Amazon Customer Reviews

Amazon has refined its system for customer reviews, as Nate Hoffelder describes in her latest post:

It’s always been easy to post a review on Amazon; simply jot down a few sentences, select a star rating, and you’re done. It’s so easy to post a review, in fact, that it’s also easy to miss important details.

That doesn’t help readers, and it doesn’t help Amazon, which is why Amazon has added more options. In addition to the star rating, Amazon has added extra dropdown menus which invite reviewers to describe the quality of the writing, the amount of sex and violence in the book, and other details….

All in all, this is a good move on the part of Amazon.  I’m sure I’m not the only reader who has put down a book in frustration with the writing style, tone, or amount of extraneous sex or violence. By offering specific prompts for these areas of concern, Amazon is helping readers make more informed decisions.

In other words, now would be an excellent time to leave a review of Children of Pride or The Devil’s Due! 🙂

Rethinking Vikings

Listverse has a list of ten discoveries that cast the vikings in a new light. It’s quite interesting and worth a read.

Why mention vikings on Saint Patrick’s Day? Mainly because they were instrumental in the development of the city of Dublin:

The Vikings explored vast amounts of Europe and North America, but they eventually settled into the land that would eventually become Dublin. At the time, its relatively mild climate, thick tree cover, and river made it the perfect location for a winter home. There they repaired their ships and set up a trade network.

The number of Viking relics found in Dublin over the years has been staggering. Temple Lane was created by Viking settlers and has been called the oldest street in Dublin. Viking swords have been found in the area around Christchurch, and the earliest foundations of Dublin Castle are clay floors that were also dated to the Viking era. And just south of the River Liffey is a huge concentration of buildings that seem to indicate the center of the Viking settlement, including houses and buildings once used for metalworking and the production of other commodities like leathers, textiles, and jewelry. Also along the area of the Liffey was evidence of amber-working.

Terry Pratchett

British fantasy writer Terry Pratchett has passed away today after a years-long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

Revealing his illness in 2007, the author — who had a strong following among fans of fantasy fiction — said he had been diagnosed with “a very rare form of early onset Alzheimer’s,” which he described as “an embuggerance.”

He said then, “Frankly, I would prefer it if people kept things cheerful, because I think there’s time for at least a few more books yet.”

Poll: What Next?

What mythological beastie should Taylor Smart encounter next? I’m past the halfway mark of the first draft of Oak, Ash, and Thorn, book 3 of Into the Wonder. There are a few places where I’m not 100% sure what sort of fearsome creature to throw at my protagonists, so I thought I’d give you a vote!

Of the following monsters known in the folklore(s) the American Southeast, which would you most like to see in print?

Note: I’m not promising the winning entry will be the one I pick, but if there is an overwhelming favorite, I will promise to at least include it in book 4.