Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Book Feature: The Girls' Guide to Dating Zombies

The Girls' Guide to Dating Zombies
Publisher: Potatoworks Press
Publish Date: February 14, 2012
Paperback, 242 pages
ISBN: 978-0984901814

About the Book:
Hattie Cross knows what you're thinking: Zombie sex? Ewwwww. But she also knows that since a virus turned 99.9999 percent of human males into zombies, it's statistically impossible to meet--let alone date--the remaining 0.00001 percent. So she writes "The Girls' Guide to Dating Zombies" to help her fellow single women navigate the zombie-relationship waters.

Her practical how-to impresses the CEO of the largest drug company in the world, and before she knows it, Hattie, a reporter for a downmarket tabloid that specializes in conspiracy theories, is sitting down with the woman who single-handedly invented the zombie-behavioral-modification market. Granted access to the inner sanctum of zombaceuticals, she meets an actual, living, breathing M-A-N.

Now Hattie, the consummate professional, is acting like a single girl at the end of the twentieth century: self-conscious, klutzy and unable to form a coherent sentence without babbling. Worst of all, the human male appears to have impaired her ability to think clearly. Because all of a sudden she's convinced a conspiracy is afoot at the drug company and it seems to go all the way to the top!

About the Author:
Lynn Messina is the author of six novels, including Little Vampire Women andFashionistas, which has been translated into 15 languages and is in development as a feature film. She attended Washington University in St. Louis where she studied English Literature. Her writing has also appeared in Self and Modern Bride, among other publications. She lives in New York City with her husband and sons. Connect with Lynn on her website, blog, Twitter or GoodReads.

Novel Publicity Blog Tour Notes:

Get The Girls’ Guide to Dating Zombies on Amazon or Barnes & Noble – you know you want to!

And please vote for my blog in the traffic-breaker poll for this tour. The blogger with the most votes wins a free promotional twitterview and a special winner’s badge. I want that to be me! You can vote in the poll by visiting the official Girls’ Guide to Dating Zombies blog tour page and scrolling all the way to the bottom.

Be sure to enter for your chance to win an autographed copy of The Girls’ Guide to Dating Zombies : ENTER HERE.

Check out this amazing book trailer!

Join us for a live twitterview with the author on Saturday, March 10th at 4 PM EST. Search #emlyn on Twitter, and bring your questions for this lively chat.

Guest Blog: Gatekeepers and Validators by Mark Chisnell

Today I welcome March Chisnell, author of The Defector which I reviewed a week ago.  Today he's sharing with us a guest blog on ebook self-publishing.  He also has a free book he's sharing with everyone today.  Information for obtaining the free ebook is at the bottom of this post.  Enjoy the guest blog and enjoy your free ebook.
Gatekeepers and Validators

by Mark Chisnell

The USA has brought many new things to the world – rock and roll, cable tv and franchise hamburgers spring to mind. One of the latest is the eReader and eBooks, currently sweeping through a country near you – particularly if you live in Europe.  If you live in the US, the transition from print has been underway for a while and although I was a little slow to that game, in Britain I count as an early adopter.

So just before Christmas, a writer’s group in the English south coast city of Portsmouth kindly invited me to talk to them about my experiences with the self- or indie-publishing programs, Kindle Direct and

There were a couple of traditionally published authors in the audience, and one of  the topics in a lively Q&A discussion was the loss of the publisher in this straight-to-the-reader process. The point was that it’s all very well to self- or indie-publish a novel, but how does the potential reader then know if it’s any good? After all, if the writer hasn’t been permitted to pass into the hallowed, sunlight uplands of publication by an editor-cum-gatekeeper, then isn’t it just vanity publishing? And if it’s vanity publishing then it can’t be any good.

It was an argument that I had a lot of sympathy for until very recently. My first two novels (The Defector and The Wrecking Crew) were published by Random House and HarperCollins. The endorsement meant a lot to me at the time - as did the fancy Soho lunches with my editor - but all that is quickly being eroded by the simple fact that those two books have subsequently sold much better as self-published titles.

This vanishing sense of the importance of the gatekeepers is matched by plenty of evidence that ‘vanity-published’ books are every bit as good as what’s coming out of the major London and New York publishing houses. Recent news from the indie scene includes Joe Konrath (if he keeps up his January rate of sales) on target to make over a million dollars ‘vanity-publishing’ in 2012. While Darcie Chan - author of vanity-published The Mill River Recluse - hit number one in the Apple store early in the New Year.

It seems that while endorsement by a major publishing house still matters to some writers, many readers are long past caring. So what’s going on here, why were we all so wrong, for so long, about vanity publishing?

John Locke, one of the original self-published Kindle superstars has an interesting take on the notion of vanity publishing in his book, ‘How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months!’ Here’s a little of what he has to say:

'What they’re saying [is that] when an author believes in his abilities to the extent he’s willing to invest his own money to publish a novel, he’s writing purely for his vanity!'

‘I have to give credit to the geniuses that came up with this hogwash, because publishing is the only business in the world that has managed to make such a ridiculous notion seem plausible.'

‘When I invested my own money to start my insurance agency no one accused me of making a vanity investment.... When Bill Gates and Paul Allen invested their time and money into developing code for the Altair computer, no one accused them of writing vanity code.’

Locke’s argument is that the notion of vanity publishing is just a means of controlling access to the market. It was just smart business for the publishers to convince writers and readers that the only route from one to the other was through them. Follow the money.

And when you look at the money, it’s easy to see that the business model of the author is way out of kilter with the publishers. How many books a year does a big New York publisher put into the shops? And how many of those need to be a success for them to have a profitable year? I don’t know the answers, but I do know that it’s a lot less than a hundred percent.

I finish maybe one book every year or two, and if it doesn’t succeed you can stick a fork in me. I’m done.

No one needs a book to succeed anywhere near as badly as its author. And yet, once the book is written and delivered to a traditional publisher, all control over every aspect of the subsequent process is taken over by the people who have the least stake in its success.

Make any sense to you?

It’s because this traditional business model didn’t make any sense to the writers that the coming of Kindle-Direct, Smashwords and PubIt led to such a complete revolution and the rise of indie publishing. Many authors could see the system was broken from their point of view, and when they were offered an alternative they grabbed it. The people with the biggest stake in a book were back in control of its destiny.

We’ve all seen how books now flow into the hands of readers in a way that was unimaginable five years ago. The gatekeepers are gone and the doors have been blown wide open - the slush-pile has moved from the in-tray of editors and agents, got itself a cover and a blurb and is now available online for the princely sum of 99c a pop. Or it’s free.

Unfortunately, even if the notion of validation by the traditional gatekeepers was just smart business by big corporations, it still leaves us with the original problem. How do we decide what’s worth reading? It was hard enough when there was just the books laid out for us on the front tables of the big stores by the big publishers, but who validates our choices now...?

The new validators are the people who should have had the job in the first place – the readers. Perhaps that’s why we are all fast ceasing to care about books getting the imprimatur of a publisher’s imprint. An endorsement of quality no longer needs to come from an editor in New York or London; it can come from five stars on My Reading Room. It can come when a complete stranger living several thousand miles away takes the trouble to write and post a four paragraph, five star review of your book on Amazon or B&

Personally, I’m very comfortable with that shift. I’m no longer looking for approval from New York or London. However, after the talk in Portsmouth, I have to recognise that some writers still feel it’s important. The beauty of the current situation is that writers and readers have a choice – validation? Find it where you look for it.

Mark Chisnell is the author of the Kindle chart-topping thrillers - The Defector and The Wrecking Crew - as well as award-winning works of non-fiction. He's a sometime professional racing sailor and also works as a broadcaster and journalist, writing for some of the world’s leading magazines and newspapers, including Esquire and the Guardian.

Free ebook - Today only
Mark is giving away his newest book, The Fulcrum Files for free today.  Here is more information on the book:

The young Ben Clayton was one of Britain’s brightest boxing prospects, until the day he slammed a left hook into a fragile chin. Sickened by the consequences he turned away from the ring, found solace in the arms of the beautiful Lucy Kirk and looked for new challenges.

On the 7th March 1936, after almost two decades of peace in Europe, Hitler ordered the German Army back into the Rhineland. It was a direct challenge to Britain and France. Still unnerved by the toll of the Great War, the politicians dithered. The French Army stayed in its barracks, while the aristocratic British elite looked on from their country retreats.

History teetered on a knife edge, but the spymasters were busy.

Just one man could make the difference between war and peace, victory or defeat. And that man was Ben Clayton. Thrown into the maelstrom of plot and counter-plot, Ben must battle not just to survive, but to protect all that he loves and holds most dear.

Mark Chisnell’s thrillers include The Defector - a top download in the UK Kindle free eBook chart for over two weeks, subsequently charting in the Top 100 paid list. The Wrecking Crew was the sequel, and both books are regulars in the UK Spy Thriller charts.

Find it today on Amazon for free:

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Leap Into Books Giveaway Hop

Welcome to the Leap into Books Giveaway Hop, hosted by I Am a Reader Not a Writer and Jinky is Reading.

For my giveaway I'm giving away Don't Breathe a Word by Holly Cupala and You Against Me by Jenny Downham, two wonderful and thought-provoking YA contemps.  Simply fill out the Rafflecopter below, all that is required is the name and email.  Open to US/Canada only.

Don't Breathe a Word by Holly Cupala
Joy Delamere is suffocating...

From asthma, which has nearly claimed her life. From her parents, who will do anything to keep that from happening. From delectably dangerous Asher, who is smothering her from the inside out.

Joy can take his words - tender words, cruel words - until the night they go too far.

Now, Joy will leave everything behind to find the one who has offered his help, a homeless boy called Creed. She will become someone else. She will learn to survive. She will breathe... if only she can get to Creed before it’s too late.

Set against the gritty backdrop of Seattle’s streets and a cast of characters with secrets of their own, Holly Cupala’s powerful new novel explores the subtleties of abuse, the meaning of love, and how far a girl will go to discover her own strength.

You Against Me by Jenny Downham
If someone hurts your sister and you're any kind of man, you seek revenge, right? If your brother's been accused of a terrible crime and you're the main witness, then you banish all doubt and defend him. Isn't that what families do? When Mikey's sister claims a boy assaulted her at a party, his world of work and girls begins to fall apart. When Ellie's brother is charged with the crime, but says he didn't do it, her world of revision, exams and fitting in at a new school begins to unravel. When Mikey and Ellie meet, two worlds collide. Brave and unflinching, this is a novel of extraordinary skillfulness and almost unbearable tension. It's a book about loyalty and the choices that come with it. But above all it's a book about love - for one's family and for another.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Teaser Tuesday (15)


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
This conversation takes place after Lucy makes a big deal about her brother Jed and her new husband Nate washing up before eating at the table.  I thought it was really cute. 
At the conclusion of his prayer, Lucy glanced at her brother. "Would you quote your Bible verse , Jed?"

Jed turned scarlet "Uh, I forgot it, Lucy."
"Psalm 51:2," she prompted.
"Oh I remember. 'Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.'"

A smile played around her lips and she glanced at Nate.

"I like Matthew 15:19 and 15:20. 'For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witnesses, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.'" He grinned back at her.

From Blue Moon Promise by Colleen Coble

About Blue Moon Promise
Lucy Marsh has lost everything but her determination to provide for her brother and sister. When she realizes her father's death was no accident, she decides to accept a proxy marriage in order to get her siblings out of harm's way. But trouble follows her to Wichita Falls, Texas, and nothing there is as she expected.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Blog Tour, Review and Party: Blue Moon Promise by Colleen Coble

Blue Moon Promise by Colleen Coble
Publisher: Thomas Nelson Publishers
Publish Date: February 14, 2012
Paperback, 320 pages 
Fiction, Romance, Historical, Christian
 ISBN:  978-1595549150
Under Texas Stars #1

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
My Review:
I loved this book from the first page and I was immediately hooked as well.  I think I picked it up and finally put it down because I had somewhere to go and I had sped through over 75 pages.

I loved Lucy, Jed and Eileen from the start.  Lucy is working so hard to keep her brother and sister with her since her dad died and her stepmother left them, but she has lost her job.  So when Henry Stanton walks into her life with the marriage proposal to marry his son by proxy and move to Texas, she prays on it and decides it is the thing to do, especially after they are visited by someone the night before leaving that seems to be after something she is sure they do not have.  But arriving in Texas she does not receive the welcome she thought she would.  Nate has been on his own with his father and brother for a long time and all he knows is he wants to make his family's ranch one of the biggest and the best and he's pretty sure the pretty frail wife won't be of any help in that matter and the fact that she comes with two siblings can't help either.

But then something starts to happen and that is the magic of the book.  It's not overnight and that's not the full story here.  There is more than the developing romance and family line.  There is also a suspense line, some family feuding and some inter-family tension as well.  All of this makes for a very well-rounded book.  I found myself on the edge of my seat.  I found myself cheering for Nate and Lucy. I found myself loving the tender moments between Nate and the children.  There is just so much powering this book and it is just amazing.

Blue Moon Promise has everything you could ever want in a historical romance and then even some more.  I can't gush enough about this book, I really can't.  I loved it.  I could read it again right now and fall in love with the characters all over again.  But I will make do with waiting for the second installment in the Under Texas Stars series.  If you enjoy a "mail-order bride-type" romance where the new bride and groom have to get to know each other, then this is a book for you, but again, this book is so much more than the romance.  It's amazing, I cannot say enough about it.  I'll say it again, I love it. 

My Rating: 5.0/5.0

About the book:

Book Number One in the Under Texas Stars series

A love like Lucy and Nate’s only comes along once in a blue moon . . .

Lucy Marsh's worldly resources are running out, but she's fiercely determined to care for her younger brother and sister. When she discovers that their father's recent death was no accident, Lucy is eager to leave town. She accepts a proxy marriage she believes will provide safe refuge. But trouble follows her to Texas where her new husband is surprised to suddenly have a wife and children to care for.

Nate Stanton always hoped he'd marry someday, but running the family ranch meant he had no time for romance. When his father deposits Lucy Marsh—a city girl—on his doorstep, with two siblings in the bargain, he expects ranch life will send her running on the first train out of town. But Lucy is made of tougher stuff than Nate imagined. When danger moves in, Nate finds he'd give anything to protect Lucy and the children he's grown to love. Even if it means giving up his ranch.

About Colleen:
Best-selling author Colleen Coble's novels have won or finaled in awards ranging from the Best Books of Indiana, ACFW Book of the Year, RWA’s RITA, the Holt Medallion, the Daphne du Maurier, National Readers' Choice, and the Booksellers Best. She has nearly 2 million books in print and writes romantic mysteries because she loves to see justice prevail. Colleen is CEO of American Christian Fiction Writers and is a member of Romance Writers of America. She lives with her husband Dave in Indiana.
For more about Colleen and her other books visit 
About the party: 
Blue Moon Promise is a story of hope, romance, and suspense . . . immersing the reader in a rich historical tale set under Texas stars.

To celebrate Colleen is teaming up with her publisher Thomas Nelson for a "Blue Moon Promise" Facebook Chat party where she will giveaway a KINDLE Fire and a Texas-sized gift basket (fabulous Texas treats and fun Lucy-inspired housekeeping products)!

Click the banner, RSVP today for the Facebook Party and mark the date on your calendar!

Invite your friends and don't miss Colleen's evening of chat, trivia, prizes, and more.

Kindle Giveaway and More! Save the Date - 3/13!

***I received this book from Litfuse Publicity for an honest review.  I was not compensated in any other way except receiving the book for free. I do make money from The Book Depository links, but all money made from book purchases goes straight back to the blog to fund giveaways and shipping of giveaways.  Thanks!

Guest Blog: Using Personal Stories in Writing: Do or Don't by Nelle Davy

Today I welcome Nelle Davy, author of The Legacy of Eden which I reviewed a couple of weeks ago.  It's an excellent family saga and today the author is sharing a very interesting topic in light of reading The Legacy of Eden.  Read this great post and make sure you check out the book as well.  

Using personal stories in writing: do or don’t? 
by Nelle Davy

Of course it is a do. One of my favourite books is Oranges are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson which is a reworking of her own childhood within a fictional format as opposed to an outright memoir. What matters is that you are true to the kind of story you wish to tell, regardless of what is the inspiration. I would also say that no writer works in a vacuum as if their books are ‘ex nihilo.’ Whether you mean to or not, you write the kind of story you are either interested in, or have been through in some way. It is all inspired by your personal past and you rework it, sometimes even try to ignore it, but then press it down and reshape it so that it can become unrecognizable from truth but it still has seeds in it. There are some stories I love to read but would never be able to write because I would never be inspired to write them because they come from a different sort of experience to the one I have had. But novels should be about trying to tell some kind of truth – either the one you wish was real or the one that is.  And sometimes I think the novels that have impressed me the most and the ones that have really stayed with me as visceral works of honest art are the one that you discover had some grounding in the author’s past. You do look at them in a new light and they seem so much more informed. But this novel is not based on my own personal story in any other way than it is about the interrogation and destruction of the family unit.

Thanks Nelle for stopping by today.
You can check out the rest of this blog tour here:

  About The Legacy of Eden
For generations, Aurelia was the crowning glory of more than three thousand acres of Iowa farmland and golden cornfields. The estate was a monument to matriarch Lavinia Hathaway's dream to elevate the family name - no matter what relative or stranger she had to destroy in the process. It was a desperation that wrought the downfall of the Hathaways - and the once prosperous farm.

Now the last inhabitant of the decaying old home has died - alone. None of the surviving members of the Hathaway family want anything to do with the farm, the land, or the memories.

Especially Meredith Pincetti. Now living in New York City, for seventeen years Lavinia's youngest grandchild has tried to forget everything about her family and her past. But with the receipt of a pleading letter, Meredith is again thrust into conflict with the legacy that destroyed her family's once-great name. Back at Aurelia, Meredith must confront the rise and fall of the Hathaway family... and her own part in their mottled history. 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

In My Mailbox (16)

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren. To see this weeks list of participants go here.

I had a great week, here is what I received in the mail:

 Conquered by a Highlander by Paula Quinn
from Grand Central Publishing (releases June 2012)

Colin MacGregor was born to fight-for his beliefs, his king, and his family's honor. After years away from his beloved Scotland, he yearns to return to its lush, green hills-and he can, after he completes one final mission for the king. Sent to infiltrate a traitor's home, Colin is determined to expose the treasonous plot and triumph on the battlefield . . . until he meets a sensual lass who tempts him towards other pursuits . . . .

Lady Gillian Dearly is no stranger to temptation. Cast out of her family for bearing an illegitimate child, she's now the ward of a barbarian conspiring against the king. Her only desire: freedom for her son and for herself at any cost, even if it means making a deal with the devil. Yet when a mysterious Highlander appears in their midst, his braw strength and smoldering gaze give her hope for a future beyond the castle walls-and promise a desire unlike any she's ever known. But passion comes at a price . .  .

 More Beauty, Less Beast by Debora M. Coty
For a Litfuse Tour
If you ever wrestle with that out-of-control inner ogre that threatens to destroy the divinely beautiful princess hidden within, this witty and wise book is for you. With simple, practical tips for taming that nasty, unsightly beast, you’ll discover how to transform its unattractive snarl into inner and outer beauty—refashioned, revitalized, and renewed.
 An Amish Family Reunion by Mary Ellis
won from the author (and it's autographed!)
 During a rumschpringe visit to Niagara Falls, Phoebe Miller meets Eli Riehl, who charms her--and everyone else--with his exceptional storytelling ability. When Phoebe sketches scenes to illustrate one of his tales, Eli encourages her talent, and together they embark on a lofty and unlikely business venture for two young Amish people--writing and illustrating a children's book

Poison Flower by Thomas Perry
Poison Flower, the seventh novel in Thomas Perry's celebrated Jane Whitefield series, opens as Jane spirits James Shelby, a man unjustly convicted of his wife's murder, out of the heavily guarded criminal court building in downtown Los Angeles. But the price of Shelby's freedom is high. Within minutes, men posing as police officers kidnap Jane and, when she tries to escape, shoot her.Jane's captors are employees of the man who really killed Shelby's wife. He believes he won't be safe until Shelby is dead, and his men will do anything to force Jane to reveal Shelby's hiding place. But Jane endures their torment, and is willing to die rather than betray Shelby. Jane manages to escape but she is alone, wounded, thousands of miles from home with no money and no identification, hunted by the police as well as her captors. She must rejoin Shelby, reach his sister before the hunters do, and get them both to safety.In this unrelenting, breathtaking cross-country battle, Jane survives by relying on the traditions of her Seneca ancestors. When at last Jane turns to fight, her enemies face a cunning and ferocious warrior who has one weapon that they don't.

The Second Time We Met by Leila Cobo
From Grand Central Publishing, releases this week

Adored and nurtured by his adoptive parents in California, Asher Stone has moved effortlessly through a nearly perfect life. He is on the verge of a professional soccer career-when a car accident throws his future into doubt. Suddenly, Asher begins to wonder about his past, and about the girl who gave him up for adoption in Colombia two decades ago. And so begins his search for a woman named Rita Ortiz.

From the teeming streets of Bogata to a tiny orphanage tucked into a hillside, Asher untangles the mystery of Rita's identity, her abrupt disappearance from her home, and the winding journey that followed. But as Asher comes closer to finding Rita, his own parents are faced with fears and doubts. And Rita must soon make her own momentous choice: stay hidden in her hard-earned new life, or meet the secret son who will bring painful memories-or the promise of a new beginning . . .
And I received these from Netgalley and Edelweiss this week (click on the covers to go to the Goodreads description):

 How was your week, leave me a link and I'd love to see what you received in your mailbox!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Weekend Report (1)


I'm all about new things this week.  I've been following Christian Bookshelf several weeks, but this is my first time posting a Weekend Report.  The Weekend Report is just a summary of what I have accomplished in my reading life this week.  You can see what Melanie has read, reviewed and is reading at her Weekend Report and view others and add yours as well at Christian Bookshelf Reviews.

Clicking on the book covers below will take you to their book descriptions on Goodreads.

What I'm currently reading:

Sizzling Sixteen is my audiobook in my car, Frantic is my next review book.

What I read:

What I reviewed (clicking on bookcovers will take you to the reviews):

Next Up:

 Giveaways (clicking on the picture will take you to the link):

Busy week!  How was yours?