Monthly Archives: August 2022

Honesty In Reviews

Why reviews matter!

Story Empire

Greetings, SE’ers! Beem Weeks here with you again. Today, I’d like to talk about the importance of reviews!

Student sitting on huge pile of books.

Reviews—be they for books, music, art, or movies—are important to the creator of the work in question. A good review alerts other readers that a particular book is well worth your time and money. An encouraging review will help a singer or a band ease from struggle to success. Even in the restaurant business, positive reviews are often the difference between a full dining room and bankruptcy.

With the same token, a bad review can sink a Hollywood picture before it has a chance to open to the general public. Bad reviews are a part of the creative world that every participant will eventually experience. It’s just a fact of life. There’s no such thing as the perfect novel. Somebody somewhere will find something about your work they just don’t like. Even…

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Story Development and Execution Part 10: Macro-Level Self-Editing

Exceptional writing tips from author Staci Troilo!

Story Empire

Ciao, SEers. Today is part ten of the series, and we’re getting into self-editing. The first step in the revision process is to work on the macro-level, or on the biggest issues. Joan introduced us to the basics in self-editing in this post. I’m going to dig a little deeper. I suggest two read-throughs in this section. The first just to get a feel for the story. The second is when you start to make notes on issues. Here are the things to look for.

First, hooks. We’ve already talked about this. The beginning of your novel needs a great hook, but to a slightly lesser extent, all your scenes do. Do you have great hooks? Did you start with a compelling first sentence, then grab the reader with a fascinating concept? Do they come early in each scene? Do they inform and be informed by character, conflict…

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A Collection From the Soul! #BookReview #PoetryCollection #Poetry @harmony_kent

The Blurb:

Life & Soul is the second book in the Soul Poetry Series by acclaimed author Harmony Kent.

This beautiful collection of over fifty poems will take the reader through the highs and lows of everyday life via contemporary poetry in a range of styles and themes. Within these pages, you will find reflections on the Lonely Soul, the Seeking SoulBrief SoulFriendly Soul, and the Loving Soul—states of mind and living and longing we each experience over the course of a life.

Life & Soul offers something for lovers of poetry from all walks of life.

My Review:

Rating: ★★★★★

Author and poet Harmony Kent has a special skill that brings out the envy in many of us. Her ability to translate emotions into written words that touch the soul is quite impressive. On the pages of Life & Soul, she lays bare her own soul, sharing personal tragedies and traumas mingled with love and triumph that come from a will to move forward.

Her poems of friendship and what it really means to be loved stand as wonderful examples of a writer at the peak of her talent.

Many of her poems are short in length—though long on truth. Among my favorites are:
“Fun Friends”
“True Friend”
“New Girl on the Block”
“I Need You”
“Love Yourself”

As far as poetry is concerned, this is a stellar collection. I am honored to have this in my library.

About the Author:

Harmony Kent spent 13 years in a Zen Buddhist monastery, where she faced her demons and overcame devastating low self-esteem and found freedom. After a life-changing injury, Harmony returned to the world at the tender age of 40, and her life as a writer began.

Harmony is an award winning multi-genre author, and her publications include:

The Battle for Brisingamen (Fantasy Fiction) AIA approved

The Glade (Mystery/Thriller) AIA Approved/BRAG Medallion Honouree/New Apple Literary Awards Official Selection Honours 2015

Polish Your Prose: Essential Editing Tips for Authors (Writing/Editing) New Apple Literary Awards Top Medallist Honours 2015


Finding Katie (Women’s Fiction)

Slices of Soul (Soul Poetry Series: Book 1)

Life and Soul (Soul Poetry Series: Book 2)

Interludes (Erotic Short Stories)

Interludes 2 (Erotic Short Stories)

Moments (Short Stories and Poetry)

Jewel in the Mud (Zen Musings)

Polish Your Prose (How to Self-Edit)

Creative Solutions (Creative Writing Inspiration)

Backstage (Erotic Romance and Thriller)

FALLOUT (Post-Apocalyptic Dystopia) BRAG Medallion Honouree


The Vanished Boy (Psychological Thriller)

As well as being an avid reader and writer, Harmony also offers reviews and supports her fellow authors. Harmony is always on the lookout for talent and excellence, and will freely promote any authors or books who she feels have these attributes.

Where to Buy:

The True-Life Adventures of Retired US Navy Lt. Commander Jerry Pait

Welcome to guest blogger Robert G. Williscroft, submariner and author of multiple series including The MacMcDowell Missions, The Oort Chronicles, and The Daedalus Files. Robert compiled and edited the true-life adventures of retired US Navy Lt. Commander Jerry Pait in his new book, Sŭbmarine-Ër.

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Jerry Pait enlisted on September 15, 1964, was assigned to Fleet Sonar School, volunteered for subs, and ended up on USS Entemedor (SS-340). After Advanced Sonar School, he was transferred as an STS-2 to USS Von Steuben (SSBN 632B) in the Philly yards right after her collision off Cadiz, Spain. I was a newly minted Lt. j.g., fresh out of Poseidon Missile School, having come through the NESEP program and Univ. of Washington in marine and atmosphere physics. I guess the skipper made me Sonar Officer because I was a former sonar tech. Jerry and I served together until I left for the Man-in-the-Sea Program and ultimately Operation Ivy Bells, tapping into Soviet underwater communications cables in the Sea of Okhotsk.

Jerry went on to become COB on Von Steuben, served in a senior position in Sonar/Torpedoman School, and then was commissioned as an LDO Ensign. He returned briefly to Von Steuben and then served as a division officer on several sub tenders. After that, he was assigned to NOTU, supervising underwater ballistic missile launchings for several years, working closely with NASA. He rose to Lt. Cmdr., was selected for Cmdr. But was mustered out on retirement as part of Clinton’s force reduction efforts.

Jerry took a senior field position with the major defense contractor Brown & Root, but during his first year, he fell from 20 feet in a way that fractured his back and cracked his skull. He survived, received a significant settlement, and has struggled ever since to regain as much function as possible.

I was on Jerry’s emailing list. He began to send out periodic stories from his past. They were fascinating, and the response from his list was remarkable. I saw their potential and contacted Jerry—we hadn’t communicated directly with each other in decades. I suggested that I work with him to compile his stories into a coherent whole, and that we put out a book. He agreed, so we found a publisher who was willing to work with us on this strange project, and we completed the book last month.

Jerry’s book, Sŭbmarine-Ër: 30 Years of Hijinks & Keeping the Fleet Afloat, will be released on September 15, exactly 58 years after he enlisted. The book is on pre-publication sale right now as an ebook for only 99¢. The ebook price will rise to $3.99 on September 15. Each chapter has a color photo that illustrates the contents of that chapter. The trade paperback printed version has half-tone photos and will sell for $19.95 The hardbound, jacketed edition is in full color throughout and will sell for $36.95. Both will be available for pre-order within two or three days.

Why am I doing this? Jerry is our brother—and he’s a genuine American hero. His story deserves to be told far and wide. I’m not here selling books. I’m here asking you to help me preserve the memory of one of the best among us. By purchasing the ebook on pre-order (only 99¢), you will help boost his sales ranking, so that on September 15, the release date, his ranking will shoot up. If you want the trade paperback, or the really cool hardbound, jacketed, full color version, you can pre-order those as well from Amazon or any other online bookseller, or you can order it from your favorite brick and mortar store as well. Should you want an autographed copy, please use the Contact form at, and I will put you into direct contact with Jerry.


The Book Trailer!


Live Interactive Podcast with Pait and Williscroft!

Call (516) 453-9902 or hashtag #FreshInkGroup in tweets during the show.


The Book Blurb!

Lieutenant Commander Jerry Pait’s semi-autobiographical collection of sixty stories recounts his thirty years in and around the U.S. Navy’s submarine fleet. Ranging from light-hearted to wrenching, all are poignant inside looks at naval operations rarely seen by outsiders. Topics include the real story behind the shuttle Challenger tragedy, risking his own life underwater, discovering a Soviet spy living across the street, surviving when a DELTA Rocket engine ignites, critical missions, and the everyday lives of men and women of the fleet. Dive into Sŭbmarine-Ër for hijinks and breathtaking adventure with this poignant memoir by a true American hero.


Order Yours!

Digital editions at 99 cents during pre-sale are available in all major ebook formats—Kindle, Nook, Kobo, GPlay, iBooks, and 200+ more—worldwide. Full-color jacketed hardcovers and full-color softcovers are appearing at retailer sites over the next week.


Indie Versus Traditional: The Author’s Dilemma

Stop by the Story Empire Blog for my latest post. While you’re there, take a look around. There are many fantastic tips for writers.

Story Empire

Greetings, SE’ers! Beem Weeks here with you again. Today, I am going to share my thoughts on indie publishing versus traditional.

Ready to get published

What would make a writer forego the traditional road to publication? Why would an author entrust his/her hard-fought creation to the Great Unknown that is the indie publishing industry? The answer, if we’re honest with ourselves, is because indie is the only ones who will have most of us at this point.

The above statement is in no way a reflection on the quality of the works being created by indie authors across the globe. I’ve read many self-published writers that seriously rival traditionally published authors.

The problem is with the middlemen. I’m talking about the agents and publishers who anoint themselves the all-knowing gods of the written word. Agents turn down most manuscripts that cross their desks. They cite this reason or that, making claims that nobody is…

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Characters and Diversity. Part 3 – PHYSICAL ABILITY

Great writing tips for those who are writing characters with disabilities.

Story Empire

Hello SE friends, Gwen with you today, and together we will venture further into the theme of diversity. In June, I wrote about including racial diversity in your stories. Here’s alink to that post. In July, I focused on financial diversity and offered suggestions which you can read here. Today’s topic is PHYSICAL ABILITY. Just as in the prior two posts, I will write from personal experience and invite you to share your experiences as well.

The most common disability, affecting 1 in 7 adults, is mobility. We often associate physical limitations with the aged, but in the United States, military veterans make up 33% of those who have mobility limitations.

My story is about a disability resulting from a tragic accident. I was six years old at the time.

It was an ordinary Sunday. We kids piled into the car, and as always, mom handed the baby…

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Story Development and Execution Part 9: Writing Action

Great writing tips for creating action scenes in your stories.

Story Empire

Ciao, SEers. Today is part nine of the series: writing action. While this is important for the thriller genre, I mean the more general term, which all stories need. Action is what drives the story. It can mean shoot-outs, it can mean physical brawls, it can mean nasty arguments. On the other hand, it can mean proposals, love scenes, births. If you’ve got an emotionally charged activity, you have action. If you’re looking for tips on the “traditional” action scene, Mae has written a great post on the topic. I’m going to address “action” in the broader sense of the word.

When we think “action” scenes, we often think short and fast. That works. It’s excellent for pacing and creating a sense of urgency. But there’s an alternative that can be quite effective. Consider slowing the pace. Let the reader experience every infinitesimal thought, feeling, action, and response to…

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