Lots of new reviews!

Posted by: Jennifer A. Ray

We have posted lots of new reviews for you this weekend!

How to Save a Life Without Really Trying

Posted by: Belinda McBride

This morning, I was on the telephone, making an appointment to take my niece to visit her social worker.  Once we’d settled on a date, I had to change the time, remembering that was my regular day to donate platelets through Apheresis.  

To my surprise, she didn’t know anything about donating blood, and was even more mystified that I would take several hours out of my day every two weeks to undergo Apheresis, the procedure that separates platelets from blood.  

I began to donate blood a few years back, going in to the blood center maybe two or three times a year.  And then one day, I overheard one of the nurses mention that some of the cancer patients at local hospitals were literally dying because they couldn’t get enough platelet donors.  I asked about the procedure, was tested for my platelet count, and to my surprise, discovered that I was an ideal donor.  In fact, with my high platelet count, I am able to do triple donations twice a month.  That means six very ill patients receive life-saving platelets from me every month!

What does this have to do with writing?  Well, I spend about ninety minutes in a recliner while the Apheresis procedure takes place, and my mind wanders.  Once, I was thinking of a new idea for a story; the setting was clear, the story would take place in post-earthquake San Francisco.  I had the title: Dragon’s Blood.  But the plot just wouldn’t gel. 

I looked around the room at all of the donors and thought of a future where a mysterious disease had taken hold of the human population.  A future where donated blood became a rare and precious commodity.  This disease became a major plot point in the Black Planet series, and will continue to re-emerge in future books in that series.  In my current release, Tiger Eyes, the heroine is afflicted with the disease called Dragon’s Blood, and is rapidly dying.  Grace fights valiantly to stay alive in this story; she’s an amazingly strong character.

Over the course of my life, I’ve seen many lives saved by the donations of others.  My friend Mo received bone marrow transplants which extended her life during her battle with cancer.   My brother received whole blood following a devastating injury.  My co-worker Melissa made the stunning and selfless decision to donate her kidney to a friend, and literally saved that woman’s life.  

You too can save lives; simply call your local blood center to see if you are eligible to donate.  It takes a little time, and next to no effort.  To learn more about Platelet Apheresis, visit the American Red Cross: http://www.redcross.org/services/biomed/0,1082,0_554_,00.html

Black Planet: Tiger Eyes is now available at Changeling Press:

http://www.changelingpress.com/product.php?&upt=book&ubid=1027

Belinda McBride
http://www.belindamcbride.com/ 

Tiger Eyes by Belinda McBride

Black Planet: Tiger Eyes by Belinda McBride

Jennifer Ray guest blogs on vampire fiction

Posted by: Jennifer A. Ray

Join Jennifer Ray from Wild on Books as she guest blogs all day at Lori Devoti’s blog during her ’30 Days of Vampires’ celebration!

http://loridevoti.com/blog/

Reviewing is Easy, Right?

Posted by: Sabine

For many people who have never done it, writing a review seems really easy. After all, you just need to ask for a review copy of a book you’re interested in, read the story and tell everyone you liked it or you didn’t, right?

Not so much.

I’ve been reviewing books for several years and have learned, by trial and error, some of the requirements for a good review as well as some of the best practices of being a reviewer. Do note that there are no universal “rules” for reviewing. This just happens to be my own list and my own rules, not that of Wild On Books or any other review site.

To be a good reviewer, you need to:

  1. Communicate your opinion. Everything hinges on good communication skills. If those reading your review can’t make sense of it, what’s the point?
  2. Read and enjoy the genre. It’s very difficult to judge a story if you are not well read in the genre and if you don’t like the genre, it will show. Always. Reviewing a book whose genre you don’t like tends to lead to unfair reviews and reflects badly on yourself and the site you review for.
  3. Actually READ the book. There are some reviewers that I, personally, do not believe actually read the story they review. The glaring errors and track record says it all and these reviewers have lost all respect, if not become a laughingstock.
  4. Distill the book into a short summary. You need to be able to summarize the story of the book without giving away plot points or spoilers that can cause readers of the review to either be angry at the spoiler or not buy a good book because you’ve told them what will happen. This is an area where there is disagreement. Some reviewers will throw the whole story in their review and analyze it but I don’t like that, really. Especially if the book is a good book, I want them to enjoy the story from the beginning and buy the book to do so. Otherwise it would be like watching a movie after someone told you the whole plot. It’s never going to have the same impact.
  5. Understand and examine your own reactions. You need to be able to read the story and, at the same time, analyze your reactions to the story. When you’re done reading it, you need to be able to tell readers of the review things you liked, didn’t like, etc. This can be difficult when you feel strongly about a story, both postively and negatively. There has been a few times I’ve had to re-read a story because I forgot to make mental notes and had gotten sucked into the story as just a reader.
  6. Be constructive and not cruel. This is especially so for the authors whose books your review. Many authors read their books’ reviews carefully to look for ideas of what they need to work on more and what people did or didn’t like. The best thing you can offer the author is constructive feedback. If you don’t like something, be sure you can say why. If you like something, praise it and say why it resonated with you. I know there are a few reviews who make a practice of doing “snarky” reviews. Personally, I think these are unnecessarily cruel and I don’t do it.
  7. Know and respect your own biases. There are times you will read a story that you love except for one aspect of it. You should be able to set that aside and not damn the whole book because it hit a hot button for you, though you might choose to mention the hot button issues if it’s not a spoiler. Some people get so upset at some things that they just can’t do a fair review. All reviewers have had this happen to them at least once and it’s a good idea to turn the book back in and decline to do the review if you can’t separate the story from your hot buttons.
  8. Keep your commitments. You need to be dependable and honor your promises. If you take a book for review, you need to follow through with the review in some sort of reasonable timeframe. Most review sites have guidelines to follow that outline expectations.
  9. Be honest. If your reviews aren’t honest or you love or hate everything you review, your reviews lose impact and really don’t help the author or the readers. No one pays much attention to reviews that aren’t honest.

So if you think you want to write reviews, many review sites are aquiring reviews all the time. They can be a great training ground but you also might want to just post reviews on your own blog or MySpace where the only rules are your own. But read a lot of other reviews first and get a feel for what approach you want to take and how others are phrasing things.

It’s a great way to get a few free reads, but it IS a job.

Lori Devoti’s 30 Days of Vampires celebration!

Posted by: Jennifer A. Ray

To celebrate the release of her first vampire novel, Lori Devoti is throwing a month-long party at her blog.  She has a different guest blogger nearly every day, starting today, and each guest is posting something about vampires.  Oh yeah, and she has PRIZES too!

The blog can be found here:  http://loridevoti.com/blog/.

The official schedule of bloggers is here:  http://loridevoti.com/blog/30-days-of-vampires-schedule/.  Check this page at Lori’s site for the most current information regarding the schedule, as dates may change and new guests may be added.  The schedule as it stands today is:

Date Author Type of post
November 12 Lori Devoti Kick off and Announcement of Grand Prize
November 12 NOON Central Kerrelynn Sparks Interview
November 13 Maria Lima Interview
November 14 Harlequin Harlequin Employees’ Favorite Vampires
November 15 Patricia Altner Whitby Dracula’s Destination
November 16 Laura Baumbach Turned…Does Gender Matter?
November 17 Irene Peterson The Cold Hard Truth About Vampires
November 18 Jaye Wells Interview
November 19 Jennifer Ray Vampire Fiction, Is it a Passing Fad?
November 20 Joey Hill TBA
November 21 TBA Twilight, the movie
November 22 Kristi Astor Twilight the movie, a review
November 23 Paula Guran As Irish as The Vampire
November 24 TBA TBA
November 25 Marta Acosta Interview
November 26 Harlequin Sneak Peak at Harlequin Vampire Titles
November 27 Cornelia Amiri Fangsgiving
November 28 TBA TBA
November 29 Faith Burnham A Student’s Take on Buffy
November 30 Trisha Telep TBA
December 1 Shiloh Walker The Evolution of the Vampire and Contest!
December 2 TBA TBA
December 3 Alex Bledsoe A Rare Stake
December 4 TBA TBA
December 5 Eve Silver Excerpt from Kiss of the Vampire and Contest!
December 6 TBA TBA
December 7 Margaret Carter Vampires, the natural evolution
December 8 Jenna Reynolds Vampires in Your Living Room
December 9 Gerry Bartlett Interview
December 10 Jennifer Rardin Interview
December 11 TBA TBA

Did you notice Jennifer Ray from Wild on Books is blogging November 19?  :)

Chat with J.K. Coi!

Posted by: J.K. Coi

Hi there! I’m so very happy to join in the fun here on the Wild on Books blog today! It gives me a bit of a break from my pressing responsibility. And no, today it isn’t a rambunctious five year old who needs my time, or a mountain of laundry. I’m supposed to be starting my new book. I’m psyched and eager, but at the same time, I’m nervous. 

I always get nervous when I’m starting something new. I think it’s a combination of things. High expectations. Excitement. Mind-numbing fear. Not to mention that niggling little detail—that I have no idea where I’m going with this. See, I’m used to pantsing my way through the first half of my books while I get to know my characters and find out just where they’re coming from. 

It worked really well for me for a while, but now that I’m working on book 4 of my series—The Immortal Series—well…I already know my characters (at least the ones that have been making repeated appearances in the books that came before). They are familiar to me and dear to me. I know what they want, and I’ve already had the time and space to work on their motivations and inner conflicts. 

So why don’t I just get writing, you ask? Good question, why didn’t I think of that? *g*

It should be that simple, and so I wonder if my difficulty lies in the fact that I do know these characters so well and I need to know that I’m doing right by them. I usually have some time before I have to dig really deep into their tortured psyches. After I’ve started writing, it comes upon me in a soft, gradual way, and then I go back and rewrite some things once I’ve got it all figured out. By doing this now, right from the beginning, instead of a month from now, I might actually save a step, but it means a lot more up front and direct introspection than I’m used to. 

I know this question gets asked often enough, but for the writers out there, are you pantsers or plotters? Some combination? But more importantly, have you noticed your writing style changing, developing, the longer you write? 

And for the readers today, what is it about a good series? I think people keep coming back for more when it comes to series because they’re so character driven. Would you agree, or is there something else that draws you to your favourite series? Which authors do it best? 

Before I leave the floor to you, here is my pertinent book and contact info and I hope to see you again soon! 

The Trouble With Destiny (http://www.lindenbayromance.com/product-thetroublewithdestiny-7213-140.html) is now available! 

Books 1 and 2 of the Immortal Series are also available. Get My Immortal and Immortal Kiss from Linden Bay Romance (http://www.lindenbayromance.com) directly, and other major e-retailers online. You can also buy print copies of the books from your local stores. 

  

Please visit me at my website for more information about upcoming books, chats, interviews, reviews, and all things Immortal: http://www.jkcoi.com. I’m also on MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/jkcoi and I blog at http://www.jkcoi.blogspot.com

Thank you so much for having me today!

J.K. Coi
Immortals to Die For
www.jkcoi.com

November is a great month for books!

Posted by: Jennifer A. Ray

We have seven new reviews tonight!

Sun Stroked

Posted by: Cathryn Fox

As I developed the idea for Sun Stroked not once did the show ‘Fantasy Island’ ever pop into my head.  For those that have read my book, I’m sure you’re shocked by that.

It was a cold winter day and I was sitting at my desk dreaming of being somewhere warm and tropical.   That’s when I decided I wanted to set a story on a hot tropical island, somewhere in the middle of the south pacific.  Then I thought, now what is so special about this island that people would come from all over.  Maybe if it had a fountain of youth, or better yet, a magical elixir that when ingested helps fulfill all your fantasies, sexual and otherwise (after all, I do write erotic romance)   Once I had the concept I thought about my heroines, who they were, and what they wanted.   

After I decided who my lead heroines would be, that I wanted my story set at an exclusive spa, with a magical elixir, I made an appointment to visit our local spa.  I asked a lot of questions and took pictures of the rooms to give me a feel and help set the ambiance for when I began writing….still no Fantasy Island theme.   One question I asked the owner was, what kind of men go to such places?  She said business men, men who are stressed out.  I thought long and hard on that one.  Did I want my three interior designers to hook up with stressed out business men?   Would these men understand their need?

I went home that day and thought more about this.  As I was pulling into my driveway, I grabbed my newspaper and saw headlines about the war, then I looked around at all the men and women coming home at the end of a work day.  That’s when it occurred to me.  I live in a military community, with a wealth of information at my disposal.  My mind started racing and the story began to take form.  I knew who my tortured heroes would be, why they were at the spa and figured out exactly what they needed.  (Still no Fantasy Island theme)   

I needed a proprietor of the island, a man (not unlike Mr. Rourke, apparently) who helped guide these young people and helped them find love.  That’s where Malik came in.  He’s the character who held it all together and spoke cryptic words, showing each and every couple that their magic comes from within.  Hard to believe Fantasy Island still hadn’t popped into my head isn’t it?

So when the reviews started pouring it, comparing Sun Stroked to Fantasy Island, I was a bit surprised.  I sat back and thought about it.  Even though I hadn’t consciously drawn on that old show, it must have been bouncing around in my subconscious.  Then I thought, is that so bad?  An erotic Fantasy Island?  Why not? 

www.cathryfox.com

New interview and our first November 2008 reviews!

Posted by: Jennifer A. Ray

Kiki Howell is our very first interview for November 2008!  Watch for some more exciting interviews coming soon, and don’t forget to check the interviews page for our past interviews.

We kick off November with four new reviews this weekend:

Also, we are extending our Forum Party to last through November!  Join our forum and start chatting to win prizes!

Finishing up our October Reviews

Posted by: Jennifer A. Ray

Happy Halloween everyone!

We have six more reviews to finish up the month of October this year.  We hope you enjoy them and have a safe Halloween weekend!

And don’t forget to ‘fall back’ for Daylight Savings Time this weekend too…  That’s a whole HOUR extra for reading, you know!  :D