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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...

November 15, 2013

Afternoon eBook Deal 11/15

It's Karen Pokras Toz's birthday and she's giving readers a gift!

Pie and Other Brilliant Ideas

Ballet and baking pies – these are two of twelve year old Georgie Harris’ favorite things. When her parents decide to move closer to her grandmother’s nursing home, Georgie quickly learns the bad news: dance lessons are too expensive in this new town. 

Georgie spends most of her time baking pies to bring to her grandmother at the Willow Lakes Nursing Home. There she meets Eve, who inspires Georgie with stories of having danced with a world famous Russian ballerina many years ago.

As Georgie and Eve’s friendship evolves, their tales intertwine in this feel good story showing dreams really can come true.

FREE at Amazon

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Joss Landry: World Vision Expressed Through Fiction

Mirror Deep is the world as seen through the eyes of the Bonner Clan. Hard at work on an Andalusian horse ranch, emotions mount between Kat and Pierce as they can between people living inches ahead of a ticking clock. Danger nipping at her heels, Kat counts on Pierce’s help in order to find her roots. The quest takes them to Chicago and France, where well-intentioned Pierce will need to dismount his high horse to walk beside Kat in friendship. 

There has never been a better time to express our vision of how the world appears to us. What better way to do so than through fiction? I read stories of fellow authors and find their vision to be colorful angles and insightful clues that blend well with mine. A time of solidarity is emerging as we connect with people around the world, finding so many similarities between one another that the various bonds we form are spanning the globe and ripping all barriers to shreds. 

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This was my goal in writing Mirror Deep, the ‘message in a book’ I promise to deliver in all the stories I write. As Kat opens her mind, tears down the walls around her, she discovers many layers she never realized she owned. She finds the power to fall in love, means to accept friendship, and will meet up with the challenge to forgive. Through her metamorphosis, Pierce watches and becomes captivated with Kat’s inner beauty, and you can’t really blame him. 

To gain momentum on living out our beliefs will inspire others to love, and to join in the clamor for world harmony.

~About the Author~

Joss Landry has worked as a consultant for more than twenty years, writing copy for marketing firms and assisting start-up companies launch their business. She recently made the switch from composing copy and promos, to writing fiction and prose. She is developing her style through courses and the support of other writers. A recent graduate of the Long Ridge Writer’s Group, she is a member of the Romance Writers of America and is presently working on honing three other novels for publication.
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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 above link. The views, opinions, and beliefs of contributing writers are their own and do not necessarily reflect those of Girl Who Reads. 

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November 14, 2013

Afternoon eBook Deal 11/14

WOW. WOW. WOW. ~ Gail

...a rich, compellingly imaginative work... ~ Susan Albert

Loving Frank

I have been standing on the side of life, watching it float by. I want to swim in the river. I want to feel the current.

So writes Mamah Borthwick Cheney in her diary as she struggles to justify her clandestine love affair with Frank Lloyd Wright. Four years earlier, in 1903, Mamah and her husband, Edwin, had commissioned the renowned architect to design a new home for them. During the construction of the house, a powerful attraction developed between Mamah and Frank, and in time the lovers, each married with children, embarked on a course that would shock Chicago society and forever change their lives. 

In this ambitious debut novel, fact and fiction blend together brilliantly. While scholars have largely relegated Mamah to a footnote in the life of America’s greatest architect, author Nancy Horan gives full weight to their dramatic love story and illuminates Cheney’s profound influence on Wright. 

Drawing on years of research, Horan weaves little-known facts into a compelling narrative, vividly portraying the conflicts and struggles of a woman forced to choose between the roles of mother, wife, lover, and intellectual. Horan’s Mamah is a woman seeking to find her own place, her own creative calling in the world. Mamah’s is an unforgettable journey marked by choices that reshape her notions of love and responsibility, leading inexorably ultimately lead to this novel’s stunning conclusion. 

Elegantly written and remarkably rich in detail, Loving Frank is a fitting tribute to a courageous woman, a national icon, and their timeless love story.

$1.99 at Amazon and B&N

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Calling in Sick

Girl Who Reads is more than a hobby or past-time. While it isn't quite a full-time job, there are many responsibilities that come with running a full-time blog. In many ways it is like running a small business. Like any other media outlets, I have deadlines and commitments to honor. Though as a sole-proprietor there is no staff to fill in when I get sick. Freelancers and other sole-proprietors are no strangers to what to do when you are sick.

Since blogging isn't what pays my bills, like many bloggers I have to prioritize what can be done and when it can be done. Throw in a illness and things get hectic. Though blogging may take a lower priority to say my day job when unwell, I can't just blow off my blog - especially when I'm scheduled for a tour or to host an author. How do I handle calling in sick?

Guest Posts - Three posts a week are from contributing writers. I love the authors and guests who get me their post a week or more in advance. I can schedule the posts in advance and should I wake up with a bug, I know my blog is good to go.

Back-up posts - Four posts a week, plus the afternoon ebook deal posts, I'm responsible for the content. When I have extra time (or a day off) I put together promo posts for books in my TBR pile. I contributed monthly posts to another blog for a little more than a year. That site has since closed and deleted all the content so I have those posts available also. And I've been thankful for those tips posts that I've been able to reblog the last few months.

Just don't post - This past Saturday my family celebrated Thanksgiving and then on Sunday it was a full day of church and church related meetings. Saturday and Sunday on my blog usually only consists of deal posts so that I get a little down time from the blog. However, the weekend was so crazy that I just didn't post. Do I want to make a habit of not posting? No, to keep traffic high I need to post regularly, but taking the weekend off didn't drastically reduce my weekly traffic stats. I recommend keeping a regular day or two a week as "low post" days. Block them out so you don't schedule blog tours, guest posts, book blasts, or any other commitments. If you still want to run something those days, then consider doing promo posts or other low stress features - ones that are okay if you miss them.

I've been dealing with an extended "illness" (for lack of a better word) since the end of July which leaves me feeling extremely fatigued at the end of most days. And as the holidays approach, I don't see the tiredness getting better. I know there will be days that I will want to "call in sick" yet I love my blog and don't want to see my hard work to go to waste. What tips do you have when you need to call in sick? 

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.

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November 13, 2013

Afternoon eBook Deal 11/13

...heartwarming funny read. ~ Allyson

Amazing! I loved Peg.. ~ Melanie Claudia

St. Anne's Day

Can a woman who has given up on true love find it with a man who fears it?
Betrayed by love and out of a job, Anne Lyons is forced to accept a position as a private duty nurse for an elderly spitfire recovering from heart surgery. When she meets the woman’s handsome son, an instant attraction is ignited. The man may be the city’s most eligible bachelor, but his flirtatious, playboy ways remind her too much of her former lover.

Gerry McMaster goes through lovers faster than a premenstrual woman goes through chocolates and makes no apologies for it. To escape the life that took his father’s and threatens his, he’s avoided love at all costs. Then he meets Anne, and suddenly he’s fighting feelings he’s run from for years.

Peg McMaster has been praying to St. Anne, the patron saint of housewives, to find a suitable wife for her son before she dies, and she believes that Anne's arrival on the Feast of St. Anne, is the answer to her prayers. She puts her matchmaking skills to the test to bring these two together in this charming tale that readers have described as hilarious and heartwarming.

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Ian Hutson: Personal Background Influences Writing

It’s just my opinion of course but I do think that whether they like it or not, a writer’s background has an awfully large influence upon their output. You can tell an awful lot from what someone writes. This is simply because their personal history defines the unspoken foundation for their world view, what they see and don’t see, what they value and don’t value. My books edge towards (and beyond) the deliciously absurd, and that very accurately reflects the splendidly varied life that was gifted to me by my family.

I was the third child of two, fifth in a family of four. Depending upon my mother’s mood I was either a “little surprise” or a “bloody mistake”. Although sickly and weedy for the first few years I now resemble an elderly human bullock with spectacles, table manners and a fine line in linen jeans, Boden jackets and unfashionable hats. My favourites are the tweed flat cap, the pith helmet and the “Thicksulate” triple-insulated beanie. Next Spring I will be experimentally moving into a bowler - I think it is important to keep evolving and to try to swim with the sartorial tide of society.

As a child I enjoyed eight different schools ranging from twenty-pupil single-teacher village affairs to two-thousand two-hundred pupil monsters. As an adult, some eighteen different houses that I can remember varying from apartments in Hong Kong to Scottish island crofts with no running water. There have been eight different jobs varying from literally mopping vomit off office floors to producing Parliamentary reports and accounts for Westminster. I have enjoyed five mothers-in-sort-of-law, all but one of whom disliked me actively and intensely.

NGLND XPXWherever I roam in my memory the absurd and the startling crops up splendidly. I remember my mother’s magnificent dumplings - four to a pressure-cooker and a tight fit at that. It didn’t occur to me at the time just how far the family’s meagre food budget was being stretched. I remember my civilian father facing down puffed-up self-important moustachioed Wing Commanders and the family having to move on (again) as a consequence. My father taught all of us the very noble art of cutting our own nose off to spite someone else’s face and we all not only excel at it, we love it. 

Buy NGLND XPX at Amazon

I remember once driving to collect my mother from her long shift working at a frozen food factory. Upon seeing the long, midnight-blue bonnet of the Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit hoofing up to the gates the security chap ran for his cap, raised the barrier and saluted as I swept under. My mother, still in overalls and mop cap, then got in and we whooshed out again, chuckling. I’ve eaten in the original Raffles in Singapore, fished at midnight in Norwegian lakes, been lost in Paris during a thunderstorm, driven a camper-van across Australia, bogged down a Jeep on a beach in Mexico and slept the night in a telephone kiosk on the pavement outside Barney Rubbles, a biker club in darkest Blackpool because I was too drunk to walk.

The family saw vast rows and arguments with all and sundry, and we also lived through archetypally English peaceful goings on at the Vicarage on the banks of the Ouse. My neighbours have been “by the hour” types in the grottiest of flats with thin partition walls and they’ve been genteel and gently faded Lords a-sitting in the lush countryside of Norfolk. My point is that such absurd contrasts don’t sit quietly in the muse, not when they are in biblically multitudinous company.

The homunculus sitting behind my eyes and driving me through life is a gibbering wreck still coming to terms with the past fifty years of influences. Some authors write about wonderfully settled and solid themes, about permanence and life-long love and ancient values. My domain is the fleeting, the process of life, the giggly vignette, flash-cards of serendipitous scenes and contrasting circumstances. Whatever your life has been, it’ll surely be on show in your work and there’s probably little that may be done to change that. There’s an awful lot of froth to be written before I am in any danger of writing something serious and deep.

~About the Author~

My Father was a Grimsby deep-sea fisherman turned Cold War spy, an electronic-warfare expert turned naval historian. My Mother was a factory-worker, home-maker, socialite and lady. When I was born we moved to Hong Kong in time for the worst cholera epidemic, drought and typhoon of the century. As a child I spoke only Cantonese and a little pidgin English. I learned to read and write at age nine, on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides, Scotland where my Father listened in to the USSR’s transmissions and we all lived on a croft with two pet sheep and a house with no running water and no bathroom. Aged ten we lived in a friend’s public zoo in Norfolk (and I skipped school for the year). Aged fourteen I enjoyed driving my Aunt around to lay off her semi-pro bets at bookmakers. I eventually studied for a BA in Operation Research Systems Analysis and a Masters in Industrial Relations and then started work in the British Civil Service and EDS, ITSA, AVIVA et al. Only got shot at once, while my car was stuck at traffic signals - and they missed me (just). Corporations and I company on acrimonious terms and I left to concentrate my own businesses. Naturally, I promptly went bankrupt when the world went topsy-turvy and lost my home, car and valuables to the Official Receiver’s  auctioneers, although I must say that the County Court Judge was a sweetums, considering. I am now a peacenik vegan hippie living in a hedgerow in Lincolnshire, England, and my hobbies are starving, patching my underwear and being happy. If I grow up then I rather want to be a Womble or possibly a Clanger.
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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 above link. The views, opinions, and beliefs of contributing writers are their own and do not necessarily reflect those of Girl Who Reads. 

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November 12, 2013

Afternoon eBook Deal 11/12

This book was a real page turner. Amazing! ~ Sylvia Stein

There is so much passion in this novel! ~ Pat

Have No Shame

The racially-charged prejudice of the deep South forces eighteen-year-old Alison Tillman to confront societal norms—and her own beliefs—when she discovers the body of a hate crime victim, and the specter of forbidden love turns her safe, comfortable world upside down.

Alison has called Forrest Town, Arkansas home for the past eighteen years. Her mother’s Blue Bonnet meetings, her father toiling night and day on the family farm, and the division of life between the whites and the blacks are all Alison knows. The winter of 1967, just a few months before marrying her high school sweetheart, Alison finds the body of a black man floating in the river, and she begins to view her existence with new perspective. The oppression and hate of the south, the ugliness she once was able to avert her eyes from, now demands her attention.

When a secretive friendship with a young black man takes an unexpected romantic turn, Alison is forced to choose between her predetermined future, and the dangerous path that her heart yearns for.

HAVE NO SHAME is an emotionally compelling coming of age novel featuring a young woman who cannot reconcile the life she wants with the one she’s been brought up to live.Have No Shame will resonate with anyone who has ever fallen in love, and those who have been forced to choose between what they know in their hearts to be true, and what others would like them to believe.

99 cents at Amazon and B&N

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Review: A Sealed Fate by Lisa Gordon

A Sealed Fate
When I started A Sealed Fate by Lisa Gordon, and I realized it was set in Dubai, all I could think about were the recent stories in the news about the woman who were jailed. Valda's story started out so similar to these young women that I was so worried about a similar fate for her.

Valda is looking for a new start after a terrible breakup. She is offered a singing position in a night club in Dubai. She's eager to restart her once promising career as well as putting distance between her past and present. She's a hit, but she catches the eye of the Sheikh who owns the hotel where the club is. He sees her as good for business, in more than one way. Valda's impulsiveness and desire to live in the moment is a deadly combination when dealing with the Sheikh.

I really enjoyed the international feel of A Sealed Fate, though I was unfamiliar with some of the slang. It was an interesting story, but I'm not sure if I would have had the same interest in it if I hadn't seen the recent reports of women in Dubai. The story itself didn't have as much suspense and intrigue as I would have liked. It seemed as if opportunities to introduce more danger into the story was missed. Also, I'm not sure if the author fully explored the theme of fate and destiny. It seemed to be on the periphery of the story until the end. It may also have to do with the fact I'm not into astrology and past lives. Though my world view is different than that portrayed in the story, I usually find books with contrary views thought-provoking and leaves me thinking through the choices the characters made. Not so much with this story.

If you enjoy international literature and looking for something with a bit different setting, A Sealed Fate would be a good option. It is not a ripped from the headlines story, but there is some mystery and intrigue.

Buy A Sealed Fate at Amazon

Book info:
Published November 2012 by Janus Publishing
ebook (226 pages)
Source: Author
Read: November 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.

November 11, 2013

Afternoon eBook Deal 11/11

...captivating story... ~ Mary

...just too funny. ~ Susan

Second Chance Grill

An unforgettable tale of love, loss and second chances.

Second Chance Grill is the prequel to Treasure Me, 2012 Next Generation Indie Awards Finalist, which The Midwest Book Review calls “A riveting read for those who enjoy adventure fiction, highly recommended.”

Dr. Mary Chance needs a sabbatical from medicine to grieve the loss of her closest friend. But when she inherits a struggling restaurant in Liberty, Ohio she isn’t prepared for Blossom Perini. Mary can’t resist falling for the precocious preteen—or the girl’s father. The bond they forge will transform all their lives and set in motion an outpouring of love that spreads across America.

Welcome back to Liberty, where the women surrounding the town’s only restaurant are as charming as they are eccentric.

99 cents at Amazon and B&N

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Lenora Henson: Finding Inspiration

The Wicked Garden
The Wicked Garden Series - A prophecy brought them together. A curse tore them apart.

She was a redhead and her name was Gretchel. That was the vision I saw as I came to after a deep meditation almost four years ago. Who is Gretchel? She is the main character in The Wicked Garden Series, a saga of witchy fiction based in reality. Magic never seemed so real.

The wicked project really got its roots as I was doing some personal genealogical research that winter. I had traced my paternal family back to 15th century Scotland. It sparked my curiosity and I felt a sense of connection to the female family members, none of which were noted in the earlier research I had found. I wondered if any of them were witches. The meditation came later, and yes – Gretchel was Scottish – and yes, she was a witch.

Buy The Wicked Garden at Amazon

I had meditated with the intent of inspiration. I was ready to start a new writing project, and this definitely sent the creative juices flowing. I spent the next eight months writing the first drafts of four of the six books in this series.

Book one, The Wicked Garden was published in May of 2013 and book two, The Witches of Snyder Farms was published in September of 2013. Book three, Beltane is currently in the works with an expected publish date of Spring 2014. I intend to publish two per year until the series is complete.

In The Wicked Garden we meet Gretchel Shea, the redheaded witch with Scottish ancestry. Gretchel is strikingly beautiful, six foot tall and appears to be living the American dream. She lives the small town country club lifestyle with her husband and two children. It’s just that behind the veil the dream is really a nightmare.
Across the country, Eli Stewart pines over Gretchel’s memory. He has spent seventeen years since their breakup trying to build a new life and failing miserably. He blames his mother, Diana Stewart for his heartache. A transpersonal psychologist, she has spent her life trying to fulfill a prophecy that involves redheaded Scottish witches, her son and a priceless amethyst pendant. Diana swears Gretchel is not part of the prophecy and wants his son to have nothing to do with her. But forces, voices and redheaded ghosts beyond their control begin to set the prophecy in motion again, seventeen years later.

Buy The Witches of Snyder Farms at Amazon

Set in Southern Illinois, I used my homeland to set the scene of Snyder Farms, where generations of redheaded witches have called home. The Wicked Garden itself was inspired by my late brother’s poppy garden. Poppies are a main theme in the book. This is an adult series with gritty subject matter and psychological undertones.

This series is a multigenerational saga, zigzagging gracefully from the 15th century witch trials, to the present day and everywhere in between. The Wicked Garden series explores mythology, archetypes and the elements. It explores the beauty of humanity. It explores true love. It explores the role of mythic resonance and familial inheritance in our lives and asks if it’s possible for the present to heal the past. 

~About the Author~

Lenora Henson is a writer, e-course facilitator, and blogger living in the Midwest with her fiancé and their children. She is an earthy girl with an affinity for air and fire. She is a bookworm, photographer, and a student of the Tarot.
She loves exploring the world of mythology, symbology and archetypes. If you'd like to know how they can bring meaning and connection to your world, check out her website. 
website  *  Facebook  *  Twitter  *  Goodreads    

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

Giveaway: Keurig V600

What is better than curling up with a good book? How about curling up with a book and a cup a coffee made with a Keurig V600?
Hosted By:
Co-Hosted By:
1 Keurig V600 with Vue Packs 
(arv 169.99)
About the Keurig V600
The Keurig Vue V600 Brewing System lets you customize your own cup of coffee, tea and more. Brew stronger, bigger, hotter and with more choices than ever before. The V600 has a  black and white touch screen and Custom Brew Technology Vue which makes sure that your beverages are brewed to your liking, giving you great results every cup and every time. And your choices are nearly limitless. In addition to coffee, tea, hot cocoa and iced beverages, Vue brews delicious cafĂ© and specialty beverages as well.  You can make a cup of joe for your Dad and then make a cup of tea for your Mum and if the kiddies want some hot chocolate you can do that too.  It is really versatile and a great addition to the kitchen. 
This giveaway is open to the US Only, 18+ 

Disclosure: Girl Who Reads is not responsible for prize fulfillment. My opinions are 100% my own and may differ from your own or even those stated in this post. Out of the Bags is responsible for prize delivery.