Sunday, April 8, 2012

A Diamond in the Rough with Guest Blogger: Stormie Kent

Welcome author Stormie Kent
to the Book Boost!

She's here to discuss how being a writer is like being as tough as a diamond and here's what she had to say...

Other than April Fool’s Day and April showers, the month of April is also known for the illustrious gemstone known as the diamond. Each person born in April can count the stone as his or her birthstone. The diamond is said to symbolize invincibility, clarity, purity and eternal love.

As a newly published writer I am more interested in the diamond’s biggest claim to fame, other than being the “engagement ring” gemstone. The diamond is the hardest substance found in nature. Listen--critiques, bad reviews and rejection form letters happen. If you really love writing and you can’t see your life without the craft, you must develop diamond hard nerves and a thick skin.

Over the last few months I have enjoyed the fact that I accomplished one of my writing goals. I wanted to be published. There was a euphoria that came with seeing my e-book on the publisher’s and other e-book seller’s websites. I loved it.

I also learned a disturbing lesson about myself. It is very difficult for me to read a less than stellar review from a reader. It doesn’t matter to me if there are five good reviews and one bad one, I will get stuck on the less than awesome one. I turned to veteran writers for advice on how to deal with reviews, good and bad, from readers and reviewers alike.

Here are some of the more helpful “gems” I gleaned from them.

1. Readers and reviewers have a right to their opinions and to post their opinions. Please don’t argue or attack them.

2. If your book has been reviewed and the reviewer has contacted you personally by email or some other method, it might be nice to thank them for their time and consideration.

3. Don’t take it personally. I know the book is your baby but everyone can’t like everything. Sometimes the thing that someone didn’t fancy about your work will be the very thing to draw another reader to the book.

These tips haven’t given me Emma Frost’s diamond hard skin yet they help me feel more resilient as an author.

There is an awesome side to reader feedback. If you have created a way for readers to get in contact with you, someone who enjoys your work will hopefully write to you. I love opening and responding to emails from readers. Writing can be a long, solitary undertaking and positive reader interaction gives me the warm fuzzies.

If writing is what you adore, don’t allow anything to get in your way. Write each day. Practice your craft. Learn everything you can about what it means to be a writer. There are wonderful writing communities out there that can support you and offer sound advice and information to aid you in your writing journey.

Learn from each reviewer. Positive and negative reviews can offer you valuable feedback about your writing. Once you have developed your “diamond skin” you can look at reviews and decide if the criticisms in each are really places that you need to focus your revision time or simply part of your writing voice and elements with which you are not willing to part.

What about you? Do you have any tips or rules about handling reviews with grace?

A Note from the Book Boost: Reviews are so tough because we all learned as children "if you don't have something nice to say--don't say anything at all". But when it comes to our reviews, we should expect criticisms to become forthcoming. I try to look at this this way, each person who reads my books (whether they liked them or not) is one more person you've touched and connected with--even if your book wasn't their cup of tea. Thanks for joining us, please tell us more about your book!


Camryn is taken captive after Earth is invaded by hostile aliens. She is sold as an exotic, an expensive sex slave. Camryn is willing to do anything to survive and escape captivity. That includes convincing her master that she enjoys his touch. Then she is purchased by the sexy warrior Venn. Now she must convince herself that she can resist a male whose every caress ignites a passion she has never known.

Venn is an empathic and hyper-sensitive tribal lord from planet Ordan. He has never owned a slave, yet he cannot resist the beautiful Earth woman. She teases his heightened senses and pushes past the control he has over his emotions. Venn struggles to own Camryn’s body with scorching sex and a firm hand. And when his possession of her body is complete, he’ll try to claim her soul.

Excerpt (edited for length):

Out of the hundreds of people who had surrounded her before, fifteen were left.

Breathing heavily, she hugged Niki to her. “We survived.”

“We survived again. Now we have to keep doing it. We have to find shelter or help. Someone who knows what is going on would be helpful,” Niki replied.

Camryn pulled away. Her entire body shook and she felt fuzziness in her head that she was very sure meant she was going crazy. But they were alive. That’s all that mattered.

“Where are you taking us, Mark?” she asked.

“There is a hidden barracks about twenty miles from here. It is bunkered underground, so maybe it is still secure.”

They all looked at the tractor-trailer-sized holes in the ground. The ground shook and she let go of Niki, falling to the ground. She forcefully pushed the thought away that they weren’t going to make it to the underground bunker alive. Thoughts like those wouldn’t help her keep walking.

Camryn climbed to her feet and they continued. The going was rough with the ground shaking almost constantly.

“What’s that?”

They all stopped. There was a thunderous cracking. It sounded like stone falling and the clamorous roaring of a demolition. Camryn looked back. The ground was splitting.


Camryn ran. The shaking was severe. She stumbled. She got up, balancing with her arms straight out to the sides.

The roaring grew deafening. She was flung back. She landed on her back, her ankle twisted.

Winded, Camryn lay still until the shaking subsided. She crawled, dragged and pushed herself to her knees and gasped. She knelt at the edge of a fourteen-meter-wide fissure. The earth had cracked in a jagged line as far as the eye could see. Across from her, tugging on her hair, stood Niki. Behind her hovered an equally distressed Mark. She knew what they were thinking. She was the least likely to survive on her own.

“Don’t worry. Follow the crack. It has to stop somewhere,” Camryn called. “We’ll meet there.”

“If you see anyone, get out of sight,” Niki called back.

“You can do it!” Mark yelled.

At that moment, something inside her wanted to give up. It all seemed too hard. Whatever was attacking them could destroy buildings and eighteen wheelers. It caused earthquakes. She was just one flesh-and-blood woman.

“Camryn,” Niki called.

Camryn focused. Niki looked as if she would attempt to fly across the gap if necessary. It was the first time in a long time that Niki had let her feelings show. Camryn always put Niki’s feelings above her own. Always.

Giving up wasn’t an option. Trembling, Camryn stood and limped away. She limped until nightfall, crying softly, glad that Niki and Mark were too far away to hear. Both of them were ex-Army. They would be okay, just worried for her.

The area had fallen silent and still. The people she passed were dead. She averted her eyes where possible. She stopped checking for pulses after the tenth corpse. She was thirsty and exhausted. The crack widened the farther she walked and what appeared to be an entire copse of trees was overturned in her path. She would have to go around. She pressed dirty palms to her eyelids. Her body wanted to shut down.

“In the morning,” she whispered.

She could no longer see Niki and Mark and she needed to sleep. Camryn pulled herself behind a fallen tree and settled against it. Finally she allowed herself to open her pack and take out a bottled water. She only drank half because she needed to ration her supplies. Who knew when she would find help? She also needed to sleep or she wouldn’t be able to go on. Camryn rested her head against the bark and waited for morning.

Want More Stormie?

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1 comment:

Jeanne Guzman said...

Great interview, and lots to think about. Back to my own edits.