I’m thrilled to be hosting the fabulous Incy Black today, who has not only kindly written a guest post for the blog, she has also bought her new book along – Hard to Forget – but more about that later. Without further ado, here she is…
Amazon, Goodreads, blogs and websites, all littered with opinion, some loving, some harsh. Do book reviews matter? Who knows? Who cares? Well, the début (and most likely the seasoned) author cares. From experience, I can assure you the review process is akin to slow-streaking your Rubenesque, less than well-honed naked body down Bond Street crowded with the taut and gorgeous. In other words, putting your book out there takes blind courage, or probably more accurately, pure 100% proof, drunken nerve.
So, does letting it all hang out in there in public, flaws and all, merit a medal for bravery? Hardly, in a crowded market place (over-saturated when it comes to books published), success rests on exposure, and good or bad, that’s what reviews garner for the author, exposure. Example: Fifty Shades of Grey was pilloried, but no one can argue with the sales results. E.L James laughed all the way to the bank. But that doesn’t mean the criticism didn’t sting, that it doesn’t continue to gnaw at her confidence. What it does prove is that a public slicing is survivable if:
- You grow a remarkably thick skin (think rhino-hide tough).
- You accept the review as ‘an opinion’, and therefore, subjective. What some love, others will abhor. Differences in opinion stimulate debate. And, with public debate comes, yes, that Holiest of Grails from a writer’s perspective: exposure.
- You read the negative reviews, those one and two star trouncings. There is gold to be found in criticism. If a sufficient number of critics echo the same point, well, chances are they have a point. Learn, improve, move forward.
- You accept reviews can be bought, arm-wrestled or secured by blackmail. Shocking, I know, but that’s the reality. Don’t be intimidated by a competitor with 500 reviews—they may just have more friends and a larger family than you. 10 solid ‘reader’ (i.e. purchaser) reviews will always be more impartial, and therefore more honest, and readers and prospective buyers are rapidly learning to tell the difference.
- You react and spit-the-dummy IN PRIVATE. Don’t go public with a vitriolic counter-attack to a poor review. Some arguments can’t be won, and an over-zealous defence or calling to account, will come across as an author throwing a tantrum. Entertaining, but somewhat lacking in dignity.
Incy Black is the author of recently released Hard to Forget, Book 2 in the Hard to… series, featuring hard bastard, rule-breaking heroes, ripe for redemption, and strong, ‘no surrender’ heroines who bring that redemption about.
HARD TO FORGET can best be summed up with two quotes:
He didn’t want her forgiveness. What the hell would he do with it? Jack Ballentyne
Protective Custody? What’s that a euphemism for, exactly? Lowry Fisk.
Full details…blurb, buy links, even a free sample (Chapter 1) can be found here
And you are heartily welcome to connect with Incy Black here:
Thank you for popping by Incy! Words certainly for me, to consider carefully as I send my writing out into the world.
As I mentioned earlier, today is release day for the second book in Incy’s series Hard to Forget – and I was lucky enough to read an advance review copy.
For a start, what an opening to a book! Incy Black doesn’t disappoint if you’re looking for a piece of romantic suspense that will have you on the edge of your seat the whole way through. Unlike the previous novel, Hard to Hold, I did not feel confused about the setting and could relax into the story straight away. Also, like the previous novel, this story does not shrink from depicting violence necessary to the story and I will confess I read the first part through my fingers when considering the attack on Lowry. I won’t go into too much detail here as it is a big part of the story and if you are of a particularly sensitive disposition you have been warned.
Jack and Lowry. Well yes, I did wave my mental pom-poms for them in order to get their HEA. Commander Jack Ballentyne is so stubborn and infuriatingly dense when it comes to Lowry I did threaten to emasculate him on several occasions. As her ex-boss (and when he was her boss) it seemed like he did everything to make matters worse, and he doesn’t make a great start here. One tough SOB he works for the same government agency that Lowry once did and her father is currently the head of, awkward.
Former Special Agent Lowry Fisk is clever and tough, with an upbringing that would make anyone so, but in order to survive the ordeal that she went through attempting to do her duty she is damaged whether she likes it or not. Even she would have to agree that if she wasn’t crazy at any stage, she certainly looked like it. Coming out the other side of this she is carving a new career as an artist with a bunker that no-one should be able to enter (really). Unfortunately for her – her attacker has recognised her and this time he means to end her.
This is an intense book and a very intense relationship – so expect fireworks when there are scenes between the two of them, there are also some sensual scenes sensitively dealt with.
What I loved about this book and very nearly gained it a hard won 5 stars (4 1/2) was it was a much more confident read than the first book. The settings were clearer in my mind as were the hero and heroine, even the secondary characters felt more confident and interesting. The story moves along satisfyingly fast, and boy does Incy Black write one hell of a chilling villain. I also loved the country house setting and Jack’s family. Very intriguing, especially the brothers and Will, yes Will is here! In general the characters felt much more rounded. Plus the twist (where I DID work out the villain, first time for everything.)
What I didn’t like so much and what was slightly confusing is that this book takes place before Hard to Hold, so Nick Marshall is working alongside Jack. This did mess with my head a little to begin with until I realised, and I do wonder why this book wasn’t released first? Also, while for the most part I felt that Lowry’s PTSD was dealt with well, there were some areas that gave me some cause for concern. I realise though, that everyone is different but if Lowry was going to be on the road to recovery and at the point of moving forward I felt that sometimes she had gone way back to what she must have been at the time of her trauma, and this didn’t feel right.
To be honest these things feel slightly minor at this point and as I say I very nearly gave this book 5 stars. I look forward to the next instalment, and WILL NEEDS TO BE THE HERO OF IT, OK?!
Hard to Forget is out today via ebook from Entangled:Ignite. A copy of this review can also be found on my Goodreads page.