I Hate Rejecting Reviews

Hello everyone. In one of my last post I mentioned an upcoming book review. I was really looking forward to doing another one. I have missed it over the last couple of months. However, if something falls short, I won’t review it.

Unfortunately, it isn’t going to happen. Not for this story. When I read the story I noticed too many editing issues. I’m not an editor, as I have stressed before. I am thinking that nobody else is either, which I know is wrong and I speak strictly in sarcasm.  Seriously though, why isn’t this taken seriously.

I know when I write something I really put thought into it. I am a picky person, but since I don’t do well with my own punctuation, I try not to judge others. If I do find something, I mention it. When it comes to the flow of a story, that is something that kills me to see.

I have every reason to believe that authors aren’t out to just knock out as many titles as possible. I know we want to put out a quality piece. Nobody has ever set out with the idea that they wanted to write garbage and leave it. I know I haven’t anyway.

Now, this story I read was not garbage, and I don’t want anyone to think that is what I felt about it. There were however issues. Let’s look over some of the things to consider when writing something. I  won’t go too deep into this.

First, make your story clear. When introducing a character, please introduce them in a way that makes sense. Don’t just throw it in. Make it feel like it belongs. Try not to throw in a top hat wearing penguin into a story set in the desert. It doesn’t make sense.

Second, if an editor makes a recommendation, use it. They mean well. If you aren’t sure of the flow, by all means, get a serious second opinion. Don’t be upset if someone says, dude, this is bad. It’s criticism, we all get it.

Finally, make it flow. Nobody wants to read a book that makes no sense. When it is a kid’s book, make it so they can follow it. I read every book I review to my kids. At ages 6,4 and 3, I get a great feel for what kids will like. If a story doesn’t interest them, it likely won’t interest most kids. So please, don’t be offended if someone says that it doesn’t make sense.

I have read books that I have removed from our collection. It’s not an easy thing to do. I love books, and so do my children. We are a book family. After reading literally thousands of stories, I have a bit of an idea of what works. I try to use that in my reviews.

I want to give a good review. That is why I am here. It is never my goal to rip someone apart and destroy their dreams. I just know what a quality story is. That being said, I am a little disappointed in Morgan Goes Fishing. I know I formatted it wrong. I will eventually reformat it and get it a new chance at life. I love the story, but I fell short.

I know the disappointment of falling short. That is why I want to make the books I review the best chance I can. If you have a story to review, please feel free to submit it to my email. I am always willing to take on another story. You know I will be honest, and I won’t share any personal details with a story I reject.

I am done with my rant for the day. Just a quick reminder, a critic won’t kill you. Ya’ll have a great day.

Dan

 

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A Problem With Editors

Editors are an essential part of the writing world. They give insight we need. I desperately need all the input i can get, especially for punctuation. I welcome the critiques.

So where is the issue? Simple, a lack of professional response.

I had Good Knight Ricky and the Bad Joke Dragon sent to an editor. I know perfectly well it’s not perfect. She was eager, so I gave her a sneak peak. I didn’t expect a great review since it was it wasn’t finished.

What I got back was a less formal response than I have gotten from my chosen at random critique group. Some tips were well warranted. Others, well, I wondered if she even read the story.

As an editor you should have a clear and professional response. I expect a well and properly written response. Capitalize your sentences, punctuate. If I can criticize punctuation there is a problem.

A three paragraph run-on sentence is not the sign of a quality editor. No remarks on your horrible punctuation is also an issue. If you submit to an editor, expect them to respond as an editor.

Our stories are our passion. We want them to be the best they can be. When you reach the point of editing, be prepared to be crushed in many cases. Expect to be nitpicked.

If you get a response that isn’t professional, move on. The work you receive from them should have the same passion and thought as what you put in yourself. If they can’t structure a sentence, for the sake if your story, find someone else.

Just a little tip this week from a recent experience that really frustrated me. Being new to the business is no excuse for settling.

Let’s Promote Children’s Reading

Hello again. On an finally done with my month of insanity. There is still plenty to be done, but I can slow down. At least for now.

This means one really exciting thing, I can promote stuff again. I have some book reviews coming up that always prove to be popular. It’s coming this weekend.

As an author, I also get to push my own books again. Good Knight Ricky and the Bad Joke Dragon is well under way. For this month, and through my page only, Morgan Goes Fishing will be dropped to $5.99. Amazon is $7.99.

Education is important to my family. My wife is a teacher and I write children’s books. It works. So we are running a promo through the month of November.

Illustrations are in the planning stages for Good Knight Ricky and the Bad Joke Dragon. I added to it, and it has taken shape as either a short story or a small chapter book. Updates will be made on progress as we go along.

That’s all I have for today. Keep an eye out for the upcoming book reviews. If you have something you would like reviewed, please email me. It’s free and we can have some fun.

Also, grab your little reader a copy of Morgan Goes Fishing all month. Find it under my Welcome page. We can always use a like and a share, so go ahead, like it, share it. I promise, I don’t mind.

 

Why I disappeared

We all have times in our lives when we just kind of disappear. This last month has been one of those times. I have kind of just shut down and avoided all of social media and sites. Probably not the best business move., but here is why it happened: We bought a house.

We live in a small town. Not the place we will stay, but it works for now. The opportunity to buy this house came along and we couldn’t really pass it up. Then we walked in to the place. I had to question my judgement.

We bought a house from hoarders. I mean, really, really bad hoarders. I am a minimalist and the overwhelming garbage in the house shut me down. It took us nearly two full weeks to clean out just the garbage. We filled a 12 yard dumpster in trash just from 3 rooms.

I then found out they were holding stuff for other people in the house, and didn’t bother mention it. So, we had people digging through the dumpster to get the stuff out that belonged to them. That’s fine I suppose.

When we were finally able to see the floors, I decided the carpet had to go. Luckily we found some pretty decent hard wood floors under it. If not for this scraper we would have never gotten to it. http://a.co/d/cKg0IfG

It is an ugly job, but it made it a lot easier. It helps to break the glue and under layers to remove the carpet. Finding the floors in the condition they were in made my day. Down the road we will rent a sander and refinish them. The house was built in 1920, so they need a little love. We have a lot of work to do, but it will be well worth it.

My next job is tearing out some plaster on a couple walls and hanging drywall over the lath. The shared wall between the living room and kitchen had a leak by the chimney and it messed up the plaster, so it has to go. That will have to wait until summer.

We are finishing up the bedroom paint and then we can finish moving in. It has been a long month, but the end is in sight. I am quick to get overwhelmed and shut down while I remedy a situation.

I have been doing some work on Good Knight Ricky and the Bad Joke Dragon. This is my latest short story that I am writing for my son. It has been a fun one too. I also have books for sale through my Biblio.com page, https://www.biblio.com/bookseller_info.php?d=2916574

I am also on Instagram and Pinterest both @danlittle104. Follow me there and feel free to check out Biblio. Give me a like and a share. If you comment, I will do my best to respond. I am really trying to start a harder push here. Things are leveling out on this end.

 

When You Have To Walk Away

Some decision aren’t easy to make. Sometimes if you are lucky they do the work for you. Today, I got the first one. It has been brewing for a while, but I was hoping things would level out.

After four months and little progress I stepped down as the Author for The Lizzie Andrews Series. There were a lot of factors that helped to make the decision. That didn’t make it any better, really it just made me mad at myself for waiting so long.

This project started in May or June. In had high hopes for it, but creative differences really do throw a lot of weight into a situation. It was set to be completed by October 1st, but it was changed. It was pushed back to the end if January. Then it was cancelled.

What were the problems? 1. My collaborator ignored all of my ideas. Try writing a 25,000 word book with less than a paragraph of information to work with, and creative license removed. It won’t happen. 2. The ideas would change by the day. What was the plan on Monday, would be changed a lot of times by Monday evening. 3. My opinion didn’t count because I was a man. I know, all the sexism stuff, let’s not start on it. If there was an idea, and there were several, that I didn’t think fit into the scope of the book, I would be told my opinion didn’t matter because I’m not a woman or mother. 4. Refusal to pay.

Now, I am a proud supporter of team work. I went well above my call of duty to make this come to life. I recruited a new illustrator when our original quit. Then I kept our new one from quitting, when our collaborator could never be pleased.

Finally, after countless hold ups and withheld information, I got the chance to write the first chapter. When I submitted it to her, I knew there would be edits. It’s part of the business.

The suggestions came, no problem. Then all of the sudden she was going to send my work to her sister to “See if it was any good” as she put it. This was my breaking point. The sister has never been a part of the project, and apparently she is an author as well.

I saw this as another piece I worked hard on that would be turned over and butchered by someone else. It wouldn’t be the first time in the process that I submitted I piece, like for a promo, and got back something I didn’t even recognize. So I had enough.

I listed my issues with the project, much like above, and told my collaborator that I had to take my name off the project. Our creative goals were too far apart, and the dealings were turning shady. I had to think about the goals of my business as a writer, and Lizzie no longer fit in.

When you get to a point that honesty is in question, it’s a red flag. Keep in mind, I have 4 months and 2 cancelled contracts with not so much as a penny received. Then she asked for all of my outlines and layouts for the book.

As an author, i put in my contracts, that a failure to pay means I keep all the work i put in. I think it’s common sense. I just simply denied her request and moved on.

I can’t take it all as a loss though. The $1,000 would have been nice though. This is not an easy business to be in. I love it, I love the stories and I love my fellow authors. I don’t think I am cut out to collaborate.

If you are, by all means, do it. Just watch your back and stick to your guns. When a job is no longer fun, consider it’s worth. Don’t be afraid to walk away and do what is a good move for you personally.

I am done venting now. Thanks for reading. I will be able to get back to my own writings more now. So, keep an eye out for Good Knight Ricky and the Bad Joke Dragon, and check out Morgan Goes Fishing. Y’all have a good day.

Dan

Simple ghost hunt tools

As you all know I am a bit of a spook enthusiast. I have spent years reading, watching and learning about our mysterious friends. Over the years I have seen a lot of tools used. I use two that have always done well and i have one that I am experimenting with, I won’t recommend it until I know more.

I am of the mentality, if a place is haunted, it’s always haunted. Fancy tools aren’t needed to prove it. So I keep it simple.

My personal favorite is a mini maglight like this.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00938T182/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_awdb_t1_vHKRBbD5PEJTJ

This is about as simple as it gets. A good twist top to turn on and you are up and running. All you have to do is loosen the top to the point of needing slight contact to turn the light on.

When you start answering simple yes and no questions, you will get a response in the form of a light being turned on. The first time I had this work for myself, I freaked out a little. I asked the question, “If you are here with me, turn on the light.” It listened. I was not prepared for that for some reason.

Next, I prefer a simple digital voice recorder. Preferably something that can be connected to a computer for easier review. One like this is fine

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B079FLFBVL/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_awdb_t1_ROKRBbPAQ6EGN.

Really, on these, cheap is fine. The more you spend the finer the sound, but if you are just getting started, this is great. I have picked up spurred footsteps, wagon wheel squeaking and knocking on even the cheapest one i could find.

I am experimenting with a laser grid. So far i haven’t had much luck. But you won’t always anyway.

A lot of people use apps or their recorder on their phone. I personally don’t trust them. I don’t know why. If you know a good app to try, let me know and I will for sure check it out. I’m openminded.

If you want to check do a hunt, you really can use the simplest of tools. You will learn what you prefer. Don’t be discouraged if it isn’t high end stuff. It’ll still do the job.

It’s Friday, which means it’s exploration night. Go out and do a lite exploring too. Have some fun, but stay safe.

Stolen Scooby

I haven’t shared a good growing up story in quite some time. I was watching a video on YouTube and remembered this one. Thinking back on it almost 20 years later, and it’s still an odd story.

My cousin Brandon, sister Tonya, one of Brandon’s friends and me decided we were going to a movie in Sturgis Michigan. Not an exciting time, but fun. Brandon had his car, the Scooby mobile full of Scooby Doo stuffed animals.

My personal preference is Rocky and Bullwinkle.

We went into the theaters enjoyed the movie. I can’t remember for the life of me what we saw. When the movie was over, we got to the car to find it had been stripped clean of all his stuffed animals. I believe his CD ‘s were gone too. I can’t remember.

He reported it to the police and we moved on. On the way home, we stopped for gas at a little station in Howe, IN. It was a warm night, the windows were rolled down and we were all talking while he out gas in.

Out of nowhere a car pulled up and the driver shouted, “Hey man, are you missing something?” Then drove away laughing.

After a few minutes of confusion we realized it was the guy who stole the stuff, and the Scooby mobile was easy to spot. It was a 1986 Chevy Nova. Not a sexy car by any means.

We had to take the friend home, about 45 minutes away. Suddenly a car was flying up behind us, then turned on its high beams. It started passing us, slowed down beside us for a second the finished going around. It was weird too.

A little ways up the road a car was coming toward us, just as it got close enough, they turned on it’s high beams and drove by. At this point we were starting to freak out. We didn’t know what was going on.

By the time we reached the friends house we had been passed by what we were convinced was the same car 4 times. Twice from behind, twice from the opposite direction. Each time with the high beams done the same way.

It was one of those nights that makes no sense at all. I don’t remember if he got any of the scooby stuff back, but we did get a fun story to tell.

We were scared. We were confused. We were scoobyless. Really, it was a win for us.

The Little Labradoodle, Puppy Pickup Day Review

Hey everybody. Tonight we have another good book review. I got to read The Little Labradoodle; Puppy Pickup Day, y April Cox. I am really glad I got the opportunity.

doodle.jpg

The artwork for this book is enough to sell the story. I will admit that I have been hoping to read this story for a while. I had accepted the fact I would have to buy this book to read it to my kids. Luckily, I didn’t have to. I will do that later.

Would I have bought it, you bet. The cover stood out to me when I first saw it. Going through just helped to earn it a place on the bookshelf.

Ms. Cox did an amazing job creating a whole world for the dog in this book. The Little Labradoodle had to see his own shortcomings and come to terms with them. She let it do so in a really cute way.

The use of other animals to help The Little Labradoodle through its journey was fantastic. It was a great way to help kids learn other animals, as well as important lessons. Along with this, she used an awesome retracing of footsteps story line to teach as well.

It was a great book, and the illustrator did amazing work. My kids loved this book. They read it before bedtime and immediately wanted to read it again. The rhyme scheme, illustrations, and lessons make this an easy home run.

My only issue was the simple personal preference, I don’t really enjoy a rhyming book. (i hate the repetition of sounds). My kids love them, so we read them. It is not at all a reason not to buy this book. I got a free download for the review, and when we budget it in, I WILL be buying a hard copy.

I love supporting other authors and seeing their dreams grow. Follow the link below to get a copy of The Little Labradoodle today. You can’t go wrong with it.

While you’re at it, grab a copy of Morgan Goes Fishing for $6.99. Get it on my welcome page and save $1.00 off the Amazon price. Everyone have a great day, and thanks for checking out the review. Go show Ms. Cox a little support, she has a whole line of products to choose from.

Dan

 

The Dancing Ghost

I have been doing a little research into local spooks lately to find some places for a ghost hunt. There are a lot of really good resources for just such a thing. Living near a Lakota Reservation, I have taken a lot of extra precautions to not upset the locals. Most of the stories are linked to their traditions, and I don’t want to be disrespectful.

We started a while back with a couple really disappointing trips. I try to include my kids in them since my son has already had countless paranormal experiences. If it gets to intense, I also have a very fair way to get out. “Oh dang, the kids are scared.”

This logic failed me last night. We were out to find the old cemetery with a tale of a dancing ghost. The legend is that there is a tall male spirit that dances into the road.  It is known to make eye contact with the occupants of the car as they pass by, and he is said to have glowing red eyes.

The road is said to be built on an old burial ground. On the right hand side sits 2 smaller cemeteries. The energy in the area itself is interesting. We didn’t see the dancing man, but we did have an interesting experience.

As we drove by, you could feel an eerie feeling. There were the typical lights in the small graveyards, set there by the loved ones of the deceased. Neither of the 2 cemeteries had any noticeable activity.

We drove back to the edge of town and I decided to explain the legend to my wife. If I tell her before we go, she protests. While I was explaining the tale to Abbie, I started feeling compelled to turn around and explore some more.

Just as this feeling started, I experienced what felt like someone scratching my chest.  It was a sharp enough pain I pulled over to see what was wrong. When I turned on the light in the car to check my chest, I didn’t see anything, but the burning grew more intense.

This was an interesting thing for me. I have seen things, heard things, and had them sit on my bed. I have never felt a burning like this before. It was just over my heart and it burned like fire. Like I said, interesting.

I will be looking into more information on what this legend is said to be, and if there are more stories to go along with mine. I will be making a trip back to do a late night investigation soon. Again, this is Sioux land. I have to be respectful, and careful of drunken encounters. That’s a much bigger risk.

If you have any information on what may have done this, please let me know. Like I said, I will be doing a little more digging to see if I can get more information. Since we left i haven’t experienced anymore burning, so that’s good. Anyway, stay tuned for next weeks story. We are going to look for a haunted car that is said to follow you.

Have a great week.

Dan

 

Morgan Goes Fishing

Ladies and gentlemen. Morgan Goes Fishing is being temporarily pulled from Amazon. I have the last 20 copies ready to sell. If you are interested in one I will be happy to hook you up. Find the purchase link below.

I am pulling Morgan for a short time. Maybe a week, as I make a couple small changes. I will be including reviews I have received for it as well as a few minor updates to list my website and a link for a printable version of the included coloring pages. They will be larger copies that can be printed for your use, and they will be offered for free.

Sales have been horrible over the last few months, so I feel these pages will be a great increase in value for my readers. This is a new readers book, and great for your favorite picture book lover.  Get yourself one of the last copies before they are all gone. Each copy will also include 2 free bookmarks for your little ones to color and enjoy. Ya’ll have a great day, and thank you for the support.

 

Morgan Goes Fishing

Morgan Goes Fishing follows young Morgan and her dad as they enjoy their first fishing trip together. Told through the eyes of a 3 year old, Morgan shares a special memory that will last forever. Join Morgan on her special trip, then enjoy the coloring pages in the back to continue your own adventure. This is a great book for any parent and child who want to hang on to these moments in life.

$5.99