Blog Tours, Teasing and More

SKSmyButtonHome Page: What It’s All About

Yesterday, I completely revamped the blog’s home page, which is listed as What It’s All About.  This reflects some changes in circumstances.  There’s nothing staggeringly revolutionary about its content, as it mainly indicates what the blog is all about (if you hadn’t guessed).   The significant change is that, sadly, there is no longer any intimation that there will be, or is, an entity known as either Imagineer ebooks or Imagineer Books, in publishing terms.

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Book Promo Day: 8th August, 2013

Louey the Lazy Elephant by Janice Spina

Louey was a lazy elephant who liked to sleep late.  One day Louey oversleeps and much to his surprise the herd is nowhere in sight.  Find out how Louey finds his way back to his family and friends.

This is a children’s book for preschool through grade three.

More information:

Author’s website


Mom’s Little Black Book: Godly Advice for the High School Graduate by Marilynn Dawson

This “little”, 4×6, 322pg book is meant to be a Mother’s attempt at guiding her graduating teenager through some of the more common aspects of daily life. Each page has one tidbit of advice, or a verse, or a calendar, note sheet or budget sheet.  Among it’s pages are quotes from a much more comprehensive guide, otherwise known as the Bible!

God says to raise up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. God also urges parents to ensure that their children, like arrows from a quiver and placed in the bow-string, fly straight and true.

May these tidbits of advice help your child to fly straight and true as they go out to become all that God created and designed them to be.

More information:

Author’s website


FortheSakeofMercy-AuthorDen For the Sake of Mercy by Steve K Smy

The famed merchant skipper, Captain Henri Duschelle, must lead his loyal crew on a seemingly impossible mission: to deliver a vital organ to one of the crew’s son, across the longest part of the colonised worlds – to an insane deadline. He is convinced that only his ship, the stunningly beautiful Persephone can make such a journey. While the voyage alone will test the crew to breaking point, other, bigger, problems lie in wait…

A science fiction novelette.  Number 1 in The Captain Henri Duschelle Stories.

More information:

About the Captain Henri Duschelle Stories
Author’s Pinterest
Author’s Facebook “Fan Page”
Author’s Smashwords Page
Author’s Goodreads Page
Author’s Amazon.com Page


Do you have a book you’d like to Promo?  Send your submission without delay to get listed next week!  Submissions should be in by 18:00 GMT on the Thursday prior to any given Book Promo Day.

Remember! This is a free service!

Wandering On Wednesday

The Delight of Unexpected Reviews

I was thrilled to discover that two of my books were reviewed and given 5 stars! Shade of Evil and Evil Under The Circle, Parts 1 and 2 of G1: The Guardians, were reviewed by Chris The Story Reading Ape and the reviews can be found on Goodreads, Barnes & Noble and Amazon.  You can find all of Chris’ reviews on Goodreads.  Of course, you can also find Chris’ reviews on his own blog.  I would like to express my sincere thanks to Chris for his kindness and honesty.  Having friends who understand fully that you only wish to receive absolutely genuine reviews of your works is beyond valuable.

I was further delighted to find a 5 star review of Intruder from the Thief series of free short stories!  The review, posted on Barnes & Noble is so heartening!  I quote it below:

This book kept me on the edge of my seat until the last word was read.

There is a serious threat that exudes evil and wants to claim the land in this sci-fi fantasy.  Mages, which this author describes as magicians of a sort, are sought to help go up against the evil.

Characters are richly described and likable and fascinating.  This is a novella which is a quick read but this reader did not want the story to end.  The author is a very talented and creative storyteller. I will be reading many more of his stories. This is an excellent choice of reading for YA.

Review by jesNH, 6th August, 2013.  5 stars awarded.

I would like to thank jesNH for such a glowing review!

Going for a New Look – Again!

Yes, I’m afraid I’m going to be tinkering again!  The main page of posts can be rather overwhelming, especially when the posts are long!  I’ve decided to try to improve things by making use of a WordPress post facility.  This will involve adding the codeword More to all long posts, which will mean that only part of the post will appear on the main page and you will need to click on the More… link in the post to read all of it.  One advantage of this is that it will give easier access to other facilities, such as commenting, sharing, rating and liking.  In respect of special days (Book Promo Day and Blog Browser Day), I will endeavour to place the codeword in such a place that the link has to be clicked or some of the detail information will be lost to the reader.  Obviously, this will be subject to any feedback – positive or negative – as to whether I continue to use the codeword.  Also, I will not be going back to posts already displayed.  I simply don’t have the time to edit all those posts (around 270 of them)!

If you wish to provide any feedback on this change, at any time, please  contact me using the contact form on the blog, or via email if you have my address.  I would suggest not using Facebook or Twitter, as messages are too easily lost unless the direct message system is used.

Uncovered: The Naked Manuscript

If by any remote chance you’re waiting for Part 4 of G1: The Guardians, which will also be the first novel I will have released, I’m afraid the waiting must continue.  It still lacks a cover.  My son is extraordinarily busy now, with negligible time for such extra projects.  My own attempts have been woeful, to say the least, and I simply can’t afford to pay anybody to provide a more professional cover.  I can assure you all that I am more frustrated than anybody else.  I even considered abandoning my original vision for the cover, even if only for the first edition, and going with an extremely simple cover.  So desperate have I become!  There has been a consequence to this situation, too, in that the work on Part 5 is crawling along.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

No – they dream of having more storage space  built into their main circuitry!  How do I know?  Well, I have a Samsung Galaxy Ace S5830i and it is forever complaining that its built-in memory is almost or actually full!  The kind folk of Samsung allow the use of micro SD cards to obtain more space.  Unfortunately, that really doesn’t help because they have been so miserly as far as the built-in space is concerned!  Don’t misunderstand me.  This isn’t a problem unique to Samsung,  I had, for a short while, an Android tablet, and that suffered from exactly the same problem!  Sure, most apps are installed to the SD card, along with things that they handle – such as the Kindle app and the ebooks that you download for it.   I was amazed, having watched TV adverts talking about the vast number of available apps, that this ‘phone has so very little actual capacity.  Every app installed contributes to the space consumed in the ‘phone itself, regardless of where the app itself is installed to!  And even more annoying is the fact that there are pre-installed apps which you can’t uninstall!  Some of these are massive (‘bloatware’) and I know that I’ll never use them, but Samsung have decided that they should be locked in, untouchable.  I find it increasingly difficult to understand how Samsung, and most other Android device manufacturers, expect to compete with Apple’s devices!  For example, the internal, built-in storage of the iPod Touch is impressive.  Sure, you can’t expand it, but at least most of the storage is available without all the nonsense problems of the Android competition.  Yes, there are locked apps with Apple too, and yes, it would be hugely beneficial if we could remove them, but even then I can get loads more apps on the standard, basic iPod Touch than I can on the Android smartphone!

(Apologies to Philip K Dick, author of the book whose title I have stolen for this section!)

Regarding Reviews and Ratings

A Book Review

I was blown away!  Staggered!  Kandy Kay Scaramuzzo, who has delighted us all with the wisdom of her good friend Pie, posted a review of my book Evil Under The Circle (second in the G1: The Guardians series) that is truly humbling in its enthusiasm.  With her kind permission, I repeat the review below:

This is an absolutely amazing story. It has all the great elements, unknown monsters, mystery, special sources, wiccans, druids and dragons. Who could ask for anything more.? I love the way the Special Forces are really special with special powers. Even though they work for the government and have all resources at their disposal, it takes the ancient druid and his baby dragon to help them out. The evil is unknown and is about to break out of his prison of many years. I won’t ruin the story for anyone else, but the druid and the Wiccan are a force to be dealt with. This story starts out nicely and ramps up quite quickly. The characters are well developed and described. It gives you a head start on the series that looks truly fascinating from the beginning. The guardians are some forces that need to be checked out. This is a book that will appeal to people who like action stories, sci fi stories, or stories of the supernatural. I give this book 5 out of 5 stars.

(This review may be found on Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, Amazon* or Kandy’s own website.)

I can only express my deepest gratitude to Kandy.

* The review on Amazon doesn’t appear to have gone live as yet.

Regarding Reviews and Ratings

I should reiterate, here, that I am always happy to receive reviews, whatever the opinions expressed, though I do only pay heed to those which are polite even when being critical.  Failing a review, a star rating is fine, though I do have reservations about such.  To me, it is far too easy to hide behind anonymity when awarding star ratings, whether they be high or low.  Getting friends to apply positive ratings has, sadly, become commonplace, and is very unfair to those of us who don’t believe in begging for such artificial support.  Equally, malicious types can happily apply very low ratings knowing that they don’t have to worry about explaining themselves, which would often reveal their maliciousness with bad critiquing and, frequently, the kind of language which most review sites are happy to remove.

In recent times, I have been approached by several individuals and ‘companies’ on the question of reviews.  These offer, in various terms, reviews in return for remuneration from myself.  I can state that they are wasting their time!  Even if I could afford such things, I wouldn’t ever pay for reviews.  It is, without any shadow of a doubt, unethical in the extreme.  How could anybody, the writer or readers, trust such reviews to be honest?  A company willing to pay reviewers out of funds raised in other ways is fine.  That’s no different to other walks of life, such as film critics and restaurant critics.  If those were being paid, directly or indirectly, by the subjects of their critiques, I can just imagine the reaction of the general news media!  Why, then, do these people think that authors should behave any differently to film makers or top end chefs?  Or are they, perhaps, exploiting a certain gullibility?  If you’re a reviewer, and you receive payment from a ‘company’, I beg of you: check on where they get that money from!  Remember, it’s your reputation on the line, too.  If you, as an author, are approached by such a ‘company’ or individual: think before responding!  If all authors refuse to hand over money to these people, I seriously believe that we’ll all be better off!  Perhaps I’m misguided, or just plain wrong, of course.  You can always give me some idea of what you think about paying for reviews in the poll below (no, I’m afraid there’s no prize! LOL).

~ Steve

Book Promo Day: 25th July, 2013

An exception to normal Book Promo Day entries:

Smashwords Sale from Sarah Baethge

Smashwords is having a sale!
If you want a cheap read, now is the time to check out Smashwords.

My short story, Right Now is free with the code SSW75 .

My novel, Panoptemitry is only $1.25 with that same code: SSW75 .

My other two short stories are always free, you can get to them from my Author Page.


Fraudulent Robert Spake Fraudulent by Robert D. Spake

It’s the late 19th Century. William Traven is returning home to England after four years of travelling. Along the way he feels as though he’s lost himself, so he comes home hoping to recapture his lost spirit. However, he’s worried that a sense of belonging will still elude him and if he can’t find it at home he fears that he’ll lose all hope. There’s also Eleanor, the girl who promised to wait for him while he went away. He feels an obligation to marry her but he doesn’t know whether he can carry out his duty if he doesn’t truly love her, or whether he can be the man his parents expect. He’s torn between honour, duty and love, and death hangs like a shadow over him as he struggles to find a place in the world.

Purchase details:

Amazon.co.uk
Amazon.com

More information:

Amazon author page
Goodreads
Author’s Blog
Facebook


Letters Home: Afghanistan by Teresa Jones

Letters Home: Afghanistan is the story of a soldier and his family that experience the ups and downs of a year of deployment to an active war zone. In this story we watch as the son John, deals with the reality of war in addition to missing out on all the wonderful things that come along with being part of a family and a community. We also get a peek into how the family on the home front deals with their son being so far away and in harm’s way each and every day.

Together they must find the strength to stay strong and positive while struggling daily to be a constant source of encouragement and support to each other.

~This book is a novella that is the first in a set of four from the “Letters from War” series. ~
~This book reads like a packet of old letters instead of in typical chapter formation~

Available exclusively on Amazon.com with Createspace version coming soon!

Purchase Location: Amazon.com
Current Price: 0.99 cents!

Contact the Author:
Facebook
Goodreads
WordPress
Twitter


News Roundup

I am delighted to tell you that I have had an article, or guest post, put on the Indies Unlimited site.  You may find it of some interest.  If you do, it would be great if you could make that known over there.

I have more news.  I now own a new Samsung Galaxy Ace Android smartphone, thanks to my eldest son!  I quite like Android as a system but this ‘phone suffers from what would appear to be a common problem with such devices.  The ‘phone itself has very limited storage and relies on you using a memory card.  Sounds okay, until you find the glitch in the system.  Basically, there’s a bunch of apps preloaded, many of which you probably won’t need, but which you can’t delete, so when you find apps you would like to use, you soon run out of space for them!  What happens is that the apps install to the ‘phone and not the memory card and you can’t move them across.  So you actually find yourself with a device with maybe four or five apps you chose and a mass that you didn’t.  I don’t wish to sound ungrateful, because I’m not, but it seems a very clumsy system…

Because of problems I was having with my health, I spent several weeks unable to go out of the house.  Needless to say, I started going just a little nuts.  In fact, it takes very little time for me to develop mild agoraphobia, which simply makes going out even harder, when it does become possible.  Well, yesterday’s lack of a blog post was a direct consequence of the fact that I managed to not only leave the house, but I travelled around 25 miles to my daughter’s!  It isn’t without a price, of course, as road conditions are such that I’ll probably need most  of this coming week to recover, and I got a whole 30 minutes sleep last night.  Still, I did go, and I even spent the day sat outside.  That’s how I discovered that I am distressingly pale.  My hands were amazingly white, and I’m used to them being quite brown long before this time of year.  All said and done, though, it was great to get out and to see my daughter and her family!  I even  got to see my eldest son and his kids en passant.  That was a touch amusing as he brought the kids out to the car to say hello.  Naturally, I opened my door.  The moment the youngest, a little girl, couldn’t retreat fast enough when she saw me and spent most of the time hiding behind her Dad’s leg.

There will be something of a delay in new books being published.  My younger son is absolutely swamped with work, which means that, between that and his family, he can’t devote time to producing the cover artworks.  Naturally, while this is immensely frustrating, I do fully understand.  It means, however, that the second edition of Shade of Evil and my novel, both from the G1: The Guardians series, will not be appearing for a while yet.  It may be of interest to you to know that I have gotten a fair way into the next tale in the series, too, which is showing every sign of being a second novel.  As a side issue, I’ll be posting another segment of background to the series this week, so keep an eye out for it!

And Finally…

I’m looking for willing volunteers!  I’d dearly  like to hear from anybody who would like to review the tales in the G1: The Guardians series.  Naturally, I am willing to provide free review copies, in whatever ebook format is required.  I am not looking for any ego massaging!  I would truly like some honest reviews.  It would also be fantastic if said interviews were published on the following:

  1. Amazon,
  2. The reviewer’s blog,
  3. any other bookstore site (kobo, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, etc.)

Obviously the review could be copied and pasted!  I would also like permission to include such reviews here, on this blog, and some might well be included in any advertising/marketing I do, and even potentially in the books themselves, or as part of the blurb!  I do not offer anything beyond a review copy of each ebook!  If you’re interested, please use the contact form below.  I will be extremely grateful for all reviews.

Please indicate sites you may be willing to submit your review(s) to in the “Remarks” field.

Summer Heat Blog Tour: Jennifer Garcia aka Forbes Arnone

Summer_Heat_tour

Welcome to the Summer Heat Blog Tour, 2013

I am delighted to welcome Jennifer Garcia, aka Forbes Arnone, to answer a few questions about herself and her work as an author.


When did you first discover the desire to write was so strong in you?

I think it was when I was little. I used to fill notebooks of lyrics, poems, and small stories. I did not realize how much I missed it until I started again after I raised my young family.

Do you usually write in the same genre you tend to prefer to read?

Yes, I love romance novels and I tend to write romances.

When reading, do you prefer traditional printed books or ebooks?

I prefer ebooks. After reading ebooks only lately, I recently had to read a printed book and found it very uncomfortable to hold. I know that sounds awful. How lazy, right? But ebooks seem to be more convenient and I can take a lot more with me on just one small device.

Have you been influenced and/or inspired by another writer, or writers?

Yes, the beginning of last year I found a book, The Shoemaker’s Wife by Adriana Trigiani and fell in love with her writing style. I bought all of her books after that and read every single one of them. Her stories are written with many descriptions about the people, their clothing, the locations, and the homes. It’s something about how she does it that makes me feel as if I’m in the story. I can picture everything so clearly.

Another author that I recently found is Alan Brennert. I think his story telling style is a bit like Adriana Trigiani’s that is why I clicked with it so much.

Do past or current events in your life have an influence on your writing?

Absolutely, I may take a scene from any point in my life and build a whole story around it. Other times it may be something that happened around me in a time that is no longer and I want to capture it.

Have you got a favourite author, who stands well ahead of all others?

Adriana Trigiani is by far the author that stands well ahead of the all the others for me.

Have you got both printed and digital books published?

I will. *insert big cheesy smile* This summer I have two books coming out. The first one, In My Mother’s Footsteps, is releasing July 2nd and it is a novella that I worked on for a beach read compilation. The stories will be sold as an anthology and individually. The second book, My Mr. Manny, is releasing August 26th and it is a novel.

Do you try to write to satisfy what is fashionable, or do you write pieces that you would want to read?

I write what I would like to read. I find it difficult to write something I am not feeling just to be “in.”

How do you fit writing into your life? Do you have set times for writing?

Sort of. I write best when I am alone and the house is silent except for reruns on the TV. But that rarely happens, so I usually write at night after dinner and homework is done. It is mostly when my twelve year old goes to bed.

Do you keep every jotting of ideas, just in case they might be developed at some later date?

Not really. If an idea hits me hard, I try to work it out in my head first to see if it’s something I can even do (make a story out of). So, I’ll take the idea and run scenes over and over in my mind until I think it may or may not work. Once I have a scene or a synopsis then I’ll write it down.

Do you write freeform or do you faithfully plan every piece meticulously before you start on a piece?

I do not outline. I’m too lazy. I feel that it takes too much of my time to write the outline when it may not be valid once I start writing. So, I write the scenes in my head and just write, and sometimes the characters change course and write their own scenes.

When writing, most authors now use a computer of some description. Which do you find more satisfying: writing using any means available, using a computer, using a typewriter or using a pen/pencil?

Everything I do involves a computer. I have not written things in a long time. I think my hand would cramp if I tried. So, I stick with what I can do, type.

Have you ever been somewhere and discovered a copy of a book that’s extremely difficult to find, and drooled over the discovery?

No, but I was in Bath, England at the Jane Austen museum and in the gift shop they had a first edition of one of her books. Anyway, I wanted it so badly, but my husband thought spending that much money on a book was ridiculous. So, I just drooled over it for a while before he dragged me out.

If you’ve had books published in print form, have you ever come across a copy of one of your own books by accident?

Not yet, since my books are not out yet, but I hope to when it is my time.

What is your greatest ambition in writing?

I hope to entertain people, make them feel good. I would love them to walk away from one of my books with a profound feeling of attachment to it. I have felt that before and there is nothing like it in the world. Finding that book that hits all of your cords and sticks with you. That is what I want to do.

Where can readers find out more about your works?

My blog is the place I use to update everyone on the progress of my books. My novella just posted on Goodreads and I, excitedly, posted it on my blog for everyone to see. I’ll do the same with the cover reveal and all of the other fun stuff.

Blog
Goodreads
Facebook Page
Twitter
Amazon Author’s Page

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Bio:

Jennifer Garcia’s (aka Forbes Arnone) love of travel began when she traveled to the West Coast to visit her father at the age of three. Her home until she was sixteen was a small coastal town near Boston. She currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband, two sons, and two dogs.

Her lifelong love for reading and writing was put aside for many years while she made her way in the world and nurtured her young family. Even though she is older, and life never seems to settle, she’s finding her way while attending college full-time in pursuit of a B.A. in English Literature. She also runs a business, and is still caring for her family. Believing she can do it all, with the help of her family, she worked on her first novel during the late hours of the night while balancing the rest of her life during the day. Her hard work paid off, as her first novel, My Mr. Manny, will be published August 2013.

Counting Up To Networking

Summer?  It’s here?  Where?

It seems that summer is upon us.  At least, it is in some places!  Personally, I’m not convinced.  The weather here certainly doesn’t suggest it.  Anyway, judging by the stats, a fair number of people are now able to get out and about in good weather, and maybe even have vacations.  There’s definitely been fewer people looking around the blog over the last week or two.  Hopefully they’ll wander back when they aren’t off enjoying themselves LOL!  In the meantime, while the summer months may not get the same volume of traffic, I’ll maintain posting daily, if possible.

Numbers

Anyway, I was delighted to discover, this morning, that the blog has still managed to reach a total of over 7.000 views since I started it!  The vast majority of those views, more than 6,300 of them, have come since the beginning of 2013.  The blog also has just over 370 direct followers – kind folk who have either clicked on the ‘Follow’ link if they use WordPress.com too, or subscribed by email.  I would like to thank all of you who have done so!  When the Social Networks are added in, that’s a lot of followers or people who at least receive notifications of what’s happening on the blog.  In fact, there are 1280 Twitter and 370+ Facebook followers.  I also have way over 500 LinkedIn connections, 200+ fans and friends on Goodreads, and links with folk on Google+, Pinterest, tumblr, etcetera.  Of course, there’s duplication, but it’s still an awful lot of very good people!

The Same Old Advice?

I have seen a few posts recently extolling the virtues of Social Networks.  It still intrigues me that the message is still being pounded out that Social Networks are not only nice to be a part of, but fundamentally essential to success, despite my own recent findings to the contrary.  Don’t mistake me!  I have no intention of abandoning the Social Network scene!  What concerns me is the forceful claims.  Surely these must impact on those newest to writing and self-publishing?  If that’s true, just how useful, or damaging, is the advice?  Active participation in, for example, Facebook soon leads folk away from the matter in hand into strange lands, where peculiar graphically enhanced (GE rather than GM) quotations – many of dubious authenticity in regard to the alleged sources, humorous photographs of animals and other matter, status messages where folk have hit the panic button having read a piece of ‘news’ proven entirely false some years previously, invitations to participate in (fake) competitions for products that are too good to miss out on owning, invitations to join groups/like pages/play games… well, you get the idea!  So, the one absolute certainty of devoting significant time to Social Networks like Facebook and Twitter is that there’ll be no hope of ‘distraction free’ writing!  Other networks can be approached with a little more confidence, but even they have their dangers, circling like sharks, ready to strike.  For example, Goodreads.  There is, in my honest opinion, nothing to compare with Goodreads!  It is a superb system for readers, authors and reader/authors.  But, there are perils, mostly in the form of the hundreds (maybe thousands) of ‘special interest groups’ and more generalised forums.  Join more than a handful, and you will be pulled and pushed, poked and prodded, to be active in them.  And that’s when the trouble starts – just like Facebook and Twitter: overload!  So the potential damage to the actual writing process is obvious.  What about benefits?  Well, I guess there are some.  When an author’s website or blog is very new, then the Social Networks may bring a few visits from the curious, and I do mean a few!  The evidence simply can’t be disputed.  A more significant benefit is in finding other authors!  But even there, it’s good to be wary.

Mistakes in Social Networking

Believe it or not, many authors who have been using the Social Networks for a significant amount of years are actually abusing the system, deliberately or otherwise.  It may be that they simply haven’t got the message, or they may have ignored or discarded it.  There is, however, a very simple truth that must be given heed to!  It is very bad practice to issue post after endless post advertising your book(s)”!  Don’t believe it?  Then you evidently enjoy being continuously Spammed via email, social network sites, and so forth.  More, you enjoy Spamming others!  Because that’s what it is.  If all you ever post is advertising your work or you, then people will flock to the doors – the exit doors!  Apart from the Spam aspect, it’s just bad manners to do it.  If you blog, then let your blog system post updates about your blog.  Don’t repeat the effort.  Social Networks exist to keep people in touch with each other, in a sense that sees constant advertising as an evil.  If you do the same to people you know in real life, then I pity them, and the chances of you having many real life connections are very low indeed.  No, you have to work at it properly!  You have to provide interesting, humorous, sometimes informative information, with only the occasional advertisement for your work, almost as an aside.  This is true at all levels – from blog to network.  Anything else, and the only visitors you’ll have in any numbers will be Spambots and worse – and many of those won’t bother with you, either, because your statistics are so shockingly low.  Everything is open to abuse, intended or misguided.  If you’re determined to use the available facilities, learn to look beyond yourself, beyond your work.  If you’re not inclined to provide ‘informative’ posts, at least try to amuse your readers!  It’s like any social situation.  You have to ‘court’ your audience, even if you don’t appear to have one.  If you get it right, people will find you!  More, if you truly engage in a friendly manner with both readers and fellow authors, others will support your efforts – not just in direct responses but by Tweeting, posting to Facebook, and numerous other ways.  But I’ll sound another note of caution here: if you set out to use others, they will find you out!  In other words, just be a real, ordinary, sociable person – willing to help others not because you want something in return, but simply because

The best advice I have to give?  Be ‘good people’.

~ Steve

A Question of Reviews

Opening With Good News

First things first, naturally.  How can it be any other way, after all?  That phrase has always puzzled me.  Anyway, that’s a sidetrack I don’t intend to pursue right now.  The good news mentioned is my very first five star review for one of my books!  Yes, I like getting any feedback, but I confess to getting a touch excited when I discovered this one.  I found it on Goodreads, though it’s also on Amazon, and I repeat it below:

Christoph Fischer’s review May 31, 2013
starstarstarstarstar

“Shade of Evil” by Steve K Smy is a fairly short novel / novella about a simple man whose underprivileged existence seems to gnaw away at him. Living in a tiny flat with lots of other people in the same building across a former chemical plant, getting depressed and finally collapsing he is more than a little recipient for some shade of evil that approaches his soul and humanity.

After a breakdown he is helped by a generous benefactor but nightmares warn of a coming evil for which he will need professional help.In parts a psychologically intriguing fable on modern life, in others a great paranormal action story this book combines depth with gripping entertainment. I loved the way the author slowly shows us the terrible living conditions of Harry and the misery of his existence, then contrasts this with the great place of his recovery with Dr. Pattinson, yet, before it gets too dreary we get thrown into the action side of the book that brings the situation to a climax and a swift solution.

Steve Smy is a promising writer whose future work I will be watching out for.

I must point out that this is an entirely unsolicited review!  You can find the review at Goodreads or Amazon.

Lack of Notifications

The above story leads to this one.  Of all the sites that my books can be obtained from, only one sends notifications of sales: Smashwords.  That’s disappointing enough.  For reviews, however, it is distinctly frustrating!  Again, only Smashwords sends notifications for reviews received.  Why don’t the other sites if they allow customers to review purchases/downloads?  I can live with nobody notifying of new ratings, but surely reviews are rather significant?  It doesn’t take a huge effort to include it on the selectable settings for an author’s account, like any other optional email notification setting.  It is a lengthy process trawling through all the sites, checking for reviews, especially when you then have to visit each individual book’s page if it’s not clear on a ‘list’ screen!  Of all the reviews I’ve received on bookstore sites (and I include Goodreads here, for convenience), I have only discovered that I even have reviews by accident, followed by a check of all sites as a consequence of such a prompt.

What do you think?

Perhaps authors should campaign for the option to be offered?  I’d really like to know what you think!  Are you as frustrated by the situation as I am?  Do you have some trick I’m not aware of that allows you to track review activity easily – preferably by getting emails for them?  Am I simply a victim of my ego?  Does the problem extend to other sites, like book review blogs and such?  Have you ever been surprised to find that somebody has written a lengthy review of one of your books without your knowledge on one of these non-store sites?

~ Steve

Spotlights, Finds, WIPs and Extras

Stage_vector3 I Was Placed Under The Spotlight – Twice!

I have to thank M C V Egan, author of The Bridge of Deaths, for putting me under the ‘spotlight’ on her blog!  You can find the post here.  I also have to thank Kat at Indies Unlimited for another spotlight feature, for my book Shade of Evil.  The book is also featured in the Indies Unlimited Bookstore.  With Wednesday’s release of The Sigil of Ahriman, that’s pretty good timing!  Please support both these blogs by popping over to visit and leaving a ‘Like’, or even a comment, if you feel moved to do so.

Delightful Finds

A few days ago, my wife (Jenny) found two books in a local charity shop.  One will prove to be wonderful for entertaining the grandkids, I’m sure.  It’s The Pagemaster by David Kirschner & Ernie Contreras, illustrated by Jerry Tiritilli, published in 1994 by Kingfisher (ISBN 1 85697 276 3).  I’m sure many of you will know it, and/or the movie of the same title.  The other book is The Trivia Lover’s Guide To Cricket Stories, Facts & Feats, published in 2007 by Complete Editions (2009 reprint).  As you might guess, this little book is a highly amusing, and informative, guide to the great game of cricket, including some fascinating, and sometimes hilarious, facts about the history and practice of the sport.  Considering the original cover prices, the shop sold these at a stunningly low price each!  The first book is just as it should be, with beautiful illustrations that make the words come alive.  The second is one of those books that any enthusiast of cricket will delight in dipping into whenever the mood strikes, or they just need something of a lift.

Works In Progress

I’m currently working on two writing projects.  First, I’m writing the fourth instalment of G1: The Guardians, as I mentioned in a previous post.  The second project is in response to a recent review, on Goodreads, of the fifth short story in the Thief series.  Not wishing to frustrate a reader, especially one who has taken the time and trouble to write reviews of my books, it seems only fair to write another instalment of the series, though whether it will remain a short story, like the others, remains to be seen!

While not a book of any length, Kat of Indies Unlimited (see above) is encouraging me to write a guest blog post for their site.  I’ve thought about this and I decided to go with a subject that I have some strong feelings about.  Needless to say, I am honoured to be asked!  If the post I submitted isn’t accepted, then it may appear here at some point.

Extra Features

You may have already noticed, but you may not, so I thought it appropriate to mention a couple of extra features.  First of all, the top menu now includes eBook Reader software/Apps.  This takes you to a list of software/apps that allow you to read virtually any kind of ebook.  I included it because there are still many readers who don’t know about these eReader substitutes.  If you use anything else that’s not listed, I would love to hear from you!  Secondly, there’s a new ‘badge’ for the blog, that serves a specific function.  It advertises the Book Promo Day.  Beneath the badge itself is a text box containing code.  By copying this code and pasting it into a page on your own website or blog, you can help spread the word!  The more authors availing themselves of the offer, the wider the range of books featured – which has got to be good.