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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...

September 5, 2015

"Sexy fun!" ~ Five Things I Love About You by Sarah Ballance

Five things to love about NYC. But she only needs one...

California landscape artist Estelle Donovan hates big cities. Between the grime, the smell, all the drab concrete, and the suffocating summer heat, how can anyone breathe? Housesitting her brother's New York apartment, complete with broken elevator and smoking air conditioner, is her kind of hell. It's only for two weeks, though. What could possibly go wrong?

Dumping a jar of pickles on the hot girl at the grocery store wasn't Crosby Chase's finest hour, nor was getting bitten in the butt by the demonic cat on her fire escape. But he is going to change her mind about his beloved city, damn it. In fact, if they could just make it five minutes without falling into bed, he bets Estelle he can find five things she'll love about New York.

Falling in love wasn't part of his plan. And with an entire country between them, Crosby realizes he doesn't need five reasons to make Estelle love New York.

He needs one big reason to make her stay...

Sweet and funny ~ Jamie @ Fiction Fangirls

I HAD to know how it ended! ~ Jules R.

Squee-worthy gem of a book! ~ Jen Valencia

Buy Five Things I Love About You at Amazon

Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon using any Amazon links on this site. Thank you for supporting Girl Who Reads.

September 4, 2015

The Trials and Tribulations of a Struggling Author (@Satiswrites)

by Chris

I’ve been writing stories my whole life—as have many, I’ve come to discover. I’ve only thought of myself as an ‘author’, however, since around 2011, when I started working on the project that would eventually become my first published book, The Redemption of Erâth. It’s a funny distinction; even when I was working on a project many years ago that I would one day like to revive (and therefore isn’t relegated solely to the dustbin), I never thought of myself as an author. I suppose I think of an author as someone whose aim is publication.

Yet on a daily basis I feel like the underpants gnomes from South Park (Step 1: Steal underpants. Step 2: ? Step 3: Profit.) I’m not exactly rolling in the profit, although I reckon I have the hang of stealing underpants by now. In fact, I can count the number of sales of my book in the past year on the totality of my digits, and I can’t help feeling that I missed step two somehow.

So what is step two, in the writing game? Sadly, it’s the thing that most of us introspective, insular and introverted writers abhor almost as much as people who write 100,000 words during National Novel Writing Month: marketing. Surely, we all clamor, I shouldn’t need to market—my book is amazing, and should sell itself. I’ve come to believe there are two fundamental untruths we tell ourselves herein.

First off: your book is not amazing. You’re not Stephen King, or even Dean Koontz, let alone Dickens or Joyce or Maya Angelou. Your novel is more than likely a mediocre attempt at a half-baked idea that’s been done to death a million times over. How do I know? Because my own book falls squarely into that category. As much as I live and breath my characters and want to believe my story is the most original idea since the Iliad, the truth is that it’s a Tolkien knock-off without the poetry and a different name for orcs.

Secondly, no book sells itself. I’ve been watching a new author by the name of Nancy Chase for about a year now, through the publication of her first book, a fairytale called The Seventh Magpie. I read it; I loved it; I reviewed it glowingly. It’s actually rather good. In six months, she’s sold more copies than (at the rate I’m going) I’ll sell in ten years. But it sure as hell isn’t the quality of the story or the writing, or even the lovely illustrations, that have helped reached such lofty heights. Nooo … it’s Nancy’s single-minded determination to sell her book as hard as she can.

This is a determination, I think, many of us sadly lack. There’s a fine, intricate art to selling things, and a lot of people—especially those whose artistic bent lends them to wordsmithing—kind of just suck at it. In the past year, I’ve tried giveaways; I’ve tried regular postings about the book on my Facebook page and Twitter; I’ve tried paying for advertisements on Goodreads and Facebook and Google. Mostly, I’ve tried doing nothing and looking the other way, wondering if, when I come back to my sales rankings in two months, they’ll somehow be up. Unsurprisingly, nothing much has happened.

Later this year I’m looking forward to releasing my second book in the Redemption of Erâth series. I suspect it will do as spectacularly as the first. I’ve learned a lot, of course, and there are a number of things I’ll be doing differently. Still … step two. Somehow I have to convince people that my book is worth reading, over the millions of others that get released every single day.

Marketing, my writer friends: it’s the bane of our existence. Compared to getting your book out there, the writing process itself is seamlessly easy. The good news? I’ve come to believe that you don’t necessarily have to have the very best manuscript in the world: ultimately people are looking for entertainment, and they’ll settle for flaws, as long as they’re given a compelling reason to read it in the first place.

Of course, perfection doesn’t hurt. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t work hard at the story in the first place, but rather to say that the hard work doesn’t stop at ‘The End’. It’s only the beginning.

photo credit: It's a labyrinth via photopin (license)

Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon using any Amazon links on this site. Thank you for supporting Girl Who Reads.

September 3, 2015

From blog to book

by Donna Huber

The rise of ebooks paved the way for any writer to easily become a published author. Writers scoured notebooks and computer files for stories forgotten in hopes of during a dream into reality. A somewhat unexpected benefit of the ebook revolution was the fact bloggers had another outlet for their writing, one that can and does make money.

For the average blogger there isn't a lot of money to made from blogging alone. But ebooks do sell, even with paying the distributor I made more from my book than I did from ad revenue on my blog.

Business bloggers, technology bloggers, inspirational bloggers, parenting bloggers have all turned to ebooks as a companion to their blog. In most cases, they are not writing new content for their ebook. They are just organizing past blog posts into a coherent message.

In addition to generating money, it is also a way to publicize your blog.

When I decided to "write" Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour, I wasn't really looking to make money, but to provide a valuable resource for authors. But it was successful enough to make a profit in under a year. And I continue to sell a few copies now and again, without really any marketing efforts.

I believe almost all bloggers have content that can be brought together and published into a book. Even book bloggers.

The first step is to determine what kind of content you have available and what audience would be interested in it.

Eve if all you write are reviews, you may still be able to package them into a book of critical essays.

If you write a variety of content then you may need to decide how to package it. When I decided to put together my book I knew I wanted it to be a quick read how to type manual. I had plenty of material to write a full length marketing book. But I really wanted it to be something an author could read in about an hour and then immediately put it in to practice.

You may decide to do a book of critical essays and another book based on anecdotal stories as a book blogger and maybe another book on the "state of a genre". If you dabble in poetry or fiction you can always package it into a collection or full blown novel. Some fiction writers blog their entire novel, getting feedback and building an audience chapter by chapter.

The third and final step in turning your blog posts into an ebook is doing it. I have plans for at least one more marketing book and possibly two blogging books. And I have had the content written for more than a year, yet I haven't taken the time to put it all together. There is more to creating a book than just copying and pasting a few blog posts into a Word document.

Your content may need to be edited to fit together or for an audience that isn't familiar with your blog. You may find that there is holes in your content or that you want to expand the topic you had done a blog post on. It is a good idea to add a little extra to your content that wasn't included in the original post.

You also need editing for grammar and style. You need a cover and a blurb (and I'm telling you writing a summary isn't as easy as it sounds!). Then there is formatting it and publishing it to various distributor sites. After that you can decide how much or how little you advertise and market. Remember that whatever you do in terms of publicity will also benefit your blog.

Have thought about or have you already turned blog posts into a book?

photo credit: eBook e Mac via photopin (license) 

Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon using any Amazon links on this site. Thank you for supporting Girl Who Reads.

September 2, 2015

Call for submissions: Scary and supernatural flash fiction

Girl Who Reads is looking for your scary, supernatural or Halloween flash fiction stories to feature during October as a lead up to Halloween. Flash fiction is a fun way to share your creative writing. All writers are invited to participate whether this is your first piece of writing or you are a best selling author.

Deadline for submissions is Sunday, September 20 and may be emailed to donna (at) You will be notified if your story is accepted for publication and any editorial corrections needed by Sunday, September 27,

Original stories of 100 to 300 words will be consider. Any genre is accepted as long as it includes the thematic elements requested in this call. For example, a romantic comedy set at a Halloween party would meet the thematic requirement.

Girl Who Reads retains exclusive rights to the story for a period of 30 days from the date of posting. After 30 days, the rights are remanded to the author and may be published elsewhere.

Along with your Flash Fiction piece, please include a short bio, photo (if you use one), and any social media links.

We look forward to your submissions, If you have questions, please leave a comment below or email donna (at)

For regular guest article submissions, please see our guidelines.

Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon using any Amazon links on this site. Thank you for supporting Girl Who Reads.

September 1, 2015

What to read this month

Fall is always filled with a ton of new releases each month and as the weather cools it is the perfect time to curl up with a new book. Here is what we recommend.

cover The Most Famous Illegal Goose Creek Parade
In this first book of the Tales from the Goose Creek B&B, you'll fall in love with a small town that feels like coming home. Its quirky characters and their many shenanigans will make you laugh out loud as they touch a place in your heart.

Even though retirement is still three years away, Al Richardson is counting the days. He anticipates many enjoyable years in which every day feels like Saturday. But Al's wife, Millie, has different plans for their retirement. When she learns that a Victorian-era home is up for sale, Millie launches a full-blown campaign to convince Al that God's plan for them is to turn that house into a B&B.

But a B&B won't be the only change for the small Kentucky town. A new veterinarian has hung up her shingle, but she's only got one patient--the smelly dog belonging to her part-time receptionist. And sides are being taken in the issue of the water tower, which needs a new coat of paint...but no one can agree who should paint it.

The situation is coming to a head. Who could have imagined a town protest over a water tower? And who would believe it could culminate in an illegal parade?

Get lost in a novel that reminds you why you love reading.

Available September 1
Buy The Most Famous Illegal Goose Creek Parade at Amazon

cover The Scam
Nicolas Fox is a charming con man and master thief on the run. Kate O’Hare is the FBI agent who is hot on his trail. At least that’s what everyone thinks. In reality, Fox and O’Hare are secretly working together to bring down super-criminals the law can’t touch. Criminals like brutal casino magnate Evan Trace.

Evan Trace is running a money-laundering operation through his casino in Macau. Some of his best customers are mobsters, dictators, and global terrorists. Nick and Kate will have to go deep undercover as high-stakes gamblers, wagering millions of dollars—and their lives—in an attempt to topple Trace’s empire.

It’s a scam that will take Fox and O’Hare from the Las Vegas strip, to the sun-soaked beaches of Oahu’s North Shore, and into the dark back alleys of Macau. Their only backup—a self-absorbed actor, a Somali pirate, and Kate’s father, and an ex-soldier who believes a rocket launcher is the best way to solve every problem. What could possibly go wrong?

Available September 15
Buy The Scam at Amazon

cover Glory Days
The wilderness. Maybe you know it well.

The Israelites sure did. After all, they spent forty years wandering the desert. Victories were scarce. Progress was slow. They were free from Pharaoh but not free from fear. Saved but stuck.

Sounds a lot like midlife misery. Caught in a rut. Stalled out. Running on empty. Are you mired in the same?

You can name the day you became a Christian and escaped Egypt. But you can't remember the last time you defeated a temptation or experienced an answered prayer. You're fighting the same battles you fought the day you came to Christ. You're out of Egypt, but Egypt's not out of you.

Isn't the Christian life supposed to be better than this?

Jesus offers abundant joy. Yet you live with oppressive grief. The epistles speak of grace. You shoulder guilt. You are more than a conqueror yet are commonly conquered by temptation or weaknesses.

But there's good news. With God's help you can close the gap between the person you are and the person you want to be. Like Joshua and the Israelites, you can move from a wilderness existence into a promised inheritance.

This is God's vision for your life. You, at full throttle. You, as you were intended. You, as victor over the Jerichos and giants. You, minus the stumbles, hurts, and hate.

You and your Promised Land life.

New York Times bestselling author Max Lucado invites readers to leave the wilderness and discover a life defined by grace, refined by challenge, and aligned with a heavenly call. By studying the life of Joshua and the biblical book that bears his name, Lucado reveals God's promises for every step and reminds readers that God still fights for them.

Available September 15
Buy Glory Days at Amazon

cover Connect the Stars
From Saving Lucas Biggs authors Marisa de los Santos and David Teague comes another heartwarming middle grade adventure about two misfits who discover the importance of just being themselves.

When thirteen-year-olds Aaron and Audrey meet at a wilderness camp in the desert, they think their quirks are enough to prevent them from ever having friends. But as they trek through the challenging and unforgiving landscape, they learn that they each have what it takes to make the other whole.

Luminous and clever, Connect the Stars has Marisa de los Santos and David Teague’s trademark beautiful prose, delicate humor, swooping emotions, and keen middle grade friendships. This novel takes on the hefty topics of the day—bullying, understanding where you fit in, and learning to live with physical and mental challenges—all in a joyous adventure kids will love!

Available September 22
Buy Connect the Stars at Amazon

cover Big Magic
Readers of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration from Elizabeth Gilbert. Now, this beloved author digs deep into her own life to share her wisdom and unique perspective about creativity. With profound empathy and generosity, she ponders the mysterious nature of inspiration, asking us to embrace our curiosity, tackle what we most love and face down what we most fear. Whether we are looking to create art, address challenges in our work, give ourselves permission to embark on a dream long deferred, or simply to infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness and passion, Big Magic cracks open a world of wonder and joy.

Available September 22
Buy Big Magic at Amazon

cover Mike and the Dog-Gone Labradoodle
Mike Adams has always been a pretty average kid. He hates homework, loves sports, and spends a lot of his day bugging his twin sister Maddie—because, after all, she deserves it.

But one day, everything changes. Nic Chang’s dog goes missing.

Mike, his sister and their two best friends join forces to search for the truth and, with it, the missing pet. Will Mike and Maddie find a way to put their differences aside and save the day? And just where did that dog-gone labradoodle go?

Put your thinking caps on and prepare to find the answers in the premier installment of The Pet Shop Society, a brand new mystery series for readers aged 7-11.

Available September 26
Buy Mike and the Dog-Gone Labradoodle at Amazon

cover Shopping for a CEO
I’m thrilled to be the maid of honor in my friend’s wedding, but the best man, Andrew McCormick, is a chauvinistic pig with a God complex.

And I can’t stop kissing him in closets.

(Don’t ask.)

He’s the brother of the groom and the CEO of my biggest mystery shopping account, but suddenly he’s refusing to be in the wedding. He won’t talk about it. Won’t see reason.

He’s such a man.

And he still won’t stop kissing me in random closets.

(Thank goodness.)

I’m a fixer. That’s what I do. I can fix anything if given the chance. But when the game is fixed there’s only so much I can do.

The ball’s in his court now.

Game on.

* * *
Shopping for a CEO is the 7th book in the New York Times and USA Today bestselling Shopping series. When CEO Andrew McCormick and mystery shopper Amanda Harrington find themselves in the unlikely position as maid of honor and best man in the Boston society wedding of the year, an undeniable attraction and dual stubborn streaks add fuel to the fire in this romantic comedy from Julia Kent.

Available September 29
Buy Shopping for a CEO at Amazon

cover Double Down
For the first time the menfolk are stepping out of the pages of #1 New York Times bestselling author Fern Michaels’ beloved Sisterhood series and into the spotlight…

After years of standing by their women, the Sisterhood’s significant others have also become loyal friends. And now Jack Emery, Nikki’s husband, has enlisted Ted, Joe, Jay, Bert, Dennis, and Abner to form a top-secret organization known as BOLO Consultants.

Jack has two missions in mind. The first: offering some behind-the-scenes help to Nikki’s law firm as they take on the all-powerful Andover Pharmaceuticals. Andover’s anti-leukemia drug causes terrible side effects in young patients, but a class-action suit seems doomed to fail. BOLO Consultants have a prescription to cure that. Meanwhile, Virginia’s lieutenant governor has a sideline as a slum landlord, and his impoverished tenants are suffering. Tyler Sandford believes his status puts him above the law. But when the Sisterhood and their allies decide to get involved, no one is beyond the reach of true justice…

Available September 29
Buy Double Down at Amazon

Covers and descriptions are from Availability dates are based on expected publication date listed at Goodreads and is subject to change. Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon using any Amazon links on this site. Thank you for supporting Girl Who Reads.

August 31, 2015

Review: Natives in Exile by Dirk Harman #MondayBlogs

by Elisabeth Scherer

cover Natives in Exile
Every small town has memorable characters.  That is exactly what you get when reading Natives in Exile by Dirk Harman. A collection of short stories starring a variety of characters from a dwindling town off of route 66.

When I first was given the book to review I was intrigued by the idea of the ghost town setting. Being a mom of a 4 year old boy I have watched the movie Cars hundreds of times and the book seemed to me like a human version of Radiator Springs.

I liked a few things about this book. First, I really enjoyed how the author Dirk Harman described the settings. It was very much like an artist painting a picture. I love when an author can write something that makes you feel like you are walking the streets of the world they create.

He also does a great job weaving the characters into the other stories as background characters and supporting characters. It helped me, as the reader, get the sense of the small town community. I felt the small town setting came across as authentic.

The only thing that really bothered me was the last story and it wasn’t the character or the wrap up. It was a few run on sentences that made the story hard to read. I stumbled a few times before finally getting through that particular story.

Lastly, I liked that little piece of America that Dirk Harman shows in this novel. It made me wonder what other gems of stories are out in the middle of no where in our country. I would recommend Natives in Exile for people looking for a touch of small town life that seems almost like a different time and place than the modern world.

Buy Natives in Exile at Amazon

Book info:
available formats: ebook and print (184 pages)
published: August 2015 by iCrew Digital Productions
ISBN13: 978-0692494585
genres: Literary Fiction, Native Americans
source: publisher
read: August 2015

A free book was provided for this review. Cover image from Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon using any Amazon links on this site. Thank you for supporting Girl Who Reads.

August 30, 2015

The White Thread Read Along: Chapters 25-28 @KBHoyle_author

by Donna Huber

cover The White Thread
Today we discuss the last few chapter of The White Thread (The Gateway Chronicles #3) by K. B. Hoyle.  This second reading of The White Thread has endeared this book to me more than it did the first time through. I've always thought that The Enchanted was my favorite book of the series, but now I'm thinking maybe this book is. Which is totally funny because in my review, I said I wasn't totally crazy about this book.

So while Darcy was recovering, Dean and Baynard scouted for the Oracle's lair. Of course, just enough is shared with Darcy so that she thinks she can find it on her own. Is it a good idea that she goes off on her own? Isn't that what she did in the first book? At least she left a note this time. And I guess Rubidius kind of endorsed it seeing as he left her note and packed her a bag!

I found this kind of find this funny,
Darcy wondered if she should knock but then felt foolish for the thought. If this Magus fellow had walled in his doorway, he obviously didn't want any visitors. Still, it seemed uncivilized not to announce her presence.
What did you think of the magus Darcy encountered? And I guess I wasn't so off from the Wizard of Oz reference in the last book.

I have to say, Darcy did well for herself. She kept her head and stated her case. And when the floor literally falls out from under her, she's ready with a plan. I guess Hoyle had to keep the Oracle a little evil, but really unleashing a beast on her. I guess in his own way he is helping her after all time is passing quickly above ground.

Her discovery of Yahto Veli is both happy and sad. I think I was waiting the whole book for him to take his oath. It's so sweet. She has no clue that it is something reserved only for royals, though she does get that it is something super special. I also find something sweet in Tellius telling her she needs to say yes to finish the enchantment. Though he is shocked because he knows the implications, but it seems he also know Darcy doesn't know what to do - he comes to her rescue.

Then we get the cute talk between Darcy and Tellius and her kissing Perry. Just a teenage conversation. I wonder how many times Hoyle has heard similar conversations while teaching.

As we head into the last chapter it seems like everything is wrapped up and it is just the turn home voyage. And as it is the last chapter, we can assume it will be smooth sailing. Hoyle hasn't left us with a cliffhanger before and there is no reason to suspect she will do so now.

Usually the heart-to-hearts between Darcy and Yahto Veli and typically with Veli, so I thought it was nice touch for to have one here with Yahto. I do believe this is when I really fell in love with Yahto.

I guess with all the references to the six being pulled through the gateway no matter where they were on the day they were to return we shouldn't have been surprised that we were going to be left with a cliffhanger. What did you think of this?

Usually I think authors who end on a cliffhanger are evil, Hoyle softens the blow with the gang returning to normal life at camp and even with an epilogue that solves the mystery of the missing Colin (well not totally). So we are only left with the same uncertainity that the six feel.

And that's that. As this was a summer read along and well I don't think anyone else is really reading along with me, I think I will stop here. Actually I did finish reading the last three books - I blazed right through them! (If you want me to continue chapter by chapter discussion with the next three books, leave a comment. If there is enough interest I will continue).

I do hope that you did enjoy this detailed reading of the first three books in The Gateway Chronicles. If you haven't read them, you could win them long with the first book in Hoyle's new dystopian series. Be sure to enter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon using any Amazon links on this site. Thank you for supporting Girl Who Reads.