10 Reasons Why #BookBloggers Refuse to Review Indie Books #MPBooks

An excellent post here from My Peacock Books on book bloggers, indie authors, and reviewing!

My Peacock Books

yes no maybe board ticked no Image from Pixabay.com

Before anyone gets upset by the above title, I’m not having a go at bloggers or trying to upset any indie authors out there. Instead I want to write a post to explore the reasons why book bloggers might refuse to review books, and this is especially the case sometimes with indie titles.

Not all book bloggers refuse to review books, not all book bloggers refuse to review indie books, but sometimes they do. And when a blogger does, there’s no point in being upset, if you’re an author, as there are always reasons behind it.

Below are 10 random reasons, some by own, others I’ve found online, for why bloggers might, and I stress might, refuse to review a book. If you’re an author, especially an indie author, it might be worth reading this, and if you are a book blogger, do you agree?

The…

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The Disappointed Housewife is LIVE!

Here it is, folks! This is Kevin Brennan’s new online publication, The Disappointed Housewife, and it looks as though it’s going to be great! Have a read, follow so you receive new issues as they’re released, consider sending in a submission! Congratulations, Kevin! (And Kevin has also been a long-time writing pal who I’ve promoted on my other blog, Reading Recommendations.)

WHAT THE HELL

The Disappointed Housewife is alive and well and living in a newly disclosed location: thedisappointedhousewife.com.

First of all, please navigate to the site and immediately follow. We need to build a readership in a hurry so that all the terrific, intrepid writers can get plenty of eyeballs on their work.

While you’re there, poke around, read the Editor’s Note, the mission statement, and the submission guidelines. Then sample some of the pieces I’ve gathered for the launch. There’s already some fiction, a number of poems, a couple of essays, and a graphic piece. I already have more things lined up for later in the week too.

You can browse the site by scrolling down the main page. Everything is there. But you can also use the navigation bar on the right to select one of the categories: Fiction, Essays, Poetry, and Faux Forms & Genres. Later the site will…

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What are you reading?

In which I introduce a new blog I will begin publishing soon … What are you reading?

This past summer, I finally got around to reading a book that had been highly recommended to me a while ago by long-time book pal, Judy Gardner. (And I’ve posted before about Judy here and here and here.)

The book, The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe, was better than just a good read for me … it was life-changing, in that it made me see a new approach to books and reading and sharing books that had never occurred to me before. There was a lot in there too about life in general, about how we interact with other people (albeit, fellow readers), family and friends, and how we deal with loss and grief. The book was so good that I immediately began recommending it to everyone I spoke with – kind of like a recent religious convert – bought a print copy to keep forever and ever, and borrowed another of Schwalbe’s books from the library. I wanted to read everything the man had written.

It was this second book, Books For Living, that gave me the idea for creating another blog. The following quote, from “The Final Word”, specifically planted the seed:

I used to say that the greatest gift you could ever give anyone is a book. But I don’t say that anymore because I no longer think it’s true. I now say that a book is the second greatest gift. I’ve come to believe that the greatest gift you can give people is to take time to talk with them about a book you’ve shared. A book is a great gift; the gift of your interest and attention is even greater.

Reading is a respite from the relentlessness of technology, but it’s not only that. It’s how I reset and recharge. It’s how I escape, but it’s also how I engage. And reading should spur further engagement. P. 255

And from the introduction:

We all ask each other a lot of questions: “Where did you go for vacation?” “How did you sleep?” Or, my favorite, as I eye the last bites of chocolate cake on a friend’s dessert plate, “Are you going to finish that?” … But there’s one question I think we should ask of one another a lot more often, and that’s “What are you reading?”

It’s a simple question but a powerful one, and it can change lives, creating a shared universe for people who are otherwise separated by culture and age and by time and space. p. 15

Note that Schwalbe says this question has the power to “change lives” … and that’s what I’m aiming for with this new blog. (No slouch me! I’m heading for world domination in a reading capacity!)

I will post my own contributions from time to time, and I do already have a few books in mind to recommend. But I’d really like to make this about you, the other readers out there who have a favourite book to talk about and that you just want to share with everyone. I’m looking for books that have really grabbed you, as happened to me with the book Judy recommended (above). If you have read or are reading such a book, please send me a message using the form on the contact page and we can discuss you posting to the new blog.

Remember, I’m not looking for reviews of books for this blog, but for titles of books that have really knocked off your reading socks, books that have made a difference in your life or that have been influential because of the ideas they present or the way they are written. (Great writing is also capable of knocking off our reading socks!) You just need to give me a brief explanation as to how you discovered the book and/or why it is one you believe others would find equally amazing. I will add links to the book and a cover jpeg to your text. Also, I will include a brief bio of you as a reader, if you wish.

I have already had the pleasure of “interviewing” a reader last week while she was still on Bequia and will begin this new blog with what she had to say about her current reading material. Once that post is published, and I’ve had a chance to tell you in another post what I have been reading, you’ll then have an idea of how I expect each post will look and the information that I’ll need from you to be able to post about what YOU are reading!

(Authors, please take note that this will not be an opportunity to showcase your own books. Let’s leave that up to my other blogs, Reading Recommendations and reading recommendations reviewed, okay? As I said above, these are not meant to be reviews but just a shout-out for any outstanding books readers happen to be reading. Thanks for your understanding.)

Coming soon!

Author, Kevin Brennan, has created a new opportunity for getting your short(ish) pieces of writing out there into the world! Check out the new online publication, The Disappointed Housewife, and consider submitting something … Note: submitting “pieces that defy categorization” is encouraged!!

WHAT THE HELL

The Disappointed Housewife is approaching!

I’ve received a number of fun pieces the last few weeks, and though I’m still keeping the pre-launch submission window open, the big day will be January 15. Mark your calendars.

I hope all my readers here at What The Hell will quickly follow the new lit mag and start spreading the word. But I’m also eager to see new submissions coming in so I can build up a nice catalog of material for readers. I’ll be posting open submission calls at a variety of places, hoping to find a lot of writers willing to try new things. Of course, I’ll always give readers of this blog a fair shot at publication because loyalty deserves reward. If you have something you think would fit in at TDH, send it on over. Or read the pieces that I’ve already assembled to get a feel for…

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A Bequia Old Year’s Night …

An Excerpt From:
One Woman’s Island, a Bequia Perspectives novel

Dudley picked us up from the beach at the prearranged time. I was
glad to have him there, too, as both children were exhausted from the
excitement, the sun, and the swimming and were fast asleep. Dudley
had to carry them to the taxi for us.

On the trip home, Verity said, “I lets dem sleep now den wakes
dem for later.” When I asked what she planned to do to celebrate,
she replied, “What everybody does do on Bequia—we goes to de
Frangipani.”

It suddenly struck me that, other than a mention in passing when
I spoke with the Litt sisters and Tex, I hadn’t made any plans myself for
the biggest night of the year. “Do you mind if I join you?” I asked. She
grinned in agreement, so when Dudley pulled up to Verity’s house, we
arranged for him to pick us up at around eleven.

He helped carry the still-sleeping children into the house. When
Dudley and I were alone outside again, I asked him about Verity’s
mother—his mother, too. “Dey don’ talk.” And that was all I could get
out of him.

He assured me, saying, “Verity be looked after. You no worrys ’bout
her.” His expression had become a scowl. It was obvious this was a closed
subject as far as Dudley was concerned, so I didn’t push any further.

By the time he returned later that night, Dudley was back to his
old jovial self again. The children were wide-eyed, if not yet wide awake,
and Verity had changed into a slinky leopard-skin-pattern dress I had
never seen before. That and the awkward high-heeled sandals she wore
made me look even frumpier than I already felt.

Dudley dropped us off in the Harbour then quickly drove away
to pick up his next fare—he’d be working throughout the night. For
Bequia taxi drivers, Old Year’s Night is the busiest of the year, their
time to make a lot of money, if they really hustle.

Verity, the children, and I walked through the crowds in the Harbour
to the walkway along the shore that would take us to the Frangipani
Hotel, the centre of the action at midnight on Bequia. It was a sea
of people we had to wade through, too; some already drunk but most
in good spirits and out to enjoy themselves with friends and family. It
did look too as though all of Bequia, and then some, had come out to
celebrate, and everybody wanted to be as close as possible to the Frangipani
bar when the clock struck midnight. A steel band performed
on a low stage between the bar and the walkway, and their pitch and
pandemonium increased with every passing minute, the pan players
physically exhausting themselves with their drumming.

The four of us chose instead to grab a seat on the low wall by the
shoreline and watch the promenade of people as we waited for midnight.
Melanie, Dave, Al, and Suzie passed by together.

Melanie and Suzie stopped while Al and Doc pushed on ahead.

“Mariana, hello!” said Melanie. “Would you like to join us? We’re going
to try and get a drink at the bar.”

“Hello, Mel and Suzie. Happy New Year. I’m here to celebrate
with Verity and her children”—I pointed at my neighbours—“but
thanks anyway.”

“Okay then. Happy New Year to you!” The two women disappeared
into the crowd.

Suddenly, a moment or two before midnight according to my
watch, sailboats in the harbour began tooting their horns, and then
the ferry boats and other large working ships sounded theirs as well.
Boat flares shot off in every direction over the water and the steel band
increased its volume as it played a decidedly Caribbean version of “Auld
Lang Syne.” Everyone was happy, greeting one another, wishing Happy
New Year to all around them. It really was a joyous and festive occasion,
possibly the best New Year’s Eve I’d ever celebrated because it was so
simple and heartfelt.

After about fifteen minutes we decided it was time to get the
children back to the house and into bed for the rest of the night. The
two of them, even Ayayla with her limited sight, had sat wonder-eyed
throughout the midnight festivities, but they were beginning to yawn.

And causing me to yawn, as well.

We were making our way back along the waterfront to the place
where we’d arranged to meet Dudley when I heard a voice call out to
Verity from the dark of the bushes. She turned her head to the sound
and immediately sucked her teeth loudly—a gesture commonly used on
this island to indicate displeasure or disgust. She picked up her pace as
best she could in those awkward sandals and pulled the children after
her. The one voice became several as I realized there were others hiding
in the shadows calling after Verity with words I couldn’t understand.
Whatever they said seemed to be derogatory.

Melanie, Dave, Al, and Suzie passed me again before I could catch
up with the children.

“We’re on our way to the New York Bar for a drink now,” Melanie
said. “You sure you won’t join us?”

Al sneered. “Yeah, ‘Auld Lang Syne’ and all that shit!”

The others laughed. But Melanie said, “Don’t mind him, Mariana.
Do join us. After we finish that drink we’re heading, along with the rest
of the people of Bequia, to De Reef in Lower Bay, where we’re going
to dance until dawn.”

“Come on, Mariana,” Al chided. “You’re only young once. I’ll bet
Verity would love to dance all night.”

Verity had stopped to wait for me and heard Al’s comment. She
looked over at me, asking with eager eyes if she could do just that. She
had certainly dressed appropriately if she’d been hoping for willing
partners.

“But we’ve got to put these children to bed,” I pointed out. Verity
was looking disappointed when the four expats left.

Dudley caught up with us on the main road in front of the Anglican
Church, and I realized as we were driving away that we hadn’t met up
with Tex or the Litt sisters.

We were soon home again, the sights and sounds of the Harbour
far behind us.

As I was getting into bed, I thought about how enjoyable it had
been: no phoney celebrations with strangers, no false wishes for the
coming year, no expensive fireworks displays or decorations, no desperate
attempts to have a good time at any cost. Everyone celebrated the beginning
of the new year together—young, old, tourists, foreigners, expats,
locals, everyone enjoying the moment. That’s what Bequia is all about.

I lay awake in bed that night for a while and considered what
might be in store for me in the coming year. Whatever it was, I hoped
it would be better than a year that involved losing my husband both
physically and emotionally and being forced to redesign my whole life.
Anyway, I knew it couldn’t possibly get any worse. I reached out and
pulled Jerry closer to me and fell asleep to the sound of purring in my ear.

From Bequia … All the Best for 2018!!!

So reads the Chinese curse that seems to have been operative during this past year we’ve all just endured. Let’s hope that, rather than continuing to be “interesting”, 2018 is instead a year full of hope and health and joy for everyone around the world, and that the good feelings at midnight tonight last far longer than simply the first 24-hours of the new year ahead of us.

Personally, I wish to thank all readers of this blog, and everyone who has read and enjoyed my publications! No author can write without readers … so suffice it to say that – YOU READERS KEEP ME WRITING!!! Thank you for all your support!

From our verandah on Bequia, Dennis and I wish everyone all the best for 2018!

Now … LET’S DANCE!!!

2017 – My Favourite Blogs and Bloggers!

Out of necessity, I had to cut down drastically on the number of blogs I subscribe to and read – the number of good blogs out there was becoming impossible to keep up with on a daily basis! So I’ve narrowed down my list here to the truly GREAT blogs I continue to follow and read (and comment on and share) on a regular basis. If you’ve been following my blog for a while you will notice many familiar names. Some bloggers publish posts more than once a day and others are sporadic. But I can guarantee you will always find something of interest to read on these bloggers’ sites. Do check out each and every one of them and see if you agree with me, and I also hope you find a few new favourites to follow and read. (Sorry to those I didn’t list. There was a point where I had to cut off this list!!)

* Denotes the blogger is also a published author and it would be well worth it to check out what they’ve published!

** Denotes the blogger has promoted me and my books on their blog at some time or another.

**Chris, The Story Reading Ape – *Christopher Graham

**Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life – *Sally Cronin

**WHAT THE HELL – *Kevin Brennan

**A Creative State of Mind – *Tricia Drammeh

**blindoggbooks – *Tim Baker

**Seumas Gallacher – *Seumas Gallacher

**South Branch Scribbler – *Allan Hudson

**Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge – Karen Parker

**theshammuramat – *Felicity Harley

beetleypete – Pete Johnson

Leaving Ourselves Behind – Ginny & Stephen

**Betty Jane Hegerat: Canadian author of literary fiction – *Betty Jane Hegerat

Camino De Tim – *Timothy L. Phillips

*Brian Brennan Writer

Books Unpacked – *Merilyn Simonds

**Matilda Magtree and **The Litter I See Project – Carin Makuz

Paul Butler Novelist – *Paul F. Butler

Seth’s Blog – *Seth Godin

My Peacock Books – Cat Peacock

Marathon Mouth – *Bill Corbett

**Owlish Books – Loes M.

BookMarketingBuzzBlog

Canadian Bookworm

MYSTERIES in PARADISE

Interview with: Susan Toy

Thanks to reader and blogger, Loes Keimes, for asking the questions and posting this interview she conducted with me recently! Loes is a Belgian reader I “met” when she won a copy of “Island in the Clouds” through a Goodreads Giveaway. Thanks, Loes, for reading my books and for wanting to tell your own blog readers about me!

Owlish Books

I wanted to do another author interview, since it has been a while and I had so much fun with the previous ones. So I went out on a limb and contacted Susan M. Toy, whose book Island in the Clouds I won a few years back through the Goodreads giveaways. At the time, she wrote me a lovely personal letter that she was happy someone from Belgium won, since her grandparents were also originally from here.

Susan Toy.jpg

Susan is very experienced and has seen all sides of writing, publishing and promoting books. Based on her background, I decided to ask her a bunch of questions, not only about writing but also about publishing and promoting books. She shared a lot of advice and tips, here below. If you want to keep up with her, follow her blog for insights and tips!

And more good news: Susan agreed…

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2017 – the other Best Books I read this year!

I have already posted a list of some of the authors whose books I read this year and found to be outstanding. You will find that link here.

But I read so many books in 2017, and many were great reads indeed, so I’ve divided the list into two: that first list covered authors I have promoted on my blog,
Reading Recommendations; this second list is everything else.

Because I tend to be an eclectic reader, you will find on this list: old books and newly released books, fiction and non-fiction, children’s picture books, graphic novels, memoir – even a couple of political biographies, and many books about books and reading (because I’ve been researching a series on Reading for my blog). What I have not listed are the classics and cookbooks (yes, I even read cookbooks!) that I read this year. And I read all of these books in eBook and print format, sometimes bought, sometimes gifted copies, some even won through Goodreads Giveaways, or they were from my own personal library, and many more were borrowed from the public library.

All are considered to be 5-star ratings, as far as I’m concerned. The very, very best books of the lot though are marked, along with the author’s name, in bold.

(The links attached to these titles will take you to more information on that specific book. These books are listed in the order I read them. )

Dark Star Safari by Paul Theroux

Slow Horses by Mick Herron

The View From the Cheap Seats by Neil Gaiman

The Stone Carvers by Jane Urquhart

The Dalai Lama’s Cat by David Michi

Touch the Earth by Julian Lennon

Judith by Aritha van Herk
(Reread after almost 40 years since it was first released! From Wikipedia: Van Herk’s writing career began with the publication of her M.A. thesis in 1978. Judith, a novel that explores a feisty female protagonist’s experiences in both rural and urban Canadian spaces, was the first winner of the Seal First Novel Award (C$50,000) from McClelland and Stewart, which granted the book international distribution throughout North America and Europe. )

Beartown by Fredrik Backman

Between Them by Richard Ford

Town is by the Sea by Joanne Scwartz

The Secret Place by Tana French

Sidewalk Flowers by Jon Arno Lawson

The Darkest Dark by Chris Hadfield

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalinithi

This Fight is Our Fight by Elizabeth Warren

Before, During, After by Richard Bausch

American War by Omar El Akkad
(If I were forced to make a selection of the very best book I read this year, this would be it!)

Darktown by Thomas Mullen

Al Franken, Giant of the Senate by Al Franken

The End of Your Life Book Club, Books for Living by Will Schwalbe
(The End of Your Life Book Club is the best non-fiction I read, and it really changed the way I read books and think about my reading, and even about my life.)

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

Roughneck by Jeff Lemire

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce

The Summer Nick Taught His Cats to Read by Curtis Manley & Kate Berube

The Little Paris Bookshop, The Little French Bistro by Nina George

All We Leave Behind: A Reporter’s Journey into the Lives of Others by Carol Off

The Scarred Woman by Jussi Adler-Olsen

Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks

Arrival: The Story of CanLit by Nick Mount

2017 – Some of my favourite Authors whose books I read this year!

I have read many, many books this year! Some were written by authors I have promoted previously on my other blog, Reading Recommendations, and these books I considered to be outstanding! And, in a few cases, I read more than one book by the same author. So, without further ado, here’s a list of those authors’ names and the titles of their books I read in 2017 …

(The links below will take you to that author’s original promotion on Reading Recommendations.)

Thanks to all Authors for continuing to write so well!

Gail Anderson-DargatzThe Spawning Grounds

Tim Baker24 Minutes (to be published in 2018)

Gail BowenThe Winner’s Circle

Kevin BrennanIn No Particular Order

Sharon ButalaWhere I Live Now

Paul ButlerThe Good Doctor, The Widow’s Fire

Sally CroninSam, A Shaggy Dog Story

Tricia DrammehThe Fifth Circle, Firebound (Spellbringers Book #2)

Seumas GallacherA Few Poetry Stops in a Life’s Journey

Felicity HarleyThe Burning Years

Betty Jane HegeratRunning Toward Home

Allan HudsonShorts Vol. 1

J.F. KaufmannEllida, Once Upon a Night (To be published in 2018)

Ken McGoogan50 Canadians Who Changed the World, Dead Reckoning: The Untold Story of the Northwest Passage

J.P. McLeanThe Betrayal

Antony MillenThe Chain

David A. PoulsenSerpents Rising, Dead Air

Mike RobbinsSuch Little Accident: British Democracy and its Enemies, Three Seasons

Merilyn SimondsGutenberg’s Fingerprint

Mary SmithDonkey Boy and Other Stories

Check out Part 2 of this series here.