How to Spot Fake Authors

In my last post I mentioned that author Courtney Milan offers excellent suggestions to help writers whose work has been stolen. For readers, the question remains: how can you spot fake authors? You can’t rely on price alone, since many real authors and reputable publishers may hold short-term sales and post promotional offers. And some writers are truly prolific and turn multiple books out in a year. (Not me. In fact, I might be in the running for Slowest Writer on the Planet.)

For insight, I turned to acclaimed author Lynne Connolly who writes historical, contemporary, and paranormal romance through Kensington Publishing Corporation and Tule Publishing. She’s a dedicated writer who cares about the art and craft of writing, and about the readers who deserve the best we can offer.

I came across Lynne’s “how to spot a fake” in the comments section of Nora Roberts’ blog post and am sharing excerpts here with her written permission. I’ll note she’s writing this from the perspective of her genre. Clever readers (you!) can easily tailor the list for just about any genre.

While there’s no one guaranteed way to spot a fake, Lynne suggests readers dig a little deeper if they see three or more of the following traits:

1. An alliterative name (Lord knows why, but a lot of them do that).

2. Only on Amazon, and enrolled in KU.

3. Romance writer (because I haven’t looked at other genres).

4. Single woman on cover, taken from a stock site. For historical romance they use a woman in a wedding dress and then colour it. Very often with garish colours to attract the attention.

5. The book is permanently 99 cents.

6. No photo of the author, or one taken from a stock photo site.

7. Hundreds of 5 star reviews, with a bunch of 1 and 2 stars which say the book is badly edited, inconsistent, poor grammar etc. When a poor review is put up, they usually buy some more to keep it off the top.

8. Somebody you’ve never heard of, or met, but is, or claims to be, a USA Today best seller. She never goes to conventions, she isn’t a member of a professional organisation like the RWA, RNA or Ninc.

9. Recently they’ve started doing very basic websites, usually on Wix (presumably because it’s free and fast). But they do have the same pattern. The individuals who buy their books will take a bit more care, but the groups will not.

Oh yes, and you look at the excerpt, then at the 5 star reviews and wonder if they were reading the same book!

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You can find Lynne Connolly online at lynneconnolly.com or on her blog at lynneconnolly.blogspot.co.uk. She’s also on Facebook and you can follow her on Twitter @lynneconnolly.

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In my experience, real authors–from the Big League to the stumbling newbie–care about the craft and their readers. We have trackable digital footprints. Read our blogs. Follow us on social media. Subscribe to our newsletters. Check us out in libraries and bookstores. Send us email or invite us to your online discussion groups–we love to talk to readers almost as much as we love to write!

And speaking of real authors, come back next week to meet Sue Owens Wright and enjoy a blurb from her award-winning book Ears for Murder. If you love dogs, you’re going to love her Beanie & Cruiser series!

Holiday Reading Magic

Long-time readers of this blog will remember I’ve previously featured award-winning author Susan Kroupa. (If you haven’t discovered her Doodle series, you’re in for a real treat!) I’m delighted to report the award nominations from the Dog Writers Association of America continue to roll in.
Sue has earned three nominations in the DWAA Writing Competition. The first is her blog about losing Shadow, Fly Away Home .  She earned another nomination for her serialized memoir-in-progress about raising a very independent Shadow in DoodlewhackedAnd the third nomination is for her short story Balance DueCongratulations, Sue!
And that’s not all. Sue’s Christmas Doodle book Bad-Mouthed is included in the Sisters in Crime  Book Club Central Holiday reads list (Sue says she sent the application in a might-as-well-try moment).
Bad-Mouthed is currently on a Kindle Countdown sale that runs through Friday, Dec 14th.
Read on for a sample of great writing by this terrific author!

Walter’s Christmas-Night Music

A little magic, a little Mozart, an unexpected miracle on Christmas Eve. . .

Nothing has gone right for Walter Gunther since his wife died. He had to sell his music store to pay her medical bills and take a job as a clerk in Disks Galore, a big box music store. His manager bullies him and knows nothing about the classical music Walter has cherished all his life. The man can’t even pronounce Mozart’s name correctly. But when Walter is forced to work late on Christmas Eve, he receives a musical gift beyond his wildest imagining.

Originally published in Realms of Fantasy (December 1997), “Walter’s Christmas-Night Musik” was hailed for its “affectionate musical expertise and good-natured charm,” by Locus reviewer Mark Kelly, who also chose it as the best story of that issue. A warm and wonderful story sure to delight music lovers everywhere.

 

A Most Magical Christmas

Brimming with hope. Touched by magic. . .

A collection of five Christmas stories by award-winning author Susan J. Kroupa. A hapless clerk working late on Christmas Eve, a telemarketer who starts receiving mysterious calls promising a once-in-a-lifetime offer, an airline mechanic trying to prevent a disaster, and a pair of dogs who show that second chances can come wrapped in fur, all find a little Christmas magic when they need it the most.

So grab your e-reader, cozy down with a quilt, and celebrate the season with tales to warm the coldest winter night.

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Both “Balance Due” and “Walter’s Christmas Night-Musik“, which made editor Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s Special Holiday Recommended Reading List, are in A Most Magical Christmas, and also available separately for $0.99. A Most Magical Christmas is priced at just $2.99 and it will be on sale on Kobo for 40% off Dec 12-17th. Find it on Kindle  and Nook and itunes and Kobo too!

Celebrating Birthdays and Books

Sasha is officially four years old today! When we applied to the AKC via their Purebred Alternative Listing (PAL) program, we opted to rely on the veterinarian’s estimate of Sasha’s age because we don’t know much about her life before she came to us. We chose July 4th for her “official” birthday in celebration of her new life. She’s now formally recognized as Ozark Summer Highlands Sasha.

For those new to the blog, here’s a quick recap of the story behind her name:

We chose Ozark for our locale and Highlands for her heritage; we’re actually in the Ozark Highlands, so it’s a bit of a double play on that last word. We included Summer because she has a warm sunny spirit. And I wanted her call name included because she came to us with that, so including Sasha gave us a bridge between her past and present.

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We have bestselling author Susan Conant to thank for guiding us through the PAL application process. Susan has a Sheltie of her own, and I’m grateful for her generosity in sharing her expertise. Many of you will recognize her as the author of the Dog Lover’s Mystery Series. (Want to catch up? I’ve previously featured Susan here on this site with a follow-up post here.)

Susan, who is a seven-time winner of the Dog Writers Association of America’s prestigious Maxwell Medallion for excellence, is also the co-author of The Gourmet Girl Mysteries which has earned high praise. Here’s a sampling:

“The authors serve up another delectable dish of detection.” —Publishers Weekly

“Packed with delicious recipes . . . the Gourmet Girl Mysteries have quickly become one of my favorite culinary mystery series.”  —Roundtable Reviews

“Famous writer of mysteries involving cats and dogs, Susan Conant teams up with her daughter to write a refreshingly charming chick-lit mystery. . . . There’s no doubt about it—this is the start of a great new series.” —Midwest Book Review

 

This new-to-me series is a perfect fit for today, as Sasha loves to snooze after a good meal while I’m reading. We’ll round out the day’s celebration with backyard frolics and be safely indoors long before fireworks boom across the county again.

Happy birthday, sweet dog!

 

Dog Training and Time

Nancy Tanner and Friends

© Nancy Tanner

This week’s post comes to us courtesy of the exceptional writer and dog trainer Nancy Tanner. Check her website and you’ll see she’s the Founding Owner at Paws & People, the Scent Project, and The World Treibball League. Nancy is the recipient (twice) of the Dog Writers Association‘s prestigious Maxwell Medallion, with a total of eight impressive nominations to her credit. She generously allowed me to repost this blog entry in its entirety (thanks, Nancy!). Please note all photos and text are the exclusive property of Nancy Tanner.

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the misunderstanding of time

nancy Tanner dog 1 photo

When I am asked what is the biggest problem I see in dog training today, it is the same problem I saw  fourteen years ago, and thirty years ago, it is the misunderstanding of time.

Nancy Tanner dog 2 photo

It takes time to learn how to be a teacher to another species.
It takes time to learn how to learn from another species.
It takes time to build understanding.
It takes time to learn how to observe and how to apply what you observe.
It takes time to build a relationship with trust.
It takes time to get to know one another.
It takes time teach.
It takes an enormous amount of time to build skill on both ends of the leash.
It takes time to learn.
It take time to learn about humility.
It takes time to learn how to work together.
It takes time to learn about the things in training you don’t even know that you don’t know yet.
It takes time to learn about your own short comings.
It takes time to forgive your own short comings and learn how to move on with your dog.
It takes a life time to practice compassion.
It takes time, all of it.
Nancy Tanner dog 3 photo
You cannot rush a relationship.
You cannot rush the teaching or learning process, on either end of the leash.
You cannot rush maturity or the lack there of.
You cannot rush your skills, or your dogs understanding of your skills.
My advice to new dog owners, seasoned dog owners, and want to be dog owners – learn how to settle in, learn that nothing will happen over night. Learn that if you try to take short cuts and try to make it all happen to fit your schedule, or your desires, or your needs, it will come back to bite you in the ass, figuratively or literally.
                                                                                                 ~ Nancy
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If you’re interested in sharing Nancy’s post via your own site or other social media, see the copyright notice on her site for details. And while you’re there, be sure to read more posts; she’s a terrific writer!

Celebrating Success!

DWAA 2015

Here’s a happy way to start the 2016 blog year: celebrating the success of my colleagues in the Dog Writers Association of America whose works earned a place in the DWAA Annual Writing Competition. There are quite a few categories; go to https://dogwriters.org/ to see them all.  I’m going to share the list of nominees for in the Online category (blogs, websites, newsletters, articles, etc.) and encourage you to browse the list. Perhaps you’ll find new authors to follow–I’m confident you’ll find a lot of terrific information and ideas!

But first: I’m delighted to share the news that Susan Conant has been nominated for her book Sire and Damn. Susan was an honored guest here last year to talk about that book and the writing craft. (Missed those? Find them here.)  If anyone wonders about the quality of indie publishing, I’d say you have the proof right here–Susan’s work is exceptional. Here’s another look at the cover of that book:

Sire and Damn

 

And now, here’s that list I promised, with links included wherever possible. Enjoy!

Online

14. Blogsite Or Website

American Kennel Club www.akc.org

Mutt About Town Blog http://muttabouttown.com/blog Maureen Ann Backman

Fidose Of Reality http://fidoseofreality.com Carol Bryant

The Daily Junior Dog Blog http://thedailyjuniorblog.com Jill Schilp

15. Magazine Or Newsletter

AKC Canine Partners News, Penny Leigh & Joanne Tribble, editors

AKC Gazette, Erika Mansourian, editorial director

Havanese Breed Magazine, Thomas Wettlaufer, editor

Speaking of Dogs Monthly Newsletter, Lorraine Houston, Nancy Foran & Cathy Vandergeest, editors

G. Online Articles or Blog Entries

16. Article Or Blog – Health or General Care

 Nancy Beach, “Canine Osteosarcoma Parts 1 and 2” (Celebrating Greyhounds Magazine)

 Deb M. Eldredge, DVM, “Messing With Meds” (Best In Show Daily)

 Deb M. Eldredge, DVM, “Dog Bones & Safety Petcha.com

 Ranny Green, “How a Special Service Dog Enables 23-Year Army Veteran” SeattleKennelClub.org

 Jane Messineo Lindquist (Killion) and Mark Lindquist, “Ovulation Timing And Preventing Fading Puppies: A Surprising Nexus” www.puppyculture.com

17. Article Or Blog – Behavior or Training

 Mara Bovsun, “Why Old Dogs Must Learn New Tricks” www.WOOFipedia.com

 Denise Fenzi, “It’s a Puppy, Not a Problem!” www.denisefenzipetdogs.com

 Liz Palika, “7 Suggestions for Training Multiple Dogs” www.thehonestkitchen.com

 Nancy Tanner, “Shutting a Dog Down” www.pawsandpeople.com

 Bev Thompson, “Why Tone of Voice Matters” www.anythingpawsable.com

18. Article or Blog – Rescue

 AKC Canine Health Foundation, “The Joys of Adopting Senior Dogs”

 Kim Campbell Thornton, “Old Dogs Rule” (Universal Press Syndicate Pet Connection)

 Kim Campbell Thornton, “Beagle Mania” (Universal Press Syndicate Pet Connection)

 Meredith Wargo, “The Plight of Greyhounds Abroad” www.rescueproud.com

19. Article or Blog – Any Other Topic

 Laura Coffey, “9/11 Ground Zero Search Dog Still Lends a Helping Paw” TODAY.com

 Sally Deneen and Edie Lau, “Facial-recognition Apps Scout Lost Pets” (VIN News Service)

 Liz Donovan, “Man Gives Everything to Care for 12 Military Dogs After Their Return From War” akc.org

 Ranny Green, “For This 911 Call Taker, Anja and Loki are Her Relief ValvesAfter a Trying Day at Work SeattleKennelClub.org

 William Kearney, “On Losing a Dog” Petcentric.com

 Emma Kesler, “Want to Learn More About a Unique Dog Breed?”milesandemma.com

 Jen Reeder, “Let’s Discuss Pets During Domestic Violence Awareness Month” (Huffington Post)

Have a favorite on the list? I’d love to hear about it!