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Blog Talk: Why your webpage or blog should have an attribution copyright license

Monday, April 14, 2014

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Is copyrighting really that important for a blog?

Do you ever worry about copyright infringement (either by yourself or by others)? What would you do if a post/image you spent many hard hours on suddenly appeared on another site with no attribution? How can you help deter internet leaches that spend their time taking credit for your time? Would you really like others to share and expand on your ideas without infringement? How do you know if it is okay to share another person's work?

If your answer is yes (or I don't know) to any of these, a simple solution is to make sure your page is copyrighted (and to look out for a CC on other pages).

In the past, going through a copyright process cost time and money. It involves legal talk, lawyers, and specificity that are way beyond the general public's understanding. But in the age of media and viral sharing, another method has come about (and it's completely legitimate!). There is an option, a FREE and UNDERSTANDABLE option, that you can use that avoids a headache. It's called Creative Commons.

What is Creative Commons? (taken from the Creative Commons site)

"All Creative Commons licenses have many important features in common. Every license helps creators — we call them licensors if they use our tools — retain copyright while allowing others to copy, distribute, and make some uses of their work — at least non-commercially. Every Creative Commons license also ensures licensors get the credit for their work they deserve. Every Creative Commons license works around the world and lasts as long as applicable copyright lasts (because they are built on copyright). These common features serve as the baseline, on top of which licensors can choose to grant additional permissions when deciding how they want their work to be used."

"Our licenses do not affect freedoms that the law grants to users of creative works otherwise protected by copyright, such as exceptions and limitations to copyright law like fair dealing. Creative Commons licenses require licensees to get permission to do any of the things with a work that the law reserves exclusively to a licensor and that the license does not expressly allow. Licensees must credit the licensor, keep copyright notices intact on all copies of the work, and link to the license from copies of the work. Licensees cannot use technological measures to restrict access to the work by others."

Types of licenses 

By answering a series of questions on the Creative Commons site, you are provided with a license that best suits your needs. In short, the licenses include combination of how much a person will allow their work to be "tweaked" by others (derivatives), attribution, and whether or not the work can be used for commercial purposes. 

Attribution (CC BY)
Attribution Share Alike (CC BY-SA)
Attribution No Derivatives (CC BY-ND)
Attribution Non-Commercial (CC BY-NC)
Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike (CC BY-NC-SA)
Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives (CC BY-NC-ND)


The license that has been developed for The Book Cove appears at the bottom of every page:

Attribution-NonCommercial CC BY-NC
Creative Commons License


This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, and although their new works must also acknowledge you and be non-commercial, they don’t have to license their derivative works on the same terms.

This is a fairly general licence that I notice on many blogs. I chose this one because I do not mind if my content is shared or expanded upon, as long as I am given credit.


Is it really worth it?

I'm putting this out there because I notice that many of the blogs that I visit do not have a CC. Whether it's because they do not know about the benefits of having one or they don't think their content is worth a CC - I do not know. 

What I do know is that everyone should be concerned about infringement. New cases pop up every day about bloggers posting pictures, text, and links - completely unaware that they are doing anything wrong until a legal notice shows up in the mailbox. If you determine "worth" as time, money, headaches, etc. then YES - a CC has a lot of worth!

For the most part, problems like this can be avoided by making sure that your site clearly indicates what is okay and what is not okay for others to use and vice versa. Are there loopholes and special circumstances surrounding CC? Of course. However, taking simple steps to at least deter thieves while protecting yourself is worth the shot. Especially since it's FREE and takes less than 5 minutes to do via the Creative Commons site!



By the way, feel free to pass this information on to anyone who could benefit from it ;-)

Book Blitz: A Special Love by Krissy Bells

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

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Krissy Bells was born and raised in the Detroit metro area. A former school secretary, she now spends her days as a stay-at-home mom. She is passionate about her family and friends, her Dachshund named Harry, and anything topped with cheese or chocolate. Krissy can be contacted at authorkrissybells@gmail.com. Thank you for reading!













The inspiration behind her novel, A Special Love:

The story of, A Special Love, began to form in my mind when I was lucky enough in life, to stumble upon a job at a school for special needs students. While working there I spent my days laughing, smiling, and crying too. I fell in love with not only the students but their families as well. I recently left my position after having a baby, to be a stay-at-home mom. At that time, a family member began publishing and inspired my decision to actually start writing. I had always wanted to focus on young adult/teen stories, and missing the students I had grown so attached to, I continued to develop the story of a family with an autistic son, and their relationships.

In my time working with special needs students I was often a witness to the struggles they faced and that of their families. Every parent can’t help but have expectations of what their child’s life will be. A parent’s love adapts, grows, and transitions with their child. In this story the family begins to fall apart. When you are the sister, brother, mother, father, or friend to a special needs child or adult, you are often many things; a caretaker, advocate, janitor, nurse. But, those roles always come second to your primary relationship as a sister, brother, mother, father, or friend. I was amazed to see that while the families I encountered faced numerous struggles, they were most often met with smiles, selflessness, and strength.

This novel, is a love letter to any family facing trials and tribulations, with a reminder that while it is easy to focus on the hardships of life, the gift of acceptance and love is what it is really all about. The joy, hard work, and sacrifice that I was able to experience in my career were a true testament to the meaning of family and an illustration that every person is unique, gifted, and one of a kind. As I worked with our special needs and particularly autistic students, it became clear to me that it wasn’t always about their accomplishments, but often their journey to get there. This story is the depiction of one family and I only hope that others will be able to relate. 



(Blurb): When Robert Adler and Meredith Conrad fall in love, all that is left for them to do is prepare to live a fairy-tale life. With the blessing of their second child, a son named Michael, everything they have always dreamed of begins to become a reality. But his autism diagnosis is something they never anticipated. The struggle they face after the diagnosis puts a strain on their family that begins to tear them apart. Years later, Michael begins high school, and the true love his older sister Ann Marie finds there helps bring her insight and appreciation of Michael’s unique gifts and identity. It might be just what is needed to put their family back together.


Goodreads
Amazon

Blog Talk: Do you know what auto share is and how to best use it?

Monday, March 31, 2014

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Something that I once stumbled upon was how to enable auto-post to social media sites when using blogger (also available on other sites). What it does is create a direct link to social media accounts and automatically updates the accounts with new posts from your blog via RSS feed.  Some may not know about this feature and its pros and cons. If you are one of those, I hope this post is helpful.

This a great for a few reasons:

1.) It's a huge time saver
2.) Memory lapses won't stop your various social audiences from knowing what's new
3.) It's a huge time saver


A lot of times I have scheduled posts on my blog. Because I work during the day (during the time when I would normally have my highest visitor response when posting) I try to make sure that I have a scheduled post ready to go at a certain time.

The great thing about RSS feeds on blogs is that whether you have scheduled posts or manual posts, you can create a set-up to automatically update your social media sites with the posts as well.

Scheduled posts can be a blog-life-saver in a busy world. If I'm away from a computer for a few days, One thing I don't want to have to do is go through at the end of however many days and update all of my social media accounts with these posts.  

Why? It's not because I'm being lazy. It's reader overload.





1.) Multiple posts get hidden in news feeds. Those that use Facebook for business know that it's pretty easy to get hidden in news feeds as "unimportant". More-so, readers just start skipping posts because they all get lumped together as one post with a "read more like this" option below the post. That requires followers to have the want to click through the hidden posts. I know that I am unlikely to do this myself, unless I happen to see an interesting title. So I don't expect my followers to be any different.
flagged as spam if you have multiple posts or


2.) The posts may never see the light of day. Trying to stand out? It's hard when there's 340 million tweets sent every day. There are times when posting multiple times in a row on Twitter work. Other times it does not. Each person has to figure out their own successful social media strategies. Timing posts can help with that.


While auto-sharing can be great, the cons should be considered as well:


  • How many times per day and week you are posting on your blog? Again, the two points that I mentioned above about reader overload and getting lost in cyber-space. Spacing posts hours apart can help, but is not a guarantee when using 3rd party apps on Facebook and Twitter.
  • What does your time schedule allow for social media management?  Auto-sharing doesn't mean that you should neglect personal interaction with your audience.
  • Is it really necessary? There's no use going through the process of setting up auto-share if you don't plan on using it to your advantage.
  • Are you particular about title content?  Dashboard applications like Buffer or Deliver It (as mentioned below) are customizable so you're auto-share posts can contain hashtags. This is nice, but that means you have to manage these as well, which takes away from the simplicity of auto-share. Singular applications (like what I use) simply share the title with blog link.  It's quick and easy and requires no management. However, I may not be reaching an optimal audience.

So, what's right for you?


If your blog does not have multiple posts in a week, or if you have multiple posts in one day, then auto-share might not be best for you (especially on Facebook). Auto-posting to social media could still come in handy as it allows everything (meaning all social accounts) to go live at once. And because you can pick what time your blog post gets published via the scheduler, you're also picking what time each post goes live on social media. 

Thus, this might be more geared towards those like me that find themselves in time crunches with numerous posts to promote on multiple social sites. The less time I spend posting on social media, the more time I have to work on my blog. (Which is why I chose to use simple singular applications over dashboard applications, though I may change after looking more into some options)

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If you don't know about auto-sharing to social media, below is a quick and easy tutorial of how to automatically update various social media sites using singular applications.

Google +: 
Since Blogger is a Google product it is very easy to set this up. I'm not familiar with WordPress plug-ins.
 
1.) In Blogger bar - click Google+       2.) Check the Auto-share box      3.) Your done!

                                                                                    















Twitter: 
Since this uses RSS feeds, this works on various blogging platforms. This not only posts your blog to twitter but you can add your Facebook feed so that non-blog posts on Facebook get posted to twitter as well. Even better!





- go to www.twitterfeed.com
- set up a free account
- you will need to know the RSS feed address to your blog. If you are not sure about one, go to www.feedburner.com and set one up for free. It's really easy. You type in your website's address and it gives you the URL to your RSS feed.


Facebook: 
Use this with caution. As I mentioned above, Facebook will start hiding/lumping posts when more than 2 are posted from the same 3rd party site in a day. If you are an active blogger with multiple posts in the same day, this option may not be the best.




- Create a Networked Blogs profile for free
- Install the Add-on to Facebook

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SIDE NOTE - Because Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ sites utilize feeds to update posts, they are the only (common) ones that I know of where you can set-up automatic blog posting. Apps like Deliver It (dlvr.it) and Buffer utilize an all in one dashboard to better organize auto-sharing on social media (including LinkedIn), versus using a different application for Facebook and Twitter like I have. I have not used dlvr or Buffer as I am content with the applications that I am currently using. For some really good information on these two and more, visit MakeUseOf's post.

Hopefully this post helps those of you that did not know that these options were available. They really do make life a little easier, however, you should take into account the possible cons mentioned. Additionally, if you use sites like Pinterest to promote your blog (where RSS feeds are not used), then this method of auto-sharing does not help.



News at The Book Cove: A look at what's going on at our end and opportunities for authors and book bloggers!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

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It has been a while since I posted a general update. So I figured now would be a good time to bring our readers up to speed. I'll try to keep it short and sweet! (Keyword try)

Review Status:

As of April 1st, 2014 our book reviews will be slowing down. I (Jessi) am the primary reviewer here and I have a busy work schedule kicking in that requires some major prioritization (hello MS degree!). I have been selecting a few books every now and then to provide me with some nightly decompressing material - but even those few selections will be dwindling unfortunately.

 Sigh. I know. Life decisions. Books or a degree ;-)





Guest Review Opportunity:

But guess what?! That means that there are plenty of opportunities for guest reviews to be posted! If interested in reviewing a book (The Book Cove can provide eBooks), please email us and we'll discuss some options!







Book Tours and Promos:

While it is unlikely that a review will be provided by us for a blog tour, book promos are still welcome. If you have book information (old, new, ARC, cover reveals, special discounts, etc) feel free to email us the information and we can set up a date. Wednesdays are our usual "promo" days. So contact us soon about setting up a date as there are only so many available!






Guest Post Opportunity:

Interested in writing a blog post for The Book Cove? We accept guest posts (as long as they can relate to books in some way). Authors, bloggers, and readers are welcome! Mondays are our usual Guest Post days, but days are flexible. Contact us for more information about guest posting.

Book Talk: To rate or not to rate

Monday, March 17, 2014

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"Is it fair to use a scale rating system?" This is a common topic among those in the book world and I figured that I'd throw out my two cents on how and why I rate books.

I don't think there is any right or wrong answer. What it comes down to is doing what you're most comfortable with. It seems like the general "pro" group consensus is that rating provides a reference point for readers while the "con" consensus group is that rating is so subjective that it loses its meaning. I agree with both points.

When you look at sites that use rating systems (Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble), it's hard to tell whether or not you should trust the rating. Some fans will flood the sites with biased ratings to promote the book. Opponents then come in and mark down all of the good reviews while leaving one star ratings. With those sites, it's usually the 3 star ratings that I trust the most. I guess I figure that the reviewer found both good and bad points (as a good reviewer does) and is willing to point both of those out. Verses the heavily negative 1 stars or overly praising 5 stars. The other problem with these sites is that users that don't typically use a rating system are forced to; possibly skewing ratings away from a normal curve (if we want to get into statistics...which I don't). When I use these sites for finding new reads, I typically go by reviews rather than stars for these reasons. Which brings us back to why many reviewers don't like rating systems in the first place.

The Book Cove does use a rating system, however, and here's my philosophy behind it. I like to keep myself as consistent and unbiased as possible when reviewing. While I will always write my personal likes and dislikes about a book in a review, I do not use those to determine a rating. The rating system is broken down by fundamental building blocks of a book. Either the book includes them, or it doesn't.


Fundamental errors meaning grammar, flow of plot, readability, etc.

Another reason why I use a rating system is because I figure my readers can adjust my rating to their likes and dislikes based on my review. For example, they have read enough of the same books as I have to know that what I call a 3 is more of a 4 to them, or vice versa. I know that I do this with blogs that I read frequently and don't think of it as a "hassle" when trying to "decode" another's rating system.

Basically what it comes down to in my mind is using the written review to really judge whether or not I will like a book - regardless of rating - and then using the rating of the book to determine overall quality of the book. "Likeability" and quality may or may not follow each other, but both are there for each person to make a decision on.
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So how about you? As readers or reviewers, what do you find helpful/not helpful regarding rating and review systems?




Book Blitz and Guest Post: Love,Lies and the DA by Rebecca Rohman

Thursday, March 13, 2014

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(Blurb): Jada McLean is about to get married in nine days, when she walks in on her fiancé in a little more than a compromising position. Days later, she’s on a trip that she intends to be relaxing and a prelude to her fresh start, when she runs into the rude, obnoxious, but gorgeous Jonathan Kole.

Jonathan Kole is San Francisco’s newest District Attorney. When he finds himself deeply
attracted to a stunning beauty, he has no idea that she’s about to get into BIG trouble with
the law—and he’ll be the one presiding over her trial. To make matters worse, his father is the lawyer representing her in the high-profile case.

When a series of events force them together over New Year’s weekend, Jonathan’s feelings
and ethics will come into question, while Jada comes to terms with the fact that she is falling
for the man that will be responsible for attempting to put her behind bars… Little do they
know, they're both about to fall into a whirlwind so deep, it will send both their lives spiraling out of control. 



Book Information

Published: February 16th, 2014 (Rebecca Rohman)
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age Group: Adult
Length: 554pp
Version: eBook and Paperback
Warning: Sexually explicit content

Book Trailer






Excerpt: Their first meeting...


The pretty, young host escorts me to a table for two near a window with panoramic water vistas. Within minutes, a server takes my order. As my café latté arrives, I can’t help but overhear a rude exchange between a man and his leggy blonde with the host that escorted me to my seat.
“Look, I reserved that exact seat yesterday,” he says.
“I apologize sir, but that seat is not available,” the host replies.
“Well, if you were doing your job in the first place, it would be available to me, wouldn’t it?”
“Sir, I’m sorry for the error, but it wasn’t written here. If you like, you can wait at the bar where I’ll be
happy to serve you a complimentary beverage of your choice while you wait, or I can accommodate
you at an available table now.”
I can’t help but look to see who this asshole is.
Everything about him smells of money. From the designer jeans that hug his ass, all the way to the
Jaeger Reverso watch that graces his wrist. He’s hot—probably in his mid to late thirties, tall, broad
shoulders, piercing grey eyes, and a head of black hair like I’ve never seen.
Ordinarily, I might have found him attractive, if only he would just shut up.
Everything he says to that poor young girl, who has tried so hard to rectify someone else’s mistake,
pisses me off. He’s been nothing but rude and condescending. As I look up, my eyes land straight on
his. Then I realize they’re all looking my way. I turn around to look behind me, but there is no one. Then
it dawns on me that he’s arguing with the host about my seat.
My meal arrives. I mind my business, and I proceed to enjoy it. Before I know it, I see him approaching
my table. I pretend not to notice and focus all my attention on my lemon ricotta pancakes before me,
but within seconds, he stands beside me.
“Excuse me, my name is Jonathan Kole. Would you mind terribly if you were seated elsewhere?”
My eyes travel across my pancakes to his broad thighs, to his crotch, and to what I suspect is an
extremely trimmed stomach beyond his black ribbed sweater. Then I stare into his grey eyes in silence.
“You see, my girlfriend and I met right here at this table a year ago, and I wanted to propose to her.


Author Guest Post
How Love, Lies & The D.A. came about (by Rebecca Rohman)

I worked on this book for the last year and the whole time, I could hear my mentor’s voice in my head.
“Telling not showing,” she’d say, or “I’m not convinced… not feeling it here.”
With this book I pushed myself, and tried to blow everything I knew I was guilty of with my first book (at least during the writing phase), out the park. My aim was to make the reader and my mentor, laugh and cry. I want readers to feel happy and sad, and at times I want them to feel angry—I want them to experience what the characters feel.

I’ve always had the most difficult time being funny in my writing and it was something I really strived to do in certain parts of this book. I think I’ve succeeded—it’s up to bookworms out there to decide. I’m silly, I laugh at my own jokes and depending on my husband to tell me if something was funny or not in a romance novel, was a complete waste of time.

He always gave the same blah response, “It’s cute.” Not necessarily what you want to hear when attempting to write a funny scene. The scenes where I wanted to evoke tears were the most difficult however. I had to get myself in “the zone”. That meant privacy, quiet, soft or no music, then I’d put myself in my characters shoes and I’d imagine how they’d feel.

In some instances, it was as simple as going back to a sad time in my life, but in others, I used my own fears— how I thought I would react in a given situation to write those scenes. I thought if I felt what the characters did; it would translate to the readers too. When I found myself bawling while my fingertips scrambled across the keyboard, I truly believed I would succeed in roping the reader in.

My aim was to keep readers engaged from page one all the way to the very end. Love, Lies & The
D.A. will take people through a myriad of emotions—from lighthearted moments, to intense situations, from close encounters to steamy love scenes. Readers will laugh, and they will cry. I hope they thoroughly enjoy the heartwarming and sometimes heart-wrenching journey that Jada and Jonathan go through as they turn through the pages of my book.


About Rebecca


Rebecca Rohman is a wife and designer currently living in the Northeastern United States.
She was a Sales Manager for a tourist magazine, and for many years prior, she was involved in marketing for a jewelry company, and later for a fine wine distributor.

About fifteen years ago, she started writing her first romance novel, Uncorked, just to purely
entertain herself. It was not until early in 2012 when she decided to complete it and share it
with the world. The story was published in February of 2013. Love, Lies & The D.A. is her
second novel.

Connect with Rebecca

Cover Reveal and Book Blitz: Orange Blossom by Sarah Daltry

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

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Orange Blossom will be the penultimate title in Sarah Daltry's bestselling New Adult romance series, Flowering. The reading order and information about the other titles follows. 

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orange_blossomYou already know their stories: Lily, the perfect princess, always living someone else's life. And Jack, the broken boy, who had stopped believing in hope. Somehow, though, they found each other and what was one night blossomed into a love story. Now, a year later, Jack and Lily are dreaming of the future. Despite all of his promises to himself that he would never be indebted to anyone, Jack makes a new promise - this time to Lily - that he will be there for her forever. But when life unravels for them, he starts to pull away, and Lily worries he's out of reach for good. When Jack does the unthinkable, Lily is left destroyed. Is it possible to have a happily ever after? Does love ever really save anyone? 

"I’ve never understood a year. A year was always a measurement of something bad for me. A year in my father’s prison sentence, a year since my mom’s death, a year left of school before I could get far, far away from here. Now, as I look down the end of my college career, with only a little more than a semester to go, a year seems like something magical. It has been a year since Lily chose me, since she sat with me on the old swing set and made a decision that I was worthy of her. And every minute of the entire year has been better than the last."

Book Information: 

Title: Orange Blossom
Author: Sarah Daltry
Cover Design: Shoutlines Design
Age Group: 18+ New Adult 
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: April 4, 2014

Listen to the Playlist or watch the Trailer!

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Series Reading Order: 

Forget Me Not, Lily of the Valley, and Blue Rose can be read in any order. There is some crossover in scenes between the titles, but each stands alone as one character's story. Star of Bethlehem is a direct continuation from Forget Me Not and Lily of the Valley. Orange Blossom and Ambrosia (releasing June 6, 2014) assume readers have read the other four titles and read as sequels. In essence, the first three are #1, Star of Bethlehem is #1.5, Orange Blossom is #2, and Ambrosia is #3.

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The Book Cove has had the pleasure of reading some of Sarah's work. Check out our "excellent glass rating" review of Forget Me Not!


Sarah's other work:


FMNTitle: Forget Me Not (Lily’s Story)
Author: Sarah Daltry
Cover: Shoutlines Design
18+ New Adult contemporary romance

This is a coming of age story, but it isn't always sweet and innocent. If dirty talk, bedroom toys, and threesomes offend you... this is not your book. 

"No one tells you when you start school just how homesick you will be, or how hard it will be to start life over with no direction and no friends or family. No one says that becoming your own person is terrifying." 

(Blurb): I never wanted anything but Derek, my brother's best friend. When I chose a college, it didn't seem to matter that he would be an hour away. We could survive it. After all, we were in love. But almost immediately, things change between us. I blame myself. Maybe I'm just not sure how to be a girlfriend and independent. Life seems to be getting away from me - and then there's Jack, the guy down the hall. He's rude and vulgar and my parents would be shocked by him, yet every single time I see him, I feel like I'm being pulled toward him. It's physical, sure, but there's something in Jack's eyes - and I want to know him. I know I don't always make the right choices, and I'm the only person at fault when everything falls apart. How do I tell Derek, the guy who was supposed to be everything, that I don't feel like fighting for him anymore? And do I run to Jack, when I know his past is way too much for me to handle when I've just turned 19? Finally, where do I end up in all of this? Can I be more than just someone else's idea of what I should be? 


Buy it Now! Listen to the Playlist or watch the Trailer!

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LotVTitle: Lily of the Valley (Jack’s story)
Author: Sarah Daltry
Cover: Shoutlines Design
Age Group: 18+ New Adult 
Genre: contemporary romance


Jack's story isn't pretty. He's suicidal, depressed, and he uses meaningless sex and alcohol to survive. However, the story is about finding light in the darkness, but sometimes the road there isn't always easy to walk. 

  "No one tells you about pain. They tell you that it hurts, that sometimes it's consuming. What they don't tell you is that it's not the pain that can kill you. It's the uncomfortable numbness that follows, the weakness in your body when you realize your lungs may stop taking in air and you just can't exert enough energy to care. It's the way taste and color and smell fade from the world and all you're left with is a sepia print of misery. That's when the shift starts - the movement from passive to active. I fall asleep, hoping that the morning will bring back the pain. At least the pain is a thing."

 (Blurb): I'm a plague, a cancer. My mom is dead - and my father is in prison for it. I survived high school because college was my way out. I needed to escape, to get away from my family and the people who tortured me, but it hasn't grown any easier. I don't pretend that I'm a good person. I drink far more than I should, and I use my best friend, Alana, because together, we thrive on destroying each other - as well as the parts of us we hate. I don't believe in love, but sex is fun and it also makes me feel something. The morning I see Lily, the beautiful princess who smells inexplicably like strawberries every time I see her, I realize I'm in trouble. I should hate her. I want to hate her, because the alternative terrifies me. However, as she continues to crash into my life (often literally), I can't avoid feeling something that is the one thing I swore I would never feel. I can't fall in love, because people like me don't live in a world where love saves anyone. She just won't go away, though, and I don't know if I can keep running. The voices and the darkness hover over me and they threaten to bring me back to the safety of my hate, but the stupid scent of strawberries lingers on the horizon, as something like hope. 

  Buy it Now! Listen to the Playlist or watch the Trailer!

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BR_frontTitle: Blue Rose (Alana’s story)
Author: Sarah Daltry
Cover Design: Shoutlines Design
Warning: This book deals with topics of abuse and may trigger reactions in people who have experienced those things in their own lives. It remains a story about healing, but it's not always an easy journey.

  "Four. My life has been shaped by four people. Four men, to be more specific. My father, my stepfather, my best friend, and my boyfriend. The first two shaped it in horrible ways, but what I am, who I am, is all because of four men."

 (Blurb): Over the last twenty years, I've learned how to keep secrets. It doesn't really matter, since everyone already seems to think they know everything about me. So I hide. I avoid confrontation, I treat Xanax like a magic pill that will make it all go away, and I become everything they think I am. A slut. A whore. Nothing but trash. I can only name two guys who have ever made me feel like I was more than that. Jack is my best friend and I've loved him since I met him. Now, though, he's in love... with someone else, and I guess I need to get over him. Somehow. And then there's Dave. The guy I never gave a chance. The guy I used almost as much as people used me, because I wanted to pretend I was someone worth loving. Two years have passed since we last spoke, but I don't know how to stop thinking about him. My new therapist is making me face my past, and she tells me that life inevitably changes without our permission. I believe it, but I know what I am. I hear what she's saying to me, and I want to try again with Dave, to help Jack find joy, to love myself, and to move on. I just wonder if anyone can do that, really. 

Buy it Now! Listen to the Playlist or watch the Trailer!

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SoBTitle: Star of Bethlehem
Author: Sarah Daltry
Cover: Shoutlines Design
18+ NA contemporary romance
This is a holiday novella-length story that follows Forget Me Not and Lily of the Valley.

"With you, Jack, it was the first time I ever felt real. It was the first time anyone looked at me and saw substance. It was the first time I wanted to make someone see me."

  Jack: New Year's Eve. I've somehow managed to get here, and now I'm wearing a hideous and unreasonably itchy sweater, because I want to impress Lily's family. I want to do anything for this girl who has made me believe in second chances.

  Lily: The house is beautiful and shining with light, but it feels empty. At least until Jack gets here. I know how desperately he wants this - a family, love, a home. If I can be the person who can give it to him, it's all I need, but I hope I can keep him from seeing how hollow it all really is.

  Buy it Now! Listen to the Playlist or watch the Trailer!

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About the Author: 

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Sarah Daltry writes about the regular people who populate our lives. She's written works in various genres - romance, erotica, fantasy, horror. Genre isn't as important as telling a story about people and how their lives unfold. Sarah tends to focus on YA/NA characters but she's been known to shake it up. Most of her stories are about relationships - romantic, familial, friendly - because love and empathy are the foundation of life. It doesn't matter if the story is set in contemporary NY, historical Britain, or a fantasy world in the future - human beings are most interesting in the ways they interact with others. This is the principle behind all of Sarah's stories. Sarah has spent most of her life in school, from her BA and MA in English and writing to teaching both at the high school and college level. She also loves studying art history and really anything because learning is fun. When Sarah isn't writing, she tends to waste a lot of time checking Facebook for pictures of cats, shooting virtual zombies, and simply staring out the window. 

Sarah has also written Bitter Fruits, an urban fantasy romance, and Backward Compatible, a gamer geek romantic comedy. 

Connect with Sarah:

Book Talk: Why epilogues are ruining my characters' lives

Monday, March 10, 2014

| | | 9 comments
Recently I was on a blog hop where the topic of "plot change-ups" came up. The point was to take a book that you didn't particularly like and re-vision the plot. Interestingly, the topic of epilogues popped up a lot. As it turns out, many readers took issue not with the main plot but with how the characters' lives progressed in the epilogue. Thinking about this, I too realized that a lot of my mixed feelings about a book have come from the "life revelations" experienced by characters in the epilogue.

I don't know exactly what it is about an epilogue that can sway some readers' feelings in so few pages, but I think it has to do with a case of Too Much Information.

Here's where I think epilogues throw people like me off. Reading involves a full immersion of yourself as a character(s). Even if an author lays out the exact description of every character and scene, readers still find yourself  injecting personal thoughts and ideas into a story. For instance, there may be a MC described as a tall blonde and I may instead envision her as a brunette. This is because that is what I am and I like to inject my traits into the story. Just because something was wrote one way doesn't mean that I see it that way.

Reading is world building. For as much as the author describes everything going on, there is still an individual freedom for the reader to digress from what was written and build their own world. That's what draws a reader in and excites them. Because of this, we become so emotionally invested into a book/character that we feel a part of it. Like what we're thinking is coming to life - because we're interpreting motives and ideas in our own way.



So here you are. A couple hundred of pages into a book. Hours of reading time. Days of character immersion and world building. And you've reached the end. That sad last page of the last chapter with a squiggly symbol after the last paragraph. You take a deep breath and let out a heavy sigh. One filled with the sadness of ending another book, but the happiness of living vicariously through another life much more exciting than yours. But it's okay that the book is finished. Because you have hopes and dreams for these characters. That the lovers stay together forever and explore the world. That the brother comes back from war. That the two people that wrecked each others' lives never cross paths again...



But no...what's this? No...NO! It can't be! There are still three more pages! What is this sorcery?!

AN EPILOGUE.



And guess what?

The the lovers end up with 2.4 kids, a white picket fence, colonial style home, a Labrador puppy, and office jobs.



But what? NO! That's not what was supposed to happen! They were never supposed to settle and have kids because they were supposed to travel the world together - just like they always wanted! And they would have never given up the Manhattan high-rise with a view of central park for a patch of green! And absolutely NO WAY would they have an office job! They're supposed to be traveling the world dammit! AND WHAT? They killed off his kind, brave, broken-hearted brother?! WHY WOULD THEY DO THAT?!

And just like that your fictitious world has been crushed. The characters that you thought you knew so well just stabbed you in the back. You feel betrayed. Because you know that they would not have chosen this life. They were forced by an evil hand! And now they're living in misery. Your poor beloved characters are slowly dying. The life leaving their eyes. And all you can do is sit back and watch...stunned...with no place to turn to for help...because all of their bright and shiny future doors have been closed.




It's the fault of an evil-doer who goes by the name of 'Epilogue'.

*Sigh*

And that is why epilogues are ruining MY characters' lives.

Feature and Follow #13 (Older book suggestion)

Friday, March 7, 2014

| | | 10 comments


What is Feature and Follow?


F&F is a weekly blog hop that consists of book bloggers. It is hosted byAlison Can Read and Parajunkee. The rules of involvement are simple:
1.) Link up on the blog hop Linky gadget below this post, 2.) follow the hosts via their network of choice, 3.) follow the weekly featured blog(s) via their network of choice (listed as "featured" in the blog list below), and lastly, 4) check out the rest of the blogs on the hop! If you become a new follower of a blog, let them know and they will follow you back.

The F&F is a great way to network, meet other book bloggers, and gain new followers. Even more so, it's a great way to drive fun discussion on a weekly topic.


This week, the topic is:

Recommend some of your favorite back-list books - books that are at least a few years old (I’m thinking 5-10 years old rather than classics).

There are two FF posts today. One by Jessi (The Book Cove) and one by author L.A. Kelley (co-blogger). Each have their respective follow sites.

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L.A. Kelley's recommendation
One book I heartily recommend is Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris (2001). A collection of autobiographical essays they range from the snort-milk-out-your-nose-funny to the more touching and sweet. The book is split into two parts. Part One concerns his childhood, family, and growing up gay in the South. It’s wry and poignant with a “bless your heart” humor. (If you don’t understand the term, y’all don’t live around here.) The title comes from Part Deux which entails essays on his move to Paris with his lover, and the trials of adapting to a foreign culture. His attempt to learn French from a teacher who makes Severus Snape look like Mahatma Gandhi is less than a resounding success.


(Blurb): Anyone that has read NAKED and BARREL FEVER, or heard David Sedaris speaking live or on the radio will tell you that a new collection from him is cause for jubilation. His recent move to Paris from New York inspired these hilarious new pieces, including 'Me Talk Pretty One Day', about his attempts to learn French from a sadistic teacher who declares that 'every day spent with you is like having a caesarean section'. His family is another inspiration. 'You Can't Kill the Rooster' is a portrait of his brother, who talks incessant hip-hop slang to his bewildered father. And no one hones a finer fury in response to such modern annoyances as restaurant meals presented in ludicrous towers of food and cashiers with six-inch fingernails.
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L. A. Kelley is the author of The Naughty List. She’s married with three kids and lives in Florida where the heat and humidity has driven everyone slightly mad. She never cleans under her sofa. You can follow her at http://lakelleythenaughtylist.blogspot.com


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Jessi's recommendation
I took a couple of philosophy classes during my undergrad (yes, willingly) and one of the books that was on our reading list was House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III (1999). The reasoning behind this was to discuss man vs. man. What makes one person/group/nationality's mindset so different from another. And is it really that different? Or are we made to perceive the difference through inherent judgmental means?


Stepping away from the deep philosophical theories - This is very much a thought provoking book that requires you to step into another person's shoes and asks "What would you do?" It covers issues of race, religion, nationality, rights, morals, and ethics. Most importantly, it shows that situations are not always as they seem, and not to judge a book by its cover.


I highly recommend this to anyone from high school on up.



(Blurb): The National Book Award finalist, Oprah Book Club pick, #1 New York Times bestseller and basis for the Oscar-nominated motion picture.

On a road crew in California, a former colonel in the Iranian Air Force sees a way to restore his family's dignity in an attractive bungalow available on county auction. But the house's owner, a recovering alcoholic and addict down on her luck, will fight for the one thing she has left. And her lover, a married cop, will be driven to extremes to win her love. In this masterpiece of American realism and Shakepearean consequence, Andre Dubus III's unforgettable characters careen toward inevitable conflict, their tragedy painting a shockingly true picture of the country we live in today.








Feature and Follow #12 (Plot change-up)

Monday, March 3, 2014

| | | 22 comments
What is Feature and Follow?

F&F is a weekly blog hop that consists of book bloggers. It is hosted byAlison Can Read and Parajunkee. The rules of involvement are simple:
1.) Link up on the blog hop Linky gadget below this post, 2.) follow the hosts via their network of choice, 3.) follow the weekly featured blog(s) via their network of choice (listed as "featured" in the blog list below), and lastly, 4) check out the rest of the blogs on the hop! If you become a new follower of a blog, let them know and they will follow you back.

The F&F is a great way to network, meet other book bloggers, and gain new followers. Even more so, it's a great way to drive fun discussion on a weekly topic.

This week, the topic is:

Change the Plot. If you could, what book would you change the ending or a plot thread? Go ahead and do it...change it.

There are two FF posts today. One by Jessi (The Book Cove) re-writing Thief by Tarryn Fisher) and one by author L.A. Kelley (co-blogger) writing her hilarious take on Twilight!
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Tweaking Twilight (by L.A. Kelley)

The instant Edward changed Bella into a vampire he sensed something had gone awry. “Are you feeling all right, my love?” he asked with tender concern. “You seem tense.”

“I suppose your change went perfectly,” she sneered, “because you are so goddamn special.” 

“The change can be a trifle disorienting at first,” he said lovingly, although a trifle confused at her attitude. “Perhaps, if you sipped a little blood…”

“Don’t tell me what to do!” she shrieked. “You’re always telling me what to do. And stop sparkling in my face. It’s so @#%&$ annoying.”

“My love, you know I can’t help it—”

“You’re doing it on purpose,” she sobbed. “You never listen to me.”

A sinking feeling settled in the pit of his stomach. Oh, no. It couldn’t be. “Bella…my love…how close are you to your period?”

“That’s your answer to everything, isn’t it?”

Edward swallowed hard and forced a smile. “Bella…?”

“Okay, fine,” she snapped. “I have a little PMS. It will be gone in few days. Deal with it.”

Edward turned paler than usual. His sparkle died. “Bella, you have been gifted with immortality. Nothing about you will ever change.”

Bella’s eyes narrowed. Her nostrils flared. “You mean,” she hissed, “I’ll have PMS forever?”

“I explained all this before.” Edward regretted the sharpness of his tone as soon as the words left his lips.

Bella picked up a letter opener on the desk. She ran her thumb along the edge. “You’re saying it’s my fault.”

“No, no.” One of Edward’s facial muscles twitched uncontrollably as he backed toward the door. “Of course not.” Using superspeed he bolted across the threshold an instant before the letter opener imbedded in the wall.

“Burn in hell, you pasty-faced twerk,” Bella screeched.

****

People in Forks still remark on the strange day when two blurs raced through the center street of town and then disappeared into the woods. Some say on moonless nights, you can hear the haunting echoes of a woman shriek, “Sparkle this, asshole!”

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L. A. Kelley is the author of The Naughty List. She’s married with three kids and lives in Florida where the heat and humidity has driven everyone slightly mad. She never cleans under her sofa. You can find her at http://lakelleythenaughtylist.blogspot.com ---------->







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How Olivia and Caleb's relationship in Thief should have played out (by Jessi)
I WAS almost tempted to pick Veronica Roth's Divergent and rewrite the controversial ending to the trilogy. But I won't ;-) 

Instead I'm going with Thief (Love me with Lies series) by Tarryn Fisher. As much as I loved the series overall (find my review here), it frustrated me beyond belief. I can't remember the last time I hated a certain character so much (Olivia), but yet had some deeply buried part of my brain silently rooting her on. Or at least silently rooting her on hoping that her conscience would appear. The big dislike in my review was that the timeline was confusing and exhausting. Basically these two people (Caleb and Olivia) strung each other around for ~10 years - playing mind games and sabotaging each others lives out of an obsessive "love". 

I would still keep the timeline, because it's interesting to see a character's thoughts change from when they're 18 with not many cares in the world to when they're 28 and working a highly successful job. Caleb would still start out married to "Red" and yet always wondering about the "what if" involving Olivia in his past relationship. But, this time around, Caleb would actually have memory loss from an accident (versus his pretending to in the story). Olivia would then try to take advantage of that to get back with him (as she does in the story) but it would end up being more of a revelation for her that they're completely different people now (versus them forcing themselves on each other when it's obvious that they have no chemistry outside of the bedroom). Olivia would then amicably part ways at the end and Caleb would be none the wiser of his former life with her...until the last scene when he wakes up from a coma and realizes that none of the present meetings with Olivia ever happened. But he is no longer obsessive over the "what if" factor because he knows deep down that it would have never worked out.
http://www.bloglovin.com/en/blog/9400171
And that's my re-visioning of Thief! 

Has anyone else read this series? If you haven't I highly recommend it, but be prepared to be frustrated out of your mind with emotional whiplash and vindictive characters. 





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