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L is for Literary Fiction #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...

July 25, 2014

Douglas R.: 5 Things Everyone Should Do Before They Die (character guest post)

Hi! I'm Ivey. From the story, Horizon. It is a pretty cool story as much as people say, but one fact a lot of them forget is how boring my life was before I decided to do some of the most craziest things I have ever done in my life. 

And you know what? It was such a relief. I've even made a list of the 5 top things I think everyone has got 
to do. At least once in their lives. 

So here goes:

1. Everyone should switch passports at the airport with a lookalike!

My mom and I were moving from place to place like clueless gypsies—actually, I was the clueless one and 
she knew exactly what the hell she was doing—and she wanted me to go to Chicago. But I had always wanted to travel back home to India. 

Luckily, I stumbled upon a friend who was stuck in the opposite situation. She wanted to go to Chicago to see her dad and her mother wanted to go to Delhi. We were lookalikes and the game was on. 

What a fun time we had at the airport in France, switching travel docs and iPods and caps!

2. Everyone should time travel—after a flight in a private jet—on the very same day. 

I didn't tell you this: when I got to India they abducted me. 

Buy Horizon at Amazon

Who's they? 

The secret agents living among you, making sure the world is safe from extraterrestrial disasters. 

They call themselves the Secret Circle. 

Anyway, they needed me to go back in time on a mission. Time machines can be sickening. I was in the 
hospital wing for hours. But the irony of remembering you ate breakfast yesterday in the future is kinda fun. 

3. Everyone should save the world.

That's the reason the Secret Circle abducted me and sent me back in time to Amazonia. I wasn't alone on 
the mission. There were four others just like me and an entire military base with soldiers from all over the 

I know it's very unlikely to get that kind of shot at saving the world but you can save the world in other 
ways too. For example, do stand-up comedy the next time you board a subway or a quiet bus. Or even at your school or workplace. The world could use some more humor, don't you think?

4. Everyone should fight a dinosaur.

I know, I know. They're extinct. Considering the fact you might be too freaked out to time travel and the 
Secret Circle will never show you the Time Machine anyway no matter what, your only best option is Play 

The pros? 

You don't have to scream for your life and you revive every time you lose. 

5. Everyone should Travel the world. 

It's safe as long as the pilot doesn't have a stroke. It's not sickening. It's not life threatening and anyone can 
do this. 

Except in my case. 

Ever since I was a kid my mom has taken me to China, Croatia, Spain, France, Germany and some places I 
don't even remember anymore. I later realized that she was a Chinese spy who was running away and hiding 
me from our enemies.

I always wondered where those sexy BMWs came from whenever we needed to make a quick one!

Well, I guess it's going to be super difficult to copy what I've done and paste it into your own life. Not everyone gets to have a super cool spy mom. 

That's why God has gifted us with novels. When your life feels pointless they are the perfect escape. Trust me, I know this stuff firsthand on an exaggerated scale. 

And speaking of stories, are you ready to take the journey with me into Amazonia? To face monsters and fight for survival? Are you brave enough to join me?

If you're crazy enough to answer YES then I've got a video for you about what goes down in Amazonia. Plus, you'll also receive a freebie for Horizon in PDF, mobi (Kindle) or ePub (iBooks) formats.

It's been great talking to you,


Ivey xoxo

About the Author

Douglas R is a young author who's all about alternative music, football, learning new recipes and finding new
books to blow his mind away-if unavailable, he will write one. P.S: He currently is. 

Twitter  *  Goodreads

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

July 24, 2014

Social Media for Your Blog

by Donna Huber

This month I've been looking at ways to reduce the stress that continuous blogging can cause. I discussed setting an editorial calendar so you know what to post when, consider a different format for your reviews to make them easier to write and read, and finding time to write posts. Today, I'm taking on social media. If you want your blog to be noticed you have to be active on social media, but that can be a source of stress as well. Particularly if you run afoul of a nasty author or others who think it is fun to belittle and bully others. At the same time, it can also be a source of support.

5 Social Media Channels to Use

There is a lot of options when it comes to what social media channels you can participate. I recommend these 5 channels.

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google+
  • LinkedIn
  • Goodreads
I know that may seem to be a lot of places to be active on a regular basis. However, each has its own nuances and will be used differently in support of your blog. Let's take a closer look of how to use them effectively and with ease.

4 Ways to Use Twitter

Being on Twitter has been huge for increasing my readership. If you have been reading Girl Who Reads for very long you may know that this isn't the first blog I've attempted. The others were before Twitter and it was very difficult to get a blog noticed.

  • Connect your RSS feed. To make things easier, I recommend connecting your RSS feed to Twitter so that when a new post goes live it automatically gets tweeted. I use Feedburner and have it set so that the categories I select for the post are turned into hashtags.
  • Tag authors. If I can quickly locate an author's Twitter handle, I will tag them in the review or their guest post so they can retweet the post. 
  • Share other content. Just using Twitter for advertising your blog won't get you far. You need to share other people's content either through retweets or tweeting from their blogs. I use Triberr to help find interesting content to share with my followers. 
  • Interact. Keep an eye on your mentions and reply to comments. There is not much need to thank people for just sharing or retweeting your content. I like to use to see who are most engaged and top new followers. They get a shout out each week.
3 Recommendations for Facebook
  • Set up a fan page. You will find times when you want to separate your personal life from your blogging life. Having a fan page will help protect your privacy.
  • Interact. More so than with Twitter, it is important to interact with your fans. For Facebook, though it means asking questions and making comments. Just advertising your posts doesn't really encourage discussion and that it of the utmost importance. 
  • Link Facebook to Twitter, but not the other way around. Twitter is a much more fastpaced environment than Facebook. You don't need to make but a post or two a day on Facebook, but Twitter is best with 10 - 15 updates a day. Reduce your double posting by having everything you post to Facebook be sent to Twitter. Bonus tip: if you are asking a short question or making an observation that's less than 140 characters, add a picture to the posting. People on Twitter will click on the link, giving your Facebook posts more views.
2 Things to Consider for Google+
  • Increased SEO. Connecting your blog to Google+ (for Wordpress bloggers you will need to claim your authorship) will increase your posting's rank in the search engine. The +1 acts like a vote and the more +1 a post gets the higher in the search returns it will appear.
  • Add to your circles. When sending a post to Google+ you can specify which circle gets notified (you can also make it public). People who interact on the blog - leaves a comment, shares on social media, etc. get added to my Girl Who Reads subscribers circle. The people that add me to circles most often get added to my Book People circle - these are usually authors and other bloggers. 
1 Reminder about LinkedIn
  • LinkedIn builds your reputation. LinkedIn is a professional site. It was created to connect professionals and job seekers. It is your online resume. Treat it professionally. Use it to highlight your expertise. I share posts that will be of interest to my professional network - usually my tips posts and other informative posts.
5 Tips for Goodreads 
  • Social site for readers. Unlike the other social media sites where your audience could be anyone, people at Goodreads are readers. If they are active on Goodreads, then they are likely more than an average reader. You can find people you have a common reading interest with to share your love of books.
  • Find support. A lot of bloggers are on Goodreads and there are several groups that you can get involved in with other book bloggers. While I'm part of blogging groups on Goodreads, most are lifestyle bloggers and not exclusively book bloggers. Having experienced book bloggers in your network will help reduce stress by having someone you can turn to with questions and for words of encouragement.
  • Link to your reviews. I write a short review, usually a few sentences, upon finishing the book and then when I write the full review for Girl Who Reads I add the link. I don't get a lot of traffic from Goodreads, but my older reviews will often get new views from there.
  • Connect Goodreads to Twitter and Facebook. My reading updates and reviews are shared on the other social media channels so I don't have to remember to post them there and it saves time.
  • Be cautious. Goodreads has become a hotbed for bullies and trolls. My advice is to use it as it is intended - to share book love. Be careful what you post in groups until you are familiar with the other members. Things can be taken out of context or read in ways you never intended on all the social media platforms, so just think twice before posting something that might be offensive or taken the wrong way.
I hope this overview of social media for your blog is helpful. I've written more extensively on each of these platforms if you need more help or ideas for implementing them with your blog. I will be wrapping up this series next week, so if there is a topic I haven't covered and it's causing you stress with your blog let me know.

And for a bonus tip this week I guest blogged on Write Divas about when and how to hire a publicity assistance. 

Donna 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 23, 2014

Review: The Hitwoman and the 7 Cops by @JB_Lynn_author

by Donna Huber

The Hitwoman and the 7 Cops
I'm so far behind on my reviews. I read The Hitwoman and the 7 Cops by JB Lynn way back in June. It is a great book and I feel amiss in not telling you about it sooner. Now if you are a Hitwoman fan, then you probably have already read it. But for those who have not discovered this hilarious series, well maybe this review will convince you that it is now time to pick it up.

What's it about?

Maggie, the hitwoman who bears a lot of family responsibility, is surrounded by cops. Not a good thing for a hired killer. But they aren't there for her. Well they are sort of. They think she knows where her dad is. Why are they looking for her dad? In addition to being a wanted criminal, he's also the star witness in a mob family trial. Not the mob family Maggie works for. He's run away from the witness protection program and the last time he skipped out he did contact her.

Buy The Hitwoman and the 7 Cops at Amazon

So while the cops are hanging around she's not getting any jobs. But with all the craziness that is going on in her life she probably didn't have time for the mob. You see the mob isn't the only side job she's got going on. There's Mrs. Whitehat. A mysterious woman who knows a whole lot about stuff Maggie rather keep quiet, and uses that knowledge to blackmail her into doing jobs for her. There's also Maggie's long lost, now returned, sister. She spent her time away working the streets and her pimp is a scary dude who is intent on bringing her back into the fold. The aunts are there and Susan, the more stable of the three, well there's something up with her. Throw in the cat, dog, and a lizard and craziness ensues.

Though there are 7 cops in this story, fan favorite and murder mentor Patrick is all but absent. He makes a few appearances - running Piss to the vet after she steps on broken glass from the window that is broken when a rock is thrown into it (Templeton is hit in the head but survives, though the hospital is a dangerous place). I don't think Patrick fed Maggie once in this book, and much to DeeDee's dismay he didn't feed her either.

What's to like

There is a lot to like about the Hitwoman series in general and this book in particular. They are just plain funny. Whether you are trying to make sense of Armani's Scrabble title psychic readings or the banter between the animals and Maggie, there is always something to cause a good laugh. The story is brilliantly laid out with twist and turns so you aren't sure how things are going to work out. There's a bit of romance, but it doesn't over shadow the rest of the plot. The characters are likable, you may even find yourself sympathetic to the "bad" guys. Though the creepy pimp isn't likable. No, the "bad" guys that we love so much - Patrick, he's a crooked cop but you will fall in love with him. Even the mob boss is likable.

What's not to like

There really isn't too much not to like about The Hitwoman and the 7 Cops. If you were hoping for more progress in the Patrick/Maggie relationship, well like I said he was pretty much absent from the story. What about Maggie's other sister? The one that was kidnapped as child. Nope, not really any answers there. So in some ways the bigger series plot arcs are pushed aside in this book.

Why you should read it

Everyone needs a good laugh and this one will definitely give it to you. It is a quick read, some of the other reviews mentioned that it felt shorter than the other installments. Whether it is just so compelling you can't stop reading (which it definitely is) or just a shorter story, it would make a great vacation read.

Book info
Published June 2014
Source: Author
Reads June 2014

Girl Who Reds is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small fee is paid by Amazon when purchases are made through the above link. A free ebook was provided for this review.

July 22, 2014

Review: Easy Bake Coven by Liz Schulte

by Claire Rees

Easy Bake Coven
Meet Selene, a twenty six year old business owner who leads a full and happy life. She has the best friends a girl could ask for, a handsome boyfriend who adores her and her wonderful grandmother.  But she is also a witch; her and Selene practice white magic and have formed their own coven.

Life is perfect for Selene until she meets the dangerously handsome and Mysterious Cheney who seems to know her and everything about her.

Cheney helps Selene to see that she is not who she thinks she is, she is part of a much bigger, magical world, where she finds out she is a princess and may be able to help to stop a war. Her world is soon turned upside down and she starts to train her fighting skills and training her magic skills.

I enjoyed Easy Bake Coven by Liz Schulte; it was interesting reading about a magical, Fae world and how it sometimes affects the real world without anyone else noticing. The characters are fun and sexy and a joy to read about. I recommend this to people who enjoy books about witches and fae and magical stories.

Buy Easy Bake Coven at Amazon

Book info
Published January 2013
Read June 2014

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

July 21, 2014

Interview with Armand Rosamilia

by Heather Kirchhoff

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

I've wanted to be an author since I was twelve years old. No lie. And it was because of my mother's sizeable horror paperback collection, and especially Dean Koontz books.

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

By always being in 'writing mode' even when I'm not physically in front of my laptop. Every conversation I am in or eavesdrop on, every person I see in Walmart, and everything I see or read is stored for a possible future idea.

How do you get inspired to write?

The pile of bills on the desk. I am very lucky to be able to write full-time the last three years, but it is also the fear of not being able to pay the electric bill which fuels me to keep going and keep serious about the things I write and the contracts I sign.

What do you do while having writers block?

There is no such thing. A farmer never gets Farmer's Block. You put your ass in the chair and you write something, anything, until the ideas flow. I have more ideas running through my head than I could ever hope to write down in three lifetimes.

Dying Days 4
What kind of stories do you write?

I am 'known' for my zombie books, especially the Dying Days series. But I write horror, contemporary fiction, thrillers, crime, erotica, non-fiction… anything I feel like writing. I just finished ghostwriting a military romance.

Who are your favorite authors?

As a teen it was Dean Koontz, Robert E. Howard and HP Lovecraft. Now I can’t wait for the latest from Brian Keene, John Everson, Joe McKinney and so many more great authors.

How long have you been writing?

At twelve I wrote horrible Koontz rip-off stories. I had my first published story in my early twenties but got serious about four years ago after a long dry spell.

What are your other stories about?

I'm all over the place, to be honest. I write stories that intrigue me, ideas that are interesting. I am also in a great place in my career, where someone can pitch an idea at me and I twist it and make it my own. I am in the midst of a thirteen book deal with a Hollywood company, with some of these stories going to eventually become movies.

What are you currently working on?

Since Dying Days 4 was just released, I've been working on several short stories for anthologies as well as Dying Days: Origins 2 and a horror novel I hope to shop to a publisher soon. And about a hundred other things. There are always 3-5 open documents on my laptop I am working on.

What do you do when not writing?

I don’t remember. Actually, I also do two different radio shows each week: Mando's Manic Melodies on Friday nights from 10 til midnight EST on 97.3 FM The Surf in Flagler Beach Florida and Mando's Metal Covers on Monday nights from 6-8 pm EST. I have also begun a podcast, interviewing authors, film makers, artists, etc. called Arm Cast: Dead Sexy Horror Podcast. It will debut sometime in July, if all goes as planned. I also sleep occasionally.

About the Author
Armand Rosamilia is a New Jersey boy currently living in sunny Florida, where he writes when he's not watching the Boston Red Sox and listening to Heavy Metal music... and because of him they won the 2013 World Series, so he's pretty good at watching!

He's written over 100 stories that are currently available, including a few different series:

"Dying Days" extreme zombie series
"Keyport Cthulhu" horror series
"Flagler Beach Fiction Series" contemporary fiction
"Metal Queens" non-fiction music series

He also loves to talk in third person... because he's really that cool. He's a proud Active member of HWA as well.

You can find him at for not only his latest releases but interviews and guest posts with other authors he likes! And e-mail him to talk about zombies, baseball and Metal:

Buy Dying Days 4 at Amazon

Heather Kirchhoff is a staff interviewer at Girl Who Reads. She 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 paid by Amazon when purchases are made through the above link. The views, opinions,and beliefs of guests are their own and do not necessarily reflect those of Girl Who Reads.