Nobody Wants to Read Your Sh*t – My Review




But it’s true. So the point is: Don’t write sh*t. 

In Nobody Wants to Read Your Sh*t, Steven Pressfield describes his journey as a writer and what he learned along the way about creating a strong story. His crystal-clear prose makes it all sound surprisingly easy, but we know it’s not.

On a five point scale I’d give this book a ten. You can download it for free here in ebook, mobi and pdf formats.

With eloquence Pressfield references many classic books on writing such as Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces, and Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat taking their ideas and weaving them into a larger tapestry with a fluid intellect that left me breathless. Every page held me in awe.

Here are some of my favorite lines:

“Problems seeking solutions. This is a powerful way of thinking about the creative process.” (chapter 20)

“Art is artifice.” (chapter 24)

“… a story (whether it’s a movie, a play a novel or a piece of non-fiction) is experienced by the reader on the level of the soul. And the soul has a universal structure of narrative receptors. Jung was right. There is a collective unconscious. Joseph Campbell was right. Myths and legends do constitute the fabric of the self.”

When he discussed the “Point of No Return,” he commented: “A great epiphany moment not only defines the stakes and the jeopardy for the protagonist and for the audience but it states the theme and answers the question, ‘What is this story about.'” (Chapter 70)

“Truth is not the truth. Fiction is the truth.” (chapter 77) [I had to really think about that one.]

“… nobody wants to read your sh*t. We cannot give our readers ore. We must give them gold.” (ch 89)


I started out reading the book on Kindle, but it was hard not to write down every one of his lines in my notebook. Half-way through I downloaded a print copy and started underlining (almost every line).

Pressfield covers all the fundamentals of story writing: the three act structure, hero’s journey, high concept, theme, resistance, sub-text, epiphany moment for the protagonist, the villain’s brilliant speech …

I was mesmerized, am mesmerized … and am back attacking my wip with I think a better eye.

It would be good practice for me to re-read this book before I start each project. It really is that good.

Where credit is due: I read about the book on Seth Godin’s blog earlier this week.



19th Amazon Review in for Black Cat Blues

And it’s a five star!!!

19th Amazon ReviewJust in-

Act of Trust – a new book by Marsha R West #911 #review

IMG_3093Thanks for having me Jo-Ann. You asked why ACT OF TRUST was a personal story to me. Here’s the answer.

If you’re of a certain age, 9/11 resonates with you in the way Pearl Harbor did with the Greatest Generation.

We all know where we were when the planes hit the towers. Many lost loved ones or acquaintances, and we all have our stories. My younger daughter and her husband moved to New York City on Sunday 9/9.

On Tuesday morning, September 11, as the principal in an elementary school, I’d arrived at my regular time, around 7:15 to get a jump-start on the day. My husband normally left later for his downtown office to miss the traffic. He never went in that day after receiving a call from a good friend telling him to turn on the TV.  Avoiding high-rise office buildings seemed a good idea.

Trying to keep staff, kids, and parents calm in the face of what we didn’t know took my focus. I kept my cool until my assistant principal brought it to my attention that some teachers thought it a good idea to let their students watch the events on TV. Even from a historical perspective, I saw no reason for this especially for our kindergartners and first graders. I directed all TVs turned off around children.

Speculation was rampant as we all wondered if WWIII had begun. Nerves frayed. Tempers flared. Tears fell.

Parents flocked the school to take their children home. Whether they’d be safe there or not was immaterial. They wanted to have their family close. Making sure students went with the right person was a priority for my staff. A crisis makes a good opportunity for a non-custodial parent to take a child they don’t have the right to. That would’ve just added strain, stress, and fear to an overloaded situation. We were thorough even when parents wanted us to hurry.

Our school was near an industrial area with large oil containers and a railroad track ran near. At this point, our disaster practices included only fire and tornado drills. My imagination painted dreadful pictures of those tanks exploding.

My daughter and her husband had gone their separate ways that morning. He rode a train to Connecticut where he did marketing for a theatre company. My daughter took a train toward the theatre district to begin rehearsals for a show. When she came up out of the subway, a dust-filled sky met her eyes and people crowded the streets heading uptown. She and her husband didn’t see each other until early evening, but they talked.

It was three that afternoon before I knew they were all right. So, you see ACT OF TRUST is a personal story to me. I was one of the very lucky ones. My family was okay.

Maybe that’s why I so admire those who’ve gone on after losing a loved one in this tragic experience. I can’t imagine it, though, as a writer, that’s my job. My intent was to honor their loss and commend their courage. I hope people find comfort in the happily ever after ending of this story.

I will send a portion of the sale of each book to the 9/11 Memorial Gardens and Museum. If you care to donate directly, as well, here’s the link:


A widow since 9/11 and a mother of grown daughter, Kate Thompson wants to
keep her and her daughter safe, but the inheritance of land in Maine pushes her out of her comfort zone in Texas and into the arms of a Maine lawyer.

Maine lawyer and environmentalist, Jim Donovan wants to protect Aunt Liddy’s land and keep it from falling into the hands of the developers, but first he has to convince Kate Thompson she should hold on to the family land when she doesn’t even want to go look at it. However, he’s unprepared for the attraction each feels for the other, but denies exists.

Will they be able to settle the land deal before anyone else is killed or they break each other’s hearts?


Mildred stopped and nailed Kate with a beady-eyed stare. “You do plan to turn over the Thompson land to the Conservancy Trust, don’t you?”

“I don’t know yet, Mildred. My daughter’s coming to visit, and then we’ll decide together what we want to do with the land. It’s possible she’ll want to keep it in the family. Be a nice place for her to get away from the hectic-ness of New York City.”

“Liddy would be pleased with either the Trust or you keeping it in the family, but she’ll haunt you if you sell to Holland.”

Kate leaned away. The venom in the woman’s tone made Kate’s heart rate trip up and her hands grow sweaty. Mildred completely believed her statement, enough to cause Kate nightmares.

“She’s giving every option plenty of consideration,” Jim jumped in. Was he afraid Mildred’s hard sell would reverse Kate’s leaning in his direction?

“I’ve had my say. Good night to you both.”

Buy Links


B & N


Apple iTunes

Amazon print


Marsha R. West Bio

Marsha R. West, a retired elementary school principal, is also a former school board member and threatre arts teacher. She writes Romance, Suspense, and Second Chances. Experience Required. Marsha lives in Texas with her supportive lawyer husband. Their two daughters presented them with three delightful grandchildren who live nearby. A new dog, Charley, a Chihuahua/Jack Russell Terrier mix recently joined the family.

MuseItUp Publishing released her first book, VERMONT ESCAPE in July 2013; her second book, TRUTH BE TOLD, in May 2014. In the Fall of 2014, Marsha formed MRW Press LLC to provide a print versions of her books. SECOND ACT, Book 1 of the Second Chances Series follows up with a secondary character from VERMONT ESCAPE and begins a four-part series. ACT OF TRUST is Book 2 of the Second Chances Series.

She’s had lots of fun doing book club presentations. If you’re interested, you can contact her at or through her web site  or at Newsletter Sign up for Thoughts on Thursday!/marsha.r.west  @marsha.r.west  @Marsharwest


My Review on Amazon and Goodreads

She Needs to Trust Him
The heroine Texan, Kate Thompson is a strong, mature woman with a heavy heart. Tormented by the loss of her husband in the 9/11 terrorist attack in New York City she hasn’t been able to become involved with another man.
Kate describes the hero, lawyer Jim Donovan as a, “hard-boiled Yankee with a hint of Maine Accent.” As a reader I fell in love with him immediately, because he is so honest and caring.
Kate inherits land in Maine, which she intends to sell. It’s the practical thing to do. Jim wants her to sell it to the Maine Coast Conservancy Trust, but they are offering a tenth of the money the realtor who wants to develop the land has offered. Jim convinces her to come with him to see the land before she makes a decision.
It begins as a tender love story as these two strong characters with opposing goals are drawn together. Sparks fly. But wait, things are not what they seem. I don’t want to spoil the story here, but I will say that as the mystery behind Kate’s aunt’s death becomes clear, the momentum of the story picks up and it becomes a page turner. I rooted for Kate all the way.
A great read. If you believe in second chances, you’ll love this story.

First 10 Reviews for Black Cat Blues #Suspense #Vancouver





Marshas review4lovereview




I can’t thank the reviewers enough for taking the time to leave a note for other readers to see on Amazon. It’s the best way to spread the news. You guys rock!

This week:

Tuesday (Feb. 16th) –

I’ll be sharing Smokey’s Killer Salmon Chowder and talking about Black Cat Blues on Lois Winston’s Killer Crafts and Crafty Killer’s blog

Wednesday (Feb. 17th) –

I’ll be taking part in the Sister’s of Suspense FB Party. My time slot is from 7 to 7:20 EST (which for me on the coast is 4 to 4:20 PST)

link –




#Book Review of Cold in the Shadows by Toni Anderson

I have eclectic tastes when it comes to reading and favorite authors in many Toni Anderson bio picgenres. My very favorite Romantic Suspense writer is Toni Anderson. I’m totally a “fan girl” of her work and I particularly like her Barkley Sound Series because it is set on the west coast of Vancouver Island. I also like her new series, the Cold Justice Series.

This review is of her latest book, released this week.

tonie shadows
click cover for link

Review – Cold in the Shadows (Cold Justice Series, Volume 5)  by Toni Anderson

There are three reasons I love Toni Anderson’s books.

  •  Her rich prose  pulls me into the story
  •  Her characters are complex and very human.
  •  Her plot twists shock me every time.

In Cold in the Shadows she delivers another awesome read.

The story opens with the heroine Audrey walking to her home in the Columbian rainforest. Anderson’s precise prose puts me right in the scene: “It was so dark she could barely see her hand in front of her face. Behind her, the scream of a howler monkey filled the air. Her heart virtually stopped.”

The romance is also quintessential Toni Anderson. Using subtle lines here and there, the sexual tension grows between the characters until it’s far from subtle. When the hero first meets the heroine he notices, “She had a wicked chuckle that seemed to affect a certain part of his anatomy that should know better.” He was hunting an assassin. After all the couple goes through he declares, “I did not expect you to tear down my world so that I had to rebuild it from scratch, but that’s what you did.” I felt his conflict. The love story is both textured and fresh.

And then there’s the humor. The frog jokes are great.

The story? Patrick Killion is a CIA spook hunting an assassin. Audrey, a PHD research biologist, is his chief suspect. First, he has to keep her alive long enough to figure out if she did it. Second, he has to not succumb to their amazing chemistry. And third, he has to make it right. Audrey is swept into the horror of being wanted by Columbian drug dealers and the CIA. What’s a girl to do? It’s a winding plot with lots of drama and intrigue.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes Romance, Suspense or Romantic Suspense. It’s a great read.

I’m sending my review to Amazon and Goodreads with a 5 star rating.

Warning: Do not start this book if you have something you really need to do. I’m just saying – I warned you.





Birth of a Complex Villain… – 5 Star Review for Born of Magic #Book Review


born of magic cover bigArms dealer, Bakari al-Sharif selects a quaint cafe in Amsterdam to close his biggest deal ever–only to have his celebration clouded by his brothers’ warnings about Djeserit. Is she an Egyptian sorceress offering wisdom and power? Or a manipulative con-artist seeking only to help herself? What does she want from Bakari? Almost twenty years later the secret is revealed, but the truth only leads to more chaos. Another great addition to the Mata Hari series!

J Reads, Amazon site, October 2, 2015




lovin' danger largeLovin’ the Mata Hari Series – 5 Star Review for Lovin’ Danger

A spy’s life isn’t easy. Old and new enemies, including a Greek millionaire with a flair for technology, decide to target Sadie Stewart’s loved ones in order to get close enough to the beautiful super spy and kill her. Complications increase when Sadie discovers being a spy runs in her family. Next-door neighbor Beatrice adds loads of flair to an already diverse and intriguing cast. And then there’s the sexy giant of a Dutch man who’s a perfect match for Sadie… I hope this series never ends!

J. Reads, on Amazon, September 9th, 2015

Murder, Love & Humor, #Book Review Temporarily Employed by Vicki Batman

Click to buy

Have you ever had a really, really, really bad day… and then had it turn worse?

We’ve all been there and that’s why I fell in love with Hatti Cook, the heroine of Vicki Batman’s Romantic-Suspense novel, Temporarily Employed.  I’ve hit rock bottom and lived to tell the tale, but Hatti’s story is funnier and scarier and one heck of a lot more entertaining than my own. But be warned, while the story starts out light and funny, Batman’s skilled writing turns it into a dramatic tale of love.

The story opens with a hot cop catching Hatti at her worst moment and handing her a ticket. Her internal dialogue is a hoot. Self-deprecating, laugh-out-loud comments slid through her head into mine, from the very first page to the last.

Out of a job, with no love life and stuck in a town where everyone knows her business, Hattie takes a temp-job and tries to make sense of it all. Meanwhile her bad luck keeps getting “badder.”

A murder mystery swirls around her, her best friends want all the dirty details about her love life and a hometown that she once felt comfortable in is hiding a murderer.

Vicki Batmani has a wicked sense of humor, but beneath the fun she hits strong chords about love and relationships. The story is more than a collection of the usual Romantic-Comedy, bunching-panty-hose and running mascara  lines. It becomes a deep down, gut wrenching question of self-awareness and the trust required to make love work.

If you like humor with your Romantic-Suspense, you’ll love Vicki Batman’s Temporarily Employed.

My favorite lines: “Nice day?” I gritted my teeth. “I’d kill for a really nice day.”

I’m posting my review with 5 stars on Amazon and Goodreads.

Sept. 20/2015