The Value of Reviews

five star reviews

 

I cannot tell you how important reviews of your book, especially your first one, are. They are an author’s lifeline, and the review builds the author’s reputation and the value of her work.

Two ARC readers have shared their reviews so far, and I am going to share them here with you:

A cancer patient, a stolen icon, a Greek Islands vacation and an unexpected romance all come together in Dorothy Robey’s debut novel.

With her nephew lying in a hospital bed, Marina’s mother sends her on a mission of mercy to retrieve the family icon, famous for its healing properties. But when she arrives in Greece, Marina finds the icon is missing. Unsure of who to trust, Marina races against the clock to find the lost heirloom before it’s too late.

In Passage of Promise, the author’s writing pulled me into her world and kept me reading. I loved the familial thread in the story. The health problem was heart wrenching and realistic and helped me to engage with the characters. The mystery kept me turning pages until the end.

(full review available on Goodreads)

 

AND:

 
Can a single woman alone in Greece find her great-grandmother’s miraculous, healing icon that her family desperately needs, before it’s too late? Moreover, can this same woman find the something inside herself that she’s been missing, before she loses herself?

And what about the American English teacher she meets on her journey? Is he the man she has been looking for, or will he just cause her more pain?

Marina Sutton’s adult life had not been easy—a horrible track record with men, an overbearing mother constantly reminding her of her faults, a sister she is no longer close to, and a nephew with a life-threatening illness. The only light in her life seems to be Yiayia – her devout, Greek Orthodox grandmother.

This book is full of excitement, love and hope. The twists and turns of the story only reflect what is happening inside Marina. While she is searching for the icon her family needs, she is also searching within herself to find the faith she lost long ago.

Travel with Marina to Greece – see the sights, feel the salty breeze, taste the local cuisine, and experience the beauty of the Orthodox Church.

What a fun journey. I highly recommend this book, and I cannot wait to read Dorothy Robey’s future works.

 

As that old saying goes, my cup runneth over. I’m so grateful to these dear people for their thoughtful, insightful, and beautiful reviews, the last of which had me in tears. God gave me such a gift, and He’s guided me through my writing and all the processes involved in the craft. Thank you, Lord.

Fellow writers out there who haven’t published your work yet. Keep at it. Endure until the end. 🙂 Acquire ARC readers, followed by many other readers for your great work and feel the many blessings.

 

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Settling into Hope and Joy

home sweet home pic

My family’s move from Pennsylvania to Colorado two weeks ago was both exhausting and stressful, but also anticipation of what lie ahead for us.

When we reached our new home, we entered it, excited to see how much the video my husband had taken of the place looked compared to seeing it in person.

It was even better in person.

And the unpacking started right away. And it continues still as I write this.

Thankfully, we finally got our internet hooked up, and I can catch up on news stories, people’s comments on social media, and blog posts.

Also, it gives me the opportunity to write a post myself. I feel as it it’s been many months since I’ve written anything here, but in reality, it hasn’t been that long.

I’m enjoying the beautiful Colorado sunshine, blue skies, and gorgeous landscape. The Rocky Mountains never get old for me or my husband.

autumn in colorado

I don’t know about you, but for me, this is home, full of life, love, joy, and lots of sunshine. The 300+ days of sunshine (counting partly sunny) always lift my spirits.

Just a little while ago, I opened up my novel, Passage of Promise,  in Word, and read the first chapter and the beginning of chapter two.

Last time I read it a couple of months ago, I felt I needed to fix it up one more time before sending it to my editor. This time, I thought, “Wow. This is pretty good.” I’m glad the hard work I put into this story for the past four years has blossomed to what it is today.

Hopefully, I’ll be sending my manuscript to my editor soon–when she can fit my novel into her schedule.

I’ve entered the online critiquing group site and browsed the stories posted. A few of my regular critique partners still have their chapters up for review and coming up in the next week to two weeks.

It takes a bit to readjust my focus on looking over people’s work and putting on my editing/critiquing hat, but I’m hoping to get back into it, if not tonight, definitely tomorrow.

In between getting back into the writing and reading groove, I’m working on getting my younger son into a high school and getting involved in my home church, where my church family has been since we lived in Colorado Springs from 2007 to 2013.

There is so much to look forward to and so much to do, and that makes life great.

When you know your talent and your purpose in life (at least I think I do…took me about 30 years, haha), the path you walk toward is much easier to navigate and trek.

make your life a masterpiece quote by brian tracy

As crisp autumn continues to sweep across the rocky landscape in which I live, I think about how blessed I am and imagine my novel, Passage of Promise, published before Christmas. God willing, it’ll happen.

 

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Writing Much, Despite Reading Struggles

Fragonard painting of woman reading

(painted by Jean-Honoré Fragonard)

Over the past couple of years, I’ve read many fellow authors’ declarations of being avid readers when they were children. That they would sneak a book under their covers and get in another few precious moments of reading exciting books before their parents would remind them to go to sleep.

Others would talk about remembering reading at a very early age and loving it throughout their childhood into their adult years. This dedication and love of reading books led them to write books themselves. And this seems to make a whole lot of sense. You read a lot, you get ideas, and you naturally write with these inspirational stories having primed the creative pump in your imaginative brain.

But this wasn’t my experience.

At times I feel both sad and amazed that my writing journey is not the usual, logical path of my fellow writers. I’m an anomaly of sorts. I truly believe it.

I grew up hating to read. As early as I can remember, I had little interest in books, other than to look at the colorful pictures and at times, listen to my dad or a teacher read a story to me and my fellow students.

young girl reading book

Reading had been a struggle for me, a lot of hard work. By mid grade school age, it was discovered I had reading comprehension problems. When my dad wasn’t away on a case (he was a lawyer and a judge in the Air Force), he’d spend an hour or so a night sitting with me on the couch, listening to me read aloud one of the classics in large, vivid books with plenty of pictures, but with age-appropriate, tough words.

I remember agonizing through reading each sentence. It was so laborious–a tremendous mental work akin to the hard, physical work of pushing a heavy rock up a steep hill. But Dad kept encouraging me, guiding me along, patiently working with me for about three years (around fourth to sixth grade).

I went into junior high school still struggling to a certain extent, with little interest in reading, let alone learning. This was my academic path throughout high school, as well.

But something had changed. I did read a few assigned books in my English literature class in eleventh grade, and when I a sophomore, I fell in love with the North & South TV mini-series and ended up reading the first two books in the series. Also, when I was eighteen and nineteen, I read the whole eight-volume series of the Kent Family Chronicles (both series written by John Jakes).

I think, perhaps, watching TV and movies helped me create my stories in lieu of reading. I’ve always been a visual learner.

As for gaining an interest in learning, it wasn’t until I went to business college a couple of years after graduating high school, that I was ready to learn and wanted to learn.

But here’s the unbelievable part of my journey.

Throughout all of my struggles with reading, I wrote all the time with little effort, from second grade all the way through my teens and early twenties before putting it aside when I married and had children.

As you know, if you read any of my older blog posts, I returned to writing in 2014, and it felt so good to be back where I believe I belonged.

How could a child, a young girl, a woman, write stories with plots, decent sentence structures, spelling, some stories over a hundred pages in length, but rarely ever pick up a book until her late teens, early twenties?

It’s a tiny miracle to me.

shining bright light of miracles

This tiny miracle tells me this is my talent, God’s gift to me.

I finally realized this only about two years ago. It hit me like a refreshing, cool breeze on a warm spring day. And I’m so glad it did. Since my early twenties, I’ve been reading and continue to read many, many books.

 

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