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January 27, 2012

J. B. Lynn: Bits of Real Life (a guest post)

I'm once again honored to welcome J. B. Lynn to Girl Who Reads. She is celebrating the release of her second novel, Confessions of a Slightly Neurotic Hitwoman. I LOVED this book (in case you haven't figured it out for yourself). Thank you, J. B., for taking the time to share about one of my favorite characters!
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Fiction is made up, but I happen to think that every author puts a bit of themselves in their work.

Maybe they use a setting they’re familiar with, or perhaps they base a character on someone they know, or maybe they use some of their own likes/dislikes or quirks to flesh out a character.

For example, my love of animals is put to use in CONFESSIONS OF A SLIGHTLY NEUROTIC HITWOMAN. After Maggie Lee is involved in an auto accident and suffers a head injury, she can suddenly talk to animals.

This sudden “gift” Maggie has received just complicates her life further. Not only is she responsible for the care of her niece’s pet lizard, Godzilla, he happens to be a smarmy, know-it-all, who doesn’t shut up.
Is it time for Wheel of Fortune?

Personally, I’d jump at the chance to figure out what goes on in the heads of my pets.

Why is Senegal Sam the parrot, so enamored of lying on his back in the palm of my hand? It exposes his belly. Why doesn’t he have the instinct to protect himself?

Phoebe and Teddy
Or why does Teddy, my smaller dog, growl like Cujo if you dare to pet him after ten at night? Is he part Gremlin?

And why does Phoebe, the big dog, think she’s a lap dog? Seventy pounds is waaaayyyyyyy too big for a lap dog, but try telling her that!

While my animals provide unconditional love, Godzilla ends up serving as Maggie’s sounding board throughout CONFESSIONS OF A SLIGHTLY NEUROTIC HITWOMAN, often asking her the tough questions or calling her on the very things she’d rather forget about.

Yet another animal (its identity would be a spoiler, so I can’t reveal who) ends up being a major player in the climax of the book.

Needless to say, animals are important to me…both the ones who keep me company in real life and those who play in my imagination.

If you could talk to any animal, living or dead, real or imagined, who would it be? And what would you ask them?

If you haven't picked up a copy of Confessions of a Slightly Neurotic Hitwoman, WHY NOT? Seriously, you need to read it. Get your copy at Barnes & Noble or Amazon.

Anole photo credit: Clicksy via photopin cc
Dogs photo credit: J. B. Lynn via http://jblynn.wordpress.com/2012/01/19/my-favorite-readers/

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January 26, 2012

Tips on Thursday: Cross Promotion

Here we are again. It's Thursday and I'm sharing a tip that will benefit both book bloggers and authors. Today's topic is CROSS PROMOTION. We all know about networking and the benefits of promoting each other, but what about reaching out to other audiences? Surely there are readers who enjoy more than just books? Cross promotion increases your audience by reaching beyond your particular niche. Since cross promotion works much like promoting within your network, I'm going to share a couple of examples to get you thinking.

Example 1 - Book trailer music

Michele Richard, author of Mocked by series, paired up with a musician to have a song created for her Mocked by Faith trailer. By working with a musician she was able to tap into that fan base. The musician was able to benefit by being exposed to Michele's fan base.

 

If you are a non-fiction writer there are many cross promotion opportunities, but even book bloggers and fiction authors can cross promote. Did you review a cookbook? Find bloggers who talk about cooking, home, family, etc. to see if they will mention your review. I often read books with a science/biotech element to the blot, so a blog that talks about advancements in science might be interested in my review. Fiction writers need to connect the non-fiction portions of their books to bloggers or media that feature that topic. For example, paranormal authors may find an audience with ghost hunters or paranormal activity radio shows.

Example 2 - Support other creative people

I'm working with a ballet dancer, Tiffany, who has been accepted to the International Dance Competition in Cape Town, South Africa. Just the travel arrangements alone are expensive, not to mention the outfits, pointe shoes, coaching, studio time, etc expenses that will be incurred in preparation for the competition. 


As a dancer, Tiffany faces many of the same challenges authors face. How do you promote yourself and your craft? Tiffany shared her thoughts on promoting in the creative arts:


The creative arts are typically non-profit organizations that depend on donations from outside sources. In order to generate interest and get ones name out there they have to come up with ways to let the community know they are there. All of that costs money, but there are a few free alternatives which may only cost time; such as reserving a booth at the local farmers market to pass out flyers, hosting a car wash or putting on a free performance.

As an individual working to raise money, one has to go about things a little differently. Putting ones name out there is never an easy thing and much less your face, but people respond better to something they can visually see, touch and feel. One can still put on a performance, but they have to think of all the time and effort going into that and whether or not they can generate enough revenue in the allotted time they have. This is why I have chosen to sell ballet calendars instead. Just like with a performance, my face is all over it and people can tell from the photos the quality of what I'm selling (which is my dancing). Knowing they are getting something out of donating money for the calendar means they are more susceptible to donate; knowing that it's something legit means they won't hesitate to do so.

So now my job is just to do my best and try to bring them home something to make them proud :-)

Glittering Pointe

Tiffany also happens to be an avid reader and has a lot of reading friends. An author she adores offered to donate a signed book to help her raise funds. Tiffany started to talk to another blogger, Tamie at Bookish Temptations and me to see if we knew of other authors willing to donate for an auction and help with promotion. I did an interview with Tiffany a year or so ago for a different blog and even a year later the interview still received 10 -15 page views per week just because people google her. Any author willing to donate a book or other swag to the auction is sure to be seen by a multitude of readers.

The Dare to Dream auction will be Friday, January 27 -  Monday, February 6. If you are an author who would like to donate or a blogger who would like to host Tiffany (she's offering guest posts, interviews, and possibly a video diary entry to bloggers), please let me know. Click on the video photo above to learn more about Tiffany, the auction, and her journey to Cape Town.

Here's who's participating in the auction:


Michelle Birbeck: Signed short story with bookmark

E.van Lowe: Signed copy of Boyfriend From Hell

Amy Lichtenhan: Signed copy of Pulled with bookmark

Killian McRae: Paperback

Debra Anastasia: Signed copy of PoughKeepsie

M.A.Stacie: 2 ebooks: Unwritten Rules & Accidental Fate

Sylvain Reynard: Signed copy of Gabriel's inferno and a signed copy of the sequel upon it's release.

E.L.James: Signed copy of Fifty Shades

Jeaniene Frost: Copy of Half Way to the Grave
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January 25, 2012

PSA: Anoles as Pets

Some of you might not be aware that I have a degree in Biology and spent a few years working on a Ph. D. in ecology. My focus was environmental policy. If anyone is interested in publishing a book on Florida panther recovery, let me know :) This might explain why I enjoy books that have a science element to them. But I also shy away from books with animals. There's two main reasons: 1. They are usually sad or 2. the animal is so cute everyone wants one regardless if it makes a good pet or not (I spent many childhood years wanting a monkey).

I have spent the last few weeks talking about a great book, which released yesterday: Confessions of a Slightly Neurotic Hitwoman by J. B. Lynn. One of my favorite characters is Godzilla who prefers to be called God. So here is my official PSA should you decide you now want your own God.

Who is God?

Godzilla is not to be mistaken for a gecko. Due to a popular insurance commercial many people now believe all small green lizards are geckos.  Though geckos are not native to the U.S., they are plentiful in Florida and parts of the southeastern US. However, the green lizards we see are more likely the green anole (Anolis carolinensis).

The top photo is a gecko, the middle photo the green anole, and the bottom is the brown anole. I've included the brown anole (Anolis sagrei) because, though native to Cuba and Bahamas, it's been introduced to the U.S. (Florida, southern Georgia, Texas and southern California) and Godzilla is a brown anole. (Thanks J. B. for confirming this for me!).

Anole Husbandry:
(did I mention I worked for 15 months as a zookeeper? Husbandry is a fancy word for animal care)

Anoles eat LIVE insects (a lesson Maggie had to learn) and other small invertebrates. Most commonly they eat crickets, moths, and spiders. But they are also opportunistic feeders, if the meal is small enough they attempt to consume it. Captive adult anoles need to be fed 3 - 4 times a week.

Humidity is extremely important. Like other reptiles, anoles shed their skin. If humidity is too low the skin will not properly molt. The facial skin can build up impairing the anole's ability to fed and it will starve to death. In addition to providing a shallow water dish, the enclosure should be misted daily.

A 10 gallon terrarium is recommended, remember to have a mesh lid to provide ventilation but prevent escape. Typical life span is 4 - 8 years for wild anoles. A well cared for captive anole may live longer (up to 14 years).

Fun Facts About Anoles:

You shouldn't handle your anole and particularly do NOT pick it up by the tail. The primary defense mechanism of an anole is the ability to detach their tail. The tail will continue to wiggle to distract the predator.

Anoles are diurnal (they are active during the day).

They can grow up to 7 inches in length.

The green or Carolina anole is the only native U. S. anole and for the most part the brown or Cuban anole has pushed it to the northern regions of its range. There are some instances of overlapping habitat, but they segregate themselves - brown anoles stay on bottom branches while the green anole resides on higher branches.

All but the brown anole can change in color from bright green to dull brown. The brown anole only varies its shade of brown (shocking I know).



Find out why anoles will be the next pet craze by picking up your copy of Confessions of a Slightly Neurotic Hitwoman at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Credit:
Thank you to Wikipedia and Reptiles Realm for the information on anoles.

Photos (in order of appearance):
Tambako the Jaguar via photopin cc
Vicki's Nature via photopin cc
J. Star via photopin cc
Ennor via photopin cc
Ezra S F via photopin cc

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January 24, 2012

Now available: Confessions of a Slightly Neurotic Hitwoman


I feel like I've been talking about this book forever, but in reality it's only been about a month, but TODAY you can get your copy of what I'm sure will be a Best of 2012 book: Confessions of a Slightly Neurotic Hitwoman by J. B. Lynn. It's available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. I know it is only in ebook right now, but at $3.99 it is well worth reading it on your smart phone or computer if you don't have an ereader. It'll be available in paperback in February, but you really don't want to wait that long (it truly is that great of a read!).


Summary:

Confessions of a Slightly Neurotic Hitwoman by J. B. Lynn

Maggie Lee is not your average hitwoman. For one thing, she’s never killed anyone. For another, after hitting her head in the car accident that killed her sister, her new best friend is a talking lizard—a picky eater, obsessed with Wheel of Fortune, that only Maggie can hear.
Maggie, who can barely take care of herself, is desperate to help her injured and orphaned niece get the best medical care possible, so she reluctantly accepts a mobster’s lucrative job offer: major cash to kill his monstrous son-in-law.
Paired with Patrick Mulligan, a charming murder mentor (who happens to moonlight as a police detective), Maggie stumbles down her new career path, contending with self-doubt, three meddling aunts, a semi-psychic friend predicting her doom, and a day job she hates. Oh, and let’s not forget about Paul Kowalski, the sexy beat cop who could throw her ass in jail if he finds out what she’s up to.
Training has never been so complicated! And, this time, Maggie has to get the job done. Because if she doesn’t … she’s the mob’s next target. From Goodreads.com
Excerpt: 
I was sitting a Katie's bedside singing "Itsy Bitsy Spider", manipulating her lifeless fingers so that she'd mimic the pantomime of the song, when the man who would become my boss strolled in. I knew who he was instantly. Anyone who reads the newspaper or watches the local news would. Read full excerpt here. 

You can also read the first chapter of Confessions of a Slightly Neurotic Hitwoman at Scribd.

Reviews:

My 5 STAR review 
A Chick Who Reads 5 STAR review
Modokker Book Picks 5 STAR review

Are you convinced yet?
If you need a little more encouragement to pick up Confessions of a Slightly Neurotic Hitwoman, J. B. Lynn will be on tour (a blog tour) this week. Check her website for the details. She makes a stop here on Friday.  


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January 23, 2012

Video Blog #2: Reading Update


Watch the video to hear about what is coming up on my blog this week. 

Here's the link to the review I mentioned: Confessions of a Slightly Neurotic Hitwoman by J. B. Lynn

An opportunity for Bloggers and Authors: I'm organizing a Share the Love blog hop for Valentine's Day. If you would like to participate as a blogger or an author who wishes to donate swag, please contact me at donna at girl-who-reads dot com.

In My Mailbox (a meme hosted by The Story Siren):


Temptation by Douglas Kennedy 
I always wanted to be rich. I know that probably sounds crass, but it's the truth. A true confession. Like all would-be Hollywood screenwriters, David Armitage wants to be rich and famous. But for the past eleven years, he's tasted nothing but failure. Then, out of nowehere, bigtime luck comes his way when one of his scripts is bought for television. Before you can say "overnight success," he's the new toast of Hollywood as the creator of a hit series. Suddenly a player in Tinsel Town, he finds that he's reinventing himself at a great speed, especially when it comes to walking out on his wife and daughter for a young producer who worships only at the altar of ambition.But David's upward mobility takes a decidedly starnge turn when a billionaire film buff named Philip Fleck barges into his life, proposing a very curious collaboration. David takes the bait and suddenly finds himself inadvertently entering into a Faustian pact and an express ride to the lower depths of the Hollywood jungle. From Goodreads.com

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