Review: ” Thy Daughter’s Enemies; The Sapphire Star Saga” by M.L. Meinhold

Thy Daughter's Enemies: The Sapphire Star SagaThy Daughter’s Enemies: The Sapphire Star Saga by A.L. Meinhold
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A.L. Meinhold has written a beautiful short fantasy here. Although this books seems to have been written for a younger audience, anyone who enjoys fantasy will enjoy it.

I would have liked to have seen a little more “showing” and a little less “telling”. The editing could have been better, however minor formatting and editing issues don’t annoy me too greatly when reading indie work.

The cover is full of beautiful color but I think it looks a little too much like a children’s book instead of a YA novel.

Watreon is a believable place which is important in fantasy writing. The characters, while interesting and well thought out could have used a little more “fleshing” out to make them a little more memorable. Since this is the first in a series, I expect that A.L. Meinhold will probably do just that in the next edition.

I will be watching for the next installment.

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A Haunting Response to an Ad Campaign

I recently ran a social media ad campaign and the response has been overwhelming. Let me just say, that I was completely surprised by the response and even more so by the stories that strangers have shared so freely with me. I boosted the post with a $20 budget and targeted users who were interested in the paranormal using the most pointed tag words I could come up with.

The ad was a simple one, it read :

WANTED

Ghost stories. I want to hear about your personal experiences.
Have you ever witnessed a haunting?
Have you ever seen a ghost?
Do you know anyone who has?

If so, I want to interview you . . .message me

Five hours after the post went up, the responses started pouring in. When the campaign ended, I added another $5 to the budget and found more folks who were willing to talk. I got stories about mysterious voices, photos of ghosts, accounts of hauntings, and ghost sightings ! I met mediums and sensitives and even a couple of witches ! I carefully responded to each person, after all, they had taken the time to answer the ad and they each deserved my acknowledgement, not to mention that I was very excited and interested in each one!

As you can imagine, the ad was also great for that social media page as well, earning me a lot of post likes, page likes and higher than average engagement statistics. Since I am marketing my book, “The Wraith of Carter’s Mill”, on that page, I was thrilled with the results.

I quickly figured out that I could not possibly interview everyone individually, which was a shame really, because 90% of the respondents had GREAT stories to share about their own personal experiences with the paranormal. I was forced to narrow it down to a manageable number. I set to work, late evenings after long work days, to write a set of interview questions unique to the experiences folks had shared with me . . . this proved to be the real challenge.

As I struggled to select questions individually, I asked myself, what would the world like to know about this persons encounter or experience? Unable to answer that one, I decided to fashion the interviews centered around what I wanted to know and BAM, I had a set of questions for each one of the selected.

This experience has taught me so much about the marketing power of social media in today’s world. ( I come from the days when our only social medium was the house phone that hung on the kitchen wall ) It has also enlightened me to the willingness of people to talk about this most fascinating topic ! As a believer myself, and having my own personal experience story, I realize that most of us are hesitant to share, which makes me appreciate these folks and their haunting responses all the more.

C. Evenfall is the author of the Paranormal/Suspense novel, “The Wraith of Carter’s Mill.”

Review: Ted Dekker’s ‘Boneman’s Daughters”

BoneMan's DaughtersBoneMan’s Daughters by Ted Dekker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ted Dekker’s novel, “Boneman’s Daughters” is chilling and shakes you to the bone, no pun intended.
I’m not sure the author was shooting for this but I found the entire story so sad. Husband and wife split, Dad is in the military and away from home all the time, daughter hates Dad, ex-wife hates Dad and yet, the daughter is targeted by a heinous serial killer, giving Dad a chance to become a hero, in his daughter’s eyes anyway.
I found the beginning of the novel disturbing, the violence was just almost too much for me, but by the time the protagonist, intelligence officer, Ryan Evans starts hunting for his missing daughter, I could not put it down.
Dekker not only nailed the story but he masterfully creates a tumultuous emotional roller coaster ride, describing perfectly the panic and fear of losing a child and the die-hard determination of a man to save his daughter.

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Review: “Station Eleven” by Emily St. John Mandel

Station ElevenStation Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Station Eleven” by Emily st. John Mandel is the most interesting twist on “the end of life as we know it to be on earth” that I have ever read!
The unlikely intertwining of lives and personalities within the story is magnificent.
The story stretches across decades, bringing characters together who’s paths might never have crossed without the authors direction.
It is suspenseful, and sometimes dark complete with a maleficent “Prophet” and everyday heroes made spectacular by their circumstances.
Fate connects a plethora of characters and huge surprises are in store.
If you have ever wondered what the world would be like in the wake of pandemic,particularly in the reestablishment of humanity. here’s your chance.

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Obtaining the Coveted Honest Book Review

Today, anyone can publish their work without submitting themselves to the grueling task of “finding” a publisher who is willing to take it on and without all the rejection from the BIG publishers out there . . . but publishing and selling the work are two totally different things. Because publishing is so much easier for authors nowadays, the market is flooded and readers are more dependent on reviews than ever. Reviews help us to make “better” choices about products, movies and books.

Reviews sell books! It’s a well known fact. Without them, the public has no way of determining if your book is worthy of their time or money. When I first started writing The Wraith of Carter’s Mill, I had no idea how important they really are. I have learned that it does not matter how good your work is IF you don’t have the reviews to back up the claim, because potential readers will peruse right by your work and purchase something else from the same genre, a similar book that has the reviews!

While covers, book descriptions and back cover synopsis have a lot to do with it, most book shoppers go straight to the reviews. If your book has been out there for a while and has a small handful, you are less likely to entice the reader to make the purchase . . . after all, there are hundreds if not thousands of other books to chose from in your genre. Although I have a background in business and understand competition, I really had no idea that authors, books and publishers are competing against one another for their fair share of the market.

Interestingly enough, I have also found that less than stellar reviews can be as helpful as FIVE star ratings, especially if the reviewers have taken the time to explain why they liked or did not like the work. Varying opinions of a work create diversity and interest. A “middle of the road” review, a 3 for instance is an average rating, and gives potential readers the assurance that the posted reviews are honest and not paid for.

Because the industry has changed so much over the last decade or two, so has book marketing. There is an almost infinite number of ways to obtain those coveted reviews . . . and it can be quite expensive. There are book bloggers out there selling reviews and it can be tempting to go that route, but I am finding that the very best way to go is market your book, create buzz and interest and the honest, verified reviews will come . . . eventually.

C. Evenfall is the author of The Wraith of Carter’s Mill series, available in paperback as a compilation at http://amazon.com/dp/B00VIU9YKS.