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L is for Literary Fiction #AtoZChallenge

by Donna Huber For the A to Z Challenge, I'm discussing different book genres/categories. Each day, I will give a few details about the...

May 27, 2011

Blogging and Twitter

So it is the final day of Armchair BEA. Have you had fun? Did you enjoy my posts? I've really enjoyed reading the various topics and finding some new blogs. In between all my blog hopping, I've been able to finish a few books so I have reviews ready to go. So it has been a good week. I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm tired. I'm going to keep this last post a bit short so that you can get around to the other blogs. See you next year!

The winners of my 2 Giveaways on Tuesday:
Mocked by Destiny ebook: Risa, Aimee, SpadesHigh, J. L. Campbell, and Scoot
Signed print edition of Dance Lessons: Teresa 

Today's Armchair BEA topic is Blogging about Blogging. One of the suggestions was how you use social media in your blogging. My topic yesterday was a bit about Twitter and many of the comments was how Twitter can be so overwhelming. I thought I would talk a little more about using Twitter as I believe it has greatly increased the awareness of my blog.

When everyone was first talking about Twitter I was adamant about not getting a Twitter account. I just did not see the point. Then I got my job marketing books and Twitter became a must. I've had myspace and I still have a Facebook account. I mentioned yesterday that I had a personal blog but it didn't garner much traffic. But my Twitter account has more traffic than all the others. I keep my Twitter mostly as a professional network so I am not concerned too much with who is following me (unlike Facebook where it is more a personal network of friends and family). I've had my Twitter account since October and I have 445 followers. I'm following only 212.

At first, I was like many of you and overwhelmed with the amount of information and how fast it turned over. I remember thinking I can't go to bed, I'll miss something. Here are a few tips I have used to keep from being overwhelmed.

  1. Be selective in who you follow. You will notice that I follow only about half the number of people who follow me. Determine who is providing information that you want to see and that is who you follow. By the way if a follower engages me in a meaningful conversation I am a lot more likely to follow them back.
  2. If the information is important it will be tweeted by many sources and several times through the day. So you aren't really missing anything important by stepping way or not reading your feed from the hour you were at lunch (or even overnight)
  3. If there are a few people that you don't want to miss their post then create a list with them. When you log into Twitter you can click on the list and see what they had been tweeting while you were away.
Now that you can manage your Twitter feed and not feel overwhelmed, the next challenge is getting connected. I mentioned that being in selective in who you follow is important to keeping your feed manageable. I have a criteria of sorts that I follow when deciding if I should follow or not.
  1. Are they a marketing/book/media professional (this includes my fellow book bloggers).
  2. Do they have more followers than following. If you have good stuff to say a lot of people will follow you. If you are following a bunch of people but no one is following you, then I think you're either boring or a spammer.
  3. Do they talk to me. The point of social media is to network and a part of networking is having meaningful conversations. (I might be lenient on what I consider meaningful).
  4. Were they recommended by someone else I follow (and I don't mean #FF).
The last tips I have for using Twitter to network is on content. What should you be tweeting in order to be considered worthy of a follow. If all you are tweeting is "come read my latest post" you'll get some followers but mostly it would be the same people that are already following your blog. It is ok to self-promote, but do it sparingly. I have my blog set to feed into my Twitter account so when I do a new post it is announced on my Twitter feed. I will then tweet is a few hours later. I try not to tweet is more than 4 times a day - morning, mid-day, evening, night. If it is a giveaway then I might promote it more. Other things to tweet...

  1. Observations about what is going on in the world (by world it could be the blogging world, the book world, or whatever sphere you are interested in).
  2. When you visit other blogs , tweet it - blogger has a share button in the header that is easily to send a tweet with and many blogs have social media sharing buttons.
  3. Retweet. If you like what some has said or think it is important information to share then click the retweet link
  4. Chat with other twitters. I jump into ongoing conversations all the time. It isn't really butting in because they are chatting in an open forum. 
  5. Get involved in the Twitter chats that take place throughout the week. @LitChat has a chat Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays 4 - 5 pm US EST. There is #Followreader, #FridayReads, #bookmarket, and more. 
Well, I hope these tips help you navigate the wonderful networking possibility that is Twitter. I'm pretty sure many of my followers on Twitter regularly read my blog, though they are not following my blog. My traffic numbers are too high to be random people stumbling upon my blog, Speaking of Stumble Upon... that's a topic for another day.
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May 26, 2011

It's about Community

Today's topic at Armchair BEA is Nurturing Relationships. One of the reasons I got into blogging was to connect with other people. A few years ago I started a personal blog, but was so shy about sharing my life with people that I didn't really make any connections. When I got involved with book bloggers through my job, I realized this was a way I could meet people and share something I love. Today, I want to share with you just one relationship I have built since becoming a book blogger.

I comment occasionally on blogs, but most of my relationship building is done through Twitter. Recently, I started chatting pretty regularly with a group of book bloggers. The conversation started out with just 2 or 3 of us, but rapidly grew to 5. We couldn't fit much conversation in with all the twitter names so we came up with a hashtag - #BookBlogHelp. Since creating the hashtag we have had several other bloggers join us from time to time. Some contribute and others just lurk.

Who is behind #BookBlogHelp?

Cait of The Cait Files, Neri of In the Name of Books, Teresa of Teresa's Reading Corner, Aimee of Coffee Table Reviews, and me originally started the chat. However, we love for other bloggers to join us whenever they can and use the hashtag without us. Some of us have just started blogging in the last few months, while others have been blogging for longer. I hope the other bloggers will stop by to introduce themselves in the comments, but if not you can check out their blogs by clicking on the links above. Also I have linked their names to their Twitter accounts.

What is #BookBlogHelp?

#BookBlogHelp is basically an impromptu chat where we give and receive blog help specific to book bloggers. We have chatted about what memes work the best or the most fun, layout/design issues, the use of labels, and our opinions on wordpress versus blogger. We also share tips and tricks that we have learned along the way, such as how to make a clickable link when leaving a comment. We really just wanted to have a place on Twitter where book bloggers could meet up and chat about anything. We span many time zones so it seems one or two of us are around at any time. If you have a question or want an opinion just @ one of us and use the hashtag #bookbloghelp; we would love to chat with more of you! Oh, and if you don't know how to chat on Twitter the easiest way is to go to You just log on using your twitter account and then enter the hashtag. You'll see the whole conversation and don't have to remember to add #bookbloghelp with each tweet as it is done automatically.

I really think Twitter has helped Book Bloggers network and build relationships with one another. I use Book Blogs as well, but have met most bloggers through Twitter. I hope to meet up with at least some of the bloggers I have connected with in real life. Any of you going to be Indie Book Event at the end of July? I'll be there.

I hope you join us (or start your own) in our next #bookbloghelp chat. I would like to thank Aimee for making the graphic for us.

May 25, 2011

Welcome Author Aine Greaney

As a special treat during Armchair BEA, I have an author guest post. I have the pleasure of introducing to you Aine Greaney. She is the author of Dance Lessons and Writer with a Day Job. She is an Irish writer who now lives in Boston. In addition to her books, she leads writing workshops and regularly writes for women's, art and travel publications. Aine has also offered to give one lucky reader a signed copy of Dance Lessons. If you live in Canada or US, please leave a comment with your email address. I will use to select the winner on Thursday at 8 pm US EDT.

Without further ado, here is Aine Greaney...

A few weeks ago, someone wrote into the “Careers” section of our local metro newspaper to ask for job-search tips.   In response, the career expert issued savvy advice  on job-searching,  interviewing and follow up. And then … right there in the middle of her column .. a real blooper.

“After the interview, it’s preferable to send an email thank-you,” wrote  Ms. Careers Expert (I’m paraphrasing). “A hand-written, mailed thank-you card will make you seem old fashioned and infer that your workplace skills are outdated.”  

What? Gulp.

You know, I had heard a rumor that some schools in America might be stopping teaching cursive writing. Why? Because, presumably, teaching children how to put pen to paper is an obsolete skill that our children will never use in their bright and digital futures. It’s like teaching darning or embroidery (by the way, my school taught both of these).

So next time I’m sitting scribbling in my local coffee shop, my table neighbors will nudge and point at this  technical luddite who refuses to get hip and get modern?  Or will some eager middle-schooler approach my writing table and (in her oh-what-a-sweet-old-granny voice) ask  to take a iPhone photo of me? Not because I’m inspiring or writing--but because her class project is on local history and what those old folk used to do in those good ole’ days?

God help us all. If any of this is true, then I’m heading out right now to buy up five decades’ worth of  spiral notebooks  and ballpoints to see me and my writing career through until death do us part.  Because one thing’s for sure:  Even if the techno troupe develop a gizmo that uploads your entire novel  from brain to page while you’re waiting for a load of laundry, I’m not abandoning cursive writing.  You won’t find this author hacking out first drafts or morning journal entries in any other way.

Why? Because a first draft is as up close and personal as flossing your teeth.  A first draft of writing is a physical act. You need to get right in there, wiggle things around,  bleed a little around the edges and see what comes out.

 So if you work for a historical commission or one of those Olde Tyme Portraits photo get-ups, me and my writing journal are taking commissions. 

Thank you, Aine, for posting on my blog. If you would like to find out more about Aine Greaney, check out her website

Her books...
Dance Lessons

May 24, 2011

Mocked by Destiny - inside the characters

Welcome to the second day of Armchair BEA. Did you make it through all the blogs yesterday? I still have many more to go, but today is an extra fun day. It's GIVEAWAY DAY!! In addition to the swag being given away at Armchair BEA Central  many blogs are hosting their own giveaways today. This blog is no exception. You could win 1 of 5 ebook copies of Mocked by Destiny. This giveaway is open internationally and all you need to do to enter is leave a comment on this post with your email address. I will use to select the 5 winners at 8 pm US EDT on Thursday. 

Mocked By Destiny (Mocked Series)Today's topic is Books in 2011. Instead of me telling you about a book (you get that all the other weeks) I have a special guest post today. Michele Richard shares about her debut novel Mocked by Destiny, which was published February 2011 by The Writer's Coffee Shop. Please welcome Michele to Girl Who Reads. You can check out her author table under the Armchair BEA link above.
The logic behind this book from the author

It’s no secret that towns with military bases have a higher teen pregnancy rate, even more so in places like Virginia Beach. Virginia Beach’s base is a vacationing base. It’s a base for military families to spend time with their families. The base itself has a campground, hotel, townhouses, and bungalows.

In the evening hours, the visitors flood the boardwalk to shop, eat, drink, and of course, get ice cream. Though it’s unavoidable to interact with the locals, some locals resent what their visits do to their beautiful town.

Stella Richards

Stella grew up knowing nothing good comes from those who visit her home town of Virginia Beach. The outsiders only want to use and abuse the serene setting and the friendly people who work there. There is only one guarantee from those visiting, they will leave and most likely never come back. She herself learned this early on during her first unsupervised summer on the beach.

After being left heartbroken by the flurry of friends she made, she vowed to never do it again. Cutting herself off from those who could hurt her, she left herself lonely and uninterested in the flocking vacationers.

Coming from a long line of teenage, unwed mothers, Stella’s family consisted of all females who were either left pregnant or were children of those who visited the beach and left without looking back. Stella had plans that didn’t include becoming a teenage mom. She strived to break the streak that had plagued her family for generations starting with being the first in her family to attend college. 

All those plans changed when she encountered a young man on the beach. Stefan Sterling. She tried to out run her destiny several times and it always came back to bite her in the butt. When Stella handed him his ice cream cone, she handed him her heart and future.

Stefan Sterling

Stefan grew up on a military base in Germany. In a life where you never knew when you’d be shipped off to another one. He had friends, but like him they all knew they could wake up the next day and they’d be gone. As Stella had done, he kept his friends at a distance to avoid being hurt when they had to leave.

He, too, wanted to change the way his life seemed to be headed. He wanted out of the strict upraising he had. Determined to follow in his brother’s footsteps he planned to go to college as far removed from the military as he could. 

The stories of how the generations in his family had known the moment they met their loved ones had been passed down. Stefan wasn’t a believer in love at first sight. Until it happened to him.

Passing through on his way to Washington, DC for his father’s new posting, his life changed in an instant. Who knew a chocolate ice cream cone could change his destiny?

Stella and Stefan

Pulled together by destiny, these two will learn to love, sacrifice, and grow up before it’s time. Forced to make decisions that take them further from their goals, they learn to lean on each other. Mistakes are made, but can love conquer all?

For that answer you’ll have to read and find out.


When I was first offered Mocked by Destiny I was a bit skeptical with the whole pregnant teen thing. But boy did she blow the lid off I absolutely could not put the book down... Even though I really needed to seeing as it was 1AM on a school day. The twists and turns were unexpected and kept you immersed in the story line. The story will keep you on your toe's. The end goes through two generations and I was not big on that I would rather have the story continue from after Italy. No That actually didn't give any thing away. The end did have a little to much going on with all the generations and it was hard to tell who was saying it. Fast paced and drama city. Defiantly a must read! 5/5

-Kati (The Jagged Edge)

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May 23, 2011

Welcome to Armchair BEA week!

Hi Everyone! I'm interrupting my normal book reviews to participate in Armchair BEA. If you are a first time visitor WELCOME! I hope you will look around, particularly take a look at the author tables under the ARMCHAIR BEA tab up above. I decided to offer free space to authors to advertise this week. When I go to vendor shows and conventions, my favorite part is meandering through all the booths and I wanted to try to recreate that here on my blog.

A little about me....

I "review" whatever I am reading. I put review in quote because I'm pretty sure that some of my post are more my ramblings about the book rather than a true review. I like to share what a book made me feel or think. I read a lot of psychological thrillers and my favorites always leave me questioning my preconceived notions of morals, society, etc. You will notice that my reading taste are wide-ranging and I like to try new genres and authors.

I love books. I have always read and often as a child would be frustrated that I couldn't read faster because there was always another book I wanted to get to. Now I share my love of books with my online friends (I think my real life friends sometimes grow tired of all my book ramblings). My interest in books has lead me into a new career direction. A few months ago, I took on a job with an up and coming small press working with their authors and marketing their books.

My Armchair BEA plans...

In addition to the author tables on the Armchair BEA page, I also will have two authors stopping by with  guest posts and giveaways. I also plan on blogging on the suggested topics each day. If possible I will take part in the Twitter parties. This is my first year participating in Armchair BEA so with my work schedule and all I'm not sure what all I will get to, but I am hoping to meet many fellow bloggers and readers and, hopefully, a few new authors and find some new reading material.

Please introduce yourself by leaving a comment. If you are also blogging, let me know so I can stop by this week.