October 14, 2015

HOW DO YOU KNOW? by Meredith Schorr

Description:  What if you were approaching the end of your thirties and all of the life milestones you took for granted in your youth suddenly seemed out of reach?

On the eve of her thirty-ninth birthday, Maggie Piper doesn't look, act, or feel much different than she did at twenty-nine, but with her fortieth birthday speeding towards her like a freight train, she wonders if she should. The fear of a slowing metabolism, wrinkling of her skin, and the ticking of her biological clock leaves Maggie torn between a desire to settle down like most of her similarly-aged peers and concern that all is not perfect in her existing relationship. When a spontaneous request for a temporary "break" from her live-in boyfriend results in a "break-up," Maggie finds herself single once again and only twelve months from the big 4.0. In the profound yet bumpy year that follows, Maggie will learn, sometimes painfully, that life doesn't always happen on a schedule, there are no deadlines in love, and age really is just a number.

Meredith Schorr, best-selling author of light women's fiction, digs deep in her newest novel and raises the age old issue of the 'proverbial clock' that haunts many women, in a way that is refreshing and sassy no matter your age or relationship status.

My Thoughts on How Do You Know? by Meredith Schorr

After hearing about author Meredith Schorr and following her blog for months, I finally got my hands on one of her books - - How Do You Know?  I was interested in this particular book because the heroine, Maggie, is over forty . . . okay, she's pushing forty but close enough . . . she's not married, not sure if she wants to get married and not sure if she wants to have kids.  Hooray!  No twenty-something who is freaked out because her biological clock is on overdrive and hopped up on steroids and is freaking out because she hasn't walked down that aisle by her first quarter century.  Cry me a river. 

So . . . I was good with the book before even reading the first page.  And the first page sealed it.    "Thank God I waxed," is the first line and it sets the stage for the rest of the book.  As someone who has fallen in public and exposed her, um, undercarriage to others, I could totally relate to Maggie and her predilection for spills. I liked her at the beginning but she lost me briefly when she made a choice somewhat early in the book that I didn't care for.  Fortunately, I found my way back to Maggie and was rooting for her and her happiness. 

To help her along on her journey Maggie had an amazing circle of girlfriends that I just loved.  Jodie, Amanda and Melanie are like this book's Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte to Maggie's Carrie a la Sex and the City.  But without the Manolos and triple digits of men.  These ladies have a love for each other that's not only real but unconditional and more supportive than romantic love.  It's refreshing to read.  Taking in their grown up slumber parties made me want to dig out some chick flicks, make some pink popcorn and host one of my own.   

How Do You Know? is one of those books that once you start, you don't want to put down.  I found myself chorting (a snort and chuckle) over Maggie's antics (which got me more than one side eye at the office) and I guarantee you the same delightful reaction.  The book isn't predictable and throws a few (fun) curveballs.

I'm so glad that I've read my first Meredith Schorr book and it won't be the last.  

How Do You Know? is available at major booksellers including Amazon.

FTC Disclosure: The review copy of this book was provided by Chick Lit Plus in exchange for a fair and honest review.  The provision of this book did not affect the outcome of my review.  I was neither paid nor compensated for this review. 
Thank you to Samantha at Chick Lit Plus for including me on this tour!

June 15, 2015

HOW TO BLOG A BOOK by Nina Amir - Review, Guest Post and Giveaway

Description:  Transform Your Blog into a Book!

The world of blogging is rapidly changing, but it remains one of the most efficient ways to write and share your work with an eager audience. But how do you purposefully hone your blog content into a uniquely positioned book that will be noticed by an agent or a publisher?

How to Blog a Book Revised and Expanded Edition is a completely updated guide to writing and publishing a saleable book based on a blog. Expert author and blogger Nina Amir guides you through the process of developing targeted blog content that will increase your chances of publication and maximize your visibility as an author.

In this revised edition you’ll find:

• The latest information on how to set up, maintain, and optimize a blog
• Steps for writing a book easily from scratch using blog posts
• Advice on how to write blog posts
• Tips on gaining visibility and promoting your work both online and off
• Current tools for driving traffic to your blog
• Extensive information on how to monetize your existing blog content into a book or other products
• Profiles with authors who received blog-to-book deals, including four new “from blog to book” success stories

My Thoughts on How To Blog a Book by Nina Amir

Bloggers rejoice!  If you write your blog with the intent or hope of turning it into a book, Nina Amir's How to Blog a Book  will be your go-to aid. 

Whether you are a novice blogger or well versed and experienced a blogger, it does not matter.  Ms. Amir writes for both beginners and those more advanced.  She explains blogging from a layperson's perspective and provides helpful tips to get exposure for your blog, and gain traffic and followers.  She also guides the reader on how to find the best topic for you to blog about and how to select the right title for your book. 

One of my favorite parts of How To Blog a Book was reading about bloggers who have achieved their goal of publishing a book from their blogs.  The list was an interesting assortment of variety and very inspirational.

Ms. Amir hits on topics that unpublished writers may be unfamiliar with - - writing proposals, coming up with your pitch and an overview of your work.  She also does a stellar job approaching the marketing angle - - how to determine if your market exists, who your target market is and how to go about  soliciting them. 

While I am not looking to write a nonfiction book currently, I am writing a fiction book and found Ms. Amir's pages on promotion, branding and building your platform very helpful. 

Whether you are writing a fiction or nonfiction book, How To Blog a Book will prove to be a valuable resource and one no writer should be without.  So what are you waiting for?  Get your copy!

How To Blog a Book is available at major booksellers including Amazon

FTC Disclosure: The review copy of this book was provided by iReads Book Tours in exchange for a fair and honest review.  The provision of this book did not affect the outcome of my review.  I was neither paid nor compensated for this review. 

 Thank you, iReads Book Tours, for including me on this tour!

Please visit the other tour stops:

Tour Schedule:

June 1 -   Mary-andering Creatively - review / guest post / giveaway 
June 1 -   Words and Peace - review
June 2 -   The Booksnake Ect - review
June 2 -   Library of Clean Reads - review / giveaway
June 3 -   Readers' Muse - review / author interview
June 3 -   The Things We Read - review
June 5 -   Back Porchervations - review / author interview
June 8 -   Writers and Authors - guest post / giveaway
June 9 -   Vic's Media Room - review
June 10 - Fur Everywhere - review / giveaway
June 10 - Perfect Chaos - review / giveaway
June 11 - Keenly Kristin - review
June 12 - Seaside Book Nook - review / giveaway
June 13 - Writers and Authors - review
June 15 - Psychotic State Book Reviews - review / guest post / giveaway
June 15 - Life With Katie - review / giveaway
June 15 - Nuccia.ca - review / author interview
June 16 - Create With Joy - review / giveaway
June 17 - Romorror Fan Girl - review / guest post / giveaway
June 18 - My Life. One Story at a Time - review / guest post / giveaway
June 19 - View from the Birdhouse - review / giveaway
June 19 - Jessica Cassidy - review / author interview / giveaway
June 19 - One Frugal Girl - review / giveaway


About The Author

Nina Amir, the Inspiration to Creation Coach, is the bestselling author of How to Blog a Book and The Author Training Manual. A speaker, blogger, and author, book, blog-to-book, and high-performance coach, she helps people combine their passion and purpose so they move from idea to inspired action and positively and meaningfully impact the world as writers, bloggers, authorpreneurs, and blogpreneurs. Some of Nina’s clients have sold 300,000+ copies of their books, landed deals with major publishing houses and created thriving businesses around their books. She is the founder of National Nonfiction Writing Month, National Book Blogging Month, and the Nonfiction Writers’ University. As a hybrid author, she has published 15 books and had as many as four books on an Amazon Top 100 list at the same time.

To find out more about Nina and get a free goal-achievement e-book, visit www.ninaamir.com. Receive a set of free blog-plan templates when you visit www.howtoblogabook.com or a free guide to writing a nonfiction book at www.writenonfictionnow.com.

Connect with Nina:

You Can Blog a Book Fast
By Nina Amir

Eighty-one percent of the U.S. population wants to write a book, but only about two percent will become published authors.  The other 98 percent will continue calling themselves aspiring authors because they think writing a book is a long, drawn out process. Or they feel overwhelmed by the idea of writing a book.

Indeed, completing a manuscript can be a big goal to accomplish, but it doesn’t have to be. You can write a book in a month—or less. I wrote one in ten days. I wrote another in three months and one more in five months. I know you can write a book in six months or a year—or less. And you can accomplish this goal by writing for as little as 30 to 60 minutes per day.

Not only that, you can produce your manuscript while getting your writing read—possibly by more readers in a day or a month than the average book sells in a year.

Don’t Write Your Book—Blog It!

It’s possible to do this if you blog a book. While the average book today sells a measly 250 or so copies per year or 3,000 copies in its lifetime, a blog that is reasonably successful can have 300 to 3,000 readers per day.

Plus, bloggers write and publish a post several times a week if not every day. By writing and publishing your book one post at a time, you can get it written in record time, and get it read as well. 

To blog a book, write it intentionally on your blog in post-sized bits. Plan out your manuscript so you publish your posts regularly, building a fan base for your book as you do so. With this process, you can finish a book in under a year—even under six months.

Here’s How Fast You Can Blog a Book…

If, for example, you write 300 words per day just four days per week, you produce 1,000 words per week. That’s four thousand words per month. In 12 months, you’ll have written a 42,000-word book. That’s not a long book, but it’s a decent length for the first draft of your book. (It will get longer when you revise. If you use the plan I suggest in How to Blog a Book Revised and Expanded Edition, you will have planned to add a bit of extra content to the finished manuscript anyway.)

If you write more often, you produce more words in less time; the same is true if you increase you word count just a bit. Let’s say you average 350 words per blog post and write five days per week. That’s a 45,500 book in six months. You can determine how fast you complete your blogged book, but it doesn’t take a large time commitment to finish your first draft.

My first draft of How to Blog a Book (first edition) was only 26,300 words. I completed it in five months writing 3-4 days per week and averaging about 350 words per post. By the time I edited and revised, my book more than doubled in length.

If a long book puts you off, write a short one. You can write a series of posts and turn that into an e-book or a booklet, for example. My book, 10 Days and 10 Ways to Return to Your Best Self, is based on ten blog posts I wrote during the Jewish High Holy Days. Consider writing a 15 to 30 post blogged book if that feels easier to start out. Problogger author and blogger Darren Rowse’s bestselling product, an e-book called 30 Days to a Better Blog, is based on 30 posts he wrote consecutively—a series.  My book, Authorpreneur, was also written as a series of posts over the course of about a month.

How long will writing a post take you? That depends on how quickly you write. For most people, a 300-word post takes about 30 to 90 minutes to compose. (Note: The posts that comprise your blogged book are not full chapters but small segments of your chapters.)

The Blog-a-Book Process (condensed)

If you want to blog a book, here is a short version of the process:

1.      Create a content plan or table of contents.

2.      Break the contents (each chapter) into posts-sized pieces (350-700 words).

3.      Write you book as blog posts on a manageable schedule.

4.      Create a manuscript at the same time as posting on line.

5.      Each time you complete a post, publish it.

Using the blog-a-book process, you will quickly and easily get your book written. You’ll turn into a published author before you know it.




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May 18, 2015

COST OF LIFE by Joshua Corin

Description:  Happy Independence Day. You’re all going to die.  
Life can’t be better for veteran pilot Larry Walder. He has a great job, a terrific kid, a gorgeous wife—and no inkling that tonight will be the end of the world as he knows it. In the early hours before the Fourth of July, three men break into Larry’s home. And as the day lurches on to its terrifying course, a life is taken, and Flight 816 from Atlanta to Cozumel, Mexico, vanishes off the radar.
In the air, Larry must find a way to save his family, his crew, and his passengers. On the ground, disgraced FBI agent Xanadu Marx goes rogue, making it her mission to track down the missing flight before the hijackers reach their diabolical endgame. With the casualties racking up and the world’s busiest airport under lockdown, a message arrives: This is no ordinary hijacking, no typical hostage crisis. This ransom is a totally different beast—the first hint of a conspiracy that might bring America to its knees.

My Thoughts on Cost of Life by Joshua Corin

How can you miss with a line like "Happy Independence Day. You're all going to die?"  Fortunately author Joshua Corin swings for the fences and hits it out of the park with this thriller.

  For me, Cost of Life started slowly.  A hijacked plane isn't anything new but the pace quickly picked up.  I was thrilled to discover that the story took place, at least at inception, in my hometown of Atlanta, Georgia.  I personally find it exciting to read of correct street names and locales when flipping through pages.

Pilot Larry Walder was a strong, endearing hero.  I liked him immediately and felt for his terrible situation.  Are the lives of his wife and son more valuable than those of over one hundred strangers on his flight?  How can he save his family, himself, his crew and his passengers while thwarting the hijackers? 

His female counterpart, on the ground and in the FBI, is Xanadu Marx.  Xana, refreshingly, isn't your typical thirty year old heroine - she's forty-six, a recovering alcoholic and determined to solve the mystery of Flight 816 with an unusual sidekick.  As a child of the late 70s/early 80s, I got a kick out of the 1980 Olivia Newton-John film references to which others believed Xana was named.

Author Joshua Corin
I actually read this book while flying the friendly skies and while it was certainly the perfect type of book to while away travel time, it does make you give a second glance at your traveling companions.  Cost of Life had my stomach in knots and veered off my suspected track several times.  It kept me guessing until the very end, leaving me with a pounding heart and satisfied literary experience.

Cost of Life is available for purchase at major booksellers including Amazon.

Author Website



FTC Disclosure: The review copy of this book was provided by TLC Book Tours in exchange for a fair and honest review.  The provision of this book did not affect the outcome of my review.  I was neither paid nor compensated for this review. 

Thank you, TLC Book Tours, for including me on this tour!

April 27, 2015

BRIDGES OF PARIS by Michael Saint James

Description:  Bridges of Paris is a large-format coffee-table book, with over 350 original color photographs, which casts new illumination on the City of Light. The 37 bridges over the Seine River emerge as beautiful, historic destinations rather than unnoticed thoroughfares. The book features stunning portraits of each bridge as well as intimate riverside moments. Once you’ve experienced this river tour, you will never see Paris the same way again.

Living as a Parisian for a year, author Michael Saint James left his American lifestyle and spent his days and nights capturing images from over, on, beside and under the bridges of Paris. With over 30 years experience as a photographer, educator and world traveler, Michael immersed himself in French culture to search out his authentic artist self. The result is a visual treasure to share with everyone.

My Thoughts on The Bridges of Paris by Michael Saint James

I am obsessed with Europe.  I haven't been (yet) but it's on my Absolutely Definitely Must Do List.  I have many locations I'd like to see and Paris is in my Top Five. 

I'm also a fan of gorgeous coffee table books and Michael Saint James' Bridges of Paris ticks both boxes. 

This book is a visual masterpiece.  The photographs, taken by Mr. Saint James, capture the beauty, the culture and the joie de vivre of Paris.  Readers are treated to stunning landscapes, tourists and locals, in daytime shots and electrifying evening shots. 

The luscious photography would be enough of a selling point for Bridges of Paris but Mr. Saint James has included history on each of the bridges featured in the book.  I had no idea Paris was littered with so many bridges -- and architecturally striking ones at that - -   so the information gave me a lot to chew on. 

Bridges of Paris is the perfect gift for the French lover in your life.  It has given me a new appreciation for France's capital city and stoked my desire to see this quintessential French city.

Bridges of Paris will be available for purchase at major booksellers and retailers on May 15, 2015.


Author Website



Tour Schedule for BRIDGES OF PARIS

Book Trailer:



    FTC Disclosure: The review copy of this book was provided by the author for the book tour in exchange for a fair and honest review.  The provision of this book did not affect the outcome of my review.  I was neither paid nor compensated for this review.

With thanks to Laura Fabiani and iRead Book Tours for including me on this tour!

Win One of Fifteen Print Copies of Bridges of Paris
Open Internationally -  Ends May 16, 2015

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April 26, 2015

Guest Post: "Locks on the Seine: Love or Litter" by Michael Saint James

Locks on the Seine: Love or Litter?Unlocking Love in the City of Love
In the City of Love, two sweethearts stand on a bridge over the Seine River. They write their names on a padlock. They hook it to the bridge’s railing, and secure the lock—and they hope their love—forever. They toss the key in the river together.
While spending months photographing the bridges on the Seine for my new book, Bridges of Paris, I frequently witnessed this ritual with everything from beautiful engraved locks to bike locks to handcuffs, and was still helplessly charmed every time. After the key is tossed, most lovers kiss passionately at what has now become their favorite spot in the city. They wander off to celebrate that their love and the lock will surely persist for all time — or at least until the fence, under the weight of thousand of locks, rips free of the bridge’s parapet and tumbles into the Seine.
I heard one of Paris’s bridges collapsed!” a friend emailed me from the States in June 2014. When I arrived on the bridge, the Pont des Arts, I found only one small section of the chain-link railing, filled with locks, hanging over the Seine. It hung there until city workers removed it and covered the gap with plywood. The bridge’s integrity was never in question.
The Pont des Arts was the city’s first love-lock bridge, then Pont de l’Archevêché by Notre Dame. Both bridges were targeted because of their chain-link railings. Once they were full, the phenomenon spread to other bridges
One catalyst for this ritual was Italian author Federico Moccia’s 2006 teen novel, Tengo ganas de ti (I Want You). Two young Roman lovers declare their bond by securing a lock inscribed with their names to the Ponte Milvio, then threw the key into the Tiber River.
Locks have sprouted on bridges all over the world, including Brooklyn, London, Budapest, Serbia, Prague, Moscow, South Korea and China.
Treasure or trash? In Paris, the locks are now considered visual pollution. The locks damage the bridges and keys litter the riverbed. When the Pont des Arts’ railing tore, Parisians lost their tolerance. Paris has now launched a no-love-lock media campaign. Bridge wire railings are being replaced with clear acrylic panels. Though some still bring locks, the tide is turning.
The love-lock fad will fade away and the beautiful crossings over the Seine will regain their architectural beauty. Lovers will always meet on Parisian bridges, gaze into each other’s eyes and make commitments beyond their understanding.
When the time comes, I’ll go back to take photographs for the second edition of my book: Bridges of Paris Sans Serrures (“Without Locks”).
About the Author
Michael Saint James’ artistic pursuits include award-winning book design, film editing, and sound recording, as well as his first love, photography. Saint James is a world traveler, having visited more than 50 countries - doing everything from photographing penguins in Antarctica to trekking the Himalayas.

As an educator with California teaching credentials, he has taught media production and technology arts as well as photography, art history and visual storytelling. He is an expert speaker on Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art. Indeed, he walked in Vincent Van Gogh’s footsteps through the Netherlands, Belgium, and France in order to immerse himself in that troubled master’s vision.

The father of two grown children, Saint James once owned a café in Berkeley, California. He has bicycled from Las Vegas to Washington, D.C. and is rumored to play a mean blues harmonica.

Connect with Michael:  Website