Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Our Halloween Stories #OurAuthorGang

Halloween stories by the Author Gang

Erika M. Szabo

My first Halloween in the US was a memorable one. I grew up in Europe where we celebrated all Saints day November 1st when the graves are cleaned, the gravestones are washed and adorned with flowers and wreaths. In the evening people gather at the graves, they light candles, pray for the dead and share precious memories about their lost loved ones.

Foto credit to www.dailynewshungary.com

On Halloween day the building where I used to live was buzzing with excitement. The doorman decorated the lobby and I got enough candy for trick or treaters to feed an army. In late afternoon the kids started ringing the doorbells demanding treats, so I was excited when the first trick or treater rang mine. I opened the door and saw an adorable little girl in pink tutu smiling at me and holding her pumpkin basket for treat. I held the candy bowl and let her choose when I noticed black, furry legs behind her. I lifted my eyes and scanned the hairy torso and my eyes reached all the way up around six feet a huge gorilla head.

The head bobbed and said, “Trick or treat!” in a deep voice. My stomach sank and I almost fainted. The gorilla sensing my distress reached up and took his head off, which instead of easing my distress added to it, revealing a handsome man behind the mask. He apologized and grabbing the hand of the little girl, they quickly left. After that when I heard the doorbell I looked out the peephole before I opened the door.

Rich Feitelberg

When I was a boy, growing up in a neighborhood of Boston, I dressed for Halloween as Spiderman and went out to collect candy. I went alone because I was old enough and times were different then. There was *much* less violence in the city. 

On the way home, I was stopped by a man dressed in a policeman’s uniform who asked me all kinds of questions about what I was up to. I was scared, to say the least, but explained that I was on my way home after trick-or-treating. He told me to get home because it wasn’t safe on the street alone. There were reports of mischievous pranks in this area.

He let me go, and I hurried home. I said nothing of this to anyone when I arrived. Later in the evening, I heard from my brothers there was a kid dressed in a police costume stopping children and taking their candy as punishment for some illegal activity. I felt like a fool because that was obviously who I had spoken to. He didn’t get my candy but I should’ve have known from the old style of the uniform, he wasn’t a real policeman.
That’s my one Halloween story.

Toi Thomas

Aside from the one time I dressed as a pumpkin for a Homecoming parade near Halloween, I always dressed as a black cat. The thing is, though, my family didn’t really celebrate Halloween. Often my mom would have to chaperone a school dance, so she’d dress up me and my sister and we’d tag along. I have many fond memories of dancing with middle and high schoolers who thought I was just adorable. Fast forward a few years to college and my black cat on the frat house dance floor wasn’t exactly adorable; the words sensual come to mind… Ah, the days of being young and sexy. I’d say the scariest time I’ve actually had on Halloween was when the cops broke up one of those parties and I was the token sober girl who kept the hosts out of jail… Yolo, as they say. 

Mary Anne Yarde

My parents were not big on Halloween. My mum like carving various root vegetables — swedes and turnips were a favourite for some reasons! So we always had a couple of Jack-O'-Lanterns. Living in the country, there wasn't much call for trick-or-treating. I only went trick-or-treating once, and that was when I was at my aunt's house. I didn't have a costume, so she cut some holes in a sheet, and I became a ghost!

Grace Augustine

(Photo courtesy of Pinterest)

As a child, I joined my neighborhood friends going door to door for candy on Halloween. It was the mid 60’s and northern Montana...you didn’t have to worry about all of the things today’s society brings to our children. We’d have Halloween parties at school, usually on the Friday afternoon before the holiday. We’d spend weeks planning what we were going to “be.”  More times than not I had a mask of some kind from the Ben Franklin store.

When I had children of my own in the early to mid 80’s, I dressed up and took them around the neighborhood. After we were finished, the boys would get into their pajamas and gather around the table as we dumped all the candy out and sorted it. It worked out great because each like different candy. What they didn’t like was given to us. 

(photo courtesy of history.com)

When my boys were 7 and 4 they decided it would be much more fun to stay at home and hand out the candy. They thought it was dumb to go begging door to door for something we could buy at the store.

Ruth de Jauregui

Halloween brings back memories of homemade popcorn balls, the fire crackling in the fireplace, a cold night and the few houses where we were allowed to trick-or-treat. Costumes were a mostly a plastic mask I couldn’t see out of or a sheet (or both) and a pillowcase for the treats. Flashlights carved streaks through the dark and children laughed as they trooped from one house to the next. And when we got home, chilled to the bone, hot chocolate, and a treat or two doled out by Mom. 

Joe Bonadonna

Halloween in Chicago, when I was a kid, was all-out warfare between the gangs hanging on different corners, and in different neighborhoods. But it was all in fun. Eggs, tomatoes, shaving cream, soap, toilet paper, Nair, cans of black spray paint . . . these were our weapons. When I was in high school, eggs were about 35-cents a dozen -- and we bought a lot! We’d buy them weeks in advance and keep them in very warm places. Every other corner in my Italian neighborhood had small grocery stores, and bushels of all kinds of vegetables were set out on the sidewalk. We’d help the owners carry the bushels in and out of their stores, get paid like 50-cents a week, and use that money to buy eggs and other things. In exchange for also making sure no damage would hit those stores on Halloween, the owners would save up all the rotten tomatoes for us. In high school, one guy’s father owned a butcher’s shop, and he had a small panel truck with no side windows in the back, and no business name on the truck at all. It was the perfect “troop transport.” We’d load that truck with bushels of rotten tomatoes and dozens of rotten eggs, not to mention shaving cream, soap, spray paint, and Nair. Then we’d put on these butcher’s aprons and smocks, drive all over the west side of Chicago, and wherever we saw other teenagers hanging out on the streets, we stopped the van, got out, and attacked. The Nair was saved for those we had a grudge against: we’d rub it in their hair, and you all know what Nair does. No doubt you also know what the soap, shaving cream, and toilet paper were for. As for the black spray paint? Wherever we saw a police car parked outside a restaurant and the cops eating dinner inside, we sprayed the windshields and back windows of the squads with black paint. We never got caught. Not even when we’d slash their tires. We didn’t much care for the police when we were kids: didn’t trust them. Still don’t. Ah, good Halloween memories. And NO one ever got hurt! 

Monday, October 30, 2017

Color your world with diversity – Part Three

By Ruth de Jauregui

Today, I'd like to talk about adding diversity to your world. First, let me say that I don't expect any writer to change any character, especially established characters, to a person of Color. You may not be comfortable writing characters outside of your own life experiences. There is nothing wrong with that -- there's much to be said about writing what you know.

What I'd like to point out is that we don't live in a vacuum. When I lived in the San Francisco East Bay and out in West Sacramento, I was surrounded by all kinds of people. Native American, Latinx, Black, Asian, Sikh, Ukrainian, gay ― name a race/color/ethnicity/gender/sexuality/religion and I probably encountered someone of that group on a regular basis while I was out and about.

My first novel, a work in progress, is also set in a diverse world. Since my majors were fine and commercial art, color and form are important elements in my world, and that includes the people who reside there. Sacramento is diverse and so is the society that Bitter, my main character, moves through. The tamale man stops by to sell her a dozen tamales, her taxi driver is Sikh and the neighbors play music with a heavy bass rhythm. As a woman of Color, she also faces microaggressions both at work and off-duty based on her sex, age and color.

Small descriptive elements, such as the cop taking statements after a fender bender, add to the story and enhance the flow of the scene:

The blue taking statements looked up. "Out of the street and away from the accident." He pointed at the curb across the street. "You can film from there." 

"You can't―"

He straightened to his full height and looked down at the reporter. Sweat glistened on the blue-black highlights of his bald head. "Yes, I can. You can get out of the street and film from over there. Nobody is infringing on your right to report the news, so get over there before I have to notice you disobeying a lawful order."

The cameraman stepped back as the blue loomed over the pair. 

"To the curb. I'm sure there's witnesses you can interview while we take care of the accident."

"I want to know your name and badge number," the reporter blustered. Bitter noticed that his bald spot was turning pinker from rage or sunburn, she couldn’t tell which. She hadn't noticed it during his reports on the evening news.

So with those few words, we know that the officer is tall, dark complected, bald and not taking any lip from the reporter. We can also ascertain that the reporter is probably white, starting to lose his hair and hot-tempered. I say "probably white" because race and color are not always the same thing…

While I encourage adding diversity by peopling your world with the regular folks you meet while you're out and about in your real life, be careful to avoid stereotyping. For example, take a look at the original Hardy Boys series. The bad guys were all too often "swarthy" IE not white and people of color (POC) are portrayed in racist and ethnic stereotypes. That's not a trope I want to encourage.

Next time, I'll share the ways some of my favorite authors have introduced their characters as POC without dipping into the usual "mirror, mirror, on the wall" techniques.

My lovely daughter -- and the face of Bitter.


#ASmallGangOfAuthors  #Bitter  #CrimeMeetsUrbanFantasy #DiversityMatters

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Book in the Spotlight #OurAuthorGang

Book in the Spotlight  #OurAuthorGang

Mad Shadows II: Dorgo the Dowser and The Order of the Serpent
Joe Bonadonna

Cover and interior map by Erika M. Szabo

“This eagerly awaited follow-up volume to Joe Bonadonna’s classic, Mad Shadows: The Weird Tales of Dorgo the Dowser, is exactly what I hoped for. This continuation of Dorgo’s chronicle is comprised of three novellas: “The Girl Who Loved Ghouls,” “The Book of Echoes” and “The Order of the Serpent.” This is razor-edged fantasy at its best. In the first tale, Dorgo has some romance going on in his life, with a witch. This is not a Harlequin romance. Bonadonna’s masterful prose is ripe with images, appropriately gothic, spooky as hell, and a delight for fans of classic fantasy-adventure fiction. I love Bonadonna’s world building. Laced with autumnal winds and lonely graveyards, Dorgo’s world is chilling and often deadly: “What little was left of Glacken lay to the south, between Widow’s Fell and Baloo Fen. The fire blackened ruins of Sahn Magnor, the old Estaerine church, stood on the outskirts of the ghost town. The cemetery lay behind the church and had been part of its once-sacred ground. I gave the supposedly haunted hamlet a wide birth, not wanting to encounter any demons or devils…” (p.30) I love this type of natural exposition where the writer can so deftly transport us into an imaginative and exotic locale. Dorgo never has an easy time of it, but I’m always rooting for him to overcome his tribulations. Bonadonna pits Dorgo against some fairly wicked creatures. In “The Book of Echoes” Dorgo learns about “The Book of Echoes” which seems to be on everyone’s mind. After being nearly killed, Dorgo learns that the book can open realms beyond time and space, and holds answers to all the riddles of the Echoverse, the secrets of life and death, and the Nine Levels of Attainment. But such knowledge has a price. Those who are pure of heart will become the Crystal Children, while those with evil intent will become Endarkened Ones. Bonadonna brilliantly structures the tale and populates it with plenty of weird characters, nasty monsters and rising tension. The third novella, “The Order of the Serpent,” ties it all together and pits Dorgo against a warlock, the leader of the Order of the Serpent. Engaging characters, artful construction, scenes dripping with mood, and a world of castles, goblins and wild monsters are all hallmarks of Joe Bonadonna’s Dorgo the Dowser tales. Impossible to put to down, Mad Shadows II: Dorgo the Dowser and The Order of the Serpent is a richly imagined collection. The great cover artwork is by Erika M. Szabo.” — Amazon review by Thomas McNulty, author of Showdown at Snakebite Creek, Trail of the Burned Man, Coffin for An Outlaw, Werewolves!, Wind Rider, and The Life and Career of Errol Flynn.

Magic, murder, mystery, monsters and mayhem all await you in Mad Shadows II: Dorgo the Dowser and the Order of the Serpent. Available in paperback, Kindle, and Nook editions.

#heroicfantasy  #swordandsorcery  #occult  #paranormal  #adventure  #horror

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Our Guest Today is Author Tracee Ford #OurAuthorGang

Today we welcome Author Tracee Ford.

   Tracee's been telling stories her whole life. She is an award-winning novelist and founder of OZWIND PUBLISHING, LLC. Her BETWEEN THE WORLDS SERIES won second place for Best Paranormal Romance of 2015.  Tracee's many paths have taken her on quite the journey--playright, director, puppeteer, and successful author. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences and Psychology from Shawnee State University and earned her Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology from the University of North Dakota. Currently Tracee is part of the adjunct faculty at Shawnee State and Southern State Community Colleges.
     Tracee's interest in the paranormal and her life experience gives her keen insight into the shadows that haunt our society, making her a brilliant author of suspense and other genres. Are you ready to find out what lies behind the veil of this world? Grab Tracee's hand as she leads her readers into fantastic, thrilling, and new adventures.

There is a fine line between the living and the world of the dead, and Robin Hillard and her handsome husband, Dr. Matthew Gregory, are about to cross it.
After meeting in the ER of the local hospital, Robin and Matt begin a whilrwind romance. Matt surprises Robin when he proposes to her in the beautiful Pikeview Manor, the home he purchased for them to begin their lives together. The newlyweds are unaware that by walking through the front door, they have walked between the worlds. The couple begins to hear strange noises, find objects moved, and see the shadows that were once hidden in the majestic house. Robin has dreams of the past while Matt struggles with the line between science and the world of the unseen. Matt's young daughter, Olivia, begins speaking of the little girl she plays with in her room and of the darkness lurking within every board, nail, brick, and tile of the house. The family's love and strength is tested as they realize terror is not imagined...it is real!

Dr. Lauren Harris is a brilliant nationally respected forensic psychologist with a secret. She's an empath who connects emotionally with the spirits of the dead, seeing through their eyes, and giving them a voice.  When she is called upon by the FBI to help track down and stop The Phantom, a hedonistic serial killer, she's confronted with the one thing she's always feared when she meets Agent Nicholas Bennette. The two find it difficult to work with each other, at first, due to their differences and the sexual tension that burns like a wildfire between them. As Lauren connects with The Phantom's victims, she finds herself trying to make sense of the visions and the feeling that so much has been left undone in their lives. She learns that the dead will no longer be silenced when they have a voice through her. As the body count rises, and a passionate romance begins with Nicholas, Lauren discovers she has been targeted by The Phantom. She is frightened to learn that she has left much undone in her life, too.

Olivia Gregory, whom we met in The Fine Line, is all grown up. Despite her stable upbringing, she makes life choices that lead her down a very destructive path. Attempting to run from the horrors of her past, these choices lead her far away from her family and the safety of Pikeview Manor. After a near death experience, Olivia is forced to look through the glass darkly and her life takes another dramatic turn. Influenced by a special companion, Olivia becomes a cop with the K-9 Division. One fateful April afternoon, she stumbles upon the hanging body of a murdered young girl--one of a soon to be long list of victims by the Tic-Tac-Toe killer. Along with her smoking-hot partner, Daniel Knight, and Dr. Lauren Harris-Bennette, nationally respected forensic psychologist and key crime solver in The Phantom murders, Olivia is drawn into a case that could cost her everything.

If you're interested in following Tracee Ford, use the links below:
Smashwords:  http://bit.ly/22rVhX7

Friday, October 27, 2017

Our Guest Author Today is Andrew Paul Weston #OurAuthorGang

Our Guest Author Today is Andrew Paul Weston  #OurAuthorGang

Today’s featured guest is author Andrew Paul Weston

Andrew P. Weston is a Royal Marine and Police veteran from the UK who now lives on the beautiful Greek island of Kos with his wife, Annette, and their growing family of rescue cats.

An astronomy and law graduate, he is the creator of the international number one bestsellers, The IX, and Hell Bound, (a novel forming part of Janet Morris’ critically acclaimed Heroes in Hell shared universe), and also has the privilege of being a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, the British Fantasy Society and the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers.
When not writing, Andrew devotes some of his spare time to assisting NASA with one of their remote research projects, and writes educational articles for Astronaut.com and Amazing Stories.

Hell Hounds:
Feared throughout the many circles of the underworld, Satan’s Reaper – and chief bounty hunter – Daemon Grim, is known as a true force to be reckoned with. Having eliminated a major player in the uprising eating its way like a cancer through the underbelly of hell, Grim is stunned to discover he cannot afford to rest on his laurels, for the rebellion runs far deeper than was ever imagined. New players have emerged – denizens with uncanny abilities – who seem determined to support Chopin and Tesla’s revolutionary agenda. Ever keen to test their mettle, the Sibitti – personified weapons of the ancient Babylonian plague god, Erra – also appear eager to capitalize on the growing unrest, and set about maneuvering events in order to place themselves in direct opposition to Grim’s investigation.

And if that was not cause for concern enough, there’s an insane angel on the loose, a creature as hell-bent on creating havoc as he is to return home. How do Grim and his rabid pack of bounty hunters respond?

Baying for blood – doesn’t even begin to describe it.
Hell Hounds – The Continuing Evolution of a Concept
Hell Hounds sees the fourth outing for Daemon Grim in the Heroes in Hell shared universe, and the second of his novel length adventures.

As many readers will know by now, though writing for a shared universe is fun, it’s also demanding, as you have the responsibility to see how you can develop your characters and overall story line while staying within the strictures of the “ruling guidelines.” To make this a little easier, I did my homework – mostly by finding out as much as I could about other writers’ characters and reading other anthologies – and then I started to formulate a history around which to build Daemon Grim’s back-story. My regular readers will all know that I’m something of a world builder. I believe in spending a bit of time crafting a solid foundation for my creations, so that they have a “history” on which I can construct my story and its characters with confidence.

For Hell Hounds, much of the world building aspects were already formulated. I was joining an extensive, long-established domain. So, all I had to do was splice into that wealth of information and devise a concept to blend with and support it.

Daemon Grim – as Satan’s Reaper of souls – was perfect. Here is a character ingrained in many cultures as a lethal, malignant presence that can’t be brought or swayed. I imagined the fun I could have by incarnating him in a contradictory fashion, a way that both attracts the reader as it repels them. Grim is – to put it bluntly – the very personification of “sex-on-legs.” His physical and social attributes include a wicked smile and shockingly broad sense of humor that lures you in and disarms you. And all the while, that facade masks a stone cold executioner whose very touch condemns you damnation and death. He lives to kill and relishes the fear his presence can generate. So I took that legend and molded a persona from it … then ensured to add a delicious twist. It would take far too long to explain the process here, but rest assured, there’s more – much, much more – to the conundrum that is Grim than first meets the eye.

He’s loyal to a fault and won’t try to deceive those on whom he dispenses injustice. His own personal code of conduct forbids him from ever lying. And yet, he’s the underworld’s most accomplished assassin who will slay man, woman, child or beast without the slightest hesitation or remorse. Impressed? Then why does he keep getting mysterious visions – like a daydream or flashback in nature – that show ethereal scenes and battles as if experienced from opposing viewpoints at the same time? How can he possibly inhabit multiple perspectives simultaneously? What is it about the statues in Sentinels Square, situated in the grounds of the Palace of Verse and Sighs that draw him toward times and places that have never existed? Why is a crazed cherub obsessed by him? How is Grim able to command both God’s Grace and the Bãlefire with impunity? And why is it that even the Sibitti are reluctant to face him and Satan’s angels view him as a threat?

Yes, Grim is an enigma in more ways than one.

You’ll be glad to know the mystery unravels as each adventure progresses, revealing the roots of rebellion run deeper than a hardcore of disgruntled denizens with a score to settle seeking proscribed artifacts from the Time of Sundering. You will also get to visit exciting new places, most of which have a firm basis in the real world – or, “Topside” as the damned like to say; The Brass Steel, Cadavers Lunatic Asylum in Slay’em, and the Maulin’ Rouge, to name a few.

See how many you can spot as you creep warily through the pages of what promises to be Grim’s most exciting escapade to date.

Here’s the blurb to get you in the mood:
“Feared throughout the many circles of the underworld, Satan’s Reaper – and chief bounty hunter – Daemon Grim, is known as a true force to be reckoned with.

Having eliminated a major player in the uprising eating its way like a cancer through the underbelly of hell, Grim is stunned to discover he cannot afford to rest on his laurels, for the rebellion runs far deeper than was ever imagined. New players have emerged – denizens with uncanny abilities – who seem determined to support Chopin and Tesla’s revolutionary agenda.

Ever keen to test their mettle, the Sibitti – personified weapons of the ancient Babylonian plague god, Erra – also appear eager to capitalize on the growing unrest, and set about maneuvering events in order to place themselves in direct opposition to Grim’s investigation. And if that was not cause for concern enough, there’s an insane angel on the loose, a creature as hell-bent on creating havoc as he is to return home. How do Grim and his rabid pack of bounty hunters respond?

Baying for blood – doesn’t even begin to describe it.”

I do hope that piques your interest. Hell Hounds was a lot of fun to write, and the Heroes in Hell universe is a marvelous playground in which to set your characters free. It’s afforded me ample opportunity to establish Grim as a genuine Kick-Ass character, while allowing time for his true nature – and facets of his ancient heritage – to emerge…

No wonder Satan feels threatened!
Here's the buy link to Hell Hounds paperback:

Here’s the buy link for the
Hell Hounds Kindle version. 

Andrew’s Website: http://www.andrewpweston.com/
Daemon Grim Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/DaemonGrim/

#horror  #darkfantasy  #occult  #supernatural  #heroesinhell  #perseidpress

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Three Little Words #Our|AuthorGang

Three Little Words
Rick Haynes

Sitting down is easy. Writing is the difficult bit, and making a living nearly impossible, yet we plough on with our passion and enjoy what we do.

From a readers perspective they have an endless choice of books to choose. From hardbacks to paperbacks and discounted eBooks they can take their time before making a decision. And let’s not forget the dreaded words that crop up again and again. I was told that most successful adverts had one of the following – sex, chocolate or freeeeeeeeeeee. I hate free. Many authors love it, and all readers adore the word, but it’s not for me.

I once thought about writing a book with the title - Free Sex and Chocolate. I had no idea whatsoever about the content, or how I would promote it. But when a couple of my closest writing lady friends suggested that it might not be such a good idea, as readers may ask where they can obtain the free sex, I binned it. Close your eyes and imagine the dreaded emails, the comments on your blog and the furore on FB. It’s not worth the hassle.

Yuk! I’d hate all that baggage, as all I want to do is write.

So this leaves me with chocolate.

I’d kiss the person who invented chocolate on both cheeks. In fact, I’d kiss anyone on both cheeks who gives me chocolate. Me? Addicted? Of course not, but then I am keeping both hands behind my back with my fingers crossed. I love chocolate, both milk and dark, but strangely not the white stuff. I remember Easter time as a kid, and all those lovely eggs covered in layers of the sweet stuff that I adored, and my sister that took one of mine by mistake. I think it took me ten years to forgive her.
You now know that the ad-men promise you much success if you use the words, free, sex, and chocolate, so here’s how it panned out for me.

Free? It didn’t work, as with so many downloads I received about 1% reviews, and even then I doubted that some of the 1% had actually read my book.

Sex? I write fantasy and short stories in different genres where sex can play a part but it’s miniscule in the overall context of my work.

Chocolate? I wrote Chocolate Chunks From Crazy Crete for a number of reasons.

1. My Cretan friends asked me to tell their tales.

2. They are zany, crazy and completely bonkers at times, and I wanted readers to know what they were capable of. Did I say funny as well?

3. If you’re reading a collection of tales, you have your favourite drink to keep you going, and often reach for something to nibble on. It has to be chocolate, well for me anyway, and that’s why the lovely girl on the cover of Chocolate Chunks is surrounded by oodles of the stuff.

If one of the three words has worked for you, then I’m pleased, but I’ll write what I love, and naturally, have fun along the way.

I hope that you enjoyed my tongue-in-cheek ramblings, folks, and thanks for reading.
I’m famished now.

Anyone got a bar of chocolate handy?

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Book Reviews and how to write them... #amreading #ourAuthorGang

So you have read a really good book, and you have decided you are going to leave a review on Amazon. 

You go to the book's page on Amazon and suddenly you think...

“I can't do this! I don’t know what to write.” 

Maybe the book in question has a lot of reviews, and some of those reviews seem like mini-essays, but in the words of Douglas Adams... 

Don't Panic!

I am going to share some tips with you on how to write a brilliant book review.

How do you write a review?

A review does not have to be long — you really don't have to write an essay unless you want to. A simple…

“I loved it!”

 ... Will do!

But if you fancy penning something a little longer, then here are my top tips for writing a fabulous book review.

*All review examples are from a fictitious book and author.*

Let's begin...

Tip 1

In the opening paragraph, it is nice to start with a mini-blurb of the book you are going to review ~ but please no spoilers. Why ruin the book for everyone else?

An example of a mini-blurb.

“There is something very suspicious about the death of a renowned British Scientist. Can Joan Dragon solve the mystery in time to save the world?”

If you don't feel confident writing a mini-blurb, skip this tip and go on to the next one!

Tip 2

Write about your initial response to the book. Make sure you include the full title of the book you are reviewing and the name of the author:

“The Joan Dragon Mystery by J. Bloggs is one of the most compelling stories that I have ever read...”

Tip 3

If there is something that didn't quite work for you in the book, then by all means say it. But please write it constructively.

“The book starts off quite slowly, but it picked up the pace after chapter 5. Stick with it!”

Tip 4

If you had something negative to say about the book, it is nice to say something positive as well. Mention the characters, the plot — anything you really liked.

“Joan's inner turmoil at discovering the truth was very emotive and real in the telling. Joan is a very likeable character and one that was well rounded. I wouldn't be surprised if I saw her walking down the street, she was that well drawn. John on the other hand, was the epitome of evil. He really made my skin crawl. He was the perfect antagonist to go against our brave heroine..."

Tip 5

Would you recommend the book?

Here is an example:

“I loved this book. I Highly Recommend.”

 If you really want to include spoilers in your review then please state "Spoiler Alert!" at the beginning of your review. 

But what if I really hated the book?

Then leaving a review is a matter of choice. What you must not do is use the review to attack the author personally. Nor should you refer to another author who you like better.

If I have been given an Advance Readers Copy (ARC) of a book will Amazon
 still publish my review?

Yes, they will, as long as you have spent $50 in their store.  But you must disclose where the copy of the book you are reviewing came from. For example...

*I received an ARC of this book via the author/publisher for review consideration.*

So there we have it, my top tips for writing a book review!

Do you have any top tips that work for you?