Book Review: The Experimental Notebook of C.S. Boyack II

Reading is not something I am able to do when I’m writing, or when I have personal family matters if front of me, like babysitting three kids (unless I’m reading to them).

I haven’t been able to sit down and read a good book since September.

One book I recently finished up was supposed to be  read and reviewed before Halloween and it just didn’t happen. Not because I wasn’t enjoying the book, but, well, life.

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Review:

C.S. Boyack has a brilliant mind. I love his writing on his blog and in his books. The Experimental Notebook II is exactly what it claims to be, an experimental notebook. It is fascinating to see how his mind works and how the words come together in this little book of short stories. There are fifteen. Some are barely a page and others are several pages. I liked the longer ones best. I thought several of the stories needed to be expounded upon. But these are experiments that we just might get lucky enough to see developed into full books, or see some of the elements introduced into new works.

There is something in here for everybody, most pieces have a paranormal element, from the behaviors of a flock of magpies, to a couple mysteries that are solved in a most unique manner, to a sci-fi adventure to alien worlds. Although there are a couple of Halloweenish-type scary stories, this is a book that can be enjoyed any time.

It was exactly the sort of book I needed to grab a short read here and there through the Holidays.

I’ve read C.S. Boyack’s books and am a huge fan. He also has a spokesperson for his blog/books, Lisa Burton, who is a delight. I urge you to give him a follow at “Entertaining Stories”. I promise you will be entertained. He’s also a huge supporter of other authors…and an all around friendly guy.

4-Stars

Purchase Link

Blog

The author:

image9I was born in a town called Elko, Nevada. I like to tell everyone I was born in a small town in the 1940s. I’m not quite that old, but Elko has always been a little behind the times. This gives me a unique perspective of earlier times, and other ways of getting by. Some of this bleeds through into my fiction.

I moved to Idaho right after the turn of the century, and never looked back. My writing career was born here, with access to other writers and critique groups I jumped in with both feet.

I like to write about things that have something unusual. My works are in the realm of science fiction, paranormal, and fantasy. The goal is to entertain you for a few hours. I hope you enjoy the ride.

Craig

Book Review: A Thousand Yesteryears by Mae Clair

I read this book a while back and thought I had posted the review already, but must have written it in my head, as I couldn’t find it anywhere. It sucks getting old. (That’s what I like to blame all my blunders on.)

Mae Clair knows mystery and paranormal and this book was a great blend of the two!

Really glad this book is the first in a series, as I had a hard time letting go at the end. Eva Parrish returns to her hometown to settle her Aunt Rosie’s estate. A tragedy occurred there when she was a pre-teen and her father and best friend perished, but there is so much more to this story. This town holds secrets galore. What is Mothman? Is he evil, or is he good?  Is he even real? This is not a one murder story, and unraveling the connections was loads of fun.

I came from a small town where everybody knew everybody’s business and this book captures the essence of small town life with excellence. Eva reunites with a crush and that relationship develops throughout the course of the story. Their whole experience is tainted by the supernatural and I loved the way the author blended mystery and paranormal.

As a former psych nurse, I have to comment on the way mental illness was managed in this book. Ryan and Caden’s mom is afflicted…or is she? So many times what we regard as an unnatural feature in the way that the mind and spirit works is actually more natural than we realize. Given the mom’s grief reaction, the book was most believable and the author certainly did her research, or has had experience with those who have been affected by such trauma. I was most impressed with how this was handled.

Looking forward to reading more from Mae Clair. 5 Stars*****

You can click the pic to buy the book 🙂

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She Has Arisen

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My book sale for the month is about to fall off my Kindle Reports page. Yes, that’s right, sale, not sales. I’m surprised I sold one this month. I’ve done absolutely nothing in the way of promotions for several months now.

One reason is that I have taken on a number of family related responsibilities in the past several months. There’s a common misconception that retired people have nothing to do with their time, and need other people to give them things to do in order to make them feel useful. Another reason is that I’m a pushover for needy people.

And then, in a successful effort at healthier living, I’m making the time to walk three to five miles a day and I’ve been driving around four counties sourcing farm grown/raised foods and trying to stay out of the middle aisles at the supermarket. Now that I’m signed on with a collective, that should get easier.

Other excuses aside, I’ve also been writing and editing. I’m not the multi-tasker I was back in my nursing days. But I’ve made lots of progress. I’m going over the final, fully edited draft of “Naked Alliances”. It’s down to choosing a cover and getting the book formatted. I’m leaning toward Kindle Select with this one. I only sold hundreds of copies of my Red Clay and Roses on Amazon, usually during ninety-nine cent promos. Sales on other retail platforms really haven’t worked out for me, but that could be due to the genre/nature of the book. I used Facebook and FB through ENT for most of those sales. It’s no wonder that my audience is 35+ year old women and that’s also the majority of people who use FB. I’ve also had some success with blog interviews.

Which brings me to my next point: I had planned to have at least three books in this series set to go before publishing the first but, since it has taken nearly two years to get this one as polished as I wanted it to be, I’m concerned that four, or more, years just might be too long to wait. I’ve already lost a lot of momentum on Naked Alliances. I feel it. That’s not good.

I have the second book in the series roughed out and the third outlined. (sort of) So I am expecting them to be a bit less complicated to execute. But even a few years will crush any momentum I have left. I’m thinking book one’s reception might have a great influence on the production of my works-in-progress.

And then, there’s “The Conduit”, a totally unrelated paranormal crime novel. It won’t have the comedic undertones that “The Naked Eye Series” does. I’m still tossing around the idea of pen names, but I’m hearing that all books should remain on one Author Central page. Elmore Leonard’s great westerns are alongside his unforgettable crime novels, and the covers don’t always indicate the genre. However, many authors do have all their books: romance, paranormal, fantasy under one author name and do quite well, differentiating covers for separate genre. And, surely people will read the blurb before buying the book. And then, there’s another historical novel that’s been shelved for a bit while I get my head together on that one.

Back to “Naked Alliances”, I was hoping to have it published before Christmas, but it’s not looking like that’s going to happen. I’ll be looking for a cover artist soon. I’m open to doing interviews to get if off the ground. I have a list of bloggers who do interviews, but please let me know if you do interviews and would like to know more about me or the book/series.

I’ve fallen in love with Brandi. She’s developed into my muse, encouraging me to move along with her brassy cynicism. The chemistry between Richard Noggin, P.I. and Brandi is fun to write and fun to read.

BTW, I pulled back from doing book reviews on my blog until Amazon settles down a bit. It bothers me that they would pull reviews from authors who know other authors. I hardly think that’s fair, given that all authors are readers, and thus, customers. You may have noticed that I changed my review name on Amazon to a more anonymous name. I had several reasons for doing that. I may change it back, but remain undecided. I’ve always purchased the books I read, mainly as a way of offering additional support to the author. It’s funny to me, considering the scope of Facebook, that they might possibly be using FB as a way to see who “knows” who. There’s not a book that I have read in the past five years that I didn’t “like” the author’s FB page, or at least check them out. I’m “friends” with many indie authors, but also some well renowned traditional authors, as well, and have exchanged comments and emails with many of them, establishing a more personal relationship over time.

If you’ve stayed with me through this lengthy post, I’d love to hear from you. Though I find time to read some blogs and comment when possible. I’ve deeply missed the interactions on this blog. I’ve been isolated. I’m feeling as if I have been on a long journey from home and just returned.

To recap: I’m looking for a cover artist, someone to help with formatting, and opportunities for interviews. I won’t be joining any reciprocal book review clubs due to Amazon’s current policies. I may start posting book reviews along with some interviews that I’ll be doing later this year or next year.

Ideas? Thoughts? Suggestions?

Blogging Promotions and My Book Reviews

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Somebody recently asked me if I have read all of the other author’s work that I promote on my blog. It is a question that I am asked frequently.

Most often I have, but sometimes I have not. So why would I promote them?

If I am doing a book review, then I have read that book and liked enough about it to say so and recommend it. I may not have loved it, but I liked it. I can usually find nice things to say about the books I have read, after all I did choose them to read! I do book reviews at liberty and do not take requests.

I will not post book reviews for works that I could not read, for whatever reason, or works I did not like. I may post that review on Amazon &/or Goodreads, but not on my blog if it is an author not known to me. I will usually send the author a personal email if it is an author known to me. I try to keep the blog positive.

I do promotional posts and reblog indie authors or traditionally published authors I have met through blogging. Occasionally, I will post on a really good book I have read that is written by a non-blogger author, but is so very interesting to me that I think my readers may also be interested.

Books I have not read will sometimes be promoted because I feel that we all need to help each other out. So I am not really recommending them as books I know, but as books you might like to try. They may not be a genre that I am personally interested in, but having such a diverse readership, I know someone else out there might thoroughly enjoy the read. It is a way to help readers find books.

Blogging is a way to reach other people and I feel as bloggers interested in writing books we can all pass on information about books that others might find useful or interesting, a cover reveal, a blog tour, a debut, a continuation of a series, a sale. These are all ways we can be helpful and share the word.

I would spend my whole time blogging books for others if I tried to reblog everything, so I start with people who have engaged me on this blog or whom I have met on theirs. I may not pick up on everything.

I may not have read the works, it may not be your cup of tea (or mine either)…and that’s okay.

We’re all in this social media experience together.

Share the love.

Sunday Synopsis

This past week:

  • Ten more books delivered to bookstores in tornado weather. Already had one bookstore notify me that they sold two copies and would like two more. I am glad, but with the price of gas and dealing with traffic, this whole self-distributor thing sucks. Two books at a time and they won’t buy more in bulk. (One store buys four.)
  • Mailed off Goodreads Giveaway copies to United Kingdom and Canada…$72.60 to send registered so I can track both for delivery. That’s a lot of money to simply give away. Plus the Amazon Gift Certificates…geez…there went all the promo money earned. Do you ever really do more than break even?
  • Decided writing a book is more fun than marketing or selling/distributing books.
  • Cleaned house. Sprayed weeds. Still don’t have pool chemicals balanced.
  • About the tweets. Learned to check analytic stats.  I thought the tweets were selling books, but NOT ONE of my book tweets has been clicked through via the URL. I guess they are selling WOM from others who bought through promo and such. Of course, that has almost come to halt. Selling one or two every day or two.
  • Also, about tweeting: It says in my profile that I am a supporter of liberal causes. What do people think that means? They follow me, then, on those days when I mention anything about abortion, prochoice, or gay rights…on those days…I get unfollowed. As many as 4-10 unfollows in one day. Granted, 4-6 will follow on those days. I am also followed by a lot of bail bondsmen. Not sure what that means. People are weird.
  • I participated in my first Meal Train. That was fun. Young lady in a third floor apartment that had a C-section. Beautiful baby girl.
  • Had grandkids and daughter over for a day. My grandson hates me. Screams almost every time I touch him, unless his mom is right there. Major separation anxiety!
Grandson looks like his mother where his sister looks like her father. Yes, those are dog toys he is playing with. he refuses to play with baby toys and likes to harass the dogs. He had been crawling around on the back porch in his pJs and would not let me finish dressing him.

Grandson looks like his mother where his sister looks like her father. Yes, those are dog toys he is playing with. He refuses to play with baby toys and likes to harass the dogs. He had been crawling around on the back porch in his PJs and would not let me finish dressing him.

This week:

  • It took me from April 2012 through July 2012 to write the first draft of Red Clay and Roses. I was totally dedicated to it and did not have a blog or any marketing going on. I was not working at all outside the home. I don’t watch TV or much of anything else…like playing games. I have got to get focused on my writing if I want to produce anything else.
  • Next point: I have a post that I am planning for tomorrow…beyond that; I am seriously contemplating an extended social media hiatus. A few weeks without blogging unless something just must be put out there. Occasionally reading when I need a break from writing. No every day comments…just lurking around from time to time. I know it sounds selfish. You guys are my world. I don’t work outside the home much, but I have some wellness screenings to do around the end of March. I consider YOU my coworkers and will miss you sorely. I hope you will all be here when I get back. I am afraid if I don’t commit to my writing much deeper than I have…this project will take much longer than I hoped. I wish I was as good of a multi-tasker as I was when I was nursing full-time, but I am not. I want to get done with this first draft and I am terribly distracted.
  • I will still do any promo pieces I am planning.
  • I have forty books on my reader, and 20 more that I want to purchase. I want to get more reading done, so I will post a book review from time to time.
  • I have a major art fair coming up in April. I have got to finish my jewelry pieces.
  • Also, with the time change…my gardening and yard work demand so much attention…okay, so much for excuses.
  • It is too bad that social media is such a time drain. After a few weeks, I will revisit my writing progress, and see how much social media I can resume. I don’t have a clue how you guys can turn out book after book, work full time jobs, manage a family and all at the same time. I think you are amazing and I applaud you! I am far from lazy. I stay immensely busy. I have to blame it on old age creeping up on me. My brain does not hold or process information like it once did.
  • Now that I have told you that I plan to abandon you, may I ask if I can call on you from time to time? I am certain that I will need to.

Why do I feel like we’re breaking up?  I still love you!

Books

I have added links on my novel page to purchasing sources for Red Clay and Roses: a novel by S.K. Nicholls. I will also be adding reviews as they are published. I love reading and writing. This was my first novel and I already have ideas for two or three more and one is currently in the works. I like to have my literary works critiqued and reviewed and I enjoy critiquing and reviewing the literary works of others. I like a variety of books and try not to stay in just one genre. For that reason I have joined a book club. I enjoy seeing different styles of writing. I always learn from the critiques and discussions by members of the book club. I would recommend joining a book club to anyone who loves reading or writing. As I read new books, I will be posting book reviews. Happy reading! Happy writing!