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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...

August 23, 2013

Excerpt: The Devil You Know by J. M. Gregoire

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Deziree Davanzatti is a thief by trade and to keep herself occupied between jobs, she owns and operates Onyx, a trendy nightclub for the supernatural citizens of New York City.

What else would a 400-something year old demon-human hybrid do with her spare time?

Following a drunken night of questionable decisions, the vampire Michael “Vegas” Tremayne leaves town with no explanation. Dez is left wondering if they made a mistake and if it cost her a price she wasn’t willing to pay – her best friend and confidant.

When he returns after two weeks of no contact, he comes bearing grave news that could potentially change the world forever….or end it all together. To make matters worse, they suspect that someone they know may be behind it all.

An extremely dangerous chain of events has been set in motion and it is up to Dez and Vegas, with the help of his brother Lucas, to find a way to stop it.

From the author of Burning, the short story prequel, comes The Devil You Know, the first full length novel in the Demon Legacy series by J.M. Gregoire.

The Devil You Know Demon Legacy Series Book One By J.M. Gregoire Genre: Urban Fantasy / Paranormal Romance Publisher: J.M. Gregoire Books Release Date: July 30, 2013 

Buy The Devil You Know at Amazon 


The time seemed to pass quickly. Deziree had taken a second to pan around the room and felt the mild pangs of disappointed when she didn't see Vegas anywhere. She took a look over the main bar and realized that some of the bottles were getting a low.

"Hey Danni,” she called to the bartender, “I’m going to take a break on the roof. When I get back, I will run out back and grab some refills."

As she stepped out of the roof-access door onto the flat expanse of building, Deziree opened her pack of cigarettes, took one out, put it to her lips and lit it. She could feel his presence as she took her first drag. She exhaled and smiled when she heard his voice behind her.

"Those are bad for you, you know."

When she spun around, he was standing a few paces away.

"Hey you." As Deziree gazed at Vegas, her smile didn't attenuate. Besides the fact that he was her best friend, she loved to look at him. He was by far the most beautiful creature she'd laid eyes on in her extraordinarily long life. He was stereotypically hot guy. Tall, dark and every bit of him was dangerous. He was six-two or three, the top of his smooth, bald head towering above her. She couldn’t imagine the number of razors he’d gone through over the centuries to keep that look. He had the perfectly chiseled appearance of a deadly hunter. Most people would have to spend hours in the gym every day for a body like that, but his undead status meant he didn't even have to try. He would look like that forever. His eyes were the only tell-tale sign that he was a vampire. Those irises – each a pure gleaming gold with a dark-brown ring bordering the edge - were the only giveaway to the general public of what he was. She, on the other hand, could feel it. She could feel the electricity crackle in the air whenever her was around. In more than four hundred years, she had never met someone as exciting as Vegas, and she wanted him from the moment they first met. Why did we fight it?

"Can I bum one off you?" He nodded his head toward the cigarettes.

"You would make a terrible spokesperson for anti-smoking public service announcements," she replied with a snarky tone. As she fumbled with the pack of cigarettes, he stepped closer to her. Her nerves hummed.

With a predatory smile that revealed his intentions, he closed what little remaining space there was between them. Reaching his hand around the back of her neck and tilting her head, he brought his lips down to meet hers. Her head spun with euphoria. His scent washed away every negative thought she'd had about him in the last two weeks. When the kiss finally broke, it was not her doing. Taking a deep breath, she opened her eyes to see that he had that his smile had grown wicked.

"You didn't answer me on the phone," he purred. "Did you miss me?"

"Well, with the harem of men I have at my disposal, I couldn't find the time to miss someone I only had a little fling with." She stepped back and with a smirk, she added, "I mean, I didn't even get breakfast."

Vegas dropped his gaze. "I honestly am sorry about that. I don't want you to get the wrong idea. I had a fantastic time and I didn't want to leave, but I was contracted at the last minute and it was time-sensitive."

Deziree smiled. "I'm just fucking with you, Michael. I'm not mad. I mean, I was initially. But I figured something must have happened. A call or a text would have been nice, but shit happens, right?"

"Well," he said, his wicked grin firmly in place and his eyebrow cocked, "let me make it up to you."

"We'll see about that," she replied as her heart pounded in her chest.

“I can hear your heart racing.” Stepping forward, he leaned down and kissed her again. When he broke away again, she found herself wishing that she didn't have to go back to work. He leaned his forehead on hers and whispered, "My place when you get out?"

"Sure," was her quick breathy reply. "I have a few things to take care of," he said quietly, "and then I will meet you here around the time you guys usually lock up."

She nodded in response, and he turned, walked to the edge of the roof and dropped off the side. After standing there for a few moments in a daze, she finished her cigarette and headed back through the roof-access door to finish her shift.

WHAT THE REVIEWERS ARE SAYING: Ginny of (5 Stars)ginny review Brandy from Romancebookworm Reviews (5 Stars) brandy review Miss Kris from Ghosties, Vampires, and Books OH MY! (5 Stars) ghosties review
About the Author:

J.M. Gregoire was born and raised in New Hampshire, USA and despite her abhorrence for any season that dares to drop to a temperature below seventy degrees, she still currently resides there with her two children and her two cats. Always a passionate reader, her love of urban fantasy books eventually morphed into a love of writing them. She is currently working on the Demon Legacy series and has an urban fantasy thriller project coming up that will be co-written with one of her best friends and favorite authors, Ginny Lurcock.

Twitter  *  website  *  Facebook  *  Goodreads

Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small fee is earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the link above. Post was provided by the author.
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August 22, 2013

Author Media Kit Components

by Donna Huber

Authors often hire me to create media kits for them. In the digital age it is so easy to put together a kit and every author should have one. If you are hoping to get media coverage - local news stories, magazine features, or radio/television interviews - then you need to have a media kit available before you start pitching your story.

What do you need to include in the media kit?

Cover Page
On this page you will list the title of the book or series you are promoting with this kit. It is also possible for the media kit to encompass all your work. In this case it would be just your name. For the purpose of this post, we are assuming the kit is for a particular book title or series.

Also on the title page you will want to include contact information - a telephone number and email address is best. If you are using a publicist or have someone else managing your schedule, you will want to provide their contact information.

On all the following pages you will want to have a header with your book/series title and name and in a footer your email address (in cases where the kit is printed out and passed around, it's possible that pages will get separated.)

Press Release
Even if you do not plan on using a press release on a news wire service, including a press release in your media kit can be helpful to journalists. In several news stories written for my clients, I have seen parts of my press release included. If you have a print ready "story", it is more likely for newspapers to include you. You will want to provide the basics - who? what? where? when? and how? You will want to include a couple of quotes from you. It best if you write the press release as if you are writing about someone else. PR News has some great tips you will want to check out if you are new to press releases.

More: Do you need a press release?

About You
Unless you are keeping your identity secret, include a photo of yourself. Embedding the image makes the kit look nice, but you will want to indicate that high resolution images are available. Or go ahead and attach the high resolution image as a separate file (jpeg and png are usually preferred), when submitting your media kit.

Include your biography. I recommend it being longer than a couple of sentences. Two or three paragraphs are usually good. You want to give them enough information for them to build their story or prepare an interview, but also be conscientious of their limited time.

In this section include your social media links.

About the Book or Series
Again, embedding book cover(s) in the document makes it visually appealing, but you will want to make sure high resolution file(s) is available. This is particularly important for print media.

Include a synopsis. This is not necessarily your back cover copy. Journalists are busy, yet they need to appear informed - especially for interviews. They are not likely to have enough time to read your book in its entirety; they may not even skim all of it. Your synopsis should give them enough detail that if seems like they read the book. If your kit is for a series, the synopsis can be an overview of the entire series or you can provide separate synopses.

Provide all the book information - formats available, number of pages, ISBN, release date, publisher, availability, genre, target audience, etc.

Media likes to use quotable material. Include 3 - 5 sound bites from reviews. You do not need to provide the entire review, just the best parts. Usually it is just a phrase or a sentence. IMPORTANT - correctly attribute the quote. While you can use reviews found on Goodreads and Amazon, it would be better to get bloggers or other publishing professionals (authors, editors, agents, etc) to provide the review. If you are having trouble getting reviews, then ask for just the sound bite you need. You may already have these if you included praise inside your book or on the back cover.

Awards and Honors
If you have won any writing awards you will want to include them. If you are a non-fiction writer, then awards and honors in your field should be included. Fiction authors who have won a national or international award or have received a prestigious honor should include them, even if it is not writing related.

Other Books
(Remember we are preparing a media kit for a particular title or series). Any other published works need to be included. If they are in different genres or have different target audiences, indicate it. If you write under several pen names list the titles by pen name, unless you are wanting to keep your identities secret.

Marketing Efforts
What are you doing to promote your book? Your media kit can also be used as part of your presentation to bookstores and they will definitely want to know what your marketing efforts are. Include any events you plan to participate in, if you have a national ad campaign, merchandising, book club guides, etc.

Include a links to your book trailer and any special online features in this section.

Suggested Topics/Interview Questions
Provide a list of topics you are knowledgeable about and are comfortable talking about. This list is particularly important for live interviews, speaking engagements, and when wanting to contribute an article to a publication.

You may also want to include a sample Q&A, which would include frequently asked questions. Where did you get your inspiration? What is your writing process? etc. This will help the interviewer prepare their questions and also provide quotable material.

Press Coverage/Media Appearances
If one media outlet gave you coverage, it will provide credibility and make you seem more newsworthy. If possible provide links to the stories and interviews. Guest posts on blogs can also be included in this section. Guest posts that demonstrate your ability to speak/write about specific topics are particularly important.

Are you a regular contributor to a website or been published in a magazine or organizational publication? Be sure to include titles and links if possible.

You can also include live appearances at festivals, conferences, and events where you were an invited or featured speaker.

This list does not have to be specific to your book or series.

Concluding Tips

It will take a couple of hours at least to compile this information. The press release alone may take a few hours as you revise and refine the language. If you have done a number of appearances and have not been keeping a list, then that section may take a while. Googling your name and/or book title will help you locate any news coverage or blog appearances you are unaware of or have forgotten about.

Be sure to keep your media kit up-to-date. You never know when you might need it. Media kits are useful for more than just media personnel. Festivals, conferences, and other events may request a media kit to aid in the preparation of their promotional material.

Make it easy to read. Journalists are always under deadline. When possible use lists and bullet points to draw the eye to important information. White space is important - when text is all scrunched together it can make one feel like they are going cross-eyed when reading it.

In addition to emailing your kit to interested parties, you may want to consider adding a link on your blog/website for people to download. If you use something like Dropbox, you can include your high resolution images in the folder as well. On occasion, media professionals may find you by referral. By having your media kit available online, you make it easier for them to locate all the information they need to determine if you are newsworthy or not.

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August 21, 2013

M.R. Cornelius: Writing Sucks!

I admire authors who can sit at their computer for 8 hours a day, writing fabulous prose that . . . well, I guess it’s really more like envy that their efforts seem . . . oh, let’s be honest. I hate writers like that.

I can’t keep my butt in a chair for an hour without getting up to put out the cat or grab some vanilla wafers.

I’m like that kid in the Family Circus comic. He goes out the back door, slides down the slide, scuffs through his sandbox, throws a stick with the dog, rides his bike into the garage, hopscotches down the driveway, does somersaults through the front yard, goes in the front door, and tells his dad dinner is ready.

Whew! That was exhausting. I’ve got to go check my e-mail.

You see? It’s like ADHD on steroids. I can’t stay on task long enough to write the Great American Novel.

Well, that’s not exactly true. I have managed to get three books published, the fourth is in the works, and a couple more are pinballing around in my head.

But that’s the problem. The jumble of ideas. The monkeys in my brain. The distractions. Particularly when the ideas aren’t flowing. I just don’t have the discipline.
Hang on a sec. I’ve got to go get another cup of tea.

Okay, I’m back. So let’s talk for a minute about getting inspired to write. You’ve got to come up with an idea, which for me, is the easy part. What if Bruce Willis and his team fail to blow up the asteroid, and Earth is doomed? Now I have to come up with at least 80,000 words to flesh out how citizens of Earth spend their final days. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? IT’S NOT!

Sorry, I had to go find some of the chocolate. Publix had M & Ms peanuts and almonds on sale last week so I got both kinds, mixed them up, and put some in a jar. I made sure the jar had a small mouth so I can’t pull out a big honkin’ handful . . .

Anyway, here’s the rub about writing. Some days I sit at my computer staring at the screen, and my mind is literally catatonic. Call it what you will: writers’ block, an absent muse, lack of inspiration. Whatever it is, some days I can’t snag a good idea with a net. I take long walks, I wander through the house, talking to myself, but nothing comes to me.

These are the days when I’d rather clean out my attic than write.

Then the next day, I’ll wake up at 5:30 with an idea in my head, and nearly trip on the stairs as I rush to get it written before it fades. Yes, I know about keeping a notebook beside the bed. I’ve dashed into the bathroom on more than one occasion, turned on the light—I’m blind! I’m blind!—and hastily dashed down my thoughts. But then I can’t get back to sleep, so I head for the computer and type it all out. So what’s the point of the scribbling?

On days when the writing is flowing, I truly feel like a writer. I watch the scene develop as I type, and I’m in awe.

‘That’s brilliant!’

‘And then she realizes he’s been living just two blocks over all this time! Where does this inspiration come from?!’

I’m sure there are authors who hammer out pages of gold that never warrant a second look. Their masterpiece is ready for print. But that’s not what happens with me.

Half the time, I sit down later to read what I’ve written, and most of it is absolute crap. ‘He’s been living two blocks over all this time. So why hasn’t she seen him at the grocery store?’

Delete. Delete. Delete.

Ah, that’s better. Just took a walk and stopped to chat with my neighbor Cleve about getting his onions planted.

Here’s another really annoying thing about being a writer. You can’t just write books. Oh, nooooo. You have to market your books.

That means spending way too much time networking socially. (Yeah, that’s bullshit for wasting hours on Twitter reading funny tweets, and watching YouTube videos on Facebook. Although, have you see the one where one guy is a cat person and the other guy is a dog person? Hilarious!)

I e-mail reviewers, asking them to review my books, then wait months to get a lousy 3-star review because she didn’t like the language or he wanted more explosions. I write interviews and I blog about my life in short essays, like ‘Why I’m Writing about Myself Instead of Working on my Book.’

Oh, hell. I’ve lost my train-of-thought again. I’m going to go take a shower.

Dang! Glad I did that. When I pulled my shirt over my head I got a good whiff of . . . never mind.

The point I’m trying to make is, some authors are more prolific than others. (They’re damn lucky is what they are.) Stephen King can fart a good book. (Well, sure, but he’s got a staff . . .)

Aw, forget it. I’m not sure what the point is . . . except writing sucks! Now I’m going to go steam the wallpaper off my kids’ bathroom wall.

Buy H10N1 by M. R. Cornelius at Amazon

About the Author:
After working for fifteen years as a cafeteria manager in an elementary school, Marsha Cornelius turned in her apron and non-skid shoes for a bathrobe and slippers. She now works at home, writing novels, acting out scenes with her cats, and occasionally running a Swiffer across dusty surfaces.
Her first novel, H10N1, is a thriller about a flu pandemic gone awry, and survivors who must deal with the aftermath. Next up for Cornelius was The Ups and Downs of Being Dead, which tells the story of a man who chooses to have his body cryonically-frozen rather than face death.
Her latest novel, Losing It all, is a romantic drama about a homeless man who helps and woman and her two small children get off the streets.
Cornelius resides in the countryside north of Atlanta with her husband. Her two grown sons occasionally visit for clean laundry and a hot cooked meal.
Twitter  *  website  *  Goodreads

Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small fee is earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the link above. The opinions, beliefs, and views expressed by contributing authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect those of Girl Who Reads. Images were provided by the author.
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August 20, 2013

Review: I Couldn't Love You More by Jillian Medoff

I've had this book on my TBR pile for quite a while. I decided I Couldn't Love You More by Jillian Medoff would be may pool book (after I finished the first book I chose in just a couple of days). I have mixed feeling about it.

I loved Jillian's writing style. It was easy to fall into the story (even if a week past before I picked it up again). The story flows so well that I would fly through the pages. The story itself might not be something that I'm totally crazy about. It was interesting to have a story set so near home. While there is the tense situation created by the near drowning incident, the story was overall kind of boring.

If I thought the plot was boring, why did I keep reading it?

Characters really make the story for me. If I connect with a character I'll keep reading just to see what happens to him/her. I really liked Eliot. Her struggle to find her place in both her childhood family and her adult family, confusion over a past lover, discovering who she is all endeared her to me. I wanted everything to turn out for her.

For how much I loved Eliot, I absolutely HATED her sister Sylvia. Her character was just too over the top for the tone of the story. She had too many character flaws. I was shocked to find out that she is a lawyer and apparently successful. I might have been able to handle her meddling (though I didn't understand her obsession with tracking down Eliot's ex-boyfriend) if that was all.  But then there was her self-centerness - wanting everything to be about her, even a child's birthday party. And related to the selfishness, her hypochondria-ism about drove me batty. The crying wolf thing got old really fast. I think if Sylvia had been toned down or absent all together, I would have found the story more enjoyable.  She wasn't even a character you love to hate.

If you enjoy stories of everyday life filled with family drama, then I Couldn't Love You More would be your kind of book. The writing was great and I wouldn't hesitate to pick up another boo by Jillian Medoff. For a glimpse behind the scenes of I Couldn't Love You More, check out the post Jillian wrote last year for Girl Who Reads. 

Buy  I Couldn't Love You More at Amazon

Book info:
paperback, 432 pages; Published May 2012 by 5 Spot; ISBN13: 9780446584623
Source: Publisher
Read: June/July 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 book was provided by the indicated source. 

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August 19, 2013

R. E. Hargrave's Bookshelf

I thought I’d share the bookcases in my house, simply because my “bookshelf” is as eclectic as my writing. 

Where’s the fun in sticking to one thing? By the same token, do you always want to sit in the same place when you read? No, not really, so I have an easy solution: books in every room! (*Side note: I keep telling myself this because I’m still waiting for the hubs to build me a custom floor to ceiling unit.)

Reading has always been important to me, and by extension, my kids. They were read to in the womb, and even now, I’ll sit down and read with them on occasion. Those days are becoming few and far between, however, as my little darlings become teenagers.

Here’s a look into my past, a small peak at where my love of stories began:

Yes, those were MY books when I was still in single digits. Though my kids would tell you otherwise, I promise there were no dinosaurs at the time. Now, they sit on one of my daughter’s bookcases. Like mother, like daughter, she enjoys reading . . . 

She had more, but we recently cleaned up and donated two boxes of books to her elementary school. Disney, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Warriors, the Ink trilogy by Cornelia Funke, and of course y’all recognize Harry:

It’s probably no surprise that before my youngest became a book worm (reading the likes of Charlie Bone and the Warriors series), her older brothers were bitten by the reading bug first:

The middle child’s case (above): hands down his favorite series is Percy Jackson. And the YA goldmine of the oldest (below): Eragon, Fablehaven, Abarat, multiple series by Tamora Pierce, Lemony Snickets, Artemis Fowl, The Bartimaeus Trilogy . . . just to name a few on the shelf.

I think I’ve mentioned in the past that my kids are really smart? Yeah … that’s the seventeen-year-old’s calculus book. Oh, and another peek at my past — that’s my high school Latin book. Brain child wanted to start teaching himself, and asked to borrow it.  Oh, and this is the ‘classics’ collection, well, part of it.
It would be silly to keep all the books in the bedroom, though, so let’s take a walk into the den . . . 

Tolkien, Gabaldon, Donaldson, Collins, and what collection is complete without the talents of Bill Watterson?

(Above) More classics mixed in with college textbooks . . . Oh, look! There’s my Complete Works of Shakespeare.

Have I gone off on a complete tangent? After all, you did ask what was on MY bookshelf. So, I’ve saved the ‘best’ for last. This is my guilty secret corner:

No, you don’t see my books on there. This whole publishing thing still doesn’t feel real, so for now I keep my personal copies tucked away safe and sound. They are still a dream to me, one meant to be saved for that cold, dark place we all find ourselves pulled to now and again. When your day turns cloudy, it’s amazing how the power of words can lift you up. 

I leave you with this excerpt from one of my childhood books: Frederick by Leo Lionni.

“Frederick, why don’t you work?” they asked.
“I do work,” said Frederick.
“I gather sun rays for the cold dark winter days.”
And when they saw Frederick sitting there, staring at the meadow, they said, “And now, Frederick?”
“I gather colors,” answered Frederick simply. “For winter is gray.”
And once Frederick seemed half asleep. “Are you dreaming, Frederick?” they asked reproachfully. But Frederick said, “Oh no, I am gathering words. For the winter days are long and many, and we’ll run out of things to say.”

Life is an inspiration, never stop gathering supplies.

About the book:

Over the past year of being Jayden Masterson’s collared submissive, Catherine O’Chancey has worked through the mental terrors left behind by her old Dom — she thinks. To celebrate their collar-ing anniversary, Jayden organizes a special day, during which her final limits and fantasies will be realized. Will it prove to be more than she can handle? Can she endure the erotic onslaught her mind and body will experience and survive unscathed?
While Catherine faces dark shadows and pleasurable highs, Jayden finds his own inner strength being tested. He has come to realize that, somewhere along the way, Catherine has taken possession of his heart, mind, and body. Now he faces his biggest challenge ever; he must let go of all his submissives but one: his jewel, Catherine. Can he leave his philandering ways behind? Has he made the ultimate mistake by putting his jewel into the hands of others?
Buy A Divine Life at Amazon

About the Author:

R.E. Hargrave lives on the outskirts of Dallas, TX where she prides herself on being a domestic engineer. Married to her high school sweetheart, together they are raising three children from elementary age to college age. She is an avid reader, a sometimes quilter and now, a writer for Renaissance Romance Publishing.
blog  *  Twitter  *  Facebook

Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small fee is earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the links above. The views, beliefs, and opinions expressed by contributing authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect those of Girl Who Reads.
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August 18, 2013

Sunday Sale Page 8/18

The cooler weather this weekend has me snuggling in blankets with a good book. What about you? Are you needing some reading entertainment this week? Check out these deals.

New Adult Romance
99 cents at Amazon and B&N

Dark Thriller
$1.99 at Amazon and B&N

Three Book Set
99 cents at Amazon and B&N

FREE at Amazon

Romantic Suspense
FREE at Amazon and B&N

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 time of posting. Please confirm current price before purchasing.