Why Are Reviews Important?

Did you know that reviews help an author’s book become visible?

According to Amazon, “General consumer data on how popular your item is will influence search result relevance.” In other words, the more reviews there are, the further up in the search results the title will be.

For example, if you search Young Adult Romance, there are over three MILLION titles. That’s a lot of books! A book with 15 reviews will probably rank somewhere around the three millionth book on the list. In other words, it’s invisible. A book with 50 or 100 reviews will move up dramatically. Not to mention, reviews drive sales.

You might be thinking, “Wait a minute. I see books on the first page of my search results with only three reviews.” You are correct. There are exceptions to the rule. If the author has had best sellers in the past, they get a bye on new releases. But if sales tank and reviews don’t come in, they’ll drop further in the search. Maybe not to the three millionth level, but certainly off the coveted first page.

So how do you write a review?

It’s easy. It doesn’t have to be more than a sentence or two. Pretend your friend has asked what you thought of the book and answer just as you would to them. It’s okay if it’s not a five-star review. It’s okay to mention weak spots in the book. Just BE NICE!

Is Amazon the only place you should leave reviews?

No. I chose Amazon because they have more than the lion’s share of the market—as in 75% of it. Apple iBooks is number two at 12%. If you purchased a book from another source, iBooks or Nook for example, leave a review there. If you’re a member of Goodreads, that is another fantastic place to leave a review. If you loved the book, tell the world via word of mouth, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or any other social media platform you frequent. You can’t imagine how much this helps an author.

One more thing—if there is an author you love, join their mailing list. Go to their website. I don’t know a single author who doesn’t enjoy connecting with their readers. Some will even give away free stuff. Some may invite you to be a part of an exclusive readers’ group, where you can talk with other readers about the books you love.

So that’s the skinny. Keep reading and please post reviews!

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

Whew this summer has been a whirlwind. It started in Mid-may when I had the honor of speaking at the Nicholas P. Sims Library in Waxahachie, Texas. It was such a pleasure to meet this group of readers and writers. Not only did I get to connect with my Texas friends, I got to have dinner with my original critique group, The Flip Flop Sisters!

I returned home in time to re-pack for Denver/Scotland.

I attended a Margie Lawson Immersion course at her beautiful home in the Rocky Mountains just north of Denver. I met amazing writers, learned more than my brain could possibly hold, ate more than I should have, and played with Margie’s adorable dachshund, Calypso.

From Margie’s it was off to Dallas to meet my college roommate, Suzanne for our epic adventure in Scotland.


We spent an amazing ten days traveling the country.

From Edinburgh to the Blair Athol Highland games.








to Sky, Oban, Inverness, and Hadrian’s wall, we found the countryside breathtaking and the people friendly and engaging.





















To be honest, Suzanne’s southern accent seemed to fascinate them. One lady even said, “I can’t understand a word you’re saying but I love your accent so keep talking.”Honestly, ten days was not enough time in this amazing country. I can’t wait to go back.










After Scotland, I had a little over a week before heading to St. Louis to attend a wedding in the beautiful Chaumette vineyards.

Mid July I traveled to North Dakota to spend time with my oldest daughter’s family. A whole week with my oldest grandson! I had a blast!










Home for 2 days and off to sunny, or should I say muggy, Orlando, Florida for the RWA national conference. Wow it was a fast and furious week. It was awesome meeting up with my roomies Pricilla Oliveras, Madaline Martin, and Monica Jones.








We had a fantastic Day of YA and I got hang with my fellow Ink Monster authors.


But as fun as all the traveling was, I’m happy to be home with my puppies for awhile.

Time to focus on my latest release Hickville Redemption.

Revise my yet-to-be named  Rom Com.

Write the second Magic Harvest book.

As I’ve said before, I have the best job in the universe!

What did you do on your summer vacay?


Trust the Path

     I am so grateful to be a full time writer. This is my third month and I guess you could say the honeymoon phase was short. Being able to write all day instead of 2 hours in the wee morning had been something I’d dreamt about. Prayed for. Set goals to achieve. And it happened. I’d imagined that words would fly from my fingertips. And they did for the first week–12,000 words in 2 days! But I’d forgotten–writing is hard work. Fun. It’s my passion. But hard work just the same.

Yesterday, I felt defeated with my plot, which segued into questioning my path. I reached for my tattered and tabbed The Writers Journey for a quick review and plot fix.

But I turned to a section I’d hadn’t read before. It was the conclusion. Vogler wrote about a hike in Big Sur that should have taken him an hour. Instead it became a life or death struggle against the elements. He was lost, wet, cold, hungry, and it was getting dark. At this “black moment” he heard a clear voice tell him to “trust the path.” The only path he saw was an ant path which he followed. It widened to a rodent path, then a dear trail, then the forest trail which took him to the road and safety. Pretty amazing. But what really it home for me, what I needed to read with this final paragraph, was to trust the path. I’m sharing it with you because we are all on a journey, weather it’s writing, medicine, teaching, or dog sitting, it’s laid out uniquely for us.

My 2 cents on 2016

I see posts and hear talk about how 2016 has been worse than other years and I just don’t buy it. The world has always been a scary place and celebrities have always passed away. The coming new year offers hope–a new beginning. I hope it is fantastic for us all. But what’s important is not what the coming year will do for us. It’s what we, you and me, will do to make this big scary, celebrity dying world a little better, a little softer, and little nicer. What if, while we’re making resolutions that, let’s face it, we’ll probably break, we make and easy one. What if we resolve to do one nice thing every day. Just one. You never know the ripple effect of that one thing. Even a smile can change someone’s whole outlook on their day.

Is There a Place for Fiction in a Scary World?

Do you feel guilty for reading or for watching a comedy while so many are needlessly suffering? These horrific events can leave one rocking alone in the dark wondering how this world has gone so mad.

I’ve worked in healthcare for most of my life. I honor and admire those who live, eat, and breathe medicine. I am surrounded by people for whom it is their passion. It is not mine. I’ve never felt it was my vocation.

I’ve always wanted to write. ALWAYS! I’ve often felt a little guilty about my love of fiction over helping people. But, in this dark scary world of ours, maybe there is a place for those of us who can’t help but express the products of our imaginations.We have serious problems in this world and it can be overwhelming, but maybe—maybe opening a book and escaping from the horror is a little dose of medicine we all need.

Where I’ve been

February 22 was when I dropped off of the writing planet. It was a freak accident. I live in a beautiful ski area. I love to ski almost as much as I love to write. That particular day in February was better than most. The snow was good, the weather was warm, I was with friends. It was almost perfect.

I skied ahead of my friend. Stopped and turned to watch her ski down. Only when I turned, I fell over. Fell over. Splat. On my face. My hands were still grasping my ski poles and were trapped beneath my body. The result was a bloody nose and are you ready…torn ulnar collateral ligaments in each thumb. Basically, both thumbs were hanging limp.

Both thumbs had to be repaired with pins.


hands in cast


But I’m happy to report, my casts have been removed, physical therapy is complete, and I’m back to writing.

Look for Hickville Redemption in the upcoming months!

It’s so good to be back in the saddle err back at the keyboard again!