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July 4, 2014

Friday Freebie: The Night Watchman Express by @AlisonDeLuca

It's 4th of July! And in the spirit of celebrating freedom I'm featuring a FREE book. You may recognize the author's name - Alison DeLuca - she's a monthly contributor here at Girl Who Reads. She also writes young adult steampunk. This will be my first steampunk novel. Do you want to read along with me? Check out the free sample below and then get it FREE at everywhere ebooks are sold. And you can get the next 3 books in the series for 99 cents each. What a deal!

Crown Phoenix The Night Watchman Express
Orphaned Miriam has always been terrified by the sound of THE NIGHT WATCHMAN EXPRESS as it hurtles by her house. The sound of the train gives her nightmares of an underground factory, and a laboratory where brutal experiments take place.
During the day she has very different problems. Her new guardians, the Marchpanes, have arrived with their son, Simon, to live in Miriam's house. The Marchpanes are plotting to take over her dead father's business.
As they are both strong willed and stubborn, Miriam and Simon develop an instant dislike for each other. They have to work together, however, in order to solve the mystery of what the Marchpanes are doing with Miriam's inheritance.
As they come closer to learning the truth, Miriam is kidnapped and put on THE NIGHT WATCHMAN EXPRESS, and Simon must try to rescue her. In doing so, he will have to confront his own parents and the evil forces behind them.
But as he tries to help Miriam, he is captured. Simon is put in a strange, luxurious prison, where his jailers are as hauntingly beautiful as they are dangerous.
As THE NIGHT WATCHMAN EXPRESS arrives at its destination, Miriam comes to the shocking realization that her nightmares about the subterranean factory and the dark laboratory were not just dreams.
What she always feared more than anything is going to come true.
Get it FREE at Amazon

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July 3, 2014

Setting an Editorial Calendar for Your Blog

by Donna Huber

I'm thinking of starting a tips series for July entitled "Taking the Stress Out of Blogging". Each week I will feature some tip that will make your blogging life easier. I can think of few things I have struggled with over the years, but I would love to know what causes you the most stress when it comes to keeping up with your blog. If you want to share, please leave a comment or you can email me: donna (at)

Probably the thing that has taken the most stress out my blogging is an editorial calendar. When I wrote blog posts daily I would get anxious about what I would post and sometimes I just couldn't come up with a good topic on the spot, which meant no new blog post for the day. Now that I do most of the week's post on the weekend, the editorial calendar has become invaluable.

Getting Started

If you have been flying by the seat of your pants, you may want to start with a weekly schedule. However, I find mapping a month's worth of content to be the most beneficial. I like to use Google Calendar because I can access it anywhere and I can embed it on the blog.

First, schedule any regular features you regularly do. Do you participate in weekly memes like Tuesday Teaser or Waiting on Wednesday? If possible, decide at the beginning of the month what book you will feature in that meme each week.

Do you have other regular content you feature on a certain day each month? I know each week I will do a tips post so I can already slot them on to the calendar. I also know that during the first week of the month I will do a New Releases post so I go ahead and put that on the calendar. For the tips post I try to determine the topics for each week, but sometimes I wing it.

Schedule Guests

Now that you have your weekly features dates blocked off, you can schedule guest posts/interviews as well as tours. Knowing in advance what dates you have open will help you not overbook your blog. I try to post once a day, but I have on occasion accidentally booked two guest posts because I didn't keep my calendar up-to-date.

I like to have my calendar embedded on my blog because authors who are looking for dates to appear on Girl Who Reads can easily see what dates are available.

Pencil in Your Reviews

I don't usually guarantee a date for reviews to appear, but if you do setting a calendar will help you keep track of what you need to be preparing. I like to make sure I have at least one review post each week. This isn't difficult now that I have a staff reviewer, instead I need to make sure we both get our pending reviews out in a timely manner. If I'm reading a book that hasn't come out yet, I will shoot for posting the review the day of or the same week it releases, if possible. So I like to mark them on the calendar. It helps keep me organized and when I have a backlog of reviews to write, it lets me know which ones I need to tackle first.

What to Do With Blank Dates

Between regular features, guest posts/tours, and reviews the bulk of your content for the month should be scheduled. But what if you have dates with nothing scheduled? If you don't want to do a new post every day then having unscheduled dates is perfectly acceptable. If you are like me and want a new post every week day, or maybe you are real ambitious and want to post new content 7 days a week, then you need to decide what you can fill those dates with. If it is just a handful of dates that I don't already have scheduled or they are mostly towards the end of the month, then I will leave them blank to allow for authors who contact me last minute about a guest post spot. If there are a lot of blank dates or they are at the first part of the month, then I come up with content ideas.

The new service I'm offering to authors will help bloggers fill in those blank dates (or for when a guest forgets to send in their post!) by providing ready made content - excerpts, interviews, and guest posts. You can learn more about it and how to sign up to get the info in last week's post.

I'm also signed up for a couple of newsletters from Goodreads, which I glean content from. One of these is the Young Adult newsletter that shows that month's most popular young adult novels. I've also tried out posting book trailers and more recently video interviews. Most of the major publishers have Youtube channels where you can find all kinds of video goodies to embed on your blog.

Blank dates can be a great opportunity to experiment with content. Try out something different and if it is a hit with your readers see about fitting it onto next month's calendar.

Why Should You Set an Editorial Calendar?

In May, new content was posted everyday (yes, 7 days a week). It was a huge undertaking, but because I had my calendar it was actually pretty easy to accomplish. There are usually no surprises when you have a calendar. You know what's due when and can send reminders to any guests you have coming up. So, number one reason I think you should set a calendar is to reduce your stress.

A second reason, which is related to the first, regularly posting new content will increase your traffic. My numbers skyrocketed in May. June, when I pulled back to just posting 5 days a week, wasn't as spectacular, but the last part of June really picked up and it is continuing into July. Knowing what you are going to post each day helps with keeping a regular schedule.

A third reason, and very important if you have multiple contributors, a calendar will keep everyone on the same page. They will know when their stuff will appear so they can be prepared to help promote it.

A fourth reason, knowing what needs to be posted and when will allow you to schedule posts in advance. It's great when you are going on vacation or if things get a bit busy in life. You will no longer be slave to your blog or faced with the dilemma of not posting just because you either didn't know what to post or didn't have time to post.

Stress is a leading factor in blogging burnout. I have found having an editorial calendar helps reduce blogging related stress.

Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour. She reads most genres (NO horror or erotica), but her favorite books are psychological thrillers and stories that highlight the survival of the human spirit against unbelievable circumstances.

July 2, 2014

July New Releases

Summer is in full swing and the great new books are rolling out this month. If you need a new beach read or maybe some entertainment for your staycation, then check out these new releases.

Holly's Wishes
Holly Haines first met Ben Oakes when she was just fifteen years old. For Holly, it was love at first sight—at least in her fifteen year old mind. Sadly, Ben had eyes for someone else, leaving Holly heartbroken. When a chance meeting reunites them several years later, Holly discovers she still has feelings for him, despite the fact she is in love with someone else. With just months to go before Ben is set to marry his high school sweetheart, and a proposal in the future slated for Holly herself, will Holly be able to figure out just what her wishes truly are?

Available in July
Buy Holly's Wishes at Amazon

Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands
A heartbreaking, wildly inventive, and moving novel narrated by a teenage runaway, from the bestselling author of Midwives and The Sandcastle Girls.

Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands is the story of Emily Shepard, a homeless girl living in an igloo made of garbage bags in Burlington. Nearly a year ago, a power plant in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont had a meltdown, and both of Emily's parents were killed. Devastatingly, her father was in charge of the plant, and the meltdown may have been his fault—was he drunk when it happened? Thousands of people are forced to leave their homes in the Kingdom; rivers and forests are destroyed; and Emily feels certain that as the daughter of the most hated man in America, she is in danger. So instead of following the social workers and her classmates after the meltdown, Emily takes off on her own for Burlington, where she survives by stealing, sleeping on the floor of a drug dealer's house, inventing a new identity for herself, and befriending a young homeless kid named Cameron. But Emily can't outrun her past, can't escape her grief, can't hide forever-and so she comes up with the only plan that she can.

Available July 8
Buy Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands at Amazon

The Sexiest Man Alive
Mazie Maguire doesn’t need some lousy awards panel to tell her what she already knows: Ben Labeck—the chiseled, 6'3" photojournalist and hockey player who drives her wild—is the Sexiest Man Alive. And she especially doesn’t need the rest of the world to know it, too. Watching every last woman in the Milwaukee metro area throw themselves at the man who shares Mazie’s bed is more than any respectable single lady should bear.

So when Ben has the nerve to “forget” to call for a week, Mazie decides to call it off for good. But as she jumps back into the dating game, Mazie catches the attention of some real bad boys: The Skulls. When the motorcycle gang kidnaps Mazie in a case of mistaken identity, she suddenly sees Ben’s behavior in a whole new light. She’d do anything to wake up in Ben’s surprisingly tender arms one more time—so long as the Sexiest Man Alive doesn’t go and get himself killed trying to save her.

Available July 8
Buy The Sexiest Man Alive at Amazon

Hollywood Sins
Public spectacles, private breakdowns, and terrible choices. How can a beloved Hollywood star feel so unloved?

Twenty-four year old Adra Willows grew up in the spotlight, but navigating the shark infested waters of show business doesn’t get easier with age. She has experienced mild success but nothing like the achievement of one of her best friends. Adra constantly compares herself to Liliana Addison, Hollywood’s hottest young starlet, thanks to the Collette Stroud helmed Tortured Desires series.

With her manager giving her questionable advice and her relationship with a leading comedic actor on the rocks, Adra finds herself at the crossroads of Virtue and Vice. She can either continue along the path of taking roles that showcase her body instead of her acting skills or she can forge ahead of her competition, ignore the wishes of her manager, and make her own decisions.

Adra Willows is about to learn how easy it is to fall prey to the abundant temptations of Tinseltown. Will she become just another casualty of Hollywood? Just another washed up child star shackled by limitless means? Or can she control her own destiny? She must choose the most important role of her life: Hollywood Victim or Victor.

The red carpet of life is lined with virtue and vice, but which side will the actress choose to walk along?

Available July 10
Buy Hollywood Sins at Amazon

The Book of Life
After traveling through time in Shadow of Night, the second book in Deborah Harkness’s enchanting series, historian and witch Diana Bishop and vampire scientist Matthew Clairmont return to the present to face new crises and old enemies. At Matthew’s ancestral home at Sept-Tours, they reunite with the cast of characters from A Discovery of Witches—with one significant exception. But the real threat to their future has yet to be revealed, and when it is, the search for Ashmole 782 and its missing pages takes on even more urgency. In the trilogy’s final volume, Harkness deepens her themes of power and passion, family and caring, past deeds and their present consequences. In ancestral homes and university laboratories, using ancient knowledge and modern science, from the hills of the Auvergne to the palaces of Venice and beyond, the couple at last learn what the witches discovered so many centuries ago.

With more than one million copies sold in the United States and appearing in thirty-eight foreign editions, A Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night have landed on all of the major bestseller lists and garnered rave reviews from countless publications. Eagerly awaited by Harkness’s legion of fans, The Book of Life brings this superbly written series to a deeply satisfying close. 

Available July 15
Buy The Book of Life at Amazon

Upside Down
Behind every member of the Sisterhood, there’s a man who knows better than to get in her way. Now the guys are bonding together, in the first in a thrilling new series from New York Times bestselling author Fern Michaels.

Through public triumphs and private sorrows, the men in the Sisters’ lives—husbands, friends, colleagues, and lovers—have offered invaluable aid and support. In the process, they’ve become an informal brotherhood of their own, able to relate to the unique challenges and rewards of life among the vigilantes. 

But after years of bit parts, the Sisterhood’s significant others are itching to take center stage. Frustrated with the limits of the criminal justice system, Nikki’s husband Jack Emery has recruited his friends Ted, Joe, Harry, Bert, Jay, and Abner. They have brand-new headquarters with state-of-the-art equipment, an unlimited bankroll, and a plaque on the door that reads BOLO Consultants. Their first case: toppling ruthless slum landlord Tyler Sandford—also lieutenant governor of Virginia. Sandford may have friends in very high places, but that’s no match for BOLO—or the women who’ve got their backs…

Available July 29
Buy Upside Down 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.

July 1, 2014

Review: Dystance - Winter Rising by M.R. Tufo

by Claire Rees

Dystance Winter Rising
So, Mark Tufo is one of my all time favourite writers.  I first discovered Mark’s Zombie Fallout series about a year ago and since then have quickly devoured each and every one of his other books from Zombies to werewolves and aliens and I loved them all.

So when I found out he was releasing a new book I quickly pre-ordered Dystance: Winter Rising off Amazon. Then I found out it was a completely different genre to what he normally writes and above all this one was young adult, but once again Mark did not disappoint.

Dystance: Winter Rising follows a main character ‘Winter’ and her two friends ‘Ceder’ her best girl friend and ‘Tallow’ her best friend and possible love interest. They are growing  up in a town called ‘Dystance’ with dozens of other children of all ages who have been bred for one of two reasons; either to go to war to fight for Dystance for reasons unknown or to go to the ‘Bio labs’ to breed more children.

Buy Dystance: Winter Rising at Amazon

You will follow them through their everyday lives as they fight to survive without parents to help them and with the meagre food rations they are given by the ‘Brokers’, a group of men whose job it is to ensure the children are kept in line.

But for these three characters their time is nearly up and they will soon be off to war, maybe never to return. So they have to make some really hard decisions that will affect their lives and many others.

I loved the book even though it was a much different genre to the author's other books. There is a lot of action, fear and suspense with a little bit of love, romance and betrayal thrown in for good measure.

I would recommend this to all who love  good action/adventure young adult books.

Book info:
Published June 2014
Source: purchased
Read: June 2014

Claire Rees lives in a small village in the South Wales Valleys, UK with her husband, two kids and five snakes. She will hopefully be starting an English literature course this September. She has always loved reading books. Her favorite genres are horror, mystery and fantasy, although if the story line is good she'll read anything. Connect with Claire on Facebook.

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

June 30, 2014

Meet Delia Steele

by Heather Kirchhoff

What made you decide to start writing? Was this something you always thought you’d do? 

I’ve always written things down, since I was a child. But I wrote my first story at about age 13 about a tornado taking a child mother away. It became away to hide my fears and purge them at the same time. Writing has never been something I imagined myself doing. I always wanted to do car customization.

How do you come up with your characters or story ideas?

All my ideas are based around a memory I have from my own life. One small moment is turned it into a full story of someone elses life. I use to remind myself I am not the only person who lived through that, may they be real or thought up, they made it through it.

How do you get inspired to write?

Emotions: I hear a song that reminds me of something, or I see a picture maybe. There is always something going on around me yet, I find myself soaking in my own mind, my fictional wonderland.

What do you do while having writers block?

Nothing really, I wait. However, occasionally my editor listens to me and she starts seeing the story even before I do. I blurt out thoughts or visions I see about the story line and then she speaks up and says, “Ok, I see where your going with that, we could say . . ., or we could . . .” she is a big part of my writing, she fills in my blank spots or as most would call my “block”. I know I could write without her input, but I hope I never have to. She is the best soundboard and always remembers it’s my story, they are my characters. She loves them as much as I do but never tries to dictate what I do with them. Unless it comes to killing them off, I tend to want to kill them all off at one point or another. She saves them!!! #lovemyeditor

What kind of stories do you write?

Everything. Drama, romance, erotica, and I’m currently researching for a paranormal. I guess once I publish it all, I will figure out which I am best at via sales records and stick more towards that genre. I figure I’d be great at darker based stories but no one wants to read ‘sad kill me now crap’ all the time, and I sure don’t want to write it all the time.

Who’s your favorite author(s)?

I adore Stephan King but I am trying to gear towards the indie movement more now that I am a part of it. I love Jennifer Foor, Devon Hartford, and Kendall Grey but I have a few that rank high on my list of literary lovers.

How long have you been writing?

I’ve written here and there since I was a young teenager but didn’t publish my first book until July 2013.

What are your stories about?

Trailer Park Princess
Erotica - Broken (Love Hard Series) is about a dominatrix whom was hurt early in life, she chose the lifestyle out of fear, and you follow her on her journey to see if she can find true love or if she folds under the pressure and sticks to the lifestyle she chose. Being a dome isn’t a bad thing, but if you aren’t doing it for the right, reasons people in up hurt. Lexi is a good girl at heart but her heart isn’t the part of her body cracking the whips.

Buy Trailer Park Princess at Amazon

New Adult Romance - Trailer Park Princess (Switching Tracks Series) is a bout a girl whom is mistreated and poor, she is bullied due to social status and the book follows her along through her young adult life and how she survives until the right guy shows up and helps her carry the load. This isn’t a typical read in my opinion, she isn’t a weak girl waiting on a rich boy to swoop in and save her, if you start the book and think it is. . . KEEP READING!!!

What are you currently working on?

I have book two High Class Harlot (Switching Tracks Series) with my editor now and book three Blue Collared Knight (Switching Tracks Series) has just entered the early stages of plotting.

What do you do when not writing?

When not writing, I have 3 other jobs. I work full-time for a collection company, I work part time for a local church doing the HR, & I tend to random kids on the fly. I also have a husband and two kids who require attention at random times. Both my children 4 & 9 play sports and I spend time soaking up the sun while enjoying their everyday lives.

** Don’t tell anyone but in order to write erotica you must research, so I spend some time doing that as well ;)**

Connect with Delia Steele on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, website

Heather Kirchhoff lives in a small town in Missouri. She became a bookworm back in sixth grade when her teacher suggested the Phantom Stallion series by Terri Farley and instantly fell in love. She loves reading paranormal stories, plus some love ones here and there. Writing is her passion-it helps her escape the world for a while, as well as reading-she doesn’t know what she’d do without it. She just loves it. When she isn’t writing, Heather is doing odd jobs, reading, taking walks, or spending time with her boyfriend and animals/family. Richelle Mead, Alyson Noel, and Stephenie Meyer inspired her to write. Connect with Heather on Facebook and Twitter.

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, opinions, beliefs expressed by guests are their own and do not necessarily reflect those of Girl Who Reads.