Tag Archives: Book Review

New Author Education from Lauren Carr


Lauren Carr, top-selling mystery author, has a new book in the works: Authors in Bathrobes. It is a down-to-earth tutorial for the new author. It will be  available before Christmas on Amazon.

I want to share an excerpt from her book that describes where I am in the publishing process. It is an educational eye-opener for the new author who has a publication-ready manuscript and wants to know what comes next.

ARC: Advanced Review Copy

When you traditionally publish, approximately three to four months before a book is released, the publisher will send out advanced copies of books to publications, reviewers, or even celebrities. Authors will sometimes offer ARC’s as giveaways or prizes for fans.

The purpose of this advanced release of the book is two-fold:

The reviewers are able to read the book and provide reviews, which will come out at the same time as the release. This is how big-named books by major authors have hundreds of reviews posted, sometimes even before the book is released. Big publishers will send out hundreds (sometimes thousands) of ARC’s, also called Uncorrected Proofs, to get the publicity ball rolling. The reviewers know that they are reading a proof, so they are forgiving of typos and errors.

Meanwhile, the author is reviewing the book for any last-minute errors he or she may catch.

Because I am a new author and do not have a staff of editors to do the work of editing for me, I am s-l-o-w about getting my changes made. I grossly underestimated the time it would take to proof and correct my book manuscript.

Lauren’s book will help you avoid lots of mistakes that beginners make. Watch for it. It is coming soon!

 

A Writers of the Desert Rose Cafe Member Releases a Book


George Johnson photoGeorge Johnson is a member of the Writers of the Desert Rose Café. A year ago, the group published an anthology, available on Amazon.com. In it, there are several stories by George, including an especially funny one about an on-the-loose snake.

Publishing short stories pushed George to take the next step and release his novel  Acre. George tells us a bit more about this story in his own words below.

     The recently published book ACRE written by George Johnson brings out the purity and wholesomeness one expects when looking for a book to just relax and read for complete enjoyment.  The cover catches the eye of the average sports fan; however there is more inside that makes for pleasant sit-down reading.

     The life of a teenage boy, intermingled with normal family activities certainly enforces a repeated adage that if you have a goal you can achieve it if you work hard and do not give up.

     Losing his sweetheart Sharon and his dear friend Homer tears at the reader’s heart strings making him want to read more. Achieving various awards keeps the flow of excitement going throughout the book as Acre goes from a teenager to a young man.

     There are thrills, excitement, sadness, tragedy, love and family devotion that challenge the reader to not set the book aside until complete.  ACRE is a perfect book for any home or school library, and very suitable for any age, male or female.

What sets George’s stories apart is the lack of cursing or four-letter words. It’s hard to find a G-rated author, but anything written by George is safe to hand to any child. George is a former school teacher, so he’s sensitive about keeping children protected from the harsher things in life. He figures life will expose kids to that soon enough, so he doesn’t have to. For those who are hunting a clean read, pick up George Johnson’s stories in either Writers of the Desert Rose Café, An Anthology or Acre.

George Johnson was a late starter. He penned Acre, his first book, after retiring from teaching. Click on book cover to purchase on Amazon.

 

George Johnson and a Baseball Tale


Congratulations, George!

George Johnson is a member of Writers of the Desert Rose Cafe, the writers group to which I belong. He recently released his first novel Acre. I’ve excerpted part of a review from HuntingtonNews.Net. Let’s read it and see what WE can learn to improve our own writing:

BOOK REVIEW: ‘Acre’: A Fable About a Baseball Player Who Seems Too Good to be True

Tuesday, June 4, 2013 – 18:10Reviewed by David M. Kinchen
 BOOK REVIEW: 'Acre': A Fable About a Baseball Player Who Seems Too Good to be True

George Johnson’s “Acre” (Acorn Book Services, trade paperback/available as a Kindle eBook, 288 pages, $15.00, available from Amazon.com, Powell’s books, Barnes and Noble and other online book sources) is about a baseball player who seems too good to be true, playing in a time when $35,000 a year was a good salary.

Growing up in Delaney, Utah in the 1940s and early 1950s, Acre Thomas Tulley knows he’s destined to play major league baseball, specifically for the Kansas City Royals. But since this is a fantasy — it has to be! — It’s an alternate universe Kansas City Royals. I didn’t think the Royals were around in the 1950s, when a $35,000 yearly salary was considered excellent. I turned to the trusty Google and Wikipedia — two wonders that didn’t exist when Acre was practicing hitting in the batting cage his father built for him — and learned that the K.C. Royals were a 1969 expansion team in the American League, along with the Seattle Pilots.

But since this is fiction, just let the words flow and enjoy this tale of a remarkable young man, who, after he joins the team on a year-to-year basis, decides he’s going to play for ten years, then marry Willa, his sweetheart, and attend Utah University. Does Acre Tulley keep to his plan, despite the Gold Gloves, the All-Star Game appearances as a second baseman, the adulation, and the money? Management at the Royals wishes Tulley would play forever: He’s a seat filler and fan favorite and a .400-plus hitter.

I’m not going to give away the plot points, other than to say to know Acre is to love him. He devotes time to visit terminally ill young people in hospitals, including an admirer named Homer Dweed (get used to weird names, the book is full of them!), a cancer patient at Children’s Hospital. Acre Tulley is paying for Homer’s treatment in an arrangement that Homer’s single mom doesn’t know about. Did I say he’s too good to be true! The scenes where Acre and Willa visit Homer are guaranteed to bring tears to your eyes.

If you’re a baseball fan, you’ll love this book, especially as the All-Star Game nears. If you’re not, you’re in luck because Johnson provides a glossary of terms. . .

Acre. . . may remind you of Bernard Malamud’s 1952 baseball novel (and the excellent Barry Levinson film version) “The Natural.”

About the Author
George Johnson is a retired elementary school teacher from Prince George’s County, Maryland. He thought about “Acre” for two years before he finally put it in writing. Then it took him three years, off and on, to complete it and put it in print. Being a late starter, George completed his second book of fiction called Timber. Acre and Timber are brother and sister. Timber took him two years to complete. At the present time he is putting together a collection of short stories he has compiled over the years. George lives in Hagerstown, Maryland with Sharon, his wife of fifty-four years.

Notice the criticisms:

First, the reviewer says George’s character Acre is too good to be true. I was privy to criticism George received from Acorn Book Services before the book was published.  The publisher made the same observation. The author chose to keep Acre as he is. That is the writer’s prerogative. That choice did not escape notice by the reviewer.

Second, the reviewer catches factual errors in George’s novel. The baseball team George writes about did not exist in the year George sets his story. Oopsie! The lesson for authors–check your facts. Do your research. Or get caught, as George did, with your pants down.

These lessons aside, the reviewer liked the characters and the story. That’s a tremendous achievement for an author’s first novel. George deserves a pat on the back. May I be as fortunate when my first novel hits the critic’s desk.