Indie Publishing

Recent Reviews: Rogues and Summer Solstice

Introduction

Today, instead of an interview, I’m sharing reviews of some of my recent reads. Reviews are part of my goals for the year so I’m sharing some after I post ratings and reaction online. These will explain more of my thoughts about books than in shorter versions posted on Amazon, Goodreads, etc.

Rogues CoverRogues

One of the books I’ve recently read was an anthology entitled, Rogues, which is edited by George R. R. Martin and features short stories by a number of top authors. An anthology is different from a novel to review since there are so many different stories and authors. As such some stories may be appealing and others less so based on personal preference so I’ll stay away from too much commentary on individual stories.

The book was well edited and the writing was well done. Again, some stories had less appeal to me than others and I would have liked to see the whole book dedicated to fantasy so be aware that some stories have real world settings sans fantasy. The theme of rogues was quite interesting and covered a wide variety of questionable characters, some likable and some down-right despicable but I found the scope of rogues intriguing.

However, I must comment that I was disappointed with Martin’s fiction contribution. His story was more of a narrative companion to his own series. But the piece was just a narrative rather than a story with characterization so it lacked appeal to me though it explained some of the history of Westeros and the Seven Kingdoms. Martin’s name is prominent on the book so the reader expects a little something more than a distantly portrayed short fiction that lent little to the anthology’s theme. I gave it four stars based on the work of other writers but it could have been five if Martin had contributed better content.

Summer Solstice CoverSummer Solstice

Next we turn from an anthology of experienced writers to a YA novel by a first-time author. I read Summer Solstice by K. K. Allen who is a fellow member of Rave Reviews Book Club where I’m a VIP member. With that in mind it’s easy to write a favorable review for a fellow member but as a club we are intent on reviewing with promoting quality.

Here’s the review I posted on Amazon and Goodreads with a four star rating:

This is a YA paranormal/urban fantasy novel by a first-time author about which begins with a teenager Katrina Summer, grieving over the death of her mother. She moves in with her grandmother whom she doesn’t know all the while having strange dreams and occurrences which she thinks are caused by grief. But there are secrets and answers waiting to be discovered by Katrina. It’s a mixture of magic and mystery for a solid first effort by author K. K. Allen. I would love to read her next novel to find out what happens and how the author is growing with her writing craft.

Now for a little clarification on the review. In rating the novel I rounded up from 3.5 stars which is how the book struck me upon finishing (however, I was unable to rate as precisely as I would like). The beginning was a little slow but still intriguing and the story picked up with a series of increasingly mysterious events for Katrina Summer.

One of the points that struck me (and this may just be my own personal preference) was the style with which the novel was written. The first person, present tense was a bit awkward and made me feel like the story was backpedaling while going downhill. Again, this is from a first-time author so I took this in stride but did find that I was willing to continue turning pages. I also feel that Ms. Allen exhibits ability that will only improve with each book and as such I’m interested to see both what happens with Katrina Summer and how the author’s writing craft develops.

cover1seppedAnnwyn CoverCurrent Reads

I’m currently reading the following books for which the authors were interviewed during the last few months on this site:

Annwyn’s Blood by Michael Eging & Steve Arnold

The Blade Heir by Daniel Adorno

I’ll share my thoughts on these books once completed in the near future. Look for more author interviews in coming weeks as well.

 

What books have you read recently and did you like them? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. I’d also love to connect with you over social media so check my Contact page for that information. See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email. I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. New followers can download The Black Bag via free coupon today! Also, the cover of my book, The Bow of Destiny, was revealed recently so take a look.

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Book Cover Green Top & Bottom Cover - Copy

Start Your Author Platform Pt. 1

Vision Road Sign with dramatic blue sky and clouds.I’ve recently had a friend begin building a writing platform so I’ve handed out some advice and suggestions. I’ve written about some of my work over the last year in building my own platform so I thought I’d start a how-to/advice series. Though I’m far from being expert, I do have some tidbits that may prove useful to aspiring authors. Back in December, I wrote a series reviewing my year as an author so I’ll build on those posts with some specifics about what I’ve done and why as well as what I’ve learned.

So, for starters, here’s what an author is facing when building a writing platform. You’ll need the following:

  • HammerA registered domain – it’s best to have a domain named for you as an author. This is important for branding your content. This branding associates your name with what you write. This is how people find you to learn more about what you write. Don’t name your domain something outlandish as this will not add anything to your brand and could take away from it – think professional. You can register a domain any number of ways but usually you can pay for it when you setup your hosting.
  • A website and/or blog – Next you’ll need a website. Depending on how your hosted there will be different tools available. If you’re on a budget try using free hosting with something like WordPress. You can create a simple design for your site. It may be important to blog as well so think in those terms as you design your site. Running a blog can be important to attracting readers who begin to trust your writing.
  • An email address using your registered domain – your email address should be easily associated with you as a writer so use a name that makes since. Also, if you are on a tight budget you can have your email hosted over Google at minimal cost. I chose to pay monthly in case I move to a full-fledged hosting service. This way I’m out of Google easily without having paid ahead and wasting money.
  • Various social media accounts using your author email – that email address now becomes important since you will likely setup all your social media channels with it. But with what social media should you start? Don’t overdo it with too many. Twitter is very important. For authors it is also important to have a Goodreads presence. Beyond that, you will emphasize your channels based on your genre.

Over the coming weeks, I’ll dig deeper into the nuts and bolts of how I approached these various platform needs. But suffice it so say at this point that I’ve built what I have to this point on a low-cost budget. I intend to grow what I have this year but that depends on my available funds but I’ve made the whole writing prospect self-based rather than one that I pour lots of money into on the front-end.

As you can see there are many aspects to a writing platform project. There’s a lot to do but if you take it one step at a time you’ll progress much faster than you think. Next week, I’ll start with the foundation you’ll need for your writing platform. The main takeaway for today is this: be willing to start, stay on a budget and grow into a bigger platform as you go. This will remain an ongoing project for me and it probably will for you as well.

Here are some related links from previous posts that relate to some of this topic and may help you think in terms of getting started:

Under ConstructionA New Author’s Year in Review Pt. 1

A New Author’s Year in Review Pt. 2

A New Author’s Year in Review Pt. 3

A New Author’s Year in Review Pt. 4

A New Author’s Year in Review Pt. 5

4 Free Photo Sites – More Tips for the Fund Challenged Writer

4 Platform Tips for the Fund Challenged Writer

12 Things I Learned About Blogging In 2014

I Heart Writing: Why You Need To Commit

Book Cover Green Top & Bottom Cover - CopyWhat questions do you have about starting your writing platform? What tips can you offer from building your writing platform? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. I’d also love to connect with you over social media so check my Contact page for that information. See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email. I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. New followers can download The Black Bag via free coupon today! Also, the cover of my book, The Bow of Destiny, was revealed recently so take a look.

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Scrivener & Revision Strategies For Projects

Scrivener is a powerful writing tool. I write about it weekly with tips and usage ideas. To read more of my posts click the Scrivener tag or category at the end of the page.

Scrivener LogoI received my edited manuscript back from my editor a few weeks ago. I’ve been working on the suggested structural changes. But one of the immediate questions I had was how to incorporate this back into my Scrivener project.

Back in January, I wrote about how to compile a manuscript. My purpose in compiling at the time was for my editor and I successfully turned a Word document over to her. But this leads to a slight problem. If the changes are in Word how do I get the content back into Scrivener?

Several options presented themselves when I considered the problem:

1. Create a whole new project and import the edited version into Scrivener.

2. Copy content back into the project one chapter at a time.

3. Within the project, create a whole new folder and import the new revision into it.

Scriv Import

I’m using the third option. It keeps the book in one project and allows me to refer to the previous revision easily. I could also import one chapter at a time if I need to do break my changes up more.

Fortunately, Scrivener allows choosing what to include/exclude while compiling so I can include only the newest revision. This is a simple process which is covered in my post about compiling.

Scrive Compile Select

Here’s a poll so you can choose your best choice:

What are your thoughts on these choices? How would you address importing edited content for a new revision? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. I’d also love to connect with you over social media so check my blackbag-imgContact page for that information. See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email. I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. New followers can download The Black Bag via free coupon today! Also, the cover of my book, The Bow of Destiny, was revealed recently so take a look.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Just as a note: I am not affiliated with Scrivener in any official capacity. For support questions, pricing and other concerns please contact the vendor.