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Every Author Needs a Dead Mule
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"Roundheads and Ramblings"

reviews

A Giveaway for Launch Day

A Giveaway for Launch Day
One day.
Two winners.
Three Books

On December 8, 2016, two lucky readers will be chosen in a computer-driven random drawing to receive the complete trade paper set of the Grenville Trilogy: Damned Yankee, Yankee Reconstructed, and Yankee Daughters -- a $55.00 value. Copies will be signed and bookmarked.

How do you get in on this giveaway? There are three paths--the choice is yours.

1. Volunteer to receive and read an advance review PDF copy of Yankee Daughters. Then, on Wednesday, December 7, 2016--(the date is important!)-- post a brief review of the book on its Amazon page. You don't have to give it five stars.  You don't even have to like it. Just leave a comment or two that will be helpful to other readers. (If you choose this option, please act quickly and contact the author directly here to find out if copies are still available.)

OR
2. Pre-order the Kindle version, which will be released on December 7, 2016. Then send me a screenshot, or a snapshot, or forward an email copy of your receipt from Amazon to this email box

OR
3. Visit our Katzenhaus website to learn more about our books. Then fill out and submit the "Please Keep in Touch" form on the 2016 Publications page. It asks only for your name and e-mail and will be used solely to send you very occasional newsletters about our latest books. We never sell our subscribers' names or e-mail addresses.

That's all there is to it, but your entry will help to promote Yankee Daughters and send it off to a roaring start. Thanks for your participation.

--Carolyn



A Little Love for a Three-Star Review

I just received a three-star book review, and I’m thrilled! Why? Because it’s a fair and honest review, and because its writer has understood what I was trying to do in the book.  So here are some lessons to be learned:

(may mean that your mother wrote it!)


%$&*#  (written by a troll or your angry next-door neighbor)

( probably means just what it says: a good book but not the reader’s favorite genre)


I’ll take the three star reviewer any day of the week.

This fellow was looking for battles and tales of comradeship, and he didn’t find them. If he had ever been in one of my history classes, he would have known that “I don’t do battles.”  I’m interested in the causes that lead people to war (in hope that we can learn from them about what not to do.) I’m interested in the effects of war (so that we better understand what happens when the battles are over).  And more than anything, I want to tell the “stories behind the history “— the stories of the people who don’t make it into textbooks — but who suffer because of what goes on in those battles. And I think he “got” that. Listen to what he says:

"This book is not an action-oriented tale of battlefield and comradeship. It is instead a thoughtful narrative, driven by dialogue between and among the characters as the war begins and continues in all its challenges and emergencies; these strains that the war placed [upon] the civilians, becomes the heart of this story. What action exists in the book is usually related in letters the family members receive from relatives and friends in the Confederate forces, or in local discussions of the events. The steady decline of food supplies in the South (the Grenvilles tirelessly tend their vegetable gardens to hold back hunger), and the inevitable decline of the South is told quickly in the last pages, which makes a nice metaphor for the painful defeat that no one wanted to face.
"Damned Yankee" is a good tale of the war from the perspective of the overlooked bystanders who bear no arms but suffer equally from the ravages of the conflict.

Another Reason Why Reader Reviews Really Matter




Recently I was invited to submit my book, The Road to Frogmore to a website that provides great publicity to an author's target audience -- to people who are likely to read the book in question.  But before an author can submit a book, there must be evidence that it is not pure trash -- in other words, REVIEWS. They can come from various places, like Amazon, B&N, etc. But there are parameters that must be met:

* The average rating of the book must be a 4.0 out of 5.0.  OK, I can handle that.  The Road to Frogmore's average is 4.7.

* The book must have received at least 10 reviews in one place. And there's where I fail. Frogmore has only 9 reviews on Amazon.

I'll go on record here that I will never pay for a review. There are people who will review for a fee. And for a higher fee, they will write the review by this afternoon. They also guarantee a high rating, which makes the whole exercise meaningless.  Too many authors have already gamed the ratings system to their own advantage, and I refuse to be one of them.

However, I am not above a bit of begging -- especially to those readers who have already read Frogmore but "Just never got around to leaving a review."  Please, would you take the time to leave a comment on Amazon about the book?  It doesn't have to be a long, theoretic analysis. I'm not asking for something that would please your high school literature teacher. All you need is a statement about whether or not you liked the book, or what made you enjoy it, or who else might be interested in reading it. A brief twenty-word statement will do the trick.

My "site activity report" for this website shows that 1288 people looked at this blog yesterday. Surely one or two of you have read the book! Feel free to use a pen name if you don't want the world to know who you are (except to Amazon.) 

Thanks for helping out!

It Only Takes a Few Words to Make an Author Smile.

5.0 out of 5 stars
By slrj

"I thoroughly enjoyed the stories compiled here concerning the lives of the Grenvilles and surrounding families in and around Charleston, SC, during the War Between the States. Such a turbulent time, with neighbor against neighbor, family members torn. I could see all sides and commiserate with the characters, wishing them all the best outcome from an awful situation. Life would have been much better had there been more like Jonathan Grenville among the Southerners, treating slaves and former slaves the way we would hope we would had we been there at the time.
The author's descriptions of the consuming fires in Charleston, the approaching US soldiers, the conditions and language of the slave families put you in the time and place with the characters. Very well done, in my opinion, and very enjoyable.
Thank you, Ms. Schriber and Ms. Deponte!"

PS -- Does a review like that really make a difference? You bet it does.  Within 2 hours of my posting that review where more people could see it, there were five new book sales of Damned Yankee, and the book's sales ranking jumped from around 163,000 to 60,000.

Please, readers.  Do this, not just for me (although that would be nice), but for all of your favorite authors.  It just takes you a moment, but it's lifeblood for the author!

A Couple of Small Bright Spots in a Dreary Day.

It's been gloomy all day here in Memphis -- warm, for the most part, but terribly windy, dark, and rainy.  The prognosticators are still calling for rapidly-dropping temperatures and copious snowfall, but the radar maps suggest that the whole winter storm thing is going to pass us by, for the umpteenth time.  That's not a complaint, really.  We've been very lucky to have avoided all of the weather-related trauma that the rest of the country has experienced.  But it makes me a little nervous.  There's a pattern forming here.

The weather man predicts gloom and doom.
We all get ready -- stocking up on ingredients for French Toast parties (that's milk and bread!)
Nothing happens.
Next time the warnings com it's harder to get all excited. And complacency is  dangerous.

Anyway, I've been hunkered down all day, picking away at bits of research but unable to concentrate much on writing while scanning the horizon for the snow clouds. I've been badly in need of an "Atta-Girl!" to push me back into full-frenzied writing mode. 

And then one arrived.  The Winter 2014 issue of Dispatches, the online magazine of the Military Writers Society of America, popped up in my inbox.  And there I discovered not one, but two "Atta-Girls" for my book The Road to Frogmore.  First came an announcement that Frogmore had been chosen as Book of the Month for last November.  And then a second commendation included it on the Author of the Year's recommended reading list for Winter 2014. 

So thank you, all, for your kind reviews and complimentary remarks.  It's lovely to be reassured that serious books can earn serious attention.  Now -- back to work!