Book Ratings – When Over 18 Isn’t Quite Enough #Reviews Matter

Amazon Reviews Feed Authors

Star ratings have been around for as long as I can remember…and that’s a pretty long time. I’ve always believed anything from three stars and up is wonderful. However, those stars don’t mean nearly as much as what the reader has to say about your book or rather, their written review. There is so much to be learned from well thought out, honest reviews. Be they good, bad or somewhere in between, those thoughts matter more often than they don’t.

AMBER WAKE received a three star review today. To be honest, based on the reviewer’s comments, I believe she was quite generous. She was very complimentary on the writing, the characters and the story. However, the reader felt the book was for mature audiences only and I agree with her 100%.


The book is well-written, the characters are complex and interesting. However, this book, in my opinion, is definitely for mature audiences. There are slang words for male body parts, unsettling adult situations, and material I skipped over in order to not read to my teen-aged granddaughter. I knew it was a pirate’s tale, but until about chapter five there was nothing objectionable. I read to my husband whose vision is not good enough to read to himself. Our granddaughter was visiting with us while I was reading. I had to skip a lot. Thus, I felt embarrassed at some of the material. I put the book aside and did not finish it.”

Is there graphic violence? YES because, well, pirates

Is there profanity? Very little

Are there sexual situations? Nothing graphic or gratuitous

With the above questions answered, I’ve considered consulting my co-author to possibly add in the author’s notes that the book is for mature readers and give it say, an 18+ rating. However, there are droves of readers who are far beyond 18 years of age who still may find some of the subject matter not to their taste and even objectionable and that’s okay.

I’d personally like to thank this reviewer for two reasons; first, for her honest opinion and for sharing that opinion so others who may be put off by certain subject matter, don’t go into this story looking for Pirates of the Caribbean or at the very least, a Disney pirate tale and second, for enticing those who enjoy this type of realistic, although often times shocking and even ugly side of history, exactly what they’re looking for and more. With her praise, as well as her dislike, she has done this wonderful book so much service that I simply couldn’t go to bed tonight without sharing it.

As authors, we always hope everyone who reads our books will love them but the reality is not every story is right for everyone. Leave your reviews anyway…please. They mean so much more than you know!


Changing #Genres – Oh Ivory, What the #BLEEP Have I Done?

Prior to writing The Blue Diamond – The Razor’s Edge, I wrote historical fiction. Wait, I’m still writing historical fiction, right?

Well, hold that thought for a moment while I drill down a bit.

Fireflies – Historical fiction / Paranormal

Hope From the Ocean – Historical Fiction Paranormal / Family Saga

The Blue Diamond – The Razor’s Edge – Historical Romance / Adventure

Before I continue, I just want to warn you there is some profanity ahead. However, it is in context and not solely for shock value or because I like to curse.

Fireflies and Hope From the Ocean are the first two books in a series I am still writing. I’ve already started book three and have the whole book mapped, outlined and ready to roll on. Although technically not YA fiction, both are perfectly acceptable YA reading and can be read by anyone from the age of fourteen and up. There is little to no profanity. There is implied sex but nothing graphic and the pages swell up to fill your heart with sweet family love. Yes there are good and bad characters and happy and not so happy occurrences but throughout both books, there is a spiritual connection due to the era and location of the stories.

The Blue Diamond – The Razor’s Edge is about pirates. Although they are female, they are still pirates, complete with every bad word and naughty deed that comes to mind when you imagine pirates. I could not write a book about pirates without staying true to their nature and behaviors. I set out to write this story as honestly and historically accurate as I could. I believe I’ve done that.

Is there cursing? Yep. As a matter of fact just today, I decided to count every curse word in the book because it came to my attention from someone who tried to read it, (perhaps thinking they were getting a pirate version of Fireflies) that they didn’t like the cursing in the book and DNF’d. I understand that and I can appreciate that point of view. I believe there was just a misunderstanding as to the content of the story.

Just so that we are clear, The Blue Diamond contains at least this much profanity:

17 fucks

32 damns

8 shits

46 hells

And at least four sex scenes—which I do not believe are explicit and they are important to the story, not just to get you all riled up…although they might. 😉

I just want to stress to those who love the Fireflies books, I promise you will be getting a third installment within the next six months. However, I love Ivory, Maddox, Cass, Miranda and Keara just as much as I do Ennis and Teagan and the rest of the Whelan’s, and I intend to continue their journey as well—bad words, sex, murder and all.

ying and yang

I’m not someone who anyone would describe as a complex person. However, my imagination makes up for it. I can create beautiful, loving stories about families and faith and then turn around and pen tales of gritty, action packed, sexually charged pirates and I don’t see why I shouldn’t. I believe inside of all of us are more characters than we could ever write, which is in and of itself a writers struggle. I ask myself all of the time if I will I live long enough to tell all of the stories I want to tell. I know that answer is no but I also know that I’ll die trying.

So please, if you are a lover of the Fireflies series, I love you too and will continue to write stories of the Whelan family and their continuing lives in America. I will also write other stories that are completely different. I know it seems crazy to write two series’ that are so completely different all at once but I love them equally and can see so much more on the horizon for both.

History is filled with beauty and ugliness, adventure and exploration, and immigrants and pirates. There’s no rule which states our reading tastes need to be defined by what an author chooses to write  and nor is there a rule about liking every book series by a particular author. All of my readers are equally as important and I will always strive to fulfill my end of the deal by continuing to give you what you desire. Whether you love a spiritual journey that flows from shore to shore or tidal waves of passion and adventure as you hold on for your life, I have to write what’s in my heart and mind and I haven’t even reached the twentieth century yet.

Oh my…!