Wednesday, September 24, 2008

When a fan (friend) goes to bat for you

For awhile there, I had been waiting for a review to come from Coffee Time Romance. A couple of weeks ago, I finally got it, from a reviewer named Krista. I had saved the link to share on my pages. Unfortunately, I did not save the content. The reviewer gave me a 3 cup rating. Based on their criteria, I fell right in the middle, not great, or best, and not the worst either. Her remarks made me feel a bit blue. I also began to wonder if she had, in fact, read the book all the way through. She had described my leading lady as being "enamored" with her husband, Danny, in the beginning, as he had swept her off her feet. Sounds romantic, don't it? But in fact, Tara entered into a marriage of convenience because she was pregnant by another man, who was long gone out of the picture. She married Danny to secure her future for her babies and nothing more. Yes, she did kiss him once, to give him confidance that she would follow through her "duties" as his wife, but she admitted to her best friend Ross, that her new husband would "have her body, but never would have her heart."

And thus came the unfolding of a difficult situation for a young, stubborn mother-to-be. She was sent across the ocean to begin a new life. Such strange circumstances and she had to remain bedridden because of risk to her pregnancy. Danny's brother visited Tara often and won her favor. Danny had an uphill battle to win back any feelings from his own wife and the prospects looked very grim.

Krista only described what happens in the middle as the "ups and down" of their marriage, never giving an inkling what any situation might be. She said the ending left her disappointed.

I, too, was sadly disappointed by her review, but I accepted it status quo.

Now, I have a rare fan and friend that I met quite awhile back, when this novel was still under the editing/critique phases. Aimee Linde is an author herself and understands the trials and tribulations we go through. Foremost, she is indeed a great supporter of this novel and of myself. We've always shared whenever we can links/webpages to help us as writers. So I desperately needed her opinion on this. So, I sent a copy of that review and of course, she emailed me back with her own comments.

"Is that reviewer an idiot? Did she really read the book? Doesn't she realize that Tara entered a marriage of convenience and doesn't love Danny one iota in the beginning?" Of course there were more comments and I did agree with her perspective and appreciated her candor. I had been in the mindset that my talent was mediocre and that this review was valid. I couldn't do anything more about it, but to be fair I posted the link to my websites.

However, I wasn't aware that Aimee took steps further. She contacted the website administrator and complained about the review. She gave them her piece of mind. They, of course, said they could not change the outcome. Aimee felt better that she had given them her viewpoints. She thought the matter was settled.

But last night, I got a call from Aimee, who was breathless and excited. She cried out in my ear, "Guess what! Someone else reviewed your book and you got bumped up in score! It's now posted on their website."

First of all, I was shocked to hear from her. Second I was shocked to hear her news. Third, I practically fell over in disbelief of what she did for me. The woman went to bat for me and struck a home run! What adulation and the best compliment in the entire world of her belief in my novel and in my writing. Ok, one adoring fan (and a terrific friend). How does one go about thanking such a remarkable person?

So thanks to her, my review is available on their website and it does, in fact, show that this reviewer "understood my book". What a blessing. She even sent me an email to update me on the link:

However, this time, I'm going to copy and paste what she said:

ISBN#: 978-1-4343-6044-1
April 30, 2008
Author House
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200 Bloomington, IN 47403
599 pages
Rating: 4 cups

Tara Reece never had a family. From orphanage to orphanage the only constant person in her life was a boy named Ross Kelly. But she lost touch with him after she came of age for a few years. Tara became pregnant and the father was rushed off to another city and Tara is once again left lonely but also pregnant. Tara finds Ross, and he eagerly takes her in. Tara cares deeply for Ross like a brother, but he wants more. Tara has a dream of handsome man and it held deep meaning to her.

Daniel(Danny) Cross lives in England and is in the Navy. Danny always wanted a woman to love him and have a happy marriage. Danny never has been good with relationships and women seems he never found someone he felt was right. When he is sent to New York, he meets a very pregnant Tara and falls deeply in love. Danny takes Tara and Ross with him to England, knowing Tara would feel better with Ross with them.

Ross Kelly never had a family like Tara all they ever had was each other. Ross has loved Tara for a long time, but knows she does not feel the same for him. Ross thinks that Daniel is just what Tara needs. Ross never realized what the move would do for him. After living in a one-bedroom apartment and little money, Danny’s family helped Ross get started on his own career.

After Tara and Danny get settled in their own home, the problems began. Danny knew it would take a while for Tara to fall in love with him, but he believed with time love would surely come. But for a few years there is turmoil between them, even though Danny loves the children and still loves Tara. But years go by and Tara learns the hard way about true love, lust and life. With the help of a family, children and others maybe just maybe Tara will find true happiness.

This is a very emotional and heartfelt story. Exceptional characters and some important second characters are the foundation for this awesome tale. Deep set morals and values as well as commitment is prominent with these characters, it was hard to cheer one character on and not another. With plenty of life’s twists and turns, life and death this story is filled with every aspect of true life. An extraordinary read, just right for a rainy day.

Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance
Reviewer for Karen Find Out About New Books

Ah, now I have it. And I have Aimee to thank for this. You are a true blue fan and best friend and I'm so happy we hooked up back in the early stages of this book.

And by the way, the reviewer did say more, to me personally, by email:

A fabulous story, but I have to ask, are you going to write a story where Tara finds her love of life or are you leaving that to your readers to finish in their minds? Either way, it is a great story.

.... There is a lot I could not put in because of word count, like their career as singers, and such. And no she was not enamoured with Danny at the beginning, in fact when they got together he hoped she would feel like he did, she only did it for the children. But later she realized what she had, which I am really glad.... Anyway, yeah I am glad to see the story continue for her and I hope Ross finds happiness also.

Many thanks to her too. At least she got the story. Isn't that what counts? I think that's the most important things that a reviewer can do for an author. Pinpoint the parts that have meaning and those that didn't make the mark. That's what helps us improve.

This time I'm very happy with the 4-cup status. It atleast tells me that I did put life into an extraordinary story. Many kuddos to my friend Aimee, whose determination pulled out a miracle for me. God bless you.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Coffee time romance review

Not everyone gets this book, but I wanted to be fair and post this. If you have read the book and disagree, then please post a comment. I appreciate it.

REVIEW .. 3 cups:

Tara Reese knows she is pregnant and is not sure what to do. Her best friend, Ross is there to support her as best as he can. Yet when she meets a charming fellow Daniel, she is completely swept off her feet by him. Confused and unsure of how well she can do taking care of the babies with Ross, she accepts Daniel’s proposal of marriage. He has taken her heart and captivated it. Now leaving for a new place in England, can she keep her feelings strong for him?

This book is full of ups and downs. Unsure of how I would like this book, I focused on the book intently. Ms. Hill has a great way with words but sometimes the characters themselves are too flawed. I understand that love can surpass everything, but I was surprised with some of the events in this book. The ending left too many questions for me to be happy.

Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance
Reviewer for Karen Find Out About New Books

Friday, September 5, 2008

The waiting game

I've recently seen where a few fellow authors are recieving their reviews regarding their novels, some very well deserved for their products and their talent. I confess, that in the way that some can construct their words and convey their passion, they tend to leave me a bit in the dust. I'm still a novice to this writing game but I do feel that it's getting better. My second manuscript is complete and I'm currently giving it one more quick read through before I offer it for queries. To me, the writing is more active, more compelling.

However, my first novel, (print on demand through Authorhouse), is something I'm still promoting. Marketing on your own sure is hard work. I'm still waiting to get my own valid reviews on Hostage To Her Heart, something concrete to say "yes, Chriss Hill- you do have talent". It's not enough to get kudos from merely your good friends and co-workers. You need a non-biased overview of your creation.

There are a few avenues I have gone to get these done. It's just now I'm playing a waiting game to get them in. In all actuality, these should have been submitted way back in February or March, way before the publishing date, but I had no book agent in my corner to send these out; someone with knowledge on how this business is run. In hindsight, I see the errors of this.

How to remedy this with my 2nd manuscript? I'm actually quering an agency to see if they'll pick up my first book to represent, to seek a publisher for a broader distribution. I have told them that my 2nd manuscript is available, with two more on the wings. I have hinted that my platform is growing, as I've joined social blogs and writer groups to be active in their circles, to get my name/my book out there. If the agent sees I'm doing all I can to represent myself wholeheartedly, perhaps she will take a chance on a newbie, inspite of the minor blunders done with going POD with the first book. We all learn and grow from our efforts, right?

So now I sit for feedback. From the readers who have received free copies as a gift; from the reviewers who will give official overviews that have validity; and perhaps from an agent who is returning from maternity leave on September 15th. Hopefully I will recieve good news from all, that Hostage to Her Heart is a great read and that everyone will be anxious to pick up on the sequel, which I may name, When Fate and Faith Colide. Just a waiting game I'm playing now - a huge gamble on my future- but one I hope will pay off in the end.

To my fellow author friends who are getting feedback/reviews and are exceptionally pleased with the returns, I applaud you and wish you all continued success.