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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?

New Review Site for Inspirational / Sweet Romances

By Another Name, by Ashley Elizabeth Ludwig

By Another Name, by Ashley Elizabeth Ludwig

By Another Name received yet another lovely review today, thanks to a review site: Novel

4 of 5 stars! and a thoughtful review of this title!

Thanks to reviewer, Cheri Jetton.

So, what’s Novel Editions all about? Just another review site, you say?

Novel Editions seems to have not only a lovely web presence, but a solid view on what sorts of books they plan on reviewing. Head on over and take a peek and see what I mean:

Novel Editions is a Christian-based business, and while we will review secular material, we will only feature books and stories that are rated G/PG.

For more info and some great reviews on books from:

  • Bethany House
  • Barbour
  • White Rose Press
  • Harlequin Steeple Hill Love Inspired
  • and more!

head on over and have a read:

All a Twitter

I’m an Anthropologist.

I’m a novelist.

I study people. I write about people. And now, facing the release of my first novel – and analyzing the beleaguered publishing industry – I’ve been analyzing the social networking platforms that we writers can use to promote our wares.

First of all – there’s the blog. No brainer. Here, I can show you (not tell you — wink) my writing style. My sense of humor. Where my interests fall. If yours match up, we’ve found each other. The music can play, and we can run across a field of flowers, spinning while the hills come alive with music. Or, at least, you can get a free read, a cheap fast, fun e-read, and news of the much awaited Novel… note to self! start the countdown clock! it’s almost May 1!! So, I have my “About Ashley Ludwig” Blog – current place of residence. I am also a regular blogger at This is where other ladies, like myself, who work, write, and raise kids, discuss our foibles and follies. The ups and downs. The ins and outs of the trade. On Wednesday, we highlight the authors who have “made it.” With publishing contracts or agents, or what have you. I drool over someday being a Wednesday MamaWriter.

Secondly – there’s FaceBook. I’ve friended many. I love FaceBook. Where else can you refriend someone you sat in front of in Journaling class in 4th grade? 🙂 Waves to Kym!

Third – there’s twitter. Now, Twitter is something that I have eyed much like the container in the back of the fridge that could be cookie dough, or could be meat loaf from two weeks ago. I’m happier thinking it’s cookie dough, and leaving it alone as testament to my new bent on health! but, it’s probably meatloaf. Still. I must determine the truth. It must be inspected. It must be dealt with. One cannot put off moldy meatloaf forever, however one wants to.

The point is this: The world is twittering. The news is twittering. The entertainment industry is twittering. And no one really knows why.

So, as an author – who could use some followers, and as an anthropologist, who is vastly interested in social behavior – I’ve taken two steps to twittering:

One, I am @QuickieReads. I read and review books in 140 characters or less. Is this fair? Well, as an author – I’d say, yes. I want to know how the review moved you. But ultimately, I want to know if you recommend it or not. SO, @QuickieReads will tell you this.

Two, I am @WireMamma. (See MamaWriters Blog above.) This is where I plan on twittering about the novel, about interviews, about my writing career in 140 characters or less.

The question becomes, who to follow and why? Should I follow Nathan Bransford, literary agent – because everyone else does? Should I follow fellow authors? Editors? Publishers? Publisher’s Weekly? The New York Times? As my list of following and followeds gets larger, this really gives me pause. Too much information ceases to be news and becomes noise. If everyone is tweeting, does anyone really pay attention? that said…if everyone is following each other around (mental picture of Verizon ads)…is anyone actually going anywhere? Are we all just stumbling around in circles, yammering into space?

Now, I realize I’m an inspriational author. But I have to give props to a blog I follow: Smart B*****S, Trashy Books. They are only following about 30 people. Their following is much larger – close to 3,000. But, these ladies are actually vetting their follows. In that small bit of information they receive, they are actually filtering out the noise to determine some sort of news. I’m fascinated with how they operate. Though the content is abrasive – ahem, that’s their point: They call them like they see them – their method is pure. I’m a fan. I love the irreverence. I respect the platform in the spirit it’s being given. And, (hangs head) I follow them on Twitter.

My goal over the next few weeks is to see how @QuickieReads and @WireMamma can work to deliver meaningful content to the twitter-sphere. I promise to strive to deliver meaningful news, and not random observations about cleaning out the fridge. Give me a follow… We’ll see where we go, and return to analyze the results one month from tomorrow…which, incidentally, is All or Nothing‘s release day.

By Another Name… Excerpt

“Hello?” The familiar, deep voice called out. Her stomach dropped to her knees. Kade. He was here.

The metal baking sheets clattered to her feet, a crescendo of orchestra cymbals. How did he find her? “Back here!” Lee’s voice cracked.
She knelt, gathering the metal baking sheets together. Suddenly, he was helping pick up the mess. Their shoulders brushed. He was so tall. His rich auburn hair looked like he’d just rolled out of bed, his cheeks rough with at least two days of beard. Had Kade always towered over her, so? He’d certainly never looked at her this way.

His sea-foam eyes sparkled. She might as well have been a three-course meal for a starving man. He seemed to eat up the sight of her with those heavy lidded eyes, making her blush to her roots.

“Lee’s Treats, huh…?” His gravely voice played a symphony on her eardrums. “Let me help you.” He easily freed the trays from her shaking hands.

Lee’s pulse zinged at his half-smile. Her emotions ran the gamut as she snapped, “It’s okay. I’ve got it.”

Kade stood to his full height and frowned, and then blinked through whatever clouded his expression. He merely held the heavy baking sheets as if they were pieces of paper.

One by one, she retrieved her trays, laying them on the stainless steel prep counter. “I’ll take that, please,” she said, the last one becoming a tug-of-war match between them.

He held on to it like a shield. “Must be fate. Or a God thing. I only came by because my sister…and here you are!”

“Sorry. We’re closed.” She yanked again. He smirked, pulling her towards him. “Have dinner with me. Tonight.”

Lee closed her eyes in silent prayer. Lord, did you send him here to taunt me? “Give me the tray, Kade.” She tugged.

Or coffee, if that’s easier. We can do whatever you want.” He pulled.

“Just give it to me, already!” She shouted.

“Or, that…but, I didn’t peg you as that kind of girl…” He laughed aloud, and she let go, scalded with the dripping innuendo.

Lord, his sideways smile is going to kill me. Dead. On the floor. Head in hands, she sighed. “The tray. Just lay it on the counter. Please.”

His generous mouth twitched in amusement as he did as she asked.

“Well, thanks for dropping in. I’ve embarrassed myself enough for one day.” Heat radiated from her cheeks to the top of her head. She must be three shades of red, by now.

“You saved me. Buying you a latte is the least I can do.”

She eyed the purple bruise at his hairline, biting her lip. “I don’t suppose you’ll leave me alone until I say yes.”

“Think you know me that well already?” His eyes were positively dancing.

Was it possible that he didn’t recognize her?


Purchase your copy:  By Another Name, now available at White Rose

Thanks f0r stopping by!

First Review – By Another Name

Thanks, all who participated in our little Easter Egg Hunt! The prize winners are noted in the comments of Saturday’s post.

In other news!

I must share with you all a lovely review I received for By Another Name from “You’ve Gotta Read Reviews!” My reviewer gave it a “You Need to Read” level – which is marvelous! Here’s a little tease – head on over to read the full review:

By Another Name is such a touching and pleasurable read. I don’t think there is one person who wasn’t taunted in one form or another in high school…I really felt for Kade’s character… Directly or indirectly, he was responsible for some of her past and he would do anything in his power to fix what had been done.

…Ashley Elizabeth Ludwig did an exceptional job relating to the reader. The story had characters that I really enjoyed and the message was perfect… I recommend this book to all those who love to read a super sweet love story with very real emotions. It’s a story of forgiveness, love and the fact that when you get older, yes, you really can have what you desire.

One of the fears of an author is letting your stories go — and be read or not read, enjoyed or “flung against the wall” by your readers. This one had me happy dancing today. Thanks to Val and to You Gotta Read Reviews!

For more information on how to get your own copy, shoot me an e-mail: – or head on over to

Happy day!

What does Easter mean to you?

Happy Easter Weekend, everyone!

Welcome friends – new and old!  It’s Holy Saturday – April 11, 2009 – and this year I’m celebrating with the release of my Rosette – By Another Name – Now Available at

Can I tell you how AMAZING it feels to write that? This is my first true release -And, in celebration, I’m offering An Easter Lily Spring Cleaning Giveaway in honor of my characters! (see today’s contest information for what YOU CAN WIN at the bottom of this post…)

I had the pleasure of being interviewed earlier this week at Romance Junkies – along with my fellow Easter Lilies. I was asked about the theme of this story — Redemption — and what it really means to be redeemed.

By Another Name – Blurb:

What happens when a reformed high school bully falls for the girl he tormented seven years earlier? When Kade Sinclair crashes into the girl of his dreams, she quickly wrecks his heart. Not one to take no for an answer, he pulls out all the stops to win her over. What he learns changes his life forever.

Rosalee Timmons is coming home. A single mother, new business owner, and the object of the most popular guy in town’s attention–starting over will be the biggest hurdle of her life. She may be hiding behind a new name, but that doesn’t heal the old scars on her wounded heart.

When Kade realizes that confident, aloof Lee is actually little Rosalee Timmons all grown up, it seems he hasn’t a snowball’s chance. But when opportunity knocks, he finds a way back into her life. Will Lee accept an apology seven years in the making, or will Kade give up before she finally gives in?

Perhaps because the path I’m walking in this life has taken several jigs and jags, I’ve had to “do things over” a time or two. Like the kids game. I watch my daughters do the time honored tradition of the “do over” as they play pretend. They don’t care for the way things are headed, so they shout! “do over!” and move on in a different direction.

Check my “About” page if you want to see where I’m coming from – spiritually – but what I’d like to share with you all is this: Easter is the perfect time for Do Overs. Spring Cleaning of the soul…It’s a time for righting old wrongs, or at least facing them. It’s about checking your heart. And most importantly, about making amends.

So, if I might be so bold, I invite you all to check your own hearts… see if there is an area of your own life that needs renewal — a do over of your very own. Sweep out those old cobwebs, clean out those closets & drawers, and throw open the blinds! let some sunlight shine onto your soul.

You Found It!!!

You Found It!!!

In honor of my character Rosalee “Lee” Timmons – a phenomenal caterer in her own right – I’m delighted to give away a “Chef’s Delight” package!

All you have to do to win is comment by Monday Morning! either your favorite family recipe, house hold cleaning tip, or if you are so inclined – a moment in your own life where you realized you needed a do-over!  All names will be entered! TWO winners will be selected!!!

Enter to Win A Chef’s Delight – GRAND PRIZE:

  • A Cooking Gift Basket – Surprise cooking odds & ends AND my EXCELLENT (highly coveted) Scone Recipe
  • I’ll also be giving away a copy of each title from the Easter Lilies Bouquet:

  • Under the 5th Street Bridge
  • Wildflowers In Bloom
  • By Another Name
  • Remember! Join the blog hop for our ULTIMATE grand prize.  Find all 4 sparkly Easter Eggs…  Put some more romance in your basket by visiting Sharon Donovan at the next post in our blog hop tour tomorrow – April 12th, 2009: http://sharondonovan .blogspot. com

    If you’ve missed any part of our blog hop – start over here:

    (FYI -to my Inspy friends – my fellow blog-hoppers write in all heats or romance – so be advised! and blog-hop at your own discretion! – They’re lovely people, and excellent authors in their own genres… each and every one.)

    Good Luck! and have a happy Easter…