Friday, March 30, 2012

Forever's Western Blog Tour & Giveaway!

Book Description:
Shirlene Dalton has it all: a dream marriage to a man who spoils her rotten and the most outrageous mansion Bramble, Texas, has ever seen. But when her husband unexpectedly dies, Shirlene finds herself right back where she started-in a rundown trailer on the wrong side of the tracks. Never the type to let a little bad luck and a whole heap of heartache get her down, Shirlene is ready to prove to the local gossips she can make it on her own... until she ends up living next door to the most tempting cowboy in town.

Billy Wilkes has a score to settle and a plan to wipe Bramble right off the map. But when his sexy, redheaded neighbor figures out what he's up to, his good ol' boy charm won't be enough to save him. With the town on his tail, Billy will have to come clean quick -- or kiss Shirlene goodbye.

My Thoughts:
I completely enjoyed this book.  The third in this series, we meet back up with Shirlene Dalton.  Her wealthy husband has passed away leaving her in a bit of a mess...mostly of her own making from her spending habits.  She now is back where she grew up, evicted from her mansion and in a run down trailer.  The trailer just happens to be inhabited by 4 kids and the neighbor is the biggest redneck ever, Bubba. 
I loved that the old characters were still around and their families had grown!  Shirlene is a bit of a mess but trying so hard to get everything straightened out herself and not rely on everyone else.  The townspeople are wonderful trying to protect her, but border on obnoxious!  Bubba has a secret but all in all is a good man with a good heart.
I rate it a 5/5.  I want to see more from the town of Bramble!!

Book Description:
The Truth Can Be an Irresistible Temptation . . .

As a young boy, Quinn Conway was shattered by his mother's mysterious disappearance. Today, as the oldest of the Conway brothers, his only concern is protecting his family and their ranch. One look at beautiful, strong-willed Cheyenne O'Brien tells him she's also no stranger to tragedy. A series of increasingly dangerous "accidents" are plaguing her and her land, and Quinn can't stand idly by while a woman is in danger.

Fiercely independent, Cheyenne isn't one to lean on others, yet she can't deny her attraction to the rugged rancher offering help. Soon, the passion building between them proves as wild and untamed as the land she loves-and just as impossible to resist. But a relentless enemy is about to make one final devastating move. To survive, Quinn and Cheyenne must put their cherished freedom-and their hearts-at risk . ..

My Thoughts:
I really liked this one!  Quinn's mother disappears when he is young and that has a profound effect on his life.  His family is close and he will fiercely protect them.  When he runs across his neighbor Cheyenne, while he is working and they get stuck together for a while.  She isn't what Quinn had initially believed and now he wants to protect her from the 'accidents' that keep happening on her ranch.
I love Quinn's love of the wolves he studies, protectiveness of his family and big heart.  Cheyenne has been hurt before.  I like that their chemistry is there and the relationship forms.  The story itself was good, easy to follow and enjoy.  I did guess the bad guy but that didn't detract from the book :)  I want to learn more and maybe have some of the stories that seem they will flow through the series tied up!!
This is a 5/5.  This is a wonderful start to a series I will absolutely follow!
Thank you to Hachette for the review copy of these books.  I received these books in exchange for an honest review and the opinions stated above are 100% mine.

Thanks to the wonderful folks at Hachette, I have 2 copies of these books to giveawyay! Here are the rules:

  • You must be a follower to participate
  • Leave Me a Comment on THIS post with your e-mail (no e-mail you can't win)
  • US & Canadian Residents only
  • No PO Boxes
  • Hachette Book Group will be sending the copies to the winners
  • You have 24 hours to respond if you are contacted as a winner, if you miss the deadline, a new winner will be chosen and contacted.
  • Contest is open until April 15, 2012
  • Winners will be chosen using a randomizer
  • Directly from Hachette: Winners will be subject to the one copy per household rule, which means that if they win the same title in two or more contests, they will receive only one copy of the title (or one set in the case of grouped giveaways) in the mail.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

So Damn Lucky by Deborah Coonts

Book Description:
Lucky O’Toole—Head of Customer Relations at The Babylon, premier mega-resort on the Vegas Strip—thinks it’s just another night in Las Vegas. But then a magician pulls a disappearing act, right under Lucky’s nose. Is it a stunt? Or something worse?
While Lucky chases leads, someone is trying to put her off the scent. As if this wasn’t enough to ruin her day, Lucky’s relationship with The Big Boss is coming to a head—past hurts can no longer be denied. Of course, she is already on shaky emotional ground: Teddie, her live-in, has been touring with a young and lovely pop star. Paxton Dane, former coworker and would-be suitor, is still circling, hoping to find a chink in the armor of Lucky’s resolve. And then, there’s this French chef, who is proving to be too hot to handle….
Las Vegas expert Deborah Coonts thrills again with this third installment in her dazzling series focused on casino “fixer” Lucky O’Toole.

My Thoughts:
I always enjoy Lucky!  This is the 3rd in the Lucky O'Toole series.  Vegas is hot and active as always.  Lucky has been invited to an event she would have never believed she would be.  A magician disappears, there are some 'over-sexed' guests, her boyfriend is touring with a hottie.  She is attracted to two different men within the casino and hotel.  She and the big boss have issues to deal with....all in all, Lucky is too busy for more mysteries to solve, only they don't seem to care about her personal issues!
Lucky is a character that never gets old.  Her life itself is a great story.  Her boyfriend the cross dresser, her mother the madam, her father the big boss--we get designer clothes, hot guys, entertaining work, what more can a girl want?  I enjoyed this ride and the author did a great job of not letting the Lucky character get outlandish or boring, she was just as 'Lucky' as in book one!  I enjoyed the new characters and hope there are some of them in future books.
I rate this a 4/5.  It was good and entertaining.

Thank you to FSB for the review copy of this book.  I received this book in exchange for an honest review and the opinions stated above are 100% mine.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Dawn Comes Early by Margaret Brownley

Book Description:
Disgraced dime novelist Kate Tenney fled the city that banned her latest novel for the emptiness of the desert. Answering an ad to be "heiress" to a vast cattle ranch in the Arizona Territory, Kate hopes ranching turns out to be as romantic as she portrayed it in her novels.
But what awaits her is a life harder than the one she just left. There is no room for mistakes on a working cattle ranch, and Kate is ill-prepared for her new life. She quickly learns that dawn comes early. But she is tenacious.
Having been abandoned by a string of men, Kate has no intention of ever marrying. But she didn't expect to meet Luke Adams, either. Luke awakens feelings inside Kate she doesn't recognize, and his steady presence is a constant distraction. She has only written about love in the past, never known it herself. But her feelings for Luke stand in the way of all she has to gain if she is chosen as the heir.
Perhaps God brought Kate to the barrenness of the desert to give new life to her jaded heart.

My Thoughts:
This book was pretty good. Kate was/is a novelist and has determined she is going to be the heiress of Last Chance Ranch. When she gets to town, her ride isn't there, an inept outlaw shortly kidnaps her and she is rescued by the town's handsome blacksmith. Ranching is harder than she'd ever thought possible, she wasn't expecting everything that is being thrown at her. Especially the feelings she begins having for a certain blacksmith that could end her plans to be an heiress.
I liked Kate. She was a hard working, if a bit off balance character. She is determined to make sure she is the 'heiress' to the Last Chance Ranch and the never get married clause will never be a problem. Luke is a strong steady man that could just awaken the heart she believed would never love.
I rate this a 4/5. It was entertaining.
Thank you to Booksneeze for the review copy of this book. I received this book in exchange for an honest review and the opinions stated above are 100% mine.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Downtown Green by Judy Christie

Book Description:
When the short bypass around Green opens with much fanfare, downtown dries up faster than cement on the roadway. Businesses close and the hospital becomes a clinic. Mayor Eva must decide whether to sell her historic store or close it. The Holey Moley Antique Mall seems less like a dream and more like a nightmare. While the road is progress to some, it seems to be leading Green toward a national trend--a town that is merely a shadow of itself. With the town going backwards, Lois is both intrigued and jealous when a fellow business owner come up with a strategy to save Green. But can his plan rescue the town from the path it 's on?

My Thoughts:
I really liked this book. A new bypass has opened in Green, the lake has a new plant infestation and it all changes the quiet town Lois has come to love. There are so many changes that she and Chris have to decide if this is the life they want to continue with or follow what everyone else seems to do and leave. Green is a place that is comfortable and close to her heart but can it be rescued or is it already lost?
I liked Lois. She was a strong female lead who wasn't overly pushy. She is a mom, wife, runs the newspaper and does it all while worry about the town! Her husband is the perfect fit for her. The other supporting characters obviously flow from previous books but you don't really feel lost because this book stands by itself (I'm sure the other books would just make you feel closer to the characters) but for being the 5th in a series, this one still has plenty of momentum.
I rate this a 4/5. It is a good book & makes me want to catch up on the series.

Thank you to PumpUpYourBook for the review copy of this book. I received this book in exchange for an honest review and the opinions stated above are 100% mine.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Forever's Romantic Suspense Blog Tour Review & Giveaway

Book Description:
As the intelligence officer for A-Tac, a black-ops CIA unit masquerading as Ivy League faculty, Hannah Marshall is used to working behind the scenes. But when a brutal murder hits too close to home, Hannah finds herself in the middle of the action, falling in love while racing to outwit a sadistic mastermind.

After the death of her A-Tac partner, Hannah doubts everything she thought she knew about love and loyalty. When handsome Harrison Blake joins the team, she's reluctant to trust him - or to act on her intense attraction to him. Then Hannah receives a podcast of a gruesome murder, and the only person who can help her find the killer is Harrison.

Harrison has spent years trying to hunt down the cunning monster who killed his sister. Now investigating with Hannah, he faces a shocking possibility - his sister's murderer has resurfaced. As the danger escalates, Hannah and Harrison grow closer, the desire simmering between them ignites. And when Hannah disappears, Harrison has only one chance to save the woman he loves.

My Thoughts:
This book was good.  Hannah and Harrison work together but are also good friends.  When he saves her life from an exploding building, it solidifies their bond.  Their disguise as college professors is threatened when a serial killer strikes the campus they work on.  The big question is, does someone know their team's secret or is this someone from the past coming back to haunt them?
I enjoyed the suspense in this book.  Some of it was predictable but the writing made up for it.  The author did a great job with her descriptions and you could actually see the locations and horrors that happened in the book.  The chemistry between Hannah and Harrison was something you could feel!  Their shared terrible pasts was a perfect bond for their friendship and then relationship.  I can't wait for the rest of this series.
I rate this a 5/5.  It was a great addition to this series.

Book Description:
With each step she takes, he tracks her every move, waiting for the perfect time. The perfect revenge. Until then, he’ll watch her…

More than anything, Talia Vega wanted to leave behind her harrowing past. Moving 800 miles away, she succeeded . . . until the one man who knows her darkest secrets wanders into the restaurant where she works. Now the agonizing memories come crashing back—along with an undeniable desire for Jack Brooks, the ex-Green Beret who rescued her from a sadistic monster two years ago.

Jack Brooks knows that showing up unannounced is a purely selfish move. Talia doesn’t need his protection anymore, but he can’t get the raven-haired beauty out of his mind. And when a twisted madman is hell-bent on resurrecting her tortuous past, Jack vows to do anything to keep her safe--even risk his own life to save the only woman he’s ever loved

My Thoughts:
I really enjoyed this book.  Talia wants nothing more than a 'normal' life for her and her little sister.  The problem is the past never stays away.  When it resurfaces, she is both ticked and thrilled that the hero riding to the rescue is Jack, the same man who'd saved her before.  Can she let go of her fears so they can have a future or will the killer get to them first?
I liked the characters in this book.  While Talia was portrayed well for all she went through, she still got on my nerves with her reactions to Jack's help.  The chemistry between Jack and Talia was strong and hot.  The double plot was good and while you knew it was going on, it still had some twists.  Her sister was sweet, friends were great, the whole storyline was really good.
I rate this a 4/5.  It is definitely a ride!

Thank you to Hachette for the review copies of these books.  I received this book in exchange for an honest review and the opinions stated above are 100% mine.

Thanks to the wonderful folks at Hachette, I have 2 copies of these books to giveawyay! Here are the rules:

  • You must be a follower to participate
  • Leave Me a Comment on THIS post with your e-mail (no e-mail you can't win)
  • US & Canadian Residents only
  • No PO Boxes
  • Hachette Book Group will be sending the copies to the winners
  • You have 24 hours to respond if you are contacted as a winner, if you miss the deadline, a new winner will be chosen and contacted.
  • Contest is open until April 1, 2012
  • Winners will be chosen using a randomizer
  • Directly from Hachette: Winners will be subject to the one copy per household rule, which means that if they win the same title in two or more contests, they will receive only one copy of the title (or one set in the case of grouped giveaways) in the mail.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Blue Moon Promise by Colleen Coble

Book Description:
Lucy Marsh has lost everything but her determination to provide for her brother and sister. When she realizes her father's death was no accident, she decides to accept a proxy marriage in order to get her siblings out of harm's way. But trouble follows her to Wichita Falls, Texas, and nothing there is as she expected.

My Thoughts:
I really enjoyed this book.  Lucy is having a horrible time.  All she wants to do is take care of her younger siblings and it seems nothing in life is helping her!  That is until she is given a marriage proposal.  She seems to have no other options so she accepts and moves her and the children to Texas to meet her new husband!
I loved Lucy's character.  She was so loving and caring, especially with her brother and sister.  She makes most all of her decisions simply for their benefit.  Nate, her new husband, is a unique man.  I like how they had to work together and learn to love each other.  They go through a lot and lean on God.
I rate this a 5/5.  I completely enjoyed this book.
Thank you to litfuse for the review copy of this book.  I received this book in exchange for an honest review and the opinions stated above are 100% mine.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Author Spotlight: And the Beat Goes On by Tracy Krauss

Canadian born archeologist Mark Graham unearths a remarkable discovery while at a dig in the mountains of Zimbabwe – pterodactyl remains and giant human bones buried together. Speculation leads to the possible existence of a mythical race known as ‘Nephilim’, a pre-flood people alleged to have descended from both gods and men.

But skepticism and sabotage delay Mark and his team as the dig site is compromised, putting their discovery – as well as his very life – in grave danger. Deceived and framed by trusted friends and colleagues, Mark struggles to safeguard his findings and protect his reputation in order to unearth the mystery behind the Nephilim.

Review:When archaeologist Mark Graham unearths the remains of a pterodactyl at
a dig site in the mountains of Zimbabwe, his discovery isn’t all that remarkable –that is, until he sees the remains of gigantic human bones buried beside it.  Suddenly, speculation begins to mount about the true nature of the fossils, with most opinions pointing to a mythical ancient race of half-god, half-men known as the Nephilim. However, as he wends his way through the ensuing web of deception, sabotage, and betrayal, Mark struggles to preserve not only his momentous discovery – but also his very life..
Cleverly crafted by author Tracy Krauss, And The Beat Goes On is quitethe satisfying read. Ostensibly a mystery/suspense thriller, Krauss’ engaging narrative is more a subtle commentary on the fundamental tenets of Creationism; however, rather than coming off as preachy or pedantic, Krauss provides the reader with solid facts and historical evidence that anyone will find it difficult to ignore – regardless of your personal belief system. As such, Krauss successfully engages the imagination while simultaneously provoking higher thought, a feat difficult for even the most seasoned writers to achieve. Enlightening and entertaining, And The Beat Goes On is sure to provoke many a heated discussion throughout the faith community and beyond. An enjoyable, recommended read.
Review by Josee Morgan for Apex Review

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Accused by Janice Cantore

Book Description:
Detective Carly Edwards hates working in juvenile and longs to be back on patrol. So when a troubled youth is arrested for the murder of the mayor and Carly is summoned to the crime scene, she's eager for some action. As the investigation progresses, Carly suspects a cover-up and strikes out on her own, uncertain of whom she can trust.

My Thoughts:
I enjoyed this book. Detective Carly Edwards has had it rough. She gets demoted to juvenile and wants to get back to her patrol. When she is called to a murder scene, she is determined to actually solve it. Though the evidence shows the teens are innocent, the case is closed and it makes Carly suspicious.
I completely enjoy the strong female roles and this book definitely had that. Carly was a great character to get to know. The Christian message was there throughout the book, without the author coming across as 'preachy'. The book was paced well and main characters developed well, support characters developed just enough. I want to read more from this author.
I rate this book a 4/5. It was a good book that I will probably reread!

Thank you to Tyndale for the review copy of this book. I received this book in exchange for an honest review and the opinions stated above are 100% mine.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Interview of Author John Preston Smith

Tell us about yourself…
I am an insurance agent in Huntington, WV, experienced in public relations, journalism and sales. I worked for the Military District of Washington and met President Kennedy before he was killed in Dallas. I handled U. S. Army press relations for the funerals of President Kennedy, General Douglas MacArthur former President Herbert Hoover and the inaugural of President Lyndon Johnson.  After graduation from Marshall University, I worked in press relations for Kent State University where I witnessed the killing of four students by the Ohio National Guard in 1970. Over the past 48 years I have trained more than 14000 dogs and I tell that story in one of my books.  

What genre do you write and why?
I am not genre specific.  I have written and published five mysteries, one book of inspiration, a book regarding my life with dogs and what I learned, and my most recent book, The Bog, a story of fantasy.
I am 69 years of age which I believe is the reason I am of multiple-genre.  I did begin my first book in 1963, but it was not completed until 1999, the same year I began living for the keyboard.  So I was not young when I began writing with a passion.  I had lived through the death of President Kennedy, the Kent State Massacre, the death of mom, dad, and my younger brother, night tremors; the raising of three children, dire financial circumstances, and near-death experiences. Therefore a single genre did not suit my experiences.     

Tell us about your book….
The Bog is a story of fantasy.  It occurs in a swampy grove of marshland infested by snakes, rats and mosquitoes…a place commonly believed to be where animals go to die.  It is the story of a man who enters this forsaken quagmire while following the cry of a wounded animal…and that is where he encounters a wolf named Napoleon.  This is the story of what happens after that meeting…
This book is for those of you dealing with an insatiable desire to have a dog at your side.  It is my answer to questions coming from deep within your heart that you have asked of me over the past 48 years… answers I have avoided expressing until now.

What was your inspiration for this book?
Having trained dogs for the past 48 years I have had to deal with certain questions that have been presented to me multiple times:  How were dogs chosen to be our best friends; Is it okay to talk to my dog; Does he talk to me; Do you believe dogs have a soul; Where do dogs go at death; Will I see him again; Do dogs have choices; Do dogs communicate with us?
It is, therefore, the questions of my former students that inspired me to put my thoughts on paper.

Do you have a favorite character and why that one?
Napoleon represents the history of dogs and wolves.  He represents spirituality, dreams, fantasy, and realism.  And he represents the one with answers, and the one connected to The One. 

Did you find anything particularly difficult in writing this book?
Making fantasy believable.

What project(s) are you currently working on?
My major project at this time is to get my book in front of as many people as possible.
Additionally, I am outlining another genre-buster.  Completing a story of horror rests within the belly of all writers…mine too.

Do you have any interesting writing quirks you want to tell us about?
I always fight with adjectives and adverbs.  It’s easier to write if the birds outside my window are happy…so I feed them just before sitting at the keyboard.  Many creative ideas come during nightmares.

Do you have any advice for writers out there?
Only share your ideas and thoughts with like-minded individuals.  All the others will tell you why you will never be a successful writer. 

Where can we find you? (facebook, twitter, blog, website, etc)
Face Book: Three Pages, John P Smith, 14000 Dogs Later and my author page John Preston Smith, Author 
Web  Site:  PodCast:  My topic is Dog Behavior.  My web site is being revamped, temporarily go to:  

And of course we have to know, where can we find your book? (your website, publisher, amazon, etc)
My book is available on my web site, through Pay Pal.
Also, it can be found on under books type in The Bog by John P Smith.  It is also available through Amazon CreateSpace and is being formatted as an e-book.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Sarai by Jill Eileen Smith

Book Description:Sarai, the last child of her aged father, is beautiful, spoiled, and used to getting her own way. Even as a young girl, she is aware of the way men look at her, including her half brother Abram. When Abram finally requests Sarai's hand, she asks one thing--that he promise never to take another wife as long as she lives. Even her father thinks the demand is restrictive and agrees to the union only if Sarai makes a promise in return--to give Abram a son and heir. Certain she can easily do that, Sarai agrees.

But as the years stretch on and Sarai's womb remains empty, she becomes desperate to fulfill her end of the bargain--lest Abram decide that he will not fulfill his. To what lengths will Sarai go in her quest to bear a son? And how long will Abram's patience last?

Jill Eileen Smith thrilled readers with The Wives of King David series. Now she brings to life the strong and celebrated wives of the patriarchs, beginning with the beautiful and inscrutable Sarai.

My Thoughts:
I enjoyed this book. This is a fictional account of Sarai (Sarah) and Abram (Abraham). For their wedding vows, Abram vows to never take another wife and Sarai vows to give him an heir. The struggle Sarai has is such a seemingly simple vow is not in her control. She struggles with being barren and comes up with some ideas to remedy the problem, but what problems will those solutions bring?
Sarai's character was good. You felt her conflict and struggles. It was good for me to 'get to know' the people I've always known in the Bible stories through this book. I know it is fiction but it was well written and believable as to what the characters did and said. Abram was great too. I thought the author did a good job with all of her characters really.
I rate this a 4/5. It is a nice story of Biblical Characters.

Thank you to Revell for the review copy of this book. I received this book in exchange for an honest review and the opinions stated above are 100% mine.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Night of the Cossack by Tom Blubaugh

Book Description:
The author's maternal grandfather died a year before the author, Tom Blubaugh was born. Years later, the author asked family members about his grandfather and they agreed on four facts. Mr. Blubaugh wrote Night of the Cossack based on these four facts. The story is set in Russia and Europe during the early 1900's. The main character, Nathan Hertzfield is a compelling young man and he is faced with many life or death situations and moral dilemmas. Mr. Blubaugh does an excellent job of drawing the reader into the character. The first chapter ends with a cliffhanger and it's off to the races. Join Nathan on his suspenseful and intriguing journey. Try to picture what you would have done facing the same decisions.

My Thoughts:
I completely enjoyed this book. Nathan is a young Jewish man who is abducted and is thrust into manhood. His abductor, a Cossack, trains him to be one. While he has great hunting skills and has mixed emotions about his captor, he is glad his mother and brother are spared. He faces a lot of tough choices and has a hard road to manhood.

Nathan was a wonderful, relateable character. I enjoyed his adventure. I also loved the history mixed into the story, you learn a lot and enjoy it! Oh and the fact that it is a Christian book makes it even better. Nathan's morals were very refreshing and his love of family, just great! Vivid imagery throughout.
I rate this a 5/5. I know young adults will enjoy it but so will adults!
Thank you to the author for the complimentary copy of this book. I received this book in exchange for an honest review and the opinions stated above are 100% mine.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Guest Blogger Danny Iny

The Single Most Important Step to Building a Blog Community []

Community has got to be one of the top buzzwords of the social media era.

Companies are working hard to create them, we all want to belong to them, and they’re the holy grail of engagement for bloggers everywhere.

According to many, if your blog is a platform for a vibrant and active community, then you’ve hit the jackpot. You’ve arrived. Except, that most people haven’t. Most blogs don’t host vibrant and active communities… hell, most blogs don’t get read at all!

Usually, it’s because they’re missing a critical secret ingredient, without which the community is never going to form...

The Basics of Community

So what are the foundations of a community?

At its most elemental, a community requires two things:

A topic of shared interest.

Other people.

You can’t build a community on the idea that you’d like to have a community – there needs to be something to talk, think and interact about. You should already have this under control, of course – you’ve chosen your blog topic for a reason. You’re interested in it and have at least a suspicion that other people will be, too.

Now of course, you just need to find those people, which you do through social networking, forums, other blogs, and so forth, and you need to give them something on that topic of shared interest on a regular basis.

But is that enough? If you combine people with information related to their shared interest, will you have community?

Not quite...

The Missing Ingredient

A blog becomes a community when it moves away from being the place where people come to hear what you have to say, and start talking to each other about what you said.

That’s right – the key to a real, thriving community is conversations that you aren’t necessarily a part of (although you should try to be a part of them, if at all possible).

The content that you produce has to do more than convey information. It has to make people want to talk about it, regardless of whether you are there to hold their hands while they do.

You don’t necessarily have to have an actual “forum” for this to happen, just make it easy for people to comment on and share your posts.

It Just Takes One Spark

This won’t happen all at once, so be prepared to really nurture this communication in the beginning. Respond to every comment, and straight up ask for engagement at the end of your post. Ask a question, make a galvanizing statement. Be controversial. Piss someone off.

In short, make it irresistible for your readers to comment, share and engage with you. It only takes a few repetitions for an action to become a habit... so help them make interacting into a habit!

When people visit your blog without ever commenting, they do so because they are in the habit of being passive consumers of your content. You can help them change that habit and expectation into something more like: “When I read BLOG X, I comment.”

Look at the Huffington Post – most of their articles generate comments in the hundreds because their readers are in the habit of responding to the ideas and viewpoints they find there. And you can do that, too.

Ask for the engagement, and then reward it with your full attention by responding to every comment. In time, people should start taking some of that responsibility off your shoulders.

Many Paths, Many Examples

The ideas listed above are just a handful of the possibilities. There are as many ways to create the “spark” that turns your blog into a community as there are bloggers creating communities.

What will end up working for you and your audience may not be direct questions or inflammatory statements – it might be new ideas, contests, local or national interest, responses to your offline activities, or any number of other things.

The best way to get a really solid grasp of the landscape of possibilities that are out there is to learn from the people who have actually been there and done that. Like the new book that I just co-authored with Guy Kawasaki, Brian Clark, and a bunch of other great people. Just saying. ;-)

Danny Iny (@DannyIny), a.k.a. the “Freddy Krueger of Blogging”, teaches marketing that works at Firepole Marketing. Together with Guy Kawasaki, Brian Clark and Mitch Joel, he wrote the book on building engaged audiences from scratch (available in paperback and on Kindle).

Thursday, March 1, 2012

To Dance Once More by Sherri Wilson Johnson

Book Description:

All Lydia wants is to travel the world before she has to settle down with a husband. But she may not have that choice anymore.April 1886.Debutante Lydia Jane Barrington lives a carefree, protected existence on Live Oaks Plantation in Florida. But while her sisters happily learn the traditional tasks of women and talk of courting, Lydia dreams of adventure and independence. Even her friendship with handsome Hamilton Scarbrough isn't enough to hold her back.Then one day Hamilton opens Lydia's eyes and her heart to love. But before they can receive permission to court, Lydia overhears a secret conversation about an unscrupulous business deal. Worse, it has everything to do with her and her future. Now she's faced with the biggest decision of her life-to concede or to fight. Either choice will require great sacrifice...and, perhaps, countless rewards.Passion. Friendship. A bitter enemy. A life-changing decision.Set in Victorian-era Florida.

My Thoughts:
I loved this book. Lydia's ideas for life are nothing like her sisters'. She doesn't want to just be married and have a family. She wants her freedom and to make a difference! She has romantic feelings for Hamilton, but will that stop her from having her independence? Most of all will the words she overhears be the end of all her dreams?
I completely love that this book is a romance and not suspense but it still has mystery to it! The setting of 1800s Flordia plantation was described perfectly. Lydia and really all the characters are developed well and completely real. Her faith is challenged, she feels pain, heartbreak and a whole range of emotions and you are right along with her. I loved the overall theme of God being in control of our lives and everything works in His time.
I rate this a 5/5. It is on my keeper shelf!

Thank you to the author for the complimentry copy of this book. I received this book in exchange for an honest review and the opinions stated above are 100% mine.