Thursday, April 30, 2015

Ribbons of Death Blog Tour! (+Giveaway!)

Title: Ribbons of Death 
Series: N/A
Pages: 372
Date Published: Feb 6th, 2015
Format: Kindle
Genre: Paranormal 
Source: Goddess Fish Blog Tours
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Synopsis:
The ancients believed that once in a Blue Moon a child with Peacetaker powers is born. Such child, when grown to maturity, can seed murderous madness in people's minds by merely walking amongst them. A simple amulet activates the Peacetaker’s powers. When a horribly scarred man knocks on the door of Stella Hunter’s ramshackle cottage in upstate Montana, she lets him in. What’s there to lose? The book critics killed her chances to warn the world about myths and legends behind the myths and legends. But once the man pushes a book smudged with bloody fingerprints across the table, Stella sees a glimmer of hope. She may re-establish her credibility within the scientific community and vindicate her ‘peace-taker’ theory. She may also be murdered by anyone standing next to her if her theory is correct because the ancient curse is anything but extinct. In fact, the ancient curse has a new attitude
~The Rise of the New Gatekeeper in the Publishing World – Amazon~
Back in March, when my mystery, "Ribbons of Death," was a fresh face on the Amazon shelf, my family in Australia ran to their laptops to leave a book review – and couldn't. Since they knew the book inside out, and vetted it time and time over, they were the best party to begin posting the reviews. But, no. Amazon informed them in no uncertain terms that unless they bought the book off Amazon, they could not leave a review. Essentially, Amazon review rules that have morphed often enough in these past few months, changed again and they're more restrictive than ever. It boils down to that if you want to leave a review of any book on Amazon, you must buy it off Amazon, in any format that it's offered. End of story. My family sent me a picture of their hands, holding my paperback – a wholly unnecessary gesture on their part since they're young backpackers and have little space in their backpacks to spare on a somewhat bulky paperback. So, the review gates on Amazon have not only been shut tight but padlocked and reinforced with iron bars. Amazon has set up itself as the new gatekeeper of the publishing world.

Once this dubious role of a gatekeeper – a filtering machine and a vetting body rolled into one – was held by the literary agent. They were the blocks thrown down to prevent a writer from reaching the publisher. The writer had to pass so many tests that those exalted few who actually did manage to get an agent's representation were often compared to the lottery winners. Not just your writing craft had to be solid; it had to be the 'type' that appealed to the agent. I don’t need to tell you what the chances are of you developing a style that would appeal directly to one particular stranger – or worse – many strangers, all of them with different tastes and preferences. And you didn`t know what any of those criteria were, never mind meeting them.

Then technology belched and unveiled a new phenomenon – the self-published writer. Hundreds and thousands of writers could turn their backs on reaching for the impossible dream of getting a literary agent and with a relatively small monetary outlay, could present their literary work to the world – via Amazon. Reviews poured in from everywhere. It was difficult to tell whether those who praised the work had actually bought it, much less read it. Then came the fiasco of a volume of fake or purchased reviews by someone who shouldn`t have bothered in the first place and the warning signs started to appear.

Like any new business phenomenon, the self-publishing gave rise to secondary service industry – electronic book production and placement and marketing and promotional e-services. And like with everything else, these service providers started to jockey for positions in the starting gate. After all, the first one to gain wide readership and distribution could call its shots. It was and always will be about clout which translates into influence and in this case, it is having the influence over global masses of readers. But there was still something missing. The promo masters needed a reliable yardstick to use to sift through the barbarians at their gates, clamoring for promotion spots on their very busy calendar. Enter Amazon reviews.

Many good reviews would give the promo master a sign that the writer asking for a promo spot (all of them paid and in some cases it is not a paltry sum) was a safe bet and his work would not reflect negatively on the promotion company. Then, of course, came the fiasco with fake reviews, and Amazon moved quickly to protect its reputation as the foremost provider of reliable market intelligence. It slid into the role of a literary overseer as easily as it opened up its gates to the self-published writer. It became the dreaded and coveted literary agent of yesteryear, who blocks the writer`s access path to the publisher. Even though the self-published writer`s situation today is a little different from yesteryear when the writer couldn`t get an opportunity to showcase his work, the same stumbling blocks in his path lie once again. The promo masters with clout and power of electronic distribution that allows them to reach huge global audiences, have crafted a set of rules that are as mysterious as their sudden rise to power in the publishing world. And while these rules are obscured by that all purpose declaration:" We reserve the right to refuse….," there is one measure of worthiness that they can publicly present and that is Amazon reviews. And that`s why Amazon moved yet again to stiffen its review rules so now the reviews are supported by sales, not just any reader-opinion.

Of course the author can have stellar sales and zero reviews but if that`s the case, the said author should go to Vegas and leave it twenty-four hours later a very rich man (or woman). The truth is that a handful of marketing sites with proven record of promotion and following sales will not accept writer`s work without a truckload of high-star reviews. Today that means the writer has sold at least that many books on Amazon and is a safe bet to promote. Or at least a safer bet than the writer without reviews. And since there is no way of knowing whether that writer has hundreds of hidden sales – meaning the readers bought the book but didn`t bother leaving a review – the promo master won`t take a chance. And isn`t this what the literary agents kept doing for decades?

I don't know if the book purchase made through the author's publisher (if not self-published) lets the reader leave a review on Amazon because no one on my side has tried that yet. For now, Amazon has made it abundantly clear that it is the sole arbiter of who in the writing world gets to promote with the 'big guys' and who will be left gathering dust on its electronic shelves. Of course this type of censorship only leads to the rise of yet another new enterprise – finding a way around the Amazon blockade and with today's entrepreneurial spirit, it won't be long before the so-called quality of written work that Amazon so desperately seeks to preserve through its ridiculously restrictive policies, won't mean a thing.

The more things change….

~Try an Excerpt!~
“Of course. Why didn’t you just say so,” he said gruffly but knew she’d see that his eyes were laughing. Then something occurred to him. “Wasn’t the Benedictine order founded by St. Benedict?”

She rapped her knuckles on the back of his hand. “No. He only wrote their rule—its prologue and seventy-three chapters—commonly known as RB. It spells out basic virtues a man should have—humility, silence and obedience. It also gives details of common living and sharing. Many a broken marriage today would still be intact if the partners had only taken trouble to learn the ins-and-outs of St. Benedict’s Rule.” She let him ruminate on her lecture and turned to McEwen. “What’s in the tabloid/diary that would interest me?”


The antiquarian resumed his story. His friend Peter immediately set to translate the Latin text of the diary and, when finished, he sat back reflectively, much puzzled how such a fanciful tale could have indeed been written by a monk. Brother Lucien, the scribe at the Clairvaux Abbey, was inspired to become Abbot Bernard’s unofficial biographer when he heard that clergy in Paris had already started this noble pursuit.
~Meet Edita!~ 
By profession, I’m an engineer and ten years ago, I left a corporate job to concentrate on writing. It was perhaps the scariest thing I’ve done. Of course, there were other considerations at the time, life, kids, economy and my mother who was battling cancer. I wrote as means of staying grounded because I had to hold it together. There was no one else to pitch in. There wasn’t a single moment that I didn’t have doubts about whether what I was doing was the right thing or not, but doubts come and go, while the need to write goes on forever. Since 2005 I’ve published 5 books and this year alone I have 6 new ones coming out. I live in Toronto with my family and our two pets – wheaten terriers. And whenever I’m tempted to look back, and start second-guessing my past decisions, I sit behind the computer and start another book. At least for me, that’s a cure-all.
Edita will be awarding a Kindle copy of “Ribbons of Death” gifted from Amazon to 4 randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour.

7 comments:

  1. An exciting synopsis & I love the cover.

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    1. Thank you - once again I'm leaving this as 'anonymous' because that's the only way I can leave a comment - nothing else works. Edita A. Petrick
      And, I've already picked out my cover for book 2 of this series. I mean can any mother let her child live with such a horrendous curse on his head? Of course, the next quest is to find means to neutralize the curse.

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  2. Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?

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  3. J.D. Salinger of Catcher in the Rye fame. Apparently he was a very...odd person. He would have made a good 'character' study. I love learning about 'odd' people.

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  4. I tried to 'log in' for leaving a comment but could not do it with any of the profiles. The above is the only one that allowed me to post - Edita A. Petrick
    Thank you to the blog owner for hosting me and thanks to the promo/GoddessFish for making the arrangements.

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