You’re #Following All Wrong & Open Your Damn DMs! @RRBC_Org @RRBC_RWISA @Tweets4RWISA @NonnieJules

Hello, friends! Some of us are failing at connecting on Twitter. Here are a couple of pointers to get you on the right track. Stop running your readers away!

Watch Nonnie Write!

It is a must that I share my thoughts today. You see, I’m all about helping my fellow writers and authors.  I believe in the “each one, teach one” motto – I work it and I live it, so when I find something that might be beneficial to you, I share it.  In turn, I hope that you will share it with others, as well.

I’m on Twitter more than I’m on any other social media platform, and what I am noticing about some of you authors, is troubling me to my core.  I’m laying out those troubles down below in two points.

Point #1:  You’re following all wrong.  I see Twitter bios that read “I only follow authors.”

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I cringe.

Here’s my problem with that.  Those people who you are shunning because they don’t wear an author hat, are also readers.  So, when you proudly post, “I’m not…

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Pat Garcia in “WHO’S ON THE SHELF” w/ @NonnieJules? – @Pat_Garcia @RRBC_Org @RRBC_RWISA @Tweets4RWISA #RRBC #RWISA

Hello, and welcome to “WHO’S ON THE SHELF?” with yours truly, Nonnie Jules! Since we are a book club, you know we had to offer something that included a bookshelf. A lot of interviews merely cover an author’s work or an individual’s career stories. Here on this “SHELF,” we get down and dirty and ask the questions no other interviewer dare ask. We ask the questions that you want to open up a book and find the answers to on your favorite authors and fellow book club members, but, no one has dared to cover them. We get personal! Because, when you sit on this “SHELF,” YOU are an open book! Even if I have to pry you open!

Today, we have a very special guest on the SHELF with us, RRBC  member and our October “SPOTLIGHT” Author, PAT GARCIA! 

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NJ:  Before we get started, are you comfy?  We’ve made a few changes, and I want to ensure they are to my guests’ liking.

Pat:  I love it up here, Nonnie!

NJ:  Let’s start by confirming whether or not your author name is your birth name or a pen name.

Pat:  My author name, Pat Garcia is my penname, but it is within my real name.

NJ:  Tell us where you were born?

Pat:  Blythe, Georgia USA

NJ:  Do you still live there now?

Pat:  No

NJ:  What city and state are you calling home these days?

Pat:  I am an ExPat living in Grosskrotzenburg, Germany on the European Continent

NJ:  Married, single, happily divorced?

Pat:  I am Single and very happy.

NJ:  Any kids?

Pat:  No kids

NJ:  Any pets?

Pat:  No, but I did have a cat for 22 years.  His name was Clay.

NJ:  What breed of cat was Clay?

Pat:  He was a beautiful normal jet-black cat with green eyes.

NJ:  What’s the food that’s so good to you, you go to bed dreaming about it, and you forego breakfast just to get to it?

Pat:  I know it’s not a food, but I dream about coffee and would probably go on a hunger strike if I couldn’t have it.   I don’t dream about food, but like you, I do need my coffee in the morning.

NJ:  Yes, I will admit that I have to have coffee, but only because it compliments the creamer that I need.  So, I have coffee with my cream, and not the other way around.  Pat, what’s your favorite color?

Pat:  Can I choose two? I love red and green.

NJ:  Well, I only asked for one but since you already gave two….

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What’s your favorite sport?

Pat:  Soccer

NJ:  Favorite TV Show?

Pat:  Bridgerton

NJ:  Favorite Actress/Actor?

Pat:  Tyler Perry

NJ:  Oh, I’m not a fan of his.  Pat, do you like to exercise to stay fit OR do you not mind walking around with a beer belly?

Pat:  I like to stay fit and have a membership in a fitness center near me.

NJ:  Good for you.  During this pandemic which we are all living through right now, what is the one thing you find that relaxes you and calms your mind and spirit?

Pat:  Reading a good book with a scotch on the rocks.

NJ:  Well, that sounds like a party to me!  What’s your favorite kind of music?

Pat:  Classical, R&B, Country, Gospel, Jazz, Blues, Worship music

NJ:  Favorite song?

Pat:  Man of La Mancha – To Dream The Impossible Dream

NJ:  I LOVE THAT!  BRAVO! BRAVO! BRAVO! Now, slow dance or jumping around the floor making a fool of yourself?  Which is Pat?

Pat:  I love both. When I hear music, I dance. I love dancing.

NJ:  In 15 words or less, what is the most common thing that the people who really know you,  ALWAYS say about you?  For instance, everyone who knows me all say:  “You always know where she stands on things,” OR, “There’s not another like her in the world,” OR, the one I’m most proud of, “God broke the mold with that one.”

Pat:  The Germans mostly say that when God made me, he didn’t make but one.

NJ:  OK.  Biggest pet peeve that makes you want to spit nails?  (For the record, NJ does not condone violence, but she does believe in being honest, so she admits that there are those times and there are those people, who do cause her to want to spit a few nails in the direction of their foreheads.  Just being honest.  It’s the only way I roll).

Pat:  I’m usually a person who is always trying to protect the underdog. I don’t like seeing another person being taken advantage of.

NJ:  Good for you!  So, are you neat or messy?

Pat:  In my office, it is totally chaos, but I do try to keep the rest of my home neat.

NJ:  Sounds like my office – right now, it is total chaos.  My first job as a receptionist, my mom bought me a sign that read:  A clean, uncluttered desk is the sign of a sick mind.  Well, if that’s the case, we should all be glad to know that my mind is extremely healthy.  Pat, some of us have been encountering people lately who appear to be sweet, kind, and gentle sheep on the surface, but then, there comes a time when they make the mistake of letting their ‘real’ shine through – I’m referring to their real not-so-sweet, their real not-so-kind and their real not-so-gentle.  Have you run into any of those kind online?

Pat:  Plenty of them.  But I do my best to not let it bother me.

NJ:  So have I, Pat.  So have I.  Shall I name names?  OK, I won’t.  Coke or Pepsi?

Pat:  Coke

NJ:  Diet soda or regular?

Pat:  Regular

NJ:  Who do you favor most:  Nonnie Jules or Wonder Woman? Be honest.

Pat:  Nonnie Jules

NJ:  We all know that Wonder Woman has her truth lasso and Nonnie has … well, just her truths, in the no-nonsense way she forces us to be honest and tell it like it is, whether it makes others uncomfortable or not.  In your opinion, which one does a better job of making the world a better place?  You can be honest here, too.

Pat:  Honestly, I don’t know who Wonder Woman is. Nonnie is the only one I know out of the two, and I like Nonnie the way she is. She’s one of a kind. (And I mean that positively!)

NJ:  Thank you, Pat 🙂 Name two favorite INDIE books that you’ve read by RRBC members.

Pat:  Only two? That’s going to be difficult.

NJ:  Here we go again.

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Pat, please try.

Pat:  The latest one I read was The Altar Boy.

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NJ:  ONE good INDIE book you’ve read written by an RRBC member that was so good you wished the entire world would read it.

Pat:  No Pedigree by Nonnie Jules

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NJ:  I’m glad you enjoyed it.  Thank you.  What did you find so great about it?

Pat:  The pure honestness. I like that the author didn’t shy showing how it is to be raped. She used the language of the time. There were no cutting corners around using certain words that depict the horror of the young girls situation.

NJ:  That was my intention – to ensure that readers felt the intensity of the crime.  Pat, after you read books, do you post reviews?

Pat:  Yes, I do, but I admit it takes me some time. Usually, I read anywhere up to ten books, make notes, and write up the reviews later. And that later means really later because I am a writer who has to write six days a week.

NJ:  Good for you, and I hope you’re the kind of reviewer who protects your reputation so fiercely that you always review honestly.  What do you think readers should base their reviews on, Pat?

Pat:  On how they honestly perceive the story. Not every story is for everyone. You’re bound to write a story that people are going to take offense to, if you plan on writing significant stories.

NJ:  Are you one of those who are afraid to be honest in their reviews lest the author gets upset with you, or is honesty your best policy, especially in reviews?

Pat:  Honesty has always been my best policy. I know I look at a book different than most readers. For example, I don’t check punctuation in a book. If the sentence styling is great, I am not going to gig a book because they left out a comma. I do have a problem with words being left out. That is more critical than a forgotten comma.

NJ:  Good for you.  I notice it all – missing words, misplaced/missing punctuation, which by the way,  can throw an entire read off if it happens enough times in the read.  Read any poorly edited  or poorly written books lately?

Pat:  Yes, I have and they have been written by traditional and indie writers.

NJ:  Of course!  Traditionally published authors make the same mistakes as Indie authors, but what I’m finding from books that have been traditionally published is the authors feel that those editing their books, are so much better than smaller {Indie} editors, and so they don’t take the time to read up after their books have been edited by these editors.  I’m finding a ton of traditionally published books where the editing is downright sad.  I say stick with the Indie-published books!  Pat, how many poorly written or poorly edited books have you read that you gave high marks to in your reviews, when you knew they didn’t deserve the high marks?  Be honest, I won’t ask you to name the books here in public.

Pat:  I am not worried about naming the books. There are books where I have given high marks to because I enjoyed the story. When you say poorly written, I am thinking verbs didn’t agree with the nouns, missing words in sentences, sentence styling sucks, dangling modifiers all over the place. When I get a book like this, I usually write the author pointing out the mistakes. I DO THAT! And I have gotten back some good responses and some bad responses. Either way, I don’t put those books up on my book review blog and I don’t send them in to Amazon or any other place either. That is my prerogative. If I pay for the book, then I decide whether I am going to post the review. I don’t like blasting authors. It is hard enough out there. We don’t need to blast each other.

NJ:  Pat, telling the truth about a book you’ve read isn’t blasting an author – it is telling the truth about a book.  I have said a thousand times, for those who take the time to notify us about issues found in our books before posting a review, God bless them, but, no reader OWES us that courtesy.  Let me repeat this so that everyone in the back hears me:  NO ONE HAS TO NOTIFY US OF ANY ISSUES FOUND IN OUR BOOKS BEFORE THEY POST THEIR REVIEWS.  We should be thankful for the ones who do, but for the ones who don’t, we should also be thankful that they spent their money and their time reading and reviewing our books.  And I’ll also say again, when we aren’t honest with authors about their books, we are harming them… not helping them.  Sometimes it takes for you to post your honest review publicly for them to take a  step back and realize that they should give their book another look.  You have to have a thick skin to call yourself an author – if you can’t stand the heat, stay far away from the kitchen.

There are some INDIE authors who have come onto the scene and have given our literary playing field a new look.  Can you name two INDIE authors who have done this in your eyes?  And, how have they changed the field for us?

Pat:  Eloise James was an indie author when she published Fifty Shades of Grey.  She gave the Romance world a new honest look and has given us the courage to be more honest about the intimacy that goes on between couples.

John Fioravanti wrote a book, REFLECTIONS, INSPIRATIONAL QUOTES & INTERPRETATIONS has written a book that causes people to think more intensively. To go inside of yourself. To take time and slow down.

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NJ:  Are you an author?  If so, are you a good one? C’mon, we love honesty here.

Pat:  Yes.  Yes, I am.

NJ:  How long have you been writing?

Pat:  I started writing stories in my own scribble at three years of age. But I started really writing in the first grade. I was five years of age.

NJ:  This is the most important question that you’ll get here today.  Are you able to take constructive criticism of your written work?

Pat:  Yes, but it didn’t come easy. I grew into it. I knew I wanted to be one of the best and the only way I was going to reach that plateau was to learn how to take criticism. I say criticism because I don’t think anybody is able to see it as constructive at the beginning. You learn to discern whether the person who is criticizing your work mean it for good.

NJ:  How do you handle negative reviews of your work?  Are you able to shake them off and move on?

Pat:  Yes, I am able to shake them off and move on. I have had lots of negative criticism about my writing. When I wrote Turn The Light On, one of my friends thought the woman should be a Caucasian. She was highly upset that I had chosen an African American. She told me that people don’t want to read a story about a black woman. (And she meant it.) And then she said to me, “other than that the story is excellent.” I decided that I would distance myself from her and I did.

NJ:  Pat, please say your kidding?  Who let that crazy loose?  Gee whiz.  Name two books that you’ve written…

TURN THE LIGHT ON

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A SHARED DREAM

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I’ve only written two books so far, and I am working on the third, and a fourth one is sitting somewhere in Cambridge waiting on a decision.

NJ:  Do you have a blog or website?

Pat:  Yes, I have blogs.

NJ:  I love GREAT blogs, so would you say that yours is written well enough for harsh critics like me to enjoy?

Pat:  I think so.

NJ:  Which online resource or organization has helped you as an author the most?

Pat:  As a resource, i.e. blurbs, book covers, editing, book trailers and tours RRBC.

NJ:  How were you helped by them?

Pat:  If it had not been for 4WillsPublishing, Turn The Light On would not exist as we now see it. The team was fabulous. They delivered outstanding work.

NJ:  Thank you, Pat!  I am proud of the work that’s done at 4WillsPub.  Since you’re sitting on the SHELF, you’re obviously a RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB member, so what do you think of the club?

Pat:  Magnificent group of writers and the administrative team that is supporting the writers is awesome.

NJ:  Thank you, Pat!  Paula will be pleased about that praise.  Have you come across any other online entities like RRBC?

Pat:  No, because I haven’t been looking.

NJ:  Pat, RRBC is OFTEN imitated but has NEVER been duplicated (no matter how hard they try… and they do try) so even if you were looking, you wouldn’t find our model ANYWHERE.  #Fact.  Would you recommend it to your friends and family?

Pat:  Yes, undoubtedly.

NJ:  Are you a member of the prestigious RWISA?  If so, what do you think of it?

Pat:  Yes, I am a member of RWISA. It is a pleasure to be among the writers there.

NJ:  What’s your most favorite program or place here within RRBC?  (#PUSHTUESDAY, RAVE WAVES Shows, Writers’ Conference & Book Expo, BOOKS OF THE MONTH discussions, “ON THE SHELF” interviews, etc.)

Pat:  I like all of the above and participate in most of them, but you have asked me what is my favorite program, and I have to say that it’s working on THE PIPELINE. I know it’s not a program but a magazine, but when I am preparing the sections, I’m assigned to do, I feel good. I like working on this team.

NJ:  Pat, we appreciate you being part of this team.  Thanks for all you do!  Well, this shelf is getting hard on my hiney so we’re going to wrap this interview up.  Any final words for our reading audience today?

Pat:  Yes. It has been a pleasure talking with you. RRBC has become a heart thing for me. We have great people here and it is an honor to be among them. Thank you.

NJ:  Thank you, Pat, for joining me today – it was such a pleasure to have you.  Visitors, I ask that you pick up a copy of either of Pat’s books above. Please be sure to leave her a comment below as she loves to chat!

Have you joined RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB yet?  Well, here’s your chance!  And, since Pat was on the “SHELF” today, tell them she sent you.

Until next time, take care.  We’ll see you again soon, right here on the “SHELF” with another INTERESTING GUEST!!!

The President’s “Spotlight” – Who Shone Brightest This Time? @1rburkey @nonniejules #RRBC @RRBC_Org @RRBC_RWISA @Tweets4RWISA

As the President & Founder of the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB, I am always looking for ways to spotlight our most amazing members – to bring attention to their awesomeness that I am witness to.  

Today, I’d like to put the spotlight on a member who is coming up on their 2 year anniversary with RRBCAuthor, Rox Burkey!  I am anxious to tell you why you should watch and follow her lead closely.  

These are the things that make her so special in my eyes…

  1. As a fairly new member, Rox jumped aboard our RAVE WAVES Team as the host of not one, but two shows!  She quickly made the EYES ON THE BOOK Show hers early on, and with amazing flair she co-hosts the LET’S TALK ABOUT IT Show monthly with fellow member, Guy Worthey;
  2. If someone is on a blog tour, you will find Rox at every stop if not almost every stop, with the most insightful comments.  You know she’s read the material there;
  3. She never fails to show up and support THE PIPELINE Magazine and the Team for all their hard work they put into it.  She reads and comments on every feature each month;
  4. She’s in the gallery during our RAVE WAVES shows, and when she is able, she shows up with her contributions to our monthly book club discussions;
  5. She’s an avid purchaser, reader and reviewer of her fellow member books.  I’m proud to say that she is on her way to becoming the next member of our illustrious “100 Club!”;
  6. She has the most generous, giving spirit and always seeks to bring joy to others;
  7. She’s very receptive to constructive feedback on her writing, and always seeking the knowledge to grow in the craft of writing.  This attribute, I appreciate and respect the most.

I’m sure there are many more reasons to love Rox Burkey, but, these are the ones that stand out to me the most.  I invite you to check out her books she has co-authored under the name of Breakfield and Burkey and to follow her social media (@1rburkey & @enigmaseries) which you’ll find on her RRBC Author Page.

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Rox, thank you for being so awesome – you’re generous, supportive and kind… all the attributes that make you stand out in my eyes.  You deserve the honor of being In This President’s “Spotlight.”

In The President's Spotlight! Rox Burkey

Are you a member of RRBC?  Why not?  You could be on the receiving end of this kind of awesome promotion next!  JOIN TODAY!

YOU COULD WIN $420 In Amazon Gift Cards! @RRBC_Org @RRBC_RWISA @Tweets4RWISA #WCBE21

Hello, followers!

Join me so that you can win, too!!!

Watch Nonnie Write!

Hello, Friends!

What’s going on in your world today?  Well, I’m spending my days perusing the 6th Annual Writers’ Conference & Book Expo!  Yes, this is the best place to be this weekend, and until it closes on Wednesday, August 25th… let me tell you why.

This virtual event offers so much fun and so many activities for the general public, that you’d be crazy to pass on not visiting!  The first attraction that should get your attention is that there are $420 worth of Amazon gift cards up for grabs, and all you have to do for a chance at having your name selected for each booth’s door prize, is to drop by, check out the (virtual) author booths, and simply leave comments!   It’s that simple!  Winners are chosen at the end of the conference from the pool of comments left in each booth!

You’ll also find…

SCAVENGER…

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Are You a Tweeter-dee, or, are you just a Tweeter-dum-dum? @RRBC_Org @RRBC_RWISA @Tweets4RWISA @nonniejules #RRBC #RWISA

Hello, Tweeters!  I woke up compelled to share this brief but very important tid-bit on tweeting today.  But, first I need to know – are you a tweeter-dee or, are you just a Tweeter-dum-dum?

Many of us (myself included) hopped onto social media and found ourselves in a deer in headlights moment.  Some of you joined Twitter years ago, and you are still standing in that very same moment today. C’mon, just admit it.

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Well, it’s time to stop staring at those headlights and get your butt on across that road!

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Photo by Aenic on Pexels.com

Before I just jump right in, for those of you who don’t know the difference between a Twitter handle and a Twitter hashtag, here is a quick legend:

@RRBC_Org is a Twitter handle

#RRBC is a Twitter hashtag

Now, here are just a few of my tips on “how” to tweet effectively…

  1. If you’re tweeting from someone’s blog post or a page on your site or someone else’s site, and you want others to retweet (share) the information as well, always include some Twitter handles in your tweet (i.e. @nonniejules @jacktheripper @canthandlethetruth, etc.).  It’s so easy to do and really increases the chances of that tweet getting more attention than little ole’ you can give it.  Merely add the Twitter handles of your followers.  They pop up as soon as you click the tweet icon from someone’s blog and begin typing with the “@” symbol;
  2. If you’re creating a blog post, ensure that your Twitter handles and hashtags are already included in the heading of the post.  That way, when someone tweets your page, the most important handles and hashtags are already there and ready to draw attention to your post.  Tweet out my RRBC Author Page and notice the information there, which I’ve included in my heading.  Now that’s an effective tweet!
  3. When you’re promoting someone else on your blog site, or just on Twitter, always include their Twitter handle in the heading of the blog post, OR if you’re sending out a tweet on someone’s book, etc., include their Twitter handle in the tweet.  If you send out a blog post or a tweet directly from Twitter in support of another and you don’t include their Twitter handle, they will never know you’re supporting them;
  4. Include hashtags in your tweets.  Now, don’t go stealing someone else’s hashtags.  For instance, if you’re not a member of the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB, don’t include the #RRBC hashtag in your tweets, or, our many other hashtags specific to our club.  It’s just plain rude, especially when you know better.  That doesn’t apply to just RRBC, though – that’s for any organization that has created a specific hashtag for their group.  (Some organizations might not mind, but extend the courtesy of asking first if the hashtag looks specific to an organization).  At RRBC, our members get credit for the books they read from our  catalog.  That’s the purpose of using those hashtags to bring attention to those books… so to make it easier, we ask that if you’re not a member of the club, please refrain from using our hashtags;
  5. If you’re sending out a quote, try using hashtags like #quotes #quotesdaily #quotestoliveby, etc.  When you do that, those hashtags bring greater attention to your tweets as there are people who search Twitter for such hashtags;
  6. If you’re an author and you write under specific genres, always include your genre in your tweets when promoting your book.  For example, poetry is one of the genres I write under, so when I’m promoting one of my poetry books or even a poem I’m sharing on Twitter, I always use the #poetry hashtag;
  7. When you’re promoting your book(s) or an event, create a hashtag for your book(s) or your event.  For instance, if you search Twitter for #NoPedigree, my short story, you will find a stream of tweets on my book.  If you search Twitter for #NJ12DaysOfAuthors, you will find a stream of tweets for that event, as well.  How about you try searching both and supporting both right after you leave here?  I’d greatly appreciate that and so would the authors in the “12 Days” series!  When I’m tweeting others, I tend to create tweets for their books, as well.  This is a great method when others are looking to support just your book or your event, and they can’t find any tweets on your timeline of your stuff, because you’re so supportive of others!  By the way, being that supportive of others on social media, is an awesome thing!
  8. Lastly and most importantly, before you retweet anything on Twitter, take the time to read the tweet first.  If someone is asking you to support their book, support their cause, or visit their blog, by all means, please do so.  No one succeeds in this world alone, so let’s all help each other out.  Another reason you don’t want to retweet something without reading it first, is you just might be retweeting porn, and if you’re not into porn or you’re a pastor of a church, I can see that mistake turning you beet red and leaving you open to a lot of questions when you realize the huge mistake you’ve made.

I hope this post will help you to become a better tweeter and yanks you right out of tweeter-dum-dum status.  It’s really not hard, at all, especially when you implement the tips above.  You don’t want to be on social media spinning your wheels for naught, do you?  Utilize these tips and watch your Twitter status improve immensely!

Until next time… let’s Tweet!!!

WELCOME TO #RRBC’S ’20 WC&BE SPONSORS BLOG TOUR! @RRBC_Org @nonniejules

Every year, the sponsors of our annual WRITERS’ CONFERENCE & BOOK EXPO, contribute to our event in such a huge way, that we want to take this time and other times throughout the year, to show them just how much we appreciate their kindness and generosity!  We ask that you support each book along the tour by visiting every stop and picking up a copy of each author’s book.  For each stop that you leave a comment at, your name will be entered into a drawing for a $20 Amazon gift card!  The more you follow along and comment, the more times your name goes into the pot! Lastly, before leaving each stop, please like the page and share to your social media platforms!

Thank you for your support of our Sponsors!

***

WINNER OF $20 AMAZON GIFT CARD: 

ANNETTE ROCHELLE ABEN

***

Monday, 4/12/21

“Sir Chocolate and the Condensed Milk River Story and Cookbook”

Tuesday, 4/13/21

“Appassionato”

Wednesday, 4/14/21

“The Altar Boy”

(Please pardon the break in the tour.  Day 4 will resume tomorrow)

Friday, 4/16/21

 “Crazy! Hot! And Living On The Edge!!” 

Saturday, 4/17/21

“Breathless”

Sunday, 4/18/21

“The Enigma Ignite”

Monday, 4/19/21

“When Can I Stop Running?”

Tuesday, 4/20/21

“Apollo’s Raven”

Wednesday, 4/21/21

“Open, Shut”

(Please pardon the break in the tour.  Day 10 will resume tomorrow)

Friday/4/23/21

“The Enigma Wraith”

Saturday, 4/24/21

“The One Discovered”

(Please pardon the break in the tour.  Day 12 will resume tomorrow)

Monday, 4/26/21

“Sir Chocolate and the Strawberry Cream Berries Story and Cookbook”

Tuesday, 4/27/21

“No Pedigree”

Wednesday, 4/28/21

“Cherries”

Thursday, 4/29/21

“The Enigma Beyond” & “The Enigma Threat”

Friday, 4/30/21

“Amulet’s Rapture”

Saturday, 5/1/21

“Bravura” & “Cadenza”

THE END!

The winner of the $20 Amazon Gift Card will be posted here on Monday, 5/3/21!  Good luck, everyone!

Robbie Cheadle in “WHO’S ON THE SHELF” w/ @NonnieJules? – @bakeandwrite @RRBC_Org #RRBC

Hello, and welcome to “WHO’S ON THE SHELF?” with yours truly, Nonnie Jules! Since we are a book club, you know we had to offer something that included a bookshelf. A lot of interviews merely cover an author’s work or an individual’s career stories. Here on this “SHELF,” we get down and dirty and ask the questions no other interviewer dare ask. We ask the questions that you want to open up a book and find the answers to on your favorite authors and fellow book club members, but, no one has dared to cover them. We get personal! Because, when you sit on this “SHELF,” YOU are an open book! Even if I have to pry you open!

Today, we have a very special guest on the SHELF with us, RRBC  member and our March “SPOTLIGHT” Author, ROBBIE CHEADLE! 

Picture for Whose on the Shelf

NJ:  Before we get started, are you comfy?  We’ve made a few changes since you were last here, and I want to ensure they are to my guests’ liking.  

Robbie: I love the design of the eagle carrying a book. The eagle signifies inspiration, victory, speed and pride, all of which are important qualities for writers.

NJ:  Well, thank you.  I’m glad you like our new logo.  I designed it myself!  Let’s start by confirming whether or not your author name is your birth name or a pen name.

Robbie:  I use two versions of my name for publishing purposes: Roberta Eaton is my maiden name and Cheadle is my married name. I use Roberta Eaton Cheadle to publish my YA and adult books and Robbie Cheadle to publish my children’s books and poetry.

The reason I use two versions of my name is to prevent confusion. I wouldn’t like someone to purchase an adult book under the mistaken impression it was for children.

NJ:  OK.  Makes sense.  Tell us where you were born?  Do you still live there now?  If not, what city and state are you calling home these days?

Robbie:  I was born in Knightsbridge in London, UK. My biological father died of a heart attack when I was three months old, and my mother decided to move to South Africa. Her sister, Wendy was living in Johannesburg and she offered to take care of me while my mother worked.

NJ:  I’m so sorry to hear about your father, Robbie.  I, too, lost my father early.  Actually, I’ve never met my father.  He died while my mom was carrying me.  So, are you married, single, happily divorced?

Robbie:  I was married for 20 years on the 9th of February 2021.

NJ:  Robbie, we have so much in common already.  We’ll have to chat after the show.  Any kids?  What kind? Do you like them?

Robbie:  I have two sons, Gregory and Michael.  I am very fond of my children … most of the time.

Gregory is a loner, very academic and introverted. He gets these characteristics from me. He is also mathematical, scientific, and logical – he does not get those characteristics from me. He always asks me to test him on his IT, science, and maths. I concede, but I have told him that I think the person who donated the maths gene should suffer through testing him on these subjects – and it’s not me!

Michael is artistic and creative. He is also a last-minute Joe. He takes after me in the first instance and after someone else – maybe the milkman – in the second instance. It causes some interesting clashes to have a laid-back child like Michael living in the same house as three obsessive workaholics. We are lucky to have him to make the sun shine for us.

NJ:  They both seem extra special, Robbie!  But, that being said, if you’re not there already, when you’re old and cranky, which one will keep you at home to care for you themselves, and which one started seeking out the A PLACE FOR MOM franchise facility in your area when they were 9?

Robbie:  At the moment, Michael is planning to live in our house. His brother may continue to live in his bedroom [Michael, his wife, and four diverse adopted children will live in the other rooms]. My husband and I will live in the cottage where my parents currently live.

NJ:  Haha.  Well, at least there’s a plan in place already.  Any pets?  What kind?  They act like kids, too, so I have to ask the same question … do you like them?

Robbie:  Two cats reign on our property. Queen Push-Push bestows a visit on me when she feels she needs some petting. The rest of the time she ignores me and resides on my mother’s couch.

Queen Smudge only has eyes for my dad and follows him around like a dog. When he goes out, Smudgy cries for him until he gets home again.

NJ:  Robbie, I could coo and say something clever like, “Oooooo, how cute,” but, they’re cats, you know?  By the way, my daughter now has a cat and whether or not I’m moving over to the other side, is still up for debate in my home.  I can look at this cat, sometimes.  I still can’t look at other cats … so, there’s that problem.  Robbie, what’s the food that’s so good to you, you go to bed dreaming about it, and you forego breakfast just to get to it?  I know it’s not a food, but I dream about coffee and would probably go on a hunger strike if I couldn’t have any.

Robbie:  I am very fond of tea and would struggle to get going in the morning without it. I am not much of a foodie and sometimes I forget to eat if I am doing something very absorbing like writing. I enjoy making cakes for the artwork involved, but don’t have a very sweet tooth.

NJ:  WOW!  A cake maker with no sweet tooth?  That is so odd to me!  But good for you – can you imagine the pounds you pack on if you ate everything you made?  Robbie, what’s your favorite color?

Robbie:  Sunshine yellow

NJ:  Honestly, Robbie, you do remind me of sunshine!  That should be your nic-name – Sunshine!  Your smile is so warm and bright, it lights up the room for us virtually so I can imagine what it does for a real room!  Do you have a favorite sport, Robbie?

Robbie:  I am not very sporty, but if pressed would choose tennis.

NJ:  Oh, tennis is for me, as well.  How about a favorite TV Show?

Robbie:  I don’t watch TV, but I used to watch Friends. I would still be my favourite as I haven’t watched another series since.

NJ:  I loved Friends!  Phoebe, Rachel, Monica and the rest of the gang!   Favorite Actress/Actor?

Robbie:  Oooh, such a hard question when you don’t watch TV or movies. I like Olivia Newton-John in Grease. I wanted to be just like her when I was a girl.

NJ:  No way!  One of my favorite musicals – “You’re the one that I love, the one that I love, woo hoo hoo!”  We have way too much in common!  Do you like to exercise to stay fit OR do you not mind walking around with a beer belly?

Robbie:  I like to walk. Since the pandemic started, I have walked around my garden every day. I like to see the changes in the flowers, trees, and birdlife. I listen to audio books while I walk. I am currently nearly finished A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles.

NJ:  Good for you!  I am one of the few humans in this world who absolutely LOVE EXERCISE!  I’ve a full gym right inside my home so I never have to leave to take up any new anything in the exercise realm.  Robbie, during this pandemic which we are all still living through right now, what is the one thing you find that relaxes you and calms your mind and spirit, aside from walking?

Robbie:  I like to write; it is a meditation for me. I am transported away from my work and home and disappear into a past situation and life.

NJ:  OK, what’s your favorite kind of music?  

Robbie:  I like Broadway music

NJ:  Favorite song?

Robbie:  Open a new door by Angela Lansbury as performed in Mame

NJ:  Slow dance or jumping around the floor making a fool of yourself?

Robbie:  Jumping around the floor, although I did attend months of ballroom dancing lessons when I was in high school.

NJ:  In 15 words or less, what is the most common thing that the people who really know you,  ALWAYS say about you?  For instance, everyone who knows me all say:  “You always know where she stands on things,” OR, “There’s not another like her in the world,” OR, the one I’m most proud of, “God broke the mold with that one.”

Robbie:  How do you fit in all the things you do?

NJ:  Biggest pet peeve that makes you want to spit nails?  (For the record, NJ does not condone violence, but she does believe in being honest, so she admits that there are those times and there are those people, who do cause her to want to spit a few nails in the direction of their foreheads.  Just being honest.  It’s the only way I roll).

Robbie:  I am a perfectionist, so I get upset about small things that don’t bother other people, especially on the work front. My job is pernickety and detailed, and I get upset when people think it takes 5 minutes to update an entire spreadsheet and the related documentation for a stock exchange filing.

NJ:  Perfectionist, huh?  I resemble that remark!  So, are you neat or messy?

Robbie:  Neat

NJ:  Me, too!  The only messy place in my home is my office, but you have to remember that a clean, uncluttered desk is the sign of a sick mind and my desk is way messy!  Robbie, are you nice or mean?  Is that your perception of you, or is that what others think of you?  I’m mean and I know it.  There’s no sense in denying it, because if I did, it would be a lie.  I doubt that many refer to me as nice and I’m OK with that.  Quite often, people mistake your directness for something else anyway, and, I’m OK with that, too!

Robbie:  I can be both. I try to be nice, but I am sometimes mean. This is usually when I am stressed and overworked. I try to help people and am patient when showing people how to do things at work and at home. I get annoyed if people are lazy though, and aren’t motivated to embrace learning and personal improvement.

I have been called a philanthropist by my colleagues because I like to help people in need. I am part of my firm’s outreach programmes and my family also do our own private outreach for select organisations.

NJ:  Good for you, Robbie!  Some of us have been encountering people lately who appear to be sweet, kind and gentle sheep on the surface, but then, there comes a time when they make the mistake of letting their real self shine through.  Have you run into any of those kinds online?

Robbie:  I try to be understanding about people, and not judge them when they do something out of character or that I don’t like. As an outsider, I don’t know what is happening in someone’s personal life that could make them lash out or be upset about something that doesn’t bother me.

Social media doesn’t reflect the truth of peoples lives as people don’t hang their dirty washing out for others to see. They share pictures of the good things in their lives, but rarely the negative things. I had a friend who got divorced and never once had I seen any hint that all was not well between her and her husband on social media. All the photographs were ‘happy family’ types.

It is also much easier to write doubled edged comments on social media when you don’t have the person you are hurting visibly in front of you. These are the downsides of social media, but there are also lots of positives. Like everything in life, you must apply your mind and make your own decisions about things you see and read.

NJ:  That sounds sweet.  I just have a knack for seeing people for who they really are and not for who they would love for the world to believe they are. I call that my “gift” and it serves me very well.  Now, Facebook or Twitter?

Robbie:  They have different purposes and strengths and I use both. I believe I get the best from both too.

NJ:  OK. Snapchat or Instagram?  By the way, I use neither.

Robbie:  I have never tried Snapchat. I do like Instagram. I like the small peeps into peoples lives that photographs offer. I enjoy seeing pictures of flowers, places, and even food and drinks.

NJ:  Now we’re getting into the hard questions – Coke or Pepsi, Robbie?

Robbie:  It has to be Coke. Pepsi isn’t big in South Africa.

NJ:  Diet soda or regular?

Robbie:  Diet, but only 1 a day. I can’t say I limit myself with my tea though. I have about 5 cups of tea a day.

NJ:  We’ve come to realize that the internet is giving way to tons of budding friendships.  Who would you say is the one person you’ve connected with the most…your internet BFF or buddy?

Robbie:  Oh, Nonnie, I can’t give you one person. I have so many wonderful supportive friends in the blogosphere. I have found the writing, author, and blogging community to be a generous and supportive one and I have met many wonderful people.

I am in email contact with some of my blogging friends. I especially enjoy older people who have the time to share pictures and fun bits of information about their lives. I like that.

NJ:  Good for you, Robbie.  And you know what?  I enjoy the company of much older people than I do any other group of folks.  They have so much to share and their stories are always so interesting.  Who do you favor most:  Nonnie Jules or Wonder Woman? Be honest.

Robbie:  Ha! Well isn’t Nonnie Jules Wonder Woman?

NJ:  Well, I know that she used to be but, she’s getting way older now – not sure how much wonder is still left in that woman! 

Robbie, we all know that Wonder Woman has her truth lasso and Nonnie has … well, just her truths, in the no-nonsense way she forces us to be honest and tell it like it is, whether it makes others uncomfortable or not.  In your opinion, which one does a better job of making the world a better place?  You can be honest here, too.

Robbie:  I think that Nonnie Jules and Wonder Woman appeal to different groups of people. Wonder Woman is a fictional cartoon person aimed [I think] at influencing mainly young people to discover their truth and live a better life.

Nonnie, on the other hand, could positively influence young people, but her reach would be more among adults who have experienced more of life. I believe it is harder to make an impression on, and change the thinking of, people who are older as they have often been influenced by hardship and bad experiences. Young people are of an open mindset and embrace change with great passion. Older people are cautious and more difficult to shift in their ways. Of the two, Nonnie’s job is harder than Wonder Woman’s.

Robbie:  Thank you, Robbie.  By the way, I have mentored young girls since my eldest daughter was in 3rd grade – so, for about 25 plus years, I’ve molded young minds, believe it or not.  Name two favorite INDIE books that you’ve read by RRBC members.

Robbie:  Of my recent reads [end of last year and this year], the books by RRBC members which have impacted me the most are Mennonite Daughter by Marian Longnecker Beaman and The Jewel, a short story by Breakfiedl and Burkey.

NJ:  ONE good INDIE book you’ve read written by an RRBC member that was so good you wished the entire world would read it.

Robbie:  From a content perspective, it would choose Vanished by Mark Bierman.

NJ:  What was so great about it?

Robbie:  Mark deals sensitively, but revealingly, with the shocking topic of child trafficking. This is a terrible scourge in southern Africa and close to my heart. I can’t bear to think of children being mistreated like this.

NJ:  After you read books, do you post reviews?

Robbie:  Yes, always

NJ:  What do you think readers should base their reviews on?

Robbie:  I can’t comment on other readers review, but I base mine on the following 5 points:

  1. Uniqueness / importance of the topic and content. If it’s a fictional story, it should be unique and different. If it is a book with a non-fiction topic, like child trafficking or war, or a memoir, then it should be relevant and meaningful.
  2. Characterisation – How did I relate to the characters? Did I care about them and feel their pain?
  3. Use of language – Was the writing interesting and passionate? Did the writer care about the characters and themes of the book? Did this come across well?
  4. Research – Are there historical or other errors in the book? Was the author able to suspend my disbelief and keep me engaged in the story? Did the behaviour of the characters ring true?
  5. Formatting and editing – Were there errors in the book and was the formatting poor. These are things that distract me as a reader and are correctable. I feel it is necessary to mention poor editing or formatting as a warning to other readers who may find them more distracting than I do. This being said, if a story is engaging, I may miss these sorts of things as my eye jumps over them or automatically corrects them.

NJ:  Are you one of those who are afraid to be honest in their reviews lest the author gets upset with you, or is honesty your best policy, especially in reviews?

Robbie:  I do my best to be honest. As mentioned above, I read quickly and become very absorbed by stories. Things that may annoy other readers may not even blimp on my reading radar. My main objective when reviewing a book is whether I enjoy it and it kept me entertaining, informed, and engaged.

NJ:  Read any poorly edited or poorly written books lately?

Robbie:  No, none that have been very badly edited. Most authors seem to have ways of reducing editorial errors through writers’ groups, the use of private editing services, or Beta Readers. I have read a few books that have been disjointed and difficult to follow. The author has jumped around from scene to scene randomly with no common thread. It disturbs the flow of the book and sometimes the scenes never come together. This is more of a developmental editing point.

*How many poorly written or poorly edited books have you read that you gave high marks to in your reviews, when you knew they didn’t deserve the high marks?  Be honest, I won’t ask you to name the books here in public.

Robbie:  My ratings are largely driven by the quality and uniqueness of the story and the characterisation. I read for pleasure and rarely read a book that doesn’t teach me something new and interesting. I do not read with a writer’s hat on and things that might upset other author-readers do not bother me. I read a lot of classic books and those don’t follow modern writing rules. Many of them go into lengthily descriptions and do lots of telling and not showing, but that doesn’t deter from my rating or enjoyment of the story. Every person’s enjoyment of a story is individual and no two readers will express the same opinion about the same story.

NJ:  Robbie, I beg to differ on that last statement you made – I feel that readers can absolutely have the same opinions of one book.  Either they all notice the hiccups in a story, or they all notice none.  Either they all found that a book was a great read, or they didn’t. 

There are some INDIE authors who have come onto the scene and have given our literary playing field a new look.  Can you name two INDIE authors who have done this in your eyes?  And, how have they changed the field for us?

Robbie:  I think Nonnie Jules has provided an excellent platform with RRBC for Indie authors to learn and develop, meet other like-minded individuals, and also learn from reading and reviewing other writers’ books. RWISA is an extension of this platform for writers who have taken their involvement and learning to a higher level within the club.

There are a number of individual bloggers who have helped me significantly with learning how to blog and respond to comments, put together blog tours, and meet other authors, writers, and bloggers through participating in writing prompts.

NJ:  Are you an author?  Are you a good one?  C’mon, we love honesty here.

Robbie:  I am an author, but I am new to fiction writing having published my first children’s book in August 2016. I am learning and can see the progress and development from book to book. I have only recently launched my first adult novel about the Second Anglo Boer War (Great South African War). I am good at research and my pernickety job has stood me in good stead in the genre I believe is my niche which is paranormal historical. I have written several non-fiction publications for work purposes and learned a lot through the editing and publishing process these large volumes went through.

I believe my story ideas are good, my research is excellent, and my writing skills such as dialogue and showing not telling have improved significantly so I think I can now say my books are an entertaining read. I believe writing is an area where you never stop learning and improving.  

NJ:  How long have you been writing?

Robbie:  I have been writing fiction since about June 2015 and published my first children’s book in August 2016.

I started writing non-fiction publications in 2012. My job, however, has involved writing circulars, pre-listing statements, announcements and other formal documents for companies listed on the JSE Limited (Johannesburg Stock Exchange) since 2001. Prior to that, I wrote due diligence reports for use by transaction companies. Reading this over, I see that I have always written large documents.

NJ:  This is the most important question that you’ll get here today.  Are you able to take constructive criticism of your written work?

Robbie:  Yes, as mentioned above, my work has always involved a lot of report writing and documentation and have always been subject to scrutiny and commentary from other advisors including more than one set of lawyers and tax advisors as well as the regulators at the stock exchange. I have learned to accept feedback and comments as a necessary part of learning and personal growth. These same benefits apply to fiction writing and constructive criticism [or in my case developmental editing] from others.

NJ:  How do you handle negative reviews of your work?  Are you able to shake them off and move on?

Robbie:  Yes, negative reviews fall into two categories in my opinion. Comments and criticism that I can address and use to improve or comments and criticism that relate to aspects that are outside my control.

If the comments relate to editing or writing methodologies, then I take them on board and either correct my book [editing issues] or try and improve in the identified areas going forward.

If the comments relate to the genre of the book, its themes or plot, or things like late delivery by the retailer, then I consider them, but generally accept that not everyone will like my book and I can’t control all aspects of its sale.

NJ:  Good answers.  Name two books that you’ve written? 

Open a new door, a collection of poetry 

Open a New Door by Robbie Cheadle

Sir Chocolate and the Condensed Milk River story and cookbook 

Sir Chocolate and the Condensed Milk River by Robbie Cheadle

NJ:  Which one do you think is the best?

Robbie:  They are not comparable as one is for adults and one is a picture book for children. I like to think they are both enjoyable. The poetry book is special to me because it is specifically about life in South Africa and the poems discuss poverty, corruption, beauty, corporate live, and family life. They are quite personal and meaningful to me.

NJ:  Do you have a blog or website?  I love GREAT blogs, so would you say that yours is written well enough for harsh critics like me to enjoy?

Robbie:  I have two blogs and I have been trying to ensure I read my posts more carefully before sharing. I am making an effort to avoid silly writing mistakes and spelling errors caused by hasted. I was given some advice in this regard and an endeavouring to implement that advice.

NJ:  Good for you, Robbie!  Which online resource or organization has helped you as an author the most?

I belong to a few on-line organisations including:

RRBC

A writer’s group; and

An on-line book club

NJ:  How were you helped by them?

RRBC is a supportive club for authors and writers and provides a platform for learning about writing through its on-line writing conferences, and other programmes. Members can also meet and engage with new authors and learn about their books, as well as participate in on-line meetings to discuss reviews of various books. There are all useful opportunities and I have benefited from them all.

NJ:  Since you’re sitting on the SHELF, you’re obviously a RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB member, so what do you think of the club?

Robbie:  As mentioned above, I think RRBC is a supportive community of talented writers who work together, under the excellent leadership of Nonnie Jules, to provide a lot of interesting discussion groups and learning opportunities for members. As I’ve mentioned before, the opportunities are there for the members to grasp and make the most of, it is up to individuals to do that and become involved to the extent possible for them, given their own life situations and circumstances.

NJ:  Have you come across any other online entities like it?

Robbie:  No, I think RRBC is unique.

NJ:  We definitely are.  Many have tried to copy our model but there’s only one RRBC!  Would you recommend it to your friends and family?

Robbie:  Yes, definitely!

NJ:  Why, thank you, Ms. Robbie!  Are you a member of the prestigious RWISA?  If so, what do you think of it?

Robbie:  I have not yet achieved membership of RWISA.

From my perspective, RWISA is an extension of the comradery and support provided by RRBC, offered to people who have worked hard at fine tuning their writing and taking it to a higher level.

NJ:  I like your “not yet” …  that means you will one day join us.  I know of no other organization like RWISA where the standard of your writing is first and foremost regarded as top priority, so, I am extremely proud of RWISA

Robbie, what’s your most favorite program or place here within RRBC?  (#PUSHTUESDAY, RAVE WAVES Shows, Block Parties, Writers’ Conference & Book Expo, BOOK OF THE MONTH discussions, “ON THE SHELF” interviews, etc.)

Robbie: I liked the writers’ conference best. I learned a lot of new things during that period and met more members of RRBC.

NJ:  Robbie, it is our most anticipated event of the year.  Now, this shelf is getting hard on my hiney so we’re going to wrap this interview up.  Any final words for our audience today?

Robbie:  I hope that readers of this interview have enjoyed learning a bit more about me and my books and also the on-line platforms, like RRBC, which have helped me develop as a writer and learn about the craft of writing and about publishing and marketing.

Thank you, Nonnie, for this lovely interview and opportunity.

NJ:  Thank you, Robbie, for joining me here today – it was such a pleasure to have you again.  You were with me last October so it was a treat to see some of your changes .  Visitors, I ask that you pick up a copy of either of Robbie’s books above. Please be sure to leave her a comment below as she loves to chat!  

Have you joined RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB yet?  Well, here’s your chance!  And, since Robbie was on the “SHELF” today, tell them she sent you.

Until next time, take care.  We’ll see you in May, right here on the “SHELF” with another INTERESTING GUEST!!!

***

DISCLAIMER:  RRBC does not alter the writing of any guest who has participated in our interviews.  As we do not know the author’s intent in their writing, it is not our place to make any changes, therefore, we post material exactly as it is submitted to us.

ARE THEY ALL ‘REALLY’ 4 & 5-STAR REVIEWS? @RRBC_Org @RRBC_RWISA @Tweets4RWISA #RRBC

This was a post we ran in January of 20202 but I felt like it was a good time to dust it off and present it again.

We complain about Amazon a lot, don’t we?  Belonging to a community of writers and reviewers, the number one gripe that I hear most is, “Amazon has removed another one of my reviews!” Although Amazon has never been this nasty to me, I can fully understand someone else’s frustration with this issue.  I would be upset and frustrated, too, if it happened to me.  But, am I the only one noticing that some reviewers only read 4 and 5-star books?  I mean, how do they always get so lucky?

When I became a book reviewer, not even half of the books that I was asked to review came close to being worthy of 3 stars, let alone, 4 and 5.  And, although I had taken a break from reviewing the past couple of years because of my busy schedule (I’m reviewing again now), my review queue still never fell short of books for me to flip through.  Lastly, no matter how much I preached HONEST REVIEWS around my community, I continued to see that some weren’t grasping the sermon.

By now, the entire world knows how I feel about everyone being given the opportunity to publish any and everything.  Just as everyone wasn’t born to write or perform open-heart surgery, everyone can’t review books properly.  And, no matter how many times you hear otherwise, there is a right and a wrong way to do everything … even review a book.  Yes, I said that!

Some of you love to say, “But, what one views as trash, the next person might find to be treasure,” and although that might be true in some areas, it will never change the fact that if a book isn’t well-written (98% error-free) with realistic dialogue, believable characters, and a powerfully crafted storyline (an engaging story that won’t allow the reader to fall asleep while reading it), it doesn’t warrant a 4 or 5-star review.  Truth be told, if any of what I just mentioned is missing from a book, it doesn’t deserve even 3 stars from where I sit. So, why are more and more of these books being given such high marks?

The truth of the matter is … those who freely dole out these high marks aren’t any more special than you and me.  They are reading the very same books we are, but the only difference is, they haven’t quite learned how to review properly, OR, they are afraid of posting honest reviews.  Notice how I didn’t leave room for any grey area there – I didn’t, because there isn’t any.  This is a black and white issue – either you don’t know how to review properly, OR you’re afraid of telling the actual truth publicly about books you’ve read.  For some of you, I’m leaning towards the latter. It saddens me that there is terror behind being honest in a review.

When these so-called reviewers leave their 4 and 5-star reviews of every or almost every book they’ve read, it hurts all of us – and then we wonder why Amazon decides to pull or delay the posting of some of our reviews.  Maybe they’re seeing a pattern that doesn’t make much sense to them, either.

Maybe, like me, they question those reviews that are all 4 and 5 stars.  Maybe, like me, they know that there is no way on God’s green earth that every book we read can fall into this rating class, especially with any and everyone being allowed the honor of publishing a book today.

I may come across to some of you as being really harsh in regard to this topic, but, I make no apologies about the passion that I feel regarding this issue.  Why?  Because this affects all of us, not just some.  If you’ve been lucky enough to not have been a target of Amazon (yet), just keep breathing.  As long as there are those who continue to post reviews under the reasons that I have listed above, we’re all just sitting ducks waiting for the hammer to come down on our heads.

We all have negative feelings about Amazon, and especially about the power that they have and how they wield that power, but, I think they are catching on to the fact that a lot of these reviews are bogus as heck, and I for one, am excited about that.  Hooray!  Finally, I can point to something that Amazon is doing right!

When you review under the umbrella of non-truth or ignorance as I’ve laid out above, you’re also jeopardizing your reputation as a writer.  I can’t tell you how many authors who I once admired because of their remarkable acumen into the written word, have changed my opinion of them simply by a review that they have posted.  Now, because I admired these authors for their own written works, that led me to believe that they know what good/great writing looks like, but, it saddened me that they just couldn’t find it in themselves to be honest in certain reviews.  Out of fear? Fear of what?  Retaliation against their own work?  Fear that they would lose an internet-buddy?  Fear of an adult throwing a tantrum on social media over a review they received? Well, we’ve all seen it all. Whatever the situation, if you resemble the picture that I have painted throughout this piece, know that you’re causing irreparable harm to your reputation when you leave such reviews.

Have you noticed a trend of high marks in reviews lately? And do you feel that dishonest reviews hurt authors?

Well, If My Friend Can’t, I Won’t, Either! @RRBC_Org @RRBC_RWISA @Tweets4RWISA #RRBC #RWISA

Being President of the amazing RRBC & RWISA, I have no shortage of material to blog about daily. If only time would allow me the privilege. But, do know that once I commit my thoughts to this virtual paper, there’s a real lesson that’s about to be delivered.

How many of you can recall being in elementary school and refusing to play at recess because your friend who had been so disrespectful to the teacher, was made to sit out as punishment?

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I remember those kids, but for certain, I wasn’t one of them. If my friends got into trouble for behaving badly, you better believe they were on their own. I wasn’t missing out on hopscotch for any reason!

I have never been a follower. Leadership is in my blood. I came from a place where poor (bad) behavior was never rewarded, and that is the exact same way that I taught the many kids who have come up under my charge over the years. It’s also the way I lead my club of adults. Let me repeat that louder … my club of ADULTS. You see, when poor behavior is rewarded, it sends the message that it’s OK to continue behaving poorly, without having to worry about any consequences.

Once learning that their classmates were troublemakers, or unkind, or even taking part in bullying another child, my daughters would quickly move away from those kids, without Mommy or Daddy having to instruct them to do so. You know the spiel … “I don’t want you hanging around that little girl…”? Nope, not once have I ever had to have that conversation with my kids. They just knew.

Since jumping on social media, what I am seeing more often than I’d like to admit because it’s so embarrassing for the ones involved, is how some adults behave just as the elementary school kids I reference above. {Reference the black and white header photo above}. You notice that they are great followers, sometimes even blindly. But, what is mind-boggling, is how they will almost jump to their deaths to follow their “internet buddies,” committing professional suicide, all because of their “internet buddies'” poor behavior. Some of you are shrugging your shoulders at this because your reputation as a Professional doesn’t mean that much to you, right? Or does it?

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When you choose to not participate in, leave, or quit something because you’re following your “internet buddy” whose poor behavior forced them to go, that is weakness in its finest form. That shows that whatever your “internet buddies” do, you’ll do. It also shows an inability to stand on your own morals and on your own two feet. Lastly, it shows a lack of courage to stand in your own truth, lest your “internet buddy” chooses to stop being your “internet buddy.” (How old are we again?) And, are we really willing to risk it all for someone who exhibits that which we have repeatedly professed to stand against? If the response is YES, I suppose we stood against those ideals up until such time they began to clash with the sudden onset of poor behavior displayed by our “internet buddy.”

How about if your “internet buddy” said they were jumping off a cliff – are you jumping, too? Believe me, they are counting on you to follow close behind and it is comical when some of you do. (Take a lesson from this guy – he’s watched his friend jump and is looking down, shaking his head at the stupidity he’s witnessed).

Man looking over cliff

What about if you learned they failed their college courses and wouldn’t be graduating – are you going to turn down your degree, as well?

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Yes, this is how foolish it looks when you choose to lose or give up something good because of someone else and their poor behavior.

After having served as President of RRBC & RWISA for the past 8 years, there isn’t much that surprises me about some people anymore. At this point, I have seen it all and am able to call “it” before “it” even happens – “it” being the behavior and actions of some.

My daughters are adults now, but I still like to model the behavior I always want to see in them. That’s why you’ll always see me standing in my truths, and always deeply grounded in my Professionalism. And although I love you all dearly, I’m never walking away from, giving up, or leaving a good thing just so you’ll continue being my “internet buddy.” I would be embarrassed for anyone to look at me as being that weak.

I’m no longer a child, therefore, I packed away my childish ways along with the other nonsense from my childhood many, many years ago. Can you say the same, or are you also preparing to follow your “internet buddies” right off the cliff? It won’t be hard to recognize the ones who do.

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