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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...

May 10, 2013

Fern (Blood Vine #2) Twitter Party and Giveaway

Summer is coming and you need to start putting together your reading list.
Young adult paranormal fantasy author Amy Richie hopes you will pick up her Blood Vine series.
She's offering a Prize Pack to one lucky reader, which includes a signed paperback copy of Fern.

Don't miss the Party!

Join Amy Richie for a Twitter Party
May 10 at 11 am eastern
Use the hashtag #Fern

Connect with the author: website  *  Facebook

“It’s strange how fast life changes. Just when you think you have it all figured out, a council man hands you six werewolves to take care of.”
Willow and her pack had barely settled into their new town when the council shows up again. Only this time it’s to ask for their help - to save Gage. How can Willow refuse?
Suddenly, Willow is thrust into a world of childhood nightmares. The Ancient City. But it isn’t at all what she thought it would be. In fact, Willow soon realizes that not many things are what she thought they would be and she has to figure out for herself which things are worth fighting for.

Buy the book at Amazon!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A GWR Publicity promotional event paid for by Anchor Group Publishing. Giveaway is sponsored by the author. Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small fee is earned when a purchase is made through the above link.

May 9, 2013

Choosing doFollow or noFollow

I've read a post or two in the past about link protocol in terms of black hat techniques. However, they were often heavy on the technical  side and honestly I found it confusing. I understood enough to avoid scam/spam kind of linkings - the I'll link to you if you link to me kind of thing. But the other day I was on someone's blog and they linked to Google's policy of nofollow links.

I had heard of this term and whenever I embed a link I see the option, but honestly I wasn't really sure if/when to choose nofollow. However, I was a bit troubled that I was running afoul of the policy based on these two statements:

  • Buying or selling links that pass PageRank. This includes exchanging money for links, or posts that contain links; exchanging goods or services for links; or sending someone a “free” product in exchange for them writing about it and including a link
  • Using automated programs or services to create links to your site
I knew the buying/selling was a no-no, but it was the "sending someone a 'free' product" that gave me pause. As a book blogger, I often receive a free book to review, which then I write about and occasionally provide a link to the author. I always include a buy link to the book. 

In my blogging group we discussed this topic a little and Melissa of Keeping Up with the Rheinlander's helped me to better understand when to mark a link as nofollow.

  1. When a product I've gotten free is involved and I'm linking to the product or author
  2. Links that I receive possible payment from - affiliate links
  3. Any links that were placed for payment - Book Blasts and sponsored giveaway posts
So, I now I think my new posts are in compliance with the first point. But I still have a question about the second point. I've signed up for my blog to be included in Zemanta's database. When other bloggers post on topics that are related to topics I posted on, my blog shows up in the related articles section for them to choose to include or not. Would that be considered an automated program or service? Or is the policy referring to the more nefarious services that pay people/bots to leave nonsensical comments with a link?

If you, like me, have been a little confused about doFollow and noFollow policy, I hope I've made it somewhat clearer. And, again, I thank Melissa for her assistance.

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May 8, 2013

Ellen Harger: I Argue with Characters

Years ago when I decided to write a contemporary novel (rather than the fantasy stories I’d been writing), it was with great naïveté. Not only for the process of writing, submitting, and editing, but for how the story would come to life. Short story writing is a different beast from novels. Fantasy worlds are fully amenable to the author’s fancy. In Strong Enough, my characters were like petulant actors who stormed off the stage during rehearsal. I didn’t write so much as I begged, pleaded, and had counseling sessions. I was a director who lost control of the set.

Not everyone was difficult. My main character, Whitney Brown, was very fluid in her development. With great patience, she allowed me to toss her into various plots and attitudes like a series of outfits. I’d say, “let’s try this” and she was always willing--even when I turned her Goth for a second. There was little to no arguing with Whitney because the book was about finding her inner strength, so we searched together. It was her innate sweetness that guided me as I revealed her deeper complexities.

Sadi Chavez, on the other hand, was a difficult and stubborn character, rigidly defined. She constantly refused to do what I asked. In fact, because she's a bookstore owner and cynical to boot, she was very snarky toward HEA (happily ever after) endings. No matter how many she read and even enjoyed, she didn't want to be one. The notion went against her very nature. Convincing her to give Marc an honest chance was nearly impossible until I got to know her.

Thank goodness for Marc. He was the most resolved and constant character despite lacking a particular story arc. By no means did he pop fully formed from my head, either. He was a vague idea that I tried to form to Sadi. That was the problem. Despite having no specifics, he was defiant of being a jerk or failing. He really liked Sadi. No matter how difficult she was or how much I begged, he refused to be a chump.

For a long time, I couldn't figure out how to write him fighting for this obstinate, mule headed woman. I wanted him to be believable. And so did he. He refused to say things or do things that didn't feel natural to him. I'M SERIOUS. Marc was independent and didn't apologize for not being the perfect romance stereotype. He was neither overly flawed nor perfect. Instead, he was just a guy with some loyalty and humor. Sadi steamrolls him and he still wants to be with her. It continues to boggle both Sadi and me.

And then there was Gabe. Gabe was a mixture of them all. He allowed me to play dress-up with him, as if he was a Ken doll, but it always felt plastic. No matter what we tried, he returned to a specific path. I could add any detail flourishes as long as it ended one way. I didn’t want to be involved, but it was strangely inevitable--like a moth to a flame.

The final draft of Strong Enough is very different from the first, naturally. And as I’ve learned over and over again, the first catalyst was cut from the story. I began with prompt: a guy returns home to a surprise. After taking a seat in the living room, he notices something out of place. Through the bedroom doorway, he sees a female calf intertwined in his sheets. Hello Goldie Locks. Now go! Why was she there? How did she get in? Does it work out? Is this the beginning or end?

The storyline necessary to make this one moment work was too contrived and required meddling mothers. It read like the teenage romances I adored in junior high, circa 1986. Only my characters were well into their 20’s and their naïveté combined with influential mothers was very annoying.

Ultimately, though, I met all the characters through that first draft and after I resigned the story to them and simply took notes, I captured a story worth telling.

About the Author:

Ellen Harger was born at the Air Force Academy in Colorado. As a military brat, she moved often during her childhood--something she never resented and continued as an adult. The constant starting over would later influence her first published novel, "Strong Enough."
At 14, her family settled in Missouri as civilians, permitting Ellen to attend one high school. She stayed in the Midwest to attend a small liberal arts college, studying creative writing and art. After 11 years in one place, she moved to Boston. While there, she continued to study creative writing in Cambridge. Ever willing to explore new places, she moved next to the San Francisco Bay area. After 11 years away, and loving the symmetry, she returned to the Midwest to finish "Strong Enough." She has published a poem titled "Guidelines" and released her novel as an e-book. 
Twitter  *  Facebook  *  Blog

Buy the book at Amazon!

Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small fee is earned when purchases are made through the link above. The views, opinions, and beliefs expressed by contributing writers are their own and do not necessarily reflect those of Girl Who Reads. 

May 7, 2013

A Mother's Day Giveaway

Celebrating Moms

She is clothed with strength and dignity;
    she can laugh at the days to come.
She speaks with wisdom,
    and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
She watches over the affairs of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children arise and call her blessed;
Proverbs 31: 25 - 28

Join us for an exciting giveaway from worth $800 in value, and enter for your chance to win one of four Amazon e-gift cards! One winner will receive the Grand Prize of a $500 Amazon e-gift card, and three winners will receive a $100 Amazon e-gift card! We hope this will be a very special blessing to all the moms out there. Enjoy this delightful infographic about mothers and don't forget to enter for your chance to win in the giveaway!

*Will you help Save1 reach their goal of feeding 100,000 children? Each time you and your friends share their website on Facebook, "Like" their Facebook page, and sign up for their newsletter, Save1 will provide three meals to a child in need. This takes just 60 seconds to complete! Go here to help make it happen now.

Giveaway Time!

This special Mother's Day giveaway is brought to you by the generous sponsors at
This event was organized by Rebecca at Love2EncourageYou.

Prize: There will be four winners total for this giveaway. One (1) winner will receive the Grand Prize of a $500 Amazon e-gift card! Three (3) winners will each receive a $100 Amazon e-gift card! The total value of all prizes included in this giveaway is $800 value in Amazon e-gift cards! Location: Must be a resident of the USA or Canada. Age: 18 years or older to enter. Void where prohibited. Date: This giveaway begins on 5/02/2013 and will end on 5/12/2013 (Mother's Day) at 12:01am Eastern time. Please support the sponsor and follow Save1 on:
Enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter form below. Once you have signed up for Save1’s newsletter, the only mandatory entry, it will unlock the additional optional giveaway entries that you can enter to increase your chances of winning. If you complete ALL entries in the giveaway form you are entitled to a free bonus of 10 additional entries! Best of luck to each of you! Happy Mother's Day! a Rafflecopter giveaway
*Rebecca at Love2EncourageYou shares: "Special thanks goes out to the following blogs: My Journey to Living Well, Thrifty 4nsic Gal, Sweet Pennies From Heaven, Luker Family Tales, The Deal MatchMaker, the space between, Qpon Junkie, Finger Click Saver, and Lost Island of Book Reviews.
Disclosure: Love2EncourageYou and Girl Who Reads are not responsible for sponsor prize fulfillment. My Blog's Name was not compensated for this post except for a link on the giveaway form. This giveaway is not associated with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Amazon in any way. Please see official rules in the Rafflecopter giveaway form. All winning entries will be verified.
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Bloggers Wanted: Supernatural Thriller Tour

Sign up for the book blast and tour below.

"Gunhus delivers a taut supernatural thriller...all the chops of an action-packed horror tale." - Kirkus Reviews

Emotionally scarred from a car accident in which a little girl was killed, Jack Tremont moves his family from Southern California to Prescott City in the quiet mountains of Western Maryland. At first, the small town appears to be the perfect place to reconnect with his family and to cure his troubled conscience, but Jack soon discovers he has left one nightmare only to walk into another. When a stranger who has been struck by lightning dies in Jack's arms, a child's voice comes from the man's smoldering body to issue a warning: 
They're coming for your little girl, Jack. . . you better run. Take your family and run.
The warning turns prophetic when a local cult targets Jack's five year-old daughter Sarah and Jack finds himself in a fight against dark, supernatural forces that he cannot begin to understand. With the help of a mysterious Native American, Jack uncovers more than just a conspiracy that extends into the small community, but an ancient mystery larger than anything he could have imagined. Suddenly, he's not only fighting for his family, but also to stop a devastating evil from escaping into the world. Above all, he must rush against the clock to save his little girl.

Genre: Supernatural thriller/horror
Audience: Adult

Pages: 430

About the Author
Jeff Gunhus is the author of the Middle Grade/YA series The Templar Chronicles. The first book, Jack Templar Monster Hunter, was written in an effort to get his reluctant reader eleven-year old son excited about reading. It worked and a new series was born. The book is a Book Of The Year Finalist for Foreword Reviews and a Finalist for the Next Generation Indie Book Award. Book #2, Jack Templar and the Monster Hunter Academy was released April 2013.  Night Chill is his first book for adults. As a father of five, he leads an active lifestyle in Maryland by trying to constantly keep up with his kids. In rare moments of quiet, he can be found in the back of the City Dock Cafe in Annapolis working on his next novel.

Tour Schedule:
June 4 Tyrneathem Excerpt
June 5 The avid Reader Top Ten List
June 6 Rayborm Rambles Review
June 7 Girl Who Reads Character Interview
June 8 Cu's e-Book Giveaways Top Ten List
June 9 Drue's Random Chatter Review/Promo
June 10 lubs Book Chatter Review & Author Interview
June 11
June 12 The Ginger Nuts of Horror Excerpt
June 13
June 14
June 15 Share My Destiny Top Ten List
June 16 From the Bootheel Cotton Patch Excerpt
June 17 Off the Page Top Ten List
June 18
June 19 Books Direct Review, Interview & Excerpt
June 20 Ali's Bookshelf Top Ten List
Cabin Goddess Review & Excerpt
June 21 Wag the Fox Top Ten List
June 22 Mom With A Kindle Excerpt

A GWR Publicity event paid for by the author.

Weekly Short: Right Click, Love

It's Short Story Month and I have one more short story that I've read recently, but haven't reviewed yet.

After M. B. Feeney contributed a story that didn't make it into her novella Right Click, Love for Friday Fun  I asked to review it.

With the rise in popularity of blogging, M. B. features the medium prominently. Jodie and Louise run a well read blog which documents their dating adventures. Or perhaps mis-adventures would be a better description.

It is an enjoyable chick-lit read. I think I would have preferred it to have been in first person through out as I felt the blog posts read better than the third person narrative.

If you are putting together your vacation read lists, you should put Right Click, Love on it.

Buy the book at Amazon!

Book Info: Published December 2012 by Renaissance Romance Publishing
Read: March 2013
Source: author

Weekly Shorts is a meme hosted by Cabin Goddess to showcase short stories and novellas. Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small fee is earned when purchases are made through the link above. A free ebook was provided by the source mentioned in order to provide an honest review.

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May 5, 2013

Sunday Sale Page 5/5

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

It is Mental Health Awareness Month and Short Story Month, so I have found a couple of deals and steals to help you celebrate.

I hope you take advantage of these great deals. If you know of other steals and deals, please feel free to mention it in the comments.

For Mental Health Awareness:

At fifteen, Ava ran away from home and changed her name to Caitlin to escape the chaotic childhood of having two schizophrenic parents. However, she lives with the constant fear of what lies in her DNA. Will she succumb to the disease that robbed her of a normal childhood? Will her children be the next victims of the family curse?

99 cents at Amazon.

Short Story:

Maggie Lee’s a lot of things:

The daughter of a mom in a mental institution and a dad serving time;
The niece of three meddling aunts;
The aunt (and now legal guardian) of her beloved niece, Katie;
The friend of a snarky lizard, a dyslexic Doberman, and a semi-psychic co-worker;
A contract killer.

But one thing she'd never thought she'd be is a thief.

That's about to change as she heads to the casinos of Atlantic City to help her sexy murder mentor, Patrick Mulligan, steal something from a professional thief.

Maggie's never been lucky in love or money. Will this gamble pay off or will she lose her shirt, her heart or even her life?

FREE at Amazon 99 cents at B&N

More Steals & Deals

From the trenches of World War One to the vastness of space we meet: relentless pursuers that feed on fear; omens of impending doom and true love that goes beyond the grave.

When realms collide there is no certainty of what is to come...

FREE at Amazon.

Cass Carmichael has lost everything; her husband, her son, and her will to live. When natural disasters destroy the earth she is rescued by extra-terrestrials and taken to a new world where the human race can rebuild. But something is wrong here. Survivors are vanishing without a trace. Can Cass unravel the riddle in time to save herself?

Free at Smashwords use code RB62G

Sherdan has spent many years planning for the future. Now he's in control and he is expected to forge a fresh new start for the people in his program, people he has shaped and can’t abandon, but Britain's PM has other ideas and Sherdan must face the full might of the UK. On top of all this he has to face the one thing he never expected to feel; love.

Anya is on a mission from God to find out why she has been sent to the heart of Bristol, and what she can do to stop the world being plunged into war. When she finds herself forced to pick a side and join the fight, only her faith in God can see her through.

Sherdan's Prophecy is a tale of high stakes and political intrigue. A science fiction novel where faith and technology come together to take the human race another step closer to the final showdown. Where a few select people make decisions on behalf of many. A gritty account of power that shows both the best and the worst of humanity.

Free at Amazon

Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small fee is earned when purchases are made through the links above. The prices were accurate at the time of posting. Please check the price before purchasing.