Melissa Amster celebrates blogging!

Celebrating all things “blogging” today is Melissa Amster, founder of the immensely popular chick lit blog, Chick Lit Central and Merryland Girl.  Before I was introduced to Melissa by Amy Bromberg, I knew of her and I certainly knew of Chick Lit Central.  It has been one of my favorite book blogs for years now.  Since getting to know Melissa better, I can say that she is extremely supportive of the genre of chick lit (duh – the name of her blog is Chick Lit Central)!  She is extremely generous to authors, both well-known and just starting out, and quite simply, she is a really nice person!  I am so happy to have her on my blog today, answering some blog-related questions.   Her answers both surprised and inspired me, but see for yourself! I especially enjoyed her answer to question #15 – you tell ‘em Melissa!

After you’re finished reading, please do yourself a favor and check out her blogs  Chick Lit Central / and Merryland Girl.

 

1. How would you describe Chick Lit Central in 140 characters?

A place where people from all over the world can discuss chick lit books, read reviews, meet authors, make friends and win new books! (Just 7 characters shy of 140…)

2.  What inspired you to start Chick Lit Central?

Having a small group of women to discuss chick lit novels with made me want to expand the conversations to include people all over the world. Then I saw other book blogs and was inspired to start my own.

3.  Are your reasons for maintaining the blog different from the reasons you began it in the first place?  If so, please explain. 

I think the reasons for beginning it in the first place are still there, especially when I meet and become friends with people I might not have normally met if I hadn’t started the blog. I’ve also become more passionate about spotlighting new authors and helping them connect with other bloggers and readers.

4.  What do you like best about being a blogger?

Being able to express myself creatively. Blogging is a LOT of work, but I love the satisfaction I get from a good interview, especially when I can come up with new ideas for questions and receive positive feedback from the authors for those questions.

5.  What are some of your favorite third party blogs and why? Do you stick to other “book” blogs or do you also like other types of blogs, for instance “beauty”, “fashion”, “cooking”, “dating” etc.

I’ve been enjoying Thought Catalog and Kveller these days. I also frequent some other book blogs, especially Booking with Manic and Chick Lit is Not Dead, who were both inspirations to me in the beginning. Book Mama is a new favorite of mine, which is why I chose to have CLC affiliate with it as sister blogs. I wish I had all the time in the world to read every blog in existence, but I usually just click on something from Facebook when the topic catches my interest.

6. How do you juggle blogging with your other responsibilities like family and/or career?

My kids go to sleep at a reasonable time and my job doesn’t extend past the work day. Also, most of the reviews (and even some interview introductions) are from our review associates and guest reviewers, so I don’t write all of them myself. I just format them when they’re done. I’ve been trying some more simplistic interview styles to make things easier on myself, as well.

7. Did you ever imagine Chick Lit Central would be as successful as it is? 

I hoped, but didn’t want to put all my eggs in one basket. I am thrilled with the feedback I’ve been receiving over the blog and all the participation I see in the giveaways. Just hearing someone say it’s their favorite chick lit blog is enough satisfaction for me!

8. Tell us a little bit about your Merryland Girl blog. 

I started it at the end of 2009 as an outlet to share my thoughts on life beyond marriage and motherhood. It was just another way to express myself. I currently post two entries a week. One is “52 Stories,” which allows me to feature a different person each week so people can learn more about them. The other is a blog project I do with three other friends. We rotate who picks the topic and then we all share our thoughts on that particular topic, linking in to each other’s blogs. It’s a nice way for me to think of stuff I might not have given any consideration to writing about before.

9. Do you ever disagree with the reviews your associate reviewers have posted? If so, is it difficult for you to see these reviews posted on your site?

I usually don’t read the same books since I don’t have time to personally review everything out there. I just ask that it is fair and balanced. If they think their review will hurt an author’s sales, I ask them not to review it and we’ll find other ways to feature it. Everyone has their own opinions, after all!

10.  Has an author ever complained about a review that was posted on Chick Lit Central?  Obviously, no need to be specific! 

As a matter of fact, that happened earlier in the year. The author linked to it from her blog and wrote some comments about how the reviewer didn’t know what she was talking about.

11.  How responsible do you think Chick Lit Central and book blogs in general are towards helping an author reach a bigger audience? 

I think we carry some weight because of social media. It’s not just what is written on our blog, but the work we do to showcase each blog post via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.  We aren’t getting paid for publicity work, but it’s a nice feeling to know we helped an author sell some books through our interview, review, book shelf spot, social media post, etc.

12.  I assume that you have probably corresponded with many highly successful authors either via email, phone or even face-to-face.  Any particularly memorable stories you care to share? 

I think the story that takes the cake is when I went to Jennifer Weiner’s book signing last year in DC. I raised my hand to ask a question and she called me by name! Later, some other woman was asking her something and referred to herself as “eema,” which means “mother” in Hebrew. So Jennifer asked if she was @eema2emma, which is actually my Twitter handle.

A few months ago, Jane Porter hosted a dinner for her readers in the DC area and I was thrilled to be able to attend. It was so nice to finally meet her in person. It was like meeting a celebrity! Sarah Pekkanen was also there and I enjoyed getting to chat with her again, as well. Especially since she was the first author to offer a book to review at CLC.

Finally, just being able to connect with Sue Margolis online, as I love her books. She’s so sweet too!

I have met so many wonderful authors and could spend days sharing stories about my experiences.

13. What is your favorite genre to read?  I know that the title of your blog suggests that it is “chick lit” but I also know that you read and review a variety of genres. 

It honestly is chick lit. I read other books that are not chick lit, but those are few and far between. I love Wally Lamb and Khaled Hosseini. I also don’t consider Jodi Picoult’s books to be chick lit. I read books outside of my norm for the local book club I’m in, but the story really has to grab me or I am not guaranteed to read it the whole way through. The last really good one someone chose for book club was The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. I still think about it a lot!

14.  In your opinion, how has the increasing popularity of indie authors changed the face of chick lit?

It has allowed new authors to get their books out there sooner instead of going through all the stress of finding an agent and getting published. I’ve met such cool authors that I might not have met if they didn’t have this opportunity. (One of them is interviewing me at this very moment. ;))

I think that sometimes a connection gets lost when I have to go through a publisher or publicist to interview an author. I have worked with some great publishers and publicists, but when the interview isn’t directly with the author, something personal gets lost. There was one time when we didn’t work directly with an author and she changed some of our questions to more generic ones. Everything was done through her publicist and it just felt so impersonal all-around. Another time, the publisher dropped the ball and I lost the interview opportunity as a result.

15.  How do you feel about the sentence: “chick lit is dead”?  

It’s a joke. I think chick lit is stronger than ever and the readers who visit our Facebook group and blog on a daily basis are proof of that. I even asked about the future of chick lit for our 1000 follower giveaway and the comments there are enough to say that chick lit is alive and kicking…big time!

16.  Where do you see Chick Lit Central in five years? 

I hope that it will still be going strong, but I also hope it will be less time consuming. I may eventually just have it as an all-review blog or just focus on new authors for interviews. I guess time will tell and all sorts of things could happen in five years anyway.

THANKS MELISSA!

Coming August 28th from Booktrope Publishing: Blogger Girl

What happens when your high school nemesis becomes the shining star in a universe you pretty much saved? Book blogger Kimberly Long is about to find out.

A chicklit enthusiast since the first time she read Bridget Jones’s Diary, Kim, with her blog, “Pastel is the New Black,” has worked tirelessly by night to keep the genre alive, and help squash the claim that “chick lit is dead” once and for all. Not bad for a woman who by day ekes out a meager living as a pretty, and pretty-much-nameless, legal secretary in a Manhattan law firm.

While Kim’s day job holds no passion for her, the handsome (and shaving challenged) associate down the hall is another story. Yet another story is that Hannah Marshak, one of her most hated high school classmates, has now popped onto the chicklit scene with a hot new book that’s turning heads–and pages–across the land. It’s also popped into Kim’s inbox–for review. With their ten-year high school reunion drawing near, Kim’s coming close to combustion over the hype about Hannah’s book. And as everyone around her seems to be moving on and up, she begins to question whether being a “blogger girl” makes the grade in her off-line life.

The Celebration of Bloggers Tour welcomes Francine LaSala

I’m so pleased to have Francine LaSala as part of my Celebration of Bloggers Tour today.  Francine wears many hats, including but certainly not limited to, published author, ghost writer, editor, blogger, copywriter, mother, wife, friend, and she recently added “party planner” to her resume when she co-organized the first annual Author Book Buzz event in New York City, along with me and Samantha Stroh Bailey. Today she is joining the Celebration of Bloggers Tour to talk about her role as a Blogger Girl and her blog Clippings in the Shed. See below for additional information on how to find Francine to discuss her many other talents because, let me tell you, she is one extraordinary chick. Take it away, Francine!

 

I’m a Blogger Girl!

I’m so delighted to be a part of the lead-up to the launch of BLOGGER GIRL. Am I a blogger girl? You bet!

I started blogging at the urging of publishing pros who told me it would be a great way to get people to get to know about my books–and me. I planned to write about writing and the writing process, and I called my blog Clippings in the Shed. Why?

There’s a pretty powerful scene in A Beautiful Mind in which Jennifer Connolly walks into Russell Crowe’s outdoor shed, where he’s been doing what he believes is very impressive and important work. But what she sees are hundreds of scattered, senseless news clippings, taped up at random, all marked up in a madman’s furious scrawl… Clippings in the shed. Well, this is kind of what happens in writing. You can tap away for hours on your keyboard thinking you are composing a literary symphony with every stroke… And when you return to the “greatness,” what you find is more an insane cacophony of crap.

As I continued blogging, I realized that while sometimes I could be interesting, other times, not so much. I wanted to blog regularly, but I was getting tired of the “me-ness” of it all. That’s when I decided to start doing my “Five for Friday” segment. Each week, I do an interview with a person I find interesting, and not always other writers. I’ve had a great time with it, and as soon as I get over being so lazy about blogging this summer, I plan to bring it back. There are so many people doing so many awesome things. I can’t wait to meet and greet some more. I also really enjoy hosting others for guest posts, cover reveals, you name it. I like my blog better when it’s not a “one-woman show.”

My experience with blogging has definitely been positive (I’m proud of the 7,000+ hits I’ve gotten so far), and it’s gotten me itching to start another. In a few weeks, I’ll be launching a Joy Jar blog. Quickly, for those who don’t know about it, The “Joy Jar” Project is a Facebook group I started at the beginning of 2013 to give people a place to go and post good news. We’re at about 400 members now, and growing all the time. For the blog, I envision essays from people telling their own stories about finding, experiencing, and savoring joy. I think it’s going to be awesome! (I think you should join the group. Come on over!)

So am I a blogger girl? And then some! I’ve also had the pleasure of reading BLOGGER GIRL and had this to say about it:

“Meredith Schorr’s delightfully flawed heroines have never failed to charm me, and Blogger Girl’s Kimberly Long joins Jane (A State of Jane) and Stephanie (Just Friends With Benefits) in a special place in my heart. I really connected with her, especially, I hate to admit, over the frustration of seeing her high school nemesis thrive while she floundered. A great character. So very human and full of dimension. A satisfying and enjoyable read!”

I loved it, you will, too!

Hey, if anyone reading is interested in taking part in either of these blogs, please email me directly: francine@francinelasala.com. It’ll be fun!

Thanks, again, Meri! And best of luck!!

FRANCINE LASALA has written nonfiction on every topic imaginable, from circus freaks to sex, and edited bestselling authors of all genres. She is now actively taking on clients for manuscript evaluations, editing services, copywriting (covers, blurbs, taglines, queries, and more), website and blog creation, and developing kickass social media campaigns. The author of novels Rita Hayworth’s Shoes and The Girl, The Gold Tooth & Everything, and the creator of The “Joy Jar” Project, she lives with her husband and two daughters in New York.

 

Find Francine online:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/francinelasala

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Francine-LaSala-Author/223109337705912

Blog: http://clippingsintheshed.wordpress.com/

Creative Services website: https://francinelasalaproductions.wordpress.com/

Author website: www.francinelasala.com

The “Joy Jar” Project: https://www.facebook.com/groups/318621974904272/

Buy The Girl, the Gold Tooth & Everything: viewBook.at/B009NF9VQ2

Buy Rita Hayworth’s Shoes: viewBook.at/B007ZHVB1I

 

Coming August 28th: Blogger Girl

What happens when your high school nemesis becomes the shining star in a universe you pretty much saved? Book blogger Kimberly Long is about to find out.

A chick lit enthusiast since the first time she read Bridget Jones’s Diary, Kim, with her blog, “Pastel is the New Black,” has worked tirelessly by night to keep the genre alive, and help squash the claim that “chick lit is dead” once and for all. Not bad for a woman who by day ekes out a meager living as a pretty, and pretty-much-nameless, legal secretary in a Manhattan law firm.

While Kim’s day job holds no passion for her, the handsome (and shaving challenged) associate down the hall is another story. Yet another story is that Hannah Marshak, one of her most hated high school classmates, has now popped onto the chick lit scene with a hot new book that’s turning heads–and pages–across the land. It’s also popped into Kim’s inbox–for review. With their ten-year high school reunion drawing near, Kim’s coming close to combustion over the hype about Hannah’s book. And as everyone around her seems to be moving on and up, she begins to question whether being a “blogger girl” makes the grade in her off-line life.

Welcome Eleanor Parker to the Celebration of Bloggers Tour

I am so pleased to welcome my friend Eleanor Parker (“Ellie”) to the Celebration of Bloggers Tour. You probably have not heard of Ellie yet but, trust me on this, you will. Once her historical fiction novel A Decent Woman is released to the world, she will be a household name. 

If you read my blog post introducing the Celebration of Bloggers Tour, you know that before I became an author, I blogged my personal experiences anonymously. This is how I met Ellie in 2008.  Despite an age difference that she seems to think is 30 years but is really somewhere between 15 and 20, we really related to each other, mostly in terms of dating experiences. I gave my suitors nicknames whereas if I recall, Ellie used first initials. In any event, we shared many of the same highs and lows as well as lots of laughs. I don’t write that dating blog anymore but I’m so glad that Ellie and I reconnected on Facebook. I follow her new blog, The Writing Life and am pleased to confirm that it is equally as entertaining as her previous one. The Writing Life chronicles Ellie’s journey to becoming a published author but it still includes humorous and touching anecdotes from her life. If A Decent Woman shares the same heart as Ellie’s blogs, I’m sure it will resonate with many women. Please take a minute and explore The Writing Life as well as Ellie’s post below:    

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In 2007, my son suggested I write a blog. Write a what? I immediately thought blogging was a style of dance like clogging or maybe it was a new way to meet people as I was a newly divorced 50-year old woman. Since I’d journaled long-hand a la Julia Cameron for decades, my son thought I would like it and in the process, give my writing hand a break. Son, you were right. I took to blogging like a duck to water. I bought a bright red laptop and entered a strange and magical place.

In my first blog profile, I joked that I blogged because I had a lot to say and my adult children were tired of listening to me and would no longer answer my calls. My beautiful children had graduated from college, moved out and found great jobs which made me happy, but I also knew that they wanted me to find a life and start writing again. Blogging became my new hobby and before I knew it, became my new addiction.

Soon, I made cyber friends by reading and commenting on blogs and grew a blog readership which is how I met Meri from New York City. Despite our 30-year age difference, Meri and I had something in common—dating.  My niche was dating in your 50’s and the funny stuff that happens along the way. Believe me, funny stuff ensued. I loved writing anonymously about my dates which was very therapeutic, actually. I soon discovered that dating at any age had not changed all that much–men were still from Mars and women were still from Venus.

I blogged about my dating adventures and misadventures for three years until I grew tired of dating, false starts and 60-year old men who were still finding themselves. By that time, I’d met four blogger friends in person who are still dear friends to this day, but I was listless and bored. It was time for a change. I decided to focus on moving West, buying a house and I started writing a chick lit book entitled The Prime of Ms. Ellie Parker. Believe me, I had plenty of material. However, my first novel-length manuscript, A Decent Woman, kept nudging me. I’d finished the historical fiction novel set in Puerto Rico in the 1900’s in 2006, but with divorce, working, kids heading to college and a trans-Atlantic move, I’d shoved the manuscript into a packing box and forgotten about it.

I moved into my new/old house in 2010 and when I unpacked my manuscript, I knew what I had to do. Instead of continuing with the chick lit book aka autobiography, I finished editing, A Decent Woman, which as we speak, is in the hands of a NYC agent and a small press publisher. (Prayers are welcome.) No more blogging, I thought. It was time to focus on finding an agent and publishing my first book. I queried agents every day and while waiting for the Golden Ticket and wondering if I could repaper my bathroom with rejection letters, I discovered author blogs—a brand new adventure in writing and blogging for me. Every writer and author had one, so I jumped on the bandwagon. I decided to call my new blog, The Writing Life, which would encompass my life as a writer.

Although at times my musings on life, gardening, adult children, and restoring a 107-year old house creep into my author blog, I write about the writing life as I see and experience it. What I don’t include in my author blog is my dating life. I have more material than one adult woman should have and then, some. Amen.

I still have a lot to say and have been known to exclaim, “Hey, I wrote a blog about that!” Friends will playfully roll their eyes and tolerate me and for the most part, friends, cyber friends, and family who follow my blogs, keep up with me which I very much appreciate.

Blogging is a great creative outlet and author blogs are wonderful marketing tools. I see blogging in my future as I continue to connect with readers, writers and bloggers from around the world. I am a work-in-progress and my new writer website is under construction. You’re never too old to learn, folks.

Coming August 28th: Blogger Girl

What happens when your high school nemesis becomes the shining star in a universe you pretty much saved? Book blogger Kimberly Long is about to find out.

A chick lit enthusiast since the first time she read Bridget Jones’s Diary, Kim, with her blog, “Pastel is the New Black,” has worked tirelessly by night to keep the genre alive, and help squash the claim that “chick lit is dead” once and for all. Not bad for a woman who by day ekes out a meager living as a pretty, and pretty-much-nameless, legal secretary in a Manhattan law firm.

While Kim’s day job holds no passion for her, the handsome (and shaving challenged) associate down the hall is another story. Yet another story is that Hannah Marshak, one of her most hated high school classmates, has now popped onto the chick lit scene with a hot new book that’s turning heads–and pages–across the land. It’s also popped into Kim’s inbox–for review. With their ten-year high school reunion drawing near, Kim’s coming close to combustion over the hype about Hannah’s book. And as everyone around her seems to be moving on and up, she begins to question whether being a “blogger girl” makes the grade in her off-line life.

Steph the Bookworm opens up as the Celebration of Bloggers continues!

On my blog today is Stephanie Territo, creator of Steph The Bookworm Blog. 

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I was introduced to Stephanie back in 2010 when she participated in the CLP Blog Tour for my debut novel, Just Friends with Benefits.  Both Stephanie and her mom really loved the book and so when A State of Jane was released, asking Stephanie to review it was a no-brainer.  She loved it even more than JFWB which puts a lot of pressure on Blogger Girl but I think it’s up to the challenge! Although our introduction was based on the fact that she’s a book blogger and I’m an author, it turns out we have more in common – we’re both runners too.  I am happy to report that I consider Stephanie a virtual friend separate and apart from our blogger/author relationship.  I was really pleased when Stephanie agreed to open up on my blog as part of the Blogger Girl launch.  See her touching and inspiring post below and definitely check out her blog http://www.stephthebookworm.com/.

Blogging the Big Moments by Stephanie Territo (stephthebookworm.com)

When the internet first started becoming big when I was in middle school, I was excited but apprehensive. I let my lifelong anxiety cause me a slight bit of paranoia, and I was all about anonymity. I would never use my full name, and I refused to sign up for Facebook, even when all my friends were getting obsessed. I even told them I did not want them posting pictures of me on there. Why? I guess I thought people would find me and try to stalk me or something. Yeah, right. Sometimes, there are no explanations when it comes to anxiety. Anyways, after a few years, they secretly signed me up for an account, and now I fully embrace the Facebook lifestyle. I even post tons of pictures… and no one has come after me yet (haha!). This is all to say, I started out being nervous and anonymous online, but now I let it all hang out. I finally embraced the internet.

Growing up shy and anxious, the internet started becoming an outlet where I could be myself, where I could speak without fear. Then, I started a book blog in September 2009 which is still very much active, but now combines a little personal element too. In fact, the personal posts seem to be the most popular of them all. I share all of the big moments of my life, from the bad to the good. I’ve talked about break-ups, wedding plans, losing 115 pounds, becoming a runner, meeting my fiancé… anything big that happens to me is bound to get written about. Why do I share these big moments of my life on the internet? Why do I bare my heart and soul on my blog, when I know plenty of people I’ve never even met are reading it? Because these are the moments I want to remember. I wanted to capture the way I felt when I crossed the finish line of my first 15K. I wanted to remember the day I met Jerry, the moment I first laid eyes on him at the airport. And I want my friends, these people I have met through blogging from all over the world, to share these moments with me too. My life has changed considerably since I learned to open myself up online. I have made so many friends, some that I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in real life, and others who I just chat with online. We initially connect through our love of books via our book blogs, but then our relationships grow into actual friendships, and it’s a beautiful thing. There is nothing quite like having a friend who understands your obsessive love of books and literature, and the towering piles of books all over your house (and probably has them too!).

I even met my fiancé online, on a fitness website, where we have lost over 300 pounds together. This is all the proof I need to know that you really can create true, lasting friendships and relationships online. This is the reason I share it all on my blog – all of the moments of my life, big and small.

Follow Stephanie on Twitter here: @stephbookworm ; Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/StephTheBookworm and Pinterest here: http://pinterest.com/stephbookworm/

Coming soon: Blogger Girl

What happens when your high school nemesis becomes the shining star in a universe you pretty much saved? Book blogger Kimberly Long is about to find out.

A chicklit enthusiast since the first time she read Bridget Jones’s Diary, Kim, with her blog, “Pastel is the New Black,” has worked tirelessly by night to keep the genre alive, and help squash the claim that “chick lit is dead” once and for all. Not bad for a woman who by day ekes out a meager living as a pretty, and pretty-much-nameless, legal secretary in a Manhattan law firm.

While Kim’s day job holds no passion for her, the handsome (and shaving challenged) associate down the hall is another story. Yet another story is that Hannah Marshak, one of her most hated high school classmates, has now popped onto the chick lit scene with a hot new book that’s turning heads–and pages–across the land. It’s also popped into Kim’s inbox–for review. With their ten-year high school reunion drawing near, Kim’s coming close to combustion over the hype about Hannah’s book. And as everyone around her seems to be moving on and up, she begins to question whether being a “blogger girl” makes the grade in her off-line life.

Celebrating Bloggers Tour : Marlene Roberts Engel and Book Mama Blog

Celebrating all things “blogging” today is Marlene Roberts Engel, creator of the Book Mama Blog.  I was only recently introduced to Marlene through Facebook, but I already knew who she was and that she was a big supporter of chick lit and the indie author.  I liked her before I corresponded with her directly and I like her even more now!  I’m very excited that Marlene has agreed to review both Blogger Girl and A State of Jane on the Book Mama blog and that she agreed to answer some questions for me in celebration of the launch of Blogger Girl and bloggers everywhere! 

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After you’re finished reading Marlene’s interview below, definitely check out her blog here:    http://bookmama2.blogspot.com/p/blog-page.html, like her Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/bookmama22#, follow her on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/mengel22, Pinterest here: http://pinterest.com/mengel2/ and Goodreads here: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5401033-marlene-engel

1. What is the name of your blog?

Book Mama

2. What type of blog is it?

It’s mostly a blog about books/authors, but at times I may put something up about family/kids or anything else that may pop into my head at the time.

3. What inspired you to start a blog?

Actually, Melissa Amster from Chick Lit Central kept saying that I should start my own blog. I was hesitant because I didn’t think anyone would read or want to follow it. I have to say, I’m not only glad that I started it but I’m really enjoying having it!

4. What do you like best about being a blogger?

I really enjoy sharing my passion for reading/books with others. I have discovered a lot of very talented indie authors and want to get their names and books out to the public more too. I also LOVE doing book reviews and hosting fun giveaways.

5. What are some of your favorite third party blogs and why?

I love Chick Lit Central. I think that it’s a very classy, professional looking blog. It has great reviews, book suggestions and giveaways. It also happens to be Book Mama’s  sister blog (since we recently affiliated).

6. How do you juggle blogging with your other responsibilities like family and/or career?

Doing a blog is very time consuming. Thankfully I work from home and am able to jump on the computer when I have a few minutes to spare. I also do a lot on my blog after my daughter goes to bed. It’s my “quiet time” where I can get a lot done with no distractions.

7. How often do you blog?

I blog every day. I am constantly updating the free e-books, posting on the Book Mama Facebook page or on my Twitter.

8. Do you have any pet peeves with respect to third party blogs/bloggers?

No, not really. I try to support other bloggers and in return they have shown me a lot of love as well.

9. When you read blogs written by other people, do you prefer blogs that are “theme specific”, for example, “book reviews”, “cooking”, “fashion” etc. or do you take an interest in “personal blogs” as well, for example “A Day in the Life” type blog where the blogger talks about his/her own personal experiences in general?

I mostly read book blogs, but there are a few personal blogs that I enjoy reading as well. I’m a book nerd, so book blogs are definitely my preference.

10. Do you think there is such a thing as “TMI” when it comes to blogging?

Most definitely! I personally haven’t had any experience with a blog who shared too much (or inappropriate) material, but I’m sure there must be some out there.

11. What are your goals with respect to your blog? For example, “I want to have 1000 followers.” “I want someone to write a movie about me.” “I am using it to build a platform for a future writing career.”

My main goal is to share the books that I love with others. I also really want to get more exposure to indie authors. There are so many self published or small publisher authors out there. They don’t get the exposure that the authors signed with larger publishers get and I’d really like to help get their names/books out to the public more.

12. Why should readers check out your blog? What insight do you think you might have that others might lack?

My blog is fun! I think readers will enjoy the book reviews, author interviews, giveaways and fun interaction. I don’t think I necessarily have insight that others lack, but I just try to keep my blog fun and positive. No negativity allowed on my blog.

13. Bonus question: What actress would you like to play you in a movie featuring you and your blog?

Hmmmmm, that’s a good question. I would have to say Sandra Bullock. We seem to have the same goofy/silly sense of humor and we’re both adoptive parents.

Marlene, thank you so much for taking the time to answers these questions! 

Coming soon: Blogger Girl

What happens when your high school nemesis becomes the shining star in a universe you pretty much saved? Book blogger Kimberly Long is about to find out.

A chicklit enthusiast since the first time she read Bridget Jones’s Diary, Kim, with her blog, “Pastel is the New Black,” has worked tirelessly by night to keep the genre alive, and help squash the claim that “chick lit is dead” once and for all. Not bad for a woman who by day ekes out a meager living as a pretty, and pretty-much-nameless, legal secretary in a Manhattan law firm.

While Kim’s day job holds no passion for her, the handsome (and shaving challenged) associate down the hall is another story. Yet another story is that Hannah Marshak, one of her most hated high school classmates, has now popped onto the chick lit scene with a hot new book that’s turning heads–and pages–across the land. It’s also popped into Kim’s inbox–for review. With their ten-year high school reunion drawing near, Kim’s coming close to combustion over the hype about Hannah’s book. And as everyone around her seems to be moving on and up, she begins to question whether being a “blogger girl” makes the grade in her off-line life.

The Celebration of Bloggers Tour welcomes Isabella Louise Anderson of The Chick Lit Goddess

Joining the Celebration of Bloggers tour today is Isabella Louise Anderson, founder of The Chick Lit Goddess blog and soon-to-be-published author.  Isabella is one of the strongest supporters of chick lit and chick lit authors I have ever met.  She generously promotes authors on her blog with interviews, guest posts and book reviews, but she takes it a step further.  She even formed a group on Facebook as a safe haven for chick lit authors, aspiring authors and bloggers to seek and give advice, and share good news as well as concerns and frustrations related to our writing and publishing journeys.  I have been featured on her blog and I am also a member of this Facebook group and am so appreciative of Isabella’s tireless desire to keep the genre of chick lit alive and kicking.  If you have not done so already, please check out the Chick Lit Goddess blog today!  Before that, check out what she has to say about being a daily blogger: 

 

BEING A DAILY BLOGGER

 

I’m a writer.  My thoughts, feelings, emotions, and imaginations all come out through characters in my books, so why do I find it so hard to blog?  I’ve written two books (and am working on a third), yet when I sit down to write a blog post, topics escape my mind and I go blank.  I admire other bloggers who write daily and often wonder how they do it.  So, recently I came up with a game plan on being a successful daily blogger.

 

–Keep your phone (or pen and notepad) near you:

            As a writer, I’ve learned to keep my iPhone handy for when an idea strikes.  This can hold true for a blogger as well.  For example, if you’re in a bookstore and want to write down authors names and books you might want to write about, your phone is right there to help you store any notes you might want to take down.  If you do not have a phone that has a memo pad kind of option, carrying a pen/pencil and a notebook/notepad will work fine too.  Also, know that it’s okay if your notes are unorganized—you can always go back and retype them on your computer.  (This is one thing I had to learn the hard way because I’m OCD and everything I write as far as notes, had to be organized and look pretty, but I’ve learned to deal with the mess to create whatever it is I’m writing).

 

–Be on the lookout for new author/book news:

            In the “books” section of sites like Amazon and USAToday, I often search for new books and its writer(s).  By doing this, you can keep up with your competition, which might even trigger blog topics.  My advice on this one is to go to either site once a day and find an article you like, then blog about it.

 

–Subscribe to similar blogs:

            Depending on what kind of blogger you are, a good idea is to subscribe to other blogs similar to yours, especially those who are daily bloggers.  By subscribing to these blogs, your writing will most likely come natural because of the common interest.  Also, don’t forget to read comments on the posts.  I’ve come to learn from being a blogger that opinions vary, which might be helpful too.

 

–Research:

            No matter what kind of writer one is, doing research is very important.  Get your facts right, and you might even want to quote the person and site where you found the information.  While it’s okay to state your thoughts and opinions on your blog, it’s hard to take a blogger seriously if you do not get the facts right.  However time consuming this might be, it’s just an extra touch on creating a good blog post.

 

–Just write!:

            “Just write,” is the advice that people always say.  You scoff at the notion, right, then keep on struggling with coming up with a topic.  If you must know, this blog post was one of those instances.  I struggled because like I mentioned earlier, topics tend to escape my mind when it comes to writing blogs, so I decided to sit down and “just write!”  It’s okay to think that your work is trash, but that’s what editing is for.

 

In closing, being a daily blogger isn’t easy, it’s hard work, but it’s nothing that anyone needs to stress over.  If you are a new blogger, work on trying to find your own voice and be true to your topics and feelings, and you will soon gain loyal followers and subscribers.  Until then, take it one day at a time and enjoy the wonderful world of being a daily blogger!  🙂

Coming soon: Blogger Girl

What happens when your high school nemesis becomes the shining star in a universe you pretty much saved? Book blogger Kimberly Long is about to find out.

A chicklit enthusiast since the first time she read Bridget Jones’s Diary, Kim, with her blog, “Pastel is the New Black,” has worked tirelessly by night to keep the genre alive, and help squash the claim that “chick lit is dead” once and for all. Not bad for a woman who by day ekes out a meager living as a pretty, and pretty-much-nameless, legal secretary in a Manhattan law firm.

While Kim’s day job holds no passion for her, the handsome (and shaving challenged) associate down the hall is another story. Yet another story is that Hannah Marshak, one of her most hated high school classmates, has now popped onto the chicklit scene with a hot new book that’s turning heads–and pages–across the land. It’s also popped into Kim’s inbox–for review. With their ten-year high school reunion drawing near, Kim’s coming close to combustion over the hype about Hannah’s book. And as everyone around her seems to be moving on and up, she begins to question whether being a “blogger girl” makes the grade in her off-line life.

Welcome Kelly Perotti and Crib Notes Kelly to Celebration of Bloggers Tour

When Kelly Perotti contacted me through Goodreads and asked to review Just Friends with Benefits for her website, Crib Notes Kelly, I was flattered but confused.  Crib Notes Kelly, a blog inspired by Kelly’s book, Crib Notes, a candid look at conception, pregnancy, and parenthood,  is targeted predominantly to new mothers and mothers with young children, and I had no idea why a mommy blogger would want to review Just Friends with Benefits, a book about a woman trying to turn the “one who got away” into “the one.” I thought perhaps Kelly  was confused as to the plot of the book.  She wasn’t.  She explained that while her blog was, in fact, targeted to new moms, these moms probably enjoyed reading as well and an endorsement from her might help me reach more readers.  It made perfect sense.  Just because one is a mom doesn’t mean she doesn’t like to read good chick lit 🙂 Anyway, I sent the book to Kelly (who really enjoyed it by the way – woo hoo) and I also began following Crib Notes Kelly on Facebook and Twitter.  Even though I’m not a mother, even I have appreciated and learned things from her posts.  If you have young children at home or are expecting or just want to read some great book reviews, I highly recommend you check out Crib Notes Kelly.  And check out Crib Notes, a candid look at conception, pregnancy, and parenthood too!

Kelly’s post starts now:

Homegirl

I’m a stay-at-home mom. I’m a work-from-home girl. I’m home. A lot.

I am somewhat of a homebody, not liking to travel too far from home for too long of a time (unless someone wants to send me to Italy; I could get all sort of comfortable there), but being home all the livelong day starts to get to you after a while…

4:40am

H crying
B calling for Daddy (who left for work about 5 minutes ago)

5:00am
B finishing half a banana and a cup of water
H alternating fussing and tooting

5:30am
B in bed reading books
H now crying, wants to nurse for 3rd time since 9pm

5:40am
B, still in his diaper from overnight, yelling “PEE PEE!!” (guess I have to take him to the bathroom. After all, I started this potty training thing…)
H temporarily back in crib during pee pee run= not happy

6:00am
B in bed playing with Prayer Bear (AKA loudest stuffed animal ever to exist—thanks G.G.)
H finally settling for water, falling back asleep despite said Bear

6:15am 
“PEE PEE!!” (more came out—through the seat, onto the floor, my feet, and his pajama shorts)
B, having been up for an hour and a half, is bored of being in bed, now just yelling
H despite the noise, still asleep

6:30am
B in my bed, watching and singing to Elmo (thank God for Tivo)

7:00am
Elmo’s over B’s sliding off the bed “Down! O-me-al [oatmeal]!”
H talking, yelling in crib

7:05am
My eyes are rejecting my contacts Hit in face with poop smell as baby’s bedroom door is opened
B scaling crib rail to get in with H
H smiling (poop in diaper and on sheets)

7:15am
H crib, and changing table, changed
B peeing (apparently takes after me) Poop laundry started

7:45am
B finishing 2nd half of banana and 2 packs of oatmeal
H inhaling “gourmet” Banana Orange Medley and rice cereal (mmm, mmm) Sending my first work email of the day

8:00am
Little Einsteins coming on (aahhh) Stale cake for breakfast

Forecast:
Desired—Play nicely all morning, eat lunch, synchronize naps
Probable—Toys being thrown by mid-morning, too tired to eat lunch, alternating naps

So, although I am HOME a lot, you can see that ‘boredom’ is not on my radar. And with a pretty cool husband and great friends, I can’t say I’m lonely either. But I am chatty. Where better to release that crazy chatter than the internet?!

Blogging is not only a great outlet, but a great inlet as well.

It allows me to vent, help, ask, and share, but also allows me to listen, accept, answer, and learn. I can only hope that I do as much of the first, as I do of the second.

Kelly Perotti is the author of Crib Notes~ a candid look at conception, pregnancy, and parenthood, and writes at www.CribNotesKelly.com. She gained her insight and expertise during a nine month course called Pregnancy and continues on-the-job-training mothering two boys just eighteen months apart in age. Her juggling act of kids, self, marriage, and work is chronicled at www.CribNotesKelly.com. Your comments and communications are welcomed on Facebook and Twitter @CribNotesKelly, or at CribNotesBook@gmail.com.

Coming soon: Blogger Girl

What happens when your high school nemesis becomes the shining star in a universe you pretty much saved? Book blogger Kimberly Long is about to find out.

A chicklit enthusiast since the first time she read Bridget Jones’s Diary, Kim, with her blog, “Pastel is the New Black,” has worked tirelessly by night to keep the genre alive, and help squash the claim that “chick lit is dead” once and for all. Not bad for a woman who by day ekes out a meager living as a pretty, and pretty-much-nameless, legal secretary in a Manhattan law firm.

While Kim’s day job holds no passion for her, the handsome (and shaving challenged) associate down the hall is another story. Yet another story is that Hannah Marshak, one of her most hated high school classmates, has now popped onto the chicklit scene with a hot new book that’s turning heads–and pages–across the land. It’s also popped into Kim’s inbox–for review. With their ten-year high school reunion drawing near, Kim’s coming close to combustion over the hype about Hannah’s book. And as everyone around her seems to be moving on and up, she begins to question whether being a “blogger girl” makes the grade in her off-line life.

Kicking off the Celebration of Bloggers Tour with Samantha March!

I am so excited to kick off the Celebration of Bloggers Tour with Samantha March, founder of the fabulous Chick Lit Plus.  Before Just Friends with Benefits was published, I remember searching for “Chick Lit” online and seeing the girly Chick Lit Plus website with all of the latest and greatest in chick lit.  At the time, I knew absolutely nothing about book marketing and so I did not know the term “book blogger.” I just knew that Chick Lit Plus was a really cool website for reviews, author interviews and other fun female-targeted posts!  When I reached out to Samantha to see if she would review Just Friends with Benefits, I was terrified.  I knew she reviewed Jackie Collins and Jennifer Weiner and all of the other “traditionally” published authors in the genre and I was afraid she would have no interest in reviewing a debut novelist with a book from an unknown small press.  It turns out I had nothing to worry about as I quickly learned that Samantha is the furthest thing from a book snob there is!  She got back to me promptly and said she would absolutely love to read my book and she was so nice!  In the two years that have passed, I have often referred to Samantha as “Super Woman.”  Not only does she run one of the most popular book blogs on the web, she is an author of two published novels, she is an editor and she runs her own publishing company, Marching Ink!  All of this on top of a day job and, currently, wedding plans.  It blows my mind that she never seems flustered or utters any indication of being exhausted.  She’s truly an inspiration and so I welcome you to check out her websites.  After you read her blog post below, of course!  Take it away, Samantha!

Samantha March

When I first got the idea to start a blog back in 2009 (wow, that is crazy!) I had no idea it would change my life – literally. Looking back, it brings tears to my eyes when I think of what one small blog could do and the impact it would have. Since my first post in October 2009 I have gone on to read and review hundreds of books, interview authors such as Jackie Collins and Emily Giffin, publish two novels, and start my own business. It’s scary to think of where my life could have gone had I not started my blog – would I be a published author? Would I be happy and fulfilled in a career that wasn’t with books? I’m not a big “what if?” fan, and I just know how grateful I am for the opportunities blogging has provided me.

What I find really interesting about blogging is the people I meet. I think one of the best parts of belonging to the book blogging community is making friends with other people that have the same interests as me. I don’t have many close friends who can talk about books and plots and chick lit for hours on end, so it’s amazing to be able to turn to my computer and start chatting with a virtual friend about a book I just can’t put down. But my friendships with these fellow book bloggers and authors don’t just begin and end with books. I have a handful of wonderful women that I can turn to when I’m having troubles – whether it be with a book, my writing schedule, wedding planning woes, and even my personal life. Though we might not have met face to face and very well might not ever, the friendships I have made through my book blog are some that I treasure. 

Blogging is much more than a simple hobby to me and I’m so grateful for all the support I have had over the years that I’ve been running Chick Lit Plus. If you would like to stop by and say hi, you can find me … well, just about all over the web 🙂

 

Author Bio:

Samantha March is an author, editor, publisher, blogger, and all around book lover. She runs the popular book/women’s lifestyle blog ChickLitPlus, which keeps her bookshelf stocked with the latest reads and up to date on all things health, fitness, fashion, and celebrity related. In 2011 she launched her independent publishing company Marching Ink and her debut novel Destined to Fail. When she isn’t reading, writing, or blogging, you can find her cheering for the Green Bay Packers.

 Connect with Samantha!

 http://www.samanthamarch.com/

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Twitter

GoodReads

 Buy the Book!

The-Green-Ticket

Amazon: Print or eBook Marching Ink: Print

Coming soon: BLOGGER GIRL

What happens when your high school nemesis becomes the shining star in a universe you pretty much saved? Book blogger Kimberly Long is about to find out.

 A chick lit enthusiast since the first time she read Bridget Jones’s Diary, Kim, with her blog, “Pastel is the New Black,” has worked tirelessly by night to keep the genre alive, and help squash the claim that “chick lit is dead” once and for all. Not bad for a woman who by day ekes out a meager living as a pretty, and pretty-much-nameless, legal secretary in a Manhattan law firm.

While Kim’s day job holds no passion for her, the handsome (and shaving challenged) associate down the hall is another story. Yet another story is that Hannah Marshak, one of her most hated high school classmates, has now popped onto the chick lit scene with a hot new book that’s turning heads–and pages–across the land. It’s also popped into Kim’s inbox–for review. With their ten-year high school reunion drawing near, Kim’s coming close to combustion over all the hype about Hannah’s book. And as everyone around her seems to be moving on and up, she begins to question whether being a “blogger girl” makes the grade in her off-line life.

Celebration of Bloggers/Blurb of Blogger Girl

Before writing books was even a blip on my radar, I was a blogger.  I blogged about everything from my friendships, to my family, to my BFF from high school who turned out to be a pretty horrible friend, to the effects of PMS on my personality, to unrequited crushes, to romantic relationships – especially romantic relationships.  I often surprised myself by how honest and open I was, even when it left me feeling very vulnerable or didn’t paint me in the best light.  I loved it.  There is something about putting all of your deepest thoughts in writing that is extremely cathartic.  While I was blogging, I became friendly with other bloggers across the globe, from Virginia, to Florida, to Kentucky to Belfast to Pittsburgh, to North Carolina to Australia and everywhere in between.  These “virtual” friends became as important to me as my off-line friends and I felt a stake in their lives just as they felt one in mine.  In many cases, these people knew more about me than the people I saw on a weekly basis.  After my first novel came out, I became less comfortable putting myself out there to such an intimate degree but I still keep in touch with some of these bloggers.  In fact, one has become a best “off line” friend and I’ve planned a vacation to visit her later this summer. 

Back when I was blogging personal experiences, I thought that was what “blogging” was – publishing an online personal diary.  At the time, I was not aware of book bloggers, beauty bloggers, mommy bloggers, fashion bloggers, food bloggers etc.  After Just Friends with Benefits came out and with my introduction to social media, I became very familiar with other types of bloggers, especially book bloggers.  Book bloggers have become a very important part of my publishing experience and some of them have become good friends of mine as well.  To take the influence of book bloggers on my life to a whole new level, they inspired the plot of my third soon-to-be-released novel, Blogger Girl.  Keep reading for the blurb of Blogger Girl, to be released in August, 2013.

To celebrate the launch of Blogger Girl, I have decided to celebrate blogging and bloggers in general beginning, July 16th.  Each day, I will host a different blogger on my website.   I have asked each blogger to either write a post about anything related to “blogging” or take part in an interview.  I have been the guest on a countless number of blogs over the past three years as an author and I think it’s time to turn the tables and give these amazing bloggers the spotlight.  So, stay tuned for guest posts from amazing bloggers like the following:  (I plan to continue the blogger celebration well after the release of Blogger Girl and so if you’d like to be featured, please let know!) 

Samantha March, author and founder of Chick Lit Plus
Kelly Perotti, author and founder of mommy blog Crib Notes Kelly Isabella Louise Anderson, founder of Chick Lit Goddess
Marlene Roberts Engel, founder of Book Mama Blog
Francine LaSala – author and founder of Clippings in the Shed
Stephanie Territo, founder of Steph the Bookworm
Eleanor Parker, founder of The Writing Life
Melissa Amster, founder of Chick Lit Central and Merryland Girl Blog Laura Chapman, founder of Change the Word
Kaley Stewart, founder of Books Etc.
Ashley Williams, founder of The Book Fetish Blog
Samantha Stroh Bailey, author and blogger
Michelle Bell, founder of Michelle’s Book Nook
Julie Valerie, founder of Chick Lit Chit Chat

And now, without further ado, the blurb to Blogger Girl!

What happens when your high school nemesis becomes the shining star in a universe you pretty much saved? Book blogger Kimberly Long is about to find out.

A chick lit enthusiast since the first time she read Bridget Jones’s Diary, Kim, with her blog, “Pastel is the New Black,” has worked tirelessly by night to keep the genre alive, and help squash the claim that “chick lit is dead” once and for all. Not bad for a woman who by day ekes out a meager living as a pretty, and pretty-much-nameless, legal secretary in a Manhattan law firm.

While Kim’s day job holds no passion for her, the handsome (and shaving challenged) associate down the hall is another story. Yet another story is that Hannah Marshak, one of her most hated high school classmates, has now popped onto the chick lit scene with a hot new book that’s turning heads–and pages–across the land. And it’s also popped into Kim’s inbox–for review. With their ten-year high school reunion drawing near, Kim’s coming close to combustion over all the hype about Hannah’s book. And as everyone around her seems to be moving on and up, she begins to question whether being a “blogger girl” makes the grade in her off-line life.