Tag Archives: ethical writer

Book reviews

Or “Things I torture my friends with for 1000, Alex”.
As of Jan 1st, I’m a reviewer for Apt613.com.  It’s an online literary review magazine. I requested local indie authors, and have already received my first book.
Human, by S.M. Carrière. I’m really looking forward to it, I met her at Can-Con last year and she seemed pretty awesome. She did a panel on historical fantasy that I got a lot out of. And she did it all in vampire teeth!
I had started reading an earlier book of hers, now I’m not sure whether I should start the new one or finish the first one. Probably do the review first, I’m only a chapter and a bit in, though I was blown away from the first paragraph.
Soon I hope to receive my second book; a “how-to” for writers on overcoming writer’s block. ( Caroline Frechette) While my problem is usually too many stories, not too few, this would still have helped during my 2 year blank page nightmare.
They both also fill one of my goals for 2016, to read one “how-to” book on writing or self-publishing per month, and to read 24 fiction books this year.
Or is that 2 goals?

I am also still struggling with my epic fantasy; I may have to separate out 2 story lines for separate books. And deal with the big reveal being revealed 3X. Although it would work fabulously in any of those spots. So… push it as late as possible? Try for a reveal of something every plot point?
The secondary characters’ big reveals are also revealed twice each. I guess I love my reveals. And have short term memory problems. Also my memory sucks.
I need to struggle my way through this first read-through, making notes of what’s out of place, what needs fixing, etc. And get it all into same font, same size, same paragraph style… why did it do this?
Then I can make a plan and a process for finishing draft 2… maybe a list… I love my lists. My dear hubby says he married me for my lists….
Where was I?
Oh, yeah. I thought editing was easier….

Is that even English?!

Or “editing your own work months later.”

In October, I decided that if I was ever going to finish my magnum opus, my epic fantasy novel of *mumble* years work, I would have to finish the first draft. Just do it. Barf it up onto the keyboard, edit later.

So I did my own Nanowrimo.. nanoctwrimo?

I finished the last 40k in October, finishing on the 27th, so I could rest my noodle before starting the real nano. I have started looking at it for the first time since.

So… Last week I transferred it all back from a word doc to Scrivener, and separated it all into scenes, and read through it.

Some pure gold, some pure… not gold….

Um, what?  Why is this secondary character in more scenes than the MC?  I have 3 big reveals in the book, I did all of them at least twice. You wouldn’t think it wold be such a surprise the third time.

I have a character leaving the city, then doing a bunch of stuff IN the city. is she twins?  Wait… that’s a good, no! No no no!

And one sentence where I changed tense FOUR times!  Wait, what? Is that English?  I have no idea what I was trying to say, so I deleted it. Watch it become an absolutely necessary plot point.


Editing is easier than the blank page, I told myself.  Liar.


In Other news… I am a book reviewer.  Cringe in fear my writerly friends!

More on that Thursday.

Guest blogger coming soon!

My longtime friend, Jamieson Wolf, has another book of stories out. This quote perfectly explains it.  And why, when he was looking for blog to jump onto (no pun intended) I was quick to put up my hand.

It’s actually a re-release, an updated edition of my book of fairy tales titled When Love Blooms. 

I’ve always loved fairy tales and the magic they carry. My goal with When Love Blooms was to write about all different kinds of love. 

Here’s a bit about the collection: 

Welcome to the village of Inglewood Hamlet. 

Nestled between a large forest and sprawling mountains, Inglewood Hamlet is home to many. Some that live within the village are like us. Others that live there have powers told in myth, legend and lore. 

There, magic runs free. There, you might meet a Mermaid longing for her lost love. You might happen upon a shape shifter who has never known true love. You might chance to hear a conversation between a Dryad and a Queen, or witness the reunion between a King and his Fool. 

There are all kinds of Love in Inglewood Hamlet. And all you have to do is let Love bloom…”

Book sales and things to ponder

So, about 8 people bought my book within the first couple days of its release. It’s hard to tell exactly with the kindle unlimited, because it shows pages read, not books sold.

Since then, nothing.  Not one.  Sigh.  I hate marketing, why aren’t there marketing fairies?

I now have 50 paperbacks in my kitchen, about 10 are on hold for people who say they want them.  I’ll likely sign them, wow, the only people to buy my book!  You get a thank you!

Of course, the marketing took second place to our water pump dying, so we had no running water for a couple days. No laundry, no canning although I have apples, grape jelly, tomatoes….  but no water for the water bath canner.  Not much of a bath with no water!

Which brings up… no shower!

So, yesterday from 11-4 the house was filled with plumbers.  Well, only two, but they were big. And busy.  And everywhere: basement, kitchen, yard, well house….

So, nothing got done, because my dearest love got home from work within minutes of the plumbers leaving.  It would have made a great opening for a romantic comedy.  But in real life it meant laundry, supper preps, discussing the cost of all the plumbers…

So, I need to sell books.  Or give them away to get more reviews to convince people to buy my book.  I’m listening to webinars on marketing books (90% are for how-to books) and it takes all day.  Which means no writing done that day.

And I have a lot of books screaming to get out!  It’s scary in my head, especially when the vampire from one series wants to get it on with the elf from a completely different series!




So, I think I’ll do a small giveaway.  If you are in my target market (13-16 yrs old) or have kids, nieces, cousins, etc in the target market…. contact me at my writer’s FB page, or the book’s FB page,  with your email address, and in return for an honest review, I’ll send you a copy.

Tidying up because I’m confusing myself


This is my brain right now.  seriously!  I ended up with three versions of the book, all with different covers, at two different prices.  No idea what was going on.

But I was getting sales… and no, Amazon doesn’t tell me from which version. So I’m really hoping that nobody who bought the old versions loses their copy, but I just unpublished two versions.  And that is totally a word, Amazon says so.

I loved the cover of the first one, a girl all alone on a school bus, it perfectly captured one of my themes.  But I couldn’t copy it to the paperback. And the paperback options were ugly, stupid, or plain.  I chose plain.


I just realized that how to see which version they bought, and Everyone who’d bought one bought an old version, so I reinstated the most likely to have been purchased one, changing the cover to the same as the other one.  I realize that this may add to the confusion, but at least everyone gets the same cover. Right?

And now I just realized that 4 of the 5 purchased were with the cover showing the little girl.  Frak! How do I get that cover onto the paperback?

Ok, once more into the breach, dear friends… and if your paid for copy just disappeared, let me know, I’ll email you one.

The reviews are rolling in!

“Laurie Stewart is my cousin by marriage. I have always known Laurie to be very creative and talented. She has published a young adult book on Kindle recently. I have read it and was very impressed with her writing skills. The story is told in first person by the 3 main characters, all teenagers. I highly recommend you have your teens read A Test of Loyalty by Laurie Stewart.”  (Gale Stewart, New Mexico)

“4.0 out of 5 stars Three worlds. Aug. 31 2015
By RavensviewPublished on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
Three teenagers, three cultures. Samantha’s background is Rockliffe, a rich and trendy neighbourhood. Ashleigh is from a Mohawk reserve. Faraj, a Muslim, is from Iraq. All three live now with their families in a run down apartment building in Mechanicsville, a neighbourhood struggling with drugs and prostitution. All three are initially set in their ways, biased by their cultures and battling their own demons, but loneliness and day to day challenges push them together into sharing some unexpected friendships. And sharing an unexpected disaster. The three lives are told with alternating points of view, a challenging technique that is well managed. In spite of the occasional rough edge, this is a well written first novel, a rich and accurate portrayal of life in the ghetto, and characters that grow through their new relationships. Each deals in their own way with tragedy, and leaves us feeling both satisfied that issues have been resolved, and wondering at what might come next.”
And this:

Wow! That was fast!

Amazon Bestsellers Rank:
#4,456 Paid in Kindle Store
#3 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Children’s Books > People & Places > Social Situations > Peer Pressure
#7 in Books > Children’s Books > Growing Up & Facts of Life > Friendship, Social Skills & School Life > Peer Pressure
#12 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Children’s Books > Issues

Now, I will admit that getting ranked #3 with only 6 sales kinda bothers me.  Is nobody else writing in that genre?  Should I shelve other projects to frantically write YA books about peer pressure?  How does this bode for my years’ long attempt at a high fantasy novel?  When should I start poking publishers?

And how do I know what’s going on with the Kindle unlimited?  Two people read the whole book, I get paid by the page, but how much?

*breathe in*

Nope, the second proof arrived today and it’s beautiful!  *sniff*


I need to send one to my mom!

My book is up for pre-order!

The experiment is LIVE!!

And confusing!

cover Test of LoyaltiesThe Kindle version….



And the paperback….  is coming in a day or two.  They need to do… something to link it to Amazon. (I’ll update or post a new blog with that link when it’s figured out.


Now, they do have different covers, because I’m overeager and their rules are strange.

I signed up my book (A Test of Loyalty) to Kindle Direct Publishing, used their cover creator, got it up for presales and release on Aug 30th.  They suggested that I do a matching paperback through their subsidiary Createspace, so I did.

They have totally different covers in their cover creator, and you can’t just ship the other’s cover over because they’re different specs.  So I created a second, less pretty…. well, much less pretty, and much less relevant, cover.  And fought with their uploader, then with their proofing program until it worked.

I ordered a proof copy!  Yay!

HOWEVER….  When I went to connect the paperback with the already listed kindle book.. they can’t do that.  They start a new kindle book, and I can’t merge them or cancel the first one.  Also, I think the paperback is also only going on .com, not .ca.

Now it turns out that if I’d done the Createspace first, they send their cover to KDP.  But it is the plainer one.

This experiment is getting complex.


Serious kitty disapproves of complications.

BUT!  Here are the plans for it:  The kindle is $2.99 (Us or Canada), the paperback is $8.99US, and you get the kindle free through Createspace if you buy the paperback.


KDP says that they get the book exclusively for 90 days, and I can’t sell it in any other format or any other website, including my own.  (The Createspace doesn’t count since they own it)  If I put it on my blog or facebook or website, I must link to the Amazon sales page.

In return, they will promote my book based on the keywords and title searches. I am sorta guaranteed to be in the top ten matches by keyword and top five by title or name. It’s only sorta because they have other KDP books that might meet the same search criteria.

After 90 days I can do a Kobo version and put them all up on Goodreads, Smashword, etc.

So, how do I know who bought it because they saw my posts and who bought because Amazon promoted it?

This is how: I would love for people to buy it, write a review, etc.  If you do buy because you read this or any future post by me, write and tell me that’s why you bought it.  You can comment on this post, or future posts about the book.  If I sell 100 copies and my friends buy 95 of them, KDP does not get exclusive anything from me again.

Now for the warning:  This is a gritty, depressing YA novel. There is drug use, off camera sex abuse, terrorist plotting and general peer pressure and misery.  It does have a hopeful ending though.  Things get better in book 2 and book 3 sees them all come into their own power.