Why authors should never comment on negative reviews of their own books

John L. Monk:

Fun/helpful post for authors, hat tip to Lindy Moone.

Originally posted on Thought Scratchings:

6a00d834515ae969e2017c35817072970bYou’ve written a book. It’s been published. Your agent told you that he/she has never read a book like it. Your publisher has told you that your voice is entirely unique. The quotes from celebrities on the front cover of your book reinforce this sense of untouchable brilliance. The first fifty amazon reviews have flooded in from industry people who are encouraged to display kindness. Traction begins…but all of these opinions are inherently biased.

Then comes the first negative review from Jeremy, from Hounslow. Your brain immediately reacts by telling you that Jeremy must be mentally ill. Then you decide he must be a troll. (Because you’ve convinced yourself that you are so special, that there are people alive who spend their free time attacking your books, hoping you say something, because that’s how you think they think they will get famous. Even though nobody read your last novel.) So…

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Eating Right & Exercise Paid Off This Weekend

John L. Monk:

Over on my wife’s blog, she discusses my lack of physical fitness while casting herself in a heroic light. Enjoy.

Originally posted on Dot to Trot:

We took on a big project this weekend -- ripping out our old sod.  There was a clear difference in between me and the husband's fitness levels.We took on a big project this weekend — ripping out our old sod. There was a clear difference between me and the husband’s fitness levels.

Last weekend the hubby and I spent quality time together ripping apart our backyard. Thanks to our dogs, half of our lawn died. The other half succumbed to  crabgrass. It was time for some old fashion, back-breaking DIY work — digging up the old sod and reseeding the lawn.

Initially my plan was simply to replace the brown spots with grass seed and deal with the crabgrass in the fall. It seemed manageable.

Well that wasn’t good enough for the hubby. Nope. He wanted to reseed the entire backyard.

“Since you’re more fit and healthy, it would be a snap for us,” he assured me.

Within 15 minutes of starting this expanded DIY project, I realized that “us” meant “me.”

All That…

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Guest Post from Ray Litt of “Dirty Little Bookers”

ray_littIn response to my not-so-subtle favor request, John has gifted me a blogspot. So I revisited his site for some guest-blogging inspiration, and here’s a few lines into his latest post (a Droll Troll sneak peek):

“He’d been in an animated discussion with the council’s blue-skinned woggim over whether or not fish smelled fishy to other fish.”

An Indie with Pratchett in his veins? Irresistible.

Anyway, I’m not here to fangirl. I’m here to tell you about a Writer Con in Orlando this September.

SF:SE hits Orlando this September: Dropping a wicked footprint on con culture

My organization, Dirty Little Bookers, is hosting the coolest Speculative Fiction party around; a celebrity-centric event focused on the exploration of publishing and networking, and the celebration of entrepreneurial passion.

SF:SE—Speculative Fiction: Southeast—is an event for all lovers and artists of Speculative Fiction, a term encompassing Horror, SciFi, Fantasy, Paranormal and Weird.

At the Sheraton Orlando North in Maitland, Florida on September 25-27, 2015, you’ll witness a marriage of cultures: conference standards such as workshops, panels and editor one-on-ones, together with convention debauchery like werewolf LARPing, masquerade balls and a tattoo gallery. All events will be shared with authorial greats like Orson Scott Card, Jacqueline Carey, Peter V. Brett and Kelley Armstrong, and a slew of industry icons.

Keep checking back for programming and guest updates, or sign up to participate yourself! We have exhibitor tables available–a good opportunity to showcase your work to a room full of specfic readers. Or join the team and become a panel moderator, workshopper or performance artist! There are a ton of ways to get involved. If you just want to come and get weird for the weekend, our tickets are cheap and the hotel room is cheaper. We know that author events can sometimes be stuffy and inaccessible, so we’re sticking with genre con pricepoints. Be warned, though–we will sell out.

Any questions, please contact me at raylitt@raylitt.com. See you in September!



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What’s magical and snooty and read all over?

Witness ye of little faith! Forsooth! The time has cometh for ye to readeth a storyeth of  magical adventureth!

Below you shall find the first part of my glorious masterpiece, “Droll Troll” — one of many stories in the charity anthology “For Whom The Bell Trolls.”

My initial thought was to release but a short selection of punctuation…but I’ve kindly given in to my generous nature and thrown in a few words, too.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Oh John L. Monk, you’re so amazing, so kind and generous to give us this tiny sample for free, because all your other stuff is ever so slightly more expensive, and yes I promise to buy a book one day, I totally swear…”

Forsooth, I say!

I give to you…basically for free…the first 1/4 of the story!!!


droll_troll_acornDroll Troll

Somewhere on Earth, in a dark forest shrouded in mist, hidden inside an acorn that had always been there, a committee of faerie lords convened around a table of polished obsidian to discuss the urgencies of the day.

Lord Snoot banged his gavel and yelled, “Order please, lords and ladies, thank you very much!”

“But I still haven’t made my point!” a very important high elf said. He’d been in an animated discussion with the council’s blue-skinned woggim over whether or not fish smelled fishy to other fish.

“Oh really,” Lord Snoot said to the elf. “Well, we certainly wouldn’t want to interrupt your pressing discussion, now would we? Whatever could it be this time? How heavy is sunlight? Why does celery matter? Why would an elephant ever be in a room? If you gave a shivering street urchin an entire loaf of bread, would he only eat the crust? Or maybe—”

Whatever he was about to say was immediately drowned out by the fairies, who were loudly rushing to tackle these timeless mysteries. Anything to put off “getting to the point” or “arriving at a consensus” or perhaps achieving “relevancy.” Each of which, they collectively agreed, was just a little too much like work, and thus more befitting lesser beings.

The discussion raged back and forth at a furious pace while Lord Snoot, the only elf in attendance with any sense of responsibility, banged his gavel repeatedly on his woggim assistant’s head to re-establish order. There was something terribly important they needed to discuss today, or so the woggim had told him, and it had nothing to do with heavy sunlight or theoretically stinky fish.

Suddenly, just when all looked to be lost, just when Lord Snoot thought they’d run out of time and the world would suffer a terrible fate because nobody was listening to him, out of nowhere, at that exact moment…well, actually, nothing happened. However, about two minutes after that, a heavy gong sounded from somewhere in the great hall, reverberating around the magically reinforced acorn walls again and again and again (and again and again (and then again just one more time)).

Some of the more delicate faeries clamped their pointy ears and squeezed their eyes shut. One beautiful celestial elf fainted and fell to the floor, twitching and sputtering things like “celery” and “urrgle,” while less aristocratorious beings pointed and snickered and poked each other in the ribs/wings/antennas.

Lord Snoot banged his gavel harder on his poor assistant’s head. And the high elf from way back at the beginning of all this stated firmly and loudly, “I have forgotten what I wanted to say,” and sat down in a huff.

When everyone had calmed down enough to look up, they saw their number had grown by exactly two trolls, who were standing near the entrance to the hall.

“Ahem,” one of the newcomers said. He was a bark-skinned wood troll with a mouthful of needle-sharp teeth.

The other one, a shorter, somewhat cute troll with a shock of fiery red hair, smirked and cocked his head toward his partner.

“What he said.”

Silence descended upon the room so suddenly that all in attendance could now hear the meaty clunks of Lord Snoot’s gavel whacking the poor woggim’s head for order. But nobody much liked the woggim, so that was fine.

“And just who the keebler are you supposed to be?!” Lord Snoot shouted down at the trollish intruders.

“I’m the guy,” the wood troll said, “with the solution to your little problem.”

“And together,” the shorter, cuter one said, “we shall solve your problem—”

“—shortly!” the wood troll shouted, pointing at his companion and grinning madly.

The short troll turned angrily and said, “Listen, elf face, if you insist on this constant mockery of my perfectly normal height, you’ll regret it!”

Some of the elves in attendance bristled at the epithet elf face, but because bristling is a rather silent sort of reaction to an insult, nobody actually noticed.

“Never mind that,” Lord Snoot said. “What are you doing at my committee meeting?”

“My name’s Oaky Doaky,” the bark-skinned troll said.

“And you may refer to me by my ancient trollish name,” his short, yet perfectly normal sized partner, said. “William Molehill Dew. Or Will Dew, for sh…uh, hmm…”

Oaky Doaky leered at him. “You were gonna say ‘for short,’ weren’t you?”

Will bit back a retort and just glared. Because there’s nothing worse than being trolled by a wood troll.

From the obsidian conference table, the sound of gavel-whacking suddenly died off, as there was no longer a woggim to whack anymore—he’d fallen to the floor, semi-conscious.

Lord Snoot placed his now useless gavel down and said, “Well, well, even trolls must have names, how wonderful for you. But we have very important business to attend to, and you weren’t invited, and nobody here likes trolls at all, so you really should be off to your bridge or billy goat gruffing or whatever it is you do, or should I say Dew, thank you very much.”

“…shshn shivished shmm…” his woggim assistant muttered from his prone position on the floor.

Sorry, what did you say?” Lord Snoot said, leaning over him.

“…sashi I isvitedsh tham…”

“Come again?” Lord Snoot said, scratching his head, a study in befuddled poise.

The blue-skinned woggim lurched unsteadily to his feet, adjusted his coat, picked the gavel up from its resting place on the council table, and smashed it over Lord Snoot’s head.

“Because I invited them, you simpleton!” the woggim roared.

The other council members stewed in outrage over the woggim’s behavior, but stewing was just as silent as bristling, so again nobody noticed.

“What do you mean you invited them?” Lord Snoot said, rubbing his head. “And why do you have my gavel? I’m the only one who gets to use it!”

Ignoring him, the woggim turned to the motley assemblage and said, “Lords and ladies of Faerie. I invited these industrious trolls here for a very important reason. There’s an asteroid heading for Earth and it will destroy the world, and our little acorn home, in three days time.”

This time the assemblage of fairies neither stewed nor bristled—they shrieked and cried and swore and moaned and made a terrible ruckus. The blue-skinned woggim raised the gavel and was about to use it, then thought better of it and whistled loudly for attention.

“You there,” he shouted to a particularly obnoxious sniveler. “Shut up, you. Everyone, shut up or there won’t be any refreshments later, not for anyone!”

Well that did it. With their refreshments in jeopardy, those fairies capable of high order spells quieted the room with a shimmering cone of silence. The acorn grew so magically quiet, in fact, that if a tree in the forest outside fell over, the acorn would have remained just as noiseless—because the one had nothing to do with the other.

A minute later, Lord Snoot began yelling and yammering at everyone to reverse the spell—in pantomime. The spell-casters mouthed words that didn’t word, shouts that didn’t shout, and calls to the elements that couldn’t have called back even if they wanted to. It was hopeless. The world was in danger, and even if someone knew what to do, they couldn’t tell anyone what it was.

William Molehill Dew looked at the fairy lords in disgust, shook his head and pulled out a glittery, pink wand. Then he tapped-out three glittery taps in the air as if knocking on a door—and a freestanding, inter-dimensional doorway fell open!

Before anyone could overreact, Will pointed his wand at Oaky and swished him through the door. Then he did the same to the woggim and Lord Snoot. The other fairies were only marginally less useless, so he left them there to argue in silence.

Free ride’s over! Download “For Whom The Bell Trolls” and read the rest.  All net profits donated to “Equality Now,” a charity organization that helps women and girls around the world.

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For Whom The Bell Trolls

John L. Monk:

This is an excerpt of David Lawlor’s “Boiling Point” — his contribution to “For Whom The Bell Trolls,” the charity anthology I recently helped edit. I intend to post an excerpt of my own story sometime later. You can get the whole book now and beat everyone to the punch, which will establish your literary supremacy :)

Originally posted on historywithatwist:

A short while ago a group of authors got together to write an anthology of humorous and dark work, called For Whom The Bell Trolls. The authors receive no financial reward for their work. Net profits go to the charity, Equality Now. However, that’s not the reason to read this book – the reason  to read it is because it is hugely entertaining and  brilliantly illustrated.

Each story or poem is based around the theme of trolls. You will find some great writing inside, trust me on that. Here is a snippet of my own short story, Boiling Point, which I’m proud to have had included in this great ‘antrollogy’…

troll noun:troll; plural noun: trolls (in folklore) an ugly cave-dwelling creature depicted as either a giant or a dwarf.

John Darby stood by the front door and steeled himself for the weekly ordeal. He adjusted the peak of…

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2015 eFestival of Words “Best Horror Novel” nomination for “Fool’s Ride”

2015nomineeWhoever nominated me, you have my thanks. I think of “Fool’s Ride” as more of a dark fantasy than pure “Horror,” and please don’t ask me how to distinguish the two. I do know the book is a bit darker than book 1, so I don’t feel too bad about cutting in on other authors’ action. Really, it’s just nice to be nominated.




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Midshipman’s Hope — a movie?!

midshipmans_hopeA comment I left over in the TBR Podcast Youtube page got a reply yesterday. I’d been talking about how the book “Midshipman’s Hope” by late author David Feintuch was the greatest space opera I’d ever read, and lo and behold, I get a reply saying how someone’s trying to make a movie out of it. There’s a Kickstarter campaign going, gathering funds for another screenwriter. Obviously everything is in the very early stages.  Here are the various links:

Kickstarter (be sure to play the video) (I pledged $25)

Facebook Page

I actually got several of the books in the series autographed by the author before he died. Sadly, I can’t find the first one (Midshipman’s Hope). I think I loaned it out to a friend. I think I know who that friend is….(peering at Rob).

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