BIOGRAPHY

REVIEWS – Do They Help, or Hinder?

Do reviews help or hinder a book’s chances of success?

The answer is not so simple as a yes or no. If I had to be succinct I would say reviews can both help and hinder. As a writer you hope that you have more positive reviews than negative. Much more. A negative review seems to sit a lot longer in a reader’s mind (and an author’s) than a positive one. The negative review has the capacity to sting.  It can dig deep into the soul if you let it, and, let’s face it, it’s hard to keep it out. The positive reviews lift you as if you’re a in an air balloon flying over a landscape of mountains and rivers and stunning green valleys. It makes you sing at the top of your voice. The kids look at each other asking what’s wrong with Mummy, she’s never this happy. But what we do know is that reviews are important, we really do need them. They are someone’s honest opinion of whether he or she liked the book, and most importantly, why.

Remember, our world thrives on free choice and free speech, so it is wise to keep an open mind.

Here is my 5-point list on: Why reviews are important not just to the writer but also to readers.

The first thing you need to know is that there are two types of reviews. The first is what is known as the “third party” review. This is the review of a stranger, a professional editor or reviewer from a printed or online periodical, blogger, or dedicated book review site. The second is the “first party” review. These are written by the readers. People you might or might not know, but people who love to read, who know what they want in a book, the people who freely give their opinion for no reward. Both types are important.

  1. A review is a recommendation. It’s as if a friend is letting you know whether this is a book they will enjoy and tells us a little more than the blurb on the back. It alerts the community of like-minded readers, spreading the word that there’s a book out that they’re likely going to enjoy. Or enjoy in part or not at all, whatever the case may be.
  2. A review is exposure. Readers can buy with confidence, especially if you, the reviewer is known in the community as giving a good and fair assessment.  You don’t have to be Einstein to write a good review. It’s your opinion, and the way you write a review showcases your own writing skills.
  3. A review is a critique. It’s information a writer can take home and improve upon, because that’s what writers want, to constantly improve their craft and a well-written review can do that. It can give a writer advice on how to improve their books.
  4. A review is an unwritten contract based on respect, understanding and admiration between the reader and the writer. A good reviewer will silently or verbally acknowledge the work, the time, and the blood, sweat and tears that the author put into creating the novel. In some cases that can be years. If there’s no understanding of this, the reviewer will have no respect and the review will lack real substance except perhaps to illicit sarcasm or humour. But when the reviewer acknowledges or honours the silent contract, the review will have merit beyond the critique, whether negative or positive.
  5. A review makes a book known, not just to another reader, but on a broader scale – to booksellers, librarians, and especially the pre-publication professional reviews that give booksellers the information they need to make decisions on how much stock to carry, and where in the store to display it, and believe it or not, even its position on the shelf.

Below are some examples of reviews I’ve received for my latest book, The Shadow, both third party and first. They cover the range of five star reviews down to one star.

The Shadow (Guardians of Time #4)

Oda Renate’s review – Five Stars – It was amazing – April 06, 2018

This book was perfection. Which is obvious because I read this LITERALLY all night (started it just before midnight, ended it around 5.30 in the morning). It was impossible to put down and sleep was not prioritized.

It was partly because I loved being back in this would, partly because it was THAT great.

I liked how this book (The Shadow) mentioned the setting – Australia – more and geographical places in Australia, yet it’s interesting how it’s not made a huge deal of. Probably because the author is Australian so why would she.

Also, I love how the cover FITS with the storyline. The plot-twist I did NOT see coming just as in the first three books. There weren’t many new characters but I did like the ones that were introduced. I loved the setting of the time they time travelled to 😀 😀 The conclusion was interesting how it was concluded yet at the same time left open to a 5th or even 6th book.

I really enjoyed that there were no explicit scenes. There was some subtle, I want to have sex cause I’m so happy, scenes, which I thought were fun. And it is a YA book so it was fun that that element was in there, it shows that the author respects YA readers.

The Shadow (Guardians of Time #4)

Rochelle’s review from Inside My Worlds Blog – Four Stars – I really liked it – May 03, 2018

“There is so much I want to say about this book, but I can’t because of spoilers! What I can say is that this is my favourite Guardians of Time book and I am so glad Marianne decided to self-publish it.

In The Shadow we pick up a week after the events that ended book 3 so this isn’t a book you can read without reading the others. We are introduced to the new leader of The Order – Jesilla – who is intent on seeking revenge for her mother and carrying on her legacy. Jesilla wasn’t just bad for the sake of being bad, but had a lot of depth and I actually really liked her.

I found Dillon much more lovable in this book as we got to see more of him and his true personality. He kind of just came across as a meat head before. It was heart breaking watching Ethan mourn. He has to go through a lot in this book!

All the characters we love – Arkarian, Matt, Isabel and the rest – are back, travelling through time and trying to save the world. There were lots of twists and turns and exciting surprises. I found this book to be the most romantic, and it had a very satisfying ending.

Fans of this series will definitely want to get their hands on a copy. You will not be disappointed. The Shadow was the much-needed ending to this series – although Marianne did leave room for more books if she wanted, and I wouldn’t mind! It was a highly enjoyable read. If you haven’t read this series and you like time travel, romance, good vs evil, and people with powers, you should start this series ASAP.”

The Shadow (Guardians of Time #4)

Allison Blanchard’s review – Five Stars – it was amazing – Apr 14, 2018

“Marianne Curley takes the reader on a beautiful journey back through the characters she created many years ago. We see all of our favorites: Ethan, Isabel, Arkarian (we know most people read just to see what our favorite blue-haired ageless mentor is doing), Matt, Dillon, Neriah, and many others. Marianne also brilliantly weaves in new characters that seem they have been there the whole time. While most continuation to series can leave the reader empty or wanting more, Marianne Curley successfully and seamlessly brings this world back to life and transports readers to another world where The Named and immortals are real and protect our world from the powers of chaos.

To be honest, I wasn’t sure if The Shadow would live up to the last three novels in this series, The Named, The Dark, and The Key, but it surpasses all of my highest expectations. This novel is true to the characters and to the story of The Named. Marianne Curley’s prose takes the reader on a roller coaster ride of emotion – from sorrow to hope to suspense to laughing out loud (Legit, I love that Ethan and the others refer to using their wings as “wing out.”) to absolute happiness. Readers new and old will not be disappointed by this novel. It is one of my absolute favorites and one I will read and read again.”

The Shadow (Guardians of Time #4)

Haylie’s review – Five Stars – it was amazing – Apr 23, 2018

“I loved this book. Loved getting to see the lives of the characters I came to love when reading the earlier books. I loved meeting new characters. I really liked Jesilla and I had hopes for her. I have a lot of clear memories of reading this series especially The Key. I have a habit of sometimes reading the last line of a story before I finish it and this never backfired on me like it did with The Key. I had to tell myself not to do that with this. I loved how we got to go the future this time that was an interesting twist. A character was still heartbroken at the end but a couple of characters were a lot happier then we last saw them by the end. I hope we get to see more of this universe.”

The Shadow (Guardians of Time #4)

Zuzana’s review – One Star – I did not like it – Apr 25, 2018

“It’s been more than a month since I finished this book and until today I abstained from rating it or writing a review because … honestly … I was not sure what to make of it. When Marianne asked me how I liked the book, I told her it was great fun, which it was – I never laughed out loud while reading a book and I say that as a big Discworld fan. The problem is I laughed when I should not have. And to be frank, this feels less like a sequel and more like a fanfiction, and not a very good one. Most of the characters are actually very out of their characters, and those who had little to no character at all (like Neriah) are just left that way while more attention is paid to the new characters.
I have a lot more problems with this book, but the characterization is certainly the biggest one and I do not want to look too harsh, especially when Marianne herself is such a wonderful, kind person. Let’s just hope her next book is better.”

The Shadow (Guardians of Time #4)

Bronzehunny – Five Stars – Worth the wait! – March 22, 2018

“I’ve been waiting for this Book for 12 years. It was worth the wait! I read the Guardians of time in High School and reread the series last year. I am so thankful that Marianne Curley persevered through her illness to bring this to the fans!!!! She’s an excellent descriptive story teller. She creates worlds writing worlds spanning different spaces in time and it’s utterly believable. The book was dramatic and gave good closure to the previous story lines. Her portrayal of the character Jesilla had me low- key rooting for the Order of Chaos ! The romance is a little flowery sweet at times but c’mon they’re soul – mates :).”

 

A Scene Adapted from Old Magic by Marianne Curley

Hi Everyone

Some years ago, a producer named Sarah Usmen, a recent graduate at the time from a film school  in the US, approached me about making a film of Old Magic. She had very little financing to pull it off but she had enthusiasm and friends, mostly other graduates, who were happy to work on the movie just for the experience. They wrote a good script, held auditions for the roles of Kate and Jarrod, and with the idea of finding more funding, they filmed a scene.

The scene takes place after Jarrod is hurt in the classroom on his first day when a shard of jagged glass flies across the room and lodges in his arm. Kate volunteers to take him to Sick Bay but ends up taking him to her place.

Unfortunately the film didn’t go ahead and this clip is the only scene that was made. See what you think of it and feel free to let me know your thoughts. The Old Magic Adaptation Original Scene is on YouTube under the name of Queens of Waban.

There have been several offers to make my books into movies, and even a TV show, but unfortunately nothing has come of them yet. This scene is the closest any of my books have come to the silver screen.

Guardians of Time Book Four Notice

The Guardians of Time Book Four will be released within the next few months. A confirmed release date and the title will be announced very soon. Keep watching this space for more details.

guardiansoftime

The Guardians of Time Original Covers

 

L.L. Hunter’s Release of Rebellious Heart, the Third Book in The Molten Heart Saga

Hi everyone

As you know I’ve been busy finishing off Book Four of the Guardians of Time Series, and while the manuscript is currently with the Proofreader, I finally had a moment to check out some new books coming out. Today I want to draw your attention to a book my good friend Laura L Hunter is having released today. It’s called Rebellious Heart and is the stunning conclusion to The Molten Heart Saga.

Rebellious Heart Cover

If you haven’t read this saga yet, now is a good time to start.

Four years after Skye became the youngest president in history, and returned precious resources to her people,
She had hoped this would mean the end of the war.
But there is still a threat.
An enemy once thought dead has returned from the grave to exact revenge, and he won’t rest until he gets what he wants.
In the quest to give herself some credibility despite her young age, and to defeat their enemy, Skye, Lukas and their friends devise a plan to distract their enemy using a decoy, while they go in for the kill.
But, when their plan goes south,
Lukas and Skye must do whatever it takes to save their people and the world from ruin.
Even if it means betraying those they love the most.

In the thrilling conclusion to the Molten Heart Saga,
When matters of the heart are concerned,
Risks will be taken.

She thought she’d found utopia. She was wrong.

Purchase links:

Amazon US: http://a.co/13P9udR
Amazon UK: http://amzn.eu/eE7wwDE
Nook: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/rebellious-heart-ll-hunter/1125837985?ean=2940154023143
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/au/en/ebook/rebellious-heart-2
iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/rebellious-heart/id1209794126?mt=11

L.L. Hunter is the author of over 20 published works, including The Legend of the Archangel Series and The Eden Chronicles. She has studied everything from veterinary nursing, forensic science, and dramatic arts, but has always known her true calling was to be an author. She has been writing since her teens – everything from fan fiction, to song lyrics, to plays and musicals. When not working on her next paranormal romance, she can be found at home in Australia, reading somewhere comfortable with one or both of her “fur babies.” Follow her on Facebook (Facebook.com/llhunterbooks, Twitter @llhunterbooks, and her blog – http://llhunter.blogspot.com.au.

Social Media:

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/llhunterbooks/
Facebook reader group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/578667812172906/
Blog: http://llhunter.blogspot.com.au
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LLHunterbooks
Instagram: @llhunter
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6559537.L_L_Hunter
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/L.L.-Hunter/e/B00B2B701I/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1473564998&sr=8-1
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/llhunter
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/l-l-hunter
Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/by8k0r

L.L.Hunter.MoltenHeart.Banner

Overcoming Anxiety and Panic Attacks

Hi everyone, this is not my usual topic, but I have a long experience with anxiety and panic attacks and thought I would share some thoughts and ideas that helped me during my darkest times.

It takes courage to look at oneself.  It seems easier to avoid or run from anything that brings on the symptoms of fear – the racing heart, sweats, unease in the stomach, that sense of disorientation or disconnectedness with the world. We soon become vulnerable. We don’t want to feel those symptoms again. We talk ourselves into thinking it’s a heart attack about to happen. But to conquer fear is to recognise it, face it, acknowledge it, and most importantly keep moving through it. Don’t run. Look at it. Acknowledge what it is. A panic attack. An attack of anxiety. A sudden change in my breathing pattern – too shallow, too high in the chest. Then think of it as a wave. Stand still or sit and feel it rise. Stay with it. Ride it out. The moment you think you can’t bear it anymore is when you dig in, but not tensely. Imagine you’re floating on top of that wave, or on a cloud, or lying on a lush green field, noticing things around you, like flowers in your garden, clouds moving across the sky, the painting on the wall, walking on a beach. Notice things in details, like with the painting, count the colours. Do whatever you can to keep still, keep riding the wave because your reward is coming. In the next instant the high anxious sensations will fall away and you will have conquered it.

Flowers blossoming.gif

By doing this repeatedly it will become easier as you build your confidence conquering the wave. You learn that an anxiety attack cannot hurt you. It has no more power over you.

Stare fear in the face, and you will grow stronger while the symptoms of fear weaker.

 It is your right to live a life without fear, a life that you choose, that you rule, that you steer in the directions that please you and not by force. Never force.

Some recommended reading:  anything on the subject by the late Dr Clare Weeks, an Australian specialist in this field. Another is: In Stillness Conquer Fear by Pauline McKinnon. This is Pauline’s personal journey through crippling anxiety and panic attacks. This book is one of the better ones, with a good chapter on meditation.

Beach Art.gif

Marianne Curley Daily – a Dedicated Site

Hi everyone, a friend of mine I met through Facebook, Vesper Cassel, has set up a dedicated website highlighting my books and all there is to know about them. It’s called Marianne Curley Daily. This is how Vesper describes her site:

Welcome to mariannecurleydaily! A fan tumblr blog dedicated to Marianne Curley, Australian YA writer and her books.
Tracking the tags #marianne curley, #the guardians of time, #avena and #old magic.

A big shout out to Vesper, and a big thank you from me.

Vesper, thank you for your time setting this site up, for maintaining it and keeping it current. I love what you are doing here, and how you are tracking the tags. I am truly blown away by your dedication and appreciate the effort you have gone to making your idea a reality.

Marianne Curley Daily

Hidden, with Old Magic and The Guardians of Time Trilogy

Hidden & Broken in French

Fantastical and powerfully emotional, this angelic romance series is rapidly winning enthusiastic fans

Hi everyone

Exciting news for The Avena Series. French-speaking Canadians are about to see Hidden and Broken on their bookshop shelves. Dissimulée and Écorchée will both be released in paperback on the 13th of May, 2016, by publisher – Éditions AdA inc.

Happy reading everyone!

HIDDEN in French by Canadian Publisher ADAQuand il m’a pris Ebony, j’ai su que je passerais toute ma vie à la chercher. Maintenant que je l’ai trouvée, il fera tout en son pouvoir pour nous séparer. Ebony a mené une vie coupée du monde réel. Elle n’est pas préparée à vivre les bouleversements qui bientôt lui arrivent. Et ces événements ne sont qu’une partie d’une découverte qui bousculera tout son univers. Ebony n’a pas été «surprotégée». Elle a été tenue dans l’ombre. Maintenant que son milieu de vie n’est plus un secret, qui en premier la trouvera?

Ebony has always known that she is different. Her violet eyes mark her out, and her protective parents have kept her in a gorgeous valley, home-schooled, safe from everything – almost as if she’s being hidden. But she’s changing: glowing, getting more and more beautiful, and stronger than anyone knows. Ebony can’t stay hidden for ever, and when she meets complicated, intense Jordan, something explodes inside her – something that can be seen from the heavens; something that changes everything. Ebony is a stolen angel, concealed on Earth. Now the heavens have found her, they want her back.

BROKEN in French by Canadian Publisher ADA

Ebony a toujours su qu’elle était différente. Mais lorsqu’elle découvre sa véritable nature, elle refuse de le croire. Elle est unique. Déracinée de son foyer à la naissance et cachée sur Terre, elle ignore tout de l’endroit d’où elle vient. Cependant, son passé refait surface et Ebony se retrouve de plus en plus déchirée entre ceux qu’elle aime et son destin réel, à mesure que des forces différentes l’entraînent dans un tourbillon infernal.

Following the revelation that Ebony is an angel, and Nathaneal’s narrow victory in battle with Prince Luca, the two are enjoying their newfound love. But Ebony’s friend Jordan is bitterly angry that he has lost the girl of his dreams. Then suddenly Prince Michael arrives to arrest Nathaneal for breaking Avena’s law when he revealed his powers on Earth in his bid to save Ebony from Luca. Nathaneal is forced to return to Avena without Ebony to stand trial.

Jordan seizes the opportunity to plant doubt in Ebony’s mind about Nathaneal and her own angelic nature. Desperate to find out what has happened to her adoptive parents, Ebony is persuaded by Jordan to believe that new teacher Mr Xavier, who claims to be her uncle, can introduce her to her real father. Disaster inevitably follows and Ebony finds herself at the centre of another epic battle in the realm of Avena itself.

FEARLESS – Released Today in the USA

Hi everyone

FEARLESS is available from today in the United States. This means all three books of The Avena Series are now released and available from any good bookshop for you to read. Thank you to Bloomsbury Publishers for their commitment to the series and to their wonderful staff.

Here is a link to What Inspired The Avena Series.

For those of you who haven’t read the series yet, now is great time to pick up all three books for a mega reading session. The books are also available to download as e-books.

I’m often asked what I read for pleasure and if I read a lot of Young Adult books. I will read almost anything, but I am drawn to Historical Fiction, YA and Adult Paranormal and Fantasy, Contemporary Thrillers, especially with a touch of Sci Fi, and Romances with extraordinary heroines and heroes. But what I really need to enjoy my reading for pleasure is TIME. If anyone knows how to slow it down so I can fit more reading for pleasure in my day, please write to me.

I just recently finished reading a Young Adult Paranormal series of books written by Jennifer L. Armentrout, an American best-selling author. They were called The Dark Elements. They began with White Hot Kiss, Stone Cold Touch and Every Last Breath. Here is a link to her website: Jennifer L. Armentrout

I found the Dark Elements Series an unexpected surprise of the best kind. As soon as I finished Book 1, I had to start reading Book 2 as if I were turning the page. The same happened with Book 3, but Every Last Breath was one the most satisfying endings that I’ve read in this genre for a long time. This is YA Paranormal Fantasy at its best. I recommend them for new writers because they are great examples of fast-paced plotting and really well-formed characters.

Fearless

THE GUARDIANS OF TIME – A FAN’S SEQUEL

Hi everyone

I couldn’t believe what happened today. I received a parcel wrapped in black paper and plastic. It was marked with a date stamp from the Czech Republic that read JUNE 2015, a whole four months ago, and my first thought was to wonder what happened to delay it coming to me until today, the last day of October? I had a suspicion what it contained when I saw the name of the return sender – Nancy Králová. Back in March Nancy had finished writing a fan sequel to the Guardians of Time called “The Bond”, and had a some copies printed with a professional finish for her friends and family.

What started out as a school project and ended up inspiring Nancy to become a writer of her own books, which she very kindly gives me the credit for. It was her passion for the Guardians of Time Trilogy that got Nancy started on her career choice, her love for the characters within the series – Arkarian, Ethan, Isabel and Matt to name a few. I wish Nancy the best for her future endeavours and hope to see her own creations in the near future. And I thank her for taking the time to send me a copy of her printed fan-sequel “The Bond”.

It was a joy to receive it.   Nancy Pic 4

The funny thing was, when the parcel arrived – after four months – my husband John insisted on taking some photographs of me opening it. Apparently Nancy had written to John in a private message through Facebook, telling him how she’d sent me a copy of her fan-sequel “The Bond”, and would he please take some photos once it arrived. Only it didn’t arrive for so long and poor Nancy had gone to her post office in the Czech Republic to see what had happened. There wasn’t a lot they could do from there except offer her the cost of her postage back, which Nancy didn’t want a part of anymore. She just wanted her book to arrive. 

From what I could ascertain, when the parcel came through customs, and haven’t we all seen this happen on TV on Border Security, the parcel must have looked suspicious and was taken for further examination. It was opened by Australia Post for inspection by Quarantine. The process took all that time before they re-wrapped it and allowed it to be delivered to me.

Here are a few pictures of the event that has now had a happy ending.

Nancy Pic 1

Nancy Pic 7

English Conversations

Hi everyone

Today, while chatting with my very smart neighbour, English teacher and writer, Mark White, he showed me his website called English Conversations, where he and friend Aaron Campbell run lessons on how to write, speak and read English. This site is definitely worth a visit if you want to improve your skills, no matter your level or ability. English Conversations has been running for fifteen years, and the lessons are easy to understand, easy to follow, interesting, quite unique and have audio. You will find a wide variety and number of individual lessons, as well as interactive stories and pod casts.

English Conversations’ philosophy is like this:

“We believe strongly that education is the key to a healthy, thriving society. In the long term, a society that provides free knowledge will be able to solve all its problems. A society that limits the free flow of knowledge, however, places internal divisions on itself and thus hampers human growth.

Human knowledge is stored and transmitted in human language. This means that language is a key to understanding, and in order to act wisely we need to understand our situation and our neighbours first. Understanding is the key and because of this, language learning, in many ways, must be the basis of an educational system.

That goes for every language. We should all try to master other languages, not just English, in order to expand our outlook. Language is not just a means of communication. It is also the framework upon which we build our ideas; the operating system we use when we think.”

English Conversations

Ten Random Things About Fearless and The Avena Series

On the recent Fearless Blog Tour, Fiction Fascination, ran a post about Ten Random Things on Fearless and The Avena Series. For those of you who didn’t catch it, I’ve put it up here on my website. If you want to see the original, you can see it by clicking here: Fiction Fascination

The Avena Series - Hidden, Broken and Fearless

The Avena Series – Hidden, Broken and Fearless

Ten Random Facts About Fearless (The Avena Series)

1. When I learned that Bloomsbury Publishing had offered me a contract to publish all three books of the Avena Series, I was so overwhelmed that I cried with joy for an hour. It had been eight years since my last book, The Key, had been published.

2. I had originally called the angel Isaac, Thaddeus – Thad, for short, but it sounded too similar to Nathaneal’s shortened name of Thane, so I changed it. Thad and Thane was not going to happen.

3. While writing Fearless, I listened to songs filled with drama and passion. One in particular rang a chord for me with its themes of grace and mercy, faith and hope. It’s called “Healing Is In Your Hands” by Christy Nickols.

4. Whenever I needed particular inspiration for a specific scene, I would pace my office with my music turned up and a sticky note pinned to the door that read, “Enter at your own peril or with coffee in hand”.

5. Prince Luca’s dark world of Skade was called Zorn until my editor pointed out the name sounded too sci-fi. This was not what I wanted so I changed it.

6. I sketched Ebony’s wings more than a dozen times before I figured out how she was going to be able to fly with them.

7. My biggest distractions during the writing of Fearless were my pets and the wildlife that feed from my back deck – parrots, rosellas, lorikeets, bower birds, possums, snakes and bush turkeys.

8. By the time Fearless was finished I had cut 30,000 words from the original draft.

9. While writing Fearless over the course of one year I consumed nine hundred cups of coffee.

10. During my six-month stay in Westmead Hospital for a stem-cell bone marrow transplant in 2004, I could have sworn my oncologist was a real angel.