Readers' Favorite

February 22, 2013

Friday Fun with Lisa Bilbrey

Lisa Bilbrey interviews a character from her paranormal romance novel Angel's Heart: The Keeper.
Lisa: First, I want to thank Donna for letting us stop by.

Sophie: Yes, it was very kind for her to have us. Especially when you’ve got a lot of work to get done.
Lisa: Hey, I don’t need that from you, Sophie.

Sophie: Yeah, yeah; whatever *looks around the cottage* You just had to bring me back here, didn’t you?

Lisa: *laughs* You love it here on Sayar Island. It’s where you fell in love with Henry.

Sophie: *blushes* Touché.
Lisa: Okay, now that I’ve embarrassed you, let’s get this done. These people have better things to do than listen to our gibberish.

Sophie: *nods and waves for me to continue*

Lisa: Tell me about Angel’s Heart.

Sophie: You should know all about it, seeing as you wrote it.

Lisa: Sophie!

Sophie: Okay, okay; sorry. There’s a lot about Angel’s Heart that I can’t tell you, or them, because it would give too much away. But I will say that when I jumped into this book, I was not prepared for what you’d do to me. You’re a bit twisted, ya know?

Lisa: *nods* I do, but you love me for it.

Sophie: I do.

Lisa: In Angel’s Heart, you meet Henry. Tell me about him.

Sophie: *smiles and blushes again* Henry is amazing. He just . . . well, he makes everything better. When we got to Sayar Island, I found myself so lost and confused, struggling with this mountain of information being thrown at me, but Henry — he never once left me. He held me when I cried, gave me reasons to smile and laugh. He saved me.

Lisa: Saved you from what?

Sophie: From just a life where I barely existed.

Lisa: *smiles* Yeah, I liked writing that quality about him.

Sophie: If I didn’t know better, Lisa, I’d swear you had a little crush on Henry. Kind of disturbing don’t you think? Crushing on a fictional character?

Lisa: No, not at all. Now, stop changing the subject. How did feel to learn that you’re a witch?

Sophie: *takes a deep breath* Like falling off a cliff and waiting to hit the razor sharp rocks on the bottom, just to be pulled back be the bungee cord wrapped around my waist. With each new piece of information that was slung at me, it felt like I was being jerked around. I’m still not sure it’s all real. Maybe I’m lying in the hospital, suffering from a mental breakdown.
Lisa: Is that what you really think?

Sophie: No, but...
Lisa: What are you looking forward to now? I mean, we have a whole other book just waiting to be written.

Sophie: *sighs* Yeah, because you can’t leave well enough alone. *we both laugh* I’m just looking forward to seeing what you have planned for us, and hoping that I’m strong enough to survive. I know how your twisted mind works, Lisa. For all I know, you could be planning to get rid of me in the next book.
Lisa: *cackles* Would I do that?

Sophie: Um, heck yeah!

Lisa: Okay, maybe I would. Well, I’d better get back to work. Sophie, be good. There are a lot of people counting on you.

Sophie: *frowns* Yeah, I know . . .

About the Author:

Lisa Bilbrey is a mom of three and has been married to her high school sweetheart since 1996.

Finding a love in the written word, she started writing as a way to express herself. From the first word she wrote, she'd found her heart and soul. Always willing to learn, she's spends much of her time trying to improve as a storyteller.

In late 2011, Lisa opened Renaissance Romance Publishing with Michele Richard and Laura Braley.
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February 21, 2013

Finding Time to Read

Everyone has heard the saying "there's either too many books or not enough time." Even the most avid of readers (you know the ones that devour a book a day) have had this thought cross their mind. And it is true. There are way more books than any one person can possibly read through in a life time.

As book bloggers, we have made it our business to read books. Yet, many of us are blogging on the side. Unlike other blog topics, a book blog has the added pressure of finding the time to read so there is new content.

As many of you know I have a VERY busy life. January and February are perhaps my busiest as there aren't many breaks from the day job (my last holiday is MLK Day until Memorial Day) and I coordinate Upward Cheerleading at my church. That alone has me out until 8 pm two nights a week and 5 hours are spent at the gym on Saturdays. This is all in addition to the freelance work I do for authors through GWR Publicity. How do I find time to read?

  1. Always have a book with you. Since getting my eReader I've actually read more because it is light weight and fits in almost any bag I'm carrying, so I always have it with me. I have read while waiting in line for a dressing room at a clothing store. Of course, whenever I'm on the bus I'm reading. As the person who is always 15 minutes early, I usually have a few minutes while waiting for others. You will be surprised to find how many minutes you can squeeze reading into by being prepared with a book in hand. This tip I picked up from Mom who always had a book with her when running be around to swimming, diving, gymnastic, and softball practice (sometimes all in the same day!).
  2. Set a goal of 30 minutes. I aim to read 30 minutes every day. My niece and nephew were required to read for 20 - 30 minutes every day for homework. It is actually pretty attainable (yet, I don't always get it in). A couple of times a week I usually eat lunch by myself so I read then. The other days I try to read before bed. It helps me to unwind.
  3. Listen to audio books. Listening to audio books is a life saver for the busy reader. I load the book to my phone so if I'm in the car or walking around campus, I can just insert my earbuds and get some "reading" in. Depending on the audio book I can usually listen while I work as well.
  4. Move on. If a book isn't capturing your attention, it is okay not to finish it right then. I'm very much a mood reader, so if I'm not in a chick lit mood it will take forever to get through the book. I keep a list of Did Not Finish so I can come back to them later if I want. I usually have 2 books I'm reading through at any given time. So I can switch back and forth depending on what I want to read.
  5. Know what you will read next. There's nothing worst than finishing a book and not knowing what to read next. When I get close to finishing a book I start thinking about what I might want to read next. I usually skim my TBR pile for books that have been there the longest, have an upcoming release date, or tie in to something coming up (blog hop, holiday, new release, etc.). This time of year it is often the shortest book that gets chosen! 
  6. During time crunches, choose short/fast books. Following on the last tip. When I know I'm not going to have a lot of time to read, I lean more towards young adult or short stories/novellas. They are usually fast reads and I feel more accomplished, which in turn keeps me motivated to keep reading.
  7. Shut out the outside world. I live a lone so this may be easier for me (except dogs and cats are pretty persistent housemates when it comes to attention). Turn off the social media, television/music, etc and focus on the book you are reading. You will read much faster without the distractions.

What tips do you have to fit reading into your busy schedule?

February 20, 2013

Eleanor T. Beaty: The Character vs the Inspiration

I based Andrea, Lya’s older sister, on a childhood friend. I did exaggerate a bit of her meanness but not too much. Her role, as a secondary character, was meant to contrast Lya’s kindness. I intended Andrea to be extremely dislikable, but many readers have reacted warmly towards her. Concerned even. An unexpected reaction, but a welcome one. This childhood friend of mine was a year older than me, and I was fascinated by her. For the sake of this blog, I will call her Mary.

Mary was my alter ego. I was shy, she wasn’t. I never lied, she always did and so on…that should be enough to get an idea of how opposite we were. Even physically. I was tall and thin, she was short and curvy. What we did have in common was; complicated parents of foreign origin, the same school and the tendency to get into trouble. We were drawn to each and did practically everything together through our early teens.

However, we did have a few falling-outs. I was somewhat short tempered and Mary was a provoker. Once, when we were at summer school together, we fought and went from best friends to worst enemies. I had a roommate I didn’t like much and Mary knew it. She decided to befriend the so-called roommate to annoy me and would come around to provoke.

It didn’t take much to make me lose it. My roommate and I had split the room in half with tape and I stated Mary could never step on my half. Until that day I had never released my wrath on Mary. She had no reason to think I would. Mary walked in, saw the tape and put her foot on my side. I warned her to remove it. She didn’t. I pounced on her and scratched her from head to toe. She ran out, straight to the infirmary where she was given a tetanus shot. Maybe she didn’t explain that the nails that scratched her were FINGERNAILS. Seriously, who gets a tetanus shot because of fingernails?

Well there went my reputation for the rest of the summer. Mary never challenged me again, physically, but when she could, she would put me down verbally, or go for the guy I had a crush on. Even so I couldn’t help but like her. She was funny and creative, had a great sense of style and got whatever she wanted.  Unfortunately, when a teen we don’t see the down side to having our every whim fulfilled. What Mary didn’t have was a family that cared.

I didn’t have much of one either, but somehow it was more than she had. My parents imposed more rules, I didn’t get almost anything I wanted-even though my family was also well-off, and I got shipped off to boarding school for three years. Summer camps filled in the gaps between school terms. Mary went to a boarding school for one year and was allowed back. But not me. I could beg until I was green, my parents didn’t care. I only managed to come home in ninth grade after getting kicked out so many times, my parents ran out of options.

During my years in boarding school, Mary started drinking, not on the weekend or at parties, like the rest of us, but during school. She would take orange juice and vodka with her everyday. By 15 she was an alcoholic. Then going out with Mary to a party became a not-so-fun adventure. Most of the time the night would end with either my sibling or I carrying an almost unconscious Mary back to our house.

In Fallen Ruler, the scene on the stairs where Lya has to get Andrea up to her room was based on Mary. Every time Mary would argue with me all the way up, saying she could do it alone, until one day I got tired of being mistreated and let go. She tumbled down the stairs. I went back down and asked her if she was ready to try again. That was the last time she berated me. In my bedroom I put her down on the mattress, took off her clothes and covered her. She asked me to untie a bead necklace. For the love of God, there was no way I could undo the knot, and she insisted I get it off. I did, with scissors. When she woke up the next morning she saw all the purple marks on her body and her bead necklace strewn across the floor. I told her I had no idea how any of that had happened. If she wasn’t go to remember, why should I, right?

We slowly grew apart as her drinking got worse. So many people tried to help her get off that path of self-destruction but she didn’t want to change. By the age of twenty, she had such a bad reputation no one would take her seriously, nor give her a chance, or even want to be with her. It made me angry and sad at the same time that a person with so much potential would choose to be a drunk. And even though I know alcoholism is a disease, she had so many opportunities, the friends, and money to get the treatment and help she needed, but she chose not to. Mary died in her early fifties, leaving only the memory of a sorry drunk as her legacy. Andrea is a tribute to Mary, and a reminder that children require and need guidance, not things. Not luxury, not freedom but rules, well defined rules, to be able to cope with life.


A lush garden, with ancient ficus trees, surrounded her grandmother’s cottage in the Grove. The tall trees’ cascading aerial roots had terrified Lya when she was small. At night they turned into huge monsters with scary faces. Nee had come up with the perfect solution to make her feel safe; she'd placed three angels with chimes in the garden to guard the house. These angels didn’t have wings or names. They were but blue wooden silhouettes.

Nee’s gates stood open. The mango trees in her garden were loaded; the sweet scent of ripe fruit permeated the driveway. There would be mango bread for tea. Her seventy-year-old grandmother opened the door dressed in an orange Sari. Her shoulder-length gray hair was pulled back in a ponytail, which brought out her almond-shaped brown-green eyes.

“Abhaya.” Nee gave her a tight hug.

Abhaya, Lya’s Indian name meaning “fearless,” had been given to her by a nurse at the Delhi Hospital the day she was born.

Lya kissed her grandmother’s cheek.

Nee looked past her. “And Utpalini, has she escaped?”

Utpalini was Andrea’s Indian name, given to her by Nee. “More like bolted, while I dozed.”

Nee smiled. “Her loss.”

Lya felt bad about her sister’s treatment of Nee. Andrea considered her an embarrassment, an outdated hippie who should be put out of her misery.

The aroma of mango and dough drifted through the house. Nee’s cottage had beautiful art pieces collected during her travels. The Russian icon of a Madonna and Child and the bronze Buddha sitting on his wooden pedestal were Nee’s favorites.

“I set tea in the garden with the angels.”

Lya smiled to herself. As soon as they stepped out, the chimes rang in welcome. Lya bowed and thanked the angels. She still hadn’t figured out how her grandmother rang those chimes on cue. There were no wires. Three places had been set on the old picnic table under the golden raintree’s cascading canopy, now lined with yellow flowers. Lya sat facing the house, knowing her grandmother liked to face the angels.

“How was the trip?”

Lya shrugged. “Ok. I didn’t sleep much. The plane was full.”

Her grandmother poured the tea. “And your father?”

“He caught a flight to headquarters. He’ll be back tonight.” The company’s headquarter was in New York City.

“And your mother?”

Her mother, Carla had stayed behind to pack up the house. Or so she said. “She arrives next week.”

“How is everyone dealing with the move?”

“Well, it varies. Mom’s upset; she didn’t want to leave Brazil. When Dad announced the move, she said she didn’t care where they went, since anywhere with Dad sucked.”

Nee’s eyebrows shot up. “I thought things had calmed down.”

“No. I think it’s gotten worse between them. They weren’t fighting as much because they kept out of each other’s way. Both Dad and Andrea are furious over the move. Dad thought he’d get something like Paris after Bolivia and Brazil, and not another underdeveloped country like India.”

About the Author:
Eleanor T. Beaty is a Young Adult Paranormal author. A worldly person born in beautiful Brazil and spent much of her childhood in several places (Argentina, Switzerland, and the US to name a few). She holds a BA in English Literature and is published in both Brazil and Turkey.

Eleanor loves spirituality and magic - both have allowed her to gain a strong grip on life and enjoy what it has to offer. She believes that everything has a reason and understanding those reasons help us deal with the difficult moments. Eleanor currently enjoys life with her husband in Brazil.

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Girl Who Reads is an advertising affiliate with Amazon and IndieBound. A small fee is earned from purchases made through the links above. The views, beliefs, and opinions expressed by contributing authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views, beliefs, and opinions of Girl Who Reads.
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February 19, 2013

Watch Now: Life After Wrap

Find Life After Wrap  by Roy A. Ruiz 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. Book Trailers are a free feature. All videos are provided by the author who has granted Girl Who Reads permission to feature them on this blog.

February 18, 2013

Bloggers Wanted: Snow Bound Book Blast

Want to tell your readers about a great new adult urban fantasy novel and offer them an awesome prize? Join Snow Bound's Book Blast on March 7 (sign up below).

About the Book:

After learning how to use magic and fighting vampires, anyone would be bored going back to normal college life. As if that wasn’t enough, Jen didn’t realize how hard it would be to tiptoe around her non-magic family and friends. She can’t even talk to her familiar, Rak, without making sure no one else is around! Worst of all, Jen misses the friends she made over the summer. Aside from Rak, they’re the only other magics she knows and she hasn’t seen them in almost five months!

Jen is all too happy to accept an invitation to go skiing with the gang. She gears up for two weeks of snow, magic, and fun. Just when everything seems to be going great, an uninvited guest turns up. Soon the skiers aren’t the only things going downhill. Jen thought that vampires were just about the most dangerous thing the magical world could throw at her. Unfortunately, she’s about to learn that people with no magic at all can be just as deadly.

About the Giveaway:
Author Elizabeth Kirke is sponsoring a prize pack worth $50. It includes:
$20 Amazon Gift Card
signed paperback of Semester Abroad
Limited Edition More than Magic calendar 
2 signed bookmarks

A paid promotional package was purchased by Anchor Group Publishing.
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Meet the Author: Bruce Bradley

I've always disliked talking about myself. In fact I've often said I'm my least favorite topic of conversation. So doing a "meet the author" piece is pretty challenging for me. But as I sit here trying to come up with something interesting to share, I realize the inspirational quotes I've taped around my computer describe my writer's journey. So here are some of my favorites ...

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” — Walt Disney

Writing starts with a dream, or at least it did for me. Since the time I was a sophomore in high school I dreamed of being a writer. For decades that dream knocked about my head. Some years I'd chip away and make minute bits of progress. But it wasn't until decades later when I realized my dad was dying that I finally figured it out. Life is short—I better just go for it.

“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” — Walt Disney

Even when you've decided to go for it and write a novel, it's easy to find a billion ways to fritter away your precious writing time. In 2009 I was lucky enough to hear Vince Flynn speak at a local writers' workshop. While he commended everyone for attending the workshop, he had a very simple warning that went something like this: "No writer ever completed a book at a workshop." What was my lesson? There's a time to learn, and there's a time to get it done. Writing is a lonely sport. Sit your butt in a chair, and just do it.

“I have been up against tough competition all my life. I wouldn’t know how to get along without it.” — Walt Disney

Hooray! I achieved one of the biggest dreams of my life—writing my thriller, Fat Profits. The feeling of accomplishment was amazing! But it didn't take long to realize that the real battle hadn't even begun—competing for the attention of agents, publishers, and ultimately readers.

After facing all the obstacles to getting Fat Profits published, it's easy to see how so many great books go undiscovered. While my crazy writer's journey surely hasn't been easy, I'm confident it has made me a stronger, wiser, and more humble person.

“It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.” — Walt Disney

No, writing a book isn't impossible—it just may seem that way. Did you know that there are literally hundreds of millions of people in the United States that dream of writing a book? I now realize why only a small fraction of authors actually reach the finish line and get their book published. But to all you dreamers out there, Walt Disney got it right and wrong. It is very fun to do the impossible, but it's not as easy as wishing upon a star.

About the Author

Bruce Bradley worked for over fifteen years in corporate America at companies like General Mills, Pillsbury, and Nabisco. Leveraging his business experience and lifelong passion for writing, Bruce Bradley's specialty is crafting heart-pounding thrillers where corporate greed and personal integrity square off, leaving a trail of murder and corruption in its wake.

Bruce Bradley is also active in the national media. He has been a guest on CNN, Dr. Oz, and has written or contributed to various articles for Men's Health, Prevention, The Huffington Post, Organic Gardening, Rodale, and Grist. In his free time he also blogs about the tricks, traps, and tools big food marketers use to get us eating more processed foods.

Born and raised in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Bruce now lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with his son, Ben, and their beloved dog, Katie.
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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.

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February 17, 2013

Free eBook & Excerpt Tour

Get a peek at the fictional memoir Playing the Genetic Lottery by Terri Morgan by visiting each of the blogs below for a portion of the excerpt being featured (several stops will also have extra goodies for you). Want to read more of Caitlin's story? Then pick up the ebook when it is FREE February 20, 21, and 22.

Tour Schedule:

Monday, Feb. 18
izz "pingle" bookish place
Bubbles. Deux. (extra goodie here!)

Tuesday, Feb. 19

Wednesday, Feb. 20
Get the ebook FREE

Thursday, Feb. 21
 Get the ebook FREE

Ali's Bookshelf

Friday, Feb. 22
Last Day - ebook is FREE

Alberta Ross
Uttley's Take (plus an extra goodie!)

Update: Playing the Genetic Lottery will be 99 cents through March 1 

 A paid publcity package was purchased by the author.Girl Who Reads is an advertising affiliate with Amazon and IndieBound; a small fee is earned when purchases are made using the above links.
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