Calling All Bibliophiles!

2017 WC&BE Badges

Whether you’re an avid reader, an aspiring writer, or published author, there’s something for you at RRBC’s Writers’ Conference and Book Expo. It’s open now and will be online until October 30.

Come meet dozens of outstanding authors, many of which are award winners, learn about their often amazing backgrounds, and explore their many books. Most of us are sponsoring a giveaway and all you have to do to enter is leave a comment on our author page! Be sure to stop by my Author Page for a chance to win an 8 gigabyte USB card preloaded with the Star Trails Tetralogy, including my latest release, “The Terra Debacle.”

Don’t miss the raffle, which has some spectacular prizes. For only $5, you get a chance at a virtual gift basket worth approximately $100 in gift cards! You can sign up here.

While you’re there, be sure to check out my Astrological Services page to discover how astrology can be a writer’s best friend, whether it’s timing a book release or rounding out a character.

Hope to see you there!

Advertisements

“Watch RWISA Write Showcase Tour” — Day 30

RWISA TOUR (1)

Hi!  Welcome to RAVE WRITERS – INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY OF AUTHORS, otherwise known as RWISA  {pronounced RISA or rice-uh, with a silent ‘W’}, a division of the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB! (RRBC)

RWISA, the latest brain-child of Author, Nonnie Jules, was founded for the sole purpose of introducing the literary world to some of the top INDIE Authors!  These writers are consummate Professionals, dedicated, committed and driven to continually excel at producing the best written works possible.  Are they perfect?  No, but none of us are.  What separates them from the rest, is their ultimate goal of giving readers what they are paying for…great, polished reads and writing!

The members of this community have penned works that have garnered high marks and praise for creativity, and their dedication to the excellence of the craft of writing.  But, it doesn’t stop there!  Their desire to be the BEST in their writing, is evident in the little things, as well, such as their websites and blogs, their well-written book blurbs and even their Author bios on Amazon.  These writers care about perfection in their writing and it shows across the board!

RWISA is home to some of the most talented INDIE authors around the world!  We invite you to take a look around, visiting each author’s page, as well as their showcases.  If you are an author, and think that you have what it takes to have your name placed on the roster of our ELITE members, we invite you to submit a request for membership.

You can’t belong to RWISA simply because you want to.  This community of ELITE writers is not open to the general public.  Although submitting a REQUEST  for possible membership is required, actual membership into the society is by invitation only!  Once it has been determined that your written work, your attention to detail, and your commitment to continually improve and excel as an Author is genuine, it will be an honor to add your name to our roster of other ELITE writers.

On the other side of that coin, if you are a member of RRBC (because we do have lots of great talent there) and your name is not listed here yet, that could simply mean that you are on a list of authors waiting to be vetted, but feel free to submit a request for membership, just to be safe.

For more information, please visit our FAQ page and any of the other informative pages on the site.

**If you are a publisher, news or magazine entity, etc., and are interested in the work of some of the talent showcased here, please feel free to connect with them via the contact info on their Author page.**

Thanks for visiting, and if you truly treasure and appreciate great writing, please tell your friends about us!

APPLY FOR MEMBERSHIP WITH US!

“Watch RWISA Write Showcase” — Day 15

RWISA TOUR (1)

Will it ever be enough?

Will I ever be complete?

These questions haunt me;

They scream out defeat.

A mind vacant of answers;

A soul lost in time;

A heart full of sadness;

And eyes that just won’t shine.

A whisper full of sorrow;

A smile full of regret;

A life less than ordinary;

One I wish to forget.

*  *  *

Life is too precious to not make the most of every day.

Cherish memories.

Strive to make more.

Make every moment count.

Tell others you love them.

Forgive quickly.

Laugh often.

Pray every day.

Have a thankful heart.

*  *  *

MarlenaAuthor Bio:

 Marlena Smith is a true Southern Belle at heart. Her home has always been in Alabama and she couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. Growing up as a preacher’s daughter, faith and family played a large part in her life.

Her earliest memory of writing was that of 2nd grade when she was selected to attend the Young Author’s Conference in her home state. Little did she know then that her future was being mapped out.

 Marlena now wears many hats, including:  writer, author, blogger, freelancer, reader, reviewer, researcher, paranormal enthusiast, traveler, and Secretary of Rave Reviews Book Club. Writing, though, has and always will be her main passion in life.

 Marlena has several works in progress, including an upcoming short romance, titled THE POWER OF LOVE. This debut book is expected to be out in 2017. In addition to her debut, she has a romance novel, a cookbook and a horror screenplay on her to do list.

Follow Marlena online:

Twitter – @_MarlenaSmith_

Facebook – @AuthorMarlenaSmith

Instagram – @MarlenaLafaye930

* * *

Thank you for supporting this member along the WATCH RWISAWRITE Showcase Tour today!  We ask that if you have enjoyed this member’s writing, to please visit their Author Page on the RWISA site, where you can find more of their writing, along with their contact and social media links, if they’ve turned you into a fan.  WE ask that you also check out their books in the RWISA or RRBC catalogs.  Thanks, again for your support and we hope that you will follow each member along this amazing tour of talent!  Don’t forget to click the link below to learn more about this author:

 

Marlena’s RWISA Author Page

WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour – Day 1

RWISA TOUR (1)

calleiro

Words

By Yvette M Calleiro

The written word and I

Are cherished friends,

Embracing each other’s thoughts and emotions

Like kindred spirits,

Dancing on clouds.

Bosom buddies who gossip and giggle

And gasp at all the same moments.

She and I are equals,

More than that, really.

We are two parts of a whole,

Complementing and complimenting the other,

Perfect beings.

The spoken word and I

Skirt around each other’s social circles.

We stumble around awkward pauses,

Unable to pull the perfect word or phrase

From our filing cabinet of knowledge.

Ease and grace flee without a moment’s notice.

She is more skilled than I.

She whispers her intricately woven ideas into my mind,

But her delicate strength is no match for

The hills of anxiety and the mountains of insecurity

That obstruct her path to freedom.

Before her words can reach my tongue,

They unravel into shreds of confusion,

Left unspoken.

If only the written word and the spoken word

Could meet…

They would live in perfect harmony.

But alas…

It is not meant to be,

Neither willing to leave her domain,

Each content to dance alone,

And I…

I am stuck in the middle,

Pulled in both directions,

Reveling in the comfort of the written word,

Needing the spoken word to survive.

But still I dream

Of the day when my words will intermingle

And a new love affair can be born.

Thank you for supporting this member along the WATCH RWISA WRITE Showcase Tour today!  We ask that if you have enjoyed this member’s writing, to please visit their Author Page on the RWISA site, where you can find more of their writing, along with their contact and social media links, if they’ve turned you into a fan.  WE ask that you also check out their books in the RWISA or RRBC catalogs.  Thanks, again for your support and we hope that you will follow each member along this amazing tour of talent!  Don’t forget to click the link below to learn more about this author:

 Yvette M. Calleiro’s RWISA Author Page

 

Amazon’s Review Policy Explained

jacksparrowattitude

Most indie authors have encountered, either personally or vicariously, some of Amazon’s gestapo review policies. When reviews are so important to a book’s ranking, it’s no wonder that restrictions are frustrating and often confusing. More than anything, I simply wondered what was behind it? Clearly Amazon’s goal is to sell product, so why would they institute rules that compromise sales? It seems that “fake reviews” should be recognizable to any intelligent person and be discounted with an eye-roll as opposed to throwing out the baby with the bath water and tossing legitimate ones.

Well, I attended a free webinar the other day entitled “3 Catastrophic Marketing Landmines That Can Get You Into Serious Hot Water With The FTC Today: And What You Need To Know… ” that provided a classic “Aha!” moment that explained what’s more than likely behind Amazon’s review policy.  If you hurry, you can listen to it until June 4, 2017 here. [NOTE: If you should join their program, note that I am NOT an affiliate and will NOT receive any compensation. Rather, I’m sharing it because I feel it’s information that others can benefit from as I did.]

So what’s the deal? Why is Amazon being so ornery about reviews? Not surprisingly, it’s none other than our friend (?) the US Government, more specifically the Federal Trade Commission, a.k.a. FTC. Like the IRS, this is another government agency you don’t want to tangle with. They have strict rules regarding deceptive testimonials, which includes whether there was any material compensation involved; in other words, a paid affiliate needs to be disclosed, with what constitutes payment a somewhat grey area. Deceptive testimonials, another no-no, can obviously include reviews from friends and associates who may claim something is the best thing since the cell phone when in reality it’s not. We’ve all read books from time to time that had multiple 5-star ratings that were clearly undeserved. So, being compensated for a review in some manner or an inflated testimonial that is unlikely to represent the opinion of others are to be avoided.

In other words, the bottom line is Amazon is covering their butt against consumer complaints to the FTC, which is the prudent thing for a business to do. If you have a website where you offer products to consumers, there are various alligators in the water regarding disclosure with which you, also, should be aware. As with any government regulation, ignorance of the law is no excuse and failure to comply can get you into serious trouble. All authors need to be aware of such regulations, especially if they have a website where they have affiliate links or sell their own books.

But my main point here is that Amazon is not doing this to make our lives difficult, but to protect their interests and comply with government regulations. It’s no wonder they ignore our complaints since we certainly don’t wield the punch of Uncle Sam.

That said, I can’t help but wonder what the FTC would do if authors complained about the way Amazon handles trolls?  Undoubtedly it’s covered in our contract to their benefit, but as our sales agent, if they allow trolls to jeopardize our sales, it would make for an interesting conversation….

A Coloring Book with a Biblical Message

full-cover-with-border

More than just a coloring book, this inspirational activity book will help you relax, unwind, and enjoy some creative fun while hiding God’s Word in your heart.

The 35 separate verses and passages are printed in colorable word art with decorative borders, blank on the back to make them easier to remove and frame or display, if desired. Each one is accompanied by two different activities or puzzles featuring the verse or key words from it.

Hide it in Your Heart is an ideal Scripture memorization aid for Christian schools, homeschool programs, Sunday schools, or your own personal use. Children and adults will enjoy learning, practicing, and meditating on these artistically presented verses from the New International Version Bible.

Proceeds from the sale of Hide it In Your Heart will be donated to www.Christar.org to help provide a translation of God’s Word for a particular people group in East Asia who do not yet have the Bible in their own language.

Here are a few sample coloring and activity pages from Hide it In Your Heart. If you’d like to color them or complete the word puzzles, click on the link below the illustration to access a PDF that you can download and print.

09212016pdfclipSample page: Psalm 68:5-6a

Hide it In Your Heart is available in paperback on Amazon. Click here to order your copy for $8.99.

HOWEVER, you can get it for 15% off if you order it here on CreateSpace with coupon code JZBVVBH8! The code can be used an unlimited number of times and will not expire, so feel free to order as many copies as you like for family and friends. Hide it In Your Heart makes a great gift for anyone who enjoys word puzzles, coloring, or God’s word!

You’re welcome to share the code with others, too.

Happy coloring!

About the Author:

annie-douglass-limaAnnie Douglass Lima spent most of her childhood in Kenya and later graduated from Biola University in Southern California. She and her husband Floyd currently live in Taiwan, where she teaches fifth grade at Morrison Academy. She has been writing poetry, short stories, and novels since her childhood, and to date has published thirteen books (two YA action and adventure novels, four fantasies, a puppet script, five anthologies of her students’ poetry, and a Scripture coloring and activity book). Besides writing, her hobbies include reading (especially fantasy and science fiction), scrapbooking, and international travel.

Connect with Annie Douglass Lima online:

Email: AnnieDouglassLima@gmail.com

Blog: http://anniedouglasslima.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AnnieDouglassLimaAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/princeofalasia

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/ADLimaOnGoodreads

Google+: http://bit.ly/ADLimaOnGooglePlus

Amazon Author Page: http://bit.ly/AnnieDouglassLimaOnAmazon

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/AnnieDouglassLima

LinkedIn: http://bit.ly/ADLimaOnLinkedIn

Sign up for author updates and receive a free ebook of “interviews” with characters from her fantasy series: http://bit.ly/LimaUpdates

 

Greek Fire: Interview with Konstantinos Karatolios

konstantinos

One of my favorite sayings is “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Unfortunately, we see such consequences all around us. And it’s no wonder, considering the way they taught history when I was growing up, which was primarily to memorize dates and events without context. Bor-ing!

Quite frankly, I didn’t have much interest in the subject until I started researching my family’s genealogy several years ago. At that point it had meaning, as events at the various time periods affected my progenitors, specifically by precipitating migrations to say nothing of wars. Now that I’ve lived long enough to see a significant number of historical events transpire before my eyes, it’s even more interesting. At this point, I love it, but it’s taken me a lifetime to get there.

Thus, I find it tremendously encouraging to see a young man such as Konstantinos Karatolios embracing history. As you can tell from his name, he’s Greek, and thus hails from a culture with a long and rich history. I have to admit that I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, “Troy”, about the Trojan War and I can easily imagine Konstantinos in the role of Achilles, formerly portrayed by none other than Brad Pitt. If Konstantinos goes into teaching after completing his PhD, I’ll bet dollars to donuts he’s going to have a powerful affect on increasing interest in the subject, kind of like Indiana Jones did on archaeology. 😉

So without further ado, let’s learn some more about this good-looking guy who’s intelligent enough to realize what a treasure trove history is , long before he’s as old as dirt like myself, and discover his motivation to write “Greek Fire,” from which you can find an excerpt below the interview.

You can learn more about Konstantinos here as well as his website and connect via his Facebook page.


MF: Few civilizations have a history as rich as Greece. Which time period do you find most interesting?

KK: There is no doubt that there is a focus on the Classical Period and I truly understand the popularity of this era. However I think that if you scratch the surface you will find that other periods are very interesting as well. One of these is definitely the Mycenaean era. Despite all that I chose to write about the most ambiguous period of all. The medieval period, i.e. the Byzantine when we are talking about the East. It is definitely the least appreciated of all but it promises some of the biggest thrills to those who  bother study it.

MF: Who do you think is the most fascinating person in Greek history?

KK: That’s a really tough question. However it is my opinion that it’s not the charismatic leaders that make the important era but it is a significant era that calls for a charismatic leader. The same applies for artists and scientists too. What would Mozart have been if it wasn’t the historical period he was born at?

MF: How much truth to you think exists in Greek myths? Do you think they’re true stories embellished with time or purely symbolic?

KK: I think that myths are myths and we shouldn’t take them as facts. However no story is made without having a historical core. Difficult as it is our job is to find that core and see how it correlates with history.

MF: Was there something specific that drew your interest to Greek Fire?

KK: Greek Fire is covered in vagueness. It’s not only the fact that the way it was made was a state secret. Byzantines knew how important it was to possess a weapon that the opponents didn’t knew what it was and indeed we know that there were cases when armies surrendered just hearing that the Byzantines had it. So we have a weapon mentioned in a lot of sources but with a way that it doesn’t help us historians to draw definite conclusions. On the other hand the modern opinion of Greek Fire is oversimplified and totally unacceptable. The combination of these too made me interested in Greek Fire.

MF: Did you have any interesting experiences while researching your book?

KK: Researching is always an interesting experience by itself. All these little disappointments when you find out that things were not as you expected them to be on the one hand but also the huge satisfaction you get when you discover something new, is something difficult to describe.

MF: What’s the biggest challenge you found researching historical events?

KK: The biggest problem for a Byzantinologist is definitely the lack of sources. In many cases we must make the most with almost nothing.

MF: If you had access to a time machine, when and where would you want to go?

KK: It goes without saying that I would travel to the Byzantine Empire. I truly hope that they wouldn’t burn my time machine down using Greek Fire! It would be highly ironic!

MF: What is your favorite place to go when you’re seeking some inspiration?

KK: The ideal place for a writer is somewhere where he or she can be totally isolated from other people and not distracted at all. I have to admit that this is too good to be true. Usually I just lock myself up in my office but that’s never as isolated as it sounds!

MF: What are you currently working on?

KK: I’m working on my PhD. I try to find out everything there is for the education of the princes of the Macedonian Dynasty, at the Middle Byzantine Era. I am looking to return to Greek Fire as soon as I get the chance to do it.

EX 26/6 YGRON PYRR

Excerpt:

“The wonder of the thousand-year Byzantine Empire could not have been achieved without an army that allowed it to maintain its existence for so many centuries. This was despite facing constant challenges from external enemies that differed significantly in their nature. In this context, what had been inherited from the Romans and the adoption of new weapons and tactics in battle were of equal importance. “Greek fire”, if not the most important of these weapons, was surely that which achieved the greatest fame of all. It was used throughout the course of the Byzantine Empire and granted resounding victories to its navy. Its use verges on legend, and yet almost all we know about it and its use is clouded by the vagueness of the primary sources.”

You can learn more about “Greek Fire” at the publisher’s site and pick up your copy from Amazon here.

5* Review of Kristina Stanley’s “The Author’s Guide to Selling Books to Non-Bookstores”

nonbookstoreguide

If you’re an author who wants to get more print copy book sales but don’t know where to start, Kristina Stanley’s guide is the book for you. While everyone has undoubtedly noticed books for sale in establishments other than bookstores, how to go about getting your book in such a position is often an enigma, if you’ve never been involved in sales.

My favorite part about this book was that it felt as if you were sitting around a kitchen table having a friendly conversation with Kristina. I loved the way she admitted to being nervous about such an endeavor and how her hand was shaking the first time someone asked her to autograph one of her books. I could so relate! So many of us authors are uncomfortable with self-promotion and it’s encouraging to know that this can be overcome so it no longer stands in the way of what we really want, which is to sell books.

Since Kristina was originally nervous about selling her books face to face, if you’re in that category, she makes you feel comfortable and not self-recriminating. It’s just where you are, but don’t have to stay there. She was able to get over it and be successful, so her example builds your confidence that you can do it, too. She explains how to approach store owners and managers and even includes important information such as the different types of contracts, e.g., direct and consignment sales. She talks about what percentages to offer and how to calculate what your actual book cost is, plus she even provides suggested layouts for spreadsheets to track your sales.  There are check-lists for sales calls, book signing events and more, as well as tips for marketing materials.

Most importantly, she helps you see things through the store owner’s eyes and determine the correct “what’s in it for them” approach, key to successful sales of any kind. By sharing her experience and lessons learned, Kristina helps you not to feel clueless and thus nervous about attempting to hawk your print books in such a way to gain community support for your work. Ideally, you’ll create a reciprocal relationship where they sell your books and you, in turn, point potential readers to their establishments to buy them through your marketing plan.

This book is a jewel that every author should read, whether published independently or traditionally. Taking that first step away from your writing sanctuary out into the public to promote your work can be a daunting task if you’re an introvert at heart like myself. This great guide provides a warm and friendly tutorial that includes the know-how, confidence and courage to take that important step. I give it 5 stars, but it deserves at least 10.

You can pick up your copy on Amazon here.

 

RRBC Spotlight Author Blog Tour: Yvette M. Calleiro

TheOneDiscovered - Cover Design 10

It’s an honor to host the first day of this week’s RRBC Author Spotlight Blog Tour featuring Yvette Calleiro. She writes young adult fantasy and paranormal books that sound absolutely intriguing!  I love the cover you can see above. Yvette is a born writer who has found inspiration for her stories in her dreams. Now those dreams are manifesting again in her latest book, “The One Discovered.” I can really relate to Yvette in that her story has expanded to several books as her characters took over. I love it when that happens! Read on to learn more about this amazing, up and coming author!

 It Began with a Dream…

by

Yvette M. Calleiro

What better way to share with you this journey that I’m on than to begin at the beginning.  I am an avid reader and have been since as far back as I can remember. As a child, I used to love writing, but I stopped writing as I grew older and life became more cumbersome. About six years ago, I rediscovered my love for writing, and my life has been a whirlwind of enjoyment ever since!

I woke up one morning from a dream that was so intense and so vivid that I was emotionally distraught.  I can’t really share the dream with you without giving away a major event in my first book, but I will tell you that it involved a girl whose life was forever altered by a tragic event, and she was being forced to make a choice in that very emotional moment.  I woke up before she made the choice (which was extremely irritating).  I felt her angst, her pain, and her utter turmoil.  I lay in bed processing it all and then ran to my office to write it all down (I now keep a journal by my bed for such moments). I just wrote the dream. Nothing more. It was just that powerful that it had to be given life.

At the time, I was co-teaching with a dear friend, Armando. I was also heavily absorbed in PC and Kristen Cast’s world in their House of Night series as well as Cassandra Claire’s Mortal Instrument series.  Armando loved to share with me tidbits of Wicca and history as I spoke to him about the novels that I read.  I fell in love with many aspects of Wicca, and somehow my dream kept coming to the forefront of my thoughts.  I finally accepted that this dream was an untold story that needed to be shared, and I would pull my favorite ideas from books new and old to create their story.  After all, all stories are ideas that were born from somewhere!

What came first was what they looked like. I could still picture them from the dream. I’m old-school and had to write it all out in a journal first.  Their physical characteristics, their personalities, their power(s)…all of that came easily.  Their names, on the other hand, took a while.  I even had the background story lined up before their names were known to me!  It was that background story which allowed the characters to whisper to me what their names would be: Sofia, Rafe, Angel, and Ar’ch (pronounced ar-rick). I shouldn’t have favorites, but I can’t help it. Ar’ch was definitely my favorite at the beginning!  It’s not a common name (actually, it’s never been used as a name).  But it’s perfect and it’s his, and it fits the story line beautifully!

Once I finally allowed myself to listen to my characters’ voices, the whole story wrote itself (well, the basics were at least born).  Still, there was a lot of research that I had to do. Anyone who knows me knows that my absolutely worst subject is History, but I wanted to loosely base the back story on a few historical events.  Granted, I’ve had to “slightly alter” those events to incorporate my Diasodz, but it was important to me that it would make sense if it were real. I also researched Wicca and nature’s elements and their properties.  I’m sure that there will be naysayers who can point out that one thing or another isn’t authentic, but – hey – it’s MY world!   I want it to be as realistic as possible, but I can’t help it if the Diasodz have their own ideas on what is real and what isn’t.

The journey of writing The One Discovered was so fulfilling, and I knew I had to share this world with readers. I tried going the traditional route.  Apparently, they weren’t too interested in my query letter.  My family and the few friends I shared it with kept encouraging me to publish it.  One friend in particular, Rob, became my first true fan! He’s more into sci-fi and super heroes than paranormal, but he became hooked with my characters and their story.  His eagerness to know more and his passion about my story kept me going at many times throughout this journey.  He has a way of saying something or asking me a question which then causes a whole new character or story line to be created. In fact, because of Rob, one of the characters from book one was saved. I had plans on killing her off, but he told me that he thought she was awesome. The very next night, that character told me off (hehe) and a whole story line for her was created! So, if you also fall in love with Mel, you can thank Rob for saving her! 😉 I thank him all of the time because she’s become my new favorite. 🙂

I finally decided to self-publish. It’s been two years since The One Discovered was released, and I still feel like I am in unknown territory.  Self-publishing, blogging, creating a web site, having a Facebook author page, and connecting through Twitter…. It’s overwhelming, nerve-wrecking, and exciting all at the same time!  Originally, I thought there would only be four books in this series, but as I am currently writing book four, I know there will at least be one more after this one (possibly two).  I hope you’ll stick around to fall in love with my Diasodz and the journey they must endure to save us mere humans from a life not worth living…

Yvette Yvette is the author of the young adult fantasy/paranormal books, The One Discovered, The One Enlightened, and The One Betrayed.

 Follow Yvette on Social Media:

Twitter: @YvetteMCalleiro

Facebook: http://facebook.com/yvettemcalleiro

Website: http://yvettemcalleiro.blogspot.com

 

Review of “The Carrot” by Virginia Gray

thecarrotcover

Quite frankly, I never dreamed that I would eventually give this book a five-star rating. I started reading it almost two years ago, 21 months, to be exact. It took me that long for a couple reasons, mainly because at first I couldn’t stand the protagonist, Susan Wade, whom I found horrifically irritating. I thought she was a dysfunctional, self-centered, obsessive, hot mess. Her warped views of the world made me want to slap her upside the head. She hated her roots, the small town where she’d grown up, and was willing to do anything to get ahead in the world. Her priorities were horrible. The plot moved very slowly at first, also, which tried my patience as well. I would set it aside, read something else (or two or three), yet inevitably pick it up again between other reads.

Why?

Because it was so exceptionally well written. The fact the author had developed a character so completely that she got on my last nerve made me feel I owed it to her to keep reading, to see where it was going. Her prose was fantastic, at times poetic, the imagery beautifully drawn. It was a pleasure to read, pure ambrosia, even if Susan was messed up and the plot crawling at glacial speed.

At this point I need to mention that, unlike other reviewers, I try to maintain a sense of objectivity. Not liking a story or its characters is not enough for me to give a book a bad rating if the story is well-crafted. I also care about grammar, typos, and formatting, which I find distracting. Editing, in all its varieties, is important to me. If a story is clever and otherwise interesting, I might forgive some of those things, but in general, I expect a professional product when I buy a book. If a book is loaded with such annoyances I’m likely to never finish it because it’s such a chore to read. There were very few such flaws in this story, certainly not enough to put me off. Rather, I was a bit surprised that they slipped past, based on the quality otherwise. One that really had me scratching my head was how one beautiful sunset painted the eastern sky. Huh? Possible, but not likely. Actually, I wrote a blog about that kind of stuff you can find here.

As I plodded through, page by page, gradually things started to make sense. I began to appreciate the fact that the slow pace was allowing me to get drawn deeply into the story and its characters. The sense of place was amazing. I love it when a book takes you someplace new; by the time I finished, I felt as if I’d spent several months in coastal North Carolina.

When it started to come out why the protagonist was the way she was, I began to be more sympathetic. Maybe Susan put me off at first because there were things about her that reminded me of myself. As her motives and life experiences became more clear, it was easier to care about her, then eventually start cheering her on. Some people are slow to come around such that it takes numerous hard knocks before they learn.

As a professional astrologer I’m a student of human nature and tend to try and place a particular sun sign on characters as I watch them unfold. Fixed signs (Taurus, Scorpio, Leo, Aquarius) rarely change, or it takes great pain and suffering from life’s lessons to do so. The implications of when her birthday was in the book made me think she was a Scorpio. When it said near the end that Pete’s birthday was March 15, making him a Pisces, that made sense, too. It made me laugh, since on my website I have a compatibility section where I say this love match concerns me a lot since I have often seen Piscean men injured horribly by Scorpio women, though there is often a strong attraction between them, both being emotionally driven water signs. Ditto, for this couple.  BTW, astrology works amazingly well for fiction. Just ask Elle Klass.

But I digress.

From about halfway in, the story started to move, and by the time I was 75% through, it was hard to put down. It was touching and I really connected with the characters. The corporate gymnastics and dog-eat-dog environment were well-characterized as well. Having spent over 20 years in the world of NASA contracting, I could definitely relate to some of the games people play.

Probably the underlying theme of this story is “Be careful what you wish for.” Another candidate would be “What you’re trying to escape is exactly where you belong.”

This was an outstanding story that was beautifully written. It has numerous life lessons within that astute readers can learn vicariously. It takes a while to get moving, but all that background is essential and what draws you in until you’re hopelessly hooked. I have two rather minor criticisms. One is the title. Those who aren’t familiar with the tale of the donkey and the carrot may not get it, which could turn away potential readers who would love the story. The new cover helped tremendously; I’ve had the book long enough it has the old cover, which featured–a carrot.

The other criticism is that it wrapped up rather quickly and was a bit confusing at the end. I don’t want to get into spoiler territory, so won’t say more, but I’ll just say I had to go back and reread a few parts to figure out who was doing what. Considering how slowly and patiently the story unfolded, it could have wound down at a less frantic pace so as not to lose track of what was going on.

That said, it was still a great read. If you love well-developed characters, outstanding imagery, and a rather common situation regarding the balance of career with relationships, I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Pick up your copy on Amazon here.

P.S. As I got ready to post this review I discovered that there is now a prequel to “The Carrot” called “The Interview.” So you might want to start with that. You can find it here.