Day 13 – A Blogger’s horror story (fiction?)

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{Day 13} SHARE A BLOGGER HORROR STORY.

You did ask for a story.  This is a story.  Wall of text incoming.

Once upon a time there was a blogger.  She was still fairly new and wasn’t sure how to make her name known in the community.  Until now, she’s been doing small stuff, like reviewing novels in Goodreads groups that weren’t remotely ready for publication.  She had big dreams of ARCs and so many author requests that she couldn’t handle the caseload.

One day, she came across a book tour company that would hire inexperienced bloggers like her.  Within a couple days, she’d get countless emails begging her to join the tours.  The covers for these books were lacking, but the blurbs sounded interesting enough.  She agreed to sign on to tour after tour.

She’d do three even four blog review tours a week.  For the most part, the books teetered around the three star mark.  There were a couple that probably deserved two and a half stars (it was close enough not to bother her ethics TOO much), but for the worst books she’d email the book tour company and offer to post a promotional post instead.

One time, she found one of her book tour copies available for free on Amazon.  She downloaded that copy and used the ‘finished’ copy to write her review.  The book tour company was FURIOUS when they read her review.  They had specifically told her to NOT mention formatting errors.  The blogger tried to explain that these formatting errors were still available in the final copy.  Eventually, she caved and deleted that part of her review.  That was her warning, the book tour company said.  Her next mistake would have her removed.

As the blogger gained more experience, she started to despise the work ethics of this blog tour company.  The constant begging, the extended tours because the original hosts wouldn’t slap a three star rating on the crap books, and the negative attitude from the emails for her last minute switches to promo posts or questions in general.  Still naïve to the blogging world, she had taken on too many commitments at once, and even though she did a great job on most of her tour dates, the few that were sub-par were the ones that the book tour company ever responded to.

Many months after she decided to post a promotional post for a book on tour, the blogger decided to give her honest opinion of how craptastic the book was.  She went by her memory of the tour, where most of the other bloggers had decided to do promotional posts instead of reviews.  She didn’t bother to check to see if there was an extended tour to pump out more reviews for the author, who had paid money to get 4 and 5 star reviews.

Well, she posted her one star review and the author decided to follow her back to her blog that night.  He saw that she’d posted something regarding the lack of reviews on the tour.  He exploded.  He demanded that she remove that ‘lie’.  The blogger was humiliated.  She went to the book tour company website and saw that the original 15 review tour had been bumped up to 30 spots.  Shit, she was wrong.  She took down the ‘lie’ and informed the author that she had done so.  She also emailed the book tour company and explained the whole situation.

The next day, the author decided to antagonize her on Goodreads.  He wrote about her on Twitter.  Then, he wrote a post on his blog and said that she deliberately lied and her hatred towards his book was because she wasn’t good enough to publish herself.

The blogger wrote another email to the book tour company.  She asked them how they would like her to handle the situation.  She also asked some of the other bloggers that she’d met over the past year.  What should she do?  Her blogger friends told her to stand up for herself.  The book tour company apologized for the author’s behavior.

The blogger decided to write up a post defending her actions.  She remained as honest as possible.  She admitted her mistake.  She never intended on ‘lying’ about the author.  She’d written over a hundred reviews by this point and this was her first complaint by an author.

Many people came to her defense, including a renown group of trolls.  The author continued to rant about how the blogger had deliberately lied.

The book tour company then emailed the blogger and told her that she should be ashamed of herself.  Apparently, the book tour company didn’t bother to ACTUALLY READ her original post a few days ago that had asked for advice and explained exactly what happened.  Now the book tour company retracted their original support, demanded an immediate apology to the author, and removed her from their list of hosts.

The blogger felt betrayed.  If the book tour company had read her original email to them and asked for her apology on the first day, the blogger would have done so.  But now…the author had slinged her name through so much mud and continued to rant about how worthless of a reviewer and writer that she was.  She tried to withhold her contempt as she told the book tour company how she ‘respected but didn’t agree with their decision’.

However, there was no way she would apologize to the author.  She didn’t deserve to be treated like this by anyone.  And, after the book tour company wrote her that email – if they didn’t fire her, she would have quit.

The author seemed to be enjoying the fifteen minutes of fame and continued posting blog posts about her.  He exposed the fact that she’d been removed as a tour host for her bad behavior.  The blogger had only one option left.  She emailed his publishing company.  It worked.  His publishing company apologized for the author’s behavior.

The next day, it was silent.

The crowds of people looking for drama left her without a second glance.  The author had disappeared entirely.  The blogger did the only thing that she could think of.  She opened a new book and read.

[Disclaimer:  This is a work of fiction.  Any resemblance to real events or people is entirely coincidental…or is it?  Please refer to our fictional blogger as "Cassie" in comments.  We wouldn't want her confused with any other *cough* blogger.  I mean, the scary part about this story is that it could be true...it may have been based on a true story.  Maybe.]

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Day 12 – Gaining more followers in 2014

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{Day 12} HOW DO YOU PLAN ON GETTING MORE FOLLOWERS THIS YEAR?

Once again, I feel like being a special snowflake.  I’m not trying to gain followers on my blog this year.  I don’t care how many people visit my blog.  I’m not going to ask people to follow me every single way possible just because I need to fluff my numbers (did that, done with that).  You can follow me just one way and that’s fine and dandy with me.  I’ve interacted with people on Goodreads that I don’t think have ever visited my blog and that’s okay too.  The important thing is that they enjoy my reviews.  YAY!

I don’t want it to be a numbers game for me.  I’ve never enjoyed math.  :P

I want publishers/authors to know that if they need someone to review dark, gritty fiction, then I’m the reviewer for them.  Instead of trying to funnel people to my blog, I’m going to to leave my comfort zone and be on as many different platforms as I can.  I plan on doing guest posts on others’ blogs.  I want to get involved in Booklikes, instead of just Goodreads.  I want to contact publishers directly.  I want have a quicker turn-over with my reviews so that more authors recommend me to their author buddies.

Though I review a variety of genres, my niche genre is horror/dark fiction.  It’s difficult to find active blogs that will read the absolutely disgusting and chilling books in this genre, especially self-published.  I love it when authors give me a disclaimer about how extreme their book is.  Occasionally, they are too extreme for me to enjoy, but at least I know I can power through the craziness and give an honest review for the people looking specifically for these type of books, and also steer these books away the people who can definitely NOT handle them.

Book blogging, for me, isn’t about having the most followers.  It’s about getting your name out there so that people want to have their book reviewed by you.  I’d much rather have an author be excited over a review than hit some milestone on Bloglovin or Twitter.

But, maybe that’s just me.

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Short Story Saturday: The Whisper Jar by Carole Lanham

short story saturday meme book review

Welcome to Short Story Saturday, a celebration of short stories and anthologies, which means you’ll only see mini-reviews of 3 stars and up on this feature!

If you know of an awesome short story (can be your own), send me an email.  If I like it, then I’ll post it on Short Story Saturday.


the whisper jar

he Whisper Jar by Carole Lanham

Published:  May 31st, 2012

Publisher:  Morrigan Books

Retail Price: $2.99 ebook, $8.99/$9.99 paperback

Links:  Goodreads  |  Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble

Pages: 196  

“I do not know what you have done, but put your mouth right here. Confess your crime to this fruit jar as though it were God’s ear.”
 ~ from The Whisper Jar
Some secrets are kept in jars — others, in books.
Some are left forgotten in musty rooms — others, created in old barns.
Some are brought about by destiny — others, born in blood.

Secrets — they are the hidden heart of this collection. In these pages, you will encounter a Blood Digger who bonds two children irrevocably together; a young woman who learns of her destiny through the random selection of a Bible verse; and a boy whose life begins to reflect the stories he reads…

Most importantly, though, if someone should ever happen to offer you a Jilly Jally Butter Mint, just say “No!”

Review:

The stories in THE WHISPER JAR were perfect bit size pieces for a disturbingly delicious anthology.  I was surprised how connected to each story, which is a difficult feat to accomplish in so little words.  After reading a couple of the stories, I had to stop and nurse my book hangover, since I was not quite ready to let go of the characters.  One of the stories,  THE READING LESSONS, is due to become a full-length novel next year, though I’d think that almost all of these stories would make fantastic full-length books.

Besides the gothic elements, this anthology also dabbles in some controversial topics like incest, pedeophiliacs, underage sex, racial tension, and religious tyrony.  Most of these topics are implied, though I must warn that anyone who is easily offended should not read this book.

Stories that were amazing:

  • Keepity Keep – a love triangle between two brothers and a fairy.  The ending of this story crushed me!
  • The Blue Word – an orphan prepares for graduation.  I wish that this was made into a full-length novel.  I could not believe the ending.
  • The Forgotten Orphan – a boy who discovers the creature upstairs.  Amazing story from start to end.
  • Friar Garden, Mister Samuel, and the Jilly Jally Butter Mints – I’m not quite sure what this story was about.  I’m thinking that the mints were some kind of hallucinogen, but it’s hard to say.
  • The Reading Lessons – reading lessons that can kill you.  I think this story had a slow start, yet and amazing finish.

Stories that were okay:

  • The Whisper Jar – poem about a jar that holds the town’s secrets
  • The Good Part – a brother who will do anything for his sister
  • Maxwell Treat’s Museum of Torture for Young Girls and Boys – a boy collects torture devices.  I didn’t care for this story much.
  • The Adventures of Velvet Honeybone, Girl Werewuff – poem about…umm I don’t actually know.  It’s too poetic for me.

 

about author

 

Housewife 3copyIn addition to The Whisper Jar, Carole Lanham is the author of the upcoming novel The Reading Lessons (Immortal Ink Publishing/May 2013), and twenty-four short stories.  Her work has twice appeared on the Preliminary Ballot for the Bram Stoker Award and her short story Friar Garden, Mister Samuel, and the Jilly Jally Butter Mints was shortlisted for The Million Writers Prize in 2009.  Please visit her at carolelanham.comhorrorhomemaker.com, or on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/TheWhisperJar

Coming in 2013 from Immortal Ink Publishing –

THE READING LESSONS.  

Based on the award-winning short story from The Whisper Jar…  

 

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Mississippi 1920: Nine year old servant, Hadley Crump, finds himself drawn into a secret world when he is invited to join wealthy Lucinda Browning’s dirty book club. No one suspects that the bi-racial son of the cook is anything more to Lucinda than a charitable obligation, but behind closed doors, O! she doth teach the torches to burn bright. What begins as a breathless investigation into the more juicy parts of literature quickly becomes a consuming and life-long habit for two people who would not otherwise be left alone together. As lynchings erupt across the South and the serving staff is slowly cut to make way for new mechanical household conveniences, Hadley begins to understand how dangerous and precarious his situation is.

 

The Reading Lessons follows the lives of two people born into a world that is unforgiving as a Hangman’s knot. Divided by skin color and joined by books, Hadley and Lucinda are forced to come together in the only place that will allow it, a land of printed words and dark secrets.

 

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Awards and Acknowledgements 

The Good Part
Trunk Stories 2005
Tales of Moreauvia 2009
Bram Stoker Award Preliminary Ballot 2005 for Outstanding Achievement
in a Short Story
Honorable Mention 21st Annual Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror

Keepity Keep
Fantasy Magazine December 2008
Voted One of the Five Best Stories in Fantasy Magazine for 2008
Honorable Mention Best Horror of the Year Volume One
CATE Award for Best Stories of 2008 at Poison Apple

The Blue Word
The World is Dead 2009
Honorable Mention Best Horror of the Year Volume Two

Maxwell Treat’s Museum of Torture for Young Girls and Boys
First Place Winner at On The Premises 2008
Notable Story of 2008 in the Million Writer’s AwardFriar Garden, Mister Samuel, and the Jilly Jally Butter Mints
Thought Crime Experiments 2009
Short-Listed for the Million Writer’s Award 2009The Reading Lessons
Son and Foe Issue 1 2005
Presented as a pod cast at Parade of Phantoms 2008
Bram Stoker Award Preliminary Ballot 2005 for Outstanding Achievement
in a Short StoryThe Forgotten Orphan
Midnight Lullabies 2007
Honorable Mention 21st Annual Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror
Voted Top 25 in Short Story Horror – Editors and Predators Reader’s Poll
2007

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Feature and Follow #12 Posing with a book

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Feature and Follow #12

This meme is brought to you by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read.  Congrats to the featured blogs for this week Read in Paris and Spare Time Book Blog.

For this meme, you can follow me however you’d like.  Whatever makes you come back a second time!  Leave a comment and I’ll be sure to follow you back.

Book Selfie! Take a pic with your current read.

lizzy ashes

Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick.

AddtoGoodreads

It could happen tomorrow . . .

An electromagnetic pulse flashes across the sky, destroying every electronic device, wiping out every computerized system, and killing billions.

Alex hiked into the woods to say good-bye to her dead parents and her personal demons. Now desperate to find out what happened after the pulse crushes her to the ground, Alex meets up with Tom—a young soldier—and Ellie, a girl whose grandfather was killed by the EMP.

For this improvised family and the others who are spared, it’s now a question of who can be trusted and who is no longer human.

Author Ilsa J. Bick crafts a terrifying and thrilling post-apocalyptic novel about a world that could become ours at any moment, where those left standing must learn what it means not just to survive, but to live amidst the devastation.

I saw the third book on Netgalley and it sounds amazing, but I promised myself that I won’t request it until I at least finish the first book.  I have the second book too.  I hope I like it!

 

(I really hate this picture, but it’s the best I could get taking it of myself.  /sigh  I should have taken it earlier in the sunlight, which is much more flattering.)

 

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F&F 11: Blogging Tip, Don’t get too attached

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Feature and Follow #11

This meme is brought to you by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read.  Congrats to the featured blogs for this week Thoughts and Pens and No Bent Spines.

For this meme, you can follow me however you’d like.  Whatever makes you come back a second time!  Leave a comment and I’ll be sure to follow you back.

Share something you’ve learned about book blogging or just blogging in general in the last month.

Don’t get too attached.

  • to the authors whose books you review
  • to the reviews you write
  • to social media and blogging communities
  • to your blog
  • to the drama on Goodreads/Amazon

To the authors whose books your review:  The more friendly you are with authors, the harder it will be to remain non-bias in your reviews.  Are you really saying that the book was the best thing since Harry Potter or do you just not want to hurt that nice author’s feelings?  Don’t jeopardize your integrity because you’re afraid of feelings getting hurt.  If you think you’re too close to an author to write a review of a book objectively, then don’t do it.  If you read a book by an author you like, but you don’t like it, there are ONLY two good options.  1) Don’t write the review.  2)  Write the damn one-star review.

There are times where I read a book that someone else recommends and I’m like “WTF kind of medication was she on when reading this?  IS THIS EVEN ENGLISH?”  Firstly, if there are grammar issues…there’s no way you can rate the book 5 stars.  I don’t care if it’s your sister.  If people can’t trust your reviews to be accurate, then no one will want to read your reviews.

To the reviews you write:  There will come times where people will think your opinion is crap.  It may be the author.  It might be other reviewers.  It might be some random hobo who just happened to be browsing Amazon.  Your review will be criticised and dissected.  You could potentially look and/or feel like an idiot when you read the comments on your review.  The best thing for you to do is DISTANCE yourself from responding until you can answer without being emotionally estranged.

  1. Figure out if there are errors in your review or if some moron is trolling you.
  2. If you’re not wrong, find evidence in the book to support your review.
  3. If you’re wrong, fix it!  

If you approach the situation logically and not emotionally, then you will come off as the better person.  Crying on twitter or accusing the other person of harassment only makes you look like you’re attention-seeking and looking for drama.  Let SOMEONE ELSE point out the obvious.

To the events unfolding on social media:  Don’t try to answer every tweet or like every Facebook status that pops up in your feed.  It’s okay to have a life outside of the internet.  I used to always feel guilty that I wasn’t participating enough in the community.  But, it’s okay to miss out on #authorevents on Twitter.  It’s okay to not respond to that email within five minutes.  It’s okay if you don’t retweet every single post on Tribbr.  It’s okay to have a life outside of blogging.

To your blog:  You have my permission to not post every day.  You know what?  How about tomorrow we both take the day off from blogging and go yard-sailing.  We can go hunt for some bargain books and bookshelves.  Sound good?  Don’t worry, there is no blogging police that will email publishers and say, “Don’t give so-and-so this ARC because she didn’t post on last Thursday.  There were exactly 26 hours between posts.”

To the drama on Goodreads and Amazon:  There is a war between authors/reviewers.  And you know what?  I don’t give a flying fuck.  It’s a handful of people on both sides who can’t separate the internet from real life.  It doesn’t really matter if someone did call you a wet diaper on Goodreads.  If they do it to your face, well, then I have a fresh, wet, stinky diaper you can slug them with.

 

So, why is it so important not to get too attached?

Because the reason YOU started a book review blog was because you love BOOKS.  Don’t let the hobby ruin your passion for books.

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Story Story Saturday: 13 British Horror Stories

short story saturday meme book review

Welcome to Short Story Saturday, where I find books 100 pages or less on Amazon that are worth reading, which means you’ll only see mini-reviews of 3 stars and up on this feature!

If you know of an awesome short story (can be your own), send me an email.  If I like it, then I’ll post it on Short Story Saturday.


13 british horror stories

Thirteen British Horror Stories by Rayne Hall

Published:  February 14th, 2013

Retail Price: $2.99/$3.99 ebook, $6.64 paperback

Links:  Goodreads  |  Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble

Pages: 100

Review:  These stories are light horror.  They are perfect for people who aren’t horror fanatics and much rather atmosphere over scare.  The descriptions in the books are breathtakingly beautiful and crisp.  The majority of the stories share a similar format.  The main character is introduced and we discover a brief background and get a very vivid description of the current location of the character.  Then we’re taken on a journey that sends goosebumps to the skin, but won’t plague us with nightmares when the story finishes.  There’s amazing character depth and uniqueness in the stories.  It’s clear that the goal of the author is to tell a story and not just scare the bejeezus out of the reader.

I think that the book could be titled “What Goes Around Comes Around” because of how many of the stories play out.  I can’t say that I’d suggest this to MG due to the subject matter in stories like Never Leave Me, but this would be great for YA or Adults that want to dip but not commit into a horror book.

Stories that were amazing: 

  • Take me to St Roch’s – Jean is my favorite character of the book.  Any other character and that situation would go an entirely other way.  The humorous twist at the end made me laugh.
  • Double Rainbows – This story is based on a real beach with super fast tides.  I don’t think I’d have the guts to walk across it, especially after reading this story.
  • Scruples – I was shaking my head at the main character when the twist happened at the end.  He should of known better.
  • The Devil You Know – One of my favorite stories.  This is about a woman running away from an abusive boyfriend only to be confronted by an unknown creature on an empty railway station.
  • Four Bony Hands – A creative twist on a popular Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale.
  • Beltane – I liked the personality of the character and how focused she was on something so that she completely missed clues for something else.
  • Druid Stones – I hope that this wouldn’t actually happen.  Such a crazy ending!
  • Burning – Possibly the saddest of the stories, especially after reading its inspiration in the prologue.
  • Only a Fool – This one is written in second person and I really like how the ending connected back to the beginning.

Stories that were okay:

  • Seagulls – I liked the setup and how vivid the house and birds were described, but I thought the climax should of been extended.
  • Never Leave Me – I didn’t connect to the characters and perhaps this is because the POV character is a controlling husband.  This story feels rushed and I didn’t grasp the setting like in the other stories.
  • Through the Tunnel – I liked the setup for the story, but the ending was horribly predictable for me and that killed the suspense.
  • I Dived the Pandora – Not being a diver myself, I found it hard to grasp the seriousness of the situation.

 

Excerpt:

The tallest of the gulls, with head feathers standing up like a punk’s haircut, tilted its head back and trumpeted a shattering scream.  Kreeeeee!  Kreeeee!  The white chest vibrated with screeches which could have brought down the walls of Jericho.  Jose wasn’t sure if the window glass trembled, but the shudders in her spine were real.

 

(I received a copy from the author in exchange for my honest review.)

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