© Marta Stephens 2008 all rights reserved
Okay, I'm going to age myself, but I grew up during the pre cable days of television. Unless you were lucky to have a small privately own television station in your state like we did here in Indiana, the choice of channels were limited to the major networks; NBC, CBS, and ABC. Of course, I'm talking about the 1960s, the days when most households had one prized television set which meant that whatever mom and/or dad decided to watch, is what the family watch -- no exceptions. Some of my parents' favorites (and consequently ours) were Bonanza, Ed Sullivan, Gun Smoke, Walt Disney, What's My Line, and Saturday night boxing.
Several times during the broadcast, the announcer would break in and say, "And now, a word from our sponsor." Sponsors were and still are the entities that pay to keep shows on the air. Of course, I'm referring to commercials. Granted most of us leave the room to get a snack or two and don't watch them, but without those 60-second breaks, the average person wouldn't have been able to afford to watch television in the 60s if they would have had to pay for it.
So what do television and commercials have to do with writing? Quite a bit actually if your mind works like mine. To writers, our sponsors are readers, the folks who pump us up and keep us writing. They buy our books, read them, and give them away as gifts. They spread the word to their family and friends about a favorite character -- our creation -- often without us ever knowing about it. Each positive word of mouth from one of these treasured promoters is a potential book sale.
I always welcome e-mails from readers and revel in what they have to say about my writing--good, bad, or indifferent, it's all helpful. Shortly after SILENCED CRY was released, one student at our local college told me she bought two copies of my book; one to keep and read; the other she created a chain read for her friends around the world. She planned to send it to one of her friends who was studying in a different country with instructions to read it and send it to another friend, etc., etc. She recently wrote to say: "I am currently residing in Japan, and just received news that your book has traveled to Australia, New Zealand, India, China, Taiwan, Vienna, France, and actually returned to Japan twice!"
I'll admit I love discovering that a sponsor has stepped forward and posted a commercial, what we more commonly refer to as a review. SILENCED CRY has been blessed with a collection of glowing reviews from professional critics, but nothing warms my heart more than reading a review from someone who took the time to search for my book, buy it, read it, and was moved enough to write their comments. So if you will allow me, I'd like to say, "And now, a word from one of my sponsors." These are the two latest reader comments posted on Amazon about SILENCED CRY.
TW Ervin (Ohio, USA)
"This book is filled with characters you enjoy following, or enjoy coming to despise (or at least I did). Maybe you'll see the end coming...but probably you'll end up thinking you've got it solved when a new clue or twist adds to the mystery.
It was a good, fast read for me--mostly because I wanted to get to the end. I was kind of bummed out when I got there. Not because of the ending; it made perfect sense, tying things up. But because the read was over. So, about a week later, I read it again, and enjoyed it all the same, but on a different level. Not many books can do that for me."
Intriguing characters; complicated & provocative plot
by Ann W. Barks (Louisiana)
"... The debut novel by Marta Stephens "Silenced Cry" is a well-plotted, complicated mystery peopled with characters who are solidly etched and equally complicated. Before long, we'll have the second Sam Harper mystery. I'm looking forward to it because this novel has made me a fan of this interesting character.
Sam Harper is a cop who has no problem with a bit of brute force. He's also a cop who remains troubled by the images of the dead baby, especially when he learns from the coroner just how savage her death was. Above all, he's a cop for the right reasons: because he believes in the oath of office he took to protect and serve...
... Where he shines is his work. He's honest, fearless and committed. Sam's ability to put a case together makes him one of the best detectives on the force, which becomes quite a concern to those he begins to track down through the twists and turns of his investigation to find not only the baby's killer but the truth about his partner, his father and his boss. In the end, he is left to question if there's anyone he knows who he can really trust.
Marta's ability to breathe life into the characters we meet makes this a novel that brings you into the plot once it gets racing because you begin to care about the people as much as solving the mystery. And what a mystery it is - it has so many nuances that even when you think you have figured it out, she's able to surprise you with elements you'd almost forgotten she'd raised earlier.
If you're looking for a solid crime mystery that will keep you guessing along the way and also want to read about some realistic, intriguing people whom you'll look forward to meeting up with again in the next novel this author has coming out later this year, I can heartily recommend "Silenced Cry" by Marta Stephens."
So remember, no need to be shy. Next time you read a book you can't put down, contact the author (most will gladly respond!) and let him or her know that you liked it. I guarantee you'll make their day.
SILENCED CRY placed 4th in the novel/mystery division of the 2007 Preditors and Editors Readers Poll.