Friday 28 February 2014

To Post or Not To Post: Negative Reviews

I got back from vacation last week (happy birthday to me, I got a gorgeous tan) and I returned with a crazy long list of books to check out as well as a finished novel sitting in my lap, waiting for a review. Admittedly I was in a state of shock which is why I haven’t actually written a review yet.

I didn’t like the book.

No, that’s harsh; this was the first time I had finished a book and found myself struggling to find enough positive attributes to not sound bitter when I talked about it. 

I’m still debating if and where to post the negative review brewing in my head which is why I wanted to reach out to my darling readers and ask you this question:

Do you post bad reviews?

I can imagine that it might have a yes or no answer for some of you but I think it might be more complicated than that. How diplomatic do we have to be if we want to tell the world (well, a tiny pocket of the internet) that we don’t want you to read a certain book? Can you post it to Goodreads and Amazon without sounding like a troll?

This is new for me. I’ve never read a book that I didn’t enjoy (or at least could bullshit my way through).

What are your thoughts on bad reviews? Do you think they are welcome/unwelcome? How far is too far?

I know I’ve got readers, writers and everyone in between hanging around here (and I love you for sticking around) so please feel free to chime in:

Where do you stand on bad reviews?

Wednesday 26 February 2014

Stalker Book Blast Guest Post

For the Stalkers Book Blast hosted by Itching For Books I have Bart Hopkins here to talk about his story: Donations.

Take it away, Bart!

Guest Blog Post – Bart Hopkins

Many thanks for letting me do a guest post today!

The bare minimum intro:  I’m an indie author.  A little luck, and friendly people, brought me to this blog, and if you don’t mind, I’ll cozy up, and tell you a story from my childhood.  I haven’t shared it with many people, but I find it (strangely) fun.

One time, when I was a kid, my mom and I were staying up late watching a movie.  I was maybe five years old.  The lights were dim and the sound was down on the television because my dad was asleep.

We heard a strange scratching sound at the window in our living room.  My mom turned on the light and spoke loudly at what she thought might be an intruder.  There was a clatter, then the sound of retreating footsteps.  We rallied the troops and inspected our front porch.

There was a glass-cutting device on the ground; a semi-circle was carved on the window.  We'd gotten lucky and thwarted a break-in.

After that, I had this recurring dream (nightmare) that would pop up every month or two for the next several years.  The frequency of the dream eventually tapered off, but it’s visited me a few times in adulthood.

I'm back in that childhood apartment, alone, and I hear scratching at the living room window.  In typical horror movie fashion, against logic or rational judgment, Dream Bart pulls the cord and opens the curtains wide.  Standing just outside is a bear, big and muscular, on his hind feet.  He walks and moves like a large man—not a bear.  He opens his mouthful of razor-sharp teeth and smiles at me ... taps his index finger claw on the window.

Tap. Tap. Tap.

Dream Bart runs, through the apartment, to the dining room.  There are no curtains on the window.  There should be, but there are not.  I stare for a moment through the glass, scared...

And—out pops the bear.

I continue running through the house and reach my bedroom.  I shut the door and lock it.  There is the sound of breaking glass in the house, and then silence.  I look around and the first thing I notice is that there are no curtains on this window either.  Dream Bart's blood runs cold as he waits for the bear to show his face.

But he doesn't.

I run to the closet and hide there.  Shrink into the corner.  Try to make myself invisible—part of the wall—and wait.

Silence.  Silence.  Silence.

And then awful laughter comes from just on the other side of the closet door.  It builds to a deafening volume and the door opens...

That's when I wake up—shaky—glad it’s over.

And, you’re thinking, what's the point of this story?  I don’t know.  Maybe that it scared the hell out of me for years.  In some twisted way, perhaps it even led to the pleasure I find in horror and thriller stories.  Which, maybe, just maybe, eventually led to this short story I wrote called Donations.

An Excerpt From Donations by Bart Hopkins

(Available in the anthology: Stalkers)
While Clarissa was at the library waiting for a patrol car to arrive, he was parked, waiting patiently, down the street from her townhome.
He pushed his right hand into the pocket of his jeans, let his fingers caress the treasure he had waiting there, and smiled salaciously.  He pulled his hand out of his pocket and removed two silver keys.
The first key was a copy of the other key.  He’d had it made earlier that same day…
…the other key opened Clarissa’s front door.
He smiled again.  He couldn’t believe his good fortune.
After watching her leave for work, he’d done a little poking around.  Most people kept a spare key hidden near their home.  He did.  So, he figured, maybe Clarissa did, too.
It only took him a few minutes to find it.  It was in a Ziploc bag, pushed into the loose soil of her potted plant; she hadn’t even buried it all the way.  He saw it almost as soon as he looked there.  It was as if she were begging for something to happen…
He knew her routines.  He knew she would be gone for a while.  Having her key copied was a walk in the park.  Like taking candy from a baby.
Placing her key back into the clear baggie, he jumped out of his car, and walked to her door.  Nobody shouted at him when he stooped down and pushed the key back into its pathetic hiding place.  No sirens sounded.  His actions went unobserved.
He took his copy and put it into the keyhole.  It twisted easily.
He couldn’t stop the smile from spreading across his face, stretching it so taut that wrinkles of concentric half-circles dominated his cheeks.  He was giddy from the excitement he felt.  The fact that she could come down the street any second only made it all the more exciting.


Bart Hopkins is originally from Galveston, Texas, but currently resides in Germany.  He has been an Air Force weatherman for nearly 20 years.

 He feels that his background in weather bridged naturally into the world of storytelling.  He hopes to one day achieve global peace through his writing—one individual at a time.

Bart has written two novels—Texas Jack and Fluke—and has a book of short stories, Dead Ends.  He blogs.  He’s on a permanent quest to find the time to be lazy.  Stalk him at or

Release date: November 26th 2013
Publisher: Indie Style Press
Purchase: Amazon

Shadows follow you in the darkness of the night and the eerie sensation of being watched crawls up your spine. Your sanity pulls apart at the seams as the terrors stalk their victims, leaving you too frightened to turn off the light.
These twisted stories will leave you breathless, dreading the horrors lurking around the corner.
Seventeen authors. Seventeen tales of terror. Infinite nightmares. 


Friday 14 February 2014

Katie Hamstead Tells All : Branded Blog Tour

I got to sit down with the lovely and talented Katie Hamsted to discuss her writing life and her most recent book "Branded". Check it out!


Author: Katie Hamstead
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
Genre: New Adult Romantic Suspense

Terrorists have invaded Sydney, and Allison King barely escapes her brother’s wedding reception alive. She and her siblings flee, but their parents are killed by firing squad.
Now Ali’s on the run and terrified. While searching for other survivors, she is captured by the General who leads the invasion. He’s smitten by Ali, and when she refuses to submit to his whims, he brands her for death. In a wild act of defiance, she snatches the branding rod and sears the mark onto his face. Marking not only him but also sealing her fate. Ali manages to escape and flees into the bush once more where she finds a group in hiding. Even with the scars left by the General, Ali learns to love and falls in love with the young man who found her—Damien Rogers. 

But the General is hunting her. When he discovers their location, and finds her with another man—Damien—his wrath is kindled and his obsession is inflamed. Ali must put herself on the line or the General could kill her family, those who help her, and most significantly, the man she loves.
About the Author: 
Born and raised in Australia, Katie’s early years of day dreaming in the “bush”, and having her father tell her wild bedtime stories, inspired her passion for writing.
After graduating High School, she became a foreign exchange student where she met a young man who several years later she married. Now she lives in Arizona with her husband, daughter and their dog.
She has a diploma in travel and tourism which helps inspire her writing. She is currently at school studying English and Creative Writing.
Katie loves to out sing her friends and family, play sports and be a good wife and mother. She now works as a Clerk with a lien company in Arizona to help support her family and her schooling. She loves to write, and takes the few spare moments in her day to work on her novels.