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P is for Poetry #AtoZChallenge

by Donna Huber For the A to Z Challenge, I'm discussing different book genres/categories. Each day, I will give a few details about the...

February 28, 2014

Books People Bought

I always think it is fun to see what people buy through my Amazon links. I don't know who is buying what, and sometimes you can tell it is just people doing their normal Amazon shopping. But it the books they are buying that really has me interested. It lets me know what my readers are wanting to see more of. I thought today I would share with you the books my readers have bought this month. Some have been featured and some have not.

Two years ago, the aliens made contact. Now Cara Sweeney is going to be sharing a bathroom with one of them.

Handpicked to host the first-ever L’eihr exchange student, Cara thinks her future is set. Not only does she get a free ride to her dream college, she’ll have inside information about the mysterious L’eihrs that every journalist would kill for. Cara’s blog following is about to skyrocket.

Still, Cara isn’t sure what to think when she meets Aelyx. Humans and L’eihrs have nearly identical DNA, but cold, infuriatingly brilliant Aelyx couldn’t seem more alien. She’s certain about one thing, though: no human boy is this good-looking.

But when Cara's classmates get swept up by anti-L'eihr paranoia, Midtown High School suddenly isn't safe anymore. Threatening notes appear in Cara's locker, and a police officer has to escort her and Aelyx to class.

Cara finds support in the last person she expected. She realizes that Aelyx isn’t just her only friend; she's fallen hard for him. But Aelyx has been hiding the truth about the purpose of his exchange, and its potentially deadly consequences. Soon Cara will be in for the fight of her life—not just for herself and the boy she loves, but for the future of her planet.

Buy Alienated at Amazon

Louisiana Hotshot
Talba Wallis, the smart, sassy, African American computer whiz who's also a gifted poet and artist, made her debut in Smith's last Skip Langdon mystery, 82 Desire--along with her alter ego, the Baroness de Pontalba. Here she's back in a story of her own, holding court at a hip café by night (and keeping her audience entertained with the rap story of how her mother named her Urethra) while embarking by day on a new career as a detective under the cynical aegis of Eddie Valentino, an old PI who's never encountered anyone quite like her before.

But Eddie's got problems of his own, so he turns Talba loose investigating the possible molestation of a young black teenager and the disappearance of a couple of her friends. There's something about the violent trail she's following on this, her first case, that's stirring up Talba's own memories of her long-gone father, about whom neither Miz Clara, Talba's tough and crusty mama, nor her yuppie brother the doctor will utter a word. Set in New Orleans, territory Smith knows well, this is a lively mystery with a vivid, outrageous, and wholly likable new heroine whose appearance will be welcomed by fans of the writer's Skip Langdon series. --Jane Adams

Secrets to a successful Blog Tour
From the publicist who introduced the world to Fifty Shades of Grey, Donna Huber is now revealing her secrets to successful blog tours. She shares tips and tricks learned through organizing over 30 tours, blasts, and promotional events for nearly 50 independently and traditionally published titles. 

Secrets revealed in this quick read include,

*Planning stage decisions
*Different types of tours
*Recruiting bloggers and keeping requests organized
*Best practice communication tips 
*Tricks to making a great guest appearance
*How to organize a fun (and legal) giveaway
*Actions to take during the tour
*Next steps once the tour is complete
*Virtual tour and other promotional opportunities
*When to hire a professional

In this easy to follow manual, Donna does not stop there. She spills even more of her blog tour secrets to help authors get the most out of their events by providing,

*Tour checklist
*Tour invite tips
*Step-by-step guide to creating tour graphics
*10 broad guest post topics
*25 sample interview questions

Buy Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour at Amazon

Kimani Cannon knows she's in trouble the second she lays eyes on 6'4" of luscious male. The best kind of trouble,! Duan Jeffries turns out to be the perfect man--charming, considerate...and the best lover she's ever had. Too bad Mr. Delicious is just a one-night stand....

Until Kim needs a date to her mother's (fifth) wedding! Duan's willing to act the part of her fiancé... as long as it means full benefits. More amazing sex? No problem!

Then Kim finds out that Duan's got his own private agenda. Suddenly, she doesn't know what to believe. Her head and heart are telling her to be careful. But the sensual thrumming in her blood is turning out to be much more persuasive....

Buy Spontaneous at Amazon

The Easy Way to Write Romance that Sells
This book shows you, step by simple step, how to invent the your main characters, then how to structure your plot into a commercial romance story.

Here's the book's contents: 

Module 1. "Modern Romance, its Place & Purpose" 

Module 2. "The Myth of the Romance Formula"

Module 3. "Creating Dynamic & Believable Heroines"

Module 4. "Fun, Poignant & Realistic Motivating Factors"

Module 5. "Location, Setting & Background in Time & Space"

Module 6. "Hearts, Flowers & Weddings - The New Thinking"

Module 7. "Portraying Desire: How Much Sex is Too Much?"

Module 8. "Power Plays, Dreams and Perfect Pacing"

Module 9. "Overcoming Obstacles to Love & Lust"

Module 10. "Climaxes, False Starts and Denouements" 

All this and lots of extra information, tips and pointers on writing style, voice, point of view, dialogue, flashbacks, foreshadowing, creating drama, tension and, as you'd expect from Rob Parnell, fast and effective easy writing, editing and polishing.

There is also important advice on preparing and submitting manuscripts for publication. The end section also includes a current market listing for romance publishers AND a list of romance literary agents.

Buy The Easy Way to Write Romance that Sells at Amazon

Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate;  a small fee is earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the above link. Covers and summaries are from This post is for informational purposes only and should not be considered an endorsement of any of the products above. 
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February 27, 2014

Embedding Kindle Samples on Your Blog

by Donna Huber

Have you noticed a little something different about my review posts? I've added a free sample of the book, and you can too. I first realized that it was possible when I saw it on Masquerade Crew's blog. I thought it was really cool. The sample was much better than the one I see when I "look inside" on Amazon's site, which is often filled with table of contents and dedications.

The embedded Kindle for the Web gives the reader a full three chapters of the book. Three chapters should give any reader enough a feel for the book to know whether they will want to keep reading or not. I've decided to add it to my reviews. Not only will the reader get my opinion of the book, but then can take it for a test drive without leaving the site.

Those of you who are Amazon Affiliates might be thinking "Whoa, wait a minute. If the reader doesn't click over to Amazon to check out the book then how will I earn my advertising cents?" True, I might be losing out on the possibility that someone clicks to Amazon to check out the summary, reviews, "look inside" and though doesn't purchase the book makes another purchase while there. From watching the what is bought through my links, I think it is a rare occurrence. It does happen occasionally though (check back Friday to see what people purchase through my links). I don't think I will see a great loss. Instead, I think perhaps it will boost sales.

Within the embed code you can add your affiliate link so when they finish the sample they can click right there in the window to purchase the ebook. I still include a buy link within the posts in case the reader prefers to get the print edition. I think it particularly will be good for the books that I can't rave about, you know the ones that just aren't my cup of tea, like this week's review of Morgan Kane: Without Mercy.

So you are now probably wondering if I'm going to share the code with you. Well, yes and no. Since I had to go searching for the code, I thought it would only be right to give the poster who made it available to me get the credit. On India Drummond's blog you can find code for both javascript and iframe. If you just want to the javascript you can also grab it from either post I linked to above and click on "embed". Remember, if you are an Amazon Affiliate you will need to customize the code with your own affiliate name.

Do you like the idea of reading a sample right on the blog you are reading? Will you embed samples on your blog? If so, how do you see it enhancing your blog?

Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the publisher, editor and head writer for Girl Who Reads and author of the how-to manual Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour

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February 26, 2014

I Want to Write on @Amtrak with #Amtrakresidency

Yesterday morning while checking my news feeds I saw a headline about Amtrak giving free rides. I love to travel and, hey, free is always good. Turns out it isn't just anyone they are giving free rides to. They are giving free round trips to writers. How cool is that?

I've only taken a US trip by train once. When I was 14 I took Amtrak from Gainesville, GA to New York City. It was an exciting trip and I vividly remember my train ride.

I remember I was reading a Babysitter's Club book, one of the "special editions", about them all going to New York City.

Unfortunately, we traveled overnight and missed out on much of the scenery. Unfortunate also for me because I had an aisle seat and my best friend who rode next to me would shove me off her if I slumped her direction (mind you, she slept with her pillow leaning on the window).  We did get a little more daylight travel than we were suppose to because there was some issue during the night that had the train delayed.

We stopped in Washington, DC to change engines and almost got left behind. Our history teacher Mr. Benton took a group of us off the train to look at station and the doors he thought we could leave through were blocked off so we had to go back through the station. By the time we made it back to the track, the train was already moving out. Running to jump on a moving train - pretty priceless for a 14 year old. It was like something that would happen to a character in the books I read. I also didn't realize how large the train was until we got on several cars away from our car.

I remember playing cards and pooling what was left of our spending money to buy snacks in the club car on the return trip. I remember we couldn't find the dining car, though I remembered how good the food smelled when we were taking the "long walk" to our car after leaving the DC station on the trip up. I remember trying to walk in a straight line on the way to the bathroom and the fear of noticing the tracks beneath us as we traveled from one car to another.

It has been 23 years since that train trip. My memories of the week spent in New York City are just a big blur, but the train ride, which was suppose to just be a means to an end, stands out.

The thought of writing while riding around the country on a train would be a dream. It would be so conducive to my writing style. I wrote Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour in a weekend. I'm just waiting for a free weekend where I focus on nothing but putting together the next book. A round trip would give me the time I needed to do just that.

Amtrak - If you are reading this, I hope you will accept this as my application for your Writers' Residency program.

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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February 25, 2014

Review: Morgan Kane Without Mercy by Louis Masterson

Review by Donna Huber

Morgan Kane Without Mercy
I don't know what I was expecting when I picked up Morgan Kane: Without Mercy by Louis Masterson. Well that's not quite true. I was thinking it might be a little like Walker, Texas Ranger. Well, it was not anything like the television show starring Chuck Norris. It probably was more like the westerns Colonel Potter of the MASH 4077 was reading. As it turns out this is a digital re-release of the 1971 print copy.

I do not like westerns. I don't like them in movies (though The Shakiest Gun of West is one of my favorite movies - who doesn't love Don Knotts), and I don't like them in television (never could get into Bonanza), and now I know I don't like them in books either. Several times I considered not finishing the book (I had a couple of false starts before I powered through it). I couldn't imagine that 128 pages could take me so long to read. It dragged on and there were scenes that I didn't even know why they were there. It felt like they were just there to take up space. The end actually was pretty good. If Masterson had cut out some of the unnecessary scenes (particularly with the girl at the farm) then it could have been a good short story.

Buy Morgan Kane: Without Mercy at Amazon

Speaking of Linda... I have never read a more blatant instance of telling and not showing than the scenes with Linda. I couldn't really figure out why she was inserted into the story. To me, it is either further develop the character or cut her out of the story.

As a re-release book you would think the "ARC" would have been better edited. Quotation marks were thrown around the page all willy-nilly and other typos abounded. It was quite distracting and did little to help draw me into the story.

I really did not enjoy Morgan Kane: Without Mercy. Perhaps if I liked westerns it would be different or perhaps if the cast of characters were better developed and I could have connected to them, then I might have liked the book. But as is, I'm marking it as Not For Me.

Read a Sample:

Book info:
Format: ebook
Published: December 2013 by WR Films Entertainment Group
Source: Publicist
Read: February 2014

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 source. 

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February 24, 2014

What I Read - February Edition (updated)

As predicted my reading has slowed down, but I am still 1 book ahead of schedule. With Upward Cheerleading (the community sports program I volunteer with) is wrapping up this week, Sherlock is finished, and Downton Abbey is about over I will hopefully keep up my reading pace in March. Since I'm just now getting reviews up for the books I read in January, it will be a few more weeks before I give my formal reviews of the following books, but I will tell you that I recommend most of them (westerns just aren't my thing).

Morgan Kane
Morgan Kane:  Texas Ranger, unmatched gunslinger, cool poker hand, and hot-blooded lover of women.  At the tender age of 16, he avenged the murders of his parents.  Ever since, he's lived by one code: kill or be killed. 

Kane is unpredictable, impulsive, and reckless, but Major Monroe of the Rangers puts up with his drinking, his violence, and his erratic work ethic - because his skills as a gunman outweigh his vices. 

Without Mercy begins with a poker game. Kane is a born gambler: he can't resist a big pot. Con men lure him into a trap, using a ravishing seductress, Allison MacKay, as the bait. Her beauty proves too tempting.  Kane falls into her clutches.

He's shot, thrown from a train, and left for dead.  Big mistake.  As Kane himself said, "When you shoot a man, you better make sure he's dead."

A star-shaped scar will forever mark his right hand, a scar to match the Ranger's star he carries.  But that's Kane's gun hand.  The gun hand of a Ranger is the difference between life and death--are you faster than the man shooting at you?

The stakes are high this time. 

Kane is gambling with his life.

Can he survive?

Buy Morgan Kane: Without Mercy at Amazon

This is How You Pitch
So you want to work in PR? Does the idea of glamorous parties, open bars 
and rubbing elbows with the rich and famous sound like an exciting career 
for you? Then neither this book or a career in Public Relations are for you. This book will teach you all you need to know about public relations, from
 what to do on your first day at your desk to how to start your own PR 
agency. You’ll learn the core skill of the business: pitching. It’ll also 
tell you how to avoid becoming a buzzword-spitting automaton that the media 
will hate. Written by a PR veteran who has done it all – and made every mistake along the way – This Is How You Pitch is an honest, direct guidebook to Public Relations and how to survive your first years in the business and how to turn it into a prosperous, fulfilling career.

Buy This is How You Pitch at Amazon

Sometimes looks can be deceiving

Annabel's not surprised when nobody recognizes her at her 10 year reunion. The spotty fat teen nicknamed AnnaBall by the school bullies is long gone. But standing on the edge of the popular crowd, she still feels like that girl. That is, until Jack, her teen crush, starts flirting with her. Much to her amusement, he has mistaken her for Christy Blake, Annabel's chief tormenter before she moved to France in their last year.

It's just a bit of fun at first, letting Jack believe she's Christy. After all, he was nuts about her before she said au revoir to England. And when he asks Annabel out, the fun becomes something even more interesting. The more they date the deeper they fall for each other. So what if Annabel has to fib a little to keep up the façade?

As the lies start compounding, and she realizes that they're falling in love, she has to tell him who she really is. But she'll lose the love of her life if she does.

Buy Weightless at Amazon

The Hitwoman Hunts a Ghost
Bumbling hitwoman Maggie Lee has discovered the sister she thought was dead might be alive. She’s desperate to find her, but all of her bosses are making unreasonable demands. Demands she can’t afford not to meet. 

Once again, Delveccio, the chocolate pudding loving mob boss, needs someone whacked. 

Her obnoxious boss at her day job insists she intervene on his behalf with her semi-psychic friend, Armani. 

And the mysterious organization with the power to put her almost-lover Patrick behind bars has saddled her with an annoying new partner and sent her on a mission that has gone to the dogs. 

With the clock ticking, Maggie (along with her snarky lizard, dyslexic Doberman and Southern belle cat) does her best to pull off every job without winding up in jail or dead…but is her best good enough? 

Buy The Hitwoman Hunts a Ghost at Amazon

Ember Miller and Chase Jennings are ready to stop running. After weeks spent in hiding as two of the Bureau of Reformation’s most wanted criminals, they have finally arrived at the safe house, where they hope to live a safe and quiet existence.

And all that’s left is smoking ruins.

Devastated by the demolition of their last hope, Ember and Chase follow the only thing left to them—tracks leading away from the wreckage. The only sign that there may have been survivors.

With their high profile, they know they can’t stay out in the open for long. They take shelter in the wilderness and amidst the ruins of abandoned cities as they follow the tracks down the coast, eventually finding refugees from the destroyed safe house. Among them is someone from Chase’s past—someone he never thought he’d see again.

Banding together, they search for a place to hide, aiming for a settlement a few of them have heard about…a settlement that is rumored to house the nebulous organization known as Three. The very group that has provided Ember with a tiny ray of hope ever since she was first forced on the run.

Three is responsible for the huge network of underground safe houses and resistance groups across the country. And they may offer Ember her only chance at telling the world her story.

At fighting back.

Buy Three at Amazon

I am a secret no one is able to tell.

Blythe Hallowell is sixteen when she is abducted by a survivalist and locked away in an aban­doned missile silo in Eudora, Kansas. At first, she focuses frantically on finding a way out, until the harrowing truth of her new existence settles in—the crushing loneliness, the terrifying madness of a captor who believes he is saving her from the end of the world, and the persistent temptation to give up. But nothing prepares Blythe for the burden of raising a child in confinement. Deter­mined to give the boy everything she has lost, she pushes aside the truth about a world he may never see for a myth that just might give mean­ing to their lives below ground. Years later, their lives are ambushed by an event at once promis­ing and devastating. As Blythe’s dream of going home hangs in the balance, she faces the ultimate choice—between survival and freedom.

Available March 4
Buy Above at Amazon

TrustBrianna is lost for the fourth time in her life. Each time was unexpected, and each changed the course of her future. The first life-altering event occurred when her mother died, and she moved to Minnesota to live with her father.

The second was when she was kidnapped at the age of seventeen and forced to be a slave. She would never forget those ten months. Brianna thought her life was over.

Everything changed again the day Stephan steamrolled into her life and brought her home to live with him. She had no idea what to expect—what life with her new Master would hold. That first month with Stephan was, in some ways, more confusing than the prior ten. As a slave, she’d known her place. With Stephan everything was new and different. He’d given her freedom and so much more.

Five months after Stephan rescued her, Brianna once again finds her life flipped upside down.

In this fourth, and final, installment of Finding Anna, Brianna must unearth strength she never knew she possessed. Stephan can no longer protect her from the outside world. She must learn to trust herself, embrace who she is, and discover who she wants to be. Only by facing her demons can Brianna find true happiness and peace.

Available March 20
Buy Trust at Amazon

Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate;  a small fee is earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the above link. It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Book Journey.

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