Readers' Favorite

March 15, 2013

Bloggers Wanted: Paranormal Romance Book Blast

Join the Book Blast Giveaway for 
The Unraveling of Avery Snow by Christy Sloat
March 26

As Avery Snow settles into her life and relationships with those around her, she fights to forget her past lives. All of which she spent with Landon, who still has no recollection of who she really is. It seems better that way. Even though she still feels a draw to his soul, she chooses to ignore it.

For now everything is fine. Her boyfriend, Dallas, has opened a new restaurant. Her friends, Ianni and Kerri, are settling into their lives as well. But when news of a new Dark Guide is revealed, Avery is forced to start thinking about the life she truly leads. One that is very abnormal. One she is desperate to forget. This Dark Guide is determined to make Avery pay for the death of someone she held dear.

Now Avery’s life has gone from seemingly perfect to falling apart. What will be at stake next? Her life? Her love? And who will be there in the end to help her up off the ground?

Even the strongest love can unravel.

Will Avery be able to hold it all together, or will she just let go?
Learn more at Goodreads.

Giveaway includes Swag and $25 Amazon Gift Card 

A GWR Publicity promotional event paid for by Anchor Group Publishing. Giveaway sponsored by Christy Sloat.

Sacrifice Trivia Quiz

Let's play Sacrifice trivia! I warn you I'm a former teacher and was taught how to write test/quiz questions. Comment with your answers and the winner will receive a free eBook copy of Sacrifice.

1. Where does Roberta dream of running away to?
a. Mexico
b. Brazil
c. Argentina

2. What does Duke want to be a leader of?
a. The Chaneco gang
b. Sinoloa cartel
c. Juarez cartel

3. Why did Frankie want to be a policeman?
a. the adrenaline rush
b. to help people
c. because he looked good in blue

4. What grade did Alicia teach?
a. fourth grade
b. first grade
c. kindergarten

5. How does Luis feel about rookies?
a. he thought helping them made the dealership better
b. management made him help them
c. he thought they were a waste of time

About the Author:

Coral Russell runs the blog Alchemy of Scrawl where she reviews Indie books/authors. "By the end of 2013, I will have read close to 300 Indie titles. I can vouch that the quality and diversity of Indie authors is worth investing in." On the blog you can find links to her on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and Google+ and email.

The Indie Exchange is a group of authors, readers, and book bloggers who post reviews, articles, and giveaways. Listen in Fridays to our radio show at

Ms. Russell won the 2003 McCaleb Peace Initiative which produced the non-fiction articles Peace on the Peninsula. All profit from the sale of that eBook goes to rebuilding Joplin, MO.

Titles available: Amador Lockdown, Playing with Fire (Devil of a Ghost Tour and Key to a Haunting), Peace on the Peninsula, The DIY Guide to Social Media Marketing and eBook Publishing, and Twelve Worlds (profit goes to Reading is Fundamental).
 Twitter  *  Blog  *  Facebook  *  Goodreads

Buy the book at Amazon!
Enhanced by Zemanta

March 14, 2013

Blogger Giveaway

Jeff Gunhus, author of middle grades fantasy series The Templar Chronicles, is sponsoring a Blogger Review Giveaway in April. One lucky blogger will receive $100 paypal cash. To enter, review Jack Templar and the Monster Hunter Academy in April. See full rules below.

After barely surviving the onslaught of monsters that tried to kill him the day before his fourteenth birthday, Jack Templar leaves his hometown on a quest to rescue his father and discover the truth about his past. Joined by his friends Will and T-Rex, and led by Eva, the mysterious one-handed monster hunter, Jack sets out for the Monster Hunter Academy where he hopes to find answers to his questions. Little does he suspect that the Academy is filled with dangers of its own, many of them more terrifying than anything he’s faced so far.

  1. Post a review on your blog of Jack Templar and the Monster Hunter Academy (Book 2) on your blog between 12:01 am EST April 1 and 11:59 pm EST April 30.
  2. URL of review must be submitted via the form below by 11:59 pm EST April 30.
  3. A positive review is NOT required for entry.
  4. No purchase is necessary to win. Digital review copies of book 1 and book 2 may be requested by emailing donna @ Please provide the url of your blog when requesting.
  5. Reviews may be done by children, but an adult (18+ years of age) must submit the entry form below.
  6. Only one entry per blogger is permitted.
  7. Odds of winning are based on the number of entries.
  8. Winner will be chosen by
  9. Entries will be verified. Any entry that cannot be verified will be disqualified from the raffle.
  10. Prize Value: $100
  11. This giveaway is sponsored by the Author and the Author is responsible for the delivery of the prize.
  12. Void where prohibited by law.

A GWR Publicity promotional event paid for by the author.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Want Consistent Readers? Create a Feature

Bloggers are always asking me how to build their audience and keep traffic coming to their blogs. One of the top tips I received early in my blogging was to have a posting schedule. When people know when you will have new content they will make more of an effort to come to your blog to read it. Think about it. Why was Must See TV so popular or why do people routinely buy the Sunday paper? They knew that on Thursday nights, NBC would have a full schedule of sitcoms. And the Sunday paper always has the Funny Pages and Coupons. There was no guessing to what viewers would find.

The same is true for readers of blogs. Just like a show that's bounced around the television schedule is almost always guaranteed to fail, if readers have to guess at when you have new content, they won't come as often.

Weekly features are a great way to establish a schedule and let your readers know exactly what they will find. My readers know on Mondays they will get to meet an author, Wednesday will have writing/publishing advice, Thursdays is for blogging tips, and Friday will have something creative. If you want to start a weekly feature, here's some tips:

Be Regular
Set a schedule that works for you and stick to it. It may be weekly or maybe every other week or even monthly. Whatever you feel you can regularly commit to. It's ok if you occasionally take a break through the year. Television shows are pre-empted for holidays and specials. Just don't take too long of a break or let your readers know when you will be back.

Be Consistent
Choose a day for your feature and consistently post on that topic each week (or whatever your schedule is). I started with just Tips on Thursday and I made sure I didn't post anything else that day. When publicists/authors would contact me about tours and such and I would tell them any day by Thursdays. If you do need to post something "off topic" then don't post it at the time you would normally do your feature. I post at 7:30 am, so if I need to post a book blast or something I do it much earlier or later in the day.

Be Bold
Tell people about your feature. Advertise it during the week. Put it on your side bar. Create a graphic. Naming your weekly feature will help people identify with it. As you can see from mine, I like pairing the titles with a day of the week. Memes do this to help people remember what day each meme happens - Teaser Tuesdays, Monday Musings, etc. Even if you don't pair your title with a day of the week, a name for your feature will make it easier to advertise. A catchy title will also help your readers remember the feature. 
If your feature is for guest posts, let authors know when they contact you about reviews, interviews, guest posts. You can also advertise in author groups on Goodreads, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

If you are looking to build an audience and increase traffic to your blog, consider a weekly feature. The consistency will aid not only in letting your readers know what to expect, but help you create regular content. Start with one feature and once it's established, you can consider adding more.

While creating a feature may sound daunting, as long as you are regular, consistent, and bold, you might find it is actually easier to do the feature than any other blogging.
Enhanced by Zemanta

March 13, 2013

Dianne Gallagher: Rewrite Junkie

There are writers out there who can get a great story in one take. One of my current favorites, Christopher Moore, says he seldom rewrites. Wow. I wish I could say that. Unfortunately, my process is not quite so streamlined. I am a former editor and, therefore, a rewrite junkie. My debut crime novel, Too Dark to Sleep, is the product of rewriting. Now there are a ton of writers out there who despise rewriting. I love it. Love it more than writing a first draft. In fact, I really don’t know how to produce a crafted piece without solid rewrite time.

Don’t get me wrong. There are those magical days. Days when you forget you’re creating anything. Instead, it feels like you’re just taking dictation. Writing down words someone is telling you to write. And, let me just say, there is nothing better than forgetting you are the writer. Pages are effortless… and solid. Sometimes those pages don’t need to be touched.

The following scene is a one-take. Pages that needed no additional reworking. Oddly enough, it happened because I needed a scene to fill space to correct a timing issue. In thrillers, timing and pace is everything… so if it’s not right, you can’t let it slide. Faced with a situation and knowing I just couldn’t put in a scene to kill time, I decided to put my lead in a room and see what happened. What I got was and continues to be one of my favorite scenes. To frame the situation, after the loss of her daughter, former detective Maggie Quinn has a debilitating phobia. She’s afraid of the dark.


Maggie opened her eyes and saw the young man asleep in the recliner next to the couch. An empty glass was in his hand. She reached for it, smelled. Whiskey. The clock read three a.m. Still a long time till morning. Had Rayney left the knives out? The medication? Maggie thought about it for only a moment. It felt like someone stuffed her head with cotton. God, she hated tranquilizers.

Caffeine. Maybe that would clear her out so she could think. Caffeine meant going to the kitchen. She paused, looking out the library door. It was a long way. The dark cooed, inviting her to take the walk. It swirled and tumbled across the floor and up the walls like otters playing. 

If she pushed out a few of the lamps, Maggie could make it to the desk. Where there was a flashlight. She would definitely need a flashlight. Then move the lamps to the door. As far as the cords would reach. That would get her to the hall light. Maybe. From the hall light, to the living room. Damn it. No overheads. That meant hitting each individual lamp. Maggie took a second to calculate the best sequence. It would work, if she kept her shit together. Then just a few more steps to the kitchen. Yeah, it would work.

Or she could just curl up with the lamps around her till morning. But Phillips was waiting. And Cramer. Rosenberg. All waiting for someone to help them.

Maggie bit her lip and started the assault.

The lamps to the desk.

Easily enough light to push the shadows back. The flashlight wasn’t in the top drawer. Shit. It was probably still in the car. Not a problem. She could still do this. Maggie stepped back, her elbow brushing against the curtain.

Claws reached out. Tried to pull her back. Pull her to the dark behind the curtains. Maggie yanked her arm away. It knew something was up.

Lamps to the library door.

The cords weren’t quite long enough. That meant reaching out in the dark to hit the switch. She didn’t need any light to tell her where it was. The light switch had been in the same place her entire life.

Arm out.

The dark reached for her, digging into her, burrowing to the bone.

The switch and light.

A shriek as it disappeared into the walls, behind the doors and rugs.

Maggie held her arm. The pain was incredible. Like something stripped the flesh off her bones. She trotted down the hall to the living room door and peered in. She could just make out the bags of evidence on the sofa.

“Thank you, Antoine Rayney,” she whispered.

Her eyes surveyed the rest of the room. It would be waiting, Maggie thought. The dark knew what she was up to now and would have its own plan in place. She looked back at the library. There was light back there. Safety. Waiting till morning wouldn’t be so bad.

Melinda Phillips, Nancy Cramer, Brittany Rosenberg.

A deep breath in, then out.

End table light.

Across the sofa.

End table light.

Over the recliner.

Reading light.

She sank back into the recliner that was now bathed in a warm halo. Maggie steadied her pulse as she scanned the room. Nothing. The dark hadn’t touched her. That wasn’t right.

The kitchen.

A foot of shadow, then six feet of dark to get to the light. That’s where she would lose. It knew not to waste energy in the living room. Even if the shadows did bring her down, it knew Maggie could still get to light.

But outside the kitchen. One foot of shadow. Six feet of dark.

“Bastard,” Maggie whispered.

The dark giggled a reply.

One foot of shadow. Six feet of dark.

Melinda, Nancy, Brittany.

Maggie thought for only a moment, then moved.

To the closet. Inside. There it was. The dark wasn’t expecting that. It wasn’t waiting there. She grabbed what she needed.

The kitchen.

One foot of shadow.

She flipped on the huge camp flashlight.

Six feet of dark.

Slid it across the floor.

The beam from the camp light illuminated the doorway.

Screeching. Like rabbits being killed.

“Gotcha,” Maggie grinned as she ran into the pool of light, spun around, sweeping her hand in the doorway and slapping on the switch.

She caught her breath as she sat on the kitchen floor. The room was bright and warm. Safe. The dark peered at her through the windows. It was pissed.

“Sorry,” she whispered. “Not today.”

Cold Pepsi waited in the refrigerator. She grabbed two cans. Maggie wanted a third, but that meant risking a trip to the bathroom before dawn. She drank one of the sodas as she sat at the table. Nothing ever tasted so good. The second can Maggie took with as she padded back to the library, leaving all the lights on as she went.


So a scene meant to create better timing in the whole novel actually was pivotal in character development and created a connection to a protagonist who is occasionally hard to love. In a couple pages, we know how Quinn perceives the dark. We know that even with something as simple as getting a can of soda, Maggie Quinn will come up with an unexpected solution to solve her problem. More importantly, we know that she will not let fear keep her from reaching her goal. Character is revealed through action. And no rewriting was required. A really solid character does the heavy lifting and comes through when needed the most.

There are scenes that work immediately and those that don’t. There are characters who jump out at you and reveal themselves quickly and easily. Then there are those you have to woo. Usually, the courtship is worth it. There are those days when the stars align and the pages are whispered in your ear and magic happens. On the other days, craft is what keeps the piece moving forward. You write and rewrite. Add pages, delete whole scenes or even entire plot lines or characters. But in the end, the work shows and you have a piece you would proudly hand over to readers… even critiques.

So to all writers who can create a great story in one take, I tip my hat to you and hope to be like you some day. To those who hate or avoid rewriting, don’t. Every time you sit down and write, you become a better writer. Every time you rewrite, you have a more crafted piece.

Elie Wiesel said, "There is a difference between a book of two hundred pages from the very beginning, and a book of two hundred pages which is the result of an original eight hundred pages. The six hundred are there. Only you don't see them." That’s what good crafting accomplishes. And, in the end, craft is what we rewrite junkies are chasing.

About the Author:

Dianne Gallagher lives just outside Chicago with her family and too many cats. Sad note, her fluffy old dog recently passed away.  She has been a freelance editor and ghostwriter as well as a sometimes gardener, steady cook and avid wine drinker. Her debut crime thriller, Too Dark to Sleep, was released in November, 2012 and has been well-received by readers.  Crime Fiction Lover says, “If the quality of her debut crime novel is anything to go by, Dianne Gallagher’s name will spread quickly in crime fiction loving circles.”  Alice DeNizo of  Readers’ Favorite calls it “… a spine-tingling book that readers everywhere will adore.”
 website  *  Twitter  *  Goodreads  *  LinkedIn  *  Google+  *  Facebook

Buy the Book!

Amazon  *  B&N  *  iTunes  *  Kobo

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 contributing authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views, beliefs, or opinions of Girl Who Reads.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Venessa Kimball: What is in Her Writer’s Toolbox?

Every writer has tools that assist them in finding characters, sensing the mood and tone of the story, and building the mystery around the plot.  And, every writer’s tools differ greatly.  Today,  I wanted to share the tools that I have collected while writing the Piercing the Fold series.

The Sound of Music
Music has definitely influenced my creative writing since high school.  In my mind, music sets a mood.  When I close my eyes images begin to develop from that mood, that tone.  I like  to refer to it as the movie reel.  It starts rolling and I need to catch everything I can on paper.  This is exactly what happened with the Piercing the Fold series starting in 2010.

It Starts with a Picture
Sometimes I need a muse.  Images of scenery,  a person,   a place I have never visited, a scene involving a conflict, love,  hate, anger, courage.  Images really have an effect on my imagination. Google Images and Pinterest have really helped me maximize this tool while I wrote Piercing the Fold: Book 1 and Surfacing the Rim: Book 2.  I know it will do the same for Book 3 in the Piercing the Fold series.

Long Handing it  VS.  Word Processing it
I do a both actually.  When I am outlining, I like to long –hand it.  I find that my creativity is more free flowing with pen and paper in hand.  I word process it when I am creating the detailed outline (20 to 30 pages at times).  And, when I am drafting the manuscript I definitely focus on word processing it. However, there are times when I get the word processing block and I need that pen and paper. I try to keep it to a minimum.  I did draft Piercing the Fold: Book 1 long – hand.  Going back and typing from my black and white composition notebooks was grueling.   I try and keep long-hand to a minimum now.

Spreadsheet Outline
Excel, how I love thee.  When I create my detailed outline,  I must have a spreadsheet.  It is my organized self that needs the scenes to flow from one row to the next.   The spreadsheet definitely keeps me focused the forward motion of the storyline and plot.  

Hop into the Story
In both Piercing the Fold: Book 1 and Surfacing the Rim: Book 2,  I jumped into the storyline.   What does that mean?  Well, for instance,  in Book 1  I had to do a ton of research about quantum physics.  I knew very little about this area of science. But, the storyline called for this knowledge.  I didn’t want to short change the reader by creating a story without the scientific backbone it required. So,  I spent about 4 months reading up on  articles, books, and visiting science driven forums to learn about physics in general.  I never was really great at science, but this story spurred my interest to learn everything I could.  I felt like a sponge, just wanting to know more.

I also have to spend a lot of time sketching the world I was creating for these characters.  Scenes required detailed locations ,such as the facility where Ezra trained Jesca in Book 1.  I had to imagine the surrounding and create a blueprint of the facility in order to convey it accurately for the reader. At times, hopping into the story was like falling into a dream state.  When I would stop the writing sessions, I felt like I was coming out of a dreamy slumber.

My writer’s toolbox has given me the ability to take an  amazing adventure in regards to  writing the Piercing the Fold series.  I am anxious to see what new tools I collect along the way in my writing career.  And, where those tools will take the rest of the Piercing the Fold series.

About the Author:

Venessa Kimball, born October 21, 1975, is a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin. Her hometown is San Antonio, Texas. She currently resides in Amarillo,Texas with her loving husband and 3 amazing children.

For 3 years, she taught at an Austin, Texas middle school. For 6 years, she was a full-time Texas Realtor in the Austin Metro Area.

In 2010, she revisted her writing roots that were so prominent in her high school years. Piercing the Fold, her debut novel, was born on November 23rd of that year. Venessa is a full-time, independent author.
 website  *  Facebook  *  Pinterest  *  Tumblr Twitter

Buy the Book at Amazon!


Venessa is offering one of Girl Who Reads readers a chance to win an ebook of Piercing the Fold book 1. Leave a comment with a way to contact you to enter.

The views, beliefs, and opinions expressed by contributing authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views, beliefs, or opinions of Girl Who Reads. Girl Who Reads is an advertising affiliate with Amazon and IndieBound; a small fee is earned when purchases are made using the above links.

James and Syvok Adventure Giveaway

Chat with author Wendy Nystrom
Wednesday, March 13
6:30 pm EST
Twitter: #HelgaReturns

Enter below to win a James & Syvok Adventure Pack

(Signed James Saves the Moon, Signed Helga Returns, 3 bookmarks, 4 silicone braclets, 1 troll, $25 Amazon Gift Card)

James’ second adventure begins with a footprint. He once again calls out to his Icelandic magical friends, Syvok and Matthias, to discover what it means. He will find Helga, the troll who left the footprint. James follows Helga to Yamas, the troll village. Separated from Matthias and Syvok, James and Helga are to be left on a glacier. The earth tremors as Syvok and Matthias enter the village to save James. James saves the Guardian Troll from danger. Matthias and his dragonets save James from being squashed from a boulder dislodged by the earth tremors. All become friends and fly home on dragons back.

Buy the book at Amazon!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A GWR Publicity promotional event paid for my Anchor Group Publishing. Giveaway is sponsored by Wendy Nystrom.

March 12, 2013

Weekly Short: Unspeakable by S. R. Johannes

Since I had read the two books in the Nature of Grace series by S. R. Johannes, I thought I should read Unspeakable. Especially since it was free at Smashwords.

Have you ever wondered what another character was thinking when reading a first person novel? I sometimes do. I read Midnoght Sun on Stephenie Meyer's website because I was curious to Edward's point of view. In the same sense, S. R. Johannes gives readers a glimpse into another character's mind in this short story.

Unspeakable is the first time Mo meets Grace. It from Mo's point of view. The other two books in the series are told from Grace's point of view.

As a story of its own, it was okay. I don't think it really added anything to the series. And I preferred the scene from Grace's point of view better. It didn't endear the character of Mo to me, actually I think being in his head in someways detracted. However, as a marketing tool it was excellent. The story ends on a cliffhanger and if you haven't read Untraceable, you would want to pick it up just to find out what happens next.

Book Info: ebook, May 2012 by Coleman & Stott
Read: February 2013
Source: Smashwords

Get the book FREE at Amazon and Smashwords

Weekly Short is a meme hosted by Cabin Goddess to promote the reading and sharing of short stories.
Enhanced by Zemanta

March 11, 2013

Meet the Author: James Robinson

I had a very interesting home life—so interesting in fact that I chose to include large amounts of it in my book: Fighting the Effects of Gravity. I am an only child. Both of my parents are still living. My father is 85 and my mother is 83. Both are now retired. My mother was an educator who went on to start her own after school in 1972 and later opened a pre-school in 1984. My father was the famous one of the family—so famous in fact that my young cousin—when he was about ten years old—said: “uncle James, you’re famous” and began referring to him simply as “famous.” My father was a great athlete who was the first black to play football for the University of Pittsburgh in the mid-forties. He went on to become a Presbyterian minister who was very active in the Civil Rights Movement in Pittsburgh the 60’s. He met Martin Luther King at one point who—when he ran in to him again—didn’t call him famous like my young cousin did—but did refer to him as “Pittsburgh.” My parents opened a charter school on the northside of Pittsburgh ten years ago for grades K-8 which will solidify their legacy.

When I began writing Death of a Shrinking Violet, I got away from the memoir style and ended up writing 13 separate essays about different topics which had always caught my fancy or struck me as noteworthy. All of my essays are humorous. My essays usually start with a germ of material or a topic. In Death of a Shrinking Violet for instance, I got the idea to write an essay about Sam’s Club after dozens of visits to the stores. After giving some thought to the idea, sitting down and sketching it up (doing some brainstorming with pencil and paper in hand). Very little research is usually required; my experience is all I need.

In the essay, “Where’s your Coat?” I realized that it really bugged me that some people didn’t where coats even in bitter cold weather. What’s the problem with these people? How can you wear a t-shirt in the winter? People never did this when I was young. Is this some sort of new phenomenon? It didn’t take long to realize that there was a wealth of humor and oddities in our daily lives and that we can all laugh at one another.

Buy the book at Amazon!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Girl Who Reads is an advertising affiliate with Amazon and IndieBound. A small fee is earned when purchases are made using the link above. The views, opinions, and beliefs of the contributing author do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or beliefs of Girl Who Reads.

March 10, 2013

Sunday Saying

Coming in April - Manuscript Found in Accra by Paulo Coehlho. Pre-order at Amazon.