Confessions of an Indie Book Reviewer

Hello everyone, please help me welcome the one and only Kindle Ninja!  Mr. Ninja and I met some time ago through RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB.  He is truly fun to chat with, as I discovered while reading and then participating in one of his now-famous conversations over Milk & Cookies.  Mr. Ninja, the floor is all yours…  

Submitted By Kindle Ninja

Hi, I’m Kindle Ninja, the Kindle-reading-book-reviewing Ninja who occasionally stalks indie authors and invites them for conversations over Milk & Cookies.

Although I was born a Ninja, it took a long crooked road to get to this point where I devote a few hours a day reading indie books and reviewing them.

Many years ago, I was a games and gadget reviewer (yeah, good times!), and briefly, a slush pile sorter (horrible times!). [To the uninitiated, a slush pile is a stack of unsolicited manuscripts that have been sent to a publishing company for consideration.]

Most of the manuscripts were dreadful, but there were also brilliant ones that I lobbied and fought for, only to be shot down by the ‘Editorial Overlord’. I wielded no real power. I was at the bottom rung of the editorial ladder. No, make that the gum stuck to the bottom of the Dark Lord’s shoe. It was maddening.

In some warped way, my mind was conditioned to think that those aspiring authors were delusional until proven brilliant. It was a distorted thinking brought on by an ambiguous system.

Needless to say, my stint as a slush pile sorter was short-lived. It was an ugly job akin to kicking someone in the teeth. I didn’t want to be the one who crushes dreams with ego-shredding rejection letters. And I certainly didn’t want to be that fool who rejected Harry Potter.

Years later, the self-publishing revolution happened. Kindle Ninja was born. It was time to make amends.



Say hello on Twitter @kindleninja

Read my book reviews

Meet the Rave Reviews Book Club Board & Members


Danica Cornel Photo

Danica Cornell is the author of the forthcoming DARK STAR Sci-fi/Fantasy Series, soon to be published by Cool Geek Books. To learn more about Danica’s work, her love of dogs, and her support of UNICEF, please visit her website at

Danica Cornell is a proud member of RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB.

Book Club Badge Suggestion copy


The GIMME MORE! Blog Series, Part 2

Using Psychology to Create and Develop Complex and Compelling Characters

Written By Danica Cornell

Hi Everyone!  Before I get started, I feel as though I owe all of you an apology for taking so long to submit this follow-on article.  As some of you might have guessed, I had intended to post this some time ago, however, a number of things related to my nanotechnology work have come up over the last few weeks.  While all of this prevented me from sticking to my original schedule, these were positive developments.  With any luck, I’ll be able to share some of these details with you in the not-too-distant future.  🙂

Okay, now on to the good stuff…

In looking back to my previous GIMME MORE! post, you may recall my discussion on how good character development is considered by many to be the hallmark of truly great storytelling.  I can honestly say that as a reader, writer, and television/film viewer, I too share this viewpoint – which is why when it came to constructing my own book series, I decided to tap into psychology.  After all, what better way to create and develop compelling and complicated characters?  Of course, when it comes to science fiction, one must be able to imagine story worlds which are out-of-this-world!  This is where my work in nanotechnology comes into play.

Tapping Into Nanotechnology and Psychology to Create Science Fiction

I realize a number of you may be unaware, (or vaguely aware) of my history in both the behavioral sciences and nanotechnology business development.  Without a doubt, these two diverse areas have proven quite handy when it comes to penning a sci-fi series!  Specifically, owning a high-tech start-up has captured my imagination when it comes to the future directions of technology and society, while holding a BA in psychology has enabled me to better understand myself and others.  The latter has also allowed me to recognize certain behavioral patterns, thus helping set the stage for the development of my DARK STAR series characters. Please know, I’m not suggesting all novelists need to run out and get a psychology degree.  Rather, I’m making the point that for new writers, learning about the inner workings of the human mind, (along with observable behaviors) could prove helpful in the areas of character creation and development.

Characterizing Character Development

Character development.  How many of you have noticed just how often this term is used today?  Sometimes it seems as though this term is mentioned without any regard for non-writers or those new to the literary field.  Since not everyone reading this may fully understand what character development is, whenever I discuss this in the context of my own book series, I’m really describing a character’s:

  • Physical appearance;
  • Personality;
  • The things they say/don’t say;
  • The behaviors they exhibit;
  • The choices they make as they move forward in my DARK STAR series.

To be honest, the way I envision my characters is the same way I see people in the real world; both can grow in surprising and unexpected ways!  They can also remain stuck in the same place, (emotionally, spiritually, and physically) depending on the situation.

So, just how I was able to get started with all this?  In other words, what steps did I use in creating DARK STAR‘s three-dimensional characters?

Looking to a Character’s Past, Present and Future

To answer this, let me begin by saying, I recognized early on that each of my characters has a past—one which I know intimately, even if my readers do not.  Of course they also have a present and a future, (even if that future sometimes ends in an untimely death).  In fact, I’ve discovered, the only way for a character to truly come to life in my mind’s eye, is by knowing their past and present, while also having a good idea about their future.  All of my characters, (no matter how minor they may be), have histories which have helped to shape them into the people they are today.  They also have their own perceptions, motivations, present-day realities, and futures which will be impacted by the situations they face and the choices they make.

But here’s the best part.  I’ve found that things get really interesting once I’ve factored Free Will into the writing equation.  After all, the possibility that a particular character might break away from their past and move toward a future that’s not easily predicted, is what helps to add an element of surprise for readers.  And let’s face it.   We all enjoy stories with twists and turns and endings we don’t see coming!

Saying No to Stereotypes

Once I started getting my feet wet with generating DARK STAR’s characters, it quickly occurred to me that I’d be doing them, (and my readers) a disservice if I allowed them to come off as overly stereotypical.  After all, what could be more boring than a character who is average in every conceivable way?  In the real world, the people I know are anything but stereotypical.  They are flawed, complicated, and not easily labeled.  Why should my characters be any different?

Of course just like real people,  characters have their own gender identities, religious backgrounds, ethnicities, and political affiliations.  But in order to avoid the Snooze Factor, I’ve learned that not everything about them should be predictable.  This is why even though my characters are typical in many ways (this helps them to be believable), they are also unusual in a few ways.  For example, imagine a tall and handsome CIA agent – an assassin, who just so happens to love kids.  What will he do when his nuclear device-toting target runs smack into the middle of a busy playground?  Will he pull the trigger?  By adding an atypical element to this character – along with free will, I’ve set the stage for an interesting scene.  I’ve also provided the potential for this character’s continued development.


Coming Up

In my next installment of the GIMME MORE! blog series, I’ll be shining a spotlight on character motivation and conflicting values.  It’s been a pleasure spending this time with you.  Thanks so much for stopping by!

Until we meet again…

Happy reading and writing,




Danica Cornel Photo


DANICA CORNELL, holds a BA in Psychology and is the visionary President of Mano Nanotechnologies, Inc.  She’s also a dog lover, a self-confessed chocoholic, and a UNICEF supporter who is busily penning the DARK STAR science fiction/fantasy series, soon to be published by Cool Geek Books.  To learn more, please visit Danica’s Website.  You may also follow Danica on Twitter, where she’s been known to tweet about aliens and hybrid humans, among other things.


Book Club Badge Suggestion copy (1)

Danica is a proud member of RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB.


Not A Famous Writer

Please help me give a warm welcome to my friend and RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB colleague, Bruce A. Borders.  For those of you who don’t know Bruce, he’s the very talented author of a number of books, including one of my favorites, Over My Dead Body.  Take it away, Bruce!

By Bruce A. Borders

First, I would like to thank Danica for inviting me as a guest on her blog. I appreciate the opportunity!

Odds are, you have never heard of me. I’m not a famous writer—yet! I’m still one of those authors who write simply for the love of writing. Good thing too, or I probably would have quit years ago!

Part of the joy of writing, and usually my goal, is to make people think, or laugh, or elicit some sort of emotion, such as anger or frustration—not directed toward me, hopefully. Then, through reviews, email, and comments on social media or blogs, readers provide valuable feedback that lets me know how I’m doing in that regard. No matter their opinion, I like hearing from readers; their thoughts, and questions. And, sometimes there are lots of questions. I thought I’d answer a few of the more common ones I’ve received about my book, Over My Dead Body.


Over My Dead Body WHITE3sm


The question I get the most is if it’s a true story. The short answer is no. But like many tales of fiction, it does have a basis in reality. I used several news stories I’d heard for the setting and the plot, then added my own details to finish out the story. As I moved forward with the rewrites and editing, the book took on a life of its own and the original stories gave way to a single narrative. This may not be the so-called correct way to write but it worked well for me.

A lot of readers also want to know if the book is based on what I would do in a similar situation. The answer to that is a definite yes! Not only is the story based on what I would do, it is exactly what I would do. That’s what provided the impetus and motivation to write it.

If you haven’t read the book, and are now squiting at the screen, wondering what in the world I’m talking about, here is a short description.

 How far will a man go to protect his family? When the director of Child Protective Services uses his position to exact a personal vendetta in removing three-year-old Ashley from the Blake’s home, Jeff Blake, a financial advisor, responds to the threats in the only way he feels he can – violently. By the end of the short encounter, three people are dead and Ashley, the daughter, is still taken and placed in temporary foster care, so the tragic fiasco gained Jeff nothing. Or, so it seems. Matters are further complicated when Amy, the wife and mother, winds up for a brief stay in a mental ward due to the trauma she witnessed in her home. It seems as though everything is against the Blakes. Understandably, the police, as well as the Courts, are not too concerned with the needs of the family. Complete with many twists of fate, the story looks at the common problems of a typical family caught between love and the law.

I tried to write the book, especially the opening chapter, as if I were Jeff Blake. The news stories I’d heard spanned a few years so, I’d had plenty of time to consider what my response would be. That part of the book was very easy to write. Admittedly, it’s probably not the wisest response and I’m under no illusion that things would not bode well for me in such an event, or anyone, for that matter, who reacted in a similar manner.

From the comments I’ve received, I think most readers would agree, the book describes a typical father’s reaction, and initially, I marketed the book to fathers. However, thanks to feedback from readers, as well as comments from friends and family, I discovered that women, particularly mothers, connected and reacted to the book much more passionately than fathers. Not that fathers didn’t like the book, or that they disagreed, but their response was more matter-of-fact. “Yeah, that’s what I would do too,” I heard more than once—seemingly without much emotion.

Mothers, on the other hand…

Mothers were extremely emotional and far more vitriolic with their fiery reaction. They were out for blood! And calling for the head of anyone who would dare think they could use a position of so-called authority to go after a child. Remind me to never make a woman angry!

Another question that often comes up is if I plan to write a sequel. Well, originally I hadn’t. I think the story definitely ended in the book. But after the response from all the female readers, I have begun to consider writing a similar book with the mother being the one who exacts the vengeance. I think there is a strong potential for quite a compelling story in that.

Problem is, I’m not a woman. Or, a mother. I’m not sure I could write through a mother’s eyes. Not convincingly anyway. And I’m not sure how readers would respond. They might not be interested in a guy’s portrayal of a vindictive woman. Sure, a well-known author might get away with it, but me? I’m not so certain. After all, I’m not a famous writer—yet!



small web display

Bruce’s Website:

Over My Dead Body is Available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble:


Barnes & Noble



Danica Cornel Photo

Danica Cornell is the author of the forthcoming DARK STAR Sci-fi/Fantasy Series, soon to be published by Cool Geek Books. To learn more about Danica’s writing, her nanotechnology start-up, and her support of UNICEF, please visit:  www.danicacornell.comDanica Cornell is a proud member of the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB.

Book Club Badge Suggestion copy


I am pleased to Reblog this post about Rave Reviews Book Club.  Please join me in supporting, Nonnie Jules, Rave Reviews’ Founder and President:



Hello, and Welcome to a NEW day at RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB! If you’ve never heard of us, you must not ever turn your computer on because we are the Virtual Book Club that everyone is buzzing about! We’ve been around now for five (5) months and our membership has almost reached 500! Our website is an extremely busy place…again, in five (5) months, it’s been viewed almost 43,000 times! Boy, there must be a lot going on there for all that traffic, right? YOU can bet your bottom dollar there is!

We aren’t your typical book club. First, our membership is open to Authors and Readers. Our mission is to PROFILE, PROMOTE & PROPEL INDIE AUTHORS via book sales, “honest” book reviews and name recognition. That means, that if no one has ever heard of you before, if you’re an active member-author at RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB, your name is probably on a lot of tongues now!; second, we are here to foster an environment of positivity and support and we do an extremely good job of supporting our members; and thirdly, we offer so many perks and privileges to ALL members which include: BOOK OF THE MONTH Winners, “SPOTLIGHT” AUTHORS, #PUSHTUESDAY winners, and we offer writing contests and fun photo contests to help you earn some of these fabulous spots! If you’re a Reader, how would you like your chance at winning Amazon gift cards just for referring new members who join? And what if you’re an avid reader? How would you like to win a $50, $100 or even a $200 Amazon Gift Card for having read the most member-author books during the year? These are just a few of the many perks we offer at RRBC.

Some of you reading this are already aware of the fabulous club we are, so let me tell you WHY there’s a new day at RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB.

When we first formed, we accepted any and everyone who submitted an application. Then, we noticed that some of the people who were aligning themselves with us, just weren’t the right “fit” for us, so we became a bit more selective. {We do offer an overwhelmingly huge amount of support to all our members and we do ENCOURAGE all of our members to support one another, but the ONLY real requirement of RRBC is that each member purchases, reads and reviews a minimum of 4 books per year. Weekly, many member-authors list their books at only $.99 and some for FREE! It has been shared with us by some members that they have completed all four of their required reads for the club for only $3.98! UNBELIEVABLE!}. Even with us becoming more selective, we still encountered those members who would join for one second and then turn right around a week later to say something to the effect of: “I realize my dog is going to be sick for the next two weeks so I’m going to have to cancel my membership.” Really, some of the excuses we’ve received are so laughable and unbelievable, all you can do is stare in disbelief!

So, because our board of 8 members work extremely hard at propelling our members and constantly devising NEW plans to propel our members, we thought instead of just adding members to the roster, we’d add a second step to the process. This little step merely asked the prospective member to return to our site, to READ OUR FAQ page FULLY and after that, “let us know if you’re sure you want to become a member.” We did this because it is a hassle to add members to our online roster, to our internal rosters, to add and link their books to our online book catalog, to only turn around and have to remove it all. Please believe me when I say in the voice of the very entertaining, Youtube sensation, Sweet Brown, “AINTNOBODYGOTTIMEFORTHAT!” We are much, much too busy! But, believe it or not, this STILL didn’t stop the revolving door of “join/quit, join/I don’t have time to support anyone but me, join/I only joined to see what you could do for me quickly”, etc.

So, we implement yet another step in the process…on May 18, we instated a 30 day probationary period. What this entailed was new members joining on or after this date, would not have their name OR their book(s) listed in our online roster and catalog, but they would still be allotted all of the other perks and privileges of membership. If after their 30 day probationary period they were still with us, we would then add their names and books to the rosters for the world to see. During the first 10 days of this new policy, we received almost 50 NEW member applications. So you see, even with a new stipulation to our membership in place, these new people STILL wanted to join us because they’d heard the stories about how SUCCESSFUL we are in PROFILING, PROMOTING & PROPELLING our indie author members. I know, you want me to hurry and get to the BIG ANNOUNCEMENT….THE REASON THAT WE’RE REALLY HERE TODAY…THE NEW DAY AT RRBC!

Now that our membership is nearing 500, and to ensure that we are aligning ourselves with the BEST OF THE BEST and the MOST SERIOUS-MINDED INDIVIDUALS who take what we do here seriously, we are implementing a NEW MEMBERSHIP FEE!

Beginning June 1, 2014, our annual membership fee is $25.00/per member. THIS FEE IS FOR *NEW* INCOMING MEMBERS WHO JOIN ON OR AFTER JUNE 1ST, and current members will not be assessed a membership fee until their anniversary date. For most of you, that won’t begin until January, 2015 or one year after your join date (which is different for everyone).

*NEW* MEMBERS: Here is what your membership will entail:

(If you are a current member, some of these FREE services may not apply for you yet)

*The listing of up to 3 of your books in our online catalog (right now, members are allotted only 1 listing, with the ability to add one additional in the near future);

*The ability to add book covers to 2 of your titles;

*FREE 3 months of One-on-One consultations via phone calls, email or e-chat with your very own Mentor; a critique of your partially completed manuscript, which includes helpful hints and suggestions about what could make the writing better. (Right now, this service has a fee of $10 on its own);

*FREE entry into all our fee-based writing contests;

*For approved works, inclusion in our upcoming RRBC Anthology;

*Discounted rates to our future Writer’s Conferences and Book Expos;

*Our site receives upwards of 500 hits per day, and the majority of those hits are views to our Online Catalog, where member-author books are being purchased, read and reviewed; GRAND EXPOSURE FOR YOUR BOOK(S);

*Our Online Catalog is now about to be made available for download to libraries, booksellers/bookstores and shared via regular press releases; MORE EXPOSURE FOR YOUR BOOK(S)

*Being selected as BOOK OF THE MONTH, “SPOTLIGHT” AUTHOR and #PUSHTUESDAY winner has taken some of our member’s Amazon rankings from the 1 million plus mark, down to #38, #35 and as low as #22 on Amazon’s Top 100 Best Seller’s List! Just wait until it’s your turn!

See what some of our members have to say about RRBC:

Member: LINDA MIMS: “RRBC is like a slice of Heaven in the humongous publishing world. Since being accepted into this family of writers I have been welcomed and treated with respect and I have yet to complete and publish my novel. My social media accounts have grown and I have a sense of fellowship with a kindred community. I fully embrace Rave Reviews Book Club (blowing kisses to all of you)!”

Member: TLCKIDS4915: “Even if I never get a chance to be in the hot seat with RRBC, I will always be a part of this club because of the awesome people I have connected with here. These authors are among the most selfless, positive minded, and supportive people I have come across yet – from any author site I have been a part of. My followers list on Twitter has increased majorly because of the support I have found at RRBC. I truly enjoy reading and reviewing the books to return the favor!”

Member: KINDLE NINJA: “Being a ninja in a sea of talented authors, I sit and wonder what am I doing here. I have no books to share, no tours to promote, and no manuscripts for editors to scrutinize. But I have a book review blog with a cult following of 4 people (on a good day!). To support the RRBC, I added a ‘Conversations over Milk & Cookies’ segment in my blog and featured the Board members. Episode 1 pulled my blog from utter obscurity, with over 500 page views in the first two hours of posting. It’s astonishing! Thanks, Rave Reviews Book Club!”

Member: WENDY STORER: “I am still smiling from the effects of being the lucky recipient of yesterday’s #PUSHTUESDAY initiative. I woke up to a deluge of tweets and book sales, and this continued throughout the day. I felt very supported by other RRBC members, and sold more books on than I had sold in months! Beyond this one day, I am looking forward to being connected to such a great bunch of writers and having the opportunity to support them as they have supported me. Thanks, Rave Reviewers!”

I wish I could list all of the nice things members have to say about us, but you would get tired of reading, so feel free anytime to pop over to the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB site and check out our “WHAT RRBC HAS DONE FOR ME” page.

We’re wrapping this up now, but not before we let you in on a very special offer: FOR a limited time only, we are offering our AWESOME membership package for only $15.00! That’s it……15 little one dollar bills will get you aligned with the most illustrious member-authors and readers around. For what we do and how we do it, for the support we offer and the way we offer it, the REAL price tag could not be afforded. But right now, you’re able to get in at the low, low cost of only $15! I encourage you to act now, as we don’t know when it might jump up to its original price of $25/yearly! By imposing this fee, we will be able to now weed out the junk, and align ourselves with only the best! NOW, RRBC is all about QUALITY MEMBERS not QUANTITY MEMBERS!

If you’re serious about support, if you’re serious about having the opportunity to be PROFILED, PROMOTED & PROPELLED in unimaginable ways, JOIN US NOW!

When you get there, be sure and tell ‘em DANICA sent you!


(If you’re a current RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB member and you believe in what we do, and you’d like to support the club by posting the blog on your own site, please CONTACT US! or simply re-blog this post!)


Book Club Badge Suggestion copy (1)