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review 2017-07-19 07:08
I Wanna Be Loved by You - Heather Hiestand

Sadie was a new chambermaid in a shabby inn. This was Sadie’s first job. Two men came barrelling down the stairs and knocked Sadie down the way man paused to help her. She got up but her back ached and her head spun. The one man had been a labor agitating Bolshevik. The old desk clerk told her to go lay down for a half hour to rest after being hurt. Les- a handsome man had been one of the men who knocked Sadie over he is attracted to Sadie and feel he should go back and apologize to her for being one of the people who knocked her over. Sadie turns twenty the next day and he invites her to a party. Les works for the Secret Intelligence Service and he is undercover as a man selling American magazines. He pretends to be Russian at the party he takes Sadie to. Sadie is a little confused.  Les brings Sadie into his world as a cover. Les has Sadie to act as his wife. Then Les gets hurt and Sadie is stranded at the hospital with him until Les is released. Sadie knows she has to stay with Les or ruin her reputation. Les really likes Sadie and is sorry he ever brought her into his world. Les was ordered to fake marry Sadie and ordered to try to move into the Grand Kusse to spy on a Russian diplomat. Sadie eventually finds out her marriage was fake and why Les fake married her.

I did feel this was well researched but just wasn’t a story for me. I may have accidently picked this as I really didn’t get into this book.

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text 2017-07-09 10:13
Survey results on self-publishing self-evident, self-serving

I've just completed comparing the results of three survey's recently sent to me regarding self-publishing and self-published authors to see what the take away is (if there is any).

 

All three of these surveys were undertaken by companies that are, in the most part, dependent on authors like me who use their platform or services to self-publish their writing.

 

The survey sample is skewed since the respondents are, in some form or another, clients of these three enterprises. They either publish and distribute their e-books with Smashwords, advertise their e-books on one of WrittenWord Media's four sites, or possibly are doing all the above as well as contracting editorial, graphic design and marketing services from BookBaby.

 

The findings provided here are likely their optimistic interpretations.

 

Experience counts (maybe): Successful authors (in terms of book sales) have more writing experience. They spend more time writing and subsequently have more books available in their catalogue. They also contract more professional services, particularly editors and cover designers.

 

This, of course doesn't answer the question of how they became successful? Did they achieve success because of all these things (experience, time, hiring professionals), or once they achieved some success were the the able to spend the time, develop the catalogue and hire the professionals?

 

What to write. Fiction sells better than non-fiction and romance (especially contemporary, paranormal and erotica) sells far better than any other genre or literary writing. Under served markets include the romantic subgenres New Adult, Contemporary and YA.

 

How long should your book be? So much for all those pundits who claim novellas are all the rage because they can be read in one sitting or during a commute. Best sellers, again according to Smashwords, average ninety-two thousand words.

 

Book Marketing. Offering your e-book for free draws thirty-three times more then priced titles, but what's the upside to offering your books free?

 

Okay, so money doesn't matter to you, it's about making that reader connection, about putting forth your view of the world. Does offering your work at no charge achieve that? How many free books actually get read?

 

Not very many has been my experience both as a writer and a reader.

 

I've had hundreds of my books downloaded free and it's resulted in an insignificant number of reviews. On the other hand my ibook library is filled with books I've downloaded free and have yet to read.

 

See what I'm getting at. There's no downside to clicking and getting a book free.

 

This might explain why over sixty-one percent of published authors have asked friends or family members to review their books.

 

However, if you're writing a series, and series are more than likely going to generate best sellers, than offering the first book free is a good marketing ploy.

 

Speaking of FREE E-BOOKS. I'm participating in Smashwords Summer Sale and until July 31, 2017 my entire catalogue, eight novels and two plays are either FREE or 50% OFF. Go to https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/raglin

 

What's the right price for an e-book? So if you opt not to offer your books free how much should you charge? Interestingly, e-books priced at $3.99 and $4.99 did better than those priced less - or more, at least on Smashwords.

 

In the end it was a lot of reading for very little worthwhile information, most of which was self-evident if you really think about it.

 

Here's how the sage folks at WrittenWord Media summed up the findings from their survey.

 

Indie publishing is a viable path to success. Many indie authors signed traditional publishing deals on the strength of their self-published books and many traditionally published authors are becoming indie authors because of more control and higher royalties. Hybrid publishing gives you the benefit of both paths.

 

This rosy prediction in light of the fact that 727,125 ISBNs were assigned to self-published titles in 2015, representing 625,327 individual indie books*.

 

Well, really, what did you expect them to say?

 

These surveys would have been more credible if they'd had similar terms of reference. WrittenWord Media considers a "successful author" as someone who makes $100,000 or more in a single year from book sales. Book sales of $500 or less categorizes you as an "emerging author".

 

At BookBaby you're a successful author if you've earned $5,000 or more annually from book sales. Those who earned less than $100 were labeled "lower earning authors".

 

Huh?

 

We definitely aren't comparing apples to apples here. How can one company consider a successful indie author as earning $5000 a year while another has it pegged at $100,000?

 

But it gets even weirder. Of the forty-three hundred authors who completed the BookBaby survey a little less than five percent fell into the category of the "high achieving group" earning $5000 or more.

 

If only about two hundred BookBaby authors earn $5000 or more how many WrittenWord Media authors earn over a hundred grand?

 

Or put another way, how can twenty successful BookBaby authors only be equal to one WrittenWord Media successful author?

 

See what I mean? It's like they're comparing different species.

 

The take away? Only that I now know how to categorize myself. I'm a "lower earning emerging author".

 

And on that we all agree.

 

Stay calm. Be brave. Watch for the signs

 

*According to Bowker, the exclusive U.S. agent for issuing International Standard Book Numbers.

 

Smashwords   http://smashwords.com

BookBaby   https://www.bookbaby.com

WrittenWord Media   https://www.writtenwordmedia.com

 

My Amazon Author Page   https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

 

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review 2017-07-05 13:15
You Wouldn't Want to Be on Apollo 13! (Revised Edition) - Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine Ian Graham

So why wouldn’t I want to be on Apollo 13? I thought these series might be a great way to get children interested in history as they explorer events from the past but in a different light. Like me, some children enjoy looking at events in a nontraditional way and this series sounded like it would provide that. It covers events from being at the Boston Tea Party, being an Egyptian Mummy, a Polar Explorer, a Pyramid Builder and a Greek Athlete, just to name a few. These are hard cover non-fiction books with bright amusing and serious drawings on shiny, thick paper. There is a topic heading for each two-page spread with a variety of text fonts on these pages and loads of information to read. The text is educational and informational, geared for the child who wants to learn more or is curious.

 

I was on Apollo 13 overload by the time I finished reading it, there is a lot to digest inside this book. From getting ready to board the spacecraft, to the different part of the spacecraft, to the big day, being in space, to the problem Apollo 13 had, to Mission Control, etc., this book walked me (an astronaut) through every step of the way of being an Apollo 13 Astronaut and why I should stay home. I thought it was interesting the timing of everything, the countdown, how precise they were. The cost of the spacesuit, now that is crazy! I did learn more about the Apollo 13 mission then I previously knew. Overall, I thought it was a great book about the Apollo 13 Mission, I would have liked more interesting or fascinating facts about the mission, about astronauts or space as I thought it really lacked in that department. It is definitely not lacking in the information department.

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review 2017-06-25 21:00
Thoughts: It Had to Be You
It Had to Be You - Jill Shalvis

It Had to Be You
by Jill Shalvis
Book 7 of Lucky Harbor


I'm pretty sure that I called it quite accurately in my BLopoly update post, when I said that I would probably end up finishing this whole book within the day.  Jill Shalvis is an author I'm constantly returning to for a multitude of reasons, one being that sometimes, when I love her books and her characters, I really DO love her books and her characters.

I had started reading It Had to Be You with every intention of stopping after the first handful of chapters, then either switching back to another read I'd started right before, or just going to sleep.  It didn't take long for me to realize that I wasn't putting this book down.

Except maybe for bacon (which did happen, and I regret nothing).


The Story:
Ali Winters had arrived in Lucky Harbor to try to start a whole new life for herself.  Having grown up on the wrong side of the tracks, with a childhood of rotating homes each time her mother found a new boyfriend, she had wanted to prove to herself that she could make something of herself.  With a talent for floral design and ceramics, she's been working at a local florist shop, with hopes that one day she'd be able to really let her talents shine.

All within the time span of one day, however, she finds her boyfriend cheating on her, and then learns that she's just been kicked out of her home without prior notice.  Then, to make matters worse, fifty thousand dollars worth of fundraiser money that was supposed to be used to build a new community center disappears, and somehow, Ali is the main suspect when her cheating ex-boyfriend leads the police straight for her.

Meanwhile, Lieutenant Detective Luke Hanover had returned to Lucky Harbor for a quiet, solo vacation away from the stress of a failed investigation that had resulted in what he feels was a tragic, preventable death, if only he'd been able to put away a crazy killer.  But he never expected to find a madwoman in his grandmother's home, cursing into her cell phone to her ex about his failure to inform her she would soon be homeless, while stalking around in nothing but a set of panties and bra.

Needless to say, Luke's plans of quiet, isolationism gets blown to pieces when he finds he cannot keep from involving himself investigating the missing charity money, fully believing Ali to be innocent of any crime.  In fact, he just keeps telling himself that he won't get involved, but somehow, he can't help but become sucked into Ali's world, while at the same time letting her into his, for the better.


My Thoughts:
There was just something about Ali's character that I really, really loved.  Despite the fact that she's constantly swishing back and forth from doormat, to fiery independent, she's just got one of those personalities, so laden in down-to-earth realism, that you can't help but admire her ability to keep bouncing back.  And admire, I do, because for all the crap that happens to her throughout the book, you'd think she'd eventually find a point of no return and simply stop feeling so optimistic.

Except that even her optimism is lined with a realistic sense of acceptance.  Kind of alike a "I'm going to keep looking on the bright side, but if everything drops to hell... well, not much I can do about that but keep moving forward."  Her personality is hard to grasp, but I suspect that that's her appeal.

In contrast, Luke's personality is steeped in fatalism for himself, and hopeful optimism for others.  Even as he's doing what he can to help other people, especially Ali, he seems to come to the conclusion that his life is fated to be miserable, and anyone who is with him will also be miserable.  That eventually, he'll start to fail all the people around him, and his life will be crowded with disappointment.

It's depressing... except that his outlook doesn't stop him from continuing to help others in need.

On a side note, I also found Luke to be one of the more endearing, broody alpha males in fiction.  Even though his plans for a quiet, isolated vacation got dashed to pieces with Ali's presence, he'll still eat her omelets and other baked goods that come his way, even while continually pouting about his ruined vacation time.  And why do I find it especially cute that it's so easy to bribe him with food, specifically baked goods?

The number of times that scenes involving Luke and food were the few times I actually chuckled out loud while reading this book.

Ali had had a crappy day.  Leah had tried to get her to go out tonight but she wasn't in the mood.  Instead, she was in the kitchen licking brownie batter from a wooden spoon like her life depended on it when Luke wandered into the kitchen.

"I smell chocolate," he said, looking hopeful.

 

***

 

And in spite of the weather, the mountain chickadees were still out singing in force, "cheeseburger, cheeseburger, cheeseburger," sounding like The Chipmunks on crack.

It made him hungry.


Do chickadees really sound like that?

Anyway, between Ali and Luke, I found that I really enjoyed reading It Had to Be You.  There were even a few moments loaded with feels.  The development of their relationship was subtle, but sweet, and while it was strange that they continued to live together even as perfect strangers, in a way, it worked.

But that is one of the reasons that I like a lot of Jill Shalvis's work, is because of the quick friendships, and the strong bonds presented.  Character interactions are warm and fluffy, even if sometimes the characters are strange and hard to comprehend.

We meet a lot of new people in this installment of the series, probably as a set up for the next few books to come.  And while I like seeing character interaction and love the strongly bonded friendships, some of the introductions were honestly, maybe a little awkward, or forced.  But if you gloss over those, the rest of the book is pretty great.

I love that Ali has a great relationship with her mother and sister.  I love that Ali's mother is protective and loving of her girls--that, as opposed to some other, darker books with characters of similar background, Ali's mother is one who will beat up the men who even dare look at her daughters the wrong way, rather than turn a blind eye in order to keep a man.

And you don't see a whole lot of it, but I also like seeing the camaraderie between Luke and his friends, and even some of the townsfolk of Lucky Harbor.  I appreciate that Luke and Zach learn to work together, both for Ali's sake, even in spite of the pissing contest they have going on.

I like that the townspeople don't immediately condemn Ali, even though they believe that she DID steal the charity money; wanting to find a peaceful, happy solution and help her stay out of jail.  I mean, it's still a bit insulting that they would believe her a criminal despite how well they know her.  Although I'm sure their hearts were in the right places.

There were a few loose ends I would have liked to see tied up, however, most especially the one involving Ali's ex-boyfriend, the shameless, rat-fink bastard, Ted Marshall.  Even at the conclusion, his character just kind of fades away into the background, but it didn't escape my notice that really nothing happens to him, nor is anything addressed concerning him, even though all of the conflict was mainly all because of him.


***


Free Friday #2:

Page Count:  327
Cash Award:  +$6.00

Updated Bank Balance:  $97.00

 

 

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/06/thoughts-it-had-to-be-you.html
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text 2017-06-13 13:05
Blog Tour: Why Did It Have to Be You? by Allyson Charles with Excerpt and Giveaway

Today’s stop is for Allyson Charles’s Why Did It Have to Be You? . We will have info about the book and author, and a great excerpt from the book, plus a great giveaway. Make sure to check everything out and enter the giveaway. Happy Reading :) 


Disorder In The Court . . . Connie Wilkerson has worked her butt off to go from heartbroken paralegal with a drinking problem to becoming Pineville, Michigan’s fiercest new lawyer. But she’s still short on luck. Exhibit A: her very first case is against bad-boy contractor David Carelli.

Carelli has been a thorn in Connie’s side since high school, getting away with whatever he dreams up. He’s blond, handsome, and he dresses like a model. But everyone in town knows he cuts corners. Just the way he looks at her really gets Connie’s goat. She’s going to get him into chambers and settle the smug right out of him.

There’s just one problem. Exhibit B: Their supposedly hostile negotiations are turning hot instead. Now the jury is out on whether a second chance is recommended . . .

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She knew he was trouble the moment he crossed her path. Big caramel eyes. Shaggy dark hair. An attitude as big as Lake Michigan. Head lowered, legs wide, he stood in the middle of the road like he owned it. The brakes of her Jeep squealed as she rolled to a stop and put the vehicle in park. She met his suspicious glare with one of her own. Connie Wilkerson peered down her narrow drive. It was about an eighth of a mile from her home to the main road along the bumpy dirt road, and no one else was in sight. What the hell was he doing here? And how had he gotten onto her driveway? Those were mysteries she didn’t have time to deal with. She had twenty minutes to make it to the courthouse for her first ever case as an attorney, and she couldn’t be late. Big and hairy didn’t look like he planned on moving out of her way anytime soon. Connie eyed the tuft of coarse brown hair jutting from his chin, and then the rows of rough-cut stones forming close walls around this stretch of driveway. Her fifteen-year-old Jeep had taken her over some rough terrain before, but attempting to roll over a two-foot rock wall would be foolhardy. Leaning on her horn, she made shooing motions at him through the windshield. He dipped his head lower. Connie dug her nails into the steering wheel, her breaths coming short and fast. The clock on her dashboard told her she had eighteen minutes until court would be in session. She wiped away the dust covering the plastic clock face to confirm it. Yup, she was going to be late. Why did this crap always happen to her? She honked again, but the obstacle stood firm. She had to face the beast. Connie opened the door and lowered her sensible navy pumps to the ground, her two-inch heels sinking into the dirt. She reached into the backseat for the old steering wheel lock she never seemed to get around to throwing out, and held the metal bar in front of herself like a cattle prod. “Move along.” She shook the club at him and took a small step forward. “Time to go on home.” The goat cocked its head. Connie narrowed her eyes. Sure, the mongrel might not understand her words, but any animal could understand from her waving a bar around that she wanted it to move. He didn’t have to look at her like she was crazy. Choking up on the club like a baseball bat, she swung it back and forth in the air. Unfazed, the goat snorted and pawed the ground. He must have escaped from a local farm, but she didn’t know of any that kept goats. Where the hell did he belong? She didn’t know that either, except it wasn’t on her driveway—or anywhere on her forested lot, for that matter. “Well, you don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.” And now she was giving the stupid animal the bartender talk. The goat reacted to it about as well as she had in her heyday. He blew her a big raspberry, a string of drool dripping into his chin hair. Connie’s foot paused inches above the ground. She looked down at her double-breasted silk skirt suit, the one that she’d spent her first paycheck as an attorney on, and back at the slobbering beast. She took a step away. Retreating to her Jeep seemed like a much better idea. Maybe if she nudged him with her bumper he’d scamper off? And really, if he decided not to move and worse came to worst, would anyone miss the scruffy animal? Goats went missing every day. Her butt bumped the hood, and the animal chose that moment to charge. Throwing her torso on the Jeep, she reached for the seam where the hood met the windshield to pull herself up. The metal bar in her hand slammed into the windshield. A crack splintered along the glass, and her jaw dropped with each inch. She had barely a second to process the damage when something tugged sharply at the back of her skirt. Connie craned her neck and shrieked in outrage when she caught sight of the navy silk caught firmly between the goat’s teeth. He smiled around his mouthful. “No!” She kicked out, and the animal danced sideways, avoiding her foot while maintaining his grip. He backed up. “Oh shit.” Abandoning the club, she gripped the waistband of the skirt being pulled down her hips. “Let me go!” He lowered his head and took another step back. Something had to give: either her skirt or her position on the Jeep. Connie slid off the hood and landed in a heap on the dirt. She pulled a dark lock of hair away from her mouth and looked up at one pissy goat. The animal blew a foul smelling breath across her face, and nausea coiled in her stomach. “I didn’t mean it about running you over. I swear.” He jutted his chin, appearing unconvinced. A branch broke, and both Connie and the goat swung their heads around as a deer walked through the pine trees about fifty feet away. The goat took off, leaping over the low wall, spraying clumps of dirt onto Connie’s lap. He trotted toward the buck, looking like he’d found his new best friend. Short black tail perked up straight, tongue lolling out the side of his mouth, he pranced around the deer, apparently forgetting the woman he’d just assaulted. The buck continued its stroll, ignoring the goat. Connie’s heartbeat thundered in her ears, and she pressed a hand to her chest. “What just happened?” Neither animal answered. Connie was used to wildlife around her home. She’d bought the small house out in the woods because of its rundown back porch where she could sip her coffee and watch the mourning doves and woodpeckers flit about. She’d even seen an elk and a fox roam her property at different times. But a goat with anger management issues was definitely a first.

 

Allyson Charles lives in Northern California. She’s the author of the “Pineville Romance” series, small-town, contemporary romances published by Lyrical Press. A former attorney, she happily ditched those suits and now works in her pajamas writing about men’s briefs instead of legal briefs. When she’s not writing, she’s probably engaged in one of her favorite hobbies: napping, eating, or martial arts (That last one almost makes up for the first two, right?). One of Allyson’s greatest disappointments is living in a state that doesn’t have any Cracker Barrels in it.

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