REVIEW: THE PHARAOH AND THE CURATOR
Part of being an author is releasing your word-babies out into the world to see how they fare. Positive reviews make you rejoice, but negative reviews sting like nothing else. You tell yourself, "I must have thick skin," and either use poor reviews as constructive criticism to learn from, or if there is nothing helpful in them, ignore them altogether. But then there are moments, like the one I just had upon learning this reader's thoughts, that make it all worth it. Thank you, dear reader, for sharing.
REVIEW: THE PHARAOH AND THE CURATOR
I have this innate distrust of technology; I always expect it to fail, or worse, work fine until my greatest moment of need, and then fail. Therefore, I've always been the girl to embrace the basics as far as anything digital is concerned. My mottoes are, "Keep it simple" and, "If it's working, leave it alone." Which is why I had my personal email account for nine years before I used the label and folder tools. That nine years ended today when I finally organized the roughly three thousand opened, accumulated mails in my Inbox. Like any true hoarder, I refuse to allow anyone to call my collection trash. I saved mails from friends, electronic receipts, family photos sent my way--documents worthy enough to avoid the delete button over the years. And I'll admit, even going through cleaning, I didn't trash many of them. But now they're in labeled folders, out of sight and out of mind. My Inbox is gloriously empty, and my soul feels cleansed. That last bit is not a hyperbole folks; true story. This is the website that guided me through the seas of my own ineptness.
My hubby amazes me daily. He's been on a weight loss journey; in the last ten months he's lost eighty pounds. Eighty. So when he approached me with his plan to get out of the gym and go out and do something, and oh-by-the-way-would-I be-his-climbing-partner, I smiled and said, "Of course." I wanted to support my spouse. I didn't realize how much fun I was going to have in the process. Climbing is fabulous. And, it turns out, educational.
We're two weeks into an annual membership at a local indoor gym, and this is what I've learned from my first six climbing sessions:
#1 Pedicures are a thing of the past ... at least while I'm actively pursuing this hobby. I'm a frugal-ish person, but blinged out painted toes are an indulgance--an indulgence that makes no sense when I'm cramming my bare feet into tight climbing shoes several times a week. That's right, I said "bare." Most climbers choose to forego socks. Socks add an unwanted layer of slipperiness inside the shoe and take away sensitivity as climbers search for footholds. Shoes tend to run a size smaller as well; your toes should extend to the very tip of the shoe, and actually curl slightly. It hurts. There will be chafing and possibly blood the first few climbs. And--if you happen to have purple sparkly nail polish on your toes--it will be sanded off by the end of the day and be uncomfortable grit in your shoe. Word to the wise ;o)
#2 Your junk and everybody else's is on display. The good news? Nobody cares. You look around the gym and you see folks focused on ropes and belaying and safety, on getting to the top and having a good time. Nobody's checking out your butt. Well, much anyways.
#3 It's good to have a theme song for motivation. Hubby has had to endure my off-key humming of "It's a Long Way to the Top If You Want to Rock and Roll" for an hour or three on several occasions.
#4 It's okay to fall. It feels wrong, so very wrong, the moment you feel your fingers slipping and you know you're about to lose it. But it's okay. You're safe. You're secured to your partner, and it's just part of the process. Take a moment, give those strained forearms a rest, then get a new grip on that sucker and keep on trying.
#5 It feels dang good to reach your goal. It's perhaps the second best thing next to the communication and camaraderie you'll share with your partner.
We're still noobs, and the indoor gym is more than enough for us right now, but it would be very cool to someday pursue rock climbing in the great outdoors. Especially since the Southwest has so many glorious locations for it.
I am the surprised but honored recipient of a Sunshine Award from two talented authors. Thank you Renea Mason and M.Q. Barber! Both ladies have debut novels coming soon, and I can't wait to read them. I had the pleasure of proofreading a couple chapters of Renea's Symphony of Light and Water; from those few pages I know it's a steamy, angsty tale, beautifully written. And perhaps I'm overstepping my bounds, but since she admits to fanfiction roots on her website, I'm going to share M.Q. is among my favorite (fan fiction) writers ... ever. That's saying something because I've read thousands of fanfic stories in my day. There's magic in her pen, and I already know I'll buy anything and everything she releases.
It seems this award comes with a series of questions-- the scary kind that are about myself *gulp--but no worries, here goes nothin':
Favorite Color: It shifts with my mood. Sometimes it's deep blood red--a color that's sexy and mysterious, but also vibrant. It brings to mind wallpaper on bordello walls and women of the night who aren't afraid to live outside of Society's boundaries. Other times my favorite is aquamarine--like the turquoise waters of the Caribbean. Both colors feel like freedom. Usually when people ask, I tell them my favorite color is purple. Sometimes that's true.
Favorite Animal: Any critter in my care, though my Poodle Terrier Mix really does own my heart.
Favorite Number: I avoid numbers and they avoid me--never sticking in my head for too long. It took me two months to memorize my current address.
Favorite Non-Alcoholic Drink: Coffee baby! Deep, dark, delicious French roast. Black usually, sometimes with a splash of cream.
Facebook or Twitter: Twitter; it works well with my short attention span.
Your Passion: Reading. I get the urge to write only when I can't find a story I'm craving. I really wanted a spooky ghost story romance and couldn't find one, so I wrote my first short story.
Giving or Getting Presents: I love to give presents; it's one of my favorite things.
Favorite Day: I feel like this is a trick question. Favorite day as in a holiday, or some day that comes once a year? I love Sundays. Summer Sunday afternoons in particular. Sunshine, iced tea, a good book, something baking ...
Favorite Flowers: Sunflowers. Nope, you wouldn't know it from my website ;o)
Shew. Made it. Time to spread the love. I'd like to introduce you to ten wonderful authors:
I have a secret: I don't just read romance novels. Shhh, don't tell my smut writing friends--though I suspect several of them are guilty of the same crime. Like any bookworm worth her weight in library cards-- or should I say "Book Slut" as the shirt a good friend sent me reads--I'm an equal opportunist in regards to the written word. A couple other genres I enjoy are horror/suspense and gripping nonfiction; I'm a sucker for a good biography. Somehow Max Brooks makes World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War feel like both. Oh, it's fiction (duh;o), but he approaches the oft-done zombie apocalypse from such a unique angle. He writes it as if it's already happened and is now a bleak chapter in human history: a chapter that must be documented.
Max Brooks travels throughout the once zombie ravaged and still recovering world to conduct interviews. He's driven to record the events of humanity's near brush with eradication. Though we never get his personal story, the reader gets a sense that he's taking on this task not just for posterity's sake or to gain fame, but out of his deep need to understand why and how such a thing could occur.
Each chapter of the book is a different first-person eyewitness account. We hear from a Chinese doctor who was one of the first to treat an infected patient, and learn how his government tried to conceal the outbreak. They were unsuccessful. An American politician reveals his government's failed attempts at cover-up and containment as well. Brooks goes on to interview young adults who were children during the plague--he notes the particular hardness in their eyes. We're privy to the thoughts of spouses, mothers, fathers, and daughters who lost family members to the infection.
It's impossible to read this fictional zombie account without drawing correlations to recent and current political happenings. World War Z captures something about the spirit of humanity--maybe that we're our own worst enemy, or maybe that we're survivors. Maybe both. If nothing else, it will make you think. Five mugs.
I've just completed my second book promotion and am heaving a sigh of relief. My paranormal romantic short story, The Pharaoh and the Curator, was free through the last week of April.
During my first short story promotion back in January, The Phantom and the Psychic made it to #34 on Kindle's Top 100 Free Erotica. This time my story hit #1 here in the US as well as in Germany, and stayed in the Top 10 in both places for several days. In four days it was downloaded over 3,000 times.
As a newbie author, I was humbled and awed. I didn't pay for any advertisements, but was lucky enough to have the support of several friends and acquaintances in the writing community. Their efforts helped my story get circulation and downloads.
In no particular order, my deepest thanks goes out to:
P R Book Reviews
Erotic Romance News
Loverly's Book Blog
The Geekery Book Review
Author D.B. Sieders
The Coffee Talk ladies
I would also like to thank my twitter and facebook friends who helped spread word about my story. Y'all are amazing! <3
Sophia Jones, conjurer of sweet and steamy romance