Tuesday, August 31, 2021


I have a difficult time with metadata. I’ve taken classes to try and figure it out but it’s a little like learning Greek. I thought if I blogged about it, it might help me gain a better understanding and maybe it might get other authors thinking about it. This is definitely not a techie post. Please feel free to comment.

What is Metadata?

It’s information, the information bookstores, libraries, and online stores use to categorize a book – your book. (or my book).  To start it should include the title, genre, series information, the author, blurb, back cover, table of contents, index, page numbers, publisher and copyright, and narrator if it’s an audiobook.

Researching Amazon and other bookstores can help with those. They can be keywords, mystery, hard-boiled, spy stories, tales of intrigue, political, kidnapping, thriller, etc.. Research books similar to yours, or by a similar writer and see the tags they use on their book store page.

Metadata can help sell your book by helping people who read your genre, find your book. Then your cover and blurb will help sell them your book. The metadata also helps the bookstores place your book in the right spot for the reader looking for your book.

Some area to check when doing your metadata is if the book is a series. Did you include the series number? That information will usually link the books, making it easier for readers to buy the next book.

It can be work at the start when you publish your book but metadata is a very important tool to sell your book.

And that’s not all. Then there are the metatags that are used for SEOs. That’s way beyond me at this time.

Monday, August 23, 2021

Writers Burnout

When I started to research writer’s burnout, I found this explanation. Burnout is staring at a page, hating the page, and questioning your ability as a writer, for a long time. That article also said don’t stop writing.

That didn’t sound right to me. It might work for some but if you’re burned out how can you write?

Then I found this list of burnout symptoms like exhaustion, lack of motivation, you don’t enjoy writing anymore, and when you think about writing you find other tasks you need to do, like ironing. You feel depressed and fantasize about escaping from everything, maybe moving to a beach. You stare at the TV and pig out on ice cream when you should be writing. You can probably fill in a lot of other symptoms if you’re suffering from burnout.

You haven’t written a new word for months, so you know you’re burned out. What now?

First Take a Break.

If you have to go to work. you still have to do that. But other daily chores and specifically writing, take a break.

How Long?

That will depend on you. It could be weeks. It could be longer. You need to stop writing and get in touch with your inner self. Sleep more. The Dalai Lama said, “Sleep is the best meditation.” Figure out how much sleep you need. It’s individual.

Meditation may also help. Try yoga or running. Read more. Take up painting. Fit the new activity/s into a new routine for yourself and have fun. Laugh more.

During this ‘break’ time organize your living quarters. Focus on your writing area. Clutter can contribute to burnout.

When that desire to write returns and you really want to put words on a page. Schedule your writing. Pick a time to start and how long you will write. Don’t go over that time frame. Remember consistency is the key to writing and avoiding burnout. Take care of yourself.

If you have any other tips, I’d love to hear them.

           Happy writing!

Friday, August 20, 2021

Habits in Your Writing

It’s another great topic for our monthly Round Robin group blog. Do you have any character habits or favorite words that always crop up in your writing?

I’m guessing many writers give their characters favorite habits or use of words. I know I do because I find them when I edit and realize that I’ve used something similar in subsequent paragraphs. The habits are used to fill space or accent the speech or scene. That’s what they’re supposed to do, but often they tell the reader what’s happening and how the character is reacting when I should be showing. Often when I edit these repetitive habits get deleted.

When I started to write this post, I thought it would be easy, but knowing I have words or habits that frequently crop up in my writing is one thing. Trying to remember what they are is totally different.

Some of these might be:

he ran his fingers through his hair. Can be ‘she’ as well. Definitely adds nothing to the plot.

yanked the door open. Might be okay depending on the rest of the scene.

tears choked in her throat. Not sure about this one but it will probably be cut.

brimmed with tears. And variations on this one such as streamed down her cheeks.

Their gaze locked…

Favorite words are much the same. They often end up getting chopped.

Ohhh, usually said by the heroine. That works for a lot of scenes to demonstrate multiple emotions.

Oh, God. Again, usually said by the heroine and can work for various scenes and emotions

Here’s a line from the book I’m presently editing. It includes two of the above habits.

Susan ran her fingers through her hair, tears streamed down her cheeks. (Yes, I'm editing it.)

I’m curious what other writers have said.

Anne Stenhouse http://annestenhousenovelist.wordpress.com

Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea

Victoria Chatham http://www.victoriachatham.com

Connie Vines http://mizging.blogspot.com/

Diane Bator http://dbator.blogspot.ca/

Dr. Bob Rich https://wp.me/p3Xihq-2ow

Fiona McGier http://www.fionamcgier.com/

Helena Fairfax http://www.helenafairfax.com/blog

Judith Copek https://lynx-sis-blogspot.com

Rhobin Courtright http://www.rhobincourtright.com

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Janina Grey and her New Release

Janina Grey has been writing since she could hold a crayon, and there has been no stopping her since. Journaling, short stories, poetry, newsletters, news, feature, columns, Op/Eds, and press releases have kept her busy her whole life. But it was the sweet romances she read in her downtime that stayed forever in her heart and gave her the inspiration to write her own.

Growing up on Long Island and living periodically in Tennessee as a youth has given her the opportunity to meet many different types of people and experience many different lifestyles. After moving from Long Island to settle in upstate New York with her family, she found the support needed to pursue her writing endeavors.

When Janina is not writing, she may be marching for women’s rights, kayaking, camping, drumming, or dancing around the fire. With her two children grown, she and her husband, David, share their 110-year-old Mohawk Valley farmhouse homestead with a few resident spirits and a very squawky murder of crows.

Character Interview

Beverley: What’s your name?

Brooke: My name is Brooke. Brooke Meadows. Don’t laugh. My parents were kinda well . . . hippy wannabe’s? Josh insists I was conceived under the stage of a Grateful Dead concert, but, hey, I’m not that old.

Beverley: Where did you grow up?

Brooke: California. And we can leave it at that.

Beverley: During what time period does your story take place?

Brooke: I like to live my life by the adage “Now is the only moment.” This part of my journey began in August of 2018, about three weeks before I even met Josh. When his wife, um sorry-dead wife- Rosalie, began visiting me to tell me she had a message for her husband.

Beverley: What’s your story/back story? Why would someone come up with a story about you?

Brooke: To be honest, I have no idea why anyone would want to tell my story. I imagine this all would have never happened if Dee and Doug hadn’t come up with that crazy idea to shop our ‘talents’ off-site. Anyway, my story is pretty simple, and if you don’t want to believe it, that’s fine. I had a great life in Cali. I had a great job and in my spare time, I was a hospice volunteer. It was a quiet life, but I like quiet. I don’t like drama. But then . . . I’m not comfortable dredging that crap up, so let’s just say it was time to fly. I came out to New York after hearing about the need for a camp photographer, and to escape all the negativity. And, when it comes down to it, I was trying to get away from the voices. I thought I was going crazy. But it was all part of my journey.

Beverley: What’s your goal in this story?                                            Brooke: If you mean, what’s my goal in life, it’s to heal people’s hearts. To give them hope and a reason to go on. If you’re talking about the story of this part of my journey, well. I guess it’s to let people know that ‘this’ is not all there is. There is life beyond our trauma, beyond the trauma and drama we call life. It’s cyclical and infinite. I guess another goal in my ‘story’ would be to show people how the Universe works in mysterious ways, and that sometimes we just have let go, let flow, and understand that it will all work out the way it’s supposed to in the end. We just have to trust in the Universe.

Beverley: What conflicts are you facing?                                            Brooke: Ugh. What conflicts am I not facing? First of all, I was not ready for a relationship. I came here to get away from people. Not get involved with anyone. I’ve had plenty of opportunities but no. I’m still healing. And besides, I’m on a mission. I have messages to deliver. So, I guess my first conflict was my attraction for Josh. Everything was fine until he stepped off the bus. And only got worse when he took off his sunnies. Then when he smiled at me. And then . . . when he almost kissed me. I tried to tell Alyssa and Kyle that I was uncomfortable working with him, but because I’m the only deathwalker they had, and he was the only client this session who was dealing with grief from losing his wife and two daughters, well. Tag, I’m it. They said since I wasn’t his counselor or therapist, they had no issue with it. Falling for a client seemed really unethical. I was not happy with what I was feeling and I tried hard to compartmentalize. But the more professional I tried to be, the harder it was to ignore the attraction we were experiencing.       —Do you want me to keep going? — Okay. I mean, my life feels like one big conflict.            Finally, ugh. I love Josh dearly, but he’s a control freak and I hate (WILL NOT) be controlled. By anyone. Ever. Why does this interview feel like one of my therapy sessions?

Beverley: Do you have a plan for resolving them?                                                                       
Brooke: Usually, conflict resolves me. As much as I try to avoid drama and stress, I’m starting to realize I cop out with my avoidance tactics. I say I’m living life to the fullest, but I’m actually avoiding life whenever there is any semblance of conflict. I’m afraid of getting close to people. Afraid of people thinking I’m lying about the messages. They thought I was lying about, well. Things in my past and I wasn’t. So, I moved away. Ugh. I guess my plan for resolving conflicts is running. That’s not good, is it?

So, yeah. I guess I don’t really have plans for resolving my conflicts. Wow. That’s telling, isn’t it? I just ebb and flow, like the tides and the moon. I go where my heart leads me. And usually that’s how my conflicts get resolved, by resolving me.

Beverley: Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you?

Brooke: I love coffee, margaritas, naps- whether it’s under the sun on this pretty cool flat boulder at the top of one of the trails I hike, or curled up on the front porch under a blanket on a rainy afternoon. I love hiking, especially that one particular trail that leads to this glorious summit, where you can see for miles and miles.

I love taking pictures, immortalizing someone’s brilliant smile, or the despair they feel as they hit rock bottom, just before they begin the ascent of their most vital journey of healing.

I don’t like to be tied down. This may sound a little controversial, but I’m not a big proponent of the Patriarchy. Like I said earlier, I hate being controlled. Especially by men.

Finally. I’m a witch. Not the Hollywood kind that shoots fire from their fingertips. Just the normal kind. You know, like the kind you work with, shop with, live next door to, even if you don’t know it. Some people prefer the term ‘Pagan.’ So yeah, I’m Pagan.


Step into the mystical and magical forests of Upstate New York, where Earth and Sky camp photographer Brooke Meadows has taken refuge from the demons of her past as she uses her ability to communicate with the dead to heal loved ones left behind.

Unable to cope with the loss of his wife and daughters three years prior, Josh Quinn, CEO of the number one dating site Quirkyflirt.com, is ordered by his board president to take a break from his Big Apple Headquarters. He finds himself at Earth and Sky Retreats, where confronting his grief has led him to experience a life-altering transformation and re-evaluation of reality.

Will Josh leave behind his fast-paced, high society life in the concrete mountains of New York City, for the magical, bewitching world Brooke reveals to him in the foothills of the Adirondacks?

Will Brooke acknowledge and accept her own journey of transformation and healing as she and Josh explore the winding paths and summits that lead them to find love in the forest?


“So, you guys really think you can heal people in three weeks? Make them functioning members of society?” He raised one eyebrow in disbelief.

“Well, yes and no. Yes, the healing process definitely begins here if the person is ready. If so, we help them build the foundation where they can continue healing. We can’t force you guys to heal. We can show you how to begin to heal and how to keep healing—if you want to.” She studied his face as he nodded thoughtfully.

“I think I’m ready.”

“I know.” She jumped off the boulder.

“Thank you,” he said, remaining on the rock as his demeanor changed from sunny to cloudy. “For not staying angry with me about last night, about the kiss.”

“No worries, thank you for believing me about Rosalie,” she replied, capturing his gaze as she took off her sunnies. “Besides, I may have overreacted a little bit.”

“No. You didn’t. I don’t force myself on anyone. I don’t know what got into me. And I just needed to tell you I was sorry in the light of day, so you could see I meant it.”

His sincerity seemed genuine enough for Brooke. And although his eyes were warm, she detected a hint of sadness. Or was it regret? Her butterflies flitted and she steeled herself against the impulse to pull him close and kiss him. Talk about mixed messages.

“Shh,” Brooke said. “I accept your apology. But in the future, remember I’m super big on consent, FYI.” She leaned against the rock and studied the toes of her hiking boots as he jumped down and stood beside her.

“So am I. And I respect you and admire you, and I trust you. And last night I totally blew it.”

“Almost. Almost blew it. You weren’t entirely wrong to go there. It was just bad timing.” She wrapped an arm around his waist and gave a quick squeeze of a hug. “We’d just experienced something really emotional, and traumatizing, and in a way, it forged us together and—”

“Bad timing?” He cupped her chin, his eyes questioning.

She held her breath, her lips parted as she dropped her gaze to his mouth, wanting so desperately to ease away and replace the bad memory of their first kiss.

“Well. Yeah.” She tried to speak but lost her ability to form a coherent sentence. All she could think about at the moment was how the world was right when he stood by her, how he wore fresh air like an expensive cologne, and how her body felt as brilliant as the first rays of the morning sun when he touched her.

“Is this what consent looks like, Brooke?” he whispered and dipped his head.

“I don’t know anymore. I can’t think when I’m around you,” she said, lifting her arms to rest on his shoulders as he turned into her, drawing her close.

“This sure feels like consent,” he murmured, closing his eyes, nudging her nose with his.

She molded into him, her hands cradling his head. His hair was soft against her fingers, his body hard against hers, his breath minty as he paused, waiting for her, she knew. Tipping her head up ever so slightly, she brushed her lips against his.

He leaned back, searching her face. “You sure?” His voice was wavering, hesitant.

You want this, she reminded herself, as her heart beat a steady rhythm against her ribcage. “Yes.” Her answer caressed his lips just a hairsbreadth away.

He growled low and deep as he buried his face in her hair, nuzzling the vulnerable, tender spot just below her ear. He left a trail of kisses along the soft curve of her neck, her jawline, before he claimed her mouth with a gentle fierceness not unlike that of a late afternoon thunderstorm.

Desire like heat lightning rolled through her body as she responded, tracing her hands down his spine, over the hardened muscles sculpting his back, pulling him into her.

His kiss deepened, and she welcomed him, forgetting about everything she had run from, everything she hid behind, knowing this was where she was supposed to be. At least for right now.


Soul Mate Publishing

Amazon: amazon.com/Love-Forest-Janina-Grey/dp/1647162394/

Barnes and Noble:

Website: www.janinagrey.com

Facebook: facebook.com/janinagrey

Goodreads: goodreads.com/author/show/18967836.Janina_Grey

Instagram: @janinagreyauthor

Twitter: @janina_grey

Bookbub.com: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/janina-grey

Monday, August 16, 2021

Book Reviews

I just finished writing a review for another author. It started me thinking. Are book reviews still that important? Some books get hundreds of reviews. Others have very few. Does this increase sales? Personally, I pay more attention to blurbs and excerpts. You may write a glowing review and I read the book and hate it – different expectations.

So why book reviews?

There are reasons to get those reviews that not only sell the book but help the writer.

First the more reviews the easier it is to find the book when people are searching. Your SEO (search engine optimization). But good meta tags could work the same way.

Reviews might also provide the author with credibility for the potential reader. On sites like Amazon, Kobo and Goodreads it can move your book up the search ranking.

Another way book reviews might help is to share information with the author on how a reader likes or dislikes their book. They might share what they particularly enjoy or what they found confusing. Their feedback can be very helpful to the author. It can help improve the author’s writing, reveal possible weaknesses, and provide motivation for the next book.

Remember not to take any of the comments personally. If you disagree with a comment and feel it isn’t accurate, disregard it.

Reviews not only promote the book but you as an author. And another marketing tool people talk about is branding. What is your brand? Your brand helps to sell your book. And reviews can help you develop that brand. They say things like the book is a romantic suspense so readers will know your genre and maybe that you write that genre well. That could be part of your brand. If you are great at world-building that could also be part of your brand. So pay attention to those reviews. They might help you as an author in many different ways.

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Ann Raina and Her New Release

Ann Raina lives and works in Germany with cats and a horse. Riding and writing are her favorite hobbies. So far, she has written twenty-five novels for eXtasy Books with more to come. Her latest series, starting with Twisted Mind, deals with FBI Agent Nicolas Hayes, his cases of capital crimes, and his demanding and commanding lover, Jacklyn Hollander.

In all of her books, she combines romance, suspense, and humorous elements, for no thrilling story can stand without a comic relief.

Character Interview

Beverley: What’s your name?

Raiden: I’m Raiden Stout, a naval architect. This means I create boats—yachts mostly—for customers.

Beverley: Where did you grow up?

Raiden: Here and there, but mostly in the US. <laughs> My mom is from Spain, my father came from Hawaii. They love to travel, so I traveled with them. Right now, they are in Spain once more.

Beverley: During what time period does your story take place?

Raiden: It’s a contemporary story and I’m caught in the middle of a damn serious crime. Several men are abducted, and I’m one of them. <shakes head> Those were the worst days of my life. Yeah, I know, that sounds lame, but for me…I had never been locked up, never gotten into trouble with the law. And there I was, suddenly, caged and…well, prepared for being turned into a toy. No fun at all. No, ma’am, no fun at all.

Beverley: What’s your story/back story? Why would someone come up with a story about you?

Raiden: Hey, I don’t know why anyone would write about me. I came into this story as Lesley’s customer at her dungeon. You should know, I wanted to be more for her than the guy showing up to ask for a session, but for a year she didn’t accept any of my offers. But then…I’m still hoping she’ll change her mind. <pushes back his long hair> I was told I’m quite a unique guy. Maybe that was the trigger to pull me into this story. That’s okay. I’m fine where I’m—with Lesley. She’s a great lady.

Beverley: What’s your goal in this story?

Raiden: <laughs shakily> To get out of my predicament!

Beverley: What conflicts are you facing?

Raiden: Too many. I’m trying to convince Lesley that I could be the man in her life and make her happy. She hasn’t seen that for a long time. And then, after my abduction, I’m trying to get away from that awful place. My kidnappers are armed, trained—no people to mess with. I don’t have a chance, not really.

Beverley: Do you have a plan for resolving them?

Raiden: I won’t let Lesley go, that’s for sure. I’ll try and tell her time and again that I’m worthy to become the lover in her life. Maybe it’ll take time, but I’m patient. As for being abducted—I’ll do what I can to get away. I’ll take every chance, fight if I have to.

Beverley: Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you?

Raiden: Im an entertainer. I won’t perform on a stage, but if you’re planning your wedding reception, I promise, I’ll cheer up the ladies—all of them—and turn your party into a great one. Believe me, I might look like a lion, but I’m a smooth dancer and have a charming personality. <winks at the interviewing lady> I can show you.

Blurb for Barred Doors

FBI Agent Hayes’s friend Thomas is kidnapped by a group of six men, trained and heavily armed. Though his wife watches the crime, her observation doesn’t result in arrests. Her description reveals though that a crime syndicate operates in the Washington, DC, area, kidnapping young men and taking them to an unknown hideout. Raiden Stout, Lesley’s friend, becomes one of the victims, and Agent Hayes joins the investigation to solve the crime and find his friends.

Excerpt from Barred Doors

Jacklyn hurried toward the door. “Do you remember Raiden?”

“I wondered where he was.” Nicolas’s eyes widened. “Did she put him in the cargo area?”

Lesley had opened a steel bar door within the van, locked a ramp, and let out her new pet, dressed in black leather tethers with several steel accessories that kept him on all fours. The mittens and knee covers added to the illusion that the dungeon queen had brought her lion on a leash. Raiden appeared at ease, though he was restricted like a hardcore criminal. The gag shaped like a bone was the icing on the cake.

Nicolas heard Jacklyn laugh as she greeted her best friend, but she also told them to hurry to avoid shocking the neighbors.

Lesley’s warm laughter echoed in the hallway. “Oh, you think they’d be shocked? Don’t you go for a walk with your sub from time to time?”

Jacklyn put her hands on her hips and looked from Lesley down to Raiden and back. “When I invited both of you for a second breakfast, I expected you to come as a couple—both upright and dressed like normal people.”

“Oh. Normal people. Ouch.” Lesley’s face fell as she became aware that Nicolas was dressed in a dark blue dress shirt and sand-colored pants—upright and without any shackles. She looked contrite. “My bad.” She patted Raiden’s brown wavy mane. “Before you get this wrong—Raiden was thrilled by my idea to tie him up like this. Okay?”

Jacklyn shrugged. “So, it’s three plates and a bowl?”

They burst into laughter once more. Nicolas looked at the guy on the floor. In addition to the many restrictions and a wagging rubber tail in his ass, he was wearing a cock cage that must hurt. The sight made Nicolas’s penis ache.

“Do you think it’s possible to peel him out of the layers of cuffs and tethers?” Jacklyn cocked her head, the sparkle of joy still in her eyes. “Or did you forget the keys?”

“Keys are old-fashioned. The modern locks are magnetic.” Once more, she patted Raiden, who waited patiently, as if kneeling on the floor in the buff was the best thing that ever happened to him. “All right, you win.” She turned to Nicolas. “You’re about the same size. Would you mind lending him something to wear?

“Not at all. I prefer four plates instead of three and also the chance for a conversation.”

Buy links for Barred Doors




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