Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Leave A Review

Your Review is Important

Do Reviews Matter?

What defines a great author? Is it the prose of Shakespeare or perhaps the hair-raising tales of Stephen King?

Perhaps both - and more. There are as many variables as there are readers.

Not every story will appeal to everyone. Some like romance, some like mysteries, yet others like an adventure. How about sailing off into outer space, or submerge into the murky minds of sociopaths? There is a book for every person. Every genre has an audience and an author. That is the connection.

What if Mark Twain had stayed a river boat pilot, yet wrote all his stories but never published any? He certainly wouldn't be as well known. As it was, people talked about his piece in the New York Saturday Press: The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County. Yes, he had written before in newspapers and the press, but this time people talked about it and he was on his way.

But I don't know syntax from semantics.

We don't have to be great, or even good, authors ourselves to leave a review. Today we can point and click on a star to get our point across. Leaving a comment is optional. However, the more information about why we picked the rating we did is welcome.

Why do it? What's in it for me?

It's a fair question. Most of us feel that we did our part when we bought the book. Why should we take the time to review it? Doesn't it only benefit the author?

Well, yes ... and no.

The publishing world has been and still is, undergoing changes. Nowadays anyone who wishes to publish a book has access to the wherewithal for somewhat reasonable fees. In a time frame where the traditional publishers would publish a thousand books, now tens of thousands are printed. 

The upside is those good authors who wouldn't have been picked up by a traditional publishing house now have books on the market we can read.

The downside is that writers who fall short of basic skills in story-telling, proof-reading, and editing also have plenty of books in the mix.

So how do we know which are good?

Everyone benefits from your opinion.
We know by our reviews. When we support an author, it helps keep him or her in the writing game, and that helps readers find the better writers. It's not complicated. It really comes down to us as readers.

What book have you found that you would give a good rating? Leave a comment.

Writing Fiction is posted on Wednesdays.

Thank a veteran.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Tough Kid

Roy Voss - All grown up

The Tough Kid by R.E. Voss

Today's post is by Roy Voss. He is about to publish another of his excellent novels in the Brock VanMarter series.

What was I thinking? I merely asked my delusional younger brother for advice and perhaps assistance, and he managed to parlay it into a double-whammy win—for himself. All I wanted was a suggestion for a book cover for one of my stories that I plan to publish soon. Not only did he manage to reverse my query by requesting that I post it on his blog, but he also neatly avoided writing his weekly epistle.

So here’s what I’d like from all the fiction-lovers who may come into contact with this. Below is the draft of the back cover blurb. Read it over and come up with a suggestion for the cover. Sadly, there is no prize for the winning idea other than the self-satisfaction of seeing your idea in print—hopefully in millions of homes around the world.


Jill Winters watched in horror as the men in dark suits gunned down her stepmother. Now she had no other option but execute the plan her father had drummed into her, a plan she always thought of as a game. As Jill recovered from the initial shock, she realized that the game was an escape and evasion strategy that she must activate or die, something no teenage girl should face. She didn’t know why, but it became all too apparent that her father expected something like this.

Had a natural heart attack killed her father or was it a carefully concealed homicide? As a federal agent, he knew things; things critical to national security like the scheme to steal top secret military data for sale to foreign agents.

Standing between millions of dollars or life in prison could be nothing more than the girl who may or may not be privy to her father’s knowledge. Jill Winters was a loose end—a potential threat. The mercenaries had to assume the worst. Everyone standing in the way of their goal had to die. With almost unlimited assets, they were determined to kill this kid.

Her objective was to do what neither her father or stepmother had managed—survive.
There you have it. Pornographic suggestions, no matter how well done, will be summarily dismissed.

Thanks, and as Burton always reminds us, thank a vet.

So there you have it. Time to get creative. Leave your contact information in the comments box and Roy will answer you. If the box is not visible, click on the blue header or go to

Writing Fiction is posted on Wednesdays.

By all means, thank a veteran.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Who Got The Best Mother's Day Present?

One Day Once A Year Isn't Too Much.

The Guys Compare Their Largesse

We are aware of what our spouses accomplish each and every day. We are proud of them for their successes, many of them performed simultaneously in the workplace and homefront. We fellows truly enjoy treating our spouses to fantastic gifts.

We also derive great pleasure in making our buddies feel bad because we got our wife a much better gift than they gave theirs. So we get together to compare and brag.

The competition begins.

David set the bar high this year by giving Linda a heart valve replacement. Of course, he didn't do it himself. That was accomplished by surgeons at the hospital. Moreover, insurance paid for a significant amount of it. But David gets much credit for calling 911.

Running hard in contention for the most considerate husband is Eddie Dene. Mary Jane wanted bricks set in the patio forming a wall behind a water feature. In his thoughtfulness, Eddie ordered the bricks and bags of ready-to-mix concrete delivered on Saturday morning so that Mary Jane could enjoy working on it all weekend.

It gets close.

Neck and neck with Eddie Dene for heart-tugging caring, Roy showed respectful attentiveness when he presented Bobbi with not just the screwdriver or the wrench that he had his eyes on, but BOTH. Eddie claimed he had also given Mary Jane two presents in the bricks and concrete, but Roy countered that it was all for ONE project whereas a screwdriver and a wrench could be used many times for any number of jobs. This led to a lively debate that was never settled but silenced by a few quaffs of calming beverages.

And then falls flat.

What got our minds away from the dispute was Jack's attempt to puff up his gift to Sandy. He bought tickets for a Hawaiian vacation. Naturally, we laughed him out of the contest. Who would put his wife on an island in the middle of the ocean? Really? Poor Sandy. We each want to be recognized as doing the best for our better halves, but we certainly hope Sandy gets much better fare in the future.

I win.

The other guys had their say and now it was time to shame them. What Frances got was a limo ride to an evening of dancing, dining, and champagne.

Just about.

The limo was actually our Honda with the scratch in the bumper; dancing was more like me squirming on a hemorrhoid pillow; dining and champagne were scoops of frozen custard at Culver's. But when I look into the prettiest eyes that I've been lucky enough to get lost in for almost 55 years, all those things happen for me. They gather right there at the base of my throat - where my heart thumps when I look at her.

Everyone is still married, so I guess we did something right.

I hope all mothers had a great day.

How did your gifts stack up? Leave a comment.

Writing Fiction is posted on Wednesdays.

Thank a veteran.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017


Et Iratus Infectum (Angry and Wet)

What Jim Cantore Never Told Us.

The conversation started when my wife and I were enjoying coffee on the back porch. It was cooler than usual for this time of year in Arizona because of a cloud cover. After remarking that it looked like there was moisture in the clouds, I got to thinking that most people would automatically conclude that all clouds have moisture.

Not so. Most of our clouds are somewhat dusty, more like straw. They can be heard scritching through the air. That's where Jim Cantore's omissions are found. He can't hide the knowledge of thunder but professional meteorologists are aware of the more esoteric nature of the heavenly travelers that they don't share with us.

Clouds are downright frisky.

I'm right behind you.
When you think about it, you don't want a cloud to suffer the boredom of just floating along. It's been places and seen things. 

They have a wealth of traits we should be studying.

Some are playful.

Was it something I said?

I'm Yours

Some are wimpy.


Some are affectionate.

Some try to hide their true intentions and we may have to use some imagination.

Some are deep thinkers.

The Umpire.

Some like sports.

Or maybe I'm just an oddball as my wife reminds me periodicall. 
It Seemed Good At The Time

Do you cloud gaze? Leave a comment.

Writing Fiction is posted on Wednesdays.

Thank a veteran.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

I Meant To Write


It's not fair.

I have the Great American Novel, two, in fact, all thought out and ready to be written. All I need is the time to sit at the keyboard and type them.

Easy peasy. Except it isn't.

Interruptions are the truth of the matter. For instance, we wanted shrubs added to a spot in the yard. What kind would grow in the type of soil and amount of Arizona sunlight where they were to be planted? We had to know so my wife took to Google to research the matter and I took to Microsoft Solitaire to think about it.
Believe it or not, that took several days. A shade tree sounded good but that took a few more days investigation. She piled up the files and I piled up points on Minesweeper Treasure Hunter.

We want the yard to look nice, so we had to go to a nursery to see the plants and talk with specialists. Well, that's something that can't be rushed. It takes thinking about. I was up to level 20.

I left a message on the landscaper's phone. While waiting for a return call, I entered some thoughts for my current work, brilliant insights really, into my notebook.  Then I reached level 32.

We spent all the scheduled day waiting for the gardener to arrive. When he didn't make it until late afternoon I was on level 98.

Now don't go getting the wrong idea. I wasn't merely waiting around. The Diamondbacks were playing almost every day during this time. They're doing well so far this year, and that requires some support. We have to watch a little of that. Not only did Paul Goldschmidt homer, he's growing a beard. Whoa!

It's also the time of year all my annual doctors' appointments are due. At least I'm taking my wife's word that they are. Who keeps track of those things? I have to think about it on level 115.

There are other interruptions to important to ignore. A family reunion is scheduled. It will be in full swing by the time this blog is posted. I'm not going, but I have to think about my daughter's involvement and her excitement at attending. Level 120.

We writers have a lonely occupation. I know it's selfless of me to spend long hours at the computer so others will be able to enjoy the novels that will surely come. I do it for them. Just as soon as I get this level out of the way.

What's your biggest interruption? Leave a comment.

Writing Fiction is posted on Wednesdays.

Thank a veteran.