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Guess they don’t mind you reading it after all

The ExperiencersIn a swift and interesting turn of events, Amazon has reinstated John Hennessy’s review I blogged about yesterday.

Whether it’s a coincidence and it would have been returned today, blog post or not; or it’s the result of a conscience prick at Amazon, or it’s the letter John wrote to their customer service; the review returned as it had disappeared, without notice or fanfare.

To everyone who lent their sympathy, empathy, and support to the cause, a heartfelt thanks. Whether or not those actions had any influence on Amazon, the party that showed up to my protest warmed the cockles of my little indie heart.

Ironically, the incident brought John and me closer, virtually speaking. Perhaps, one day, we’ll find ourselves on the same continent, and we’ll meet up in a pub where we can raise a glass and celebrate a newfound friendship.

Thank you, Amazon, for being the catalyst for that.

The Review Amazon US Doesn’t Want You to See

The ExperiencersAs most indie authors do, I struggle with marketing and getting the word on my novels out. To paraphrase Bones from Star Trek, “Dammit, Jim, I’m a writer not a marketer.”

So, when someone graciously reviews one of my novels, I do a happy dance, which is what I did when John Hennessey posted a review on Amazon about The Experiencers.

Mr. Hennessey and I crossed Facebook profile paths on Indie Author Support & Discussion, a FB group for writers. Since groups are one way to pimp your work, I belong to many, but IASD has a special place in my heart, and I spend a lot of time there interacting with other members. It was through this interaction that Mr. Hennessey picked up a copy of The Experiencers, read it, and enjoyed it enough to post a review.

At some point along the way, he also sent me a friend request, which I accepted. But we’ve never met, and without asking him directly or investigating via the Internet, I can’t tell you much about John Hennessey’s personal life other than that he’s a fellow indie author.

But Amazon has decided that his review of my novel should not be seen by Amazon customers, and they pulled it. When I read John’s review (hell, yeah, we’re on a first name basis–the man was censured after reading my novel–should we ever actually speak, we’re Val and John to each other even outside of FB), I couldn’t figure out what part of it Amazon would have issue with. His tone conveys his enjoyment of the reading experience. It doesn’t come across like something written by a sock puppet.

If you’d like to decide for yourself, here is a copy of the banned review:

A great debut from an exciting new author, Aug. 13 2015
John Hennessy
This review is from: The Experiencers (The Valiant Chronicles Book 1) (Kindle Edition)

The Experiencers is a uniquely engaging read that has an extremely interesting protagonist in Michael Valiant, the aforementioned Black Ops operative in the synopsis. If you look at the story from his point of view, you will read the story in one particular way.

We are introduced to Michael early on, so readers can tell his role will be a pivotal one. An educated guess says that he is the one on the pretty excellent cover.

Later chapters introduce us to Shelly, who is having an affair with a man, whilst considering breaking it off out of some well placed loyalty to her husband.

The early part of the book reads like bottle episodes where the link with the later episodes seemed initially unclear, but that was just my perception. Actually, if you look at the book as a whole, a rather intricate storyline emerges. This is what I think makes The Experiencers a true gem. It’s like one of those Russian Dolls. You believe you understand it, you believe you know the characters and their motivations.

But this is book one in the series, and if you read between the lines, you’ll begin to be amazed at the attention Val Tobin has given to her characters.

Each are well drawn and developed. Carolyn was on a par with Michael for me, as I have a spiritual side and the way she explores her talent is pretty amazing.

Then…there’s the aliens. Quite honestly, there is so much going on with this story it demands at least a second reading, which is what I chose to do.

If anything, the second reading is much more enriching. I felt empathy for characters that really didn’t touch me on reading one; I imagine as the author constructed her edits for the book, she may have felt the same.

For a debut, this is an extremely well written tale that I imagine will be perfected in book two. I would definitely recommend this book and would give it a very strong 4.5 stars. (So 5 on Amazon, 4 on GoodReads).

Nothing evil in there, right?

For the record, it does still exist outside of Amazon US. But who knows how long that will last? Based on the way the review was written, John is clearly not a sock puppet. He read the novel not once but twice. He picked up the nuances and discussed the novel with a depth many reviews lack.

Yet Amazon sees it as a “fake” review? They feel we’re friends because we have an FB connection? I’m speculating, because they haven’t told John exactly why it was pulled. And mine isn’t the only one. John is unable to post reviews on Amazon US now. Amazon is blocking them.

Clara's Song by John Hennessy

Clara’s Song by John Hennessy

Yes, John is an author. But as most authors are–have to be–John is also a reader. When he reads a book he likes, he reviews it, understanding more than the person who is just a reader how important these reviews are.

Posting a thoughtful, considered review consumes time and energy. Amazon should encourage such reviews. Yet they hamstring the very people who can provide the most insight into a read.

I can understand removing fake reviews. Amazon should address the situation described in the post Amazon fake reviews bought for £3. But I didn’t buy a review from John or coerce him to post a review for my novel. At this time, I haven’t even read one of his novels yet though they are climbing their way up my TBR list. We have a social media connection that came about as we did what we’re supposed to do to promote our novels: we networked.

Amazon needs to take a closer look at their review process. The solution to the paid review, sock puppet issue isn’t to yank the hard-earned legitimate reviews. When a book has only a few reviews, removing a legitimate review burns.

Update on October 15, 2015: Amazon has reinstated the review.

Author Rhoda D’Ettore’s Books on Amazon

Buy Rhoda D’Ettore books on Amazon


No One Is Safe While…


A Novel by Rhoda D’Ettore

After surviving a car accident that killed her father, three-year-old Jennifer begins having nightmares. It’s soon obvious she suffers from something more dreadful than the accident when she provides clues to a murder committed 3,000 miles away—and two decades before she was born.

Jennifer’s nightmares set off a chain reaction that prompts the infamous Zodiac Killer to emerge from dormancy and terrorize San Francisco for a second time.

Visit Rhoda D’Ettore’s Website


Goin’ Postal & The Creek

Rhoda D’Ettore began her writing career by publishing humorous tales about working at the United States Postal Service. Fifteen years of dealing with bombs, anthrax, and human body parts in the mail made for an interesting read. Her co-workers laughed so hard at the nostalgia, they encouraged her to publish the writings. Since then, D’Ettore has fascinated readers with plot twists mixed with sarcastic humor.

D’Ettore knew postal workers would buy her story, yet she also wanted to show them she could write interesting, serious work with shocking twists. In Goin’ Postal & The Creek, the reader gets two very different stories in one book. The first containing the hysterical tales of postal worker life. The second story is a historical fiction that spans 200 years with a slightly supernatural twist. Topics include war, love, romance, death, Prohibition, the Great Depression, and how families survive such events.

Newborn Nazi

Newborn Nazi tackles the issues of right and wrong as well as self sacrifice when fourteen-year-old Edmund is forced into the Hitler Youth in 1935. His older siblings vow to destroy Nazi Germany, and the family gets swept up in espionage and the Underground Movement. When Edmund becomes an adult and joins the feared SS, his sister’s secret endeavors to save Jews in her home endangers lives—including her own. This suspense thriller is sure to keep you guessing.

Newborn Nazi is based on Rhoda D’Ettore true family history. There was an Edmund who was forced into the Hitler Youth, and his sister did help Jews escape. D’Ettore found the story so riveting, she took the plot of the story and added murder and espionage to create this intense thriller.

Tower of Tears: The McClusky Series 1

In Tower of Tears: The McClusky Series, we find Jane traveling to America from Ireland with her three-year-old son. Expecting to find a better way of life, Jane finds nothing but intimidation, betrayal, violence, and heartache. This family saga includes blackmail, murder, mystery, and a touch of romance.

While writing Tower of Tears, D’Ettore gave her mother one chapter at a time for feedback. D’Ettore was undecided who the murderer in the book would eventually be, so she wrote the story with five characters hating and threatening the murder victim. Halfway through the book, D’Ettore’s mother shouted, “I know who killed him…. it was ####”. D’Ettore then finished the book with a different character as the murderer. When her mother read the final draft of the book, she replied, “That’s not who the murder is. I told you who is was.” D’Ettore then said, “I wrote the book, so I know who the murderer should be. Thanks.”

10 Shades of Blush: The Softer Side of Kink

10 Shades of Blush: The Softer Side of Kink is a collection of naughty fantasies of ordinary women. Teachers, mothers, and professionals submitted their wants and desires for kinky fun. All the tales are told as if the women are speaking directly to their partners. The audiobook of this has been called “Two hours of phone sex for $7”.

Rhoda D’Ettore works are available as ebook, paperback, and audiobooks

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