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June 9, 2012

Back in time we go: Hellenic Immortal

Hellenic Immortal by Gene Doucette
paperback, 277 pages
Published May 2012 by The Writer's Coffee Shop
ISBN13 9781612131016
Read May 2012
Goodreads, Amazon

Hellenic Immortal is the second book in Gene Doucette's Immortal series. We pick up a couple of years after the end of Immortal, but Adam is back on his own and in Las Vegas. We do get a closure on what happened/is going on with Iza (the pixie) and Clara (the girl). If you were hoping for more adventures with this trio, well you are out of luck. Except for a few passing references, we get a whole new cast of characters.

I really wanted to like this book. However, the entire time I was reading it, something felt off. I think it part is the new cast of characters who I did not connect with. I had a hard time getting into the entire story. There was a mystery to be solved in Immortal, I didn't feel there was much of a mystery in this one. The whole tone of the book seemed off to me. In my review (see it here) of Immortal, I praised the writing style. Whereas it was sharp in the first book, it seemed dull. I know that Gene went with a new publisher for the second book which means a new editing team, but I don't think it was necessarily editorial problems. Adam's voice was different.

Greek mythology has never really been my thing so I'm sure that didn't help when reading Hellenic Immortal. I did find the history a little more interesting this go around. I'm not sure about the new creature he introduced. In general satyrs are okay, but did we need a "creature". Could the story occur even if they were human?

I had really high hopes after reading Immortal and I'm sure that played some into my disappointment. That is how it can be with sequels. Was it a good story? Yes. Did I find it entertaining? Yes. Was it what I was expecting? No. I really wanted more of Clara and Iza. I liked those characters and connecting with characters is high on whether or not I really like a book. I could not connect with Mike or Adriane. And I'm not sure if I really like Adam. I was happy to get more information on who the red headed woman is.

So should you read Hellenic Immortal? I think so. It had entertainment value and I'm glad for the glimpses we got of Clara and Iza.

Your turn: How do you feel about sequels? Does the anticipation enhance or hinder your enjoyment?


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June 8, 2012

ArmchairBEA: The Future of Blogging

It's the last day of ArmchairBEA. Are you tired? Last year was the first time I blogged for 5 days straight and I tried to visit 20 or so blogs a day. This year was better because I've been regularly blogging 5 days a week and I haven't visited as many blogs. I will try to get caught up on reading blogs this weekend.

English: New gates
English: New gates (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Today's topic is The Future of Blogging. I'm going to go with broader terms rather than my blog specifically. While I have a lot of things I would like to see for my blog, as mostly a hobby I don't want to set too firm of goals (I hate missing goals). So here is what I see for the future of blogging.

For those who have snooped around my blog, you'll notice I review self and indie published books often. There is a lot of talk around the publishing world of what they will mean to the industry. Often, the subject of gatekeepers comes up. Who will tell us what is good to read and what isn't worth our time? Prior to the self-published age, editors and large publishing firms decided what we would get to read and occasionally you would glimpse a title from an small or independent press. Truth be told, what was determined good enough for publication wasn't necessarily stellar work, but what would sell the best. For years, major publishers feed the masses and expected us readers to follow the elite few like lemmings.

Please don't misunderstand me, I'm not hating on major publishers. I love them. Honestly, I don't care how a book winds up in my hands, just that it does. Which gets me back to my point.

In the previous era, large quantities of quality books never made it to market, because the "gatekeepers" didn't see a large enough market for them. Publishing is an expensive business. However, with rise of the digital age and ease at which anyone can publish their work no longer am I only being exposed to a smidgen of the literary offerings. However, I will tell you that not all that makes it to print is worth reading. But is that really my call?

In a way, I think bloggers will become the new gatekeepers. Unlike our predecessors we won't be determining what gets published, but helping to decide what gets read. I see readers turning to bloggers to determine which books they should spend their money on and which ones they should pass. Like readers in the past have found critics/legacy media reviewers who shared similar tastes, readers will find bloggers who they trust and will actually be able to interact with. I'm not saying the careers of critics/legacy media reviews are over. No, I still think they have a place, but the multitude of books that will be available to the reader will necessitate more voices. 

I think the future of blogging is bright. We need to step up our game and take our responsibility seriously.

(This post is getting too long and I'm distracted my the twitter party. I think I will do a part 2 next week).

Day 1 - Introductions
Day 2 - Giveaways! 
Day 3 - Networking ... In Real Life
Day 4 - Beyond the Blog
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June 7, 2012

Tips on Thursday: Money (ArmchairBEA edition)

Some of my coins. bin/link.pl?partner=11031&pr...
Some of my coins. Earn Money From Your Website: Information Packaging Affiliate Program (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Welcome to Day 4 of ArmchairBEA. Today's official topic is Beyond the Blog. I've changed it slightly to fit with the titles of my Tips on Thursday posts. While I hope you did not start blogging with dollar signs in your eyes, it is always nice to get a little compensation for your hard work.

As far as hobbies go, book blogging can support your reading habit. Since I started blogging, I have bought few books. Though to be honest, I've probably have bought more since I started blogging than I have my entire adult life (if you don't count the charity library sales). If your goal, like many hobbyist, is to support your hobby, then there are plenty of free books to be had. Check out Netgalley and Edelweiss for galleys. Discover Indie authors who are all too happy to send free finished digital copies to bloggers. If you are more interested in print copies, get on mailing lists with publishers, agents, publicists, editors to receive both ARCs and finished books. If you don't know how to get on such lists, ask your fellow bloggers if they will mention you to their contacts.

If you are wanting to go beyond just supporting your habit, erm...hobby, by making pocket money (extra spending money) there are a few ways. Perhaps one advantage Blogger has over free Wordpress is the ability to monetize your blog. I haven't fully read Wordpress's TOS, but they may not even allow affiliate links. Please check your TOS before implementing the tips I offer below.

Adverts

If you are using Blogger, or perhaps self-hosted Wordpress, you can easily add Google Ads to your site. I run them on my site and my RSS feed. Unless you are pulling in at least 30K - 50K pageviews a month, you aren't going to get rich quick. Last month was the first month that I earned something almost daily from my adds and it was only a penny a day. While occasionally someone will click on the ad (and sometimes earn as much as $1.30), it is mostly impressions that will bring in the "steady" income.

I've noticed some bloggers have started offering paid advertising on their blogs. While this can bring in more money, I caution you on the accountability issues you may encounter. In the US (probably in other countries that have taxes), you will need to account for this income and if you make more than $600 you will pay income taxes on it. Those who you are selling advertisement space to may also wish for you disclose the number of impressions and/or clicks their ad received. Authors and other outlets want to make sure they are getting their money worth.

Affiliate/Partner Programs

Bloggers are in fact online advertisements in many ways. Do you link to booksellers in your reviews? Why not get paid for it? Many booksellers have affiliate or partner programs where you will receive a small (usually 4 - 7%) advertisement fee should someone purchase through your link. Because you get an accounting report, it can also help bolster your reputation with publishers if you can show you recommendation leads to sales. Most bloggers I know are Amazon affiliates, but do not overlook supporting your (or your readers') independent bookstore. You can sign up for the Affiliate program at IndieBound, which allows readers to find their favorite books at their local book store. You may also wish to talk to your independent bookstore about possible partnerships. Maybe you could offer a coupon on your site that readers then used in the store and you received a small compensation.

Jobs

In today's economy no job is safe. Have you thought about the writing, marketing, networking, etc skills you are gaining through maintaining a blog?

Freelance writing: I'm sure many, including me, have looked into freelance writing opportunities. Have you seen HubPages in your search queries? Anyone writing for them? I've read some about it, but would love to hear personal stories.

Writing jobs are difficult to break into. You will need to build your credits/by line a bit more than your blog if you new to this. I have started writing for my local Patch.com. It doesn't pay, but my writing gets a bit more visibility. Many communities have a Patch.com, but if not they may be interested in starting one in your area. If you editorial and/or journalism experience they may hire you to run it. There are "blogs" that are collaborations that accept contributions. Some pay and some don't. You can check out Huffington Post, Book Riot, and I just had a new one follow me on twitter yesterday ThunderDome Magazine. You can also check out literary magazines and journals for libraries/booksellers as they often pay for reviews. Roughly $20 can be expected depending on length requirements and circulation of publication.

Blog to Book: Isn't everyone writing a book? Depending on what you write on your blog, you may have content that can be reworked into a book. It is becoming easier and easier to get your words in front of the masses and earn a little bit of money at it. By offering expanded/unique content in book format, you have a ready made audience.

Freelance reading: One day, I kind of jokingly tweeted that I wanted a job where I read all day. Then I started wondering what kind of reading jobs might be available. The normal ones that have large amounts of reading in their job description popped up - literary agent, editor. But a couple of jobs I didn't know existed also turned up. Granted these are few and far between, might be dependent on where you live, and don't necessarily pay well, but they would be cool jobs to have.
  • Manuscript reader: Literary agencies and editors get way more submissions than they could possibly go through on their own. There are a few that rely on "slush pile" readers to help them narrow down the possibilities. But did you know the film industry also rely on script readers? Providing script coverage is more detailed than simply writing a review. Readers are paid per manuscript/screenplay. I saw a few bloggers mention a pay scale. It ranged from $25 - $125 (lower rates for manuscripts you reject and higher for ones you recommend and can be contingent on the length of the script). It should be noted that many in the industry are now using interns and assistants to fulfill this job.
  • Book scout: This is a new position that I learned about from a blogger in the film industry. It would be super cool and I will talk a bit more about why more bloggers could become book scouts in tomorrows post. In essence, a book scout finds books for film/television adaptation. I learned some really interesting stuff from Amanda of The Aspiring TV Writer and Screenwriter Blog. Book scouts are often employed by a studio or production company and work closely with publishers and literary agents to discover titles maybe a year in advance of its publication. This is a salaried position that may receive a "signing bonus" and even film credit. Check out my post tomorrow for more of my thoughts on book scouting.
Well, this post turned out longer than my typical posts. As you can see there are many options should you want to pursue blogging, reading, writing on a more professional level. One last tip - it is often who you know so put those networking skills we talked about yesterday to work and you never know where it might lead.

Day 1 - Introductions
Day 2 - Giveaways!
Day 3 - Networking...in Real Life
Day 5 - Future of Blogging


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June 6, 2012

ArmchairBEA: Networking...in Real Life

It's Day 3 of ArmchairBEA! While I love Giveaway Day for all the awesome books and swag that can be won, I actually enjoy the last few days of posts. This year, it's almost like an extension on my Tips on Thursday posts. Bloggers will be sharing some how to and inspirational type posts that are suppose to educate and encourage each of us in all things book blogging.
 
Today's post is similar in topic to a Tips on Thursday post I did a few months back on acting locally in your book community. In that post I shared some ideas on involving your local community and promoting your blog at the same time. But networking can be a lot more than just promoting your blog. It's also about developing friendships and sharing a passion for books.

One such event that I attended this year for the sole purpose of meeting book lovers and celebrating books was World Book Night. My local indie bookstore, Avid Bookshop, hosted a pick-up party and I was invited as a book blogger to attend. While I did meet another blogger, I also got to talk to avid readers who didn't blog. They were no less enthusiastic about books. They were giving up an evening to hand out books in hopes of inspiring new readers.

I had a great time talking about books in a different way than I talk to other book bloggers. When I talk with book bloggers about books there is always an edge of business to it - controversies, latest news on publishing deals, what you think about the state of publishing, etc. But with these readers it was truly about the stories - about books that impacted their lives or they hoped to share with their children. I'm not sure if I'm explaining the difference well. Maybe you talk to readers who have no stake in the industry (bloggers, booksellers, librarians, authors), but for me most of my friends are casual readers at best. These conversations with avid (perhaps even voracious) readers who have no part in the book world outside of being a reader were a rare treat for me.

A few of the people I met that night, I have brought into my online circle of contacts. I connected with them on Goodreads and Twitter. From the stats for my blog, I'm sure I picked up a few new fans from the event (I didn't have many local readers before the event).

I encourage you to get involved in your local book community, but more importantly connect with readers. These can be the go to people for you when you are feeling drained by the blogging and/or publishing politics. They will remind you of why you are excited and passionate about books and promoting authors. If you don't know where to find events in your local area, try Goodreads events or check with your local bookstore/library.

Day 1 - Introductions
Day 2 - Giveaway! 
Day 4 - Beyond the Blog
Day 5 - Future of Blogging
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June 5, 2012

Armchair BEA: Giveaway Day!

This is the best day of ArmchairBEA because you get to win FREE stuff. We have it even better than the BEA participants. We do not have to lug our loot around and then pay to ship it home. I have a huge giveaway for this year. Some are open to US only, but many of the books can be won by anyone anywhere as long as a mail service runs in your area.

Here is what you can win:

International:

Double-take Tales by Donna Brown
2 ebooks available in the format of your choice

Three dark, sardonic short stories that will have you expecting the unexpected:
In "Poison," a psychologically abused wife discovers that her husband's nut allergy may be the solution to all her problems.

In "Round Trip," a five pound note passes through desperate hands, greedy hands and tired hands before coming full circle…accompanied by a big surprise.

In "C'est La Vie," the police bungle a murder investigation under the watchful eye of someone uncomfortably close to the killing

Goodreads, Amazon


Amador Lockdown by Coral Russell
2 ebooks available in the format of your choice

Something has moved into the Amador Hotel. Hector, Marcos, Bev, and Tony of the Paranormal Posse are called in to either debunk the haunting or get rid of whatever is causing the problems. With the surprise arrival of Hector's son, he tries to keep his professional and personal lives separate, but whatever is haunting the Amador Hotel has other plans.
Goodreads, Amazon 

Playing with Fire by Coral Russell, et al.
2 ebooks available in the format of your choice

Scare easily? Are you often frightened out of your sleep? Does the mere mention of ghosts prickle your skin?

These seven authors' imaginations are fired up by the scariness of the unknown.

Find a comfy spot, sit back and enjoy nine tales to tickle your taste for terror.

Goodreads, Amazon 

The Almost Complete DIY Guide to eBook Publishing by Coral Russell
2 ebooks available in the format of your choice

I emptied my brain and computer into this eBook of all the current information on eBook Publishing and it has literally 1000 links. Sections are on my blog at alchemyofscrawl.bbcoll.com and I would love comments, questions, ideas, debate. I have been reviewing Indie Authors and enjoyed so many great stories. I hope this information is useful and helps you sell a ton of eBooks.
Goodreads 

In Leah's Wake by Terri Giuliano Long
1 prize pack that includes Tote bag, signed paperback, and bookmark

As Leah's parents fight to save their daughter from a world of drugs, sex, and wild parties, their divided approach drives their daughter out of their home and a wedge into their marriage. Meanwhile, twelve-year-old Justine observes her sister's rebellion from the shadows of their fragmented family-leaving her to question whether anyone loves her and if God even knows she exists.
Goodreads, Amazon, IndieBound 




US, Canada, & UK addresses ONLY   

Fezariu's Epiphany by David M. Brown
1 paperback 

Fezariu grows up among the soldiers and becomes one of them. He thinks his time with the mercenaries has hardened him. But a campaign in his old home town pushes him too far, and he discovers what really happened to his mother. Maybe there are some things money shouldn't buy... and maybe it's time Fezariu took his revenge.
Goodreads, Amazon, IndieBound 

A World Apart by David M. Brown
1 paperback

Demetrius has made two mistakes. But he can atone. The Black Iris is dead. The Ivory Rose has risen to the top of the pirates and is leading brutal raids on the coast. If Demetrius can capture and kill her, he'll win his pardon. However, in a cruel twist of fate, he must decide which will be his third mistake: Losing his last chance at a pardon, or destroying the one woman he's ever loved.  
Goodreads 



US and Canada addresses ONLY

Nate Rocks the World by Karen Pokras Toz
2 paperbacks

Armed only with his sketchpad, his imagination, and his wits, Nathan Rockledge navigates the perils of the fourth grade in style, to emerge heroic, as Nate Rocks, proving that even a ten-year-old can accomplish great things.
Goodreads, Amazon, IndieBound 






US addresses ONLY

Downburst by Katie Robison
Your choice of paperback or ebook

Kit’s only goal is to stay alive. Right now, that means dodging brutal gangs while peddling fake I.D.s on the back streets of Winnipeg. But things get complicated when Kit sells a license to a girl named Aura—a girl who could almost be her twin. Caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, Kit is plunged into an underground society with heart-stopping surprises at every turn. 
Goodreads, Amazon, IndieBound


The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D. by Nichole Bernier
1 hardcover

Summer vacation on Great Rock Island was supposed to be a restorative time for Kate, who’d lost her close friend Elizabeth in a sudden accident. But when she inherits a trunk of Elizabeth's journals, they reveal a woman far different than the cheerful wife and mother Kate thought she knew. 
Goodreads, Amazon, IndieBound 


Clean Break by David Klein
1 paperback

Lured by the hope of a better life for herself and her son, Celeste Vanek must
deal with the emotional and physical resistance of her compulsive gambler
husband when she asks for a divorce. Though she hopes she is on the verge of
making a clean break, her husband demands his family back, and things get
violent. 

Goodreads, Amazon, IndieBound 

Before Ever After by Samantha Sotto
1 paperback

Three years after her husband Max's death, Shelley feels no more adjusted to being a widow than she did that first terrible day. That is, until the doorbell rings. Standing on her front step is a young man who looks so much like Max—same smile, same eyes, same age, same adorable bump in his nose—he could be Max's long-lost relation. He introduces himself as Paolo, an Italian editor of American coffee table books, and shows Shelley some childhood photos. Paolo tells her that the man in the photos, the bearded man who Paolo says is his grandfather though he never seems to age, is Max. Her Max. And he is alive and well.
Goodreads, Amazon, IndieBound 

There are the 12 different titles for a total of 17 winners. I will use Random.org to randomly pick the winners. You have until midnight on Sunday, June 10 to enter. Click on the ENTER HERE link below.

Images and summaries are courtesy of Goodreads.com. Thank you to the authors and Jonathan Lazzara and Danielle Crabtree of Random House for offering this great collection of books for giveaway.

See the list of winners here.

Day 1 - Introductions
Day 3 - Networking... in Real Life
Day 4 - Beyond the Blog
Day 5 - Future of Blogging  

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June 4, 2012

Vlog #16: ArmchairBEA 2012

Welcome to ArmchairBEA 2012 week here at Girl Who Reads. While I had hoped to be in New York for the big even this year, I'm happy to be participating in the at home version for the second year. For those of you who weren't around last year, each day there is a topic provided for the bloggers participating in the event. There are also giveaways and twitter parties throughout the week. You can learn more at Armchairbea.com.

Today's topic is MEET THE BLOGGER. Watch the video below to learn more about me. If you are here for Mailbox Monday, which is hosted by Alternative Read this month or It's Monday! What are you reading? I've included it in the video, plus my list is below the video. Please come back tomorrow for my BIG giveaway. I have hardcovers, paperbacks, and ebooks, and yes, most are open internationally.



Mailbox Find

The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D. by Nichole Bernier
Goodreads, IndieBound, Powell's Books, Amazon
Before there were blogs, there were journals. And in them we’d write as we really were, not as we wanted to appear. But there comes a day when journals outlive us. And with them, our secrets.

   Summer vacation on Great Rock Island was supposed to be a restorative time for Kate, who’d lost her close friend Elizabeth in a sudden accident. But when she inherits a trunk of Elizabeth's journals, they reveal a woman far different than the cheerful wife and mother Kate thought she knew.
   The complicated portrait of Elizabeth—her troubled upbringing, and her route to marriage and motherhood—makes Kate question not just their friendship, but her own deepest beliefs about loyalty and honesty at a period of uncertainty in her own marriage.
   The more Kate reads, the more she learns the complicated truth of who Elizabeth really was, and rethinks her own choices as a wife, mother, and professional, and the legacy she herself would want to leave behind. When an unfamiliar man’s name appears in the pages, Kate realizes the extent of what she didn’t know about her friend, including where she was really going on the day she died.
   Set in the anxious summer after the September 11th attacks, this story of two women—their friendship, their marriages, private ambitions and fears—considers the aspects of ourselves we show and those we conceal, and the repercussions of our choices. From Goodreads.com
Reading List:

In paperback

Farsighted by Emlyn Chand
Goodreads, IndieBound, Powell's Books, Amazon
Alex Kosmitoras's life has never been easy. The only other student who will talk to him is the school bully, his parents are dead broke and insanely overprotective, and to complicate matters even more, he's blind. Just when he thinks he'll never have a shot at a normal life, an enticing new girl comes to their small Midwest town all the way from India. Simmi is smart, nice, and actually wants to be friends with Alex. Plus she smells like an Almond Joy bar. Sophomore year might not be so bad after all.

Unfortunately, Alex is in store for another new arrival—an unexpected and often embarrassing ability to "see" the future. Try as he may, Alex is unable to ignore his visions, especially when they suggest Simmi is in mortal danger. With the help of the mysterious psychic next door and friends who come bearing gifts of their own, Alex embarks on his journey to change the future. From Goodreads.com
On my Nook:

Gabriel's Inferno by Sylvain Reynard
Goodreads, IndieBound, Powell's Books, Amazon
Professor Gabriel Emerson, a specialist in Dante and the art of seduction, believes he has already earned his exile to the lower circles of hell. Since redemption is impossible, there is no reason to refrain from indulging in a life of pleasurable sin, using his notorious good looks and sophisticated charm as a means to gratify his every whim. But when he meets Julia Mitchell, a brilliant, lovely, and innocent grad student with the achingly familiar eyes of an angel, all of his cynical convictions are challenged. Her mysterious allure and the havoc she wreaks on his self-satisfied existence cause him to lash out at her, while her quiet beauty and innate goodness consistently undermine his control, tempting him beyond measure.

Despite surviving a traumatic childhood, nothing has shaken Julia’s faith that redemption is possible for everyone—everyone but her. Her unworthiness torments her, since the only man she will ever love has managed to forget her very existence, failing to even recognize her when they reconnect. Too naive to see that Gabriel’s hostility is a mask for his increasing obsession with her, Julia forces him to come to grips with his past while she continues to unwittingly torment his senses. His fascination grows into a dangerous preoccupation, for Julia is forbidden fruit . . .

Will Gabriel survive the inferno, or will he succumb to the flames?
From Goodreads.com

Audio Book:

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Goodreads, IndieBound, Powell's Books, Amazon
In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.
Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister's place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before-and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love. From Goodreads.com

Day 2 - Giveaway!
Day 3 - Networking... in Real Life 
Day 4 - Beyond the Blog
Day 5 - Future of Blogging
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