Monthly Archives: October 2012

So Many Books, So Little Time, How do I Choose

Some of you more “mature” readers and writers may recall that 80s song, So Many Men, So Little Time, how can I choose?…Well, I must admit, I’ve felt that way about books far more often than I have about men. Partly because there’s no other man for me in this world than my husband. But I sure do enjoy feasting my eyes on delicious male pectoral muscles on book covers-talk about mm,mm, good…Oh, sorry-I digress…

I’m an avid reader, so I’m always always on the look-out for a good read. I buy e-books to read on my Kindle and often walk to the library across the street to check out books and CDs I can listen to in the car.

The tough part is deciding what to read. When I’ve followed Amazon’s recommendations, I ended up choosing only from top-selling books, which often haven’t been ones I’ve particularly enjoyed. I now tend to do my homework before I buy and here’s some methods I’ve found useful.

1) Read book reviews and/or book blurbs when links are posted on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads and other online channels. If you follow many of authors on Twitter, they’ll post about hundreds of books daily. Blurbs give me an idea of whether I’ll like the book. Sometimes even bad reviews incite me to purchase. I sometimes find what another person dislikes is right up my alley.

2) Read excerpts on author web sites and yahoo posts or on Look Inside This Book on Amazon. Links to these often come up on Twitter. A good way to see if you like the writing style is to read a few pages.

3) Chat with authors on Facebook and yahoo groups. You can learn about their books and personalities and even ask them questions about their books. Some authors are willing to send you a chapter or two to preview for free.

4) Read character interviews. For me, if a character isn’t compelling I have little incentive to keep reading. If I don’t care about him or her, I’d rather read about someone else. Keep your eyes peeled for these character interviews, often conducted on blogs, which can help you see if you’ll identify with at least one of the writer’s characters.

5) If you like an author’s book, follow the author’s web site and blog to find about new releases. Send the author an email to find out which books are their favorite reads. There’s a good chance you might enjoy those books, too.

6) Participate in events which offer giveaways. If you get a free book and like it, you’ve just discovered a new author you can read and enjoy in the future.

If your good book treasure hunt is successful, please let me know. Maybe you’re favorite book will soon be mine. I look forward to hearing from you :-)

Interview with Jeff Dickson

If you’re like me, a book’s characters make or break a story. If we care about them enough and become immersed enough in their lives and their story, we keep reading.

On October 15th, author Jennifer Simpkins interviewed the hunky hero of The Open Water Swimmer, Jeff Dickson. Driven and focused, this elite open water swimmer also has a fun-loving, adventurous side to him that’s almost as irresistible as his hot body.  Here’s what Jeff has to say about his swimming life, the author’s portrayal of his story, his love-interest, Dana, and even the sex-scenes in the book. Enjoy! Read the Interview with Jeff Dickson

Mind of an Athlete – Jeff Dickson’s the Swimmer I Wanted To Be

Ever since that day I joined swim team at age-12, I wanted to go to the Olympics. I wanted to stand on that highest of podiums and have someone place that gold medal around my neck. In my era, I watched Tracy Caulkins win slews of medals – if she could do it, I could too, I thought.

In middle and high school, the typical teenage lifestyle eluded me. I spent too much time in the water to have time for what for everyone else was “normal.” While my girlfriends enjoyed dinner and a movie with their beaus, I traveled to swim meets all over the state.  And while they slept in on Saturday mornings, I got up early to dash off to my preliminary races – seven a.m. warm-up, meet starts at eight, races go on for three or four or five hours after that –  because I had to swim them fast enough that I could qualify for finals that night.  That night while my friends went to parties,  circulated with friends and sometime experimented with mind-altering substances, I dove back in the pool for finals, to see if I could place at the top in my best races. After rinse and repeat the next day, I’d be behind on schoolwork I couldn’t finish sprawled out on a towel between events over the weekend and spend the beginning of the week trying to play catch-up. All-the-while, rising at 4:30 a.m. for a workout before school and then going back to the pool for two more hours after school.

I studied in hotel rooms, in buses, in cars, on pool decks, grassy lawns – wherever I could get my homework done so I could spend more time in the pool. During  cold Ohio winters, I’d often be too rushed to dry my hair after practice before school so my hair would freeze as I walked to the car and I’d have little icicles draped around my head. I’d start the car, crank up the heat to thaw my hair and reach for a Pop-Tart and a banana as I pulled out of the parking lot.

Despite all my hard work, I never qualified for the Olympics. I improved my times every year, qualified for state championships in the 100 breaststroke all four years in high school and qualified for the Region VI championships my junior and senior year. I missed qualifying for the Junior Olympics my senior year by less than a tenth of a second. And I swam that almost-made-it time nine times, falling short every time. I was disappointed. I didn’t reach my goal. I fell short of what I wanted.

I can become an Olympian or any other person I want to be through my writing. My characters can achieve what I’ve never achieved, travel to places I’d like to go,  dare to do what I’ve thought about doing, but haven’t quite mustered up the courage to follow through with. When I created Jeff Dickson in The Open Water Swimmer, I felt a connection to this man like I’ve never felt with any other character I’ve created before. As an elite open water marathon swimmer, he’s so driven to achieve his goals he shuns a military career to train and travel all over the world to races. It’s about sacrifice, it’s about wanting a dream and there’s a little glamor thrown in the mix, too, because he travels to oceans all over the world to race and almost everyone would love to do that! Jeff is a true competitor who puts all his heart and his guts into every single race. He wants to win and he invests every ounce of sweat necessary to get there. He’s the swimmer I always wanted to be.

Characters You Can Love

So often when I’ve read a book I’ve really cherished, I’m following the character every step of the way and thinking she’s a lot like me. Characters we can relate to are characters we enjoy. And once we feel personally involved in the story, we’re there.

As an author, I always inject a little of my personality into my characters. When I was in elementary school, I was one of those uncoordinated kids who was the last picked for every kickball game at recess and any group sport in gym class. Who knew I’d one day be a regional level competitive swimmer and relatively competent at a variety of sports?

Author Interview on Blak Rayne’s Blog

Today I’m encouraging you to check out another erotic romance author blog – Blak Rayne’s – where she posted an interview we just had.  You can read it now at www.blakrayneblog.com I hope you enjoy reading the interview and checking out some of Blak’s books. Have a wonderful day.