LWI Who we are and what we do.

Who are we here at Lit World Interviews with Ronovan Writes and what are we about?

First let me explain the ‘with Ronovan Writes’ part. When I started the site it was just little old me. Thus, I put my name with the site name. I suggested later as the site grew about thoughts of my removing that part but was told “No”. Those I spoke with liked the way it sounded, thought it gave the site something different, especially since the Author Interview is such a central part of what the site is about, and well, they said it was my site and my name should be there. I don’t rock the boat. And in truth, the with Ronovan Writes part is rarely ever mentioned.

Now on with what it’s all about.

Now that the doors have been opened for a time, the what we are about has become clearer even to myself. My original idea was to have a place to share my Author Interviews, to give the Author a place to turn to for another opportunity of having their name out there on the internet for readers and Literary industry people to find. Yes, I wanted LWI to be a part of the Author marketing and web presence.

I also wanted to share my tips on creating a web presence as well as blogging for authors and writing. Having my own personal blog that does quite well and a writing career that is picking up caught up with me. Enter Author and Self-Publishing expert Jo Robinson. I interviewed Jo and practically begged her to join LWI as a Feature writer.

I realized her Feature writing and finger on the pulse of what interests the Writer could not be matched by me nor anyone else. Her advice in her articles have been helpful to everyone that has read them, including myself. She. Nails. It. Every. Time. Honestly her Feature writing has made me focus on mine more. Yes, there is a competitive thing there of my wanting to write just as well as Jo does or at least just as helpfully as she does.

Then Book Review requests came in and I could not find time, even in my 3-4 hour sleep days to keep up with everything. Enter the rest of the team; Author PS Bartlett and Author and Therapist Olga Núñez Miret, Attorney, Therapist, and College Professor Florence Thum and the indispensable Book Reviewers Colleen Chesebro and Hugh Roberts.

Now enter the newest member Author Monica LaSarre as Book Reviewer and Feature Writer, who will be bringing a look into the younger reader market and world that I have very much been wanting. I have been looking for Interviews in this area for quite some time, and Monica was a great discovery. I loved her book and loved writing an Author Interview with her.

Looking at the LWI Team, I can honestly say this is a classy group of people who are professional and share a love of the printed word.

I am still amazed it is all happening.

That’s a little of who we are with a touch of what we do. Now having the site running for a time I can give a realistic account of,

What we do.

Author Promotion.

  • Author Interviews with Ronovan Writes – The reason LWI began in the first place. This is the one area that I enjoy the most and takes more time behind the scenes than people would ever know. If you ask an author I’ve interviewed if the final product looks like what it started out with, most of them will say no way. And it’s not just Authors that are interviewed. This site is called Lit World Interviews for a reason. Are you a Book Cover Artist, a Proofreader, a Publisher or even an Agent?
  • Social Media Promotion – This takes on the form of tweets of various kinds as different kinds bring different results, and promotion in various other outlets.
  • Book Reviewing by Ronovan Writes – This goes along with the Author Interview. For a better interview, having read the work to be discussed helps. Yes, that means a copy should be provided to me in some form, usually electronically. The Review is as honest as they come. I may love interviewing the Author, I may rave about the author’s personality and even a great deal about their abilities, but that does not mean I will rave about the book. My rating is based on certain factors and whatever that number is, is what the Rating is. I may really enjoy the story of the book, but there are things that take away from an enjoyable read and a well put together book. However, I never put out a completely negative review. If it is below a 3 I feel as though unless the Author specifically asks me to publish it, I won’t do it. And yes, Authors have asked me to publish a Review regardless of the score.
  • Continued Promotion – As long as I am emailed what’s going on in an Interviewees career, such as a new release or a special book promotion offer, a post is put out and shared around for everyone that we know to have an opportunity to see and take advantage of.
  • And More – The more is all those things that come along for each person such as creating certain images to be used, connecting them with people for Book Blog Tours, and in a few cases connecting them with blog radio interviews. And More.

Feature Articles.

  • Writing.
  • Self-Publishing.
  • Book Promotion.
  • Editing.
  • Book Cover Creation.
  • Character Development.
  • Author Services-Noted in the Right Hand Side Bar.
  • And More.

Book Reviews.

  • Every Genre is covered
  • I can only speak for myself in this regard but if I do a Review then I attempt to not only publish it here on the LWI site but also on the various sales platforms such as Amazon, Barnes&Noble and even GoodReads. I even created a Smashwords account to put Reviews there.
  • Again only speaking for me-I share the Reviews not only on Twitter but through various other outlets and reading groups. This process has recently grown. I will also from time to time share links to my Amazon Review on Twitter.

Overall my hope is that an Author feels as though they have been treated with respect and professionally through everything we do here at LWI. I do get a little crazy during some of my Author Interview formatting to create a good time, and my email exchanges sometimes are just as crazy. Each Author is someone I instantly call a friend. Don’t we all want to make sure we do the best we can for our friends?

Looking back through this article I can see that it doesn’t capture close to what the LWI Team does as a whole for an Author. Most of the pieces are there but there is more to it than what you see. Through each person involved our reach to potential readers numbers in the many thousands and that does not include when our articles are then picked up by other sites. We here at LWI have great friends in the Author Community that help promote and help assist Authors just as we do. I am aware of it and have begun to focus even more on the quality of my output to hopefully get others to want to share with their readers.

Thank you for lasting through the long winded words of Ronovan Writes. I am greatly honored that even one of you show up and read anything I have to share. I take it for granted you want to read what others here say. Seriously, they are that good.

Much Respect,

Ronovan Writes

 

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Patience and Integrity-The Secret to Success

Author Integrity. This week on Lit World Interviews seems to be all about that. Whether you are an Indie or Traditionalist Author there are things we all should be doing. These days there really is only one difference between the two types of Authors and that’s who puts out your books. Some say the Publisher will do a lot more for you so you don’t have to, but that’s not always the case and it costs you.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not against signing with a Publisher. I want to sign with one someday. But I do know that to be successful you need to be all in your own business and not simply sit back and let everyone else be all up in it.

This week you’ve seen a relatively new way of editing from Author PS Bartlett with her article Text to Speech: Editing Through Listening, Proofreading problems from Author and Proofreader Wendy Janes with Most Mortals Need a Proofreader. And rounding out with Author Jo Robinson our resident Self-Publishing guru and her article Authenticity and Honesty as an Indie Author.

I feel each article is linked in that each points to creating something and representing something that is professionally done. Integrity is the word that finally came to mind after reading Jo’s article. Through every draft you write, every proofreading, and every promotional idea you happen to come up with or is created for you, keep integrity in mind.

There are Authors out there that are popular and have great sales numbers. I don’t read them because I don’t trust them and their integrity is non existent in my eyes. That’s right, I look at an author and their product just like I do a person such as an actress. I am asked “Don’t you think she is so hot?” 9 times out of 10 the person they are talking about has the personality of a cross between Bill O’Reilly and Rosie O’Donnell. It doesn’t matter if you have all the physical characteristics of ‘hot’, if your personality is repulsive then you are repulsive as well.

If I look at your books and your promotions and see a lack of professional polish then I begin to think you simply rushed through a writing of it and threw it out there, and you are promoting it with fake gloss to trick people into buying what could have been a great story if you had just had the patience to go through as many drafts, proofreadings, and edits as was necessary to get that best work possible.

patience-integrity

Patience and Integrity in the world of the Author go hand in hand. Don’t rush the love of your life out into the world of Amazon or wherever you publish. Let that love mature and grow and go shopping to look its best. This is a coming out party and it only gets one shot at it.

 

Ron_LWI

 

 

 

 

@RonovanWrites
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Authenticity and Honesty as an Indie Author by @JoRobinson176

A couple of things we shouldn’t be doing. Sometimes you’ll see an author comparing their writing to a famous writer in the actual blurb of their book, or worse still on the cover. Doing this in a blurb is actually against Amazon policy, so it’s not a good idea to begin with. Some Indies seem to think that by the mere presence of a bestselling author’s name, readers will be more inclined to buy their own book. Speaking as a reader all I can say about that is that if I want to read a book by J K Rowling I’ll buy one of her books. If a reader or reviewer on the other hand compares a book to the work of a famous author I’m a fan of, I might be tempted to buy it – that to me is a genuine compliment, but if it’s the author making the comparison it always comes across as a little desperate to me.

Desperation doesn’t sell well, and readers aren’t stupid. We prefer authenticity in the books we read. Why on Earth would any writer want to hang on to another writer’s coattails? I’ve heard that copying famous writer’s styles can be a good writing exercise, although I’ve never tried it myself. I’d much rather stick to my own style, whatever that may be, than to try and sell anything on the back of someone else’s success. Every time a book makes it big there are suddenly thousands of copycat versions dumped onto the market, and none of them will ever have the impact of the original. Every writer has their own unique writing voice, and we should always be true to that – even when we’re selling our wares.

Another thing I’ve seen is #1 BESTSELLER plastered on the cover of a book. Then I’ve looked at the book’s ranking, and it’s at two million and odd. That’s not a bestseller and I don’t appreciate the attempt to con me. I’ve read several comments from Indie authors saying that it’s the truth because at some point their books have been number one on a free list. That’s just way beyond wrong so don’t do this. We’ve all been in the paid bestseller lists at some point or another, but if you honestly want to put that on your book it must have been number one on the main list, and if it reaches that beautiful spot everyone will already know what it is.

I always use the Look Inside feature on Amazon before I buy any book. A huge mistake some Indies make is to put pages and pages of reviews in their front matter. Often you haven’t got to the end of them before the preview ends. No book purchase from me in that case. I don’t have a problem with a few lines from good reviews on a single page, but more than that – yes – again seems desperate to me. Readers will read the book reviews anyway, both the good and the bad, so the reviews in the front matter aren’t going to mean anything except that they’re taking up too much space. The last thing about using reviews in your book is actually using them on your book. Fine for if the book has reviews from Kirkus or something like that, but putting one of the three reviews that the book has on your actual cover is not a good idea at all. The last time I saw this I cringed in shame on behalf of that author.

As self-published authors we have to act professionally, respect our readers, and credit them with the savvy to spot things like this. We should trust in our own authenticity and have the patience for it to be seen for what it is, and hopefully enjoyed for its own sake. Image1000

Most Mortals Need a Proofreader by Guest Author Wendy Janes @wendyproof

Why can’t you successfully proofread your own work?

It’s very simple – you read what you expect to see.

When you read other people’s work it’s fresh and new. Any errors seem to leap from the page, as the following examples demonstrate:

“Perdita was so angry she felt like throwing the laptop out of the the attic window.”

“Mark was fifty-five minutes younger that Spencer. An injustice than irritated him no end.”

The errors in the above sentences look so obvious. However, when you’ve been working on your book for months, maybe longer, and you’ve re-worked, revised, edited, tweaked, fallen in and out of love with it more times than you can remember, it’s almost impossible to gain the professional distance that is required to proofread it effectively. This is no reflection on your skills as a writer.

I’d like to share my own (humbling) experience. You see, I’d been telling people for years that it was unwise to proofread their own work, but to be honest I didn’t believe it would be true for me. I’d been proofreading for over a decade, I knew what to look for. So when I co-wrote an erotic romance with a friend a few years ago (that’s another humbling story) and we sent the book to our proofreader, I was confident that she wouldn’t find anything to correct.

Let’s pause, while you chuckle, because you know what’s coming.

When the proof copy was returned to us, I was MORTIFIED.

Yes, it deserves capital letters.

Characters who were as dear to me as my own family had their names spelled inconsistently, missing quote marks made a nonsense of dialogue, and there were typos galore.

Nothing like first-hand experience to teach you (ie me) a lesson!

And now, to make me feel a bit better and to entertain you, I’d like to share a few of my favourite bloopers of recent years (I’ve used artistic licence to ensure that no author can be identified):

“Maddy checked that her trouser suit was free of creases before she walked into the interview room. She shook hands with the CEO and felt the waist band of her skirt tighten alarmingly as she took the seat he offered.”

“A warrior through and through, Mardor fought on, the blood dripping from his severed arm. Around him, his soldiers spilled their blood for the victory that was destined to be theirs. Mardor gripped his sword with both hands and brought it down…”

“Maria shook the last painkiller from the bottle and swallowed the table with a gulp of water.”

“Discretion is the better part of velour.”

“This was the last pubic lecture he’d ever give. His nerves were too bad to ever consider doing anything so embarrassing ever again.”

I hope you enjoyed those bloopers as much as I did.

I’d like to add a practical coda to this post:

If you want to self-publish, but you can’t afford a proofreader I encourage you either to save up or to consider some old-fashioned bartering. For example, swapping proofreads with another author, or offering your website design skills to a proofreader. Or you could try a micro-version of the approach used by an innovative publisher called Booktrope, where you offer a proofreader a share of the income from your book.

 

wendy_janes_author.jpg

wendyproof.co.uk

Wendy Janes GoodReads

WendyProof on Facebook

Wendy on Amazon

Wendy on Amazon UK

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The Judas Apocalypse & Can’t Buy Me Love Q&A @DanMcNeil888

A lover of history who says his books don’t have a message, they’re entertainment. Honesty. Gotta love that, right? I will repeat that phrase later. Dan McNeil is someone I would hate if he wasn’t such a nice guy. He’s writing the dream I want and am working to achieve. He’s even picking subjects that I’m in to. If I were a betting man, which I’m not, I would bet that some of you buy at least one of his books after reading this interview. I’m still waiting on the autographed Kindle version. Personally signed no less.

RW: What is your favorite word?

DAN: Most of my favourite words are unprintable. I also make up a lot of my own words (usually when I’m driving) but they’re unprintable too. “Cacophony” is pretty cool – I like the hard “c” sounds and it sounds like what it is, in an onomatopoeia-ic kind of way…

RW: And with that answer, Dan, I have no idea where this is going to go, but I imagine it will be entertaining. You gotta love honesty. Let’s jump straight into your books. You have two to share with is. Tell us about The Judas Apocalypse first.

author Dan McNeilDAN: It’s basically an adventure story (about a treasure hunt during World War II), but there are many layers to it (secrets, hidden truths, etc.) The title refers to a hidden truth they ultimately discover. The Judas Apocalypse is the story of an archaeologist with a passion for a long lost religious group known as the Cathars. He gains possession of a Knights Templar document that, when deciphered, could lead him to the fabled Cathar treasure. After he is captured by a group of GI’s just after the Normandy invasion, they all form an alliance to hunt the treasure. However, what they find is not what they believed it would be. It was inspired by a number of things, but the main inspiration would give away too much. I will say though, that there is a definite Indiana Jones/Kelly’s Heroes influence that runs throughout the novel.

“Simply, I enjoy a book that draws me into the story and takes me to a different time and place. This book made me forget I was sitting in my own bed and had to go to work in the morning.
That is what a good book can do for you.
Loved this book!”~Amazon Review

Gerhard Denninger is the protagonist of “The Judas Apocalypse.” He is a dedicated archaeologist whose passion for the history of the Cathars has led him to search for their legendary lost treasure all of his life. I purposely made him an older character because I wanted to avoid the young hero stereotype. He’s made many choices in his life and career that may have been clouded by his passion. I think readers connect to characters like this because they are not perfect and I think more believable.

“I picked up this book as probably one of the millions for whom the genre’s pack leader, Dan Brown, leaves an aching void. I’m delighted to say this story is so much more believable than the Hollywood twaddle we are fed by the other Dan. Dan McNeil is a darn good story teller, and weaves this gripping tale from the Crucifixion itself to the Cathar tragedy of the Middle Ages then with exciting twists and turns through both World Wars.”Amazon Review

RW: So far you’ve got me and I am angry you didn’t offer a copy for me to review. Just kidding, a little, sort of. Okay, the sulking is over with. Tell us about your second book.

DAN: Can’t Buy Me Love,” is about a hapless group of crooks hoping to rob a bank during the Beatles’ Dan McNeil Authorfirst appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show in ’64, so I knew it would have to be a Beatles song title. I think “Can’t Buy Me Love” is certainly apropos. It was inspired by something I read in “The Love You Make” by Peter Brown (with Steven Gaines.) In it, Brown references the Beatles’ performance on the Sullivan show in ’64. There is an urban myth that says that in the hour they performed, not one major crime was committed in New York City. In fact, not even a hubcap was stolen (presumably, because everyone was huddled in front of their television sets watching the show.) When I read that, I immediately thought “that would have been a great time to rob a bank” – hence, the plot for the book.

“I read this in 2 days, couldn’t put it down. Absolutely a great story with the a moment in history as a backdrop. I think it would make a great movie. Great job, hope Dan has more stories to tell.”~Amazon Review

Sonny Carter, the protagonist of “Can’t Buy Me Love” is also an older “hero” but it was necessary to make him this way because of his twenty five year incarceration. Like Gerhard Denninger, he’s made some questionable decisions in his life (like trying to rob a bank, for instance). His single mindedness in knocking over the same bank he tried to rob in 1939, and his quest for revenge against the stool pigeon who ratted him out, while not exactly heroic qualities, I think make him, in strange kind of way, a rather fascinating character. The reader essentially pulls for him to be successful.

“With an action driven plot, characterisation often takes second place, but I thought some of the characters here were well drawn and very believable. My favourite was Provenzano the mob boss whose command of English gave Dan McNeil the chance to show that he can also write comedy with the best of them.
And the Beatles? I expected their inclusion in this book to be no more than window dressing. In fact we meet the boys on several occasions, where they are not only characters in their own right, but become an intrinsic part of the plot. If you want to know more, well you’ll just have to invest in a copy of Cant Buy Me Love yourself, won’t you? It really is money well spent.
In short, this is an excellent book which is not only a thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable read, but one that deserves to take its place in the library of literature inspired by the Beatles.”~Amazon Review

RW: It’s official, I am one unhappy guy. Not a single book given to me. Sigh. I may have to actually buy them at;

The Judas Apocalypse

Amazon

Barnes&Noble

Can’t Buy Me Love

Amazon

Barnes&Noble

www.shop.pulsepub.net

(Just so people know, I am joking about being upset about no book. I never asked for one. But in truth, they both look great from what I can see of them. He nailed the subject to catch my attention for sure. I know that’s why he picked what he did. Just for me!)

RW: Dan, you have a very unusual path to becoming a novelist. One I can appreciate. Share part of that with our Readers today.Dan McNeil Author Photo

DAN: My cousin and I used to write songs, hoping to strike it big with a #1 hit. Although we seemed to do very well with contests, winning five for five different tunes, the big hit song somehow still eluded us so I decided that I would try my hand at novel writing. Very different beast but just as satisfying creatively.

RW: Where did you write these undiscovered #1 hits?

DAN: I was born in Toronto, Ontario but I’ve made Ottawa my home since 1970.

RW: What does an Ottawan like to quench his thirst with?

DAN: I have a couple – it all depends on my mood. Given the choice, if an exceptional scotch or bourbon came my way, I wouldn’t say no. Alexander Keith’s Pale Ale is my go-to beverage.


 

That one gave me my “search for this” moment for the interview. “Alexander Keith arrives in Nova Scotia from Scotland in 1817 and opens his brewery in 1820.”~From the Alexander Keith’s website.


 

RW: Who are your favorite authors?

DAN: My favourite book is “Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger and I am a big fan of Jeffery Deaver. I also love Stephen King’s early work.

RW: And what’s on the nightstand for reading at this moment?

DAN: I’m actually helping a fellow writer friend (Jasmine Aziz, author of Sex and Samosas) edit her current manuscript so I’m not actually reading anything at the moment. The last book I read was Jeffery Deaver’s “The Cold Moon.” After I’m done with the manuscript editing, I have about 4 or 5 books to get to.

RW: Writing, editing, and a good deal of time with the social network aspect, I can attest to that, with all of that writing aspect what do you do when you need to step away from it for a bit?

DAN: I used to go to movies all the time, but all that CG stuff they’re making these days really bores me. I prefer the films of the 60’s and 70’s. I also love music (I used to write songs many years ago) so that’s a really big passion of mine.

RW: Since I mentioned the social networking thing, this is how to connect with Dan:

Twitter – https://twitter.com/DanMcNeil888

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/dan.mcneil

Website – http://www.danmcneil.ca/

Blog – http://dmcneil888.wordpress.com/

RW: What did you learn about yourself from writing this book?

DAN: I really surprised myself with the fact that I was able to write a book. I always thought writing would be a tough gig, and of course it was! After I started, I wasn’t sure that I could even finish it so when I typed the words “The End,” I was both shocked and absolutely pleased with myself. I learned that I could do it and so I wrote a second book.

RW: What is your biggest tip for someone to getting published?

DAN: This may sound flippant but make sure the book is as great as it can be. Make sure you rewrite it as many times as necessary and get a copy editor to go through it. I can’t stress that enough.

RW: Describe your book in one word.

DAN: “The Judas Apocalypse” – provocative

“Can’t Buy Me Love” – entertaining

A big thank you to Dan for the interview and giving all of us books to add to our to read lists. Make sure to click and get those books at the links above and watch the Book Trailer for The Judas Apocalypse Book Trailer.

 

much-respect-ronovan

 

 

Ron_LWI

 

 

 

 

@RonovanWrites

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Book Review. The Serpent Papers by Jessica Cornwell @JessACornwell

The Serpent Papers cover 

www.jessicacornwell.com

 

I’m publishing this review slightly ahead of the actual official publication of this novel, (due on the 29th of January) so although I include the link to the pre-order page, I have not included some of the other data as that will not be available until after publication (and I imagine it could change). I suspect it will be quite easy to find, though.

I requested a free copy of this novel from Net Galley when I read the description and saw this was a book about a quest for knowledge, the search for an old manuscript, and the action took place in part in Barcelona. Being from Barcelona and having loved books and reading all my life, it was difficult to resist.

The Serpent Papers is the story of the search for an old illuminated manuscript (a palimpsest to be precise) that has been hidden for years to prevent its destruction. The links of this manuscript with alchemy, an enigmatic figure (Rex Illuminatus confused  at times with the historical figure of Ramon Llull), immortality, witches, and women’s murders make for a complex story. At the heart of the novel there’s a scholar/detective/expert, Anna Verco, who might or might not have some paranormal powers (that might instead be due to organic reasons). Like in many of these books, the search for meaning also becomes an inquiry into the main character and what she stands for.

Cornwell (granddaughter of John le Carré) builds up a complex structure to tell her story. Letters from different periods, accounts of previous attempts at investigating Rex Illuminatus by other experts, interviews of people who knew the victims, dreams and hallucinations…All of them sound and read real, showing a breadth of knowledge and characterization rich and convincing. The language can go from the poetic and lyrical to the mundane and down-to-earth, changing registers with ease.

I loved the little snippets of folk story and legends of the city of Barcelona, the descriptions of the landscape of the island of Mallorca, and the challenges the story poses. It is not an easy read and it can be demanding, both of one’s attention and also of knowledge and deductive capacities. I wondered if a cast of characters for the different eras with some brief descriptions might not make the reading experience easier.

Men using their power and violence to silence women, women being cast as witches as a way of shutting them up, and centuries of attempts at keeping secrets under wraps are not new ideas (at times it made me think of Lars von Trier’s Antichrist although the novel is more complex) but that does not detract from a solid novel that I kept imagining in a big screen near us. I can see actresses fighting over the main character and Barcelona and Mallorca looking very handsome indeed in the adaptation.

I understand this is the first in an ‘alchemical thriller’ trilogy. The appeal and the pull on the imagination of the subject would keep readers coming back for more. Readers who like books about intrigues in a historical setting and with conspiracy theory backgrounds will enjoy it, although I suspect it might be slightly more demanding than previous titles that have become very popular.

In a separate note, I wasn’t sure about the Catalan sentences. There were a number of typos and I couldn’t work out if it was phonetically recorded rather than intended as orthographically correct. More consistency in that aspect would have made the book more seamless for me (that would not be a problem for people not familiar with Catalan).

Just in case you want to check what others have said, here is the Guardian:

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/jan/21/the-serpent-papers-jessica-cornwell-review

What the book is about: The search for a palimpsest (a piece of writing, usually ancient, done on top of another writing, a bit like some paintings that have been found to be painted on top of older images) that contains a secret, the people who’ve fought to preserve it and the price they’ve paid.

 Book Highlights: The historical background, the beauty of the descriptions of both Mallorca and Barcelona, the snippets of folk stories and insight into the world of theatre and performances. And the language.

 Challenges of the book: It is a book complex in structure, with different historical periods, different styles of writing and documents, and it keeps you on your toes. It can be dense at times.

 What do you get from it: It made me think, it made me wonder about my own city (Barcelona) and it got me thinking about structure and stylistics.

 What I would have changed if anything: I might have added some timelines and cast of characters in the different eras to aid readers navigate through the ins and outs and of its complex world. (See my above note about the fragments in Catalan in the book).

 Who Would I recommend this book to?: To readers of historical intrigue, lovers of alchemy, puzzles, who don’t mind a bit of a challenge. It also has a complex central female investigator who can “communicate” in interesting ways with books. Not suited if you’re just looking for an easy read or a break.

Ratings:
Realistic Characterization: 3.5/5
Made Me Think: 5/5
Overall enjoyment: 4/5
Readability: 3.5/5
Recommended: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4/5
 

Buy it at:  In pre-order at Amazon
Format & Pricing:
Paperback:  (480 pages) No link available
Kindle:$10.78  

Olga Núñez Miret

@OlgaNM7

http://OlgaNM.wordpress.com

http://www.OlgaNM.com

http://www.amazon.com/The-Serpent-Papers-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00MELZJM2

 

 

Lit World Interview Week In Review Jan 19-23.

lit world interview with ronovan writes

A very good week here for Lit World Interviews. I believe our focus on quality over quantity is showing.  Our two feature articles this week by Jo Robinson and Guest Author Wendy Janes struck a chord with our Readers and the feedback has been tremendous. Our Book Review Team continues to be strong as well with Olga Núñez Miret. I personally was thrilled to interview Anne JohnstonBrown. 

Here are the articles for the week, if you missed one, go and check it out today.

Author Interview with Ronovan Writes

Singer, Actress, Teacher and Author Anne JohnstonBrown Q&A @AJohnstonbrown

FEATURES

Advertising Your Book Jo Robinson

Is My Novel Ready for Proofreading? by Guest Author Wendy Janes @wendyproof

BOOK REVIEWS

Interconnected by Mary Meddlemore/Martie Preller Olga Núñez Miret

RONOVAN’S WHATEVER

State of the LWI Address

 

What can you expect next from the LWI Team?

I have an Author Interview with Dan McNeil of The Judas Apocalypse and Can’t Buy me Love on Monday. I know we have another Feature from Guest Author Wendy Janes coming up Wednesday.  And you know we will have something great from Jo Robinson on Thursday.

dan-mcneil-author

 

State of the LWI Address.

Hello LWI Friends,

First of all I want to thank every single one of you for helping LWI get off to such a great start. I think if people saw the Numbers and heard the Buzz about our site they would be surprised. I know I am. That’s only because I was not expecting to have a team of such great people working on the site with me.

In order of their officially joining the team:
Author Jo Robinson
Author PS Bartlett
Florence Thum
Author Dr. Olga Núñez Miret
Colleen Chesebro
Hugh Roberts

Now I wanted tell all of those who have;

  • Provided me with books for reading and reviewing
  • Sent answers to interview questions
  • Have agreed to interviews

That I am happily working on all of them and have not forgotten. I know it may seem at times as though an interview or review is long in coming but it does come. Interview response has been tremendous. In fact there may be a week filled with Interviews coming up.

For those who haven’t taken advantage of our services here at LWI please check out our About page. If you need a book review, email me and I will connect you with the appropriate Reviewer. At least that’s the normal way we like it done.

If you want an interview, again email me and just know it may be time before an interview is published. I now like to receive a book, even if in PDF form to read and be able to give a true interview instead of a simple list of questions. That means Interviews take longer but will be better and serve you better. Not only do you receive an Interview but you receive a Review on the LWI site as well as Amazon, GoodReads and any other site you have the book available and I am aware of it. After my current round of interviews I have now there will be one interview per week so there can be a focus on promoting an author.

There may be times more than one Interview is published in a week if there is a special week going on such as Valentines and perhaps I want to have a week of Romance Writers.

Our goal here at LWI this year is to have Quality, not Quantity. We want to grow in a healthy way to serve the Literary Community without a focus on how many subscribers to the site we have, how many comments or how many Likes of an article. My purpose from the beginning when I created LitWorldInterviews was to give the author, Indie Author, Traditional Author, New Author, and Veteran Author alike a place to come to for a piece of promotion they could use for their career.

I want that piece of promotion to be the best it can be along with the top notch features that are put out to help learn about the publishing world.

Quality and Supporting Authors at Every Step.

That’s our mission.

Much Respect,
Ronovan

Ron_LWI

 

 

 

 

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Advertising Your Book

Most of the reading public are not part of writers social networks in any big way. They probably all have a personal Facebook or a Google+ presence, and quite a few people these days have Twitter accounts to see what the Kardashians world is up to. A lot of them are on the mailing lists of book recommendation sites though, and that’s why an important part of marketing should be popping your books up on them now and then in addition to your normal tweeting and sharing on your regular sites.

If you can afford trying for a listing on Bookbub then that’s a good option, but not only is it going to get more difficult to get accepted there now that traditional publishers are using it, it’s also quite expensive. That doesn’t mean you have to do all advertising yourself though. There are a couple of much cheaper options to go for, which while they might not pack the punch of Bookbub, they’re still going to get you more eyeballs on your books, and hopefully a couple of sales from new readers.

I have to say that I haven’t done any serious marketing for my books, so I wouldn’t even try and call myself an expert on selling books. I’ve always worked in marketing though, so I have a bit of an idea. From what I’ve seen so far, I think that the marketing of eBooks is actually the toughest job in the sales world – especially as an Indie scribbler trying to get noticed. It’s always been my plan to write three to five books before I got too involved in the selling of them, and over the past year or so I have been poking around and about for ideas for when I do. As a test, I’ve run one of my books a couple of times on the smaller sites expecting nothing at all to happen, and was really surprised when it actually got sales.

So when you’re ready to promote your books, I suggest that you prepare your strategy, choose your promo days, give yourself a budget for advertising, and put it on a few of the cheaper sites. Most of them require a specific amount of reviews in the upper star range, but not as many as you need for the bigger sites. I got the most sales when I ran African Me & Satellite TV on Choosy Bookworm, but also a couple from The Daily Bookworm, and a few from People Reads, who will also advertise your new release before it has any reviews.

When you’re finally ready to start selling your books, you really should be paying for advertising if you can afford it, and the three sites above have prices starting at eight bucks, so even if you don’t sell too many books to begin with you won’t be lining up for loans either. While our conventional marketing ourselves on Twitter and so on is vital, our aim should also be finding a portion of those millions of ravenous readers out there who don’t have a social network presence, but do subscribe to book mailing lists.

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Is My Novel Ready for Proofreading? by Guest Author Wendy Janes @wendyproof

Is My Novel Ready for Proofreading?

I love my job as a freelance proofreader, but sometimes authors make it very difficult for me to do my job effectively.

However brilliant your writing, however delicious your story, if there are too many errors and inconsistencies, you are asking too much of your proofreader to spot everything.

Here are a few examples of things that should have been removed by the author/developmental editor/copy editor prior to proofreading. Just in case you’re wondering, they are all products of my fevered imagination:

  • A tear-jerking family saga opens with Davina playing with her five-year-old brother, Oliver, on the sprawling lawns of their darling papa’s country estate. When our feisty heroine rescues sweet young Oliver from his evil kidnappers two years later, he is ten years old. The hapless Oliver dies in a fire soon after his rescue, and (miraculously) reappears at Davina’s sumptuous wedding to Henrico a decade later.
  • In the opening scene of a delightful chick lit novella, independent career girl Polly totters off to meet hunky Blake wearing a pair of Jimmy Chew’s. She jumps off a Central Line tube train at Sloane Square. (Tricky in those dubious heels and even more tricky because Sloane Square isn’t on the Central Line.)
  • In a sci-fi/fantasy, the leader of the Heliopians may well fight with grit and determination throughout the thrilling spat with the Lunopians, but his name changes from Garvord to Gurvord and back again in the space of ten pages.

I have to be honest and say that it gives me great joy to catch these types of errors, but when a novel is littered with them it makes finding the typos, which are the bread and butter of proofreading, all the more difficult. Not only that but if your proofreader is charging you by the hour, you are in effect bumping up the cost.

While it is the proofreader’s role to spot and correct errors and inconsistencies, there are number of things you can do to avoid your manuscript being inundated with them:

  1. Choose whether you’re using US or UK (or insert your choice here) spelling and punctuation. If you’re going for a hybrid, then be clear about your choices.
  2. Punctuate speech correctly.
  3. Check that spelling and hyphenation are consistent.
  4. Use hyphens, en dashes and em dashes correctly, and delete double spaces between words and after punctuation.
  5. Look for over-used words such as “that”, “just” (my own pet over-used word), “only”, “really”, “very” etc. Actually this isn’t something that every proofreader will automatically look for, but eliminating over-used words will improve your writing no end.

If a proofreader has been searching through a whole novel for “ise” endings in order to turn them into “ize” endings, he or she may miss all the unfortunate slips in the following: “Davina realized he loved Henrico wit all here hat.” If a proofreader needs to correct every single comma and full stop in order to punctuate speech correctly, there’s a good chance he or she could skip over that missing open quote at the start of Garvord’s battle cry.

I can’t say this enough, so I’ll repeat myself. However good your proofreader is, he or she won’t be able to pick up every single error if there are too many of them. It’s a bit like looking for a letter on a messy desk. You can’t see it for all the other pieces of paper, chocolate bar wrappers, pens, pencils, coffee cups and cake crumbs. If you sweep away the crumbs, put the cups in the kitchen and the wrappers in the bin, there’s a better chance of finding the letter.

You may be thinking, what on earth is a proofreader left to do if I make all these corrections before I send my manuscript off? The truth is that most mortals, even if they do all of the above, still need to have their book proofread by a professional. My next guest post will be about why it’s so difficult to proofread your own work, and will include some of my favourite bloopers (all made anonymous to spare authors’ blushes).

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Singer, Actress, Teacher and Author Anne JohnstonBrown Q&A @AJohnstonbrown

Author actor comedianRW: Anne, Fitness Video Queen, Vocal Diva, Comedic Legend and author. Is there anything you can’t do?

ANNE: Haha. Well, Diva maybe… but Legend? Not so much. Actually, everything I do is “performance” related, so you could say I really DO just one thing… a lot!

RW: Okay, I’ll behave and we can get down to the serious questions. Your name came up while I was interviewing Becky Due. How did you get into the audio book line of the Lit World?

ANNE: It’s a rather impersonal business, audio book narration. I actually never met Becky. In fact, with most of my authors, we rarely speak after the first email. Of course, I always ask for information about their expectations as to character voices, but after that, it’s all on me. I got into audio book narration only after becoming a professional actor. I was working on a show with Ted Lange (you probably know him best as Isaac Poster_20Washington of Love Boat fame). Anyway, one of my co-actors was working in the audio book narration business and recommended I get into it. The next day, I had three contracts and the rest is history. I’ve done over 60 projects as of this interview, and last year Audible gave me the wonderful distinction of Best Female Audiobook Narrator. I was overwhelmed!

RW: Wow! Okay, geeked moment there. But I’ve heard THE VOICE so I understand the why the honor bestowed upon you. I would think you have to develop a certain mood for reading a book aloud for others, to be able to convey the levels of emotions and set a scene with your voice. How many times do you read a book before you do the audio for it? What kind of preparation goes into it? I would think it would be like any other acting performance in a way.

ANNE: Every narrator has their “method.” I shock people when I tell them that I never read the books ahead of time. I am one of those “in-the-moment” actors, who simply cannot know what is about to happen or else my performance is compromised. Since I get all the information I need from the author ahead of time regarding vocal qualities for the main characters, I need no other information in order to start the project. Occasionally, I will find that there was a piece of information the author failed to give me that is contradicted later by a choice I made for the character, but in those cases, I just mark for edit and re-do those parts later. It’s really worth that risk to me, since I know my process and what works best for me.

RW: How does one connect with you to do audio book work? For example if I ever needed someone, what all would I need to do to convince you to do it? Money? Pizza? New kick boxing gloves?

ANNE: Actually, I just got some new gloves for Christmas, so that wouldn’t impress me much, and I’m gluten-free, so pizza is out… money, however, always talks! Haha. Seriously, to book me for a project, you would simply go to my ACX.com profile page (by searching my name) and let me know you’re interested. I’m very quick to respond. Narrators have their price range, so it’s important to evaluate how much you are willing to spend on narration before contacting a narrator. For instance, I never do royalty work; my rate is $300.00 per finished hour. However, I often get offers from authors who think they can convince me to do their projects on royalty anyway. That just won’t happen. If I didn’t have rent to pay, maybe so, but as it is….

 RW: I think that’s actually pretty fair. You do more than audio books in the Lit World, you’ve actually written several books and that’s one of the main reasons I begged you to be here today. Tell us about your newest book.anne johnston-brown

ANNE: I’ve actually written several books in several different genres. I have a children’s book that I self-published in 2007, entitled The Chronicles of Pleasant Grove. I also self-published a mainstream fiction BookCoverPreviewpiece, entitled The Lives of Lyman Liri, which follows several life scenarios of a man as he makes life-altering choices and how those choices impact his destiny. It was inspired by my father and his experience in Viet Nam. But it is my theatre arts work with Smith & Kraus Publishers that has been the most successful. They published my book, The 10 Commandments of Theater, and it is now a required text in dozens of theatre arts universities. Theatre Topics Magazine gave it a great review, which I wasn’t expecting… It’s just a little theatre arts handbook, taking the actor from casting to curtain and specializing in method acting. My latest work, True to archeType: A Guide to Characterization in Comedy, is due out in the spring of 2015. We are currently in the editing process. I’m really excited about this one! I wrote my master’s thesis on comedy, and as I’ve been working with Fred Willard for over 10 years as a member of his sketch-comedy group, The MoHos, this book is long overdue. I’ll send you a copy when it comes out, of course!

RW: Okay, geeking again. Books are always welcomed. And from a celebrity as well. And yes you are a celebrity so no arguing. Tell our readers about your acting/theater background.

ANNE: I didn’t start acting until I was in my late 20s. I was raised in… I guess you could call it a cult… so when I left home and started “living,” I realized I had a knack for theatre. But instead of just diving into Hollywood without training, I went straight to college and majored in theatre. I got my master’s degree and started my acting career immediately upon leaving school. I’ve worked with some great actors, toured and taught as a Theatre Arts Professor at several Southern California universities, as well as The American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Los Angeles. My favorite theatre experience was playing the Narrator at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles. We performed to sold-out houses… absolutely the most exciting time of my life!

RW: How did you get into comedy?

ANNE: I didn’t start “doing” comedy until I met Fred (Willard). His wife, Mary, had cast me in one of her plays (she is a fabulous playwright), and the minute Fred and I met, it was magic! He invited me to join his comedy group, and from there, I wrote my one-woman show, The Wicked Fairytales, and recorded my album of song parodies, Touched in the Head. I still perform with the group, but with writing, acting and audiobook narration, I’m not as faithful as I once was.

RW: I think acting does a lot more for authors than they realize. An example is there is always a purpose for movement on stage. I use that in my books. What other techniques in acting would help authors with storytelling?

ANNE: Public Solitude!!! Thanks to Stanislavski, we as actors are encouraged to shrink our circle of attention down to its smallest point, only allowing in that which encompasses the world of the scene. As authors, we usually work in solitude and must create out of nothing more than our imaginations… in other words, we are not necessarily reflecting back anything we have actually seen. An actor who chooses to write usually has a greater benefit of drawing from their creative imagination, since that is how we find truth on stage. We merely extrapolate and assimilate those skills over into our writing process… if we can!

RW: What is your creative/writing process for something like this type of book as opposed to a work of fiction?

ANNE: Non-fiction is infinitely easier to write than fiction! With non-fiction, I just write of which I know and in my own words. With fiction, I must first create the “life” of the character and then write in his/her words. Before I wrote Lyman Liri, I had had an encounter with a transient who resembled my Papa (grandfather). I thought, “Wow! What if my Papa had made one change in choice? Would the direction of his life led to this?” Then, on inspiration, I decided to make the main character a person who lived (at least in one of his life scenarios) the same life as my father. Every time he made a different choice than the one before, his life went off in a strange direction. It basically shows how every choice we make is capable of determining the direction of our lives and dramatically altering our destinies.

RW: Are there any upcoming dates where people could possibly go and see you, meet you, get an autograph, bow down and kiss the ground your talent has walked upon?

ANNE: Well, I could tell you where I shop and you’re welcome to follow me around there… But I think there will be some autograph signings with this new book, so stay tuned to my website: www.annejohnstonbrown.com. If you’re in Los Angeles, my comedy group, The MoHos, performs once a month at the Second City theatre on Hollwood Blvd. I’m usually in the show.

RW: As an actor, give us the one piece of advice you would give a young actor, let’s say in New York right now trying to break into the business? (I ask because there is an incredibly wonderful young lady that has moved from small town USA to NYC and is doing that now.)

ANNE: Since I teach up-and-coming actors every day at the Academy, I am asked this question often! When parents of young children ask me this question, my first and most definitive response is: “Get them into dance school!!!!!!” I can’t stress this enough. Dance will not only help them become the triple threat we hope they can potentially become, but is enhances rhythm and coordination – two things so desperately needed by the actor! For adults branching off into their acting careers, my response is twofold: “Network and Hone.” This means, as soon as you get to New York or Hollywood, join a theatre group or an acting class or an improv group, etc. And I mean do this immediately. Don’t put this off until you feel inspired… it is a MUST! This is because you will not only be able to keep training and get feedback from classmates and teachers (known as “honing”), but you will also be in an atmosphere to begin the most crucial part of an actor’s process: networking. Get out there and meet people, get noticed, make a name for yourself. When you hone and network (especially if you can do both at the same time), you will be well on your way to “making it.”

RW: When can we expect your next work of fiction?

ANNE: Fiction? Hmmm… that’s a good question. I would say that I’m not planning on writing any more fiction, but if history has proven anything, it is the minute you say something like that, you immediately get inspired to write a book, and BOOM, there it is!

RW: When is Anne The Album coming out?

ANNE: Anne has released several albums over the years. I started recording as a teenager and haven’t stopped. However, much of my work has been archived. I used to record a lot of gospel music, and I may have a few boxes of cassette tapes leftover in the garage. But they would be pretty dusty by now! As for a new album, I can honestly say nothing is planned. But if you want to hear some of my cover work, go to my ReverbNation page: www.reverbnation.com/annejohnstonbrown.

RW: Whoa. Just went and listened. Awesome. Little Anne Wonder going on with Superstition. What has been your favorite musical role to date?

ANNE: Again, playing the Narrator at the Kodak Theatre was an amazing experience. However, my favorite musical role would definitely be a tie: Annie in Annie Get Your Gun and Fanny Brice in Funny Girl.

Anne and BillRW: I have to ask this, as I have a 10 year old son and well, even I love a bit of the Disney life. Tell us about your Goofy friend.

ANNE: Ahhhh…. the wonderful Bill Farmer. Again, networking is the key. I met Bill Farmer through Fred Willard. In fact, Bill is a member of the MoHos. He is the most gentle, kind, delightful man I have ever met! So often, actors play characters they “wish” they could be, but their true nature’s are indeed the antitheses of those characters. Well, Bill IS Goofy! He is so sweet and kind, just like Goofy, and is so versatile on stage. He plays so many characters, all of which are unique and equally devine!

RW: Where can people purchase your books now?9

ANNE: Amazon – the go-to bookstore! My theatre arts books used to be at some of the main bookstore chains, but now they are exclusively sold online.

RW: What are your hobbies?

ANNE: Well, of course, I teach kickboxing, so I guess you could say that is a hobby. I love to do karaoke. I was a contestant on ABC’s Karaoke Battle USA a few years ago, and I just got the itch! Now, I can’t get enough of it!

 

 

This was a fun interview. As you can see there were a lot of different things to talk about and learn about. I really enjoyed this. Some of the pictures above will take you to videos of her work, including her work with “Goofy” himself.

 

Much Respect

Ron_LWI

 

 

 

 

@RonovanWrites

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Book Review. Interconnected by Mary Meddlemore/Martie Preller

connected medium

 

Title:   Interconnected (Book 4. The Story Dimension)
Author:   Mary Meddlemore/Martie Preller
ASIN:  B00QFNX0YO
Published:  9th January 2015
Pages:  131
Genre:  Fiction/Fantasy/Metaphysical

Body of review:

I’ve had the pleasure of reading the previous three books in the Story Dimension Series (and also the stories in The Seventh Sheep) even before it had taken full shape. The connections are now quite clear but I would find it difficult to comment on how easy it will be to read this book in isolation from the other three (Entering, In the Reign of the Ilev, and Forever After, A Dimensional Love Story) although I suspect this novel would be a wonderful flight of fancy and a puzzle on its own right.

If I had to highlight a theme that runs through the series it is the importance and the power of stories and how they can conjure up feelings, bring people together, and change people’s lives.

Interconnected has two distinct parts with the same protagonist but not quite. A young woman called Christina in nowadays South Africa taking part in a photo shoot that ends up being only an excuse for…mysterious happenings is the main character in part one. How does she relate to the girl by the same name in the second part, who is living in a post-apocalyptic society, and trying to find a place to rebuild a civilisation? I’m not going to tell you. You’ll have to read it to find out.

Mary Meddlemore, the character who plays a very important part in Forever After, and alter ego of award-winning South African writer Martie Preller, weaves poetic language, philosophical musings and ethical questions into a tale that challenges our understanding of narrative, reality and authorship.

A young woman trying to find her true identity; the same (?) young woman trying to build a new civilization by reading stories, preserving books and liberating Lady Liberty. This is a book of magic and wonders, and does not fit easily in any genres. Full of unique characters, mystical events and layer upon layer of stories and interpretations, Interconnected proclaims the deep connection between all human beings, the beauty of language and the way we create meaning through narration. If you have plenty of imagination and love books and stories, I recommend you go exploring the Story Dimension Series.

What the book is about: A young woman, Christina, trying to find her identity/save the world in different versions of reality.

 Book Highlights: Strange happenings, alternative realities, amazing characters, bizarre creatures, and a novel about the importance of stories and books.

 Challenges of the book: I have read the previous books in the series and could tie together the connections and clues of the story, but it might be more challenging for people not familiar with the previous series.

 What do you get from it: A flight of fancy and access to the work of an extraordinary writer whose work is, mostly, only available in Afrikaans.

 What I would have changed if anything:  I might have added more of an introduction or recapitulation of Forever After or even have published the two books as a pack or a combo.  On the other hand I’m a big fan of Forever After so this might not be such an issue for readers who come to this work anew.

 Who Would I recommend this book to?: Anybody who loves stories and has plenty of imagination.

Ratings:
Realistic Characterization: 3.5/5
Made Me Think: 5/5
Overall enjoyment: 5/5
Readability: 4.5/5
Recommended: 5/5
Overall Rating: 5/5
 

Buy it at:  Amazon
Format & Pricing: At the moment only available in Amazon in e-version
Paperback:  
Kindle: $3.94

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00QFNX0YO/

Olga_Núñez_Miret_author.jpg

 

 

 

 

Olga Núñez Miret

@OlgaNM7

http://OlgaNM.wordpress.com

http://www.OlgaNM.com

 

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Lit World Interview Week In Review Jan. 12-16

lit world interview with ronovan writes

Every week here at LWI we have a variety. One way to assure variety is to have a variety of people on a team. This week you found or will find Book Reviews about a man on Mars, a real world family of brothers attempting to put their lives back together and a story about a dystopian world where a man has enough of it all and well, he kills the senators. There is a review for you authors out there about a great self-editing book. You also have an article that broke our records here in every way in only 24 hours about Safe Reviewing. Also you have this weeks Author Interview with short story author, at least for now, Sourabh Mukherjee.

Enjoy checking out anything you missed or read your favorite again.

INTERVIEWS with Ronovan Writes

Loves Lost author Sourabh Mukherjee Q&A

FEATURES

Safe Reviewing  Jo Robinson

BOOK REVIEWS

The Martian by Andy Weir. Olga Núñez Miret

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers Ronovan Writes

“Conditions” by Christoph Fischer Colleen Chesebro

“How to Kill Your Senator” by Kaisy W Mills & James A Courtney Ronovan Writes

RONOVAN’S WHATEVER

Fair Reviewing or Review the Book, NOT Your Expectation. Ronovan Writes

 

 

What can you expect next?

I know I have at least one incredible interview with a lady that just blows my mind with all the talent she has. I was seriously just amazed she wanted an interview. If you want a hint, we connected through an interview I did with author Becky Due.

I also see a Book Review waiting from Olga and you just know Jo will have something great for us. At least one of our other resident authors has but a word in my ear to possibly expect something. So keep an eye.

Much Respect and Much Reading,

Ron_LWI

 

 

 

 

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“How to Kill Your Senator” by @KaisyWMills & @jamesacourtney

The Dystopian Nation of City-State – “How to Kill Your Senator”

how-to-kill-your-senator &

A new short story from Courtney James and Kaisy Wilkerson-Mills, authors of our previously reviewed The Dystopian Nation of City-State: An Anthology: Origin, Corruption, and Rebellion. Read that review by wonderful Olga Núñez Miret here.

I read an early copy of this as a Beta-Reader and my Review at Amazon is based on that and what I say here will be as well.

The idea and handling of the idea was original. The main character is a man named Jackson who as the story opens has killed senators in the world the authors have created. As the story progresses Jackson is shown the true source of the political evil of his city. But can he face that?

The authors lead you along and as you follow you realize where the story is going and what the message is, but the ending isn’t what you expect. maybe.

I gave the book a 3 out of 5 stars.

The story itself, the idea was a good one, but there was some stylistic elements that took away from my being able to really losing myself into the story. Just when I would be there I would be made aware of the writing. As I said, that was a beta copy I read, perhaps those elements have been addressed. If I get a chance to read a new version I will let you know. In truth it would be an interesting experience to see the after results of beta-reading.

Do I recommend this for a read at 3 stars?

If you have read the anthology and are interested in jumping on board a new world as it is created I think yes, read it. It’s .99 on Kindle. It does give depth to the world by telling a side story that shows you more of the world than one can always put into a regular novel.

You can visit the Dystopian Nation of City-State site here.

 

 

Ron_LWI

 

 

 

 

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Fair Reviewing or Review the Book, NOT Your Expectation.

If you have been around here long enough you know Book Reviews are something I am passionate about. How can someone be passionate about Book Reviews? I know how important they are to an author.

  1. The more Reviews a book has on Amazon and other places the better chance of being seen by potential readers, moving up on lists of books that will be shared in emails and websites.
  2. They give a potential Reader an opinion about the book.
  3. They give the author feedback on what is working with a book and what is not.

Recently Author Jo Robinson, one of the Feature Writers here on LWI wrote Safe Reviewing. The article is well worth a read as can be attested by the record breaking numbers it is setting on the site to date in Views, Likes and Comments in just 24 hours. But it was also that article that reminded me of an article I had been wanting to write.

One of our LWI Authors has received what I will call Inconsistent Reviews. I had to think for a moment how I wanted to phrase that. One review on Goodreads simply had a Rating of 1 Star.  When the book is consistently Rated 5 Stars, you know there is something going on, especially when there were no comments attached to the 1 Star. I did some research into the person’s Reviewing history.

  • Only likes a certain subject,style or author.
  • Seems to have a dislike for a certain type of author.

Another Review was a good Rating on Amazon but the actual Review was so completely opposite of the score I am questioning the person’s ability to do Reviews, only because they have their Amazon name include Reviews in it. The problem here is the person was expecting or wanting one kind of book and this was not that kind of book, so they decided to basically rip it apart in several ways that showed their lack of professionalism and actual ability to comprehend the book. I read the book. Every point made in the Review was such a sad piece of drivel that I was so angry by the end I wanted to somehow find a way to delete the person’s ability to write Reviews anywhere ever again.

fair-reviewingThat’s the purpose of this article. If you are expecting a Star Trek novel and you end up with a Dune novel, don’t complain. Science Fiction is Science Fiction. Just because it is not your flavor does not make it bad. If you feel let down because you were EXPECTING or HOPING for Star Trek and you didn’t get it, it’s not the Author’s problem. If you cannot find you are able to write a fair Review, then don’t write a Review at all.

I do my less than favorable Reviewing in Beta-Reading. When I Beta-Read I don’t hold back. That’s when you need to realize, especially with friends, there is no such thing as compromise or benefit of the doubt for that matter.That’s when the Author needs the absolute truth.

Will I give someone a bad Review of a book? I would prefer not to publish one. But there are times when there has been an agreement or an insistence and I had to do it.

So Review as you will but think before you Publish. As Jo mentioned, we as Authors nor Reviewers or even the basic Reader want to break down an Author. We want to help the Author and the Reader. You can do that in a Review if you take the time to do it right.

 

Ron_LWI

 

 

 

 

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Safe Reviewing by @JoRobinson176

It’s important not to tarnish your brand when you’re in the public eye – or to invite others to tarnish it for you. No matter how small a fish you might think you are. As an Indie author you really do have to be reading books by other Indies as well your traditionally published favourites, and leaving reviews for our peers is absolutely necessary for the good of the whole tribe. I will ask you one question though – how many times have Dan Brown or J K Rowling publicly published a bad review of their peers? They don’t, because there are reviewers out there who get to do those things, and they probably don’t want to get into barnies with other scribblers either. If you have set yourself up as a book reviewer as well as an Indie author that’s fair enough, as long as you’re prepared to take the possible fallout if you post a less than rosy review. I’ve seen troll brawls caused by a bad review that almost had me under the desk, and I wasn’t even involved, with authors taking down their books and bowing out of the industry.

I am not an official book reviewer. I do review books, but never publicly if I really haven’t enjoyed reading them. It’s not just because I don’t want to be the target of some troll rage takedown, but more because I know how much goes into the writing of a book. Not everyone can write a book. Even though we cringe at the thought of the millions of eBooks out there competing with ours for visibility, the fact is that less than one percent of the population of the planet are writers by trade, and that not all of them write good books. Their bad books are not hurting yours at all, so there’s no need to trash them when there are many non-writers who can and will do so with relish. We’re a little old segment of the planet, and I honestly don’t think that tearing each other down is the way to go. Especially if you have your writers eyeball out when you read a book and pick up on grammatical errors, expecting a novel to be written according to rules.

I haven’t written all my life, but I’ve read all my life, and I can tell the absolute difference to the way I read any book these days. I see things now that I never would have noticed before, but mostly I choose to unsee them straight away if I know they’re something I wouldn’t have picked up on back in my pre-writing days. So far I haven’t seen any writer who is also a book reviewer give a blatantly unfair review, so they’re mostly safe, but you have to ask yourself if posting a scorchingly bad review on any public site is worth the possible damage it could do to your public persona as an author.

On the other side of the coin, leaving a glowing review for a book that you didn’t like at all could also affect your credibility, so don’t do that – rather abstain entirely and move on to a new read. Lately there have been a couple of furores in Indie world about all sorts of things from attempts to get funding to take time off to write a book, to vicious troll attacks and catfishing. We all should realise that there are a lot of people out there on the internet who will attack with the slightest provocation, and sorry to say, some of them have written books, so I suggest that we stick to doing what we love best, and leave the review takedowns to the many people who enjoy that sort of thing. We’ve got much more important things to be getting on with than spending any of our time trashing anyone else’s book publicly. If you can’t give it three or more stars, just let it go.

Bad Editing

BOOK REVIEW BY @COLLEENCHESEBRO of “Conditions” Christoph Fischer @CFFBooks

Title: Conditions
Author: Christoph Fischer
Published: October 15th 2014 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
ASIN: B00NZ1VTBU
www.christophfischerbooks.com
Pages: 222
Genre: Drama, Fiction, Family

Conditions

After the death of Tony and Charles’ mother, the two brothers struggle to reconcile and develop a relationship, of which they have never had throughout their lives. Tony, the older brother feels discarded by a family that dedicated all its energies into the younger brother Charles, who is mentally challenged.

Materialistic ideals propel Tony and his wife forward into challenging his place within the remains of the family. Kind, gentle Charles, with the help of his loyal friends, copes with circumstances that lead the two brothers on a journey of self-renewal, causing them to face past prejudices and to deal with mistaken beliefs about themselves and life in general.

I was struck with the realization of how aptly this book was named, “Conditions.” Each character in this drama had circumstances of some sort they also had to face. Everyone traveled a path of their own choosing to reach a favorable understanding of their own situation.

Charles and Tony seemed to be equal victims at the hand of their parents. Coping with mental illness in the form of Aspergers within a family is difficult at best. Add stereotypes and an overprotective, well-meaning mother and you conclude that everyone has failings. No one is perfect. I wondered numerous times about the meaning of the word normal. When it comes to family, what truly is normal?

Christoph Fischer

Author, Christoph Fischer @CFFBooks

This story is character driven and requires you to interact with numerous aspects of the human condition. From mental illness, homosexuality, greed, guilt, addictions, to undiagnosed social issues, this book illustrates that everyone has some type of disability, real or perceived. The key at the heart of the story is finding acceptance and moving forward.

I found this book to be a thought provoking take of the struggles within a family unit. There was no single hero. In its place, I felt like each character achieved an independence from the family, while still remaining part of the collective family. Even the word ‘family’ was redefined with the support that Charles received from friends who were not relatives.

I love characters that face struggles and learn something from the situations they are placed in. “Conditions,” will make you think about family and the unique place each of us holds within our own families. I still cannot get the characters out of my mind, as they touched me deeply with their journey. The story made me question my own family relationships and to wonder if as families, we are all are too quick to judge each other.

Ratings:
Realistic Characterization: 5/5
Made Me Think: 5/5
Overall enjoyment: 4/5
Readability: 4/5
Recommended: 5/5
Overall Rating: 4.5

Buy it at: Amazon
Format & Pricing:
Paperback: $8.99
Kindle: $2.99

clip_image006

@ColleenChesebro

www.SilverThreading.com

 

 

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Self-Editing for Fiction Writers Review by @RonovanWrites

renni browne dave king This was a great gift I received. One reason it was great is because I asked for it. And that means I did  not have to pay for it. I would have but writer’s love free things. I love this book. It’s a 5 Star Rating from me here and on Amazon. I intentionally read the book before starting my most recent novel and it has really helped a lot. In what ways?

  • I am aware of some little things that show a professional from an amateur
  • I can make at least some things right so during my next draft I don’t have to struggle through those parts
  • My beta-readers, proofreaders, editors or even possible co-authors don’t have to find a way to tell me that my writing stinks, well at least no more than usual
  • It has a check list at the end of each chapter to help you learn and create a habit of what to look for and remember to do each time you read

It doesn’t matter if you are a 20 novel veteran or a first time novelist, this book is worth the money. It tells you everything in plain English and common sense language from ‘Show Don’t Tell’ to ‘Voice’. Some of my favorite chapters are ‘Proportions’ and ‘Once is Usually Enough’. Get this book It has great reviews and plenty of them. And a lot of reviews is always a good thing to see. So get it at Amazon for Kindle or Paperback by clicking here.

Watch my Video Review below.

Ron_LWI

 

 

 

 

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Loves Lost author Sourabh Mukherjee Q&A

 

sourabh mukherjeeRW: Let’s start with a little about where you are from.

SOURABH: I am from India, born and brought up in the city of Kolkata. Kolkata is the capital of the state of West Bengal, located on the banks of the Hooghly river. It is the main educational, cultural and commercial center in the eastern part of the country. The Kolkata Port is the country’s oldest operating port. Kolkata was the capital of the British Government in India till 1911 when the capital was shifted to New Delhi.

RW: Let’s get right into your book today before we go into my other questions. Why the title Loves Lost for your book of short stories?

SOURABH: Loves Lost is a collection of three short stories in the Romance genre, all woven around the theme of lost love. There could be a variety of reasons why relationships do not work out but at the end of the day, as George Martin says, ‘When the sun has set, no candle can replace it’.

RW: What inspired the Loves Lost? loves lost sourabh mukherjee

SOURABH: My own take on love and relationships and my keen interest in the workings of the human mind account for the manner in which love and its rituals are conducted in my stories.

The stories in the book deal with human emotions that I feel most readers can relate to. Many of us have nurtured unprofessed love in our hearts for years, have struggled to cope with lost love, have allowed our inner devils to ruin relationships, and have found love when we least expected to. My stories grow out of such experiences and observations.

RW: Tell us about the stories we’ll find.

SOURABH: Loves Lost is a collection of three love stories that go beyond conventional ‘happily ever after’ endings and offer realistic views of the variety of emotions one goes through when love comes calling.

The story ‘Mine Forever’ is about a young, successful entrepreneur nursing a broken heart and seeking refuge in alcohol and his work. The story takes the reader to the after-party of a corporate awards function when the protagonist in his drunken stupor finds the woman of his dreams drop in to congratulate him on his success and resolves to win her back.

‘The Thing About Memories’ is about a man recovering from a near fatal accident with no recollection of the past. A brisk read with a lasting impact, the story reveals how a billboard advertisement brings the man face-to-face with a past best forgotten.

The protagonist in the story ‘Love Came Calling Again’ has a highly romanticized vision of love that is often disengaged from reality. When the harsh realities of life take a toll on her relationship, she meets a stranger on the Internet.

As the blurb sums it up, Loves Lost is ‘a collection of three contemporary romantic short stories that take the reader on a whirlwind journey interspersed with betrayal, separation, heartbreak and a smile or two.’

RW: What message do you think your book delivers to the reader?

SOURABH: The stories deal with human emotions that most readers will relate to. While the collection of short stories is primarily meant to be a realistic and at the same time an entertaining depiction of the various facets of love, I would feel my efforts have been rewarded well if the stories in the book motivate readers to realize the value of the gift of love (which not everyone is blessed with), ensure the honesty and sanctity of their feelings, and never let their inner devils ruin their relationships.

RW: Describe your book in one word.

SOURABH: Soul-searching

RW: Where can we get your book now?

Amazon Kindle US & UK.

RW: What is your background in writing, what makes you a writer?

SOURABH: I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I have never really written for a purpose – it is just something I love to do. In my early childhood, I would spend hours writing (as well as making illustrations for my own stories). A number of my poems were published in children’s magazines back in the day. I continued to write through my teenage and later in college.

I kept writing in office magazines for a couple of years, but the demands of my career as an Information Technology professional and my travels across the world soon left me with very little time and creative energy to write fiction. I churned out technical whitepapers and non-fictional articles that got published in journals of repute like The Datawarehousing Institute (TDWI) Business Intelligence Journal Summer 2013 edition.

However, in the process, I grew as a person getting to observe people from widely varying cultural backgrounds and to study their emotions, their thoughts, their behavior from various perspectives. And stories began to grow all over again.

Also, writing is often a cathartic experience for me. It helps give vent to my emotions and create stories out of them. There is a bit of me in each one of my stories.

And a year back, I went back to writing fiction.

My first novella Nargis Through my Summers was published on Amazon Kindle in April 2014 and opened to 4-star reviews in Amazon and Goodreads. Loves Lost is my latest collection of short stories that was released on the 12th. of December, 2014.

cover2RW: What other books do you have to share with us and can you tell us a little about them? Do you have any full length novels in the works?

SOURABH: I would like to take this opportunity to talk about my book Nargis Through my Summers. Recipient of the Golden Pen Award in the Monsoon Romance Contest organized by a popular website in India, the novella is about a woman who moves in and out of relationships over the years, and a man who remains a silent and distant witness to the course of her life, with unflinching faith in the honesty and sanctity of his feelings for her.

The following are some of the comments the book has received over the last 6 months of its release:

A story which evokes yearning in our hearts, pushing the hands of time. Sourabh is economic in his choice of words, and allows the reader’s imagination to play. His style is that of a master story-teller and the build-up is strong. The end has a twist that rhymes well with the elevated level of this story. This is just the beginning; we want many more from you. Readers: THIS IS A MUST READ.’ – Amazon

This book is a must read for all romantics and “cynics” in equal measure. It’s a beautiful story, written in an extremely simple, subtle and poignant style. The way the story unfolded was beautiful yet unexpected’ – Amazon

A lucid read. I really liked how the author articulated the inner feelings of the protagonist. Also, must appreciate the in-depth description of emotions. I could almost visualize the scenes opening up and enacting in front of my eyes. It also got me nostalgic and took me on a trip down memory lane. The suspense of the story has been well kept under wraps.’ – Amazon

Oh what a treat it was! Just the right amount of text and right amount of storytelling. The ending was unexpected, but it made so much sense.’  – Goodreads

Just finished reading the story and have to say the ending was astounding! Really impressed. The buildup was awesome and the last chapter breath taking.’ – Goodreads

The book is available at Amazon US & UK.

RW: How do people connect with you through all forms of social media?

List links to all websites you have and social networks such as Twitter.

Facebook

LinkedIn

Google+ handle: thestoryteller1974

 

RW: Who are your favorite authors?

SOURABH: Jeffrey Archer is an all-time favourite. I think he is an institution when it comes to storytelling – whether it’s his novels or his short stories.

And then I have favourites by genres.

I have been a big fan of Agatha Christie – mainly because of Poirot’s methods of investigation, the witty repartees, the human emotions at the core of the crimes; and the laidback rural settings on the surface with undercurrents of malice and conspiracy in the Miss Marple stories. Among more recent authors, I like the Alex Cross stories by James Patterson – not just for the thrills, but also for the underlying human emotions. I loved Stieg Larsson’s works. I was floored by The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino.

I absolutely adore Koji Suzuki’s books. I wish I could read his works in Japanese.

In the Romance genre, I have gone back again and again to Eric Segal’s works. I have Nicholas Sparks and John Green in my shelves and am very eager to read them.

Over the last couple of years, I have discovered Haruki Murakami and Gabriel Garcia Marquez – albeit in English translations of their works. And what a revelation! More reasons why I regret my linguistic limitations.

RW: What is your favorite beverage to drink, any kind?

SOURABH: It’s always black coffee, without sugar.

RW: What is your escape from writing when just needing a break?DSCN0670

SOURABH: I consider myself blessed to have a lot of empty space – parks, roads for pedestrians and trees – in my neighbourhood right in the middle of a busy city like Kolkata. Ditto for the surroundings of my office. A stroll in the evening with the wind in my hair makes all the difference. I also have a song for every mood, and music, for me, is a great stress-buster. I do manage to switch off when I want to and I consider myself lucky for being able to do that.

RW: What are you working on right now?

SOURABH: I am currently working on a novel which is a crime thriller on the surface but has a strong undercurrent of human emotions like love and betrayal at its core.

RW: What is your biggest tip for someone to getting published?

SOURABH: It is important to create real, identifiable characters in a story – unless of course one is writing a fantasy or a superhero story. Correct use of the language is essential. An author should ensure that a story progresses at a uniform pace – a story that slows down after an energetic start is a big let down. Finally, it is not about the length but always about the impact of a story. I have read 1-page stories that have left me thinking for days.

Recently, I wrote a guest blog for Elizabeth Grace on the motivation behind writing creativity that should also motivate someone getting published for the first time.

RW: What is your favorite word?

SOURABH: ‘Basically’ – I guess it comes from my inherent tendency to get to the bottom of matters.

 

And that my friends is basically the end of our time today with Sourabh. You may check out my review of Loves Lost here or go and check it out on Amazon here while you grab his book at the same time.

 

 

Ron_LWI

 

 

 

@RonovanWrites

 

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Book Review. The Martian by Andy Weir.

The Martian by Andy Weir
The Martian by Andy Weir

Title:   The Martian
Author:   Andy Weir
ISBN-10: 0091956145

ISBN-13: 978-0091956141

ASIN: B00FAXJHCY

Although I’m not much of an engineer and my knowledge of physics and chemistry is by now rusty at best, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It’s a story of survival of the human spirit, creativity and problem solving at its best.

In previous reviews I have commented on how usually we put ourselves in the place of the protagonists of the books we’re reading and wonder what we would do. I can honestly say if I had been in Mark Watney’s place (abandoned alone in Mars), I’d be dead.

Of course he’s an engineer, a botanist and an astronaut, so he’s not your usual Joe. Even by those standards, he seems like an extraordinary human being as he never (or very seldom) gets downtrodden and keeps trying and going, no matter what. Resilience should be his second name.

I cannot comment on how accurate many of the suggestions or situations in the book are (and I’m sure people will have as reference other stories, books and movies), although I know whilst I was reading it, it seemed well constructed, plausible, and to my untrained eye the story felt true.

I found the epistolary (logs) style appropriate and suited to the content (this is not somebody trying to write a novel or a confessional), the book thrilling, and the adventures of this modern day Robinson Crusoe gripping and impossible to put down.

Do we get to know much about Mark? Probably not, other than his steel determination, his sense of humour (somewhat infantile, but hey, whatever helps) and his resourcefulness. There is no much character development, but maybe survival is far too consuming an activity to allow for much of anything else. We know the other characters more through their actions than through deep psychological insights, but this is an adventure book and it focuses on doing.

We can’t help but ask ourselves if in real life the team around him and the whole world would have been so generous. One seriously wonders, but there are wonderful examples of human generosity and we can only hope so.

Having had a quick look at the negative reviews I observed that many people said it read like an instructions manual and it was boring. Although it’s not the most emotionally engaging book I’ve ever read, I didn’t find it slow or boring, just the opposite. But maybe it’s me. And it seems a few other people. I’d recommend it to anybody who finds the premise interesting, but just in case have a look inside and read a sample, as the style does not change much and if you don’t like the beginning you might not get along with the book.

Book Highlights: The sheer amount of detail and technical knowledge.

 Challenges of the book: As above. From reading some reviews people found the science part of it a bit hard to stomach. Also, I got the sense that the main character is somebody writing a log for posterity, but not somebody who wanted to discuss his feelings or philosophical insights, rather an eminently practical person. Also, at some point in the book somebody mentions he coped with situations by using humour. Sometimes he appears too upbeat, but then…when you’re alone you have to get on with it.

 What do you get from it: A story of endurance of the human spirit and determination to hang on to life. And a lot of details about life (or the absence of it) on Mars.

 What I would have changed if anything: I would have liked to know more about the life of the character before he was in the situation he is in, but he does not linger on thoughts about his life or himself much and in such circumstances, maybe keeping busy would be the best defence mechanism. Also, we only get what’s written, not the truly alone and unrecorded moments. Taken at face value the form and the content appear suited to each other.

 Who Would I recommend this book to?: People interested in survival stories, and with a certain background or tolerance for lengthy explanations about technical matters. As I comment in the body of the review I don’t think I’m particularly up-to-date in engineering or technical matters, but I’ve always loved solving puzzles and problems and the whole book is a big puzzle.

 

The Martian (Paperback cover)
The Martian (Paperback cover)

 

Ratings:
Realistic Characterization: 3.5/5
Made Me Think: 4.5/5 (more about technical issues than about life in general)
Overall enjoyment: 4.5/5
Readability: 4/5
Recommended: 4.5/5
Overall Rating: 5/5
 

Buy it at:  Amazon
Format & Pricing:
Paperback:  $15.48
Kindle:  $5.35

Audio:  $30.99

 

Olga Núñez Miret

@OlgaNM7

http://OlgaNM.wordpress.com

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