Cover for my next e-book

I’ve taken a sabbatical from writing. I had a very nasty experience a while ago that threw a lot of doubt on my writing. Not my ability to write. That’s fine and I’m good at it. But I found out that propriety is just as important to a writer as it is to any other career.

Unfortunately I’m not a proper person.

So writing became difficult. I spent as much time obsessing about what mine I would step on next time as I did writing. It was like trying to walk on a broken leg.

My wife suggested I take a sabbatical. It was good advice and I took it. I must admit now when I think of writing something I don’t stress about the BS.

A sabbatical doesn’t mean I can’t plan for when I do start writing again. I’ve been planning on redoing my first book, a series of short stories centred around a vampire, Georges Belleveau, and his human lover, Diane Patterson. They’re two of my favourite characters. The original book was called In The Dark. The company that published it is defunct. I’m a better writer now and I think a reissue would do well.

A couple of months ago my wife won a professional cover for a book in a contest. She graciously passed that opportunity to me. We told the artist, Suzan Butler, what we wanted and she turned out a lovely piece of work.

Isn’t it lovely? Thank you so much, Suzan. And to my lovely wife, angel.

How to write a Book Review: Workshop Wednesday

  1. Find the book you wish to review and read it. Pay attention to what you find extraordinary about it, either bad or good. I like to take notes while reading to help me remember.
  2. Decide where you wish to post the review. You may have your own blog. This is a great place to start. If you do not have a blog, consider joining book communities such as Goodreads, LibraryThing, or Shelfari. All three of these allow you to add the books to a collection and to review it. You will need an account. This is a good thing for reviewers who buy their own books to keep track of what they have bought and read. Perhaps you may wish to leave a review at,, or If so, you will need accounts for these places also.
  3. Now that you have read the book and decided where to post your review, it is time to write your review. Check what each place you are going to post your review requires. For instance, Amazon requires at least 20 words for the review and recommend approximately a 300 word review. Other places, such as Goodreads ask you to indicate if your review contains spoilers, those things which may give away key elements of the book have are reviewing. Please be truthful when answering that question. many readers, such as myself, do not want to read spoilers.
  4. Write the review, explaining in your own words why you liked or disliked this book, try to refer at least once to the name of the book, and the author’s name. This helps the reader to remember which book review they are reading, and can help you in the same way as you write the review. Explain if there are a few punctuation, spelling, or grammatical errors, or numerous ones that are difficult to dismiss. You may wish to mention if this is a book that is self-published or by a publishing house. This matters to some readers. For myself, it does not normally matter. Be sure to separate your paragraphs and to check your spelling. Walls of text, with no paragraphs or punctuation will have most readers disregarding your review, despite how accurate it may be.
  5. Remember to review the book and not the author. Do not make mean or nasty remarks about the author. Be as professional as possible, even if you are writing your first review. Reviews can help to make or break how well a book does, so be you are being honest ago giving constructive criticism, and not just ragging on a book and/or the author.
  6. Reread your review and edit it as is necessary. Check your spelling, and punctuation most especially. Use a critical eye to see where you can clean up your review so it will cast you and your reviews in a better light.
  7. Go to the places you wish to post your review and do so. Be sure to click save, or enter, or submit after pasting it to the site. If it is on your own blog, you may wish to add covers of the books you have reviewed.
  8. If you would like to see how I do my book reviews, go to Two for Tuesday category, and click on one of the posts. You need to find the way that works best for you, but this gives you the most basic facts necessary to get you started.
Book cover
Happy reading.
Have you written any book reviews in the past or perhaps you do now? Share a link to your blog or review in the comments section.

He said. She said. Workshop Wednesday

Perhaps you guessed from the title that today, we will discuss different words that can be used to substitute for said. In many instances, said can be, and often is, the right word for the job. What happens when you need your character to not be as active, but to present their story in a more passive manner. This is when you will need to find other words to use in place of said.

Try this for size. “You are a dolt,” she said. Blah. Now, this for comparison, “You are a dolt,” she exclaimed. or better still, “You are a dolt,” she screamed. We now know that she, whomever she may be is angry at someone. Just the subtle difference in one word in your sentence can convey a whole new meaning.

Here are some words you may be able to substitute for said when the need arises.
Acknowledged, shouted, complained, admonished, demanded, moaned, mumbled.

What words can or do you use for said?


The Color of Description: Workshop Wednesday

Her black hair shone bright in the yellow sunlight of the day. I know, boring. Now try this. Her sleek raven hair shimmered in the pale, lemony yellow sunlight. What is the difference beyond using different words? It is the fact of giving the reader more by describing the shade of the color. Rather than a simple phrase about her black hair, we now know it is the color of black found on a raven. The sunlight is no longer simply yellow but now we are aware that it is likely an early morning sun, diffused by the morning dew, giving it a softer, yellow than if it were the noon-day sun.

Try this little exercise; write down the basic colors. Black, red, yellow, green, blue, purple, white, orange, and perhaps pink. Now, describe these colors to a blind person who has never seen color. How will you evoke an understanding in that person as to what the color black is? Not an easy assignment, I am aware, as I have already done this years ago.

You will discover that unlike with a person who has seen and knows colors, you cannot reference another color to describe, say, orange. You must reach deeper into your ability to describe to bring forth an appropriate response of understanding. Difficult but not impossible. 20120913-135033.jpg

To help you get started with an easier task, I will give you some other words to help describe some basic colors,

Blue: lapis lazuli, sapphire, cobalt, chalcedony
Black: obsidian, coal, raven, onyx, jet black
Green: lime, pine, olive, emerald, jade, khaki
Purple: eggplant, amethyst, violet
White: egg white, antique white, ivory, cream
Red: crimson, ruby, wine, scarlet, burgundy
Orange: tangerine, peach, melon, pumpkin, carrot
Pink: petal pink, magenta, carnation, flamingo pink
Yellow: lemon, gold, Chinese yellow, goldenrod, khaki

Now, go forth and find many more shades of each of these colors and use them to help you in your descriptions of hair, eyes, clothing and much more.

Coming soon to an e-book publisher near you.

These days I’m reworking some stories and characters I’ve created.

A few years ago I wrote a story for a website called Literotica. This site holds frequent contest based around a theme. I started working on a story with a vampire as a central character. I became quite interested in the story and it was a joy writing it.

The readers agreed. I won the contest, which was a really good trick since there were over 150 entries and some were by writers who are very good.

Then another story came to mind with the same character, and I wrote that one. After that another one seemed necessary because I really wanted a happy ending for the main character and the woman he fell in love with. Then a story with her as the main character. Another one with her and finally, finally, one that brought their character arc to an end.

Until I thought of more with them. I’m glad I like these characters.

These stories were e-published in an anthology entitled In The Dark several years ago. The publisher went defunct so I got the rights back. I’ve gone over them and realized I could make them better.

So I’m reworking them. Deepening the relationship between the main characters mostly, along with sharpening the conflict between the hero and the villainess in the first story. Sometime in the near future I’ll be releasing these stories in a new anthology going by the title On The Far Side Of Darkness.

So look for the adventures of Georges Belleveau and Diane Patterson in the not too distant future.

Accepting Guest Bloggers

guest bloggers welcomeWe are accepting Guest Bloggers at Heaven’s Garden Productions. If you are interested, please read the guidelines for contact information and what is expected of all guest bloggers.

We welcome guest bloggers of just about any genre. (No Children’s/Middle Grade please). Most topics are accepted, just make sure your topic is legal. (Nothing promoting drug use, incest, etc…)

It is important that all guest blog posts are properly edited by the author of said post. I will also do a cursory check, but it’s up to the guest blogger to have it be the best post possible.

Thursday’s and Saturdays are open to all guest bloggers. Other days at this point are up closed. First come, first served. I’ll keep a list of who will guest blog on what days so we can all keep track. Please give both your first choice for day and second choice. This will make it simpler for both of us, as I won’t need to try to find out what other day may work for you.