It's happened more often than we care to admit. The longer you are in the business, the higher your chances. Authors receive bad reviews.
It might just be one. Or ten. We know that everybody is entitled to his or her opinion. And as my husband says, "Opinions are like belly buttons, everybody has one and everybody's is different." (He also equates opinions with other body parts, but like my novels, this is a G-rated post, so I will refrain.)
When a woman wrote that she felt like goauging her eyes out while reading my debut novel, Rain Song, I must confess I was a bit bothered. As a new author, I hadn't expected such venom from another human. Then I ended up laughing as I tried to imagine what goauging eyes out looked like. Not finding a definition for goauging in any of my dictionaries, I thought that perhaps she had meant to write gouging. Gouging is a metal tool with a curved, sharp end that is used to cut and shape wood. Had that been what she felt like doing while reading my novel?
A bit gothic for this G-rated inspirational author to stomach.
Since Rain Song's debut at six years later, I still get unhappy reviews. Truthfully, I don't even read reviews for my novels anymore. In fact, I encourage new authors not to read the reviews for their books either.
You can get so bogged down in the poor reviews, you might feel like cow manure and never be able to lift a finger to write again.
That's not good.
However, I will let myself indulge in the reviews fellow authors receive. I have found some well-written unfavorable reviews on books I have enjoyed and some lengthy prose on books I wasn't as fond of, but the reviews were written with attention to detail and contained points that were thought-provoking. (To see examples of these, go to the Amazon page for The Help and look at some of those 2-star reviews.) I have also seen some poorly-written reviews for The Help as well as for lesser-known works.
Which brings me to, if you're going to write a bad review, can you at least do a little spell checking before letting it run wild and live on Amazon?
After writing a happy 5-star review for a book on journaling, I read a 2-star review for the same book. Sadly, the reviewer ended his review with, "Sorry to be such a "bad sport" about this book, but I just didn't find it worth whiled." Hmmm . . . I wonder if any book is worth whiled?
So let your voice be heard! Everybody needs an opinion! But if you are going to write a book review, particularly one that is negative, make sure you've gone over your grammar notes first.
Otherwise, you sound pretty silly.
Saturday, March 1, 2014
"How many of you journal?" I ask the participants in my writing workshops.
Many raise their hands, pros at knowing the value of putting pen to paper.
Others squirm in their seats and bite the end of their pens.
Some, after the workshop, vow to rekindle their journaling and make it a habit. Why? Because they learn the transforming power of writing through the heartache. After we've completed a couple of exercises like writing a letter or a poem, or even a psalm, they see how healing and healthy writing is.
Today I'm happy to post a review here for the books, Journaling With Jesus and The 40 Day Challenge. Both are by Carol Round, a self-syndicated columnist, Christian author, and inspirational speaker.
Journaling With Jesus is a practical book, short enough to read in one sitting. But that's not really the purpose of the book. There's more. Within the short pages is great advice, advice that Carol has found to prove true. She guides the reader into the art of prayer-journaling using examples from her own life and the lives of others. Does the book encourage others to partake in this wonderful gift? In a word, yes! In more words, writing for healing works!
As a mom who discovered the value of writing from loss when her son died, I was particularly moved by the chapter titled, "Writing through the Pain." Carol acknowledges that many of us have had lots of emotional pain. She ends the chapter with "Begin your journaling by having a dialogue with Jesus. Share the pain in your life."
And for those who are blocked and wake up unable to write? Carol suggests praying through a passage of scripture, such as a psalm. And there is nothing wrong with admitting you are blocked and being honest with Jesus. In fact, Carol stresses how using the tools of writing and prayer work so well together to bring us closer to an authentic relationship with Jesus.
The companion to Journaling With Jesus, is a workbook, The 40 Day Challenge. Each page of this book has a scripture verse, a short reflection, and a prayer. There is ample room for the writer to write a response on the lined page and then a "faith step" at the end of every page.
As an author and writing instructor, I recommend these books.
Both books are available on Amazon and these links will take you to them:
Journaling With Jesus
The 40 Day Challenge
Also, be sure to stop by Carol's website.
Sunday, February 9, 2014
With a love for wood and creating unique items, we opened our Carved By Heart store online and now have a shop at Etsy. We're happy to report that in the short time we've had a presence there, we've had a number of orders. Bird feeders, clocks, lamps, cabinets, plaques, mailboxes, signs, and remembrance plaques---we are quite diverse in what we offer.
The Stubbs name sign we gave to my parents for Christmas and the bear cabinet found a home in a newly-married couple's apartment.
See something you like? Would you like us to create something for you?
Our slogan (everybody needs a slogan) is: You think it; we carve it!
Click the Etsy banner below--it will take you to our online shop.
Saturday, February 1, 2014
We've all been on vacation and picked up some item that we want to keep whether it be a shell off the beach or a trinket from a quaint store. We've come home from a trip to the mountains and have a few items we collected---that pack of matches from the restaurant that served the best bar-b-que, a coaster from the coffee shop with the gorgeous view, that photo taken on the porch swing at the little bed and breakfast.
The question is: What do you do with those mementoes? Stash them in a drawer and soon forget where they are?
No, not anymore! Those days are over. Now there's a place to store your memories from a special vacation or event. The Story of a Memory Plaque is where your special memory can be kept forever in a lovely carved wooden display. Capture the memory and share it with others via this plaque customized just for you!
Made of solid poplar, this plaque is handpainted and stained. It has a place for a photo of your choice as well as a place where you can secure a favorite item.
The plaque can also be ideal for photos and mementoes from a family member or loved one who has died. Keep the special memories alive as you hang this plaque on your wall.
These plaques can have a theme as the two shown here have. The item on the Route 66 plaque is an actual piece of the road and the Hole in the Wall plaque has a railroad track spike.
Let us create a Story of a Memory Plaque for you at our Carved by Heart shop on Etsy. We can work with you to make your plaque as unique as you are.
You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and share that special memory you want us to carve into wood.
Sunday, January 26, 2014
Welcome to my blog, Kimberley! I'm so glad to have you as a guest. Tell us about yourself.
Kimberely: I am an award-winning author and a member of The Word Guild, Inscribe Christian Writer’s Fellowship, and John 3:16 Marketing Network.
I combine my teaching experience and love of writing to create educational materials for mothers and children about family, fitness, science and faith.
Tell us about the book.
Kimberely: My latest project is Adam’s Animals, a children’s activity book that features over 40 animals mentioned in the Bible and little-known facts about each. It is the second book in the Science and Faith Matters series. The first book, Trees of the Book – Learning from God’s Creation, is a colourful introduction to trees, leaves and their corresponding Bible stories.
The illustrator is Janis Cox and the publisher is Diane Roblin-Lee.
Who is this book written for?
Kimberely: Adam’s Animals is ideal for 6 to 9 year olds, for home or school use and classroom sharing in grades 1-3 to supplement the Life Sciences Curriculum on Animal Life.
What was your inspiration for this book?
Kimberely: Years ago, my daughter wrote a little book called, Did you know...fascinating and fun facts about animals around the world as a fundraiser to go to camp. I helped her with it and loved discovering new things about God’s creation.
Do you have a favorite animal and why that one?
Kimberely: I loved learning about the leopard. This big cat can climb trees, run fast, and swim. He’s powerful and smart. My kind of creature!
Did you find anything particularly difficult in writing this book?
Kimberely: There was a ton of research. Not only did I have to dig through the Bible to discover the animals mentioned, but then I had to research each individually to uncover five unusual facts.
What do you hope this book accomplishes?
Kimberely: I hope that Adam’s Animals will fuel the desire for children to read the Bible and to also learn more about the animals that God created.
Where can we find you?
Facebook page: www.facebook.com/KimberleyPayne.Author
Where can we find the book?
Kimberely: This is the exciting part! The book is still in manuscript form. I am hoping to bring the project to life with the direct support of friends, colleagues and family.
As the book creator, I have set a funding goal of $3500, with a deadline of February 28th, 2014. If you like my book idea, you can pledge any amount of money to make it happen.
As the book backer, you choose from a number of rewards based on the amount of financial support you pledge. For example, backers who pledge a minimum of $5, will receive a choice of one of two of my e-books: 1) Fit for Faith - 7 weeks to improved spiritual and physical health, OR 2) Women of Strength - a devotional to improve spiritual and physical health. Backers who pledge a minium of $15 will receive an autographed copy of Adam’s Animals. Backers who pledge a minimum of $175 will be listed on the “Dedication” page at the back of the book PLUS will receive an autographed copy of Adam’s Animals.
Backing Adam’s Animals is more than just giving money. Writers need encouragement and you would be supporting my dream of creating a valuable resource for children and parents.
To support the creation of Adam’s Animals please visit this link which will take you to the Kickstarter page.
Proverbs 6:6 “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!”
See also: Proverbs 30:25
The wisest man who ever lived, Solomon, wrote the Book of Proverbs – a book of wise sayings to help us live godly lives. In this verse, Solomon points out that it is foolish to be idle and lazy. He says that we should learn from the example of the ant who doesn’t laze around and wait to be told what to do, but is willing to work hard and do what needs to be done.
Did you know?
• Ants are from the insect family
• Ants can lift 20 times their body weight
• Ants have two stomachs – one to hold the food for itself and one to hold food to be shared with other ants
• There are 3 kinds of ants in a colony: the queen, the female workers, and males
• Ants communicate by using chemicals called pheromones
• Ants don’t have ears but they “hear” by feeling vibrations in the ground
Thanks for being here, Kimberley!
Thursday, January 23, 2014
Yesterday marked the beginning of the end. 17 years ago, Daniel went into a coma. His last words to me were, "Mommy, I just wanna go home."
Words can't describe the agony of what life was like for us at that time. And who would have thought that 17 years later, the disbelief of what he went through and what we went through would still cause me an intense pain. I feel I have been punched right in my heart.
The word shouts at me: Why?
Why didn't I cuddle him then? How could I have been so naive? The doctor and nurses couldn't find a pulse. I should have picked him off that bed in the cancer clinic that day and spent time hugging him and telling him how much I loved him and how I would miss him.
But I was naive. I didn't know.
I walked with them as they wheeled him into the ER. At six months pregnant, I tried to keep up. I was confident that they would be able to help him as they had over the eight months since his diagnosis.
How foolish I was.
I feel the sadness of that day and the days that followed. My veins are like ice. I can barely type. The enormity of that journey paralyzes me. I want to push those days aside, but I know that with each revisiting of them at this time of year that leads up to his February 2nd death, I learn something new.
His death continues to teach me.
So I take my own advice and write him a letter. The words come slowly, but they do appear on the computer screen.
I was clueless.
I didn't know that you would ever leave me. It was not an option, so I didn't dwell on death. I believed you'd live. I believed you'd spring back up and be okay. Any boy who can climb up a bunk bed at age three, fall off and be undaunted should be able to defy anything.
I could kick myself for my trust that God would heal you.
That last sentence sounds sacrilegious.
But I won't delete it because it's true.
Yet, if I had let death be part of my thinking, would I have been any better off?
What would it have been like to live with the fear of death ever since your diagnosis?
I lived with hope and belief.
Should I kick myself for that?
Can I look at who I was then with the seasoned knowledge that I have now? Is that fair to that woman of 36?
Guilt. Regret. Remorse. If only . . .
I hope you know that if my love could have saved you, it would have.
But it was not enough.
You are home with Jesus now. Some place I hear is magnificent but my earthly mind is too little to comprehend Heaven.
On earth, you will always live in my heart.
Every year I go on a pilgrimage as I remember the days leading up to your death. It is my path of tears. Sometimes, I push aside the remorse, and just let myself bask in the person you were----energetic, beautiful, tender, lively, humorous, generous, and you and I both know it----downright exasperating at times.
Remember the time you poured baby lotion and glitter glue over a piece of paper and then opened a small box of Cheerios and stuck them to the paper? What a work of art! I should have kept it for the hospital wall of patient masterpieces.
We were all so weary living your cancer with you. But we were always hopeful.
Even when you breathed your last in my arms, I believed you would rise up.
We didn't call you Wild Boy for nothing.
I vision you, if you could, coming over to me to wrap arms around me and tell me, "Mommy, I love you. No regrets."
And perhaps that is what I will focus on today.
Thursday, January 9, 2014
One thing that pet owners can agree on---we love our pets.
"There is nothing like a kiss from a dog."
"There is nothing like the happiness that shows she is glad to see me."
"My dog loves me unconditionally."
Dogs tolerate us in all our strangeness.
Some even go along with costumes at Halloween.
I am often trying to get some photo ops with our boxer, Levi. I think he and my books go so well together and try to place one of my novels against him for the camera. It's always a battle; he apparently doesn't like books pushed against him and me trying to get him to pose like he's enjoying it.
Now that we are making more and more pet plaques, I feel the urge to photograph Levi with one of the plaques. After all, this one has his name on it. And a carving from a photo taken of him when he was just a wee puppy. He should be happy, proud even. Well . . . Right!
Here's how it went today . . .
What's this? What is this piece of wood she's put against me?
I guess I can cuddle up to it if it will make her happy.
She put me through all that posing, I think I'll take her favorite pink cap.
And this is how the world goes round.
We love our pets, in all their silliness, and they love us.
Maybe you need a plaque with your dog's or cat's name and face. All you need to do is send a photo of your pet's face and we'll create a carved portrait.
Carved By Heart