The Illusive Review

Once again I’m ranting my frustrations out to the world. The forever thorn in my flesh – my illusive book reviews!

This would not be such a concern except for the fact that I would really love to hear how readers are reacting to my work. It isn’t that I expect every person to love every book I’ve ever written and to deluge me with five star reviews.

Okay, well, maybe I wouldn’t mind being deluged with that but it doesn’t seem to be realistic, does it? Even John Grisham gets some nasty ones. Rogue Lawyer: A Novel Paperback 4.0 out of 5 stars. If you’re talking over 9,000 reviews, it means there are over 2,000 negatives ones.

Now here’s my take on it – if Mr. Grisham can handle over 2000 negative reviews and keep on pumping out amazing novels, I can handle a few negative ones too. The ratio is probably about the same.

Do you think John spends his evenings reading over all his reviews and moaning about all the ones that say they wasted two days reading his book and wished they would have spent the time more productively? I doubt that very much. I would wager a guess that he doesn’t even look at the great reviews. He probably goes right on with his next work, never looking back.

So why does it bring such anxiety to the average little author like me? It’s because we still need to be reassured that what we’re doing isn’t a complete waste of time and that somewhere hidden deep within us is that great novel just waiting to come out. Perhaps Mr. Grisham feels the same way. How do we know? He might feel that his best is still to come. Although I’m sure that his bank account lessens the worry.

Obviously, if a book is not selling, there will be no reviews. However, what if the book is selling? What holds readers back from writing a review?

A personal question: Do YOU write a review for every book you read? Honestly, do you? I have to say that I don’t. Why? Sometimes it’s just a matter of time. I plan on writing one but somehow before I know it, I’m on to my next book and I lose my focus. When I read, I read for the moment. Ask me a week later what I read and I have no idea. I do remember if I liked the book or if I didn’t but don’t ask me about the characters or the plot – my mind is already on the next book. That, of course, is no excuse for not writing a review. It only takes a few minutes to go online and write a few words.

I also believe that many readers feel they have to be a writer to write a review. No one is asking for that. All I need is a ‘Loved the book.’ Along with five stars, of course! No, just kidding – I’m quite happy with four.

So now, as a reader, you understand how desperate and lacking in confidence we writers really are. As we always say, If you loved our story, tell your friends and write a review; if you hated it, tell your enemies. 

What She Writes and Why She Writes…

Meet Rebekah Lee Jenkins!

 

The quote goes something like this “Here’s to strong women. May we know them, may we be them, may we raise them.” I would like to add… may we write about them to inspire this generation. The Night They Came For Til, is a book about strong women who follow their passion in life despite the roles society tried to stifle them into.

Twenty two years standing behind a cutting chair as a hairdresser, I know a lot about women and I love watching women succeed. Love it. So, Shannon’s story is about a young woman with a strong aunt Til who champions her. Til instills in her that she can lead an unconventional life; she can defy the role she has been assigned, and soldier forth on her own terms. She can choose her career, and then marriage and children. Til wanted the best for Shannon. I can relate, I feel the same way about my girls.

I wrote this book for my nieces, all of them, Sophia, Olivia and Meika but due to her age, specifically Azelin Rose. I hope they find their true passion in life and pursue it with every confidence. I hope the men they find love them as equals and propel them forward in life. I hope we raise them with the self worth to demand it.

The Night They Came For Til explores the relationship between Aunt and Niece, between men and women, in the progressive era where women demanded equal rights and some men complied. Issues we still grapple with today.

The Night They Came for Til is coming soon to Kindle. I hope you enjoy it!

 

Coming soon to kindle:

The Night They Came For Til, they took me too.”

In the tenements of London England, 1904 is dangerous time to be suffragettes on crusade.

Shannon’s aunt Matilda “Til” Stone, gynecologist, suffragette, and all around tyrant, believes women should have the right to birth control and self determination. After ten years spent at Til’s side, Shannon was trained as a midwife to be her right hand.

“It’s not enough to be on the front line of this battle Shannon; you must hold the line and advance it forward.” Til reminded Shannon at every opportunity.

After a brutal attack that was meant to destroy their work, Shannon is shipped off to Canada to avoid the scandal around Til’s arrest.

In Oakland Manitoba, Shannon landed in women’s rights battle that shook the community and threatened the new hospital.

Busy working as a midwife Shannon helped the women of the community find their voice while she found her own.

Faced with a choice to live a normal life as a wife and mother or go back to England and crusade with her aunt,  this book explores her choices and how they affected an entire community.

The Night They Came for Til is a historical fiction novel based on true events.

By the Fright of the Silvery Moon – Blanche Manos’ latest novel!

Blanche Manos, one of our favorite authors, gives us an insight into her latest mystery!

 

Everybody knows silvery moonlight is peaceful, serene, and lovely, but frightful? How could it be scary?

The answer to that question is found within the pages of the second cozy mystery in the Ned McNeil series, By the Fright of the Silvery Moon. First, there is the absolutely petrifying nightmare that wakes Ned in the wee, small hours of the morning, then, a dog or a wolf howls in her yard and almost scares her stiff; however, these are only the beginning of other strange and frightening events.

In the first Ned McNeil book, Moonlight Can Be Murder, Ned arrives in her hometown of Ednalee, Oklahoma after an absence of forty years to find her uncle dying. His death is a murder and is the start of a terror-filled month for Ned. Before the identity of the crazed killer is discovered, she nearly loses her own life.

By the Fright of the Silvery Moon takes place almost a year later. Although Ned loves the old Victorian house she inherited from her uncle, she is alone except for the company of a small, gray cat named Penny. She feels that loneliness keenly when more than one attempt is made on her life.

Bolstered by the love of Ednalee’s chief of police and encouraged by her two childhood friends, Ned sets about finding out why there is a sudden interest in her home and what secrets the old house holds within its walls. The life of a long-ago outlaw seems somehow mixed in with present-day danger. In solving the riddle of who is a murderer and why, Ned calls upon courage she didn’t know she had. The silver moonlight shining down on Ned’s house seems not serene, but terrifying, as she sets about bringing a murderer to justice.

 

 

Blanche also writes the Darcy and Flora series. More about all her books at: http://penl.com/Mystery.html,

http://www.blanchedaymanos.com/

https://www.amazon.com/Blanche-Day-Manos/e/B0090018EI/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

and https://www.facebook.com/blanchedaymanos.author

 

 

 

Where I’m at…

After being in Texas for a while, you begin to pick up some of the jargon. Obviously, I find myself saying ‘y’all’ instead of ‘all of you,’ as if three words were too difficult to say. And instead of saying, ‘where are you?’ for some reason, ‘Where’re you at?’ pops out of my mouth. I do realize that after returning to Canada, I have to let go of my Texas talk. Not that anyone would say anything; folks are much too polite but they might secretly roll their eyes. Canadians are proud of their British roots, which means finishing each word properly and not leaving anything off – like the ‘g’ in words that end with ‘ing.’ It also means speaking slowly and pronouncing each syllable. To Texans, this is a foreign language.

However, I digress. I really do want to tell you where I’m at.

Where I’m at with my writing, that is.

A couple of months ago, I was not pleased with how my writing was going. Basically,  that is because it was going nowhere. It wasn’t that I wanted or had the desire to become a well known author or even make tons of money. I wanted to enjoy what I was doing but I was not. That’s where I was at then.

I decided to change my whole outlook about writing. Writing should be fun. I did not want it to be stressful in any way. When I’m not writing, there is something missing in my life. It’s good for my brain. It forces me to widen my vocabulary. In other words, it’s healthy. Especially as we age.

I was never satisfied with two of my books and I always thought that if someone read one of those books first, they would never want to read another. It feels terrible not liking your own books. However, they were there for anyone to buy. Overnight, I made the decision to republish all my books. It was as if a weight lifted off my shoulders. When you decide to do this without any premeditation, it is like plunging into a pool of cold water!

While family members worked on covers, I edited one book at a time. After publishing my books the first time, I never picked one up to read. I was too afraid they might be as bad as some reviewers wrote. Well, guess what? I read, I edited, I did some rewriting, and in the end, I thoroughly enjoyed every book! Creating covers was a bit of a challenge but I have a very talented daughter, and together with her dad’s finishing touches, I was very pleased with the end result. They were ‘me.’

I now have all my books on Kindle for 99 cents and they will stay that price. These I write for friends and family and for anyone else who would enjoy reading them. Every few weeks, I will pick one book and do a free promotion. I feel happy doing this.

And, that is where I’m at.

Reading it over…for the first time!

Good morning, everyone.

First of all, let’s talk about the weather. No, seriously… we are having a heatwave in central Canada! I keep advertising my books and telling readers they should stalk up for the fall/winter weather reading. I don’t think anyone is even reading my posts, they are all outside walking around in shorts. Aww, good for them. When the cold does hit us, we will be in shock for the first few weeks and really complaining. Especially here in Canada. That is our national pastime – we may be polite but we are also big time complainers when it comes to the weather. No one is complaining at the moment though.

Were any of you wondering about my subject line? How can you read something over again … for the first time? I discovered that you can. Perhaps some of you have noticed that my Parson’s Cove mystery series is no longer available. There is a reason; I am reading them over again for the first time. In doing so, I have discovered something about myself. I am not the horrible writer that I thought I was. My first book, Slip and Go Die, is actually quite a good read.

I don’t know if other authors are like me but once a book was published, I never went back to read it. I moved on. In the back of my mind, I was afraid I would see too many mistakes and I would see what readers didn’t like about it. By that time, I felt it was too late to do anything about it anyway, so why torture myself. However, once it was unpublished, I could read it with an open mind and make all those changes I was dreading that I would find.

Guess what? There were very few changes that I had to make. I did remove about a hundred commas, semi-colons, and colons, but other than that, I was quite pleased with my writing.

The moral of this story is not to tell writers to republish all their books, it is simply to say, you are probably a better writer than you think you are. Don’t be afraid to go back and reread your old books. It will boost your confidence and give you the incentive to encourage readers to buy your books. Then when you are promoting your work, you will do it like you mean it … and you will mean it!

(On the other hand, you might read it, hate it, and stop writing altogether. That, of course, is a discussion for another day!)

 

https://www.amazon.com/Sharon-Rose/e/B00BL8HTZY/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_1

 

Goodbye, Mabel and Sharon Rose

Most times it is quite sad saying goodbye. Especially if it is to someone or something we’re going to miss. Some of us like to say, ‘see you later.’ Of course, if we are planning to see them the next day or week, that makes sense. If it is someone we do not expect to see again, it is sad but we have to use the ‘real’ word – goodbye. For example, I was underlining a paragraph in a book on my computer and did not realize that the highlight had spread to every paragraph. While I thought I was deleting the highlights in one paragraph, I was in fact deleting all of them! It was a sad goodbye because it meant starting all over again.

Sadly, now it is time to say ‘so long’ to Mabel Wickles. Mabel is the protagonist in my Parson’s Cove cozy mystery series. I must say that I have enjoyed writing about her adventures. She and Flori Flanders make a great twosome. As the English say, they are as different as chalk and cheese. Flori is married to Jake and has a large family; Mabel is single and has a houseful of cats. Missed by a Hair was the first Parson’s Cove mystery and it was published in 2004. When my contract was up, instead of renewing, Mabel disappeared from the scene. I did not feel my writing did her justice.

After writing two more Mabel books, I decided to look for a publisher again. In 2012, I joined Cozy Cat Press. CCP was brand new to the publishing scene. At that time, there were four authors: Patricia Rockwell(our publisher and author), Diane (one of Patricia’s close friends), Al, and me. I am sure it was a learning process for all of us. This was the first time I had used the internet for publishing and had no idea what I was doing most of the time. Patricia was very patient. During the following four years, I wrote four Parson’s Cove books and came to know and appreciate other CCP authors.

So, you might wonder, why is the Parson’s Cove mystery series disappearing again? Once again, I am looking through my books and realizing I need to make some changes. This time I need to work at it at a slower pace.

Many years ago, I removed another book – it was called Who Needs Enemies?. The main character was Beryl Swallows, an ex-cop and now private investigator. Since then, she has reappeared in Virtual Enemies and now in a new book, Case Closed. not.

My hope is that while I am taking my time with Mabel, I can also work on another Historical Fiction book. As you can see, I have much work ahead of me.

Oh, did I say ‘goodbye to Sharon Rose’ too? That’s right, I will publish all my books from now on using my name Sharon Mierke. The world of books seems quite filled with Sharon Roses so in order for readers not to be confused, I will use my last name – even though most do not know how to pronounce it! For those of you who are curious, it is pronounced Merkee.

Well, I refuse to say ‘goodbye.’ Perhaps, ‘see you later,’ is more appropriate. Best wishes to everyone and happy writing.

Revisiting Our Interview with Lisa K’s Book Reviews

We decided we should re-blog a post from a year ago highlighting reviewer,  Lisa A. Kelley from Lisa K’s Book Reviews. Find out what happens in the day of a reviewer.

A big thank you to Cozy Cat Chronicles for                                                                                                                                               inviting me. I consider it an honor to be here.4995372-32995302_20-v1.jpga

 

My name is Lisa A. Kelley and I’m a cozy mystery book reviewer and blogger. My blog is Lisa Ks Book Reviews. I’m a major animal lover and never remember life without at least one dog being in it. I love everything that has to do with cupcakes. I also love to take a day and just go out and take random photos. I’ve been slacking on that however since I started my blog. 

 

Ah yes, my blog. How it got started: About 4 years ago I went through a very long reading dry spell – over a year long. My sister, who is also a big reader, couldn’t stand seeing me not reading. So, she handed me a cozy mystery about a cupcake bakery and told me to give it a try. What did I have to lose? Oh. My. Goodness! I was in love with that book! I went back and read everything the author wrote. Cozy mysteries were now coursing through my blood. 

 

Next came the joy of discovering new authors. The more I read those wonderful books/series, the more I wanted to know about the authors. So I got online and started looking and researching. And thank you Facebook, I started interacting with the authors and learning so much about them.

 

One important thing I learned was how crucial it is to write a review. Authors count on reviews (good ones) to help them keep writing. Those numbers and the pre-order and first week sales mean everything to authors, their publishers, and us readers, if we want to see the books/series we love continue.

 

I started writing reviews for everything I read and posted them on Amazon. The only place I knew of at the time, but now I post to at least six different sites, not counting my blog. But when I wasn’t reading or writing a review, I found myself bored. I’m on disability, so I’m home all the time. I thought there must be more I could do.

 

July 3, 2013, I started my blog. My first review was posted and I actually got a comment on it from a reader! A reader who to this day, still follows my blog and I’m happy to call friend.

 

Then I interviewed my first author. Then I did my first giveaway. Then an author approached me asking to be on my blog! Wow, I was stunned. And now just over two years later, I feel like I’ve been doing this all my life. Like I was born to do it.

 

Now, it’s my mission in life (Dramatic sounding I know), to do whatever I can to help cozy mystery authors get the word out about their books, to help readers like myself to find new and wonderful titles, and to just continue having a grand time with the wonderful readers and authors I have come to know.

 

I’m looking forward to riding more of this wonderful ride, and I hope you will join me on my journey!      

Make sure you visit Lisa’s Blog.                       

Two Cozy Cat Press authors nominated

 

AURORA, Ill.Sept. 3, 2016 — Independent publisher of mystery books, Cozy Cat Press, today announced that two of its authors––Alice K. Boatwright and Vicki Vass––have been announced as finalists in Chanticleer’s Murder and Mayhem Novel Writing Contest for 2016. Boatwright’s mystery Under an English Heaven and Vass’s Murder by the Spoonful are the books being honored.

According to Cozy Cat Press publisher, Patricia Rockwell, “We are extremely proud of Alice and Vicki.  The Murder and Mayhem contest is one that is quite meaningful to us because it honors cozy mysteries specifically.  The fact that two of our authors have been selected as finalists for this prize, is especially gratifying.”

Alice K. Boatwright’s book, Under an English Heaven, is her first Ellie Kent mystery and her first book with Cozy Cat Press. She is also the author of Collateral Damage, three novellas about the long-term impact of the Vietnam War, which won the 2013 Bronze Award for Literary Fiction from the Independent Publisher Book Awards. She formerly lived in the Cotswolds for several years, and now divides her time between the U.S. and Paris.

Vicki Vass has written more than 1,400 articles for The Chicago Tribune as well as Women’s World, The Daily Herald and Home & Away. Her science fiction novel, The Lexicon, was inspired by her journeys in the jungle of Sudan, Africa, while writing about the ongoing civil war for World Relief. She has also authored Killer Finds, Pickin’ Murder, and Key to a Murder in her Antique Hunters Mystery series with Cozy Cat, as well as a new series Gem Hunter. She lives outside Chicago, with her writer, musician, husband Brian, their 20-year old son Tony, kittens Pixel and Terra, Australian shepherd Bandit, seven koi and Gary the turtle.

For more information about these and other cozy mystery authors, and about Cozy Cat Press, readers may visit the company’s website:  www.cozycatpress.com. For more information about Chanticleer’s Murder and Mayhem contest: http://www.chantireviews.com/2016/08/18/the-mms-chanticle….

 

 

Not Great!

And I know I have your attention because there are so many things in life that are ‘not great.’ For example, it could be the weather. Right now, my husband is in bed with  heat exhaustion. We live in a part of the world where it’s so cold in the winter that by March, you are starting to dream about heat. At that point, you doubt you could ever get warm and you would be thrilled to just sit and sweat. Well, guess what? You get heat for three months and you are longing to get cooled down again. Of course, there are other aspects of the weather that are not great either – like tornadoes and flooding.

I’m thinking of something else though and that’s getting older. Now, I know it’s inescapable so there’s no point in moaning about all our aches and pains. Today, I’m dealing with one depressing truth about aging and that’s your memory. Where the heck does it go?? Friends tell me that I have an amazing memory. And it’s true, I can remember when I was a very small child. Many memories are so fresh, it seems like yesterday and not seventy years ago. So, you ask, what’s your problem, lady?

I’ll tell you my problem: Why can’t I remember things that I did a couple of days ago? Or even yesterday when I told my husband that I’d put his phone in a certain place? Why was it somewhere else where I was sure it wasn’t? Now, you know my problem.

What is bringing all this to my mind? As I started to check some of my past blogs, I noticed something. In May, my book Perplexity on P 1/2 was on for 99 cents. No, that can’t be! It is August’s Book of the Month. Surely, I couldn’t have put the same book on only a few months apart. I do have six Parson’s Cove mysteries so why would I keep repeating one book? I’ll tell you why – I am over seventy and have a lousy memory!

On the other hand, I might be able to get away with a few things. Who can get upset with a senior who sports a blank look on her face when she’s in trouble? I wouldn’t try it with a big tough traffic cop though – you might end up having to forfeit your driver’s license.

So, as far as I can remember, my two books on sale this month for 99 cents are Perplexity on P 1/2 (which I’m sure you remember was for that price in May) and Sarah’s Valley. If you didn’t get them then, you’d better get them now because who knows when I’ll remember to put them on special again!

https://www.amazon.com/Sharon-Rose/e/B00BL8HTZY/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_1

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