Libbie Hawker (L.M. Ironside) Libbie Hawker's Comments (member since Nov 11, 2011)

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Jan 30, 2012 08:34AM

56640 I love reviewing books! But I must warn authors that I have a pretty big stack of requested-review reading to do.

I post all reviews, favorable or unfavorable, on Goodreads and Amazon (and other sites if applicable, such as Smashwords) and favorable reviews on my blog. I prefer Kindle copies but can work with other formats as well.

I am not a coddling reviewer. I expect a high-quality read from any book, whether it's traditionally published or self-published, and I go in depth and put a lot of thought into my reviews.

Be warned! ;)
*READ FIRST* (82 new)
Nov 26, 2011 08:15AM

56640 Hello! I've written a historical novel set in ancient Egypt, during the 18th Dynasty. I hope you'll check out the reviews and enjoy The Sekhmet Bed if it seems like your kind of book.


The Sekhmet Bed by Lavender Ironside
Nov 21, 2011 08:07AM

56640 Elle wrote: "I HAVE A QUESTION:
This is for anyone who has read The HUnger Games series. I am in the middle of the first book and I can see that it is going to get really violent. SHould this kind of book really be for YA? And if so, what makes a book YA and not for adults?"

I am pretty sensitive to violence, but I didn't find THG to be inappropriately violent...that is, the violence never seemed like the POINT of the story; the reader was not expected to be excited or thrilled by the violence, as in the thriller/horror genres, but was expected to see through the violence how cruel the antagonist was and how dire Katniss' situation was, and the situation of her community. It seemed like the appropriate use of violence to me.

I do think it was appropriate for YA. I don't think it's our place as readers or writers to dictate morality to people of any age. I leave that to their parents. Hopefully parents are involved in their kids' reading to some extent and can help them make informed choices. Some parents aren't worried about their kids' exposure to the rougher sides of life, and I am okay with that, as long s their kids grow up to be moral contributors to society (and I think it is entirely possible for kids to be exposed to that kind of thing and still be moral. It all depends on teaching them context.)


My book was rejected by several editors because they wanted it to be YA, not adult, and I didn't want to rewrite it for an entirely different audience, so I can speak with a bit of authority on what differentiates YA and adult fiction.

YA has main characters under the age of 20 or so, and the plots have a strong element of "coming of age" in them. So while the focus of the book may be a sci-fi adventure, the young main character is also dealing with the transition to adulthood along the way.

Adult fiction has plots and themes that revolve around situations OTHER than transitioning to adulthood. Characters may still be young in adult fiction, but the point of the story is not to explore that particular transition.

I do not think the intended age of the audience has anything to do with whether a book is YA or adult; there are actually more adult readers of the YA genre than there are kids!

Violence and sex are not banned from YA, although readers of all ages expect YA to be a bit less graphic on those points than you'd find in adult fiction.

A.F. asked:
"Since we're talking about violence in books, I have a question for readers: How graphic should a writer be in dealing with a violent scene that needs to be explicit? I'm currently dealing wth such a scene and would like some input. "

That's a tough question because the answer is very subjective. Some readers will not touch a book with any violence in it. Others don't mind at all. The writer really needs to go with what she feels is best for her book, given the plot, the characters and their ability to cope with violence, and the overall atmosphere or tone of the book. Use your best judgment, and rely on feedback from beta/test readers to determine whether you've included the right amount and described it in appropriate ways.

Mary said:
"Shakespeare wrote for adults, and so do I, but although I have violence, torture scenes, etc., in my books, I don't go into it in much detail. I don't agree that the genre or the age group is justification for extended, lurid, graphic detail. It helps and builds up nobody, and those are two of my main goals as a writer. "

It's good to know what your purpose in writing is, but it's different for everybody. And the fact of the industry is that a certain amount of graphic content is expected in some genres. If A.F. is writing horror, it's expected by readers that he step up the graphic content more than if he is writing a violent scene in a contemporary novel or a YA novel.

A.F., you've got to go with what you think is best for your book. Nobody can guide you on this one, becasue there is no right answer, but you can revise the book as you continue to work on it so it will best suit your intended audience.

Books are products, and consumers of products (readers) expect a certain level of consistency between products, while also expecting a certain level of innovation or unique voice. It's a balancing act. You have to figure out how to walk that wire for yourself. :)
Nov 21, 2011 07:51AM

56640 What a great idea for a thread!

Emilija wrote: "Well I'm a reader and I want to ask a question from authors. Most of authors are full time writers, so where do you get your book ideas? "

Actually, only around half the writers I know write full-time. A little more than half hold down a day job and write in their spare time. I am only writing full-time right now because I can't FIND a day job! Yikes! But since I began writing in 2008 I have worked full-time, until recent layoffs. I won't be able to transition to writing for a living until I can manage a large enough book contract from a good publisher. :)

I don't think any specific place or state of mind generates my best ideas. They really seem to just pop into my head, usually in the form of questions (about history, about human nature, etc.) that I can't get rid of. If they plague me for long enough, I start to come up with answers to the questions, and those become stories and books. I do tend to do my best thinking while in the shower, though! :)

Elle asked:
"What is more important when you buy an indie authors book, title, cover or price?"

As a reader, title and cover are always the #1 things that inspire me to buy a book. Next most important is the summary/blurb that tells some of the book's plot. Next factor is to flip through the book or check out some of the writing sample. If I like the writer's style I will buy it.

Price is not a factor for me. I will pay any reasonable (i.e. market-standard) price for a book I want to read, even while I'm unemployed, like now.

"I know what kind of books most authors are writing these days, but I am curious what kinds of books most readers are reading these days? So what genre do you read?"

I will read literally ANYTHING that pulls all my triggers and catches my eye effectively. Fiction, nonfiction, poetry, essays, children's, adult...whatever. If I'm intrigued and if the writing is good, I'm in.

I must admit I am pretty exhausted by the following, just due to market over-saturation, and they REALLY have to stand out in order to make me look past my annoyance with their overabundance and read them: YA novels, vampires, zombies, historical fiction set in Tudor and Regency England, "mashups" of public-domain fiction with some hokey gimmick simply added in. Over it.

As a general rule, I don't read books that rely heavily on murder, gruesome imagery, or people in real-world peril as major entertainment elements of the book. I am not entertained by real-world violence or by the thought of real people suffering or being terrified for long periods of time. But occasionally books have been good enough in other respects that I can overcome my aversion to these things and truly enjoy the book for its craftsmanship. Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk is a good example of this. (Unfortunately I haven't liked any of his subsequent books.)
First 100 Words (297 new)
Nov 16, 2011 04:41AM

56640 Ahmose woke to a terrible, high-pitched wailing. She fought against sleep, kicked and scratched at it until it released her. She lay in her bed for a long time, eyes staring wide but seeing nothing in the dark, transfixed by the distant rise and fall of the cries. In the moments just after waking she could not place the sound. A cat? Some strange bird? Her mind cleared, and with a chill she recognized the sound of weeping women.

She found her way through the chamber in the dark, still naked, her feet cold against the mosaic floor.

The Sekhmet Bed by Lavender Ironside The Sekhmet Bed
Nov 16, 2011 04:37AM

56640 You know, I didn't like the idea of ebooks for the longest time, but finally when I agreed to review a book that was only available electronically I borrowed a Nook and read it. And I discovered that I loved it! I've read several more ebooks since then.

For some reason I read much faster on the Nook than I read with bound books. I can't explain's crazy. I still love bound books but I am no longer the anti-ebooker I once was. I'm even hoping I'll receive a Kindle this year for Christmas!

You can bet I made my book available as an ebook -- in fact, I'm still having formatting issues with the print version so the ebook is the only version that's currently available. The Sekhmet Bed by Lavender Ironside
Introduce Yourself (2122 new)
Nov 11, 2011 09:34AM

56640 This is the coolest idea for a group!

I'm both an avid reader and a writer. Under this pen name I write historical fiction, and I also write contemporary/literary fiction and short sci-fi. (Haven't had a good idea for a sci-fi novel yet...)

I love to read any good book, regardless of genre, but I'm always searching for new favorites in non-Tudor historical fiction (especially the less-explored settings/times), in literary fiction, in poetry, and in sci-fi.

Some of my favorite authors include Vladimir Nabokov, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Douglas Coupland, old Orson Scott Card stuff, Alfred Bester, Philip K. Dick, Michael Ondaatje, and George R. R. Martin.

My self-published book is called The Sekhmet Bed...I decided to self-publish it recently after about two years of trying to sell it traditionally. It doesn't fit in with the current historical fiction trend for Tudor/European fiction, so it was too hard a sell. Rather than wait out the trend, I decided to offer it myself!

I hope you'll check it out, and please recommend any books you think I might enjoy!


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