Twitter, Goodreads and Browsing For Books: The Key, by Pauline Baird Jones

Sheepishly, I must admit, I’m just your typical hypocrite who, on the one hand, bemoans the fact that I no longer have a local bookstore to sip coffee at and browse books; while, the next minute, I’m clicking over to Amazon to buy another book.

I miss being overwhelmed by a bountiful array of book covers—that sensation of so many books, so little time I used to get walking into a bookstore. I’d pick up one book and turn it over to read the back, only to have another glossy cover catch my eye. I’d look through the stalls searching for the perfect cover/back page combination that would make me say, “Enough—this the one!”

Online, my field of vision is limited to a page, a few square inches of Internet. I know there are thousands—millions of other books out there, but I can’t see them. I can’t grab them. What if one of them is the next book I should be reading?

That’s where Twitter and Goodreads come in.

I’ve just finished reading The Key, by Pauline Baird Jones, a book I never would have picked up, or known about, had I not met the author on Twitter. It’s actually the third book I’ve chosen this way. And it’s suddenly occurred to me that as my Twitter and Goodreads’ following grows, so does my field of vision. While Goodreads offers me lists and recommendations, on Twitter I actually get to interact (of course, in a limited way) with the author. So why did I pick The Key? On the author’s Twitter picture, she’s wearing this funky, steampunkie looking hat—a hat that intrigued me and prompted me to check out her books. I have to say, I’m so glad I did!

For me, The Key has all the sci-fi elements I love. It’s got tech and adventure; but most of all, it’s got great characters. There’s also humor and romance and, of course, most it takes place between humans and aliens with special abilities.

The main character in The Key is Captain Sara Donovan. We meet her after she’s crash-landed on a planet and been rescued by a good-looking, though not-much-one-for-words, alien named Fyn. Sara and Fyn quickly became two of my favorite fictional characters. Sara is strong, smart, sassy and, since this is science fiction, more than your average female. Plus, she can play piano, dance and sing! In short, she is everything I’d want my daughter to be. Heck – I want to be Sara! Fyn is strong, mysterious and humble. While he could easily be just another knight in shining armour, he falls for the one girl who, for the most part, doesn’t need one…or want one.

The Key isn’t great literature, but it is great fun. If you love Star Trek, Dr. Who and you’re looking for a book that takes you away from it all and leaves you smiling, this is the book for you.

I wanted to ask Pauline if she ever served in the military. Her ease with military lingo and battle scenes read to me like firsthand knowledge. Who knows, maybe she’ll honor me with a comment.

The Key is the first in Pauline Baird Jones’ Project Universe series, which includes: The Key, Girl Gone Nova, Tangled in Time, Steamrolled, Dreamspell Steampunk and the newest release, Kicking Ashe.

Read more about Pauline Baird Jones and check out some of her other books (she writes mystery and nonfiction too) at:


11 thoughts on “Twitter, Goodreads and Browsing For Books: The Key, by Pauline Baird Jones

  1. kford2007 says:

    Great article and thank you for the pingback! I love finding new authors, and Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads are all great for recommending the next, great read. (I still prefer going to my local bookstore. I have two close to me and a big B&N not too far away when I want to sit back and have my cup of coffee and read.


  2. Lorijo Metz says:

    You’re welcome and thanks. I agree, I still love going to a bookstore too. Lost our local Borders, but have a B&N a few towns over. It has been nice learning about new authors on the internet though. Maybe someday the two can complement each other a little better.


  3. Pauline Baird Jones says:

    Lorijo! What a wonderful surprise to find this on Triberr this morning! I am glad you enjoyed The Key. (I’m still reading Wheels! Had company and no reading time, but it is so fun! Can’t wait to get back to it!) Your post reminds me of what I also had forgotten about the wonder of bookstores. I’d gotten so irritated at all the non bookstore stuff, but I do remember that magical moment, that hope of finding THE book I’d have to take home. 🙂

    Okay, to answer your question, part of it was research, research and more research because have not been in the military. But I also was helped by my son, who was doing ROTC at the time. He is also a gamer and choreographed my space battle for me. There is more story behind the story here:

    When I finish a book, I interview myself about what it was like to write the story (before I forget. LOL!). There’s also a picture of my son there. And in an interesting (I hope) side note. he is now designing an app using the The Key as the story line.

    More than you asked! LOL! But you totally rock!


    • Lorijo Metz says:

      Ha! Tell your son he did a great job training you. Can’t wait to check out the story behind the story (after I go have coffee) Oh – and I can totally see this series as a video game. Also, I love the idea of interviewing myself right after I finish a book… you do forget over time. (or, at least I do!) Thanks so much commenting – more than I asked and the perfect amount.:)


    • Lorijo Metz says:

      So here’s my second reply. I read your story behind the book page. Interesting… because I basically also write scifi that doesn’t have a lot of science behind it. It was a challenge for me as to whether I was really writing scifi or fantasy–the lines can be blurry at times. In the end (I think you’ll agree), whether your characters are interacting with fairies, aliens or New York commuters, it’s the story that counts.


  4. Pauline Baird Jones says:

    My son did indeed do a great job. LOL! I also had him read my fight scenes and he suggested ways to further hose everyone. He is ruthless! LOL! And yet so nice! He told me that the hardest part of gaming is the story thread, so I’m excited. It’s a lot of work.

    When i first got the idea for the interviews, I wasn’t getting them from anyone else. LOL! So I thought, well, what is it that I would like visitors to my site to know? It was pretty fun. Not sure many people find them, but I know they are there and can go back and refresh my memory, too. (grin)

    I am glad you have same issue! I really did not think I’d written close to SF! And it probably isn’t. LOL! Someone called it “squishy” science and they were right. (grin) And I truly care more about a good story, too, than what genre it might be. Genre only matters during marketing, not during the writing. I just wish I wrote faster! My first books were pretty fast, but life has slowed me down a lot. it’s weird, I think i wrote faster when I had kids at home. Now I use reading as the carrot to get me moving. Its so much easier to read a book than write one. (wry grin) So right now your book is my carrot. 🙂


  5. denisedthornton says:

    Borders is gone, and Barnes and Nobel is in trouble, and they used to be the bad guys – crowding out the little independent book stores.

    Now Amazon is the big kid on the block, and we should all be shaking in our shoes. Did you know that if a book publisher doesn’t toe their line, they just drop that publisher from Amazon’s lists.

    Do you want Amazon having the power to say which book publishers live or die?

    Also, I have not been able to read Wheels because I have a Nook instead of a Kindle. That makes me sad.


    • Lorijo Metz says:

      Oh dear…I don’t like controversy, but how can I not reply to one of my favorite bloggers and writers of all time. Here goes…I hear you, but I also think book stores need to adapt. In fact, some of the smaller, independent bookstores have done a much better job at adapting. Check out Read Between the Lynes ( in Woodstock, IL or Anderson’s Bookshop in Naperville ( Anyway, to me it’s not a matter of good or bad (as change tends to bring about both) but a matter of balance. Also, though this post is really about Pauline’s book, The Key, I will add that I’ve been traditionally published, and Barnes and Noble, Borders, and those big old publishing companies didn’t offer that much support. In fact, what I realized – and what most good authors realize – is that you have to do 99% of the marketing yourself. Amazon offers me support, marketing opportunities, a much larger chuck of my sales – more important, the ability to have my story out there and making money for years to come. Do I miss the atmosphere of a bookstore – sometimes. Do I miss making 5 to 15% on my book and having no control over when they decide to stop selling it – rather than full control and making 70%? Not on your life. Rather than fearing Amazon will take over, I trust that publishers and bookstores will continue to adapt. I’d love to work with a publisher who’d offer me great editing support, as well as taking over much of the marketing stuff that eats up my time. That would be worth taking a smaller cut for. By the way, WHEELS will be on Barnes and Noble – as well as many other places – in the near future. (For now, I would be glad to send you a free digital copy to read on your Nook.)


    • Pauline Baird Jones says:

      I have to come in with you, Lorijo. I love amazon as an author and as a customer. They consider my needs worth figuring out and meeting. Publishers don’t even think readers ARE their customers! Makes me crazy. I’m with a small press right now, but would also like to do some indie publishing. Do you read Konrath’s blog? he doesn’t hold back. LOL!


  6. Lorijo Metz says:

    I do read his blog occasionally. I’m not nearly as brave… or confident. (Also, I still work with a traditional – and awesome – publisher on educational books) Anyway, the one thing I miss most from traditional publishing is having an editor. Especially a copy editor! I can’t tell you how many years I spent writing and editing WHEELS, receiving and adding suggestions and edits from many, many other writers ad readers along the way. Yet, as carefully and as many times as it has been read, there are still a few copy edits. Luckily, I can upload a fresh copy to Amazon anytime I want. I know I can do this through Smashwords too. All and all… it’s just another adventure. 🙂


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