Reading Deals Book Reviews: An Update

Back in April I wrote about Reading Deals book review program. I’ve now received all 10 of my reviews on Amazon for Goddess so I can give other authors who need more Amazon reviews an honest review of their services. Here’s my take:

  1. The reviews take a long time to come in. I placed my order for 10 reviews on February 16. I received an email today that my 10th review has finally been posted. Six months sounds like a long time and was more than I expected, but in retrospect, I don’t think it was unreasonable. The reviewers aren’t paid (which is a good thing), so their only incentive to finish a review is so they can get another free book.
  2. The reviews varied a great deal in quality. I never expected NY Times quality reviews. A few of mine were thoughtful, others were barely more than a sentence. It would be good if Reading Deals required reviewers to write a minimum number of words.
  3. The reviews were almost all positive. I don’t necessarily see this as a plus for the service. I’d prefer a thoughtful negative review to a slapdash positive one. The people who didn’t like the book were turned off by the adultery theme. But they still admired the writing, which is just fine by me. I knew the book would be controversial.
  4. They keep you apprised of the reviews coming in. Each week I received an automated email telling me how many reviewers had downloaded the book and how many reviews I’d received. I really appreciated this.
  5. The price seems reasonable. I don’t remember what I paid but the current price is $79. The $129 for premium placement might speed up how fast the reviews come in. Frankly, I’ve spent more and got back less advertising Goddess, so I thought it was worth it.

The bottom line is, if you need more reviews for your book, I think Reading Deals is worth it. It’s certainly more ethical than paying for positive reviews, and I think it’s also more honest than getting your friends and family to review your book.

If you’re considering this service and want to do more research, here are links to all my Reading Deal reviews:

Happy writing!


Love and Marriage, Go Together Like a Horse and Orangutan

“This definition [of marriage] has been with us for millennia, and it’s very difficult for the court to say: ‘Oh, well, we know better.'” — Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy

Marriage, straight or gay, is an interesting institution. Yes, it’s been around for a long time, but couples just a few hundred years ago would barely recognize modern matrimony. The whole idea of marrying for love with the expectation that both partners would remain sexually monogamous would have struck our ancestors as non-sensical. Marriage was meant to create alliances between families and cement bonds within an extended family. (Marriage between cousins is still very common in many cultures.) Children had no say in whom they married. Sex was for procreation and to satisfy the husband. Love didn’t start to come into the mix until about 250 years ago.

The concept that marriage was meant to be between one man and one woman is also a fairly recent development. God certainly didn’t seem to have a problem with polygamy. Many of his personally chosen go-to guys — Abraham, Jacob, David, and Solomon to name a few — had multiple wives. Hell, King Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines. (I suspect there were a lot of sexually frustrated women in that flock, not that Solomon probably cared.)

Even well into the 20th Century, it was accepted that men (at least those from the upper classes) might need to satisfy their urges outside of marriage. (I guess a woman who stayed home all day to take care of kids and keep house wasn’t a big turn-on.) It was fine for them to sleep with women on the side, as long as they didn’t flaunt it. As for the wives, well, they faced poverty and social condemnation if their husbands found out they were satisfying urges they weren’t even supposed to have.

My novel Goddess features a woman who wants to explore passions and desires that her husband can’t satisfy. It’s not that he’s a bad guy. She just needs something more than a good father and provider. In previous eras, she would have been told not to have those desires. Today, she’d be counseled to go to couples therapy and learn how to get her needs met within the confines of marriage. Which course is the right one? I guess it depends on your perspective.

I leave you with this excerpt from Goddess.

“You know, before I met Dave, I thought people who cheated on their spouses were selfish jerks. I was sure if I did it, I’d regret it for the rest of my life. But that first time, driving home afterwards, you know what I felt? Elation. I was so happy, being with a man who wanted me more than anything. It was such an amazing feeling.”

“But you never had that with Trent,” I objected.

“So what? Just because Matt was hot for you once doesn’t mean you should settle for what you have now.”

“If I’m unhappy with my marriage, I should talk to Matt. We should be working on it.”

“I’m sure that’s what Ann Landers would tell you.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Everybody says keeping up the passion is a lot of work, but maybe that’s because we’re fighting against nature. Did you ever think that this idea that we can stay sexually attracted to one person for the rest of our lives is a myth created by society? Men were never expected to do that. We like to make an example of the few people who can keep it up for thirty years, pardon my pun, but they’re the exception to the rule. It reminds me of an old joke about Calvin Coolidge.”

“Calvin Coolidge?”

“Don’t ask me why him. I heard it in my college psychology class. Supposedly, the president and his wife were taking separate tours of a farm. The guide shows Mrs. Coolidge the chicken coop and tells her, ‘A rooster mates up to 20 times a day.’

“Mrs. Coolidge nods her head, impressed, and says, ‘Tell that to Mr. Coolidge.’

“So later on the same guide is showing the president the chickens and tells him about the rooster’s prowess. Coolidge listens, then asks the guide, ‘Same chicken?’

“The guide shakes his head. ‘ Oh no, a different chicken every time.’

“And the president says, ‘Tell that to Mrs. Coolidge.’”

I laughed and shook my head. “Calvin Coolidge isn’t going to convince me to have an affair with Ashland Stewart.”

Best wishes,


Why I Write

It all started with a casual confession from a friend.

She was in her mid 30s, with a PhD, a well-respected job, a husband, and a young son.

She told me that in her spare time she liked to write erotic short stories and publish them anonomously on a website.

My friend trusted me enough to share the website and her virtual moniker.

Her stories were explicit, sexy, and surprising. Her female protagonists enjoyed being put on display for the gratification of powerful men. They loved being desired and dominated. They were so completely unlike the wife, mother, and professional woman I knew, yet I could clearly see her in them.

I was fascinated by the dichotomy.

I’ve been a writer for many years. (In case you’re wondering, Kelee Morris is a pen name.) I’ve written screenplays and short stories. They had their share of sex scenes, but never more than the PG-13 or soft R variety. I’d never considered writing anything more graphic.

Then, a few months after my friend’s confession, another friend told me about a self-published phenomenon called Fifty Shades of Grey. Mommy Porn, some people called it. Needless to say, I was curious. I grabbed my Nook and downloaded a copy.

I won’t comment on the quality of writing in 50 Shades, but what really bothered me was the novel’s main character, Anastasia Steele. I understand why E.L. James chose to make her so naive and virginal, but Anastasia didn’t appeal to me at all. I wanted a character I could identify with, a woman with a real life and real responsibilities, someone who was smart, responsible, and sexy.

Someone like my friend.

The novel popped into my head almost fully formed. It centered on a tattoo—an abstract symbol, as faded as the mysterious, sex-charged dreams that inspired the image many years ago. But a chance meeting with an observant archeology student thrusts Julia Nelson—wife, mother of three, PTA president—into a breathtaking world of mystery, passion, and eroticism.

My first erotic romance novel Goddess will be published soon. My goal is to use this blog to promote it, but also to spark a discussion about love and sex inside and outside the bounds of marriage.

I hope you’ll read the book and enjoy this blog. It should be an interesting journey.