Cover Reveal for Kristen Strassel’s SECONDHAND HEART

Today I have the exclusive…okay, maybe not exclusive, BUT the exciting cover reveal and excerpt for Kristen Strassel’s 5th release, SECONDHAND HEART. 

I ADORE the cover and can’t wait to read this one. Check out the cover and excerpt below and let me know what you think!

 

Secondhand-Heart-FOR-WEB

Title: Secondhand Heart

Author: Kristen Strassel

Age: NA

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Scheduled to release: October 7, 2014

Cover designer: Designs by Hang Le

Goodreads

Pre-Order Link:

Amazon

Blurb:

Daisy Mangold thought she had her life figured out until a roadside bomb in Afghanistan changed everything. Now a twenty-one-year-old military widow, Daisy moves back home to start over.

Cam Hunter won the reality show The Spotlight, and thought he was on his way to becoming the next big country star. But when whispers of how he won begin to surface, Nashville is less than welcoming. After he loses his record deal, Cam heads back home to open a country bar.

When Daisy meets Cam, she isn’t sure she’s ready to let go of the ghosts from her past. Cam’s ex-wife isn’t ready to move on either, and the tragedy she causes will expose Cam’s secrets and shatter Daisy’s family.

Will Daisy be able to follow her heart into a future with Cam, or will her grief keep her trapped in a past that no longer exists?

Secondhand-Heart-print-FOR-WEB

 

Excerpt:

The lights went down, and the crowd went wild and swarmed the stage. The VIP section was to the right of the stage, and elevated just enough that we could see everything perfectly. A cover band had played up until now, but Cam Hunter was headlining his grand opening celebration.

Ev and Bree cheered when Cam came onstage, so I did too, more to be polite. He was picking up my bar tab tonight, after all. I’d never met Cam in person. I’d only heard Ev rave about him and of course I’d seen him on TV. He was taller than I expected, his broad shoulders straining the fabric of his blue and orange plaid shirt. I know, the shirt sounds hideous, but it actually looked hot on him. Bree’d said it enough tonight, I was thinking like her now. He wore the top few buttons open, showing just a hint of his tan chest. I couldn’t see his eyes under the brim of his white cowboy hat, but his sandy hair curled around the collar of the shirt. He opened the show with his biggest hit, Lonely Heart Saloon, in case you were wondering where he got the name for the bar. I found myself staring at his lips as he sang the words of the song, watching them move in front of the microphone, wondering what those lips would feel like on my skin.

I shook myself back to reality, looking at Ev and Bree singing along, and I was the last thing on their mind. Looking back at the stage, I forced myself to look anywhere but Cam’s mouth. Only being able to see the lower part of his face drove me crazy. What was hiding behind those eyes? Were they laughing, twinkling? Hell, I didn’t even know what color they were, and suddenly, I needed to know.

Look away from his face. Jesus Christ. The faded denim made his thighs look amazing. Who the hell checked out thighs? Well, if you saw these thighs, they were worth checking out. On The Spotlight, Cam had been an overgrown, almost goofy kid, playing a role. Doing what he was told. Now, on this tiny stage just feet away from us in this club, it was obvious he was all man. All smoking hot man.

When Cam said good night and thanked us all for coming, I was surprised how disappointed I felt. I’d been so lost in watching him play, not only his guitar, but teasing the fans in the front row by dipping down low, those delicious thighs spread wide and staying just out of their reach, his fingers brushing their fingertips, I got so lost in my own fantasies that I forgot all about time.

After the show, my skin was all tingly and strange. Cam had awakened something inside of me I hadn’t even known was sleeping. But at the same time, it felt wrong. I shouldn’t be thinking that way about any man, yet. My husband hadn’t been dead a year.

But I wasn’t dead.

This was safe, lusting after some musician who didn’t know I even existed. No harm could come of it. Cam had built his entire career off of people wanting to be him or be with him. It was a fantasy, nothing more.

The crowd had thinned out a bit after the show, but since this was an Ev production, we were closing down the place. Bree babbled about the show, the songs I didn’t know. “Cam’s record company didn’t renew his contract. Can you believe that shit? So maybe he’ll be playing here all the time.”

If life could even be that kind. “It is his bar, so that would make sense. Cheap labor.” I giggled at my own joke. Beer made me hilarious. I thought so anyway.

“I read online that he’s thinking of taking a new direction with his music. Collaborating with some new songwriters and stuff,” Bree continued. “Maybe we’ll get to hear it first.”

Ev had disappeared again, to the mysterious backstage area. She came back out, with a huge grin on her face.

And Cam following her.

Holy shit, she was bringing him over to us. Bree started hyperventilating and squeezing my arm. “Calm down,” I hissed. “You’re going to break a bone. I can’t act cool if my arm is dangling below my elbow.”

“How can you even joke at a time like this? Oh my God, here he is.” Bree let go of my arm, and blood resumed flowing semi normally. I didn’t know what to say to him.

“Oh my God, I love you.” Bree’s teeth could never catch all the thoughts that came rambling out of her brain, even if she wasn’t at least three beers deep.

Cam took it in stride. “I love you, too.” He took her hand in his, and brought it up to his mouth and kissed it. Bree gave an Oscar worthy performance and did not faint.

“And this is my sister, Daisy.” Ev brought his attention to me.

His eyes were blue.

The kind of blue that jumped out against his tan skin, almost perfectly matched with his shirt. Somehow, my hand landed in his, I only knew because the electricity that danced along my skin.

“Evey’s told me all about you.” Nobody called my sister Evey anymore. It surprised me, and I liked it. I missed her being Evey. One side of his mouth went up higher than the other when he smiled, and the skin around his eyes crinkled at the corners. I knew too much time had passed for me to reply, but my brain kept short circuiting every time I tried.

“Not everything.” Ev bumped into him playfully. “You know, Daisy’s been looking for a job—“

“No, I haven’t.” What the hell was she doing?

Her mouth dropped, and she shot me a look as if she couldn’t believe I could be so stupid. “Do you have a job?”

“No.”

“So, as I was saying, my sister could use a job.” Ev rocked back and forth on her heels and batted her eyelashes at Cam. “You still hiring here?”

She totally caught Cam off guard. Great. “I’m sure we could make room for you, Daisy.” His smile made me melt, and almost forget I wanted to kill Ev. I liked the way my name sounded coming out of his mouth. “Why don’t you come in tomorrow for an interview?”

“Okay.” I think I squeaked. Ev, satisfied with mortifying me, moved in closer to Cam and continued chatting with him. He kept looking over at me, probably trying to figure out if I’d make a good bar back or dishwasher.

And he still held my hand.

“I’ve got to go. It was nice talking to you ladies.” He bowed his head and squeezed my hand one last time before he let go. “Daisy, let’s say, one tomorrow?”

I nodded, then watched him walk away and join another group. I know you’re wondering how his ass looked. Amazing.

 

About the Author:

kristenpic 2

 

Kristen shares a birthday with Steven Tyler and Diana Ross. She spends each day striving to be half as fabulous as they are. She’s worn many hats, none as flattering as her cowboy hat: banker, retail manager, fledgling web designer, world’s worst cocktail waitress, panty slinger, now makeup artist and author. She loves sunshine, live music, the middle of nowhere, and finding new things to put in her house.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

 

 

 

What to expect from a developmental edit.

After months and months…and MONTHS of sweating over my drafts of THE EMBERS OF LIGHT, I finally got it to the point where it was ready for developmental editing. I think this is a step many indie-authors skip, thinking that beta-readers, critique partners and a proofreader or even better, a line-editor will suffice.

But let me tell you this. Unless you have a super-genius friend who KNOWS what they’re talking about, you NEED a developmental editor, otherwise known as a content editor.

I’ve had experience with two developmental editors or DEs, as I call them. The first DE I had for The Darkness of Light used a summary approach. I sent her the manuscript, she read it, and then sent me a three page detailed report, mostly written in point form, of areas I needed to fix, plot holes that needed filling, and certain word choices I needed to cut.

With her notes I was able to restructure my novel and make changes to certain scenes and characters.

The most recent DE I used for EMBERS was from Julie Hutchings (find her, she’s amazing!) It cost double the price, but it was worth every penny! The notes were line-by-line within the manuscript and included a summary. For me, this works better because I can follow her thought process as she reads. I can see what the reader sees and understand what a reader might need to stay interested in the book. Luckily for me, Julie also can’t seem to bypass typos. So in addition to line notes, she also gave me some grammar and punctuation corrections throughout the manuscript.

When I opened the document she’d returned to me, the first thing I saw was a sea of purple comment bubbles on the right side of my screen. But as I read through them, I saw how insightful and positive her comments were. Any critique or suggested change made perfect sense to me, and I feel like she really GOT the story (do you know how hard that is to find in an editor?). I had a few discussions with her on some of the changes, just to clarify what she thought would work best, and after sifting through all the grammar corrections, I got to work on the content.

I’m lucky this time, in that most of the changes needed are minor enough that I don’t have to do huge re-writes. Most of the comments/critiques involved character voice and the development of dynamics between certain characters.

I am SUPER happy with this edit and am working on the changes right now…well, right now I’m writing a blog but…you get what I mean. 🙂

Now, a lot of critique partners will also use this method of note taking, but remember, a DE is a person being PAID to give you an opinion. They know you expect them to be 100% honest about every single thing. THIS is why DEs are so important in the writing/publishing process. Not all of us can rely on beta-reader feedback alone.

What you should look for in a DE.

It’s important to choose a DE that works with other authors within your genre/category. For example, you don’t want a DE who is a YA author or only works with YA authors, to edit your erotic novel. Some editors are versatile, but if you pick the wrong DE and your vision doesn’t match theirs, you’re going to end up with a bunch of notes you don’t agree with and can’t use.

Pick someone who you believe will be honest, and when they are honest, don’t take offense. Editors spend a lot time going through your manuscript, and while you might not always agree with their suggestions, you don’t have to take their comments as a personal attack. Let the editor know your expectations prior to hiring them. Julie warned me that she would be really tough if she needed to be, and that was perfect because that was exactly what I was looking for.

Ask how they deliver their notes. Is it a summary? In document comments? How thorough are they going to be? You’d better ask what you’re getting for your money before you start shelling it out.

What comes next?

For the next couple of weeks I will work on the changes Julie suggested, and then do a final read-through of the entire manuscript. The next step (which is one no author should ever, ever, EVER skip) is the copy-editing/line-editing stage. Even though Julie made corrections for me, I need to have one final defense against typos, errors, bad sentences, and bad grammar. A line-editor is someone who goes through your manuscript and fixes ALL the mistakes. I think I learned a lot through my last edit for DARKNESS, so we’ll see if I have less errors this time around. 🙂

 

Book Signing, Fan Art, and Sequel Update!

Wowza! It’s been a crazy couple of weeks for me.

This past Saturday I had my very first in-store book signing. I was very nervous leading up to the day, imagining all sorts of horrors that I’m sure most authors experience before a signing–what if no one shows up? What if no one buys my book?

Luckily for me, I didn’t have to face those fears, because the singing went great. I sold some books, made some new friends, and got some experience under my belt.

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Another cool thing that happened last week was that I received a sketch of my book cover from Savannah Bolger, a very talented young artist from Ireland. Earlier in the week I posted on FB that I wish I had an artistic fan to sketch my cover, and the Universe must have heard me, because here it is! I’m so grateful that Savannah took the time to make this for me. I love it!

 

20140705_222055 20140705_222129Now for the update.

Ever since late May, The Darkness of Light has been steadily selling every single day and currently sits at #42 on Kindle’s top 100 for Mythology, and #82 on Kobo for Historical Fantasy. This is more than I could have ever hoped for my book, and the fact that it’s been out for almost 6 months and STILL continues to gain readership is amazing.

The sequel, The Embers of Light, is going to the developmental editor this week. I’m just adding some finishing touches to the end scenes, and will soon start revising based on the editor’s feedback. I’m terrified this book won’t live up to the first (I think all writer’s have that fear), but I’m hopeful that Malcolm’s story will fascinate readers as much as it has fascinated me.

That’s all for now!

 

Reader Questions Answered

A week ago I promised to answer reader questions on my blog. I’m a little late in getting it done, but now that I’m back to work, I’ve got some great questions from Facebook and Twitter to answer.

But first, here’s an update.

For the past month The Darkness of Light has been in the top 100 on the Amazon bestsellers list for Mythology, and for the very first time since its release it has broken into the Kobo top 100 for Historical Fantasy!!! I am still amazed that people want to read a book that I wrote and I am so grateful that four months after release new readers are finding my book. Thank you!

The Embers of Light is coming along. The release date is November 11th, and by the 30th of this month, the manuscript will be sent off for developmental editing. There is a definite sense of urgency to get this book out on time, and while I hate pressure, I love how it motivates me. The end is in sight!

Now for the questions…

How do you overcome writer’s block?

This is a hot topic. I’ve done about 30 interviews and have been asked this question about 28 times. Writer’s block is a terrifying prospect for writers and a source of fascination for non-writers, but let me tell you—it’s very real, and it sucks.

Back when you were in school, if you ever sat down to write an essay and spent hours staring at a flashing cursor, or typed paragraphs and then deleted them, then you know a little bit of what writer’s block feels like. It’s stagnancy, an inability to move forward, a complete block in your creativity.

In my experience with writer’s block, I’ve realized that when I can’t move forward, I need to take a step back. Instead of forcing myself to write (usually frustrating myself further), I pick up a book and read. The best way to find inspiration to write is in books. And once the pressure to write is lifted, I am more open to ideas that seem to come out of nowhere.

Another technique I use is pen to paper writing. I have a plotting notebook that is never far from reach. When I’m stuck on what to write, I start scribbling notes and ideas, plot points that may or may not work, and sometimes I even start writing the story by hand.

It’s always best to embrace writer’s block than fight it.

Why didn’t you use a pseudonym (pen name) for your book?

Back in the day when I used to write more …ehem…salacious material, I wrote under the pen name Dahlia Knight. I liked the freedom the pen name gave me. I could become someone else and write whatever I wanted without feeling limited by the fear of judgment.

When I wrote The Darkness of Light, I’d considered using a pen name or even just my initials, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that this particular novel needed my real name on the front. I don’t fear the content, I don’t have a job that requires me to mask my author persona, and I don’t care anymore if anyone judges the novel or me. I am very proud of my novel and I am brave enough now to put my name on it. I am not saying that authors who use pen names are hiding. Everyone has their reasons. 🙂

What is the impact of digital vs. print on you as an author? Clearly there is a huge price difference between the two.

I sell way, way, WAY more ebook copies of The Darkness of Light than I do paperback. The ratio is about 10-1, I’d say. The ebook is only $2.99 whereas the paperback is $11.12-$13.75, so it’s not hard to see why this happens.

As far as the impact goes, there really isn’t any. I make the same royalty amount on both ebook and paperback versions. While there are copies of my book sitting on bookstore shelves, I don’t rely on those sales to make money. Instead, I spend all of my promotional efforts on selling ebooks. If the $2.99 price tag is enough to grab someone’s attention and they decide to buy the paperback instead, that’s great. But if they choose the ebook, that works just as well.

Do you think one day we will have no hardcopy books? Limited number of libraries?

This is a scary thought. Just a quick google search for this kind of question will bring up pages and pages of debates and theories on the fate of big publishing and the extinction of libraries.

I will always want and NEED printed books. They are my preferred method of reading.

The ebook surge has revolutionized the publishing industry. And while many bookstores are suffering (even Barnes&Noble seem to be in a bit of trouble), I don’t think hardcopy books will die out completely. Eventually, I think the big publishers will start to use the more economical “Print on Demand” platform that dominates the indie-author world. For example, if you order my book, that book is then printed specifically for you at one of the many print distributors around the world. There are no warehouses with boxes of my book collecting dust. The buyer pays for the product and the product is then produced. I think as the print on demand option becomes more popular, the quality of printing will improve, and hardcopy readers, like me, will continue on as usual.

With regard to libraries, as the methods of reading change, libraries are starting to adapt, loaning out ebook copies in addition to hardcopy books. I’m not sure about the fate of brick and mortar libraries, but I hope they stick around.

 

Thank you to those who asked questions. I’ll be sure to do posts like this more often. If you have a specific question you’d like to ask, find me on my facebook page http://www.facebook.com/thediachronicles, and I’ll add your question to the next blog.

 

 

 

 

 

Cover Reveal for Valentina Cano’s THE ROSE MASTER!

Hello friends. I’ve got a cover reveal for you today that has me really excited. For my non-writer friends, you may wonder why we do these things? Well, first, it’s a VERY exciting day when an author finally gets to showcase their cover, and usually other writers help spread the word–we’re a very supportive bunch, us writers. Second, it gives the book more exposure. I am not a “book blogger” per se, but I do like to feature books that I think are amazing and books I’m excited to read.

This particular novel was pitched to me as Jane Eyre meets Beauty and the Beast, and if you know me at all, you’ll know that I’ve read Jane Eyre probably 1000 times, and watched every single film adaptation known to man. And Beauty and the Beast…come on, that’s just a given, right?

So needless to say, I am VERY excited for this book and I think the cover is simply gorgeous.

The Rose Master Cover Reveal

The day Anne Tinning turns seventeen, birds fall from the sky. But that’s hardly the most upsetting news. She’s being dismissed from the home she’s served at since she was a child, and shipped off to become the newly hired parlor maid for a place she’s never heard of. And when she sees the run-down, isolated house, she instantly knows why:
There’s something wrong with Rosewood Manor.
Staffed with only three other servants, all gripped by icy silence and inexplicable bruises, and inhabited by a young master who is as cold as the place itself, the house is shrouded in neglect and thick with fear. Her questions are met with hushed whispers, and she soon finds herself alone in the empty halls, left to tidy and clean rooms no one visits.
As the feeling of being watched grows, she begins to realize there is something else in the house with them–some creature that stalks the frozen halls and claws at her door. A creature that seems intent on harming her.
When a fire leaves Anne trapped in the manor with its Master, she finally demands to know why. But as she forces the truth about what haunts the grounds from Lord Grey, she learns secrets she isn’t prepared for. The creature is very real, and she’s the only one who can help him stop it. 
Now, Anne must either risk her life for the young man she’s grown to admire, or abandon her post while she still can.

Add to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21566652-the-rose-master?ac=1

Valentina Cano pic

Valentina Cano is a student of classical singing who spends whatever free time she has either reading or writing. She also watches over a veritable army of pets, including her five, very spoiled, snakes. Her works have appeared in numerous publications and her poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Web. She lives in Miami, Florida.
Valentina on Twitter: @valca85

 

 

 

COVER REVEAL FOR THE EMBERS OF LIGHT!

We have a release day! On November 11th, 2014, The Embers of Light, the 2nd installment in The Dia Chronicles will be available.

Make sure to add it to Goodreads – (The Embers of Light)

Check back for ARC giveaways in the coming months.

Now, without further ado, I give you the gorgeous cover designed by the amazing dark artist, Nathalia Suellen.

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The descendants of the ancient gods think they’ve found peace, but the time has come when new magic and ancient powers will collide…

Stripped of his Dia powers and left to rot, Malcolm is a prisoner of Valenia—a sentence he finds worse than death. His thoughts of revenge are the only thing keeping him sane, but when he finally manages to escape, Malcolm discovers that living as a mortal is more dangerous than he ever imagined. After stealing from the wrong man, Malcolm becomes a captive once more, only this time his punishment is one that he won’t soon forget. His only hope of survival is Seren, an enigmatic young girl with golden eyes and a malevolence to match his own.

When he’s led to Mara and Corbin, the two responsible for his fall from grace, their new faction of Dia is in chaos, infiltrated by an ancient power thought to have been banished forever. This only fuels Malcolm’s ruthless ambitions, but he soon realizes that he too is under attack, a pawn in a centuries old game of power and greed. As new battle lines are drawn, Malcolm finds himself in uncharted waters, forced to choose between helping those he’s vowed to destroy or give in to his lingering desire to settle the score.

Debts will be paid, lives will be lost, and no Dia will ever be the same.

Release Day! ~ Blackfin Sky by Kat Ellis

HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY TO BLACKFIN SKY!

Today is the UK release of Kat Ellis’s Blackfin Sky and let me tell you, I’ve been waiting for this book FOREVER! While today is just the UK release (US release is in September), you can still get a paperback copy (UK version) through Amazon UK.

After a lot of begging on my part, Kat was kind enough to send me an ARC of the US version, which I’ve just started reading, and it’s everything I knew it would be. She had me hooked at the very first chapter with her gorgeous writing. I will be sure to post a review the moment I’m done. 🙂

Be sure to add this one to your TBR list, folks. I promise, you won’t be disappointed.

Blackfin18952405When Sky falls from Blackfin Pier and drowns on her sixteenth birthday, the whole town goes into mourning – until she shows up three months later like nothing happened.

Unravelling the mystery of those missing months takes Sky to the burned-out circus in the woods, where whispers of murder and kidnapping begin to reveal the town’s secrets. But Sky’s not the only one digging up the past – the old mime from the circus knows what happened to her, and he has more than one reason for keeping quiet about it.

Amazon UK

Goodreads

 

Spotlight and Review ~ FATAL by T.A Brock

Fatal_FRONT coverFirst love can be brutal. Sometimes it can be Fatal. Grayson Patch hasn’t been human since he was seventeen years old…and that was nineteen years ago. When he rose from the dead, he had no memory of his former life. Grayson desperately wants to recapture his lost humanity, and he’s been told that there is one person in this world who can save him from his current fate before he begins to decompose. One person whose life must be sacrificed for his. Cori Abbott has a million things to worry about. She’s the new girl in a school that’s a fraction of the size of her old one. Her antisocial tendencies are crippling her ability to make new friends. And then there’s the recent, sudden death of her father, the only man who ever understood her. The last thing Cori wants is the attention of a strange, withdrawn, and consistently angry guy who seems to hate her for no apparent reason. A guy she can’t stop thinking about. Will Cori break through Grayson’s cold exterior and find the human within, the boy who can love and understand her like no other? Will Grayson sacrifice Cori to rid himself of his undead curse, even if it means losing her forever?

Review

5 Stars For FATAL!

There are many YA books on my shelf that I’ve started and never finished (I don’t hate YA, it’s just hard to find ones that capture my attention). This book is not one of them. Avid readers know how rare it is to come across a book that catches you completely off guard, and you will do anything, including ignoring all else, to finish it. THIS is THAT book.

I’m a big fan of zombie shows and movies, but I’ve never actually read a book about zombies (I know, right). I went into this read with an open mind and was pleasantly surprised to find a truly unique approach to zombie lore. T.A. Brock has created zombies in such a way that they’re actually sexy. Who knew? They walk, they talk, they think, and, as it turns out, they love.

Grayson and Cori have a star-crossed romance. At first, it seems that they’re not meant to be. In order for one to live (or live again) the other must die. And when they fall in love, one of them will have to make a terrible choice.

Cori is a lost soul in a strange land, and when she meets Grayson, who also seems a little out of place, her curiosity moves her to connect with him, even if he wants nothing to do with her…or so it seems.

While Grayson comes off as a brooding jerk, at first, it soon becomes clear that he is motivated by an existence he loathes and a decision he doesn’t want to make. But is it really his decision to make?

I love the zombies in this book. This novel will keep you on the edge of your seat and just when you think you’ve got it figured out, the author throws in another twist. T.A. Brock’s writing style is so fluid that you get completely lost in the story. I also appreciate that it was written in 3rd person, which I prefer.

The story wrapped up just enough to satisfy me, but left an opening for the story to continue. I am eager to see what this author does with the rest of the series. It’s definitely one I’ll be recommending to others.

Get Your Copy Now

Amazon  B&N  Goodreads

 

 

I want to thank my 11th grade guidance counselor for telling me I couldn’t…

This post was originally my guest post over on The Dragon Blog. Now that the giveaway is over, I thought I’d share it with my readers and followers.

 

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When I was in grade 11 (because that’s how we say it in Canada), the guidance counselors had every student in my year take a career profile test. I remember it being a long drawn out test that took most of my spare period to complete. I answered all the multiple choice questions, some of which seemed completely pointless, in order to find out what my destiny would be.

When I was finished, the computer spat out five career options that fit my profile. They were: Historian, Librarian, College Professor, Archives Technician, and Writer.

I just about jumped out of my seat when I read the amazing career options I had before me. How exciting! While a little Ask Jeeves search (this was the early 2000’s, people) explained what an archives technician was, I quickly became excited about that as well.

When I sat down in front of the guidance/career counselor, who shall remain nameless (mainly because I don’t remember her name), I expected her to pull out college booklets and go over course listings with me.

Instead, she looked at my test results and frowned. Then she proceeded to tell me that there aren’t many jobs in those fields, competition for those jobs is tough, and I’d be wasting my time if I tailored my education around those career goals.

I was completely deflated and tried to argue that, if I wanted something bad enough, wasn’t anything possible?

She didn’t agree with me. However; she did TRY to stick to my career profile by suggesting I study journalism. But that area of writing never interested me. I wanted to write fiction, I wanted to study history, I wanted to live with books, I wanted to organize information, and I wanted to teach people about the things I knew!

So what ended up happening after high school? I didn’t go to college. Why would I want to go into debt to study a subject I had no interest in?

It seems like a sad story, a misguided teen gone wrong. But guess what, Guidance Counselor Lady? Without even trying, without even realizing I was doing it, I became all of those things.

I AM a Historian – 7 years out of high school I finally realized that your advice was ridiculous, and I went back to school… to University, actually. I studied English literature and History, with an emphasis on early Western Civilizations. In case you weren’t aware, Guidance Counselor, my novel is set in 6th century Britain. I have spent years studying ancient cultures including Egyptian, Greek, Roman, and British civilizations. While I may not have a PhD in history (and I very well might some day), I’d say I’m more of a historian than you ever thought I’d be.

I AM a Librarian – You should see my book collection. I have shelves filled with books in every room. They aren’t organized by the Dewey Decimal System, but ask me to find any particular one, and I know exactly where it is. I’ll even lend you one if you ask nicely.

I AM a college professor…sort of. I teach pre-GED Reading and English to adult students who fell through the cracks (perhaps because of people like you). I help these students learn about Shakespeare, Edgar Allan Poe, and I help them prepare to take a test that will get them into college, get job promotions, and help them realize that they can do ANYTHING they want in life.

I AM an Archives Technician. While I don’t work in a museum or any type of records management position, I spend a lot of my day finding resources for others, and I even created the entire South Carolina resource directory for the South Carolina Immigrant Victim Network. It took me two years to find all the services an immigrant victim might need, and I can assure you, the people at SCIVN are VERY glad I was so good at the job.

And last, but certainly not least…

I AM a Writer—a published one at that—with great reviews, a pretty decent sales record, and several months on the Amazon bestsellers list. Also, did you happen to see the full page spread on me in our hometown newspaper?

I sure hope you did. And I hope you remember telling me I couldn’t do any of these things. As it turns out, guidance counselors don’t control destiny. Who would have thought?

Anne Rice’s View on Negative Reviews & What Writers Need to Consider.

In a recent interview with international bestselling author Anne Rice, Nola Cancel asked Ms. Rice about negative reviews and their impact on indie-authors.

Ms. Rice’s response…

Indie authors today need to be aware of what they’re facing. The internet has changed reviewing. A person ten years ago might have said, “I enjoyed the book, but not all that much. I don’t know why. But I’ll try the author again if he writes another. “Today that person goes on line and says, “I am giving this book one star because I feel plotting and characterization was poor, and I did not like the characters, I felt the heroine was a ‘Mary Sue’ and I can’t stand that kind of character, and there was too much description, and I found a typo on page 263 etc.” Does this help the author? Probably not at all. Does it help other customers? Very likely no, because for all its “details,” it’s entirely subjective and not particularly expressive of why the reader didn’t have a good time with the book. So indie authors have to keep a cool head with the new internet hobbyist criticism. Just realize that the book didn’t do what you wanted it to do for that reader, and move on.

This answer has given me an entirely new perspective on negative reviews. Any author who’s had one knows how frustrating (and disheartening) a negative review can be. We read the 1 and 2 star reviews and cringe, want to cry, and feel like the reviewer is attacking us personally.

But the truth is, reviews now-a-days are completely subjective. Most of the negative reviews I read online, when broken down to basics, simply say that the book wasn’t their taste. It makes perfect sense, especially when a certain book has an abundance of rave reviews amidst the few negative ones.

Just because I hated Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises doesn’t mean it’s a bad book. The literary world says it’s a classic! But it simply wasn’t for me.

I’m going to remember this the next time I read or receive a bad review. Is the reviewer really saying the book is terrible, are they saying I have no talent, or are they simply stating that the book wasn’t for them?

I’ll also have to remember this the next time I review a book. I never really write negative reviews, but if I don’t like a particular book, I’ll make sure to ask myself why I didn’t like it, before throwing my subjective two cents out there.