Top 3 Beach Reads

Person reading book on the beach

Summer is the season of beach reading! Here are Julie Manthey’s top 3 beach read recommendations for this summer. Follow Julie on Goodreads for more reading recommendations.


Updating the Author Photo

Recently I updated my ‘author photo’ and, dear readers, it must be said that it took quite a bit of my time and thought. After reading a lot of articles about author photos and reviewing photos of many of my favorite authors, I decided to hire a pro which was a big step and a decision that I felt most comfortable with.

After that though, there were still many decisions to make – mostly focused on what I wanted the image to convey. The biggest issue that I spent the most time on was determining whether or not to smile in the photo or not.

Was I less of an artist if I smiled? Did it mean that I wasn’t serious about writing? Would my fashion choices last a few years or age the photo too quickly? I’ll spare you the many other running questions and concerns that I considered, but you get the idea.

In the end, after quite a lot of research and various polls of my very patient friends, I opted for the smiling photo. What tipped me over to that decision? In the end, I decided that writing is something that I enjoy, which made me happy, and the old quote of ‘smile and the world smiles with you’ probably was worth going along with. 🙂

That I’ve also spent a lot of time in the orthodontist’s chair also helped tip the balance…

I hope this is helpful for other fellow authors and artists, perhaps even starting a new trend where we see more smiles in bios than serious looks. Either way, I hope you all celebrate your own true beauty, and, many thanks to both my photographer and my orthodontist. All the best to you and yours, and please, don’t forget to smile!

Five Beach Read Recommendations

person reading book on the beach

It’s beach read season – perhaps my favorite time of year! A time when everyone starts asking about book recommendations for their long flight, camping trip, or actual beach vacation. As an avid reader, I thought I’d share some of my beach read recommendations with you. 


Indie Reading List Challenge

Recently I was part of a local library event with several other Indie Authors, to help others interested in publishing their novels. The sense of community at the event was lovely and the other indie authors shared their tips and experiences. It felt to me like meeting up with a kindred book group of authors, who have stories they just want to share with the world.

The event also got me thinking about what else I could do to support fellow Indie Authors, outside of providing tips, advice, and participating in similar events. I decided to create my own Indie Author reading list challenge, where I plan to read at least one indie author per month this year.

I was also inspired to create a separate Indie Author book shelf in my Goodreads reviews, to highlight indie authors and help them with adding a review for their book(s).

Ironically, I think that sometimes we indie authors forget to toot the horn for our fellow authors – mostly probably because we are so busy with our own work, blogs, and day jobs. Fortunately, adding indie books to our reading lists is easier than ever and is probably already supported by your local library.

For those of you interested in participating in your own version of the Indie Author challenge by adding more Indie Authors to your reading list, here are some tips on how to find their work:

  • Discover Indie Authors from contest winners featured in contests that are exclusive for independent publishers like the Forward INDIES, the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards, Indie Excellence, or the IPPY Awards to name a few.
  • Participate in an Indie Author Day event to find local indie authors in your community
  • Ask your library about Indie Authors they have books for and if they participate in Self-e which connects libraries with Indie Author Ebooks
  • A lot of Indie Authors publish via CreateSpace, so you can also query “createspace” as the publisher in your library to find some indie authors that way.

Once you do start adding in some Indie Authors into your reading list stack, please consider writing a review for them in Amazon, Goodreads, or another review site. Your reviews help others discover these writers – which is exactly what I’m hoping for with my Indie Authors Goodreads shelf.


The Beach Read

There is something magical about summer. It’s the season we most typically associate with break time and when we give ourselves permission to relax. We even choose our books because they are perfect ‘beach reads.’ As a novelist of the ‘beach read’ genre I think the whole point of the perfect beach read is the escape it offers us and the permission we give ourselves to just read for the enjoyment of it.

Oddly enough, despite how common the phrase is or how often we ask for them, ‘beach read’ isn’t a real genre. I suppose that’s because the ‘beach read’ is so cool it’s almost spiritually above genre categories. 🙂 Beach reads help us escape our every day and let us dive into another world where we can vacation.

I hope that this summer you find several opportunities to recharge, relax, and take a break from the daily grind. Hopefully you’ll see fireflies darting across a dark field, smell the smoke of a camp fire, and dip your toes into an ocean or a lake, embracing the many small joys of summer. And, if you are still looking for a good beach read, escape to the ‘The Magic of Cape Disappoinment!’ This photo is from one of the many beaches around Cape Disappointment, where you can imagine the characters go in the summer to read and relax themselves. Happy summer, everyone – and, please, don’t forget the sunscreen!