Roller Coaster by J P Walker: Review

So about a month ago Summer Bigger than Others anthology came out, in which is my story Offline. I’ve had the privilege of reading many of the other stories and thoroughly enjoyed them.

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So I’ll take it one at a time with my reviews.

Roller Coaster, by JP Walker, is the only other F/F story aside from Offline.
Its a tale of impulse and taking risks; daring yourself to step out of your comfort zone. I also think its a tale of love at first sight.
Quinn is successful in her career but never in her personal life, fearful of rejection she tries to keep herself detached. However while away on a work assignment, a trip to the fair brings into her sights Sarah; a beautiful, charismatic and fiery young woman who wants to take her on a wild roller coaster ride.

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This is a sweet tale about overcoming fear. Quinn is afraid of being rejected, abandoned and let down. Putting her trust in another human being, especially trusting them with something as fragile as her heart and her love is terrifying for her. However her feelings for Sarah, that are overwhelming almost instantly, start break down her barriers shes put up for so long.

This is a sweet short story of romance and summer love that leaves you with a smile on your face and in your heart.

I give it 4 Stars.
🌟🌟🌟🌟

About J P Walker
Website: Knights of the Sun Facebook Page
Jem Roche-Walker was born in Norwich and moved to the North West in order to attend Edge Hill University, studying Social Work Studies. After studying she began working in rehabilitation for patients with acquired brain injuries and has spent the last 7 years writing her first novel, ‘Knights of the Sun’, published 2013 (Beaten Track)
She lives in Burscough with her wife and baby girl and loves spending family time with them.

Give yourself Time to Write

You’ve written it, you’ve published it, it’s out there and now you need people to read it. You need to make yourself visible. You need everyone to know about your book. You need to be in front of every readers eyes. At the top of every reviewers list. You need to be discoverable!

One of the first things a blogger will ask you if they give you an interview is: What are you working on now?

If your answer is: ‘nothing, because I’m too busy scouring the internet day and night trying to promote the hell out of myself!’ It won’t go down very well.

I know how easy it is to get consumed with promotion, marketing, pushing yourself out there. I’ve been up till two in the morning just Googling and going through Goodreads lists and forums trying to find the best place, or any place, to showcase my work. To get someone to read it and review it. I found myself very very sad. First of all your time is consumed with trying to say how wonderful you are to everyone, with very little in return. Every blogger out there gets hundreds of requests in a week from indie authors trying to promote themselves. It’s like applying for a new job all the time, it’s hard work and tiring.

I was asked the question after Once Upon a Pair of Wheels had been out for months and to be honest I had make up that I was writing something, because I hadn’t written for months. I had become all consumed with self promotion, all free time was spent on blogs and social media; it had taken me away from what it was I was trying to do. I’m a writer, I love writing and I love making up stories and I had become lost in a world that, although I had entered it to help me be a writer, it had taken me away from that very thing.

Always happiest when working on stories

Always happiest when working on stories

I work 9-5 Monday to Friday. I’m a professional and have to do Continual Professional Development, usually outside of core hours. I also have a wife and a little Dog who I adore and love to spend time with. My free time is precious, as I expect yours is. If you want to write, make sure the majority of the time you have available for it, you spend writing. Of course it is important to get out there and to promote yourself, but don’t drown yourself in it. I now usually have a blog scour at lunchtime at work and if I find one that’s interesting I’ll bookmark it and then look more in the evening. If they look like they’d be interested in my book or me and the Blog looks good, I’ll send an enquiry. Social media is easy to nip in and out of during household chores, or on the bus, or while you’re watching the news. (it’s actually a great way to catch up on the news.) You don’t need to spend hours on it. And if it doesn’t work for you, leave it. When the evening comes (or whatever time of day you have to concentrate and focus) focus on the writing. The best promotion for you, is you. The best promotion for your writing, is your writing. Make sure you’ve got plenty out there to be seen.

Most important, do it because you love to, and if you don’t love to, you shouldn’t be a writer.

Dealing with bad reviews

So you had a bad day, you came home, you sat down and saw someone left a review and you decide to read it.

My first point here would be dont even look to see. If you had a bad day dont go anywhere near other people, especially ones who may have an opinion on your work; that is not going to end well for you.

If you’ve had a good day and you sit down and see a review and read it and its slating you and your work it can feel awful and pull in dark thundery clouds on your bright sunny day.
Take a deep breath and walk away, go for a walk, and calm down then come back to it if you must.
Read it word for word and see what it actually says. There are different types of bad reviews and not all of them are actually bad if you just let the red mist dissipate to allow you to read them.

Some can actually be helpful and some dont mean to mean, and of course there are those that do. Some people are just not very nice.

So let’s look at the different reviews:

1.   The ‘Not my thing’ review: I get annoyed with these reviews sometimes. I know not everyone is going to like my writing and my book and I appreciate people wont like or click with my style of writing. But to trash something because its not your thing is a bit unfair. Erotica and BDSM arent my thing, so I havent read 50 shades of Grey. I havent read it and slated it because its not my thing, I know its not my thing, so I’ve not indulged in it.
However, you will always get these reviews, some people just cant resist getting their opinion in even if its not really fair. This you have to chalk up to experience and just say, ‘ah well, you cant please everyone.’

2    The ‘I didn’t enjoy it review.’ Fair enough, you thought it was your thing, you read it, you didnt enjoy it, you said so. Thats fine and you have to accept as in point 1; You cant please everyone. Most genuine people who give bad reviews for this reason will actually do it politely, usually trying to throw in a compliment about the grammar being great or something because they feel a bit bad giving you a bad rating.
Some may even be nicer, especially if its a beta reader or something and just say look, ‘I didnt like it, but I wont slate you, I’m just not going to review it.’ This is actually a really nice thing for a new writer, and they may give you feedback as to why. Read that feedback it could be vital to your future in writing.
Of course it doesn’t feel nice at first, it’s like slaving over a meal all day and someone eating it then telling you it was awful and how you could make it better; you want smack them round the head with the pan! But don’t! Listen, read and take it in.

3.    The nasty ‘I didn’t like it'; Some people are just horrible. They will do their best to tear your book apart because they are that kind of person. Because they didn’t like it, rather than say, I just didn’t like it they’ll tell the world it’s awful and terrible. There are people like that, I know people like that’ that I see everyday. Just smile nod, sigh, look at your mates and roll your eyes in the typical ‘what a ****!’ manner and move on. You have to accept it and develop a thick skin.

4.    The ‘English Police’ or on stricter terms the ‘grammar police’. These are people that even if your story is awesome and could be the next multi-million pound grossing movie series of all time; one little typo and they will give you a one star rating based on your ‘clear lack of understanding and use of grammar, punctuation and English.’ Because they are nit picky and thats just how tiresome some people are.
Dont get me wrong, if a book is really badly written with dire spelling mistakes, atrocious grammar and terrible punctuation, not to mention a really bad flow to it, then yeah, I’ll slam it as well. You cant put a book out like that and expect to get readers let alone good reviews. But there are those who will just nit pick for the sake of nit-picking. Once more, just move on.

5.    The ‘no real reason’. Just walk away! They dont have a reason and if you pull them on it you’ll just rile an argument out of someone who was probably having a bad day and decided to put the review down. Again, just chalk it up to experience and walk away.

6.    The ‘non-readers’. You will get these and they are basically related to Number 7. They will decide from other peoples reviews that they will not like it and review it even though they havent even looked at the cover. These I regularly see named and shamed on twitter or facebook. Be careful doing this, sometimes its ok’ other times it can come back at you. What you can do, especially on book sites like Amazon; file a complaint of trolling and just say, ‘they haven’t read it and are being malicious’. Amazon can verify their records that they never purchased the book from them and take down the review. Most people wont buy something theyre not going to read just to verify a review, and if they do, then give them their due; their determined ****!

7.    The ‘Troll!’ Ah, now this is different. There are trolls out there. They are horrible nasty people who will find someone they want to attack and go full throttle. The wonder of the internet gives vile, cowardly people anonymity to be dicks! They grasp it with both hands and take pleasure in trying to break people. Some are just horrible in their comments, some are outright threatening and terrifying and theres a whole range in between.
Do not, under any circumstances engage any kind of communication with these people! A lot of sites like Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, even Amazon now have systems in place to report abuse. You also have the anonymity they have. Look at their profile, see what else they commented etc, usually you’ll find they have just spent hours attacking anyone they can to try and provoke a response. Once you have found this, you have the evidence to report them and usually their profile will be blocked. Of course they’ll just open new one under a different name, but that’s the only power you have.
Don’t let their reviews or scathing comments get to you, nine times out of ten, everybody else knows they’re a troll too and usually youll see other readers comments telling them to get lost.

The most important thing is, unless it’s someone you’ve requested a review from and they engage with you in a private message, never ever ever respond to a bad review. Even if it’s a troll, it will not end well for you! You may have seen recently a  thread that went viral about an author who had a go at a reviewer on Goodreads; he was destroyed by everyone who got involved. You become petulant and self righteous. Your image is seen as someone who cant handle it and therefore shouldnt be doing it.
Not everyone is going to like you, and that’s ok. I don’t find Ricky Gervais funny, but there are plenty of people who do and that’s who he performs his comedy for. I find Lee Evans hilarious, but one of best friends can’t stand him, and that’s ok, because I’m the kind of fan who he performs his comedy for and my mate simply doesn’t watch him. If you get constructive criticsm, take it, because that’s your readership trying to help you. They like your story, they like your ideas and how you portray them, and they might just be saying ‘they don’t introduce characters well’ in which case you can think, ‘ok I’ll take the time and a couple of sentences to make sure my readers are aware who my characters are.’

Other than that, don’t respond. Read it if you must, learn from it what you can, then go and have a drink, cool down and move on. The red mist will dissipate and in a day or so you’ll just shrug it off and say ‘what a ****’ and get on with your life and your writing.

And if you really want to feel better, read the good reviews and give yourself a boost.

Writing Real Life

In two weeks I’ll be releasing Wedding in Paradise.

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You’ve read the blurb, now a few more details.

It is based on real events, we really did have the craziest, strangest and rather comical holiday in Thailand in 2010 for my sisters wedding. Of course names have changed, and I have substituted a few events and characters. I’ve also had to space out the insanity as in real life all the crazy events happened in the first week, and the second was more of a slow down, but of course that’d be a bit of an anti climax and maybe a bit too much in the first few chapters.

My good fortune in this case is that the events themselves, the people involved in them and our reactions to the utter chaos provided the authentic comedy all by itself. Writing that comedy down so you find it as funny as we did has been a challenge.

Although 24 of us made our way over to Koh Samui, most of the story is told the way I saw it. Most of the revelers stayed in Lamai, where as six of us; myself, my parents, my brother and two family friends stayed in Chaweng, and it was our little party that most of the insanity happened to.

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So the question is; why would you want to read about our holiday? It’s not a heart wrenching tale of loss, of struggle, or of defying the odds. It’s not an epic tale of adversity, battle and heroics. Why would you want to read about my families holiday to Thailand?

as I said, the authentic comedy. Most things make us laugh because we relate to them, the funniest comedians are always the up and coming ones who tell comical stories about real life that you can imagine yourself in. It’s usually a hard and almost tragic tale, for as they say, there is a fine line between tragedy and comedy. We find hard situations funny, because we know, deep down, how we’d react in such a situation.

In the world as it is, right now everything’s a little sad and a little terrifying, so how about something real that’s really, just a little bit mad, a little bit chaotic and to be fair a little bit pathetic, but in a really stupid funny way.

Released July 17th!!!!

Katy and Adam are heading to Thailand to get married, this has been their dream for a very long time, and now they’re off, the whole family is going with them!

24 British holiday makers split between two areas of Koh Samui try to prepare for a beautiful wedding in a tropical paradise, but everything that could go wrong, does go wrong! From mis-booked flights, lost luggage, storms, blackouts and a nasty bout of food poisoning, you’d be forgiven for thinking this was something written for National lampoons, but this is based on a true story…seriously…you couldn’t make this up!

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Waterloo Sunset

It was a late spring night, the sky a deep red as the sun descended below the river, shimmering pink and violet on the Thames as the dark sky slowly invaded the burning horizon. She had been stood, staring at the water for hours, it had changed from pale blue without a wisp of cloud, through the stages of evening approaching, lilac, orange with yellow hue, then the orange sunk deeper ad deeper until the sky burned fierce and the reflection in the water made it seem as the plague of Nile, running as blood. In the distance shadows were approaching, foreboding, dark and heavy. The breeze guiding them in in a mischievous taunt, to bring the fitting end to the worst day Bernice had ever known.

What would happen next? The rain would come of course and she’d get wet, because she’d probably still be stood here, staring at the water, nowhere else to go. She could go home, she thought she might as well as it would probably not be her home for long. A woman with no job would have no money, and no money would mean no fancy apartment in the busiest city in the world. Maybe she should explore the city while she was here. She looked from one end of the bridge to the other and realised that for all of the nine years she had lived in London, all she knew of the city was her commute to work from her apartment. She didn’t even know which side of the water the Theatre district was in, which way the nightlife would be calling, where Soho was or even, from this point, how to get to Buckingham palace or the Mall. She knew Albufeira better than London and she’d only spent a week there last summer.

She didn’t know anybody either. Nearly a decade in this bustling, thriving city. One of the most multicultural cities in the world, the capital of one of the most successful countries in the world. People flocked to London everyday for their fortunes. Media, music, business, commerce, government, even Royalty; it all happened right in this city, and Bernice knew which stop on the circle line to get off to get a Hot Mochachino on her way to the office. As if on cue, the phone in her pocket buzzed and out of habit she pulled it out immediately and looked at the message from her flatmate.

Yo budz, OMG, NO WAY! Redundant sucks!

Don’t do anything stupid, where you at?

Oh Gemma! Always trying to sound street, when she was a privileged, educated young lady from rural Essex. She would tell her it’s all going to be OK and she’ll get another job no trouble. She’d convince her to get a bottle of wine and sit in while they scout the net sending out CV’s and canvassing the world for work.

What was the point? So she could live in another place she never got to know? Once more working all hours to be completely alone in a big city? All the time she spent here she’d not even been on one date, in nearly ten years she’d not gone to dinner with one girl! She wondered if her friends even knew she liked girls, her life had been that mundane and isolated.

The lyrics of the Kinks song played in her mind as the sun finally descended below the river and Bernice knew this should make her do…something.

I’m off for a wander

She quickly text back and made her way across the bridge,  heading into the direction of the city….

To find out what Bernice did next…why not buy yourself a Short Sizzling Summer Read:Offline Cover 1

Beaten Track authors present fourteen short summer reads filled with friendship, romance and, of course, enough heat to make your ice lolly dribble.

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Summer Bigger Than Others takes you away to your own private island of diverse stories that will make your summer days sweet, sizzling and sexy.

From relaxing on a sandy beach or hiking in the great outdoors, to nights at the opera or days at the strawberry farm, an adrenaline-shooting roller coaster rush awaits.

Make this summer the best it’s ever been; make it bigger than all the others.

THE STORIES:

Aligning North – K.C. Faelan

Aloha? Oy! – Jonathan Penn

Anything or Nothing – Terry Kerr

Dazzle Me – Ofelia Gränd

Fang and Fortune – L.L. Bucknor

Finally – Amelia Mann

Home is Where the Hard is – Caraway Carter

Offline – L.M. Steel

Ribbons and Frills – Claire Davis and Al Stewart

Roller Coaster – J P Walker

The Strawberry Farm – Victoria Milne

Ultimate Summer – Alexis Woods

Waking Up in Vegas – Hunter Frost

Will…You Have Me(?) – Shayla Mist

Worth the Money!

The last thing any author wants is to see a bad review slamming their work, declaring how awful it is. If it’s the idea or the story-line it’s one thing, but if it’s the composition, the structuring and all the annoying things like spelling, then there’s only one person to blame!

If you didn’t get an editor then it’s you!

When I was starting out on the self publishing route I read a lot of money saving advice about editing your own work. All the blogs about having an unbiased view of your own writing and how strict to be with yourself. There’s also a lot of programs and apps you can download, some for free, some for varying prices, that will edit your work for you. Don’t be fooled and don’t be a fool: nothing compares to a good editor!

I know, I know, I know! I can hear you shouting that it costs too much! They charge so much, you’re just starting out, you don’t have that kind of money to spend!

You will not have that kind of money to spend either when your reputation is battered by the reviews that shout “The idea was good, the plot was great, but the spelling, the grammar and the composition is disastrous!”

Here are some extracts from my early reviews:

Some aspects of it are undeniably good, but there aspects too which badly need revisiting.”

 

“for example – strongly suggested that once the story was down on the page it had never been revisited by any kind of objective, editorial eye”

 

it felt like a draft.”

 

I had redrafted this story several times, but it is really hard to be that critical, that harsh on your own work. Quite frankly there’s a lot you just don’t see. one example was on the first page of Once Upon a Set of Wheels: I had written that Davidson was reaching into a drawer, however I had spelled it draw. No spellcheck picked it up of course, it isn’t a misspelling, and I had gone over it over and over, but I just hadn’t seen the mistake.

Debbie, my editor, spotted on her first look, straight away and pointed it out and I was flabbergasted at how I had missed something so simple. I wondered what else I had missed and got wrong.

When I got her first edited copy of Baby Driver, I felt like I was back at uni and had just got back my very first assignment. the amount of red pen all over it made my heart sink in despair: I had published this book out there to the masses and it was in terrible shape! After a small wallow in self pity (and a few glasses of pinot grigio) I read through the red pen and as we worked on the points together, the story I had come up with, my tale, my idea, transformed from and drafted idea into a novel.

Trying to recover from the early edition is a struggle, but the revised version is a wonderful improvement and is proudly down in print now.

I know that you may still be wary of the costs and looking at some apps. I know there are some out there that are very good, and even some editors use them as an aide. However they don’t use them alone. The ones that are useful are going to cost money, free ones may give you an insight but don’t rely on them, some are terrible.

One was recommended to me and I thought I’d have a look, it was so ‘obsessed’ about words in ‘ly’ being unnecessary adverbs it started deleting the name Kelly!

I was fortunate, my editor was also my publisher. I work with a hybrid publisher, so it’s not the traditional contracts etc. For my first novel: Baby Driver, the editing was in with the publishing. However for my upcoming book, I paid for the editing by an editor who works with Debbie on multiple projects. It wasn’t cheap, but it was worth it. I also used Beta readers and proof readers. These can also cost money, but this where I tend to draw the line. There are lots of groups and communities you can join on book club sites such as Goodreads, Book Blogs, World Literary cafe, where you can connect with beta readers and proof readers who are happy to read your work for free or in exchange for you reading theirs.

You may be an experienced writer, you may have edited, proof read and beta read manuscripts for many others, however I truly believe it is just too hard to be that critical of your own work. A good editor has training and experience and is most importantly; unbiased and disconnected from you the author and from your work.

They may seem like a great cost, but the difference in your work from looking like an amateur self published book and a professional piece of work, is well worth the money!