Amazon… A virtual marketplace, or Big Brother?

Friends I am sharing this post here to help make Amazon answer about what they are doing to us authors. We work hard to get those reviews and Amazon has decided to delete them because they believe they aren’t legitimate. When we try to get answers all we receive are standard letter responses. No one will help and it’s time for all us authors to take a stand and get answers. Please share this on your blogs, Facebook pages, Google, Twitter. Everywhere you can. Please take a moment and help your author friends. We are all in this together and need to stand together against what is happening. Thank you!

This was originally posted on

A couple of weeks ago I read the third installment of a series I really loved. I will refrain from sharing the name of the novel and its author.

Like any reader, as soon as I finished reading, I wrote my review. When I tried posting it on Amazon (I did buy the eBook, just like any normal and decent human being would), I received a rather concerning email.

I will not share the screenshot of the email as it does contain the title of the book and name of the author. In its place I have copied the body of the email below.

Dear Amazon Customer,

Thanks for submitting a customer review on Amazon. Your review could not be posted to the website in its current form. While we appreciate your time and comments, reviews must adhere to the following guidelines:

Here I was, thinking I had included an expletive, or mentioned a brand name within the review. I went back and cross-referenced it against the review I posted on Amazon’s sister site Goodreads, and didn’t see anything wrong with it. I tried to upload it again. Immediately, I received the below message.

Sorry. You’re not eligible to review this product. For more information, read the Customer Review Guidelines.

I thought for a minute, and figured maybe there was an issue with their website… So I tried to input a review for another book by another author, and received the same system message I shared above.

I wrote an inquiry to Amazon regarding the issue. To my surprise, this is the message I received the following day.


We cannot post your Customer Review for (book title deleted) by (author name deleted) to the Amazon website because your account activity indicates that you know the author. 

Customer Reviews are meant to give customers unbiased product feedback from fellow shoppers. Because our goal is to provide Customer Reviews that help customers make informed purchase decisions, any reviews that could be viewed as advertising, promotional, or misleading will not be posted. To learn more about this policy, please review our Customer Review Guidelines ( and FAQs (  

We encourage family and friends to share their enthusiasm for the book through our Customer Discussions feature or Editorial Reviews feature. To start a Customer Discussion visit the Meet Our Authors forum and enter your discussion title in the Start a new discussion box. You’ll find the forum here:

To have your Editorial Review posted to the detail page, e-mail it directly to the author so they can add it for you. 

If you believe you’re eligible to write a Customer Review for this book, send additional details to

We hope to see you again soon.

Best regards,

Harm J,

At this point I am dumbstruck. “I know the author.” That is quite an erroneous and quite presumptous assessment, so I went through the painstaking process of escalating the issue to their Review Appeals Department. At this point, I’m pretty upset.


I am appalled with your recent email message stating a review I wrote could not be posted because my “online activity suggests I know the author.” (Online purchase: X by X eBook.)

This response is ludicrous. I am a writer and published author. I understand the Indie Community is a small one, and among our circles, rubbing elbows with peers is not an uncommon occurrence. I am also a blogger and reviewer who also buys books. When I’m not writing, I am reading and reviewing. My reviews are one hundred percent unbiased, regardless if I have rubbed elbows with peers online. I would like to know who is providing you the information that suggests I may know the author.

That’s a two-edged sword; knowing of an author online, and personally knowing an author in real life are two different things. By your definition it would mean that bloggers such as myself are being barred from reviewing books they legitimately purchased, which in turn contravenes with the notion that reviews for a verified purchase are highly encouraged.

I am left speechless as I don’t know any authors on a level you are suggesting. I merely follow authors on Social Media: Twitter, Facebook, Google+, tsu, and on your partner site Goodreads. I interact with these authors during takeover events. I am an avid reader and I buy my books like anyone else does.

Your claims are unfounded, and as a paying consumer, I demand my review be posted. It is unfair to the authors whose work I love, to be punished for a claim that simply cannot stand. I don’t know any authors on a personal level.

Expecting your prompt response,

Ms. Santiago

(Amazon user:

Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPhone

I was hoping for a better outcome. It took them a week to answer back. To my dismay, this below screenshot is the response I received today.

Amazon has crossed the line. 

I pay for my eBooks. I take the time to read and review books I love. The Big Brother mentality Amazon is employing is appalling, and crosses an ethical line of unfathomable proportions. They are not God, and are censoring my passion for the written word. Because of them, I will not be allowed to write and post any further reviews on their site, regardless if I paid, or not. It is a disservice to readers, and a back-handed slap in the face of all authors across the board.

What quantifiable and verifiable ways is Amazon using to determine if I know the author of a book, or not? The fact that they refuse to elaborate as to how I “know the author personally” is highly concerning. 

This is what happens when you are a published writer, and write reviews for the books you paid for.

This is wrong, and it has to stop.

It  is censorship at its finest. I have interacted with a couple hundred authors over the past year; from events to signings, authors and writers rub elbows during networking sessions. This does NOT mean I know you personally. Knowing someone personally is bearing knowledge about them, from say… their favorite color to their social status.

Amazon, you have spat in the face of those authors and writers whose work deserve praise and recognition. I am shocked and appalled. At this time, I will discontinue writing peer reviews. I will complete my list of pending reviews, and will cease from posting them on Amazon.

I’m truly sorry, but my wings have been clipped.

Don’t hate me for it.

Blame Amazon for their questionable business practices.

Feel free to post your comments below. I’m eager to read your thoughts.


Please share this blog post if you think this business practice is unfair.

#ExplainYourselfAmazon #Censorship #QuestionableBusinessPractices #AuthorsDependOnReviews #ClippedWings

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Teen Pregnancy: Don’t Let it Happen to Your Family

There is much concern over our teenagers exploring their sexuality and becoming pregnant when they are way too young. Is there anything that parents can do to prevent this?

Many schools in their health programs do try to go over some of the risks that are taken by exploring sexuality, such as pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, but is this enough? What can parents also do, as many teenagers are not going to listen to these things in school? They have a tendency to find these topics to be funny and not something that they are serious about, with their friends around. Schools cannot be totally responsible for teaching our children all there is to know about teen pregnancy. It is the job of the parent to make sure that their children know the risks and dangers of being sexually active.

What can you do for your teenager? Make sure that when you have these kinds of discussions with your teenager that you are picking an appropriate time to do this. Do not pull your teen from their studies, favorite show or anything that will prevent them from having their full focus on you. At the end of the day when they are tired and stressed from school, is also not a good time to approach this topic. This is a very serious topic and timing is definitely important.

One of the best ways you could do this would be to make a special time together to have their full attention and communication. Make sure cell phones and ipads are left home, or if you are home not near your teen. Be open to hear whatever your teen may share with you insofar as their knowledge of these topics. You may be surprised to hear they know more than you think. Let them know they can talk to you and you will answer their questions honestly. You have their best interests at heart and do not want to see them make a mistake and wind up pregnant, or having gotten a girl pregnant long before they can handle the responsibilities of this choice. Open communication is a key to keeping your teen out of trouble.

Ideally everyone would love for their teenagers to wait until they are married to be in a sexual relationship, but statistics as stated on The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy show us a much different picture:

Three in 10 girls in the U.S. get pregnant at least once by the age of 20.

Six in 10 teens that have had sex say that they wish they had waited.

Half of all pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned — about 3 million each year.

One out of 10 children in the United States is born to a teen mother.

Talk to your teen today. 48938b85e695451c27f42aebfb1b594f

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Forever & Always ~ Destiny Now Availabe at Book Revue!



Forever & Always ~ Destiny is now available at Book Revue in Huntington! You can order the book online or go to their store in Huntington and pick up a signed copy!

“An epic love story of how destiny isn’t always what it seems.”

A mesmerizing and powerful true story about young love, the choices that we make and where those choices take us. When Cindy meets Danny, they become inseparable. Cindy believes she has found her true “soulmate” and that they would live happily ever after. What she didn’t know is that being a teenager and being in love isn’t that simple. There were constantly things being thrown in their path that would cause them to break up. They both move on, find new love and, yet, somehow they would wind up together again. They would believe this was the time that they would last forever. They are older now and decide to take things slow. They are truly happy together, everything is as it should be, and they begin planning for their future when a shocking jaw dropping event takes place. What will happen now? Were they destined to always fail? Is there anyway to recover? Can there be a Forever & Always or has Destiny set it’s path for them?

Pick up or order your copy today!

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Forever & Always ~ Destiny is Here!

This book took me 5 years to write. I truly can’t count how many times I changed it. My hope was to make it the very best that I could. Having only written children’s books, this is my first novel. The reviews are coming in and it feels as if my hard work is paying off. I would love you to check out my book and what really helps are your reviews. I really hope you enjoy the journey down memory lane.

I am open to being part of blog tours and interviews. Find me on my Facebook Page Here 

My book is available on many outlets including the Book Revue Amazon, B&N  Also found on Googleplay and soon will be on Itunes.

One of the Amazon Reviews:

This is not your average coming of age story. It’s not your average love story. It’s a beautiful trip through life. With an addicting storyline that wraps you in its spell Forever and Always Destiny is a beautiful tale of love, loss, and finding love again. The characters are very approachable and I identified with their feelings. Cindy Springsteen is a very gifted author and I really enjoyed this story. I laughed, I cried, and I laughed again. I can’t wait for book two to come out. Highly Recommended.
This is book one of a three book series. I am presently working on book two “Fate” coming soon!
This book is my heart and soul, based on my true life story. NEWCOVER400
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Just Released! Waffles and Pancakes A Lesson in the True Meaning of Christmas!

My newest children’s book has been released in plenty of time to put under your Christmas tree this year. Early reviews and messages I am receiving are showing me how much children love my little characters.  Take the newest journey with Danny, Griffin, Waffles and Pancakes and see what everyone is talking about. coversample7

Waffles and Pancakes are two hamsters, from the same pet store, that went to their new homes on the same day. They also happen to be the best of friends. In their first adventure, their owners became best friends, too. Together the four learned the lesson of true friendship. In their second adventure they learned how to handle bullies. Now Waffles and Pancakes, along with their owners, are about to learn another lesson, A Lesson in the True Meaning of Christmas.

When Hurricane Sandy threatens to ruin Christmas, Danny, Griffin, Waffles, and Pancakes gather their friends and try to find a way to help. Together can they find a way to save Christmas? When Santa sees their act of kindness, what does he do to surprise them all? Find out when you read this heartwarming story of friendship and love.

You can find Waffles and Pancakes Here 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Keep your eyes open coming soon Forever & Always ~Destiny my first novel.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2014 Cindy Springsteen

Congratulations Waffles and Pancakes A Lesson in Bullying!

Last night Waffles and Pancakes A Lesson in Bullying won an award for the Best Children’s Book of 2013. I can’t tell you how happy this made me feel. When I first found out I was nominated with so many wonderful books out there I didn’t think my book stood a chance. When I saw my name announced a feeling of such accomplishment came over me. I wrote this story to help young children understand how much bullying hurts. It was my hope that my loveable characters would help. I wanted to take a moment to thank all my amazing fans out there who believed in my book and in me. There are times I wonder if I should continue writing. Last night convinced me that I definitely should. I may never make a NY Times Best Seller list, but if I can help a child it is more than worth it. Thank you from the bottom of heart.1460225_10153438669920191_980510468_n

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The Voice Battle Rounds Continue

America voted and picked a winner Danielle Bradbery, who is the 16 year old young lady who shared my first article about what is happening on the Facebook pages relating to The Voice television show.

You would think that now that it is over things would quiet down? Actually, it is the exact opposite. The nastiness continues and everyday it seems to be worse than the day before.

Some will say this is America we have a right to our opinion and freedom of speech. Absolutely, I couldn’t agree with that more! Everyone is entitled to their opinions, but does that mean they should take these opinions and post them for the world to see and we won’t call it bullying?

I also know about criticism. As an author I know this one very well.  Not everyone will like our work and someday someone may write a review saying so. Again, they have a right to their opinion. They don’t have to like what we do, but that also doesn’t give people the right to rip apart someone else’s hard work and dreams. There is a way to say things without being cruel and hurtful.

Having an opinion, “I really liked her/him, but my favorite was really_____” “I didn’t like the way he/she sings.” “I don’t like country music.”  These are opinions, and not nasty.

When words like four eyes, freak, nerd, fat, pig and much more are said, I am trying to keep this PG here, are we saying we shouldn’t get in trouble? Should our Children be allowed to walk into school and call another child any of these words and it will be okay?

If what is happening on that wall is acceptable and continues what does this say? Then no child should ever get in trouble for saying anything like this, right? Why should a child be punished but grown-ups can continue to pick apart a 16 year old child and that it is okay?

I often wonder if I am the only one who is so deeply upset by what I am seeing. Why do adults specifically go to a post with a picture of not their favorite artist only to post rude nasty remarks?

If I avoid the wall and do nothing then aren’t I just as guilty? It would be as if I was watching a child get bullied, but turned my back on them and walked away.

Is this the type of world we want? Do we want our children growing up with no morals of right and wrong? Opinions are not opinions anymore, they are hateful bullying that everyone seems to overlook. Why are people so filled with hate toward people they don’t even know, living their own dreams? They are all so extremely talented and deserve respect!

Please help me fight this battle my friends. Message me on my Facebook page. I know we can’t win the Battle, but we can try to make a little difference in the kindness of the world our children are growing up in.

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Let’s Stop the Bullying of Artists on The Voice

This will seem a little out of place, but for weeks I have sat back and watched what has been transpiring on the show The Voice’s Facebook page and the artist’s pages.

I am a children’s author who most recently published a book on bullying. Why did I choose bullying? In recent years bullying has been progressively getting worse and has become a nationwide epidemic for many of our children.

I have been faithfully watching The Voice since season 3. I have a deep passionate love of music of all kinds and came across this show. After one show, I was hooked! I couldn’t wait each week to watch the auditions, battle rounds and hear each artist strive to be the best they could be.

Each of these artists is talented and each one is a human being with feelings. In the recent weeks of following the page on Facebook it has become very disturbing. There isn’t a post without nastiness or in my eyes bullying! These are grown-ups bashing the artists. Why? We wonder why our children are bullied or bully other children. All one has to do is look at this wall and you will see why.

I have my favorites just like everyone else, but I would never bash another person’s favorite. We are Americans, we are individuals with individual likes and dislikes. Does this make it wrong for a person to not like what we do?

When I went on Danielle Bradbery’s wall, a 16 year old young girl and saw nasty, rude comments, I felt it was time to say something. This young girl is striving to do her best, as is every other artist in this competition. America votes and chooses who goes on. This requires voting on Facebook, calling to vote, texting your vote or buying their song. This young girl has made it to the top 10 in Country every single week! She by no means deserves any negative comments, nor does any other artist on this show.

You can have your favorites, stay on their walls, support them, vote for them and listen to their music. On The Voice page, if you don’t like an artist or their picture, find your artist and talk to their fans. Why does America feel the need to bully these people who are following their dreams? These artists are reading these walls. Their families and friends are seeing these nasty rude remarks posted every single day. It is time to stop this nonsense and grow-up and be the respectful adult people that we all should be striving to be. Everything we say and everything we do is seen. Please America it is time to wake up, all our children are watching!

Update – Since posting this article, the support has been overwhelming!

Danielle Bradbery shared this article on her Facebook page and posted the following:

“Let’s have fun and no need to bash.  I can honestly say that the contestants have nothing but love and respect for one another.  We are a family here and cheer for one another.  And we hurt when someone leaves the show.  Please be supportive of your favorite artist and respect the rest of us.  Thank you.”

Since her post, I have noticed a drastic change in remarks posted. To read all the comments please go to her Facebook Page. Thank you Danielle for sharing and thank you everyone for your wonderful supportive comments.

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Waffles and Pancakes A Lesson in the True Meaning of Christmas

Thank you for stopping by for the final story in the Lil’ Anchor’s Sleigh Ride Event.

Danny and Griffin looked out the window and couldn’t believe their eyes. This was one time the weather man knew what he was talking about. Everywhere they looked there were trees down, wires were on the ground and there were even houses that were gone. “How could this be?” asked Danny. “I have never seen anything like this except on the news,” said Griffin. Waffles and Pancakes were sitting huddled, very scared and cold. The lights were out everywhere, the house was very cold and people were standing outside in amazement at what they were seeing. Hurricane Sandy had just swept the area and life as they knew it had completely changed overnight. They couldn’t watch the news since they had no power and it was days before they would really know how bad it was. Schools were closed indefinitely and many schools were completely destroyed. “We have to find a way to help people,” said Danny. “Let’s put on some old clothes and find some people who could use a hand cleaning out their houses,” said Griffin. They talked to Tom who said his basement had four feet of water in it. The boys went and helped clean out their friend’s house. Then they found others who needed some help. As time went on, schools would reopen and life would start to get back to normal.

“Christmas is coming,” said Danny. “What will happen to all these people who have lost their trees, decorations and have no money now for Christmas?” said Griffin. “I think we need to do something.” Waffles and Pancakes overheard the conversation. “I know Danny and Griffin will find a way to help people,” said Waffles. “Yes, together we can maybe help some families still have a nice Christmas,” said Pancakes. The boys called all their friends and started taking donations. The school gave them a room to collect it all and gave them a list of families they knew that could use some Christmas spirit.

Danny and Griffin donated their allowances, went to stores and even found some willing to donate some supplies. Then they set out to deliver their surprises to some people who were in need of something good. When asked why they did this, the boys both said that they had realized a long time ago that it wasn’t what they had, but more important, that they were loved.

It was Christmas Eve and the boys were so happy that they were able to put smiles on so many people’s faces. Waffles and Pancakes were sitting watching the lights on Danny’s tree. The boys had told Santa that this year they didn’t want anything. They wanted anything they would have gotten to be given to other children who now had nothing. When Santa heard this he knew that the boys deserved something special for all the good they had done.

Since the boys were best friends, their parents let Griffin sleep over at Danny’s for the night. Danny, Griffin, Waffles and Pancakes were just about settled in for the night when all of a sudden…………..this huge light filled the room. “What on earth is that?” said Danny. “I don’t know!” said Griffin. Waffles and Pancakes quickly hid under the bed. “You have nothing to be afraid of,” a sweet voice said to them. Everyone looked up and there, outside Danny’s window, was a beautiful magical sleigh. When they looked closer they could see their friends from Halloween already sitting inside it. “Are we dreaming again?” said Danny. “We didn’t eat a lot of candy again, did we?” said Griffin. “We only had hot chocolate, candy canes and sugar cookies,” said Danny. Waffles and Pancakes crawled out from under the bed. The four of them climbed into the sleigh and were off.

When they got on the sleigh they saw all their friends, “Hi Savannah, Brooke, Alexis, Syvok and James!” “What a nice surprise to see you all again,” said Danny. “We didn’t think we would ever see you again,” said Griffin. There were also some new friends on the sleigh; Matt, Alex, and Bethany. In an instant they were off and on their way. They didn’t know what was happening or where they were headed, but they knew that they were safe. It seemed like only minutes had passed when they saw in the distance the most beautiful sight they have all ever seen! It was like a giant rainbow. Once the sleigh landed they were greeted by tons of elves, Elle leading the way for them. They were taken into a special room which was filled with so many toys and games they all just stared in amazement. Wonderful Christmas music started playing, everyone got up and started dancing; a Santa flash mob was happening. Then, just when they thought it couldn’t get any better, Santa Claus arrived!

“Each of you are the special chosen ones this year for your selfless acts of kindness,” said Santa. “I have been watching you all this year and I have never been happier than I am right now tonight,” exclaimed Santa. “Is this really happening?” asked Danny. “I certainly hope so,” said Griffin. Waffles and Pancakes were dancing around and Santa even gave them special hats to wear. “I heard that you have decided to donate all your toys this year because you have learned the true meaning of what Christmas is all about,” said Santa. “I think that you all deserve something for your selfless acts,” said Santa.  A bunch of elves came running and handed each of them a special golden heart. “What you each have in your hands is a golden heart,” said Santa. “It is magical, so whenever you need a big wish all you have to do is hold it in your hands and pray,” said Santa. “You can’t use it all the time, but when it is really needed your wish will come true,” said Santa. All the children stared at their beautiful sparkly golden hearts. It was like nothing they had ever seen before. “Now I want you all to close your eyes and make a wish,” said Santa.

Next thing they know it’s Christmas morning. Danny and Griffin open their eyes and look out the window. Snow had fallen during the night. “I had the most amazing dream last night,” said Danny. “Me too,” said Griffin. Waffles and Pancakes climbed out of their little beds and noticed they were wearing Santa hats. “Hey, where did they get the hats?” said Danny. “I thought we were dreaming?” said Griffin. They went over to the window and there were the two golden hearts. “How can that be?” said Danny. Danny’s mom and dad called the boys down to see the tree and have breakfast. The boys grabbed their golden hearts, picked up Waffles and Pancakes and ran downstairs. Under the tree were presents for them all. “We told Santa we didn’t need anything this year,” said Danny. “Well I guess Santa decided you needed a couple of special things this year,” said Danny’s mom. The boys glanced down at their special golden hearts and whispered softly “thank you Santa, we have all that we will ever need in life, we have our family who loves us!” “That is what Christmas is all about,” said Waffles and Pancakes.


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Waffles and Pancakes A Lesson in Candy Overload

Danny and Griffin decided to take Waffles and Pancakes to the circus today. Waffles and Pancakes had never been to one before so Danny and Griffin were so excited to show them all the fun things they could do together. Waffles and Pancakes were so fascinated by all the excitement, they saw so many animals that they had never seen before.

As they were leaving the tent they saw these three little girls go through a special door, and then they saw a young boy go in too. “What could be behind that door?” asked Danny. “I don’t know but since everyone else is going why don’t we go also?” said Griffin. Waffles and Pancakes were excited, what could be behind that special door?

They had seen so many fun things and great shows already. As Danny opened the door, all of them just stared at the beautiful carousel that was right in front of them. They saw the little girls and boy who had gone in before them, and what was that they saw? Could it really be? Dancing bears also? The boys and Waffles and Pancakes kept rubbing their eyes. They couldn’t possibly be seeing a blue dragon and fairy also could they?

Then all of a sudden (POOF) this beautiful fairy godmother was standing in front of them. The boys and hamsters thought they must be dreaming, this really couldn’t be happening could it? The fairy godmother told them that she would give them one wish. The boys and Waffles and Pancakes talked it over and said, “We want to ride on the beautiful carousel with the three little girls, the boy, the fairy and the blue dragon.”

The fairy godmother waved her magic wand and everyone was on the carousel. It started really slow, the horses going up and down, then she made it go really fast! Everyone was laughing and having fun. Then as quickly as it started, it stopped. Danny and Griffin opened their eyes and found that they were exactly where they were before, outside the door. They were very confused, as were Waffles and Pancakes. “What just happened?” asked Griffin. “I don’t know” said Danny, Waffles and Pancakes just shook their heads.

Danny walked forward and opened the door, inside was all storage equipment for the circus and the room was really dark. There was no carousel, there were no little girls and boy that they saw go in there. They looked around and saw the three little girls sitting watching the show under the big tent and across from them was the boy. “Wow” said Danny, “I think we had too much candy today.” “Maybe candy does make you hyper like my mom always tells me” said Griffin. As they started to walk away to leave, the three little girls and the boy waved to them with a huge smile on their face. Did it really happen? Why would they wave to them? Waffles and Pancakes waved to the three bears, the fairy and the blue dragon. Sometimes dreams do come true.


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