Please, sir, I want some more

I did the Wednesday post on The Write Romantics blog this week so I thought I’d share it here …

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IMG_0910I’ve become a bit Oliver Twist lately. I keep wanting more. Okay, I confess, it’s not just been lately. The desire has always been there. Ten more minutes in bed? Ooh, can I have an hour more please? One lottery number in the draw? No, thanks. I’d rather have all six! One jaffa cake? No, thanks. I’ll take the whole packet instead! And when the tendency to munch my way through too many full packets of jaffa cakes (or tubes of Pringles … or pieces of cake; they’re interchangeable!) takes its toll and I toddle off to Slimming World or WeightWatchers for the millionth time, step on the scales and discover I’ve lost 6lbs in my first week, I feel disappointed that I haven’t lost 7lb or 8lb or, let’s face it, five stone in one week!

And I suspect I’m not the only one.

I decided to ask Google…

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Two words. Eight letters. Huge meaning

Thank you. Two little words. Eight letters. But they can make such an incredible difference.

As a child, I was always taught to say please and thank you. I’ve always appreciated the politeness and good manners of using these words, but as I’ve moved through my career, I’ve found that the phrase “thank you” carries another meaning. It’s not just politeness. Instead, it’s a phrase that can make an employee feel valued, motivated, and a crucial part of the team. And the absence of it can have the opposite effect.

1459660_10153764816734073_906436907602077622_nSadly, I’ve worked for far too many managers and in far too many companies where the simple thank you is a phrase rarely uttered and employees – myself included – have been left feeling undervalued, demotivated, and totally worthless. After unexpectedly being made redundant from the day job in June, I was fortunate enough to walk into another role as a recruitment consultant for a local company called Castle. Although I struggled at first because the work was quite different to anything I’ve done before, I’ve now fully settled in and have to say that it’s the most refreshing place I’ve ever worked. Why? Because support, appreciation, and recognition are part of the culture at Castle. So far, I’ve been out for two delicious meals at our quarterly team meetings, I’ve been on a hilarious team-building afternoon followed by another meal to celebrate the team smashing their targets for the first half of the year (and I wasn’t even an employee during that time!), I’ve met my first set of targets and will be rewarded with lunch out and a day’s holiday, and I was voted as employee of the month for September. The result? A very happy, motivated employee who wants to work even harder to thank the company for how they treat me!

Converting this to writing, I’ve picked up another few reviews in the past week bringing my total number of reviews for my debut novel, Searching for Steven up to 54, 45 of which are 5-star and the rest 4-star. I can’t quite believe I have such great reviews. At the end of one of the recent ones, Anon writes: “Many thanks Jessica Redland, I look forward to reading more of your books in the future.” An earlier review from Mrs Rosalyn Leach states: “Some books arrive at just the right time in your life. Searching for Steven did for me. I really enjoyed the journey and the final twist to the story. Thank you Jessica.” Thank you. Those two special words. How amazing that these lovely readers are actually thanking me for writing my novel when it’s me who owes them my thanks for buying Steven, taking the time to review it, and absolutely making my day. The actual words “thank you” appear in other reviews but, even where they don’t, the very act of writing a review is effectively thanking me and it has the exact same affect that my employer has had on me: a happy, motivated author who wants to write more books, with fabulous characters and exciting plots to thank the readers for supporting me.

Two words. Eight letters. But oh so valuable.

Happy Anniversary to Me!

There’s a phrase I often use: “What a difference a day makes“. I’m not sure of the original origin (it didn’t come up on the first page of Google and I was far too lazy to look further), but it’s the title of a few songs, including the lovely Dinah Washington classic so I’ve linked it through to You Tube if you fancy a listen. The song talks about Dinah’s world changing from blue to joyous when the man of her dreams becomes hers. This isn’t usually the context in which I use the phrase myself. I tend to use it more to describe those occasional days that change an aspect of your life. For me, a very life-changing day happened exactly a year ago today (17th September). It was the day that I received my publishing deal from So Vain Books because that email and subsequent phone call made me into the published author I am today.

11312759_890004877705480_5647299591566996495_oAs it happens, I was already on the path to publication because a little over two weeks before, on 1st September, I’d received an offer of a three-book publishing deal with another company. I’d verbally accepted it and was going through the paperwork, but I had one or two concerns. Although they’d said they loved Searching for StevenI got the sense that they wanted to change it quite significantly and I was concerned that it wasn’t going to end up the story that I set out to write. When the offer from SVB came through, my gut instinct told me that they were going to be the better home for Steven and I’ve never for one moment regretted that decision.

So that was a day that made a difference, but it’s really been a year that’s made a difference that I wanted to talk about in this blog post. It’s certainly been an eventful year. In the non-writing part of my life, there’ve been some significant events:

  • _MG_6896Both of my parents have turned 70 (well, Dad turns 70 in two week’s time but it’s nearly within the year!)
  • Our gorgeous cat Pixie lost her battle with diabetes and left us at the young age of nine
  • We took our daughter (seven at the time) on her very first holiday abroad
  • I was made redundant completely unexpectedly, but thankfully walked straight into another job
  • Hubby and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary (again, I’m extending the year slightly because it’s actually a week today but that’s close enough between friends, isn’t it?)
  • I re-joined bootcamp and have been rising again at 5.20am three mornings a week for the past year
  • Hubby decided to take his interest in photography to the next level and has grown into an incredibly talented photographer who has taken pictures at his first wedding as well as undertaking his first corporate commission. Very proud!

_MG_5008In the writing part of my life, I can’t believe what’s happened to me! I’ve:

  • Released a novel (Searching for Steven) AND a novella (Raving About Rhys)
  • Peaked at number 399 in the overall Amazon chart with Steven
  • Received x50 reviews for Steven and x33 for Rhys
  • Only got 5-star and 4-star reviews (so far; always preparing myself for that first 1-star review and promising myself I won’t sob for hours when it appears!)
  • Been a contributor to an anthology of short stories (Winter Tales), raising money for Cystic Fibrosis Trust and Teenage Cancer Trust
  • Appeared in the local press: The Scarborough News, The Yorkshire Coast, The Scarborough Review, and The Scarborough Comet
  • Talked and signed books at two libraries, and secured talks at two others
  • 1972459_10153485966594073_1735178700762728074_nHad Steven stocked across North Yorkshire Libraries
  • Got Waterstones to stock Steven in the Scarborough branch
  • Had a launch party attended by lots of incredibly supportive and lovely friends and family
  • Had a blue plaque named for me (OK, so it was a DIY-special courtesy of my dad but it’s still pretty special!)
  • Finished my second novel, Getting Over Gary (well, it will be finished within two weeks as that’s deadline time)
  • Planned my second novella. (Confession: when I say ‘planned’, I mean there’s an idea in my head and I’ll just run with that and see where it takes me, but I took the same approach with Rhys and it worked so let’s hope second time will work too!)

Blue PlacqueYes, what a difference a year makes! I still find it hard to believe that I’m a published author. It still doesn’t feel real. I wonder if it ever will. Thank you so very much to everyone who has supported me over the last year and before that too. Thank you So Vain Books for taking a chance on me, thank you to everyone who has bought/read/reviewed Steven and all those who’ve promoted and recommended it to their friends and family. You’re amazing, every last one of you. I’ve been touched and overwhelmed by how supportive some people have been. I’ll admit I’ve also been very disappointed at the lack of support from some people who I thought would have been pleased for me and passed word on. If you’re a prolific Facebook user, how difficult is it to like and share a post and say something like “My friend wrote this. I’m not a reader myself but if any of my FB friends are, it’s got great reviews so why not give it a go?” I’d certainly have done that if roles had been reversed. I won’t dwell on this, though, as this is a happy post and the non-supporters are absolutely in the minority. Plus it’s their choice. I just thought …. *slaps wrist and tells self to stop dwelling on it* Thank you to North Yorkshire Libraries for their support, particularly Sharon Houghton from Eastfield Library, and to Waterstones for ordering copies of Steven. Huge thanks to my mum, Joyce Williams, who has left postcards on noticeboards whilst on holiday, and talked so many of her village residents into buying a signed copy of the paperback. Thanks to The Write Romantics for their eternal support. And finally thanks to hubby and the munchkin for letting me disappear into my world of imaginary friends on a regular basis without moaning that I’m neglecting them xxx

I can’t wait to see what the next year brings …

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An audience with …

me, actually! This afternoon, I had a half day’s holiday from the day job so that I could deliver my second ever library talk. It was the first one I booked but the idea was to run it during one of the library’s book club sessions and they were hoping to have the book club a bit more established by now (it had only just set up when we first discussed me talking).

12006291_10153717292059073_2813299575419794276_nEastfield Library is a small library in an area just outside Scarborough. It’s actually my local library and I have strong links with it. My mother-in-law volunteers on the library van, my daughter is a member and regularly borrows books, and I took my Brownie pack there to do their book lover badge last term.

I’d been really pleased with the turnout of 12 (plus organiser) at the first talk I did at the main Scarborough Library, but I suspected we wouldn’t be drawing those numbers today. I was pleasantly surprised to have an audience of 7 … although 4 of those were library staff or volunteers and only 3 were ‘general public’. Still, it was a lovely size audience.

When I arrived, I spotted Searching for Steven propped up on a table promoting today’s event, in its plastic cover. It was lovely seeing it like that, knowing it is available to be borrowed. I wonder how many people will borrow it.

The talk went well and I made sure it was a bit shorter than last time as I’d struggled for time for questions. Two of the external guests, one of the volunteers and two of the library staff stayed behind afterwards for a cuppa and a chat which I really enjoyed. One of them bought a copy of Raving About Rhys which I have available exclusively for family, friends, prizes and events (it’s officially only available on eBook) and another said she would borrow it from the library as it’s not her usual genre but she wanted to give it a try.

What was interesting was that I asked the question of my audience about the genres they like and nobody favoured romance. I therefore feel particularly flattered that they’ve come out to hear me talk when my book isn’t the sort they’d typically pick up.

A question arose about how I publicised myself and where I gave talks. It reminded me that I’d made contact with the WI about being a guest speaker and hadn’t heard a thing back from them. One of the library volunteers said she had lots of contacts in the WI and also Countryside Women (or something similar to that) so was going to get in touch with me with the best people to contact to get a response. That was a good success.

I now have a headache. A combination of a sleepless night, a 5.20am start for a very hard fit test at bootcamp, half a day’s work, and a library talk have taken it out of me and the paracetemol I took an hour ago haven’t touched it. My day isn’t over though as it’s Brownies tonight. It’s actually the first Brownies of term which means noise and excitement. I suspect I may make it home from that and crawl under the duvet, desperate for sleep!

Songs that tell a story. What a delight!

I know, I know, you’ve almost forgotten what I look like. I’ve been so incredibly neglectful of my blog recently. So sorry! My excuse is that I started a new day job a couple of months ago and I’m really struggling for writing time. My standard working week is longer by 2.5 hours and I have a longer commute. We’re not talking a huge commute, but what used to be 10 mins each way has become 30 mins each way. I know that’s only 20 extra minutes but It soon adds up over the course of a week. Plus, the job is a much more demanding one. The pace is faster and the need to concentrate is greater so I find I struggle to switch off at the end of the day and switch on to writing.

Anyway, that’s not the reason for this blog post. So what is? Let me tell you …

I’ve spend the weekend painting the hall and stairs (don’t panic, the blog post isn’t about watching paint dry!) which has been hard work. Whilst I’d love to have spent Sunday evening writing, I found myself drawn to social media and flicking the channels on TV. There didn’t seem to be much to choose from and I ended up on the True Drama channel watching “To Hell and Back”, the story of Meat Loaf. I missed the first 45 minutes or so but enjoyed the rest. Great music and an interesting insight into Meat’s life.

It struck me whilst watching this true-life drama that one of the reasons I love Meat Loaf’s music, aside from his powerful and emotional voice, is that his songs (penned by Jim Steinman) tell a story.

I love music, although I’m not an avid follower of the charts like I used to be. My daughter asked me the other day what my favourite song is and I had to give her the answer I always give: I don’t have a favourite because I love loads of songs. It’s true. I love some songs because they remind me of a certain era in my life (first time clubbing, being at university, a holiday with friends and so on). I love others because they have a great beat and make me want to dance. Some are romantic and give me a warm and fuzzy moment and/or make me think of my husband. Others I love because they’re so uplifting that they instantly make me feel happy, no matter how low I might have been feeling. But my very favourite stories are the ones that tell stories, which brings us back to Meat Loaf.

‘Bat out of Hell’ and ‘Paradise by the Dashboard Light’ are two great stories, the former depicting the story of a rider dying after a motorcycle crash and the latter about a teenage boy trying to convince a girl to have sex with him in his car. She says she will if he tells her he loves her and he finds himself tied to her for life to fulfil that promise after a night of passion. Most of Meat Loaf’s lyrics tell a story in this way but let’s move on from Meat Loaf and give another couple of examples, both of which I’ve head on my local radio station during the past week.

One of these is ‘A Little Time’ by The Beautiful South. A very poignant song, this tells the story of a man who wants a break in his relationship to sleep around and, when he comes back to his girlfriend after he’s had “a little time”, she advises him that she’s also taken advantage of the time out, had a few flings, and doesn’t want him in her life anymore. Hee hee.

The other one is from a similar era: ‘Hazard’ by Richard Marx. This song is about a mother and son who’ve moved to a town in Nebraska where he’s treated with suspicion as an in-comer. It’s just evil looks and non-acceptance until his girlfriend goes missing and is found dead and all eyes turn to him.

The very first story-based song I remember hearing was one from the sixties called ‘Tell Laura I Love Her’ by Ricky Valance. The hero wants to give his girlfriend an engagement ring but can’t afford one. He enters a car race in the hope of winning the money to afford it … but crashes and dies. I remember listening to this on a compilation CD my parents had of 60s hits and sobbing as I listened to the tragic story unfold.

I wonder if it’s being a writer that draws me towards this type of song, because they’re written like short stories rather than a standard song with verses and a chorus. ‘A Little Time’ and ‘Paradise have the classic “twist in the tale” plot and ‘Bat out of Hell’ has a bittersweet ending in which the hero of the story dies (a la Nicholas Sparks!) I think these types of song draw me in like a great novel, carry me along with a clever plot, and leave me feeling satisfied like I do after a 5-star read.

What do you think? Do you like songs that tell a story? Can you think of any others? Please comment and let me know your thoughts. By the way, if you don’t know any of the songs I’ve mentioned, I’ve linked the titles to their videos on You Tube so enjoy!

Jessica xx

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Does becoming a writer take away the joy of reading?

I used to be an avid reader. I loved books. I loved reading. I experienced so much joy from going on the journey with the characters, laughing and crying with them, and wondering how it would all end. Since I’ve become a writer, my relationship with books has changed. I probably read more books now than I’ve done since childhood when I read every night before sleep, but I now read them in a very different way.

Yesterday afternoon, I met with two of my lovely local writing friends and fellow Write Romantics, Alys and Sharon. We meet up every few months for lunch (with cake) and a good old catch-up. We discussed what we were reading at the moment and this very subject cropped up. They both feel the same and I’ll admit it was quite a relief to discover that I wasn’t the only one whose relationship with books has changed.

So what exactly has changed? For me, I think it’s that I now read as though I’m critiquing a book instead of for the sheer joy of reading. I notice and analyse dialogue, characterisation, character arcs, and plot development. I spot broken rules and they jolt me out of the story, e.g. when a writer repeatedly tells rather than shows or when they head hop. I find inconsistencies and plot holes. Yet I’d never have done this before I became a writer. Is this because I’ve read magazine articles, books, blogs etc. to study my craft and am now aware that these ‘rules’ exist and I therefore notice when they’ve been breached? Is it because I’ve been through the RNA’s New Writer’s Scheme (NWS) and have learned from having my own mistakes around this flagged up in the critiques? I really wish I could go back to just reading for the sheer joy of it.

Don’t get me wrong, there are still loads of books that I read which I absolutely love and which don’t have plot holes, inconsistencies, head hopping, telling and so on within their pages. But even then I’m still analysing them: Why are they page-turners? Why did I warm to the heroine? Why did that part of the story make me cry, and why did another part make me laugh? How did the twist take me by surprise? How was it all wrapped up in the end in a way that didn’t feel rushed? This analysis of the books I love is surely a good thing because understanding why I love a book should help me develop my own writing. But I find myself wondering if there are some books I’d have loved before becoming a writer that I now over analyse, which is what takes away the joy of reading for reading’s sake.

Does anyone else find this? How do you get the joy back? I’d love to know because I want to be in love with reading again instead of seeing reading as something I do as a writer. Help! I’m really hoping it’s just a phase and will pass soon. Pretty please.

Photos from my Library Talk – Better late than never!

It’s been a couple of weeks since I delivered a talk at Scarborough Library. I’ve been watching out for the photos appearing on Facebook but it turns out I was following the wrong page. Oops! So here’s a couple of pictures that were taken.

I was really thrilled to have signed and sold four copies that evening. I was allowed to take the flowers home, which was lovely, and the library staff had made the sign for me which I really appreciated.

The second photo includes Sharon Houghton who runs the most local library to me – Eastfield – where I’ll also be speaking in September. Sharon’s been really helpful.

As well as supporting me at Scarborough Library for my talk, she hosted an evening at Eastfield Library a month or so ago for my Brownie Pack testing them on their booklover badge. The girls had a great evening and all joined the library and took out several books. It’s fabulous running a pack of avid readers who have discovered the joy that reading can bring.

Jessica xx

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An Author-ly Good Couple of Days

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Happy weekend! I’ve had an incredible end to the week, thanks to three amazing things that have happened.

1. My Very First Author Talk!

I’ve received wonderful support from my local libraries. A year ago, before I knew I had a publishing contract, I met a woman called Sharon at a works careers fair. She works for North Yorkshire Libraries. We got chatting between conversations with job-seekers and I told her I was a writer. I also explained that I was a Brown Owl and that I’d be interested in bringing my Brownie Pack to our local library (her base) at some point to complete our Booklover Badge. Earlier this year, I was able to get in touch to organise the Brownie night … and to tell her that I had a publishing deal. Sharon was thrilled to bits about this. My husband also has a contact at the library through his photography and, between both contacts, we organised for me to talk at Scarborough Library and also a smaller library on the outskirts of the town. The latter one isn’t until September, but Scarborough Library was on Thursday night. Eek!

10945679_10153485965344073_4084184173099668412_nI was a little nervous about it. A lot of writer friends are very nervous about the idea of speaking to an audience but I’ve been a Trainer for years so this doesn’t phase me at all, although it’s a little different presenting about me instead of work-based subjects. What made me nervous was the thought of nobody turning up. Or, even worse, a couple of people turning up, realising I’m a romantic comedy writer, turning round and walking out in disgust! I was stunned and delighted when I had an audience of twelve, plus Sharon, and the presentation was incredibly well received. I really enjoyed delivering it and got some great questions afterwards. Four attendees even bought a copy of my book and a couple said they’d download it onto their Kindles.

Thank you so much to Scarborough Library for hosting the event. Sharon also confirmed a great piece of news. I submitted Steven to be considered for the library stock and she was able to confirm that they’ll definitely be stocking it at all the libraries in North Yorkshire. Wow! Not only that but, as a local author, I’ll appear twice: in the main section and in the local author section. Very excited about this. I love the idea that my writing can be enjoyed by more and more people by being available in so many different places.

2. Riding High in the Charts

11401501_432174206971006_984189043329891591_nSearching for Steven was selected for a BookBub promotion on Thursday. BookBub are a US company who promote quality books when they’re at significantly reduced prices. Publishers have to apply to appear on this and they’re very selective about who they pick so I was thrilled when my publisher’s application for Steven was accepted. People join mailing lists, picking their preferred genres of books, and BookBub email them with the books they’ve accepted for promo each day. This can boost sales but nothing quite prepared me for how significantly it boosted mine. There are over 400,000 books registered on the UK Amazon charts and, today, I reached number 399! I also peaked at number 25 in the romantic comedy chart which is an incredibly competitive one.

With being a US promotion, Steven has also shot up the Amazon.com chart to number 143,990. I have no idea how many books are registered on there but, if there are over 400,000 on .co.uk, we’re probably talking millions on .com!

To participate in the promotion, Steven was reduced to a 99p download and is going to be available at that price for a short time longer so, if you haven’t already bagged yourself a bargain, now’s your chance!

3. Local Support

Spurred on by the success of Steven today, I decided to visit Waterstones to see if they’ll stock my book. I spoke to a lovely manager and she was exceedingly complimentary about Steven, telling me it was the most professional cover she’d ever seen on one of the local author books they’d stocked and that it would likely sell very well as romcoms are very popular, especially one that’s set in a fictional version of Scarborough like mine is.  I would imagine that it will take a while before they go through their process and obtain the stock, but I’m so thrilled that they’re going to stock it.

Thank you so much to everyone who came along to my talk, to everyone who has downloaded Steven whilst on promotion, and to Waterstones for being so lovely today. And thank you to my lovely hubby for a couple more amazing promo photos 🙂

Have a great weekend everyone xxx

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When does a non-reader become a reader?

11062915_10153485965629073_1477999036179981810_nA week or so ago, I received a comment on my Facebook from my cousin that really made me smile: “Well I can’t near that book of yours I got. In 5 years, I’ve never known Michelle read a book. All I can hear is constant giggling…..” This was followed up a few days later with a message from Michelle herself stating: “Just wanted to let you know I’ve finished reading your book (in less than a week – it’s a record for me) and I thought it was amazing. Can’t wait for the next one.”

Both these messages were amazing to receive. Let’s face it, any compliments about my writing are fantastic. But it struck me that what made them even more special was that a non-reader had read my book, had read it quickly, and had loved it!

And Michelle wasn’t the first only one. I run a Brownie Pack and am supported by five other Owls aged seventeen to forty-something. The team knew I’d written a book, I promoted it in our newsletter, and we’ve completed our Writer and Booklover badges as a pack this term in celebration of my publishing deal. I was really conscious that I didn’t want to do the “buy my book” thing and have any of them feel pushed into buying a copy just because they knew the author. However, after I’d talked to the Brownies about my writing journey (prior to running a writing workshop), two of the Owls were anxious to buy a copy as they loved the sound of the story and were keen to know what happened. The following week, the Brownies met at our local library to complete our booklover badge and I brought a copy of Searching for Steven with me for each of them. They were so excited about owning a book by somebody they knew and we all had a good giggle as they placed their copies around the library, as though my book was in stock.

11163942_10153485965149073_2015482777000081150_nAbout a week ago, Maria sent me a text: “Just this minute finished reading Searching for Steven! So surprised that it only took me 11 days to read as I never have been a keen reader but this book is amazing and, as I’ve said, I’ve found it difficult to put down!! You have an amazing talent and I’m so happy for you pursuing your dreams …”

A few days later, Sophie posted a picture of Steven on Facebook and tagged me in on the post: “I’m not one for reading. When I do I usually get bored, manage to chapter 4/5 and give up. So when one of my fellow Brownie leaders published her first book last month I thought I’d buy one! I haven’t put it down since and it’s been the quickest I have ever read a book. Jessica Redland you absolute star! You’ve got me hooked, so it must have been good! Massively impressed and can’t wait for your next one.”

So that’s three self-professed non-readers who’ve loved the book. Yes, one is a family member and two are fellow Brownie leaders, but they could have just said, “It was good” and I’d have smiled politely and assumed either they hadn’t read it, or they’d read it and not liked it. Instead, it’s turned them into speedy readers who are now desperate for the next book in the series. I’m beyond proud to have written something that appeals to non-readers.

This got me thinking about people who don’t regularly read. Why is this? Did they never get into reading as a child? Did they like reading in childhood but found that they struggled to find time as the pressures of work/home ownership/life got in the way? Perhaps it’s more a case of not finding the right genre or author for them.

10945679_10153485965344073_4084184173099668412_nAs a child, I read a lot, although not as voraciously as some authors I know. My author of choice was nearly always Enid Blyton, although there were other books I also liked. As I got older, I read most of Catherine Cookson’s novels and loved them, but this reading choice came because my mum was a huge fan and because the books were set in the North of England from where my family hailed. Then I discovered romantic comedies in the form of Jill Mansell and Marian Keyes and, at that point, I found my genre. I found books I loved. I found books I couldn’t put down. If you haven’t discovered the genre that’s really you, how can you fall in love with reading? I’m hoping that Michelle, Maria and Sophie have discovered a genre through Searching for Steven that they love and that they may be inspired to read other novels in this genre. Of course, I’m delighted that they’ve loved my work and want to continue to read it, but I’d like to share the love a bit as I know how amazing it is to read a book you can’t put down, to be passionate about characters, and to feel a sense of loss when the story is over. I saw Sophie at Brownies again last night and she told me that she doesn’t know what to do with herself now that she’s finished my book. Awww. What a great feeling to have and what a great thing to be told 🙂

Jessica xx

Amazon… A virtual marketplace, or Big Brother?

Great post from Imy Santiago about the worrying Amazon practices around rejecting reviews because allegedly all authors know all other authors and therefore can’t write an unbiased review. Seriously! You couldn’t make this stuff up!

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A couple of weeks ago I read the third installment of a series I really loved. I will refrain from sharing the name of the novel and its author.

Like any reader, as soon as I finished reading, I wrote my review. When I tried posting it on Amazon (I did buy the eBook, just like any normal and decent human being would), I received a rather concerning email.

I will not share the screenshot of the email as it does contain the title of the book and name of the author. In its place I have copied the body of the email below.

Dear Amazon Customer,

Thanks for submitting a customer review on Amazon. Your review could not be posted to the website in its current form. While we appreciate your time and comments, reviews must adhere to the following guidelines:
http://www.amazon.com/review-guidelines

Here I was, thinking I had included an…

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