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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Review: Dragon Bound

Dragon BoundTitle: Dragon Bound
Author: Thea Harrison
Page Count: 336 pages (I read the Kindle version)
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: paranormal romance
Copy for review was purchased by me

50 words or less: As a half-human, half-wyr, Pia Giovanni has spent most of her time trying to stay off the radar.  When she not only pulls off the biggest heist in the entire history of the world, she brings a ton of bricks down on her head in the form of Dragos, dragon shifter and leader of the Wyr race. He's also a hottie extraordinaire; one could say he's a man of many talents indeed.

Score one for the blogging world- this one came on my radar almost exclusively from bloggers talking about how awesome it was.  I bought the book based on their recommendations and I'm really glad I did, as this is a great start to a new series.  With two more books in the series coming out this year, I am a happy, happy lady indeed.

Dragos Cuelebre is, quite literally, older than dirt.  Ancient, powerful, aggressive, arrogant- Dragos is not someone most people think to mess around with, and literally nobody would even consider stealing from him.  Pia Giovanni, though, is not most people.

I LOVED the characterizations for both Pia and Dragos.  They were funny, honest, and both had unique voices and something to contribute to the narrative.  The relationship between them takes off right from the getgo and smolders right up until the end.  My favorite quote in the book sums up their relationship perfectly:
A dragon just gave me a piece of jewelry,” she said. She took another swig and handed the bottle back to Graydon. “Have I been added to his hoard?” He shook his head and drank too. “No, cupcake,” he said. “I’m pretty sure you’ve replaced it."
The introduction of a complex world as well as a thoroughly engaging cast of secondary characters only added to my enjoyment of the book.  When I finished Dragon Bound, I immediately went to see when the next book would be out and was super excited to see that not only will it be out this year (as well as book 3- yay!) but that it will star a couple who started their sparring in this book.  I am beyond stoked to see how the other characters in this series claw their way to a happily ever after.

I love being able to say that people can believe the hype that surrounds a book and this is a case where I can definitely say that.  The characters are great, the romance is spicy and engaging, and the series only promises to get better with time.  I can totally see myself rereading this book time and again.  It's a good way to move on from a stressful day or to spend a rainy afternoon.

Overall Grade: A

Monday, May 30, 2011

Random Magic Tour: Pirates! Grande Finale


The Pirates! tour is coming to a close, and today goes out with a bang! Here are the links to the whole reading circle, all the tour stops, musical fun and excitement, consolidated in one place for your reading enjoyment:

Tour organization: Lyrika Publicis
Triton Tavern proprietress and guest relations: vvb32
(http://vvb32reads.blogspot.com/)
Contact the tour: @RandomMagicTour (http://twitter.com/randommagictour)

Rum + Plunder Treasure Hunt (May 11-30)
Win some marrrrrvelous plunder!
Browse prizes (http://tinyurl.com/3f3bqgg)
and
Bonus: Little Pirate Prizes
Cool surprise treasures scattered throughout the tour…

May 10
Mermaid’s Cove Musical Blog Hop

Shiver me timbers! Here be a round
of jolly tunes about the sweet trade.

My Love Affair With Books
http://books-love-affair.blogspot.com/
Twitter: @Misha_1989
http://twitter.com/Misha_1989
Songs for: Bold pirates

Book Girl of y-Castell
http://books-forlife.blogspot.com/
Twitter: @blodeuedd83
http://twitter.com/blodeuedd83
Songs for: Gloomy pirates

Elbit Blog
http://merigreenleaf.blogspot.com/
Twitter: @MeriGreenleaf
http://twitter.com/merigreenleaf
Songs for: Accidental pirates

vvb32 Reads
http://vvb32reads.blogspot.com/
Twitter: @vvb32reads
http://twitter.com/vvb32reads
Songs for: Saucy pirates

True Book Addict
http://thetruebookaddict.blogspot.com/
Twitter: @truebookaddict
http://twitter.com/truebookaddict
Songs for: Scary pirates

Willowdust Reviews - Tina’s Book Reviews
http://www.tinasbookreviews.com/
Twitter: @BooksAtTinas
http://twitter.com/BooksatTinas
Songs for: Pirate queens

Diary of a Bookworm
http://www.thediaryofabookworm.com/
Twitter: N/A
Songs for: Poetic pirates

Cerebralicious
http://www.siliconcerebrate.com/
Twitter: @cerebrate
http://twitter.com/cerebrate
Songs for: Brave seafarers of every kind,
and a moment for all the lost ships.

Eating YA Books
http://eatingyabooks.blogspot.com/
Twitter: @eatingyabooks
http://twitter.com/eatingyabooks
Songs for: Jovial pirates

Vampires and Tofu
http://vampiresandtofu.blogspot.com/
Twitter: @vampiresandtofu
http://twitter.com/#!/vampiresandtofu
Songs for: Ominous pirates

Songs and Stories
http://liedermadchen.blogspot.com/
Twitter: @LiederMadchen
http://twitter.com/#!/LiederMadchen
Songs for: (Delightfully) campy pirates


May 11
Liana’s Paper Doll Blog
http://www.joechip.net/liana/
Twitter: @lianaleslie
http://twitter.com/lianaleslie
Design doll: Queens of the Sea: #1 of 10
Voting: May 26-27

and

vvb32 Reads
http://vvb32reads.blogspot.com/
Twitter: @vvb32reads
http://twitter.com/vvb32reads
Triton’s Tavern opens: Tour updates (http://tinyurl.com/3dyadku)
Rum + Plunder tour hunt opens
Rum + Plunder: Join the hunt (http://tinyurl.com/3f3bqgg)

May 12
The Fluidity of Time
http://fluidityoftime.blogspot.com/
Twitter: N/A
Feature: Discussion: Seafaring culture and beliefs
Feature: Pirate Queens: #1 of 10: The Lioness of Brittany

and

Liana’s Paper Doll Blog
http://www.joechip.net/liana/
Twitter: @lianaleslie
http://twitter.com/lianaleslie
Design doll: Queens of the Sea: #2 of 10


May 13
Lady Violet
http://ladyviolet3.blogspot.com/
Twitter: @ladyviolet3
http://twitter.com/ladyviolet3
Video review, Random Magic
Feature: Video reading, Random Magic
Feature: Pirate Queens: #2 of 10: Lai Choi San


May 14
Giada
Dr. Stravagante’s Traveling Circus
http://dr-stravagante.blogspot.com/
Twitter: @hatshepsut0011
http://twitter.com/hatshepsut0011
Review (Dual language: English, Italian)
Feature: Arrrgh! How to talk like a pirate
Plus: Random Magic and unusual grub
Bonus: Free audio book, The Pirates Own Book
(Contemporary usage: The Pirates’ Own Book)

and

Liana’s Paper Doll Blog
http://www.joechip.net/liana/
Twitter: @lianaleslie
http://twitter.com/lianaleslie
Design doll: Queens of the Sea: #3 of 10

and

vvb32 Reads
http://vvb32reads.blogspot.com/
Twitter: @vvb32reads
http://www.twitter.com/@vvb32reads
Feature: A Dandy in Distress (Part 1 of 3)


May 15
Moonlight Gleam
http://moonlightgleam.blogspot.com/
Twitter: @MoonlightGleams
http://twitter.com/MoonlightGleams
Review
Interview
Feature: Cinematic Swashbucklers
Bonus: Free audio book, Buccaneers and Pirates of our Coasts

and

vvb32 Reads
http://vvb32reads.blogspot.com/
Twitter: @vvb32reads
http://twitter.com/vvb32reads
Triton’s Tavern meet-up
Tour tidbits and pints o’ grog
Feature: A Dandy in Distress,
the preposterous piratical melodrama continues (Part 2 of 3)


May 16
The Book Swarm
http://bookswarm.blogspot.com/
Twitter: @marybrebner
http://twitter.com/marybrebner
Review
Feature: Pirate Queens: #3 of 10: Jacquotte Delahaye
Bonus: Pirate puzzle

and

Liana’s Paper Doll Blog
http://www.joechip.net/liana/
Twitter: @lianaleslie
http://twitter.com/lianaleslie
Design doll: Queens of the Sea: #4 of 10

and

vvb32 Reads
http://vvb32reads.blogspot.com/
Twitter: @vvb32reads
http://twitter.com/vvb32reads
Feature: A Dandy in Distress (Part 3 of 3)


May 17
Cecilia
The Epic Rat
http://www.theepicrat.com/
Twitter: @theEPICrat
http://twitter.com/theEPICrat
Review
Feature: Grub and Bumbo
Feature: Pirate Queens: #4 of 10: Anne Bonny
Bonus: Free audio book, Among Malay Pirates and Other Tales of
Peril and Adventure


and

Liana’s Paper Doll Blog
http://www.joechip.net/liana/
Twitter: @lianaleslie
http://twitter.com/lianaleslie
Design doll: Queens of the Sea: #5 of 10


May 18
Miss Page-Turner’s City of Books
http://misspageturnerscityofbooks.blogspot.com/
Twitter: @MPTsCityofBooks
http://twitter.com/MPTsCityofBooks
Review
Feature: Gallery: Sailing the Seven Seas
Feature: Pirate Queens: #5 of 10: Grace O’Malley

and

Songs and Stories
http://liedermadchen.blogspot.com/
Twitter: @LiederMadchen
Review
Feature: Finding Starboard
Bonus: Color-Me-Pirate

Liana’s Paper Doll Blog
http://www.joechip.net/liana/
Twitter: @lianaleslie
http://twitter.com/lianaleslie
Design doll: Queens of the Sea: #6 of 10


May 19
vvb32
http://vvb32reads.blogspot.com/
Twitter: @vvb32reads
http://twitter.com/vvb32reads
Feature: Music: Takes on pirate tunes
Feature: Pirate Queens: #6 of 10: Awilda

and

The Life (and Lies) of an Inanimate Flying Object
http://tinyurl.com/3ndsqp4
Twitter: @haleymathiot
http://tinyurl.com/3gx23ek
Feature: Under the Black Flag

and

Liana’s Paper Doll Blog
http://www.joechip.net/liana/
Twitter: @lianaleslie
http://twitter.com/lianaleslie
Design doll: Queens of the Sea: #7 of 10

May 20
Fiction Folio
http://www.fictionfolio.com/
Twitter: @TaraMQ
http://twitter.com/taramq
Video review, Random Magic
Feature: Post Like a Pirate
Feature: Pirate Queens: #7 of 10: A Salmagundi of She-Pirates

and

Liana’s Paper Doll Blog
http://www.joechip.net/liana/
Twitter: @lianaleslie
http://twitter.com/lianaleslie
Design doll: Queens of the Sea: #8 of 10

and

vvb32 Reads
http://vvb32reads.blogspot.com/
Twitter: @vvb32reads
http://twitter.com/vvb32reads
Triton’s Tavern meet-up
More tour tidbits and pints o’ grog.


May 21
Bibliophilic Monologues
http://thebookwurrm.wordpress.com/
Twitter: @Nafizaa
http://twitter.com/Nafizaa
Review
Feature: Literary Brigands
Feature: Pirate Queens: #8 of 10: Anne Dieu-Le-Veut
Bonus: Free audio book, The Frozen Pirate

and

Snowdrop Dreams of Books
http://snowdropdreams.blogspot.com/
Twitter: @snowdropdreams
http://twitter.com/snowdropdreams
Review
Feature: The Lost Ship
Bonus: Free audio book, Treasure Island


May 22
Book Lover - Book Chicks
http://booklover-bookchicks.blogspot.com/
Twitter: @LexieVamp666
http://twitter.com/LexieVamp666#
Feature: Discussion: (Video) Real-life pirates
Bonus: Free audio book, Great Pirate Stories

and

Vampires and Tofu
http://vampiresandtofu.blogspot.com/
Twitter: @vampiresandtofu
http://twitter.com/#!/vampiresandtofu
Review
Feature: Casting Random Magic
Feature: Pirate Lairs: Ocracoke Inlet and the legend of Blackbeard’s ghost
Bonus: Pirate karaoke


May 23
Liana’s Paper Doll Blog
http://www.joechip.net/liana/
Twitter: @lianaleslie
http://twitter.com/lianaleslie
Design doll: Queens of the Sea: #9 of 10
Review
Bonus: Quiz: Find your Random Magic twin

and

vvb32 Reads
http://vvb32reads.blogspot.com/
Twitter: @vvb32reads
http://twitter.com/vvb32reads
Feature: Radio show: Captain Blood

and

I <3 Reading (I Love Reading) http://booklog.eternalised.net/ Twitter: @iheartreads http://twitter.com/iheartreads Review (Dual language, Flemish/English) Bonus: Video lecture about pirate queen Grace O’Malley Bonus: Game: Blackbeard’s Gold

May 24
La Femme Readers
http://lafemmereaders.blogspot.com/
Twitter: @lafemmereaders
http://twitter.com/lafemmereaders
Feature: Kick-Ass Women

and

Bookish Ardour
http://bookishardour.com/
Twitter: @Bonnie_Sparks
https://twitter.com/Bonnie_Sparks
Review
Feature: By Land or Sea (Vintage maps)
Feature: Pirate Lairs: Tortuga, Port Royal,
New Providence and the Brethren of the Coast
Bonus: Game: Pirate Chains

and

Liana’s Paper Doll Blog
http://www.joechip.net/liana/
Twitter: @lianaleslie
http://twitter.com/lianaleslie
Design doll: Queens of the Sea: #10 of 10


May 25
Gofita’s Pages (Heather)
http://gofita.blogspot.com/
Twitter: @Gofita
http://twitter.com/Gofita
Review
Feature: How-to: Pirate makeover
Bonus: Free audio book, The Sea Hawk
Bonus: (Video) Pirate movie night

and

Beyond Strange New Words
http://beyondstrangenewwords.blogspot.com/
Twitter: N/A
Review
Feature: Songs from the Sea (Sea shanties)
Feature: Pirate Queens: #9 of 10: Winnie Flapjack
Bonus: The Pirate Modiste (Dress-up doll)


May 26
Books, Sweets and other Treats
http://bsaot.blogspot.com/
Twitter: @lindsiking
http://twitter.com/lindsiking
Video review
Feature: Grog and Sangaree
Feature: Pirate Queens: #10 of 10: Mary Read
Bonus: Color-Me-Pirate

and

The Book Addict
http://love2write622.blogspot.com/
Twitter: @christina_622
https://twitter.com/christina_622
The Book Addict video channel
http://tinyurl.com/3bqpoej
Video review
Feature: (Video) Top five Random Magic quotes
Feature: (Video) Reading from Random Magic
Bonus: The Mermaid Maker (Dress-up doll)

and

Liana’s Paper Doll Blog
http://www.joechip.net/liana/
Twitter: @lianaleslie
http://twitter.com/lianaleslie
Design dolls: Queens of the Sea
Voting for favorite design doll
(May 26-27)

May 27
This Miss Loves to Read
http://thismisslovestoread.blogspot.com/
Twitter: @MissIrenne
http://twitter.com/MissIrenne
Feature: Discussion: Top 10 fictional corsairs and buccaneers
Bonus: Free audio book, Captain Blood
Bonus: Pirate karaoke

and

Liana’s Paper Doll Blog
http://www.joechip.net/liana/
Twitter: @lianaleslie
http://twitter.com/lianaleslie
Design dolls: Queens of the Sea
Voting for favorite design doll
(May 26-27)


May 28
Splash of our Worlds
http://splashofourworlds.blogspot.com/
Twitter: @SplashOOWorlds
http://twitter.com/SplashOOWorlds
Feature: Video discussion, Random Magic and pirates
(Int’l: Greek language, English transcript)
Bonus: Free audio book, Howard Pyle’s Book of Pirates
Bonus: Game: Pirate’s Quest

and

Liana’s Paper Doll Blog
http://www.joechip.net/liana/
Twitter: @lianaleslie
http://twitter.com/lianaleslie
Design doll: Queens of the Sea:
Fave design revealed, winner selected
(May 28)


May 29
Sea Wolves Reading Circle

Ahoy, matey! Here be a treasure chest of
great piratey reads, plucked from shelves
by a scandalous crew from near and far.

The Fluidity of Time
http://fluidityoftime.blogspot.com/
Twitter: N/A

This Miss Loves To Read
http://thismisslovestoread.blogspot.com/
Twitter: @MissIrenne
http://twitter.com/MissIrenne

What Book Is That?
http://www.whatbookisthat.com/
Twitter: @heynocupcake
http://twitter.com/heynocupcake

Cerebralicious
http://www.siliconcerebrate.com/
Twitter: @cerebrate
http://twitter.com/cerebrate

My Love Affair With Books
http://books-love-affair.blogspot.com/
Twitter: @Misha_1989
http://twitter.com/Misha_1989

vvb32 Reads
http://vvb32reads.blogspot.com/
Twitter: @vvb32reads
http://twitter.com/vvb32reads

Willowdust Reviews - Tina’s Book Reviews
http://www.tinasbookreviews.com/
Twitter: @BooksAtTinas
http://twitter.com/BooksatTinas

Songs and Stories
http://liedermadchen.blogspot.com/
Twitter: @LiederMadchen
http://twitter.com/LiederMadchen

The Diary of a Bookworm
http://www.thediaryofabookworm.com/
Twitter: N/A

But wait, there's more!

Message in a Bottle: visit Liana's Paper Doll Blog to see the Pirate Queen Sasha and read more about her at Moonlight Gleam's Bookshelf.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sea Wolves Reading Circle: Because Pirates are Fun to Read About.

I hope everyone is having a pleasant weekend so far and enjoying time with family and friends if it's a long weekend where you are.  I'm happy to be a part of another fun tour organized by the always whimsical Sasha Soren, author of Random Magic and a frequent visitor here at WBiT?.

The theme this time around is Pirates! I've been scouring the internet lately to find some fun, interesting, and unique books about pirates, and as a result my TBR pile has kind of swelled.  While some of these books are old favorites of mine, some of them are new discoveries that I'm looking forward to diving into in the future.

The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High AdventureThe Princess Bride was admittedly the first book I thought of when thinking of pirates because of the Dread Pirate Roberts, the only hereditary pirate position I've come across in books.  This is one of my favorite stories anyway, and a situation where the book and the movie are equally as good.






Captured By a Rogue LordCaptured By a Rogue Lord has been reviewed on WBiT? here, and is making a return stop on this tour in all its swashbuckling goodness.  Fiesty Miss Serena decides to enlist the pirate Redstone to help her stop smugglers who are pillaging the coast near her family home, never realizing Redstone is actually Alex, Earl of Sevage, one of her neighbors and the guy that she (unknowingly) is nursing a huge crush for.  Sparks fly and adventure abounds!


Song of ScarabaeusChildren of Scarabaeus



Song of Scarabaeus was also reviewed here at WBiT? and is one of the best sci-fi romances I've come across lately.  Space pirates play a big role in this one, which is the first book in a two book series.  Trust me when I say that you'll want to get both of these together.





Children of Scarabaeus is the incredibly good follow up to Song of Scarabaeus, and was reviewed here at WBiT?.  While the pirates are less prominent here in this novel, the repercussions of their actions and their motives play a big role in the story and the resolution of the Big Conflict.


Bound By The Heart


Heads up! Bound by the Heart is a free read in the Kindle store right now!  Check out the description: In this swashbuckling adventure Captain Morgan Wade, a notorious privateer and blockade-runner, rescues, then kidnaps the daughter of the British governor of Barbados after she and her brother are shipwrecked. Summer Cambridge is betrothed to Wade's arch-enemy, Commodore Bennett Winfield, who will go to any lengths, even start a war between two countries to get her back.
Sounds good to me!




The Wicked Lady





I discovered this one on the Samhain Publishing website and it sounds naughty, naughty naughty.  The Samhain disclaimers always crack me up but this one is very telling:

Nice girls love a sailor. Naughty girls are quite partial, too.
When a man she thought she loved offered Lady Catherine Harcourt a life wrapped in a velvet bow, she took it. That life wrapped her in velvet chains. Now her status as a respectable widow allows her virginal alter ego, Cecily, to relieve milksop-for-blood dandies of their riches and go back where she belongs. The sea—aboard her pirate ship.
The one knot in her sail is Paul Ambury. Daring, irresistible, and a lieutenant in the Royal Navy. Yet the temptation to indulge in his gorgeous body—all in the name of the plan, of course—is too much to resist.
Paul has known his share of empty-headed society women, and fiercely intelligent Catherine doesn’t fit. When he wakes up adrift in a longboat after a blazing night together, he knows why. She took him for a fool—and took his ship. Plus, the evil little genius has him neatly trapped. If he reveals why he lost his ship, he faces court martial. If he does his duty, he must find her and hang her—the one woman with whom he’s fallen in love. Damn it…
Product Warnings: This book includes graphic sex and language, sexy sailors and saucy pirates trying to get one over on each other in the bed…on the floor…on that handy table…
And that's that!  Check out the rest of the reading circle for even more great pirate-themed books and recommendations:

The Fluidity of Time
http://fluidityoftime.blogspot.com/
Twitter: N/A

This Miss Loves To Read
http://thismisslovestoread.blogspot.com/
Twitter: @MissIrenne
http://twitter.com/MissIrenne

What Book Is That?
http://www.whatbookisthat.com/
Twitter: @heynocupcake
http://twitter.com/heynocupcake

Cerebralicious
http://www.siliconcerebrate.com/
Twitter: @cerebrate
http://twitter.com/cerebrate

My Love Affair With Books
http://books-love-affair.blogspot.com/
Twitter: @Misha_1989
http://twitter.com/Misha_1989

vvb32 Reads
http://vvb32reads.blogspot.com/
Twitter: @vvb32reads
http://twitter.com/vvb32reads

Willowdust Reviews - Tina’s Book Reviews
http://www.tinasbookreviews.com/
Twitter: @BooksAtTinas
http://twitter.com/BooksatTinas

Songs and Stories
http://liedermadchen.blogspot.com/
Twitter: @LiederMadchen
http://twitter.com/LiederMadchen

The Diary of a Bookworm
http://www.thediaryofabookworm.com/
Twitter: N/A

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Confessions of a D-List Supervillain WINNER!



Random.org has spoken and the winner of a digital copy of Confessions of a D-List Supervillain by Jim Bernheimer is...Meredith Miller! The winner has been contacted- thanks to everyone who entered and to Jim for donating the excellent prize!

For those that didn't win, have no fear! Head on over to the Bryan Cohen guest post for a chance to comment and win 100 personalized writing prompts!

Bryan Cohen Guest Post and GIVEAWAY!

Followers of this blog for any length of time know that digital publishing, independent authors and publishers, and the experience of promoting a book are among my interests, both as a reader and a blogger.  When Bryan Cohen emailed me to ask if I'd be interested in being a part of his tour to support his books on writing, I was pretty excited.  Mr. Cohen is offering a pretty sweet and unique giveaway prize too (although I wouldn't say no to the other books or the Amazon gift cards, just saying)- 100 personalized writing prompts!  Who couldn't use a little inspiration to tuck in your back pocket for when the words just won't flow?  Seriously.

With that said, take it away, Bryan Cohen!




A Writer, A Business


I recently listened to a 12 minute summary of the book The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber for the second time. While I have yet to read the full book, the distillation of its subject matter has been extremely eye-opening for me as a self-published author.


The “E” in the book’s title refers to the term for an entrepreneur. In the book, Gerber states that a person who starts a business is not necessarily an entrepreneur. An entrepreneur in his eyes is a business owner who creates a system that can be easily replicated and that can give jobs to many people. The McDonald brothers who started the famous hamburger business would be considered business owners. Ray Kroc who bought the business and turned their system into a worldwide chain and veritable gold mine would be considered an entrepreneur.


The second time I listened to the summary, I realized how important it was for a self-published author to be an entrepreneur. Writing books and publishing them yourself is like being the author, the publisher and the publicist all rolled into one. In other words, each book you create is like a business, your storefronts are websites like Amazon, and your publicity takes the form of mailing lists, giveaways, blog tours, etc. If your first business is successful (i.e. your book makes a good amount of sales) you know that your system works well and you can open a second chain (i.e. write a second book, publish it, and publicize it).


In the book, Gerber uses the example of a woman who runs a pie business. When business is slow, she assumes that making more and tastier pies is the answer. Writers often think that crafting every word meticulously will have the same business-booming effect. In both cases, while working harder may help, the most effective way to build the business is to step back and look at it as a whole. How can you improve your book-selling business, as opposed to just your writing?

There isn’t an easy, fool-proof answer to this question. My friend Joe Pug, who has become a big success in the folk music scene was working as a carpenter on building sites in Chicago about four years ago. He had started to play his own songs on the guitar at some small concerts and knew that he needed to build his business (i.e. his customer base; his listeners). He started making copies of a CD with two of his singles and giving them out for free to anyone who wanted them. Within a few years, he had given out thousands of CDs and the gamble paid off. He now makes a healthy income from his iTunes sales and he’s toured around the country playing shows with artists like Steve Earle and Glen Hansard.

While this isn’t a book example, I hope it shows you that even a creative person, an artist, can benefit from an intelligent entrepreneurial strategy. When you complete a book, don’t just think about writing the next one; think about how you’re going to strategically sell your first one. Your ideas might include a fancy cover, a blog tour, an advertising campaign or any number of things. While it would be amazing if all books were purchased on artistic merit alone, it is not the world we live in. Be an entrepreneur with your book and create a system that will ensure all your writing gets out to the widest audience possible.

---
Bryan Cohen is giving away 100 personalized writing prompts to one giveaway entrant chosen at random during the blog tour. Personalized prompts are story starters that cater specifically to a writer’s subject matter, strengths/weaknesses, etc. Cohen will create the prompts to cater exclusively to the winner. He is giving away free digital copies of his book The Writing Sampler to everybody who enters, which includes excerpts from each of his four books on writing. The book contains essays, writing prompts and tips and tricks to enhance your writing skills. In addition, for each of Cohen’s books that reach the Top 500 on Amazon during his blog tour, he will add a $50 Amazon gift card to the drawing (up to six $50 cards in total)!






To enter, simply post a comment to this blog post with your e-mail address. Entries will be counted through June 2nd, 2011.

Bryan Cohen is a writer, actor and comedian from Dresher, Pennsylvania. Since graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill he has written four books (1,000 Creative Writing Prompts: Ideas for Blogs, Scripts, Stories and More, 500 Writing Prompts for Kids: First Grade through Fifth Grade, Sharpening the Pencil: Essays on Writing, Motivation, and Enjoying your Life, and Writer on the Side: How to Write Your Book Around Your 9 to 5 Job), several plays (Something from Nothing and Chekhov Kegstand: A Dorm Room Dramedy in Two Acts) and he was the head writer for an un-produced Web series (Covenant Coffee). His writing and motivation website Build Creative Writing Ideas has had over 100,000 visitors since it was founded in December 2008. He lives in Chicago, Illinois.

Follow Bryan on Twitter @buildcwideas.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Armchair BEA: Blogging About Blogging

The theme for today's posts is blogging about blogging, and I'm combining that with the post theme from yesterday, nurturing blogging relationships. Mostly because these two ideas dovetail nicely together but also because I couldn't manage to do much more than drool on myself by the time I got home and settled yesterday.

But enough about me! What's there to blog about blogging? In a way, I'm not sure what I can contribute that hasn't been said already, but that doesn't mean I'm not going to try! I do love a challenge.

The one element above all others that makes this little corner of the Internet universe so unique is the community of people that it's based on. We're fortunate enough to have one common interest (books and reading) that can manifest itself in a ton of different ways, but that doesn't make it impossible to bridge communication gaps and talk about things in a way that makes everyone welcome at the table.

When the book blogging community bands together, it's like a well-oiled machine of wit, literacy, and passion- kind of like this:


When the book blogging community goes off the rails, so to speak, it can be stressful, dramatic, stubborn, and mule-headed, kind of like this:

Yes, every once in awhile even the suave, debonair individuals of the book blogging world get caught up in the drama and betrayal of it all and the sparks tend to fly. Write negative reviews! Don't write negative reviews! Be friends with authors online! Don't be friends with authors online or your review outlet is UNPROFESSIONAL! Book bloggers sell books! No they don't! In My Mailbox is for selfish jerks! Your face is for selfish jerks! Duck season! Rabbit season!

The same issues seem to come up over and over and over again with little to no resolution, but there is a lesson that's a good one to keep in mind:

Someone will always think you are wrong, wrong, WRONG.

That's not meant in a mean way, or a condescending way; it just means that there will always be someone out there who doesn't agree with you or with what you're saying. Some people will be content to disagree privately; others will feel the need to prove that something is wrong on the internet and take their show on the road, so to speak.

What does that mean for all of us? It means we should be the most authentic, honest bloggers that we can be, and we should not apologize for any stand that was taken in good faith. You can write a negative review where you filet a book without criticizing the author's character; you can post the awesome books that came into your hands without being a jerk. And if, despite that, someone still has their panties in a wad over something you said or wrote, you can choose to acknowledge those opposing opinions or move on. People have a right to say what they want; they don't automatically have the right to a response from you.

To sum up my comments in a sentence, when it comes to blogging, be a ukulele orchestra, not a two-headed llama! And if that sentence made no sense, then you should go back to the top of the post and start from the beginning. :D

Illustrated Friday: Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich

Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich
In addition to having really fun illustrations, this book is subtitled as followed:
and other stories you're sure to like, because they're all about monsters, and some of them are also about food. You like food, don't you? Well, all right then.
  That pretty much sums up the tone of the book, which is all poetry that will appeal to warped senses of humor in readers of all ages.  Also, my favorite titles from the poems this book are "Bigfoot Can't Believe You Called Him Yeti Just Now" and "Godzilla Pooped on My Honda."  Happy Friday!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Armchair BEA: Tough Questions for Jenny from Take Me Away!

The fun keeps on rolling here with Armchair BEA at WBiT?!  I'm pleased as punch to be interviewing Jenny from Take Me Away!

Let's get down to it:

1.  First off, tell us a little bit about yourself/your family/pets/interests!
I am a big reader, of course. I work as a mental health therapist.  I have a husband of seven years and a spoiled Jack Russell Terrier, Lily.  As for interests, other than reading and blogging I don't have time for much else, LOL!  But I enjoy movies, going to the beach, theme parks (we have annual passes to Universal Studios/Islands of Adventure), etc. I love taking advantage of what Orlando has to offer. Traveling has become a new love of mine, and I am obsessed with New York City! ;)  I read all types of books: contemporary/literary/and-or women's fiction, mystery/thriller, non-fiction.


2.  What made you decide to become a book blogger?
I decided to become a book blogger because I read so much and wanted an outlet to talk/write about what I was reading. It took me about a good year to get started though because at first I felt like, when it came down to it, I couldn't think of what to say!  My style and writing has evolved immensely since I started!


3.  What, so far, are your favorite parts of book blogging and the book blogging community?
What I love about the book blogging community is basically the large number of people there are to talk books.  Plus, I love reading others' reviews since there is no way I can possibly read all the books I want. I sort of feel by reading other reviews that I'm able to keep up with the industry and can even recommend or talk books that I haven't even read to non-bloggers.  I love that there are so many people for whom reading is normal and loved. As for book blogging, I love the writing factor.  My writing has improved so much.  I love being able to share the books I'm reading.

4.  What books do you find yourself recommending to other people over and over again?  What's the best book recommendation anyone has ever given to you?
Book recommendations are soooo difficult because people and their tastes are so different! Plus, I read so many different genres. This year I've started reading more non-fiction and I've actually recommended those books a lot.  Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea and Tangled Webs are two that I've recommended a lot.  I've also recommended Girl in Translation which was one of my favorite books last year!  I can't think of too many that have been recommended to me but one recommendation I got from other bloggers was for Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close which is so far my favorite book this year and possibly ever!  A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and To Kill a Mockingbird are recommendations I just recently read and, of course, The Help.  I didn't read that for a while after it came out but was finally convinced!

5.  Where do you like to do your reading?  Your reviewing?
I pretty much do all my reading and reviewing right here on the couch, LOL.  I always carry a book with me, even if it's just on the nook app on my phone so wherever I am I can read.
 
6.  What pieces of advice do you have for the blogging world? What advice have you been given that's been helpful for you?
My advice is to blog for yourself! Don't blog for any other reason because even then it can become tiring. Lots of people get burned out when they try to blog for others by keeping up with a schedule, keeping up with review books, etc. Some people get discouraged if they don't have as many comments as they'd like. What I've found is when it comes down to it, if no one read my blog or commented, I would still enjoy the process of thinking through my thoughts and writing them all down. Having people read and interact on my blog is a bonus!  As for advice I've been given, probably just validating these thoughts when I do get burned out.




Take Me Away


Many thanks to Jenny for answering my questions! If you participated in the blogger interviews, leave a link in the comments- I'd love to check out other interviews!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Armchair BEA: The Best of 2011...So Far...

SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION: Comment on this post to win a digital copy of Confessions of a D-List Supervillain from author Jim Bernheimer!

On to today's discussion....what are the best books (so far anyway) for 2011?

As a reader and a reviewer, especially lately, I find myself not even attempting books if I don't have a reasonable expectation of enjoying them. I mean, the last thing I want to do when I get home from work and make dinner and do all that domestic stuff that has to get done sooner or later is flog myself to death with a book that I don't enjoy and didn't honestly think that I would. As a result, most of my reviews tend to congregate towards the higher end of the rating scale anyway; life is too short to read bad books!

These books, though, were ones that a) I hadn't read before the start of 2011 and b) really stand out to me from a crop of enjoyable books all around. Also, because I can, I'm choosing to interpret this list as the best of what I've read in 2011, regardless of actual publication date, as opposed to best of what's been published in 2011. Rules, schmules.

Onward!

Red Glove
Up first is Red Glove by Holly Black, which was every bit as as good as I'd hoped it would be and then some.  Tasty conflicts, twisty ethical crises, forbidden love, magic and mayhem and adventure- waiting for the third book in this series to come out is going to be...challenging.






This Side of the Grave: A Night Huntress Novel
Honestly, who doesn't enjoy this series on some level?  After wandering through an angsty wonderland of pain and loss in the last book, This Side of the Grave gave me everything I wanted in my Cat and Bones fix.  I know not everyone was happy with the way this book turned out and the conflict and everything, but you know what? I enjoy being able to read about a couple just being a couple and taking on their problems together, instead of fighting with each other and using whatever energy remains to save the world or whatever.  Also, Cat, I don't think you're the only one who needed to grow up in this relationship.  I'm just saying.


Silent in the GraveEasily the dark horse in this bunch is Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn, the start of the Lady Julia Grey series of historical/mystery/romances.  Genre mashups always make me all warm and squishy inside and this one is one of the best.  I'm on book 3 in this series right now and am trying to pace myself until book five comes out in July.  Patience is a virtue that I am lacking.





SabineFairytales? Shifters? Romance? Sign me up please!  Sabine by Moira Rogers is delicious from start to finish.  Seriously people, this book could be a thousand pages long and I would eat up every single one.  The next book, Kisri, comes out in June, and is just as good as this one.  Waiting for future books is going to be tough here as well.  Where's a time machine when you need it?





Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the BeastFun fact: my favorite fairy tale is Beauty and the Beast, and Beauty by Robin McKinley is one of my favorite fairy tale retellings.  It's sweet and innocent but romantic at the same time.  Tasty!







Also, in precisely one week, two of my most anticipated books of 2011 will be released:

Magic Slays
Kiss of Snow


Yes, the next installments in two of my favorite series are releasing the day after a long weekend. As if any more proof were required that life is not fair.

What are your favorites so far of 2011?

As a final thought, the only way to be the best is to practice and never give up.  However, if you just want to be a part of something good, then hanging out with people who practice and never give up is a good start:


Happy Tuesday everyone. :D

Monday, May 23, 2011

Armchair BEA Introduction: Two Truths and a Lie

Welcome to everyone stopping by from Armchair BEA!  For those of us stuck at home, this is the closest we'll come to the festivities going on in New York right now, but that's okay, because there's plenty of fun to be had!

The theme of the posts for day one is all about getting to know the participants in the 2011 Armchair BEA, and because I am a nerd, here is mine.  Two of these statements are true; one is a bold-faced LIE.  See if you can guess which is which!

1. My name is Emily, and I'm a hopelessly unrepentant paranormal/urban fantasy addict. Seriously, I can read about fated mates until my eyes cross and be totally happy.  I've also been known to enjoy a good historical mystery, young adult novel, and mystery-comedy too.

2.  I'm ashamed to admit that I don't think I can name a single book that's generating buzz at the real-life BEA.  I'm looking forward to getting caught up on the news and discovering some great books to add to my TBR list (as if I need any help...sigh...)

3. Here's an actual picture of me:
Any takers on which one is a lie?  I know, I know, I'm a dork.  Welcome to Armchair BEA everyone!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Jim Bernheimer Guest Post and GIVEAWAY!

The hits just keep on coming here at What Book is That?! I'd like to welcome Jim Bernheimer, author of a variety of books, including his most recent offering, Confessions of a D-List Supervillain, which I had the privilege to review earlier this month.  Jim has brought his A game today, folks, and is offering up the choice of a .pdf or Kindle copy of Confessions of a D List Supervillain to one lucky WBiT reader!

And now, without further ado, here's Jim himself!
*****


Better Heroes Need Badder Villains
I’d like to thank Emily for giving me a chance to guest post today.  For those of you who enjoy rooting for the characters in a novel, I say that it is equally important that your hero have a compelling villain that poses a real and credible challenge to them.  Authors who can successfully deliver both sides of the conflict can drive their plots to new heights.

Confessions of a D-List SupervillainIn my latest novel, Confessions of a D-List Supervillain, I mix that equation up a little by starting off with a villain who finds himself dragged, kicking and screaming, down the path to redemption.  Mechani-Cal’s foil is a superhero named Ultraweapon.  At the start, Cal is jealous of Ultraweapon ‘s fame and money while despising him at the same time.  Gradually, that dynamic changes.

Think about the legendary supervillains that really stood out and made the heroes facing them that much better than the run of the mill opponents.  What is Superman without a cunning Lex Luthor to test himself against, Batman against the Joker, or the Fantastic Four without Doctor Doom?  (The mole man … c’mon!)  When I look back at the Star Wars movies, I still can’t come up with a villain that tops Darth Vader and that scene right near the beginning of the first (well technically the fourth) movie with him striding down the hallway, flanked by stormtroopers and then proceeds to choke that rebel officer.  That, my friends, is how to make an entrance.

Staying with that same series, I have the other end of the spectrum - Darth Maul from the … um first movie.  (Though technically it was the fourth one made.  Okay, I’m confused now too.)  Anyway, I’d seen the promos with him and his twin lightsabers and I thought he was going to be a seriously bad dude.  So, he gets off his starship in the desert looking for the Jedi Knights, Padma, and so-to-be little orphan Anakin.  I’m expecting him to get jumped by like a dozen of those sandpeople so that he can do some slicin’ and a dicin’, establishing that he is a force to be reckoned with or going into town and threatening someone within an inch of their miserable life for the information he wants.  What did we get instead?  He sends some little remote controlled drones out to locate them.  Grand bad guy entrance scene … denied.

Finding a bunch of hiding Jedi - there’s an app for that!

I could write a whole blog entry alone on how The Phantom Menace almost destroyed the Star Wars franchise, but let’s get back to the subject of impressive heroes needing equally impressive villains.  Building up the antagonist to the main character is crucial whether we’re talking about superheroes or a YA based High School angst fest.  Giving the reader someone to actively root against will make them root even harder for the hero/protagonist to win.

Of course the problem going down that path can be what I refer to as “Holy Smothering Villains, Batman!” syndrome.  The first Batman movie (Keaton and Nicholson vice the Bale and Ledger reboot) was so successful that the movies following it became more about what actor was going to play the next bad guy than that little thing called the plot.  By the time they got to Arnold as Mr. Freeze, or maybe it was Jim Carrey as The Riddler, most people lost interest.  The lesson here is to not overdo it and look for ways to make the antagonist economically sinister  (maximizing the badness, but minimizing the amount of space they consume in a novel - every scene with them in it needs to underscore their inherent wickedness) without letting them take over the narrative and diminishing your hero.

In my writing group, I recently critiqued a manuscript that “redid” The Count of Monte Cristo along the lines of Pride, Prejudice, and Zombies.  I admit to only reading the original’s wiki summary as I prepared my critique, but I found myself wondering why the Count (now with added vampiric powers) felt the need to enact that whole convoluted revenge scheme when he now possessed the means to literally kick down their doors and go all Bram Stoker on their French hineys.  Given that there was no counterbalancing upgrade to the bad guys in the storyline, it seemed like needless overkill.  Maybe it’s just me, but I want the people I’m rooting for to actually work for it as opposed to just steamrolling over everyone.  Where’s the fun in that?

Of course there’s the opposite end of that spectrum as well - Lord Voldemort.  Not only did he have video game like “extra life tokens,” but he was so ridiculously overpowered that, without the author’s hand inventing new ways for Harry to have a snowball’s chance of defeating him, the hero had no chance of beating him.  I bought the whole brother wand thing at the end of book four, but somewhere between the Death Eaters holding back over the prophecy sphere in book five and the “good luck” potion that prevented any of Harry’s friends from suffering injury at the hands of the Death Eaters at the end of book six my ability to suspend my disbelief vanished in the face of massive Deus Ex Machina.  Please don’t ask me my impression of book seven.

Books one through four - lightning in a bottle.  Books five through seven - too big to fail at that point.  The Harry at the end of book four was a defiant fighter and he had a chance.  I was pulling for him.  The Harry in book seven didn’t deserve to win and lucked his way into the victory circle.  I was just glad it was over.

In conclusion, the main character of any adventure story needs tough obstacles and fierce enemies to overcome.  The situation must be dire, but not insurmountable.  The reader needs to believe that the hero has a chance to prevail, but also a chance to fail to invest emotionally in the story.  A victory through luck isn’t as satisfying as one that the reader can see being earned.  I’d like to think those are exceptions and that authors, like myself, who are trying to get established can’t afford to run counter to this advice.  There’s no guarantee of success in this business.  After all, I just trashed several megamillion dollar grossing movies and three sevenths of the most financially successful series that is likely to be produced in my lifetime.  So what do I know?






Thanks again to Jim for stopping by today.  Harry Potter people- please don't kill me!  

GIVEAWAY DETAILS:
-The giveaway is for one digital copy of Confessions of a D-List Supervillain by Jim Bernheimer.
-To enter, please comment on this post with a way to contact you.
-International entries are welcome- that's the power of digital books people!
-The giveaway will run until Friday, May 27th at 11:59 pm EST.  The winner will be contacted via email and will have 48 hours to respond or else a new winner will be chosen.

Comment to enter and good luck to everyone!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Breaking News, or, We are All Winners in Life








There are so many fun things coming up here at the old bloggy homestead that one post bearly contains them all!  Many of these things come with associated giveaways and other promotional goodness, so in a way, we all win (and hence the clever post title!)  Anyway, on to the good stuff.



First off, winner winner chicken dinner! The winner of a digital copy of Vampire General: Intern with the Vampire is...Victoria Zubrum! She's been contacted, thanks to everyone who entered! Don't forget, your comments on the giveaway posts are also entries to win a print book from 1889 Labs, a $10 Amazon voucher, or even a KINDLE!







Second, for those who haven't heard, the cover for the next Immortals After Dark book (and incidentally, the first foray for this series into hardcover) is going live on Kresley Cole's Facebook page on Tuesday, May 24th at 9am! Just hit like on the official Kresley Cole Facebook page and you're set for the reveal!  


 Since I can't attend the real-life BEA (duty calls, although summer vacation is only 18 days away!) I'll be participating in Armchair BEA for the first time this year!  Every day features a different theme post, so be sure to check back and see what's happening!  ArmchairBEA will be sponsoring lots of giveaways and fun events as well.  Should be a good time!











I'm pleased to announce that I'm a Round 2 Judge for the YA Book Battle, hosted by The Shady Glade! Here are the books that have made it through to the second round:




Academy 7 by Anne Osterlund
Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary "Jacky" Faber, Ship's Boy by L.A. Meyer
Intrinsical by Lani Woodland
John Belushi Is Dead by Kathy Charles
Kathleen's Story (Angels in Pink) by Lurlene McDaniel
Keeping Corner by Kashmira Sheth
Keturah And Lord Death by Martine Leavitt
Kiki Strike: Inside the Shadow City by Kristen Miller
Ophelia by Lisa M. Klein
Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper
Polly and the Pirates, Volume 1 by Ted Naifeh
Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers
Song Of The Sparrow by Lisa Ann Sandell
StarCrossed by Elizabeth C. Bunce
Stork by Wendy Delsol
Storm Thief by Chris Wooding
Stravaganza: City Of Masks by Mary Hoffman
The Devil's Kiss by Sarwat Chadda
The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman
The Hollow Kingdom by Clare B. Dunkle
The Thin Executioner by Darren Shan
Threads and Flames by Esther Friesner
Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress by Tina Ferraro
Whale Talk by Chris Crutcher


I have read exactly one book on this list so far, so I'm excited to be able to check out some new books that normally wouldn't show up on my radar. More details about the battle will be posted here as they become available. In the meantime, check out this amazing trailer that Alyssa made herself for the whole event:





Next Sunday, WBiT is proud to be rejoining Sasha Soren, author of Random Magic, as we scour the literary seas for the best pirate-themed books! I'll be joined for the reading circle by the following excellent bloggers:
The Fluidity of Time
http://fluidityoftime.blogspot.com/
Twitter: N/A

This Miss Loves To Read
http://thismisslovestoread.blogspot.com/
Twitter: @MissIrenne
http://twitter.com/MissIrenne

What Book Is That?
http://www.whatbookisthat.com/
Twitter: @heynocupcake
http://twitter.com/heynocupcake

Cerebralicious
http://www.siliconcerebrate.com/
Twitter: @cerebrate
http://twitter.com/cerebrate

Stop by and see what pirate goodness I cook up!



My Love Affair With Books
http://books-love-affair.blogspot.com/
Twitter: @Misha_1989
http://twitter.com/Misha_1989

vvb32 Reads
http://vvb32reads.blogspot.com/
Twitter: @vvb32reads
http://twitter.com/vvb32reads

Willowdust Reviews - Tina’s Book Reviews
http://www.tinasbookreviews.com/
Twitter: @BooksAtTinas
http://twitter.com/BooksatTinas

Songs and Stories
http://liedermadchen.blogspot.com/
Twitter: @LiederMadchen
http://twitter.com/LiederMadchen

The Diary of a Bookworm
http://www.thediaryofabookworm.com/
Twitter: N/A

Many good things are in store here at WBiT!  If you're a new follower, welcome!  If you're an old follower, thank you, as always, for your support, and enjoy!
 
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