J.L. Sheppard

*** I TOTALLY agree with J.L.’s article below and, after bouncing ideas off of several ABA authors, I’ve come up with a NOVEL SOLUTION, but I need your participation to make this work. All TWRP or ABA authors who want a 4-star or 5-star review on a book, just click here: https://casimclean.com/aba-review-interchange/

AFTER YOU READ THIS AWESOME POST:

CASI

Want Reviews? Be careful What You Wish For!

I’m all for reviews. Reviews are great. They give you a preview of what’s to come. What you may like or dislike, etc. Don’t know about you, but I don’t have much time on my hands. I have a toddler. Enough said. For those of you who don’t have kids, maybe you’ve been around some. Multiply that child’s activity by ten maybe twenty, and that’s my boy. He’s special. I love him to death, beyond imaginable, but the kid is work.

DSC_6799With the little time I have, I’ve learned to appreciate reviews. Honestly, before baby, I appreciated reviews. I hated spending hours reading to be let down. We all have our preferences, after all. Reading is a form of escapism. I read to escape, to relax. I read because I love it. And I loved reading before I decided to write books. I’ll always love it.

Life’s imperfect, uncertain, and as beautiful as it is, it can also be devastating. We work so hard, love too much, and sometimes life doesn’t go as planned. There are too many things in life we cannot control, except how we escape, how we for a moment take ourselves away from our lives and do something we love. My beautiful boy is work, and I love him, but mommies need breaks too. For me, that’s reading.

What do I prefer to read? HEA’s all the way! I love happily-ever-afters. But I love them with conditions. The hero’s a jerk, borderline abusive to the heroine, and she ends up with him? No. Cliffhangers? Ugh.

What can I say? I’m human. I like to read what I like to read. And everyone is different. We all have our preferences: what we like, what we don’t.

Bringing me back to the point—reviews are helpful. I read them. Sometimes, they let me know if I’d like a book before I buy it and spend hours reading. Over the years, I’ve noticed reviews have become sort of like an art form. There are even graphics, and distinct tone.

From the cover and blurb, you should be able to tell what you’re getting into. Why choose to review a book you won’t like? Yet, we still see a wide range of reviews: the helpful, the stellar, the mocking, and the nasty, distasteful, and the down right mean.

And then there are the 1-star reviews with no comments at all. Why?

I have read books from authors I LOVE and did not like one of their books. I have left reviews explaining why I did not like this particular book, but I did’t feel the need to leave a nasty review. I’ve never felt that need, even if the book was by a new author and I really didn’t like the book. Maybe I have too much empathy and realize that a book is a form of expression, a story the author spent countless hours writing, editing, rereading. Not my cup of tea, but it still has merit.

There will be people who will like it, love it, just not me, so there’s no need to bash an author, a person, and their work because I didn’t enjoy a book they spent countless hours writing, editing, and rereading. If it were a song, I’d delete it or not listen to it––not write the station, artist, producer, or writer. Maybe I’m too compassionate, or just polite. But there are ways to express your opinions without being nasty, rude or completely unaware that words hurt, and what’s the point of hurting each other when life hands us a bunch of hurt already?

What do you think?

Running Wild:

She runs from her perfect life into his—a life of bikers who play and ride by their own rules.

Hard as it is, he keeps his distance. But when she kisses him, all bets are off.Whose rules would she play by…his or hers.

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J.L.’s Links:

http://wildcatalog.thewildrosepress.com/paperback-books/4402-running-wild-paperback.html

https://www.amazon.com/Running-Wild-Hell-Ryders-Book-ebook/dp/B01FG5QG7E

www.barnesandnoble.com/w/running-wild-jl-sheppard/1123775328

https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-runningwild-2040619-149.html

https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/running-wild-30

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30168823-running-wild

 

M. S. Spencer

Which Comes First, The Story or the Research?

Research is key to a novel, but diving into background can also inspire the writer’s muse. M. S. Spencer should know. She’s lived in Chicago, Boston, New York, France, Morocco, Turkey, Egypt, and England, and the last 30 years were spent primarily in Washington, D.C. as a librarian, Congressional staff assistant, speechwriter, editor, birdwatcher, kayaker, policy wonk, non-profit director and “domestic engineer”, aka parent. Once she escaped academia, she worked for the U.S. Senate, the U.S. Department of the Interior, in several library systems, both public and academic, and at the Torpedo Factory Art Center. Whew! Here’s her take on the topic:

M. S. Spencer Author (2)Authors must do quite a bit of research for their books even when they know the subject well. The Mason’s Mark, my newest release, is set in my former home town of Alexandria, Virginia at the George Washington National Masonic Memorial. A landmark of the Washington skyline, the building is not only a Masonic lodge, but a memorial to our first president. I began with the idea that my heroine would find a dead body on the ninth floor observation platform, with no rational explanation of how it got there.

To ensure authenticity I set about Googling both freemasonry and George Washington, but my search soon led me into a strange world of global intrigue and crime. I followed one thread to a remarkable Italian scam artist named Licio Gelli.

Starting in the 1940s Gelli embarked on a lifetime of bizarre scams and crimes. Alternately linked to rightists and leftists, he bilked or used people from Italian politicians, to the Nazis, the Communists, the CIA, even to Juan Peron, dictator of Argentina. His exploits cross the globe and spanned four decades. He was still alive in December 2015, in his nineties and writing poetry from prison. In 1996 he was even nominated for the Nobel prize in literature.Licio Gelli 1

Note: He died December 15, 2015.

 

Here is a link to an obituary: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/12054716/Licio-Gelli-financier-obituary.html

Gelli is most famous for founding a Masonic lodge called Propaganda Due, a renegade group that was first dissolved, then reinstated, then erased by the Grand Orient de Italia. He had ensnared many prominent Italians into P2, which ultimately led to several huge scandals.

How could I resist? I added him to the mysterious corpse. Further Googling on George Washington tossed up lots of fascinating scandal rumors. So now I had a body, a renegade Mason and scam artist, and long-lost George Washington letters. Voila! The Mason’s Mark: Love and Death in the Tower, a contemporary tale about old scandals. And a dynamite love story.

 

TheMasonsMarkLoveandDeathintheTower_M. S. Spencer

Sneak peek of The Mason’s Mark:

In both the best and worst first day at work ever, docent Claire Wilding meets the man of her dreams, but her carefully rehearsed guided tour of the George Washington National Masonic Memorial collapses when she discovers a body and is drawn into a dark world of black ops and Italian renegade masons, of secret cabals and hidden treasure. Also cloaked in mystery is handsome Gideon Bliss, a George Washington expert who haunts the Memorial, his manner evasive. What is his secret? Claire fears she’ll fall in love with him only to learn he’s a thief or even a murderer. Juggling two eccentric mothers, an inquisitive sister, and an increasingly smitten detective, Claire must find answers to a complex web of intrigue, including who to trust and who to love.

 

The Mason’s Mark: Love and Death in the Tower (an Old Town Romance)

Wild Rose Press, May 6, 2016 (Crimson Rose imprint)
Mystery/Cozy Mystery, Romantic suspense
ebook 79,000 words; print 322 pp.

M/F; 3 flames
Buy Links:

TWRP: http://www.wildrosepublishing.com/maincatalog_v151/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=191&products_id=6805

ITunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/masons-mark-love-death-in/id1104823156?mt=11

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-masons-mark-m-s-spencer/1118052638?ean=2940157863760

AllRomanceEBooks (pre-order): https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-themason039smarkloveanddeathinthetower-2017038-149.html

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Masons-Mark-Love-Death-Tower-ebook/dp/B01DHAJXWK

Bookstrand: http://www.bookstrand.com/the-masons-mark-love-and-death-in-the-tower-0

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/the-mason-s-mark-love-and-death-in-the-tower-2

If you like the Mason’s Mark, you might want to check out The Penhallow Train Incident, also from the Wild Rose Press.

Penhallow Train Incident by M. S. Spencer

 

Live your Dreams

Why Take The Chance?

Have you ever dreamed about what your life would have been like if you had only changed just one big decision? Just think about it. What if you had a do-over––got that one chance to go back in time and take the other fork in the road––the one that could have changed the course your life?

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I love the concept. It inspired my soon to be published time-travel romance, Beneath The Lake, as well as my new short story, The Promise. (Stay tuned for more details.) But alas, fantasy isn’t reality. No one can actually go back in time, but a do-over is definitely within the realm of possibilities. How? Well, my destiny unravels . . .

Read more “Why Take The Chance?”

Live your Dreams

Happy July 4th Everyone!

Happy 4th of July! It’s Independence Day—the perfect time to take a good look at your own independence. Especially when it comes to relationships. Have you ever thought you simply attracted insincere people? If so then it’s time to look in the mirror. The truth is, many of us unknowingly have destructive dating patterns that actually attract jerks. If you keep doing the same things and expect different results, then it’s your bad. There are all kinds of agendas lurking in cyberspace, and face it, if you want to catch a certain kind of fish, you need to use the right kind of bait. To avoid the sharks, look at your hook.  
It might me helpful to ask yourself some simple questions––and be honest.
What type of man or woman are you attracted to, and more importantly, why?
Do your relationships thrive, or are they a struggle?
Do you compromise your values out of desperation to hold on to someone?
Do you mold yourself into who you think he or she wants you to be?
Consider the answers to these questions. To find real happiness, you may need to make a few adjustments.
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It amazes me that so many people struggle to hold on to someone who doesn’t even make them happy—I was the poster child for that scenario  for a long time! Trust me, it’s a huge mistake. Having a warm body in your life is never better than being single for a while. It’s not a death sentence to be alone––you may actually find you enjoy having your own space. Besides, when you waste time with Mr. or Ms. wrong, regardless of your reasoning, you could miss Mr/Ms Wonderful. Here’s the important message, Read more “Happy July 4th Everyone!”
Live your Dreams

Take A Moment-It Could Change Your Life!

Busy lives have us dashing from one appointment to the next with a seemingly endless to-do list. Life can be so hectic. We have to be here, then be there—sometimes it’s hard to slow down long enough to catch our breath and “just be”—to take time to relax, love, live and soak in the beautiful moments of our lives—like watching a sunset with someone you love, a precious moment with your child or friend. We don’t stop often enough to enjoy a rain storm, a crackling fire or waves crashing to the shore.

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We can miss wonderful moments that take our breath away—holding hands, a passionate kiss or gazing together at a starry sky. It’s those moments that are the essence of life. Goals and dreams are wonderful as long as you remember Read more “Take A Moment-It Could Change Your Life!”

Live your Dreams

The # 1 Best Gift Ever!

Children are the future. With innocent eyes and magical dreams, they touch our hearts––and sometimes try our patience. My two sons have always been my life’s greatest treasures. I wanted to give them the world, protect them from pain and encourage them to live their dreams; a gift I had never been able to open . . . until recently. I preached ad-nausium . . . okay, that’s not really a word, but you get the picture . . . I tried to tell my children to do as I say, not as I do––a daunting task, especially through the tantrums and outbursts of their teenage years. I was convinced they had no use for Mom’s incessant messages. Those of you who are really close to me––or who read Wingless Butterfly––know the trials and tribulations I went through with my boys; especially Jace. Still, I never gave up––and somewhere along the way, when I wasn’t looking, they just got it. How do I know?

A glimpse from our new home

Well, yesterday I clicked on a status on Jace’s Facebook page and Read more “The # 1 Best Gift Ever!”

Live your Dreams

My Christmas Wish

Over the years the Christmas season has grown more and more difficult for me. My mother died Christmas of 1995. In the years that followed, losses mounted. My 20+ years of marriage ended in divorce. My children grew into strong, confident men with busy lives, but the pride, happiness and love I felt for them didn’t muffle the echo of silence that lingered in my empty home where children’s laughter once dwelled. My design business collapsed in December 2008; but the ultimate loss broke my heart when Daddy passed away shortly before Christmas 2009. And 2010 seared more loss into my heart. But throughout those years, silent embers softly glowed deep within me.

Christmas conjures wonderful memories for most people; visions of magic, sleds gliding through sparkling snow, glittering lights, love, and children sitting in their mother’s lap as they struggle to stay awake to catch a glimpse of Santa. But for many, those visions have faded over years of abuse, loss and pain; and Christmas serves as a reminder of what they’ve lost. I have friends, who’ve recently lost careers, their homes, loved ones and so much more, yet they persevere.

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A good friend of mine sent me an email recently with a Read more “My Christmas Wish”

Live your Dreams

A Woman Should Know . . .

As a writer, I’m inspired by those elite and gifted enough to stir passion within the souls of humanity. Those who focus on the human race and show us universal threads that unite us all as we search for love and meaning in our lives. Maya Angelou’s writing does just that and she touches my soul. Today I want to share one particular masterpiece that has been on my bathroom mirror since the day I first read it. Not only does it incapsulate the message of Wingless Butterfly, it also reminds me why I write.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r6AaK1FoVWA[/youtube]

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE . . .

enough money within her control to move out

and rent a place of her own,

even if she never wants to or needs to . . .

something perfect to wear if the employer,

or date of her dreams wants to Read more “A Woman Should Know . . .”

Live your Dreams

Are You Insane?

They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results. Now, most people wouldn’t consider themselves insane, yet how often do we see people continually repeat the same patterns, while they hopefully yearn for happy endings. Like Scarlett O’Hara in Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With The Wind, they’ll “worry about it tomorrow.” Patterns drench our lives, yet most of us don’t even realize we have them. That can be good news if our habits lead to great health, financial security and incredible relationships, but what if they don’t?

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Have you ever heard people complain that they just can’t get a break? Or how about friends who Read more “Are You Insane?”

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