Reader’s Edyn

I always felt like I could do something more than just read. Finally, I have found both a creative outlet and a chance to do something meaningful with my reading. This blog was created in appreciation of and tribute to all of the authors who have brought me joy through their books. These reviews are my way of giving back to authors and providing recognition for the hard work that each one completes every day!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Blog Post with author Victoria Danann

Blog Post with author Victoria Danann

Hello again to all of my wonderful peeps! Continuing the catchup craze today with author Victoria Danann. I had her scheduled for a promo post, but came across some other materials for the tour an found something that I thought you would all find interesting. It is a post created my Ms. Danann entitled The Art Of The Review. It is packed full of interesting information that many of you, especially bloggers and reviewers, will very likely enjoy reading about. So let’s kick back and relax while I tell you about Ms. Danann’s book and her thoughts about reviews. Please allow me to introduce to the blog:


For the past fourteen years, Victoria has illustrated and authored Seasons of the Witch calendars and planners for
Though works of fiction are a departure for me, I have had this series simmering on the back burner of her mind for years. In addition to authoring and illustrating Seasons of the Witch, I play rock music and manage one of Houston's premier R&B/Variety/Pop bands.
This series will include some of my actual experience in the paranormal with fictionalized anecdotes from my journals during the years when I was a practicing "metaphysician", but most of the material is fantasy.
You can find out more about Ms. Danann in the following places:

~~ By Victoria Danann

There was a time when the purview of book reviewing was limited to a very small and exclusive club of literary critics who wrote for newspapers or magazines. Those highly prized jobs were few and far between and were bestowed upon only the most qualified journalists who had passed a series of tests. The first rung of the ladder required a degree in journalism and, often, a double major in English as well. The second step was years of dues-paying tasks that were much less glamorous and desirable. If a candidate survived the business until a spot opened up, they might be offered a probation period with permanent assignment dependent upon satisfactory performance.
The book review revolution coat tailed so closely with the rise of as to virtually coincide. The first wave came in the form of Amazon customer reviews. For the first time, any individual was able to publish their personal opinion anonymously without vetting of any kind.
Although Amazon publishes "General Review Creation Guidelines", I doubt that many have read them. The bulk of the remarks dedicated to guidelines deals with "what's not allowed". What I would like to quote here is the section on tips. Keep in mind that this section is not exclusive to book reviews, but includes products as well.

Amazon. Com's Tips on writing a great review:

Include the "why": The best reviews include not only whether you liked or disliked a product, but also why. Feel free to talk about related products and how this item compares to them.
Be specific: Your review should focus on specific features of the product and your experience with it. For video reviews, we recommend that you write a brief introduction.
Not too short, not too long: Written reviews must be at least 20 words and are limited to 5,000 words. The ideal length is 75 to 500 words. Video reviews have a 10-minute limit, but we recommend 2 to 5 minutes to keep your audience engaged.
Be sincere: We welcome your honest opinion about the product--positive or negative. We do not remove reviews because they are critical. We believe all helpful information can inform our customers’ buying decisions.
Full disclosure: If you received a free product in exchange for your review, please clearly and conspicuously disclose that that you received the product free of charge. 
The Rise of the Blog
"Like cream, the best critics rise to the top in terms of readership/followers/subscribers."
The second wave of upheaval can also be attributed to the innovation of The explosion of self-publishing created a coexisting demand for self-marketing which created a demand for more book reviewers.
Should blog reviews carry more weight than customer reviews? The answer to that question is definitely yes. Sometimes. Anyone can put up a blog within minutes and call themselves a book reviewer. Some of the larger sites attract reviewers with the lure of free books and require absolutely nothing from them other than a name, email, and, perhaps, what genre they would like to review. In the case of a blog, there is no newspaper or magazine editor vetting the reviewer for you, you are left to your own devices to discriminate. The good news is that seems to be working in many cases. Like cream, the best critics rise to the top in terms of readership/followers/subscribers.
The good thing about customer reviews is that, again, while individual reviews may not be worthwhile, numbers usually prove true. I can look at the number of total reviews (regardless of rating) then look at the publication date and predict whether or not it's a good book. If a book has been out for six years and has two reviews, it's probably not going to be memorable in a good way. On the other hand, if a book has been out for a year and has a lot of reviews relative to other books within the genre, it means that many people were moved by that book to take the extra step of returning to the purchase page to register their opinion. Again, cream rising to the top.

An Author's Review of the Reviews System
Speaking as myself, for myself. Many would say I'm going where angels fear to tread, but, hey, I'm no angel.
1.) My biggest complaint hinges around the question of summarizing which often includes SPOILING!! There's a reason they call these plot giveaways "spoilers". I may spend months perfecting a turn in the story that could potentially give a reader a surprise jolt of pleasure. You, as a reviewer, can ruin that in two sentences and thirty seconds. Please believe me, if given the choice, I would much rather you trench my lawn or egg my house. You may think you're providing a service to other readers by revealing the plot twists or outcomes, but you're not. To other readers, it's simply selfish, thoughtless, and inconsiderate. To the author, it's disregard and disrespect.
A review isn't a middle school book report. A good review isn't a summary to prove you "really" read the book. If the book should be publicly summarized, I assure you the author of that book could do a better job than you. There's a really good reason why they didn't.
People do say things in reviews that they would not dream of saying to someone in person. They also say things they wouldn't say if they knew their name was going to be on it - their real name. What's wrong with that? Well, hiding behind anonymity brings out mean spiritedness in some people.
In the days when the only published critics were legitimate literary critics, their names (real names) were proudly displayed on their columns. They took responsibility for what they wrote and knew that they might be out to dinner one night in New York and run into the person whose work they reviewed. That didn't mean that all reviews were good. It just meant that there was a measure of accountability.
Authors are all too aware of the fact that our worst reviews are often written by other authors who establish "sock puppet" accounts for the solitary purpose of bringing down a book's rating.
One last thing regarding my host. Night Owl Reviews, as a collective, has mastered the art of the review in the sense that the reviews are well thought out, informative, and entertaining without crossing the line of giving away the point of reading the book. NOR is part of the new elite of literary critics - bloggers who can be relied upon to review for the benefit of readers.
On my own blog I have listed some of these and Night Owl Reviews is among them.
My first book of the serial The Order of the Black Swan, My Familiar Stranger, has just topped the milestone of 100 FIVE STAR reviews. It is available for FREE download from Amazon, B&N, iTunes, Smashwords, KOBO, and Diesel. The second book, The Witch's Dream, is available exclusively at Amazon. The third book, The Summoner's Tale, will release Valentine's Day on Amazon along with a three book collection edition that will release everywhere in electronic form.

**The Order Of The Swan, Book 3**
ISBN: 978-1-933320-67-0
ISBN: 978-1-933320-80-9 Paperback
Coming Valentines' Day 2013

A secret society, a witch, a psychic, vampires, modern day knights, heroes, elves, fae, assassins from another dimension, and fairytales come together where emotions intersect. Two souls, joined by a mystical bond, separated by distance, must simultaneously struggle through pain and darkness in an ultimate confrontation with character and an ultimate struggle for life proving that true love waits patiently through lifetimes and finds courage to survive. Even in the strangest places. Even when you're least expecting it. Even when you're far, far from home.

Chapter One, The Summoner's Tale
The plural of vampire is vampire.

When the rush of activity subsided, he found himself alone with his own thoughts; a condition that was more than familiar since he had spent hundreds of years that way. Without the distraction of his friends' banter, since his proposed staff had left Edinburgh, he had begun to see his task not just as a job, but as a mission, one immersed in the duality of joy and gravity.
He had never considered himself to be impatient. Quite the contrary. Everything he had ever pursued in earnest, from painting to music to writing, had depended upon patience. But, his awareness of the enormity of the burden he had accepted had grown over the past months and he had turned to brooding about the time that was passing.
Every day that nothing was accomplished was a day when more people had their humanity taken from them, another day when vampire remained imprisoned in bodies infected with the foulest disease imaginable, and, also, another day when people died.
The project was moving painfully slowly. Everyone who had originally been assigned to work with Baka was gone: married, retired, whatever. Everyone except Heaven - who had turned out to be anything but.
The large work space, intended for several people, seemed deserted with him alone most of the time. He worked from early in the morning till late at night, challenging both the hours in the day and the fact that he was one excruciatingly short-handed task, force leader.
When Heaven was present, her moods ran the range of a shallow bell curve from disagreeable to surly to sullen. He admitted that he had provoked her on their first meeting, for reasons that were a mystery to him. Something about her instantly put him on edge and made him feel anxious.
Even though that feeling persisted, he had attempted to make amends so that they could work together amicably, but his attempts at accord had failed miserably. She was prickly to her luscious core, spurning every effort on his part to develop a rudimentary standard of civility. No matter how many times he tried.
He not only had to work with a person who detested his very presence, but, adding insult to injury, it seemed he couldn't shake an inexplicably strong attraction to her. He found himself staring at the curve of her cheek when her head was bowed over work. Or the shine of her chestnut hair when she walked through a ray of morning light. Or the way her lips pursed in protest and disdain whenever he gave her something to do.
It was damned aggravating and, ro make matters worse, he seemed to have lost interest in pursuing other women which really wasn't like him at all.
She behaved as if simple courtesy was more than she could manage. That meant that "nice" was a goal way too distant. He knew it wasn't her nature in general because he had often watched her from across the dining hall as she laughed and interacted with other associates and employees of The Order in a manner that was open and unguarded. He found himself wondering how it might feel to have her turn the sunshine of that smile his way or, even better, to angle that smile up at him while she pressed her beautifully packed curves against his body.
He was staring at the clock on the wall, waiting for the separation ritual to begin. At exactly fifteen after five, Heaven checked her wristwatch, closed an open folder, pushed her chair back, stood up, shoved her arms into her sweater jacket, put her purse on her shoulder and, like every other day, started to walk out of the office without so much as a passing glance angled his way, much less a wish for goodnight. But, that night his voice stopped her when she put her hand on the door pull.
"Yes?" she asked over her shoulder.
"Why do you hate me so much?"
She didn't hesitate for an instant before answering, "I don't hate you. Whatever gave you such an idea?", in her crisp British accent that hinted of a touch of posh.
Before he could frame an answer to that question, she was gone. He heaved a big sigh. Fuck me.
Life had become a conflict with no prospect of resolution. He perpetually struggled to concentrate when she was there because the space seemed to vibrate with a low level, but annoying irritation. When she wasn't there, he hated it even more.
Baka had been a person with a well-developed sense of morality and a well-functioning conscience before he became a vampire. During the last hundred years of life as a vampire, having survived long enough to blessedly recover his understanding of right and wrong, he had voluntarily allowed himself to be taken into custody by The Order hoping that they would put an end to him. But they devised a far worse punishment. They decided to keep him alive on artificial sustenance so that, on occasion, he could serve as "consultant". Of course that also entailed imprisonment and many decades of a solitary life.
No. He had never been short on conscience. And that conscience was rubbing a hole in his brain telling him that it would be wrong to simply sit at a desk and plan a strategy on paper while, at the same time, doing nothing. So, keeping his own counsel, for better or worse, he determined that he would continue to work as a bureaucrat during the day, but would spend his nights - at least part of them - looking for others he might help back to the light.
He had worked with Monq at Jefferson Unit labs to develop a delivery solution. Taking a page from the methodology of the late Gautier Nibelung, they had decided that the safest and most effective approach would be dart gun. Each dart was outfitted with a tiny canister that would puncture on impact releasing a formula that was part stun and part cure. The proper dose of stun solution had been determined by tests on Baka himself. So he knew it worked. First hand.
Obviously vampire must be incapacitated while the viral antidote works. As medicinal remedies go, it is fast working, but not instant. There is a delay of two to four hours between introduction to the system and complete reversal of the disease, depending upon the age and constitution of the individual.
His plan wasn't perfect. It depended on encountering one vampire at a time and extracting him, while paralyzed, without engaging other vampire. Tricky, but the alternative was waiting for a task force to be vetted, assembled, and trained. And waiting was the one thing he couldn't manage. Maybe it wasn't the smartest thing he'd ever done, but, hell, he'd had a long life.
 To his advantage, he still had certain attributes that were extra human. Not like comic book heroes. More like human plus. No one knew if these benefits would fade away over time, but, for now, he was a little stronger, a little faster, and could see in the dark a little better than most people. All traits very useful for vampire hunting.
It just so happened that he found his assigned base of operations in prime territory that qualified as a vampire magnet on all counts. In Edinburgh's Old Town there was a large pedestrian population that came out at night and it was built on top of an underground system that was not utilized to any extent that would interfere with the needs of vampire. All this was literally in sight of his office - five minutes' walk away.
In a darkly poetic way, it was fitting that vampire would thrive in Edinburgh's underground city which consisted of a system of tunnels, caverns, and cells cut into the much softer sandstone under the rock that the above-ground Old Town is built upon. It's a place with grisly history where thousands of hapless poor lived in darkness, packed together without sanitation and with the vilest of criminals. Plague victims were not removed and buried or burned, but just sealed in their cells.
Modern day Ghost Tours offer a shallow excursion - shallow because individuals don't want to stay in the underground very long. Words like "creepy" are frequently used even by hard-core insensitives. That leaves miles of maze for a vampire haven.
Baka had been a vampire long enough to know all about how they think which was why he had been so valuable to The Order as "consultant". He knew that the days of the Beltane festival would be a gorge fest for vampire. The Royal Mile, just over the heads of vampire living in the Underground, would be crowded with visitors to the city, visitors intent on celebration and revelry, danger being the last thing on their minds. It would be a blessing to vampire in the original sense of the word which was bloodletting; when, as a rite of passage, young pagans would stand in a pit under a grate where a bull was sacrificed and bathe in the blood that fell.
So Baka finished his day, went to dinner alone, and slowly savored every bite of his of actual food. Afterward, driven by a heartfelt desire to do some good in the world, he pulled on a pair of cargo pants and equipped the dozen pockets with as many canisters as they would hold. He opened his backpack and stuffed it with two not-for-sale-on-any-market, rapid fire dart guns that each held five revolving canisters, a thinsulate, a lighted helmet guaranteed to give fourteen hours of use in exchange for three AAA batteries, and six pair of handcuffs.
When he put the handcuffs in side zipper pockets he wondered if he was being ambitious, prideful, or just plain stupid. It gave him pause, but, when weighed against the burden on his heart, his second thoughts didn't carry enough weight to stop him. So he ignored the foreboding of his own intuition and proceeded with the plan.
He descended the stairs to the main foyer wondering if, even partial redemption for a long life of misdeeds, is possible. The fact that he was not accountable for his infamous history should have given him some peace of absolution. But didn't. He said good evening to the doorman, threaded his arms into the backpack straps, and headed out into the night.  

And for those of you who are unfamiliar with the first two books in the series, here is a little info:

**The Order Of The Swan, Book 1**
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: 7th House
ISBN: 978-1-933320-49-6 E-Book
ISBN: 978-1-933320-77-9 paperback
Number of pages: 360
Word Count: 111,268

Thirteen times on Amazon Best Seller List in Fantasy Romance.
A secret society, modern day knights, and vampires come together for a once in a lifetime adventure and a once in a lifetime opportunity proving that true love can find you in the strangest places, even far, far from home.
Minutes ahead of inevitable assassination, Elora Laiken is forcibly transported to an alternate dimension similar, but not identical, to her own.
Of course a girl could suffer worse problems than having gorgeous suitors. Perhaps more importantly, in the midst of an epidemic of vampire related abductions, can she stay alive long enough to choose between an honor debt, true love, or the breathlessness of single-minded passion?
My Familiar Stranger is a full length, stand alone, Paranormal Romance novel that also sets up the foundation for the Black Swan series. It is loved by fans of paranormal romance, fantasy romance, and urban fantasy.   

Buy Links:

**The Order Of The Swan, Book 2**
Genre: Paranormal Romance / Paranormal Adult Fantasy / Urban Fantasy
Publisher: 7th House
ISBN: 978-1-933320-56-4
ISBN: 978-1-933320-63-2
Pages: 300 -5×7 book
Word Count: 100,000

Amazon BEST SELLER Fantasy Romance.

From New York to Ireland to Edinburgh to Siena to the Texas Hill Country to Napa Valley, a secret society, a witch, a demon, a psychic, a berserker, an ex-vampire, modern day knights, heroes, werewolves, elves and fae come together where emotions intersect. The story maps a trail from rages to hunts to epiphanies, but, in the end, proves that true love can find you in the strangest places, when you're least expecting it, even when you're far, far from home.
He was left behind when Elora Laiken made her choice. Now he’s had it with love, but a transplanted witch who happens to be the world’s best tracker hopes she can change his mind.
The Witch’s Dream begins with B Team on temporary assignment to Black Swan headquarters in Edinburgh where they are supposed to fill in for stretched-thin resources and assist with a werewolf issue. They’ve been given permission to stop in Ireland for a few days and help celebrate a handfasting at the palace in Derry.
When they reach Edinburgh, the afterglow of an elftale wedding quickly turns all business. A missing person report turns into a demon abduction. A simple werewolf sanction becomes a diplomatic issue requiring the one thing Elora is no longer willing to give - finesse.

Buy Links:

So tell me what you think! How about that Review article? What about the books? Have you read any of them before? Are you looking forward to the release of Book 3? It only has about 3 weeks left now. Are you familiar with Ms. Danann? What about these books draws you to them? I always welcome your thoughts and comments.
I want to thank all of you for spending some time with us today. I hope that you enjoyed getting to know a bit about Ms. Danann and her books. As always, if you like what you read here today, please support this author and buy her books. You can probably also pre-order Book 3 by now. I will see you all soon! And remember … until next time …

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