Master of Illusion – Silver Medal Winner in the 2014 Global Ebook Awards


Winner of the Silver Medal in the 2014 Global Ebook Awards for Historical Literature Fiction

Winner of the Silver Medal in the 2014 Global Ebook Awards

I guess it is the dream of every author to have the magical words ‘award-winning’ after their name; and I am so thankful to Dan Poynter and his wonderful team of judges for making this dream come true for me with my debut novel Master of Illusion – Book One.

There are so many to thank for believing in my work and encouraging and supporting me in the sometimes lonely and daunting business of self-publishing: my family, friends and all my lovely fans: I cannot thank you enough.

All your wonderful reviews and ratings moved me to tears and sent shivers up my spine; and I vow to do my best to ensure that future works do not fall below standard.

The word ‘standard’ brings to mind another of my precepts: It does not matter whether the publishing is ‘self’ or conventional: it must be correctly and professionally edited and formatted. And here I must thank my fabulous, long-suffering editor for her meticulous attention to detail, tireless hard work and consummate professionalism. We set out on a remarkable adventure that was new to both of us and we leapt off a cliff into the unknown to land on a silver cloud. Thank you, beyond words, for helping me to turn my dream into reality.

So many people have aided me in my transformation from closet writer to award-winning author that I cannot name you all: fellow authors; the wonderful people at the ASA; my townspeople who stop me in the street to tell me how proud of me they are; the ACC and my solicitor friend who checked the copyright; and many more:

Including my dear, late friend, Beth, with whom I discussed my ideas for the book, almost on a daily basis. Sadly, I finished it too late for her to read it; my friend, Diane, who encouraged me to get my manuscripts off the wardrobe floor and do something about them; and my sister who is a slow but beautifully honest first reader. (I promise you: I am white-knuckled until she pronounces her verdict!)

If I haven’t named you: you know who you are; and I thank you from the depths of my being.

When I found a lump in my breast in December 2006, I had no idea that my subsequent, incredible journey would lead me to a silver medal in the Global eBook Awards for Historical Fiction Literature – Modern.

How thankful I am that Positives rule!


A Muse on Reviews: Ethics

Reviews under review. Photo courtesy Imagerymajestic

Reviews under review. Photo courtesy Imagerymajestic

As an author, I find it uplifting to receive a ‘good’ review. It is equally devastating to receive a ‘bad’ one. Especially, if it is unjustified.

Most professional reviewers take the task seriously. Authors wait on tenterhooks for their valued opinions. Professional reviews carry a lot of weight.

These wonderful people give their time, insight and considered judgement. Their reviews, whether favourable or unfavourable, are always constructive, sending a vital message to the author.

Customer reviews are essential to an author’s credibility and we are so grateful that our readers take time to say what they think. The majority are positive, but some are not.

If you are thinking of giving an unfavourable review, I would ask you to consider the following: Is it ethical to slam a book because:

  1. You don’t like a character?
  2. You don’t like a dynamic?
  3. You don’t understand the genre?
  4. You think the story should have a different ending?
  5. You don’t realise it is one of a series and legitimately leaves questions to be answered in subsequent titles?

 Have you taken into account:

  1. The quality of the writing?
  2. The strength and believability of the characters?
  3. The authenticity of the setting?
  4. The correctness of the language for its era?
  5. The twists and engagement of the plot?

It is the responsibility of the author to present a polished work, the creation of his/her mind, in a professional and interesting form. It is equally the responsibility of the reviewer to acknowledge this fact.

If you must give a book an unfavourable review, by all means do so, but back it up with valid reasons that provide useful feedback for the author. The review will then be a relatively positive experience for both.

So much better, don’t you think?

Then there are the ratings. How we look for the magical 5 stars! I wonder if you know that there are differences between some platforms about the meanings of the ‘star’ rating. Amazon, for example, regards a 3 star rating as a negative, recognising only 4 and 5 star ratings in their rankings, whilst sites such as Goodreads, recognise a 3 star rating as a positive. Before you decide on your rating I would recommend having a look at this, rather than giving a book a negative rating, when perhaps you did not mean to.

Yes, we authors love ‘good’ reviews. Who wouldn’t? Yes, we hate ‘bad’ ones.(Ditto.) But we’re OK if they’re ethical and make a fair point. We are mostly happy to learn something to improve our writing and thus our readers’ experience. It is what it is about, after all.