Tuesday, December 24, 2013

As Fairydust Settles, the sequel to Shrouded Jewels, is now available, and we would love to celebrate with you!

January 11th, 2014
Starts at 2pm, but come when you can

The author's house (email for the address and directions)

  • Hors d'oeuvres and cookies
  • A small gift for those who attend
  • A raffle prize (must be present to win)
  • Short book readings on the hour
  • Special treat: meet the cover models from all three novels!
Books will be sold at discounted rates:
  • Paperback:
    • $10 for one
    • $18 for two
    • $25 for three
  • Hardcover formats can be ordered for $25 each (regularly $28 for friends and family) 
Please invite your friends! You're welcome to contact Jansina (Jansina@rivershorebooks.com) if you'd like more details.

Want an easy way to share the event? Join it on Facebook!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Free eBooks!

In honor of Christmas, author Kendra E. Ardnek is offering four of her ebooks FREE on the Kindle! 

If you don't own a Kindle you can always read the books on your cell phone or computer. I do have one, but I still use my phone quite often.

These will be available for a limited time, so mark your calendars!

December 23rd to 27th: The Derao, a short story 
December 24th to 28th: Sew, It's a Quest 
December 25th: Do You Take This Quest? and The Ankulen

There is no small print with this deal--just free books! Of course, authors always appreciate reviews. (I'll be reviewing each of these sometime in 2014.)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

New Release: Priceless by L.A. Ramsey

This is a guest post by author L.A. Ramsey. Rivershore Books was recently given the opportunity to edit another of her books, Sunny Beam. We haven't read Priceless yet, but are excited to.

Have you ever wondered if there was any sin that God's grace doesn't cover? Does a person live who has fallen so deeply in the mire of sin that even God's love and mercy can't reach? Even when all hope seems lost and you think life is no longer worth living, God's love shines through...somehow...

He works in mysterious ways, even when we make the conscious choice to deny Him. He wishes for no one to be lost. No one...

Priceless - Love's True Worth is such a story, a coming of age romance about a young girl faced with almost more than she can handle.  Her life leads her to ill choices that lead her down a dark and unworthy path...until she meets him...until he introduces her to the One who can reach down and save her.  The question remains, will she accept it?  Will she change her ways?

From the back cover...

Of what value is a life?  For some the cost of companionship is a few dollars while to others the cost is a lifetime of commitment to another.  Annequin’s life in Shady Grove begins simply enough, a caricature of the early lives of many young girls who find themselves the victims of circumstance.  Loss and a lack of deep caring in her home eventually drive this beautiful young woman away from her difficult home life to another life that she believes will be her way to happiness.  As far too many in Annequin’s position discover, the road chosen is sometimes paved with pain and disappointment.  With time and the testing of a young heart and soul, the woman from Shady Grove learns the true meaning of love and grace given by others.

Why I Wrote Priceless

I wrote this novel wanting to show that not everyone starts on a pristine path to his or her Christian walk.  Some people may have unfortunate circumstances that leads them down the dark paths of sin and then choose to turn their back on the One who can redeem them.  In Priceless, I show that no matter how dark the night may be, God's light can find a way.
Priceless is available as a digital download on Amazon Kindle, Nook, SmashWords, and soon on Kobo, iTunes, and Sony.  Priceless is available on Amazon as paperback too.


LA Ramsey enjoys writing about her faith in novels from her home with her husband and six children. Priceless was 19 years in the making. This is her second novel. Her first novel is Sunny Beam - The Holy Lion, a Christian romance, available on Amazon. 

Find Lori at: LA Ramsey, Facebook , Pinterest, and Twitter.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Marilynn Dawson Blog Tour

Welcome to our blog stop on the Google Play Winter Giveaway! Author Marilynn Dawson is giving away one PDF copy of her books each week until the end of January 2014.  This Giveaway is in celebration of her next release, "Dressed for Eternity" which will launch in February 2014.  You can read a sample of that book here.

Today, we get to feature Volume Two of her series, Becoming the Bride of Christ: A Personal Journey. This is a 6 volume set with a Leader's Guide; 14 chapters spread across the volumes, with Volume Two containing Chapters 5 and 6. The back cover of Volume Two has this to share:

"God's been speaking to me so much about His love and how it affects areas of life I never really thought about before, areas that I'm realizing are almost impossible to achieve victory in apart from His love working in me. It honestly amazes me. Truly we can do nothing apart from the transforming work of God's love through the Holy Spirit in our lives. All our best efforts apart from this love are just so much wood, hay and stubble. Imagine what would happen to our churches if more of us made this realization. I have to admit it's a realization fraught with discoveries of just how soiled a heart can be and the needed washing and cleansing that has to happen as a result of the light of God's love being shone on it. But as long as I can keep from recoiling, as long as I can keep choosing to present my heart wide open to my Lord, as long as I don't shrink back from the transforming work going on in my life, then I can look forward to what is ahead."

Becoming the Bride of Christ chronicles Marilynn's personal journey as she learn to live with God as unseen Husband and Father in the home. It's about learning to appropriate many Scriptural concepts that we've overly spiritualized, and bringing them down to where life is lived every day. This book can be read as an account of the lessons God's actively teaching her, or it can be engaged in as a personal or group Bible study. There is quite a bit of Scripture in every chapter, as well as questions to help a person appropriate these lessons into their own life. One of her goals is to share a story that men as well as women can read and glean from. Too often it seems presentations on the Bride of Christ have been geared toward women when Scripture says the Church, who is referred to as the Bride of Christ, is made up of men and women. Marilynn write from a women's perspective of course, but it's her desire that men will be able to gather helpful insight, not just women. After all, we are all called to live out the commands of Christ in our everyday life.

You are welcome to read an excerpt from Volume Two here.

Marilynn is giving away a copy of Volume Two on December 15th.  As the giveaway is happening on Google Play, you will need a Google account email address to be eligible for the drawing.  Enter via Rafflecopter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you use the following coupon code while ordering from CreateSpace, you'll get 10% off your order of Marilynn's books: 2MU73RQR 

The code is good through the end of the blog tour on January 26th.

Disclaimer: The cool thing about taking part in this blog tour is that I get a copy of this week's book too! We both win!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

As Fairydust Settles is Here!

Jansina’s newest book, As Fairydust Settles, is now available!

From the back cover:

“Would you have married me if you had known?”

Mical’s question stays with Davey. He doesn’t have an answer.

Mical was wrong to deceive him, and her apologetic efforts may not be enough to keep them together. Will her spiteful father allow them the chance to find out?

This sequel to Shrouded Jewels continues to follow Mical and Davey as they struggle with deception, temptation, and a sometimes bitter reality.

Will Davey and Mical find their happily ever after?

Praise for the book:

“I think it may be her best yet.” – Gina Marinello-Sweeney, author of I Thirst

“Jansina, once again, brilliantly shows how the fairytale can have a happy ending after all.” – C.M. Stewart.

“It has mystery, humor, sadness, happiness, it’s very descriptive, and more. Jansina is a gifted author!” – Liz Ellertson, author of Liz’s Lefse

As Fairydust Settles is now available in paperback, hardcover, and ebook formats!

Ebook: ($2.99)

Paperback: ($12.99)

Hardcover, casewrap: ($19.99)

Hardcover, dust-jacket ($21.59)

You are welcome to purchase paperback or hardcover editions from the author by emailing her at Jansina@rivershorebooks.com. She is honored to sign any copies purchased directly from her!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Marilynn Dawson Blog Tour: Schedule

Guess what everyone? We're part of a blog tour! Author Marilynn Dawson is inviting you to take part in the Google Play Winter Giveaway taking place between December 1st and January 26th. As part of the blog tour, we get to feature one of her books every week. The complete schedule is below. My date is in the list, and don't forget to stop by the others as well. If you have a Google account email address, you can enter your name to win one of her books every week. The first drawing is on December 8th.

December 2nd: Tiffany - Voices4Society

December 9th: Jansina - Rivershore Books

December 18th: Lori Ramsey - Author and Novelist

December 23: Tiffany - Voices4Society

December 30th: Marilynn Dawson - Songdove's Musings

January 6th: LitanyPrayerhope - Prayer of Hope's Christian Fiction Reviews

January 13th: Tiffany  - Voices4Society

January 20th: Jansina - Thilly Little Nothings

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Sneak Peeks!

Happy Thanksgiving!

At Rivershore, we're thankful for both our readers and our authors, today and every day.

Here's a sneak peek at our book line-up for the next few months:

Emilie Phillips, Midnight Captive
A delightful, modern, fairy tale novel

Arthur Marinello, Grandma and the Miracles
A book of personal, honest, and reflective poetry

Nikki Abramson, I Choose Hope
An inspirational memoir and self improvement book, enhanced with photos and illustrations

Expected Release: Spring 2014
Click here to pre-order!

Jansina, As Fairydust Settles
The sequel to Shrouded Jewels, a modern retelling of David and Michal

Released: December 2013
Click here to order!

Previous Rivershore authors, Don Richardson (Spiritual Invented Creation and Scripts to Recovery) and Laura Michelle (Fighting for Life), will also be publishing two new books of poetry!

Want to see your book among our Rivershore Books titles? Contact the editor at Jansina@rivershorebooks.com to learn what can bring it from written to published!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

I Thirst: Sale!

Looking for a Christmas gift for a family member or friend? Gina Marinello-Sweeney's debut novel, I Thirst, is currently on sale! This well-written story of friendship will be available on Amazon for 30% off ($8.99) until Black Friday, November 29th.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Quote of the Day

“You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.”

Friday, October 25, 2013

Grammar Day: Apostrophe S ('s)

Grammar is a tricky subject. With all the rules and exceptions, how can a person keep track? I can't answer that, but I can help with little pieces here and there.

Today's Topic: Apostrophe S ('s)

Basic Rule: When it comes to apostrophes, a good rule to follow is that an apostrophe adds a second word. This isn't always true, but you'll be right more often than you're wrong.

For example, let's vs. lets:
let's = let uslets = allows
Since context always helps me learn...
Let's [let us] go to the beach.

She lets us swim without a lifeguard.
Some Other Examples:
it's = it is/it was
that's = that is/that was
there's = there is/there was 
Basically...apostrophe s is not the way to make a word a plural.

Any Exceptions? When making nouns (people, places, or things) possessive, the apostrophe s doesn't create a second word.
Jane's dance bag. 
The company's contract.
I love to learn; let me know what I'm forgetting!

Have a grammatical question? Email me at Jansina@rivershorebooks.com to learn the answer--and have your question featured in an upcoming Grammar Day post! I'm here to help and encourage in any way I can.

Visit my website to learn more about me, my books, and my proofreading services, or join the Rivershore Books Writing Forum for support from fellow authors.

Still want more? Find me on FacebookPinterestTumblr, and Twitter!

Monday, October 21, 2013

NaNoWriMo Facebook Event!

While it's not for everyone, NaNoWriMo is a great motivational tool for many authors. Forgotten Memories and As Fairydust Settles (soon-to-be-released) were products of NaNo. Possibly my favorite part of this writing challenge is the way authors unite and support one another. Who says writing is a solitary occupation?

(Okay, a lot of people say that.)

This year, Rivershore Books is hosting a NaNoWriMo event on Facebook. Not participating in NaNo? You're still welcome to join! It's meant to be a place of support for all authors.

Now, for a request. If you have a blog, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, or any other social media account...would you consider sharing the URL and one of the below images with your followers? I'd love to see this event spread.

Thank you!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Grammar Resources

As an editor, I'm always looking for ways to improve my grammar. The Grammar Day posts here often help me as much as (or more than) they help my readers, since they force me to consider the reasons why a grammar rule is in place.

I've been a fan of Grammar Girl for years; her explanations are helpful and clear, and she's my go-to resource when I'm not quite certain about something specific.

Recently, I was directed to another wonderful resource: GrammarBook.com. There are concise explanations and examples of just about any rule you could want to learn--and quizzes to reinforce them! There are plenty of free quizzes, but if you want even more you can subscribe for a nominal fee (currently it's under $30 for everything, or $0.99 for individual quizzes).

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Memory Ghosts by Chelise Fry

We are delighted to share Rivershore's newest book, Memory Ghosts by Chelise Fry.

"The battle between hero and villain is one most often fought within ourselves"

This is the first in Fry's History of Eyrthum fantasy series, and follows brothers Reinhold and Lamertyn as they learn the secrets and dangers of Eyrthum. The intensity of the details, depth of the content, beautiful wording, and realistic characters combine to make this a book that draws the reader in and keeps their interest to the end. We are eager to read book 2!

Note: This book is meant for ages 16+, due to thematic elements.

For a limited time, the paperback of this book will be available at the reduced price of $10.99 on Amazon and the Rivershore Books store

Be watching in the coming weeks for the ebook! The price of the paperback will revert to $12.99 when the ebook is released.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Book Spotlight: Northanger Abbey

Northanger Abbey
by Jane Austen

I've made it no secret that Jane Austen is my favorite author. My mom introduced me to her books when I was around ten years old, and within weeks I had read all her novels and was seeking out her unfinished stories. Since then I've read every piece of hers that I could find--including her letters. I enjoy them all, for different reasons. Her snarky insights are, for me at least, still relevant to today's world. But I do have a favorite: Northanger Abbey. As an avid reader with an active imagination, I connected to Catherine Morland as soon as I started the book...and Henry Tilney is far more charming to me than Darcy ever was.

This book is available for $0.99 on the Kindle.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Book Excerpt: Tomatoes Don't Judge

“You know I hate this, don’t you?”

“Oh, do you?” Joe chuckled as Robbie put his barista apron on. “It suits you.”

“Shut up.”

Ella glanced up from her notebook, with a small frown. “Be kind.”

Joe’s eyebrows went up in an attempt to be stern. “Yes, Robbie. Be kind.”

“I was referring to you both.”

Robbie rolled his eyes. “I have to go.”

“Good. Finally. Thought you’d never leave.”

Ella threw her pen toward Joe’s head.

He ducked. “You be kind!”

“I always am.”

Robbie groaned as the two hugged and Joe kissed Ella's nose. He swung his bag over his arm as he left the house.

Tomatoes Don't Judge has an expected release date of early 2014.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Book Spotlight: The Inheritance

The Inheritance
by Louisa May Alcott

This was one of the first of Alcott's books I read. My grandma gave it to me when I was around nine years old, and I read it in one sitting. When I finished, I read it again--and I've read it at least five times since. It's a short book, and her first novel, "written at seventeen." Naturally, it's not as high in quality as her later books, and there are certainly plot points and character development problems that could be critiqued. Still, it's a beautiful little story, and I love the "fairytale" quality.

I own this beautiful version:

It is also included in this Kindle compilation of Louisa May Alcott's works for $0.99.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Quote of the Day

“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.”

Friday, September 13, 2013

Clean Fiction at Great Prices - Today Only!

Today only, these books and more will be available on the Kindle for $0.99 or FREE! Visit www.cleanauthors.com to see which authors are participating.

Jansina's books, Forgotten Memories and Shrouded Jewels, are both available for $0.99 until Monday. If you purchased either book in paperback via Amazon, you can get the Kindle version free! (If you bought the paperback directly from her, please email her by Monday for your free ebook.)

On Monday, Jansina's prices will revert to $2.99 (or $0.99 if you also buy the paperback).

Happy reading, everyone!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Author Interview: Laura Michelle

Earlier this year we had the pleasure of publishing Laura Michelle's book of poetry. Today we have an interview with the author.

What is the name of your book?

Fighting for Life.

Can you give a short summary of your book?

Like a journal in poetry form, Fighting for Life, is a glimpse into daily joys as well as struggles.
What genre is your book?


Who is your book’s audience?

My book is geared towards people of any age and background, whether they believe in
God or not. It is for anyone who may be struggling with breaking the chains of addictions or getting through the torture of past trauma.

What first inspired your book?

My first burst of inspiration came years back when one of my dear friends was struggling 
with some addictions. To help her I gave her a little collection of poems to read and possibly get some hope from. While sitting with her as she was reading them I could see the hurt and fear in her eyes start to disappear. That day an idea was planted in my heart that maybe if I could touch one person who was hurting maybe just maybe my poems could help others. That has been my main drive; to share my struggles with people in an open honest way. 

How long have you been writing, and why did you start?

I’ve been writing for over 10 years. It started as a way for me to vent and sort through emotions and fears with all I was going through at the time with different health diagnosis’s as well as freeing my mind at the end of the day. 

Where do you write most often?

I find myself writing mostly in coffee shops or little cafes.

What are your ‘author quirks’?
Hmm, well for one I need to have my earbuds in. It doesn't matter if I'm listening to music or not, they just need to be in. I don’t have a favorite pen, but I do have a favorite color, black. I write everything longhand and number each line as I go. 

What advice do you have for other authors?

Be honest in your writing, both with yourself or others. If you want to relate with other 
people you are going to have to put down the happy façade and share your heart even in the times that it’s broken and bleeding. I can tell you from experience that in those times, those words are the ones that people relate to the most. 

Also write every day, even if it’s just a line. Writing is a form of art, and to be good at it will require practice. 

What do you do when you lack motivation?

This is why I like to write in public, because I people watch. Seeing them interact with each other and all the different facial expressions; each unique to themselves. It’s good at times to help spark a story idea or recall an old memory.

I also pick a playlist with rap music. It’s one of the only genres that tells a story with
relatable emotion and intense feelings. 

Another thing I sometimes do is reread things that either I or some of my friends have 

What do you most want your readers to know?

It may be cliché, but if you work hard and put all you have into it…your dreams will
come true. I often wondered if getting my book published was realistic or worth it, but it was my dream and so I gave it my all! And I don’t regret a single moment of it.
And finally, where can we find your book?

You can find it on AmazonCreateSpace, and the Rivershore Books Store.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Book Excerpt: Forgotten Memories

She took my greeting as an invitation to step farther into my room. “Your sister let me in. I hope that’s okay. I heard there was a girl my age here and decided to help you unpack.” She motioned to the pile of clothes on my bed. “Looks like we’re tackling the closet first.” She picked up one of my hangers. “Wanna hand me a shirt?”

“Well,” I hesitated. “Uh.” Wow, this is awkward. “Who are you?”

“Oh!” She laughed. “I’m Rosie; I live next door. You’re Jane, right? I think that’s what your sister said.”

I nodded and picked up the notebooks I’d dropped, glad for the slight distraction.

Rosie lifted a shirt off the pile and put it on a hanger, oblivious to my continued discomfort. “Where did you live before you came here?”

I tried to relax as I rearranged my bookshelf, then turned back to her. “We were in a suburb of Minneapolis.”

“Hey!” She spun around to face me, her eyes wide with excitement.

So much for keeping a calm demeanor. This girl is insane.

Rosie giggled at my wary expression, then stepped closer and nodded knowingly. “You're related to LeeLee Johnson, aren't you?”

Forgotten Memories was published November 2011 and is available on Amazon and in the Rivershore Books store.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Quote of the Day

“If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.”

Monday, August 12, 2013

Book Spotlight: Freckles

by Gene Stratton-Porter

When I was growing up, we read books together as a family, taking turns reading out loud. Although sometimes "Come here; let's read" brought groans, I always ended up enjoying it. One of the books I remember reading this way was Freckles, by Gene Stratton-Porter. I've read it on my own since then, and loved it just as much. This book shows the importance of character in a way I don't often see in a novel. I plan to reread it again--probably several times.

I highly recommend this book! It's available for only $0.99 on the Kindle--and you can find used copies fairly cheap.

The sequel, Girl of the Limberlost, is also worth reading.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Book Excerpt: As Fairydust Settles

“Hey,” Mical said, “Anna told me you’ve been working my shifts still…and I know that meant you had to put school off…and I know you no longer need the money from this place…”

Peyton shrugged. “I don’t mind.”

“Well…I only work here because I need to. And I need it now more than ever. And I don’t think I would work shifts if I could afford not to… Anyway, thanks.”

“You’re welcome, Mical.” He smiled. “So, do you want your job back, or do you still need some time?”

“I can start again,” she said as she pulled some crumpled, loose papers from her bag and handed them to him.

“What’s this?” he asked.

“My notes from class today. Sorry I don’t have the rest of the week.”

“Thanks Micke—Mical.”

She smiled. “You can call me Mickey if you want to.”

As Fairydust Settles has an expected release date of  December 2013.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Book Review: Ebook Publishing Secrets

This is a good book for beginners in the ebook publishing industry. The author uses an easy to follow, conversational tone throughout, which makes it a quick read and a great book for those not already familiar with ebooks.

In the back pages, there is a list of fifty other marketing and ebook related books--a great resource for those who want to dive deeper into these subjects.

The book itself doesn't go very deep. As someone who has already published multiple ebooks, and is well into the marketing process, this book didn't tell me much I hadn't learned elsewhere or through experience.

Some of the suggestions the author gives are not the best options out there. For instance, I have found more affordable (and arguably better quality) bookmarks and business cards than Vistaprint offers. I also pay a minimal, yearly fee for my professional website, while he suggests a host with a much larger monthly fee.

A little more research is needed--either by the author or by the reader--but I do recommend this for those just starting to publish ebooks.

This book was given to me in exchange for this unbiased review.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Author Interview: Don Richardson

Today we have an interview with Rivershore Books' author, Don Richardson, with a focus on his first book, Spiritual Invented Creation. His second, Scripts to Recovery, was published earlier this month.

What are the names of your books?

Spiritual Invented Creation and Scripts to Recovery.

Can you give a short summary of your book?

My book is about seven years of my life that defined who I am today. How I’ve survived cancer, additions, family deaths and tragedies, and witnessing my best friend’s death. 

What genre is your book?

Who is your book’s audience?
I believe the book is for anyone who is in a hopeless place. It’s for anyone who needs help. It’s for people who can relate to all or any of what I’ve gone through. It’s for people who need motivation to stand and fight for their life and who they are in God.

What first inspired your book?

Not to sound cliché, but God. He’s given me a testimony that has taken me to many places most people don’t know how to deal with. I didn’t write the book for my own fame and fortune, but for God’s hope and truth.

How long have you been writing, and why did you start?

I wrote on and off since about the age of 10. I started writing seriously a little over three years ago (January 2010). When I started writing seriously I was in the midst of quitting drinking. I went from drinking and running away to writing, which taught me to face problems head on. I rarely saw any clear answers, but venting was my newfound freedom.

Where do you write most often?

In my room at my desk with a bright light on, computer on, piles of new paper near, and a box with dozens of pens nearby.

What are your ‘author quirks’?

My quirks probably include too many pens and way too much paper. I know that I’ll use them all and work on it every day, but I like having an arsenal of both. Also, I always have a pen and paper on me wherever I go. If I don’t, I feel naked.

What advice do you have for other authors?

Write any and everything that’s on your mind and heart. Write if you think it’s good or bad. Write for yourself, if you’re angry then write angry, if you’re sad then write sad. There are no rules, no laws, no rhyme, and no reason.

What do you do when you lack motivation?

When I lack motivation I take a break from it, I’ve forced poems and writings before, and am never happy with them. When I get writer’s block I accept it, and realize it’s just a part of being a writer.

What do you most want your readers to know?

I wrote this book to show God’s love, grace, and hope that He has in His children. Also, I personally wrote the book for myself, to sum up several years of pain in a written testimony so I could see the unwritten chapters I have left to live, and books I have left to write.

And finally, where can we find your books?

Warning: Scripts to Recovery contains swearing.

Create Space:

Rivershore Books:

Spiritual Invented Creation is also available in the bookstore at North Heights Lutheran Church, Arden Hills campus.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Grammarly Review

Grammarly offers a 7-day free trial of their premium service, so I tried it earlier this month. As a professional editor, I know the value of human judgment when it comes to editing and proofreading. I was wary about an online, impersonal editing service but wanted to actually use it before making a judgment. As is often the case, there are some parts I really like, and some I don't.

  • It is thorough and finds several different types of errors, including commonly misused words (to, too, two).
  • There is a plagiarism check option. This helps not only to be certain your writing is your own (if you wrote it, it is), but also to be sure your phrasing is unique and you are avoiding cliches.
  • Every error found includes an explanation about why it's wrong. Grammarly doesn't change the document but gives suggestions for improvement.
  • You can download a PDF of the corrections to save for later.

  • You can only review small sections of text at a time (so, novels are out unless you're willing to take the time to separate them).
  • Naturally, each section takes several minutes to review. (Still much faster than the turnaround time of an editor but feels long when you're sitting and waiting.)
  • The plagiarism check doesn't help when you use the same terms in blog posts. For example, a section of my Grammar Day post was marked as "plagiarism," since I always start and end with certain phrases.
  • The misused words are often incorrectly labeled. ("I had to go to the store" might be marked wrong, and "too" given as a replacement - even though in that context the original was correct.)
  • The above can also be said about any errors it catches...which reaffirms the need for human judgment.

Conclusion: Grammarly is a good proofreading tool. It shouldn't replace an editor, and in fact could become the cause of grammatical errors. If I didn't know grammar rules already, I might have taken all the suggestions Grammarly gave, believing they were correct in the context of my post. Some weren't.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Author Interview: Elizabeth K.

As part of her blog tour in honor of her most recent book (Traitor's Knife), today we have an interview with author of the Five Gems series, Elizabeth Kaiser.

Can you give short summaries of your books?

I've finished two so far, both in the same series. In the first, Jeweler's Apprentice, a bookish country lass, Fia, stumbles onto a court secret while trying to save the princess (and the princess turns out to be in no danger at all). To get her out of the way, the Chancellor sends her on an apprenticeship to a high mountain jeweler, but he is unaware that the civil war in the neighboring kingdom is spilling over into the jeweler's house.

The sequel, Traitor's Knife, picks up where JA left off. When the loyalist cause enlists the mountain house into a weaponry, we find our apprentice Fia confronted with refugee children, a disturbingly upstart former messenger, and accidents happening everywhere. Are saboteurs out to nix the weapons works, or is it the incognito crown prince they're after?

I'll be reviewing Traitor's Knife soon. So far I'm enjoying it!

What genre are your books?

I'd classify them as Fantasy, though they're very Low-Fantasy, and a lot of feedback I receive says that they feel like Historical Fiction. I love that, since I want to bring a lot of realism and down-to-earthiness to the Fantasy genre.

In fact, readers say they wish my settings were real, 'cause they want to visit! Super love that!
Who is your books’ audience?

I'd like to say everyone with an imagination! Primarily I'm targeting the older YA crowd, (teens-to-twenties,) but I think Fia's books would be great to read aloud to the whole family. They're a clean, streamlined narrative with enough action to appeal to a broad audience, while still being "thinking books" with great vocabulary and scope of experiences.

What first inspired your books?

I wrote the first book for my sister as she turned 16. I wanted to give her a story about an ordinary girl who, by doing ordinary things very well, ends up in extraordinary places. My sis is a stickler for cliches, so I tried to avoid them altogether in the first book. The plot heats up in the second, and it could be argued that it has a few more cliches than JA, but I think I successfully tilted them on their head enough to make them fresh again.

How long have you been writing, and why did you start?

I wrote my first piece at seven; it was from a dream I'd had. I have always had an active imagination, and active dreams, and my family didn't always want to hear about them. That particular day Mom said, "Why don't you write it down?" just to get me out of her hair, I suppose. So I did.
Where do you write most often?

I write on a computer, and I try to keep it down to one computer because things just get too confusing if I've got multiple drafts scattered hither and yon. I recently scored a great laptop off e-bay, and I'm looking forward to concentrating on that. I like silence when I write, so my room is often a great place for that. If there's too much noise coming through the wall, I can always put in a CD, though I tune out the music.
What are your ‘author quirks’?

Hmm... author quirks? I'm not sure I have any interesting author quirks. I do not write every day. Is that a quirk? My creativity runs dry, and I have to let it rest up. Then when it's good to go I can churn out the words in amazing quantities... my personal best is 13k in one day. (It did take all day. )

When I work like this I find I don't end up with much junk, so it works best for me.
What advice do you have for other authors?

I'd really like to see more realism in authors offerings... It just seems like there's so much basically "sappy" writing going on, especially by first timers, but even by people getting traditionally published. Fiction should be a mirror of real life, so that we can see things clearer after reading it.

It shouldn't be a muddling effect.

If I ruled the writing world I'd give three decrees:
1) Every writer must take in-depth psychology classes, and also undergo sessions themselves. Two reasons: you can't write real characters unless you understand what motivates 'em, and character consistency would be increased with this. I think it'd help with recognizing the writer's own breakdowns in logic as well as wish fulfillment, and leave both in the therapists office.

2) Every writer must spend at least a day and a night out in the wild, with no tech support. There is nothing that "gets real" faster than sore feet, scary noises in the dark, and sleeping on the ground while the temps drop. 

3) I'd give them a bad tempered horse to help them get back to civilization. That'd wipe out the "cute horse loves people" trope, and anybody who can work themselves around a selfish steed can now write a book I'm interested in reading.

What do you do when you lack motivation?

Sleep. Or take an iron supplement. (Every morning, except when I forget! Which I do.) Or I also read...which is lower on my priority list than I'd like it, but Real Life is very demanding at this stage. So I cope as best I can.

I also talk with my youngest sis, who is my brainstorm group, muse, and in-house editor all in one. (I know! I'm so lucky to have her!)
What do you most want your readers to know?

Wow! That's a big one. I'm not sure what to say to that. Maybe I'll just share something that books have taught me... I believe that the Lord is writing my life just as surely as I am able to write fiction, and by exploring the steps necessary for a good story I'm able to come to grips with my real life better.

Loss? Increases depth and character development.

Disappointments? Building up for the payoff later on.

That crushing moment when everything seems hopeless? You guessed it, False Defeat!

Ha! Gotcha buddy! I know my Author only writes victories. So go False Defeat on somebody else... while I pull myself together.

After all, I do want to be the best story I possibly can, right?

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Scripts to Recovery: The Origin by Don Richardson

Rivershore Books is excited to share our newest book, Scripts to Recovery: The Origin by Don Richardson!

This book of poetry (by previously published author of Spiritual Invented Creation) shows in stark honesty the highs and lows of the author's struggles with alcohol, tragedy, cancer, and faith.

Warning: This book contains swearing.

Available on Amazon for $18

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Book Review: Monster

I approached this book with a little trepidation. Monster sounds like the title of a thriller—a genre I tend to avoid. The actual genre of this book is something like dystopian, realistic fiction, with perhaps a little science fiction. It’s difficult to place it, since I hadn’t read anything quite like it before.

Set in 2053, Neal paints a realistic (if undesirable) future. The story begins in a medical facility in Alaska, and follows a brilliant young scientist, Eva, as she receives a promotion in WorldCure and is given a chance to run tests and experiments on one of the facility’s subjects. Her goal, and the supposed goal of her employer, is to find cures for diseases. There are darker motivations at play, however.

For a book that takes place in the future, Neal did a great job of keeping the advancements (or regressions) believable. Nothing seemed too far-fetched, from the technology to the declining morals.

Although it’s not my favorite genre, I’ve read and seen enough futuristic fiction to know authors are easily tempted to exaggerate some of the advancements we’ll have. For example, the hover cars in Back to the Future are supposed to be here in 2015. I suspect that after these next two years pass, I’ll still be waiting for mine.

There wasn’t anything like hovering cars in Monster. The new technologies Neal introduced were very small, subtle differences from what we currently have: things I can picture actually occurring in the next forty years.

It wasn’t the technology that drew me into the novel, though. There is a depth to her characters that was immediately noticeable. She has a talent for observing little but important details: those pieces of a person that give you a glimpse into who they are. The way she captured the quirks, flaws, and beauty of the characters was wonderful. I fell in love with her characters—Mir in particular—and they kept my attention through all 400+ pages.

A little warning: there are some violent parts throughout the book, and descriptions of unpleasant medical procedures, mainly within the first half. The scenes themselves are short, but for me they left a lasting impression.

Neal is skilled at descriptions. No matter where her characters went or what they were doing, I could clearly picture the scene. I have never been in a medical research facility (hospitals don’t count), but if I had any artistic talent, I could draw WorldCure. The way the scenes are painted gives the reader something to imagine without bogging us down with too many unimportant facts.

But arguably the best part of the book—at least, the part that has me replaying it over again in my mind days after I’ve reached “the end”—is the fact that the topics within it are far from “fluff”. Monster brings up deep, thoughtful subjects such as faith, humanity, and how to balance scientific facts with improvable beliefs. Neal handles each one of these excellently and naturally, with realistic discussions, mainly in the form of debates between Eva and her professor friend and mentor, Pocky. None of it seems forced, and none of it seems “preachy”.

Every once in a while, there comes a book that captures the reader so much, it stays with them long after they’ve put it down. These are rare but wonderful. Monster is one of those books.

The paperback and Kindle versions are both available on Amazon.

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for this unbiased review.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Grammar Day: Semicolons

I used Grammarly to grammar check this post, because even professional editors can use a second pair of eyes.

Grammar is a tricky subject. With all the rules and exceptions, how can a person keep track? I can't answer that, but I can help with little pieces here and there.

Today's Topic: Semicolons

This punctuation mark couldn't decide if it wanted to be a colon or a comma, so it became both!

Basic Rule: If the words on either side of the semicolon create complete sentences, you're using it right. Unless the sentences have nothing to do with each other.
He liked to dance. He danced all night. --> He liked to dance; he danced all night.
The second clause here wouldn't form a complete sentence, so is incorrect:
He liked to dance all night. --> He liked to dance; all night. 
Commas, not semicolons, are used with conjunctions (and, but, or... See previous post on FANBOYS): 
He liked to dance, and he danced all night. --> He liked to dance; and he danced all night.
These sentences aren't connected, so a period fits better than a comma.
He liked to dance. She ate the blueberries. --> He liked to dance; she ate the blueberries.
Any Exceptions? Semicolons can also be used in complex lists in place of commas. For more of an explanation, view this fun graphic.

I love to learn; let me know what I'm forgetting!

Have a grammatical question? Email me at Jansina@rivershorebooks.com to learn the answer - and have your question featured in an upcoming Grammar Day post! I'm here to help and encourage in any way I can.

Visit my website to learn more about me, my books, and my proofreading services, or join the Rivershore Books Writing Forum for support from fellow authors.

Still want more? Find me on FacebookPinterestTumblr, and Twitter!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Author Interview: Regina Doman

At the end of May, I had the pleasure of hosting author Regina Doman and her husband Andrew. Together they run a Catholic publishing company, Chesterton Press. It was a delight to learn from them and hear their insights on writing, publishing, and characters. Below is an interview with Regina.

Can you give short summaries of your books?

The Shadow of the Bear: The fairy tale: Snow White and Rose Red
In New York City, two very different sisters befriend a mysterious stranger on a mission, and in doing so endanger their lives.
Black as Night: The fairy tale: Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
Seven friars who work with the homeless in New York City take in a runaway girl, and become emeshed in a plot to destroy her.
Waking Rose: The fairy tale: Sleeping Beauty
When a vibrant young girl goes into a coma, the only person who can save her is a young man who thinks his problems exclude him from ever being a knight in shining armor.
Midnight Dancers: The fairy tale: The Twelve Dancing Princesses
Twelve sisters from a very strict family discover a way out of their house at night, and begin a dance with darkness, until a young soldier intervenes.
Alex O'Donnell and the Forty Cyberthieves: The fairy tale: Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves
When Alex's dad finds a mysterious website that leads to sudden wealth and murder, his reluctant girlfriend Kateri must solve the case.
Rapunzel Let Down: The fairy tale: Rapunzel
When the son of a conservative, pro-life senator meets the daughter of a hardcore feminist scientist, their summer romance leads to disaster.
What genre are your books?

Young Adult, contemporary fiction.

Who is your books' audience?

YA. The largest portion of fans are Christians who share my beliefs, but that's not true of all my fans.

What first inspired your books?

GK Chesterton when he wrote in Orthodoxy (paraphrase), "The modern novel is about an extraordinary man in a dull, mundane world, and his adventures are always dull...but the fairy tale makes the hero an ordinary boy in an extraordinary world." I wanted my fiction to have that magic.

How long have you been writing, and why did you start?

It's a lifelong obsession. Still not sure why I started. I'm not stopping, though.

Where do you write most often?

On the computer. I write most of my books in the kitchen surrounded by yelling kids.

What are your 'author quirks'?

Em. Maybe those around me know better. I do know my eyes glaze over when I'm really thick into a book.

What advice do you have for other authors?

Keep on doing it. Write sacrificially (when you'd rather be doing something else). It's the only way the thing gets done.

What do you do when you lack motivation?


No, seriously, keep a schedule and make myself write something.

What do you most want your readers to know?


That their actions have significance, and their lives have meaning.

Regina, Andrew, and Jansina