Category: For Readers (page 1 of 2)

Rolling Along In the Neighbourhood

Regular instalments of the NEIGHBOURS sequel – KEEPING UP WITH THE NEIGHBOURS continue to roll out on schedule – despite the fact that I had a heart attack on May 15 and subsequent triple bypass surgery on May 26! 

It’s all possible thanks to technology and the fact that I had already prescheduled the first six volumes release dates. Ain’t technology grand? (Also how I managed to keep my blog going. Some people were surprised that I was continuing to post.) In reality, I had prescheduled several months in advance. (Not sure why, but now I know…!)

Anyway, if you missed it, the first four volumes of NEIGHBOURS II – KEEPING UP WITH THE NEIGHBOURS are already for sale on Amazon and the next two are scheduled to release on June 15 and June 30. Below are the links:

NEIGHBOURHOOD TANGLE – JED (Volume 1)
NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH – BO (Volume 2)
NEIGHBOURHOOD REBEL – REBA (Volume 3)
NEIGHBOURHOOD UPSTART – PIP (Volume 4)
NEIGHBOURHOOD FREEDOM – WILL (Volume 5)
NEIGHBOURHOOD CUPID – ZEB (Volume 6)

The final volume, NEIGHBOURHOOD WRAP was scheduled to come out on July 15 – if I manage to finish it. Otherwise it will be coming out shortly thereafter.

It’s a rollicking good time with the Malloy family, introduced in series one. They’re a little rough around the edges, but soft hearted good old boys (and girls) from the rock!

REVIEWS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME!

Reviews – How Much Trust Can You Put In them?

Read any good books lately?

I discussed the quandary of book reviews in a previous post awhile back. The bottom line is this. Not everyone is going to like what I, or any other author, has written. There are books that I don’t care for that have lots of positive reviews on Amazon and elsewhere. The fact that I didn’t like them simply means that we have different tastes in reading material.

I don’t think many readers understand the impact of reviews, however. For some, it just seems like too much bother to write and post a review on Amazon, goodreads, or other places and I’m sure many readers feel like their two cents really won’t make that much difference. Think again. Reviews have a huge impact on both ranking and rating, not to mention the fact that they help other readers choose what to read next. If you are one of the people who have read a good book but have not bothered to write a review, may I implore you to take ten minutes and post one. It doesn’t have to be long, just honest.

Which brings me to another point. Honesty is all important when it comes to reviews so in a way I am glad to have a few less than stellar ones. It shows that I am not paying or otherwise coercing anyone into writing a positive review.

Rather than dwell on the negative, I try to focus on the positive feedback I’ve received. Precious to me are the hand written notes I’ve gotten in the mail from both family and friends, but also from complete strangers. One elderly woman wrote to say she really enjoyed my book AND THE BEAT FOES ON, and although she didn’t know how to write an online review, she wanted me to know how much she felt the story impacted her. She said she was planning to pass it on to others.

Another reader contacted me through facebook and expressed how she loved PLAY IT AGAIN. She said it made her feel like she was back in the 80s and mirrored some of her own experiences. My daughter lent a copy of MY MOTHER THE MAN-EATER to a colleague and after reading it, she wanted a copy for herself and for her sister-in-law. She said the ‘realism’ of Joleen’s struggles really hit home for her. She felt that her sister-in-law, a non-Christian, might respond well to the message of redemption and grace because of her own checkered past.WIND OVER MARSHDALE has had more than one similar remark from readers, either on facebook, via email, or verbally.

To my knowledge, none of these people bothered to write a review on Amazon, but the fact that they contacted me personally perhaps says even more. I can’t think of the last time I contacted an author to tell them I enjoyed a book, even though I regularly write and post reviews on Amazon and elsewhere. Sometimes the personal touch is so much more validating.

In the end, I have decided to leave reader response in God’s hands. There is always a risk – quite a substantial one, I might add – that someone who reads and dislikes a book I’ve written will write a nasty review. It happens. Honesty is the best policy, after all. Knowing that even one person was affected in a positive way is enough for me to want to persevere.

To leave a review visit my Amazon Author page or my goodreads author page

Progress OUTSIDE the Neighbourhood…

I’ve been sharing a lot about the second in the NEIGHBOURS Series that is currently releasing in instalments. Keeping Up With the Neighbours is into it’s third ‘episode’, with the release of the complete series in both ebook and paperback set for July 30.

But there has been lots of other writing related activity at my house!

I finally finished editing my novel AND THE BEAT GOES ON – the first book I had published way back in 2009. Once I got the rights back I knew I wanted to revamp it slightly, but I just couldn’t seem to find the time. Good news! it’s ready to go with a brand new cover and even a change in title. CONSPIRACY OF BONES is set to release sometime in the near future. I am waiting for the right time to give it the fanfare I think it deserves.

Also  ‘revamped’ is PLAY IT AGAIN and MY MOTHER THE MAN-EATER will hopefully not be far behind. Each release will come out when the timing is right.

I also have been submitting several plays that have been languishing on my computer for several years. It’s Your Life, Murder at the Paradise Express, and King William Travels the World have all been submitted to various play publishers so I am just waiting to hear back to see if anyone wants to publish any of them. I also plan to submit my Drama class’s newest play, Snow White and the Dwarf’s Revenge, very soon. If no one picks them up, I may even decide to self publish them…. although I have never done anything like that for any of my plays so far, so that could be a new adventure! (Especially the distribution and performance royalty end of things…)

You could say, I’ve been keeping myself ot of trouble!

NOTE: I wrote and scheduled this post several weeks before it actually went live here. Since then I have had a small heart attack and have had to slow things down a bit. Fortunately, all but the last instalment of NEIGHBOURS II are already in the queue and scheduled for release so that project should move forward with no blips! 

 

The Dreaded One Star Review

One star reviews. Nobody likes them, least of all an author. When someone – usually a stranger – expresses their less than enthusiastic opinion about something I’ve written, it hurts. I’m not going to lie and pretend that it doesn’t. The good news is, experts say a few less than stellar reviews actually add credibility to one’s author platform, since nobody can appeal to everyone.

I get it when a person just doesn’t like a book. There can be many reasons for this. However, the ones that I find most irritating are those that say something like, “This is just too religious for me.” Duh! Did you read the blurb? Did it mention that this is a work of ‘Christian fiction‘? What about the keywords and tags? If the word faith, Christian, or inspirational is in there, chances are it will have those elements.

Somewhat more problematic, however, are those that are expecting a squeaky clean Christian read and find that my work may be a bit edgier than they had anticipated. A case in point is my NEIGHBOURS Series.  ‘A Contemporary Christian Romance’ is right there in the subtitle, but several readers found it was not Christian enough for their liking.

I have since added a ‘warning’ label to the product description and I’ve made sure to include it on all future descriptions, especially as the sequel to NEIGHBOURS – KEEPING UP WITH THE NEIGHBOURHOOD – is currently being released. (Thanks to Beta reader, Violet, for making this suggestion.) Here it is:

NOTE TO READERS: Although this series is categorized as ‘Christian fiction’  and has a strong redemptive message toward the end, there may be events that some Christians find troubling, such as the use of alcohol and references to sexual activity, although this always takes place ‘off camera’.

In the end, I must content myself with the fact that many readers have given me positive feedback about the series, and even asked (repeatedly!) for the sequel. Unfortunately, not all of these readers like leaving reviews on Amazon.com or goodreads.com – the too most sought after places for reviews. Perhaps they don’t understand the huge impact that reviews actually have on a book’s sales. (Even though I’ve mentioned it a time or two!)

Here is my final appeal to any readers out there. If you read a book and like it, take a few minutes to leave a review. It means A LOT – probably more than you realize.

Having said that, if you’ve read any of MY books and liked them – please leave a review. ( I said please!) I would especially appreciate a few more positive reviews to balance the negative ones on the first volume of NEIGHBOURS. Things like ‘This is too short” or “It ended too abruptly. It needs a sequel” kind of missed the point…   (It’s a novella and it’s supposed to end abruptly like a TV episode so that readers come back for the next part.) I could use a few more ‘thumbs up’ to boost its creds. *smile*

New In the Neighbourhood Volume 1
Neighbours Series 1 Complete

 

Also, don’t forget that the sequel KEEPING UP WITH THE NEIGHBOURS is currently being released in instalments! Here is the line up:

Vol 1 – Neighbourhood Tangle – JED

Vol 2 – Neighbourhood Watch – BO

Vol 3 – Neighbourhood Rebel – REBA

Vol 4 – Neighbourhood Upstart – PIP

Vol 5 – Neighbourhood Freedom – WILL

Vol 6 – Neighbourhood Cupid – ZEB

 

 

NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH! Bo’s story released!

Bo Malloy’s story, NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH, the second volume in the Neighbours sequel called Keeping Up With the Neighbours, released yesterday. It’s the second in a seven part series that comes on the heals of the first series re-released last summer.

Who is Bo? In the words of several of his family members, he’s ‘the sensible one of the bunch’. that doesn’t keep him from some serious errors in judgement, though… Here’s the blurb:

Bo Malloy has moved to Calgary and taken a job at the local watering hole. As the only ‘sensible’ one of the bunch, he’s good at lending an ear to patrons and family alike and has taken on the task of untangling his sibling’s messes. When his boss’s sister moves to town, Bo finds himself attracted to her despite her snobbish ways, creating an unexpected ‘mess’ in his own life when she makes bad choices that leave his heart in shambles.

 

 

Jed’s story NEIGHBOURHOOD TANGLE 

Bo’s story NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH

The next four volumes are available through pre-order! Releasing over the coming months every two weeks!

 

 

 

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