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I am an Indie Author and I Write My Own Books.

As a teacher of senior high school English and Humanities, the ONE thing I impart to my students every time I assign a task is that they must do their own work. They all know what plagiarism is, and why it is wrong. They understand that, both at school and beyond, it is an act that has serious consequences. 

If high school students can grasp this concept and comply, it beggars belief that an author – who also claims to be a lawyer, no less – thought they could get away with stealing the work of other authors, mashing it together, and claiming it as their own.

This week, the revelation has been made — and proven — that one person has done exactly that. 

It didn’t take long for the Twitterverse to light up with the scandal, and the flames of shock and indignation soon spread to other social media. The fires are still burning, and it seems there is plenty of fuel. 

I am not going to recount the whole story here – for all the sordid details, you can google #CopyPasteCris or search for that tag on Twitter. 

It is sufficient to say that upon being discovered and accused, #CopyPasteCris promptly defended her integrity and blamed the whole fiasco on the ghostwriters she hired on Fiverr. 

Seriously? Even if the plagiarism was done by someone else, the books were published in her name, she agreed to the publishing terms of service as the creator and owner of the work, and she received the royalties of every copy sold. I am confident that I am not alone in thinking that this is on her and nobody else. 

Here’s the thing.

  • Even if one hires ghost writers, why on earth would she not still read the finished book before publishing it? 
  • Upon reading it, how on earth would she not realise that there were inconsistencies of style and plot… and fix them? 
  • How did her editor not catch it? 
  • Or… did she not bother with an editor? 
  • And if she doesn’t have an editor, what quality control does she have in place for her books? 
  • What makes her think she is smart enough to get away with repeated, blatant plagiarism when her readers also read the authors that have been plagiarized? 
  • Was she never taught right from wrong? Did she ever actually think about the consequences of her actions? 

Perhaps the biggest question, though, is how did it take so long for this to be discovered? 

As an Indie author who does, in fact, write all her own material, , the entire situation leaves me furious. This one person has thrown the integrity of every honest, hard-working and worthy-of-being-read Indie author into question. 

This behavior is the kind of thing that justifies in the minds of the traditional-publishing-snobs the various stigmas that good quality Indie authors have been working so hard to overcome: sloppy writing, books riddled with errors, and people playing at being legitimate authors when they are not. 

As a reader, I am offended and outraged. Just how stupid do people like this think their readers are? 

Although I fear it is not, I hope this is an isolated case. 

And I hope every author who was plagiarized lawyers up and sues #CopyPasteCris for every penny they deserve. 

Women in Horror: Kris Weeks

Meet Kris Weeks, author of horror of the hot and steamy kind!

Intrigued? Read on!

Kris’ interview comes to this blog courtesy of Unusual Fiction.

Unusual Fiction

Another dark February day dawns and we continue our daily dose of hellish horror with author of dark fiction, Kris Weeks.

Kris Weeks has been writing since she was young with many of her stories published in Hustler Magazine. As well as writing together with her husband, horror writer TJ Weeks, she has published quite a few standalone horrors. She loves writing about crazy women who have the urge to kill yet live normal lives.

Question 1.

Which horror genre do you write in ?

Erotic Horror

Question 2.

Why do you write horror? Tell us about your horror journey?

I started writing erotica as a teenager and had numerous stories published in Hustler magazine. I quit writing for a long time until I met my husband. Once he realized I liked to write as he does, we began to write together and I began writing my own style of…

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Women in Horror: Caroline E Farrell

Today’s Women in Horror Month spotlight is in author and filmmaker Caroline E Farrell.

Once again, this post comes to you courtesy of Unusual Fiction.

Unusual Fiction

It’s Day 15 of Women in Horror Month 2019 and the horror bus keeps on rolling. Today, I’m excited to welcome back Caroline E Farrell to Unusual Fiction. Caroline is a filmmaker and award winning author of dark fiction.

Caroline E Farrell is a writer, filmmaker and blogger from Dublin, Ireland. She once blogged a vampire novel online, which becameArkyne, Story of a Vampire. She has also written the award-winning novel, Lady Beth. Caroline is the writer of three short films, ADAM (2013), IN RIBBONS (2015) and FRAMED (2018) which she also directed. She has also written several published shorts stories and award-winning feature screenplays.

Question
1.

Which
horror genre do you write in?

At the moment, I am drawn to psychological horror.
With regard to genre though, I don’t really fit into any specific category,
which suits me as I can only write what truly captivates…

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There IS a Wrong Way to Write a Book Review!

What not to do when writing a book review – and what to do instead.

This week I read a blog post that asserted there is no right or wrong way to write a book review. The writer made some good points, particularly about reviews needing to be individual and personal responses to a book, but I disagree with the basic premise of the article.

I am writing this post from the perspective of a reader, not an author, and I realise that some people won’t agree with me, so let me explain my reasons.

A book review should never recount the story of the book. It shouldn’t give spoilers. Yet time after time, I see reviews that do exactly that. My issue is that if I already know what is going to happen, I feel as though I no longer need to read the book. The joy of the journey has been neutralised. That review has effectively cost the author a sale. 

In all honesty, I hate blurbs that do this, too. As a reader, that’s one of the quickest turnoffs when I’m looking at a book. 

Don’t give me a summary. Give me teasers, give me feelings, give me thoughts and observations. Pique my interest. Make me want to read it for myself, instead of making me feel as though I already have. 

A good review doesn’t have to be long or complicated.  It does needs to be at least 20 words in length, which gives you room to say whether you enjoyed the book and why. One or two sentences will do the trick.  There is no obligation to write any more than that if you don’t want to. 

  • If you do want to write more, you can consider including the following ideas: 
  • Why you liked or disliked it. Remember that others may like what you disliked, and vice versa, so try to be kind. 
  • What important ideas the story made you think about – love, anger, justice, revenge, pain, fear, overcoming… anything that is relevant to you is a valid point for comment.
  • What the characters are like as people, and what we learn from them Did the writer’s style impress you in any particular way?
  • Was it easy to read and understand, or did you have to really work at it?
  • Who else might like to read it? Think about interests, age group, and genres here. 

This will help you to write a review that is interesting in itself, and which will encourage the right readers to choose that particular book. In that way, you’ll help both the author and prospective readers at the same time. 

Women in Horror: Pippa Bailey

Meet Pippa Bailey, another fabulous Woman in Horror!

This post comes, once again, courtesy of Fiona Cooke at Unusual Fiction.

Unusual Fiction

Today I am excited to introduce Pippa Bailey to Unusual Fiction for another fear-filled day of horror. Pippa not only writes horror but is an independent reviewer of horror on YouTube.

Pippa Bailey lives north of the wall in the Scottish Highlands. Principally a horror writer, YouTube personality and independent reviewer at Deadflicks with her partner, Myk Pilgrim. She’s known for supernatural horror with a vile sense of humour, and you can find her and Myk’s collections Poisoned Candy and Bloody Stockings through all good book retailers.
You can spot her drinking too much tea, making terrible puns, and bothering the local wildlife at www.pippabailey.co.uk.

Question 1. What genre of horror do you write in?

I generally tend to write in supernatural horror, I love a bit of realism now and again, but I’d much rather see my characters up against magnificent creatures, trapped in distant realms or facing down…

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The Difference Between Poetry And … Everything Else.

A post about what is, or is not, poetry.

Excuse me for a moment while I climb onto my soap box again. 

A few months ago, I wrote a post in which I complained about books which claimed to be poetry, but were actually just a collection of sentences arranged with one word on each line. 

Today, I’m going to indulge my poetry-nerdiness yet again, in response to another trend I’ve observed on social media.  

As both a reader and a poet, I get really annoyed when pieces of writing are labelled as poetry when they’re not. 

This is rife on Instagram, where some folks take a pretty picture of a sentence or a paragraph and call it poetry. They use the hashtags like #poem, #instapoem, #poetry, #poemsofinstagram… you get the idea. I’ve bitten my tongue – or my virtual fingertips – so many times when I’ve wanted to comment that what is pictured is not a poem. 

I’ve seen letters, paragraphs, and even short stories presented as “poetry”. I’ve seen single sentences tagged “poetry”. In fact, there are books out there with a sentence on each page, which the creators have classified as ‘poetry’. 

This is where I beg to differ.

A sentence, a letter, a paragraph… an entire book may be written in highly poetic language. It may use conventional poetic techniques such as imagery or alliteration, but is it poetry? Everything within me screams “NO!”. A letter is a letter. A sentence is a sentence. A paragraph is… prose, not a poem. 

The issue is one of form. 

Poetry as a form has conventions of its own that set it apart from a letter or a sentence, or anything else. While it’s true that poetry can take any number of forms or styles, those are forms and styles that are recognised as being poetry. They are not forms that are instantly recognised as something else. 

I totally accept and agree that a sentence or any other piece of writing can be beautiful. I’ve read individual sentences or paragraphs that have taken my breath away with the imagery or the power of the writing. They can be poetic. But, according to the conventions of one form as opposed to another, they’re not poems. They’re. Just. Not. 

I’m not trying to be a poetry snob here— in fact, it’s taking no effort at all. I realise I may be coming across as a pretentious git, but let’s look at this from another perspective. 

I don’t get to call myself an author if I don’t write and publish anything. I don’t get to call myself a doctor because I am not, in fact, a doctor. In terms of professions, we don’t get to call ourselves something we’re not. 

Alternatively, I could choose to start telling people I’m a cheeseburger. I’ve eaten a few cheeseburgers, I know what they taste like, and I can list the ingredients. And they do say you are what you eat. However, people will fairly promptly tell me I’m not actually a cheeseburger. The more I make that assertion, the more strident people will be in assuring me I’m not. Even if I went to McDonalds or Burger King and sat in the food warmer, it wouldn’t make me a cheeseburger. I am quite obviously not a cheeseburger. 

If we pretend to be other than what we are, that very quickly becomes a matter of integrity. At first people laugh, then they get frustration, and then they get angry. Trust is broken, and often, walls go up that are not easily dismantled. 

That is exactly where I am with other pieces of writing masquerading as poetry. I’m well past the point of frustration. If I pick up a book because it says it is poetry, and the contents are nothing more than pithy sayings or observations of life in sentence form, I’m going to be annoyed, no matter how beautifully they’re written. If I wanted a book full of meme-worthy of proverbs and quotations, that’s what I would have gone looking for. 

Poetry takes time and effort to craft and shape. It isn’t easy to condense the meaning and message into imagery and forms that require skill to master. To write something beyond trite rhyme or greeting card verses is more difficult than many people realise. The ability to do that, consistently and repeatedly, is what makes someone a poet. Poetry is a craft that I take very seriously indeed. 

That’s why I refuse to “like” posts on Instagram, or anywhere else for that matter, which present one thing as something it’s not.  It’s why I am very choosy about what poetry and poets I review and promote on my book blog.  It’s why I’m on my soapbox, ranting furiously to anyone who will listen – or read, as the case may be. 

It’s hard enough getting people to take real poetry seriously these days. We certainly don’t need to confuse people any further. 

Women in Horror Month: Featured Author: Jessica Flaherty

Today’s featured author for Women in Horror Month is Jessica Flaherty.
I’ve borrowed this interview from Fiona at Unusual Fiction, as she is featuring some great authors that have not yet been featured at WordyNerdBird.

Unusual Fiction

It’s our second weekend of fabulously fearsome fiction and today I am delighted to welcome to Unusual Fiction author of paranormal horror and fantasy, Jessica Flaherty.

Jess Flaherty is one lucky writer. She has two great kids, a day job that she loves, and she gets to co-write an ever-expanding paranormal universe with her very best friend, her husband Keith.

Their novel, Always Darkest, features a demon named Ben. It garnered a review from fantasy icon Piers Anthony, who called it, “A very different story” and “A solid fantasy novel.” Fans have compared their style to a combination of Douglas Adams, George R.R. Martin, and Christopher Lamb. It was selected as Book Talk Radio Club’s Best in Fantasy for 2018 and continues to garner strong reviews and a dedicated following.

Something’s Gotta Give takes another look at Ben’s life, from before the adventures of Always Darkest. This story of a…

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Women in Horror Month: Featured Author: Pam Lecky

Pam Lecky was featured earlier this month on the Unusual Fiction blog. I have read some of Pam’s stories, and they are very good, so I thought I would share her interview here, too.

A special thank you to Fiona Cooke for also featuring some amazing women of horror on her blog this month.

https://unusualfiction.wordpress.com/2019/02/05/welcome-to-women-in-horror-month-2019-introducing-historical-fiction-and-ghost-story-author-pam-lecky/

The Danger Of Dirty Links

With all the attention given among the Indie community to the removal of book reviews by Amazon, I’m amazed at the number of authors who still post dirty links to their books on social media. This is a rookie-level mistake that can actually do more harm than good. 

A dirty link helps the algorithm at Amazon to determine if there are connections between author and reader that might suggest collusion or partiality.. Even if a review is from a verified purchase, a simple connection via a shared link can be enough to make them suspect that it’s not unbiased or from an unrelated party.

If the link used by multiple customers can be traced directly back to the author, that’s one of the reasons they will start flagging and eventually removing reviews. 

The simple solution is to ensure your links are clean before you post them.

A dirty link occurs when one copies and pastes a URL without removing all the extra information that gets tacked onto it by searching for a product, copying links from a website, linking from another product, or using a bookmark created from a searched item.For example, if I search for one of my books on Google and click on the Amazon link, I get this as the URL: 

This is more information than is needed to actually find my book. In the image below, I’ve denoted the “dirty” part of the link by making it red. 

The highlighted part of this link is the “dirty” part. If I were to give this link to someone else to use, it tells Amazon how they got the link. 
All you need to post is the part of the link that directly goes to your book page. In the link above, that’s the part that is still black. Once the link identifies which display page your book has, no further information is necessary. 

You can check the clean link you want to post by pasting it into a new browser window and seeing that it goes directly to your book product page. 
Even if you use a link shortening service like bit.ly or buff.ly, or a customised branded link, you must ensure that the links you provide are clean. Just because you and your audience don’t see the extra information on a shortened or customised link doesn’t mean it isn’t there. 

That way, stores will have no reason to suspect you or your readers’ integrity, and your verified purchase reviews will remain proudly on your book page. 

Women In Horror: Carmilla Voiez

Women in Horror Month: Featured Author: Carmilla Voiez

Carmilla Voiez is a proudly bisexual and mildly autistic introvert who finds writing much easier than verbal communication. A life long Goth, living with two kids, two cats and a poet by the sea. She is passionate about horror, the alt scene, intersectional feminism, art, nature and animals. When not writing, she gets paid to hang out in a stately home and entertain tourists.

Her books are both extraordinarily personal and universally challenging. As Jef Withonef of Houston Press once said – “You do not read her books, you survive them.”

Carmilla’s bibliography includes Starblood (Vamptasy Publishing, Dec 2018), Starblood the graphic novel, Psychonaut the graphic novel, The Ballerina and the Revolutionary, Broken Mirror and Other Morbid Tales.

Carmilla writes horror that is female-orientated supernatural horror, full of demons and seriously flawed women.

Starblood.
Book 1 of 4 in the Starblood series.

Star craves freedom, but her lover, Satori, refuses to let her go. He casts a spell to make her love him again, opening a gateway through which Lilith, mother of demons, enters their lives. Lilith serves no man. Instead she seduces Star, assuring her that there is no shame in love, only completion. Thus begins a strange and terrible love triangle that leads them to Scotland and the Cairngorm mountains.

Reader Review: “ A genius work of contemporary fiction. Should become a future Horror classic. Highly recommend *****”  on Amazon

Broken Mirror and Other Morbid Tales

Thirteen tales of the macabre from horror author Carmilla Voiez. Meet a confused ghost, a vampire, searching for love, and a woman bent on revenge; visit a gateway to hell, a hotel in faery and an abandoned asylum, in this unique collection of stories. Includes the novella Basement Beauty.

Reader Review: “ I found my mind drifting back to the various tales at all times of the day, they got under my skin and haunted me long after I powered down my kindle. At the end of a story, you emerge bloodied, battered and genuinely grateful to have survived. It’s what horror should be like; raw, frightening and thought provoking.”  on Amazon

You can find and follow Carmilla Voiez on
FACEBOOK | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM | GOODREADS | BOOKBUB