2012 in review

December 30, 2012 at 8:23 pm (Uncategorized)


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 4,100 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 7 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Dead Man Haunts – T. M. Simmons, Author

December 30, 2012 at 8:13 pm (Uncategorized)


Dead Man Haunt – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish

Twila and I see ghosts. We talk to ghosts. We actually hunt ghosts and enjoy the heck out of our quests. We love to prowl old buildings and graveyards, day and night, study the history of them, and occasionally chat with the long-passed occupants of both the buildings and graves. Yet out of the dozens of gone-by souls we chat with, very few ever keep our attention past that one and only conversation. Patrick, however, a ghost I met recently, had intrigued us into this upcoming adventure, the adventure Jack was so adamantly opposed to. I’d met Patrick when I joined a few local ghost hunters to investigate the historic, scheduled-for-demolition Springs Hotel in the tiny West Texas town of Mineral Springs. He stepped out of the shower in the men’s dressing room, six foot of blond nakedness, dribbles of water crawling down his tanned muscles, a white towel draped around his neck. No doubt in my mind he was a ghost, yet what a gorgeous ghost. Patrick winked at me – he could see me every bit as well as I could him. Then he disappointed me greatly when he faded back into his own dimension. I didn’t even get a chance to see if he’d show up in a photograph, because I was too rapt to remember the digital camera hanging around my neck.

Alice is a writer by occupation and resides in a lakeside cabin in Six Gun, Texas along with several cats and a dog and a mixture of ghosts who would rather stay as they are than to go into the light to the other side. Her closest neighbor Granny and her aunt Twila both indulge in Alice’s taste for the spirit side of life, or should I say death. Oh yeah, I can’t leave out the 4 legged ghost hunters, Trucker the dog and Miss Molly the cat who accompany the 3 on all of their ghost hunting trips. And I almost forgot Jack, Alice’s ex-husband who is a New Orleans detective who seems to be drug into all of Alice, Twila and Granny’s tangles with the ghosts as well as the non-ghosts. Jack just happens to be a non-believer but he can see the ghosts. Go figure.

I can’t get enough of this author. In Dead Man Haunt I enjoyed a real laugh when Alice and team are accosted by a skunk and end up taking a tomato juice bath. I laughed when Patrick would appear at the most inopportune times, sporting nothing but his birthday suit, which seemed to be his preferred mode of dress, or should I say undress. I laughed when the ghost Mary Ann, who had been cut in half, appeared scaring the pants off Delroy the ‘commando.’ But laughter isn’t all T. M. Simmons puts into the Dead Man series. I stayed in total suspense until the end trying to guess who killed Mary Ann and why. I strained my mind trying to come up with the reason for Patrick, as well as several other ghosts, still being on this side and not the other where they can find peace. And then the characters started coming together making the puzzle into a picture. But the ending still ended up being nothing that I had suspected.

I seem to be reading this series backwards starting with Dead Man Hand, book #1, which was just as good as Dead Man Haunt, book #2, I can’t wait to read book #1 Dead Man Talking. I’ve also read T. M. Simmons Paranormal Suspense Winter Prey, enjoying it immensely. As I said, I can’t get enough of this author. And did I tell you that T. M. Simmons actually lives in a haunted house in East Texas which she shares with hubby, a variety of pets and of course her paranormal residents.
Review Stir, Laugh, Repeat at Amazon.com

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Looking for Pork Chop McQuade – Darlene Franklin-Campbell, Author

December 22, 2012 at 11:09 pm (Uncategorized)


Pork Chop McQuade
Looking for Pork Chop McQuade – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish

‘My illicit love affair began with a jar of homemade pickles. The whole thing started the same day Uncle Faucett got arrested for indecent exposure. I’d gotten up before daylight to fix breakfast for Bob. Then like he did every day, Uncle Faucett pecked on my front door and, like I did every day, I opened it. “Damn fool chickens ain’t layin,” he muttered. “Where’s the damn fool chickens?” He leaned on two canes. His black-rimmed spectacles, like two magnifying glasses, made his gray eyes look too big for his body. “We sold them last Thursday,” I said. “Remember? Daddy took them off.” “Oh, I forgot,” he mumbled and shuffled away. I knew he would go stand on the edge of our lane and catch a ride into town with some local farmer. He had done that each morning since he had lost his license, the unfortunate results of an accident involving a cattle trailer. Every morning he asked about the chickens and every morning I told him Daddy had sold them on Thursday, because even though it had happened when I was a girl and Daddy was now long gone, I remembered clearly that my father had sold the last of our chickens on a Thursday.’

This was the day that Raspberry Cupcake McQuade and her twin sister Cookie Thompson found themselves visiting the local police station and coming face to face with Sheriff Daniel Ransom. Apparently Uncle Faucett had run across a box, took his clothes off and was walking around town wearing just the box. This also became the beginning of changes to come in the lives of Cupcake, Cookie and Sheriff Ransom.
Cupcake and Cookie both have their own problems. Cupcake is married to Bob ‘Pork Chop’ McQuade who has papered their trailer with tin foil in the attempt to keep the government and aliens from being able to penetrate their home with their spy technology. He is so paranoid that the government is abducting their own people that he has joined a militia and is storing arms to defend himself. So, when he comes up missing, was he abducted by aliens or his own government? Cookie is the total opposite of her sister Cupcake. She is pushing 500 lbs. and becomes depressed when any form of bad news comes her way. Then we have Sheriff Ranson who became sheriff after his wife was hit by a drunk driver. He wanted to do his part to prevent this from happening to anyone else. And of course there is Uncle Faucett who is approaching 94 and seems to be losing his memory as well as some of his facilities.

After reading the first page of this book I knew it was going to be good. What I didn’t know was that it was going to be more than good, it was going to be great! With names like Cupcake and Cookie, I found humor, but that wasn’t all. This book is filled with love, compassion, heartaches, and sorrow. I don’t believe I’ve ever read a book that makes me feel so many emotions at the same time. And when you put all of these together you have Looking for Pork Chop McQuade in the form of a book that I didn’t want to put down.

Review Stir, Laugh, Repeat at Amazon.com

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In as much as I have never read Fifty Shades of Grey…

December 5, 2012 at 4:26 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , )


(…and will not but I’m going to comment because I write erotic fiction as well)

How many of my fellow authors, readers and industry professionals have seen the news that Publisher’s Weekly named EL James the Publishing Person of The Year?

Author Alison Flood explains in her article in The Guardian:

“…Publishers Weekly said that James had exerted a comparable influence. “Because the success of the series continues to reverberate throughout the industry in a number of ways –among other things, the money it’s brought in helped boost print sales in bookstores and turned erotic fiction into a hot category…”

My apologies, but I’m not seeing it. That is the whole thing about turning erotic fiction into a hot category.

Now some readers may ask how I can comment on this if I have never read the e-book? Perhaps I can’t. All I know is I have no interest in reading it and wouldn’t have an opinion on it either way if it wasn’t for PW stating that this work has a great impact on the genre of erotic fiction as a whole.

Perhaps I’m missing something. My sales are decent but I’ve not seen them improve by leaps and bounds But then again that’s me. Perhaps some of my fellow erotic authors have? Feel free to comment. So far, the only comments I’ve seen are people stating how much they hate the book and it’s obvious all other erotic fiction is just as bad, or how they love the book and it’s obvious all other erotic fiction doesn’t compare.

If Fifty Shades has turned erotic fiction into a hot property, why are we not seeing more articles about other authors besides EL James? Why are we not seeing more interviews or comments about various erotic fiction authors and their works? Why are we not hearing from readers? Or for that matter mainstream publishers or movie producers?

I’m not the only one who thinks this work does not deserve such accolades. Take a look at the articles written by Carolyn Kellogg of the LA Times or Christopher Young of The NY Daily News.

It upsets me that I’m lumped in the same category as Ms. James. I’d like to believe my fellow authors feel the same. I am a damn excellent author. This is what I do, what I love. Pretentious? Perhaps. But what would you think if I said, “I don’t feel I’m a good enough author?” Would you still want to read my work? I do not like my work being called porn. I do not write porn. My stories have character development, plot, world-building and everything else that makes a novel. Yes the sex is there but so are the other building blocks of a good story.

I can honestly say that everything I have written has come from my own mind and imagination, with a bit of life and dreams thrown in for good measure. It is not re-constituted fan-fiction. I don’t care how many changes were made. The work is not hers. I have fan-fiction written for the manga Fake by Sanami Matoh. That is hers and I would never even dream of using that work and calling it my own.

My one wish is that Publisher’s Weekly, Random House, readers and all the others who embraced this work would realize that Fifty Shades is NOT the be all, end all of erotic fiction. There are those of us who bust our collective asses to bring the best work we can to our readers. We do this because we love what we do and we’re damn good at what we do.

A commenter asked on one of the articles, what difference does it make who is the Publishing Person of the Year? Perhaps none to the commenter but it does to me and I feel safe to say my fellow authors. A second commenter provided the perfect response that Ms. James was rewarded for profit and not for writing a good story, or any one of the reasons that Ms. Kellogg listed in her article. It makes a damn big difference to us authors.

So where are you? Publisher’s Weekly? Random House? Universal Pictures? We’re here and we’re waiting for you. No, our work isn’t lacking, no it isn’t poorly written just because we didn’t sell millions of copies. Ms. James was lucky, that’s all there was too it. You should know by now that success such as hers is the luck of the draw. That doesn’t mean the rest of us are poor authors. We are NOT!

If I think of other things I wish to say, I’ll do a part two and if my fellow writers wish to add more, feel free. Right now, I’m just here waiting and writing. I’m sure my fellow authors are waiting with me…

Peace,

CJ Black

I’m looking for fellow authors and readers who have their own blogs and accept posts from their fellow authors and readers. I want to re-post my latest concerning Publisher’s Weekly choice. So if you have a blog and you would like to re-post feel free, or drop me a line and I’ll email you the .doc version. I want as many people as possible to see it. I believe it’s important.  Just give credit where credit is due.  Thanks!

Blog Post:

http://cjblacksatin.blogspot.com/2012/12/in-as-much-as-i-have-never-read-fifty.html

Rachel Deahl~ Publisher’s Weekly, Nov 30, 2012:

http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/people/article/54956-e-l-james-pw-s-publishing-person-of-the-year.html

Alison Flood~ The Guardian, December 3, 2012

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/dec/03/el-james-publishing-person-of-the-year

Carolyn Kellogg~ LA Times, November 30, 2012

http://www.latimes.com/features/books/jacketcopy/la-et-jc-pw-names-el-james-person-of-the-year-20121130,0,6233202.story

Christopher Young~ NY Daily News, November 30, 2012

http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/pageviews/2012/11/civilization-ends-eljames-named-publishers-weeklys-person-of-the-year

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