Thursday, April 30, 2015

A few good books!

I may be too busy to blog - but I'm never too busy to read!  Once we get this show on the road (become full time RVers) I actually suspect I will be getting a lot more reading done.  And even more of it will be on the Kindle.  Right now I'm working hard at reading every library book and hard copy book in the house so I can get them outta here!

Which brings me to a terrific find from the library - No Hero by Jonathan Wood. I loved it! This is a uniquely male trip into the urban fantasy jungle. No long winded descriptions of beautiful men, or breathless pages of how sexy he is and why we shouldn't have sex, followed by torid sex somehow forced by the magic *big eye roll* Nope - just non-stop action that reminds you of your worst moments at the gaming table with a great gamemaster throwing endless reams of curve balls at you in Cthulhu. What are they? Aliens or magic? Technology or woo-woo? What the hell is going on and why is this mere mortal sucked into it? I not only couldn't put it down, I was more than happy to discover the next book in the series, Yesterday's Hero was also available. I snatched it up and read it in a day. Let me just look all smug here and note that the paperback seems to be sold out at Amazon - but you can get it on Kindle! I highly recommend this series if you like non-stop action, a story that will make you use your own brain trying to figure out what on earth is going on, well drawn characters and lots of conflict.

So while I am raving about urban fantasies, let me talk about Boundary Crossed (Boundary Magic Book 1) by Melissa F. Olson. As you may have guessed, I am getting a wee bit jaded with urban fantasy. Like any genre, once it becomes really popular you get quite a few people writing it not because they have a grand vision and love it - but because their publisher said it would make money. Trust me folks, unless you are really good, it shows. Ms. Olson clearly loves her genre and has thought out a interesting new twist on the old myths to draw you in. I found the heroine believable as well as the story, and it all moves along as a good action filled pace that I like. A very good new entry to the field that I certainly plan to follow.

Now for us mystery fans - The Case of the Not-So-Fair Trader (A Richard Sherlock Whodunit Book 1) by Jim Stevens is the start of a new series you are going to want to check out. Again, this is a guys book. Minimal romance and relationship blah blah blah, plenty of mystery, action, and quirky fun. Not a cozy, although he is a single dad of two impertinent young daughters and has a crazy side kick. There are a lot of characters in these books, but each is so clearly drawn that you won't forget who is who or stop speculating on whodunit until the end. Imagine Sam Spade meets Janet Evanovich. I've also read and reviewed the second book in the series, The Case of Moomah's Moolah - in fact, I read it first and then went looking for the first in the series. If you actually want to read a MYSTERY, not a romance with a passing nod to mystery - here's your series!

I do not read a lot of horror anymore.  Like with some other genres, I got spoiled to awesome writers (Dean Koontz, Bram Stoker) and got tired of the imitators.  Comes a new (to me) author who hooked me by setting the story in Japan, in a vast, spooky forest.  I figured, I'll give it a try.  Suicide Forest (A Suspense Horror Thriller & Mystery Novel) (World's Scariest Places Occult & Supernatural Crime Series Book 1) by Jeremy Bates ought to come with a warning label - do NOT read this late at night in the house alone.  I did and ended up watching two hours of light funny anime before I figured I could sleep without nightmares.  This is my favorite kind of horror - taut, psychological, growing creeping fear with no clear explanation until the very end when the remaining characters are in a fight for their lives.  Having my own love for travel and exotic locales - I will be following this series for sure!

Last but hardly least - you know how I love memoirs.  I want to share one that I recently helped a friend publish on the Kindle, Diary of a Satisfied Lawyer by John C. Wheeler. Mr. Wheeler is a deep thinker who has had some very interesting experiences in his law practice.  He is also a Christian, and has managed to live by his principles even as he practiced law.  Which is to say - he actually helps people and isn't your typical slimy shark in a suit type of lawyer.  I found it interesting reading and I think you probably will, too.

Okay, that's enough for one day.  Not all of these were reviewed on Amazon simply because when I finish the book and they jerk me off to review I am on my Kindle and about to go to bed.  I prefer to sleep on it and review in the morning using my nice, ergonomic keyboard and the computer.  I'm old fashioned that way.  I wish they would let me rate it without asking me to write a whole review right that moment.  Anyhow - some days as soon as I am up I'm rushed into dumb things I gotta do and by the time I remember I wanted to review that book its three days later and I've got to go reread the first chapter to remember what it was I liked - LOL.

Hope you found something good in here!


Summer Foovay

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

A Little Rant About Some Reviewers on Amazon

I have noticed a little trend among some book reviewers on Amazon.  Rather than reviewing the actual story, plot, characters, or anything else - they concentrate on locating and counting spelling, grammatical, and other editorial errors.  They then publish those, usually along with an insult to the writers ability or intelligence, with a two or one star review.  I notice that they don't feel the need to so review books by mainstream publishers or authors in the same way - but restrict their efforts to those who publish independently on Kindle.

The authors they attack are indies, people who do all their own writing, editing, spell and grammatical checking.  Inherent in this process is that if the writer missed the error the first time, they are sadly quite likely to miss it the next ten times as well.

Outside editors can be hired, of course.  Editing services cost upwards of $10 per page - more than most of my books make in a year and I actually have decent sales.  Quality of editing at that price varies considerably and I've read a few indie books that had indie publishers, who thus presumably provided proof reading and editing, that still contained a number of mistakes.

Come to think of it, I've read Dick Francis books, Mary Higgins Clark books, and other books by quite famous authors with huge publishing houses behind them that contained mistakes in spelling, continuity, grammar, and other editorial boo-boos.  Strangely, I've never felt the need to put those in my review, or lower a books rating for it and I haven't seen any other reviewers do it either.  Speaking strictly for me, I chuckle at human error even among the big boys and carry on reading.  (I admit, I know one person who takes a red pencil and marks up the book, then gives it to the library!)

But these reviewers don't feel the need to do this to the big boys - just to the little indies.  Seems like a new version of trolling to me.  I can't help but wonder if they are frustrated writers themselves.

As a reader. constant mistakes in every other line is disruptive to reading.  If I hit a book like that, I generally just delete it from my device and go on.  I have faith that in the long run the marketplace itself will discourage those writers - or better yet, they will look at their sales and seek out more learning about writing and find out for themselves what is driving their readers nuts. No need for insults or negativity from vicious reviewers.
I've been the victim of one myself, in this review here - whch finally, two years later, I've managed to reply to.  Bloodline took two years to write and was meticulously gone over four or five times by myself and one or two blessed volunteer readers - mainly to work on continuity.  But, clearly, we missed a few things.

However, after this nasty review was published, this book which had been puttering along with a few sales, took a nosedive and has had very few sales since even when it was offered for free or when I paid for advertising.  Aside from the typical author's emotional response of feeling like I've been stabbed in the heart with a long dagger - this has hurt me financially.  It has discouraged me from continuing the series - as all of the books I have in mind are going to take just as much work as Bloodline - and for what?  Even though several readers have contacted me to ask for the sequel, I haven't been able to work up the courage to tackle it.

So yes, it's personal - but I've seen it done to other indie writers by other reviewers - some of them even nastier.  Most Kindle readers do read those reviews and make decisions based on them.

So to those "reviewers" - and all reviewers - unless the errors are so egregious that they make it impossible to read the book smoothly - please review the story.  I understand (and I'm sure all authors do) that my fiction may not appeal to everyone.  (Hell, my fiction hardly appeals to anyone since I don't write romance) I can take it if you found it personally boring or not your favored style.  But don't hang a two star review on someone because you found a spelling error.  Would you do that to Steve Grisham?  Nora Roberts? Would you sit down and write a letter to Harper Collins or Simon & Schuster enumerating their mistakes?

To our readers - you can contact the writer of most Kindle books and let us know about errors you have found.  It is possible for us to correct those errors and upload a corrected version.  I would thank you for it!  And apologize, too, of course!  If you see a nasty review, or that a book has some one and two star reviews - please check them out and consider that the reviewer may have their own agenda, or that a few spelling errors doesn't mean a book isn't a good read.

Okay, enough said.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

My Kids Books - Now 99 cents!

All three of my current kids books are now available for 99 cents on the Kindle!

The Fox And The Rabbit is a sweet, short tale of a fox who falls in love with a rabbit. Yes, a love story from me. Actually, it is a love story told to me by a particular fey folk that I know. He promised if I wrote it down and people liked it, he had many more tales to tell. Let's encourage him, shall we?

Blue Dragonfly was inspired by my reading of a very old fairy tale about a man who had gone to sleep in a magic cave. He awoke as a different animal and lived a life as that animal, then returned to his cave to "die" or sleep, and reawoke as a different animal. How I wished I could have done something like that when I was a kid! I've modernized the tale, and created an old man, Mr. Odon Ata - who tells his story to a young boy, one animal at a time. It is a combination of shape shifter, natural history, magic and science with a wee bit of RL lessons slipped in. Blue Dragonfly is the first book, and The Weaver (Blue Dragonfly Book 2) is the second book. These two were created before Amazon gave us authors the Kindle Kids Book Creator that enables us to add illustrations. I originally hoped to add some games and little learning/worksheets at the end. So far, I haven't found anyone that can do that for the Kindle Fire but I may at least release some companion books on CreateSpace if there is enough interest. And, of course, there is room for so many more books in the series.

This month I'm off to Camp Nanowrimo - when I'm not working on the Firefly - to write a mystery for adults.

Summer Foovay

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Fool Is Not Foolish

The last few weeks I hit a really low point emotionally.  The winter was long, cold and wet and featured one blow after another - illness, betrayal, and then to top it all off our beloved Pixie Wagon began leaking in more than one place - some of which led me to believe that the problem is severe and structural.  I thought we were going to be forced to give up our little home.  I'm leaving out all the petty bullshit that was going along with everything else the whole time.  I keep bravely slugging it out, trying to keep up with all my little projects and pretend everything was going to be fine.

But eventually even I ran out of happy.  Even pixies get the blues.  The last few weeks have been spent in meditation, self care, self indulgence and abuse (I admit it), and self healing.  I'm better now, really.

Today, however, will go down in personal history as a best possible day.

We bought a motor home.  Bought.  Paid For.  All Ours.  Like the Pixie Wagon - she ain't much and she ain't fancy but she will damn well do the job.  Unlike the Pixie Wagon, she seems to be structurally - and mechanically - sound.  Best of all - as if it could get any better - having the new RV (now officially dubbed Firefly) will allow us to continue to keep and work on the Pixie Wagon, converting it into a true tiny house.

So there's my whole Universe in the picture above - the Firefly, the Pixie Wagon in front of her, our little Chevy Aveo photobombing on the right, and my cute hubby right there behind her.  I do have the American Dream - I own my own home (on wheels) and my own car, and I have a great marriage.

So anyone who has anything negative to say or think about us can fuck off and die.  Yeah, sorry, some negative people in my life lately.  Yes, they are being kindly shown to the exit.

Meanwhile, I've also made a few decisions.  The last few years I have been doing "projects" - usually learning something new - over the winter months.  They were part of what overwhelmed me early this year.  After a considerable amount of thought, I've decided that current projects, and any future projects will run from April 1st to April 1st.  Also - no daily obligations.  The fact is, I have obligations to my husband, and to a few close friends, that take precedence.  And sometimes take all day or several days.  Other times I have all day, or several days, free.  My free days I will work on projects like 365 Horses, learning Japanese, sewing, writing and so on.

Given that - and speaking of writing - I did join Camp Nanowrimo.  This great idea for a quick mystery/thriller stuck itself in my head a few weeks ago and won't let go.  I promised it the month of April.  Meanwhile, I've also lowered the price of all my kids books to 99 cents.  At the moment, they're still in review at Amazon.  Once they are out I'll probably toss a couple on free, do some other promotions, and link it all up here so you can run buy/rent/favorably review and otherwise promote my writing career so I can pay to get all the work done on the Rolling Home Sisters.  And get back to saving for our little piece of land.

Still haven't met my goal on Planet Horse - LOL.  Made it on FishWorld, but the game runs so badly on my computer now that I've cut back my playing time to about three hours a week.  Started a new game I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE.  If you an old D&D or AD&D player, if you are sick to death of all these fucking flash games that require the uber computer, if you miss the old Neopets, if you love the idea of drawing and creating your own pets, if you are an adult who is tired of games that cater to kids - you're gonna love this game.  I'm Natsuko there - come and join me.

Let's see - the other projects...  I've faced the fact that I love to watch the birds, but I'm tired of bird blogging.  Trying to come up with something every day is getting in the way of simply enjoying the birds.  I'm not saying it will never get another post - it'll get a post when I feel like it.  Workouts - somewhere in the last few months MapMyRide sold out to some shithole company that is mainly about cramming your computer with malware and kidnapping your browser - so I'm done with them as a way to record workouts.  Among the petty crap the last few months have been several flat tires timed so that either weather or finances precluded getting them fixed.  I have been walking every other day or so - but my knees have been hurting so much this wet spring that it's almost torture.  This month the bike will get properly fixed, I'll get back on it - and better yet - it's looking like I'll be getting the kayak in the water this month!  Whooot!  Add in the work that needs to be done on both trailers - yeah, I think I can count on being physically active without an online counter.  What else...  I'm piddling with a counting book for Kindle Fire for little kids.  It will be set aside while I Camp Nano though.  The three new sex books seem to be a complete bomb and seriously, I'm tired of writing them.  Bloodline is back out - had some free days - no new reviews and sank back to the bottom of the rankings.  I may pay for some promotion on it, especially since an idea for the next next next one in the series floated by me the other day.  The Hunters of Men books are massive undertakings that eat my whole life.  Not sure when I'll be able to tackle another one - especially given the lackluster performance of Bloodline sales wise.  Again, I think it is just lack of me having the money to promote it and pay for good reviews like most everyone else does.  But that isn't likely to change either.  We'll see...

So that's where I'm at today.  Floating about 100 feet above the clouds and ain't nobody bringing me down anytime soon.  Now I have a new RV to cleanse and bless, so if you'll excuse me.


Summer Foovay

Living on the down low

If you are one of the few brave souls who have been with me for lo these many years of blogging and writing and webpage designing, wow, I l...