Book Giveaway: Downward Dog by Edward Vilga

Published June 9th 2013 by Diversion Books, DOWNWARD DOG by Edward Vilga is on tour this week and I’m giving away a free copy of this hot new release!

DownwardDogCoverAbout Downward Dog: A study in love, loss, and sexual misadventures in New York City, DOWNWARD DOG tells the tale of a handsome Bad Boy who becomes a yoga instructor while trying to redeem his womanizing ways and win the forgiveness of the only woman he’s ever really loved.

Down on his luck thanks to a failed nightlife venture which fell apart because of his womanizing, our hero’s stuck with massive debt and broken dreams.

His only safe haven is the yoga world, and when his well-connected best buddy launches his yoga career among NYC’s elite, our working class hero becomes a guru to society’s top 1%, a wolf let loose amongst a flock of comely sheep.

Special thanks to Diversion Books for sponsoring this free book giveaway. Click here to visit the Diversion Books website.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

DOWNWARD DOG is available in digital format only, so the winner will receive from Diversion Books either a .mobi (Kindle version) or ePub (for iPad/iPhone, Nook, Kobo, etc) edition of Edward Vilga’s book. Simply enter your e-mail address in the Rafflecopter prize drawing below between now and July 31, 2013. Email addresses will not be saved or used in any way, unless you are the winner – in which case, we will use your email address only to contact you and deliver the book. Because this book can be delivered to anyone with an e-mail address, the giveaway is open internationally.

Travel through the blogosphere with Edward Vilga and Downward Dog:

July 22: http://girlseeksplace.wordpress.com
July 23: http://abluemillionbooks.blogspot.com
July 24: www.ashleyfarley.net
July 25: www.thephantomparagrapher.blogspot.com
July 26: www.julievalerie.com
July 28: http://willreadforbooks.wordpress.com
July 30: bound4escape.com
July 31: tiffanytalksbooks.com / http://jerseygirlbookreviews.blogspot.com/

Purchase Downward Dog: 

Downward Dog on Amazon

Connect with Edward Vilga at these sites:

Edward’s Website
Edward on Goodreads
Edward on Twitter
Edward on Facebook 

 

 

 

Bridget Jones: Mad About The Boy – My Notes about the Cover Reveal

I’ve been following Bridget Jones on Facebook, and watched closely over recent days as a bottle of wine on the screen slowly emptied as readers “drank” moving closer and closer to the cover reveal of the long-awaited third novel in the Bridget Jones saga by author Helen Fielding (releasing mid-October 2013 by Knopf and available now for pre-order).

Yesterday, the bottle emptied and readers caught their first glimpse at the cover.

My thoughts? LOVE the book spine. Great design. Will stand out nicely on bookshelves. But the white background on the cover? Not so good for online viewers because the lack of a border will cause the white cover to bleed into the white space that often surrounds a book cover on a computer screen. But then, what do I know … I’m not Knopf.

Another observation? Notice the use of capital letters in the title. Mad about The Boy. Usually, I’d expect the word ‘the’ to be lowercased in the title. Grammatically speaking, the title indicates the book will not be about any boy – but about The Boy. (A son, perhaps?)

If you want to read more about the first Bridget Jones book – Bridget Jones’s Diary – the watershed book published in the late 1990s that helped launch a chick lit frenzy in publishing, check out my blog posts in the “Ode to Bridget Jones” category (found in the top right corner of the screen) where I analyze the writing that captivated readers around the globe.

BridgetJonesCoverReveal

 

 

Royal Secrets by Kathleen Irene Paterka

Yesterday, His Royal Highness the Prince of Cambridge was born and today, my highlighted author is Kathleen Irene Paterka, author of ROYAL SECRETS, a story of a tiara and a family that’s distantly descended from the British royal family. ROYAL SECRETS brings readers to the Royal Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas, Nevada, where the characters and the Sin City they live in have many, many secrets …

RoyalSecretsCover

About the book: ROYAL SECRETS is the story of the Royal Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas, and of Lily Lavender, whose family is distantly descended from the British royal family. Immersed in the regal world of weddings and romance, Lily grew up believing in brides, grooms and happily-ever-afters. It seemed her destiny and royal birthright to someday assume a position as wedding coordinator in their family-owned wedding chapel business. But when her mother Mimi’s third marriage eventually fails, Lily’s dreams of her own happily-ever-after quickly fade. She’s no longer interested in a life of assisting brides walk down the aisle into a life of disillusionment and possible divorce. Lily turns her back on The Royal Wedding Chapel and leaves Las Vegas to fashion a life of her own. Years later, Lily—now a single mom—discovers her teenage daughter has run off to Las Vegas, lured by Mimi to help run the chapel. Determined to save her daughter from the broken dreams of Sin City and the nonsensical world of which family fairy tales are made, Lily returns to Las Vegas. But nothing prepares Lily for the royal drama which awaits her… or the sins and secrets she stumbles across that threaten to close the chapel and ruin her family forever.

Sound interesting? Read on for the Prologue…

PROLOGUE

There’s a reason they call this town Sin City, my mother told me long ago when I questioned her about something I’d heard at school that day. But when I asked about the secrets part, Mimi had refused to explain. “You’re much too young to hear about such things, Lily,” she said and left it at that.

I wandered away, a confused eight-year-old, my head filled with even more questions. How could Las Vegas be full of sin and secrets when it was filled with so much sunshine? Growing up in this town, in the ornate, spacious villa behind Mimi’s Royal Wedding Chapel near the center of the Strip, I saw the glitz and glamour. It shimmered and sparkled like the beautiful brides in their wedding gowns gracing the aisles of the chapel. Peeking around the pews, I saw their glowing faces, heard the vows exchanged, witnessed the beginnings of so many happily-ever-afters.

And then I grew up.

It took a while—around the time Mimi’s third marriage, the one to Jack’s father, collapsed—for me to discover the truth. Las Vegas is full of sin and secrets. Most of them stay in Vegas, left behind to be cleaned up by maids and blackjack dealers who sweep away the debris. Others get carried home like guilty luggage, busting up marriages and businesses and causing bankruptcy.

I’m forty years old, and that naïve little girl I used to be disappeared long ago. She learned that happily ever after is merely an illusion and that sins and secrets can weigh just as heavy on your heart as our family’s heirloom tiara can weigh on your head. The dazzling crown, in the special display case behind bulletproof glass in the lobby of the Royal Wedding Chapel, gleams like the fortune it is worth. But the antique combs pinch and the diamond diadem is a burden. How my grandmother managed to keep the jewel-encrusted crown on her head when presented to the Queen is the stuff of which family legends are made. With my grandfather descended from British nobility and in distant line for the throne, the tiara is a priceless treasure, proof of our family’s heritage.

As far as I’m concerned, though, that tiara is exactly where it belongs: safely behind glass, viewed from a distance. It glitters and sparkles, but the pain isn’t worth it. Dare to wear it, as I did once, and—just like the secrets hidden in Sin City—the pain and guilt will tear you down. I’m lucky I managed to yank it off in time.

And I refuse to allow that tiara to ruin my daughter’s life the way it almost ruined mine.

KathleenIrenePaterkaPhotoAbout Kathleen: Kathleen Irene Paterka is the author of numerous women’s fiction novels which embrace universal themes of home, family life and love, including ROYAL SECRETS and the James Bay series (FATTY PATTY, HOME FIRES, LOTTO LUCY and FOR I HAVE SINNED). Kathleen is the resident staff writer for Castle Farms, a world renowned castle listed on the National Historic Register, and co-author of the non-fiction book FOR THE LOVE OF A CASTLE, published in 2012. Having lived and studied abroad, Kathleen’s educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts degree from Central Michigan University. She and her husband live in the beautiful north country of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula.

Special offer! Everyone who leaves a comment on Kathleen’s tour page (click here) will be entered to win a $20 Amazon gift card! Anyone who purchases a copy of Royal Secrets before August 12, 2013 then sends a receipt to Samantha (at) ChickLitPlus (dot) com, will get five bonus entries.

Contact Kathleen:

Website
Facebook
ScribBLING Divas Blog

Buy the book:

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Smashwords

RoyalSecretsBlogTourButtonFollow Kathleen on her Blog Tour:

July 22 – Chick Lit Plus
July 23 – Julie Valerie’s Book Blog
July 24 – Amie’s Reviews
July 26 – Everything Books & Authors
July 29 – Every Free Chance Book Reviews
July 30- Hardcover Feedback
August 1 – Forget the Housework, I’m Reading!
August 5 – Chick Lit Club Connect
August 5 – A Blue Million Books
August 6 – Chick Lit Goddess
August 8 – Brooke Blogs
August 9 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews
August 12 –  The Hopeless Romantics Book Blog

 

 

 

BookVibe: 2 Predictions & 4 Bets for the Future

Okay, so the subject of my previous two posts about BookVibe were my initial 10 observations after establishing an account and interacting with the BookVibe website.

Links to those posts:

BookVibe: Book Discovery by Analyzing Twitter Streams – Part 1 of 2
BookVibe: Book Discovery by Analyzing Twitter Streams – Part 2 of 2

Today, I’m going to make two predictions and place four bets.

Prediction #1: After sleeping on it for a few nights, I’ve come to believe that readers probably have enough places on the web to go to for book recommendations if they really want them. Amazon makes plenty of suggestions and Goodreads exists to curate content about books. But publishers and authors, on the other hand, have limited means of posting and controlling social media content to promote their books so if BookVibe establishes some way for publishers and authors to create book-specific pages as platforms, then we might be onto something.

Discoverability is key when selling books – and if BookVibe becomes a viable source for assisting the producers (the publishers and authors) with discoverability – then I think producers of content will hop on it.

Therefore, I predict that BookVibe’s primary client will not be your typical, everyday readers of books (although, they’ll give that impression, and to a certain extent, readers will use the service) but the real BookVibe client will be producers of books. You know, “industry” people. I’ve noticed something about social media. Quite often, entire circles of like-minded industry people swirl around each other – all talking about the same thing. In our case, that topic is: “Buy this book. Oh, please … Buy this book!” If BookVibe gives the industry the impression they’re offering a meaningful channel for book discovery – whether or not readers use BookVibe in great numbers won’t really matter. Because book producers can’t ignore a social media platform that assists with discoverability.

Prediction #2: Once Paraktweet (the people behind BookVibe) master the art of mining and curating information from natural language tweets about BOOKS, they’ll move to do the same for music, fashion and other topics. (They already have a product in its infancy that tracks trends for movies.) Will they use the terms MusicVibe, FashionVibe and the like? I don’t know. But I bet they’ve already secured those domain names. And I predict they’ll move to cull information not just from Twitter but from Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, Tumblr and the like.

Okay, now I’m going to place four bets. Here they are:

I bet:

(1) Users of BookVibe will be able to create content on BookVibe – make book lists of books we want to read, have read, and are reading (similar to Goodreads although they might use different terminology). We’ll get to rate books, create bookshelves, wish lists, and report our recent purchases from Amazon. Watch for an expansion of social media share buttons within the BookVibe website (to include Facebook, Google+, etc.) so we’ll not only be able to generate tweets and updates from the BookVibe interface – but push BookVibe-generated content out into social media.

And I suspect:

(2) The Amazon function of BookVibe will expand to include not just that “View it on Amazon” button – but a function that allows Amazon to send push notifications to our BookVibe account to alert us to new releases or sales on the books that we’ve indicated an interest in or even make suggestions based on the books we’re tweeting about.

Amazon’s smart. And come on, whether you love the giant or hate it, we all know Amazon’s quite savvy when it comes to market domination. But right now, they can’t sell books by plucking data from our Twitter accounts because as far as I know, there isn’t “that kind” of business relationship between Amazon and Twitter. This is where BookVibe comes in.

Which brings me to this:

(3) I bet Barnes & Noble, Apple, Kobo and similar booksellers will want to do the same and if they can’t (because Amazon will probably lock that up quick) then will they start their own BookVibe-type data mining sites to probe our tweets? This is not such a crazy idea when you consider the social media sites built around books. On the one hand, we have Goodreads (which Amazon just purchased) and we have TheReadingRoom, LibraryThing and Shelfari … so why not more than one BookVibe so that all booksellers can get a piece of the action?

I bet:

(4) We’ll get the chance to establish a profile page on BookVibe so that publishers and authors can create Facebook-like pages for their products. I assume we’ll be able to see which Twitter users are talking about our books so that we can engage in conversation with them on Twitter via the BookVibe profile page. Of course, if we can each establish our own profile pages, then we should be able to look at other authors’ profile pages – which will give us insights into other titles selling in our genre.

And yes, of course, where there’s a profile page in social media there will be some sort of social linking/promoting component that allows us to leverage the power of social media by connecting and promoting each other’s profile pages on BookVibe. Will we use the term ‘like’ (Facebook), ‘follow’ (Twitter), or ‘Fan’ (Goodreads)? Probably not.

My bet?

We’ll start to ‘vibe’ with each other.

One more thing.

In light of all this discussion about BookVibe, consider for a moment the market implications of Facebook’s very recent rollout of both hashtags and Graph Search. Gets you thinking, eh?

BookVibe: Book Discovery by Analyzing Twitter Streams – Part 2 of 2

Yesterday, I began a discussion about BookVibe, a new service from data start-up Parakweet, that analyzes Twitter streams so that readers can discover new books to read.

Click here to link back to yesterday’s post to read the first 5 of 10 observations I’ve made as a new user of BookVibe. Tomorrow, I place 4 bets and make 2 predictions about the future of BookVibe.

Today, let’s look at observations 6-10:

(6) In your BookVibe stream (here’s mine if you want to see it), when you hover your mouse over the bottom of the rectangular tweet box you have the opportunity to thank the person who sent the tweet and the option to reply, retweet or favorite the tweet. This is good because it allows Tweeps and BookVibers to continue the conversation.

Now, this next feature has (strong) implications for authors:

(7) I found two interesting social media measures of influence (generated by BookVibe) listed in the top right corner of my tweets.

One was a five-start “social sentiment” rating system based on the average sentiment the book received over many recent tweets. The other, a “social buzz” indicator of high, medium or low based on the frequency of recent discussions on Twitter.

Which tells me this: By analyzing natural language, BookVibe is trying to determine (1) if a book is being spoken about favorably on Twitter and by analyzing tweets system wide, is trying to determine (2) how often a book is being talked about on Twitter. It also tells me that (3) the instincts listed in my second observation in yesterday’s post might be correct.

Implications for publishers and writers? Twitter may become more important when promoting a book. It may become more than making social connections and directing tweeps to blog posts. Now, you might consider ensuring your books are (1) being talked about (a lot) on Twitter and (2) being talked about favorably – with ‘feel the love’ keywords in the natural language of the 140 characters. You may also consider adding BookVibe to your list of social media sites to canvas each day/week to check your book’s status. (Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking: Great. Another social media site to visit over morning coffee – now I’ll never get any writing done!)

(8) There are two options to subscribe to either a specific person on Twitter or click to receive book recommendations from “industry leaders” (industry leaders – whoever they are – gimme a break).

At first, I’m wondering if anyone’s really going to follow other people on BookVibe because who needs another “groupie” social media site (and by groupie I mean that crazy game we play to “like” each other on Facebook and “follow” each other on Twitter). And who wants another email to read in their inbox? Although, BookVibe tells me the once a week email I will receive will include book recommendations from people I follow on Twitter, so at least the email is somewhat catered to my activities.

In bold letters in the header of the BookVibe website is the sentence: “BookVibe helps you discover great new books by mining your Twitter stream.”

Are you thinking what I’m thinking?

What? Why do I want to discover books I’ve already tweeted about? Doesn’t that imply that I’ve already discovered them? If I’m missing something here, please leave a comment and enlighten me. (I think maybe that sentence is referring to the email they will send you once per week with book recommendations from the people you follow on Twitter. Maybe that sentence needs revision?)

I clicked on the “Explore” button at the top of the screen to explore other things besides myself – but that opens a window titled “Captains of industry: Explore what leaders in your industry are reading.”

Captains of industry?

OH, REALLY? Don’t we all know this is a window for paid advertisers in the publishing industry to push certain titles?

This should prove my point: The featured “captain’s bookshelf” on the Explore page today was none other than Dick Costolo. Who the heck is he, you ask?

He’s the CEO at Twitter.

Um. Hello?! BookVibe MINES tweets on Twitter. Self-serving?

Hhmmm …

Final observations:

(8) From what I can tell, as a READER, BookVibe is not yet able to aggregate a list of books in the genre I like to read so until then, perhaps, it won’t help me as a READER discover new books. If all they are doing is canvassing tweets from people I follow on Twitter – I follow a lot of writers in genres I don’t read very often.

That said,

(9) Publishers, authors and book bloggers should definitely keep an eye on BookVibe – and if BookVibe continues to build influence in social media as the “Twitter/Book” place – you better get another cup of coffee because you might find yourself spending more time on it.

Although, clearly, it’s still in its infancy so we should all be patient and watch as it develops. There was a time not too long ago (and many people still feel this way) when people would wonder why in the world they’d use a site that allows you to tell people what you’re doing in 140 or characters or less. And look at the impact Twitter has had on business and culture.

And my final observation:

(10) Maybe Paraktweet’s just waiting for either Amazon or Twitter to buy their BookVibe product line. After all, Amazon just bought Goodreads … wouldn’t BookVibe be a nice compliment to the Amazon empire? Maybe Twitter will develop its own product line that mines tweet content and then allows you to hit a button for a curated list of mined content …

My gosh, what Paraktweet does through its BookVibe product is take social media to the nano level. It’s kind of cool when you think about it. And certainly something to keep an eye on.

Click here to link back to yesterday’s post. Tune in tomorrow when I place 4 bets and make 2 predictions about the future of BookVibe.

If you liked this post, leave a comment, share it with your friends, subscribe to my blog, and if you’re really feeling friendly, perhaps like me on Facebook. That would really be great. Cheers!

 

BookVibe: Book Discovery by Analyzing Twitter Streams – Part 1 of 2

About BookVibe: BookVibe, a new service from data start-up Parakweet, analyzes Twitter streams so that readers can discover new books.

I first learned about BookVibe when they contacted me prior to my attending BookExpo America in NYC (May 2013). I met briefly with a BookVibe representative while at the conference and because I’m a book blogger and because I tweet (a lot) about books, I decided to open an account and have a look around.

Getting started is easy. Registering on BookVibe is as easy as entering your email address and then connecting to your Twitter account. After adding my Twitter account, I took a look at the books BookVibe felt I was recommending based on my tweets.

From this experience, I’ve made 10 observations. The first five observations are the subject of today’s post. Below this post is another post with my final five observations. Tune in Tuesday as I make two predictions for the future of BookVibe and place four bets.

First 5 out of 10 observations:

(1) BookVibe did not show my most recent tweets – so they weren’t showing what I’m talking about “now”. I wonder if the newly released books that are catching buzz on Twitter “right now” may not appear right away on BookVibe. Maybe this will change now that I have an account with BookVibe.

(2) I noticed that a lot of the books and authors I talk about often on Twitter were not appearing in my BookVibe stream – it almost looked like the tweets of mine that were appearing on BookVibe were probably appearing because they contained books that were being talked about in other places on Twitter. So I assume BookVibe is collecting this content and then selectively showing tweets in a stream based on social reach. I suspect this may also change now that I’m a registered user of BookVibe.

(3) I was pleasantly surprised to see a nice cover of the book I mentioned in a tweet along with a bold title and the author’s name. I also found my complete tweet along with the date of that tweet. This is good for the author of the book AND good for the person who sent the tweet.

(4) This is really great for authors: When you click on the cover of the book, you’re brought to a new window that’s specific to that book title. Once there, you can view the book on Amazon, see a trend line of mentions on Twitter as well as a stream of other tweets about the book. Very nice feature. Very nice, indeed.

And this is good for users of Twitter hoping to gain followers: Users of BookVibe can also click into Twitter profiles which may lead to an increase of Twitter followers.

(5) I found an error made by BookVibe for a tweet I retweeted from Nicky Wells about Janis Thomas’s new book, Sweet Nothings.

Here’s the July 4 tweet as it appears in BookVibe:

Screen Shot 2013-07-21 at 9.52.55 AM

Julie Valerie @JBValerie

RT @wellsnicky: Book Release & Book Review: Sweet Nothings by Janis Thomas http://t.co/Bi7Aq1Lc1h via @jbvalerie

 

That was the tweet, but the book showing for that tweet was this:

SweetNothingsCatherineAnderson

 

This is clearly not Janis Thomas’s book.

I wonder if this would have happened if the original tweet had listed Janis Thomas by her Twitter handle, @Janis_Thomas. But when I looked at other related tweets in the stream sent about Janis Thomas, they didn’t always mention her by her Twitter handle, so I don’t know if that’s important.

But I do think it’s important for BookVibe to get the book info correct for many obvious reasons – the first being that many BookVibe viewers will scan the book covers first before digging deeper to read the actual tweet. In this instance, viewers of my BookVibe Tweet stream might think I was recommending Catherine Anderson’s book, when the subject of my tweet was Janis Thomas’s book.

When I clicked on the Catherine Anderson cover, it was clear that the information collected was for both her book and Janis Thomas’s book. Which leads me to the obvious observation that publishers and authors may now want to monitor BookVibe for correct content – especially if that content has that magic “Amazon” button. If you want to see what I saw, click here.

I’ve made more observations both good and bad about BookVibe along with implications for users of this service. If you’re interested in learning more about BookVibe … read my next post then tune in Tuesday as I make two predictions for the future of BookVibe and place three bets.

Interested in learning more about branding strategies on Google+ ? Click here for my 64 Google+ Branding Strategies post.

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