An entertaining while scathing commentary about race relations in America

Review:

 

Sidonie Frame is the manager one of Chicago’s buzziest small concert and event venues. When her sound manager goes AWOL along with essential equipment she has her assistant bring in another company to fill in temporarily.

 

Chris Hawkins is owner of Sound Alchemy and immediately he and Sidonie have a connection.

 

Author Lorraine Devon Wilke tells the story from two points of view and establishes her protagonists as equals in regards to education, income and aspirations. The only difference, other than gender, is Chris is black and Sidonie’s white.

 

Temporary work becomes permanent and friendship turns to love for Chris and Sid. The last thing they think about is the colour of each other’s skin, but that’s not the case for some friends and family members.

 

This is upsetting for Sidonie, but not surprising and she’s prepared to deal with it. What she isn’t prepared for or incapable of handling is the reality of a black man living in America.

 

Here’s how Wilke has her character, Sidonie, express it.

“What I didn’t know then is that by falling in love with you I would be stepping from my world into yours. Or maybe, more accurately, straddling both. I didn’t know that because I didn’t fully realize there were two worlds, two really distinct worlds with different sets of rules …”

 

The Alchemy of Noise is an entertaining love story while at the same time a scathing commentary on race relations in America. The author’s take on inherent and systemic racism, something her characters are challenged with daily, sounds authentic and credible. In that regard, it is an important book that deserves a larger audience.

 

The book itself is a pleasure to read with believable dialogue, fully developed characters and exceptionally good diction, something that’s becoming increasingly rare. The plot is well-crafted and try as I might I couldn’t find one scene that didn’t develop character or advance the plot or both.

Original post:
rodraglin.booklikes.com/post/1900750/an-entertaining-while-scathing-commentary-about-race-relations-in-america

Advertisements

A comprehensive and concise summary for creating fictional characters

Review:

e

 

 

Creating Legends – How to craft characters readers adore … or despise! is a comprehensive and detailed graphic eBook that includes tips and tricks for creating compelling, engaging, relatable characters.

 

In forty-five concise pages, Kathy Edens and Lisa Lepki, writers at ProWritingAid, an online writing editor and personal writing coach, have summarized almost everything important I’ve learned about developing characters including:

 

– Belief, Emotional Involvement, Clarity: what every character needs,

– Why you should throw your main character under a bus – to raise the stakes,

– Digging beyond life to create realistic characters.

 

There’s also a nifty graphic detailing The Psychology of Characters, links to character traits and character analysis worksheets, and even a therapist’s quiz you can take you yourself (I’m highly conceited, snobby and vain).

 

Its graphic style uses larger fonts for headlines and blocks of color that make it easy and fun to read.

 

This little, unpretentious book is big on practical tips and ideas that can be easily incorporated by authors with immediate and positive results.

 

Original post:
rodraglin.booklikes.com/post/1868275/a-comprehensive-and-concise-summary-for-creating-fictional-characters

Reedsy Discovery – Another paid review, bogus up-voting book marketing site

CrocusRain_IMG_0002

Reedsy is a British-based author services firm in the self-publishing industry. As well as helping authors find and hire vetted freelance professionals it offers online software tools to help authors convert their manuscript file to e-books.

Discovery is their new program launched “because we saw way too many authors getting frustrated with their marketing campaigns.”

No argument there.

Reedsy describes Discovery as a pre-publication marketing tool to be used to build momentum on the day your book launches.

So how does their new site work for an author? I needed some clarification, so I sent Emmanuel, CEO of Reedsy an email. Below is a transcript of my enquiry and his response.

Dear Emmanuel,

Thank you for contacting me regarding Reedsy Discovery. May I please get some clarification on this new marketing platform for authors? 

As I understand, I submit my book plus $50 for the opportunity to have one of your one hundred reviewers review it. If my book is lucky enough to be selected and receive a high-quality review, it will be promoted on the Discovery Feed where readers can read, comment and up-vote it.

If my book is among the most up-voted that week it will be featured in your weekly newsletter which is sent to thousands of readers in my genre. How many thousands of readers would that be if you don’t mind me asking?

If the reviewers don’t review my book, or if they review it and don’t like it, there’ll be no review. Without this review, it will not be promoted on the Discovery Feed and will be relegated to the Recently Added tab.

However, when my book is launched, the first chapter will still be made available on the Recently Added tab for readers to read, comment and up-vote—if they can find it. 

Would you agree the key to success is for my book to get a high-quality review and then be promoted on the Discover Feed where it will be featured prominently and much more likely to be read, commented upon and up-voted?  

Regardless of whether my book has the potential to be blockbuster if it is not selected it will have to compete with those arbitrarily chosen for a high-quality review and promoted on the Discovery Feed. 

From this disadvantaged position, do you still contend it could receive enough up-votes to be featured on your homepage and emailed directly to readers (the number still to be determined) in my genre?

All things considered, the most likely outcome for my book in my opinion, and indeed for most books submitted to Reedsy Discovery, will be to end up on the Recently Added list with one chapter featured. No review and no direct mail sent to your thousands (exact amount yet to be divulged) of readers in their genre.

And you think that’s worth $50? No, I mean do you really think it’s worth $50?

Sorry, I  forgot the professional landing page – that would make five including my website, D2D, Smashwords, and Amazon. 

Obviously, there’s something I’m missing. Something that will distinguish this venture from other sites that promote bad literature by offering paid reviews and the opportunity for unscrupulous writers using the most imaginative, but still unethical, ways of advancing (up-voting) their books with no regard for quality.

Please tell me I’m wrong.

Rod Raglin

PS When and if you do respond can you please provide an approximate number of thousands of readers in my genre you have access too? Is it two thousand or two hundred thousand? I think you’d agree it could make a difference.

 

RESPONSE FROM REEDSY

 

Hey Rod,

We are not currently disclosing how many readers we precisely have but it’s in the tens of thousands. So far most authors have received a review on Discovery.

Regarding upvotes, I agree it’s advantageous to receive a review. But you can counterbalance that by asking your existing base of readers to upvote you (or at least friends and family.

Note: I had a look at your Amazon page and I’d recommend you work with a professional cover designer before submitting to Discovery — it’ll give you much great chances of receiving a review (yes, people do judge a book by its cover…)

All the best,

Emmanuel, CEO @ reedsy.com

 

MY RESPONSE TO REEDSY’S RESPONSE

Dear Emmanuel, 

Thought you might suggest the friends and family thing. Sorry, but I find it unethical and apparently so does Amazon. I also noticed in your submission form it’s required to indicate whether the author has engaged the services of Reedsy. I guess that’s one way to select who gets a review or not.

Thanks for the advice on the cover, but rather than spend hundreds of dollars on a professionally designed cover so your reviewers might consider reviewing my book, I can spend $9 more than your asking and Readers’ Favourite Book Reviews will review my book (no professional cover required) within two weeks—guaranteed. 

Their review is posted on Barnes & Noble, Google Books, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. In addition, many of their reviewers post reviews to their blogs and social media sites. The review is also indexed by search engines like Google, which recognizes RFBR reviews and formats them with their starred rating, just like Amazon and Goodreads.

They also post the review on a landing page, their app, announce it to 500,000 libraries, bookstores and schools and give you a month of free advertising on their Featured Book Rotator visible to everyone who visits their site.

Unfortunately, like Reedsy Discovery they only publish four and five star reviews which I think is a disservice to readers as well as writers.  However, regardless of the rating. they send you the review and a mini-critique of your book that provides ratings on 5 key areas: appearance, plot, development, formatting and marketability.

Regardless of your quasi-ethical practices;  not being transparent with your numbers, encouraging bogus up-voting and the conflict of interest inherent in any review that’s paid for, I think you need to up your game, Emmanuel. 

Rod

 

Sometimes it’s hard to stay positive.

Marketing my books has that influence on me. I can feel my tolerance fraying as I read the pitch from yet another book marketer, publishing consultant, or whatever they call themselves hoping to sell you their services or programs that offer simplistic solutions to complicated problems.

I shouldn’t be so hard on them. After all, they’re just trying to make a living and being a salesman myself how often have I taken the sale knowing full well the client’s expectations would never be met?

Perhaps it’s because I’d like to believe that hiring an editor, cover designer and all the other professional publishing services available would guarantee me success.

It won’t. It’ll just make me poorer.

So I resent the dozens of emails I get, like this one, suggesting they will, and I feel empathy for those who pay the money only to have their dreams dashed and their wallet emptied.

Is there a solution?

In ten years of experimentation I’m resigned that first I have to get good, then get lucky.

Stay Calm, be Brave and Watch for the Signs

 

Reedsy Discovery https://reedsy.com/discovery

Readers’ Favorite Book Reviews https://readersfavorite.com/

Author Amazon Page https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Original post:
rodraglin.booklikes.com/post/1859327/reedsy-discovery-another-paid-review-bogus-up-voting-book-marketing-site

Me, Mattie and the Opioid Epidemic

BirdWhisperCoverEbook

Though the pain was bearable, it diminished everything else in my life.

Ignoring the twinges, I decided to lift and twist at the same time. Now nothing over the counter was relieving the pain in my lower back. Of course, it was Saturday late afternoon with no chance of seeing a doctor except at the emergency ward, a place I consider the less of two evils, one being death.

Who did I know that recently had surgery, wisdom teeth removed, a hip replacement – anything that would warrant a prescription for Tylenol 3. Friends, neighbours, relatives; I called them all. Finally, I scored. Ten T-3 ’s would tide me over until I saw my doctor on Monday.

It was a hellish couple of days. Some things you actually have to experience to have empathy. Chronic pain is one of them.

When I finally got in to see my doctor, after standing in his waiting room for an hour and a half (too painful to sit), he wasn’t very sympathetic.

“How did you do this?”

“I don’t really know?”

“Do you exercise?”

“I run at least twice a week?

“How old are you?”
“Sixty-nine.”

“What are you doing running at that age?” He shook his head. “If you want your back to heal stop running.” He wrote me out a prescription for painkillers and muscle relaxants and a referral to a physiotherapist.

I left his office more hurt by his incredulity than by the pain in my lower lumbar.

Running is therapy for me, it takes me out of my head. When you run, it’s not only your legs and lungs that get a workout but all your senses. You have to be aware of the terrain and traffic, sounds and colours. It’s total exertion, and you experience it throughout your body – especially in my back, at least lately. t the time I was working on my third Mattie Saunders novel. If you haven’t met her yet, she’s an independent young woman with a social conscience and a bad attitude, who loves birds, but not so much people.

Mattie is particularly down on addicts which is not difficult to understand considering her history, but if you want the specifics, you’ll have to read the two previous books.

To have a character address a particular issue in my fiction I undertake a lot of research. Discovering the cause of the opioid epidemic killing hundreds in Vancouver and thousands throughout North America was an epiphany. Many people have become addicted using legitimately prescribed opioid painkillers. When the doctor cuts them off, they turn to street drugs cut with deadly fentanyl. It’s a short journey from respectability to the morgue and death by overdose.

It’s not a stretch to say that could have been me.

They say if you want to know an author read their fiction, so not surprisingly, Mattie softens her stand on addicts in The Bird Whisper, the next in the series and soon to be released.

What about my back?

It slowly and reluctantly got better and without too many painkillers. I discovered I preferred the pain to the zombie-like feeling I got from the medication.

And I’m back running. Okay, not quite as far or as hard, but enough to get my runner’s high.

That’s the other thing Mattie, and I have in common, we don’t take advice well.

Tagore said, “We are not trained to recognize the inevitable as normal, so cannot give up gracefully that which has to go.” He was right about that, but I find myself ascribing to the words of Dylan Thomas, when he wrote, “Do not go gentle into that good night.”

Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs

 

 

Me. Mattie and the Opioid Epidemic

 

 

Though the pain was bearable, it diminished everything else in my life.

 

Ignoring the twinges, I decided to lift and twist at the same time. Now nothing over the counter was relieving the pain in my lower back. Of course, it was Saturday late afternoon with no chance of seeing a doctor except at the emergency ward, a place I consider the less of two evils, one being death.

 

Who did I know that recently had surgery, wisdom teeth removed, a hip replacement – anything that would warrant a prescription for Tylenol 3. Friends, neighbours, relatives; I called them all. Finally, I scored. Ten T-3 ’s would tide me over until I saw my doctor on Monday.

 

It was a hellish couple of days. Some things you actually have to experience to have empathy. Chronic pain is one of them.

 

When I finally got in to see my doctor, after standing in his waiting room for an hour and a half (too painful to sit), he wasn’t very sympathetic.

 

“How did you do this?”

 

“I don’t really know?”

 

“Do you exercise?”

 

“I run at least twice a week.”

 

“How old are you?”

 

“Sixty-nine.” “

 

What are you doing running at that age?” He shook his head. “If you want your back to heal stop running.” He wrote me out a prescription for painkillers and muscle relaxants and a referral to a physiotherapist.

 

I left his office more hurt by his incredulity than by the pain in my lower lumbar.

 

Running is therapy for me, it takes me out of my head. When you run, it’s not only your legs and lungs that get a workout but all your senses. You have to be aware of the terrain and traffic, sounds and colours. It’s total exertion, and you experience it throughout your body – especially in my back, at least lately.

 

At the time I was working on my third Mattie Saunders novel. If you haven’t met her yet, she’s an independent young woman with a social conscience and a bad attitude, who loves birds, but not so much people.

 

Mattie is particularly down on addicts which is not difficult to understand considering her history, but if you want the specifics, you’ll have to read the two previous books.

 

To have a character address a particular issue in my fiction I undertake a lot of research. Discovering the cause of the opioid epidemic killing hundreds in Vancouver and thousands throughout North America was an epiphany. Many people have become addicted using legitimately prescribed opioid painkillers. When the doctor cuts them off, they turn to street drugs cut with deadly fentanyl. It’s a short journey from respectability to the morgue and death by overdose.

 

It’s not a stretch to say that could have been me.

 

They say if you want to know an author read their fiction, so not surprisingly, Mattie softens her stand on addicts in The Bird Whisper, the next in the series and soon to be released.

 

What about my back?

 

It slowly and reluctantly got better and without too many painkillers. I discovered I preferred the pain to the zombie-like feeling I got from the medication.

 

And I’m back running. Okay, not quite as far or as hard, but enough to get my runner’s high. That’s the other thing Mattie, and I have in common, we don’t take advice well.

 

Tagore said, “We are not trained to recognize the inevitable as normal, so cannot give up gracefully that which has to go.” He was right about that, but I find myself ascribing to the words of Dylan Thomas, when he wrote, “Do not go gentle into that good night.”

Original post:
rodraglin.booklikes.com/post/1853145/me-mattie-and-the-opioid-epidemic

A synthesis of vital information on how to write a novel

Review:

 

The Novel Writing Training Plan is a short (55 pages) and concise e-book that synthesizes all the necessary information often hidden in books about writing fiction written by academics and authors themselves.

 

The seventeen steps include information on fiction fundamentals like characterization, story structure, dialogue, and setting. There are also chapters are the more subtle areas like point of view, backstory and subplots.

 

It’s graphic style with numbered tips and end of chapter takeaways make it unintimidating and easy to read.

 

Best of all you don’t have to endure pretentious academic language or multiple quotes from an author ’s books used as examples.

 

Don’t be put off that last chapter is used to promote ProWritingAid, a software editing tool. The rest of the book is jammed with valuable information.

Original post:
rodraglin.booklikes.com/post/1850183/a-synthesis-of-vital-information-on-how-to-write-a-novel

Mad Maggie and the Wisdom of the Ancients – FREE til Feb. 12

Mad Maggie and the Wisdom of the Ancients – FREE
Book 3 in the stand-alone series Eco-Warriors is free “til February 12, 2019
Download your copy at
https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

 

WHAT THE REVIEWS SAY ABOUT MAD MAGGIE…

Maggie is such an unexpected protagonist with so many barriers to achieving her dreams that I found her inspiring. I cheered for every single one of her victories. I feel that few romance heroines deserved HEA more.
– FIVE STARS, Shomeret on Flying High Reviews

 

“A good read that explores an improbable romance with all its consequences.”
– FIVE STARS, C. Widmann, Goodreads review

 

“The storyline was captivating, the characters believable.”
– FIVE STARS, Reviewed by Bitten by Books

 

“Magical story!”
– FOUR STARS, Elspeth, Goodreads review

 

“The plot was unconventional, it really had me hooked… Insightful.
– FOUR STARS, Dee, Goodreads review

 

“Loved it! Couldn’t put it down.”
– FOUR STARS, Booklikes.com review

 

Two passionate opponents, the antithesis of each other are about to clash over the future of a grove of Ancient Old Growth Forest on a secluded island.

 

Maggie talks to trees. Dieter talks to corporations. Maggie embraces mystery and flirts with magic. Dieter adheres to logic and the doctrine of Nietzsche. Dieter’s client wants to destroy the trees. The trees want Maggie to protect them. Dieter has terminal cancer. Maggie is schizophrenic. Maggie says she can save him if he saves the trees. Dieter thinks she’s crazy, but what choice does he have?

 

A week together alone on Deadman’s Island changes everything for both of them. Is it madness? Is it magic? Or is it love?

 

Mad Maggie is a love story between two disparate characters, a brilliant though somewhat anal retentive corporate lawyer whose personal and career mantra is “the will to power,” and a free, uninhibited spirit who practices natural healing on a secluded island in the wilderness.

 

It’s a story about protecting wild things and wild places as well as the devastating effects of mental illness and the stigma society still inflicts on those affected. It’s a story about compromise, tolerance and understanding and how these feelings spring from love and are nurtured by it. It’s about mystery, secrets and power that abounds in nature and within ourselves.

 

Mad Maggie and the Wisdom of the Ancients is the third book in the stand alone series ECO-WARRIORS.

 

Original post:
rodraglin.booklikes.com/post/1843149/mad-maggie-and-the-wisdom-of-the-ancients-free-til-feb-12