Blogger Girl – cover reveal and excerpt!

I’m so excited for the official launch of Blogger Girl on August 28th and am thrilled to share the following with you today:

  1. 1.       The cover
  2. 2.       An Excerpt

So without further ado, here you go!

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.

BG_front_cover_med

“What blog?”

I felt a flush creep across my cheeks as I turned around to face the source of the question. I wasn’t surprised, since I blushed whenever I talked to Nicholas, even when the phone rang at work and I saw his name on my caller ID.

“You didn’t know about Kim’s blog?” Rob asked, his blue eyes reflecting amusement.

Nicholas shook his head, not removing his eyes from mine.

All I could think about was running my fingers along the dark stubble on his jawline. Never completely clean shaven, he currently looked like he hadn’t touched a razor in several days. I held his gaze willing my voice not to give away my crush, but the heat on my face suggested a crimson complexion that probably already had. “I have a blog where I write book reviews.” I figured Nicholas didn’t know about my blog since our opportunities to socialize outside of work had been few and far between in the four months we’d worked together. It was that unfamiliarity which I blamed for my chronic bashfulness in his presence. Well, that and his overwhelming sex appeal. Unable to maintain eye contact a second longer, I glanced back at Rob hoping he’d pick up the dialogue.

“It’s incredibly popular. Publishers actually beg my secretary to read and review their client’s novels on a daily basis.” Rob beamed at me like a proud uncle as if he was somehow responsible for my blog’s immense popularity.

I turned back to Nicholas and smiled shyly. “Every other day basis is probably more accurate but yes, it’s a widely read blog. I have several thousand followers and get requests from authors, publicists and agents pretty often.”

Nicholas looked at me with admiration. “Awesome. What types of books do you review?”

I hated this part of telling people from work about my blog. I never knew if the attorneys would raise their noses in the air and judge my taste in “literature.” Here goes nothing. “Chick lit,” I admitted.

Nicholas tilted his head to the side. “Like the gum?”

I giggled as if I’d never heard that one before. “Yes, it’s called chick lit, like the gum. But it’s also a book genre. Like Bridget Jones’s Diary, The Devil Wears Prada. You know?”

Nicholas looked thoughtful as he rubbed his thumb along his chin. “My ex-girlfriend had a bunch of books with pink covers. Were those chick lit?”

Forcing myself to stay focused instead of wondering what his ex-girlfriend was like, how long ago they broke up and why, I smiled and said, “Probably.” Although chick lit had certainly evolved beyond stereotypical pink covers, it wasn’t the time to go into defense-mode.

Nicholas smiled wide. “Very cool, Kim!” Glancing at his empty glass, he said, “Time for a refill. Be right back” and walked towards the bar.

I tore my eyes away from the back of Nicholas’ light blue business shirt and back to Rob. But Rob was now talking to Lucy about some guy she had deposed the previous day. Boring work talk. I downed the rest of my prosecco and walked over to the bar. After quickly getting the bartender’s attention, I ordered another glass, on Rob’s tab of course, and observed Nicholas finish sending a text. As he smiled into his phone, I felt my Hanky Panky thong practically melting off. At only about 5”7’, his stature might have kept him off of some women’s top five lists but since I was vertically challenged too, he was currently number one on mine. I couldn’t even think of who would follow him in second and third place.

“Penny for your thoughts, Blogger Girl.”

I snapped out of my list making and faced Nicholas, silently praying he was not a mind reader.

He looked at me expectantly.

I swung my free hand in dismissal and lifted my drink towards him. “Nothing important. Cheers!”

Nicholas clinked his glass against mine, said, “Cheers” and took a sip of his drink.

Following his lead, I took a sip of mine.

Nicholas inched closer to me. Speaking in almost a whisper, he said, “Having fun yet?”

Very aware that we’d never stood this close to each other and that these were practically the most words we’d ever exchanged one on one, I replied with faux nonchalance, “Can’t really complain about free drinks. You?” The cuffs of his shirt sleeves had been pushed up to his elbows and I pondered whether the dark hair on his arms was coarse or soft. I wondered what it would feel like to run my fingers up and down his arm. I also wondered if he could hear my heart beating through my chest.

“Definitely can’t complain about that,” Nicholas agreed. “And a break from work is always welcome, especially these days.” He smiled. “Doing anything good this weekend?”

I had practically forgotten it was Thursday night, which was odd for me since I lived for the weekends when my secretarial duties did not get in the way of my reading. “Not sure yet. Probably drinks with friends. And I need to catch up on some reading. For the blog. What about you?” Please don’t mention a girlfriend.

“Oh, this and that.” His eyes glowed, almost like he was holding back a secret.

I bit down on my lip and without thinking, blurted out, “Do This and That have last names?”

Nicholas gave me a once over before shaking his head laughing. “I’ll probably spend most of it at work actually. So, tell me more about this blog.”

I tipped my head to the side. “What do you want to know?”

“I don’t know. Like, what made you start it?”        

“The condensed version or the truth?”

Nicholas cocked an eyebrow. “How long of a story is the truth?”

“Why? Do you have a date to rush off to?” I swallowed hard. Nice, Kim.

Laughing, he said, “It’s just that your answer was rather mysterious, you know?”

I shuffled my feet. “Well, I usually tell people I started the blog because I’ve always loved to read, blah, blah, blah.”

“Blah blah blah. Gotcha.”

After he said that, he winked at me and when my knees wobbled in response, I grabbed the bar with my free hand. “The truth is that one day I was bored at home surfing the internet and I found all of these blogs dedicated to romance books, like Harlequin stuff, and then I found some more devoted to science fiction, thrillers and so on. But I could barely find anything dedicated to chick lit and it pissed me off because I love it. I figured if I love it, there must be other girls who love it too and maybe if I started this blog, I’d find them and we’d bond.” I paused. “Aren’t you glad you asked?”

As his phone rang, Nicholas distractedly responded, “Yeah, that’s cool,” before bringing it to his ear. He whispered, “Sorry” before answering it.

I wondered if it was from “This” or “That.”

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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.

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.