Review: Right Where I Want You by Jessica Hawkins

rightwherewantSynopsis: After a bad breakup with an emotionally abusive ex Georgina reinvents herself as George, PR girl-boss. However, when she is assigned to rebrand a men’s lifestyle magazine her wounded self-confidence has to stand up to Sebastian… also known as the Bad Boy of Publishing. Sebastian spent ten years working his way to the top, from intern to creative director, and he was not about to let a bad rep nor a know-it-all female mess with his magazine. With careers on the line and hearts at stake, what is the bigger prize: the job or a chance at love?

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Resolution Update – February

newyearsresolution_stockAt the beginning of the year I always have good intentions to jumpstart my life and do all the things I meant to do the year before but never actually got around to. This year I plotted and planned and charted with the hope I would find a way to finally get things done. I now have a schedule, tick off my daily and monthly To-Do lists, and intend to use my blog to hold myself accountable and keep motivated. I have dreams and aspirations, so there is no time like the present to achieve them!

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Ghostwriting and Algorithms

If you keep up with the publishing world or even just occasionally peek at twitter you will have seen #copypastecris trending. An author by the name of Cristiane Serruya has recently been accused of plagiarism and readers everywhere are using that hashtag to tweet about the various novels Serruya allegedly stole from. While I do not recall reading anything by Serruya, I did recognize a few of the authors on the list. You can see some of the novels here.

Upon discovery, the best-selling author has since blamed the ghostwriter(s) she hired and pulled all books in which she used that company’s assistance. Rumour has it that one of Serruya’s novels had been up for the Romance Writers of America RITA award, but is now withdrawn because of the pending investigation.

When I hear the term ghostwriter my first thought is of a TV show from my childhood where a ghost helped teenagers solve crimes. In this case, the term means a person writing on behalf of another author. Some people think there should not be ghostwriters at all and others think they should only work in non-fiction —such as assisting celebrities write their memoirs.

In the great ghostwriter debate there has been mention of Nancy Drew novels where a variety of writers were hired to pen the books under the pseudonym of Carolyn Keene. Those books started way back in the 1930s and, particularly in the publishing world, eighty-some years is a long time. So why use something from my grandparents’ era when there are more recent examples of ghostwriting in fiction from when I was growing up? Ghostwriters are also responsible for at least two other beloved young adult series: Sweet Valley and The Baby-Sitters Club.

I was a fan without ever realizing each series had not been written by a single individual but many. As a child I never noticed the very telling “Created by Francine Pascal” or been aware of Ann M Martin thanking her ghostwriters in the acknowledgements, I just liked being able to read about teenage girls who had more interesting lives than I did. I never even noticed how quickly each book was published (though I did notice some discrepancy in the details), but admittedly this was still before the internet.

There may be even more recent examples of ghostwritten series besides the BSC and SV that I am unaware of. To paraphrase an article I recently read “using ghostwriters is an on-the-rise strategy to build book empires” and it all has to do with online algorithms. People are using ghostwriters to ‘beat the system’ because frequent content means better rankings and that equates to sales.

My point is there is nothing inherently wrong with ghostwriters. As long as they are willing, skilled, honest, and clearly acknowledged as part of the process there is no harm be it fiction or nonfiction. On the other hand, I do not think such books should be able to win author awards unless it is granted to both the creator and the ghostwriter. This comes back to the clear acknowledgement thing and that both people deserve praise. As for the algorithms, we should just get rid of those because they are clearly not working in a way that benefits authors. I don’t like the algorithms on social media and I’m not even trying to make writing my profession.

Whether Cristiane Serruya copy-and-pasted bits of other books together to claim as her own or if she was duped by unscrupulous con artists is not for me to say. For all I know some eejit decided to post a bunch of novels online for free but there was a malfunction that created a frankenbook everyone is now using to find proof of plagiarism. I’ll let lawyers and even Nancy Drew figure out what happened.

In the meantime, what are your thoughts on #copypastecris? Do you know more recent examples of ghostwriting? How do you feel about the algorithms used on Amazon, Facebook, and Instragram? Leave a comment!

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Review: Maid in England by Brenda St John Brown

maidinengland Synopsis: The last thing publicist Remi expected was to be assigned to her college sweetheart, but the reclusive musician needed to revamp his image to move from a songwriter who performs at country pubs to a rockstar drawing crowds to concert. Twelve years ago he ended their relationship due to her workaholic ways, but now her talent was going to save his career… but can they keep from falling in love again?

Author: Brenda St John Brown is a New Yorker turned Brit who writes contemporary romance novels, and loves to have the occasional American character transplanted to England (much like herself).

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Teaser Tuesday (MiE)

Maid In England by Brenda St John Brown

“I’ve become a full-on workaholic,
but dressed it up and called it ambition.”

“…that makes my lack of date feel more dire, too.
I have incredible faith in Vera, but I’m not sure she can
magic up someone suitable in less than two weeks.”

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In My Mailbox (MiE)

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One of the wonderful things about being friends with an author is that author introducing you to her author friends and their books. Through her I have discovered so many great writers and, sometimes, I even get lucky enough to be sent an ARC! (If only because she tells me of when a request form is available online for a book I really should read). This is the case for the latest Advance Reader Copy I had the pleasure of receiving:

“Maid in England”
by Brenda St John Brown

 This novel hits the shelves this week, so be sure to come back here all this week for teaser quotes and my review!

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Resolution Update – January

newyearsresolution_stockAt the beginning of the year I always have good intentions to jumpstart my life and do all the things I meant to do the year before but never got around to. This year I plotted and planned and charted. I had been told my schedule was going to be set for the same time every day but with one less day a week than usual during slow season, and while that would not be great for my bank account it would be perfect for helping my plans… However, work decided to throw a monkey wrench in the works by instead moving me to a different position with even worse hours than before.

I’m still trying my best though!

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