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May 4, 2012

Friday Odds 'N Ends & a Hop

Book Blogger Hop

Happy Friday to all! I'm thrilled Crazy for Books has restarted her Friday Blog Hop. I really enjoyed the questions and had just started participating when it went on hiatus. I like that it offers a question that allows readers to get to know the blogger better. I hope to do this hop pretty regularly and I hope you like it.

This week's question...

Are you attending the Book Bloggers Convention and/or Book Expo of America in New York City in June? If not, will you participate in the online event called Armchair BEA?

As Coral mentioned on the Book Bloggers Collaborative, my plan is to attend the BBC and BEA in New York City. I haven't asked for the time off, but that shouldn't be a problem. I also haven't registered to attend or made hotel reservations or a booked a flight. I know it's a long shot, but I'm hoping to win the Independent Book Bloggers Award at Goodreads and then my trip would be paid for. Like I said that's a long shot so I need to start making arrangements. Anyone need a roommate? Anyone want to be my tour guide?

I did Armchair BEA last year. I'd only been blogging for a few months, but it was an absolute blast. I even won some cool prizes. I would love to participate again this year, but I don't know how feasible that will be while also attending BEA (I've heard it is exhausting and overwhelming). If you aren't going to BEA then I highly recommend participating in Armchair BEA.

The Odds 'N Ends

Terri Long, author of In Leah's Wake, is celebrating Indie Week. She's had some great guests discussing all the wonderful things about indie publishing. The Book Bloggers' Collaborative is getting involved by hosting Terri during our weekly radio show. So join the gang at 8 pm US MT as we discuss what does it mean to be indie? You can call in or there's also a chat room where you can pose questions or provide your thoughts.

On Saturday, I'm a featured guest on Terri's blog. Please stop by there to read my interview as I give a blogger's perspective on indie publishing.


My Athens Patch post this week featured middle grades fantasy author William j. Barry in the Local Author Spotlight. I'm hoping to offer more Local Author Spotlights in the feature. If you are in the Athens area and would like to be featured, please let me know.

You may remember William and his books as they've been featured on my blog. I reviewed the first book in his series, Sebastian and the Afterlife, and did a blog tour announcement for book 2 - Agents of the Reaper.

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May 3, 2012

Tips on Thursday: LinkedIn

Nederlands: Linked In icon
Nederlands: Linked In icon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
As bloggers, we are always looking for ways to increase our influence and make new contacts. While I've mentioned Facebook and Twitter as great tools for connecting with professionals and readers alike, LinkedIn can be a wonderful networking tool as well.

If you are not familiar LinkedIn, it is a professional networking site. Profiles are based largely on one's resume. Even, if you have a LinkedIn profile, you may not have thought about using it to promote your blog. Why would a hobby appear on a resume? While many of us may never pursue our blogging as a full-time career (or even one that pays in more than books), I think we treat it as more than a passing fancy. If you are reading my tips, you are probably pretty serious about this pursuit. So why not include it on your LinkedIn profile?

You may not want to list your blog on your official resume (unless you are apply for a job that requires strong writing or social media skills), including in on LinkedIn can help build your credibility amongst authors and publishers and well as promote your blog to possibly a different set of readers - those not actively seeking out book blogs.

Please note - as your profile can be viewed by others, including current and potential employers please consider any negative impact a personal blog may have on your career before including it on your LinkedIn profile.

I've seen different ways of listing your blog. Some people list themselves as Owner (I do) of their blog or as Reviewer. For those who are part of multi-author blogs, you may list yourself as contributing writer or if you have more responsibilities, you may consider yourself as an editor or administrator. You can write a description of your blog, including "services" you provide - guest posts, interviews, giveaways, etc. It can be a great (and FREE) way to advertise your blog to authors and publicists looking for blogs.

Features of LinkedIn:

In addition to providing a description of your blog on your profile, there are a couple of other features I find useful in promoting my blog and building my reputation in the publishing industry.

Status updates: You can provide status updates, much like you do on Facebook or Twitter (you can choose whether your updates are posted to Twitter). Remember LinkedIn is more of a professional network than social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. Make your updates relevant to your connections. If your connections are from a variety of fields (they are not in publishing, your career field, etc.) they are probably following you because they are readers. A majority of my connections are other bloggers and publishing industry professionals. I do not update my LinkedIn status every time I post to my blog. I will update when I post a Tips on Thursday or a really great review/guest post.

Groups: The real benefit of LinkedIn for your blog are the groups. There are several groups dedicated to books, publishing, reviews, writing, marketing, and authors. It is in the groups where you can really make a name for yourself. Most of my referral traffic from LinkedIn is a result of participating in a group. I recommend checking in weekly to see what is being discussed and add comments when you have quality content to contribute. Also asking good questions and spurring discussion will increase your profile within the group. If you are looking for content to blog about besides book reviews, I find the topics discussed in the groups helpful in formulating new blog posts.

While there are many more groups for you to join, here are the ones I'm a member of to get you started:
Book Marketing
Book Publicity and Marketing
Book Publishing Professionals
Book Reviewers
BookExpo of America
Books and Writers
Independent Book Publishers Association
New Authors Need Marketing Ideas

Do you use LinkedIn to promote your blog? What have you found that works best? What groups do you participate in?

Disclaimer - This is not a career advice blog. Anyone wishing to use LinkedIn to promote their blog, should first check with your human resources department, other company policy setting group, or professional organization in your field to determine the appropriateness of including your personal blog on a professional networking profile. The above suggestions are intended to help promote your blog and Girl Who Reads cannot be held liable for any negative outcomes that may result in implementing said suggestions.


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May 1, 2012

Naya Nikki: Favourite Characters & excerpt (guest post)


Today, I'm happy to welcome Naya Nikki to Girl Who Reads. She is currently promoting her new novel Familiar Ties which comes out May 21st from InkSpell Publishing. To see my thoughts on Familiar Ties, see my review here.

Give a warm welcome as Naya shares her favorite characters and then read an excerpt to get a glimpse of the characters.

Favourite Characters

My favourite character will always be Little Miss Gracie. She is stuck between wanting a proper family with her Mum and Dad yet secretly wanting her mum and Uncle Max get together. She was the most fun to write because she is so curious and fiercely independent at such a young age, however she still wants to follow in the footsteps of her best friend. I also love Grace’s chemistry with Max and Jack, because you can see that even though one is her father and the other is an Uncle she has completely different relationships with each of them, and you get to see who she is more comfortable with.

However my favourite character to write was Max as he holds a soft spot in my heart as many of his characteristics were based on my own dad. Also his relationship with Phoebe and Grace is much like mine with my dad so it was fun to write about him, so that everyone can see how wonderful he is. 

About the Author: Born and raised in London, England, Naya Nikki is a student who’s spent most of her life taming her creative streak through writing short stories. She’s signed her first contract with InkSpell Publishing to publish her first book “Familiar Ties.” The story follows the journey of two single parents whose daughters want nothing more than for them to become a happy family.

She is currently earning a degree in English with a minor in Creative Writing that will allow her to build her writing career. When she isn’t at the university, Naya loves nothing more than spending time with her parents and grandparents as well as meeting her friends for gossip sessions over some hot cocoa.
Excerpt:

“Amy,” Max warned, “You’re not going to just take pictures.”

He chuckled as he stood behind Amy, who was trying to figure out the new camera. Grace and Phoebe were posed perfectly on the sofa like little angels, big smiles showing rows of shiny white teeth, with the odd one or two missing. “You see,” he showed her. “There's this new, fancy thing called a timer. This means that all of us can be in the picture, including you.”

She playfully swatted him, as he jumped back, “Oh zip it.” She laughed, “I look a mess. Anyway I want a picture of you three for my desk, not me.”

Grace sat up as she swung her little legs off the edge of the sofa, her feet not even scraping the floor. “Come on, Mommy! Pwease?” She was missing her two front teeth and therefore she couldn’t pronounce her L’s properly. Amy thought it sounded so cute and secretly hoped that they’d never grow back.

How could she possibly say no to her little darling? She watched as Grace began to pout and bat her big, grey eyes at her. It was her infamous look that could make anyone fall for her, including her mother and her Uncle Max.

“No, not the pout,” she joked. “Anything but that, Gracie you know I can’t resist that cute little pout of yours.”

Once Max finished setting the timer, he curled his fingers around Amy's pale bangle covered wrist and pulled her towards the girls and the sofa. As they both sat down, on either side of the girls, he leaned over the girls’ heads to whisper, “I taught her that pout.”

“Yes, I know,” she replied. “Because that’s how you got Anna to fall for you.” She was about to laugh when she realized what she’d said. There was a moment of silence as both contemplated the loss of Anna. “Sorry,” she whispered to him. “I shouldn’t have said that."

“It’s fine,” he whispered back, before he could say anymore Phoebe crawled onto his lap. He smiled and saw the splitting image of his deceased wife staring back at him. He didn’t mind that Anna was gone, because she’d left him the most precious of gift. Amy smiled as she lifted Grace onto her lap. Both parents shuffled closer together as a unit.

“How long do we have, Daddy?” Phoebe asked, as she snuggled into her father’s chest.

“Thirty seconds,” he answered. “Can you smile big for me?” he asked.

Phoebe nodded as she smiled her massive toothy smile and reached for Grace's hand. “You too, Grace!” Phoebe instructed her friend. “Smile really, really big!”

For a moment, Amy remembered Anna again. They’d both been only eight years old when they’d sat and posed for a different camera. Amy still had that picture on her bedside drawer, next to one of Phoebe and Grace as babies. 'Smile real big,' Anna had said as she’d tilted her head against Amy’s to become one.

The smile on Amy's face wasn’t a sad one anymore. She was fortunate that she could feel Anna’s presence, through her charming daughter.

As she looked at the camera, she hadn’t realized that Max had put his free arm around her waist, pulling them closer. The camera started to blink, indicating to be ready. “Ready?” she asked them. “On the count of three, okay? One…Two…”

“Three,” they all said together, smiling big for the camera, to produce the perfect family photo, to anyone who didn’t know them. 

More Info:
 
Author website: http://nayanikki.weebly.com

Twitter: @NikkiNaya

Pre-Order The Book: http://www.inkspellpublishing.com/4/post/2012/01/familiar-ties.html


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April 30, 2012

Vlog #13: A lot of reading getting done


Read:

Sun Mage (Blacklight Chronicles #2) by John Forrester
Get it: Goodreads, IndieBound, Powell's Books, Amazon
Far out to sea, a mysterious island holds the ancient city of Darkov. The immortal sorcerer Aurellia awaits the arrival of Talis and Mara. The Temple of the Sun lures both dark and light forces to discover its power.

Talis and Mara will have to use their wits to escape slavery and trek out into the jungle. Foul fields of undead will trap them. Twin ancient cities, one of light and one of darkness, one ruined and one hideous in its power. Only one map can guide them.

But can they bear to enter the land of the dead? To face the God of the Underworld himself? If they fail, their family and city will fall to the Jiserians. And the world itself will slip into darkness. Unless Talis can first unlock the power of light magic. From Amazon.
Familiar Ties by Naya Nikki
Get it: Goodreads
Read my review here
Max West is a widower raising Phoebe, his four-year-old daughter. Phoebe has to live with the fact that the day she was born is also the day of her mother's death. As her fifth year without her mother approaches, Phoebe finds solace in her godmother, Amy Riley, and her daughter, Grace Crawford, another single parent family.

Amy Riley is a successful fashion designer who spends most of her days raising her four-year-old daughter, Grace, while her wayward boyfriend is travelling the world making the next best film. As the fifth year without her best friend looms she finds comfort in her ex-boyfriend, Max, and his daughter, Phoebe.

These two “broken” families have a tough week to face as the dreaded day approaches. However through their past, present and debatable future will their choices affect the outcome both parents clearly want and are simply denying? Or will Phoebe and Grace lose the only “whole” family they have ever known? From Goodreads
Jailbird by Heather Huffman
Get it: Goodreads, IndieBound, Powell's Books, Amazon
Neena Allen's life didn't exactly follow the path she'd anticipated. She couldn't have seen the twists and turns that would lead her to wander the woods, presumed dead by the prison guards. When Neena starts a new life in a little Arkansas town, she finds a contentment she never dreamed possible. The thing about skeletons in your closet is they always come back to haunt you. From Goodreads


Reading:

Hellenic Immortal by Gene Doucette
Get it: Goodreads
“Very occasionally, I will pop up in the historical record. Most of the time I’m not at all easy to spot, because most of the time I’m just a guy who does a thing and then disappears again into the background behind someone-or-other who’s busy doing something much more important. But there are a couple of rare occasions when I get a starring role.”

--Adam the Immortal

An oracle has predicted the sojourner’s end, which is a problem for Adam insofar as he has never encountered an oracular prediction that didn’t come true . . . and he is the sojourner. To survive, he’s going to have to figure out what a beautiful ex-government analyst, an eco-terrorist, a rogue FBI agent, and the world’s oldest religious cult all want with him, and fast.

And all he wanted when he came to Vegas was to forget about a girl. And maybe have a drink or two.

“I am probably not the best source when it comes to who invented what. For a long time I thought I invented the wheel.”

--Adam the Immortal

The second book in the Immortal series, Hellenic Immortal follows the continuing adventures of Adam, a sixty-thousand-year-old man with a wry sense of humor, a flair for storytelling, and a knack for staying alive. Hellenic Immortal is a clever blend of history, mythology, sci-fi, fantasy, adventure, mystery and romance. A little something, in other words, for every reader. From Goodreads
Broken by Susan J. Bigelow
Get it: Goodreads, IndieBound, Powell's Books, Amazon
In a post-war future world where First Contact has been made, humans are colonizing the stars, and the nations of Earth have been united under a central government, Extrahumans are required by law to belong to the Union. When a young man with visions of the future sets out on a mission to define the course of human history, he encounters a devastated former hero, a fascist dictatorship bent on world domination, and the realities of living in a society where affiliation is everything.Broken figured she was done with heroics when she lost the ability to fly and fled the confinement of the Extrahuman Union. But then the world started to fall apart around her, and the mysterious Michael Forward entered her life, dangling the possibility of redemption and rebirth.Michael Forward can see the future, but all he wants is to escape the destiny he has struggled against all his life. When the moment comes, though, he finds he can't refuse. Now he needs the help of a homeless ex-superhero to save a baby who may be the key to humanity's freedom.Monica had a good life with her large family, until two strangers and a baby showed up at her door. Now her family is gone, her life is in ruins, and she's on the run from the law.In a time of spreading darkness, when paranoia and oppression have overtaken the world, can three unlikely allies preserve a small ray of hope for a better, brighter future? From Goodreads
Listening:

The First Patient by Michael Palmer
Get it: Goodreads, IndieBound, Powell's Books, Amazon
The presidents doctor: the heart of a nation is in Gabe Singletons hands. In his most high-concept suspense novel to date, "New York Times" bestselling author Palmer delivers a thriller pitched at the crossroads of presidential politics and cutting-edge medicine. From Goodreads




Received:

 I Couldn't Love You More by Jillian Medoff
Get it: Goodreads, IndieBound, Powell's Books, Amazon
Eliot Gordon would do anything for her family. A 38-year-old working mother, she lives a conventional but fulfilling life in suburban Atlanta with her partner, Grant Delaney, and their three daughters. The two older girls are actually Eliot's stepdaughters, a distinction she is reluctant to make as she valiantly attempts to maintain a safe, happy household . . .

Then Finn Montgomery, Eliot's long-lost first love, appears, triggering a shocking chain of events that threatens to unravel everything she's worked for. How Eliot survives-and what she loses in the process-is a story that will resonate with anyone who has ever loved a child. With hilarious honesty, wrenching depth, and a knockout twist, I COULDN'T LOVE YOU MORE illuminates the unbreakable bonds of family and reveals the lengths we'll go to save each other, even as we can't save ourselves. From Goodreads

Lowcountry Punch by Boo Walker
Get it: Goodreads, Amazon
After the worst Christmas Eve of his life, DEA Agent T.A. Reddick leaves Miami for the magical city of Charleston, South Carolina, hoping a return to his roots will heal a broken heart and the guilt of killing a friend. The sleepy and sultry town of Charleston is filled with echoes of the Old South: genteel playboys, society debutantes, and quiet cobblestone streets. But as Reddick will soon discover, there's danger lurking under her charming veneer. When a movie star's death shines a national spotlight on Charleston's underground cocaine trade, he must go undercover to find the main supplier and shut him down. As a hurricane bears down on the port city and the DEA gets ready to spring its trap, Reddick must contend with more than he ever could have imagined.

Brash and bold, TA Reddick is a hero you won’t soon forget. Lowcountry Punch is an action-packed novel that will have you on your knees begging for more. From Goodreads

In Leah's Wake by Terri Guiliano Long
Get it: Goodreads, IndieBound, Powell's Books, Amazon
Protecting their children comes naturally for Zoe and Will Tyler—until their daughter Leah decides to actively destroy her own future.

Leah grew up in a privileged upper-middle class world. Her parents spared no expense for her happiness; she had all-but secured an Ivy League scholarship and a future as a star athlete. Then she met Todd.

Leah’s parents watch helplessly as their daughter falls into a world of drugs, sex, and wild parties. While Will attempts to control his daughter’s every move to prevent her from falling deeper into this dangerous new life, Zoe prefers to give Leah slack in the hope that she may learn from her mistakes. Their divided approach drives their daughter out of their home and a wedge into their marriage.

Twelve-year-old Justine observes Leah’s rebellion from the shadows of their fragmented family. She desperately seeks her big sister’s approval and will do whatever it takes to obtain it. Meanwhile she is left to question whether her parents love her and whether God even knows she exists.

What happens when love just isn’t enough? Who will pay the consequences of Leah’s vagrant lifestyle? Can this broken family survive the destruction left in Leah’s wake? From Goodreads

Mailbox Monday is a weekly meme hosted by various bloggers for a month at a time. April's host is Cindy's Love of Books.
It's Monday! What are you reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Book Journey.

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April 29, 2012

Sunday Shorts: Familiar Ties

Sunday Shorts is a new meme started by CabinGoddess.com. The rules are easy, a short story, an anthology of short stories, a novella, or a quick weekend read that is also short on your wallet! Link up below...

Familiar Ties by Naya Nikki
ebook, ARC
Published May 21, 2012 by InkSpell Publishing
ISBN13 9780985011567
Read April 2012
Find it: Goodreads 

Familiar Ties  is a fun, fast read. You know from the start that Amy and Max are meant to be together. However, their lives have taken many twist and turns that have left them together but not together.

I have to say I really like the cover. I try not to judge a book by the cover. With the amount of books I have in my review pile, I've come to appreciate well done covers. It fits the tone of the story well. This light romance is about friendship that may have always been more.

With short stories and novella, I often feel that characters are short changed. However, Naya has done a great job of giving full characters even with quite a large cast for the length. And this story is definitely character driven, as the plot is as much about personalities and character traits as it is about external events.
Amy and Max might as well be your best friends for how much you will come to care for them. 

The story is complex. With a combination of flashbacks and changing character focus, the story unfolds as a series of disjointed puzzle pieces that somehow forms a full picture at the end. You will think things are one way, but then a piece is added that changes the entire picture. 

I read an advance copy and as this is the first time I've read anything from InkSpell, I'm not sure where in the editing process the ARC is. There were a couple of continuity issues and I'm not sure if they are oversights or if the were caught before the final manuscript. Some people will probably not notice it, but it is a pet peeve for me so it distracted me from the flow of the story because I was questioning if it was correct and I missed something.

Summer is coming and Familiar Ties will be make an great vacation read. Add it to your reading list!

Come back on Tuesday, when I welcome Naya Nikki to the blog with a guest post.

Your Turn: What kind of books to prefer to read on vacation?

For more short stories and novellas, check out the blogs below.
 
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