Book Review: That Wasn’t in the Script

About the Book

Josie Bradford feels stuck.

After being moved against her will to New York City and losing her father in the span of a year, the aspiring screenwriter dreams of escaping back to small-town Ohio where she can attend college and go back to some version of normal-if only she could afford it.  

Enter Hollywood teen heartthrob Rowan Adler, an overnight celebrity thanks to the viral streaming sensation in which he stars. Ever-reckless Rowan is bored, sheltered, and desperate to escape the limelight. 

The lives of the two teenagers collide one fateful autumn night when Josie finds an escaped Rowan asleep in the middle of the greasy burger shack where she works, leading her to wonder: How much would this exclusive sell for? 

What follows is an absurd, heartfelt, romantic twenty-four-hour descent into chaos. The unlikely pair slowly learn what it means to embrace the plot twists life throws their way and how sometimes, getting lost is the only way to find out what you really want.  

Purchase link:

https://www.amazon.com/That-Wasnt-Script-Sarah-Ainslee-ebook/dp/B0BS1544CH

My Review

That Wasn’t in the Script, by Sarah Ainsley is a delightful coming of age romance with enough turns and twists to keep the pages turning at a rapid rate. This story is about being young, and growing up, and self-discovery, and having fun doing it.

Josie is stuck in a rut. She doesn’t realize that her life is about to go off the rails when she decides to help out a boy who she thinks is her classmate. But in a few short hours, her life will change drastically as she follows Rowan, a reckless teenaged heartthrob through New York City on a quest intended to give her the future she longs for. As they go through a night filled with wild new experiences, she finds she doesn’t want to benefit from Rowan’s celebrity, but perhaps she wants something else even more.

A teenaged romance with a big dose of reality and just the right amount of humor. I give That Wasn’t in the Script five quills.

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Kaye Lynne Booth does honest book reviews on Writing to be Read in exchange for ARCs. Have a book you’d like reviewed? You can request a review here.


Treasuring Poetry – Meet multi-genre author and poet, Patricia Furstenberg, and a review #Poetry #writingcommunity #bookreview

Today, I am delighted to welcome author and poet, Patricia Furstenberg, as my March Treasuring Poetry guest.

Why do you write poetry?

To me, writing poetry is like being a flâneuse of the literary world.

The history and meaning of flâneuse (with its masculine form, flâneur) derive from the turn of the century, late 19th to early 20th. It defines those men and women who had the time, the inclination, the passion (and the finances, back then) to wonder along the streets of a big city and to observe and be a part of the daily city life. Those who enjoyed taking in the city.

It was after this past holiday, when my family and I covered about 200km on the streets of Romania, in Bucharest and Sibiu, that I learned this expression, flâneuse.

Writing poetry is my reaction to being a flâneuse in a city of words. Writing poetry is like strolling among literary creations, classical or modern (buildings made of words if you wish) and taking in their beauty and rhythm. A turn of the word here, a phrase there, they blend with the breeze, the song of bird, or the memories of my youth (like dappled shadows) – creating poetry.

Do you think poetry is still a relevant form of expressing ideas in our modern world? If yes, why?

Absolutely. Poetry permanently sheds a light on the world; it helps us see our everyday life through a different perspective. It adds colour to a world monotonous in its everyday violence. It also highlights, thus helping us remember, the forgotten beauty of life.

Poetry also creates bridges that unite us, past distances (and I mean social distances) or any other barriers. Poetry is that one constant in times of change. Because poetry helps us understand our emotions and communicate them. It helps us make sense of an uncertain future or of a tumultuous past. Poetry translates, by use of imagery that what – at first – is hard to comprehend and it appears scrambled.

Which poem by any other poet that you’ve read, do you relate to the most and why?

So many times I asked myself this question and the answer varied, but more often it was Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” the poem I most relate with.

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

Life, the simple act of living and of leading a happy and fulfilled family life, are such a tremendous gift – but we tend to take it for granted. I think that contemplating the road that brought us here, as well as the ones followed by our ancestors, is a valuable exercise.

“The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost is about the choices and the opportunities we encounter in life. But unlike Frost’s poem, I believe that it isn’t the regret over the roads not taken that should overshadow our future, but the excitement for further choices, born out of our past decisions. Life is a continuous maze, and a beautiful and exciting one.

Which of your own poems is your favourite and why?

I enjoyed following the antics of the puppies depicted in my poetry book “as Good as Gold”. There were times when I would write and laugh. When I grew up in Romania we would live in an apartment so we shared some pretty close living quarters with our dog. Whoever looked after a puppy will remember that, at the beginning, they hardly sleep through the night.

While writing “As Good as Gold” I enjoyed mentally watching a puppy conversing with the moon, or meeting an owl (during night-time, of course) for the very first time. Writing from experience… Today I look fondly on those memories. Thus, my favourite poem is “Why, Rain?”  where we follow a puppy on his first encounter with a surprise storm during what starts like a perfect summer day, just right for some nature exploration.

Is writing poetry easy for you compared to prose or do you do a lot of editing and revision of your poems?

I enjoy writing poetry for its free form and lack of constraints. Poetry allows my thoughts to roam unrestrained. For me, writing poetry is like finding shapes in the clouds – they can be anything and I won’t be wrong in writing them as such. The reader, in turn, can interpret them the way she sees them and none will be wrong for taking that what her / his heart chose to see.

Writing prose asks for much more structure, although I enjoy it just as much. Writing prose is like building a house.

Poetry is like writing a song. Sometimes you hum it for a long time before you get the melody out on paper just the way you heard it in your mind. Prose is more like writing a symphony. Just as rewarding, perhaps more demanding. Prose will confer a whole set of ideas, where poetry will distil the thought to a perfect, silky thread.

What mode (blog, books, YouTube, podcasts) do you find the most effective for sharing your poems with poetry lovers and readers?

As an independent author with self-published poetry books as well as poems published in various poetry anthologies I find that, today, readers show a fear of commitment towards poetry. I discovered that publishing my poems on my blog or into an online literary magazine I can reach a wider audience than publishing a poetry book.

My review of As Good as Gold, A dog’s life in poems by Patricia Furstenberg

As Good as Gold: A Dog’s Life in Poems is a delightful and uplifting collection of poems about domestic dogs and puppies. Each poem is accompanied by a lovely photograph of the dog through whose eyes the poems is written. I liked that the poems were told from the perspective of the dogs and I thought the freestyle form of poetry suited this book well as each poem is a mini story or adventure.

The writing style is conversational and relaxed. The following few extracts give a feel for the style of the poetry:

“Puppy tiptoes,
Takes a peek.
Sniffs carefully …
What IS that squeak?”

“It’s oval, it bounces, it floats away,
It’s pink like his tongue, it wants to play!
“I’m coming!” barks pup and off he goes.
Down the hill the pink shape flows
And puppy follows suit. It’s just within his reach,”

For cat lovers, there are also a few poems told from the perspective of our feline friends and I loved those especially, as I am a cat owner.

I think this book is a lovely way of teaching children about animals as pets and the writing is appropriate for both children and adults, all of whom will adore the antics and curiosity displayed by the dogs, especially the puppies.

Purchase links

Amazon US

Patricia Furstenberg’s Amazon Author page

About Patricia Furstenberg

Writer and poet Patricia Furstenberg authored 18 books to date. Patricia grew up in Bucharest and was brought up listening to the legends and folktales of Romania’s past. She came to writing through reading, her passion for books being something she inherited from her parents. Her writing career followed a sinuous road that passed through a Medical Degree, practicing medicine, extensive traveling, and it also produced a happy marriage and two children. The recurrent motives in her writing are unconditional love and war, while Patricia’s keen interest for history and dogs brought her writing, through a perfect loop, to her native Romania. Today Patricia writes fiction and poetry. Her poems were published in anthologies by Green Ink Poetry, The Poem Magazine, and Lothlórien Poetry Journal as well as in over thirty online literary journals

Find Patricia Furstenberg

Author Website 

Amazon UK  

Amazon US

Twitter / Instagram / Facebook / LinkedIn / Goodreads / Book Bub / AllAuthor

About Robbie Cheadle

Award-winning, bestselling author, Robbie Cheadle, has published thirteen children’s book and two poetry books. Her work has also appeared in poetry and short story anthologies.

Robbie also has two novels published under the name of Roberta Eaton Cheadle and has horror, paranormal, and fantasy short stories featured in several anthologies under this name.

The ten Sir Chocolate children’s picture books, co-authored by Robbie and Michael Cheadle, are written in sweet, short rhymes which are easy for young children to follow and are illustrated with pictures of delicious cakes and cake decorations. Each book also includes simple recipes or biscuit art directions which children can make under adult supervision.

Robbie’s blog includes recipes, fondant and cake artwork, poetry, and book reviews. https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/


The 2023 Cripple Creek Ice Festival

The Cripple Creek Ice Festival is an annual tradition, but for the past two years it has been canceled due to Covid. So, when I heard that they were holding the Ice Fest this year, you can bet that I made sure to attend. The Ice Festival is open to the public and admission is free. Ice sculptures are lined up and down Bennett Street, along with street vendors, who provide plenty of food and refreshments for all. Visitors walk up or down the street, appraising the sculptures and stop in at the main tent to place their votes for the sculpture they think is best. Past year’s themes include Under the Sea, Mythological Wonderland, Old West, Mountain Wonderland, and Story Time. The first year that I attended was 2015, with the Story Time theme. I also had the pleasure of attending in 2016 with the Old West theme. You can see those ice sculptures here.

This year, the shape each sculpture took was the carver’s choice, so there was a wide variety of sculptures. For the 2023 Cripple Creek Ice Festival, (February 18-26), I attended on both the first Sunday and the final Sunday. On Day 2 of the festivities, only select sculptures were complete, as the chisel and chain saw weilding ice carvers work on their masterpieces all week long, so visitors are sure to catch them in action. Many large blocks of uncut ice lined the street, waiting for the carver’sto work their magic and turn them into spectacular works of art.

Even on the final day, there were still carvers demonstrating their talents. The way they carve the ice and shape it into their own visions is amazing.

Through their talented efforts, for two weeks out of the year, Bennett Street in Cripple Creek turns into a fabulously creative winter wonderland. Since the theme was carver’s choice, the sculptures took on a wide variety of shapes and sizes.

Although beautiful during the day, the addition of color lighting them up at night has unique effects.

References

What You Need to Know About the Cripple Creek Ice Festival. Pike’s Peak Region Attractions. Retrieved from https://www.pikes-peak.com/cripple-creek-ice-festival/

About the Author

For Kaye Lynne Booth, writing is a passion. Kaye Lynne is an author with published short fiction and poetry, both online and in print, including her short story collection, Last Call and Other Short Fiction; and her paranormal mystery novella, Hidden Secrets. Kaye holds a dual M.F.A. degree in Creative Writing with emphasis in genre fiction and screenwriting, and an M.A. in publishing. Kaye Lynne is the founder of WordCrafter Quality Writing & Author Services and WordCrafter Press. She also maintains an authors’ blog and website, Writing to be Read, where she publishes content of interest in the literary world.

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Want exclusive content? Join Kaye Lynne Booth & WordCrafter Press Readers’ Group for WordCrafter Press book & event news, including the awesome releases of author Kaye Lynne Booth. She won’t flood your inbox, she NEVER sells her list, and you might get a freebie occasionally. Get a free digital copy of her short story collection, Last Call and Other Short Fiction, just for joining.


Book Review: Witch of Edge Hill mysteries box set

About the Book

Every town has its secrets, but no one has a secret like hers.

Amber Blackwood, lifelong resident of Edgehill, Oregon, has earned a reputation for being a semi-reclusive odd duck. Her store The Quirky Whisker is full of curiosities, from extremely potent sleepy teas and ever-burning candles to kids’ toys that seem to run endlessly without the aid of batteries.

The people of Edgehill think of the Quirky Whisker as an integral part of their feline-obsessed town, but most give Amber herself a wide berth. Amber prefers it that way; it keeps her secret safe. But that secret is thrown into jeopardy when Amber’s friend Melanie is found dead, a vial of headache tonic from Amber’s store clutched in her hand in Book 1: Pawsitively Poisonous.

The box set includes Books 1-3 of the Witch of Edgehill mystery series:

  • Pawsitively Poisonous
  • Pawsitively Cursed
  • Pawsitively Secretive

Buy it on Amazon

Buy it on Chirp

My Review

The Witch of Edgehill mysteries box set, by Melissa Erin Jackson, includes the first three books in The Witch of Edgehill mystery series: Pawsitively Poisoness, Pawsitively Cursed, and Pawsitively Secretive. I listened to the audio book, narrated by Victoria Villareal. All three books take place in Edgehill, a quirky little cat loving town, where the residents really love their cats.

Ms. Jackson is clever with her cat names, which appear on streets and businesses around town. Ms. Villareal masters a full cast of characters with talent and skill, giving each a distinct voice and bringing the whole town to life. I was glad to have purchased the box set, because after the first book, I was not ready to let go of the characters in this quirky little town.

All three mysteries are well crafted and keep readers guessing until all secrets are revealed. In Pawsitively Poisonous, Amber Blackwood must discover who killed her best friend and why. In Pawsitively Cursed she must discover who the cursed Penhallow witch that is stalking her is, what they want, and how to stop them. And, in Pawsitively Secretive, the mayor’s daughter disappears in the night, but there is more there than meets the eye, and it’s up to Amber to uncover the many secrets which some would prefer to keep hidden.

These books are fun to listen to, and Victoria Villarreal does a fantastic job of bringing a full cast of characters to life, giving each one a distinctive voice throughout the story. By the time the set was finished, all of these characters seemed very real to me, and I felt like I wouldn’t mind spending more time with them in the delightfully quirky world which Ms. Jackson has created.

Fun, and quirky, and definitely entertaining. I give The Witch of Edgehill mysteries box set 1-3 five quills.

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Kaye Lynne Booth does honest book reviews on Writing to be Read in exchange for ARCs. Have a book you’d like reviewed? You can request a review here.


Growing Bookworms – Developmental benefits of music for young children

When I was at school, we had music lessons during which we learned to play certain easy songs on an instrument like a recorder or a xylophone. We were also taught to sing musical notes in much the same way as Maria teaches the von Trapp children to sing notes in the film The Sound of Music.

I can remember listening to stories that taught me and my classmates about musical instruments and the different sounds they make. Peter and the Wolf comes to mind, as well as my personal favourite, Sparky’s Magic Piano.

If you are interested in watching Sparky’s Magic Piano, or have a child you would like to share it with, you can watch it here:

I always wanted to learn how to play the piano. Our neighbour started teaching me once and I was getting along nicely, but then we moved to another town and the opportunity didn’t present itself again.

Both my sons had music lessons and Gregory passed Grade 5 theory and practical piano. Michael initially wanted to learn the violin, but that didn’t last very long. He went on to learn the piano for a few years and is now having drum lessons.

Before my sons were born, I remember reading that learning to play an instrument was beneficial to the study of mathematics and this is one of the reasons I encouraged music so much with my sons.  I understand that this link has been demonstrated through a study conducted by NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants Foundation) (You can read more about it here: https://www.nammfoundation.org/educator-resources/why-learn-play-music-advocacy-brochure-0).

More recently, I discovered recently that scientists at the University of Southern California’s Brain and Creativity Institute have discovered a link between music in early childhood and accelerated brain development. You can read more about that study here: https://news.usc.edu/102681/childrens-brains-develop-faster-with-music-training/

Studies have demonstrated that learning music can improve speech and readings skills in children by increasing their abilities to differential between different sounds and understand the patterns of language.

The top ten benefits of music and learning a musical instrument for children are as follows:

  1. Improved brain development due to music’s ability to stimulate parts of the brain that govern hearing, memory, movement, and emotion.
  2. Improved social skills as music helps children identify facial expressions, communicate with peers, and empathise with others.
  3. Increases creativity and builds problem solving skills.
  4. Learning to play an instrument promotes self-discipline in children.
  5. Learning to play an instrument increases children’s self-esteem.
  6. Musically trained children have better memories as music strengthens the hippocampus in the brain, which plays a vital role in regulating learning, memory encoding, memory consolidation, and spatial navigation.
  7. There is an overlap of the brain connections which process music and language with the result that learning music and learning to read complement each other.
  8. Music is a natural mood enhancer and helps children to reduce stress by calming and soothing them.
  9. Children who learn music have a better ability to control their own behaviour, emotions, and impulses.
  10. Learning a musical instrument improves co-ordination in children.

The one thing I noticed with my son, Gregory, who was reading music fluently at the age of five, was that the transition from written musical notes to written letters was a bit of an effort for him. It was a bit like learning a second language. This was not a big disadvantage for him, but it did take a little longer for him to learn the alphabet than I expected. Michael learned the alphabet before I started music lessons with him, and he found it more difficult to learn the music notes than the alphabet.

About Robbie Cheadle

Award-winning, bestselling author, Robbie Cheadle, has published thirteen children’s book and two poetry books. Her work has also appeared in poetry and short story anthologies.

Robbie also has two novels published under the name of Roberta Eaton Cheadle and has horror, paranormal, and fantasy short stories featured in several anthologies under this name.

The ten Sir Chocolate children’s picture books, co-authored by Robbie and Michael Cheadle, are written in sweet, short rhymes which are easy for young children to follow and are illustrated with pictures of delicious cakes and cake decorations. Each book also includes simple recipes or biscuit art directions which children can make under adult supervision.

Robbie’s blog includes recipes, fondant and cake artwork, poetry, and book reviews. https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/


Writer’s Corner: My First Kickstarter

A Kickstarter campaign allows authors to find supporters who believe in thier work and want to support them, and it is a method of direct sales for authors, which allows us to cut out the middle-man distributors and their percentage and make more money from our books. But it is also a platform where readers and fans can get some really cool stuff for their supporting dollars. It’s just a “Give me… Give me… Give me…” platform, but one where it is our job to make sure our fans and readers can get a good value for their buck, providing cool rewards in exchange for monetary support of the project. It is similar to the famous artists of the past, who found patrons to support them and their works, so they would have the time to create their art. A Kickstarter campaign is a similiar type of patronage available to authors. And what’s really cool is, we’re not begging, we’re selling books and other cool stuff without the middle man. No book distributors to take their cut. Of course, Kickstarter gets a cut, but the also provide the platformand tools to run a successful Kickstarter campaign, and the analytics to measure your succcess, which, I think, is well worth it. (More on direct selling with Kickstarter here.)

In Jaunuary, I ran my first Kickstarter for Delilah and the Women in the West adventure series. The goal I set was $500 and I decided on a thirty day campaign.

This series has three books planned so far, each featuring a strong female protagonist and appearances by historic female characters. Delilah is a western, but it is also historic women’s fiction and will appeal to all three audiences. Delilah was my first novel to be published, but the publisher really didn’t get what Delilah is all about, because they billed it as western romance. Although there is a romance thread running through this story, it’s not the main thread. Western romance is not a good way to categorize this book and it did not do well. When my contract ran out, I decided to revise it, making it read closer to my original story. I guess you could say this is the “unimproved” version, that goes back to before I veered from my original plot line. As I did the rewrite, I realized that there were other characters in this story who bear to have their stories told, and the idea for the Women in the West adventure series was born. But, this post is about the Kickstarter campaign experience rather than the books, and I’m veering from the topic.

So without further ado, let’s take a look at my Kickstarter campaign, what I might have done wrong, and what I might have done right.

How a Kickstarter campaign works

Kickstarter was designed with the creative economy in mind, before it was labeled the creative economy. You start with a project. In my case, it is Delilah, which is book one of my Women in the West adventure series. I chose this project because the book is finished, and already scheduled for release on March 21, so I knew for sure that I would be able to deliver the goods.

Once the campaign launches, your readers, fans, and others who would like to support your work can pledge their support at the different reward levels you’ve set up, or pledge for any amount, just because they believe in your project. I set up three levels: $5 with an early digital copy of the book, $25 with a signed print copy, and $50 with an opportunity to name a character in book two.

You can also offer add-ons for each level so they can get even more cool stuff if they choose, because you want to offer your fans as much value as possible, since this is a method for direct sales, not digital pan handling. I offered a PDF copy of my short story, “Don’t Eat the Pickled Eggs”; an audio reading of my flash fiction Western story, “I Had to Do It”; and an interview with Delilah.

You set a goal for the amount you need to raise. You don’t want to set it too high, because Kickstarter is an all or nothing deal. If you don’t reach your goal by the end of the campaign, your backers don’t have to pay anything and you don’t have to deliver anything. However, if you make it and are funded then you get anything over your goal amount, minus Kickstarter’s cut, of course.

I was fortunate to be able to follow Kevin J. Anderson’s Kickstarter campaign for his book, Double Booked and his Dan Shambles Zombie P.I. series, from start to finish and it was amazing. His Kickstarter funded within the first 36 minutes, which I thought was phenomenal. His campaign was one of the things that made me decide to give Kickstarter a try.

My Kickstarter Experience

I sent out media blasts in December announcing the pre-launch page, which received a total of five folks signing up to be notified when the campaign launched, which I did not take to be a good sign, but I figured that it could be because the pre-launch page did not reveal the rewards offered for supporting the campaign.

On launch day, I published a blog post about the campaign, asking for people’s supportand sending out social media blasts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pintrest. I also sent out a newsletter dedicated to the Kickstarter on opening day to alert my readers to the campaign. And, I know of several individuals who sent out social media blasts on my behalf. I even went out on a limb with some paid advertising aimed at super backers, for a minimal amount, since it was my first time using Kickstarter. Now if my campaign didn’t fund, I’d be in the hole, but I wanted to do everything I could to make this a successful campaign.

That first day, the campaign only funded 13%, but I was thankful that I had even a few backers. I launched on January 3, which was News Year’s Day (observed), so technically, still a holiday, so people may not have been back on social media. It went up to 19% on the second day, and it stayed there through day 4, when it went up to 20%. I sent out more social media blasts to promote the campaign. Then I watched and waited… And waited… And waited… But it stayed at 20%. I really started to worry.

What if it didn’t fund? Then all my hard work would be for naught. And a Kickstarter campaign is work, make no mistake. I know I’m not Brandon Sanderson, or even Kevin J. Anderson. I didn’t expect my campaign to fund within 23 minutes. But this was ridiculous. I couldn’t even get a quarter of the way to my modest goal of $500. I tried to keep a positive outlook, but it was frustrating.

I was driving myself nuts, checking the status of the campaign several times a day, so I vowed to stop, and instead, watch for the morning and evening updates from Kickstarter in my email inbox. My constant checking couldn’t make people want to support this project. They would come on thier own, if they were going to. I had known that the possibility of not being funded existed going into this. All I could do was wait…, and see what would happen.

I sent out more media blasts. I checked my twice daily updates. There’s was still no change by Day 8. I emailed Kevin, because he’s the only author I know of who has actually done a Kickstarter, and even though he is no longer my professor, he is a really nice guy, so he sent out an additional blast and sent me suggestions of things to try.

Day 10, and still no growth. What was I doing wrong? Are the rewards I’ve chosen to offer not appealing? Am I missing the mark with my target audiences? Was I targeting the wrong audiences? Is there really only five people out there who believe in me and my work enough to support me? All these thoughts were going through my head.

Friday the 13th saw the project past the 20% mark, which made me feel a little better, even if it was only up to 23%. And on the 15th, the campaign bumped up to 34%, which was downright heartening. It was a single pledge, at the $50 level – the first pledge I’d had at that top level. That fact was exciting to me, in and of itself.

Then, on the 16th, there was no growth once more, and I bagan to forsee another stall just below the $200.00 mark. I knew I wasn’t going to fund on the first day, like better known authors might, but I had thought that I would be funded by the halfway mark, so I could relax and have fun adding stretch goals and rewards. I wasn’t expecting to still be trying to reach the origianl goal at this point in the game, so I couldn’t help but to be feel a bit disappointed. I had a total of eight backers. Was there really so few people that believe in me and this project? So again, I waited… and waited… and waited some more.

I boosted a post on Facebook, in hopes of pulling in some more backers. Although it showed that people were engaging with the post, it didn’t seem to be bringing me any new backers. Was it because I chose a western for my project? I knew my covers for these books weren’t great, but if funded, some of that money was to go for improving the cover design. The boost ran out on the 26th, with a reach of 86, an engagement of 168, thru plays of the video 162 and one click through. The numbers didn’t seem to say the boost did all that great, even if the one clickthrough decided to back the project.

Heavy Competition

On the 18th, Kevin J. Anderson launched his Kickstarter for Dragon Business & Skeleton in the Closet, and his campaign funded almost immediately. By the time I checked in around noon, he already had double the goal that he’d set. I was definitely doing something wrong. I was still stalled at 34%, which might as well have been 0%, because if mine didn’t fund and reach my $500 goal, I wouldn’t recieve anything. Of course, it could still fund, but there was only 13 days left, and I wasn’t even close to halfway there.

I took a look at KJA’s successful Kickstarter campaign. His covers are very colorful, his story is humorous medievil fantasy, and one must keep in mind that his fan base is huge and he has worked to build it for many years. The campaign Dragon Business & Skeletons in the Closet gained 200 backers in two days. Mine was 20 days in and I had a total of 12 backers.

The one that I followed from behind the scenes for Double-Booked and the Dan Shamble P.I. series also featured colorful covers for humorous tales of fantasy or speculative fiction, and Delilah and the Women in the West covers are almost montone, with a minimal amount of color, and then they are westerns. Perhaps I picked the wrong project for my Kickstarter campaign. At the very least, I wasn’t getting it in front of the correct target audience.

Heading this section “Heavy Competition” is a bit misleading. It would be a joke to compare my Kickstarter campaign to Kevin J. Anderson’s. His has multiple support levels, with a variety of rewards such as personalized messages from the author, and mugs and tee-shirts featuring the very cool artwork connected to the cover art, with a numerous variety of add-ons available. Once his campaign funded on the first day, he began adding stretch goals, which means backers get even more more cool stuff as he reaches each one, if I understand them correctly. And his video attains a level of professionalism which I can’t hope to reach with my very limited skills in this area.

My three support levels and rewards couldn’t compare in any manner. My campaign goal was $500 and I couldn’t hope to launch a campaign the caliber of his, which was earning literally thousands of dollars, well exceeding his $2000 goal. But that didn’t mean I couldn’t learn from it.

Desperate Measures

On the 20th, I sent out an email blast manually to other authors I have worked with, asking for their support. I just came out and said that I was stuck at 34% funded and asked them to help me reach my goal. I had to do something to find backers for this project. It is a good project, (I think), but I needed a little over $300 still to reach my goal. And the next morning, I woke up to find I had 2 new backers from the email of the night before, so maybe it wasn’t such a bad idea. I still wasn’t fully funded, but it brought me over the $200 mark (41%), and got things moving in the right direction once more. Later that day, I gained another backer, pushing it up to 43%. It seems those $5 pledges add up. It wasn’t a lot, but I was quite happy to have made even this much progress. Yet, I also knew I still had a long way to go and the clock was ticking. There were only 10 days left in which to find enough backers.

The email blast brought out at least a few more backers. It was the best results I’d had from everything I had tried so far, so on the 22nd, I sent out another blast to folks on my other email contacts. This email was older, and had people in the contacts who I hadn’t contacted in a while and may not have made the switch to my new WordCrafter email. I knew each one of them, so even though it might be coming out of the blue, they weren’t cold calls. I got a couple of new backers out of that, bringing the project up over the half-way mark, (51%), but with only eight days left, I had my doubts that it would bring enough. It just didn’t look very promising.

I did have one recipient who recieved a message from the second blast, from my older email, who promptly notified me that I’d been hacked. Since I don’t usually send out form letters in email blasts, she was sure someone else must be behind it. She was looking out for my best interests, and I appreciated that. Even though I wasn’t asking something for nothing, and I was offering some appealing rewards, or at least I thought I was, this was beginning to feel like a I was just saying, “Hey, give me money.”

The 24th brought some excitement, with a second $50 pledge, bring the campaign to 63% funded. I was getting closer to my goal. I’d still need to find backers for another 37%, but I was closer. It was a brighter outlook than I’d had recently, as I was thinking I wouldn’t have a chance to make it. Now, it suddenly seemed more of a possibility again. This up and down Kickstarter rollercoaster was crazy. It seemed it might be easier to just send out posts and emails saying, “Buy my book!” Buy my book!”

Waiting for something to happen to raise the bar toward the goal was excruciating, and the days drug out as nothing significant happened. I knew I needed to make something happen, so I sent out one last blast on Facebook to see if I couldn’t muster some more support. I still saw no growth.

In the end, being stalled at 63% wasn’t that much better than being stalled at 34%, because neither of them can make a successful Kickstarter campaign. It’s 100% or nothing, and with only two days left, it was looking more and more like it would be nothing.

On the 30th, I put out a last ditch effort to fund this project by putting out a plea in my WordCrafter News post. And I sent out another small media blast with a ticking clock. There was only one day left in the campaign, but it could fund in that time. It’s not likely that a rush of backers would show up at the last minute and save the campaign, but it could happen, so I put it out there. At this point, things looked bleak.

At the 36 hour mark, I recieved another pledge at the top tier, which brought it up to 80% funded, leaving only $99 to go. With 36 hours left, it was possible, but not probable. But this was really close to the goal. Closer than I thought it would get as I watched of the past couple of weeks. I allowed my hopes to be raised a little, but deep down, I feared that it wasn’t enough.

Final Outcome

It came down to the final day of the campaign and the campaign was still stalled at 80%. It was close, but close doesn’t make a successful campaign. I intentionally did not check my Kickstarter pages again until we were down to the 3 hour mark. When
I finally did check in, I was pleasantly surprised to have moved up to the 90% mark. Now this was exciting.

The last needed $50 pledge came in with 2 hours left to go, and the campaign funded. I think I was in shock, at first. I’d been resigned to it not funding, and now here I was fully funded. I had an additional pledge come in My Kickstarter campaign was successful!

Acknowledgements

A successful Kickstarter doesn’t happen without the people who believe in it enough to back it. These are the external backers, which means they were not generated within the Kickstarter platform, but their support was the result from something I did to promote the campaign. I believe most of these backers were generated from the email campaigns which I sent out. In other words, I know these folks in some capacity, some in person, and others across vast distances over the internet, and that makes it more personal. These are the people which I’m lucky to have in my corner.

A big thank you to:

  • Cheryl Boyd – my best friend from junior high
  • Kevin J. Anderson – my friend and mentor
  • Robbie Cheadle – blog teammate, WordCrafter Press author, and multiple anthology contributor
  • Nancy Oswald – author friend
  • Christy Burmingham-Reyes – blog follower
  • Sara Wesley McBride – an anthology contributor and writing friend
  • Kieth Hoskins – an contributor to multiple anthologies
  • Ligia deWit – anthology contributor
  • Amy Cecil – anthology contributor and author friend
  • Mark Leslie Lefebvre – anthology contributor and author friend
  • Marie Whitaker – WordFire Press contact and author friend
  • James Richards – a WordCrafter Press author
  • Avily Jerome – anthology contributor
  • Tim & Wanda Ward – friends and neighbors
  • Miriam Hurdle – blog tour host and anthology contributor

Also, a big thanks to those who supported the campaign in non-monetary ways, such as spreading the word to garner support for the campaign. In promoting the campaign, I said repeatedly that all support was appreciated, and I meant that, including social media blasts, retweets and sharing on social media. Although I don’t have names for all of you, since these things went on behind scenes and there are probably many who I don’t even know about, but I thank you all so much for your support. I could not have done it without you.

Lessons Learned

Kickstarters are a lot of work. I knew that going into this, after watching behind the scenes for KJA’s campaign, so that was no surprise. Most of the people I know who supported the campaign are not big western fans. But enough people believed in me, and believed in this project, that it was able to fully fund in the end.

There are many things which could have affected negatively on my campaign: choosing to run a Kickstarter at the beginning of January, on the heels of the holiday season; chosing a project in the western genre; not spending more on paid advertising, etc…

But my analysis leads me to believe that I failed to reach my target audience effectively for this cross-genre series, which should appeal to lovers of westerns, and women’s fiction and even those who enjoy historical ficton, but it seems I missed the mark in the promotions. I thought I would reach a wider audience, since this series has strong female protagonists, bringing it into both the women’s fiction and historical fiction realms. Maybe, I don’t know how to find my target audience, but I will keep searching for them. An author friend of mine thinks I may be using the wrong social media channels, and suggested that I launch myself on Tik-Tok to tap into my target audience. Maybe I’ll consider it in the future, but for now, I must continue on my planned path and give things time to work out.

Kickstarter can be a successful way of direct selling. Not all campaigns will be as successful as KJA’s campaigns, but this proves that even the little, unknown, independent authors like me can have a successful campaign. Maybe my audience wasn’t big enough? Maybe I wasn’t reaching the right audience? Perhaps a different project would have done better. Maybe I’ll try again in the future with a different book, different genre and see what happens. Maybe…

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The release date for Delilah is March 21, 2023. You can preorder a digital or print copy from your book distributor of choice here: https://books2read.com/DelilahWIW

Delilah is a woman haunted by her past.

Her homecoming from prison quickly turns into a quest for vengeance when she is brutally raped and left for dead, and her fourteen-year-old ward is abducted. Sheer will and determination take this tough and gritty heroine up against wild beasts of the forest, Indians and outlaws to Leadville.

Can the colorful inhabitants of the Colorado mining town work their way into Delilah’s heart, offering a chance for a future she thought she’d lost along with her innocence?

If you like strong and capable female protagonists, you’ll love Delilah.

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For Kaye Lynne Booth, writing is a passion. Kaye Lynne is an author with published short fiction and poetry, both online and in print, including her short story collection, Last Call and Other Short Fiction; and her paranormal mystery novella, Hidden Secrets. Kaye holds a dual M.F.A. degree in Creative Writing with emphasis in genre fiction and screenwriting, and an M.A. in publishing. Kaye Lynne is the founder of WordCrafter Quality Writing & Author Services and WordCrafter Press. She also maintains an authors’ blog and website, Writing to be Read, where she publishes content of interest in the literary world.

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Want exclusive content? Join Kaye Lynne Booth & WordCrafter Press Readers’ Group for WordCrafter Press book & event news, including the awesome releases of author Kaye Lynne Booth. She won’t flood your inbox, she NEVER will sells her list, and you might get a freebie occasionally. Get a free digital copy of her short story collection, Last Call and Other Short Fiction, just for joining.


Mind Fields: It’s The Titles That Count

Titles, titles. It’s all about the titles. If you can write an article called “A Sex Cult Kidnapped My Kitten” and present some credible material, you will gain new readers. The titles drive the readership. I’ve cooked up some titles for you here, guaranteed to build audience. Let’s see: .” “Russian Captive Breeding Program Producing Ukrainian Zombies”

Or

“Penis Envy Among Narcissists”. or “Trump’s UFO Claimed By Repo Men”.   “Ten Ways To Get More Lust.”  There’s “Elvis Is Alive and Has Become a Woman”. How about this? “I Got Kim K Pregnant And I’m a Giraffe.”

Okay, about the kitten and the sex cult. I’ve had kittens but never joined a sex cult, so far as I know. I think the 60s were a sex cult and I’m sorry they’ve passed and it’s now 2023 and no one knows what they’re doing. The world hasn’t just gone nuts: it’s been nuts forever. If we get up in the morning and think, “Wow, the world is crazy” just try to imagine what your grandpa did during World War Two. You think the world is crazy now. It is. You don’t have to worry about certain things but you have other things to worry about and I’ll mix in a few more titles here: “Global Warming, History’s Greatest Scam”. Then there’s “My Narcissism Was More Trouble Than It Was Worth”. How about “Government Collapses Without Suspenders”.

Or “Hog Breeding And Cryptic Marriage Ceremonies In Papua.” The list goes on and on. The magic titles grab attention. These days one must market one’s self, even if the aptitude for marketing is non existent. If you don’t market yourself you’ll be writing titles like this one: “Even I Don’t Know How I Got Involved With Idiotic Medium Posts”. You might try “I Get Paid To Be Stupid”. That would draw thousands of readers. I wish I could write that story but alas, I’m too stupid.

The ultimate give- away title of the year goes to Ruben Pondwater, of Gassy Beach, Florida. His suggestion was “If You Try Hard Enough You’ll Hurt Yourself.” I might write that one. Everybody seems to be engaged in massive efforts to cure the world of its ills. I’ve never seen generations like the recently spawned Millenials, Gen-X’s, Gen Z Plus , Post Boomers, and Nazi Hippies. These people work so hard! Surely the ills of the world will be healed by the time the thirtieth century rolls around. We’ll be swooping through wormholes into the future and then returning to the past and re-writing these Medium articles to have global impact. Try to imagine that!

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Arthur Rosch is a novelist, musician, photographer and poet. His works are funny, memorable and often compelling. One reviewer said “He’s wicked and feisty, but when he gets you by the guts, he never lets go.” Listeners to his music have compared him to Frank Zappa, Tom Waits, Randy Newman or Mose Allison. These comparisons are flattering but deceptive. Rosch is a stylist, a complete original. His material ranges from sly wit to gripping political commentary.

Arthur was born in the heart of Illinois and grew up in the western suburbs of St. Louis. In his teens he discovered his creative potential while hoping to please a girl. Though she left the scene, Arthur’s creativity stayed behind. In his early twenties he moved to San Francisco and took part in the thriving arts scene. His first literary sale was to Playboy Magazine. The piece went on to receive Playboy’s “Best Story of the Year” award. Arthur also has writing credits in Exquisite Corpse, Shutterbug, eDigital, and Cat Fancy Magazine. He has written five novels, a memoir and a large collection of poetry. His autobiographical novel, Confessions Of An Honest Man won the Honorable Mention award from Writer’s Digest in 2016.

More of his work can be found at www.artrosch.com

Photos at https://500px.com/p/artsdigiphoto?view=photos

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WordCrafter News

New Release

Delilah releases through book dostributors on March 21, but there’s still time to pre-order your copy of Delilah here:

The later half of March will be busy, with the release of Delilah and a five day WordCrafter Book Blog Tour to get the word out, March 20 – 24.

The tour will include a fun interview where author Sara Wesley McBride chats with my character, Delilah, excerpts from the book, and posts about the historic female figures who will appear in each book in the Women in the West adventure series, and character profiles for the two characters which top-level Kickstarter backers Tim Ward and Carol Fowler have earned the privilage of naming in book 2 of the series, Sarah.

Kickstarter Progress Update

Until then, I will be busy signing and shipping the print copies of Delilah to mid- and top-level Kickstarter backers. I should be ready to continue working on Sarah in May, and I hope to have it ready to publish by the beginning of 2024. I also plan to work with a professional cover designer to smooth and improve my book covers. I want to thank everyone who supported me in this project, not only financially, but through sharing and networking it as well. All support was greatly appreciated. I couldn’t have done it without you.

Poetry Treasures 3: Passions

I’m also excited as the compilation of Poetry Treasures 3: Passions gets under way. We had some fabulous guests on “Treasuring Poetry” in 2022 and I’m looking forward to including their works in this very special collection. In addition to works by the series host, Robbie Cheadle, works by the following author/poets may be included: Penny Wilson, Judy Mastrangelo, Yvette Prior, Patty Fletcher, Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer, Willow, Yvette M. Calliero, Chris Hall, Abbie Taylor, and Smitha Vishwanath. I can’t wait to dig in to the poetry submitted for inclusion by these wonderful poets. Robbie and I are not very far into the process. In fact, I think we might still be waiting for all the submissions to get in. We had two previous anthologies, which both turned out quite well, and I’ve no doubt that this one will rival those.

You can still get a copy of these two wonderful anthologies from your favorite book distributors.

Poetry Treasures: https://books2read.com/u/3n7BDR

Poetry Treasures 2: Relationships: https://books2read.com/u/3kP8aK

2023 Short Fiction Contest & Anthology

Submissions have begun to come in for the 2023 Short Fiction Contest, as well as stories submitted by invitation for the anthology. It’s much too soon to talk about the contest entries, but I can tell you that we have invitational submissions from Chris Barili, Joseph Carrabis, Michaele Jordan, D.L. Mullan and Stevie Turner, with promises from many others. It’s still very early in the process.

You can find submission guidelines and enter the 2023 WordCrafter Short Fiction Contest here.

You can get copies of last year’s WordCrafter Press anthologies: Once Upon an Ever After: Modern Myths & Fairy Tales; Refracted Reflections: Twisted Tales of Duality & Deception; and Visions. Available through your favorite book distributors.

Once Upon an Ever After: https://books2read.com/u/mKdWGV

Refracted Reflections: https://books2read.com/u/3kPyxn

Visions: https://books2read.com/u/49Lk28

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For Kaye Lynne Booth, writing is a passion. Kaye Lynne is an author with published short fiction and poetry, both online and in print, including her short story collection, Last Call and Other Short Fiction; and her paranormal mystery novella, Hidden Secrets. Kaye holds a dual M.F.A. degree in Creative Writing with emphasis in genre fiction and screenwriting, and an M.A. in publishing. Kaye Lynne is the founder of WordCrafter Quality Writing & Author Services and WordCrafter Press. She also maintains an authors’ blog and website, Writing to be Read, where she publishes content of interest in the literary world.

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Want exclusive content? Join Kaye Lynne Booth & WordCrafter Press Readers’ Group for WordCrafter Press book & event news, including the awesome releases of author Kaye Lynne Booth. She won’t flood your inbox, she NEVER sells her list, and you might get a freebie occasionally. Get a free digital copy of her short story collection, Last Call and Other Short Fiction, just for joining.


Book Review: Kingdoms at War

The Audio Book

An epic series starter with nearly 1,100 five-star Goodreads ratings: Young mapmaker-in-training Jak dreams of exploring new worlds. But when he and his mother unearth the legendary dragon gate, Jak finds himself caught between his own growing power and magical enemies who will stop at nothing to eliminate him… From a USA Today bestselling author!

Purchase Link: https://www.chirpbooks.com/audiobooks/kingdoms-at-war-by-lindsay-buroker

My Review

I listened to the audio book of Kingdoms at War, written by Lindsay Buroker, and narrated by Vivienne Lehany. Buroker takes readers on a science fantasy adventure that won’t be soon forgotten, complete with her signature snark, and Lehany brings it alive with her mastery of varied character voices.

Just as Jack and his mother find the artifact his father lost his life searching for, their find is discovered by the zidar, and they are swept away with the dragon’s gate to the distant kingdom of King Yidar. But if Yidar figures out how to use the gate, it could mean distruction for Jack and all of his kind, so his mother gives the key to the Captain of the female mercenary regiment for safe keeping, this making the whole regiment a target. Can they figure out how to wake the gate up? And if they do, can they convince the dragons to help them gain their freedom from the wizard kings and their Zidar? But will they be able to get the dragon’s gate away from Yidar and prevent him from discovering it’s secrets?

Kingdoms at War is book one in Buroker’s Dragon’s Gate series, and it brings the promise of much more to come. A delightful tale which kept my full engagement throughout. I give it five quills.

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Kaye Lynne Booth does honest book reviews on Writing to be Read in exchange for ARCs. Have a book you’d like reviewed? You can request a review here.


A Review of Lion Scream by Robbie Cheadle

Hey everyone, Robbie Cheadle has a new book out, and she already has this raving review. Check it out.

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I received this book and read it in one sitting. It is staggering in its beauty and message. Robbie Cheadle has crafted an excellent book, filled with syllabic poetry, commentary, and a short story. Taken as a whole, this text is an important lesson on the impact of humanity on the wildlife of Southern Africa and, by extension, the rest of the world.

“Lion Scream”, the title of the book and one of the poems within, is my favorite. It is short but deeply impactful. Cheadle shows her talent with words as she creates this poem, and then many others in a fascinating form called the Double Enead, which has 99 syllables.

Cheadle’s book is a masterpiece! I do not use these words lightly or easily, but this book moved me emotionally and intellectually. I was shaken and in tears while I read it. As a man of my age…

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