Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Amanda Romine Lynch: Childhood Influences

When I was a little girl, I knew I wanted to write, and so by the time I was five I was writing sentences. By the time I was seven, I was writing very bad plays, the plots of which were based on Ducktales episodes. At ten I tried my hand at musicals (as it turned out, that one didn’t work out so well—it’s hard to write a musical when you are tone deaf).

But it wasn't until I was thirteen and I purchased Avi’s The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle at a middle school book fair that I knew exactly what I wanted to write. Novels. Ones that grasped and clawed at my heart the way Charlotte did. She was the sort of heroine I wanted to create: Smart, endearing, spunky—and not someone who took things sitting down.

When I reflect on it, I suppose Anabel, the heroine of my novel, is a lot like Charlotte—but perhaps a grown-up version. I conceived Anabel in my mind when I was eighteen—and then spent the next decade finding a home for her (Washington, DC), throwing her life into chaos, and creating different scenarios for her. When sitting down at the beginning of 2009 to write the book that would eventually become Anabel Unraveled, I found myself heavily influenced by loss of innocence stories—Nabokov’s Lolita, John Connolly’s The Book of Lost Things. At first, I didn’t even think of Charlotte—but then again, in a much different way, she loses her innocence through the course of that story as well—finding that adults don’t always protect you, that the ideals and institutions that you hold dear aren’t always what the seemed through the trusting gaze of childhood. Charlotte’s ordered world was destroyed and she operated under a new paradigm completely different from her life of privilege. When writing Anabel I shattered her world and forced her to survive.

It’s funny to look back on it now, and realize that the book that influenced me the most to write was one that I read when I was thirteen, one that I reread every single year without fail because Charlotte is as dear to me as my own literary creation. So many books that we read as children stay with us forever, and every year when I pull my dog-eared paperback off of the shelf for a quick voyage out of England toward America on The Seahawk, I feel that same tug at my heart that I did the first time I read her story—one that I hope Anabel inspires in those who read hers.

Buy Anabel Unraveled on Amazon

Anabel Martin’s world was destroyed the day her father was murdered. After spending seventeen years of her life trapped on a Top Secret island in the South Pacific, she now finds herself in Washington, DC in the care of her former politician brother and his unwelcoming wife. While she wants nothing more than to be left alone, instead she is thrust into the limelight as a key witness in the Congressional hearings investigating the murder of her father and the very existence of her former home. For Anabel, it’s hard to concentrate on these proceedings when the thing she wants most in the world is for Jared Sorensen to die.

What's even worse is that Jared is the only reason she’s still alive.

About the Author:

Amanda Romine Lynch is a writer and blogger who grew up in Florida. After graduating with her degree in English from the University of Florida (Go Gators!), she and her husband moved to the Great North of Virginia and haven’t looked back (except when it snows). She is the EcoFriendly/Green Living Contributor at the Prime Parents Club and blogs about her days raising three beautiful boys and attempting to be friendly toward the environment in a world of disposable diapers over at her blog, The Semi-Organic Mom.

Connect with Amanda on Facebook and Twitter

Note: All opinions presented in book and product reviews are my own. Opinions presented in posts authored by others reflect the view of the author only and not necessarily my view or opinion.
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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Cover Reveal: Under the Bed Across the World by Rose Candis

Here is the first look at the cover for Under the bed Across the World by Rose Candis. Expected publication date is September 2013.

Book Description:

Under the Bed Across the World, Rose’s poignant account of her journey from incest and addiction into recovery, is both tragic and humorous. Her account of how her sexually abusive Jewish father divided her loyalty between him, her mother, and herself provides a microcosm for how sexual abuse and addiction destroy the human family. By confronting her past, Rose sheds her loyalty to her abusive relatives and creates her own unique family unit through international adoption. The memoir raises the question: Can contentment be found after departure from the quagmire of toxicity?

About the Author:

Rose Candis, born August 8, 1966, grew up in Bowling Green, Kentucky. At age twenty-three, she began her personal recovery from addiction and childhood incest. Inspired by her own journey, she entered graduate school to become a psychotherapist. Currently in private practice, Rose feels honored to have been able to help individuals and families recover from eating disorders and trauma since 2002.

Rose’s articles about healthy eating were published monthly in a local woman’s magazine. She has appeared on several local radio shows as an expert on eating disorders. Her first book Under the Bed Across the World, a memoir, takes the reader on a journey from the author’s abuse, into recovery, where she emerges as a adoptive mother of Erica, an orphan from China. Her quest to help her daughter clear up unanswered questions about her past leads her on a journey back to China, the focus of her upcoming book The Black Pearl

In a search for Erica’s birth parents, Rose’s research trip to China with Lan Stuy, yields the discovery that her daughter had been bought and sold as an infant, commonly known as trafficked, in the relinquishment process. Rose’s shock that the information she had been given years ago about her daughter’s history were fabricated led this mother to take on a role as truth teller and advocate for transparent adoptions.

Upon her return, July 2011, Rose was interviewed by NBC News. Her story about her trip and its aftermath was published in The New York Times, September 2011, The Atlantic 2011, and The Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting, October 2011. Rose met in Washington DC, May 2012, with The Executive Congressional Commission on China to discuss her findings of trafficking in the Chinese adoption process. Her effort to urge the Commission to expose the information to help children who sought credible information about their origin resulted in a second meeting with the Commission, October 2012. Rose lobbied on Capitol Hill, May 2012 meeting with fifteen Congressional Offices in an attempt to amend the Trafficking Victims Protection Act to include the buying and selling of children for purposes of international Adoption in the definition of child trafficking.

Rose enjoys every moment playing with her daughter and watching her do gymnastics. She travels the path of intimacy and blending families with Patrick, her partner of six years. Walking, yoga, church, travel, biking, and meditation bring grounding to her full life. Rose’s love for her daughter, personal healing journey, clinical experience and spiritual guidance are the catalyst for her continued commitment to helping the universe heal one person at a time.

Note: All opinions presented in book and product reviews are my own. Opinions presented in posts authored by others reflect the view of the author only and not necessarily my view or opinion.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour by Donna Huber

In Secrets of a Successful Blog Tour Donna Huber lays out exactly the steps authors should take to successfully engage with bloggers and promote their books. At about 60 pages the book is short enough to be read quickly but it packs a lot of information to reference again and again.

As a blogger, rather than an author, I found the book to be eye-opening as far as the preparations and work that go into creating a successful tour. I did not realize how far in advance planning needed to start and what steps needed to be taken before bloggers even start signing up to host an author.

Buy Secrets of a Successful Blog Tour on Amazon

Huber not only provides the information needed for organizing a tour (complete with tour checklist, instructions on creating tour graphics, and ideas for tour posts) but also gives insight into how to choose the right tour company to get the best tour package to meet your needs if an author chooses to go that route.

Secrets of a Successful Blog Tour is a book that can be used by authors, bloggers, and publicists as it offers secrets that can be used by everyone involved in the blog tour.

And now Donna Huber offers:

Top 10 Things Bloggers Can Do to Promote Books
(that will also helps your blog)

1. Have a review policy and include contact information on your blog.
2. Write reviews - Try to include a couple of quotable snippets so that authors can easily use it on their social media, book covers, and descriptions.
3. Feature authors & books - host authors for guest posts, interviews, and book promos.
4. Be active on social media - sharing what you are reading on Twitter and Goodreads helps with word-of-mouth buzz.
5. Attend book signings and literary events in your town. No events locally? Talk with your library and book stores about helping to organize events.
6. Offer to write shelf-talkers based on your reviews for your local bookstore and library.
7. Sign up for tours and book blasts.
8. Participate in memes - linking up with other participants will increase the traffic to your blog and give extra exposure to book/author.
9. Create recommendation lists - grouping books together is a great way of getting readers that like one book on the list to read the other books on the list.
10. Take a break to read for fun! Don't lose your passion for books by getting burned out with blogging and reviewing.

About the Book:

Plan a successful blog tour while keeping your sanity.

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

Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the blogger behind Girl Who Reads where, in addition to book reviews and author appearances, she writes the popular blogging advice series: Tips on Thursday. She has worked as a freelance publicist since 2010 assisting publishers and authors with their marketing and publicity needs. Most notably, she was the publicist for The WriterCoffee Shop Publishing House edition of Fifty Shades of Grey and Fifty Shades Darker by E. L. James.

When she is not doling out blogging advice or promoting the next bestseller, she can be found spending time with family (particularly the four legged, furry members), rewatching Downton Abbey and Harry Potter, or trying to make a dent in her never ending to-be-read pile.

Connect with Donna on Twitter and Facebook

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Note: All opinions presented in book and product reviews are my own. Opinions presented in posts authored by others reflect the view of the author only and not necessarily my view or opinion.
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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A Much Needed Ladies' Night Out at the Indiana Grand

What happens when eight women who have pledged to support women and play nice get together at the Indiana Grand Casino? You get an amazing Project Purse Club meetup!

As a stay-at-home mom I don't get out and meet people much these days. When I do, it is usually a play date or other event involving my kids. So it is incredibly rare for me to go off and do something grownup on my own. I've been under a bit of "mom stress" in the last few months so when I saw that Project Purse Club was planning an event in my area I put it on the calendar and told my husband he was in charge that night. I didn't know where we were meeting at that point and I didn't even care! I was getting out of the house and that was the important part.

I admit to being a bit nervous when it was revealed that we would be meeting at the Indiana Grand Casino and also getting a tour of Indiana Downs. I had never been to a casino or horse track. I don't gamble a bit. (I've never even bought a lottery ticket although people tell me I should.) But it was a night out with grownups and I was going...

I had more fun that evening than I've had out in a long time! (In fact I was having so much fun that I forgot to take pictures.)I met seriously amazing women who each have their own stories of reaching out and lifting up others. We shared lots of laughter throughout the night but also serious conversations too. The VIP room of the steakhouse was an absolutely perfect meeting place. It was just the right size for our group and it was far enough away from the casino floor that I couldn't even hear the noise. We had wonderful service and fantastic food. I never felt rushed at any point during our meal even though we were all chatting so much that we forgot to look at our menus!

Our server, Kaitlin, made things easy to start with by bringing us some appetizer samplers. Everything on them was delicious! She also provided recommendations for our other dinner options. Everyone's soup, salad, and dinner looked fantastic. I had the Wild Mushroom Ravioli and a couple people had the Lobster Mac & Cheese. There were several steaks at the table as well. Unfortunately, we were all too full of food to even think about looking at the dessert options.

After dinner it was over to Indiana Downs where Nathan provided the "checkers version" of picking a winner and placing a bet on the horse races. Even the checkers version was a bit more than I could digest in one evening so I can't imagine how long it would take to get the hang of the "chess version." I love the options that are available at Indiana Downs. Although you have to be 21 or over to be in the casino, Indiana Downs has areas for all ages. There is a family friendly section on the lower level complete with an arcade and food court. The outside area has a small playground and they bring in a bounce house and face painting on special family weekends. I was also surprised that people can stand right by the rail to watch the race and walk back to an area where the jockeys and trainers are working with the horses before and after the race.

Overall the evening was even more than I could have anticipated it would be. While my fabulous new friends have much to do with that the level of service that we received from everyone we met at the Indiana Grand Casino and Indiana Downs far exceeded my expectations. I would highly recommend the casino for a fun night out and the racetrack for an outing the whole family can enjoy.

Thank you to the Indiana Grand Casino and Indiana Downs
for hosting our Project Purse Club Meetup!

Thank you to these other sponsors of the event:

Thank you to Project Purse Club for providing an environment for women
to support one another in all aspects of our lives.

Note: All opinions presented in book and product reviews are my own. Opinions presented in posts authored by others reflect the view of the author only and not necessarily my view or opinion.
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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Cover Reveal: Ninety-Five Percent Human by Suzanna Williams

Welcome to the latest cover reveal with Young-Adult author Suzanna Williams. Released today is her latest book, the first in the series, Ninety-Nine Percent Human. Suzanna is known for her first release,  which is Free today in honor of the cover release.

At the end of the month the book will be on Tour, check in with The Finishing Fairies for the full tour schedule coming soon!
 photo 95PERC-3D450_zps067e25c7.png
Ninety-Five Percent Human 
Teenager, Joe Kendrick, thinks he’s got problems. The farm he’s looked after since his father’s suicide is falling and his brother wants to sell it, his girlfriend has dumped him and his normally down-to-earth Nan starts muttering about seeing UFO’s. And all Joe wants is a ‘normal’ life.
Then he saves suicidal stranger, Sarah, from drowning.
What Joe doesn’t know is that Sarah is a human/alien hybrid, sent to test the viability of life on Earth, and, as she’s survived hostile aliens are already planning their attack.
Ninety-five percent Human is the first in a two-book sci-fi adventure.
About the Author

IMG_2219-001Suzanna Williams is a perpetually eighteen years old YA author who lives in the wild, wet, Welsh borderlands surrounded by ruined medieval castles and Celtic mythology where she looks for UFO’s amongst the stars and imagines all the people she meets have dark secrets. 

When she is not inventing radical problems for her unsuspecting heroes and plotting their escape, Suzanna is a serial collector of random badly paying jobs and has never found a use for her BSc in Psychology whatsoever. As a child, Suzanna filled notebook after notebook with stories and her first taste of writing success was a poem published in the local newspaper aged just nine years old. She has written and directed several plays and pantomimes before publishing her debut novel, ShockWaves, in 2012.

suzanna-on-hillSuzanna loves sci-fi action adventures, playing the piano, believes Romeo and Juliet should have talked more and considers sarcasm to be the highest form of wit.

She has a daughter who is a drummer, another daughter who is a driving instructor, a son who is a dancer and a 'nearly' grandson she's dying to meet.


Note: All opinions presented in book and product reviews are my own. Opinions presented in posts authored by others reflect the view of the author only and not necessarily my view or opinion.
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Monday, August 12, 2013

Omens: A #Cainsville Novel by @KelleyArmstrong

Kelly Armstrong has been one of my favorite authors for years now. I read (and own) every book in her Otherworld series (also known as Women of the Otherworld). Honestly, I wasn't sure what I was going to do when that series ended. I've read a few of her young adult books and enjoyed them but for some reason I was thinking she was still working on that series and I didn't want to return to it until it was complete. (Turns out she is actually finished with those so I'll finish it when I get a chance.)

When I initially read the description for Omens, I wasn't sure it was something I would be interested in. I mean one of the reasons I like the Otherworld series is that it has werewolves, witches, ghosts, vampires, demons, etc. Omens is about a wealthy girl, Olivia, who finds out she is actually the child of serial killers. This revelation sets her on the path to discover more about her parents and where she comes from. Olivia teams up with her mother's former lawyer, Gabriel, to investigate her mother's claim of innocence. Doesn't sound very paranormal, does it?

I added Omens to my never ending list of books on Goodreads and figured that I would get it from the library eventually. When I received an email asking if I wanted a copy to review I actually thought about it for a few days instead of simply jumping on it because it was Kelley Armstrong. In the end I decided to accept a review copy and bump it up on the reading list. I am so glad that I did!

Armstrong wastes no time in setting events into motion and stripping Olivia of everything related to her privileged life. Olivia flees the media attention surrounding the news of her adoption and birth parents, the Larsens, and ends up in the town of Cainsville. This is no ordinary town and Olivia certainly didn't end up there by accident. The residents of Cainsville, people and animals, seem to sense something special about Olivia and most seem to have their own secrets as well. This is the paranormal aspect of the book that is just barely hinted at in the description. In her spirit, determination, and stubbornness Olivia reminds me of Savannah from the Otherworld series. Neither one is willing to sit around and wait for someone else to take charge of the situation and the combination of impulsiveness and courage lands them in some tough situations.

Omens is a unique blend of mystery and supernatural with a heroine who is determined to discover the truth when the identity she has always known turns out to be false. Once I started Omens I did not want to put it down and kept reading well past my usual bedtime. Based on the first book alone, the Cainsville series is going on my "must buy" list and will be bumped up to the top of the reading pile with each new release.

Buy Omens on Amazon

Library Girl Reads & Reviews is an Amazon advertising affiliate and I will receive a small fee when purchases are made through Amazon links on this site.

Note: All opinions presented in book and product reviews are my own. Opinions presented in posts authored by others reflect the view of the author only and not necessarily my view or opinion.