Sunday, April 29, 2012

Hi Everyone,

First, a HUGE thanks for both reading Pandora's Key and telling your family and friends about it!  Together we've sold more than 500 ereader versions of PK this month alone.  That's so cool - especially considering that there's no big marketing or PR campaign to help with sales.  Just you guys!!!!

Second, if you haven't checked out Ellen Degeneris' "reading" of Fifty Shades of Gray, sent to me by my Goodreads friend, Maghon, then click this link:  http://www.buzzfeed.com/whitneyjefferson/ellen-degeneres-reads-from-50-shades-of-grey  It's hysterical!

Third, if you weren't sure why I wrote the last blog, here's a simple clarification. I've seen authors get really upset by unkind reviews.  And I've seen readers get really upset when they feel ripped off by their book choice.  I'm just saying that it's all okay - authors and readers can learn from every situation and make better choices next time. Start with the assumption that no one is trying to be a jerk and everything after that will fall into place:-)

Fourth, check out RadioActive Bookworm's: The Young Adult Challenge Group on Goodreads.com.  Her site is devoted to reading and talking about YA books and her first giveaway is Pandora's Key!  I'll be doing a Q&A with readers at the end of May:-)  So if you want to join a super cool group and potentially win a free copy of PK, go to: http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/68481-the-young-adult-challenge    and join!

And finally, I hope everyone had a lovely Sunday.  Henry and I went to the park with Boone (our Vizsla), met some friends and their kids and enjoyed the sunshine.  Lucky girl, lucky dog, fabulous friends, great guy:-)  Yay!

xo
nan

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Hi Everyone!

Just a quick note to my fellow authors...

You can't please everyone, okay?  I mean, you do your best, right?  You spend hours, days, months, years writing a novel with the best of intentions: to write something that entertains, matters on different levels to different people, is exciting, fun, sweet, dramatic, powerful, unique...  you get it, I know.

So here's what I think. Revel in the people who get what you're trying to do.  Learn from the people who don't - if they make sense.  If not, then learn the most important thing... you can't please everyone... so make yourself proud:-)

I've been thrilled with most of the reviews I've gotten for Pandora's Key.  Kirkus loved it, Publishers Weekly did, too.  Better yet, Danna, Taylor, Anna, Kay, Sandra, Glenda, Jack... they loved the story.  They were caught up, surprised, and sometimes ever transported.  And the few readers that weren't?  That wished they hadn't spent 99 cents?  That's why they make chocolate and vanilla.  And sometimes people pick flavors that don't suit them.  I've done it many times!  And it's okay.

Authors, embrace your fans, learn from them just like you learn from the people who didn't enjoy your story.  Take it all personally and try to be better because then, no matter what, you will be:-)

xo
nan

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Book Review

Hi Everyone,

I thought I'd post my review of Fifty Shades of Gray today.  The reason is that this book is getting tons of press and accolades and I totally disagree!  So if any of you plan to read this book - and please, it's not for teens!!! - maybe my review will give you insight before you decide to buy the book...

Review:  Fifty Shades of Gray (I gave it 3 out of 5 stars)


Thank God I'm done with this book!!  Where to begin this review?  Hmmm...  There's so many reviews, so much hype, and so many accolades, that my opinion about this book doesn't matter much... but since I have such a strong opinion, I've decided to share it anyway.

This is not a book I'd recommend to many of people.  Part of this is because of the strong BDSM theme.  Part of this is because, while it's well-written (and it is), I found it too disturbing to recommend.

Let me state, for the record, that I am in no way prudish about subject matters or my choice of reads.  While I didn't read reviews before I began this book (so the subject matter was surprising), I'm okay with how explicitly sexual the story was and had no issues with the racier passages taken out of the context of the age of the protagonist, believability, etc. which I'll explain below.

If you haven't read the book, note that there will be SPOILERS below and skip this review if you plan to read Shades...

Here are my issues with Fifty Shades of Gray (and some of them are personal, but that's the nature of reviews)...

The idea that a (beautiful) college graduate - that would make her about twenty - has never had a single sexual experience in her life (nor wanted one!!), is willing to throw herself into a non-traditional relationship with an older/insanely experienced man with such ease.  I found this unbelievable on a basic level and that colored the entire story for me.  In addition, the choice of a virgin for this story just felt like it was made purely to titillate.

The insanely creepy nature of Gray's overpowering control issues.  The level of his insanity, too me, was so over the top and made him entirely undesirable as a love interest.  The character of Gray lacked subtlety or any redeeming characteristics (beside money and a helicopter).  Without a flawed but empathetic love interest, the story just didn't hold together for me and felt unbelievable on a basic level.  If I don't care whether the girl gets the guy because the guy is so unredeemable, then I'm not hooked into a narrative about a girl getting the guy.

I love stories, even if I don't like or agree with specific characters and their actions.  It's not like I thought Humber Humbert was a great guy who deserved twelve-year-old Dolores (Lolita).  But that was a GREAT book!  I love character development, journeys, impressive arcs.  But for me, in the end, I was left with a feeling of manipulation and a high level of disgust for the story, which I think preys upon a sense of depravity I can't condone, even in a book.

I want to make clear when I say "depravity" that I'm not talking BDSM.  I'm talking about a strange desire to see women degraded that pervades a lot of our society.  Whether it's taking away women's right to choose how to govern their own bodies, watching violent pornography, or going to strip shows (and telling yourself that the gals there are doing what they want to do with their bodies when in fact a huge percentage of them were molested and abused as children).  I've never considered myself a feminist, but in the end I can't support a book that felt like it took us gals down another notch.

*I realize some of you might disagree with the last sentence given the book's ending, but that ending didn't justify the degradation that preceded it and it's clear to me that things aren't over because, after all, there is a Book Two.  And when I say "degradation" I also don't mean the specific "acts," I mean the reasons that Gray, as a character, would commit those acts, and a young girl's willingness to accept that type of treatment.  Many of you might say this is exactly what made the story so interesting, but the author didn't delve into Ana's psyche and why she was willing to go down that road.  The author focused much more on the BDSM - which felt like a cheap trick to hook readers with detailed sex scenes.

To summarize, I felt like this book took something from me instead of giving me the gift that always comes after reading a great story. I gave this book 3 stars because I can't fault the writing. But in the end, the premise was unbelievable and the outcome just made me sad, because there's a second book and I know where it's heading and that a lot of people will flock to read it...

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Doubling sales...

Hi Everyone,

An ENORMOUS THANKS for helping Pandora's Key DOUBLE its Kindle sales this month!!  Thanks so much for passing on your love of Pandora's Key to your friends and family and for reading Evangeline's story.

Here's some exciting news...  Yesterday I worked with fab cover artist Claudia McKinney on the new cover for The Key to Tartarus, Book Two of The Key Trilogy.  Claudia came up with something haunting, ferocious and a tad creepy and I love it and hope you will, too!!  Not sure exactly when The Key to Tartarus is going to be released, but I'm thinking late summer...

And on another note...  I'm starting to conjure Book Three and have an inkling that it's going to be quite the whirlwind of a story;-)  Evangeline has already come a long way toward understanding and maybe even accepting who she is, but in Book Three she's going to be challenged like never before and the stakes will be HUGE.

For all you romance lovers, I don't want to spoil things but the temperature between Raphe and Evangeline will hit an all-time high!!!  And there might be another guy in the mix, too...  After all, the descendant of Pandora is a pretty incredible catch;-)

Have a great day!!

xo
nan