Saturday, June 30, 2018

This Week on Books Direct - 30 June 2018

This Week on Books Direct -
30 June 2018

This Week on Books Direct - 30 June 2018

Here's a list of some great articles you may have missed this week. Enjoy!

Donald Hall, a prolific and award-winning poet and man of letters who was widely admired for his sharp humor and painful candor about nature, mortality, baseball and the distant past, has died. He was 89.

Donald Hall, US Poet Laureate And Prize-Winning Man Of Letters, Dies At 89 by Associated Press for The Guardian

Derek Taylor Kent wasn’t sure where to get started when launching his author brand, and he made countless mistakes that he’s learned from and that have helped him reach the point where he’s just beginning to get the hang of it.

Building A Modern Author Brand: My Mis-Adventures In Perfecting A Platform by Derek Taylor Kent for I Smell Sheep

Laura Ingalls Wilder's Name Removed From Book Award Over Racism Concerns by Associated Press in Chicago for The Guardian
American Library Association changes award name after examining ‘expressions of stereotypical attitudes’ in books.

Laura Ingalls Wilder's Name Removed From Book Award Over Racism Concerns by Associated Press in Chicago for The Guardian

The Locus Science Fiction Foundation announced the winners of the 2018 Locus Awards during the Locus Awards Weekend in Seattle WA, June 22-24, 2018.

2018 Locus Awards Winners by Locus Mag

Reader or writer, what do you gain from reading/writing?

Once A Teacher, Always A Teacher, Or Why I Write The Books I Write by Hans M. Hirschi

Philip Pullman, Antony Beevor, and Sally Gardner call for a fairer share of profits, as survey shows full-time writers earn below minimum wage.

Publishers Are Paying Writers A Pittance, Say Bestselling Authors by Danuta Kean for The Guardian

Children’s author Tom Palmer has teamed up with the National Literacy Trust to write a story that captures reluctant readers.

A Story About Harry Kane And Russian History Is Inspiring Schoolkids To Read by Richard Foster for The Guardian

Marketing a business can be tough when you feel like you’ve exhausted so many ideas. If you feel like you’re struggling or bored with the same marketing strategies, it’s time to take on a new and fresh approach. Let’s take a look at a variety of marketing ideas that’ll pump you up and get energized to market your business as an entrepreneur.

13 Extraordinary Marketing Ideas for Entrepreneurs by Lillian De Jesus for Stencil

The 40 Under 40 initiative has chosen a diverse set of fresh fellows to reflect the ‘bold expressiveness’ of a new generation in an institution that has been ‘overwhelmingly’ white and male.

Royal Society Of Literature Admits 40 New Fellows To Address Historical Biases by Alison Flood for The Guardian

Leisure Reading In The U.S. Is At An All-Time Low by Christopher Ingraham for The Washington Post
The share of Americans who read for pleasure on a given day has fallen by more than 30 percent since 2004, according to the latest American Time Use Survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Leisure Reading In The U.S. Is At An All-Time Low by Christopher Ingraham for The Washington Post

Speculative-fiction writer Harlan Ellison, who penned short stories, novellas and criticism, contributed to TV series including The Outer Limits, Star Trek and, Babylon 5 and won a notable copyright infringement suit against ABC and Paramount and a settlement in a similar suit over The Terminator, has died. He was 84.

Harlan Ellison, Provocative Sci-Fi Writer Of Star Trek, A Boy and His Dog, Dies At 84 by Carmel Dagan for Variety

Curious about the difference between a clear, concise sentence and a wordy one? Check out three of the top offenders when it comes to wordy writing.

Grammarly Spotlight: Why Concise Writing Gets More Readers by Grammarly Blog

Rather than getting hung up on the tiny detail that none of you read the book, here are some things to do in your book club meeting that will keep the discussion going strong and the literary vibes flowing.

12 Tips For Hosting A Successful Book Club Meeting When No One Read The Book by Melissa Ragsdale for Bustle

If you enjoyed this blog post, please visit the other This Week posts for links to more great articles.

Friday, June 29, 2018

"Nocturnal Meetings of the Misplaced" by R. J. Garcia

Nocturnal Meetings of the Misplaced
by R. J. Garcia

Nocturnal Meetings of the Misplaced by R. J. Garcia

Nocturnal Meetings of the Misplaced by R. J. Garcia is currently on tour with BeachBoundBooks. The tour stops here today for an excerpt and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

Mystery surrounds the town of Summertime, Indiana, where fifteen-year-old Tommy Walker and his little sister are sent to live with relatives they’ve never met. Tommy soon makes friends with Finn Wilds, a rebellious local who lives with his volatile and abusive stepfather, who also happens to be the town’s sheriff.
Finn invites Tommy to late night meetings in the woods, where Tommy gets to know two girls. He forms a special and unique connection with both girls. The meetings become a place where the kids, who don’t fit in at school, or home can finally belong. As the group of friends begin to unravel clues to a cold case murder and kidnapping - they learn the truth is darker and closer than they ever imagined. Even if they live to tell, will anyone believe them?

Book Video

A sense of fragility filled the air. We were in the woods late at night without any adults. It seemed a little dangerous. The kind of dangerous that makes you know you’re alive. The wind mysteriously moaned. Some of the trees remained bare and stark, still dormant from the winter. Other trees had come back to life but started shedding from the return of the cold. It would have made an ideal setting for a horror movie.
I looked at a jet-black sky through a waning awning of leaves. The crescent moon ghosted down on us, along with a few scattered stars. We stepped on dead leaves and foliage and kept walking. After about fifteen minutes we made it to a clearing. Motionless shadows from the trees showed on the frosted grass.
The beam of the flashlight whirled around wildly as Finn shot it around the surrounding trees. Stray rays of light even touched the treetops.
“Are you sure this is where we’re supposed to meet them?” I asked.
Finn leaned back, resting his arm against a majestic oak tree, near the edge of the clearing. “Yeah. I’m positive. We always meet here.” The massive tree branches spindled out like a giant fan, some of the lower branches almost touched the ground.
Although it was the first official day of spring, the temperatures had dropped. I was the dumb kid who only wore a hoodie. Now that we stopped moving, the coldness knifed its way up my feet and ankles. Before I knew it, the chill took the rest of my body. I shifted all around in a lame attempt to keep warm. “It’s really cold,” I complained.
“You don’t have to tell me. My tomatoes died,” he said gravely.
Shivering, I told him, “You know, your blood can literally freeze.”
“It’s not that cold,” Finn replied, mildly irritated. He stepped toward me, pulling off his black ski cap and gloves, which had the fingers cut out. We were a generation so obsessed with our phones that we couldn’t even wear real gloves anymore. Finn handed them to me. Once I slipped them both on, they helped a little. We heard a kind of rustling off in the foliage. Confusion registered on his face, mirroring my own. Finn shined the light toward the sound, but we didn’t see anything.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
“Fast paced mystery that will leave you breathless!” ~ Author, Dave Wickenden
Nocturnal Meetings of the Misplaced is a young adult thriller filled with mystery and intrigue. Its many twists and turns will keep readers on the edge of their seats.” ~ IndieReview
“A well-told story about friendship, love, family and murder/mystery that had me heartbroken and full of shivers!” ~ Turn the Page of Books
“This YA contemporary story opens with intrigue (like its cover!) and adds suspenseful layers all the way to the tumultuous end.” ~ Christina Dwivedi
“This novel is not teen angst, but the excitement of young love - the madness and muddle of thinking the wrong thing, the shame and mortification of saying it. Words are analyzed before spoken, parsed and reconsidered and judged and considered again. The author’s brilliance is in hearing the thoughts of her characters so clearly.” ~ Amazon Reviewer
“RJ Garcia’s twisting tale navigates the lives of a fringe group of teens who discover some of the most sinister secrets exist in the cracks of idyllic small-town life. Reminiscent of the mood and haunting tone of VC Andrews’ greatest novels, the plot toes a line between the eerie and the downright horrific with characters that jump off the page and into your heart.” ~ Amazon Reviewer

About the Author
R. J. Garcia is a wife, and proud mom of two smart kids. She earned her MSW and worked with foster children and as a school social worker. Writing has been her other great love. She has published several non-fiction pieces. She has been writing short stories for as long as she can remember. To her amazement, those short stories became novels!

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card or PayPal cash.


Thursday, June 28, 2018

"My Crunchy Life" by Mia Kerick

My Crunchy Life
by Mia Kerick

My Crunchy Life by Mia Kerick

My Crunchy Life by Mia Kerick is currently on tour with YA Bound Book Tours. The tour stops here today for an excerpt and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

For another book by this author, please check out my blog post on The Weekend Bucket List.

Every hippie worth his salt fights for a cause, and if sixteen-year-old Kale Oswald wants to call himself a true hippie, he has to do more than look the part. He has to stand for something, so he chooses the local human rights organization… where things don’t go as planned.
Julian Mendez is fresh out of the hospital because he thought swallowing a bottle of pills would be easier than admitting to his mother—and all the kids at school - who he really is and longs to someday live as: a girl named Julia. His medication might stop his body from developing into a man’s, but it won’t make facing his fellow students any easier. Because he plans to move forward with his transition - there was never any other choice.
Sexuality and desire aren’t the only facets of themselves Kale and Julian discover - and struggle with - as they get to know each other through the human rights organization. Some sides of themselves are easier to accept than others, but before they can move on - to friendship and maybe more - they’ll both have to take a hard look at what they want to become.


[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
“I absolutely love this book! I devoured it in one sitting, captivated by the characters even when I didn't necessarily like them. In fact, if I'm honest, I spent a good portion of the book not liking Kale much at all.  I think that's kind of the point, though. If all characters started off in a place where we loved them already, there wouldn't be a lot of room for growth and at sixteen, Kale's got a lot of room for growing.” ~ Bobbie (A Page to Turn Reviews)
“Sometimes a book comes along that is so outstanding words fail a reviewer. My Crunchy Life by Mia Kerick is one of those books. […] Through incredibly witty plays on words, humour, and lots of empathy, Mia Kerick has written a book that is not just for young adults, but for parents who truly care about what their children might be struggling with, but are hesitant to discuss with anyone. My Crunchy Life opens doors to allow communication to begin.” ~ Viga Boland
“This coming of age story isn’t incredibly angsty, despite some very serious themes, but it’s a story of growth and I thought it was just right.” ~ Lucy
“This book is perfect for anyone just trying to figure life out. It deals with many issues that children and teenagers face today in school. Bullying plays a large role in this book. This book empowers not only the LGBTQ community but others are facing societies stereotypes and prejudices.” ~ Emily (Infinite Lives, Infinite Stories)

About the Author
Mia Kerick
Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children -all named after saints - and five nonpedigreed cats - all named after the next best thing to saints, Boston Red Sox players. Her husband of twenty years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about that, as it is a sensitive subject.
Mia focuses her stories on the emotional growth of troubled men and their relationships, and she believes that sex has a place in a love story, but not until it is firmly established as a love story. As a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with romantic tales of tortured heroes (most of whom happened to strongly resemble lead vocalists of 1980s big-hair bands) and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to Dreamspinner Press for providing her with an alternate place to stash her stories.
Mia is proud of her involvement with the Human Rights Campaign and cheers for each and every victory made in the name of marital equality. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $15 Amazon gift card.


Wednesday, June 27, 2018

"Shadow Dancing" by Julie Mulhern

Shadow Dancing
(The Country Club Murders Book 7)
by Julie Mulhern

Shadow Dancing (The Country Club Murders Book 7) by Julie Mulhern

Shadow Dancing is the seventh book in Julie Mulhern's Country Club Murders series set in the 1970s. Also available: The Deep End (read my blog post), Guaranteed to Bleed, Clouds in My Coffee, Send in the Clowns, Watching the Detectives (read my blog post), and Cold as Ice (read my blog post).

Shadow Dancing is currently on tour with Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours. The tour stops here today for an excerpt and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

Visiting a psychic is outside the norm for Ellison Russell. Finding bodies is not. Unfortunately, the psychic’s crystal ball says she’ll soon be surrounded by death. Again.
Now there’s a corpse in the front drive, a witchy neighbor ready to turn Ellison and her (not so) little dog into toadstools, and a stripper named Starry Knight occupying the guest room.
How did 1975 go so wrong so quickly?
Ellison must handle Mother (who’s found a body of her own), make up with a certain handsome detective, and catch a killer, or the death surrounding her might be her own.

“Ellison!” Mother’s voice was a mix of relief and exasperation. “Where have you been?”
Tell Mother I’d visited a medium? I’d rather hammer shims under my fingernails or wander around outside without my coat. “Out.”
“I need you.”
Time stopped. Mother never needed me. “What’s wrong?”
“I need you.” Apparently that was the only explanation I was getting. “Can you come over? Please?”
Please? What had happened? “Of course, I’ll come. Are you okay?”
“Hurry.” She hung up.
Aggie appeared in the doorway, a steaming mug of all-things-good in her hand.
“Would you please put that in a travel mug?” I asked.
“Of course. Problem?”
“She won’t tell me what’s wrong.” Mother was not given to crying wolf. Whatever the issue was, it was big. A trickle of dread chilled my blood. “The ambiance committee is meeting here at three. I’ll be back before then.”
“I’ll have everything ready.” Aggie was indispensable. How we’d ever gotten along without her was a mystery. With her sproingy red hair, vivid kaftans, and outspoken ways, Aggie was not Mother’s idea of a perfect housekeeper. Mother’s opinion didn’t matter. I thought Aggie was the best thing since sliced bread.
A moment later I was back in the car, snug in a fox jacket with matching hat. I settled the plastic travel mug filled with coffee between my thighs and wished I hadn’t. The plastic was hot. I turned the key and ELO’s “Can’t Get It Out of My Head” nearly deafened me. I sympathized. Even with hitting a pedestrian and Mother’s crisis, there was a man I couldn’t get out of my head. I turned off the radio and motored down the drive.
Mother’s door opened as soon as I pulled up in front of her house.
I took a quick gulp of coffee then hurried up the front walk. “What’s wrong?”
Mother looked from left to right as if her neighbors were hanging around in the cold, waiting to eavesdrop. “Come in.”
With the door safely closed behind me, Mother sighed.
“What? What’s happened?”
The color had leeched from her skin and the perfect helmet of her hair was mussed. “I found a body.”
Mother? A body? It was about time someone in this family besides me found a body.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
“Although almost all the characters in this series are “a cut above,” actually several socioeconomic levels above me, the author’s wry humor, use of irony, and judicious eliciting of empathy, make the series endearing, despite the cultural disparity.” ~ Mallory Heart’s Cozies
“I love the characters in this series. They are expertly written and feel like old friends. Their dialogues are fantastic.” ~ Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book
“I started this book one night and I didn’t go to sleep till I finished, really, it was addictive!” ~ Varietats
“I love, love, love Ellison. Each time I get to read her latest adventure, I find myself adoring her more.” ~ Bibliophile Reviews

About the Author
Julie Mulhern
Julie Mulhern is the USA Today bestselling author of The Country Club Murders. She is a Kansas City native who grew up on a steady diet of Agatha Christie. She spends her spare time whipping up gourmet meals for her family, working out at the gym, and finding new ways to keep her house spotlessly clean - and she's got an active imagination. Truth is - she's an expert at calling for take-out, she grumbles about walking the dog, and the dust bunnies under the bed have grown into dust lions.

Enter the giveaway for a chance to win a signed print copy of Shadow Dancing by Julie Mulhern (US only).