I’ve been got…

For years my barely read first novel INSIDE THE SKIN (formerly The Sea Trials of an Unfortunate Sailor) had been pegged at 15 meager but oh so appreciated and loved Amazon reader reviews…

about

However, as of today there are now only 7.

I mean, c’mon…

Thanks Amazon.

Sigh…

#itainteasythiswritinggig

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To Review or Not to Review…

That is the conundrum.

More specifically, the conundrum is should authors review or not.

I’ve been meaning to write about this topic for a while now…

At least ever since reading back at the end of June horror author sensation Ania Ahlborn’s excellently articulated post I Won’t Pan Your Crummy Book. I’m Not That Type of Gal.

And then even more so after having an interesting Goodreads discussion with my internet buddy Author Joy Pixley about it (I know, I know… Goodreads, ugh!).

Fortunately, during my recent meanderings I found the excellent post Should Authors Review Books? by Author Raven Blackwood — an author and Navy vet! which makes her a lifelong shipmate of mine — that I’ve reblogged down below for your entertainment and instruction, and which sums up the issues nicely regarding reviews.

But as far as Ahlborn is concerned, in her post mentioned above, as well as her subsequent post, she comes down strongly against authors reviewing books.

And she particularly takes Indie Authors to task for it.

One should remember that after hitting the big times as an Indie herself and subsequently getting drafted by the Trades into the Big League, Ahlborn has returned to her roots and has gone Indie once again with her latest novel IF YOU SEE HER [about].

Which is very cool thing for her to do… and very profitable one I’m sure.

Both of which I admire (read: envy) greatly.

But I don’t necessarily agree with her position regarding reviews.

Indie Authors such as myself, those down closer, much closer, to the lower rungs of the authorial success ladder, need to do just about anything they can to expose their literary flare.

Showcasing the fact that they are not just well-read, but understand what they read and that they can articulate why they do or do not appreciate what they read can, in my estimation, go a long way toward proving their own writing chops…

Or lack thereof.

And when it comes to reviewing well-established authors backed by the highfalutin publishing industry, I’m all for being brutally honest in regards to how one feels about their work.

Meaning all is fair: from one-star reviews to five; as is even making note of the fact that a book of theirs had to be DNF’d…

As can be witnessed by those DNFs found on my sidebar.

But, as an Indie Author who understands that this writing gig is a tough one, I do believe we Indie Authors need to find ways to uplift and showcase each other’s work…

And providing positive reviews for each other is one way to do that.

I didn’t always believe this.

Back when I first started this Indie thing a decade or so ago, I wrote a few rough reviews of other Indie Authors’ work.

And I still feel guilty about it.

And I won’t do it anymore.

But that doesn’t mean I’m going to be dishonest with my Indie Author reviews.

It just means I will look harder for the positive when reviewing them than I probably would for non-Indies.

And if I can’t find enough positive in an Indie’s book to at least write a decent three-star review?

Then I won’t review it.

And if it’s so bad I have to DNF it, gawd forbid — let’s be honest, there are a lot of less than good books out there, especially by Indie Authors I’m sorry to say…

Then I will do it without mention or fanfare.

Which means, if you are an Indie Author and if one day you find your book on my Currently Reading list and then the next day it disappears from the sidebar altogether, never making it to either the Recent Reads or Recent 5-Star Reads lists where all books are rated and (some are) reviewed…

Well then I apologize in advance, for, with my particular literary sensibilities being the way they are, I just couldn’t stick with your book to the end.

But so what, right?

I mean, my opinion about a book is just that…

An opinion.

And we all know what that means, right?

Yeah…

Exactly.

Now do yourself a favor by disregarding this extremely long opinion of mine and go read Raven’s most excellent one on the matter!

TL:DR: Some think it’s okay for authors to review other authors’ books, some don’t. Yours truly here thinks it’s okay… albeit with some provisos attached.

Reviewing books can be difficult, especially as an author. You don’t want to hinder future working relationships by one staring an author’s work, but you don’t think it’s right to dismiss the book’s pitfalls.

I’ve had my share of time as both author and reviewer, sometimes both. I’ve interviewed authors I’ve given negative reviews to. It is awkward, especially if they are the author who publicly gets all whoa is me when someone doesn’t give their book 5 stars.

That’s only the beginning of the dilemma. The one I tend to suffer from is how should I review. I’ve gone from short and snappy to 1,600 words. That isn’t even a joke. I once wrote a 500 word review on a one-word poem an author was charging $0.99 for. Surprisingly, the review went from a rant to a rave.

I’ve tried many styles and formats, different star rating systems. None…

View original post 289 more words

The Good Kill Is Now Available

THE GOOD KILL: A Killian Lebon Novel
A former Navy SEAL turned vigilante hitman already in the crosshairs of corrupt Russian agents finds himself in even deeper trouble after rescuing a sex trafficking victim against her will just as she is about to be delivered into the hands of an unscrupulous corporate mogul, an impetuous and dangerous man who will not be denied his purchase. . .

Apocalypse Now…Jacob’s Ladder…Scarface…The God Father… I’m tossing out movies that were so so hard for me to watch, but were done so so well that they of course, stick with me visually and emotionally. I’m doing that because The Good Kill hits me in the gut the same way those classic movies did. . .

Goodreads Reader Review

For all of you who pre-ordered your digital copy of the book, thank you! Amazon has magically delivered it to your Kindle reading device/app.

For all of you who would like to order a print or digital copy of the book, thank you! You may conveniently do so by clicking the little blue button below.

Free with Kindle Unlimited
The Good Kill: A Killian Lebon Novel
 

I hope everyone enjoys the read! Let me know what you think.

Thanks again and…

Write on!

 

A Song to Get You in the Mood for THE GOOD KILL Release Tomorrow

Sean “Big Mac” McKnight, one of my favorite characters from The Good Kill, is a huge Slayer fan; therefore, in his honor and in honor of the book’s release tomorrow, it is Slayer’s “Repentless, — a term which, coincidentally, could also be the novel’s theme — that we shall proceed to rock it out to. . .

NSFW
 
 

A former Navy SEAL turned vigilante hitman already in the crosshairs of corrupt Russian agents finds himself in even deeper trouble after rescuing a sex trafficking victim against her will just as she is about to be delivered into the hands of an unscrupulous corporate mogul, an impetuous and dangerous man who will not be denied his purchase. . .

ORDER HERE

 

#dark

#violent

#thriller

 

So, I’m Going To Make A Movie… UPDATE #3

We Have Our Captain!

I am pleased and honored to announce that we have found/been blessedly bestowed with a Director for our film LEAVE.

With a captain now at our film’s helm (yes, I do love my sailing metaphors), we will soon be launching our Indiegogo funding campaign, where we will happily and proudly announce all Cast & Crew.

Even once the Indiegogo campaign launches, we will continue to run our website funding campaign here for those Indie Authors and other Indie Creator-types who would rather receive one of the Reward Packages as a donation incentive to promote their books or other projects versus the incentives that will be offered with the Indiegogo campaign.

To be notified when the Indiegogo campaign goes live, please sign up here.

To learn more about the website funding campaign and how you can promote your books or other projects, please visit here.

To go ahead and just donate now, please do so here.

After you donate via the website campaign, you should be automatically directed to a page where you can select your Reward Package. If you are not directed to the page, please let me know and I will personally assist you.

Right on?

Write on!


PLEASE SUPPORT ALL THOSE WHO SUPPORT OUR FILM.

YOU MAY BE ALSO INTERESTED IN:

So I’m going to make a movie…
So I’m going to make a movie… UPDATE #1
So I’m going to make a movie… UPDATE #2

 
 

At least when the robots take over they will be much quicker in rejecting one of my stories…

Robot Editor

You know, seeing how we already have robots writing poetry and composing music, I assume we will soon have robots taking over as reviewers and editors, as well.

I yearn for that day…

You see, months and months ago — essentially an eternity in our hyper-paced, brain-frazzling, tele-connected, continually-morphing-right-before-our-eyes day and age — in an effort to enhance (establish?) my writing cred, I submitted a couple short stories to various literary journals in the hope that they will get selected to be published so that when I self-publish my short story collection I can add a highfalutin aside within the book’s front matter that gives a self-congratulatory thank you to these literary journals for their wisdom and insight in selecting my work to be published.

Can ya dig?

I bet you can…

As I’m sure you suspect, I subject myself to the subjective and contrary literary values of these human reviewers and editors because, just between you and me, I (like most other self-published authors I suspect) would like to someday be an unself-published author and be recognized as a “real writer” within the old slow (really, really slow) world of traditional publishing. (A good read on the question of whether one should self-publish or not can be found here.)

But man* let me tall ya that from all the brain-scattering hyperlinking/twittering/buzzfeeding** I’m now addicted to, I’ve become a very impatient man***, which is why back in 2011, after experiencing how long it took agent after agent to reject my highly exceptional queries (that, and because back then I wasn’t sure I would be of this world too much longer) I began all this ego-degrading self-publishing and self-marketing nonsense in the first place.

And which is why now, months and months after submitting my highly exceptional short stories to these good-fortuned literary journals I am getting extremely impatient with their less than expeditious responses and am once again beginning to rethink my strategy for literary fame and wealth, all of which is causing me to consider withdrawing my submissions and just go ahead and publish the damn short story collection minus the self-congratulatory front matter aside.

Big sigh

Anyway

Off I go to my Submittable account for the third time this morning to see if the status of any of my submissions have magically changed to something other than “In-Progress.” At this point, I would celebrate even a status of “Declined” just so I can move on in certitude and vigor.

And, while I’m (over-)indulging in my self-inflicted publishing pain at Sumbittable, I invite you to indulge in a short piece of mine that was actually selected to be published by a highly respected (at least by me) though highly unknown independent publisher, and which can be found by click clicking right here.

Right on?

Yeah, write on…


 
*non-gender specific
**included for dramatic purposes only – I’ve never actually been on buzzfeed…no, really
***gender specific

 
 

HEAVY BAGS OF SOUL by K.D. Rose: An IABS&R Volume IV Book Reveal

I’m very happy to say that we have yet another submission to ponder over for Volume IV of the Indie Author Book Selection & Review. And by what I’ve seen of the book so far, it appears to be quite the submission, indeed. And I’m very very happy to say that this may not even be the last volume submission. I have it on good authority from Author Erica Miles that I just may receive yet one more book prior to August 8, 2015, our cutoff date for submissions to this volume. And if by chance it, or any other book submission for that matter, doesn’t make it by our cutoff date – no worries, we’ll just include for the next volume.

But regardless whether we get to check out Erica’s book in this volume or the next, you can check out what she has going on right now at authorericamilesblog.wordpress.com.


It is now my pleasure to present to you…

Rose-package
 

Rose-front

I’m always humbled and very appreciative of the kind notes and inscriptions you all write for me in the books you send my way. I wish I would have (because I certainly should have) mentioned it before. However, along with the book K.D. Rose sent me, I received not only a very nice hand-written note (handwriting is such a rare occurrence anymore that in and of itself deserves acknowledging), but also one very cool diddy of an inscription that goes a little like this:

To Kurt:

You can say you got a masterpiece for free —
Then toss it in the garbage.
How Zen is that?!

– KD Rose

Oh yeah – very Zen.

So Zen, in fact, I shall clap in honor of its Zen-ness with one hand.
 

KD Rose Book Reveal

From the back cover:


It is half past dark and we are in a graveyard orbit. Travelers have lost their way. Mankind is hard of hearing. We have abandoned insight and revelation for commerce and merry-go-rounds of distraction. But wonder is still in the palm of our hand. Wisdom is everywhere when we pay attention. We hold the key to orchards in camouflage and we are charged with the task of taking vision and making it into reality–beyond anything that exists and beyond what others say can be done. Learning this is an absolute requirement to survival.

WHAT YOU DO NEXT, IS UP TO YOU.


All I have to say about that is…
Whoa…
 

Rose-flat

Rose-spine

Aesthetically speaking, HEAVY BAGS OF SOUL is a very eye-appealing book and there is a lot of mystery and intrigue going on with its cover; which is good because I suspect there is a lot of the same going on with its content, as well. Flipping through its pages I see poetry and stories and what looks to be asides of this and that. I can’t say for sure yet which book will be the selection for this volume but I can say for sure that this book has definitely captured my interest…


 

Author KD Rose Website
authorkdrose.com

 

 

Stay tuned for K.D. Rose’s Guest Post — it’s gonna be a good one…

 
 

THE CREATOR OF BEAUTIFUL THINGS: A Guest Post by Author G.N. Boorse

 

Oscar Wilde, in his famous preface to The Picture of Dorian Gray begins, “The artist is the creator of beautiful things.” But I’ve been struggling to understand what he means by that.

Do all artists create beauty? Are all of those who create beauty artists?

E. L. James recently published another book in the Fifty Shades of Grey series, merely titled Grey—the story as told by Christian Grey himself, and not through Anastasia’s eyes. According to the Los Angeles Times, following the first four days after its release, Grey had already sold 1.1 million copies, so her publisher printed a few million more.

Yet we cannot attribute James’ success to a particular artistry or cleverness with words. She appeals to the baser desires of the public, and they snap at the bait. Grey is a butchery of the English literary arts, but it sells copies.

Meanwhile the rest of the writers struggle to chain three words together in the hopes that they might find something beautiful, that their words resonate deeply from the heart. And in the rare event that beauty occurs and blooms like a violet in a pit of mud, it falls unnoticed by the wayside.

I’m not saying that you can’t find good writing on the New York Times bestseller list. I’m just saying you’ll have to look very hard.

Elizabeth Gilbert, bestselling author of Eat, Pray, Love commented in a TED talk on questions she’d been asked by fans as to what she was going to do now that she’d met with some success in her creative endeavors. In her talk, which is well worth listening to, she explains a fear that so many writers and creative people have—that either the best of their art is behind them or that they will never reach their full potential.

The pressure to improve, the burden of producing something marketable—these things hold back the artist like a bit restrains a horse. Try to write something beautiful and the dining room table goes empty while estimated retail value determines the speed, direction, and content of dime novels. No money, no bread. But if there isn’t a dollar in art, where does the industry fall? Places like Christian Grey’s apartment, I would assume.

So is there hope for the modern publishing industry? When will excellence win out?

Honestly, I don’t know, but we as both readers and writers have a duty to pursue the unmarketable art. Prose that speaks from the depths of the soul. Quality; not light reads. The involved reading projects, the memoirs and novels and elaborate space operas that maybe no one will ever pick up other than the writer’s girlfriend and his parents.

Gilbert suggests that we channel a creative genius greater than ourselves, and Wilde remarks, “It is the spectator, and not life, that art really mirrors.” Bare your souls, artists, and pen not the shallower mass-produced stock. Instead weave your own story on the page, heeding not the agents and presses and houses and focus groups that expect the same plot canned and recanned in shiny packaging. Dare to write selfishly, for the satisfaction of the artist and not the critic. Slave away years on a single sentence to make it perfect or jot down a novel and keep it that way.

But don’t ever feel that you have to write to please the people. It couldn’t matter less whether they get the bigger picture or not: popularity isn’t the goal. Don’t mimic E. L. James to collect Twitter followers.

You are a writer and an artist, and your job is to make something beautiful.


G.N. Boorse is a writer and blogger currently living in the central part of New Jersey. He recently published his first book, Don’t Touch the Glass, on March 3, 2015. Other works of his have been featured in numerous places online. You can learn more about the author at his website asotherswere.me.
 

 
 

Summertime Blues – A Call for Guest Contributors

I read an article a good while back about a study that concluded that we humans tend to be more productive and creative during cooler weather periods than warmer weather periods. Now, I cannot speak to the veracity of the study; however, I can speak to the fact that from now (and maybe even sooner) until the end of summer, if not longer, yours truly will be significantly less productive and creative.

Consequently, in an effort to, if not cure, than at least offset my summertime productive blues, I ask for your assistance. I am asking all you Indie-types, be you an author, artist, photographer, whatever, to contribute a guest post to this blog discussing what it has been like for you to self-publish your work.

You are free to discuss your creative process, the logistical process, the publishing process, or whatever process you have gained insight to during your Indie experience that you feel will both interest and instruct us, and, ultimately, improve and enhance our own future Indie efforts.

Oh, and while you are at it, don’t forget to pitch to us the final product of your creative effort (book, artwork, photography, etc.) for which you wish us to purchase.

You can email me your submission through the Contact page and we’ll work together from there to get it posted.

The more submissions, the merrier. I expect it to be a long, hot unproductive summer for me so I hope you all are willing to help me to keep this blog active and interesting throughout.

Please include links to any pictures or products you’d like to include in your post and I’ll format them to your liking.

Our first guest author post in this series is by author Jason Greensides and it will be up tomorrow evening, Inshallah. In the interim, you can check out Jason’s work at jasongreensides.com.

Let me know if you have any questions.

And let the long lazy hazy unproductive days of summer begin!

Right on?

Write on!

Veteran’s Day Giveaway

I would like to thank everyone who took the time to download a copy of my novel The Sea Trials of an Unfortunate Sailor during yesterday’s giveaway. I am totally flabbergasted by how many were downloaded. It is my most sincere hope that you enjoy the story.

Also, just a reminder that Leave: A Short Story is still available as a free download for about three more hours (until approximately Midnight (PST) or 3:00am (EST)). The number of downloads for this story were equally amazing. In fact, the story ranked number one in its category until just recently. It is now ranked number two. :) So please, continue to download it while it is still available for free.

US Amazon customers can get their free copy of LEAVE: A Short Story right here.

All other cool customers around the globe can get their copy right here.

And if you have a chance, please let us know what you think of the stories by writing an Amazon Review.

Thank you, my friends!

 
 

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Melissa Barker-Simpson: Author of HANDS OF EVIL – Guest Post (A team is born)

Author Melissa Barker-Simpson
Author Melissa Barker-Simpson
Kurt kindly allowed me to hi-jack a little blog space to share my story – or at least a chapter or two. I’m sure by now you’re aware my novel, Hands of Evil, is the inaugural review in the new Indie Author Book Selection and Review feature (we really must help out with a new title!). Kurt’s Pick, The Review Challenge…something!

As you’ll be hearing more about the book (or certainly reading about it), I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce myself and give you a little background on the novel itself. I feel I should add a disclaimer at this point, because I talk about my characters in a very real sense. It’s how I see them – all the jokes about authors are based on truth; we do hear voices in our head and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

I’ve been writing since I could first craft a sentence and it has remained my one true passion. That isn’t to say I don’t have others, but writing is a big part of who I am. I can’t put a number on the short stories I’ve penned over the years, most of them aren’t worth reading, but they helped me hone the craft and continue to do so. We never stop learning and why would we want to?

Hands of Evil is probably my favourite of the Morgan & Fairchild series (though it’s only the second!). About fifteen years ago a character began to develop in my mind; a protector. His very essence is that of a soldier and he dogged me relentlessly. His name is Brad Morgan and I guess you could say he is to blame for my obsession with all things military.

Hands of Evil by Ms Melissa Barker-Simpson

When I did create a world for him to conquer, although I saw value in the end result, it wasn’t everything I expected it to be. At the time I had a young family and writing took a back seat for a while. That’s not to say Brad left me alone! He remained stoic and determined, waiting patiently for me to flesh out his adventure and commit to sharing it with the world.

My brother, whom I adore, enlisted in the Army around the time I wrote the book and we talked regularly about his own experiences. I loved listening to him describe his life in the armed forces. The more I listened, the more I began to picture the sense of family in his squad – the unity. It was a connection I hadn’t considered and I knew instinctively it was the element missing from Brad’s story. He didn’t have his family.

I’m not a planner, I never have been. I give the power to my characters and allow them to tell the story. Then, when it’s done, I go back and use every tool in my arsenal to whip it into shape; plugging those plot holes and polishing the heart of the tale. A fellow writer once taught me the benefit of giving our characters a voice, and so I wrote a piece of free-form fiction, in which I allowed Brad to talk about his team.

Melissa Barker-Simpson Website
Visit with Mel at her website mbarkersimpson.wordpress.com

He introduced me to Kelvin Fairchild, his best friend and co-founder of Morgan and Fairchild. Almost immediately, Susannah McElvogue piped up; the undisputed leader of the group. She hasn’t quit since. I retold the original story, adding Brad’s team and Sins of the Father was born. It was never meant to be a series, and yet I couldn’t walk away from them. As soon as I came to the end of the novel, Brad faded into the background and another member of the team stepped up to the plate (I know, I’m mixing my metaphors!).

I’ve always had a soft spot for Jonathan Jukes (JJ). He takes far too much responsibility on his shoulders, and his personal demons have haunted him for a long time. He’s skilled, loyal and has a strength others can rely on. It is a pleasure to spend time with him. Hands of Evil is JJ’s story.

Thanks to Kurt for allowing me to share JJ with you. I’m excited to hear his thoughts on the novel, considering he is a military man. I may even get some tips for the third in the series, which I plan to publish next year. My brother has always been a sound advisor, and I pour over books relevant to the stories I’m planning. In this case it was all things related to close personal protection and the police force.

I hope you’re still with me at this point, and if you are, thanks for hanging in there!

It was a pleasure to stop by.

Mel

Mel-logo