Readers' Favorite

June 21, 2013

Excerpt & Giveaway: Zaremba by Michelle Granas

And then she had taken the bus and perhaps, if it hadn’t been for the dog, everything would have gone normally or, well, differently anyway. 

He was there when she got off her last bus. She saw him as soon as she stepped down, a little more slowly than the crowd of quickly dispersing fellow passengers, onto the sidewalk along a busy four-lane highway. The passengers walked along a corridor of sound barriers to staircases and tunnels and the city spreading itself on either side. 

The puppy’s chances were not great; were, in fact, nil. He was lost, a very little and rattylooking mongrel, not very steady on his legs yet, wandering from side to side of the road, the wind from the stream of cars buffeting him as they whizzed past, the wheels of the delivery vans way above his head as they bowled down on him as he made a try to cross the street, then flattened to his stomach again, tail clapped down, eyes frightened, as each one passed. It’s a terrible thing to see a life crushed out, smashed beneath the wheels of a vehicle, an insensate machine of metal, rubber and destruction – one moment of inattention, of panic, a wrong move: the approach, the split second of disbelief, and then…Cordelia imagined it all in a split second too.

He couldn’t get off the street; he was caught there between the barriers. Beyond there were parking lots, modern office buildings, warehouses, the inhospitable environs of the Warsaw periphery. There was no place for him to go or to have come from; he must have been dumped, thought Cordelia in distress as she stood on the sidewalk uncertainly, watching him. Some dreadful person must have just opened a car door and dropped him out to meet his death. 

She glanced at her watch again. She had fifteen minutes until her appointment. She hesitated, closed her eyes and cringed as the puppy started again across the street as another truck came thundering along. The puppy began to run. No, no, no, she wanted to scream at him. Too late. He darted across the road, and she shut her eyes again, waiting for the slight impact of small body and wheel. But when she opened them again the puppy was on the other side of the road, the truck was retreating into the distance. But now the puppy, thoroughly disoriented and distraught, was preparing to cross again. 

Oh why hadn’t she taken the other bus, the one that would have let her off on the other side of the building, where she would never have known of this poor little dog’s fate, but could have gone calmly – well, as calmly as possible – to her job interview.  And now, what was she going to do? If she caught the puppy, she would have to take him with her. A fine impression that would make, but really, she couldn’t leave him here. 

She made up her mind, and began to hurry clumsily down the sidewalk towards the creature, lurching, her bad leg swinging out awkwardly. Really, he was very ugly: a thin blackish puppy with frightened eyes glinting under a mat of wild hair. He was cowering beside the curb. 

Stay there, she told him in her mind. I’m coming. I just can’t move very fast, you see. I can’t really run. But I’ll be there in a minute. She was almost level with him; if only there would be a break in the traffic, she would rush over and catch him. Why did people have to drive so fast? Just stay there, puppy. 

But he wasn’t staying. He was going to run towards her, between that car and another truck coming from the opposite direction. No! She shouted at him, and stepped out into the street, holding up her hand to the approaching car. There was a screech of tires. She was no judge of distance.

Buy Zaremba at Amazon

About the Author:

Michelle Granas was born in Alaska, but currently divides her time between Oregon and Poland. She has degrees in philosophy and comparative literature, but now works as a translator. Over the past dozen years she has translated for many of Poland's major politicians and writers, including short pieces for the Nobel Prize winner Lech Wałęsa and Nobel Prize nominee Ryszard Kapuścinski.

If you would like to participate in the excerpt book blast with giveaway for Zaremba on July 10, please sign up here. Each participating blog will choose 1 of 6 different excerpts to feature.

The Giveaway: 1 paperback; open INTERNATIONALLY

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Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small fee is earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the link above.
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June 20, 2013

Popular Tips on Thursday Posts

I often get requests for a particular tips posts or asked if I have written on a certain topic. I thought today I would share some of the most popular tips posts I've written. (You might notice I'm taking my own advice for when you're too busy to write  a full post - make a list).

Listed in order of most viewed:

Goodreads for Bloggers (5/10/2012)
Blog Reviews (2/16/2012)
Star Ratings (4/12/2012)
Act Locally ( 3/29/2012)
Bloggiesta Challenge (9/27/2012)
Negative Reviews (7/12/2012)
StumbleUpon (7/26/2012)
Tag It (3/22/2012)
Twitter Connections (3/15/2012)
Blog Tours (6/21/2012)
Netgalley (3/8/2012)
Facebook Profiles, Pages, and Groups (11/22/2012)

Most popular so far in 2013:

Want Consistent Readers? Create a Feature (3/142013)
Create Content with Challenges (4/4/2013)
What does a book reviewer do when there's no time to read (3/21/2013)
Resolutions (1/3/2013)
Finding Time to Read (2/21/2013)
Vacation and Your Blog (5/23/2013)
Blog Reading (1/17/2013)
Book Blast, Blog Blitz, and Sponsored Giveaways (2/28/2013)
Does anyone care what I have to say? (4/18/2013)

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Organized by: Mom Powered Media
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Disclosure: I received no compensation for this publication. My opinions are my own and may differ from those of your own. Girl Who Reads is not responsible for sponsor prize shipment. This event was organized by MomPoweredMedia please contact with questions or to see your business or blog featured on the next big event!

June 19, 2013

Laura Libricz: The Decisions I Make While Writing

Or:  Why the heck did that character just do what he did? 

Everyone knows this moment while watching a B-rated horror flick on TV. The heroine hears spooky sounds coming out of the basement. The music rises and her footsteps slow as she walks towards the basement door. Her hand reaches for the knob and everyone in the room shouts, “Don’t do it!”

We wonder how she could be so foolish. We know evil lurks down there. But somewhere a script writer made a conscious decision to have the scene evolve like this. Now, we as writers are making decisions all the time: about mood, setting and the actions our characters take. Is it raining during the scene? Is it dark or is it morning? Things like this can really affect the mood and setting. And even though I fret over every word, every sentence, paragraph, scene and chapter, I’d like to concentrate today on the decisions I make regarding my characters and their actions, how I back these decisions up and further the story along.

I write historical fiction set in Germany in the 17th Century. I made a decision in the beginning that I wanted a historically correct account about the people and their plights during this period. I also wanted to make the story easier to read so I decided to keep the dialogue ‘lighter’ or non-archaic, using not actually contemporary speech, but somewhere in between the two. And I wanted to somehow create real people with real problems like heartbreak, herbs and horrors. (I wanted to call the book Sex, Drugs and The Thirty Years War, but I decided against that.)

In order to make the characters come alive and show the reader who they are, I need to set up their personality traits along the way, like salting a soup, so that the reader can understand why they act the way they act. For example, a character who was thrown from a horse as a child could understandably have a fear of horses in her adult years. A young man who had a traumatic separation from his mother could have intimacy issues. A woman who was a servant her whole life may not have high self esteem. She most likely will not be the heroine who swings a sword and wards off mercenary soldiers. Her ultimate heroic act may be then that she sacrifices herself in order to save those she loves. 

Buy The Master and the Maid at Amazon

We have all read books where the characters have made choices that we can’t understand. We think that this character would not have done the deed given what we know about him. (Though some writers can use just this tool, an unpredictable trait emerging from a character, quite effectively in order to further the story.) But in my observations, most people are predictable. The signs of personality changes are often there if we dare look. As my characters develop, I set up personality changes so when the character is faced with a conflict, I already know what choice they will make (and the observant reader may see the changes coming too if I do my work right!) For example, a young girl sees a soldier rape her mother. She decides to take a knife and kill him. If want this scene to be believable, I need to have the girl be athletic from the beginning. I need to train her beforehand so she would even be able to use the knife. And she has to be capable of such an act, so she needs a slight black streak across her personality.

Yes, I do written character analyses. I do their astrological charts. In the beginning, I found actors I would like to play my characters in a film, just to get a feel for their movements and facial expressions, but later they all evolved into their own people. Books about personality disorders have been really helpful and I like to give the characters one or more. (I’m a big fan of flawed heroes.) My historical trilogy, Heaven’s Ponds, is written in the first person, from the viewpoints of three of the characters and for me this is the easiest way to really get into the characters’ heads. Even if I’m writing in third person, a first draft written in first person can be really helpful to find the characters and to really feel them.

So, in my novels nothing happens per chance. The characters may evolve on their own but I’m the puppeteer who’s pulling the strings. The characters may act irrational or selfdestructive or miss chances that could have saved them. But my conscious decisions plot the whole thing like I am building a ship. 

What sort of things do you like to see in characters? What sort of things don’t you like to see?

About the Author:

Writer, mother, factory worker, Laura Libricz loves to write. She earned a BA in German at The College of New Paltz, NY in 1991 and moved to Germany, where she resides with her husband and two grown children. Her first historical novel, The Master and the Maid, is the first book of the Heaven's Pond's Trilogy and is now available at Smashwords and at Amazon. The second book, The Soldier's Return, is scheduled to be released in October 2013.
website  *  blog 

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

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June 18, 2013

Blog Tour: Chasing Invisible

From award winning children's author Karen Pokras Toz comes the contemporary adult novel

Chasing Invisible

Could you handle life in the spotlight?

Julia Alexander is a quiet girl from a small town. Content to spend her days with her small group of friends and a pile of books, Julia thinks her future is set. When she unexpectedly meets Chase, a fellow college student and budding musician, she is unaware of just how drastically things are about to change. 

Suddenly thrown into the limelight, her life is no longer her own. Relentlessly followed by the paparazzi, Julia is forced to make tough decisions about fame, love, family, and relationships. But just how much will Julia have to sacrifice to become invisible...

Buy at Amazon
Want a SIGNED paperback? Contact Donna, your Independent BookSurf Consultant.

Join Karen Pokras Toz for a Twitter Party
June 18 at 8 pm eastern

Tour Schedule:
June 18
In the Land of Dreams Excerpt
Marietta Homeschooling Zoo Review
June 19 Tyrneathem  Top Ten List
June 20 Cu's Author Promos  Character Guest Post
June 21 Muddying the Waters  Review & author interview
June 22 Rayborn Rambles Review 
June 23 The Journey Continues Review & Author Guest Post
June 24 The Book Connection Review
June 25 Pavarti K Tyler Excerpt
June 26 Library Girl Reads & Reviews Author Guest Post
June 27 Lubs Book Chatter Review and Character Guest Post
June 28 Fiona's Book Review Blog Author Interview
June 29 Kats Read Author Guest Post
June 30 From the Bootheel Cotton Patch Book Promo
July 1 fuonlyknew  Excerpt
July 2 Fresh Pot of Tea Excerpt
July 3 lindsay and janes views and reviews Review & Character Guest Post
July 4 Girl Who Reads Tips on Thursday
July 5 The avid Reader Book Promo
July 6 Lissette E. Manning  Review & Author Guest Post
July 7 Recent Reads Review
July 8 Ali's Bookshelf Review

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A GWR Publicity promotional event paid for by the author. Giveaway is sponsored by the author who is responsible to prize fulfillment. Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small fee is earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the above link.
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June 17, 2013

Meet Kimberly Dalferes

I have a confession. Thirty plus years ago when I was a college freshman, I let someone - practically a stranger - derail my writing ambitions. A graduate student begrudgingly assigned to teach freshman composition, a woman whose name I can’t even recall, told me I had no writing talent whatsoever. Nil. Nada. She advised me to focus my studies elsewhere; like agriculture, or perhaps the service industry.

My confession: I believed her.

Big mistake. Not a mistake the likes of “Sorry, I didn’t mean to lose the company $1 million;” or, “Of course I’ll talk to the folks from Sixty Minutes… what could possibly go wrong?” But, a bad personal choice for sure.

Now approaching “Club Fifty” status, I’ve realized - perhaps a little late in the game - that I would love to go back in time and tell my 18 year old self to screw the naysayers (well, not literally) and write for one reason and one reason only: it’s wicked fun! Oh, and I would also tell her to wear a better bra because some day she is going to regret that lack of support.

Here are a few additional bits of advice I would share with my younger self:

  • Pick a writing hero. My current obsession is Mae West. Did you know she was a playwright? Yep, her first play produced on Broadway was titled Sex. After one week the authorities shut it down and she spent a week in jail for moral indecency. She was WAY ahead of her time.
  • Don’t apologize for your eccentricities. You don’t like eggs; so don’t eat them! You’ve got big feet (you’ve sported size elevens since age eleven); be grateful because you could instead have a giant ass. You’re a neurotic, crazy southern Irish gal, who suffers from Virgotitis - embrace who you are because in the future you are going to write some funny stuff about your own weirdness.
  • Marry a night owl. Trust me, morning people suck; you are not compatible with this species.
  • Invest in a pair of very good fuzzy bunny slippers. You will need them throughout your life. Your writing abilities will often depend upon your feet being comfortable. My current pair are bright pink and quite fluffy.
  • It’s OK to show your ass every once in awhile. When you’ve reached an age when you’re perched up in the middle-aged cheap seats, you’ll look back with some perspective. You’re going to fondly remember those situations that ended up being stupid and funny. Embrace these bad decisions – they make for the best stories.
  • Life will not turn out as expected. Life is messy and complicated and wonderfully unpredictable. You shouldn’t always play by the rules. Example: someone is going to offer you free tickets to a Prince concert. He is going to be HUGE. Blow off your history exam – take the tickets!
  • Above all else, remember this: there’s always room for Jello; and tequila; and a funny book.

Buy the book at Amazon

Kimberly “Kimba” Dalferes is the author of I Was In Love With A Short Man Once. She is currently working on the sequel tentatively titled Magical Power Fishing Panties. She can often be found hanging in the middle-aged cheap seats (
Website   *  Twitter  *  Facebook

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

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June 16, 2013

Sunday Sale Page - 6/16

Whether you are relaxing the last few hours of your weekend or looking for reading material for your lunch breaks this week, here's some deals and steals to keep you entertained. And since it's Father's Day, I've chosen a few deals that could be used as gifts.

3 ebook for 99 cents.  What a deal! 
Amazon  *  B&N

99 cents at Amazon and B&N

99 cents at Amazon and B&N

FREE at Amazon

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. Prices were accurate at the time of posting. Please confirm price before purchasing.
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