Eileen Cook Author, Writing Consultant, Editor

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Random Monday

Construction update. We have windows! There are rumours we will soon even have complete walls. Nothing against our construction guys, but I will be glad to not see them on a daily basis.

The box set I’m a part of, SASSY SEVEN. is now available on Amazon, Kobo, iTunes AND on Barnes and Noble. I will be really honest with you. We’re hoping to hit a list. Which means we need to sell a lot of copies. This means you need to buy a lot of copies. The upside is that is only a dollar. Surely you love me a dollar’s worth. Especially because you also get six other books.

In other news, I have started a new book so I’ve spent the last two weeks wandering around the house mumbling to myself and leaving cryptic notes on tiny sheets of paper.

Here’s to enjoying the last few days of summer before the fall crazy period begins.

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Random Monday- the boxed set edition

Did you know that I’m a part of a box set coming out in September? Well, get ready to get giddy. My book, DO OR DI, is a part of the Sassy Seven. You get seven full length novels for 99 cents. Do yourself a favour and pre-order a copy for yourself on Amazon, or iTunes Books, or very soon on Barnes and Noble. Do me a favour and tell your friends to order it too.

In other non-selling you things news- we have hope that our window is finally in and they will be able to fix the giant hole in our house. I look forward to the day when my dining room isn’t separated from the outdoors by mere plywood. This desire is not just based on how it looks, but also because there have been bears spotted in our neighbourhood and I am not keen for one of them to smell something tasty in our house and discover that we’re just a piece of flimsy wood away.

That’s pretty much the only excitement around here. I’m working on a new book so that means the majority of my time is spent with my imaginary friends.

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Random Monday

How is it possible that it is already the middle of August? What happened to all the time I planned to have to get random things done? I haven’t even made a dent in my to-be-read pile. (Although this may be slightly my own fault as I keep adding to it.)

I’ve been busy with unexpected home repairs (yes, our place is still sporting what we call Detroit chic), edits, conferences and work. In case you are feeling too sorry for me it has also included lots of time with friends, wine on the patio and long walks with the dog. Cairo likes to think of these walks as “patrols” and himself as the unofficial sheriff of our neighbourhood. I think he wishes for spurs and a white hat. Never fear we will not arm him.

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I’m BAAAAACK

Spent last weekend in Portland for the Willamette Writer’s Conference. There are few things better than large groups of a writers in one space. So much book talk it made my heart grow three sizes.

However, I could have done without the getting there. Someone really needs to develop a transporter. DH and I decided to ride the rails on the way down. With the train no one had the hassle of driving, there was free wifi, a bar car, beautiful scenery- what could go wrong? Everything. It took HOURS longer both going and returning. DH declared that Big Bang Theory and Sheldon had led him to believe trains were cool, but they clearly lied.

In addition to all the writer fun I also snuck away to spend time with family. We found a restaurant- Swank- and had one of the best meals ever. If you are in Portland you should eat there.

Now to attack my mile high to-do list……

And for those of you still wondering- we still don’t have a new window so the house still looks “Detroit chic.”

The importance of being humble

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Random Monday- On Negative Book Reviews

Someone asked me this week why my Goodreads account didn’t have any negative book reviews of other authors. She stated that she didn’t believe that it was possible that I liked everything I read.

She’s right. I don’t. I read a lot. I am one of those people who starts having a low grade anxiety attacks unless I am surrounded at all times by reading material. Given the sheer volume of stuff I read of course I come across things I don’t like. However I don’t feel the need to share that with the larger world.

This is for two reasons:

1) Writing a book is hard. Not like working in a sub-standard coal mine with no safety features or a chicken processing plant kind of hard, but not easy either. I’m not sure if it takes bravery and commitment to finish an entire novel or simply being on the border of insane, but either way it can be a hard slog. Putting your words out for people to see requires an element of bravery. At the core writing is about having a story that you feel compelled to share. If someone took the time and energy to do that I appreciate that effort even if I don’t appreciate the outcome. I won’t write a nice review just to be kind, but I will use my grandma’s advice that if you don’t have anything nice to say maybe you should just shut up.

There are individuals who write great reviews. They put a lot of thought and effort into detailing what is working for a book or not. I don’t have the time to do that so simply saying “I think this book sucked sweaty donkey balls” or even the more bland and somehow more cutting “I just didn’t find this book interesting enough to finish” doesn’t really add anything to the discussion. It doesn’t help the writer and I’m not sure it helps other readers. If I’m honest my tastes are pretty weird. Once I didn’t like a book simply because the main character had the same name as a guy who once broke the heart of a close friend and therefore every time I read his name I thought “you douche-bag” and that was getting in the way of the plot. I think it would be asking a lot to request that authors run the names of their characters past me for approval.

2) Spreading the Joy. There are a lot of books that I love. Books I want other people to get excited about too. For me I would rather spend my time sharing that with others versus telling them what I didn’t like. Is that overly perky? Maybe. I do know there’s a lot of negativity in the world and I don’t feel compelled to add to it.

People like a range of things. Sometimes I think people should like the same books I do and I am at a loss as to why they would spend their time on a book ghost written for a vapid celebrity when I could list ten books that are lightyears better without even thinking hard. But it’s not up to me to vet everyone else’s tastes. They read what they want. I’m pretty sure a review from me isn’t going to change that. I’d rather spend my energy telling you about books I think are worthwhile.

I was asked if I get angry at negative reviews of my own books. Not really. That’s not to be confused with liking it. It hurts when someone says something you worked hard on is a waste of paper. I have to fight the urge to explain why they’re wrong and why they should give me and my books another chance. But be honest- is there anything more pathetic than someone begging for love and affection from someone else who clearly isn’t feeling it? You have to walk away. People are entitled to their opinion. Maybe I’ll learn something from it. Maybe I’ll ignore it. Either way I know I have to keep writing. That’s what I do.

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