It’s a good thing cover candy isn’t bad for my health, because I consume a lot of covers. With my eyes, that is! I look at covers of every genre, and I am always fascinated by the stories they tell. Do they match what’s inside?
If I pick up a book with spaceships on the cover, I want spaceships. If I see one with dragons, I want there to be dragons inside the book. Proper labeling. Ethical labeling. I don’t want to open up my cornflakes and find that they’re full of pebbles… You need to respect the reader enough not to call it something it isn’t. ~Margaret Atwood
What a chore to have to make sure the innards match the outers… (wink wink)
I’m taking part in the Reading Challenge on Goodreads again, toning my goal down a bit this year because there is a lot going on in my life, not the least of which are plans for publishing more books. In fact, I should be editing right now!
On with the show, then, and this time we’re looking at covers with fire on them. As usual, I can’t vouch for the contents of the books represented below. We’re only here for the eye candy!
Cover Candy: On Fire!
THE TINKER KING
~Tiffany Trent~ This is the original cover.
Kindle pages: 321
Publisher: Saga Press
Pub date: 11 Feb. 2014
Artist: (unknown) Amazon link
QUEEN OF FIRE
Kindle pages: 643
Pub date: 7 July 2015
Genre: Dark Fantasy
Artist: Cliff Nielsen Amazon link
WHERE LOYALTIES LIE
~Rob J. Hayes~
Kindle pages: 374
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services
Pub date: 26 May 2017
Genre: Dark Fantasy
Artist: Alex Raspad, Shawn King Amazon link
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Which cover is your favorite of the three? Share one of YOUR favorite covers! Do you have a favorite cover artist? Who is it and where can we find them?
Face it—nobody likes a one-star review, whether we’re authors, parents, employees, or anything else. Today A Drift of Quills discusses how they feel about those zingers. Are one-star reviews ever helpful? The more I thought about this particular can of worms, the more I wanted to put a lid on it! Yes, people have the right to express their opinion. No, it’s not always kind, helpful, or even necessary. Yes, the person under the glaring light of criticism might learn something valuable. No, that doesn’t give Everyone Else the right or the duty to shred someone’s work to pieces.
Did it just get really foggy in here?
Has a low rating of my book ever helped me? Well… no. I can’t say it has. The few I’ve received are vague or whiny. There’s no meat to them, you know what I mean? They don’t do me any good, and they don’t really help other readers, either. It’s like having someone say that peas are nasty, disgusting things that everyone should avoid. But wait! Other people like peas! And I hear they’re good for you. And such a pretty color. And round. (Do you happen to like round things?)
Don’t go getting too excited about stabbing folks with one-star reviews and tacking on lengthy criticisms, though. While some books are really horrendous (I’ve read my share!), take a minute and breathe. Remember what it’s like to be a human being. (You are one, right?)
I’ve found it helps if I walk away from the book I hated. Simmer down a little. And then I try to think of something I actually did like about the book. Yes, sometimes it’s a challenge, but there’s usually a description or a funny comeback, or something worthwhile.
And if I can’t think of a single positive thing about the book, I write a flaming rant of indignation and fury—And then I never post it anywhere.
Interacting with criticism is never easy as an author. There’s opportunity to grow, to shape our stories, and do better, but it still isn’t easy.
From the reader’s point of view, reviews can provide a wonderfully unvarnished perspective on what to expect. I read reviews on everything from books, computers, a new lawn mower or a plastic doodad to organize junk. Just how well does this doodad organize? How well does a this mower mow? How well does this computer compute, and how well does this book read? (Click here for the rest of the story!)
I believe that in general, the more reviews, the better. When I see a book with few reviews and those that are posted are all 5-stars, I tend to think that the author got a few friends to post positive ratings in an effort to promote sales for the book. By contrast, when I see a book with quite a number of reviews, I expect that I will find that some people have highly praised the work, while others will have been considerably less flattering.
When I personally review a work, I try to put myself in the shoes of the average intended reader for that work. (Read more!)
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How do you like getting “one-star reviews” for things you’ve done? How do YOU deal with giving them?? Let us know in the comments below!
Hubby and I like to watch the television to unwind—but I also like to watch it to see how stories and characters are developed, plots twist, themes are addressed, weird things happen.
We’re currently watching Colony, USA Network’s science-fiction drama series starring Josh Holloway and Sarah Wayne Callies. “In the not-too-distant future, Los Angeles has been invaded and occupied by outside forces, causing a rift between the city’s residents.”
So Why am I Hooked on Colony?
In many ways it’s like watching futuristic version of the Nazi Occupation. I was puzzling about that: is it a case of duplication-with-a-twist? I decided it’s a case of human condition. Any human beings put in the same type of situation (sudden violent occupation by someone bigger, badder, and more technologically advanced) would behave in the same general pattern. There’d be rebels, collaborators, and the neutral don’t-rock-the-boat folks in between. I do find it really interesting to see the problem put in a modern day situation, with modern day advancements in communications, weapons, police work, government policies…
The family situations intriguing—and utterly horrifying. I can empathize with the grief and helplessness of losing a child (thank you, overactive imagination!), the anger of being trapped in an untenable situation, the desire to want to “do something bigger than myself.” Sometimes people do really stupid things in the name of love and/or freedom. Are they right? Wrong? What happens to our pretty little moral lines when the whole world goes to pieces?
It’s incredible how many things influence our perception, our education, and our actions. It reminds me of the old axiom, “Don’t judge a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes.” A burden that is light for one may very well be overwhelming for another.
And that’s as much philosophizing as I want to do today!
Let’s Talk About the People
Let’s talk for a minute about the characters. Katie and Will Bowman both want the same things (safety, unity, justice), but they have really different ways of viewing how to go about getting them. And often, they’re both right. How’s that for a moral dilemma? I call it “juicy.” Especially when each of them have to redraw the lines they previously thought were gold.
Then there’s the Proxy who’s out of his depth, trying to be a good guy (mostly), but sometimes dipping into the Kreep Kool-aid.
The sister who will do anything to keep her sick son safe and get him the treatment he needs.
Her self-serving mercenary boyfriend whose charm probably comes out of bottle of snake oil.
The rebel with military training and a cause to test his skills.
The actors are terrific. I don’t think I’ve seen one that didn’t work. That hair of Holloway’s though—ai ai ai! The actor is great, but frequently the hair steals the scene. And not in a good way.
I don’t know anything about directing, so I’m not saying anything about directing, except that there are some really awesome and clever things going on there. Maybe Hubby and I are easy to please, but neither one of us have groused about how unrealistic a scene was (even it if was technically unrealistic). Some of the segues are just plain awesome.
At the end of every episode, we have our own life-altering decision to make: desperately wanting to hurry to the next one, or wait until tomorrow so we can drag the thrill out…
Sometimes we all just need a few encouraging words, eh? Life gets hard, people get sick, plans don’t work out, tragedies strike, life gives you lemons. It’s part of this mortal journey, but it is not all. Difficult times are not the only times. Maybe we have to look a little harder through the gloom, but the good things are still there: love and joy, successes and accomplishments, celebrations, dancing, and lemonade.
Our family is going through some terrifically trying times right now, but somehow there is still laughter, people bringing ice cream—Chocolate. Dark. Because milk chocolate is a color, not a flavor—unexpected hugs or phone calls, little things that remind us that there is joy.
Because I need it, because everyone needs it, here are a few reminders, a few encouraging words to help us see the good things and help us to keep our chins up and our smiles at the ready.
Thank you for being there—for me, for each other. Keep up the good work.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Have you got an inspirational, uplifting quote that has helped you get through hard times? A story about someone who’s done something amazing for you or someone else?
Once again, Mr. Broaddus has given us an entertaining, fast-paced tale of magic, intrigue, and adventure. A sequel to A Hero’s Curse, I liked this book even better than the first—and Parker has done a fine job of making it stand on its own.
The story tackles a challenge common to young and old alike: choice. Essie desperately wants to be able to see. Understandably, that desire influences her thoughts and actions. Nightrage offers her that possibility. Much to my delight, Nightrage remained shrouded in mystery through most of the story. Were they villains or heroes?
Essie has to learn for herself, but she is not alone. Her friends are more understanding and reliable than she imagines, and she finds support in an unexpected place. As with the purpose of Nightrage—and Essie herself—not everything is what it first seems to be on the surface. There is a wonderful depth in this story, and in the way it explores friendship, power, pride, and our perceptions of the world around us.
Finally, the ending promises further adventures with Essie and her friends without leaving us dangling from a virtual cliff. I am really looking forward to the next book in the series!
Essie Brightsday is blind.
But that hasn’t kept her from curses, dragons, or rock basilisks in the past. Now her family lives in the bustling capital of Plen, a far cry from their small farm tucked against the Valley of Fire.
As a shadowy anarchist cult grows in the city, a scheme to pit the slums and the trade districts against the protectors emerges—a plot to ignite a civil war and reduce the capital to ashes. A dangerous game ensues as Essie, her talking cat Tigrabum, and best friends Illiana and Sam attempt to thwart Nightrage and save her city, guaranteeing this adventure will be just as eventful as the last…
What’s our inspiration? Writers and other creative people have many different approaches to beginning their projects. Today A Drift of Quills are talking about what inspires us to write our stories. They’re near and dear to our hearts, and writing a novel is an extraordinarily personal experience!
As I near the day I push the “publish” button for the second book in The Mage’s Gift, this seems a good time to reflect on the motivation behind the story. I think it was years in the making, and I think I will say the same about all my books and stories. What does inspire me? What prompts me to set pen to paper (I really did start out that way), and then fingers to keyboard? I’m inclined to call it “magic.” Continue reading A Drift of Quills: What’s Our Inspiration?→
Who wants some easy-peasy Chocolate Coconut Bars? I am super big on “easy,” and this little number is on the list. Not quite one bowl, but painless enough—and tasty enough—to add to my family’s “triple diple do-over” list. I’ve always been a fan of Mounds Bars, and this recipe has some of that going on, but not nearly so sweet. Check ‘em out. Continue reading Chocolate Fix: Chocolate Coconut Bars→
I don’t know about you, but I can’t believe this year is almost at an end. The weather has been amaaaazing—until the last few days. On Sunday Hubby and I went outside to sit on our new-this-year swing and enjoy 60°F weather. In December. Wow! Sunny skies, birdies tweeting. It was gorgeous.
By Monday the temps had taken a dive, and today I’m taking full advantage of my snuggly electric shearling blanket while I strive to avoid going out into the newly arrived winter: It’s 34°F right now. Someone else can get the mail, right? Brrrr!
Who better to come up with some nifty bookish gift ideas than A Drift of Quills? Being bonafide readers and writers ourselves, we know about this stuff. We are, after all, not the only literary types in our worlds. (That made sense, right?) To save you time, spark your imagination, and hint broadly, we’ve set out to track down some of the coolest, funnest, funkiest, interesting ideas for your Christmas (or otherwise) gifting…
Bookish Gift Ideas for You and Everyone Else on Your List
Bookish gift ideas are nice to have any time of the year, right? We all know people who love to read and write, and there are many gifting occasions throughout the year.
But it’s December already, and although we have the same twelve months every year in which to prepare ourselves, we’e running behind again. And if you are one of those Miracle Early Shoppers, you’re probably still looking for a few last minute ideas for stockings, or office parties, or… all that jazz.
I discovered that the world is full of cool at a really young age. My mom had several sets of encyclopedias from different decades. They were rich in coolness. It breaks my heart that they disappeared, but I can understand her not wanting to tote them around as she moved from one place to another.
I can remember sitting on the landing at the top of the stairs when I was elementary-school age. One wall had a bookshelf built in, and I would perch there beside it and browse through those encyclopedias and the scores of other books living there.