Allbooks Review November 2011 Newsletter


As many of you may know Allbooks Review has been blocked from posting our reviews by We still post to and We will continue to post your reviews to as many other book sites as possible. This is the link I found that details another firm like ours that is in the same plight:

Allbooks Review has been in business since 2000 and we will not be bullied. This will be resolved. Watch for our blog on the details of the fight with Amazon.

Shirley A. Roe’s, Dreams and Nightmares received a Bronze Award from Reader’s Choice. Shirley A. Roe has been interviewed see it here:

8 Tips to Write Better Dialogue

Well-written, compelling, engaging dialogue moves the plot forward and brings your characters to life.

We all know that the reading becomes faster and the pace quicker when there’s a lot of dialogue in a novel. However, like anything else, balance is the key. A novel with lines of dialogue after dialogue, page after page, without any narration, action or description in between, will get your book rejected. The same will happen if you have page after page with no dialogue at all. So, chances are agents and editors may dismiss your manuscript just by looking at the first few pages, even without having read them.

Here are 8 tips to help you stay away from amateurish dialogue:

1. Be economic with your speech tags (also known as identifiers or attributes). If you have two characters talking, you don’t need to say “he said” and “she said” each time there’s a new line of dialogue. Likewise, be sure you have some tags for rhythm, pacing and clarity—you don’t want your dialogue to be hard to follow either.

2. Don’t be too creative with your speech tags. Speech tags should be ‘silent’, meaning they shouldn’t distract the reader. Stick to the common ‘said,’ and ‘asked’ for the most part. This doesn’t mean you can’t replace ‘said’ with verbs like yelled, cried, muttered, mumbled, groaned, whispered, etc., but do so sparingly and only when necessary.

3. Avoid spitfire dialogue. This happens when you have two characters or more talking one after the other without any pauses or action in between, so that the conversation looks like a tennis match or reads like a screenplay.

4. Don’t interrupt dialogue unnecessarily. This happens when you have an interesting exchange of dialogue and suddenly interrupt it with an unnecessary paragraph of exposition or description. This makes readers impatient and prompts them to skip ahead to get to the good stuff.

5. Let the characters talk—don’t paraphrase them. Noah Lukeman, author of The First Five Pages, calls this ‘journalistic dialogue.’ Don’t quote your characters. Let their dialogue flow in complete sentences instead.

6. Stay away from exclamation marks! (No pun intended). An editor once told me, “Only one ‘!’ per each hundred pages.” No kidding. Dialogue filled with exclamation marks is an instant sign of an amateur. Readers don’t like to be shouted at, and that’s what it feels like when there are many exclamation marks in a story.

7. Avoid commonplace dialogue. (“Hi. How are you?” she said. “Fine. How are you?” he responded.) Remember that each line of dialogue must have a purpose in your story. This type of dialogue can only work if your aim is to portray your characters as boring and unimaginative. Yes, we talk like this in real life, but that doesn’t mean you should include it in your novel. Cut the ‘realistic,’ everyday dialogue and leave the rest.

8. Avoid fake dialogue. One of the surest ways for a dialogue to sound fake is when it’s used to convey information that should be presented in a more subtle or indirect manner. Obviously you can use dialogue to give reader new information, but it takes skill to do it right. It takes subtlety. As Lukeman states, “[Fake dialogue] is dialogue that characters would never use in real life, interchanges that are not artistically real, that don’t spring from characters’ needs, desires and relationships. Instead, this is dialogue imposed on them by the writer.” That’s the key word: imposed. You want your dialogue to sound genuine, natural and spontaneous. He goes on to say that “The most common malady is use of dialogue to convey backstory. The solution is to follow this rule: Dialogue should not be used to state things both characters already know, that is, one character should not remind the other character of something. This is an obvious ploy, intended only for the reader.”

Keep these tips in mind and you’ll be able to write better dialogue and spot mistakes when you revise your own stories or someone else’s.

About Mayra Calvani
Mayra Calvani writes fiction and nonfiction for children and adults and has authored over a dozen books, some of which have won awards. She’s a reviewer & columnist for Blogcritics Magazine, Midwest Book Review and Latino Books Examiner. Her articles, stories and interviews have appeared on numerous publications both in print and online. In addition, she regularly offers writing workshops Visit her website at For her children’s books,


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Allbooks Reviews INTERVIEW:


Please state your name and location. (city and State or Province, Country)

Laura Burks – Louisiana. USA

Tell us the title and publisher of your book:

ALTERED, a young adult paranormal romance mystery published through Wings ePress in both print and epub on September 1, 2011.

Tell us about yourself:

I live in Louisiana with my husband and our two children (16 and 20). My favorite time is spending it with my family because that’s when I’m the happiest.

As far as my writing background, I began as a freelance writer as well as creator and writer of a business newsletter. Public speaking, writing speeches, and poetry are all what led to the desire to write a novel. Altered is my first novel to write and have published.

When was the book released?:

September 1, 2011 in both print and epub.

Give us an overview of your book.

The back page blurb sums it up the best:

Hearing her name started it all…

All eighteen-year-old Jenna wants to do is have a slow paced and predictable summer in the small town of New Roads with her grandfather. But on Friday the thirteenth, the unpredictable occurs when she mysteriously hears a voice leading her to a buried book. Jenna is unaware that a secret curse lies within and she’s just unleashed its hold.

As writings appear in the book strangely matching her vivid dreams, Jenna’s curious nature takes over pulling her deeper into the mystery and the connection to her family. What she didn’t expect to find was a forbidden love and a choice to save a life.

Will Jenna’s choice remain a secret? Or did the secret choose her?

I also have a book trailer video ( Here is a shortened summary of ALTERED.

For eighteen-year-old Jenna Larson, spending the summer falling in love should be normal. But when she discovers a cursed book capable of secret writings and a hidden message, finding a way to alter the curse to save a life changed everything. Only Jenna’s choice may have already chosen her.

What inspired you to write this book?

I’ve always enjoyed stories, whether written, told, viewed in movies, or plays. To me, it was and still is exciting to immerse in another world, or atmosphere.

ALTERED began as an idea of a girl finding a cursed book that writes on foggy nights. I wanted the girl to be young, but not middle school. My favorite genre to read is young adult, so I decided that was the age group I wanted to stay in. The main character is 18, while her love interest is 19. Today, young adult novels are being read just as much by adults, so I knew the concept of crossing both age gaps was a perfect choice.

I’ve written before, but never a manuscript. When I began, the adrenaline flowed and I was so excited to grab any bit of computer time I could to continue writing.

One very big push was reading how other authors made it over the hurdle and became published. I knew the road would be long, and at times, disappointing, but that made it even more challenging to continue.

How is your book different from other books in this genre?

Most paranormal books mainly focus on vampires, witches, etc. I do love these books, but I wanted something different in the paranormal world. I wanted to focus on other possibilities like a mysterious book writing on foggy nights, matching vivid dreams, curses, cursed people, and then throw in the mystery and romance element.

The romance element was my favorite part to write. It’s innocent, yet dramatic.

Where can people buy your book?

My website: has all the order information.

Altered can also be purchased through Wings ePress:

Or through Amazon:

Are you working on another book? If so when do you expect it to be published?

As of now, I’m working on two books. I’ve had several requests for a sequel to Altered, so that idea might put the others aside for a short time. Because the other manuscripts are in the work-in-progress mode, I don’t have a date of publication as of yet.

If you self published, what advice can you give to fellow writers?

No. ALTERED is not self published.

My advice to fellow writers is to not be afraid or stuck in thinking an agent is the only way to go. Agents do have their benefits. But small press publication can be just as successful and rewarding.

As a writer, you struggle with the possibilities of being accepted. You wonder if others will tear down what you worked so hard to create, or sometimes if you’re a writer at all. Be strong and confident about your abilities as a writer. Yes, you may not gain acceptance from everyone, but who can anyway?

If published traditionally, tell us how you benefited:

I’m published through Wings ePress in both print and epub. They are a small press house that’s been around for over 10 years. They have the reputation and background that has kept them around long after so many others have folded. They represent hundreds of authors and have even more published works out in the literary world.

The benefit for me to go with Wings ePress was that they want the author to work closely with the editor and cover artist. They do not believe that the written words (unless for edit purposes) should be changed. Meaning, the author’s story the way it’s meant to be told is not deleted.

I’ve learned that small or large house published, you need to market you book. It’s the key to getting your work in the reader’s hands.

Can you share one of your marketing successes with us?

I’ve been so fortunate with marketing since ALTERED released on September 1st. It’s very time consuming, but at the same time, exciting.

One marketing success that I can think of first is replying to emails. When you join blog sites or marketing sites and post your bio and work, people will show an interest. It’s through that interest that you must respond. To have the opportunity to get to know those that are inspired by what you wrote, and encouraging you with their support, is overwhelming. Word of mouth, contest giveaways, and being approachable is vital.

How did you find Allbooks Reviews and what are you hoping for in your relationship with us?

While searching the internet, I came across Allbooks Reviews. After reading every page and searching for more, I knew I had found something golden.

Was the low cost a surprise? What other things would you like Allbooks Reviews to offer writers?

The cost was very impressive. I did realize a review would be free if that’s all I wanted. But the other plus benefits offered in the package were well worth the money.

Thank you for this interview and best of luck with your book.

Thanks for making this possible and for helping authors get the word out about their work.

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