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April 25, 2014

Review: Blaze by Summer Newman

by Claire Rees


Blaze
Blaze by Summer Newman focuses on two main characters.

Blaze Henry – A lady living off her uncle's riches until he loses his fortune on a bad investment. He gives Blaze a property in her name, the only thing he has left to give her, then leaves her alone in the world as he moves away with his wife for a new job. Blaze makes her way to the train by carriage saving a run - away slave from bounty hunters. No longer feeling so alone she feels a glimmer of hope about the future.

John Masters – Fastest guns around is also making his way towards the train after a failed job interview.  He is also protecting his travelling partner Cordell who has been wrongly branded a traitor by the army and if caught will face the firing squad.

Buy Blaze at Amazon

Before leaving Blaze's home time, Blaze and John have a brief encounter where John saves Blaze from being attacked by a local drunk.  They are both immediately attracted to each other and have a short but pleasant conversation.  So when they meet each other again at the train they are both extremely surprised and very happy about it.

John manages to get Blaze and her new friend a seat on the train with him and they also choose another woman called Tammy to go with them on the last seat.  They join a nice group of people on this hard and unforgiving journey west.

Over the course of the journey, they experience various hardships, including the loss of several lives through weather, starvation, drownings, fighting off bounty hunters and the crazed delusional army man ‘Ike’, determined to take Martha back to her slave master and Cordell to his death.

Falling in love with both men Blaze engages in very erotic sex sessions with the two men.

But who will she choose in the end? And will they survive the trip to Oregon.

I very much enjoyed the story, even though this is not a genre I would normally choose.  With the people on the run and the hardships they had to endure on the journey it made it exciting and I found myself thinking about what the characters would be doing when I wasn’t reading it. There are also some deliciously sexy intimate scenes that were written very skilfully. Wonderful ending to the story. I don’t think the writer could have ended it any better.

I think people who like a good romance story mixed with adventure would love this book.


Book info:
ebook 
Published January 2014
Source: author
Read: March 2014




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April 24, 2014

Getting Noticed on Facebook

by Donna Huber

In every author group I belong to, it seems everyone is talking about the same thing - how to get more visibility on Facebook. What use to be a great source of free exposure for businesses has become a big money maker for the founders of Facebook. However, the price is less free exposure for business. That might be okay for big businesses like Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Walmart, etc. But what about the hundreds and hundreds of small businesses and freelancers advertising their wares and services, not to mention the non-profit organizations that have used Facebook to get their message out to the masses. 

I was pretty pleased to see all the new likes over the past week on Girl Who Reads. I had over 200 new likes. I don't usually see that many likes in a week unless I'm participating in a giveaway. And then I remembered that Claire had participated in the For Now launch festivities with a review of For Always, the author Janae Mitchell was kind enough to inlcude both Claire's Facebook page and Girl Who Reads's page. So the high number of likes wasn't all through my own efforts, but I have done a few things that have increased likes without the giveaway and they have also helped with each post getting more views.

Giveaways

I'm not going to lie, the best way to get a bunch of new likes is to participate in a giveaway that uses social media links for extra entries. Book Blasts and Tours usually include a giveaway and your link is seen by readers of many blogs. I have done a few non-book giveaways, like the ones giving away cash prizes or coffee makers (they are sort of book related). However, I've not done as many since the last one I did I lost about as many of the likes over the month following the end of the giveaway as I had earned during the giveaway. Many of the people entering those giveaways are serial giveaway enterers and since I wasn't offering up a new giveaway every day they didn't find my page all that interesting. If you stick with book related giveaways you should retain most of the likes. 

Tag Your Page 

A new thing I've been trying out is tagging my page when I mention anything about the blog on Facebook. The week before the giveaway I got 12 new likes and in part it is due to the tagging. What do I mean my "tagging your page"? You know when you mention someone and their name is highlighted in the message? That's tagging. So if I go to one of my groups that allows sharing of blog posts I will put in the status something like, "Today on Girl Who Read I have tips about increasing your Facebook views" The Girl Who Reads part will be highlighted and links to my Facebook page. It makes people aware of the page without having to say all the time "hey look at my page". Tag your page occasionally with a status message on your personal profile to remind your friends and family that you have a page.

Tag Other Pages

When you write a status message on your Facebook page you should try to tag other pages. This is easy for guest posts as most authors will submit a link to their Facebook page, but you should also do with reviews and other mentions of books. Most authors have a Facebook page. Try typing "@" before their same to see if Facebook will suggest their page. For example when I start typing "@Girl Who" my Facebook page autofills. 

Tagging other pages also helps get your posts more views. The author (or whoever's page you tag) gets notified and will usually visit your page to see what you said. Typically they will like the post, too, which gives it more visibility. If you are really lucky they will also share your post and that will really push up the number of people that see it. 

Share, Like, & Comment

To get individual posts on your page more notice you should share the post. You can share to your personal page or to appropriate groups. Also by switching to yourself (as opposed to your page) and liking the post it will show up in the right hand ticker. Commenting as yourself will also get it more notice in that feed.

You should also be sharing, liking, and commenting on other people's posts. One, it tells Facebook you are still interested in that page's content and it will continue to show up in your news feed. Two, people will reciprocate. You can also use Facebook as your page so commenting, liking, and sharing as your page will let fans of that page know about your page. Shared interest and all will attract more fans to your page.

Sharing can be extremely important in how many people see a post on your page. I recently reshared on Facebook my tips post on How to Write a Review. An author friend shared it will a book group she belongs to on Facebook and that Facebook post got over 300 views (I'm usually do good with 30 - 40 a day and really good if it goes over 100). 

Photos & Links

If your Facebook posts are automatically sent to Twitter adding a photo can encourage your Twitter following to visit your Facebook page. Why? Because the photo becomes a link to that Facebook post. If with the link your status is longer than 140 characters the status message will be shortened with eclipse so people will click on the link to see the rest of the message.

Have you seen status messages from your favorite pages that say "link in comments"? For a while Facebook was limiting even more who saw the status when a link to a third party site was included (presumably they didn't want people to leave Facebook). This is still somewhat true. Another problem with the link as part of the status message is if your posts are auto-tweeted. Longer messages will be truncated to accommodate the link. And unlike with photos, the link does not direct to the Facebook message. 

Word of caution... I know doing the same thing over and over again, especially when it has gotten you results is easy to do. But you really need to mix it up. Your readers will appreciate it, and Facebook will keep showing your posts to your fans. 

Invite Others to Post

Pages aren't as friendly with letting others post on your page (it's one of the reasons I recommend authors to have both a page and a group). It makes sense because your page is the voice of your brand. You don't want others watering down your voice or your brand. Yet, inviting them to share their thoughts, opinions, and even more so their links can help with engagement and having you page and posts seen. At least once a month I will post a thread so that authors and readers can post links to books. I try to vary what I ask for - sometimes it is favorite book, other times it is discounted or Freebies. These posts get a lot of likes, a few comments, and usually a share or two. It's one of those "you help me, I help you" dealios. 

Worker Smarter, Not Harder

It might look like Facebook is making it harder to get your brand noticed. But what they are really doing is forcing brands to make smarter choices about what they post. As more and more spam creeps into our lives, these social media sites are looking to raise the bar. They want brands to post better quality content. The trade for higher quality messages is usually less frequency. However, in the long run, it will actually be more helpful to your brand. Great quality always shines brighter and will ultimately be a shining beacon in the wasteland of "buy my book", "look at ME" statuses. 



Donna Huber
Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the blogger behind Girl Who Reads and author of the how-to manual Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour.
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April 23, 2014

Matthew Kadish: The Lazy Author’s Guide To Blog Cross-Promotion

Greetings fellow humans!  ‘Tis I, Matthew Kadish, author extraordinaire and certified evil genius!  For those of you reading this who are not familiar with me, I’m sure that will change once I finish building my doomsday device and take over the world so that I can enact my dastardly plan of subjugating humanity by forcing them to read cheap knock-offs of Twilight written by unskilled fan fiction authors.

But until such time, I shall have to make do with spreading awareness of my brilliance by helping other authors become better at their own essential skills.  So today, I am going to share with you a quick-and-easy way to cross-promote your blog posts across various social media websites.  And not only is this brain-dead simple to do, it is also free!

As I’m sure you’re aware, if you are a self-published author (or even a traditionally published author), much of the work of promoting yourself falls squarely on your shoulders.  Thus, it is important to spread awareness of your content far and wide.

Earthman Jack vs The Ghost Planet
Most authors have a presence on social media that they prefer.  Some like to blog, some like to tweet, some like to Facebook (it’s a verb, deal with it), and on and on and on.  The problem is that authors can get overwhelmed, that they neglect so many other social networks in favor of one, or they spend way too much time trying to update all their social media that it’s almost like a full-time job.  This can lead to authors getting frustrated and burned out.  After all, what good is having 11,000 twitter followers if every blog post you make goes without a single comment?

It should be a no-brainer that if you are spending time cultivating a strong social media presence, you’ll want a way to make your followers aware of your latest projects, releases, and special announcements.  Being the genius that I am, I find that I prefer to spend my time doing one thing that will get me multiple benefits, as opposed to multiple things that will get me one benefit.  Thus, I’ve devised a diabolical way of cross-promoting one’s content across the most important social media platforms in existence!

Well, maybe I didn’t devise it, per say.  But I use it!  So… whatever.  Moving on.

If you have a self-hosted Wordpress blog (and if you don’t, what are you waiting for?), this method is pretty flawless and easy to do.  If you want to use this method and don’t have a self-hosted Wordpress blog, you can easily set one up just to make your life easier.

Wordpress comes pre-installed with a plugin called “Jetpack.”  This offers Wordpress users a series of wonderful little add-ons to their blog which can make it look really professional, increase functionality, and make the blogger’s life easier all-around.  So the first thing you’ll want to do is activate this plug-in.


Next, when you go to the Jetpack control panel, you’ll see lots of options available to you.  The one we’ll want to focus on is called “Publicize.”



What the Publicize plugin does is it allows you to link major social networks with your blog, so that when you post to the blog, that content is cross-posted to all the linked social network accounts immediately.  The social networks supported are:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Tumblr
  • Path
  • Google+



Those are 6 of the major social networks in existence.  Hopefully more will be added in time, but for now, these are the ones the plugin supports.  All you need to do is connect to your account for each network and grant permission for Wordpress to post to it.  You just click the “Connect” button and enter your information.  If you’re already logged into the network you’re attempting to connect to, you just have to click a few approval buttons to complete the process.  It takes mere seconds to get set up.


Once you’re done, whenever you publish a new blog post, it will automatically get published to ALL the social networks you’ve set up in the plugin.  I personally use Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Google+, so those four services get my content automatically as soon as I publish something on my brilliant blog.

Is good, no?

You can also set it up to post to a Facebook page as opposed to your personal account, in case you were wondering.  So if you have a fan page for yourself as an author, you can update that as opposed to your personal profile.

Once you get the easy cross-posting set up, all you have to worry about is updating 1 service (your blog) and growing your followings on all the services you feel are important to focus on.  This is not only a great time-saver, but it will help you to reach a broader audience and create a wider appeal for your work as an author.

If you want more tips on writing or marketing your material, please feel free to check out my personal blog at www.MatthewKadish.com, so you can see an example of how I’ve set this system up myself.  But I feel I should warn you, once you go Matt, you never go back!  Only visit me if you are okay with becoming obsessed over a middle-aged bald man with a superiority complex.  If that does not frighten you, then stop by and check out my other articles.

Until then, happy writing!  And here’s to cross-promoting your content the lazy way!

About the Author

Matthew Kadish is an independent author and world-recognized evil genius. When he isn't writing or being evil, he enjoys relaxing at the beach and videos of puppies. Much like Scottish cuisine, most of his literary works have been based on dares. He currently lives in Las Vegas and always bets on black, because Westley Snipes has yet to steer him wrong in life. He is the most talented author ever. His mother tells him so every day.
Facebook  *  Twitter  *  tumblr  *  Google+


Buy Earthman Jack vs the Ghost Planet at Amazon


Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small fee is earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the link above. The views, opinions, and beliefs expressed by guest writers are their own and do not necessarily reflect those of Girl Who Reads.
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April 22, 2014

Pub Day! A Life Apart by L. Y. Marlow

by Donna Huber

A Life Apart
I was really hoping to give you a full review today to celebrate the release of A Life Apart by L. Y. Marlow. But I haven't finished it. I'm almost done; only a little more than 20% left to go (the holiday weekend didn't leave me as much time to read as I thought it would). I feel pretty confident that I can wholeheartedly recommend this book. I'm loving it. And I think after you read the sample below you will be pulled into the story of Morris, Agnes, and Beatrice as much as I am. But first, a little about the book.

About the Book

From the author of Color Me Butterfly, the poignant story of a decades-long interracial love affair between a white sailor and the sister of the black sailor who saved his life at Pearl Harbor.

When Morris Sullivan joins the navy in 1940, his hopes are high. Though he leaves behind his new wife and their baby daughter, he is thrilled to be pursuing his lifelong dream-only to be shipped off to Pearl Harbor when the war begins. When he narrowly survives the 1941 attack, thanks to the courage of a black sailor he doesn't know, Morris is determined to seek out the man's family and express his gratitude and respect. On leave, he tracks down the man's sister, and finds an immediate, undeniable connection with the nurturing yet fiercely independent Beatrice, who has left the stifling South of her upbringing for the more liberal, integrated north.

Though both try to deny their growing bond, their connection and understanding is everything missing from Morris's hasty marriage to his high school sweetheart Agnes, and from Beatrice's plodding life as she grieves the brother she has lost. At once a family epic, and a historical drama that takes readers from World War II through the Civil Rights Movement to the present day, A Life Apart is about a love that creates complicated and unbreakable ties between two families that live worlds apart. L.Y. Marlow brings readers along for the emotional journey as Morris and Beatrice's relationship is tested by time, family loyalties, racial tensions, death, unending guilt, and the profound effects of war.

Read the Sample





Buy A Life Apart at Amazon



Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small fee is earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the link above. A digital galley was provided by the publisher through Netgalley.

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April 21, 2014

Meet Jennie Marts

Welcome, Jennie Marts! Jennie is the author of The Page Turners Novels – a romantic comedy/mystery series about The Page Turners Book club- a group of friends who search for romance and clues while eating really good desserts. 

Quick Fun:

Favorite Food? Pizza

Favorite Color? Pink

Guilty Pleasure? Cheetos and DQ Blizzard

Favorite Song? I Got You, Babe by Sonny and Cher

Night or Day? Night

TV or Book? Book!!!

Tea or Coffee? Iced Tea in the afternoon/Coffee with flavored creamer in the morning

When did you start writing? 

I have always written stories and kept a journal, but I started seriously writing my first novel five years ago.

What inspired you to write your first book? 

I have always known that I wanted to write a book someday. Then I turned forty and decided it was time to make that dream a reality and just went for it.

Any routines before you start writing.  Do you write an outline or go with the flow? 

Easy Like Sunday Mourning
I have a loose outline, but mostly just go with the flow. Sometimes I have to wait for the story to come to me, but I usually know the beginning, middle and end. I have a writing goal of 2000 words a day with a weekly goal of 10,000 words. I don’t make it every week, but that’s the number I shoot for. I also use a kitchen timer to help me stay focused and on track when I am writing. 

What inspired the idea for the Page Turners series? 

I wanted to write a series similar to the kind of books I like to read. I love stories about friends and how they support each other so I wanted the book club concept. I knew I wanted each book to have a dog, a mystery, lots of comedy and a hot hero. Plus I love a happy ending!

Okay now that we know a little about your writing life and your books, tell us a little about yourself. What do you like to do outside of writing?  Any interesting hobbies?

I am an avid reader. I love to play volleyball. I love going to the movies and eating greasy popcorn. And I love to dance, whether it is with a group of girls having a fun night out or slow dancing in the kitchen with my husband while we are waiting for dinner to cook. 

Do you typically read the same genre you write? 

Yes. I love a story that makes me laugh, fall in love with the characters, then sigh at a great happy ending. My favorite authors are Janet Evanovich, Nora Roberts and Susan Elizabeth Phillips

What is your all-time favorite book? 

That is such a hard question. Probably the Harry Potter series. And I religiously buy every new Stephanie Plum as soon as it comes out!  

Tell us something random about you.  (My favorite…..) 

My favorite day would be spent at the pool with a good book, an icy Diet Coke and a bag of Cheetos. I am a hockey mom with a big laugh and a big heart and I am a huge hugger!

What is the most exciting thing you've ever done? 

Published my book!!!

Describe yourself in five words. 

Funny, Warm-hearted, Mom, Faithful Friend, Cries Easily

Thank you, Girl Who Reads, for hosting me for your Meet the Author Monday! Now that you know a little bit about me, I’d love to get to know you all a little better. I feel like Spring is finally in the air, so leave a comment below telling me your favorite part of the season. 

I’m giving away an ebook copy of my new book, Easy Like Sunday Mourning for one commenter.

I’ll be around today to chat about writing, dogs, Spring, books or your favorite DQ Blizzard flavor! Thanks again for having me.


About the Author:
Jennie Marts loves to make readers laugh as she weaves stories filled with love, friendship and intrigue. She’s the Kindle Bestselling author of a romantic comedy/mystery series. Follow the Page Turners book club as they search for romance and clues in Another Saturday Night and I Ain’t Got No Body and the recently released Easy Like Sunday Mourning. Reviewers call her books “laugh out loud” funny and full of great characters that are “endearing and relatable.”
She writes from the mountains of Colorado where she lives with her husband, two sons, a parakeet, and a golden retriever named Cooper. Jennie enjoys being a member of (RWA) Romance Writers of America, the Pikes Peak Chapter of RWA, and Pikes Peak Writers.
Jennie is addicted to Diet Coke and adores Cheetos. She loves playing volleyball and believes you can’t have too many books, shoes or friends. 
Twitter  *  Facebook  *  website

Buy Easy Like Sunday Mourning at Amazon


Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small fee is earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the link above. The opinions, beliefs, and values expressed by guest writers are their own and do not necessarily reflect those of Girl Who Reads. 
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April 20, 2014

Short Story Collection: This Is Not an Accident by April Wilder

by Donna Huber

This Is Not an Accident
A few weeks ago I was on vacation and picked up This Is Not an Accident: Stories by April Wilder. This collection of short stories and one novella was a perfect vacation read. I was busy getting my flower beds in order over my vacation and each story was only about 20 pages. So I could work for a while and when I got hot and thirsty I would read one of the stories. It allowed for a great break because I could get the whole story in (if I'd been reading a full length book I'm pretty sure none of my flowers would have gotten planted).

Wilder's stories are glimpses into regular life, but not the mundane "going to the sandwich shoppe for lunch" like. Well, the story might start that way but then it would veer into something else. Something deeper. The stories make you think. Think about your life, the lives around you. There is an exaggerated oddness about the characters, but if you step back for a moment you will see this oddness to a lesser extent in the people around you and maybe even in yourself.

Buy This Is Not an Accident: Stories at Amazon

For example, in "We Were Champions" a softball coach who had been accused of molesting the players dies. The narrator was on the first softball team he coached. She and the rest of the team denied anything happened. But the news of his death dredges up old memories, ones she hasn't thought about in a long time. Without giving too much of the story away, it gives food for thought about the secrets those around us keep and how it can effect others when it comes to light.

Reading through the stories, I couldn't help but compare them to the translated collection of Ludmilla Petrushevskaya, There Once Lived a Girl Who Seducer Her Sister's Husband, and He Hung Himself (read my review). Though I didn't find Wilder's stories to be as bleak.

If you are looking for a something to read that is entertaining as well as thought-provoking, then I definitely recommend April Wilder's This Is Not an Accident: Stories.



Book info:
hardcover (224 pages)
Published: January 2014 by Viking Adult
ISBN13: 9780670026043
Source: publisher
Read: April 2014



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


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