Happy August. How has your summer been?
I am at the end of an experiment per se. I booked a review slot with Hidden Gems.
Like some authors it hasn’t been easy for me to get my readers to post reviews. I really wish I understood why this simple request is so difficult to fulfill. Then I think about myself. I have read quite a few books and am guilty of the very thing my readers haven’t done…post a review.
As a writer, I have become more aware of the importance of leaving reviews.
Last month, I enlisted the review service Hidden Gems. I heard great things about the service, but was a little apprehensive because of a past experience with a different review service. After asking around, I settled on them and I’m glad I did.
I choose their entry level plan, 50 reviews with my book A Southern Gentleman Vol One. I was very nervous. The nine reviews weren’t representative of the sales. This is my best selling title. When I do signings or book club events, the book is well received. Many have said how much they like the hero Jeremiah. However, the majority of them have yet to write a review.
Working with Hidden Gems was me walking into the lion’s den to face fifty readers unfamiliar with me or my books.
When the first reviews came in, I was good. Then a bad one appeared and I was fit to be tied. I know I’m not Jane Austen, Nora Roberts, Danielle Steele or Debbie Macomber, but I can tell a story. However, I get a little pissed when people say they couldn’t get passed the first chapter. A thing like that can shake a writer’s confidence.
I think what stopped me from replying to that first bad review was the fact the review misquoted several things. Here’s a review tip…if you’re going to leave a bad review, know of what you speak. As I re-read the bad review for the fifth time, I came to the conclusion this person was looking for a reason not to like my book. Oh well, their loss.
As the reviews came in, I was surprised to see how my book was viewed. Let me clarify. I thought of it as sweet & sexy. However, the reviews came back as just sweet. There was the occasional rushed storyline. Some were upset I didn’t mention the faith element. Overall Jeremiah has been well received.
A bonus during the review period was an increase in sales across my library.
I’m glad I tried the service. It was well worth the money. Will I do it again? Yes. I have to be honest, I wouldn’t have done this if it hadn’t been for the fact that I want to apply for a BookBub Featured Deal. I’ve heard of authors getting a BookBub Featured Deal without a lot of reviews. However, the two times I’ve gotten featured deals was with my book that has 30+ reviews. Using that as a measuring stick, I wanted to make sure I set myself up in a positive light. We’ll see what happens when I apply.
As of this post, my Amazon average is 4 out of 5 stars for A Southern Gentleman Vol One. I’m hoping to keep it there or higher.
I also think I’ll be adding Hidden Gems to my release plan. I know it’s costly, but if it will help make my book launches more successful, then it’s well worth the money.
If you’ve tried Hidden Gems or another service, what was your experience?
See you next month.
A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity
Aug. 10 – Sept. 6, 2020
with Joy Held
Writer Wellness, A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity: Good self-care is the new multi-vitamin! Writers should still take a multi-vitamin, and Writer Wellness is a complimentary plan to help you stay on target for writing and life.
WW is a lifestyle technique for anyone who loves to create with activities to stimulate creativity and health by encouraging regular journal writing, exercise, relaxation, good nutrition, and creative play. Regardless of style, genre, or writing goals, Writer Wellness is the perfect writer’s companion.
The workshop will offer three activities per key area (journaling, fitness, relaxation, nutrition, and creative play) for participant’s to try then respond to discussion prompts posted in the course. This interactive workshop will present ideas any writer can put into practice, tweak, and maintain throughout a writing career with the goal of better health and expanded creativity for many years. Discover the Writer Wellness Warrior in you and be well, write well.
JOY E. HELD, A.A.S., B.A., M.F.A. is an author, freelance editor, Yoga Alliance Registered yoga and meditation teacher, college English professor, certified Journal to the Self educator, and workshop presenter with over 500 articles published in trade magazines, newspapers, and literary journals. Her historical romance novel Message to Love was published in 2010 by The Wild Rose Press. Joy is a member of Romance Writers of America, Hearts Through History Romance Writers, Northeast Ohio RWA, and the Author’s Guild. She has degrees in education, journalism, and writing popular fiction. www.joyeheld.com.
Sign up and pay for the class here: http://occrwa.org/classes/online-class-three/
Fees are $20 for OCC/RWA members; $30 for non-members; $10 for OCC/RWA volunteers.
Note: OCC/RWA members who paid $55 for dues and wish to claim their free online class should email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The movie was based on an adventure novel by Jules Verne written in 1873. The movie had an all star cast with David Niven, Cantinflas, Shriley MacLaine, and Robert Newton, with cameo appearances of many others. It was released October 17. 1956 in the US.
To win a bet, a British inventor, his Chinese valet and an aspiring French artist, leave on a trip to explore the world where they experience adventures and danger as they travel around the world in exactly eighty days.
The movie was nominated for eight Academy Awards and won five, beating out critically and publicly praised films like Friendly Persuasion, The Ten Commandments, Giant and The King and I.
Many of the balloon scenes with Niven and Cantinflas were filmed using a 160-foot (49 m) crane. Even that height bothered Niven, who was afraid of heights. Tom Burges, who was shorter than Niven, was used as a stand-in for scenes where the balloon is seen from a distance.
In 2017 Mark Beaumont, a British cyclist inspired by Verne, set out to cycle across the world in 80 days. He departed from Paris on July 2 and completed the trip in 78 days, 14 hours and 40 minutes.
For a waltz down memory lane, Here is the trailer to the movie. Enjoy!
Published authors Will Zeilinger and Janet Lynn had been writing individually until they got together and wrote the Skylar Drake Mystery Series. These hard-boiled tales are based in old Hollywood of 1955. Janet has published seven mystery novels, and Will has three plus a couple of short stories. Their world travels have sparked several ideas for murder and crime stories. This creative couple is married and lives in Southern California.
Vicki Crum writes contemporary and paranormal romance, creating tales full of love and laughter and discovering one’s soul mate in the most unlikely places. Her published works include Loving Luc, Once in a Blue Moon, Moonspell, and Blood Moon (Eternal Moon Series). Vicki resides with her husband in a charming seaside community in Southern California. She has two grown daughters and two adorable grandchildren who light up her world.
We’re spending time today with contemporary and paranormal romance author Vicki Crum. Vicki’s third book in her paranormal romance Eternal Moon series has just been released.
Jann: Your Eternal Moon series is about werewolves. What drew you to this genre?
Vicki: A few years ago, my friend and critique partner, Mandy Baker, urged me to try my hand at writing a paranormal romance. I had only written contemporary romances prior to that, and one contemporary romance with futuristic elements. I tried to think what I could write exploring the paranormal world that would hold my interest. I wasn’t really a “vampire” kind of girl, so I settled on a werewolf. I’ve always been fascinated by wolves, and so I figured, why not? I could still create characters that were sexy and mysterious, and they could be awake during the day and eat whatever they wanted!
Jann: You received great reviews for Once in a Blue Moon and Moonspell. For this series, did you start with plot idea, a character or a theme?
Vicki: Oddly enough, I had started a contemporary romance that wasn’t really going anywhere, so I revamped it into what would eventually become Once in a Blue Moon by making the hero a werewolf. Only Jake was meant to be a werewolf in the beginning. I didn’t even know his love interest, Casey, was a werewolf until Jake did! A rare breed of werewolf with a case of latent genes, even Casey doesn’t know about her true heritage until Jake comes along. I can tell you I had some fun with this one!
In Moonspell, I give Casey’s handsome older brother, Reed, his own love story. Due to their odd family genetics, Reed is not a werewolf, but Marin, the woman he ultimately falls for, is. Each book in the series is connected by siblings. In Blood Moon, Austin is Marin’s brother.
Jann: Blood Moon, book three made its debut recently. What can you tell us about your characters Austin and Kat and their journey?
Vicki: Of all the characters I’ve ever written, I think Kat and Austin are my favorites. They completely captured my imagination and took over my life for a while. I love the way they relate to each other, their good-natured sparring, the immense and uncharted chemistry between them that sweeps them along, almost against their will, on an ultra-passionate adventure. The story takes place in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where Austin serves as Kat’s outdoor adventure guide. Lots of beautiful scenery, wild animal encounters, and plenty of passion-filled nights. And did I mention Kat’s stalker ex-husband, who refuses to take no for an answer? A showdown at the end exposes Austin’s werewolf heritage in a sudden and violent way, causing Kat to reexamine her feelings for him, and what a future with him might look like.
Jann: What do you want the readers to take away from this series?
Vicki: I want them to have fun, to be entertained above all, to be carried along on a fantasy, passion-filled adventure as the characters meet and fall desperately in love, then struggle with how, despite the odds against them, to forge a future together.
Jann: Will there be a fourth book? If so, can you tell us a little about it?
Vicki: The next book (as yet untitled) takes us to Nashville, and yet another sibling of Marin and Austin’s. Ethan Sawyer is a popular country music star who falls for an extremely independent woman, one whose father was a famous, and very troubled, rock star. Due to Skyler’s scarred past, getting involved with a musician is a non-starter for her. She is also half Shawnee, which according to her full-blood grandmother, makes any kind of union with a shapeshifter forbidden.
Jann: Your first book, Loving Luc, is a contemporary romance. Do you have any plans to write another contemporary romance?
Vicki: Loving Luc is a contemporary romance with futuristic elements, as Luc hails from a planet in another solar system that just happens to be very similar in size and scope to Earth. But yes, I’m thinking to finish my Eternal Moon series with Ethan and Skyler’s story, and then I have several straight contemporary ideas I’d like to work on. Also, my daughter has expressed an interest in us writing a book together, so we’ll see where that idea leads.
Jann: Do you find yourself returning to certain themes in your stories?
Vicki: I would have to say the main theme in most of my books has been the tried and true “love conquers all”. I’ve paired lovers from two distant solar systems and given them their happy ending, and three of the Eternal Moon novels feature couples with incongruent genetic lines, human and werewolf. You can imagine what kinds of difficulties they might face trying to create a life together! I love the idea of discovering one’s soulmate in the most unlikely and unexpected places, wherever that may be.
Jann: Are there any words of inspiration on your computer, in your office or in your mind when you write?
Vicki: Honestly, the quote that has always inspired me the most, and I’m sorry I can’t remember who said it, goes like this, “It makes me sad to think of all the truly talented writers who eventually gave up and went away.” When I’m feeling down and discouraged, this quote gives me heart. Never give up your dreams!
Jann: Do you have a website, blog, twitter where fans might read more about you and your books?
Vicki: You can find my website at: vickicrum.wix.com/author, and catch me on Facebook at Facebook.com/vickicrum.author
Congratulation Vicki on the debut of Blood Moon!! It’s been fun getting a peek into your world of werewolves here on A Slice of Orange.
Dianna is a contributing author in the recent Bethlehem Writers Group anthology, Untethered, Sweet, Funny & Strange Tales of the Paranormal. A man buys a painting of a jungle scene that is so realistic it seems to change in “Point of View.” She has also contributed stories for the Bethlehem Writers Roundtable ezine, including “In the Delivery.”
Born and raised in the Midwest, Dianna has also lived in three other quadrants of the U.S. She writes short stories and poetry, and is working on a full-length novel about a young woman in search of her long-lost brother.
Dianna also has a regular column, Quill and Moss, here on A Slice of Orange.
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