Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Alexandra's Year in Review

Wow! 2014 is coming to an end so soon. My next post, it'll be here's a year in review for me. 2014 was a wild had it's ups and it had it's downs. Some days I'm really not sure what 2015 is going to look like for me or for SPE, those days are rough.

Let's start with the highlights:
Twisted Redemption came out with Ellora's cave
Black and White finally made it's SPE debut
SPE survived another year and will be hitting it's three year mark in 2015
I've gotten a beta team started
I'm finally getting a handle on marketing.

The lows:
A Demon's Heart was shelved
There's a lot going on with EC

That's about all there is to 2014. SPE had some great articles and I hope that we continue next year to provide insight to those who find it helpful. As for me? I'll see you guys in the new year! Cheers!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Review: Out Through The Attic by Quincy J. Allen

I was given an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Thirteen fantastic tales from the cavorting, twisted mind of Quincy J. Allen, Out Through the Attic
covers everything from steampunk and fantasy to sci-fi and horror. It’s a cross-genre smorgasbord that’s sure to hit the right spot, with a dose or two of straight-up genre fiction for the meat-and-taters appetite.

I don’t even know where to start with this book. I just loved it. Loved it with a capital L. I can’t even put my finger on why I loved this so much (which is not the best thing for a reviewer to say, but it’s the truth). Here’s what I can attribute my adoration for this book to: 1) I love short stories, and you get 13 of them in here. 2) I love eclectic storytellers, at least that’s what I call them. The author calls himself a cross-genre author. That works for me too. I just love when an author can put on many different genre hats and no matter what, they still work. Their voice is still clear regardless of settings. 3) There aren’t many steampunk stories out in the market place and even fewer that are as devout to the genre without making it cheesy or campy or over commercialized. This author can do that, seemingly without effort.

If I had to single out one aspect that justifies me giving this a top rating it would be Quincy Allen’s ability to describe the world you are reading about with such imagery, so vividly that you can taste it. The settings jump off the page in a color scheme of electric blues, grays, yellows and everything in between. The darkness is just perfect when it needs to be. Nothing is taken away from in these stories.

I know that this type of book, short stories that are from multiple genres aren’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you enjoy stepping out of the box and reading something a bit different than pick up Out Through The Attic by Quincy J. Allen. It is a great read.

5 out of 5 Stars

Buy This Book:

About The Author: Quincy Allen, is a self-proclaimed cross-genre author. What that really means is that he’s got enough ADHD to not stick with any single genre and, like his cooking, prefers to mix and match to suit his tastes of the day. He has been published in multiple anthologies, online and print magazines as well as one omnibus. He’s written for the Internet radio show RadioSteam.  His novel Chemical Burn—a finalist in the Rocky Mountain Writers Association Colorado Gold Writing Contest—was first published in June of 2012 and is due out in 2014 in a newly revamped edition from Word Fire Press, which will be carrying the Justin Case series.  His new novel Jake Lasater: Blood Curse, is also due out this year as well as a military sci-fi novel from Twisted Core Press. He works part-time as a tech-writer to pay his bills, does book design and eBook conversions for Word Fire Press by night, and lives in a lovely house that he considers his very own sanctuary.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Presenting Yourself as a professional: Guest Post Annie Slasher

Annie Slasher of Booked and Loaded was kind enough to write this guest post for us. This is geared towards bloggers, but authors pay attention, because you could learn something too. Like how to treat your bloggers.

Booked & Loaded

Book Blogger Professionalism 

Lets face it.  In our current world anyone, any place, anywhere can say whatever the hell they want and hide behind the safety of their computer screen.  So where do we, as book bloggers, draw the line in the sand of professionalism? 

Every blogger on the net has individual views, likes, and dislikes.  So when does putting your opinion out there for anyone wondering around the stringy webs of the internet cross a line of professionalism? 

In my personal bubble it is clear - Personal insults, plagiarism, piracy and crazy making of any kind.  

I am going to give it to you straight.  I am not the nicest person in the world and my filter probably resembles a sieve more than an actual healthy filter (I always think of cheese cloth), but I DO have a healthy respect for my fellow humans.  I know that somewhere behind each author pen name, blogger alias, and Facebook profile is a real human being.  This human being has feelings and their own personal views with their own shit going on that you know nothing about.  Not every individual puts their personal troubles on display for everyone to see, so do not pretend to know what that person is going through on any given day. 

Personal insults are not productive and no one benefits from them.  How do you think your readers benefit from calling an author or other blogger that you do not like insulting names?  I cannot find one good think that would come from this.  If you want to call someone out that is your choice, but there is a difference between insults and facts.  If you can prove you have been wronged by someone and you feel it is in your readers best interest have access to this knowledge, go for it!  You can still do so in a professional manner.  List facts and discuss why you got offended or were wronged.  This can all be done without childish name calling. 

Plagiarism is just not only unprofessional it is also illegal.  I am amazed at the stories I have heard and things I have personally experienced regarding reviews being plagiarized.  If you are not sure what plagiarism is:

According to the merriam-webster online dictionary, it means:

         * to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as ones own: use (anothers production) without crediting the source.

Using pieces, phrases, or all of another review is stealing and not professional.  So do not do it!  If you think it is professional to not read a book and just read reviews off of Goodreads and recap them, maybe you should rethink your passion of book reviews.  You are truly not doing yourself or any other bloggers a favor.  Readers should be able to put their trust in Book Bloggers to give their own honest opinions. 

There is a lot of buzz lately about piracy.  Ebooks are hard thing to stop from being pirated.  In my opinion book bloggers have a professional obligation to have a very high standard of what constitutes piracy.  Sharing via email or any other electric form without the authors written permission with anyone is stealing and constitutes piracy.  Uploading or sharing electronic ARCs or copies with a site that provides free aka pirated books is not only unprofessional it is illegal.  Bloggers should be able to be trusted, and right now I think any author would be wise not to 100% trust anyone with electronic copies of their work.  I have theories about why this is so rampant, but that is not what this article is about! 

And we are onto the big one - crazy making! This should apply to all aspects in your life.  Not just blogging.  If you are stirring shit up between authors and readers, bloggers and authors, or any other combination of readers, bloggers, and authors you are crazy making.  It is the epitome of unprofessionalism.  All of us view our book blogging hobby differently.  Some more business oriented and some just enjoy spreading the word of authors, but ultimately you are responsible for your own professionalism.  It is up to you to set your own lines and not to cross them.  If you are spending your time hand picking authors to support and you think that means bashing others, you are not only unprofessional you are irrational.  I find these types of acts the most offensive.  You are truly not supporting authors if you think bashing one IS supporting another.  Readers read.they are not only going to read ONE author.  Support the ones you love by reading, reviewing, and repeat!

I think Facebook becomes the hardest thing to manage.  I am pretty open on my blogger Facebook account, but do apply the above rules to my Facebook Page.  I view my page the same as my blog.  I try to keep it as professional and unbiased as I can.  Warning, if you are friends with me on Facebook I roll out the honesty and leave the professionalism for my blog and Facebook page.  =)

Professionalism should be something all Book Bloggers care about.  It helps build a foundation of trust and respect for not only authors, but readers as well.  With so many Book Blogs closing their doors and others starting their new journey, we should be setting a high standard for professionalism in this industry.  We should be a group that authors and readers can trust and confide in and this can only come from a standard of professionalism. 

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