Tag Archives: That Last Summer

How valued Readers can become valued Reviewers!!

If you have read Island in the Clouds or One Woman’s Island or That Last Summer (or all three!) and enjoyed reading them – but you haven’t yet posted any reviews online, I would appreciate you doing so now, on Goodreads, Amazon, Kobo, iTunes, your library’s website, or your own blog. I’m hoping to build up awareness for my writing in general to create a solid fan base in place to do the heavy-lifting of informing and, hopefully, exciting different and new-to-me readers about any future publications. If you have already posted something to do with me or my writing on your own blog I have likely added that link to this page, this page, or this one. If your interview or review are not listed there, please let me know so I can include you.

Now, I know some readers are shy and don’t want their thoughts and opinions posted in public, and especially not online. I appreciate and understand that feeling! If you have read my books though and enjoyed them enough to want to tell me about that enjoyment, then please send me an email (susanmtoy (at) gmail.com). Your review can be as brief as you’d like to make it. And I promise never to divulge your name if you want to remain anonymous, but do let me know if I may post and quote your comments on my blog – without your name attached! – so potential readers have a chance to see what “someone” thinks of my books and my writing. Whatever you decide, please do write and tell me whatever it is that you think. The best way for any author to improve is to listen to comments made by their readers. After all, it’s you we’re writing for in the first place!

What I hope to achieve by all this, of course, is a build-up of word-of-mouth promotion. You who are already satisfied readers will become, I hope, the foot soldiers in my campaign to promote my books. If you DO want me to quote you in future publicity then let me know I may use your name. A review with a real name has so much more credibility, and I’ll be using the best of those as bullets (not real gun bullets, of course!) and endorsements.

The other way for you to become involved in this promotion campaign of mine is by personally telling your friends about my books, and encouraging them to read what I’ve already published. Then, if they like what they read, they will anticipate my future publications. A readership is something we authors build one reader at a time … and by writing books readers enjoy reading.

So thanks to everyone for reading through my post, and for any help you may be able to offer.

And remember … I am but one author out here who is writing and publishing. There are many, many others who can also use a hand in the promotion of their books. Never discount the effect your personal recommendation has on any book you read and enjoy. Please don’t keep that enjoyment to yourself – tell others about it! An author’s success may just depend on your initial recommendation! (I feel so strongly about this concept that I created the Reading Recommendations blog.) And for those of you who would like to take this a step or two further, here are 99 Ways to Spread the Word About a Book You Love.

Thanks for reading – and commenting and reviewing! I could never have come this far without all of you loyal readers, and I appreciate every single one of you!

11902343_911237195613908_4450841270707343966_n

Advertisements

Have you read my writing?

I’m just curious as to how many readers have actually read what I’ve written and how many of those readers have read more than just one piece of writing I’ve published so far. So I created this poll and would appreciate it if you would click on whatever you’ve read. And please leave any comments below as well, if you’d like to say something about my writing. I’m all ears!

Here are links to everything listed in the poll:

Island in the Clouds
One Woman’s Island
That Last Summer
Links to 6 Short Stories

Thank you to all readers! You are the reason we writers write.

One Woman’s Island – Fan mail and reviews!

And definitely not from some flounder!

But this is what I can call a message I really like!

Not all readers like to write reviews and post them online, and I get that! So I will never ask anyone to review my books or post their thoughts if they don’t wish to do so.

However, I do know many readers, especially friends, like to tell me their thoughts and impressions about my books after they’ve read something I’ve written. They quite often write to me privately in an email, or they tell me in person when I meet up with them. So I then ask if I may post their comments to my blog, and will do so anonymously, if that’s what they wish.

Here are comments from two friends who had previously read Island in the Clouds and have now told me what they think of One Woman’s Island

Friend #1 (received by email):
I loved reading One Woman’s Island. I enjoyed it so much that at one point, I wished the story wouldn’t end! I appreciated that Marianne was such a strong character. She believed in her values and did not cave in when she encountered opposing views. Keep writing, Sue. I look forward to your next book. Violet

Friend #2 (From a conversation):
I enjoyed the development of the characters, particularly Tex, who I had no sympathy with initially, but came to like him. Mariana reflects the views of a lot of people who come to the island, who are invasive and intrusive, and get it all wrong. She irritated the hell out of me and at times I wanted to slap her! I really enjoyed the change in speed between life on Bequia and the slow pace of the tranquil garden in several scenes. There should be a place like that on this island where people can sit in private and not be overheard, enjoying a coffee or tea completely out of sight. (smt: Well, there is my own verandah at The View. Although I do quite like my imagined garden in the novel.) I actually felt that what you’ve done is left enough strings untied that what I want most is to read the next book.

Friend #1 has visited us on Bequia, but I have known her since 1979, shortly after we moved to Calgary. We have been friends ever since. She is an artist and has always encouraged my writing.

Friend #2 owns a house on Bequia and has been coming to the island for many years. She’s supported my books wholeheartedly and keeps print copies in her house for rental guests to read. (And if you’re thinking of coming to Bequia, I do recommend you check out this friend’s house – send me an email for details.)

Both women are avid readers, so I am particularly flattered by their comments.

As well, I received a wonderful review of my book from author and friend, Timothy Phillips. (The link will take you to his promotion on my blog.) He did post to both Amazon and Facebook, but I just had to share with you here what he has said:

I was fortunate to read Susan Toy’s first book, Island in the Clouds. This is set on the Caribbean island of Bequia and murders will take place – guaranteed. We don’t have to wait long – a body turns up floating in the swimming pool almost on page one. It’s an exciting read all the way through.

Toy’s second book is also set in Bequia, which is where she resides for half the year. She knows the island intimately and she knows the people, both the ex-pat community and locals and has weaved this backdrop effectively into her story. We will have to wait a third of the way into her book before we have full proof of skullduggery and mischief. Yet, right from the beginning, we have ominous warning of some malevolent presence of things to come through the almost incoherent rambling conversation of three children. So, we’re prepared to wait. It reminds me of the witches’ scene in Act One, Scene One of Macbeth.

We all, especially if we live in the cold North, have images in our mind of paradise on earth – a warm sunny climate, pristine beaches, plentiful exotic fruits, smiling locals speaking in a patois that has a lilting and colourful charm – easy to be enchanted here, nice place to visit. Might even consider moving here if suddenly there was upheaval in one’s life.

That happens to the protagonist, Mariana who has come to Bequia with her two cats for an extended visit to mend from a marriage that ended. She’s naive but well-intentioned – perhaps she’s enervated by sunshine and dazzled by vibrant blue skies. She wants to contribute meaningfully and yet her perception of life on the island through seemingly rose-tinted spectacles is far different from reality.

The tension in Toy’s story builds magnificently, the main characters are intriguing colourful individuals and she develops them masterfully. There are few that will predict the outcome of the story and we are left guessing right to the end.

Toy is an interested foodie and has obviously experimented with local dishes. At the end of some chapters, she has included the recipes for these. It gives one a chance to take a breath and reminds me of the opportunity to stretch, get a snack or an ice cream at Intermission. One needs that.

Loved it.

And I loved your review, Tim! Thank you so much for reading and telling everyone! I especially like the reference you made to Macbeth – Nice!

If anyone else has read and enjoyed any of my books, but is kind of shy about putting their comments out there, your secret identity is safe with me! Just send me an email, susanmtoy (at) gmail.com, tell me what you think, and give me permission to post either with your name or without. As I said in a blog post I wrote earlier this year, A small request of all my readers …

Thank you, to all readers, from the bottom of my heart!

GoReadMe! Campaign – Susan M. Toy’s books

In August this year, I had a great idea … and the very kind Seumas Gallacher allowed me space on his blog to not only write about the GoReadMe! Campaign, but also offered to be the first to have his books promoted using it.

He’s a brave man! While we may not have reached the target of readers we wished to attract within the time period we allowed, there were a fair number of new readers who discovered Gallacher’s books through this promotion, so I was pleased with the response.

I’m back now to do the same for my own writing, since I recently published a new novel in the Bequia Perspectives series. Here’s the background to the idea:

First, let’s go back a little way in time to a blog post I published in March of this year on the perennial subject that’s of interest to all authors – Looking for Readers in All the Right Places. (I had actually blogged about this dilemma a couple of times previous and those links are included in this post. If you are an author looking for readers then I suggest you read about all my previous ideas.)

We’re all familiar with the GoFundMe campaigns. They come in many different guises and are meant to help creators and business people raise the necessary funds required to launch and cover the expenses of producing a project by involving their friends directly in that financing.

So I posed the question, What about setting up a campaign called GoReadMe, and instead of raising money we raise awareness for reading and reading our books in particular?

That’s essentially the idea and how the campaign came to life. Here’s how it works:

We make the announcement that we are beginning a GoReadMe! Campaign for an author and we’re looking for 50 new readers who will “pledge” to read either one of the author’s books or a specific title. Not only will they pledge to read the book themselves, but they’ll also agree to recommend that book to another reader who will join in on the GoReadMe! Campaign. That way, we only need to find 25 unique readers, because those new readers will find the other 25 for us. The campaign lasts a month, during which time the author, and the author’s friends, promote the campaign, and the author keeps a public tally on their blog of the number of people who have pledged, and their names (or those who wish to remain “anonymous”), who have committed to reading a book and finding other new readers for it. Simple!

And, if friends have already read the author’s book(s) but still wish to become involved in the GoReadMe! Campaign, they can help by promoting this idea to their friends, encouraging others to become involved in reading this author’s great books!

In the end, what the “Readers” receive by pledging in this way is a warm/fuzzy feeling of not only discovering and reading a new book by a great author, but also the knowledge that they are helping to promote reading in general by becoming involved in this campaign in particular and encouraging more people to read.

By the way, I believe that the personal recommendation of a book by a friend is a much more effective way (word-of-mouth) of promoting a book than any review on Amazon or Goodreads, so that’s why I’m not suggesting that “write a review” be a requisite for readers pledging to take part in this campaign. No pressure, folks! Just pledge to read the book and find at least one other new reader. What can be simpler than that?

So, without further ado …

Announcing … the GoReadMe! Campaign for Susan M. Toy!

We need 50 people to pledge to read at least one of Susan’s books (listed below) and to recommend to one other reader that they do the same. You have 30 Days during which to pledge. This Campaign ends on Jan. 8, 2017. Please sign up in the comments section of this blog post. Thanks for taking part in this new GoReadMe! Campaign!

51hb-tptcfl-_uy250_

One Woman’s Island

cover-susan-full-colour-jan2012

Island in the Clouds

18598024

That Last Summer

(By the way, ALL of my eBooks are available on Overdrive for libraries worldwide. If you prefer to read borrowed eBooks from your local library, you will be doing me a huge favour by recommending the library consider adding my book(s) to their collecction. Thank you!!)

There you have it, Folks! Please consider pledging (below in the comments section) and recommending my books to other readers. Share and retweet this post at will! Let’s try to make this GoReadMe! Campaign idea a “Thing”, okay?

Another successful Goodreads Giveaway!!

My recent Goodreads Giveaway for 5 copies of my novel, Island in the Clouds, has been a big success, as far as I’m concerned!

797 Readers from 7 countries (Canada, US, GB, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa) entered during the 3 weeks this contest ran, and 5 were chosen by the Goodreads Team to receive print copies. I’ll be mailing those books out to the winners in the US (4) and GB (1) on Monday.

There were only a very few Readers who commented on the blog post announcement of this contest. I was running another Giveaway for eBooks there, since we can only give away print copies through Goodreads. So I’ve decided that everyone who commented will win, and I’ll be notifying those commentors about their eBook prizes later today. (Quite frankly, I’m surprised that so few Readers took me up on this offer. Maybe I should have run a contest separate from the Goodreads Giveaway for the eBook versions of my books, but then my experience has been that few people ever comment to enter when these offers are made. Why is that, I wonder …?)

So now we’re down to 4 Reading Recommendations Authors who are still running their Goodreads Giveaways, and I will continue to promote their contests for each of them.

Best of luck to everyone who enters!

300 Subscribers!!!

I am so pleased that my blog has reached another milestone … (HEY! For me, this is BIG!!!) This calls for a celebration and a giveaway!

To show my appreciation to all the readers who have taken a moment to subscribe to or follow my blog I am going to hold another draw to give away free copies of my two eBooks, Island in the Clouds and That Last Summer, for whichever reading device you own. If you’ve already read both, you may want to give your prize to a friend, should you win. So there’s an incentive for everyone to enter! (At this time, I can only offer free copies of the eBooks, because mailing copies of the print edition would be difficult as I’m here.)

IMG_0981

So, if you are currently a subscriber and you would like to enter this contest, please make a comment below. On Feb. 14th, I will make a random selection from those who enter. You may consider this my Valentine’s Day treat for all my readers out there!

island clouds front june 11l

IS_ThatLastSummer

And, if you’re not currently a subscriber, you may want to become one now, because I’ll be holding more similar contests as I reach new milestones.

Thanks to everyone in advance for participating in this contest!

But, more importantly, thanks to all 300 of you who have subscribed to my blog over the years. And thanks for continuing to read!! I couldn’t keep doing this without your support!

(And, yes, Tim Baker, I know I’m well over my exclamation point quota on this post!!!)

Donating to St. Vincent & the Grenadines for flood relief

Over Christmas Eve and Christmas Day St. Vincent & the Grenadines was hit with an unexpected weather system that brought a great deal of rain to all the islands. Especially hard hit though was the main island of St. Vincent where people were swept away by the flood waters (9 dead; 2 still missing), homes and possessions were damaged and destroyed, and a great deal of the country’s infrastructure was damaged. Much of the island was left without power and there is still no working system to provide homes with safe drinking water. I have just received this letter from the Concerned Citizens of Bequia Outreach that outlines exactly what has been going on here, what donations have already been provided, and how much more needs to be done. If you own a home on Bequia or if vacation here regularly, please consider helping on this local level.

1543838_10152830046721002_564870967_n

If you do not have any connection with St. Vincent & the Grenadines but would still like to help with a monetary donation, please go to the Action Bequia website and tell them you wish your donation be earmarked specifically for the St. Vincent Flood Relief. Action Bequia accepts credit card payments via PayPal from anyone situated overseas.

If you know me personally and would like to make a donation, I am happy to handle that for you. Please send me an email.

And, as an incentive to get some more donations coming in … I will email you copies of both my eBooks – Island in the Clouds and That Last Summer as a gift for making a minimum donation of $15. (CDN, US or equivalent in £,€) (Sorry, but due to the fact that I’m on Bequia at the moment, mailing print copies of Island in the Clouds would be difficult right now, so I’ll have to limit this offer to eBooks only. I may offer copies of the print edition at a later date.) All you have to do to get your eBooks is send me an email telling me that you’ve made a donation, and which type of eReader you own. I will send you the correct files for both. And if you have already read either or both eBooks, you’re welcome to pass these files on to a friend.

Here’s a video from I-Witness News from St. Vincent showing the situation on Christmas Day.

Thank you in advance for your support!

Everyone’s A Winner!!!

As the Carnies always say, “Step right up! Step right up! Everyone’s a Winner!!!”

IMG_0110IS_ThatLastSummer

And that’s what happened with my recent contest in which all you had to do to enter was write a comment. Easy-Peasy, folks! Six people did just that. They took the time to make a comment and so I decided they would all win! I’m feeling rather generous at the moment, it being the season and all. But I am also very thankful for their support. So Jaclyn, Mandy, Maria, Lockie, Joan, and “Jazzybeatchick” have each won copies of both my eBooks, Island in the Clouds and That Last Summer. Thanks very much to all of you for entering!

As for the rest of you … What are you going to do the next time I run a contest like this on my blog? That’s right! You’re going to enter, because more likely than not I will be feeling overly generous again and EVERYONE will be a winner!!

That Last Summer – now available to purchase online!

As the summer slips away, a great way to bring it back! ~ J. Michael Fay

My new novella, That Last Summer, is now available to order from Amazon for reading on Kindle, from Kobo, and from iTunes!

IS_ThatLastSummer

Susan M. Toy captures the magic of the summer of ’65 in this tale of love and loss of innocence. The lake is alive with boys and girls, skiing and romancing. Rachel constantly spars with her younger sister, neither girl realizing the extent of life-changing problems that float below the surface for both a friend’s family and their own. Toy writes with confidence and elegance in That Last Summer and, as Juliet says in a famous scene performed around an August bonfire, “Parting is such sweet sorrow … ”

In the summer of 1965, Rachel Wainstaff is uprooted from her life in Toronto and her boyfriend to spend a reluctant summer with her family at their secluded cottage at Lone Pine Lake. In this story of self-discovery and young love, Rachel’s joys and disappointments are inextricably tied to making new friends and meeting a special boy, all while dealing with the irritation of her younger sister. Still, the true heart of this piece lies in the complicated relationship the teenaged Rachel has with her mother and father. That Last Summer is a poignant love letter to the lazy, sun-soaked days of an Ontario summer at the cottage.
~ Kim McCullough, author of Clearwater

Susan M. Toy spent all the summers of her youth at the family cottage near Minden, ON. During that time, she was a voracious reader and always dreamed of becoming a writer of her own stories. That Last Summer was originally written as an entry for the 3-Day Novel Contest, and it is the third eBook to be published by IslandShorts, an imprint of IslandCatEditions.

That Last Summer – a new IslandShorts ePublication!

IslandShorts is pleased to announce the release of a new ePublication in a series of short stories, novellas, poetry and short pieces of non-fiction.

That Last Summer by Susan M. Toy will be available shortly to download from all the usual sites.

IS_ThatLastSummer

Susan M. Toy captures the magic of the summer of ’65 in this tale of love and loss of innocence. The lake is alive with boys and girls, skiing and romancing. Rachel constantly spars with her younger sister, neither girl realizing the extent of life-changing problems that float below the surface for both a friend’s family and their own. Toy writes with confidence and elegance in That Last Summer and, as Juliet says in a famous scene performed around an August bonfire, “Parting is such sweet sorrow … ”

In the summer of 1965, Rachel Wainstaff is uprooted from her life in Toronto and her boyfriend to spend a reluctant summer with her family at their secluded cottage at Lone Pine Lake. In this story of self-discovery and young love, Rachel’s joys and disappointments are inextricably tied to making new friends and meeting a special boy, all while dealing with the irritation of her younger sister. Still, the true heart of this piece lies in the complicated relationship the teenaged Rachel has with her mother and father.
That Last Summer is a poignant love letter to the lazy, sun-soaked days of an Ontario summer at the cottage.
~ Kim McCullough, author of Clearwater

Susan M. Toy spent all the summers of her youth at the family cottage near Minden, ON. During that time, she was a voracious reader and always dreamed of becoming a writer of her own stories. That Last Summer was originally written as an entry for the 3-Day Novel Contest, and is the third eBook to be published by IslandShorts, an imprint of IslandCatEditions.

A sample FlipBook is available to read here.

And, coming soon, The Healer, another short story by J. Michael Fay!