Wednesday, January 20, 2010
To make this a hat trick. Severn House has just surprised me with a new jacket for the large print version of Edge of Regret, and I couldn't resist showing it off.
With three lovely covers in the past week or so, I'm not expecting any more surprises - but then, they wouldn't be a surprise I were.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
STRAW IN THE WIND
MARCH 25TH 2010
The stand-alone sequel to Salting the Wound
1835, England. A married woman, pregnant with her sea-captain lover’s child, dies giving birth. The child, Serafina Finn, is abandoned to an orphanage and grows up longing to feel that she belongs somewhere. Eighteen years later, her father, hearing rumours that his lost daughter survived, dispatches a detective, Adam Chapman, to discover the truth. Adam finds, and falls in love with, Serafina – but, even if he can prove her identity will her real family accept her?
Friday, January 8, 2010
The audio edition of ‘Hearts of Gold’ has just been released, and it has such a lovely cover that I just wanted to show it off. Audio books usually play for about eight hours or more – and it’s interesting (but not always comfortable) to hear how a reader interprets the tone of the dialogue and text, and how the words issue from the characters mouths. I’m now waiting for my author copy to arrive to I can drop everything and have a good “read”.
And a reminder that ‘Hearts of Gold” will be available under its original cover to buy in trade paperback at the end of the month.
Sunday, January 3, 2010
For most writers I know a good top pick review is the cherry on the cream of the cake. After months of hard work and much agonizing on their part, because yes, authors want to please their readers and win new ones, so they write the best story they can, and someone - hopefully a stranger – finally gives their creation a thumbs’ up. The resulting lift to the spirits reassures the author that she can write a good tale that people in general can enjoy.
But what if the review is negative? It’s not easy for an author to shrug off a really negative review. It’s like giving birth to a cherished baby after a difficult labour, and somebody you’ve never met tells all who will listen that the baby is ugly and worthless.
Let’s take a quick look at what I think should go into a review – and what makes a reviewer credible, and what doesn’t.
Firstly, a review is based on the reviewer’s ability to read, on her personal taste, and her understanding of language and comprehension of it. One-word comments like “Horrible” pasted next to a book, especially if it’s misspelled should make it obvious that the reviewer has no credibility whatsoever, and can’t write a paragraph, let alone read a whole book, understand it and make any meaningful comment on it.
So why would a dedicated reader take any notice of such reviews? It stands to reason that, whatever the genre, the author has reached a certain standard of penmanship that has attracted a publisher. This might have taken several years of hard work to achieve. The average is ten, I’m told. Also, the author would have spent at least six months working on the reviewed book. Dismissing it as rubbish with one word that took all of half a second to write is downright mean and an insult to the author as well as her editors and publisher. It also robs the reviewer of any real credibility.
From a reader angle, when I read a review I expect to learn about the story line and motivation of the key characters in the reviewed book. The reviewer’s opinion is taken into account, of course, but generally I like to form my own by reading the book myself. I can’t stress enough, that for most books - one size does not fit all.
Good reviewers are usually dedicated readers, and have reached a certain standard in the understanding of language, be cognizant of the different elements of character development and story plot, and be able to comment lucidly on those, without indulging in cheap shots or being deliberately offensive.
There are some excellent reviewers out there who present a fair and honest review, and who work for credible sites. There are also some excellent reviewers who work independently. When I send my own work out, it’s to sites or reviewers that handle my writing genre, and who have earned a good reputation.
Not all books will suit all readers all of the time, or will receive a top-notch review. Most authors understand that, but from what I hear they do appreciate it when the reviewer demonstrates a little expertise, and dare I say it – pride in the way they present their reviews.
Most novelists learn through hands-on experience, that a good novel encapsulation in the style of a synopsis, review or book blurb is hard to write, and an art in itself. A good review takes just as much crafting as a short story, and the credibility of the reviewer relies as much on the review they present, as does the novelist on the book they produce.