Tuesday, September 27, 2005

On being a book reviewer

About two years ago, I decided that I could save a few bucks and learn more about current trends in fiction by signing on as a book reviewer. After sending an email to the staff of Timeless Tales, an internet site with almost a thousand posted reviews, I was given an eBook and a month to read it and write a review. Apparently my efforts were satisfactory, because after that I could choose as many as three titles a month from their huge list of available eBooks as long as I got the reviews done within a month or so. Some of the titles I would have loved to read, especially those destined for print, were taken before I saw the updated database of titles, but there were always items of interest. Unfortunately, a few months after I signed on, the review coordinator died. The last few reviews I sent in were never posted, nor were any new requests for titles met by the owners of the site. Timeless Tales stayed online for a few months, but it wasn’t updated, then it simply disappeared. I’m sure running such a site is a great deal of work, but I miss both the reviews and the opportunities it represented.

One of the other reviewers for Timeless Tales with whom I had corresponded did let me know that Sizzling Romances needed reviewers, so I emailed the owner of that site, and I was soon back in the reviewing business. Although a few of the novels I chose from their list sizzled a bit too much for my tastes, I really enjoyed reading and writing for that site. The site owner has had numerous problems, including some severe health issues, so it has gone on hiatus for now. I’m beginning to think having me as a reviewer is bad luck, so I’ve decided to focus on my own writing career and leave reviewing to other able readers and writers.

One of the books I reviewed while I was with Sizzling Romances was an ARC from Whiskey Creek Press, and I liked it so much that I kept that publisher in mind when I was seeking a home for my futuristic novel, Trinity on Tylos. I did send Trinity to another publisher first, because I had corresponded with one of their authors, but after that publisher rejected it, I sent it to Whiskey Creek Press. I was delighted, of course, when they accepted it.

Now that Trinity on Tylos has been through the copy edit, I’ve been given the green light to seek prepublication reviews. As of this date, I’ve queried twelve internet review sites, but I've only had two requests for an ARC (advanced review copy). As a former reviewer, I know that many sites will take an ARC and if none of the reviewers pick the title, then it won’t be reviewed. I’m hopeful that I’ll get a few reviews before the release date, but those aren’t easy for fledging writers to acquire. If I get those reviews, I’ll link to them from www.pamelajdodd.com.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2005


For anyone reading this who doesn’t know, my father, who had been a widower for a number of years, died late last year, and I was named executrix of his will. In addition to doing quite a bit of paperwork, this puts me in charge of disposing of the personal property of the estate, which is a small farm, and toward that end, I’ve contracted with an auction firm to hold an estate sale. Knowing that I lack space, I spent quite a bit of time poring over what was left after my parents’ passed, looking for small things which would help me remember the good times we shared.

Shorty’s saddle will have to be auctioned away, as will most of the power tools, because I married a city boy and we don’t have a barn for such things. The 52 Ferguson tractor that I drove when I was twelve will go, as will my Dad’s 68 Peugeot. Even mom’s cookware is boxed up to be sold.

Daddy did some woodworking during his middle years, so I took one of the bowls he made on his twelve inch wood lathe. I also took some practical items from the kitchen, to augment what I already own. Mom was the secretary/treasurer at our church for more than two decades, and when she retired, they gave her some beautiful dishes, which go quite nicely with my dining room color scheme, so I got those as well. As expected, I picked up the photographs, a stack of framed prints as well as a few albums and one box of folks I don’t remember at all.

Some of the relics I took were of no value, but I wanted them nevertheless. The last check my mother wrote, which was to me, for a small sum. I don’t remember the reason for the check, but it was dated less than a month before she succumbed to the cancer that ravaged her body. Her college text books were still on the shelves, so I got her grammar book and literature books. My dad’s harmonicas and pocket knives represented different facets of his personality, so I took them as well.

In a box in a back closet, I found the formal dress my aunt made for me when I represented the Alpha Chi Honor Society at a college dance. Honestly, I can’t remember ever being that slim! From that same closet I grabbed my oil painting kit, so I could throw those horrible paintings away myself. My daughter wanted the Quiji Board. I never derived any insight from the that, so I rather doubt she will find it anything more than a curiosity. The chess set that my grandmother gave me was there, which was a keeper, of course.

It’s rather odd to think what items around here will be the “keepers” when we are gone, and our children go through this same process. I hope they want to keep copies of the books I wrote, if nothing else.

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