Readers' Favorite

June 14, 2013

Excerpt: More Than You Know by Alexandria Rhodes

When I got to the beach, I immediately took off my shoes, letting the sand in between my toes and looked at the scenery in front of me. The beach on Tybee Island seemed to stretch on for miles. An infinite amount of sand and ocean was all I could see. A strong breeze blew across my face, the scent of salt and ocean filling my nostrils. I breathed in the warm beach air and smiled. This was something you couldn’t find in New York City. I looked ahead and saw my favorite part of the beach: the pier. 

I was surprised to see how few people were here, but it was a weekday. I weaved my way through the bodies lying out on their towels and walked up the old wooden stairs. I made my way over to my favorite spot at the end of the pier and looked out onto the water. The sounds around me made me smile: the birds squawking and flying around us; the mother yelling at her child to not go into the water without taking his shirt off. I couldn’t help but feel some jealousy that I had never experienced anything like this with my mother whom I never knew. I was about to leave when I saw an older man walking up to the pier. He was staring out into the sunset with a smile on his face. Smiling to myself, I walked away but heard him grumble about something and I turned around to see his cane had dropped. Rushing over to him, I picked it up so he wouldn’t need to bend over.

“Thank you, dear, I don’t think my back would have made it had I bent over myself.”

I smiled. “Of course, glad I could help.”

“It sure is beautiful, isn’t it?” he said as he walked over to the edge.

“It is.”

“You look troubled. Do you come here often to think? It’s a wonderful place for troubled souls.”

The old man sat down on one of the wooden benches along the sides of the pier. Something about him made me feel comfortable. “I used to when I was younger.”

“Well whatever is troublin’ you, my dear, know that things will get better. Just keep coming here. The sounds of the waves overtake your own thoughts. The smells here calm your insides, and the feeling of the warm air hitting your skin makes you feel like you’re not alone.” He sighed and took out a white handkerchief and wiped his forehead. “I’ve been coming here for decades and it still feels like she is here with me.” He looked at me and smiled. “She being my Laura. My best friend, my soul mate, and my wife.” He looked out onto the water, never breaking his smile. “This was the last place I saw her.”

“I’m sorry you lost your wife.”

He smiled. “Oh, that was years ago. I just have the good memories now. You know, the ones that can keep you going through the darkest of times.”

I got chills as his words hit me.

“She left on a sailboat for an afternoon adventure. We had all been here, our normal group of friends. It was as though as soon as she left, the skies blackened and the wind picked up.” He paused before going on. “The boat eventually came back to shore without my Laura.”

My hand reached out for his, even though I didn’t know him. The compassion and sadness I was feeling was so great that I felt as though I was supposed to know him. 

“So I come here whenever I need to think or talk to her. I can still picture her smiling and laughing as she climbed into the boat, her long blonde hair flowing in the wind.” He shook his head. “I didn’t mean to bog you down with all of this.”

“No, not at all. We all have our stories, and sometimes no matter the subject, we just need to share them.” The man and I exchanged names, and I left feeling humbled having met someone as kind and open as him. He reminded me how deep and powerful love could be. It could last forever for a person, even if their loved one wasn’t present. The man was able to live without his love. While he didn’t have a choice whether he lived with or without her, I did.

Buy More Than You Know at Amazon and B&N

About the author:

Being a first time novelist, Alexandria is excited to get her writing career off the ground. She is a recent college graduate of Kent State University with a degree in English and Creative Writing. Living in a small town her whole life, she would prefer to reside in a city such as New York City as she has always loved the fast paced environment.
She has been a writer ever since she can remember. Whether it was when she was little writing mini plays to perform for her parents or composing short stories on a typewriter she bought at a garage sale when she was eight, she has always needed to write. She has written professionally for her school’s website as well as a reporter for celebrity news on an online news page. Her passions in life include traveling, especially to Savannah, GA, writing, reading, fundraising and connecting through social media.
Twitter  *  Facebook  *  Goodreads  *  website

Enhanced by Zemanta

June 13, 2013

Bloggers Wanted: Devoted Tour July 8 - 29

Join the Devoted Tour & Book Blast
July 8 - 29

Hosts are needed for Reviews, Guest Posts, Interviews, Excerpts & Top Ten Lists

About the Book:

Book II in The Watcher’s Trilogy

Can love conqueror all?
Michelle has managed to survive high school against all odds, but now she finds herself floating adrift in “the real world”. With two horsemen defeated, there are still two unaccounted for, and surely they are plotting her immediate demise. Michelle leaves her small New Jersey town behind to venture off west. Barely able to comprehend her role as humanity’s savior she now has to grapple with some new roles and identities. With her Watcher, Gabriel, by her side she must again face the evils of Hell and attempt to keep her family safe. Will love conquer all or will till death do us part come too soon? 

Bloggers, you have the option of doing ONLY the Book Blast on July 8, ONLY hosting a tour stop July 9 - 29, or participating in BOTH. Plus each blogger will get a social media link (Facebook Fan Page, Pinterest, or Twitter) added to the Rafflecopter. Sign up below for the Book Blast and/or Review, Guest Post, Interview, Top Ten List. 

About the Author:

Katherine Polillo originally planned to grow-up and become an archeologist. Unfortunately the desert air dried out her skin, the dirt was impossible to get from under her fingernails, and she just couldn’t pull off a fedora like Harrison Ford. So instead she pursued a career in education. She currently teaches high school history and special education, while fabricating fictional stories in her free time. She never really outgrew her imaginary friends stage, and instead has created lives and stories for the creations of her imagination to live in. When she is present in reality and not off on an adventure with her imaginary friends, she lives in a small, New Jersey town with her husband, the man to which all fictional leading men are compared, and their two spoiled rotten, ungrateful cats. 

Join the tour July 8 - July 29!
(review copies of book 1 are available upon request - request it in the comments on the form)

July 8 Book Blast
July 9 
July 10 Playing For Sweeps
July 11 Ali's Bookshelf
July 12 A.B. Shepherd
July 13 Rayborn rambles
July 14 Aria Glazki Writes
July 15 R&M Fab Book Reviews
July 16 Into the Land of Books
July 17 lindsay and Janes views and reviews
July 18 What Shall We Blog About Today?
July 19
July 20 Book Dream Land
July 21
July 22 Girl Who Reads
July 23 Cabin Goddess
July 24 Our New Generation for Reading
July 25 Karen Pokras Toz
July 26
July 27 Lubs Book Chatter
July 28
July 29 All That's Written ...

A GWR Publicity promotional event paid for by the author

Make Your Posts Pretty

by Donna Huber

In a a lot of ways blogging is visual medium. While our posts may be text heavy, we need them to be eye catching. Otherwise, they will be lost in the sea of information overload, aka the internet.

There are plenty of tips out there about best ways to format your posts to draw readers attention to important information.

Use Headers
Use Bullet Points and Lists
Use Bold Text

My tips posts have always been popular, but when I started using the format of Tip 1, Tip 2, etc. I got an even better response (typically more comments and shares). The headers set off the post and the listing of tips made the post easy to follow. 

You know that a post with a graphic or two is more appealing than text only. However, if can be difficult to find images to use. And if you can find an image, you may not have the graphic talents to really make it set your blog apart (I know I don't). Plus dressing up graphics can be time consuming. I don't know about you, but I don't have hours to spend on a single post.

I have always been a bit envious of the posts at Cabin Goddess. I know she spends hours making her posts as visually pleasing as possible. Kriss also has the technical skills to manipulate images (she did my book cover). I knew there was no way I would ever be able to match her and I was okay with that. However, I did still want to make my posts pretty. 

When Kriss helped out with the cover reveal for my upcoming book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour, I had a revelation. There wasn't a lot she could do with graphics. The book cover is what it is and as it was a cover reveal she couldn't really manipulate it. However, her post was still visually pleasing. Yet, it was such a simple thing that I'm slapped myself on the forehead. Seriously, I don't think I've seen  any of the "how to format posts" gurus mention this simple step to dressing up your post.

add a splash of color

Simply by adding a few lines of text in another color made the post stand out from the other dozen or so posts I read that day. I have been trying to do this with posts for the past couple of weeks and it has made a difference I believe. Interaction is up as is readership and shares. 

A word of caution: using too much color can make your post garish and defeat the purpose of making text pop.
Enhanced by Zemanta

June 12, 2013

Bloggers Wanted: $50 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

Help Alicia Michaels celebrate the upcoming release of

by hosting a $50 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

June 24

Sign up here

A GWR Publicity promotional event paid for by Anchor Group Publishing. Giveaway is sponsored by the author.

Make Friends with Bloggers

One of the top questions I hear from authors when discussing book discoverability and marketing is

"What can I do that doesn't cost a lot of money?"

My response is always,

Make friends with bloggers.

Unfortunately, I see way too many authors only using bloggers as review generators and failing to make any kind of personal connection with them beyond the review pitch. Bloggers are an awesome resource to have in your toolbox, but one many authors do not properly know how to implement into their marketing plans. As more and more bloggers close to review requests (I recently went through a listing where over half the bloggers were not currently accepting review requests), it is important for authors to find new ways to leverage the impact a blogger can have on a book's success.

I have a number of publishers and publicists that contact me about traditionally published books. I can almost always tell when an email is from the traditional side of publishing from the first few lines. It is subtle, but it sets them apart from the indie and self-published pitches. Pitches from traditional publishing rarely begin with a request for review. Bloggers are pretty smart and already know that if an author/publisher/publicist is contacting them, they are hoping for a review. Instead, these emails go straight to selling me on the book - why people should want to read it. After telling me how great the book is and how special the author is, they then still don't ask for a review.  Instead, they ask if I can MENTION the book on my blog. They ask if I would like to do a giveaway. And then at the very last they offer to also send me a copy for review.

Asking for a mention is the key I think to these pitches. As a blogger who is still trying to get through review copies from last year, I don't feel the pressure of doing a review. Instead I can do a promotional post for it with the giveaway. I love when press release materials or a Q&A is provided at the end of the email because it gives me more information for the post without searching for it. Also, a Q&A can often be slipped into one of my featured guest post slots.

Speaking of Q&A and guest posts, I think authors often overlook these opportunities. You do not need to be on a tour to ask a blogger for a guest post or interview slot. Most bloggers welcome original content from authors.

Even with the low pressure pitch email, you have not gone the extra step in making friends with bloggers. A relationship beyond the review request will better secure a blogger in your camp. I have a number of authors who I email, Facebook, or Tweet with. They show interest in me and my blog beyond what I do for them. They often share my blog postings on Twitter and Facebook. They also respond to my messages on Twitter and Facebook. They also stop by my blog from time to time to comment on posts. Authors who are responsive and attentive to me often will get more promotion for me. It's a I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine karma building thing . When I wanted to do a little impromtu cover reveal for my upcoming book, I knew exactly which authors I could contact and would help me out. Why? Because we talk about things other than their book and my promotion of it. They consider me a person first and foremost, not just a means to an end.

A key to successful networking is always being on the lookout for ways to help others.

By building a relationship with bloggers you will have people who will promote you without asking in the future. When I see an author I'm friendly with win an award or get mentioned in the news, I'm happy to share that with my readers on Twitter and/or Facebook. Also, if they contact me about something special I will do my best to find a slot for it on my blog.

Noticed I said SPECIAL. If you are contacting me every week about hitting a new sales goal or an interview on a blog, then you are going to lose my interest. Would you ask your friend in real life to post every week about every little thing about your book? I don't think so, and you shouldn't ask that of bloggers whom you are building relationships with either.

Bloggers can be some of your most loyal and vocal supporters, it is well worth the time and effort to cultivate a relationship beyond the review request with them.

Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the blogger behind Girl Who Reads and author of the how-to manual Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour.

June 11, 2013

Review: The Diabolist by Layton Green

Continuing the theme from last week of books that will take you places even if you can't get away this summer, what do you say about a trip to London, Paris, and Sicily? Hold on to your seat, because The Diabolist by Layton Green will take you on a ride.

Dominic Grey is back on the case in this thriller that can be described as Supernatural meets Dan Brown. However, Dean and Sam have nothing on Dominic. He is definitely leading man quality. We see a bit more of his trained killer street fighter side

Like The Egyptian (see my review), The Diabolist can be read exclusive from the series. I still need to read the first book in the series, but I don't feel like I'm missing anything in the story line. There are references made to the first book, The Summoner. I think there were more references than to the second book, but as a stand alone it's still quite enjoyable.

Dominic, along with his partner/boss,Viktor Radek, Interpol consultant and professor of Religious Phenomenology are called in to investigate the deaths of religious cult leaders in San Francisco, Paris, and London. You will get the tourist experience, but beware of the lurking shadows of the most dangerous cults in the world. not only will you be taken on a journey through Europe, but also a journey of belief - What is good? What is evil? Is there one God or two opposing but equal forces? - as the investigation takes on a more personal note.

Subterfuge takes on a whole new meaning when magic, illusion, and powerful belief are involved. Will Dominic and Viktor figure out the slight of hand before time runs out? Or will they both fall victim to one's unwavering faith?

The danger and suspense never lets up as Viktor tracks down an old friend and Dominic determines if the girl is an accomplice or a damsel he needs to save.

Buy The Diabolist at Amazon

Book info: paperback & ebook, published June 2013 by Thomas & Mercer, ISBN13: 9781611099843
source: Netgalley
Read: June 2013

Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small fee is earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the link above. A free ebook was provided by the source in exchange for an honest review.  

Enhanced by Zemanta

June 10, 2013

Bloggers Wanted: Book Blast Giveaway June 30

Are you a lifestyle, parenting, or book blogger? 

Then you will want to sign up for this Book Blast Giveaway

June 30 

Prize: $25 Amazon gift card, signed paperback and rack card

Basal body temperatures. Hormone injections. Invasive procedures - that leave no room for modesty. Tips on “effective positions” from well-meaning grandparents. 

When the natural way fails to work these are all added to the so called “fun” process of making a baby. Walk this rocky path to motherhood with author Stacey Rourke as she openly and honestly shares every good, bad, and awkward step of her three-year long journey. Using humor to break through the perils of infertility, she gives the lowdown on all the strange, embarrassing, and heartbreaking aspects. Stacey guides us through an unforgettable path that ends with a kid on each hip and hope for all those suffering with infertility. 

BONUS MATERIAL: “Morsels of Hope”
Success Stories from Infertility Survivors

Sign up HERE:

A GWR Publicity promotional event paid for by Anchor Group Publishing. Giveaway is sponsored by the author.

Meet A.B. Shepherd

Hi, I’m A.B. Shepherd. You can call me Abie. You may have read my prepared bio. A bit boring isn’t it? Although maybe you frowned a bit, or even scoffed when you read the part about my imaginary friends. That’s okay, because really, they aren’t exactly imaginary. They are merely inanimate - at least to you. To me, they are as real as you are.

The first thing you might want to know about me is that I tend to be just a little bit delusional. I’m not outright cray-cray. (Don’t you hate that term?) I just prefer to live in a fantasy world most of the time. My husband Pete lives in my fantasy world too. I dragged him in here kicking and screaming, but once he adjusted to it he’s quite happy here. Or so he tells me as he pats me on my head. 

We aren’t the only residents here in my little Fantasyland. Oh no. That would be boring, don’t you think? We have friends here. More like adopted family. My boys. 

You haven’t made up your mind yet as to my mental health? You want to know about my boys? Okay I’ll tell you. 

Charlie is a puppy. He was the first of the boys to join Pete and me in Fantasyland. Charlie may, or may not, have run some strip clubs when he and I lived in the States before we moved to Australia. Pete says he did, but I don’t think so. Charlie is far too sweet and innocent for such an unsavoury lifestyle. He’s a good boy. Aren’t you Chuckles? Yes, you are. Yes, you are.

Next came PopTart. Now I know what you are thinking - PopTart is a very strange name for a little koala, but it suits him. PopTart adopted me at the airport the day I arrived in Australia as a resident. He is a cheeky little buggar and if the boys get up to mischief you can bet PopTart is the ringleader. Always up to tricks, that one. But it is usually harmless fun. Although he is apparently under contract to tamper with Pete’s socks, twisting them as Pete walks around the house sans shoes. Pete has begged and threatened him, but a contract is a contract.

PopTart and Charlie formed a fast and loyal friendship - they are mates through and through. Both of them desperately want to be ninjas and have declared Pete to be their Sensei. He teaches them the art of sword fighting, sneaking around in the dark, making themselves invisible, and other useful ninja skills. One of their favourite ninja training lessons is swinging from the Hills Hoist

Their favourite food is Hungry Jacks (the Australian equivalent of Burger King). They demand we drive them there at least once a day, but we very rarely indulge them. I think sometimes they sneak the car out at night while we sleep. If they are desperate and Hungry Jacks is closed they settle for Maccas (McDonald’s). They both have acting careers where they’ve made a ton of money, but they have hidden it away in offshore accounts. They are also trying to establish careers as hit men. After all, who would suspect cute and cuddly puppies and koalas? But so far their nefarious careers have yet to blossom.

Algeron - or Al for short - was the next to join our happy little family here in Fantasyland. Al is a 900+ year old garden gnome originally from Ireland, or so he says. He isn’t sure of his exact age because he figures once you hit 900 it is impossible to keep track. Al tries to keep PopTart and Charlie in line, and guide them with the wisdom he’s gained in his many years, but he’s usually too busy having tea and a bickie, or taking a nanna nap. 

Buy Lifeboat by A. B. Shepherd at Amazon

Tom and Tinkerbell (he prefers to be called Tink) joined the family at the same time. Christmas 2012. Tom is a very famous cat - he even has smartphone apps made in his image for which he collects mega royalties. Tink, on the other hand, is a tiny firefly in a jar. Poor Tink, he’s often left behind. He tries to keep up, but it is really hard for him, especially with that jar to drag around.

And there you have it. Collectively, these are my boys. Oh the stories I could tell you of their adventures! They get up to such high jinx! They keep telling me they’d like me to write their adventures and publish them as a book, but so far I haven’t done it. I’d need to change the names to protect them all, and there are so many stories it would be impossible to choose.

Oh! I neglected to mention that Pete is a dark lord, and my boys are his minions. They are frequently running here and there around the world doing his bidding. This is where the ninja skills come in handy. At least when the boys don’t get distracted, and run off playing. Tom has been learning ninja skills as well. He’s got some catching up to do.  

But I’ll have to save their adventures for another time. Or maybe I’ll write them in a book one day after all. I’m running out of space in this tiny article!

As you can see, my world of fantasy is one full of fun, silliness, laughter, and sometimes harrowing adventure.

Cass, my heroine in Lifeboat, lives in a darker, sadder, and scarier world. If you like suspense and science fiction, her world is a great one to visit, and I sincerely hope you will. 

Read an excerpt from Lifeboat

I like to venture into the darker worlds from time to time, but I don’t like to stay there. Life can be dark enough. 

For me, on a daily basis, I prefer to be right here - with Pete and my boys - where there is love and laugher - in my very own Fantasyland.

Now that you know about my life, tell me about you. Do you prefer real life? Or do you live in a fantasy world too?

About the author:

A.B. Shepherd grew up in Lansing, Michigan, but moved to Australia once her children had grown and empty nest syndrome set in.
She now lives in the Limestone Coast region of South Australia, with her husband and their imaginary friends.
A.B. loves living near the Southern Ocean and often finds it inspiring. She can usually be found seaside at Port MacDonnell, or lost in a fantasy world.
website  *  Twitter  *  Facebook

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

June 9, 2013

Sunday Sale Page (6/9)

It's the end of the weekend, but there's still time to pick up a great deal on some new reading material for this week.

99 cents for a limited time!

Wanting some romance this summer? Get this #2 New Adult/College ebook for 99 cents at Amazon and $1.99 at B&N

99 cents at Amazon and B&N

A novelette for 99 cents at Amazon and B&N

FREE at Amazon

FREE at Amazon

June 11 - 15 FREE at Amazon

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