Saturday, May 27, 2017

This Week on Books Direct - 27 May 2017

This Week on Books Direct -
27 May 2017

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

Write About What Scares the Crap Out of You by Bryan Hutchinson for Positive Writer

Write About What Scares the Crap Out of You by Bryan Hutchinson for Positive Writer

14 Twitter Apps and Tools for Writers by Frances Caballo on Social Media Just for Writers

14 Twitter Apps and Tools for Writers by Frances Caballo on Social Media Just for Writers

Find Your Book’s Best Market And Sell MoreBooks by Chris Syme on Smart Marketing for Authors

Find Your Book’s Best Market And Sell MoreBooks by Chris Syme on Smart Marketing for Authors

Why You Should Have a Professional Author Photo by D. E. Haggerty on My Musings

Why You Should Have a Professional Author Photo by D. E. Haggerty on My Musings

What New Book Should You Read This Summer? by Jarry Lee for BuzzFeed

How Do You BlogConsistently When You Have Very Little Time? by Ali Luke for ProBlogger

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

Thursday, May 25, 2017

"Fat Girl Begone!" by D. E. Haggerty

Fat Girl Begone!
by D. E. Haggerty

Fat Girl Begone! by D. E. Haggerty

Fat Girl Begone! by D. E. Haggerty is currently on tour with Bewitching Book Tours. The tour stops here today for a guest post by the author, my review, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well. And don't forget to get your copy for only $0.99!

I’m a total mess. My boyfriend dumped me – get this – because I diet too much. Not because I’m fat, mind you. Of course, this spurs me into the diet-fitness-revenge-plan of the century, which leads me to the gym and a scorching hot personal trainer. I even manage to make some cool new friends, including a millionaire if you can believe it.
Things are looking up! Naturally, that’s the moment my ex decides he wants me back, the personal trainer asks me out, and my millionaire male buddy decides to throw his hat in the ring. But that’s not enough drama. No, not for me. Because I’ve also lost my job and decided to start my own business.
Just call me Ms. Drama.
Warning: Bad language, bumpy roads, and embarrassing moments ahead. But there’s also more than a bit of romance and even, if we’re lucky, love. Fingers crossed.
Note: Not endorsed by or affiliated with any brand of tequila.

“You should totally jump that, chica.”
It’s Monday, and I’ve just survived another Zumba class. I only hit Tara once. Okay, twice, but who’s counting? I’m still trying to catch my breath and stop my heart from jumping out of my ribcage. None of which stops me from panting after my personal trainer. Before I get a chance to respond to her comment or tear my eyes away from Gabe’s epic ass, the rest of the gang joins Tara and me.
“What are you bitches yapping about?” Oh great, Charise didn’t just say that at maximum volume or anything.
“Everly taking her personal trainer for a ride.”
Oh my god. Please tell me no one else heard Tara announce that I’m lusting after Gabe. I hear giggles and murmurs of agreement from the other exercisers exiting the group exercise room. Of course, everyone heard. Charise, Tara, Naomi, and Jessie have one volume – embarrassingly loud.
I ignore them and head to the locker rooms with my head down. Of course, I can’t help but sneak another glance at Gabe. He’s doing squats for God’s sake! I defy any woman – or man for that matter – to not look. I keep my eyes glued to those glutes as I walk in the opposite direction. My foot hits something and before I know it I’m going down.
I end up sprawled on the floor of the gym. I look down at my outfit and sigh in relief. Good. No rolls of fat are showing. Thankfully, I had put a long sweatshirt on over the loose tank I was wearing during class. A hand appears in front of my face.
“Let me help you up, babe.”
I look up to see yet another example of male perfection. Does this gym have a portal to Mount Olympus for the Greek Gods to come and go as they please? Because damn. This is one fine specimen of manhood in front of me.
His voice startles me out of my perusal of his perfection. I reach out and he grabs my hand to pull me up. Only he doesn’t stop there. He pulls me flush to his body and then leans down to whisper in my ear. “It’s okay, babe. Happens all the time when girls look at me.” And crash. There goes my adulation of the man. I knew there was a reason no one believes in the Greek Gods anymore. Vanity is not attractive. 
I pull on my hand until he releases me. “Thanks.”
“You okay, sweetheart?” As if I couldn’t be embarrassed enough, now Gabe’s here.
“I’m fine. Just wasn’t paying attention to where I was walking.” Out of the corner of my eye, I see the former Greek God puff out his chest as if I had paid him a compliment. I can’t help it. My eyes narrow at him, and I attempt to engage my eye lasers. Just like the two gazillion other times I’ve tried to use those lasers, they malfunction.
Gabe ignores the entire episode. “You here to do your exercise class?”
“Nope.” I shake my head. “I just put on some workout clothes and then ducked my head under the faucet to get my face and hair wet.”
My personal trainer laughs and grabs my shoulder to give it a squeeze. Why is he squeezing my shoulder? “You’re funny, sweetheart.” I wasn’t going for funny but whatever.
Someone shouts ‘Gabe’ from the other side of the gym. I look over to see the blond bimbo he was training staring daggers at me. Gabe squeezes my shoulder again. “Sorry, sweetheart, I need to get back to work. I’ll see you Wednesday, right?” I nod, and he winks before walking off.
“Looks like I’m not needed here.” I forgot Mr. Vanity was still standing here. I don’t bother responding to his obvious pout. I shake my head and walk to the locker rooms.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
"I really enjoyed reading this story. I loved all the characters and found myself laughing and smiling a lot when I was reading. I'm hoping this group of friends will continue and Blaze gets her own story." ~ T from Florida
"This is the best book I have read in a looong time. I loved it! [...]If you enjoy romantic comedy, I highly recommend this book." ~ Jo-Anne B.
"Fat Girl Begone is a really fun and relatable story. If you've ever had issues with your weight you will know exactly where Everly is coming from! [...] From start to finish this is a book I think a lot of women will see themselves in - there are pieces of Everly that every woman will be able to relate to. Ms. Haggerty did a great job of handling what can be a delicate and tricky subject. Fat Girl Begone is in equal measures uplifting and entertaining." ~ Shannon VM
"An Uplifting and Fun read with laughs." ~ Linda M.
"Every time I finish a novel from DE Haggerty, I'm excited to see what she is going to give us next. After I finished the last one, I wasn't sure what direction she'd go in and I was pleasantly surprised with what she delivered. Different from the last few I've read, this story didn't have the mystery/suspense aspect but it still gave me everything I have come to love from her; plenty of laughs, endearing characters, and an engaging storyline." ~ Erin G.

My Review
Everly is a beautiful woman, but she is severely lacking in self-confidence. When her boyfriend Josh dumps her because of her obsession with dieting, Everly drunkenly signs up for six months with a personal trainer. While she deals with the competing interests of her personal trainer Gabe (who she dubs Mr. Yummy or her "personal torturer"), cute gym geek Carter (aka Mr. Millionaire), and her ex-boyfriend Josh, she must also handle a group of raucous new friends, her betrayal by a colleague, and the loss of her dream job. Will Everly ever find happiness and true love? And maybe even learn to love herself?
Each chapter starts with Everly's amusing positive though for the day, e.g., "This journey may be hell but my new girl crew is AWESOME." The author's quirky sense of humor shines through everywhere in this delightful romantic comedy which is, in fact, a cleverly-disguised weight-loss manual. The book realistically portrays the trials and tribulations of dieting, without belaboring the point. At its heart, Fat Girl Begone! is an exploration of female friendship and the perils of dating. A true gem!
Warnings: coarse language, sexual references, tequila (lots of).

Some of My Favorite Lines
"Pizza, beer, and tequila shots are not as pleasant coming up as going down. A fact I seem to forget on a regular basis."
"Why is it that hot men look even hotter when they smirk? It’s cruel and unusual punishment if you ask me."
"The last thing I need to do is start crying in my office. Snot, tears, and runny mascara is not a good look on me."
"She says ‘big girls’ without any shame at all. I didn’t even know that was possible."
"Can I give myself a concussion from thinking in circles?"
"Floor-length mirrors are like the devil incarnate and should be avoided at all cost. You can gain ten pounds just by walking past one."
"Is it wrong of me to be excited my workout is cut short for an injury? Talk about being a glutton for punishment."
"It’s not only about the number on the scale. It’s about how you look, how you feel."
"Wow. Seriously. Best. Friend. Ever."

Guest Post by the Author
What's the Moral of the Story?
One of the questions bloggers love to pose to authors is: What should a reader get out of your book? In other words, what’s the moral of the story? I’m going to be honest with you. Every time this question has come up in the past, I just invented some cockamamie response. I have two college degrees and several post-graduate courses under my belt, I can concoct an answer to pretty much anything. And that’s what I did. Because I didn’t write stories with underlying moral premises. Until now.
Fat Girl Begone! is different. For the first time with my writing, there’s a moral to my story. Not only that, but I actually set out to write this book with a moral lesson in mind. Before I get into that, let me give you a bit of background about my dieting history. I’ve been a yo-yo dieter since I can remember. My mom was always pushing some weird diet on me even as a child. I was a perfectly normal child weight-wise, but because my mother thought I should be thinner, I developed a warped view of how I looked. 
Fast forward several decades and I’m living in a foreign country where I don’t speak the language, don’t have a connection with the culture, and work at home. Life as an expat quickly turned into a lot of eating and drinking with other expats. And when I say "a lot"’, I really mean way too much – even if it is difficult (and getting more difficult) to find somewhere that serves alcohol. After nearly three years of living the high life, I was at my heaviest weight ever. That’s never a good thing, but considering how heavy I’ve been in the past, this was a really, really bad place for me to be.
When I returned to the Netherlands, my mind was preoccupied with dieting and fitness. Naturally, this got me to thinking about my past triumphs and failures with weight loss. I also started pondering how the number of the scale can rule my life if I let it (which I totally do). While I was pondering and pondering (and getting bruised up from hitting myself with the tennis racket from playing too much tennis), I was also thinking about writing another romantic comedy.
The two thoughts converged in my head. Why don’t I write a romance about a woman who gets dumped because she’s fat? Everyone knows a romantic comedy should always start with a woman getting dumped. Even better – what if she’s not really fat but just chubby and lacking in self-confidence? Bingo! Yes, I actually shout "bingo" when I get a good idea.  
From there, the ideas just spiraled. Through my heroine, Everly, I could challenge a bunch of misconceptions about dieting and weight loss. Is the number on the scale the end-all be-all? Can you be chubby but also sexy? Can you lose weight with just exercise? I’m by no means an expert on any of these topics, although one of above-mentioned certificate programs did crown me a weight loss consultant (there were finals and everything, although no actual coronation for the crown). But I am an expert in what works for me and how I feel about my body at certain weights and fitness levels. Those experiences are what I used to develop Everly.
So, what’s the moral of Everly’s story in Fat Girl Begone!? It really boils down to the following: your weight is not who you are and should not rule your life. Luckily – or should I say, hopefully? – this lesson comes with a lot of laughs, some antics, and more than a bit of romance.

About the Author
I grew up reading everything I could get my hands on from my mom's Harlequin romances to Nancy Drew to Little Women. When I wasn't flipping pages in a library book, I was penning horrendous poems, writing songs no one should ever sing, or drafting stories which have thankfully been destroyed.
College and a stint in the U.S. Army came along, robbing me of free time to write and read, although I did manage, every once in a while, to sneak a book into my rucksack between rolled up socks, MRIs, t-shirts, and cold weather gear.
After surviving the army experience, I went back to school and got my law degree. I jumped ship and joined the hubby in the Netherlands before the graduation ceremony could even begin. A few years into my legal career, I was exhausted, fed up, and just plain done. I quit my job and sat down to write a manuscript, which I promptly hid in the attic after returning to the law.
But being a lawyer really wasn’t my thing, so I quit (again!) and went off to Germany to start a B&B. Turns out being a B&B owner wasn’t my thing either. So, I polished off that manuscript languishing in the attic and followed the husband to Istanbul, where I decided to give the whole writer-thing a go.
But ten years was too many to stay away from "home". I packed up again and moved to The Hague where I’m currently working on my next book. I hope I’ll always be working on my next book.
Fat Girl Begone! is my eleventh book.

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


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

"Pen Scratching Poets" by Marilyn B. Wassmann

Pen Scratching Poets
by Marilyn B. Wassmann

Pen Scratching Poets by Marilyn B. Wassmann is currently on tour with Bewitching Book Tours. The tour stops here today for an excerpt and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

Pen Scratching Poets has been described as a delightful book in which the author shares her family’s collection of creative poems.
The poems compilation and art work are by Marilyn B. Wassmann with contributions by members of the Benjamin family and their descendants, with the technical assistance of Paul A. Wassmann.
The book is divided into two sections. The first section, Pen Scratching, consists of the poems by Ethel T. Benjamin and her descendants, and the second section is Marilyn’s poems.


About the Author
Marilyn Benjamin Wassmann was born in a leap year.
She earned four degrees: two in Art History, one in Library Science and one in Studio Art.
In 2011, she retired from her work as an art cataloguer at the Library of Congress.
Marilyn and her husband, Paul, authored the children’s book, What the Wind Blew In. They live in Hyattsville, Maryland.

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


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

"Social Media Just for Writers" by Frances Caballo

Social Media Just for Writers
by Frances Caballo

Social Media Just for Writers by Frances Caballo is currently on tour with Goddess Fish Promotions. The tour stops here today for my review, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

You wrote your book and sold copies to everyone you know. But you have goals that extend beyond a few dozen copies sold.
How do you achieve your dream of selling books around the world? With social media, you can build your platform and reach readers in locales you never imaged possible before.
In this book, you’ll learn how to:
             Create a Facebook fan page and actively engage with your readers.
             Optimize your LinkedIn profile.
             Tackle Instagram, Tumblr, and Snapchat.
        Build and optimize Pinterest pinboards for SEO to maximize exposure of your books, blog, and other landing pages.
             Improve your blogging.
             Excel on Twitter.
             Create images for your blog and social media posts.
The second edition of Social Media Just for Writers is both a primer for authors new to social media and an advanced study of platforms that weren’t widely known four years ago. Whether you write romance, historical fiction, young adult, or steam punk novels, you’ll find help in reaching your online audience of new and dedicated readers.

This handbook is for you. You’ve spent more days than you can count working on your novel, memoir, or anthology of poems. You wrote, rewrote, corrected, edited, developed new scenes, twisted the plot, and returned to make additional edits. Finally, your book was ready for the world to see.
You celebrated your achievement. You invited friends to your book launch, welcomed them with glasses of sparkling wine and cheese, and scheduled readings at local bookstores. Then you wondered, “How can I reach more readers?” Selling books to your friends, colleagues, and family members was easy, but how do you reach people you don’t even know?
By promoting your book online with social media, you can sell your books up and down your state, across the nation, and to people you have no idea how to reach. How, you ask? This book will explore and explain strategies for maximizing your online sales efforts. As a bonus, in the last chapter you will find tips for offline promotion too.
By the time you finish reading this book, you will know how to:
             Use Facebook effectively and efficiently to market your book.
             Tap into Twitter to create your tribe.
             Use virtual pinboards to expand the reach of your brand.
             Be more successful at blogging so you can reach new readers.
             Use LinkedIn with renewed confidence.
    Get started on Tumblr, Instagram and Snapchat to reach younger audiences.
         Learn how to incorporate more visual marketing into your social media use.
I wrote this book because authors like you asked me to write it. Like you, they wanted to feel more grounded in social media, learn to spend their time more resourcefully, and discover some of the secrets to social media marketing. They wanted a handbook they could take home to use as a reference.
Social media is a dynamic field, and networks are constantly updating features to improve the user’s experience. While writing this book, I frequently rewrote portions and updated my screenshots so that you would have the most recent and relevant information  possible.
To keep informed of the newest updates to Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat and Tumblr, and to learn about new social media channels as they surface, visit my blog and website at
This edition of Social Media Just for Writers deleted the chapter on Google+ due to changes on the social media landscape including the in the number of people using that platform.
You are about to begin your social media marketing journey now. Enjoy your time meeting and engaging with your readers.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
"A must-read book for all writers and bloggers! This book is such an excellent book to have in your writing toolbox! I don’t write books, but I am a blogger and pretty much have just learned how to blog on the fly. [...] I know there was still a lot that I was missing with my blogging and this book has helped fill in some of those holes. There is so much I learned from this book that I am so excited to start practicing and incorporating into my blogging. There is always room for learning and whether you are a writer or a blogger and have been for years, this book can still help you!" ~ Ally Swanson
"It is a clearly written manual that will help you connect with your readers easily and efficiently. Well written, well researched – well thought out. This book is a must have!" ~ Ryshia Kennie
"Though this book is called Social Media Just for Writers, it is not just for writers. This book has incredible information that anyone who wants to use social media to promote their product or business should read this book. Some information is common sense, but most of it, I had never thought of. The Author Frances Caballo also has a website that has current marketing trends and tips, that is updated often. Highly recommend going to her website and reading her blog for so much more information." ~ Amazon Customer
"I'm a firm believer that writers should be on social media, and the earlier they start, the better. This book is very comprehensive and explains how writers can use each of the major social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Goodreads, Pinterest, and Instagram. Frances Caballo has a very clear way of explaining how to do things. One thing about social media is that it is constantly changing, so it was good to see that the author has updated her book with the latest advice for 2017." ~ Gary McLaren
"I would not limit this book to the audience of only writers, it's a great resource for anyone that wants to take full advantage of the online platforms available. Social media is constantly evolving, this 2017 updated reference piece is extremely valuable and includes the major social media platforms; Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Goodreads, Pinterest, and Instagram are prominently featured. Ms. Caballo writes in an easy, conversational style, and the advice contained in this book is clear and easy to apply. It's a great reference piece to have in your toolkit!" ~ Janet

My Review
In this informative guide, the author provides a comprehensive overview of the social media platforms every new and established writer should join: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr, and Goodreads. She also covers the topic of blogging.
The key takeaways: balance information with entertainment; know the audience of each social media platform; market yourself appropriately on each platform; think about branding; engage with other users.
Things I learned: how to access Twitter analytics; Pablo by Buffer; how to access Pinterest analytics; use ALT text when adding images to your blog or website; Goodreads tools; adding your local library link to Goodreads to find books; Goodreads deals (US only); the Advanced Marketing Institute’s test for analyzing blog headlines; end your blog posts with a question to elicit feedback. You're bound to learn something you didn't know, too!
At the beginning of the book, the author states: "This book will explore and explain strategies for maximizing your online sales efforts. As a bonus, in the last chapter you will find tips for offline promotion too." While the first part is certainly true, unfortunately, I couldn't find the tips for offline promotion.
There is a handy Resources section at the end of the book, including information on how to create passwords, image dimensions for the different platforms, social media post ideas, and Twitter etiquette.
Keep up to date with these ever-changing social media platforms by visiting the author's website. While you're there, you can even sign up for the author's free email social media course and receive a bonus ebook.

About the Author
Frances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. She’s a regular speaker at the San Francisco Writers Conference. In addition, she’s a contributing writer at, and blogger and Social Media Expert for BookWorks. She’s written several social media books, including The Author’s Guide to Goodreads and Social Media in 30 Minutes a Day. Her focus is on helping authors surmount the barriers that keep them from flourishing online, building their platform, finding new readers, and selling more books. Her clients include authors of every genre and writers’ conferences.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win some a $50 Amazon or B&N gift card.

Plus, download a FREE copy of Avoid Social Media Time Suck by Frances Caballo on Smashwords.