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Reflections on the #AtoZChallenge

by Donna Huber For the A to Z Challenge, I discussed different book genres/categories. Each day, I gave a few details about the genre/catego...

March 31, 2012

New Gig & New Group

I got a new gig this week and I'm so excited. On Monday, I applied to be a blogger for Athens Patch. If you haven't heard of it is a community newspaper online. Several communities have them, but not all. People in the community post news items so you can get truly local news. I was accepted. WooHoo!

Monday night I wrote my first article. It was on the book signing I attended at Avid Bookshop on Sunday night. Tuesday morning I pull up Athens Patch, looking forward to seeing my post in the local voices. Lo and behold it was front and center! I so wish I had taken a screen shot, but I was in shock. Anyways, my article was the lead story for a couple of hours. It was late in the day when it finally shifted to the Local Voices column. I'm thrilled it continues to be one of Most Popular Blog Posts.

So that's my new gig. I'm hoping to post there weekly. It will be more focused on bookish news than what I do here on my blog. There are many reasons for writing for my Athens Patch. Mostly, I want to bring more book news and events to my local community. But I think it is also bringing new exposure to my blog. I have a profile over there and traffic has been up this week after a little slump last week.

I hope you will read my posts at Athens Patch.

I've been working with a group of bloggers for the last couple of months. It has been great. We promote each other by tweeting and stumbling, etc. but we also provide support and education. I've learned so much and getting to experiment with things that I couldn't do on my own. Just this week we unveiled our new website and we started a Thursday meme where you can link your favorite post each week. The only rule is not to link a post from your blog. Anyone can participate, even if you don't blog but read great content somewhere feel free to link up. Please stop by Book Bloggers' Collaborative to find great bloggers to follow.

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March 30, 2012

35 and Single: Going Solo

Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone by Eric Klinenberg
hardcover, 288 pages
Published February 2012 by Penguin
ISBN13: 9781594203220
Read: March 2012

Back in January, I read an article on Fortune's website about the economic impact of single adults. The article was based on a book and I knew I had to read it. As a singleton, I'm interested in the socioeconomics of my demographic.

I really didn't match the singles he used as case studies. I live in a tiny town - population 1,080. Dr. Klinenberg's subjects lived in major cities. I live in a 3 bedroom, 2 bath single family detached home (which I own) on an acre of land. Most of Klinenberg's subjects lived in 1 bedroom apartments.  Because of the differences in living arrangements, I felt that there are struggles singles face that were not addressed. Also shared housing arrangements mentioned did not appeal to me at all. It sounded a lot like a college residence hall. I lived in a dorm all four years of college. As an adult, I have no desire to live in that kind of situation again. It did remind me, though, of the findings in After the Baby Boomers: How Twenty- and Thirty-Somethings are Shaping the Future of American Religion. It said that age group was extending adolescence.

I read several articles related to Going Solo over the last month. One I remember mentioned that Going Solo was promoting a more selfish society. As a singleton, I know we are not any more selfish than married people. However, from the examples in the book I did feel like we were awfully selfish. The typical answer to "why do you like living alone" is "because I can do what I want, when I want." At face value that is a very selfish statement. But what is really meant is we can devote time to volunteer projects or we can help a friend out when they ask at the last minute. It also means that if I don't feel like eating dinner tonight I don't have to cook. I'm not sure if that was very clear from the younger singletons he interviewed.

Another interesting fact that I noticed in the book that lines up with my own experience is organizing singles. There were a few examples of single organizations that were speared headed by a singleton because they were/are passionate about singlehood. I have done this (granted on a much smaller scale than those he interviewed). And like some of them I have wondered if I was so for the "cause" that I wasn't able to focus on me. And it seemed like they had to continue in the leadership role or the "movement" died. It would have been interesting if there had been a bit of follow up to Quirky Alone mentioned in the book to see if the movement continued or not.

I also identified with the interviewees who were in their late 30s and up. My biological clock is ticking loudly and I often wonder if I just didn't try hard enough when I was in my 20s to find a guy.

He drew attention to some very real problems singles face as they get older. There was an absolutely heartbreaking story of a woman who dies alone. The only connection to a family member was a 30 year old Christmas card. Right now I have my parents, but they will not always be here. What will I do then? Will I be the elderly spinster my niece and nephew will have to take care of one day? The fact that my neighbor (who was maybe 10 years older than me) died at home and wasn't discovered for a week weighs heavily on my mind and is the reason that I call my mother every day. Hopefully if I have a home accident, I'll be discovered within a day or two. As someone who struggles with isolation at 35, what will it be like when I'm 65?

While elderly care is an important subject, I felt the book lost its focus a bit with this topic. It seemed to become more about advocating for elderly care and less focused on singletons (there was even a reference to "your partner"). 

Politically, I disagreed with some of the things Klinenberg advocated for. I do not think more government involvement will solve the problems. I strongly believe individuals within a community should provide "welfare" to their neighbors. If a neighbor needs meals delivered because they no longer can cook for themselves, then those in the community should pitch in to help and not expect the government to provide a program to take care of it. If we would once again practice compassion for our fellow man instead of saying "that's what my tax dollars are for", we would see a brighter society. 

Overall, there was some interesting information. If you are looking to better understand the singleton demographic then Going Solo would be a good book to read.
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March 29, 2012

Tips on Thursday: Act Locally

If you have been blogging for a while you may be looking for ways to expand your blog, either to add new content, increase your exposure, your promote books/authors in more ways. When I first started Girl Who Reads it was mostly as an experiment since I am a participatory learner. I needed to make contact in the blogging world for the books I was promoting at the publishing house and I also needed to advise the authors I was working with how to blog better. I also had recently read a book I loved and wanted another way to tell others about it. I knew I didn't have a lot of time to blog, so I decided on a very focused topic for my blog - reviews only. I wasn't going to post about publishing news (that was what Twitter was for) and I didn't have time to go out looking for authors to interview/guest post. The problem with only writing book reviews, I'm a slow reader. When I'm on a reading roll, I average about 1 - 1.5 books a week. Last year I read 54 books according to my Goodreads Challenge. I read maybe 1 or 2 more books than that because I re-read a few Harry Potter books.

With maybe getting 1 book read a week, I only had 1 post a week. Anyone who has been blogging for any length of time knows you need to be adding new posts 3 - 5 times a week. So I went looking for other avenues of content. Memes helped fill in some of the dead space, but I wasn't real keen on doing too many. I started offering authors guest post spaces on my blog, which helped in providing new content and satisfied my need to help authors get exposure. I know many bloggers regularly have guest posts and interviews, so that is not the focus of this post. What I want to suggest to you is to get involved in your local community and help spread the word about books among your neighbors, friends, and family.

With marketing dollars dwindling and the increase in self & indie publishing, authors aren't having big city tours, but that doesn't mean literary events can't happen in your town. Actually because of the rise in self and indie publishing, there might be authors closer to you than you think. I live near a small college town (the town is small, not the university) and we have an active writing group. It's likely your town does, too (or at least in reasonable driving distance). If you live in a large market (Seattle, Austin, NYC, etc.), you will have access to bigger names. But then again not all big name writers live in these big name cities. Check with your local bookstore, library, university/college to find out about writing groups, area authors, and venues.

If you can't get an author to your event, don't worry. There are plenty of activities that can make a great book event. A monthly book club or book swap is a great way to bring book lovers together. I've known authors who have done video chats with book clubs. I had an author be the featured guest at Ladies Night a local winery hosted. I know another author who did a book signing at a Mary Kay cosmetic party. Remember a couple of months ago I hosted a Girls Night with The Kama Sutra, which was a lot of fun. Find a book theme and plan a party around it.

Venues for book events are endless: Coffee Shops, pubs and wine bars, civic organization meetings, as well as your typical places like bookstores and libraries.

The options are limitless with a little creativity and perhaps a bit of work. But the pay off is great. You will gain local exposure and credibility, which will lead to a greater network of readers to your blog. Remember to do a write up of whatever event you attend (there may already be book related activities going on in your community). The word of mouth exposure an author and book receives will be greatly appreciated and who knows you might just launch the next bestseller.

If you have a blogging or book related tip to share please post a link to your post below. A link back to this blog would be greatly appreciated

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March 28, 2012

Blog Tour: The Six by K. B. Hoyle

The Six (The Gateway Chronicles #1) by K. B. Hoyle
paperback & ebook
Published: April 5, 2012 by The Writer's Coffee Shop
Available: TWCS Amazon

Add to Goodreads Shelf


Darcy Pennington hates her life. She is an insufferably average teenager with no real friends, crushing social anxiety, and an indescribable sense of not fitting in anywhere. A change in her dad’s job forces her to attend Cedar Cove Family Camp the summer before her eighth-grade year, and Darcy once again finds herself on the outside of a social circle of teenagers, with her only advocate being an awkward girl named Samantha Palm. The only problem is, Darcy has no desire to be friends with her, but as the hostility from the other teenagers increases, she decides to return the friendship.

When Darcy begins to experience strange magical occurrences, she comes to believe she’s either losing her mind or on the brink of a discovery that could give her purpose in life. After unwittingly stumbling through a magical gateway to a new world called Alitheia, she convinces Sam and the other four teenagers to travel there with her, and despite their earlier hostilities toward her, they eventually concede leadership of their small group to Darcy. Once there, they learn the “arrival of the Six” was prophesied hundreds of years before, and that they must expel an ancient evil from the land. In the end their lives, and the fate of Alitheia, will hinge upon Darcy. Will she have what it takes to fulfill her mysterious purpose? Or will she fall prey to a deadly foe? From

About the Author:

 K. B. Hoyle is a wife to a wonderful husband, a mother to two rambunctious little boys, an expectant mother to baby number three, and has been a classical educator for five years. She always knew from a young age that she wanted to write stories that would inspire people. Her favorite genre to read and write is Young Adult Fantasy and Science Fiction, so that is where her journey began. K. B. Hoyle began writing her first fantasy novel at the age of eleven, which proved to be valuable experience and practice for the novels she would publish as an adult.

K. B. Hoyle is currently writing the Young Adult Fantasy series The Gateway Chronicles, but she never stops brainstorming and planning for all the stories she hopes to write in the future. From


"...super glad I was able to read this one!" Jenny at Jenny Like Books

"The Six is full of magic and action..." Bonnie at Words at Home

"Fans of the Chronicles of Narnia will thoroughly enjoy this middle grade fantasy." Eileen at

"K. B. Hoyle is a brilliant author who spun a web of fantasy and adventure that captivates the imagination..." Maggie Rapier at

Tour Schedule:

March 24 K. B. interviews Darcy, the King's Intended at Paperbook Princess
March 29 Triangle Variety Radio at 9:30 pm - 10 pm US EDT
March 30 Singing and Reading in the Rain - A Guest Post
March 31 K. B. interviews Sam, the companion On Alitheia
April 1 Stop by Ja citam, a ti? for a review, guest post, and chance to win a swag pack.
April 2 Ritesh Kala's Book Reviews A Guest Post
April 3  Words at Home A Guest Post & Swag giveaway
April 4 A. B. Shepherd's Reinvented Reader 5 STAR Review
April 4 Book Bags and Cat Naps A Guest Post
April 5 Cafe Art Space Review and Teaser
April 6 Alchemy of Scrawl Radio Show 12:30 pm US EDT
April 7 Larkins' Book Bloggers Review
April 8 Bunny's Review A Guest Post
April 10 Alchemy of Scrawl Interview
April 11 Jenny Likes Books
April 12 Cabin Goddess A Guest Post
April 30 Ali Talks Live

Author Links:

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March 27, 2012

Pub Day: You Are What You Wear by Jennifer Baumgartner

You Are What You Wear by Dr. Jennifer Baumgartner
Paperback, 256 pages
Published: March 27, 2012 by Da Capo Press
Available: Amazon and Powell's Books
Add to Goodreads Shelf


Most every woman has found herself with a closet full of too many clothes or surrounded by brand-new items that somehow never get worn. Instead she gets stuck wearing the same few familiar pieces from a wardrobe that just doesn Dr. Jennifer Baumgartner argues that all those things are actually manifestations of deeper life issues. What if you could understand your appearance as a representation of your inner unresolved conflicts and then assemble a wardrobe to match the way you wish to be perceived? In this fashion guide that is like no other, Dr. Baumgartner helps readers identify the psychology behind their choices, so they can not only develop a personal style that suits their identity but also make positive changes in all areas of life. From

About the Author:

Jennifer Baumgartner PsyD, author of YOU ARE WHAT YOU WEAR, was always fascinated by the internal reasons for our clothing choices. Having had a history of working in fashion and trained as a psychologist, she decided to blend both of her passions to create a new way examining what we wear, the Psychology of Dress. From Psychology Today's profile page.


Twitter: @DrJennyB

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March 26, 2012

Video Blog #9: Too Many Books


Fire Mage (Blacklight Chronicles #1) by John Forrester
Buy at Amazon
Add to Goodreads shelf


You Are What You Wear by Dr. Jennifer Baumgartner
Buy at Amazon or Powell's Books
Add to Goodreads shelf
 Sex, Life & Hannah: Volume 1 Winter Season by Dorota Skrzypek
When Hannah’s boyfriend of five-and-a-half years breaks up with her on New Year’s Eve, Hannah is shocked, and stunned…before picking up a glass and throwing it at him. Forced to search for love in the battlegrounds of L.A. she finds herself agonizing over The Ex, trying to comfort herself in the neighbor’s bed, and falling in love…again? Surrounded by a colorful cast of characters, Hannah treads the infamous waters of heartbreak and heartache. From
Buy at Amazon
Add to Goodreads shelf

To Read:

Parasouls: Divine Intervention by Michele Richard
Born amongst the humans, yet not being one, the parasouls fight to remain hidden. Using the ancient tunnels and abandoned, buried basements as their homes parasouls live in the underbelly of society in their own world, they've created a world where they don’t need to pretend they'’re normal. Their gifts remind them that they’re not. When you can produce electric blue flames from your fingertips, there’s no way to deny it. Damian McNamara built and rules the world they thrive in.

Angelique is the leader of a special team whose job it is to keep the “normals” from knowing of the parasouls’ existence. Her gift is also a curse, leaving her physically unable to touch another living soul without inflicting indescribable pain upon them.
The Parasoul Acquisition Control Taskforce hunts them for what they are.

Shane is the headhunter for the taskforce. Like Angelique, he’s never been able to touch anyone due to his gift of red and orange flames that singes the flesh of others.

The moment Shane and Angelique meet, the heavens open and connect their souls forever. So what happens when Shane finds himself trapped between the only thing he’s ever desired and his job? He has no choice but to deliver the one person who owns his soul over to his bosses, the government’s taskforce? Which side is the good, the bad, and the dictators?

They're both in for a rude awakening.
Can love conquer all when you’'re supposed to hate the one soul you cannot live without? How long can they fight the urge to give in to their connection? Can two parasouls on opposite sides find common ground and forge a future? From Renaissance Romance Publishing

New Arrival:

The Mango Orchard by Robin Bayley (
The extraordinary story of parallel journeys, 100 years apart, into the heart of Latin America, for fans of Sandra Cisneros's Caramelo, Tim Butcher's Blood River, and Bruce Chatwin As a child, Robin Bayley was enchanted by his grandmother's stories of Mexican adventures—of bandits, wild jungle journeys, hidden bags of silver, and a narrow escape from the bloody Mexican Revolution. But Robin sensed there was more to these stories than anyone knew, and so he set out to follow in the footsteps of his great-grandfather. Undaunted by the passage of time and a paucity of information, Robin seeks out the places where his great-grandfather Arthur "Arturo" Greenhalgh traveled and lived, determined to uncover his legacy. Along the road Robin encounters witches, drug dealers, a gun-toting Tasmanian Devil, and an ex-Nazi diamond trader. He is threatened with deportation, offered the protection of Colombian guerrilla fighters, and comforted by the blessings of los santos. He falls in love with a beautiful Guatemalan girl with mystical powers and almost gives up his quest, until a sense of destiny drives him on to western Mexico and the discovery of much, much more than he had bargained for. From
Buy at Amazon or Powell's Books
Add to Goodreads shelf

See what other people are reading this week at The Book Journey and what new titles appeared in mailboxes at The Story Siren.

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