-both-the-minnesota-and/article_d91fc52a-ce19-11e2-8395-0019bb2963f4.html
We take clean water too much for granted in this country. My five-year-old nearly died of nitrate poisoning from city sources in a Minneapolis suburb. Again water has hit the news in Minnesota as children are being poisoned by lead in the water. We are seeing problems with the safety of our drinking water throughout the nation and yet we continue to ignore and/or reduce safeguards.
U.S. Senator Russ Feingold was gracious enough to answer my request and come to Wisconsin to view our lake when the green and blue foam covered the water. He asked me what the smell was, and I explained the toxins from cyanobacteria can carry in the winds up to a mile inland. That’s when the light bulb went on for him. He turned and looked at me with so much concern in his eyes when he acknowledged I wasn’t simply talking about the Clean Water Act, but that there is a serious problem with the Clean Air Act around affected waters.
There are days still, when I can barely breathe when I leave the house. I feel like the canary in the coal mine, but so far, we have only been able to take baby steps. Each day we fall backwards as profits in business take priority over the health and well-being of our citizens. I grew up in a time when we found ways to make compromises. I hope we can get there again and do what’s best for the greatest number.
Water is our birthright and heritage. We need it to live. I will always be as passionate about our water resources as I am about the protection of our children. They are forever connected and deserve our very best.
Peggy M McAloon is the author of Elle Burton and the Reflective Portals, Missing, Cosmo is Adopted, and Gloriously Gluten-Free Sweets and Treats. She has also contributed to New York Times Best Selling Author Joel Comm’s  So What Do You Do? Vol 2 and An Anthology of Modern Fairy Tales #1.  Peggy says her goal with the Elle Burton books is to inspire kids to be kind and to empower them to stand up to bullying and abuse. The Cosmo book was written for her grandchildren and includes 3 bonus sections, including questions parents can use to help children improve their “feelings” vocabularies.

You Can Connect with Peggy here:
Twitter: @PeggyMcAloon

Website:  https://peggyshope4u.comautho

Saturday, April 22, 2017

5 Star Review of CRADLE OF THE SERPENT by author Linda Lee Greene

Customer Review

Loved this read, 22 April 2017
By 
This review is from: Cradle of the Serpent: A Man and a Woman's Imperfect Love (Kindle Edition)
Oh I love it when I come across an engaging story that entertains, written intelligently and with heart. Linda Lee Greene’s "Cradle of the Serpent: A Man and a Woman’s Imperfect Love" hit the mark on all points. What starts out as a very intriguing dedication to a man named Allen: words of love; has me curious about what will unfold as I venture on with the read. Then a quote from Aristotle about bearing composure where the soul shines in challenging circumstances really has heightened my interest. The story begins with mention of an Aesop’s fable; it is a metaphor for being grounded and what happens when one has their head in the clouds and tragedy strikes. The story then begins in lovely poetic prose that Aesop would have applauded: doing laundry, lost keys, and a refreshing encounter. Love enters the pages with words, “the day I made you mine…” and I’m completely invested in what the actual story is about now that it has been so beautifully set up. As I continue on reading, the characters are introduced and developed with clarity and depth: a woman walking a dog, a man named Jacob who helps her, they unite, and then what happens is unexpected and magical. There is much richness and intrigue as the story unfolds and incorporates what at first seem divergent yet rapidly become compelling themes including: therapy, a questionable relationship, fascinating dreams, a mysterious tattoo, a geographical connection to a constellation, mythology, an unexpected meeting, a love triangle, tragedy and a death with twin children impacted. Mystery upon mystery unfolds as we enter a Navajo reservation and witness a fascinating court, involving the children and who has parental rights. The mystery is held right down to the final pages lending to a really great read. There’s so much about this storyline that is captivating and so much I loved about it, including the intelligent way in which it is written—akin to a classic. And when I closed that last page I wanted to talk about it, retell it, urge others to pick it up and read it. But that would spoil it and so I’m compelled to write this review and leave to others the refreshing, compelling, and enjoyable experience and pleasure of reading it for themselves. It is a really great day when I can snuggle up with a great book that leaves no room for anything but wanting to know what the next page will reveal. I got lucky with this one and am thrilled I came upon and purchased it. Thank you Amazon for recommending it.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Author Uvi Poznansky, the Romance Reviews Readers' Choice Awards Winner for 2016

I am so pleased to welcome award-winning artist and author Uvi Poznansky on my blog today. Uvi doesn’t know this, but over time I have become so impressed with her work, as well as the way she presents herself and her work in cyber space, that I have adopted her as one of my mentors. In addition, she is to be commended for being such a generous supporter of her fellow authors.

Before we begin, let me offer my sincere congratulations to you, Uvi for winning The Romance Reviews Readers' Choice Awards for 2016.


Uvi Poznansky
Author of
The David Chronicles
and
Still Life with Memories

Name two personal details about yourself that may surprise people?
First, I taught myself to swim breast stroke, so my style is rather unusual to observe, but I do my laps for a whole hour, twice a week.
And second, I cannot sing to save my life, which is just the reason why I adore anyone who can! Perhaps that is why my characters have musical talents. I would like to think that I have a feel for rhythm, which expresses itself in my poetry, but music is more than a beat, it allows you to soar over the notes.
Tell us a little about yourself as writer and as person.

I am an artist, poet, and author. In the last two years I have published several novels, novellas, a poetry book, and two children’s books. My art and my writing are two sides of the same coin: I write with my paintbrush, and paint with words.

I earned my M.A. in Architecture at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and then, taking a sharp turn in my education, earned my M.S. degree in Computer Science from the University of Michigan. 

I write across a variety of genres: Literary fiction, historical fiction, historical romance, biblical fiction, poetry, horror, and children’s books. Thanks to the readers who love the romance novels in this boxed set, A Touch of Passion has just become the 2016 WINNER of The Romance Reviews Readers' Choice Awards.

Tell us about your writing history. When was the first time you decided to write and when was the first time you did? 

My creative drive in poetry, storytelling, and art, started early in life. Before I knew how to hold a pen in my hand, I would tell stories that my father (a poet, writer and artist himself) would write down for me. He would also ask me to help him rhyme his lines, which introduced me to the music of words and the intricacies of writing. Just before he passed away, he sent me an entire notebook full of these early endeavors, written in his beautiful, calligraphic handwriting.
Today I strive to stretch the envelope of what I create. In art, I use different mediums, which enriches my designs: I sculpt (in bronze, clay, and paper); I draw in charcoal, ink, and pencils; I paint in watercolor and oils; and I create animations. Similarly, in my literary work I write in different genres, which enriches my thinking.
What are you most proud of in your books?

At the end of every chapter in every book I write, you will discover that having faced a challenge, the character has undergone some change. Taken together, these chapters give you a story of a profound transformation. 

In my series, The David Chronicles, I find it amazing--and I hope you will too--to live in the skin of the character through an entire series of novels, and to experience his life from youth to old age. 

Here is the voice of old David, wary of his son who may overthrow him:

At my age I should expect nothing but respect. But when my own son walks away from me, my resolve immediately falters. To spite me, he smiles flirtatiously at Abishag, my lovely new concubine, till she tightens her robe around her waist and turns her head away, hiding her blush from him, and perhaps from me, too. Then with a youthful vigor, Adoniah bangs the heavy iron door deliberately behind him, which makes Goliath’s sword clang against the wall, right here over my head. 
The rattle shocks me into trying to overcome the fright, the sudden quaking of my bones. 
I adore my son, which lures me into seeing myself—my own image, only more invincible—in him. So what if he is rebellious? I must have been the same way at his age. Back then, did I not leave my father, exchanging the safety of his home for something unknown, for adventure? Did I not defy his charge for me to remain there, in Hebron, and support him in his time of need?

And here, his voice in childhood, coming to the palace for the first time:

I am pushed a step or two backwards, so as to maintain proper distance from the presence of the king. My name is called out in a clunky manner of introduction, after which I am instructed to choose from an array of musical instruments. I figure they must be the loot of war. So when I play them, the music of enemy tribes shall resound here, around the hall.
I pluck the strings of a sitar, then put it back down and pick up a lyre, which I make quiver, quiver with notes of fire! Then I rap, clap, tap, snap my fingers, and just to be cute, play a tune on my flute, after which I do a skip, skip, skip and a back flip.
It is a long performance, and towards the end of it I find myself trying to catch my breath. Alas, my time is up. Even so I would not stop. 
Entranced I go on to recite several of my poems, which I have never done before, for fear of exposing my most intimate, raw emotions, which is a risky thing for a man, and even riskier for a boy my age. Allowing your vulnerability to show takes one thing above all: a special kind of courage. Trust me, it takes balls.

What are you working on now? 

I am working on my next novel in the series Still Life with Memories. The title is Marriage before Death, and it takes my characters, Lenny and Natasha, to France during D-Day and beyond. While the previous novels in the series are love stories, this one is turning into a thriller.

Here is an excerpt:

This being a back road, there were no German patrols, nor were there roadblocks. It was in bad need of repair. Driving over rocks, dirt, and cracks jerked us all back and forth, forth and back, which lolled the SS guards into becoming drowsy. 
Unable to relax into this incessant, repetitive motion, I knew it would not take long until the beret fell off the head of the slumping man, exposing his bruises. I prayed that our captors would fall fast asleep before that happened. Already I could see a drop of blood slipping down his forehead, dripping into his eyebrow, pooling into the socket of his eye.
It was then that he opened it. At first, there was something blind about his look. Did he even see me?
Then, in a snap, his gaze cleared. The traitor pointed a wobbly finger at me, but before he could utter a word—before the SS guards could hear him, let alone clutch their guns and aim them at me—something else happened.
Boom! There came a huge, ear-splitting blast. 
Particles were shooting in the air. Out of nowhere, a wave of heat wrapped around us. In my confusion I forgot to breathe. Instead I gasped, was the truck hit? Was it falling apart under us?

Author Links:

Blog 
 
Google+   

Book Links:

The David Chronicles:
Rise to Power  KindleNookAppleKobo, audio
A Peek at Bathsheba KindleNookAppleKobo, audio
The Edge of Revolt KindleNookAppleKobo

Still Life with Memories:
My Own Voice KindleNookAppleKoboaudio
The White Piano KindleNookAppleKoboaudio
The Music of Us KindleNookAppleKoboaudio
Dancing with Air KindleNookAppleKoboaudio
Marriage before Death Coming soon...


Friday, April 14, 2017

POEM OF THE DAY: "Resurrection" by Linda Lee Greene

To me, this is the metaphysical meaning of Easter:

Resurrection

I hear the rock being pushed away from the tomb.
People are grunting and straining with the effort.
The light will be here soon.
I crouch further back into a deep dark corner of my second womb:
this lifetime in whose years my tomb is hewn.
I throw my hands to my ears against the noise.
Is that popping and crunching beneath the weight of the rock the grinding of the bones of my weaker selves?
Is that screaming the last gasps of my shadow parts I’m leaving behind?
When the light finds me will I let it burn away my remaining grime?
Will I let it polish me?
Will I let it let me shine?
©Linda Lee Greene - December 9, 2007
Linda Lee Greene's latest novel is a story of resurrection of a deeply wounded woman, titled CRADLE OF THE SERPENT,

Linda Lee Greene is the best-selling author of the novel of literary fiction CRADLE OF THE SERPENT goo.gl/i3UkAV, the novella for young readers ROOSTER TALE goo.gl/vNq32g, the true-life novel GUARDIANS AND OTHER ANGELS http://goo.gl/imUwKO, and the co-author with Debra Shiveley Welch of the suspense novel JESUS GANDHI OMA MAE ADAMS http://amzn.to/VazHFG. Her artwork is on view at www.gallery-llgreene.com. Linda’s Twitter handle is @LLGreeneAuthor. Her Amazon Author’s Page is at https://www.amazon.com/author/lindaleegreene, and follow her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/#!/LindaLeeGreeneAuthor, as well as on her Goodreads page at http://www.goodreads.com/LindaLeeGreeneAuthor