Confessions of a Fake Reviewer

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

money changing handsI got paid for reviews. Did you know that? Yeah, me neither. You can imagine my surprise when a friend of mine directed me to a site listing myself amongst other people that were guilty of writing fake reviews.

I was outraged, I was upset, I was distraught! Here I could have been making money with the reviews I’ve written! Or at the very least I could have had the authors I’ve reviewed do something beneficial for me… what? I don’t know, but if I had time to think about it I’m sure we could’ve have worked out something. Maybe a trade of cookies for good reviews. Or ice cream, or… (gasp) do you think I could have had someone send me pumpkin pie for my reviews?!

Why didn’t anyone tell me I was supposed to be writing fake reviews?

See, I was naive to the whole indie publishing trade, and little wide-eyed innocent me thought I would help those braving the publishing world on their own by reading their book and, if I liked it, reviewing it.  I had no idea that by running a site introducing self published authors to my followers that I was doing fraudulent work. Here I thought I was doing good by reviewing a book I liked, having the author interviewed on my site and having the writer post a guest blog to compliment the interview.insert cookies

Now I find out that I could have not only gotten paid for the time I put in but I didn’t even have to read the book!! Think of what I could have been doing that time instead of writing reviews. I could have been eating the mountain of cookies authors sent me in return for a good review.

All joking aside, this blogger has made some serious accusations. Authors that have become my friends over time are called into question and it’s disturbing.

However, for me, it’s not the accusations that bother me, but it’s the cowardice in which these posts were created. There is no proof, no credible line of evidence and worse of all, there is no name.

I was raised that if you can’t put your name on an opinion don’t have one. There is no way to directly question the author of the two posts in which my name is listed, no way for me to defend my name and my ethics. And that pisses me off to no end.

The material is posted on a WordPress site, and according to WordPress my only course of action is to report the content, which I did, and respond on my own space, which is why you’re reading this.

I’m not posting the link to the posts because I chose not to. I’m sure if you do your research you’ll find it but I hope you wouldn’t because I believe a big part of this controversy is just to cause trouble and I would like to think my supporters wouldn’t want to perpetuate that. The purpose of this specific post is to put the truth out there on my behalf, I can not speak for the other reviewers and authors on that list. I just needed to say my peace and be done with it.

For your reading pleasure, here is a quick background into my reviewing history:


Several years ago a friend and I decided to start a site, Writing on the Rocks, to interview and review Independent authors. Our goal was to pair up reviewers of a genre with a writer of the same genre. One author contacted us and said they’d review a book if only the author of that book would review theirs. We declined their offer and due to a lack of interested reviewers we suspended the site.

My friend and I decided to concentrate on our own individual sites. I continued to review books I enjoyed, interviewed the authors and gave them a spot on my blog for a guest post. I would also list my review on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and any other site the author listed their book.

Apparently this practice was a part of a fake review process.

I did this routine for several months until I grew bored and burned out and I wanted to focus on other areas of my life.

So that’s it. My whole, sordid story of a fake reviewer. A fake reviewer who didn’t receive compensation, cookies or otherwise, who wasn’t sought out to provide only positive reviews; a fake reviewer who used her real name in posting her reviews, and who didn’t have a book, or any other reviewable work, at the time to give a glowing review in trade for a glowing review of my own.

I’m a rebel, I tell ya. Someone should watch out for me. I review books I like and tell the world I like them. OH THE HUMANITY! SOMEONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN!

The children. Whoops, I have children and soon one of them is going to get off the bus. I must draw this to a close so I can go be a mother to her and my youngest.

I’m hoping this is the only time I have to address this situation.

I wish you all the best and please, before you go spreading accusations have the decency to put your name on it and own it. Be a big boy or girl, people, and do good in the world.

bruce lee

** I always welcome comments, I make it a point to thank each commenter and respond. However, since I don’t see the need, nor do I have the desire, to continue discussion on this situation I will welcome comments but not respond. I will monitor the comments, so know that if you leave your support it will be seen and greatly appreciated. In turn, any disrespectful or rude comments will be deleted. Play nice with each other and remember at the end of the day we’re all just trying to survive and thrive. Help, don’t hurt, each other. **




Pushing Through The Unexpected

Friday, April 12th, 2013

images (3)There are certain phrases you hear in life that you can never be fully prepared for. “Congratulations, you’re homeowners.” “You’re pregnant.” “Your favorite TV show is going off the air.”

One I never thought I’d have to hear is, “Worst case scenario, double amputation up to the knees.”

Those words hit me harder than a physical punch to the gut.

I was lying in my hospital bed on the sixth floor. It was sixteen days since I was admitted and my world was thrown upside down without me knowing about it. The initial scare was gone. I had the fight of my life and I won, but I was not without my scars. My left hand was swollen and the tips of my fingers black. My left thumb was completely black and I was just starting to understand that I would have to have it amputated. My hand was so heavy that I had to lift it up with my right in order to move it and with blood flow returning it was also hot to the touch. If I fell asleep with my hand close to my head I would wake up sweating from the radiating heat.

I was out of the ICU for about four days and plans were in motion to move me to a rehab facility the next day. But before I went I needed my fevers to stop and a podiatrist needed to see me to plan a treatment course.

On the fever front we had several theories all that were being addressed so I mentally put that requirement on the back burner.

All that was unknown was my feet.

A few days earlier I finally got out of bed and started walking around. Granted, I needed a blood transfusion of a couple of pints in order to get enough energy to take a few steps without having a heart attack but the point was I could walk. I thought I was as good as gold, the podiatrist would look at my swollen feet with open sores, red and angry, and would put me on some regiment that would help heal the wounds and I’d be on my way.

Instead I had this man standing in front of me in my darkened room telling me that I’d most likely never run, skip or dance with my little girls. His words cut me to the core. He continued to assess my feet but all I heard was white noise.


12 Blogs of Christmas: The Sequel

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

Last year I was a part of a wonderful blogging community however due to some unexpected life events I needed to step away from blogging for most of the year. Fortunately for me the same group banded together and invited me to take part in the 12 Blogs of Christmas again. It was such a huge hit that we’re reposting our posts from last year. So get ready to get into the holiday spirit with the 12 BLOGS OF CHRISTMAS!!!

I love Christmas. You should just know that before you get further into this post. If it’s about Christmas, I am there… with bells on. When the 12 Blogs of Christmas idea popped up I just knew I had to be a part of it and showcasing the movies of the holiday was an obvious choice for me. If there’s a holiday movie out there, either about the holidays or taking place during, chances are I’ve seen it ad nausuem.

But when it comes to picking my favorite I can’t pick just one! Thankfully my tribe mates picked some of the best movies out there and thanks to Marie Patchen and her 12 Cartoon Classics post, there is even more holiday movie goodness for us to feast on.

Before I get into our 12 recommendations I need to give a shout out to three very special Christmas movies that didn’t make the list but are must-sees for my Christmas holiday to be complete. (more…)

This is Simply My Story

Saturday, December 15th, 2012

This post can also be found on the Orange Karen Tribute Anthology page. You can go there by clicking on the link provided. You’ll also find several other posts dedicated to helping me out by way of writing. Please check it out! 

It started like any other Saturday. Eric was rushing around trying to get the kids ready and I was being lazy not wanting to get out of bed. Until, that is, I realized what was happening this Saturday. That evening was our oldest daughter’s very first dance recital. I was beyond excited. If you know me you know I love theater, the arts, entertaining. The thought of my daughter following in my footsteps just makes me want to push her out of the spotlight and take her place. Just kidding. 😉

My little ballerina so excited to take the stage.

My little ballerina so excited to take the stage.

As the day went on I started to feel tired, run down. I brushed it off thinking it was just the normal mom feeling of having to do everything in a short amount of time. I remember swaying back and forth as I tried to perfect her braid and scolding myself for doing a half-assed job.

When we got to the recital I started to shake with cold sweats. Taking shallow breaths and hoping not to pass out in the wings, I watched my little ballerina hit every move. After her second dance I couldn’t stand any more and opted to go home to bed. After tossing and turning that night and the following day with a high fever, Eric took me to the ER Sunday night. The night nurses took my blood, found nothing out of the ordinary, gave me fluids and sent me on my way, diagnosing it as a viral infection.

Under this advisement I went home and spent all of Monday in bed as severe pain ravaged my body, especially in my neck, shoulder, and abdomen. By Tuesday morning I was vomiting and too weak to even stand. Eric and I actually discussed not going to the hospital because of cost but I soon felt too sick to care and insisted we go. We later learned that had I not gone to the ER that Tuesday morning I would have died Tuesday night.

The total time from onset to fatality, four days. (more…)

A Heartfelt Thank You

Monday, July 16th, 2012

Hey everyone!

Since my typing abilities are severely lacking right now I made a quick video to thank everyone and to give a short overview as to what happened in the beginning of June.

I apologize for my emotions getting the better of me but I still struggle with the reality of it all. Also, because of my emotions, I forgot to mention some things, one most importantly are the nurses, especially in the ICU. I complimented my doctors but the nurses deserve the same amount of praise. The nurses at the hospital and rehab center were with me through some of my hardest times and will always have a special place in my heart.

So here it is, my thank you card to you all. I truly believe that it was with the help of your prayers and healing thoughts that kept me here. Well, that and I’m just to stubborn to die. 🙂

Enjoy! And keep an eye out for when I start my blog series about my story. Thanks, again!

(Oh, and PS – No, that is not a nicotine patch, it is a Fentanyl (pain med) patch. I can’t tell you how many people congratulate me and ask how long it’s been. When one woman found out what it was she asked if I wouldn’t mind trading patches. Um, yeah, I would mind! For some reason I don’t think smoking, or a nicotine patch, would take the edge off considering I still need other pain pills to manage the pain.)

The Lost Romantic

Monday, March 19th, 2012

What happens when you can no longer write what you want to write? I write romance, er, well, I used to. It always felt right to me. It was not uncommon for my mind to drift off during the day and find myself dreaming of romantic gestures, sensual dialogue and even steamy sex scenes.

This past December I had to get an MRI done on my left knee. I don’t know how many of you have had an MRI done but they can be loud, and therefore intimidating, suckers. To help ease their patient’s nerves the hospital offers headphones with your choice of music to listen for the duration of the test. I didn’t have my ipod with me so I settled for a local pop station and away we went.

At first the music was just fodder in my ear. I really wasn’t listening to it, it was just taking the edge off of the machine gun sound from the MRI machine. Then a love song came on, I can’t remember the song specifically but it had a nice melody and immediately set my mind adrift.

I started to picture a woman laying right where I was, listening to music. It’s a song she likes but it reminds her of her boyfriend, no, make that ex-boyfriend. They had just broken up for one of those classic romance novel misunderstandings, but of course, since it was my book it would have to be something more than just a misunderstanding. (I mean really, can’t people just talk to each other and just, I dunno, ask what the problem is instead of just assuming you know and getting all pissed off about it?)

Anyway, when the song is done she sighs a breath of relief until she hears the first few chords of the next song. It was the song he used to sing to her when they were first dating. The song transports her back to a time of young love, hopeful dreams and long summer nights. Her heart breaks again over the loss of that love, of that innocence. (more…)

Yeah, I Pinned That

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

About 98% of readers of this blog find me via social networking. I have to say, I love Twitter; to me it’s the biggest and best social networking site out there. I can connect to people I’ve never met and most of them actually follow me and care about what I have to say.  I have a Facebook account, both personal and professional but not a Google Plus because let’s just face it, it’s just regurgitating what I wrote on Twitter and Facebook.

With that last thought in my mind I was quite skeptical when Pinterest entered the realm of social networking. However, I admit that I was secretly interested. Over the years I’ve been collecting various craft ideas or project ideas for the kids or my husband and the idea of having them all in one place to pull from was pretty exciting.

Even with my increasing curiosity over the site, no one really said, “YOU HAVE TO BE HERE!” and I was already struggling under the weight of being a mom, a writer, a wife, a friend, a trainer, a bus driver, a twitter addict, amongst other things I didn’t think I could handle one more hat.

But I couldn’t deny the buzz that was going around the internet about this little site for long. A very good friend of mine, Janelle Jensen, wrote an in depth blog post about the dangers of the site in terms of copyright infringement. After reading her post I didn’t think I would want to participate in it. However, after some prodding from several other friends (I’m looking at you, Veronica) I thought that the least I could do is go there and make up my own mind about it.

That was two weeks ago. I am now an addict.  (more…)

A Return to Self

Monday, March 12th, 2012

I used to be an excellent organizer. I was one of those freaks that would color coordinate anything and everything.  If I could designate it a color and categorize it with other similar things I was in heaven. And don’t even get me started on my incessant need to alphabetize things. I worked in a library when I was younger and at Blockbuster Video during high school and college, to say that I alphabetize in my sleep is not exaggerating.

I used to love writing down and keeping a schedule down to the minute. It’s not that I was obsessive, if something happened and I couldn’t follow the schedule I never freaked out. In fact, I did quite the opposite; I got excited because it meant I got to make a new schedule. Ok, so that in itself could be considered a tad bit obsessive.

Scheduling gave me a sense of accomplishment, a sense of direction. Needless to say, I am not nearly as organized as I once was and I have but one excuse… well, two. They go by the nicknames of Peanut and Trouble. Yep, like most problems that happen in my life I blame my children, lovingly, of course. 😉

For years leading up to my pregnancies I’ve been told, “Once you have kids you’re on their schedule.” While those words of wisdom are true that didn’t mean that I should throw away years of organizational bliss. If anything, I should have stepped it up a notch. Instead, I threw the baby out with the bath water. Huh. Maybe I shouldn’t use that specific idiom but you get my drift. (more…)

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire!

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

Growing up I was known to be somewhat of a storyteller. Actually, they didn’t even sugarcoat it with that, they called me a straight out liar.

You have to understand, I needed attention. Ok, that sounds a bit pretentious. I mean, there I was the youngest, the only girl with three older brothers and I had the cutest, curliest red hair imaginable. There’s no doubt I had any problems getting people to notice me.  However, once I had their attention, I needed to keep it.

From a very young age I learned how to read people. I can tell when someone is interested in what I have to say and I learned when to pull back from a story or push through. It wasn’t easy; I got caught lying a lot growing up, but I like to think over the years I pulled a few doozies over people that to this day they don’t know about.

And for that, I’m extremely embarrassed and ashamed.

You see, as I got better, the lies got more extreme. It became almost a game to me; who could I trick, who could I get to believe me? Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t only use it for evil, it helped me immensely with acting and I pull it out when I write, what writer doesn’t? (more…)

All For the Love of Shoes

Saturday, March 3rd, 2012

“So, what’ll it take to motivate you? Should I take away tv time,” my husband asked with a sly smirk on his face.

I slid my foot into my black converse and started to tie the worn out laces. “Noooo, dad. I have no idea what’ll it take to get me writing again. Every time I set goals or a schedule I never follow through so what’s the point?” I straightened my legs out in front of me and studied my old black chucks.

“What do you think, babe, should my next pair be pink or purple? I’m thinking I need some color in my life.”

“We could set up a shoe budget and every week you reach your goal we can put money into it.”

My eyes shifted to the man sitting on the floor trying to put shoes on a wiggly two year old. I was afraid to make any sudden movements. Does he know what he just said? Is he really serious? Oh my God, think of all the shoes! Not soon after all those thoughts raced through my mind his eyes met mine.

“Ah, I see we have found your carrot.”

“My carrot? I thought we were talking shoes?”

“We are. You know the motivational theory about the carrot and the stick…”

I had no idea what he was talking about and I have to admit, I was still thinking about shoes, sparkly, sexy shoes. Before I knew it his fingers were snapping in front of me.

“Karen! Stay with me, Karen. Look, there are two ways to get a horse to move, punishment or reward. You either swat it on the butt with a stick to get it move faster or you dangle a carrot in front of it to get it move forward. You obviously respond to the reward motivation. Get it?”

I stood up and adjusted my shirt. “I sure do. If I write I get shoes.”

He smiled at me like a proud teacher and zipped up his jacket. I returned the smile and turned to leave before adding, “And you just called me a horse, but if you tell me more about the stick theory I’ll forget about it.” 😉