She stole his heart. He stole her peace. Can hope steal their pain?
At the age of eighteen, Lacey Carmichael was a wild girl bent on fun, promised to Jack O’Bryen, a straight-and-narrow pastor’s kid bent on the seminary. When her father kicks her out of the house, she runs away from Isle of Hope, turning her back on everything she loves. Now, eight years later, she’s back as a woman of faith, hoping to make amends to the father she defied, the boyfriend she deserted, and the best friend she denied. Only the bridges she’s burned are still smoldering, kindled by an adulterous affair by Jack’s pastor father that damaged his son’s faith. But can a turning of tables—and hearts—lead the way back to “hope” for them all?
My Review: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Julie Lessman doesn’t disappoint in this redemption story with a twist.
Lacey was a wild girl who left town and her straight and narrow boyfriend, Jack. He was studying to be a preacher, and she knew she would hurt his career choice, his reputation, and his relationship with God. She was in need of redemption but wasn’t ready to turn to God.
Fast forward a few years, and Lacey returns home with a broken heart and a new relationship with God. She has have redemption and is ready to mend fences. Now it is Jack who needs to get right with God. Between his pastor father’s infidelity and Lacey’s betrayal, he wants nothing to do with God. He is now in need of redemption, but he won’t find it unless he can let go of his anger and extend forgiveness to the woman he’s always loved.
I love how Lessman’s romance novels are never predictable. Her novels are full of passion and faith. At one point, I gasped at a plot twist I didn’t see coming. I highly recommend this novel.
I remember the first “three star, bad” review I received. Devastation. Hurt. Disappointment. Bewilderment. Anger.
How could they?
Yet, someone had and did “hate” my book. I wanted to cry, to have my friends and fellow-authors sympathize with me, to share it with everyone how someone could hate my beloved, debut book.
The advice I got from my friends?
We all get those.
Three stars isn’t that bad
Get over it.
And, yes, they loved me. But I needed to grow up as an author. So, my advice to you today is, when you get a poor review:
Take a Step Back
Give yourself time to relax and distance yourself from your book and a bad review
If you can, work on a different manuscript, or at least, re-read your own book with fresh eyes.
Only then re-read the review
Once you’ve re-read the negative review, can you glean anything worthwhile from it?
Are there fixable errors, weak spots and/or possible things you neglected to include?
Can you see that the reviewer is honestly trying to give advice (even if a bit harshly or insensitively hurtful)?
If it’s obviously a “troll” review, forget about it and ignore.
That some reviewers don’t know the proper way to review
That some reviewers consider “three stars” as a high rating. I received one “three star” rating, which had me raising my brows, but the review was filled with praise for the book. I learned that the three stars meant it rated highly with the reviewer.
Just because the reader bought/received the wrong genre, that doesn’t make it a “bad” book, and reviewing it harshly for that reason is not the proper way to review. Personal preferences and wrong genres are not good reasons for poor reviews. Writing issues, weak research, and a lack of proper editing are.
That most, if not all, authors receive poor reviews. There are many reasons for them. Study, if you wish, the reason for yours and act accordingly. Meaning, ignore it and toughen up. If a person is planning to stay in the writing business, you’ll probably get more–many more–of those. Either quit reading them or put on your tough armor and get through it–unscathed!
Too many negative reviews raise a concern: Did I write a “bad” book? It never hurts to re-evaluate your book. As stated above, make sure the edits are crystal-fine, that your research is impeccably correct, plot lines in order, etc. Never undermine your work with sloppy writing.
Learn that when asking for an honest review, be sure the people you request from are interested in your mystery/suspense (romance, sci-fi, etc). If reviewers love your genre, you’re more apt to get favorable reviews.
When you find those individuals, ask for honest feedback. When you send arc copies, ask for a timeline and where and when the reader will be able to post reviews.
Look ahead to your next manuscript. Plot, edit and write. Keep learning as you go. Stay humble and willing to accept suggestions from readers. Find the best critique partners you can; ones that will do you the favor of being gentle, but honest, who loves your work, and is able to see the “holes” you might overlook. When you find that person(s), be sure to show thankfulness. They’re hard to come by!
Move past any useless negativity and use the constructive criticism to improve.
Never respond to negative reviews.
Never quit writing.
Have you ever received poor reviews? How did you respond? Were you able to move past the disappointment?
We love to travel and have done so since we’ve been married. From Washington state to Texas, from Alabama to Maine, we’ve gone traveling for business and for fun.
If you ask the Dentons, who love to travel, their vacation spots always seem to land them in mysteries. Now that’s an interesting thought and experience, but the Dentons take it in stride. Considering their love of fishing, buying new shoes and reading mystery books, it’s easily understood how they can get involved in any mystery that pops up at their newest vacation spots.
So far they’ve solved the Mystery of the Dead Motorcyclist in Tennessee (Hog Insane) and in New Mexico (Bat Crazy), they eventually found who was behind the Vampire Bats supposedly inhabiting a new cave.
(By the way, someday I’ll explain how I came up with these crazy, insane titles. Lol)
Now in Colorado, they’re helping long time friends Jeremy Meadows, who owns and runs a ski resort with his Down’s Syndrome sister Daffodil, discover the people who are tricking her and ruining their well-laid plans for the resort. And what do ducks have to do with the story anyway?
Can they succeed in finding the evil doer? Readers can find out in the third book of this delightful series: Daffy’s Duck, coming late 2017.
Check out the first two books in this series here:
A writer is just that a writer. But he/she can, and many times are more than that.
Marketer. Sometimes a writer will find they’re very good at marketing. Learning what works and what doesn’t takes determination, attention, and perseverance.
Publisher. So you’re cheap. Or detail oriented. Or savvy with computer programs. Whatever. Many times writers find publishing your work is easier, better for you–timewise and moneywise–than working with an established publisher.
So do you need an agent? Here’s a few thoughts to help you make a decision:
Literary agents have excellent industry contacts and most times good working relationships with editors and publishers.The level of trust between them gives them the confidence to work together comfortably. A really good agent can improve your chances of being published. Remember: publication is not guaranteed.
They know editors and publishers and that makes it easier to contact them. Editors and Publishers many times refuse to accept submissions unless agent-sent.
Agents have experience in the industry that enables them to negotiate favorable contracts and deals that won’t cheat you out of your royalties. They know their way around author-y contracts.
If need be and problems arise, they act as mediators between authors and publishing houses, softening constructive criticism, negotiating when contract problems interfere, and guarding that you aren’t robbed of your rights, regarding international publication and film rights.
Literary agent cons
Your literary agent will take between 10-15% of your royalties, depending on where in the world you are. If you go it alone, all the royalties will be yours.
You’ll have to wait twice as long before your book is published, this is because you first have to find a literary agent, who will make you jump through some hoops before sending your book to a publishing house, which will make you jump through some more hoops.
Again, if you are knowledgeable, you can “do the work” yourself
There’s always the risk of unreliable agents who will stiff you for work undone, for tasks unneeded and/or for small, meaningless tasks.
So, do you need an agent? That’s up to you. Just be sure to do your homework. Decide what your writing journey is and follow that journey. You’ll be glad you did.
March is read a book month! (But then, I think all months are “read a book” month!) Why not try a super fun and interesting new book?
With Music in their Hearts is a WWII spy book that is filled with music, teasing, romance and suspense!
One reader has this to say about this book:
With Music In Their Hearts is a mystery romance. This is the most adorable mystery ever! Emma Jaine is a strong character and I really like her. Not only does she run a boarding house, but she also takes care of her father and two younger sisters. She’s a spunky and pretty woman, and a few men at the boarding house are attracted to her.
Tyrell is a good-looking man and absolutely adorable when he teases and flirts with Emma Jaine. He is a reverend, a minister of a nearby church, but at the same time he’s an undercover agent for the government. His flirtations with Emma are appropriate for a minister and you can see the attraction between the two. I love the mystery that goes along with the romance. Romance and mystery make a book so much fun to read.
A sweeping epic set in the harsh deserts of Arabia and ancient Palestine.
A war that rages between kingdoms on the earth and in the heart.
The harrowing journey of the woman at the center of it all.
Step back in time to the year of our Lord…A.D. 30.
The outcast daughter of one of the most powerful Bedouin sheikhs in Arabia, Maviah is called on to protect the very people who rejected her. When their enemies launch a sudden attack with devastating consequences, Maviah escapes with the help of two of her father’s warriors–Saba who speaks more with is sword than his voice and Judah, a Jew who comes from a tribe that can read the stars. Their journey will be fraught with terrible danger. If they can survive the vast forbidding sands of a desert that is deadly to most, they will reach a brutal world subjugated by kings and emperors. There Maviah must secure an unlikely alliance with King Herod of the Jews.
But Maviah’s path leads her unexpectedly to another man. An enigmatic teacher who speaks of a way in this life which offers greater power than any kingdom. His name is Yeshua, and his words turn everything known on its head. Though following him may present even greater danger, his may be the only way for Maviah to save her people–and herself.
My Review: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
This epic Biblical adventure will keep you on the edge of your seat as you follow Maviah, both slave and queen, as she tries to save her father’s kingdom. What makes it more interesting is she encounters the King of Kings who changes her life forever. I love Biblical fiction that focuses on a fictional character who skirts around the Biblical accounts. I highly recommend this book.
The Five Times I Met Myself has become one of my all time favorites.
by Tamera Lynn Kraft
The Five Times I Met Myself
by James L. Rubart
What if you met your twenty-three-year-old self in a dream? What would you say?
Brock Matthews’ once promising life is unraveling. His coffee company. His marriage.
So when he discovers his vivid dreams—where he encounters his younger self—might let him change his past mistakes, he jumps at the chance. The results are astonishing, but also disturbing.
Because getting what Brock wants most in the world will force him to give up the one thing he doesn’t know how to let go . . . and his greatest fear is that it’s already too late.
My Review: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
by Tamera Lynn Kraft
It is rare I read a book that touches a deep part of not just my soul but my spirit. The Five Times I Met Myself is one of those books and has been added to my list of all time favorites. It’s a story that resonates with all of us. If only we could go back and somehow change the choices we’ve made in our lives, would we? How would that affect who we are today? Our choices have consequences, but God uses those choices and regrets to shape our lives in surprising and redemptive ways when we surrender ourselves to Him. I’ve never read a story that illustrates this is such a compelling way. This is a must read book.