August 27, 2016

My Favorite Twitter Tools by Mae Clair

Reblogged from Marcia Meara Writes
Twitter LogoHi, everyone….Mae here again. I hope you don’t mind me popping in to share.
When it comes to social media, I’m a big fan of Twitter. It’s quick, allows me to connect with other Tweeps, catch up on events, follow trending topics, and experience news as it happens. All in one neat little social media platform.
As good as Twitter is, it’s even better paired with other applications. Today, I’d like to share a few I’ve found particularly helpful. I know many of these are commonly used, but hopefully, I’ll hit on something of use to someone out there
One of the things I like best about Twitter is the ability to create lists. As an example, I have a Twitter list for my writer friends, one for cryptozoology  (a favorite topic of mine), another for family (not too many of them on Twitter) and another for celebrities and best-selling authors (i.e, Lana Parrilla, Jennifer McMahon, Jackson Galaxy, Australia Zoo). These are just a few my lists. I have a dozen of them and with all of those lists, things can get a little cumbersome.
That’s where Hootsuite comes in.
Hootsuite
Hootsuite LogoHootsuite is a free platform that complements Twitter and other forms of social media. There are pay plans, but I haven’t needed to go that route, and I’ve been using Hootsuite for three years. I like that I can turn my Twitter lists into “streams” within Hootsuite.

When I open my Hootsuite dashboard, all of my Twitter lists appear in one place. In addition to the lists I mentioned above, I also have streams for anytime someone @mentions me, and a stream for scheduled messages. Whenever I promote another author or guest blogger on my site, I schedule several tweets throughout the day connecting to their post, and Hootsuite sends them at the appropriate time.
I’ve also got Hootsuite set up to stream my Facebook page and my Facebook author page so I can view both FB and Twitter in one place. It also supports Google+ and Instagram.
Pretty cool, huh? There’s even more…
Hootsuite has a built-in URL link shortener called Ow.ly which is extremely handy. So now instead of http://maeclair.net/2016/01/04/cover-reveal-a-thousand-yesteryears-by-mae-clair/ I get http://ow.ly/Xmr4L This directs users to the same post and is a lot handier when sticking to Twitter’s 140 character count.
You can also set up streams within Hootsuite to grab Tweets related to a specific hashtag. I have one set for #Mothman. Any time someone uses that hashtag in a Tweet, Hootsuite grabs it for me. Why would I care about those Tweets? Because I’m writing a series that prominently features Point Pleasant’s notorious cryptid. Whenever Mothy gets a mention, I want to know what’s being discussed. I might also want to follow the Tweeps doing the Tweeting. If they’re interested in the Mothman, they might be potential readers for my series.
I positively LOVE Hootsuite! You can learn more about it and create your own free account at https://hootsuite.com/
Statue of the Mothman in Point Pleasant, West VirginiaManageFlitter
This is another freebie and it’s great for managing your followers. When you sign in with Twitter it gives you a list of how many people you’re following who are NOT following you back. Phhf! The nerve!

ManageFlitter makes it easy to prune your account and eliminate those followers. I follow a number of people who don’t follow me back, but most of them fall into the celebrity/news/bestselling author/specific interest category.
Generally, when I follow someone, I wait a week, then check ManageFlitter. If they haven’t followed me back, I click the unfollow button. ManageFlitter also lets me see which of my followers aren’t “talkative.” So, if I’m following someone and they haven’t made a single Tweet in say…five months, I unfollow them. This keeps my Twitter account pruned to Tweeps who are active. Finally, ManageFlitter will also tell me if I’ve picked up any spam accounts so I can unfollow them, too.
Get your free ManageFlitter account at https://manageflitter.com/
Crowdfire
I’ve only been using Crowdfire for a short time, but I love it. It’s also free and does everything ManageFlitter does, with some additional bells and whistles. The layout is a bit better, plus it has the added benefit of showing you who RECENTLY unfollowed and followed you, so you’re viewing less Tweeps at a time.

It has a handy “copy followers” feature, which allows you to import another user’s followers and see who you might want to follow (think target auidences for your genre). You can also pop a hashtag or keywords into Crowdfire (i.e, #Mothman, Jennifer McMahon) and it will kick back a list of relevant Tweeps. These are all people you might want to follow.
This link will tell you about Crowdfire and let you set up a free account 
https://www.crowdfireapp.com/about-us 

Read the whole post here: Marcia Meara Writes

August 25, 2016

Writing Tips (XVIII) Let’s Talk About #BookReviews Day 4




c5849-rosie-gardening-02-smaller
We are well over half way through “Write a book review on Amazon ” month and this week I’ve been supporting the campaign with some book reviewing themed posts.
Readers reviewers
At some point in book reviewing everyone will come across a book they really didn’t like, could you still write a review and how could you write it?
Negative and Bad Reviews
I can guarantee this is going to cause a scene.
So what do you do if you really didn’t like a book? People who slam a book and its author publically are often called Book Trolls. Like wise authors who have fans who bully anyone who dares to post a low star rated review, are also connected to the troll label. I suspect this is one of the top reasons why people fear to post a review and it damages the industry as a whole.
Firstly put yourself in the shoes of an author, someone who has toiled hard over their book, you don’t know the mountains they’ve climbed to get this far. Personal, physical, emotional mountains, how would you feel if this was your life’s work?
So you can still write a review, it will be challenging. Find points that you did like, perhaps the overall story, a strong character, a funny moment. You might have liked the first chapter, perhaps it was full of promise, even if it all went down hill from there, still say what you liked.
You can say things didn’t work for you like a fight scene or a love scene. Or you had trouble picturing the mystery building. Some fantasy and sci-fi books need to really make the reader understand new imaginary planets and realms. I once read a book which read like an arcade game with characters leaping from level to level in huge cavernous spaces, it felt 2-D and I longed for depth in the form of the descriptions and the senses, like smell and hearing.
My best advice for a book you don’t like, is LESS IS MORE. If I wrote my favourite character was the mother-in-law and she had a minor part in the book, then I’m hoping the author might pick up that the main characters hadn’t hit the mark. If I said I really like the first three chapters, then there is a hint that the rest of the book may not have lived up to my expectations. If you’ve struggled to write perhaps 10 lines then there probably wasn’t much that made you jump up and down, leave a shorter review.  However you still haven’t been rude about the book.
Ultimately the top LESS is MORE tip. If you can’t find anything nice to say don’t say anything at all. A no review speaks volumes. If you’ve been asked to write a review and really feel you can’t, be polite and say the book wasn’t for you. If you bought the book and didn’t like it, move on there are billions more books out there.
Reading Original
A little note to authors.
All authors who put there work out in the public eye, cannot reasonably expect every single person to like their work. We all read a book differently and a range of book reviews and their star ratings is a healthy thing on review sites. . . . . 
Read the rest of the post here: Rosie Amber

August 24, 2016

Book Review (LIII) Wake-Robin Ridge August Reviews

"A PHONE RINGING AT 2:00 A.M. never means anything good. Calls at 2:00 A.M. are bad news. Someone has died. Someone is hurt. Or someone needs help."

On a bitter cold January night in 1965, death came calling at an isolated little cabin on Wake-Robin Ridge. Now, nearly 50 years later, librarian Sarah Gray has quit her job and moved into the same cabin, hoping the peace and quiet of her woodland retreat will allow her to concentrate on writing her first novel. Instead she finds herself distracted by her only neighbor, the enigmatic and reclusive MacKenzie Cole, who lives on top of the mountain with his Irish wolfhound as his sole companion.

As their tentative friendship grows, Sarah learns the truth about the heartbreaking secret causing Mac to hide from the world. But before the two can sort out their feelings for each other, they find themselves plunged into a night of terror neither could have anticipated. Now they must unravel the horrifying events of a murder committed decades earlier. In doing so, they discover that the only thing stronger than a hatred that will not die is a heart willing to sacrifice everything for another.


My Review


There are so many things I loved about Wake-Robin Ridge. Once the plot gets rolling, it's a non-stop page turner all the way to the end. It’s the first book of Marcia Meara that I read, but absolutely, not the last.

The story has well developed, relatable characters. Let’s see who they are:

First, I must say that  Ruth’s heart-breaking story was my favorite part. Ruth who, “After a year of looking for love, or even the occasional tender word, any vague thoughts of a happy ending for herself had vanished, and a tired sense of resignation had settled over her,” makes the worst choice in her life – Loyd Carter.

Sarah Gray a thirty-five-year-old library cataloging and research assistant, fed up with her boring job, leaves her town and moves to a dream like cabin in Wake-Robin Ridge.  This is how the present day part of the story begins.

Lloyd Carter, a mean-eyed slab of a man with a well-earned reputation for violence and several run-ins with the law. If there was one thing Lloyd Carter loved in this life, it was his big, fire-engine red Impala

MacKenzie Cole, Tall, maybe 6’3”, with glossy black hair curling slightly over his ears. . . . he was strikingly good looking, with a sense of quiet strength about him. “Mysterious Mountain Man,” as Jenna called him.

Add to them Handsome the muddy, half-starved little mess, the kitten Sarah discovers the very first day she moves to the cabin, and Rosheen, Mac’s three-year-old Irish wolfhound. Even General Penny, Ruth’s dachshund who keeps her good company along her lonely years. Thus the distribution is complete.

The cabin in the Blue Ridge Mountains is the channel connecting past and present;  Ruth with her pain, tragedy and love and compassionate Sarah with her dreams and newly found love.

There were chapters where I went back and read some paragraphs once again. It was like a kid with a candy. I savored every word, especially the vivid scenery description.

Will Sarah manage to find out what lies behind Mac’s odd change of behavior towards her? Will she discover who is Miz Winn and what does the ghost want? Read the book and you will be rewarded with a suspenseful romantic mystery.

Wake-Robin Ridge is a masterpiece of good storytelling with meticulous attention to detail, a well-plotted tale of romance and intrigue. Marcia’s writing and descriptions are brilliant and make you feel like you can actually picture  Wake-Robin Ridge and the characters in your head. You will feel as if you are watching a movie. This is definitely a "can’t put down" book.

Romance, suspense and some supernatural elements made it exactly this - a "couldn't put it down" book for me. Amazon.com
 

August 21, 2016

Book Review (CLIII) The Way We Live Now #AugustReviews



            The Way We Live Now,
  Trollope's longest novel  -100 chapters – is inspired by the financial scandals of the early 1870s.  Augustus Melmotte, a European-born city financier, whose origins are as mysterious as his business dealings is at the center of the story. The author describes him as "something in the city.” But that  "something in the city” part is not always clear.  
 Within weeks of arriving in London, he announces a new company and promises instant fortune to those who join him in this scheme. Melmotte is surrounded by a circle of decadent aristocrats, scheming widows and nouveau riche businessmen, all trying to get a piece of the financial pie.  Doesn’t it all sound like what’s happening in present day times in many parts of the world?


The female characters are treated with sympathy, clearly struggling to make their way in a society where their scope for freedom of maneuver is highly restricted, though Henrietta Carbury and her innocent and longing trials with her suitor, Paul Montague, comes across as more elegant and refined than those of many modern heroines.

 It’s a powerful Victorian satire on greed and dishonesty  that pervaded the moral, political and intellectual life of that era, a novel in which each and everyone of his characters has a fault of some kind- the same as people are in real life.

Trollope's masterpiece, that enlightens as well as it entertains, is as relevant today as it was when he wrote it. His descriptive writing makes it rather easy for the reader to visualize characters, locals, country side and the various cities very well.
  Find my review here: Amazon.com

August 18, 2016

Book Review (LII) #AugustReviews

                        Beyond the Old Green Door

                            by Julie A. D'Arcy

 Blurb

 Beyond the Old Green Door is where Urban Fantasy, Steampunk Erotica meets re-incarnation with a twist of magic and those sexy little bits everyone loves.
Can the impossible really become possible? Or is it all just a whisper in the wind?
Sherry’s world falls to pieces when the honeymoon she had planned in Rio with her fiancĂ© turns to a tragedy with his death in a plane crash. Can a twist of fate, a wrong turn and a touch of magic find the love and passion she thought she had lost in the arms of another? Or will her love once again be torn apart?
Can a wish really turn back time?

My Review

I read it all at once as I could not wait to see what happened next. At the heart of the engaging  story is good old fashion hope and romance with the book having a HEA.  Sherry, the main character lives an unique adventure that will mark her whole existence. I can’t tell more as I don’t like spoilers. True happiness is like a warm breeze that touches your life when you least expect it, a strange old man tells Sherry.
 Beyond the Old Green Door is a great story even if a bit too sensual  for my taste. Perhaps the author will enlarge it and make it a novel.