Reviews Upside Down

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Catching up – as always. Just got two months worth this time, so please be patient all my lovely friends on Google, Facebook, Twitter, and everywhere else. I’m burnin’ the midnight oil. 😀

When I wrote my first review, I got pencil and notepad out and made notes. Names, scenarios – all that stuff. Just in case someone accused me of not having read the book. You never know with people. I don’t operate like that though. When I read a book, I read every word. Whether I like it or not. So…. This can be really painful if you really don’t like what you’re reading. But hey – moving with the times. No – I just say when I really enjoy a read. If I think it’s absolute fetid devil turd, I keep my opinion to myself. I really do not believe that authors should review fellow authors work UNLESS those reviewing authors are Stephen King or one of the great and proven. If you’ve written one book called Taffy Luvs Jones… Well – Nah… If E L James reviewed any of my scribbles I’d laugh so hard I’d…. well… biting my lip here….. Pfff – ha haaaaa!

Anyway. As a buyer of books, I really do NOT like spoilers. Why the hell would I want to buy a book when some reviewer has already shared the plot, the characters by name, the outcome, and then in one really epic dumb sentence – their opinion – especially when that opinion is “This book sux – thers no reelizm to it”. There are a lot of reviewers out there who have donned the mantle of editor, beta reader – whatever you’d like to call it – and go through a book they’ve downloaded one way or another with a magnifying glass. Quite a lot of these people – most – have absolutely no credentials. If you can’t figure out the difference between your and you’re, you really should think before you criticize. Tell me where you’re coming from before you expect me to take, “This is stoopid” seriously. Especially for published indies – make very sure that your published works are immaculate in every way before you comment negatively on others.

After the recent absolutely disgusting Goodreads free for all, I questioned the value of any review, when such troll guys are given free rein all over the place. But after a big think I figured that it’s all good. One way or another this brand new indie world will find its place in the world. And fair will be fair.



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I’m not a professional reviewer, and I only read for my own pleasure. Being a scribbler myself, I don’t ever leave a bad review, so it’s just as well that I’ve loved the last three books I’ve read. I gave them 5 stars ***** – every one! Here they are:-

Fantastic Tale, September 18, 2013
By Jo Robinson
Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: The Fall of Onagros, Sage Book 1 (Kindle Edition)
This is the best fantasy book I’ve read in a very long time. Marian Allen created a world I got totally absorbed in, to the exclusion of all else until I’d read the last sentence. I loved the way the thread of this story is woven, and the clever way the connections between the characters become clear. The parts played by mysterious, mythical creatures introduced at the beginning of the book is revealed in unexpected and delightful ways. A truly fantastic read. I’ll definitely finish reading all the books in this series, and any other book I come across by this author. She’s the real thing – a true story teller.

Delightful!, September 18, 2013
By Jo Robinson
Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: Red Gone Bad (Kindle Edition)
This collection of short stories surprised me all the way. Lucy Pireel has taken traditional fairy tales and made them her own with dark, tragic, and sometimes hilarious twists. Absolutely absorbing – I loved every single tale. I don’t want to give away any of these clever plots, so I’ll just say that I recommend this book to anyone, regardless of your preferred reading genre. This author is not only clearly very clever, but has a unique and enjoyable way of sharing her tales.

A Superb Story!, September 18, 2013
By Jo Robinson
This review is from: The Hangman’s Replacement: Sprout of Disruption (BOOK 1) (Kindle Edition)
I won a paper copy of this book in a competition. It’s quite a long book, but at no time did I get the urge to stop reading it. I loved every page! Having lived in Zimbabwe for eighteen years, I was fortunate enough to be able to picture exactly where the hero was, and that just made an already immaculate story all the more real and enjoyable for me. But regardless of that, I would have liked this anyway. I love this author’s obvious keen intellect, and his dry sense of humour. I absolutely recommend this book, and will buy every other story this author ever publishes. Fantastic book!

I’ve got a couple more reviews to do, but that will be next week, because I need to get back to a bit of work instead of lounging on the couch reading and stuffing my pie hole. These were all fantastic reads, and I’ll be revisiting all of these awesome scribblers one at a time on my blog in the future. In the meantime if you’re in the mood for a really good read, I totally recommend them all.

Don’t Let Them Make It Real

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When I’m in the middle of an intense scribbling period I really tune out the rest of the world. This is a very bad thing. I make a huge effort to check out what’s going on in the world around me, but nothing sinks in. My feathered horde take to foraging for marshmallows in the cupboard because I forget to put them out. And supper… Well… We’ll say no more about that. Poor husband guy. I don’t mean to be such a tool. The problem is that the only way out of this mode is a conscious effort to concentrate on “Other Stuff”. If I do this then I can forget the whole scribbling thing. Writers block? Who knows? It’s just a thing I suppose. Right now, I’m in this scribbling thing. Twenty pages of African Me to go. Then I can launch the bugger, toss a bottle of champagne – at myself – and move on on. So I haven’t been very clued up on what’s going on in the big old writers universe. I have spotted something that keeps on popping up though.

Lately I’ve noticed a terrible furore growing on Goodreads. This is most uncool. One “author” created a whole lot of false persona fans to love himself up, and then was dumb enough to trash a whole lot of other authors for no apparent reason. It was kind of apparent to me though. The guy was thick as two short planks. In the old days of traditional publishing this sort of thing would have been laughed out of the building. Now, anything goes it would seem. Barely literate one star “reviews” are popping up all over the place, totally negating the value of other reviews left by genuine readers who actually are more or less acquainted with the English language. So Indie Scribblers. I have to say. Reviews now count for not a whole lot.

How can you take the five stars seriously when you are so vociferously saying that the ones are from jealous, uneducated tools? You can’t. If someone really does not like your book, they are entitled to say so. And you can’t sort the wheat from the chaff with Amazon and Goodread’s systems. With independent publishing comes independent reviewing. This whole sideshow has taken the value out of any review in my book. I personally have one one star review. For me, it was a rite of passage. You’re not really an indie scribbler until someone calls you a tool and hates everything that you wrote. And your granny too. And calls you ugly. I know that my good reviews were genuine, and that’s enough for me. I’m not going to launch myself into a free for all with a bunch of vicious, stupid, trolls. I don’t think that petitions to Goodreads are the way to go. I’m going to get SO shot down here. I know. I just think that fighting that sort of breed of cretin is just going to generate a lot of compost. And those guys sitting under their bridges are going to love every minute of it.

Leave this issue well alone indie guys, and let the trolls bore themselves out of the picture without your input. It really isn’t worth your time. Just write on.

troll creative commons

Guest Blogger in the Hut – Marian Allen

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I’m very pleased to have as my guest today, an author who is a favourite of mine. I stalk her a little, but she’s gracious enough not to let on if I creep her out. I love her novels, her short stories, and everything she writes actually. If she started charging for her blog posts, I’d pay. Today she writes about the creatures closest to my heart, apart from dragons, those feathered guys real or mythical. So without further waffle from me, here, I hand you over to the lady herself.

For as long as she can remember, Marian Allen has loved telling and being told stories. When, at the age of about six, she was informed that somebody got paid for writing all those books and movies and television shows, she abandoned her previous ambition (beachcomber), and became a writer.

What a Divine Animal is a Bird!

One of the primary influences on my fantasy trilogy, SAGE, was the concept in Chinese mythology of Four Divine Animals. One of those four is Phoenix.
For those who don’t know, the Phoenix is a mythical bird which lives for a very long time, then builds a nest, sits on it, bursts into flames and is consumed, and rises, renewed, from the ashes.
Now, I think birds are magical enough in themselves. The ability to fly is amazing. We grow up knowing that birds fly. It’s just one of those accepted truths that we hardly think about. But what wouldn’t we give to be able to do it, naturally, instinctively?
Their feathers are fascinating, from the jewel-bright or subtly iridescent or perfectly camouflaged colors to the flawlessly engineered construction to the efficient qualities of the various kinds of feathers of each bird.
Migration? I can’t find my way to a new store in my own town with a map and a GPS unit, and birds fly hundreds of miles to places where their parents or grandparents were born?
And anyone who has kept or watched birds knows that “bird-brain” is not an insult: birds are quick and clever and inventive, and each one has a definite personality.
All this being so, I expected Phoenix to be rich with story possibilities.
Here are some notes I took while researching Phoenix for the book: “most honorable among feathered tribes”. The Phoenix has twelve tail feathers in five colors, red, yellow, black, white, and blue. The Phoenix is associated with the pheasant, peacock, and hummingbird. It’s a creature of the Southern Quadrant. It stands six feet in height. It is sun-producing, the spirit of virtue, and the peony is its flower.
I wasn’t surprised to learn that it’s associated with warmth, sun, harvest, and summer, but that it is the essence of water threw me!
Because he’s the spirit of virtue, I decided that Phoenix would be an easy mark for his trickster brother, Tortoise. In the prologue to The Fall of Onagros, Book 1 of Sage, I give a hint of that:

Tortoise took a gray-green step toward Phoenix. “What about you? How about a game?”
“I’ve had enough of your games.” Phoenix lifted his head and gave a ululating cry.
“You won’t interfere with me, then? You promise?”
“Oh, yes. I promise.” Phoenix rose into the air and was gone.

Over the course of the three books, we learn what “game” of Tortoise’s is causing Phoenix’ pain, what new “game” Tortoise is proposing, and what Phoenix will do after having given his word not to interfere. Can the spirit of virtue out-trick a trickster?

Usurper. Lost Heir. Runaway bride. Land on the brink of civil war. All so familiar, until Tortoise — the Divine Creature who ignores the rules of right and wrong — challenges his fellow divinities to meddle. Suddenly, children targeted for murder are adopted, swordsmen turn into blacksmiths, and none are reliably who or what they seem. The four Divine Animals are afoot: Tortoise, Dragon, Unicorn, and Phoenix. Hold on tight.
Book 1: The Fall of Onagros
In the first book of the SAGE trilogy, a legacy is lost, a woman vanishes into thin air, wisdom is found in unexpected places, and a man hopes to defeat a tyrant with tall tales and gossip.

The Fall of Onagros

The Kindle version of The Fall of Onagros will be free July 16-17, 2013!

Thank you so much for gracing my blog with your awesome presence Marian! It’s really an honour to have you here. I take it as I sign that you truly believe me when I say I’m not stalking you, and it wasn’t me at all in the big tree with the bino’s.

My nose is properly in The Fall of Onagros now, and soon everyone else’s can be too, make a note to download it on the 16th or 17th guys!

These are but a few on this author’s works. Find her at the links below. You can find lots more by Marian on her Goodreads page.

Marian Allen on Amazon

Marian Allen’s Blog

Marian Allen on Goodreads