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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...

February 16, 2013

Interesting - Mission: Adulthood

Mission: Adulthood by Hannah Seligson was an interesting look at Generation Y. Seligson defined the generation as those born between 1978 and 1988, making me just one year shy of being in that group. Yet, I could see many of my own philosophy reflected in those she interviewed.

Instead of just providing facts and figures, Seligson followed the lives of seven adults in their 20s. She documented their choices and decisions as they struggled to make the jump from college student to "real" adulthood. What she discovered (though anyone living in society could probably already tell you) is that their version of adulthood is not the status quo of past generations.

A few years ago I read a book about the post-baby boomer generation (my generation) and in it the author said that young people were extending adolescences. After reading Mission:Adulthood I wonder if we don't just have more mature adolescents that in past generations.

I highly recommend Mission: Adulthood by Hannah Seligson to anyone who works with (or has) twenty-somethings. It will help you better relate to them by explaining a number of the ways where this generation is challenging the stereotype, but not shirking responsibility. Really, one has to be an over-achiever to run (and win) for College Republicans National President or start up an energy business in Tanzania.  All the while they may be facing the toughest economic climate since the Great Depression and maybe for the first time a college degree doesn't guarantee a higher salary.

Book Info:
Published: November 2012 by Diversion Books

Source: Lucinda Literary
Read: January 2013

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Girl Who Reads is an advertising affiliate with Amazon and IndieBound; a small fee is earned when purchases are made using the above links. A free book was obtained from the source mentioned above in order to provide an honest and free review.

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February 15, 2013

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GWR Publicity is always looking for great blogs to host our authors and events. If you are interested in receiving emails about upcoming tours, books for review, and other events, please join the mailing list below.

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Friday Fun with LJ Harris

I'm a mother of teenage twin boys who I love with all my heart. My family is my life, my soul, and the very reason I get out of bed every day. Coming a close second to that, is my writing.

I've only just discovered my passion for writing in the past 2 or so years. I'd always written little poems in birthday cards for family members, but that was as far as it went...until I decided to write poems and give them to family members as homemade gifts.

It was then a spark was lit, and ever since, I have been unable to switch off the urge to write.

After a close family member fell ill, I began search for answers...I knew I was going through some kind of mid-life crisis, and began to question what I wanted. Unable to sleep one night, I sat up and just kept typing out my feelings on the laptop. My husband read what I had written and then encouraged me to write more, and that was when I knew I wanted to share my thoughts with others. I started writing my life story, but I just couldn't get into it, so instead, I decided to write about something not based on fact, but fiction, and wrote a dream sequence which I showed to my family. They encouraged me to add more, and that sequence is what my novel was eventually based around. The working title is Heart of Darkness, and I'm about half way through putting it together.

My manuscript has been read by a few family members and friends, and by a published author, who has also encouraged me to stick with it. As much as enduring pain, loss, betrayal or any other negative thing in our lives can be devastating, I have since discovered that if I hadn't gone through it, I not only wouldn't have found some lifelong friends, I doubt I would have been able to write the feelings of anguish and loss that my characters have had to endure.

My Novel in Progress:

Set in Sydney, Australia, this is a supernatural, fish out of water romance about a girl finding the one she's destined to be with. Jade is a girl who has always been out of step with the world around her, keeping to herself and having few friends, her father the only real family in her life. When celebrating her 21st Birthday, Jade's life changes forever when she meets the enigmatic but handsome, unsettling but at the same time intriguing, Johnny.

Published Works:

I’m very excited to let you all know about my contribution to the Second Chances Anthology, Heart
of Glass.

You never know when or where inspiration will hit, and the storylines I come up with are often based around often insignificant events, but events that capture my imagination and cause it to run away. Heart of Glass came to me in that way, and was inspired by several window washers who frequent the busy intersections of the main road that leads into my home town, Canberra, Australia.

I often used to see them on my way in to work, toiling away, and it got me thinking. What were their lives like? What led them there? If they had been given other opportunities, would they still be there, braving all kinds of extreme weather conditions to make a living? I jotted down a few ideas, and it wasn’t long before the character of Heath Connors was born.

Not long after that, I spotted a left hand drive Mustang (we have right hand drive cars here in Australia) driving down the highway and sticking out like the proverbial sore thumb among the luxury cars that normally travel into the city, and the story solidified. That car stood out so much that I just knew that one of the characters would own it, and that’s when I came up with the character of Zack Doherty.

Heart of Glass is a story about a man who has always lived his life to please others, and somewhere along the way he loses himself so much he finds he’s unhappy with his choice and can no longer continue travelling the same path. Heath’s journey of self-discovery finally begins when he breaks free of the shackles that have always tethered him to a life he didn’t want, and when he finally feels as though his life is going in the right direction, life throws Heath another curve ball, when he sees Zack for the first time.

And when they encounter one another again…let’s just say the sparks fly. While Heath feels out of his depth, at the same time he’s unequivocally attracted to Zack…

Though he seemed nervous, there was no mistaking the fire in his deep blue eyes, so I decided to go for broke and whispered in a low, seductive voice, “I know we’ve only just met, but I really want to see you again. Can I get your number?”

“You don’t have to … I … mean, um … I don’t exactly have a number, and I’m sure you have more important things to do than waste your time with someone who can’t even afford to buy their own phone,” he stammered nervously, his prominent Adam’s apple bobbing as he swallowed several times.

I wanted to lick it.

Instead, unable to resist touching him, I ran my hand up the smooth skin of his arm until the tips of my fingers touched the soft skin of his throat, then gently grazed them along the skin of his freshly shaven jaw.

“See, that’s where you’re wrong. I’ve got nothing else to do, and there’s nowhere else I’d rather be than in your company, Heath Connors. So how about I call by your office in the morning and we take it from there?”

“You … want to go out? Wi-with me?” he asked, stumbling over his words, the apples of his cheeks turning a delicious shade of pink.


“I’d love nothing more,” I answered with a smile, my fingers gently caressing his beautiful, flushed face.

“I don’t … I don’t know what to say,” he blurted, his glorious smile almost taking my breath away as his body called to me, and his sweet breath wafted across my face. Without further thought, I leaned in closer until my lips were a hairsbreadth from the shell of his ear.

“Just say yes,” I murmured.

This is the story of how two people get their second chance to find happiness, and how important it is to live your life the way you want it, no matter the risks.

I hope you enjoy the very wonderful stories that comprise the Second Chances Anthology.

About the author:

L. J. Harris is the mother of two teenage twins and a contributing author to Second Chances anthology.
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The views, beliefs, and opinions expressed by guest post authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect those of Girl Who Reads.

February 14, 2013

Tips on Thursday: Social Media Presence

English: Infographic on how Social Media are b...
English: Infographic on how Social Media are being used, and how everything is changed by them. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Last Sunday I met with a local blogging group to discuss managing social media presence for a brand. I thought I would share with you some of my top tips.

  • Make sure your tone/voice is the same across all platforms
  • Use an image/logo to make your brand visually identifiable
  • Use a program like Hootsuite to put all your social media on "one screen"
  • Personal accounts aren't always private - don't post things you wouldn't want your brand posting.

  • Be conversational
  • Don't tweet just your own content, but show you are a thought leader in your field by tweeting top content from others
  • Combination of live tweeting and scheduled tweets
  • Tweet at popular times - around 8 am, lunch time, and late afternoon/evening (most of the US population lives in the EST zone, plan accordingly)
  • Use relevant hashtags (make sure the hashtag you want to use is being used for your intended purpose)
  • Engage your followers - create lists to easily see what groups are tweeting and check your mentions regularly

  • Profile - for your personal life
  • Page - brand is communicating to fans
  • Group - collaboration and interaction among fans (kind of like a virtual fan club meeting place)
  • Put links in comments and not in the status (post will get more views)
  • Posts from third parties (ie Hootesuite) get less views than posting directly to Facebook
  • Quotes, questions, and images get the most interaction

  • At least share your blog posts and +1 - increases search engine ranking
  • I find it is easier to tag guest bloggers on G+ than to send them the link

  • It's a professional network - keep it professional
  • Post only your top content that would be of interest to your contacts (not general interest)
  • It's like your resume - update it every 6 months and as needed for major milestones/accomplishments

  • Great for visually inclined industries (food, fashion, home decor/projects)
  • Be aware of copyright and fair use - when you pin something that is not your own ALWAYS add a comment. 
  • Pin from original source when possible

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February 13, 2013

Writer Wednesday: Dianne Gardner

It would be nice (perhaps) if writing a book only meant one was to sit at a computer and type out a story. That might even be possible sometimes. I was able to write my most recent short story in one sitting. But then, the story was only 3,000 words, and didn’t entail any more than looking up a few words and some current event issues.

But when you are writing 60K-150K words, the novel requires more time, and subsequently, more research. And it seems like you never really know what kind of investigating you’ll have to do. It’s almost like being a private eye!

I’m a firm believer that even if I’m writing fantasy, I need to make my story believable. I want my reader to think the worlds I take them to can and do exist. So I write about places I’ve been, and experiences I’ve had. The magic part happens. The dragon flies overhead but you can hear the wind whistle in his wings, and you can smell sulfur on his breath—both very real experiences.

Of course, I’ve never really seen or heard (or smelled) a dragon before so I’m making all that up. But there are some things in my Ian’s Realm Saga stories that I don’t want to invent. Things like the groan of a moored ship, or the sound of wind in its sails. That’s why I took an educational trip with my daughter on a tall ship this summer in the waters of Puget Sound, WA where I not only experienced first hand the hoisting of the main sail but also learned how sixteenth century sailors judged the speed of their ship, measured depth, read the stars, and scanned the surface of the bottom of the ocean.

My main character, Ian and his friends spend some time in the caves of Deception Peak, so I too took a trip this summer to a place called Ape Cave, a mile long lava tube that burrows far under the mountain. Talk about inspiration! We walked the mile. Had we no lantern it would have been pitch black. A perfect dragon’s lair.

Since most of the tribal people in the Realm live in yurts, and I have SCA (Society for Creative Anarchronism) friends that reenact any and all eras, I was most fortunate to partake in the erecting of a Mongolian yurt. In fact, the lady owns the yurt is of Mongolian descent. She even posed for me in her traditional clothing. All these experiences have been recorded on my blog and I’d love for you to take a look.

So you see, the writer doesn’t always have to sit in front of the screen writing. There are some very exciting ways to make your story come to life! I hope this post is an inspiration to you!

About the Author:

Dianne Gardner is both an author and illustrator living the Pacific Northwest. She's an active member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, and the National League of American Pen Women. She has written Young Adult Fantasy novels as well as articles for national magazines and newspapers. She's also an award-winning artist.
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Girl Who Reads is an advertising affiliate with Amazon and IndieBound; a small fee is earned when purchases are made using the above links. The views, beliefs, and opinions expressed by guest post authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views, beliefs, or opinions of Girl Who Reads.


February 12, 2013

Featured Book - There Once Lived a Girl Who Seduced Her Sister's Husband and He Hanged Himself : Love Stories

Looking for a Valentine's Day read? 
Perhaps this collection of Russian translated short stories from Ludmilla Petrushevskaya will be just the book for you.

Love stories, with a twist: the eagerly awaited follow-up to the great Russian writer's New York Times bestselling scary fairy tales.

By turns sly and sweet, burlesque and heartbreaking, these realist fables of women looking for love are the stories that Ludmilla Petrushevskaya—who has been compared to Chekhov, Tolstoy, Beckett, Poe, Angela Carter, and even Stephen King—is best known for in Russia. Here are attempts at human connection, both depraved and sublime, by people in all stages of life: one-night stands in communal apartments, poignantly awkward couplings, office trysts, schoolgirl crushes, elopements, tentative courtships, and rampant infidelity, shot through with lurid violence, romantic illusion, and surprising tenderness. From
Book Info:
Paperback, 192 pages
Published: January 2013 by Penguin Books
ISBN13: 9780143121527

Praise for the Book:

"This is a book of short stories that, sad as they often are, should not be missed by the thoughtful reader." ~ Alice Dinizo,

"Petrushevskaya stripped off the rose colored glasses and showed us what love really is sometimes and yet underneath all the grit and darkness there is beauty to be appreciated in each story. " ~ The Lit Bitch,

"Haunting and beautiful."  ~ Cyndi,

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February 11, 2013

Meet the Author: Siobhan Kinkade

Hi, Donna! Thanks so much for allowing me to come play in your sandbox today. I’m very happy to be here.

And hi, everybody else!

I’m Siobhan. I’m an independent author, a lover of all things literary, a wife and mother, and a hopeless romantic bibliophile. I love my family. I love books. I love romance. I love reading and writing. Any combination of those things makes me happy.

As an indie author, I spend a lot of time online, marketing both myself and my work. I don’t have an agent and entourage to do the promotion for me, so whatever I sell falls back entirely on me. As part of that, I attend conventions, which is fun if for no other reason than to see the interesting things people do and wear in public. I’m very much a people watcher, and at conventions it’s complete Nerdvana. I fit in well, too. My pirate costume is hanging up and ready for the con season to start!

Personalities are interesting things, you know. As Siobhan I’m really just a figment of someone else’s imagination. I’m a pen name that likes happy endings and a good dose of romance. The face behind the romantic mask isn’t quite as sweet and bubbly as me. You may not want to meet my alter ego… she’s a little nuts. Either way, there’s two of us in this one head, and we try to keep it interesting.

Because I spend so much time with people, I get some interesting questions. Here are some of my favorites for your reading pleasure:


I love this question, and I love people’s reactions to my response. I get lots of blank stares and drooling. Some of them even get mad at me, which makes me laugh after it’s over.

The simple answer is no. It isn’t. It’s a long, drawn out process that isn’t always fun. Editors aren’t paid to be nice. They’re paid to make us sound good. Sometimes they have to be mean to get the point across. Cover art doesn’t always look just like the image in your head. And no, you’re not going to publish one book and make a million dollars. Okay, some people do, but those of us in the real world who don’t get crazy lucky don’t do that.

The dirty little secret is that I love the process, even the awful parts, and I wouldn’t trade my life for any other.


Well OF COURSE anyone can do what I do. If it was something only an elite few could actually accomplish, my track record would tell anyone that I’d be the first one overlooked. I’m notorious for being the mousy girl in the corner that tries very hard not to draw attention to herself.

The “what makes me special”, however, is me. There isn’t another person in the world like me (and we’re very thankful for that!). My father used to say that because of my imagination I’d either grow up to be a writer or a serial killer. I think we’re all glad I chose the former.


[Insert dramatic sigh here.]

Just because I’m a girl doesn’t mean I can’t control the English language. I’ve always been wordy – just ask my Aunt Jewell. She loves to tell people the story about me calling a friend of hers ridiculous when I was two. I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. It was sort of a natural transition from school projects to books.

On top of that, I’m out to prove once and for all that women can write darn good books. I dabble in multiple genres, and I believe in myself enough to think that I can get in the ring and play with the big boys. Some friends and I are actually on a mission to prove that girls can write good books too. We call ourselves The Wyrde Sisters, in case you’re wondering.

So there you have it. I admit it; I’m a strange little cookie. It’s safe to assume that someone dumped walnuts into my butterscotch and stirred the pot all over the counter. I don’t mind, though. It keeps life interesting.

About the Author:

Siobhan writes both contemporary and dark paranormal romance (and a little bit of fantasy and horror under another name, omitted to protect the guilty). Having never really enjoyed reading romance, she finds writing it to be a cathartic act. By manipulating the characters, she can make the happy endings much more satisfying for herself, and hopefully for her readers as well.
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Girl Who Reads is an advertising affiliate with Amazon and IndieBound; a small fee is earned when purchases are made using the above links. The views, beliefs, and opinions expressed by guest post authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect those of Girl Who Reads.

Julian Rosado-Machain: I'm an Author!? (guest post)

First and foremost thank you Donna for organizing this blog tour for Guardians Inc. The Cypher and for having me on your great Blog!


Wow! My first Meet the Author!...Yowza!…

So, if there is one thing that I would really like to let everyone know about me is that I’m not really thaaaat crazy. Borderline insanity is not insanity per se. Sometimes I do act a little nutty, but that is only because of the voices insid…. (Scratch that Donna please if you can.)

Take two.

My first Meet the Author. Fantastic! It is with considerable gusto that I will now disclose some of my personality traits to this audien…. (Dang! This is more difficult than I thought…. Scratch this one too, please!)

Okay, I can do this.

Hello everyone! My name is Julian (solid beginning) I am the author (gasp!) of the Guardians Inc. Series.

I was born in Washington but raised in Mexico City, and I’ve been drawing strange creatures all my life, that is not strange by itself, everyone does between the ages of three and eight. I’m sure that somewhere in a drawer there is a doodle you did one day of an Elephantototamus or something similar.

The strange thing is that I still do it after forty two years. I got stuck there…and then in middle school, when I realized that I could actually write about those doodles, I picked up writing. (Because I was still doing doodles at fourteen and THAT is considered strange by the school psychologist!)

The pen and paper opened a whole new world for me. I could name the doodles, I could give them a background, a life of their own, and then I could send them in an adventure. One that I would love to do myself.

Needless to say that I read a lot.

From Sci-fi to History, old authors and new. Horror stories, Fantasy, mythology, technology journals, I  would have loved to have the mind of a Physisis… Physisits… Sheldon Cooper… Well, maybe not Sheldon, but surely Leonard. (I’m sorry, sometimes English still gets the best of me, and almost everyone has seen the Big Bang Theory...)

Yeah, I also tend to rant… anyway.

Guardians Inc. has a little bit of everything I liked growing up. There are the high Elves and the Mythological creatures, the hyper advanced sci-fi technology, the conspiracy theories, the history connection and the Horrors from beyond. It sounds crazy I know… That’s the reason I don’t try to explain what Guardians Inc. is all about… I’ve been told, more than once, that I sound like a crazy person when I try to explain it.

My older brother told me after reading The Cypher. “I can see all your little obsessions in here.” And he was right. Almost everything’s in there.

But my biggest obsession is adventure, to see new worlds, to explore them. That quest the heroes have to do, the doubts they feel, the dangers they face and the sacrifices they have to make, even knowing that some of them, or all, might not make it through after trying to save the day.

That is at the heart of Guardians Inc.

It took me long enough to begin writing in earnest, I sincerely hope that those of you that like to write will begin as early as you can.

Just do it. Those worlds in your head are worth exploring.

So that’s me and Guardians Inc. in five hundred and fifty one words…fifty five now. You’ve met the interesting side of me, the other side is a little bald, and a little fat, and kinda sleeps too much…

So there!

Thank you very much for exploring Guardians Inc.!

Cheers and hugs!

About the Author:

Julian Rosado-Machain has enjoyed pizza in three continents, BA in Graphic Design, worked building armored vehicles, handcrafted alebrijes, owned a restaurant and swears that he has seen at least one ghost.

A Mexico City native he now lives in San Diego, California and enjoys the sun with his wife, three children and cat.

Guardians Inc. The Cypher is the first book in a series that describes the creatures and powers that live in the world within our world.
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Girl Who Reads is an advertising affiliate with Amazon and IndieBound; a small fee is earned when purchases are made using the above links. The views, beliefs, and opinions expressed by guest post authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views, beliefs, or opinions of Girl Who Reads. A paid publciity package was purchased by the author from GWR Publicity.

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February 10, 2013

Now Showing: Surfacing the Rim

Learn more about Surfacing the Rim by Venessa Kimball at Goodreads

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Girl Who Reads is an advertising affiliate with Amazon and IndieBound; a small fee is earned when purchases are made using the above links.