Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Interview with Book Reviewer Scott Poe

Welcome to Up Around the Corner, Scott. Could you tell us a little about yourself and what led you to become a book reviewer? 

Thanks for having me here, Terry. There isn’t a whole lot of interesting stuff about me. I’ve been married for 3 years and have a 2 year old daughter. I live in a suburb of Columbus, Ohio and work as the shipping supervisor for a small company that makes and distributes pet treats and toys. I read a ton as a kid and at some point in middle school just kind of lost interest. When my grandfather passed away my grandma told me to take any of his books that looked interesting. 

The first book of his I read was The Sum of All Fears by Tom Clancy. That drew me in to reading his entire series when I was in eighth grade. In high school a buddy of mine introduced me to DragonLance and I have been a huge fantasy geek ever since. 

My interest in doing book reviews started when my wife got me a Kindle for Christmas two years ago. I started a thread on Amazon inviting authors to pitch their books to me and I would pick the ones that got my attention and review them. A couple months into doing that I decided to start a blog and do author featured guest posts and interviews along with reviews in order to help spotlight some of the truly fantastic authors that I discovered. 

Sounds interesting enough to me, Scott. 

What would you list as the best or most enjoyable thing that comes with being a reviewer and what would you list as the worst or least enjoyable thing that comes with being a reviewer of books? 

The most enjoyable thing by far is meeting all the people and reading all the books. I’ve met people all over the world who are brought together by their love of books and found some amazing works. I’d have to say the least enjoyable part is the selfish people. There are a lot of people who ignore review policies and do what they can to circumvent the rules in order to try to get a little publicity. I’ve been very fortunate to not run into any of the truly horrible stories that some reviewers have experienced with unscrupulous authors. 

What type of book and/or pitch is most likely to result in a review on Indie Book Blog? Are there certain types of books that you just don’t enjoy and won’t read, based on genre, point of view or something else? 

I don’t review erotica, poetry, chick-lit, or romance. If you want the best chance of getting reviewed on my blog just fill out the form properly. I created the form to make things easy on the authors and very easy on me, but there are still a lot of people who don’t fill out the boxes properly. 

Also, don’t expect to get a review if you demand the review be done in a certain timeframe. It’s not that uncommon to see people saying they need the review done in two weeks’ time for some event they are doing, but honestly that’s just not realistic. I have a family, full time job, and a huge list of books to read so I’m not going to drop everything to hit an unreasonable deadline. 

I started the blog focusing on fantasy/scifi and I still enjoy those genres the most. I have learned that I really enjoy a good mystery, action, and thriller as well. Having a well-written blurb and an eye catching cover also increases the chance for a review from me. Even an entertaining blog will help out. If the link is provided in my form I will check out the authors blog/website to get a feel for writing style and personality to determine how much it fits with what I like to read. 

Do you have an audience in mind when you write a review? What three people would you say, “Now that’s AWESOME!” if they stopped by, read, and commented on one of your reviews? 

I don’t really keep anyone in mind when I write reviews. Hopefully the people who check my blog out regularly are people who enjoy reading and do it for the entertainment value. Three people that I would make my day to see a comment from…that is a pretty tough question to narrow down. Seeing a comment from Brandon Sanderson would be pretty amazing. Any of the DragonLance authors would be pretty cool as well. Kevin Hearne would be another author I would love to get a comment from. I’m listening to his Iron Druid Chronicles now and I am really enjoying them. 

Yes, Scott, the Iron Druid Chronicles are great books to both listen to and read. 

About how many requests a month do you get from authors and/or publishers to review a novel or series? How long has that left your ‘to be read’ list? 

It’s been a little less than two years since I started using my contact form for review requests and I’m over 900 submissions on that. That doesn’t include the direct contacts that I get from authors/publishers that I have already worked with, so I’d say on average I get about two requests a day. 

My TBR list is pretty intense, my Goodreads list has 423 books on it. Those aren’t all books from my blog though. I’ve started a system of getting a mobi file from people whose books sound interesting, but there is no guarantee that it will get reviewed (I try my best though). I like to have a variety available to me so I don’t have to read the same kind of book all the time. If I request a print book it’s almost a guarantee of a review, though I still won’t leave under a 3 star rating. 

Considering fantasy and science fiction novels, is there one you’ve enjoyed where the world created is one you think would be neat to live in (compared to others)? And is there a novel that sticks out where you’d say, “No way would I ever want to live there!” (compared to other novels)? 

I think one of the coolest worlds to live in would be Lentari from the Bakkian Chronicles by Jeffrey Poole.  Everyone who lives there has an innate magical talent and some of them are pretty awesome. The King is also a good ruler who genuinely cares about his subjects and the people have an alliance with dragons and griffins. 

I recently listened to the audiobook for Steelheart by Branden Sanderson and that is a world where it seems like it would be terribly unpleasant to live. 

For purposes of reviewing, as a reader, do you prefer ebooks or print books, or doesn’t it make a difference to you? 

Even though getting a Kindle is what got me interested in the indie book scene and got me started doing reviews, I still really enjoy print books. I tend to go through phases where I will read primarily one or the other when I’m doing my reviews and when traveling a lot or reading at small stretches nothing beats my Kindle for convenience. 

What do you hope visitors to your blog come away with? 

Ideally people who visit my blog will find a new and interesting book that they wouldn’t have found through the normal channels. Depending on what’s going on they may be able to leave with a free book or some other kind of swag as well. 

Sounds good, Scott. 

As we’re closing in on the end of this interview, is there anything else you’d like to add or say to the readers? 

Thanks for having me on your blog, Terry.  Hopefully this interview can provide some solid info for your readers. 

You’re welcome, Scott. I definitely think it will provide solid info for readers. 

For those interested, here’s the link where you can find The Indie Book Blog: 


Saturday, November 23, 2013

A Seven Year-Old Explains Book Genres

I came across this video at Historical Romance Author, Sara M. Eden's blog.

I think it's pretty humorous. See what you think.

Here is a direct link if you have trouble reading it via my blog:
Link: A 7 Year Old Explains Book Genres

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Double Barrel Online Blast: Article (on Signing Events) and Review (of Genre Shotgun)

Today two important items appeared online:
1. A review of Genre Shotgun
2. An article of my posted

If you have a couple of moments, please click on over and see whichever one (or both) you might have an interest in--and don't hesitate to leave a comment.

Link: Review: Genre Shotgun: A Collection Of Short Fiction

Link: What to Bring to a Book Signing Event


Monday, November 18, 2013

Holiday Bazaar at Upper Valley Career Center

I will be talking about writing and signing copies of my novels in the LRC (Library) at Upper Valley Career Center from 2:45 pm until 5:00 pm on November 18th.

There will be several other authors (including Stephen Hines and William Weldy) as well as about a dozen crafts vendors, including the Domestic Devas.

The Upper Valley Career Center is located at:
8811 Career Drive
Piqua, Ohio  45356

There will even be free snacks...who can beat that? Hope to see you there!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Relic Tech Makes the Top 100 in Military SF

Great news for Relic Tech. It's made the top 100 in Military SF on Amazon.

I'm very appreciative of all the readers who are willing to give my SF novel a try.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Interview at The Five Year Project

If you have a moment, click on over to Misha Gericke's blog, The Five Year Project where she interviewed me.

I talk some about reading (and some great authors), writing, and also about Relic Tech, including where the initial idea for my science fiction novel came from--it was the first novel I ever wrote.

Don't be shy and leave a comment if you feel so inspired.

Link: Interview with Terry W. Ervin II

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Research: Even the Little Things Add Up

If you have a moment, click on over to Notes from the Writing Chair and check out my article posted there.

Link: Research: Even the Little Things Add Up


Sunday, November 10, 2013

Loki vs. Thor, a Kid's View at Comedy Central

Thought you might get a minor laugh out of this. My daughter, who we tease that she likes Loki, including his horned helmet (and she wants one just like his), laughed at this pretty hard.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Over Half a Million Words of My Fiction in Print

With the publication of Relic Tech, I now have over 500,000 words of fiction in print.

Flank Hawk (129,000 words)
Blood Sword (128,000 words)
Genre Shotgun (65,000 words)
Relic Tech (184,000 words)

Total = 506,000 words

Each of the thirteen stories collected in Genre Shogun had been previously published in various magazines, ezines and anthologies.

Besides Soul Forge (my work in progress, currently at 110,000 words) I have outlines in various stages of development (including initial chapters) for six more novels. So, before 2017, I hope to have over a million words in print...or that's the goal.

For that to happen, I need to write, of course. But I also need to write quality words so that publishers, like Gryphonwood Press, will be willing to invest in them and you, the reader, will be willing to read them.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Relic Tech is Released (Ebook Version)

My science fiction novel, Relic Tech has been released by Gryphonwood Press!

Here's what one reader had to say:

"The tech level premise is fascinating, but what really makes the novel special is the spirit of Krakista Keesay. Kra is a hero to root for—often underestimated, adept with brass knuckles, bayonet, shotgun, and all sorts of old style weaponry. He proves that, while technology matters, so do courage, intelligence, and daring."—Tony Daniel, Hugo-finalist, author of Metaplanetary and Guardian of Night

Here's where Relic Tech is currently available:

Link: Amazon Kindle (USA)
Link: Amazon Kindle (UK)

Link: Smashwords

More information and locations will follow as it becomes available.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Ender's Game: From Novella to Novel to Feature Length Film

My wife is a big Orson Scott Card fan. I've read and enjoyed some of his works, but not to the extent my wife has.

My first Orson Scott Card experience was with an audio cassette of Ender's Game, the novella-length version. I really enjoyed it. A few years later I read the novel and enjoyed it too. My wife and I will probably go see the film while it's still in theaters. But I do have a little apprehension.

From the trailer, it just doesn't seem to be the book I remember, the book I envisioned as I read it. Maybe it was the time (the late 1980s/early 1990s), but I envisioned Ender not seeing the ships for what they were, and more like a video game. That probably wouldn't work for today's audience, thus the special effects ships.

The novel also spent a good portion of time focusing on the games and tactics developed by Ender in the zero gravity arena, competing against other youth teams. The stress he was placed under and the bond that developed between those on his team, I hope that's retained in a significant way in the movie, or I suspect I'll be disappointed.

It's not that the movie couldn't be good if it varied greatly, but it annoys me when a book and movie share the same title, but that's about it. Sort of like Starship Troopers. I liked both the novel and the movie, but they didn't have a lot in common--other than the name.