Archive | July 2009

Reaching for that 5 Star Review

By Another Name, by Ashley Elizabeth Ludwig

By Another Name, by Ashley Elizabeth Ludwig

Today, I have some questions for my fellow authors, readers, and book reviewers:

What’s in a book review?

What makes a good reviewer?

This book, By Another Name, has struck readers on a variety of personal levels:

  • Were you bullied in High School?
  • Were you a target of bullying?
  • Did you know someone who was?

Chances are, you can answer yest to one or more of the above without blinking.

My character, Rosalee Timmons, chooses to return home with her new life and new name, to face down the demons of her past.

That said, the topic of today’s post is reviews. How to accept one, even if it’s not what you’ve hoped it would be. Do I want 5 star reviews on everything? OF COURSE. Do I receive 5 star reviews on everything? Not on my first release. My full length novel, All or Nothing, has received startling and humbling reviews thus far. I wait with bated breath to see what will happen next on that one!

It isn’t that the By Another Names reviews are saying – RUN! Don’t purchase this book! – these are carefully crafted, thoughtful, thought provoking reader reviews from people who’ve been impacted by this tale.

Case in point, I just received a 3 1/2 star review from : Manic Readers:. Of course I wanted 5 stars. Who wouldn’t?  It’s these 1/2 stars that keep me guessing. Keep me reaching to write a better book. One that will go that extra mile and push it to the next level.

Conversely, I received a 4 star review from You Gotta Read Books, classified as a You Need to Read – my reviewer had some interesting points on being the brunt of bullying.

My Manic Review was written by someone who deals with bullying on a daily basis. Wow. Talk about being slayed, instantly!  She wanted more interaction and explanation from Lindsay — Kade’s sister. She wanted to know WHY Lindsay chose Lee as the focus of her torments. I suppose, this is where your reviewer’s life experience weighs in to how they feel about a story. (this kind woman is a former DEAN for crying out loud! Talk about the perfect person to review this book.

So, I appreciate every word she said. I also went to the Manic Reviews site to peruse other ratings and see where this story measured. (I also stumbled on a few that I want to read, to see how I might improve my ability to pen a tale that leaves such a feeling of immense satisfaction.) After reading more reviews at Manic Readers, I also appreciate the extra half-star, and the suggestion for readers to pick it up.


So, how much do you bring to the table when you sit down to review a book? I’m guessing about as much as you take with you when you write that story. It’s about life experience seasoning your writing (or flavoring what you’re reading).  And if it makes me strive to write a better book, then I appreciate every review.

Some questions to ponder:

  • What are your favorite book review sites? or do you go with your gut on Amazon?
  • Would you buy a book that someone else rated with a less than sparkly review?
  • Have you ever slammed a book — or flung it against the wall — and then recommended readers stay away from a book? and why?

All or Nothing – Summer Tour Schedule

All or Nothing, cover art by Kimberlee Mendoza

All or Nothing, cover art by Kimberlee Mendoza

Thanks, everyone who came to join me yesterday at Petticoats and Pistols! What a hoot that old corral is, what and with half of you all over at RWA, I’m sure! It was an amazing day and I appreciate everyone’s support and comments! If you missed it, you can re-read the adventure in the Copper King Mountain Range, and see what stumbling across an historical archaeological find has to do with writing novels HERE.

This week, I’m double booked! I’ll be at on Friday dishing about motherhood, writing, and summertime!

AND on Friday,  I’ll also be at Emma Lai’s Blog – being interviewed by the INTERVIEW QUEEN!! *squee* I’m so excited about this one. I hear she asks tough questions – so I’ll be putting on my thinking cap for this one! 🙂

Thanks to all my new friends, and hope to see you real soon.

Guest Blogging at Petticoats and Pistols!

Sherds from Point Reyes archaeological sites - (c)

Sherds from Point Reyes archaeological sites - (c)

Good morning, everyone!

How did I go from archaeology to writing romance novels…? What does this broken plate have to do with my breakthrough in plotting historical fiction?

Come on over to Petticoats and Pistols – where I’m guest blogging tomorrow – and find out!

We’ll be chatting all day, and one lucky commenter will receive an e-book of All or Nothing – with my compliments…

Look forward to seeing you all there!


Will your book stand the test of time?


Following Hashtags:




this weekend on Twitter. Will be reporting on this next week. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Visiting today with Sweet & Sensual authors over on Yahoo…

Come join us over at the :Sweet & Sensual Romance Yahoo Loop:

Chatting on and off today, as work/life/motherhood allows…

Hope to see you there!

And here’s a bit of inspiration for the day…

Social Networking Free Weekends

I made a promise to my husband a while back.

I promised, avowed, and affirmed that I would not social network on weekends. No facebook. No twitter. Very little e-mail. (Just so I wouldn’t be buried on a Monday morning.)

And guess what?

Everyone is still there when I return on Mondays. Still chattering away about the latest debacle of the government, the implosion of the publishing industry, whether or not one has time to curl up with a cup of coffee to be read to by a hot, British actor. Still twittering and discussing, and message looping. And though I long to know what my college roommate had for dinner last night and how her children received it, just as she longs to know about me and mine, they can wait a few days.


For the sake of my marriage. For the sake of my friendships and family.

Think to yourself. How many times have you not picked up the phone because you didn’t need to ask how someone was doing? You already knew?

I challenge you to stay social network free for 4 weekends in a row. Can you do it? Can you sign off from myspace or facebook on a Friday and stay away all weekend?

Give it a try and let me know how it goes?

Kicking the Twilight out of Him…

This is another link that came from twitter… This time, pointed to me by @NicolAZ

As stated by the editor of this piece:

In this remixed narrative Edward Cullen from the Twilight Series meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It’s an example of transformative storytelling serving as a visual critique of Edward’s character and generally creepy behavior. Seen through Buffy’s eyes some of the more patriarchal gender roles and sexist Hollywood tropes embedded in the Twilight saga are exposed in hilarious ways.

– Jonathan McIntosh, from his commentary on Buffy vs Edward

I’m a HUGE Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan … and I enjoyed reading Twilight.  If by enjoyed, you can read that I browsed its many, many, many pages under duress, as everyone else was reading it so I had to know what all the hubbub was about.

I must say, I too wondered what Buffy would have thought of Edward. Well. Now we know. LOL – good work! and this sort of “transformative editing” — and corresponding copyright leeway — must leave the lawyers scrambling for their law books!