Pages & Paws

Writing, Reading, and Rural Life With a Border Collie


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Clarifying on Comments & Links

Mom says it’s time for a little blog housekeeping. Not sure what that means. But I’m pretty sure I heard “bacon” or “sausage” in there somewhere along with “comment policy” and “links.” So let’s go!

Comment Policy:

Please note that all comments are moderated. That means one of us – the one with opposable thumbs – manually approves every comment before it appears on the blog. So if you’ve commented and your comment doesn’t show up right away, that’s why.

Contrary to popular belief, at least one of us doesn’t spend all day every day doing this blogging thing. So when it comes to comments showing up, your patience is appreciated.

Links

Authors, publicists, publishers and other humanoids sometimes contact us with:

“Is the review up yet?”

We get it. You want to see the review. Pronto. But as clearly spelled out in our Submission Guidelines, we do not send links or reminders. We expect you to keep track of the date. So don’t annoy us by nagging. See Item #9 under the guidelines:

Posts are usually written and scheduled for auto-launch on a future date, sometimes far in advance. Like weeks. Or more. Mom will let you know the date our review of your book will go live. We expect you to keep track of the date yourself. We do not send links. So please don’t ask.

So kindly don’t nag about “Is the review up yet?” You might as well shout Didn’t bother to read the guidelines from the rooftops. Savvy?

Mom said I better add that. I always do what Mom says. Well. There was that one time with the cheeseburger… But I think she’s forgotten about that. So let’s not push our luck here, okay?

You gonna eat that?


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Author Ann Kiemel & How Do You Spell “Success”?

 

Pssst! Hey, writer! Yeah. You. Over here. I have a question for ya. Well, a few:

  • What’s your goal as a writer?
  • Do you want to sell millions of copies of your book (who doesn’t?)?
  • Make the New York Times Bestseller list?
  • What’s your definition of “success”?
  • How will you know when you’ve arrived?

Or does “bestseller status” seem like an elusive dream, a “happily ever after” fairytale?

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TEMPORARY CLOSURE TO NEW SUBMISSIONS

‘Turnin’ tail’ till January 2022!

Hear ye! Hear ye!

We are officially CLOSED to new book review requests until January 1, 2022.

 

Kimber here. Lemme explain. Cuz Mom is going a little crazy. Well. Crazier than usual. But it’s a good kind of crazy. The smiley kind, if ya know what I mean.

The 4-1-1:

We love getting your book review requests. But we’re kinda drowning. As in, we just can’t keep up! That’s why we’re going to have to put a “paws” on new submissions until January 2022.

Focus on Family

We also want to spend the holidays focusing on family and… The Holidays.  So, we’re takin’ a breather. Turning tail and running. A little bit. Continue reading


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Heart & Head Clash in Vibrant New Fairytale, ‘Heartless Hette’

Heartless Hette

By M.L. Farb, 2021

Genre: Fiction/Fairytale/Fantasy

Rated: G

Via: Author Request

Summary:

Hearts and heads collide as an unlikely trio sets out on an epic quest to find the true meaning of friendship and more in this freshly reimagined version of “once upon a time.”

“Which is stronger – heart or head?”

Once upon a time, a beautiful princess prized logic and reason above all. Her father bid her marry, become queen and produce an heir. But no suitor could match her formidable mind. So a sorcerer disguised himself as a prince. He set out to woo the princess. She rejects him. The sorcerer steals her heart. Literally. Right out of her chest.  In its place is a mechanical “clockwork heart” designed to bend Princess Hette’s will to his.

“Love only hurts… Alone hurts less.”

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44 Best Fantasy Books for Kids

We’re not big fans of Halloween. But we do enjoy a good fantasy story sans ghoulish ghastliness. (Isn’t that a great word? Mom thought it up.)

Anyway, with Hallo-yuck coming up, Mom and I decided rather than focus on ghoulish tricks, we put together a list of treats instead: 44 Best Fantasy Books for Kids. Because, woof! Nobody does ‘imaginating’ better than kids! (Well, there was that one Labradoodle who…) Wait. That’s another story.

Kindly note that we’re using “fantasy” in its broadest sense. Like: Anything that could not exist within our own world. Make-believe in its purest form. Usually includes something supernatural or magical as primary elements of the plot, theme, or setting. Like talking animals. (One of us is super big on that.)

It’s easy to get Fiction and Fantasy confused. (One of us who shall remain nameless does that, too.) So here’s a basic primer describing the differences between the two genres. There are three main diffs, via Difference Between:

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Family Matters in Delightful New Sci-Fi Novel

The Captain’s Daughters

By Doreen D. Berger

PolarisPrint, 2021

Genre: Fiction, Sci-Fi, Family

Rating: G

Via: Author Request

Summary: Two spunky sisters get more than they bargained for when they disobey their starship captain Dad and wind up captives in an interstellar game of cat-and-mouse.

“What lies within the folds of the fabric of the never-ending universe?

“Not now, Kimmi!” sniffs Her Momness.

Why is she saying this when I just brought her the Frisbee?  Hello? Earth to Mom? Come in, Mom?

“I’m right in the middle of the good part,” she says. “Can you gimme a min?”

Oh, bother. Cuz Mom said that like, two hours ago.

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Travel Memoir Offers Deep Dive Into West Africa

A New Day Dawns

By Terry Lister

Publisher: Brooklyn Knight Enterprises, 2021

Via: Author Request

Genre: Memoir/Travel

“This is Africa!”

Terry Lister is an experienced world traveler. He’s also a first class storyteller with a knack for drawing readers into his adventures. As in his first volume, Immersed in West Africa, Lister invites you to join him in traveling through four West African countries as he seeks to “learn what makes people tick.”

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High Octane Action Powers ‘Albertan Apocalypse’

Albertan Apocalypse

By John Keillor, 2021

Fiction/Dystopian/Action-Adventure

Summary: Governments have been destroyed worldwide by global catastrophe except in Alberta, Canada. But when malevolent forces try to take over, Albertans put up a ferocious fight to keep their freedom. 

Originally reviewed on Reedsy/Discovery.

Setting

It’s 2031. Twelve years ago a worldwide catastrophe destroyed the internet and disabled governments. Many human brains were also “ruined” when the atmosphere “was transformed into a microwave oven.” One of few stable societies remaining is in Alberta, Canada. But malevolent forces are converging to invade the province, exploit its natural resources, and enslave its citizens.

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GUEST POST: Author Jonathan Durham on Writer’s Block

Hello Friends!

Kimber here. Being my usual charming, magnificent, magnanimous self. While I’m sitting here waiting for She Who Must Be Obeyed (sometimes) to grab my leash so’s we can head out for a walk, I wanted to introduce you to one of our new friends.

His name is Edward Jonathan Durham. Isn’t that fun to say? Edward is the author of Winterset Hollow. It’s one of the most unusual books we’ve read all year. Read our full review here.

We recently reached out to Edward and offered him a guest post. He wrote about how he faces down The Dreaded Writer’s Block. There are some pretty nifty tips and ideas here. So I’d listen up ‘fize you. Take it away, Edward!

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What We ARE & AREN’T Interested In – or -Updated Submission Guidelines 3.0

Kimber here. Her Crankiness can’t come to the blog right now. That’s cuz she’s neck-deep in Mom Cranky. Lemme explain.

Back when Mom was young and foolish – like, yesterday – we took pretty much any request for a book review and ran with it. Hindsight being 20/20, we learned a few things in the process. Like:

  • Not all requests for book reviews are created equal
  • Our time is limited. So is our attention. We don’t have the time or attention to plow through a book that wouldn’t pass Troglodyte muster. Or spell check.

We get tons of requests for book reviews. From authors. Publicists. Publishers. Feline fans. (Nobody’s perfect.) We love reading good books by gifted writers. And doing honest book reviews.

Less Than Half

But we’re picky. In fact, we accept less than half of the review requests that come in.  We just don’t have time to read stuff that belongs on the bottom of a bird cage. (You wouldn’t believe some of the junk we get.) 

Clarifying

So we’ve found it necessary to clarify what we are and aren’t interested in regarding book reviews.  Like this:

What We’re Interested In:

No promises here. This list is for general reference only. It does not guarantee an acceptance of a request for a review, especially if we get a few chapters into your book and discover a dud. But in general, we’re interested in:

  • Thoughtful, well-written stories that speak to the human condition, offering hope and inspiration
  • Stories that are fresh and creative, not warmed-over leftovers  or wannabes (Hi, Harry Potter clones)
  • Uplifting stories that include some redemptive quality without being preachy
  • Books with a transcendent theme, e.g., that are bigger than the author
  • Books with a clear beginning, middle, and end
  • Books that are free of typos and grammatical or punctuation errors
  • Books anchored in a biblical worldview.

Special Interests Include:

  • Historical Fiction
  • Christian Fiction
  • Narrative Non-Fiction
  • Young Adult
  • Outdoor/Adventure
  • Memoir/Biographies (see below)
  • Travel
  • Clean love stories
  • Humor. One of us loves dry humor and wry wit. Bonus points if that includes a dose of sass (Hi, Mom)
  • Animal stories – Arf! Arf!

If your particular genre isn’t listed here, it doesn’t necessarily mean an Auto-Reject. Just be sure to query and provide an honest overview of your work before asking for a review.

What We’re NOT INTERESTED In:

  1. Memoirs about childhood trauma or abuse
  2. Trashy “romance novels”
  3. Anything with gratuitous violence and/or profanity
  4. Garbage (see #2 and 3, above)
  5. “Self Help” books unless written from a biblical worldview
  6. Anything needlessly dark, distasteful, or otherwise disgusting (see #2, 3, and 4)
  7. We no longer accept PDFs for review

AUTHOR ALERT

Are you an author who’s written a book series? Have we read and reviewed the first installment and liked it? Have you commented or connected on a good review of book one? Unless you have, please don’t send us the next one. We’re not interested.

For more, see 4 Reasons Why We’re World Champion ‘Book Bailers.’

For additional information on our Rating System and Submission Guidelines, please click here.

Are we clear?