What’s up next? The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

The Girl on the Train

Lots of you have already read this popular thriller and I’m excited to start The Girl on the Train, so I can jump in on the conversations I see on review blogs and in other media. Amazon readers have posted over 40,000 reviews and Goodreads has over 495,000 ratings! If you’re like me and haven’t read it yet, here’s some background on the story and the author.

What it’s about (from Amazon’s description):

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

Compulsively readable, The Girl on the Train is an emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller and an electrifying debut.


Paula Hawkins
photo: bookfans.net

Here are some interesting facts about Paula Hawkins:

  • Hawkins was born and raised in Zimbabwe and moved to London with her parents when she was seventeen.
  • She studied economics, politics and philosophy at Oxford.
  • Hawkins used to be a business reporter for The Times of London and during that time wrote a financial advice book called The Money Goddess.
  • Although The Girl on the Train is her first book in the suspense/thriller genre, Hawkins wrote a romantic comedy about a woman who loses her job during the recession. Confessions of a Reluctant Recessionista was written under the pen name Amy Silver. Hawkins wrote three more novels under Amy Silver’s name, but these books had limited success.
  • Financial pressures prompted Hawkins to send her unfinished manuscript to publishers, hoping one of them would like her story. They did!
  • Hawkins is currently working on a new book, a psychological thriller about sisters.

Visit these sites for more information about Paula Hawkins and The Girl on the Train.

Paula Hawkins Author Page on Amazon
Welcoming the Dark Twist in Her Career” by Alexander Alter, Jan. 30, 2015, from The New York Times
Wikipedia article about Paula Hawkins

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Blog views and other obsessions – Joining Facebook groups and sharing your work


One way to increase blog views is to join related Facebook groups and share your posts on them. You can join up to 6,000 groups.

There are three types of Facebook groups, public, closed and secret. In the public groups, anyone can join, be added or invited by a member. In closed groups, anyone can ask to join or be added or invited by a member. Secret groups are only open to those who are invited or added by a member. Visit the Facebook Help Center for more information about these groups.

You must follow the group’s rules – some don’t allow certain kinds of posts. Rules are often pinned to the tops of these pages. By mistake, I posted my request for indie authors on a book review page and was called out (not very nicely) as a spammer. I felt very unwelcome. Sigh…I’m a nice person and it was an honest mistake. But rules are rules, I suppose. With a hung head, I deleted my post. I left the group because it gave me a bad vibe, however. Sometimes you just have to move on.

One negative is that you must participate through your personal FB page – I don’t like doing that because I like to keep my two worlds separate, plus my personal feed was promptly swamped with comments and posts by people I didn’t know but who were part of the many FB groups I joined. You can change your settings so you don’t have to view these, however, but it was a mess in the beginning! (The good thing about initially seeing all these post feeds is that right away, you will get an idea of which groups are good fits for you. Just because it’s a book review group doesn’t mean you will be interested in the books that are discussed.) And I’ve accepted the personal page drawback because when you share a post, you are ultimately linking FB to your blog. That’s the goal, right?

Some groups like the Amazon Book Clubs block postings on their page feeds. I’m not sure why. It could be temporary, but this is an example of how you have to work your way through the groups and find out what works best for you.

Other groups require an administrator to approve your shared post, so delays in seeing your post on that page are common.

For anyone who is writing articles to share, I found a Facebook group called Share Your Articles which allows you to do just that. It has over 3,000 members, so there’s a good opportunity there.

So all in all a good way to increase readership, although I’m still bumbling through. Of course, there is only so much time in the day to participate in social media. I don’t have the time to read and comment on all the Facebook group posts. And that might also be true of all its members. I have noticed a direct connection to views after I share on certain pages, however. You must decide what works best for you.

If you are a writer, book lover or reviewer, you might be interested in these Facebook groups:

Amazon Book Clubs (Public Group; 29,896 members)
Author and Book Discussion Group (Closed Group; 1,499 members)
Book Group – (Public Group; 442 members
Closed Books Don’t Get Read Book Club (Closed Group; 1,695 members)
Great Reads (Closed Group, 8,810 members)
Share Your Articles (Public Group; 3,317 members)
Writers World (Closed Group; 3,073 members)

What experience do you have with Facebook groups? Are you able to increase your readership by sharing or participating in these groups?

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After You by Jojo Moyes

After You

After You
Jojo Moyes

3 book marks

Lou Clark has her whole life ahead of her and she made a promise to live it fully. The problem is, she can’t seem to find a way to do that. After You is the sequel to Me Before You, the intense love story with impossible choices that’s hard to describe without spoiling the experience. Moyes’ new book picks up Lou’s story after Will Traynor is gone.

Lou has kept the first part of her promise to Will by moving to Paris, but she’s unhappy there and returns to London, a place where she continues to feel depressed and unsettled. A job at an airport bar offers no promise and a near-death experience fails to jump-start Lou’s desire to move on.

Many familiar characters return to Lou’s story, including her quirky family. Tentative ties to Will’s parents show how complicated Lou’s relationships are. And new characters muddle Lou’s ability to see what she needs to do.

Moyes tells Lou’s story in the same serious/funny style I loved in Me Before You, and the strength of that story reinforces this one. But After You seems to suffer the “sequel curse” as other second books do. Lou’s character rarely shows her lively and appealing former self. Of course, she’s depressed, so it’s somewhat understandable. And although there is a new love interest, the chemistry between them barely registers, compared to what happens between Lou and Will in Me Before You. Moyes includes a parallel awakening plot in which Lou’s mother takes a fresh look at her life, but that storyline seems a little stale. Other new characters are hard to get to know and run through their own flat plots.

The first half of the book is the stronger section. As the plot advances, however, some of the side stories seem forced, drawing on the appeal of the first book to lead the reader to a predictable finish, much different from the first book.

I’m glad I read After You, because I was curious about the characters, but this book doesn’t carry enough impact of Lou and Will’s story to stand on its own. All in all, a good follow-up read for fans of Me Before You, but otherwise a little plain.

For the full picture, check out my posts on Me Before You.

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes – No spoilers in this review!

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes – What would you do? – Warning: spoilers below

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Who’s That Indie Author? Carrie Rubin

Who's That Indie Author pic

Carrie Rubin pic

Author name: Carrie Rubin

Genre: Medical thriller

Books: Eating Bull (ScienceThrillers Media, 2015) and The Seneca Scourge (Whiskey Creek Press/Start Media, 2012), awarded Best New E-book: Fiction, USA Best Book Awards

Eating Bull               The Seneca Scourge

Bio: Carrie Rubin is a physician with a master’s degree in public health. She’s been easing into fiction writing for the past 15 years and is a member of the International Thriller Writers association. In addition to writing medical thrillers, she maintains a humor blog on her website. She lives in Ohio with her husband and two sons.

Favorite thing about being a writer: Being able to tell stories and bring characters to life.

Biggest challenge as an indie author: Promotion. Whether self-published or small-press published, getting our books in front of new eyes requires a daily time commitment, not to mention stepping out of our introverted shoes.

Favorite book: A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry. Its beautifully written, yet heart-wrenching story of impoverished life in 1975 India stayed with me for a long time. But I also love Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden, Midwives by Chris Bohjalian, and the A-Z mystery series by Sue Grafton. Oops, did I just cheat by listing so many?

Contact Information: You can find Carrie on her website, carrierubin.comFacebook, Twitter(@carrie_rubin) Goodreads: Carrie Rubin and Google+.

Are you an indie author looking for some positive publicity? Do you want to build your indie author network? Why not get your name out on Who’s That Indie Author?

Email bvitelli2009@gmail.com for a bio template and other details, and follow along on Book Club Mom to join the indie author community!

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Looking for Indie Authors for Who’s That Indie Author

Who's That Indie Author pic

Hey indie authors! Are you wondering how to get people to know about your books? If you have seen my Who’s That Indie Author profiles you will know that one of the greatest challenges independent authors have is promoting their books. Why not join the Who’s That Indie Author community?

Here’s the problem: Some writers are so busy writing their books or working at another job they have little time left for promotions. Others are overwhelmed by the opportunities social media offers. And some writers are just uncomfortable putting themselves out there.

Think about some of the great writers. Can you imagine J.D. Salinger tweeting about The Catcher in the Rye? Or Emily Dickinson posting a poem on Facebook? Cormac McCarthy has only granted one interview, ever and that was to Oprah Winfrey. (You can watch that interview here.) He says, “I don’t think it’s good for your head – if you spend a lot of time writing about a book, you probably shouldn’t be talking about it, you should be doing it.” But of course, he has other people promoting his books.

Whether you are uncomfortable with self-promotion or are too busy, Who’s That Indie Author is a great way to tell readers about your books.

If you would like Book Club Mom to post your profile, email me at bvitelli2009@gmail.com and I’ll send you the template to complete.

Take a look at these indie author profiles:
Who’s That Indie Author Recap: Sep/Oct 2015
Who’s That Indie Author Recap: Nov/Dec 2015

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What’s up next? After You by Jojo Moyes

After You

If you read Me Before You, you are probably wondering how Lou Clark is doing on her own, now that Will Traynor is gone. I was, and I’m glad my book club friend chose After You for one of our upcoming discussions.

Me before you pic

If you haven’t read Me Before You yet, here’s a basic description without giving anything away:

Lou Clark, a working-class girl in a small town in England, has lost her job.  She has trouble finding another and reluctantly accepts an offer to be care-giver for a quadriplegic man, Will Traynor.  She’s kind of quirky.  He’s bitter and has a difficult personality.  It’s a love story, but there’s a whole lot more.

Me Before You is the kind of book you have to read yourself to know what it’s about.  To read a more detailed plot would spoil the experience.  There is happiness in this story.  There are many very funny parts.  But there are also many sad moments and many difficult and moral decisions.

After You tells Lou’s story once she’s on her own. I’ve already begun reading and will tell you that Jojo Moyes is an excellent writer. She is both funny and serious in just the right measure so that, when her characters move through the hard parts of life, you know they will be lifted with the proper amount of humor and affection.

Me Before You is the kind of book you power through because the subject matter demands it. After You is also a fast-moving story and I’m sure I will be finished soon.

If you are interested in the storyline, check out my blog posts on Me Before You. There is one with no spoilers and a second one which discusses Lou’s difficult moral decision.

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes – No spoilers in this review!

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes – What would you do? – Warning: spoilers below

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Friday Fiction Recap – Thank You for Reading!

Friday Fiction

I want to thank everyone who followed my Friday Fiction. As some of you know, I wrote Jessica in 2012 as part of the No Plot? No Problem! novel-writing kit by Chris Baty. Baty is Founder of National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo, a program I know many people participate in. I had a lot of fun writing Jessica and, even though I know the story is full of holes and inconsistencies, I took a leap in sharing it. I’ve had a lot of laughs with some of you about my characters and plot lines, which I know were sometimes outrageous!

No Plot No Problem cover

While I completed the 30-day, 50,000 word requirement, I was a little short on a conclusion and so I knocked out the last few chapters on the fly. I also added to and polished many of the chapters as I went along, which was a good writing experience for me.

No Plot No Problem kit p ic

I have written two other stories. I’m thinking about sharing them on Friday Fiction at some point, but for now, I’m going to take a break.

Here are the chapter links to Jessica, in case you want to take another look. You’ve sent me some terrific feedback and words of encouragement!

Chapter 1 – “Jimmy”
Chapter 2 – “Stevie”
Chapter 3 – “A Photo and a Letter”
Chapter 4 – “The Life Within”
Chapter 5 – “Jimmy’s Truck”
Chapter 6 – “The Springs Diner”
Chapter 7 – “Dinner and a Game”
Chapter 8 – “He Made Me Nervous”
Chapter 9 – “I Called Dad on My Thirteenth Birthday”
Chapter 10 – “Connections and Time”
Chapter 11 – “The Reverse Apology”
Chapter 12 – “Empty Bedrooms”
Chapter 13 – “Job Description”
Chapter 14 – “The Car I Saw”
Chapter 15 – “It’s Not What You Think”
Chapter 16 – “A Different Route”
Chapter 17 – “Choosing Balance”
Chapter 18 – “A Mother Sees”
Chapter 19 – “Taking More”
Chapter 20 – “Robbing the Future”
Chapter 21 – “I Thought I Didn’t Need Her”
Chapter 22 – “It Was Up to Me”
Chapter 23 – “Separate and Icy”
Chapter 24 – “Striking a Nerve”
Chapter 25 – “Help Has Its Price”
Chapter 26 – “Who Asked for Help?”
Chapter 27 – “You’ve Done Enough”
Chapter 28 – “The Plan”
Chapter 29 – “Who Says I’m Not Okay?”
Chapter 30 – “What’s So Great about Balance?”
Chapter 31 – “I’ll Call You When It’s Over”
Chapter 32 – “Sorting It Out”
Chapter 33 – “Truth and Lies”
Chapter 34 – “The Car-Port House”
Chapter 35 – “It’s a Dead Yard”
Chapter 36 – “I Just Want To See Him”
Chapter 37 – “I’m Not Going Anywhere”
Chapter 38 – “He’s Here Now”
Chapter 39 – “Not Everything Changes”
Chapter 40 – “Anger’s Release”
Chapter 41 – “What Are Rights?”
Chapter 42 – “Visiting Stu”
Chapter 43 – “Control”
Chapter 44 – “Balance of Power”
Chapter 45 – “Stevie’s Battle”
Chapter 46 – “Small Gestures”
Chapter 47 – “The People We Lean On”
Chapter 48 – “Hearts Were Mending”

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