Welcome to my Friday bonus feature called Karen’s Killer Fixin’s **Author Special**!! Today, in lieu of one of my own recipes, I’m going to introduce you to a new author who will share one of her favorite recipes. Not only will you and I occasionally learn how to make something new and delicious, but we’ll get a chance to check out some wonderful authors. Introducing author, ARIELLA TALIX, and her favorite recipe for STEAMED ARTICHOKES!
Lovers in Louisville Book Three
BY ARIELLA TALIX
You’ll want to hang on tight so you don’t slide off your chair while reading this.
In this passionate and unpredictable story, Halden Dahl is a successful glass artist and total ladies’ man. Handsome and talented with an ego as big as all outdoors, has he finally met a woman who will bring him to his knee?
Madison Lassiter is the new girl in town, and as soon as Halden lays eyes on her, he wants her. Halden has always been a thrill-seeker with a strong sense of wanderlust, so Madison has her doubts that he’s the man for her despite their obvious chemistry.
From the age of seven, Madison has been laser-focused on establishing a successful millinery business. It’s time now for her to branch out from her tiny hometown of Honeybee Hollow to the big city of Louisville, Kentucky.
She’s ready for new experiences, but is she ready for Halden?
Suitable for adult readers due to HOT content.
Thank you, Karen, for inviting me to share my book in your newsletter today and to write a blog entry. I thought I might touch on a topic that is important to readers as well as authors—reviews. These are my personal, unvarnished opinions.
As an author, I have a love/hate relationship with reviews. When a new book is released, nothing feels better than to watch those 5-star reviews pile up, but nothing feels worse to see a 1-star review appear.
As a reader, I look at reviews to select books, and I feel compelled to write a review when a book strikes me in some way—either negatively or positively. I won’t begin to say that I’ve never left one star for a book. However, it’s important to have a valid reason for bestowing that curse on a book. If you ever leave one, you owe it to the author and fellow readers to explain yourself.
I’m sure we’ve all seen those reviews that say, “Just not my cup of tea.” To that, I say, “WHO CARES?” I don’t know you. I don’t know what kind of tea (or books) you like, so that kind of a review accomplishes nothing. On the other hand, when I see a well thought out one-star review that explains that a book needed editing and proofing, then I know to stay away. Or if the author made up some weird nonsense that ought to have been researched, I also know the one star was probably justified. Just because it didn’t suit your personal taste is not a good reason. The author wasn’t writing specifically for you, so get over it. Don’t damage the book’s rating with one star out of spite.
Everyone has their own standard for assigning stars, and some people are more generous than others. There are a few misers around who simply never hand out 5 stars to anything because it’s not the Best Book they’ve Ever Read. Again, I say, “Who cares?” If a book keeps your attention, and you look forward to sitting down and reading it as soon as you have the chance, then it’s a 5-star book in my opinion. I’ve assigned 5 stars before and still explained that I had a minor issue with a book, but for the most part it kept me entranced. Some people would say that ought to be a 4- or 3- star book, and I agree that that thinking has some merit. At this point, however, I think it’s important to weigh the entertainment value against some minor issue. If the issues pile up, stars are deducted.
The truth is, it’s not so much the stars that matter, although they feel nice when then yellow bars by your book are very top-heavy. The more important thing is the actual number of reviews. And this is tricky because Amazon periodically sends their robots on a killing spree and everyone’s reviews become depleted. Some of them show back up later, and many do not. Sadly, most of them are entirely legitimate reviews that have been tossed out because some authors have rigged the system and have tons of illegitimate ones assigned to their books. The good stuff gets tossed with the bad and those of us who are honest are hurt by this practice.
If you are a reviewer, and I hope you are, just remember to make your statements count. Think about how the book made you feel, how you enjoyed or hated the characters and why. Think about the writing style and the story-telling and how it made you see things in your imagination or feel things in your heart.
And always remember that the book itself represents months, and sometimes years, of work done by a real person with feelings and a family and a life. There’s no reason to spew vitriol when an author didn’t write a book exactly to your taste, and yet Goodreads is FULL of reviewers who think every book needs to please their specific palette. It’s incredible to me that anyone feels the need to lambast a book simply because the author chose to write in first-person or in third-person. That’s the writer’s style, and a reader doesn’t need to wade through an entire book to figure that out. One paragraph will clue you in, and Amazon has the sample views of every published book for that very reason.
Recently I read a review from someone who supposedly read a book twice. She assigned one star to it, and the only thing the review said was “-.5.” Frankly, I think that kind of person shouldn’t be allowed to leave reviews. It was uncalled for and mean- spirited. No one can learn from it, and other readers have no idea why she’d leave a remark like that. Is there a personal vendetta there? I’m sure the author poured her heart out while writing a story she loved so that other people could find some entertainment from it. She hired an editing and a proofreading team and paid for professional cover photography and design. It’s expensive to get a book published. It takes plenty of imagination, hard work, and a ton of confidence to release a book. The book certainly did not deserve a “comment” like that.
Every author I know can share a similar story for uncalled-for negative reviews. We just learn to move along.
I’ve also seen plenty of 5-star reviews from gushing readers who feel compelled to retell the entire story. I love the fact that the reader enjoyed the book, but leave something for the next reader to find out, please! No spoilers unless you warn people first. There’s no reason to write an entire book report. Just a few sentences will do.
I personally hesitate to call anyone out for this practice, however, because I’m genuinely thankful for positive reviews.
So, my message to all potential reviewers is this: Please keep writing reviews. We need them to sell our books. But when you write one, think of the audience—other readers. Don’t spoil the fun for them, but let them know what kind of entertainment value the book provides. Think about the Real Person who wrote the book and how their feelings will be affected by your words. If you’re negative, be constructive about it. If you’re positive, tell everyone why.
Happy Reading, Ariella Talix
Ariella Talix is the nom de plume of a bestselling author who lives in America’s Heartland.
Her goal is to preserve the dignity of family members who would rather not be associated publicly with a woman who writes such scandalous and stimulating novels. She’s not going to stop writing them though.
She loves her family, pets, great books, not-so-great books that still entertain, and art.
Born and raised near the beaches of southern California, Ariella Talix traveled the world extensively and then found her true home in the Midwest. She has a second-degree black belt in Karate and has been a professional artist for many years. Her work is displayed in countries all over the world.
A sudden brainstorm prompted the first of her novels, Make Believe, and since then the ideas just keep tumbling out like an avalanche.
The reading order of her books:
The Drummonds Series:
Porter the Importer, Prequel Novella
Make Believe, Book One
The Artist, Book Two (formerly titled The Designer)
Lovers in Louisville Series: (This series is a spin-off from the Drummonds and favorite characters show up again)
Save Her, Book One
Saving Him, Book Two
Savor This, Book Three
A standalone Lovers in Louisville spin-off (small town, MMF):
The Rule of 3
Links to Ariella’s website, blog, books, etc.:
Savor This is only $.99 September 21 to 18.
Also free with Kindle Unlimited. A contemporary romance.
I hope you enjoy the recipe Ariella is sharing today on Karen’s Killer Fixin’s. Happy Eating!
P.S. We’re at 500 recipes and counting with this posting. Hope you find some recipes you like. If this is your first visit, please check out past blogs for more Killer Fixin’s. In the right-hand column menu, you can even look up past recipes by type. i.e. Desserts, Breads, Beef, Chicken, Soups, Author Specials, etc.
I mentioned to a friend that one of the characters in the book I’m currently writing grew up on an artichoke farm in California. She had never fixed one and suggested I let people know how to cook them in this blog. They’re extremely good for you and taste delicious! They used to grow wild around us when I was a kid. Once a weed, now they are treated like pure gold.
- Select an artichoke that is fresh, green, and firm looking. If the petals are curling or dry looking, it is too old.
- Boil some water with a steamer in the pot that is large enough to hold all of the artichokes you’ll be fixing. (I use a Ninja Pot with the basket in the pot).
- Take a serrated knife and cut off the top portion if the petals- about a third of the entire blossom.
- Take scissors and trim off the thorns from the ends of the remaining petals. Be careful.
- Trim the stem to no more than one inch long and remove small petals at the base of the blossom. These would be tough and not edible.
- Wash the artichokes under cold, running water.
- Place them in the steamer and check them for doneness after 30 minutes by pulling gently on one of the petals. If it comes off easily, it’s done. If it doesn’t, steam for another 15 minutes. If you’re in a rush at this point to get them done, you can also nuke them for about 5 minutes on a plate in the microwave. NOTE: If you use a Ninja Pot or some kind of Instant Pot, it will decrease the cooking time to approximately 25 minutes.
- Serve hot with melted butter to dip the petals in. Just bite off the meaty portion at the base of the petal and discard the rest. Once you get down to the inner, thin petals, they will need to be removed along with the “choke.” Gently scoop out this with a spoon and discard, careful to get out all of the hairy stuff. The remaining heart is the Best Part! Cut it into quarters with a knife and fork and dip the pieces in the melted butter. Yum!
- If you have any leftover, you can also refrigerate them and have them cold. I like cold ones dipped in mayonnaise. Some people recommend adding a little balsamic vinegar to the mayo. I haven’t tried this, but it sounds good!
Ariella will give away an e-book copy of Porter the Importer, a prequel novella to The Drummonds series (NO cliffhanger), to one lucky reader who comments on her Karen’s Killer Fixin’s blog. Happy Reading!
Thanks, Ariella, for sharing your book with us!
Don’t miss the chance to read this book!