Fox Shorts

I spent a good share of the spring and summer writing a great many words but not getting much published. However, some of what I wrote is actually pretty good, and I realized this morning that some of these turn into decent short stories.


Over the course of the next few weeks, I will be publishing a number of shorts. Generally speaking, these are portions from the beginnings of various Fox novels, but they stand alone just fine as well. I have a short or two that Michaela wrote and at least a couple that Elisabeth wrote. These will be listed as being part of the Fox Shorts series.

These stories will eventually (with luck and work) make their way into novels.

I also have a few other short stories to put out. I'm not sure what yet. I'll post here with periodic updates so you know what to look for. Or if you drop me a note, I can add you to my mailing list.

I believe the first short will be "Hunting Pups" and will be available tonight (Thursday) or tomorrow.

About Reviews

I've talked about reader reviews on Amazon before, but I'm going to take a little time and do it again.

When people email me, I frequently nudge them to write reviews of the books they like. Some don't need a lot of nudging, but many do. I recently exchanged emails with a very solid supporter who admitted she was shy about reviewing because she didn't feel her reviews were elegant.

As both an author and a reader, here's my position about reviews.

If you are able to write elegant reviews, great. I've had some amazingly elegant reviews of some of my novels, telling me things I didn't know. These reviews are deeply appreciated.

But I'll tell you right now -- that's not a skill I have. I couldn't have written those reviews.

So -- please -- don't worry if you're elegant in how you write a review. That doesn't matter. If you liked my books, then pop over to Amazon, click on the 4 or 5 stars, and then find something to say about it. I'll give you some ideas.

  • I really enjoy everything this author writes, and this novel is no exception.
  • I am looking forward to the next book in the series.
  • I will continue to buy more books by this author.
  • I couldn't put it down
Comments like this help other readers. They say, "This person enjoyed the book." That's more than silence.

Now, if you want to step it up a little bit...

  • This book made me think.
  • This book made me happy / feel good.
  • I cried.
  • I liked the way the author (insert something)
  • This book really drew me in
You get the idea.

Now, when I read reviews, I don't like to see spoilers. Exception: if you feel the blurb is misleading, that's a different issue. (If you believe one of my blurbs is misleading, please let me know so I have the chance to fix it. I admit I'm not the best blurb-writer.) You don't need to rehash the plot. In fact, both as an author and a reader, I don't want reviews that rehash the plot.

You can, however, talk about the things I did especially well. If I made you fall in love with a character, feel free to say so.

Think of it this way: if you were going to recommend my book to a friend, what would you tell her?

Negative Reviews

What if you disliked a book? Well, if you dislike a book because it hit a pet peeve or wasn't what you were looking for then I might suggest you shouldn't leave a review. Negative reviews directly affect an author's livelihood, and you really have to decide if it's fair to have that impact.

But if it's a bad book -- for whatever reason -- that's something different. Then it's fair to leave a 1-, 2- or 3-star review. In my opinion, a book has to be truly miserable to be worth 1 star. 1 star basically means, "This author is horrible". I have very, very occasionally left 1-star reviews, and in nearly every case, the author didn't know how to write a sentence. Even a few books I could not finish got 2-stars from me, if it was just a "I didn't like it" problem.

But let's say one of my books just didn't do it for you. Well, you could just drop me a quiet note. But if I'm asking for positive reviews, I have to be willing to accept negative reviews. After all, not every one of my books is going to be worth 5 stars. So what sorts of things could you say?

  • I usually like this author, but this book didn't do it for me
  • I thought this novel was just a regurgitation of (some other novel)
  • I thought the blurb was horribly misleading, and I wouldn't have bought the book because I don't like reading books about (whatever this book is about)
  • This book contains (some plot element), and I just don't like books that include that

Here are some other things, but I know none of my books would ever earn these (grin):

  • This book is so poorly edited I couldn't finish it. (Please don't write this if you found an error every 30 pages. This is what you say when there are errors every page, or ever few pages, enough to truly impact your ability to enjoy the book.)
  • This person needs to go back to high school English and learn about sentences and paragraphs.
  • The characters are shallow and uninteresting.
  • Plot? What plot?

Final Comments

I'm not trying to tell any of you what to write or when you should review. I'm just trying to nudge some of you who are intimidated by leaving a review. You don't have to be. If some of the things I've written above are fair, then copy and paste them into your reviews. You don't need to be creative and unique when you review. You need to help other people decide if the book is worth reading.

Note also that (apparently) a lot of people buy books based on how many reviews it has. I joined BookBub, and they frequently say, "Over 500 5-star reviews on Amazon." I don't see any of my books earning that distinction (plus I'm really left wondering whether those are honest reviews vs. fakes).

But if you want to support your favorite authors, buy their books and rate them when you're done. 5 stars and some cut and paste phrases to let others know, "this person liked the book. I might, too."

Seer: Published

I hit Publish on Seer today, Tuesday afternoon. The book should be available worldwide by Wednesday morning, possibly sooner.

Teaser from Zoe

"I got tased."

"What?" said Michaela.

"Well, the governor's wife was vexed with me. Maybe she shouldn't have worn fur to a rally of environmental activists, or, as she called it, expletive tree-huggers."

Teaser from The Fox

"Cheese it!" Michaela said. "It's the fuzz!"

Wolf Watch is Doing Very Well

Thank you to everyone who has continued to support my writing. Wolf Watch is doing very, very well at Amazon. As I write this post, it's in the #2 slot for lesbian romance. Click the link:

I noticed this last night and was pleasantly surprised. I'd received email that someone had left a comment, so I went out to read it and had an "Oh my god" moment when I saw the standing. This isn't the first time I've had a book in the top five, and every time I see it, I'm left with feelings of gratitude and joy.

You see, I was seven when I wrote my first book. You can imagine what a powerhouse it was at seven years old. It took over 40 years before I began to publish, and I continue to find it a marvel.

So, to all of you. Thank you.

Characters with Flaws

I try to make my characters real. Real people have flaws.

I try to put some diversity into my characters. That means some are younger, some are older.

I'm not as good at either of these as I would like, but I'm working on it.

Why do I bring this up? Well, I read some of the reviews on some of my books. I read a review of Fitting In where the reviewer complained about how Nikki talked to the kids. Nikki admits flat out in the book she's not real good with kids. She has her flaws -- flaws the author intentionally put into her.

Another reviewer for The Interrogation complained because the MC was too old to be "hot".

I'm left shaking my head. As an author, the temptation is to make our characters perfect. But people aren't perfect, and perfect characters don't have, well, character. If anything, I tend to make my characters too perfect, not sufficiently flawed.

I'm not sure what it says when reviewers complain when I successfully give my characters flaws.

Comments? Drop me a note.

Seer Update

I finished the first draft of Seer: Thrall last night. That means I feel free to finish polishing Seer and publishing it. So expect something Real Soon (probably later this week).

Seer: Thrall will be out by end of the month.

Wolf Watch is Published

I just hit Publish on Wolf Watch! Amazon takes 12-24 hours for a book to go live on their store, so expect it by Friday morning.

I am very pleased about this book. I have wanted to write something from Elisabeth's point of view for a long time, and finally I have.

I have two teasers for you. First, the cover:

And the opening:

I couldn't remove my eyes from the video. I played it over and over.

"She's stunning." I said that at the end of each showing. Then, "Who is she? I have to meet her! Oh my god, look at her move. She's stunning!"

Finally, I began planning.

Elisabeth Update

Okay, so... I posted a day or so ago that I had a series of shorts about Elisabeth. I started writing Tuesday.

I just finished the last page of what was supposed to be three 10,000-word shorts. Instead, I have one 70,000-word novel.

Since Tuesday.

It needs editing, but I think you'll enjoy it.

For those who have been wondering, I've had trouble writing. I've been flitting between ideas and not writing with my traditional verve. Well, the muse came back this week.