book birthdays, book trailers, book publishing deals: Oh My!

My blogs for the last two months have been depressing, I know. That’s because I’ve been depressed. Sorry 😦  Despite continuing to cope with sadness over losing my closest friend, there are some wonderful things happening on the book front. My friend would chastise me if I was too busy missing him to properly celebrate the positive in my life. He was constantly urging me to smile more and be happy. As a result, my blog this week will focus on all good things. Hooray!

First off, my debut novel Just Friends with Benefits is celebrating two birthdays this month. You might be asking how one book can have two birthdays. The answer is that the book was originally published by Wings ePress on September 1, 2010.  After requesting the rights back, it was re-released by my current publisher Booktrope on September 2, 2013. Woila—two birthdays! I’m thrilled to report that since being re-published, it has sold over 12,000 copies! In honor of the birthday(s), my publisher is reducing the price of the ebook to 99 cents on all platforms from September 8th to September 13th. Spread the word if you can.

Happy Birthday to my Book Baby!

Happy Birthday to my Book Baby!

Secondly, my friend and fellow author Erin Cawood created this adorable trailer for Blogger Girl with her production company On the Edge Fiction and it’s currently live on Youtube:

Check it out!

Thirdly, we have a publication date for my fourth novel—December 2, 2014! I’ve already been through the first round of edits with my editor, Ally Bishop. At the same time, my cover artist, Loretta Matson, is working tirelessly on creating an amazing cover with the input of my rockstar book manager, Jennifer Gilbert. I’m offering comments and opinions as well, but with those two on my team, I know my cover is in the best possible hands. I can probably reveal the title of the book at this point, but I think I’ll wait for a future blog post. I need to give you a reason to keep reading 🙂

Finally, I have big, huge, COLOSSAL news to share. Last week my publisher, Booktrope entered into a new business relationship with Amazon, beginning with a mutual licensing deal that deepens Booktrope’s ties with Amazon to a much more significant degree. As a result of this deal, Amazon will reissue the ebook versions of A State of Jane and Blogger Girl under Amazon’s Imprint.  I’m so honored that two of my books were included in this deal that also affects 13 other Booktrope titles, including Grace Unexpected by Gale Martin, Next Year I’ll Be Perfect by Laura Kilmartin, and Pulled Beneath by Marni Mann—three books I adored. I hope this new development will mean big things for all involved and, of course, more book sales! If you would like to learn more about this new relationship, here is the link to the official Booktrope announcement: http://booktrope.com/2014/09/05/breaking-news-booktrope-and-amazon/

That’s all for now. Thank you for your continued support of my writing and I will keep you posted as this unfolds!

Administrative Professionals Day excerpt and giveaway!

Happy Administrative Professionals Day to all the lovely Administrative Professionals! I hope your bosses buy you flowers, take you out to lunch, or both because you deserve it! (Unless you do nothing all day except read at your desk, write blog posts, and peruse Facebook and Twitter.)

Kim, the main character in my novel, Blogger Girl, is a legal secretary. Her relationship with her boss, Rob, is quite *interesting* – they constantly bicker but they share a fondness for each other and a mutual respect. To honor Administrative Professionals Day, I thought I’d share a scene from Blogger Girl focused on Kim’s relationship with Rob. At the end of the excerpt are instructions for entering a contest to win your choice of Just Friends with Benefits, A State of Jane, or Blogger Girl in either (1) signed paperback (limited to the U.S.) or (2) electronic format, for you or a friend:

     At both firms where I had worked with Rob, whenever our group took someone in the department out for his or her birthday, one of us (usually me) had to slickly tell the waiter. And then the birthday boy or girl had to pretend to be surprised when the waiter brought over a piece of birthday cake and we all started singing “Happy Birthday.”  After I tracked down our waiter, I went to the bathroom, ran a brush through my hair and reapplied my lip gloss. When I returned to the table, all of the plates had been removed.
      Rob cleared his throat. “Now that my right hand is back, I’d like to make an announcement.”
     Another one of Rob’s famous announcements. I chuckled and glanced at David. He gave me a knowing look and flashed me a wide grin. I covered my mouth with my hand in an effort not to laugh.
     “What’s so funny, Long?” Rob asked accusingly.
     I bit my lip and looked at Rob with wide eyes. “Absolutely nothing. Unless you’re gonna tell us about the time the electricity went out during your trial and even the backup generators didn’t work. And how the lights went back on just as someone from the other side was about to abscond with your exhibits, and your junior associate was held in contempt of court for wrestling him to the ground. That’s a funny story.” I paused dramatically. “No matter how many times you tell it.”
      Rob calmly nodded at me with his lips pursed. “Okay then. Well, I was going to thank my lovely assistant for organizing a wonderful 29th birthday lunch for me. But since my assistant isn’t lovely and it’s my 54th birthday, I think I’ll skip the thank you and announce that I’ve hired a lateral associate who will be starting next week.”
      I jerked my head back in surprise. I was generally kept in the loop on these things, especially since I was usually responsible for scheduling interviews, yet this was the first I’d heard of a new hire. “What’s his name?”
     “Her name is Daneen. She’s a third year coming to us from Cravath. Solid background in trademark litigation. She’ll be working closely with Nicholas on the Soap case.”
      I looked over at Nicholas to see his reaction to this new information but he was nodding at Rob and didn’t look at all surprised. Then he looked my way and winked.
     When our eyes locked, I felt my body flood with warmth and forced myself to look away. I still had no idea what the previous weekend had meant to him and I was trying to pretend I didn’t care either way. Even though I did. Of course. I turned to David. “How are the wedding plans coming along?”
      His cheeks glowing, David said, “Amy is already looking into venues. I wanted us to enjoy being engaged for a while before getting too caught up in wedding plans, but she’s so excited that I’m just letting her run with it.”
      “That’s so cool! We should get drinks or something to celebrate one night.” Although I was genuinely happy for David and his upcoming nuptials, I couldn’t shake off a feeling of discomfort about Rob hiring Daneen without even telling me. In all of the years we’d worked together, Rob had made me feel like an important member of his team, telling me all the big news before almost anyone else, but suddenly I felt like an outsider, a measly secretary.

To win a signed paperback or e-copy of any one of my novels, please share your favorite AND least favorite thing about your boss. If  you are the boss, share your favorite and least favorite thing about your assistant or “right hand.”  If you are self-employed, what is your favorite and least favorite aspect of that. I promise not to divulge any secrets 🙂 You do not have to be an administrative professional to participate! Please also leave the email address where I can contact you about the prize, which will be randomly selected. Giveaway will end on May 4th. Paperback option limited to the U.S. 

Like to party? Hop along the Hump Day Blog Hop on Julie Valerie’s Book Blog. Click here to return to the Hump Day Blog Hop.

 

The books:

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. With her blog “Pastel is the New Black” Kim works tirelessly to keep the genre alive, and help squash the claim that “chick lit is dead.” 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—a cross 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.

A State of Jane: Jane Frank is ready to fall in love.

It’s been a year since her long term relationship ended and far too long since the last time she was kissed. With the LSAT coming up she needs to find a long term boyfriend (or husband) before acing law school and becoming a partner at her father’s law firm.

There’s just one problem: All the guys in New York are flakes. They seemingly drop off the face of the earth with no warning and no explanation.

Should she join her best friend Marissa in singlehood, making cupcakes and watching True Blood? Or should she follow her co-worker Andrew’s advice and turn the game back on those who’ve scorned her? As Jane attempts to juggle her own responsibilities and put up with the problems of everyone around her, she starts to realize that the dating life isn’t as easy as she originally thought.

Just Friends with Benefits: When a friend urges Stephanie Cohen not to put all her eggs in one bastard, the advice falls on deaf ears. Stephanie’s college crush on Craig Hille has been awakened thirteen years later as if soaked in a can of Red Bull and she is determined not to let the guy who got away once, get away twice. Stephanie, a 32-year-old paralegal from Washington, D.C., is a 70’s and 80’s television trivia buff who can recite the starting lineup of the New York Yankees and go beer for beer with the guys. And despite her failure to get married and pro-create prior to entering her thirties, she has so far managed to keep her overbearing mother from sticking her head in the oven. Just Friends with Benefits is the humorous story of Stephanie’s pursuit of love, her adventures in friendship, and her journey to discover what really matters.

Happy New Year

Happy New Year everyone!

I can’t believe another year is ending. On a professional note, 2013 was a banner year for me. I published my third novel, Blogger Girl, in late August and, so far, readers have embraced it. My debut novel, Just Friends with Benefits, was re-released by Booktrope and, much to my surprise, is my best seller. Since it was re-released in September, I’ve sold several thousand copies compared to the several hundred I sold in the entire three years before that. Blows my mind—in a good way! My sophomore novel, A State of Jane, continues to do well and, finally, I am making very good progress on my fourth novel and hope to have it ready for publication in late 2014 or early 2015. Together with Francine LaSala and Samantha Stroh Bailey, I co-founded BookBuzz, a meet and greet for authors and readers, and we’ve already held two events—one in New York City and one in Toronto— and I met so many amazing authors, bloggers and, of course, readers. I can’t wait until the next event.

 On a personal level, it was a tough year for me. I split with my boyfriend of 1.5 years in February; my sister’s dog, Gypsy, passed away in the spring; one of my best friends (someone I think of as the younger sister I never had) moved across the country and while I supported her reasons for going, I miss her dearly;  and finally, one of my best friends in the entire world—my rock, my “work husband”, my comic relief, my sometimes therapist and really, the best man I know— was diagnosed with Leukemia in July and continues to undergo treatments to save his life— treatments that will continue through much of 2014. I know in my heart he will be okay, but I hate that he has to go through this, and I constantly find myself asking “Why him?”

But it’s not all bad! I thank God for all of the blessings in my life— my family, my friends (you know who you are), my day job, my health, my writing and my good looks (haha just making sure you’re still listening) to get me through the darker times and maintain a positive outlook.

I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions but I think I am going to take a page (or several hundred) out of my books. My characters make mistakes; they sometimes have poor judgment. Let’s just say, they fuck up. A lot. And so have I. But my characters always learn from their mistakes and come out on the other side a little bit wiser and a lot happier. That’s all I really want. If I am going to look back at my mistakes, I want it to be because I am learning from them; not because I am kicking my ass over making them in the first place. Like my characters, I want to take risks— even those that put my ego on the line or scare me. Especially those that scare me. Some will pan out and others won’t but a wise man once told me that it is the things we don’t do that we regret the most.  Not even trying is worse than giving it your all and failing.

To paraphrase a line from one of my books: It might take me several rounds of edits, but I’m a writer and I’m going to write my own happy ending.

Happy New Year and God bless you all 🙂

I am my characters

People often comment on how “real” my characters are and they ask me how I create such believable heroines. I suppose it is because most of my work is grounded in reality. My characters are not me but some of their struggles, particularly with men, come from my own struggles—even if I don’t realize it until after the book is released.

Take for instance, Stephanie Cohen in Just Friends with Benefits. Stephanie is an attractive, intelligent, funny and interesting woman but she often refuses to acknowledge what is right in front of her. Rather than take things at face value, she will analyze things Ad Nauseum. And often, she will draw the conclusion that favors her own desires. In a word, she is a bit delusional. I cannot begin to tell you how much time I have wasted wondering what a guy was really thinking and making excuses for him in order to save my own ego. As a result, I was blind to some much better prospects who moved on by the time I realized how stupid I was. Lesson learned: You snooze; you lose.

In A State of Jane, Jane Frank is under the inaccurate assumption that she is in control. If she acts a certain way, looks a certain way, plays by the right “rules”, everything will fall into place. What she fails to consider is that regardless of how pretty, smart, intelligent (insert other positive attributes here), one is, a man who is only looking to get laid will not want to settle down with her.  If he’s a jerk, he will still be a jerk no matter how nice she is. If he’s just not feeling the chemistry, she can’t force it on him simply by being “better.” And a man can change his mind, flake, lose interest, be a douchebag for a multitude of reasons that have nothing to do with her. It doesn’t actually matter what the reason is; it is what it is. This novel was inspired by a period of time in my life when one after another, a  guys I was dating who was seemingly really into me *poof* disappeared without a word. I had no idea why and it was so frustrating because I felt like I needed an answer and that I deserved an answer. Lesson learned: Relationships are a two-way street and it’s not always my fault when things don’t work out. No sense beating myself up. Just move on!

Kim Long in my newest release, Blogger Girl, is definitely more grounded in reality than Stephanie and Jane. She’s not deluded and she’s not a Type A Control Freak. She does, however, have an insecurity complex and often wonders “why would someone like him be interested in someone like her.” I, too, struggle with feeling insecure and not good enough. Not all of the time and only in limited company, but there have been men in my life who, intentionally or not, made me feel “less than.”   Lesson learned:  most of the time, insecurity comes from within and needs to be dealt with. I try to be conscious as to how I feel in a man’s presence. Any man who deserves my time should build me up, not cut me down and if I find myself second guessing my appeal on any level, he’s probably not the one for me.

In my WIP, my main character Maggie is 39 years old and struggling with her impending 40th birthday. Although she’s been in many relationships and even lived with her last boyfriend, she has never been married. She looks young and she feels young but she is terrified that her window of opportunity to settle down has passed by right along with her twenty and thirty-something years. Successful, bright and pretty, she has no problems getting attention from men but fears that the pool of available men who are actually interested in a relationship with her is shallow. This is probably the most difficult novel I have written so far because it is very close to home. I struggle with this daily. I have also had my share of relationships but none of them resulted in marriage. I admit that much of this was my fault. I wasted my twenties and early thirties dismissing some great guys for one reason or another not realizing it was fear that was holding me back. I’ve since moved on from that but now I’m wondering if the mistakes of my past have irrevocably, excuse my language, fucked up my future. I wonder if I am being punished somehow for being a late bloomer and, well, stupid. I know that’s unlikely but to be honest, I sort of wish I was being punished. If I could repent for my “sins”, maybe I could be forgiven and things would magically work out for me.  I’m not desperate and while I want to settle down, I have no desire to settle. I figure I’ve waited this long, better to hold out for someone who makes me truly happy than settle at this point. I would so much rather be alone, spending time with my friends and family, than in the company of someone who I feel lukewarm about. But I’m lonely. I yearn to share my life with someone. There. I said it. It wasn’t that hard.Lesson learned: Not sure yet. Hopefully, by the time I finish this novel, the answer will be clear. And maybe, just maybe, I will meet someone wonderful, available and, most importantly, desirous of having a relationship with me. If you know anyone, please let me know 🙂

Like to party? Hop along the Hump Day Blog Hop on Julie Valerie’s Book Blog. Click here to return to the Hump Day Blog Hop.

 

Happy Anniversary A State of Jane and guest blogger!

With all of the fuss over the release of my third novel Blogger Girl and the re-release of my debut novel, Just Friends with Benefits, I almost forgot all about my “middle child” A State of Jane. (I’m surprised I haven’t heard the voice of Jan Brady whining “Blogger Girl, Blogger Girl, Blogger Girl!”)  But Jane Frank need not fret as I could never forget the anniversary of the day her story was released to the world. Happy Anniversary to A State of Jane! In honor of this momentous milestone, I have a special guest blogging about the first year anniversary. Welcome Beth Bacon to my blog! I am very lucky in that my publisher, Booktrope, provides marketing support to all of its authors in the form of a Marketing Manager. Beth Bacon is my Marketing Manager and she’s fantastic. I truly think I hit the jackpot of Marketing Managers. And, really, how many other Marketing Managers would agree to guest post on their author’s blogs? So, without further ado, I will hand this over to Beth:

Cheers!

Cheers!

The 1-Year Anniversary… What does it mean?

Happy birthday, Jane.  It’s the one-year anniversary of the publication of A State Of Jane. The first copies started rolling out of Amazon warehouses in mid-September 2012. The chick-lit world has never been the same.

One year. What does a year mean? The marker can trigger a celebration or act as a kick in the pants—Crap! A year has gone by already?

That’s the way Jane feels at the opening of A State of Jane. She’s been single for one year. The anniversary is like a wake up call. BRING! Time to get a life.

Granted Jane is the one who wanted the break up. But in the twelve long, dry months after that, Jane hasn’t dated a single Tom, Dick, or Harry. Crossing the one-year threshold jolts her into action. She needs to find a guy. The guy. The one. And fast. Especially because her ex is now happily engaged—to someone… nice.

What is it about the one-year milestone that spurs Jane to get off her butt and start dating like a her pants are on fire? What is it about the calendar circling around onto itself that makes one day different from the day before? Why do we mark anniversaries at all? And why, why do we feel so excited to celebrate the date that the book A State of Jane was launched into the world?

Okay, hold on, wait. This is not a philosophy blog. This is a chick lit blog. Forget I went there.

Instead—LET’S PARTY! A STATE OF JANE IS ONE YEAR OLD TODAY!

WHAT AM I GOING TO WEAR?

How do I decide?

•  Skinny blue jeans and white t-shirt like Kim on the cover of Blogger Girl?

•  An A-line dress cinched at waist with pumps like Stephanie in Just Friends With Benefits?

•  A V-neck cashmere sweater, black jeans and boots like Jane in A State of Jane?

WHAT AM I GOING TO DRINK?

So many tasty cocktails.

•  A skinny flute of Prosecco like Kim in Blogger Girl?

•  A dirty Martini like Hannah in Blogger Girl?

•  Wheat beer like Stephanie in Just Friends with Benefits?

•  A nice glass of white wine like Jane in A State of Jane?

WHERE SHOULD WE GO TO CELEBRATE?

Lots of places to check out.

•  Vero Wine Bar, Banc Cafe, The Hurricane Club, or Ryan’s Daughter like in Blogger Girl?

•  The Round Robin Bar, the Sonoma Restaurant and Wine Bar, or the Rhino Bar & Pumphouse like in Just Friends with Benefits?

•  Whisky River, Hillstone, or the Lex Bar like in A State of Jane?

HOW LATE AM I GOING TO STAY OUT?

Not too late. I’m gonna’ get home early, curl up in bed, and re-read A State of Jane.

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Cover art – building a brand

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It wasn’t too long ago that I worked with my amazing cover artist, Loretta Matson, on the cover of my newest release, Blogger Girl. I told Loretta that I wanted the cover to give off a fun “chick lit” vibe. The main character of the novel, Kimberly Long, is a loyal defender of chick lit – the easy breezy writing style, the humorous tone, the happily ever after etc. – and I wanted the cover to reflect that. It seems that many American chick lit writers are moving away from illustrated covers but I personally love them. I am my own target audience and am more likely to click on an illustrated cover on Amazon than a photograph because illustrations, to me, scream “chick lit” and chick lit is my favorite genre. But I had more on my mind when creating the cover of Blogger Girl than just the illustration. I wanted the cover to fit into my brand.

When my debut novel, Just Friends with Benefits, was being published and I worked with the designer on the cover art, I didn’t give any thought to future books I would write and how I would want their covers to look. I was a newbie in the business and gave no thought to my “brand” because I didn’t have one yet. I also did not give my brand much thought when working on the cover for my second novel, A State of Jane. But I absolutely loved the cover of A State of Jane and knew that I wanted the cover of Blogger Girl to give off the same fun vibe.

Responsibility for the cover design of Blogger Girl was shared by Loretta as the designer, me as the author and Beth Bacon as my book manager and there was a lot of back and forth between the three of us before it was completed. Once we were finished, we immediately got started on the new cover of Just Friends with Benefits as I had just assigned the rights to Booktrope. With building my brand as one of our biggest goals, we wanted all three books to share certain elements that would distinguish them as books by “Meredith Schorr” while making it clear that they were stand-alone novels and not part of a series.  This is what we came up with:

The title of all three books is in the same font.

One letter in each title is dotted with a “heart” design.

My name is placed in the same spot on each book and also in the same font.

The back covers all include two endorsements, one before and one after the blurb.

The first sentence of the blurb is written in the same font as the title and in a larger size than the remaining text.

My photograph appears to the left of my bio on the bottom of the back cover.

Finally, on the spine of both Blogger Girl and Just Friends with Benefits is a smaller image of one of the designs featured on the front cover. On Blogger Girl, it is the image of Kim; on Just Friends with Benefits, it is the image of a candy heart. Although we did not do this with A State of Jane, it is a feature I definitely want to include in my future books.

For any authors reading this blog, do you focus on your “brand” when designing your covers? If so, in what ways? If not, is it something you would ever consider in the future?

Blogger Girl - Full Cover

Blogger Girl – Full Cover

Just Friends with Benefits - Full Cover

Just Friends with Benefits – Full Cover

A State of Jane - full cover

A State of Jane – full cover

The Celebration of Bloggers Tour concludes with Julie Valerie

Concluding my Celebration of Bloggers Tour is Julie Valerie, founder of Chick Lit Chit Chat on www.julievalerie.com. I introduced myself to Julie when I heard that she planned to read and review a chick lit book a week during 2013.  Being a chick lit author, I immediately reached out to Julie and asked if she wanted to review A State of Jane.  At the time, I had no idea that I would actually meet Julie just a few months later when she volunteered to help out at the Book Buzz author event I co-organized with several other authors in New York City.  Julie’s assistance that day was invaluable.  As you will see from her blog post below, Julie has such a great sense of humor. She’s a whole lot of fun and I truly cannot wait until her debut novel is released so that I can return some of the support she has generously bestowed onto me and so many other authors.  She’s really an amazing person and I like her so much, even more than…bacon! 

JulieValerie

Blogging vs. Bacon

By Julie Valerie

I love bacon. Almost as much as I love blogging. If I had to make a list of things I love, it would look like this:

1.Blogging

2.Bacon

Since this is a post about blogging, I’m going to stay on topic and talk about blogging. Not bacon.

Blogging rocks.

It’s cool because it’s both private and public at the same time. It’s something you do from the privacy of your home, but once done, instantly travels the globe.

And blogging offers some real benefits.

For one, blogging gives you an outlet to express your thoughts, opinions and/or feelings about something. Something … like bacon. I’m sure there’s a gazillion blogs about bacon. (See why blogging’s so great?)

Two, through blogging, you can share your talents and expertise with others and they can share their specialties with you. Bacon? Not so much. It can’t talk back.

Three, in my case, as a book blogger, blogging is the perfect platform for celebrating the arrival of a new book, or talking about an old book in a new way.

Now I ask you: What’s better than that?

Bacon?

Not even close.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love bacon. Almost as much as I love blogging. But bacon can’t help you market or promote things that are important to you. It just sits there. On your plate. Being bacon-y.

Bacon doesn’t let you demonstrate what you know about a topic. Bacon doesn’t help you establish yourself in a field. Bacon doesn’t network. It doesn’t make connections. It can’t link, like, tweet, post or comment.

Because it’s bacon.

And that’s why, on the list of things I love, blogging comes before bacon.

With one exception: Every morning, when I’m still half asleep and oh, so hungry?

My list looks like this:

1. Bacon

2. Blogging

* * * * *

Julie Valerie

Book Blogger & Writer

Julie Valerie’s Book Blog

www.julievalerie.com

P.S. Meredith, thanks so much for inviting me to be a part of the Celebrating Bloggers Tour to help kick off your August 28 release of Blogger Girl. I can’t wait to read all about Kimberly Long and her “Pastel is the New Black” blog. I know she (like me) has loved chick lit since the first time she read Bridget Jones’s Diary. And I know I’ll feel like Kimberly is a kindred spirit when I’m reading her because I have an entire category on my blog that’s dedicated a re-reading of Bridget Jones’s Diary, that watershed book that catapulted modern chick lit into the hearts and minds of readers.

Cheers to you and Kimberly! Yay for Blogger Girl!

* * * * *

Connect with Julie:

Blog: “Julie Valerie’s Book Blog” www.julievalerie.com

Facebook: Julie’s Author Page https://www.facebook.com/JulieValerieAuthor

Facebook: Julie’s Personal Page https://www.facebook.com/julie.valerie.165

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JBValerie

Google+: gplus.to/JulieValerie

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/15137376-julie-valerie

Blogger Girl (coming 8/28)

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 Ashley Williams and The Book Fetish Blog to the Celebration of Bloggers Tour

Today, I welcome Ashley Williams, founder of The Book Fetish Blog, guest posting for the Celebration of Bloggers Tour.  I met Ashley when she participated in the Chick Lit Plus Blog Tour for Just Friends with Benefits.  I really enjoyed her review, not only because it was positive, but because she really “got” the book and the message I was trying to send.  The same thing happened when she reviewed A State of Jane.  It’s wonderful when a blogger (or anyone) enjoys your work but it was clear from both of Ashley’s reviews that she understood why I wrote some of the things I wrote even if she didn’t always like what my characters were doing.  While reading both reviews, I wanted to yell, “You get it!  You really get it!”  Not to mention that she shares the name of the actress I want to play Jane Frank in the film adaption of A State of Jane.  And she’s also a really nice person.  I’m so glad Ashley agreed to answer some questions for me about her blog and about blogging in general.  Please do yourself a favor and check out The Book Fetish Blog and if you are an author and have yet to reach out to Ashley, she’s a gem. 

 

How would you describe The Book Fetish blog in 140 characters?

My thoughts on all the books that speak to me, and random posts on anything else that fascinates me or fires me up.

2. What inspired you to start The Book Fetish Blog?-

Honestly? The movie Julie and Julia. I thought it would be fun to challenge myself to do something in a year, like Julie had done. Because I love books so much, reading 52 books in 52 weeks was the perfect challenge for me. I started January 1, 2010, and decided to use blogspot to blog about each book I read to keep me accountable to the goal. After the year was up, I realized I loved blogging so much, and interacting with other readers, bloggers, and authors, that I bought a domain name, hired a web designer, and thebookfetishblog.com was born.

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

 The chance to interact with other readers and bloggers, and especially authors and publishers. It’s really cool to be able to have a chance to talk more with an author about his or her work, and allows me to sometimes put a really personal touch on the blog- not just a review.

 4. Besides book reviews, what else do you blog about ?

 Good question. I occasionally blog about something other than books- maybe music, or something that happened over a girls night out. My two most popular posts have been about a U2 conference I attended back in April, and a rant I published about politicians making some really ignorant comments about rape and women.

 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’m all over the map with blogs, but there’s not really one I read daily. I love the Bloggess. She’s hysterical and I had a chance to see her do a reading from her book when she was on tour. During election season, I’m addicted to fivethirtyeight.com- that’s when I actually do read a blog daily. I like the Following Atticus blog, and Suri’s Burn Book on Tumblr. I do read some reviews at chicklitplus. Laurel Osterkamp, an author I like, blogs as one of her characters, so I check out any updates she does.

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

It’s hard sometimes. Blogging doesn’t pay the bills or build my social life, so when I’m really busy, it does fall by the wayside. Like anything else, you have to make time for the things that are important to you. But I do need to get more disciplined to ensure regular posting.

7. How responsible do you think book blogs are towards helping an author reach a bigger audience?

This is purely my speculation. I don’t have any evidence to back this up, but I don’t think a New York Times author is particularly helped by most bloggers. Those authors have a publisher behind them and some level of marketing. But, for lesser known or newer authors, I think bloggers can be quite helpful. Especially authors who go on blog tours- you reach a lot of people you may not reach otherwise. I’d love to see numbers from someone on increase in sales after blog publicity. Of course, it also matters who the blogger is. Some definitely have more influence than others.

 8. What is your favorite genre to read?

I’m not sure I really have a favorite genre. My reading is all over the map.

 9. What is your favorite genre to review?

Here I don’t have a favorite genre, either, but I do prefer to review growing or newer authors- you have a better chance of actually interacting with these authors and knowing they know how much you enjoyed their work.

 10. In your opinion, how has the increasing popularity of indie authors changed the publication world?

 I have seen a lot of discussion about this in social media, and again I don’t have numbers to back this up, but only my own impressions. I don’t know that indie authors have changed publishing as much as perhaps the proliferation of ebooks, but I think Independent authors have given us exposure to some really well done books that would have never seen the light of day in a traditional publishing house. I hope the big houses are paying attention to this and adapting how they choose authors to publish and how to market them.

11. Do you hope the Book Fetish Blog will be around five years from now?

I do.

12. If the answer to the above question is “yes”, do you hope it will be the same as it is now or do you have plans to change/expand etc.?

This is something I’m actively pondering. Since I don’t specialize in a genre, it’s sometimes hard to find a consistent audience- it ebbs and flows with what I’m reading. Although it may keep consistent readership down, I plan to continue with this same approach. I don’t want to be boxed in by reviewing only one type of book. One of my goals this year is to start writing more posts that aren’t book related. But that’s a little scary because there’s a level of honesty that has to be in those type of posts, and it’s intimidating to put some of that stuff out for public consumption.

 13. Do you only review books upon request from an author or do you also review other books you read?

Both. It’s quite flattering to receive requests to review books. But I don’t like being hemmed in to only reading those. I need flexibility to read and review whatever sounds interesting to me at the time.

14. Do you prefer your books character driven or plot driven?

Character driven. A good plot loses me if there aren’t well drawn characters who make me react to them. When I read Gone Girl, for example, I said I had never enjoyed a book more when I found the two main characters to be so despicable. They were almost completely unlikeable, but I still HAD to know what happened to them.

 15. Do you ever let negative reviews from other bloggers/readers dissuade you from agreeing to read/review?

When I first started blogging, I followed a popular book blogger. I found books through her I likely would not have encountered on my own. I quickly found out that she would rave over certain books that I would then read and wonder if we had actually read the same book since I felt so differently about them than she did. I don’t follow her any longer, but it did teach me to be very careful about who I allow to influence what I read and review. Honestly, it isn’t other bloggers, but good friends who are also avid readers who turn me onto or away from some books. If certain of those friends don’t like a book, I’m more likely to stay away from it.

Thanks, Ashley!

 

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 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 Kaley Stewart of Books Etc. to the Celebration of Bloggers Tour

I am thrilled to host Kaley Stewart from Books Etc. on the Celebration of Bloggers Tour.  Before I became friendly with Kaley, predominantly through Twitter and our mutual love of The Bachelor/Bachelorette, I was very familiar with her reviews. Kaley is not afraid of providing her honest opinion and it shows.  I’m not saying that her reviews are mean spirited by any stretch because she is very kind, but when Kaley has an issue with a novel, she’s not afraid to express it in her reviews.  I often seek out her reviews after I read a book to see if she agreed with me and I hold her opinion in high regard.  That being said, as I confessed to Kaley after she reviewed A State of Jane, I was a bit afraid of what she would say and her opinion meant a lot to me because I knew if she said she really liked it, it meant she really liked it and if she didn’t like it, our witty banter over Twitter would not prevent her from telling me (and all of her followers) so!  For those who are wondering, Kaley really liked A State of Jane (4 stars and she compared it to a Kinsella book – woot) aside from the ending which didn’t quite satisfy her. I, however, was more than satisfied with her review and I can’t wait to see what she says about Blogger Girl.  I recommend everyone check out Books Etc. right now. Er, right after you read Kaley’s post below about how being a Blogger Girl has introduced Kaley to whole a new set of friends.

 

 

Hi. My name is Kaley and I’m a bookaholic.

I’ve known this about myself for many years. I started reading at a really young age, always had my nose in a book growing up, and even worked at both a library and a bookstore in my teens and early twenties. Obviously, I was a booklover.

While I’ve worked with books and several awesome bookish people, it wasn’t until I started blogging in November 2010 that I realized there were a lot of other bookaholics out there. These were bloggers who loved books so much that just reading them wasn’t enough. They constantly needed to talk about them with others and could gladly do so for hours on end – usually with a cup of tea. I like to say that these bloggers are my people.

You’ll hear from a lot of bloggers that “meeting” and getting to know other bloggers is one of the best parts of the book blogging community. I completely agree. I’ve met some amazing bloggers online and consider them my friends even though we’ve never met in person – and probably never will. One of the first contacts, and friends, I made was Samantha of Chick Lit Plus (and Marching Ink and author of two novels and organizer of CLP Blog Tours…the woman is a machine). I’d love to meet her in person and chat about books and life over drinks but we live about twelve hours apart and in different countries (she’s in the US, I’m in Canada). I also have a virtual bestie in Laura of Change the Word (we bonded over a love of Laura Ingalls Wilder) and a bookish twin in Lisa of Lost in Lit (we usually have the exact same thoughts on books). I likely won’t meet these ladies either as they’re both in the US as well. But that’s the beauty of the internet and this community – we can still become friends even though we won’t meet in person.

I’ve also been lucky enough to turn two fellow bloggers into friends. I write for another site, Novel Escapes, and I’ve met with the founder, Lydia, in person a few times since 2011. Whenever we meet our talk always turns to books and we always chat for longer than we have. I’ve also become friends with Natalie of Browsing Bookshelves. We joke that the way we met would make for a great meet cute for a romance book or movie. We were going to the same blogger event and decided to meet at the train station. Fast forward several months and we’re now getting together for regular bookstore/Starbucks dates and weekly Bachelorette viewings. To be able to have in person meetings with people who get my obsession for books is such an amazing thing.

Sure, there are tons of perks of being a blogger (yes, being able to get free books for review is pretty sweet) but I say getting to know other people in this community is my favourite. To know that there are others out there who have a TBR list they’ll probably never get through, just like me, is an amazing thing. I may not be able to meet some of these amazing people in person but we can always chat through our blogs and social media.

So, if you’re like me and don’t have a lot of people in your real life who understand that sometimes you’d much rather spend time with a book than going out and being social, remember that there are fellow bookaholics out there. You just have to find us on Twitter. We’re there…just not when we’re reading a book of our own, of course!

Blogger Girl – Coming August  28th:

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. 

photo (2)

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.