Articles for the Month of November 2013

Blame it on Auto Correct!

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I remember when word processors first came out with spell check and grammar check. For a comma challenged person like myself, it seemed like the answer to a prayer. It didn’t take long to discover grammar check would not be replacing skilled, living and breathing editors.

In college, I literally wore out my dictionary, so I quickly fell in love with spell check. However, I am not so thrilled with auto correct, and I really need to take the time and figure out how to adjust my word processing settings to turn off that little annoying feature.

While auto correct might speed up the writing process, it can also make us look stupid.  Today, while reviewing my proofs for my paperbacks, I spied a little word that did not belong there — something missed by beta readers, editor and myself. Oh, the word was spelled correctly. And to the ear, it sounds similar to the word I was going for (which explained why it was missed when the book was listened to prior to release.)

The only problem, it has an entirely different meaning than the word I wanted.  Many readers will never notice – as our eyes tend to do their own auto correct. But some will catch it. A number of those will shake their heads and say I’m an idiot – while others will laugh and mumble, “auto correct gotcha!”

This morning we corrected and replaced the file at Amazon. Does this mean the book is now perfect? I seriously doubt it.

 

Bookmarks and Paperbacks Coming Soon!

Bookmarks

It’s been a busy week around my office. All of my books will be coming out in paperback in the very near future – in time for Christmas.  Today we finished up the design for our new bookmarks. As you can see, it is double sided – with the QR Code on the backside, to quickly bring scanners to this website.

Sales on The Coulson Series have been brisk – with the recent release of Coulson’s Wife and Coulson’s Crucible, the first two books in the series.

For some of my readers – those more looking for a lighter, fluffy romance as they expect to find in one of my Sensual Romance books, Coulson’s Wife may come as a bit of a surprise.

One reviewer wrote: I’m actually giving this book 3.5 stars…I’m not sure if I just like it or really liked it. This is not a happy ever after book. I was so sad at the beginning of the book young Mary Ellen being forced to marry a man she doesn’t know or love. I know that these things happened but it’s still not right. My heart broke for her, even more when she falls in love with her husbands best friend. I kept hoping that the two would get there happy ending but that’s not what happened. I shed quite a few tears while reading this book but I couldn’t bring myself to put it down. It was well worth reading.

I’m flattered this reader couldn’t put it down – in spite of the fact it wasn’t what she expected. Personally, I don’t think the ending is as much sad as it is bittersweet – and I hope readers understand this is the story that begins the family saga – and each book tells a very different story in the family’s history.

Coulson’s Wife tells the unusual marriage of Coulson’s founder. Readers learn of a family secret that won’t be revealed for almost a century – in the fifth book of the series, Coulson’s Reckoning.

Coulson’s Crucible tells the story of the second generation – and introduces children that we meet again as adults, in Coulson’s Lessons.

The third book in the series, was actually the first written – Coulson’s Lessons. It was initially released as Lessons. I’ve been told While Snowbound, in my Sensual Romance Series is more sweet than sexy. For my readers looking for a bit more heat, they might read Coulson’s Lessons. Of the first four Coulson books, it is the steamiest.

Coulson’s Secret, originally released as The Senator’s Secret, is more murder mystery – a who done it.  If readers pay attention, and have read Coulson’s Crucible, they may start figuring out some of the connections between new characters introduced in Coulson’s Secret – and characters they met in Coulson’s Crucible.

If you’ve read and enjoyed Coulson’s Wife, I would really appreciate an honest review at Amazon.

Thanks!

When book reviews make us crazy…

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When we want to – but can’t – respond to book reviews.

Most of my author friends agree; responding to book reviews is not in our best interest. They can lead to online wars, tarnish the author’s image and can land us on some dreaded authors misbehaving list.

I have one author friend who has no problem speaking up when he feels a reviewer is out of line – writing a spiteful review not based on the actual book, but motivated by other factors. He’s become rather infamous in some online circles.

Many insist it is not professional, while others disagree – even those who don’t respond. One of my author friends suggested that the taboo on no-response might be dated considering the changes within the publishing industry.

I recently asked a group of authors what especially irritated them about reviews. Most agreed it was when a reviewer introduced a falsehood into a review. I’m not talking about a reviewer who says one of our characters suck, even though we have a hundred reviewers who disagree. That is a difference of opinion, and I believe most authors agree a reviewer is entitled to his or her own opinion – even if it conflicts with ours. That is what reviews are all about.

A falsehood might be when a reviewer points out a plot hole based on a series of events – when the series of events did not go as the reviewer suggested. Once I read a one star-review on a friend’s book and the reviewer went on and on about this ridiculous plot hole. I had read the book and thought, what in the hell is he talking about? I re-read the section, and discovered this particular reviewer had a serious reader comprehension problem. The story did not go as the reviewer suggested.

Personally, I feel great if I get positive feedback from strangers. Once that happens, I’m okay with the negative reviews. There is no way one author will appeal to all readers. Some will hate my books. But, as long as some love my stories, I’m on the right track.

Even though I practice the “do not respond” rule when it comes to leaving comments on reviews, it doesn’t mean I won’t occasionally address a review in my blog.

In my book, While Snowbound, my leading lady is an Indi – an independent, self-published author.  That apparently bugged a couple of reviewers.  One reviewer wrote:

“Tell me a story, don’t tell me why I need to support indie authors.”

I’m not sure where in the story she got “support indie authors” –  no more than readers are encouraged to buy from independent vendors at a swap meet (Sugar Rush) or hire a self-employed restaurant consultant (After Sundown).

I have three books in my Sensual Romance Series – and each female protagonist is self-employed, an  entrepreneur. I do tend to choose professions where I know something about. In While Snowbound, Ella’s career and what happened to it was an intricate part of the story. Had the reviewer simply said she found the story boring, that I could understand. But to make the claim I am telling her why to support indie authors – that I don’t get.

But, she was not the only reviewer who had an issue with my Indi leading lady. Another reviewer wrote:

What’s worse is that she’s an indie (but not best-selling) historical romance author. OMG – writing romances is such a girly career anyway…

First off…well no, not bestselling author, that would sort of create a big ol’ plot hole if she was a bestseller. And historical romance – another choice on my part to fill a potential plot hole. How does an author not know about the famous leading man? I decided to make her a historical romance author, so she tends to live in the past.

This same reviewer also wrote: The ending of the book is even worse with regards to her “career” – what a fairytale.

Fairytale? That one made me chuckle. When writing the book, I interviewed one of my author friends – one who actually had a more ‘fairytale” ending than my Ella. She gave me some insight on what she encountered after obtaining overnight fame. As the old adage goes, truth is stranger than fiction.

New Releases – The Coulson Series

Books_edited-1It has been a busy week with the release of two new books – Coulson’s Wife and Coulson’s Crucible. This means four of the five Coulson books are available, with the fifth book in the series, Coulson’s Reckoning slated for an early 2014 release.

Coulson’s Wife tells how it begins, with the story beginning in 1900 and taking the reader through the first half of the century. Over on Amazon I received my first review. The reviewer wrote: I shed quite a few tears while reading this book but I couldn’t bring myself to put it down. It was well worth reading.

Coulson’s Wife tells the story of the second generation, and introduces characters you’ll meet again in Coulson’s Lessons and Coulson’s Secret. 

While each is a standalone story – a thread comprised of family secrets is woven through the books and will have their reckoning in the final book of the series. At least, I think it is the final book. But who really knows?

Currently you’ll find the series in eBook format at Amazon – but they should be showing up at other eBook vendors within the next couple weeks. We hope to have the paperbacks out by Christmas.

I hope you enjoy the series!

 

Coulson Series New Releases

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We just completed a comprehensive re-edit of Lessons and The Senator’s Secret.  Recently I pulled the books from all venues, although there may be some floating around on online stores that haven’t received the memo – yet.

So far, the new versions have been released on Amazon in eBook format only. They will get to the other sites shortly, and hopefully by Christmas we’ll have the paperback versions available.

They also have new names and new covers. Lessons is now Coulson’s Lessons, and The Senator’s Secret is now Coulson’s Secrets.

Why did I do this? To prepare for the three new books in my Coulson Series. Within the next few weeks you should be able to find Coulson’s Wife and Coulson’s Crucible on Amazon eBook bookshelves, before they hit the other venues. Expect the fifth book in the series – Coulson’s Reckoning to be out in 2014.

I first wrote Lessons in 1995  and it will – technically speaking – be book three in the series, even though it was written 18 years prior to Coulson’s Wife.

Coulson’s Wife tells the story of Randall Coulson’s bride and her unusual marriage. Readers first heard about Randall Coulson in Lessons. He was Garret Coulson’s grandfather, and founder of Coulson. This story begins in 1900.

Coulson’s Crucible begins in 1960 and introduces us to much younger versions of the characters we first met in Lessons. It also tells the turbulent relationship of Garrett’s parents and reveals a deadly family secret.

Events revealed in Coulson’s Wife and Coulson’s Crucible will collide in Coulson’s Reckoning, when over a century of Coulson secrets and lies are finally exposed to the characters we first met in Lessons.