Friday, December 19, 2014

Review: Nate Rocks the City by Karen Pokras Toz (@KarenToz)

by Donna Huber

Nate Rocks the City

"Now, let's all line up. We have to through security before we can go into the museum,. Once inside, we'll look around for a bit, and then we'll make our way up to the platform. Next, we;ll head up to the crown where you'll have the most spectacular views of the city. While we're waiting, how about a little history? Let's see... so back in the 1880s, Sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi was commissioned to design--"
"This is boring," Sam whispers, as we wait in the long line to get through security. (pg 56 on my Nook)




The Review

I have to agree with Sam, that excerpt is quite boring. Particularly given that the rest of the book is full of adventure and fun. I guess that's how it goes when you do the Friday 56 :)

On a more serious note, if you have a 3rd through 5th grader then you will want to get this series. My niece reviewed the first two books in the series and according to her the only reason she couldn't give it 5 stars was because the main character is a boy. You can read her review of Nate Rocks the World and Nate Rocks the Boat. You can also check out my review of the third book - Nate Rocks the School

In Nate Rocks the City, we finally get the long awaited class trip to New York City. In addition to the normal sites (and food!), Nate has to save the city not once but twice - in his imagination at least. If you haven't met Nate Rocks yet, let me introduce you to the alter ego of Nathan Rockledge. Give Nathan a piece of paper and a pencil and he is off on his next adventure as the famous Nate Rocks. In this installment Nate battles robotic pigeons and alien invaders. Plus he must rescue the class tickets to the Phillies game from criminals playing poker. I loved the story even besides Nathan's wild imagination. It reminded me a lot of the class trip I took to New York City.

In my county, and I'm sure in school districts across the country, children will be heading into their last day of classes today. They will be home for the next two weeks. What is a parent to do? Consider picking up Nate Rocks the City to keep them entertained.

Buy Nate Rocks the City at Amazon


Book info
Available formats: ebooks & paperback (142 pages)
Published: February 2014 by Grand Daisy Press
ISBN13: 978-0984860890
Genre: humor, adventure
Target audience: children age 8 - 12
Source: author
Read: December


Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small fee is earned when purchases are made through the above link. A free ebook was provided for this review.




Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Book: Fateful Night by K.R. Hughes and T.L. Burns (@WhatSheKnewBook)




About the Book

Fateful Night

Did Marilyn Monroe commit suicide? Did someone get away with an elaborate plot to murder the famous sex goddess? On that “Fateful Night” in August 1962 find out what may have happened to her and why she was killed. Many argue that she was involved in way too many secrets from different factions of the world. She was a smart woman who could play the dumb blonde to attain her stardom yet she unwittingly learned of conspiracy plots and political threats that would not only end her life but that of the current president, John F. Kennedy.

In this fast paced suspense every major player of the early sixties is involved, from the world politicians, to the Rat Pack, to Hollywood, and the mafia. What if Marilyn Monroe had lived and what if what she knew could have saved JFK?
Fact or fiction? What if....



Buy Fateful Night at Amazon




About the Author


K.R. Hughes

K.R. Hughes is an English major from Texas. She enjoys writing with her co-author T.L. Burns.
T. L. Burns ~ As my co-author puts it "I am the foremost researcher and historical guru for our trilogy "What She Knew."
I am originally from California (desert region, with mountains), spent nearly 20 years in the panhandle of Texas (again, desert region only without the mountains), moved to Atlanta, GA (trees and flowers everywhere) and have recently moved back to the desert. I miss living in the post card of Atlanta, but I don't miss the humidity.I've been married for 32 years! Woo Hoo! And, to the same man!! That's an accomplishment, and not because of our present times. If you knew my hubby, then you'd know why. LOL! No, all joking aside, he's a great guy and my biggest
supporter! He always believes in my writing, even if I doubt at times.
We have two grown sons; both of them are perfect in every way, except for the parts that take after their dad, lol!! One serves our country in the Army, is married to a beautiful woman and has three beautiful children. Our other son is in College, he has one degree in Modern Languages and is pursuing his Engineering degree. Needless to say, we are so very proud of the wonderful young men our sons have turned out to be. We also have one pupple (puppy/people) living at home with us, Digby. Now, he really is perfect in every way.
 Twitter



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How to Rock a Facebook Author Event by @samcheever

If you’ve never joined a Facebook Event/Party, you’re missing a great chance to make real friendships and have a lot of fun. These events are the closest thing to a real party you can have online, and are valuable to both the authors who host them and the readers who attend. Although, I’m guessing Facebook will eventually change the rules to make the events much harder to hold…just because that’s what Facebook does…for now at least, if you haven’t looked into doing one of these parties I highly recommend that you do.

I do a few Facebook events a month, celebrating new book releases, genres, holidays, anniversaries…whatever ideas  the hosts could come up with for a party! I’ve hosted a few parties of my own, but most of the parties I attend are hosted by other authors or promotion groups and I’m just generally assigned a one or two hour slot (though some have half hour or even 15 minute slots!). Basically, you have a certain amount of time to inspire some portion of the attending group to at least take a look at your website or books to see if they look interesting. You can probably achieve that flying by the seat of your pants. But if you really want to rock the event, make long-time connections and sell some books, you’ll want to make a plan for the event and spend some time preparing for it!

Making a plan isn’t as difficult as it sounds. Here’s my formula for a typical 1-hour event:

  • Post intro and bio with all of your pertinent links
  • Introduce the book you want to highlight during your hour
  • Introduce your first game/contest
  • Post a couple snippets of your highlighted book
  • Introduce another game/contest
  • Post another snippet of your highlighted book and something fun having to do with your book
  • Offer a Q&A session (if you have leftover time)
  • Say goodbye

Now, obviously there’s some play in this outline. The key to success is your interaction through each phase of the things on this list. If you just post your stuff at predetermined increments, your hour probably won’t inspire anyone to find out more about you. But if you interact with people as they respond, I can almost guarantee you’ll have a successful party:

Post Intro and Bio with Pertinent Links

HoHo Honeybun
Every author has a bio. If yours is friendly and succinct, use it here. But if your bio encompasses two full pages and mentions everything from where you went to pre-school to what type of undies you prefer (silky bikinis) you might want to rewrite it to make it party friendly. You want to inspire attendees to check you out and to do that the bio should be short enough to read quickly and it should be fun. Nobody wants to hear about the bad case of shingles you suffered through the year before that kept you from winning Author of the Year. #:0) Joking of course, but you get the point. Also, and this is the most important thing of all, make sure you include links to your website, blog, twitter, Facebook Author page, and newsletter sign up. These are direct avenues into your writing webworld that enable you to keep in touch with the new friends you make at the party.

Introduce the Book you want to Highlight

Tell them why you’re highlighting that particular book. Is it a new release? Is it a Christmas event and you’re talking about a Christmas book? Just a couple of lines to tell them why they should be interested.
Provide a blurb and all buy links. Don’t use hyperlinked terms for your buy links because people using mobile devices (a high percentage of the people attending) will have to click through a few times before they find your book. You want to make it as easy as possible for them to make an impulse purchase!

Examples:



Introduce Games and Contests

I generally do two contests for a one hour event. One contest per half hour. If it’s two hours I do three, spacing them out over the two hours. Contests are invaluable because they pull lurkers (shy attendees) out of the woodwork and allow you to interact with them. Use your imagination on your contests. DON’T pick something that limits your ability to chat and DO pick something that gets them digging around in your website.

Some examples:

  • Have them go to your book page and pick their favorite line from the book’s blurb or excerpt. 
  • Ask them a question to be answered by checking out the same information. 
  • Send them on a brief scavenger hunt or ask them to post pictures. 

Whatever you do, keep it light and make sure you comment a lot on their contributions. Prizes for these contests are totally up to you. I generally use some combination of gift cards, books, or goodie boxes.
Games can be used as contests or just for fun. If you have a basic graphics software and some imagination you can create fun games. Here’s one I used in a recent event:



Posting Snippets of Your Book

When posting snippets of your highlighted book, make sure you pick something that will make it impossible for them to resist buying the book. Keep the snippets brief. Pick one that ends on a cliff-hanger, and make sure you include buy links. Thrilling, sexy and humorous snippets seem to do best. I recommend that you keep your snippets PG-13 or milder so you don’t get gonged by Facebook. Spend time when selecting your snippets, they’re a very important part of the event.

You can also post something fun that pertains to your book. For example, if you wrote a Christmas-themed book, you can post an online quiz such as the one below. This site always has a lot of fun quizzes: https://www.blogthings.com/whatwillbeinyourchristmasstockingquiz/ .

Offer a Q&A Session

If you’ve exhausted all your goodies and still have a few minutes left in your assigned timeframe, don’t go silent, offer an Ask the Author opportunity. Attendees really like these because, as they’ve been visiting with you over the hour, they’ve probably found themselves wondering things about your books, your lifestyle, your world. This gives them a chance to ask those questions.

Say Goodbye

Make sure you don’t just slip away at the end of your hour. Create a new post just to say goodbye, tell them how much fun you’ve had and that you’ll see them at the next event. Manners are important and when people have taken time out of their lives to spend with you, you owe them that at the very least.
Part of what makes a successful party is variety and flexibility. Don’t always do the same exact thing or highlight the same book the same way every time. If you consider these basic guidelines but make them uniquely your own, you’ll enjoy much success in the Facebook party world!

Party on, Everybody!

Giveaway

For a chance to win a copy of HoHo Honeybun, comment about this post or, what the heck, play the Zombie Santa game and put your results in a comment below! Don’t forget to include your EMAIL in the post so we can let you know if you won!

Buy HoHo Honeybun at Amazon

About the Author

USA Today Bestselling Author Sam Cheever writes romantic paranormal/fantasy and mystery/suspense, creating stories that celebrate the joy of love in all its forms. Known for writing great characters, snappy dialogue, and unique and exhilarating stories, Sam is the award-winning author of 50+ books and has been writing for over a decade under several noms de plume.
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Blog | About.Me




Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small fee is earned when purchases are made through the above link. The views, opinion, and beliefs expressed by guest are their own and do not necessarily reflect those of Girl Who Reads.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

D.J. Donaldson (@medicalthriller): CAJUN NIGHTS AND THE CHARACTERS WITHIN:

THE MANY LIVES OF A TV SERIES THAT NEVER WAS


LIFE #1

Cajun Nights was my first novel featuring New Orleans medical examiner, Andy Broussard, and his suicide/death investigator, Kit Franklyn.  A few weeks after the book was published, I got a call from my agent with the surprising news that, “There’s been a flurry of movie and TV interest in your book.”  I’d never considered that such a thing was possible. So that was one of the best phone calls I ever had.

Subsequently, a production company headed by the former director of programming at CBS took an option on the series, planning to shape it into a TV show.  As perhaps some of you know, this phase of things is known as “development hell”, because it takes a very long time to make anything happen. So a year went by with no news.  I figure, okay, the thing is dead.  But, the producers renewed their option for another year, which meant I got paid again.  It wasn’t a lot of money, but with that check, I’d made more money from the two option years than the advance I was given on the book by the publisher. 

Cajun Nights
So more time goes by with no news.  Now, I’m not even thinking about it anymore. Then, while I was attending a scientific meeting in Dallas, I got a call from the agent in Hollywood who was handling the dramatic rights.  CBS had agreed to pay for a pilot screenplay. I wasn’t sure what that meant, but if this guy had tracked me down in Dallas just to tell me that, it must be a big deal.  And guess what… I got another check as an advance on the screenplay even though I wasn’t gonna write it.  I was beginning to love the agent who created that contract.

They chose as a writer someone who’d had several movies produced.  That may seem like something not worth mentioning, but I’d read an article once that said it was possible to have a career as a screenwriter and never have anything produced.  (Yeah, I don’t quite get that either, but it sure seemed like the writer we had, was the better kind.) With her experience and success, I was sure we’d get a great screenplay.

A few months later, a package arrives in the mail.  IT’S THE SCREENPLAY.  I’m so excited, I quickly skim the enclosed letter from the producers: “Read this over and tell us three things you don’t like about it.”  That’s ridiculous, I’m gonna love it.  After all, it was written by a pro.

Well, I hated all of it.  The writer didn’t seem to “get” the relationship between Andy and Kit.  I couldn’t believe it.  The books show that non-romantic love is possible between an unrelated man and woman of greatly differing ages. Though he can’t admit it, Broussard loves Kit like the daughter he never had.  Kit loves Broussard like a father, even though she has a father.  How do I boil all the things I hate down to just three items? Somehow I manage and send my reply back.

As it turned out, the producers didn’t really care about any of my thoughts.  Was I upset?  Not really, because I figured they know TV, I don’t.  And… surprise, when they gave the script to CBS, I got another check.  Now I definitely love my agent.

The producers are sure the script will be approved and we’ll soon be shooting a pilot.  They invite me to watch them film in New Orleans.  They say they’ll even find a bit part for me.  They predict that the series will run for ten years. And they should know. Their show, Cagney and Lacey, ran for seven seasons. Now I’m excited. 

But… later, I get another call.  CBS didn’t like the script. And they didn’t want to see a rewrite with the same story. The producers asked me if I had any ideas.  The screenplay was based on the second book in the series. When I got this call I was sitting at my desk looking at the rough draft of book number three.  I pitched them the story and they said, “Send us a copy by overnight mail.”  This was back before manuscripts could be sent by e-mail. (I know, I can hardly remember those days myself.)

So another screenplay was written, which didn’t fare any better than the first. Thus life #1 of my hoped-for TV series went to a quiet demise.

LIFE #2

A few years later, while I was at the Kentucky book fair promoting book number five in the series, a young blonde fellow bought a book.  We spoke for a few minutes and he moved on.  Later, back in Memphis, I get a call from this guy.  He wants to option the series for TV.  I tell him about my earlier experience with the other producers, who failed, but he’s unfazed.  We strike a deal.  There’s talk about John Goodman playing Broussard.  John Goodman… he lives in New Orleans and he’d be a great fit.  I love it.

Within a few weeks the producer calls to say he’s on his way to Memphis and could I meet him and John Goodman’s “best friend,” at the Peabody Hotel.  (The Peabody lobby is where William Faulkner and his mistress used to have drinks.)  The meeting takes place and I give the best friend a copy of the latest book, which he assures us, will be in John Goodman’s hands within twenty-four hours. That was the last time I ever heard from him or the producer.  So I guess the deal is off.

LIFE #3

In my primary occupation, I taught medical and dental students microscopic anatomy.  One day I get a call from a former dental student.  He’s now a part-time actor who’s been in a couple of notable films.  He says that he and a long-time Hollywood promoter have formed a production company and are looking for material. He remembers that I wrote a few novels and wonders what I’ve been doing since he last saw me. I talk about my work and send him some books.

Very soon thereafter he calls me again and says he and his partner “are on fire over these forensic books.”  They believe the series would make a great TV SERIES.  He asks me who I’d like to play Broussard.  I tell him I’ve always believed Wilford Brimley would be perfect.  Incredibly, my former student says that his partner had lunch with Wilford just last week.  He’s sure they can get him to sign on.  With an actor of Wilford’s stature attached to the project, we’ll surely get a deal.

Was all this talk about Brimley just smoke?  No.  Because they actually got him on board.  And what’s even better, my former student and his partner were working with another producer who had a development deal with the Sci-Fi network.  They planned to present my series to the network three weeks hence, focusing on the real and apparent paranormal aspects of the first two books.

On presentation day at the Sci-Fi Network my student calls me just before they go in.  I wait anxiously the rest of the day to hear how it went.  Years later, I’m still waiting.  The only contact I’ve had since presentation day is a big envelope from the producer who had the development deal.  In the envelope is a bunch of stuff I wrote for the presentation along with a note from the producer that says, “Sorry we couldn’t have worked longer on this together.”

LESSON LEARNED

Early in the machinations of the first development deal, I used to caution myself not to spend any time thinking about how great it would be if every week I could watch my characters living and breathing on a TV show.  My thinking was that if I kept a tight rein on my expectations, it’d be much easier on my psyche if things didn’t work out.

But then I realized I was missing out on the excitement of the possibility.  Why not let my mind run with it?  Then, even if none of the deals came to fruition I would still have the pleasure of being part of a great endeavor.  So that’s what I did.  And now, even though I never played that bit part in a pilot and I’ve never seen John Goodman or Wilford Brimley bring Broussard to life, I sure had a lot of fun along the way.

(By the way, if you’re a TV/film producer, the rights are available.)

Buy Cajun Nights at Amazon

About the Author:

D.J. Donaldson is a retired professor of Anatomy and Neurobiology.  His entire academic career was spent at the University of Tennessee, Health Science Center, where he published dozens of papers on wound-healing and where he taught microscopic anatomy to thousands of medical and dental students.

He is also the author of seven published forensic mysteries and five medical thrillers. He lives in Memphis, Tennessee with his wife and two West Highland terriers. In the spring of most years he simply cannot stop buying new flowers and other plants for the couple’s prized backyard garden.
 Twitter  *  website  *  Facebook

Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small fee is earned when purchases are made through the above link.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Featured Book: Dragon Wars by Emily Fogle (@EmilyFogle05)


Signed paperbacks are now available through BookSurf! Ask Donna, your independent BookSurf consultant, how to get your copy. (Sign up for Donna's newsletter to get updates on other BookSurf products)


About the Book

Dragon Wars

Life is filled with changes, but sometimes even the most tragic events bring joy in the end, which is something Danny Warren learns when he joins the Dragon Wars.

Danny sadly loses his father in a hit-and-run auto accident and is forced to move to a different town. But his fresh start is a horrible one and Danny desperately wants to find a world he can belong to. One afternoon, after a particularly hard day at school, Danny finds a mysterious box hidden inside his window seat. He soon discovers that the box is his portal to Dorcian, the dragon world. Sadly, the once amazing world is in utter turmoil, and its inhabitants are suffering. Danny finds the one thing that can bring meaning and happiness back to his heart: saving those that desperately need his help. Together, one boy and six lone dragons, will defeat evil and wage the Dragon Wars.

And, in the midst of it all, Danny will discover that even the smallest person can make a huge difference when it matters the most.




Buy Dragon Wars at Amazon




About the Author


Emily Fogle

Emily Fogle was born and raised in Southern California. Her dream and ultimate goal was to get her Masters degree in English and become a teacher with enough time to write, as well. However, she soon found out that the best dreams often come true when they aren’t planned. Instead of fulfilling her teaching goal, real life took over and she married the man of her dreams. She now has an amazing 7 year old son and a beautiful newborn son. She dedicates the majority of her time taking care of her family, volunteering at her son’s school, and being a Cub Scout Den leader. And though she loves every minute of it, the thought of being a writer still tugs at her heart. So, after the busy days are done and everyone is finally sleeping quietly, she squeezes in time for all the other loves in her life: the characters running wild inside her head.

Twitter  *  Facebook  *  Goodreads




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Want your book featured? 
Send a link to the book you want featured to donna @ girl-who-reads.com. 1 link per author, NO erotica. The link can be to a retail site, Goodreads, or your website.

Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small fee is earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the above link.

Review The Devil Ate Me by PM Barnes

by Claire Rees

The Devil Ate Me
We first meet Stanley Barnoak, founder of ‘Stany B’s Private eyes’ company. He reminisces of past jobs and his love life, why he never married and how he became a private investigator. He then goes on to describe his crew, and one person in particular; Becky Brown.  Next we meet Becky, she appears very distraught and disturbed and begins to tell Stan her story if what has happened to her during an investigation.

Her job this time was to investigate the disappearance of a Russian girl, Becky had been hired by this girls church friends as they felt something bad had happened to her in an old mansion.

Becky found out who the house had been bought by and decided to pay them a little visit to see if she could find a link to the missing girl.

Once at the house she is greeted by a gorgeous man who seems to have put her in a trance. She has unexplainable feelings for this man and can’t think of anything else but bedding him. She wakes up in bed and is quickly joined by this handsome man.

Things in this house are darker than they seem and Becky loses a lot more than just a few hours.

She manages to escape the confines of the house and makes it back to the office o tell Stan her story.

The sex scenes in The Devil Ate Me by PM Barnes are delicious and dark; the story is really well written and will certainly get your heart going. This book would be enjoyed by all who love a good dark erotic thriller.

Buy The Devil Ate Me at Amazon


Book info: 
Available formats: ebook
Published: November 2014
Genres: erotica, thriller
Target audience: 18+
Source:
Read: November 2014



Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small fee is earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the above link.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Featured Book: Written in My Own Heart's Blood by Diana Gabaldon


Goodreads Choice Award Winner 2014: Best Romance

About the Book

Written in my own heart's blood
WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART’S BLOOD is the eighth novel in the world-famous OUTLANDER series. In June of 1778, the world turns upside-down. The British army withdraws from Philadelphia, George Washington prepares to move from Valley Forge in pursuit, and Jamie Fraser comes back from the dead to discover that his best friend has married Jamie’s wife. The ninth Earl of Ellesmere discovers to his horror that he is in fact the illegitimate son of the newly-resurrected Jamie Fraser (a rebel _and_ a Scottish criminal!) and Jamie’s nephew Ian Murray discovers that his new-found cousin has an eye for Ian’s Quaker betrothed.

Meanwhile, Claire Fraser deals with an asthmatic duke, Benedict Arnold, and the fear that one of her husbands may have murdered the other. And in the 20th century, Jamie and Claire’s daughter Brianna is thinking that things are probably easier in the 18th century: her son has been kidnapped, her husband has disappeared into the past, and she’s facing a vicious criminal with nothing but a stapler in her hand. Fortunately, her daughter has a miniature cricket bat and her mother’s pragmatism.



Buy Written in My Own Heart's Blood at Amazon



About the Author


Diana Gabaldon

Diana Jean Gabaldon Watkins grew up in Flagstaff, Arizona and is of Mexican-American and English descent. She has earned three degrees: a B.S. in Zoology, a M.S. in Marine Biology, and a Ph.D in Ecology. She currently lives in Scottsdale, Arizona.

website  *  Goodreads  *  Facebook  *  Twitter




Read a Sample





Want your book featured? 
Send a link to the book you want featured to donna @ girl-who-reads.com. 1 link per author, NO erotica. The link can be to a retail site, Goodreads, or your website.

Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small fee is earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the above link.

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