Writing Prompt Seventy-Six


Guidelines:
Length: 800 words or less
Deadline: None
Submission: 
  • Submit via email to beauxcooper@gmail.com
  • Copy your story into the Message box:
    • Include:
      • "Writing Prompt #____"
      • Your return contact information marked with a "(P)" for private if applicable
      • Public contact information you would like me to reference if your piece should be selected for feature.
        • This can include your website or blog as well as your social media outlets: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, etc.
        • Optional: A photo of you
      • Your story
        • Please copy and paste into the body of the message, however, if you have a special format design for your story (such as moments of centered or right alignment, size, etc.) attachments are accepted.
Award: My favorite submissions will be featured on beauxcooper.com as well as all BC's social media outlets with all links connecting back to your blog/social media/website/etc.

Writing Prompt Seventy-Five


Guidelines:
Length: 800 words or less
Deadline: None
Submission: 
  • Submit via email to beauxcooper@gmail.com
  • Copy your story into the Message box:
    • Include:
      • "Writing Prompt #____"
      • Your return contact information marked with a "(P)" for private if applicable
      • Public contact information you would like me to reference if your piece should be selected for feature.
        • This can include your website or blog as well as your social media outlets: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, etc.
        • Optional: A photo of you
      • Your story
        • Please copy and paste into the body of the message, however, if you have a special format design for your story (such as moments of centered or right alignment, size, etc.) attachments are accepted.
Award: My favorite submissions will be featured on beauxcooper.com as well as all BC's social media outlets with all links connecting back to your blog/social media/website/etc.

The Art of Book Reviews: Where to Post Them

Now that you've written up your masterpiece or blurb or essay or snippet of a review you need to share it with the world! But where exactly should you post it? Although it seems rather straight forward there are things to consider when it comes to sharing your review. Things like audience size, "foot" traffic, and target groups all come into play here.

To help the author the most, you'll want to post your review in places that access a large audience because this will get the most eyes on your review and, subsequently, the book. Foot traffic just refers to the people passing by online; an almost accidental viewing. Lastly, target groups which include people who like to read and who are looking for new books. You wouldn't post your review of a book on a Yelp! account for a restaurant. To take the guess work out of it for you I've included a few places to get you started!


The Top Five Places to Post a Book Review:

Amazon.com - This one is huge. If you post your review in only one place this is the place to do it. They make it really easy for you, too, if you bought the book through them. Their review rules have become increasingly strict over the last year so make sure you don't mention your relationship with the author, but rather focus on the book.

Goodreads.com - They are owned by Amazon, but unfortunately they aren't completely synced to each other. So if you post here, you have to login to Amazon, too, and post there as well. Kind of a pain, but definitely helpful to the author. If you don't have a Goodreads account you will need to sign up for one to leave a review. This is also a great place to learn what your friends are reading and what recommendations are out there.

Wherever you bought it - Did you buy it from Barnes & Noble? Maybe another online retailer? If so, pop on and leave a review of the book there. Other people are shopping that site, too, and want to know what you thought. 

Your social media - This is such a great place to share your thoughts on a book. Your friends and family already are invested in who you are and by sharing your review in a status update you are exposing your community to the book you loved (or didn't.)

Your Blog - If you have a blog you can dedicate a space to your review there. Your blog posts reach a lot of people who follow you because they resonate with you on some level. Chances are, they're going to be interested in what you're reading and your verdict on the book.


No matter what you decide, posting somewhere... anywhere!... is better than no where and the author of the book will love you for doing it.

Happy reading!


Writing Prompt Seventy-Four


Guidelines:
Length: 800 words or less
Deadline: None
Submission: 
  • Submit via email to beauxcooper@gmail.com
  • Copy your story into the Message box:
    • Include:
      • "Writing Prompt #____"
      • Your return contact information marked with a "(P)" for private if applicable
      • Public contact information you would like me to reference if your piece should be selected for feature.
        • This can include your website or blog as well as your social media outlets: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, etc.
        • Optional: A photo of you
      • Your story
        • Please copy and paste into the body of the message, however, if you have a special format design for your story (such as moments of centered or right alignment, size, etc.) attachments are accepted.
Award: My favorite submissions will be featured on beauxcooper.com as well as all BC's social media outlets with all links connecting back to your blog/social media/website/etc.

Review: Waking Up Joy

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Add it to your summer reading list - Waking Up Joy is bound to leave you feeling refreshed and hankering for a glass of cool lemonade and a porch swing to sit on!

Joy Talley is something of a wildcard in her family: predictable, but aloof. Though her siblings have all found matches, built families and careers, Joy seems to be stuck wandering the halls of spinsterhood... that is until she finds herself swinging from the end of a rope off the ledge of their ancestral home. Her stint in the hospital stuck in the loneliness of a coma breaks through decades long blockages which have prevented her from moving on with her life and letting love find her. But will it be the doctor or the ex-lover who whisk her away?

Tina Ann Forkner has whipped up a truly original story that gracefully blends magic with faith, miracles with love, inspiring futures with dark pasts! There were moments when I wanted to shake the book as if I were shaking Forkner's shoulders trying to squeeze out the bit of story she so methodically keeps at arms length. Oh, but I had the truth eventually... and so will you. It's a training in patience and appreciation for Forkner's ability to entwine mystery with budding romance - brava Mrs. Forkner, brava! Between the old family home, culinary masterpieces, charmed chocolates, and church pews my heart fell in love with this tiny town in Oklahoma and the people who lived in it.

Waking Up Joy is captivating, funny, intriguing, and thought provoking. I highly recommend it to women young, young-ish, and not-so-young-anymore - there is something in here for everyone! I can't wait until her next book, The Real Thing, comes out, but in the mean time I'll certainly be picking up her other two, Ruby Among Us and Rose House!

Spotlight: Lamb Stew By The Fire by T.K. Geering


Mary gazed out of the window at the snow whilst waiting for George to arrive. This was their second date and she wanted everything to be perfect. She had resolved not to tell anyone about him until she was sure. Mary had already confirmed that he liked lamb stew and hers was second to none. No one would ever have the nerve to say differently. Mary and her temper were as legendary as her stews.

She twirled her long red hair around her finger as she stood there watching the snow falling. It was beginning to settle and would eventually start drifting, but the road from the old cotton mill was pretty straightforward. Soon the clacking of the looms would stop and George would be on his way.  She sat down on the cosy sofa in front of the roaring log fire becoming mesmerized by the flames. At one point, she could see a horses’ face reminiscent of her childhood.

Muffled sounds in the snow, indicated George’s car had pulled up outside and   Mary went to the door to greet him. He hugged her tentatively but not too tight; he wasn’t sure yet.
The table had already been set in the small cottage and George offered to open the wine he had brought. Retrieving the bottle opener as directed, he noted the block of carving knives sitting on the worktop. He and knives were not good bedmates; he frequently seemed to cut himself. He blanched as that familiar squeamish feeling passed through him. Knives served a purpose though. Pouring two glasses he took them to the sofa and handed one to Mary.

“Dinner won’t be long George I thought we could sit here and enjoy a drink before I dish up the stew.”

He confirmed that stews needed to be timed to perfection. It was not only his favourite, but a specialty of his also. Comparing recipes, their ingredients and cooking methods seemed to match. He sat down at the table as Mary entered with the crockpot. Dunking a spoon in to taste, she decided that it just needed a bit more salt. George tried it and disagreed stating it was perfect but Mary had her way and sprinkled in more.


They finished the meal and George agreed to clear the dishes for Mary. He settled her on the sofa again with a glass of Merlot, and set to clearing up whilst Mary made the most of the unexpected help. Returning to the sofa he stood behind her gently caressing her neck with cold steel as he plunged one of her carving knives deep into the back of her neck. The initial shock kept her upright for a while and then she keeled forward. Wiping clear all of his fingerprints he took one last look around and returned to the car. How many more would he have to kill before they got the recipe to his exact liking?

~o0o~

© T K Geering 2016

You can find more of Geering's work on her websiteTirgearr PublishingTwitterand Facebook


Writing Prompt Seventy-Three


Guidelines:
Length: 800 words or less
Deadline: None
Submission: 
  • Submit via email to beauxcooper@gmail.com
  • Copy your story into the Message box:
    • Include:
      • "Writing Prompt #____"
      • Your return contact information marked with a "(P)" for private if applicable
      • Public contact information you would like me to reference if your piece should be selected for feature.
        • This can include your website or blog as well as your social media outlets: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, etc.
        • Optional: A photo of you
      • Your story
        • Please copy and paste into the body of the message, however, if you have a special format design for your story (such as moments of centered or right alignment, size, etc.) attachments are accepted.
Award: My favorite submissions will be featured on beauxcooper.com as well as all BC's social media outlets with all links connecting back to your blog/social media/website/etc.

The Art of Book Reviews: How To Write A Satisfied One

You've slipped the bookmark out from between the pages, closed the back cover of the book, and released a pent up sigh that's been held in for over 50,000 words. It was good. Oh it was real good. Satisfying in every way that it needed to be. It touched all the right places and maybe even left you wanting more. Yeah, it was good. Real good.

Eventually you have to slip out of your reader's reverie and snap back into reality. The reader's hangover is never pleasant and the itching jonesing that follows for a new paradise, a new adventure, a new heroine, a new lover are hot on your heels. But before you leap into your next world of fiction, take a minute to pause and write up a review. Be the book peddler you are and encourage other readers to be sucked into the world you just left; perpetuate the cycle of good literature, and tell the world how much they are missing having not read what you've just read.


Writing a positive review seems simple enough and, honestly, it really is. No author is going to turn down a praising review no matter how it is tossed together, but for the sake of future readers, you want to give it a little more thought and care. That's what we forget so often - a review benefits the author, yes, but they are intended for people who might pick up the book. We, the battle weary veterans, must tell them whether or not it's a good idea... and then explain why.

Here are some helpful tips for writing a positive book review:

Structure:
Check out the blog post dedicated to structure which clues you in to the basic look and content of the review. The Intro, Synopsis, Background Info, What Your Liked, What You Didn't Like, and Recommendation are all important pieces to include if you have the time.

Educated:
Read through your review after you've written it and send it through a Word .doc to make sure the spelling and grammar police have had a go at it. Punctuation and spelling are important because when you start to talk lyk dis m8, u loose all credibility. (Ya feel me?)

Another aspect to this topic is making sure you know what you're talking about. If you aren't 100% sure about a character's name or job, etc., look it up in the book or (if a popular book) online. I've read reviews where people have misquoted the book, written the wrong name, etc. for a book I know thoroughly well and it drives me nuts. It all goes back to the credibility piece... did you actually read the book? Were you paying attention? How can I trust you if you call it Henry Porter and the Cup of Flames? If you don't have time to go back and confirm a piece of information leave it out or find another way to talk about it.

Length:
There's no need to write an essay about a book when it comes to reviews. They need to be less than 500 words if you're trying to catch people's attention and aren't writing it for a blog or news article. If it's too long people will skip right over it  and go to the next guy who only left a paragraph. Give them the essence of what you have to say rather than adding a bunch of filler with metaphors and "I think what she meant there was this...."

Too short, however, and you end up leaving out important bits of information. So find balance.

Reactions:
Don't be afraid to get a littler personal if the book evoked an emotion in you. Great literature leaves you thinking, feeling, and seeing things differently so talk about it! Do you believe in magic? Or are you remembering what it felt like to be a kid for a little while? Has the novel put into words things you couldn't identify about yourself? Or what about the physical sensations you felt throughout - did the hair raise on the back of your neck.... maybe you started to sweat? Let future readers know this book is powerful in whatever genre it finds itself in.


The last thing to do is make sure you post the review on Amazon, etc. More on that next week.

What was the last book you read that you absolutely loved?

Writing Prompt Seventy-Two


Guidelines:
Length: 800 words or less
Deadline: None
Submission: 
  • Submit via email to beauxcooper@gmail.com
  • Copy your story into the Message box:
    • Include:
      • "Writing Prompt #____"
      • Your return contact information marked with a "(P)" for private if applicable
      • Public contact information you would like me to reference if your piece should be selected for feature.
        • This can include your website or blog as well as your social media outlets: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, etc.
        • Optional: A photo of you
      • Your story
        • Please copy and paste into the body of the message, however, if you have a special format design for your story (such as moments of centered or right alignment, size, etc.) attachments are accepted.
Award: My favorite submissions will be featured on beauxcooper.com as well as all BC's social media outlets with all links connecting back to your blog/social media/website/etc.

Review: Rose Under Fire

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Haunting. That's the only word I can truly use to describe it, just haunting. I think my eyes were the size of saucers, bugged out of my head as I flipped through each page of Rose Under Fire and it is no over-exaggeration when I say there were moments when I found myself holding my breath. It isn't that the material takes your breath away, but more that what you're reading grows in such intensity you simply forget to breathe. It's haunting because it's real. The people are made up and the backgrounds make believe, but the world in which they find themselves... that was real and it's heart breaking.

Rose Justice is an American pilot who, through the help of her uncle, has landed a job ferrying planes back and forth as a civilian transporter. Everything is going fine, she's helping with the war effort and she's getting to fly planes, that is until a fellow pilot crash lands on base after trying to intercept an unmanned aircraft known as a flying bomb. Not long after the funeral, Rose spots a flying bomb during a transport and decides to knock it out of the sky. However, all goes wrong when she is intercepted by Nazi pilots over German territory. That's when the war changes for Rose and she finds herself in a women's concentration camp known as Ravensbruck stripped of dignity, name, and even country. Through the guidance of friends, poetry, and hope filled fantasies Rose holds on to life day by day, but will it be enough?

The fact that this is a work of fiction by no means takes away from the truth of which Elizabeth Wein has put in spotlight for readers to remember or learn for the first time - and that very well might be just the thing that makes Rose Under Fire so moving and such a thoroughly addicting read. I would say enjoyable, but I don't think I truly "enjoyed" reading the book. It was more like I felt compelled to read it as if I owed it to the characters and the real people they represented. I couldn't stop reading. I needed to keep reading because these characters brought to life the courage, fear, love, and power the survivors and occupants of Nazi concentration camps had. What they endured is heart breaking, tragic, and despicable, but we must read about it so that we don't forget and so that we don't repeat it. I know that Wein saved us readers the horrific, in-depth details of which I can only imagine she sifted through during research, but she didn't spare us completely. I applaud her for her diplomacy.

I loved Code Name Verity and I loved Rose Under Fire. Each is enthralling and honest, but each is different and to compare the two and expect them to be identical is unrealistic and would be a shame if it were true. We each have our own story and perspective of similar or shared events. Wein does an excellent job at differing Rose Under Fire from her first novel in such a way as to make sure it wasn't repetitive. I can assure readers that Wein is certainly no one trick pony. Although Wein may not be the most fantastic poet on this earth, her use of poetry throughout the book is well placed and informative. It adds to Rose's character and acts as a central piece of the story. This is a work of literature I would recommend to any and all, but do know there is strong language involved - however, consider this, they are stuck in a concentration camp. I think you would say the f-word a few times, too. Lastly, if you've read Code Name Verity there's an easter egg in Rose Under Fire for you if you're paying attention.

Writing Prompt Seventy-One


Guidelines:
Length: 800 words or less
Deadline: None
Submission: 
  • Submit via email to beauxcooper@gmail.com
  • Copy your story into the Message box:
    • Include:
      • "Writing Prompt #____"
      • Your return contact information marked with a "(P)" for private if applicable
      • Public contact information you would like me to reference if your piece should be selected for feature.
        • This can include your website or blog as well as your social media outlets: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, etc.
        • Optional: A photo of you
      • Your story
        • Please copy and paste into the body of the message, however, if you have a special format design for your story (such as moments of centered or right alignment, size, etc.) attachments are accepted.
Award: My favorite submissions will be featured on beauxcooper.com as well as all BC's social media outlets with all links connecting back to your blog/social media/website/etc.

Writing Prompt Seventy


Guidelines:
Length: 800 words or less
Deadline: None
Submission: 
  • Submit via email to beauxcooper@gmail.com
  • Copy your story into the Message box:
    • Include:
      • "Writing Prompt #____"
      • Your return contact information marked with a "(P)" for private if applicable
      • Public contact information you would like me to reference if your piece should be selected for feature.
        • This can include your website or blog as well as your social media outlets: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, etc.
        • Optional: A photo of you
      • Your story
        • Please copy and paste into the body of the message, however, if you have a special format design for your story (such as moments of centered or right alignment, size, etc.) attachments are accepted.
Award: My favorite submissions will be featured on beauxcooper.com as well as all BC's social media outlets with all links connecting back to your blog/social media/website/etc.

The Art of Book Reviews: How To Write A Dissatisfied One

You've read the book and it's left you feeling something... whether or not you can put your finger on what that feeling is right away doesn't matter. You aren't happy. You disliked the book. You couldn't get all the way through it. Or maybe the ending got you down? That's OK, not everything is going to strike you as a masterpiece. However, if you're going to leave a dissatisfied review of a book (or any product for that matter) there are a few things to be aware of.


Attitude:
Keep in mind that this author has passed the test of publisher's and editors by having their manuscript accepted, so obviously there is something there worth reading for the right people.

Rather than lambaste the author, their skill, and the story line, take a "it's not you, it's me" approach. This way you can give fruitful feedback for potential readers and even the author... because believe me, we're watching those reviews like a hawk!

Warm Fuzzies:
Before you start into what you didn't like about the book try to talk about something you did like, first. This will help review readers see that you are an objective source. Even if you're only mentioning the cover art or overall story idea, something good adds to your credibility as a reviewer.

Why: 
Here's some truth: Not everyone is going to feel the same way as you so don't assume that if you didn't like the book, no one else will either.

Remember our segment on The Art of Criticism: How to Be Constructive? Yeah, it applies here, too! Make sure that when you say you disliked a book you offer a reason (or two or three) why to support your claim. If you just simply state "hated it" future readers won't be able to take anything away from that to make their own decision on whether or not it is worth the risk of them purchasing and investing time into the book.

Explain what you didn't like about the book in a way that isn't attacking or belittling. Be informative and objective. This doesn't mean you shouldn't be direct, because you absolutely can. But delivery has much to do with how we communicate with others so be aware of your tone and word choice. Nothing loses an argument faster than when one party starts attacking the other rather than stating facts.

Pin Point Your Focus:
There are a few things to focus your attention on when talking about what you didn't like - many of them are functional pieces of the writing, while others take on a more personal approach.

Functional:
Sentence structure - Smooth, choppy?
Description - Not enough? Too Much? Cliche?
Story continuity - Did everything make sense? Pacing, interest - Does the story keep you moving forward?

Personal:
Did you like the story?
Did you like the writing style?
How do you feel about the book overall?

You don't have to include all of these, in fact, you probably shouldn't if you don't want your book review to turn into a novel itself! The list is merely a helper or inspiration in case you get stuck.

Rating:
Be careful that your rating matches what you have to say. If you offer three stars makes sure you have enough of a balance between what you liked and disliked about the book. However, don't give three stars and title your review "A wonderful piece of literature" and praise the book only to mention one thing you didn't like about it.

Ratings are really important because that's the first thing future readers see so make sure you rate it accordingly.


Reviews, whether positive or negative, are crucial to an author's success - so please, even if dissatisfied with a read, let us know about it... just mind your manners, remain objective, and give us some insight. Otherwise, happy reading everyone!

Have you ever been disappointed by a book before?