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Friday Spotlight with Maureen Hovermale

December 30, 2011

Maureen and her Muse

This week’s spotlight is special on multiple levels. First, it is the last Friday Spotlight of the year. Next, we have the wickedly talented author Maureen Hovermale offering a bit of her infinite wisdom in the form of a guest post. Yay!

Maureen is one of my favourite online pals. For those of you who have not yet met her, here is her bio:

When Maureen isn’t testing the improbability that she makes a better wall than a window, she has been known to coauthor a few books, the latest being Paradox, The Curious Life and Mysterious Death of Mr. Joseph Wheeler, the first crowd-sourced novel on the planet and perhaps the longest title she’s ever seen. (The other being a short story in a very graphic erotica novel and gratefully buried under a pseudonym to save her mother the horror.) Several contests have been won of even littler note, but garnering her a few trinkets that she admires in front of the tv bringing this paragraph back to the first point touched upon.

She recently finished as a NaNoWriMo participant and occasionally dusts off the finishing touches of her trilogy Rogue, The Aleiva Trilogy.

She can be found hanging out on the feed at Twitter under the tag @zencherry and trying hard to be funny when not doing book reviews and author interviews at:

Now on with the guest post!

Happy New Year to everyone!

I am delighted to be finishing off 2011 on D.C. McMillen’s website!

D.C. asked me to share what makes a positive review and I scratched my head to mull it over. I feel that every author has something to say. I love to listen to the different points of view and can’t help but think positively about each of them.

A questioned that lingered after I’d been invited was: What makes some books better than others? This got me reaching into my dusty drawer for a thinking cap to come up with some bullet points that each of the shining stars in my bookshelves shared.

Focus. No matter what genre is presented, the plot needs purpose. Take me down a hundred different subplots all you want, just untangle them by the end and answer the pertinent questions. Nothing is more frustrating to a reader than an accidental cliff-hanger even, (and sometimes especially), when it deals with a minor character.

Connection. I need to be able to connect with the characters at some level whether or not they’re evil or dealing with something I’ve never thought about. I don’t care if they’re purple, polka-dotted, and breathing water in the deep blue seas of a distant planet, just give them life that vaguely resembles something I can relate to.

Innateness. Do the characters seem as if they’re not themselves? Are they behaving out of character? That’s not to say that we all don’t act out of our normal boundaries at times. This is perfectly acceptable and often makes a good story. It’s just if they’re an analytical thinker, for example, are they making rush decisions based on generalizations over and over again for no apparent reason? Keep them true to themselves even in the midst of change.

Love. I once read a book a long time ago that I could tell the author had lost interest in. The book started out with a bang, took me down a wonderful journey, and then suddenly had a different voice about two hundred pages in. All of a sudden my travel into their world was murky and dealing with characters that came out of nowhere that really didn’t have the plot points on the same map I’d thought I’d had. They finished it off with a wet noodle ending that left me at blah’s doorstep and I couldn’t help but make a note to myself that this was a recipe best left in the drawer. I wanted to love the book, but when the author had lost interest, then unfortunately, I couldn’t help but lose interest too. Love your book and others will follow.

Gratitude. Those that review books without compensation of any sort are taking at least three hours out of their day to read your book, write a review, and post it. (Oftentimes promoting it for you for free too.) Even just a quick thank you is hugely appreciated. I’ve sometimes scratched my head and wondered if the author even knew that I’d sent them the link. Remember, reviewers may have a free copy of your book, but they are potential buyers of your future work. Make them a fan for life with a simple thank you email.

D.C., you’re magnificent for giving me a guest spot. Please let me return the favor sometime, and thank you everyone for taking the time to read the bullet points of a TBR stack addict’s observations.

– Maureen (@zencherry)

Here is a little info about Maureen’s book, Paradox.












Paradox synopsis:

(The first crowd-sourced novel on the planet. All proceeds from the sale of the novel go to The National Literacy Trust.)

A freshly rotting corpse has been found in an old steamer trunk in the east end of London.

No one knows how the corpse got to be there. Only Richard Wiseman knows who he is, but he’s not saying. According to the newspaper photograph Richard was sent anonymously, Joseph was alive in 1876.

Inspector Pippa Bunting is the lead investigator in Joseph’s case. She is called to the scene of another murder only to discover that the man she had in custody a little over twenty-four hours ago, is the victim. Having been forced to let him go under the pressure of his high-powered solicitor and her Superintendent, Pippa begins to reassess the commands of her superiors.

Agent Luke Stirling has been shadowing Andreas Salladin, the wealthy entrepreneur whose riches are exceeded only by his madness. Luke has learned that the brash Inspector is at the center of Salladin’s efforts, yet has still to discover why.

Daniel is the coroner assigned to both cases. He has always been like an old gruff uncle to Pippa. When she finds an unexpected body in the morgue, she commits herself to solving the murders no matter the repercussions.

The meaner streets of London. The jeweled paths of Budapest. International intrigue brings Luke and Pippa together on a chase that will change the lives of everyone.

It can be purchased here:

13 Comments leave one →
  1. zencherry permalink
    December 30, 2011 10:33 am

    Thank you so much for inviting me on your FANTASTIC blog D.C. 😀 I think my head just exploded with the wickedly talented part up there. Woot! Wickedly is my favorite adverb. 😉

  2. December 30, 2011 12:42 pm

    DC you are right to highlight Maureen here, she does a lot of great promoting and reviewing other people’s work, and is also an excellent writer. I value her opinion in tems of any form of writing (fiction, blogs for example) and am very happy that I have not only felt the benefit of her input, but is someone I like to think of as a friend.
    You also ought to know that she did the lion’s share of the work on the crowd-sourced novel Paradox. I was one of the other writers/editors, so I know how much she did.
    Personally I am amazed at how much work she achieves on the literary front, even more so when I remember she’s also looking after her family as well. She is a great example of what you can achieve if you set your mind to it deserves a medal, flowers and chocolates. 🙂

    • zencherry permalink
      January 2, 2012 10:16 pm

      MIck, you are FABULOUS. I count myself lucky to have you as a friend and co-conspirator in the literary world. (hugs hard) You come to my part of the world anytime soon and I’ll make you a great big feast, I swear. 😀

  3. December 30, 2011 1:53 pm

    Fantastic job Maureen, as usual! Thanks for sharing your insight you sassy, wonderful lady! *hugs*

    • zencherry permalink
      January 2, 2012 10:14 pm

      (Hugs you back) You are SUPER sweet for taking time to comment here you highly productive author and sweet thing you! 😀 Thank you!

  4. December 30, 2011 2:44 pm

    Great post, Maureen! Your points are excellent. I completely agree that gratitude between authors and reviewers is essential. I actually wish that every person who reviewed my books reached out to me to let me know how to contact them. 🙂 Best of luck with your many projects!

    • zencherry permalink
      December 30, 2011 10:16 pm

      Hi Raine! (Hugs)
      Good point. If reviewers aren’t letting the authors know then it’s their own fault. 😉
      And thanks! I need all the luck I can get…(rubs genie lamp and stares intently at lotto tickets)

  5. December 30, 2011 4:18 pm

    Awesome points, Maureen! I’m seeing a trend towards authors purposely leaving the book on a cliffhanger to get you to buy the next book. Drives me crazy! I’d like to have some resolution of the current situation at least. Then it’s ok if you make me wait for resolution on the overarching plot point.

    Also, the point about innateness – I think you’re reading my mind. I have a draft almost ready to post on my personal blog about this. I hate it when characters betray their core belief system. Why not create the character’s belief system to fit the story you’re going to tell? Or, if you want that character as he is, then find a different way for him to deal with the issues. OK, I’m ranting. LOL I’m with you on the innateness thing!

    • zencherry permalink
      January 2, 2012 10:13 pm

      (hugs) I’m ranting right alongside with you Liz. These wait and find out things drive me bonkers! It takes me ages to find the next book IF I remember to order it. Arrrg. (Knucklebumps you on the innateness) I want to read something belieavable. You know? We are kindred spirits on this. 😀

  6. December 30, 2011 5:33 pm

    Great post, Maureen & D.C. 🙂 I got a good giggle, and I can’t believe that some authors don’t show gratitude – book reviewers can make or break them when it comes to sales. They might have taken the time to write their book, but the reviewer puts it out there with their stamp of approval (and reputation as a reviewer) on the line.

    • zencherry permalink
      December 30, 2011 10:20 pm

      Marie! 😀 Happy, happy, joy, joy! I’m not sure what kind of rep I’m putting out there because I love every book I read no matter the level of expertise involved. I know that a lot of people frownie face at that, but I think if someone is trying to be an author, they deserve encouragement. Plenty of others out there that will critique it with red pens. I prefer green ink and a glass of wine. 😉
      Thank you so much for coming by and taking the time to comment you lovely zombie unicorn wrangler!

  7. December 31, 2011 5:40 am

    Great post! I’m always delighted when I find two of my favorite people in the same place. I love DC, and I love Maureen. It’s just a big sticky party of love over here!

    • zencherry permalink
      December 31, 2011 5:49 am

      Mwah! Everyone? I’m not sure you know this, but not only is Erica the Daywalker Series author extraordinaire, she’s a kickbutt Words with Friends competitor too. Keeps me on my vocabularic toes that’s for danged sure. Quoin, uta, craal…dug up from the depths of my dusty brain just to keep pace. 😀

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