Announcement: Alaine Greyson Has A YouTube!

I’m excited to share that Alaine Greyson is partaking in #AuthorTube. With each video Greyson takes the time to share what she finds helpful in her journey as an independent romance author.

Romance is a genre I admire Greyson for writing. I find emotions to be one of the most difficult aspects of the human experience to capture, describe, and communicate. Greyson is a natural at writing human emotions if you read her books.

I have reviewed her work three times and am excited to see what comes next (Chasing Peace, Wanting Peace, Christmas Magic).

Be sure to subscribe to Alaine Greyson’s YouTube channel. She talks about the writing process, traditional publishing, self publishing, being an indie author, being a romance author, and so much more!

Thank you so much for reading this announcement and stay tuned for more exciting news soon.

Publication Announcement!

The above picture was created using https://inspirobot.me/ – it seemed appropriate for some of what the past couple months have felt like

I submitted my first piece of COVID-19 related writing. And…

Stigma Fighters published my poem Alexithymia in 2020 America! Hop on over there and check it out? Leaving a comment and sharing it would be even better.

This is also a good time to mention that I have a poetry collection called “One Hundred Different Skies” coming out in Summer 2020. Once I have the cover art finished I will be making the collection available for digital pre-order.

I’ve already received great feedback from a couple of beta readers and I’m loving all of it. This might sound weird, but I love hearing when someone dislikes one of my poems if they can tell me why they dislike it. I find it really helpful to me because as I’ve been working through cases where someone can tell me why they dislike something, I find that I can understand their viewpoint and am willing to edit and try to rewrite sections to improve the work.

I accept that there are few things harder than editing poetry in the world of writing. But there’s nothing more rewarding than a poem that accurately captures an experience. My beta readers are AMAZING.

As always, thank you for taking the time to read this post and if you haven’t heard it today: you are loved and you are valued.

So… Where am I? What’s Next?

Update: 11 May 2020

I’ve been trying to write this update for days. Every time I get a chance to sit down at the computer to try to write it I am called away from the computer because life is hectic for everyone right now. I finally wrote the first draft using my phone and many days later this is finally posted.

I had to take a step back for a bit. I have a box of books and I’m going to focus all review related efforts on until further notice. My schedule for 2020 has been taken down for this reason. Once I have figured it back out I will post a new, revised schedule.

I’m not accepting any new book submissions officially until I have 2021’s structure figured out – I’m working on getting that up. I am working on updating the website to reflect this as well.

I’m sorry to anyone whose books I haven’t ordered yet or hadn’t received yet. Though your book is not here, your books are next. I will be prioritizing books as I receive them and working through them as I have the energy.

Contest Updates

Later this month I will be posting the winning story from the writing contest. The winner is LHWesterlund. She wrote this awesome piece that I can’t wait for everyone to read 🙂

Writing Updates

What else is going on? I’m writing short stories. If I work my butt off I might finish 2 WIPs by end of 2020 instead of only 1. Woo! As always, check out my work over at Coffee House Writers. I have a serial going called ”Waking Up” currently discussing the main character waking up from a coma. The main character has to piece back together who they are, but nothing they’re being told is adding up. Check out: part 1 | part 2 | part 3

What Should You Expect?

  1. I’m going to start writing more often, possibly daily. These may be in the form of short blog style posts for my own sanity. You will see a new category called “Personal Blog”
  2. I will be trying to get back on track with the book reviews
  3. You will see a new category pop up for “Works By Guest Authors” – this will be where you can expect to see writing contest winners’ works.

Thank you for reading. Without you this would be words sent out into the void.

Short Story And A Few Additional Announcements

New Short Story

We’re back with a new short story: Part 2 of “Waking Up”, titled “On The Third Day.”

I would love to hear feedback on what impressions are on the story so far. At this time I’m trying to mimic memory, awareness, and the cognizance during the recovery process with the length of each new part. If this isn’t working I should know.

Let’s be clear: recovery from being in a coma and brain injuries is a very long process. I’m trying to recreate that for the reader.

Writer’s Block Challenge Update

Writer’s whose works are selected to be placed on the site will receive t-shirts of their choice from the selection of Bonfire t-shirts I made. When submitting your short stories please remember to include your t-shirt size and preference with your random number for the winner announcement on Twitter and the website.

Book Giveaways!

There are 4 book giveaways coming up. Each giveaway includes 2 books that have been selected and paired from our family library. The opportunities to win these will be announced over the next couple days relating to a treasure map challenge that will be cross posted on a friend and fellow author’s blog 🙂 Stay tuned!

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy 🙂

Upcoming Reviews: April 2020

April 2020’s Books

I am so far behind. Between the death of a family member, chronic migraine issues, pneumonia, trying to plan a move right before a global pandemic, all rolled up heading down hill…

This page is going to be a placeholder for now. They are there. I will be reading them. I will update this page when I get closer.

April 2020’s Books

“The Secret In The Breeze” by Sean Haughton (Live Tweet Review Coming Soon; Full Review Coming Soon)

“Once Upon A Lane” by Duncan Wilson (Live Tweet Review Coming Soon; Full Review Coming Soon)

“How To Make Sure Your Life Doesn’t Suck” by Dr. Maggie Gilewicz (Live Tweet Review Coming Soon; Full Review Coming Soon)

“The Frost Eater” by Carol Beth Anderson (Live Tweet Review Coming Soon; Full Review Coming Soon)

Thank you for reading! Without you these are shouts into the void.

Short Story Announcement: “Waking Up” Part 1 “The First Day” and Life Update

My first multipart series is upon us! It went live on Monday, but I’ve been preoccupied with this whole coronavirus thing and writing book reviews.

This first part is short.

I didn’t mean to time the release of a story related to waking up in a hospital with a pandemic. Today is Day 17 of a fever of ~100-101 F (37.7 – 38.3 C). I have ice on the back of my neck as I write this. There will be a delay in the release of part 2.

It’s all surreal, right?

I grew up among hardy people that believed in staying put when the hurricane came and destroyed the town (this literally happened and I was out of school for 2-3 months in high school while we rebuilt the town). One of the places I lived was almost wiped off the map by the 1918 Influenza pandemic. Entire families died – their bodies buried in mass graves next to their homes by the brave neighbors who ventured into the houses later. The houses and all of their belongings were either burned or were left to rot until us, curious, mischievous rural kids with nothing better to do broke in and wandered around those unwired houses like the generations and generations of kids before us. Look but don’t touch. The objects are cursed and haunted by the disease. Even then the belief was that the ghost of the disease persisted and could kill.

On that note, stay tuned for a short story exclusively posted here since I’m taking a week off. Don’t expect it to be edited well because, frankly, I feel like s***.

Take care and I hope everyone is staying well. As always, thank you for reading. Without you I’m writing words into a void.

UPDATE (26 March 2020):

Today WaffleHouse closed 365 of its 1,627 US locations. That thing I mentioned above about being from an area that was regularly destroyed/impacted by hurricanes and my town was DESTROYED by a hurricane?

Check out this thing called the Waffle House Index – it’s used by FEMA to determine how bad a natural disaster is in the United States based on the number of Waffle Houses still open in an area. I’m not joking. It’s a real thing. Waffle House is historically known for being open 24/7/365 and has called itself a “trucker shelter” during inclement weather.

We live in interesting times.

Announcement 20 March, 2020: Rating Scale

Is Haskell is practicing the art of camouflage to avoid rating anything? Nope, that’s just me.

Initially, I *did not* want to give ratings. I wanted to write reviews and post them only here and Twitter. But life is not that way. In order to come up with some way of objectifying my scale I meditated and thought through this process methodically because I refuse to be subjective 100%. I tried to establish a rating scale of 1-5 over the course of September – November 2019. Thank you to all of the indie authors that patiently worked with me as I developed this rating system.

Then that one book by those Best Selling Authors happened that dragged on and *really* shaped the bottom of the rating scale.

I admit my biases because I don’t hide those things. I am accused by some of being too honest. Not in the “you talk too much” way – more like the “you’re too blunt” way. I refuse to do paid reviews, ever, on ethical grounds, but I understand that ethics are subjective. Every person is allowed to shape their own independent understanding of right and wrong. ANYWAYS – I wanted the whole process to be less subjective – I didn’t want to guess on what number I was giving a book. That’s not fair to the author or the reader.

As an aside, I’ve taught nursing students. Nursings students would lose their ever-loving minds if grades were entirely subjective like some book ratings seem to be. Have you met a nursing student or been a nursing student? I think of authors in the same way – intelligent, detail-oriented, hyperaware, and information-seeking. It is not fair for reviews to be entirely subjective, just like it’s not fair to anyone in the position of teaching or taking a microbiology lab for nursing students.

A bit about my rating scale:

5 stars are reserved for books where I absolutely love the story. They must be very close to meeting the 1/10,000 word editorial standard for basic proofreading or blow me away and move me. Any book I am immediately inspired to gift to someone in my life automatically gets a 5/5.

4 stars are reserved for books where I love the story, but they don’t meet the 1/10,000 word editorial standard, have some consistent problems, or have one or two major content concerns, such as a major plot hole.

3 stars are reserved for books where I do genuinely enjoy the core story, but the book does not meet the 1/10,000 word editorial standard, has many consistent problems with following sequence of events, requires a large amount of work on the part of the reader to understand the story, and/or possesses additional concerning issues. My long form review may be vague – I do that as to protect the privacy of the author. As many authors I have previously reviewed books for know, just because I don’t say the page number in the review, doesn’t mean I don’t have it. I can refer you to examples for every single concern I mention.

I do not publicly post 1 or 2 star reviews for any author that is not a “Best Seller”. Even then it may take me 4 months and I’ll need to have a good reason. I will send unposted reviews privately by request to the author only. These are NOT available to anyone else. I won’t add these ratings to GoodReads or Amazon without talking to the author first. Point is: I will still write an honest, thoughtful review with constructive criticism explaining why I had that reaction even if it’s for the author’s eyes only. When I say my reviews are author oriented – this is what I mean.

Things that never influence a the rating a book is given: the additions of content warnings or anything related to the sensitivity of the content. This is too subjective for me to base a rating on. I will mention it in the review for the benefit of potential readers, particularly if there is reason to believe that the content could be potentially harmful. I have never, ever allowed this to impact a book’s rating. If I suggest an author consult with a sensitivity reader, this does not influence the rating of a book and is because I genuinely believe the author would benefit from hearing a professional perspective. I am not a professional sensitivity reader.

Authors are welcome to request examples to be added to reviews for clarification. I can always add detail to reviews and edit them to reflect changes made if an author notifies me of what has changed in future editions.

I am meticulous in detail in my notes and am happy to share examples of the trending issues directly. My notes focus on Fundamental Editorial Standards. FOR EXAMPLE: POINTING OUT THE NEED FOR FACT CHECKING BECAUSE AN AUTHOR’S BOOK SAID THAT NASSAU, BAHAMAS IS IN THE SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE IS NOT “STUPID NITPICKING”.

I research what current readers care about – I spend hours dedicated to ensuring my review benefits both a reader and the author. Please remember that I AM NOT BEING PAID AS A DEVELOPMENTAL EDITOR, so please do not expect me to provide feedback to the extent of one. It is the job of the author to hire a paid developmental editor if their book requires one.

I’m an indie author too, y’all. I put out short stories bi-weekly and I’m working on longer manuscripts. I do this because I’m publishing a book soon and I write short stories. I make mistakes too. I open up and read my published works and think based on my own scale “that’s a 4/5” or “that’s a 3/5”. I don’t give myself a 5/5 on my own scale. I try to earn it during the editing process though.

Listen: I self-published a book in 2008 under a pen name, then pulled it from digital shelves because I was scared. I sold 1 copy to myself. My grandmother was the only human who ever read it (I don’t count dogs). I honestly couldn’t afford to take the risk of printing and distributing more than that one, lonesome pre-reader copy. I chickened out. Any indie author I’m reading is brave. They didn’t chicken out. That’s already something to be proud of.

Anyways, back to our regularly schedule programming.