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Saturday, November 18, 2017

Veteran Book Review Chief Passes Along Competitive Tip for Authors

The editor-in-chief of Midwest Book Reviews has given me permission to reprint editorials (and other things) from his newsletter. He must know how valuable what he has to say are for readers of this blog. They are, of course, readers looking for great new mostly alternative reading, reviewers who want more exposure for the books they cared enough about to review, and authors who like extending exposure for their favorite reviews (see submission guidelines in the left column of this blog!).  There are a few others who come back time again like blog tour operators and publishers who care about the publicity their authors are getting!  

Today, my borrowings from Jim Cox are especially important because they help all those people compete for the limited space available for reviews these days when some 700,000 books a year are released. So listen up!   

Dear Publisher Folk, Friends & Family:

Some sixteen or so years ago I wrote an article called "War, Religion, and Publishing" in response to the 9/11 attack in New York. I had quite forgotten that article until Mark R. Anspach (an author living in Bologna, Italy) submitted his book "Vengeance in Reverse: The Tangled Loops of Vilence, Myth, and Madness" and included a reference to my article in his accompanying cover letter as the reason that he thought I would find his book of particular interest.

That prompted me to go back and re-read what I had written so long ago. It's archived, as most of my stuff is, on the Midwest Book Review. Here's the link to that specific article just incase you are interested or curious:
I think it still applies to the world as we see it today -- only add North Korea and the Russian corruption of the American electoral process to the mix.

The reason I'm referencing all this is actually because author Mark Anspach's referencing that article in his cover letter [also called query letters] was an excellent (and effective) marketing tool used by him when submitting his book for review against all the competing titles for my attention -- and underscores the importance of the cover letter as a tool of persuasion. If you as an author, publisher, or publicist know something about a reviewer that would incline him or her to view your book submission favorably then use it.
Perhaps you are aware that the reviewer has reviewed other books in the same genre or subject matter as yours. That's always a good 'opener'. It also tends to flatter the reviewer (who will have an ego at least as large as any author) that you are aware of their work.
In the game of poker, 'suited connectors' (that is two cards of the same suite that are in line with each other such as 8 & 9, or King & Ace) has an additional 2% statistical chance of winning over two connected cards that are of different suites. That's called an edge. -- Knowing something thematically favorable about a reviewer with respect to your particular book gives you a similar kind of edge over your competition which is comprised of all the other books being submitted to that reviewer whose time is limited. Believe me, any reviewer that is competent and conscientious will always have far more books presented to him or her that he or she will have time to deal with.

By the way, Mark's books turned out to be exceptionally well reasoned, written, and 'reader friendly' in organization and presentation -- and thematically in line with that old article of mine. You'll find the review for his book on the Midwest Book Review website this month (October 2017).

All of the previous issues of the "Jim Cox Report" are archived on the Midwest Book Review website at www.midwestbookreview.com/bookbiz/jimcox.htm. If you'd like to receive the "Jim Cox Report" directly (and for free), just send me an email asking to be signed up for it.
So until next time -- goodbye, good luck, and good reading!
Jim Cox

Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive, Oregon, WI, 53575
http://www.midwestbookreview.com

NOTE FROM CAROLYN

Speaking of cover letters! I interviews more than 100 agents for the chapter in my The Frugal Editor to get their cover letter pet peeves. I edited them down to several and quoted them in the chapter.  They were kind enough to help me help authors, I also listed them as a resource in the Appendix of that book.  You will find more on cover letters in The Frugal Book Promoter and sample cover/query letters in both of those books.   


MORE ABOUT THIS BLOG

 The New Book Review is blogged by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers. Of particular interest to readers of this blog is her most recent How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically (http://bit.ly/GreatBkReviews ). This blog is a free service offered to those who want to encourage the reading of books they love. That includes authors who want to share their favorite reviews, reviewers who'd like to see their reviews get more exposure, and readers who want to shout out praise of books they've read. Please see submission guidelines on the left of this page. Reviews and essays are indexed by genre, reviewer names, and review sites. Writers will find the search engine handy for gleaning the names of small publishers. Find other writer-related blogs at Sharing with Writers and The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Author/Reviewer Resource for New Book Review Visitors

I know. This isn't a review. It's a resource! One I thought would appeal to the authors who visit this blog and maybe inspire more readers to follow my new writing friend's lead!  And more authors to review as part of their marketing campaign as suggested in How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically.

One of the attendees at the last conference I presented at is offering to review my SharingwithWriters subscribers’ books. All you need to do is send him one of your famous HowToDoItFrugally query letters. He says, “My preferred genres in descending order are: historical fiction, spies and espionage, war and military, history, action and adventure, and biography. I will read other genres if the topic appeals to me. I do not want to read vampires, zombies, Christian lit, or romance. A book with a romantic theme may interest me if it falls into one of my preferred categories. If you care to check my reviewing style, there are some here: https://scottskipperblog.com/.There are only a few because I recently had to move from Blogger to Wordpress. Find Scott Skipper at: 



MORE ABOUT THIS BLOG

 The New Book Review is blogged by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers. Of particular interest to readers of this blog is her most recent How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically (http://bit.ly/GreatBkReviews ). This blog is a free service offered to those who want to encourage the reading of books they love. That includes authors who want to share their favorite reviews, reviewers who'd like to see their reviews get more exposure, and readers who want to shout out praise of books they've read. Please see submission guidelines on the left of this page. Reviews and essays are indexed by genre, reviewer names, and review sites. Writers will find the search engine handy for gleaning the names of small publishers. Find other writer-related blogs at Sharing with Writers and The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Essays for Planet of the Apes Buffs and Newbies Reviewed

Title: Bright Eyes, Ape City
Subtitle: Examining the Planet of the Apes Mythos
Edited by Rich Handley and Joseph F. Berenato
Paperback: 306 pages
Publisher: Sequart Research & Literacy Organization (March 13, 2017)
ISBN-10:1940589150
ISBN-13:978-1940589152



Reviewed by Dr. Wesley Britton originally for BookPleasures

Many times over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of reading and reviewing a number of essay collections published by the Sequart Research & Literacy Organization. Sequart specializes in analytical explorations of popular culture figures, especially characters like Batman and the X-men who have roles in both comics and on screen as well as sci fi phenomena  like Star Trek in their comic incarnations.   

      Naturally, the publisher’s  first look into Planet of the Apes lore began with 2015’s  The Sacred Scrolls: Comics on the Planet of the Apes edited by the same team responsible for this year’s comprehensive look into, well, pretty much every other incarnation of Apes projects.    This includes analyses of Ape films, books, TV shows, even British rodeos. British ape rodeos?

In fact, nearly every page of Bright Eyes, Ape City is filled to the brim with surprising historical tidbits and well-considered perspectives from Ape experts and self-admitted Ape geeks.   Appropriately, the essays begin with   Robert Greenberger’s “Welcome to the Monkey Planet,” an appreciation of author Pierre Boulle’s 1963 novel where it all began.

I suspect most serious Ape geeks will want to compare their own perceptions with the essays that discuss the first five films, including “Love Conquerors All: Sci-Fi's Greatest - and Most Feminist – Couple” by Ian Brill, “Nothing Ape is Strange to Me: Looking at Escape and Conquest Through the Eyes of a Zoo Professional” by Corinna Bechko, “The Second American Revolution: Did Another Coup on U.S. Soil Precede the Apes' Own Conquest?”by Jim Johnson and “The Mis-Shape of Things to Come: Paul Dehn's Planet of the Apes” by Neil    Moxham.  Throughout this section of the book, the critics explore the   social commentary and  religious imagery on the large screen,  and we are  teased with speculations about some of the series unconnected plot points.

But if you want to prove just how serious an Ape geek you are, you gotta know about and care about the short-lived live and animated TV shows as explored in “It's a Madhouse Every Week!” by Dayton Ward, “Escaping to Tomorrow: The TV Series Novelizations” by John Roche, and “Saturday-Morning Simians: Animating the Planet of the Apes” by Zaki Hasan. No, if you  want to earn your Ape geek merit badge, you gotta know about and certainly care about   the live arena shows and British rodeos as recalled  by Dave Ballard. 

Most general readers will be interested in the analyses of the more recent ape films, beginning with editor   Rich Handley’s “800-Pound Gorilla in the Room,” his re-evaluation of the much-maliegned  Tim Burton reboot. Then, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and this year’s War for the Planet of the Apes  are compared and contrasted  with the first five ape films in   Edward Gross’s “Caesar: A Tale of Two Kings.”

But the real diving into Ape ephemera can be found in Steven J. Roby’s examination of the film novelizations, Paul Simpson’s review of the film scores, and everything else you can possibly imagine in “Before, Beneath, Beyond, and Between the Covers of the Planet of the Apes: A Meditation on Precursors, Predecessors, Ripples, and Rip-offs” by Stephen R. Bissette  and “Ape Shall Never Spoof Ape: Skits, Parodies, and Piss-Takes” by Matthew J. Elliott .
Clearly, most readers of this collection will be die-hard ape aficionados. Other sci fi geeks will likely want to explore some, if not all, of the offerings. All film and popular culture libraries should shelf this entry,   as well as the rest of the catalogue of the Sequart Research & Literacy Organization. Looking at the article titles alone should signal these are intellectual and scholarly critiques, not simple, affectionate fan blog pieces.


MORE ABOUT THIS BLOG

 The New Book Review is blogged by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers. Of particular interest to readers of this blog is her most recent How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically (http://bit.ly/GreatBkReviews ). This blog is a free service offered to those who want to encourage the reading of books they love. That includes authors who want to share their favorite reviews, reviewers who'd like to see their reviews get more exposure, and readers who want to shout out praise of books they've read. Please see submission guidelines on the left of this page. Reviews and essays are indexed by genre, reviewer names, and review sites. Writers will find the search engine handy for gleaning the names of small publishers. Find other writer-related blogs at Sharing with Writers and The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Author Scott Skipper Reviews Fantasy Set in Yellowstone

The Geyser Girl of Yellowstone Park
Myrtle Brooks
ISBN 978-1-61296-454-6
Published by Black Rose Writing
Genre: Fantasy

Reviewed by Scott Skipper, originally for https://scottskipperblog.com

Yellowstone Park is a magical place, more magical than we thought. When a young girl appears among the geysers, alone and helpless, she is immediately adopted by a bison cow and Old Faithful, and they name her Flower of the Steam Basin. Trust me. This is where you must suspend incredulity. In the microcosm of the park, all things are personified. All things possess great wisdom and speak in parables teaching the girl morality and spirituality. She communes with all the spirits of the wilderness, delights in running with the herds of bison, and cavorting in the eruptions of the geysers. She lives in the chasm of Old Faithful where the spirit of the geyser teaches her about all things, including the people who visit daily. When the rumor of a girl dancing aloft in the hot mineral spray begins to circulate, there comes trouble to paradise.

 I told you that you had to suspend incredulity. You also have to be a little patient. The beginning of this book is dedicated to animism, something akin to native spirituality. It consists mainly of the above-mentioned parables, and is written in a flowery prose that is almost Biblical in its near poetic construction. The characters speak in multi-paragraph monologues. Some readers will revel in the joy of language, others less so, but by and by, human beings sneak into the story. That’s when the trouble starts. This book was a departure for me. I generally go for something earthier, but I enjoyed The Geyser Girl of Yellowstone Park, and I recommend it for those who aren’t discouraged by what I said in the first paragraph of this review. One could see Geyser Girl being produced by Walt Disney, although as it is written, it is not a children’s story.

About the reviewer:

Scott Skipper is a California fiction writer with a broad range of interests, including history, genealogy, travel, science, and current events. His wry outlook on life infects his novels with biting sarcasm. Political correctness is taboo. His work includes historical fiction, alternative history, novelized biography, science fiction, political satire, and now a love story. He is a voracious reader and habitual and highly opinionated reviewer. Learn more atwww.ScottSkipper.com  Follow on Twitter@SSkipperAuthor and Facebook/ScottSkipperAuthor


MORE ABOUT THIS BLOG The New Book Review is blogged by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers. It is a free service offered to those who want to encourage the reading of books they love. That includes authors who want to share their favorite reviews, reviewers who'd like to see their reviews get more exposure, and readers who want to shout out praise of books they've read. Please see submission guidelines on the left of this page. Reviews and essays are indexed by genre, reviewer names, and review sites. Writers will find the search engine handy for gleaning the names of small publishers. Find other writer-related blogs at Sharing with Writers and The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Ottawa Review of Books Reviewer Shares with New Book Review


TWISTED TRAFFICK
 by Geza Tatrallyay 
ISBN 978-1626947535
Published by Black Opal Books
Genre: Thrilller


Reviewed by Timothy Niedermann originally for the Ottawa Review of Books


Greg Martens and Anne Rossiter, now Anne Martens, are back in Vienna, home of the Sachertorte pastry and the small milk-and-mocha coffee known as the kleiner Brauner. The last time they were here (in the first volume of the projected Twisted trilogy, “Twisted Reasons”) was to find out what happened to Greg’s friend Adam Kallay, an official with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) who had disappeared and was presumed dead. Anne, at the time, was with Interpol in Vienna, and working with Julia Saparova, a Russian who also worked with the IAEA, Greg and Anne had plunged into the shadowy world of international arms dealing to try to recover stolen arms-grade uranium. Their mission was successful, marred only by confirmation of Adam’s death. Now Julia has disappeared, and Greg and Anne are summoned by Interpol from their idyllic Vermont home, back to the cultural splendor of the Austrian capital. But as before, the trail to find Julia inevitably leads to the dark alleys and shady nightclubs of Eastern Europe.

In this, the second volume of the Twisted trilogy, author Tatrallyay immerses us again into the murky criminal underworld of post-Soviet Russia, this time the business of sex trafficking. Nadia, a Russian teenager, thought she was traveling to Western Europe to find a job. Instead, she finds herself kidnapped, sexually abused, and forced to act as a stripper in a bar. Meanwhile, her father, a guard at a Russian nuclear facility, is being blackmailed by Nadia’s captors to look the other way when a certain Julia Saparova arrives. So where is Julia and what is she up to? As the trails Greg and Anne are following begin to intertwine, old “friends” from “Twisted Reasons” reappear, back in the game of stealing uranium from a former Soviet nuclear site for sale to a mysterious client. 

Nadia, meanwhile is destined to be auctioned off as a sex slave to one of several sleazy, but very wealthy criminal bosses. Without being gratuitously graphic, Tatrallyay does not hold back in his descriptions of the depravity of the men who enslave these young women for sale to the highest bidder. Well organized and vicious, they lead Greg and Anne on a tense cross-border chase from Vienna to a yacht on the shore of the Adriatic where the final auction is to take place.

Adding a parallel mystery is the story of Julia’s aunt Katerina, who disappeared in Soviet Russia in 1950 and was never heard of again. Rumours persist that she had been taken prisoner by none other than Lavrenti Beria, the perverted head of the NKVD, Stalin’s secret police.

Tatrallyay was born in Hungary and knows this part of the world well. He creates a vivid atmosphere through which he propels his characters at top speed, never letting the pace slacken or the suspense wane. Though there is less of a history lesson in this book than in the first, Tatrallyay does dip into the real past to give his plot depth. This is welcome and reflects the sensation one often feels in Europe, that the past still has its hand, whether nurturing or threatening, on the shoulder of the present.

MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Geza Tatrallyay was born in Budapest and escaped with his family in 1956 during the Hungarian Revolution, immigrating to Canada. He studied at Harvard, Oxford (Rhodes Scholar) and the London School of Economics. His professional experience has included stints in government, international finance and environmental entrepreneurship. With six books published to date and several more due to be released during the next year, he now devotes his time to writing.
There is more on Geza and his books at www.gezatatrallyay.com.

MORE ABOUT THE REVIEWER

Timothy Niedermann is a professional editor, reviewer, and novelist who has also taught writing at Yale and McGill. His essays have appeared in The Montreal Review, and he reviews books for the Montreal Review of Books and the Ottawa Review of Books. His novel, Wall of Dust, was published by Deux Voiliers Publishing in 2015. There is more on Timothy at www.timothyniedermann.com.



MORE ABOUT THIS BLOG

 The New Book Review is blogged by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers. Of particular interest to readers of this blog is her most recent How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically (http://bit.ly/GreatBkReviews ). This blog is a free service offered to those who want to encourage the reading of books they love. That includes authors who want to share their favorite reviews, reviewers who'd like to see their reviews get more exposure, and readers who want to shout out praise of books they've read. Please see submission guidelines on the left of this page. Reviews and essays are indexed by genre, reviewer names, and review sites. Writers will find the search engine handy for gleaning the names of small publishers. Find other writer-related blogs at Sharing with Writers and The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Angie Gallion Picks Bunche's New Novel for Review

Title : Mercy's First Semester
Author : WM Bunche
Author Website : W.M. Bunche – Author
Genre : General Fiction
ISBN : 978-0692830307
Reviewer : Angie Gallion, Gallion Picks Book Reviews
Review Blog : angiegallion






Reviewed by Angie Gallion originally for Gallion Picks Book Reviews

The Review:

I would like to preface this review by telling you that I read this book twice.  It was good, very good in fact, and it is profoundly relevant to the world in which we live.  It is a book that gave me an expectation, and then completely blew me away by the experience it took me on.   The book opens with the people who love our hero, Mercy, who are reminiscing about their experiences with him.  I expected this to be a story about a troubled man finding his salvation, and in some ways that is exactly what I got, but there was more.  So much more. 

W.M. Bunche tells the story of a young man, home after two tours as a Cavalry Scout in Iraq, Joshua Mercier, "Mercy."  Mercy is intelligent, passionate, complex.  He suffers with PTSD and as part of his therapy he is encouraged to take a writing class at a local college.  Much of the story is told through Mercy's writings for a creative writing class.  Although the timeframe of the book actually lasts for only a period of months, just a little more than a college semester, the story that is told goes far back into Mercy's childhood.   We are with Mercy in Iraq, we know the people he knows and I feel a little PTSD for having walked with him through it.  This book reads as an honest compilation of a life.  I want Mercy to survive, I want him to succeed at finding the answers he needs, even as I understand that his psyche is fragmented, even as I understand that the there are no magic buttons. I desperately wanted to press one for him.  

I don't want to give away how the beginning comes to the end, because it's a journey everyone should take, with an honest and open mind.  I was heartbroken at times, as this novel unfolded, and Mercy felt every bit as real to me as if I had grown up with him down the road.  This is not your typical war story, it's not your typical recovery story, it's not your typical reminiscent story.  There is nothing at typical about this book.  It is a book that should not be overlooked.  

MORE ABOUT THE REVIEWER

Angie Gallion is an author in her own right and reviews books for her own blog at Gallion Pick Book Reviews. She is also an avid tweeter.



MORE ABOUT THIS BLOG

 The New Book Review is blogged by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers. Of particular interest to readers of this blog is her most recent How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically (http://bit.ly/GreatBkReviews ). This blog is a free service offered to those who want to encourage the reading of books they love. That includes authors who want to share their favorite reviews, reviewers who'd like to see their reviews get more exposure, and readers who want to shout out praise of books they've read. Please see submission guidelines on the left of this page. Reviews and essays are indexed by genre, reviewer names, and review sites. Writers will find the search engine handy for gleaning the names of small publishers. Find other writer-related blogs at Sharing with Writers and The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Contest That Could Help Authors Get an Agent

There aren't too many contests that can help you get a publisher or agent by including the honor they may bestow on your book in your query letter (and media kit!) Here is one I entered and won a couple of years ago that is giving my agent a little extra ammunition for by second novel, This Land Divided.  Here is a little more about it from the sponsor, B. Lynn Goodwin, Managing Editor of http://www.writeradvice.com


Curious about how your opening might sound to an agent or editor? Enter Writer Advice’s SCINTILLATING STARTS Contest for fiction, memoir, and creative nonfiction. Grab and hold us with your opening paragraphs. Send us up to 1000 words of your first chapter by 12/01/17. 
We are known for our feedback, as you can see in the tan box at www.writeradvice.com, and would love to tell you what's working and what an agent might say. 
Guest judges will be last year’s winners.If your work is shared on Writer Advice, you’ll be able to tell prospective agents, publishers, and book buyers that you were one of the winners of Writer Advice’s Scintillating Starts Contest. 

A cash award of $300 will be split among those whose work is shared. The submission fee is $16.50.  This contest is open to anyone who has not signed a contract for the book submitted. 

Questions? Post them here or e-mail me at 
Lgood67334@comcast.net. We hope to hear from you soon. 

Thanks, 

Lynn

MORE ABOUT B. LYNN GOODWIN

Lynn is Managing Editor of www.writeradvice.com and an author in her own right including
Talent and You Want Me to Do WHAT? Journaling for Caregivers. Her newest book, a memoir, is Never Too Late: From Wannabe to Wife at 62, will be released in December of 2017.  Learn more about her and her writing at blynngoodwin.com.  




MORE ABOUT THIS BLOG

 The New Book Review is blogged by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers. Of particular interest to readers of this blog is her most recent How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically (http://bit.ly/GreatBkReviews ). This blog is a free service offered to those who want to encourage the reading of books they love. That includes authors who want to share their favorite reviews, reviewers who'd like to see their reviews get more exposure, and readers who want to shout out praise of books they've read. Please see submission guidelines on the left of this page. Reviews and essays are indexed by genre, reviewer names, and review sites. Writers will find the search engine handy for gleaning the names of small publishers. Find other writer-related blogs at Sharing with Writers and The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor.