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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Wordless Wednesday


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Writing Habits of 21 Famous Authors

I think every writer tries at some point to establish a writing habit. But establishing a good habit of any kind can be quite challenging. Let's first go over what a habit is.

A habit is a pattern of behavior acquired through repetition. Now sometimes we associate habit with bad behaviors that we are trying to stop, but as a writer we need to cultivate healthy habits to help us accomplish our writing goals.

Establishing a good habit means being consistent in your writing goals. By doing so you can be more productive in your writing and more successful in your endeavors.

My writing habits include, writing while the children are at school and writing first thing in the morning. I don't accept phone calls before 3pm if at all possible, unless they are scheduled. I also stop writing at 3pm to make time for my family as they come home from school and work. On the weekends, my schedule is the opposite. I also don't write with the television on. Television is a major distraction for me. I also invested in a dvr so I wouldn't be tempted to turn on the television, that way my favorite shows are recorded and I haven't missed anything.

A habit I'm trying to cultivate is to write without constantly double checking myself. I try not to do a lot of editing until I'm done with at least a chapter. But I'm still working on fighting the urge to edit during the writing process.

Here are some writing habits and writing advice of 21 famous authors. Tell me what you think and if you have any writing habits of your own. Remember what works for one person may not work for another. There isn't a right or wrong way if it's works. Just try to be consistent and productive in your writing.

Happy Writing!


Toni Morrison

"Writing before dawn began as a necessity–I had small children when I first began to write and I needed to use the time before they said, Mama–and that was always around five in the morning. Many years later, after I stopped working at Random House, I just stayed at home for a couple of years. I discovered things about myself I had never thought about before. At first I didn’t know when I wanted to eat, because I had always eaten when it was lunchtime or dinnertime or breakfast time. Work and the children had driven all of my habits… I didn’t know the weekday sounds of my own house; it all made me feel a little giddy. I was involved in writing Beloved at that time–this was in 1983–and eventually I realized that I was clearer-headed, more confident and generally more intelligent in the morning. The habit of getting up early, which I had formed when the children were young, now became my choice. I am not very bright or very witty or very inventive after the sun goes down." For more about this interview visit Linda Sands.


William Faulkner

"The writer must teach himself that the basest of all things is to be afraid; and, teaching himself that, forget it forever, leaving no room in his workshop for anything but the old verities and truths of the heart, the old universal truths lacking which any story is ephemeral and doomed-love and honor and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice."

Maya Angelou
Angelou has used the same "writing ritual" for many years. She wakes at five in the morning and checks into a hotel room, where the staff has been instructed to remove any pictures from the walls. She writes on legal pads while lying on the bed, with only a bottle of sherry, a deck of cards to play solitaire, Roget's Thesaurus, and the Bible, and leaves by the early afternoon. She averages 10–12 pages of material a day, which she edits down to three or four pages in the evening. Angelou goes through this process to "enchant" herself, and as she has said in a 1989 interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation, "relive the agony, the anguish, the Sturm und Drang." She places herself back in the time she is writing about, even traumatic experiences like her rape in Caged Bird, in order to "tell the human truth" about her life. Angelou has stated that she plays cards in order to get that place of enchantment, in order to access her memories more effectively. She has stated, "It may take an hour to get into it, but once I’m in it—ha! It’s so delicious!" She does not find the process cathartic; rather, she has found relief in "telling the truth".

Octavia E. Butler
First forget inspiration. Habit is more dependable. Habit will sustain you whether you're inspired or not. Habit will help you finish and polish your stories. Inspiration won't. Habit is persistence in practice. Forget talent. If you have it, fine. Use it. If you don't have it, it doesn't matter. As habit is more dependable than inspiration, continued learning is more dependable than talent. Never let pride or laziness prevent you from learning, improving your work, changing its direction when necessary. Persistence is essential to any writer -- the persistence to finish your work, to keep writing in spite of rejection, to keep reading, studying, submitting work for sale. But stubbornness, the refusal to change unproductive behavior or to revise unsalable work can be lethal to your writing hopes. Finally, don't worry about imagination. You have all the imagination you need, and all the reading, journal writing, and learning you will be doing will stimulate it. Play with your ideas. Have fun with them. Don't worry about being silly or outrageous or wrong. So much of writing is fun. It's first letting your interests and your imagination take you anywhere at all. Once you're able to do that, you'll have more ideas than you can use. Then the real work of fashioning them into a story begins. Stay with it. Persist. Read my book review of Kindred by Ms. Butler.

J.K. Rowling 
J.K. Rowling would dash to the nearest cafe and write like mad when her daughter Jessica fell asleep. "What you write becomes who you are…so make sure you love what you write! The writing of Harry Potter has been inextricably linked with my life for seventeen years, and saying goodbye has been just as tough as I always knew it would be. If you tackle a novel or nonfiction book, you’ll be living and breathing it for years. If you’re haven’t started writing your book with love and passion, you may be struggling to write for years."


Johnny D. Boggs
"It's called a mortgage. That may come across as flippant, but it's true. I write for a living. No trust fund. No retirement. No steady paycheck. I approach writing like a job. Shower. Go to work in the morning, knock off, if I'm lucky, at late afternoon."

Truman Capote
"I am a completely horizontal author. I can't think unless I'm laying down, either in bed or stretched on a couch with a cigarette and coffee handy. I've got to be puffing and sipping. As the afternoon wears on, I shift from coffee to mint tead to sherry to martinis. No, I don't use a typewriter. Not in the beginning. I write my first version in longhand. Then I do a complete revision, also in longhand."

Terry McMillan
"As a single mother who had to work full-time. Ms. McMillan rose at 5:00 A.M. every morning and spent two hours working on her novel. Then, she would pack up her small son and drop him off at day care on the way to work. McMillan typed and printed her drafts at work during her lunch hour. Fortunately, her coworkers and supervisors were supportive of her effort.

Francine Prose
"Fortunately, or unfortunately, we live in a strange apartment with one twenty-foot-high window facing a brick wall, about a foot and a half away. Not much of a view. So when I'm at my desk I feel like I can work undistracted. I might as well be in the country. Writing while facing a wall, incidentally, seems to me the perfect metaphor for being a writer."

Donna Hill
"When we as writers read good work it can only enhance, stimulate and encourage us in our own solitary endeavors. After reading a good book I feel charged and want to up my writing level. Do I? Hmmmm, only a reader will know for sure, but I certainly hope so. Although my motto is “A writer writes” my other one is, “Any writer worth a damn reads.” Check out my interview with bestselling author Donna Hill.

Ernest Hemingway
Hemingway famously said he wrote 500 words a day, mostly in the mornings, to avoid the heat. Though a prolific writer, he also knew when to stop. He claimed he quit each day in the middle of a sentence. Hemingway wrote, “I write one page of masterpiece to ninety-one pages of shit. I try to put the shit in the wastebasket.”

Flannery O'Connor
In, The Habits of Being: Letters of Flannery O'Connor, she explains,"I'm a full-time believer in writing habits...You may be able to do without them if you have genius but most of us only have talent and this is simply something that has to be assisted all the time by physical and mental habits or it dries up and blows away...Of course you have to make your habits in this conform to what you can do. I write only about two hours every day because that’s all the energy I have, but I don’t let anything interfere with those two hours, at the same time and the same place.” Flannery O'Connor had lupus, extraneous activity was draining during the end of her life. She sat facing the blank surface of her wood dresser, which provided no distractions.


Nikki Giovanni
In a recent interview I did with Ms. Giovanni, she said, "you have the internet, you can do a lot on your own, you can blog, you can set up publishing in a way that was a lot easier than when we were coming up. I would say if you’re interested in writing, you should write." Ms. Giovanni also stated in an essay with Harper Collins, "it's always a bit intimidating to try to tell how I write since I, like most writers, I think, am not at all sure that I do what I do in the way that I think I do it. In other words, I was always told not to look a gift horse in the mouth....I would hope each and every woman who ever thought she wanted to write would at least give it a try."


R.A. Salvatore
"Remember when you were in the second grade and you wrote something you thought ws the best thing you ever written? Then it came back from the teacher covered in red marks, destroying you. That's what being a writer is, every single day. Particularly with the Internet and the loudmouths it inspires, a writer will hear constanly how much he/she sucks. And the bigger you get, the worst it will be. So if you don't believe in yourself, you'll be another of those writers who walks around with his head down, thoroughly depressed. I know a lot of writers, but I know very, very, few happy writers."


Victoria Christopher Murray
In my recent interview with Ms. Christopher Murray, she said, "I have this relationship with food and shelter and so I write. No really, writing is my job. So just like anyone else who has to go to work to survive, I write. I just happen to have a job that I love."


Thomas Clayton Wolfe
I use a typewriter. I set myself a quota — ten pages a day, triple-spaced, which means about eighteen hundred words. If I can finish that in three hours, then I’m through for the day. I just close up the lunch box and go home — that’s the way I think of it anyway. If it takes me twelve hours, that’s too bad, I’ve got to do it.” Thomas Clayton Wolfe, wrote while leaning over a refrigerator because he was so tall, six feet six inches tall to be exact.

"I know too many people who've spent months working over the first chapters of their projected novels. That's wrong. Get it down. Bumble it through. Tell the story. When you have fifty or 100 pages typed, you've got something to work with."

Ralph Waldo Emerson
In order to manage fluctuations of intellectual dry spells with that of an abundance of creativity, Emerson kept a journal. Every day he collected even the smallest thought, idea, or dream that crossed his mind. This enabled Emerson to better organize his thoughts when they flowed freely and to spur new ideas when he hit a dry spell. Writing helped Emerson make sense of the world. He would revisit the ideas he had recorded and add to them as he gained new insights.

Perseverance: Harris attempted suicide in 1990 after a long slide into severe depression and alcoholism left him isolated from work and most friends, broke, and facing eviction. He entered therapy, quit drinking, and began living with friends when he began writing Invisible Life. "The journal that I've been keeping is a way for me to deal with my reassurances of depression," Mr. Harris, said. "I began writing at 33. I wrote out of trying to work some things out in my own life. It was a story that hadn't been told. I feel like in any kind of special novel writing, you have to tell a story that is purely your own, that no one else can write but you. I went into writing this novel with a quiet confidence. If no one else wanted to read it, that was OK." You can read my author and book highlight of his last literary work, No One in the World,, that Mr. Harris co-wrote with R.M. Johnson.

"My schedule is flexible, but I am rather particular about my instruments: lined Bristol cards and well sharpened, not too hard, pencils capped with erasers.” Vladimir was an avid user of index cards. Most of his novels were written on 3x5 inch filing cards that were copied, expanded, rearranged and paper clipped and then stored in slender boxes.

Richard Wright
In the biography, Richard Wright: The Life and Times, the author says, Wright got up early, she says, around 6 A.M. – sometimes earlier at the height of summer. Clutching his lined, yellow legal pad, a fountain pen, and a bottle of ink, he walked to nearby Fort Greene Park. He climbed to the top of the hill, where he sat on a bench, looking down on the brownstones and, in the distance, the ragged tenement houses by the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and filled page after page with his scrawling handwriting.

Don't forget to leave a comment and tell me what your writing habits are or what you thought of some of the writing habits of these 21 famous authors.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Winners of Giveaways: Amazon Kindle and Gift Card

I am happy to announce the winner of my 1,000 Followers Kindle eReader Giveaway. I was giving away a Kindle Touch eReader from Amazon valued at $99. But I decided to upgrade! So the winner will receive a Kindle Keyboard 3G, with Free 3G + Wifi, 6" E Ink Display valued at $139.


The winner of the Kindle Keyboard 3G is 

Nadine E!

Congratulations!!!!!



The winner of the $20 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway is 
Evie!
Congratulations!

A heartfelt thank you to everyone that participated. I felt so much angst because I could only choose one person. It hurt me so bad, but thank goodness Rafflecopter just chooses a random number and tells you the winner. I still felt bad though. If I could have, I would've given everyone a free Kindle. Thank you so much doesn't begin to express my gratitude to everyone that stopped by and entered. Once I reach 2,000 followers I will have another awesome giveaway, it will have to top this one, so you'll have to wait and see what I have up my sleeve. 

Have a happy holiday everyone and a fantabulous weeek!

*Winners have 48 hours to claim prizes once notified or another winner will be chosen. *

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

10 Do It Yourself Book Gifts and Ideas

The holidays are fast approaching. I'm still not finish with my holiday shopping. I'm trying to be more creative this year and not give in to all the commercialism. So as I said before I'm making homemade body butter. But I was thinking what are some gifts people could make themselves for book lovers that hopefully won't cost a fortune? Well, here are some ideas.

1. Book straps. I love this. It reminds me of the past days of carrying books. I also hear they are coming back in style. So I know for a fact, I'm going to make these in the near future. For instructions on how to make your own, go to Design Sponge for details.





2. Book Clutch. Now this is beautiful. And it's really inexpensive to make. Just purchase an old book and an old purse from the thrift store and add a little creative imagination and you have yourself a one of a kind book clutch. For detailed instructions on how to make this, go to See Kate Sew.

3. Mini Book Necklace. If I had more time, I would definitely make this necklace for my daughter this Christmas. I think they are absolutely adorable. For instructions on how to make one, go to The Perfect Pear for more details.




4. Easy Knit Book Covers. These are so practical. I have to buy over a dozen every year for my five kids when school starts. So to save money you could make these yourself. And I'm sure they'd make great gifts, especially if you use lovely printed fabric. For instructions, go to Sew Mama Sew for more details.




5. Book Earrings. These are nice. I saw someone wearing a pair the other day at the library. I wanted my own pair, so I googled how to create them. To find out how you can make your own, go to How To Make Book Earrings or Cut Out and Keep for more details.




6. Book Binder. I really thought this would be hard. It's essentially creating your own book or journal. But after reading over the instructions, it's really not that difficult. It's a little time consuming at worst, but probably worth the effort considering you can look at a beautiful book that you created from scratch. For instructions, go to Design Sponge for more details.



7. Vintage E-reader Case. Anyone with an E-Reader would probably love this gift. Once I wear out my current iPad cover, I'm going to attempt to make this one. I think this project is one of my favorites. For instructions on how to create this lovely item, go to Ladies Home Journal for more details.






8. Customized Book Plates. I love book plates. I actually have some, but I ordered mine online. I also have a book plate stamp as well. Book plates are similar to the library card pocket inside of a book. But instead of the pocket, you glue or paste a piece of customize paper to the inside of the cover page, so a borrower of the book has a reminder to return the book and it serves as a stamp of ownership. For instructions on how to create your own, go to Design Sponge for more details.



9. Vintage Book Tech Organizer. I need this right now. I think it's a neat idea. I have so many cords that go to my iPad, iPod, laptop, cellphone that it can become highly unorganized. This project seems more challenging than all the others, but I'm sure it would be worth it. And it looks like a book when closed. For instructions, go to Design Sponge for more details.


10. Journal Wraps and Bookmarks. I mentioned bookmarks before in a previous post. The previous post contained a video tutorial on how to create a beaded bookmark. You can find the previous post with the bookmark tutorial here. But here is another way to create bookmarks and journal wraps or as I call them Bungees Bookmarks available at Levenger. I received five of them for graduation and I used them up quickly. So I'm going to make the journal wraps at the beginning of the year. I think it would be a great project to do with my youngest daughter and it will be much cheaper than ordering additional ones. For instructions on how to make your very own journal wraps and bookmarks, go to Craft Snob for more details.

Hope you enjoyed some of the ideas. Do you have any DIY gift ideas for book lovers?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Interesting Facts about Authors and Books



  • In the book, Les Miserable by Victor Hugo there is one sentence that is 823 words long.
  • In the United States, people buy an average of 57 books per second.
  • It took Noah Webster thirty-six years to write his first dictionary.
  • One out of every eight letters you read is the letter 'e'.
  • Gadsby was written by Ernest Vincent Wright in 1939. The 50,000 word novel doesn't contain the letter 'e'.
  • J.K. Rowling had difficulty getting published. Finally, Bloomsburry Press agreed to publish it but only published 500 copies for fear they wouldn't sell. They also requested she use initials so she wouldn't be recognized as a female writer. She has no middle name, so she chose the letter K for Kathleen.
  • Before The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown was a pop singer and song writer. His second solo album was titled, Angels and Demons.
  • Sidney Sheldon didn't start writing novels until he was in his fifties. Before then he was creating television hit shows like I Dream of Jeannie and The Patty Duke Show.
  • The largest book in the world is "The Klencke Atlas" at 1.75 meters tall (about 5 feet 9 inches) and 1.90 meters wide (about 6 feet 3 inches when open).
  • The world's most expensive book ever purchased was bought by Bill Gates at auction for $30.8 million dollars. The title of the book is Codex Leicester by Leonard da Vinci.
  • The longest novel available to read is Marienbad My Love by Mark Leach at 17 million words. You can actually read this novel by going to Marienbadmylove.com
  • The most expensive book is The Task by Tomas Alexander Hartmann. It has a value by the author for 153 million euros. That's about 213 million U.S. dollars. And the kicker, it's only 13 pages long.

Do you know any interesting facts about authors or books?

Friday, December 9, 2011

Gift Card Giveaway Hop


Welcome to my blog. I'm glad you stopped by. I said this would be my last giveaway hop for this year. But I forgot I signed up for this one. And I love gift cards, they're easy and hassle free. No lines at the post office. No boxing, no taping, just click and you're done. So enjoy and thanks to I Am a Reader, Not a Writer and Attack of the Book for organizing this hop.

Who can enter my hop?

Anyone. This giveaway is open to U.S. and International participants.

So what am I giving away?

$20 gift card from Amazon.com or up to $20 in purchases from The Book Depository if you're an international participant.

What do you need to do to enter?

Just sign up for my newsletter. That's it. All other entries on the Rafflecopter are optional. You can find the newsletter box in the upper right hand corner of my blog or at the end of this post. :-) If you decide to tweet about the giveaway. Don't worry about pasting the URL, it's such a hassle and isn't necessary. I'll get a notification once you tweet it, so skip that part.

There are over 140 blogs participating in this giveaway. Click Gift Card Giveaway List to see the other participating blogs on this hop to enter for even more chances to win. All the blogs on this hop are giving away gift cards. Great chances to get some extra holiday shopping done.

Enjoy and have a wonderful, happy holiday! Also while you're already here, you can enter my Amazon Kindle Touch eReader Giveaway.  Makes a great holiday gift for someone special or keep it for yourself.

Sign Up For My Newsletter by Email

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Top 25 Blogs for Writers

Most of you know that I have a passion for writing and that I have a few books being released soon. But I wanted to share some of the resources I use as a writer, especially other blogs I frequently visit that are geared towards providing writing resources for creative minds. Hopefully it can be of use to an aspiring writer, author or blog reader. So here they are, my top 25 blogs for writers. Plus, two bonus blogs I just had to squeeze in there. They are listed in no particular order.

  • Allison Winn Scotch (formerly known as Ask Allison, site provides publishing and marketing info)
  • Apostrophe Abuse (teaches the correct way to use an apostrophe)
  • A Writer's Life (from the writer who created the books, the TV show Monk was based on)
  • The Beacon Blog for Writers (resource for writers to help them get published)
  • Cat's Eye Writer (for bloggers who write and writers who blog)
  • The Creative Penn (provides resources for writers to write, publish and sell their books)
  • Evil Editor (provides tips on defining your craft with better editing skills)
  • Flogging the Quill (how to pursue the art and craft of compelling storytelling)
  • Grammarphobia (readers ask grammar questions and get responses)
  • John Baker's Blog (an author blog, has some great resources on writing)
  • Kim's Craft Blog (tips about constraints and creativity, including memoirs, fiction & creative writing)
  • Make a Living Writing (shows writers how to make a good living with their writing)
  • Paperback Writer (writer of forty-five novels in eight genres, she talks about writing and her life)
  • The Plotmonkeys (several bloggers talking about books and their lives)
  • Scott Berkun (bestselling author and public speaker, share writing techniques for creative thinking)
  • Six Sentences (write in six sentence exercise, and you can submit your own)
  • Storyfix (tips to get serious about writing and writing stories that attract readers)
  • Time to Write (inspiration, ideas and tips for aspiring writers, writers and creative people)
  • Wordplay (provides resources to help aspiring writers become authors)
  • Wordswimmer (insights into understanding the writing process)
  • Write Anything (inspiration, motivation and writing challenges)
  • Write Better (tips on communication, business writing and creative writing)
  • Writer Beware (a publishing industry watchdog that helps writers avoid scams, pitfalls and schemes)
  • Write to Done (effective ways to write better)
  • Writers Write (resources about writing, books and publishing)
  • Writer Unboxed (blog that dissects books and finds out what makes them great from a writer's view)
  • Emerging Writers Network (info on how to work towards succeeding in writing

Do you visit any of the blogs on the list?
Do you have or know
 a blog I can add to the list?

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Interview with author Suzanne Purewal

About Suzanne Purewal
Suzanne grew up in Webster, NY. After obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree, she went on to earn a Master of Science degree from Kettering University. Suzanne worked for General Motors and Delphi for a combined twenty-two years.

Aside from her annual Christmas poems and a few other whimsical pieces over the past two decades, Suzanne did not write very much. However, she did entertain coworkers with descriptive stories. They encouraged her to write a book. She did not seriously consider it, until she was diagnosed with cancer. During her battle against the disease, she started writing again.
In her free time, Suzanne enjoys hiking, singing, and playing the guitar and piano. She has resided in Noblesville, IN for the past eighteen years.

Suzanne is a member of The International Women’s Writing Guild, The Writers’ Center of Indiana, The Noble Writers’ Group, Friends of the Hamilton East Public Library, and Friends of the Hamilton North Public Library.


Suzanne’s first romance novel, Embracing Destiny, was released in November 2010. Although she wrote it as a stand-alone novel, the feedback from readers compelled her to write a sequel. Look for Challenging Destiny to be released soon.
In the powerful romance novel, Embracing Destiny, the reader follows Sara Taylor—a woman standing at a crossroad. Disillusioned with her love life and lackluster career, she searches for meaning in her life. A chance encounter provides a fresh perspective and alters her outlook. Change is on the horizon. Joe Lazaro’s burning desire for Sara has never been stronger. Yearning to make his own life complete, he intends to reconnect with his soulmate. However, Joe is not the only man vying for Sara’s affections.
As Sara attempts to explore her options, an unexpected event sets her on a journey. Outside forces intervene, and danger lurks in every shadow.
The support of their loved ones is ever present. Although, it is only through their trials and tribulations that Sara and Joe realize what is truly important.

Interview with Suzanne Purewal


The title of your book is Embracing Destiny. What is your definition of embracing your destiny? 
To embrace your destiny, you have to know who you are as a person and accept it.

Can you give me five words to describe your literary journey?
 Exciting. Enlightening. Fulfilling. Arduous. Liberating.

What are three things a writer should do? 
Write what you want to write, not what someone tells you to write. Join a writing group to get unbiased feedback from peers. Make sure you hire an editor to edit your manuscript.

 What are three things a writer should not do?
Never give up. Don't force yourself to write if you don't feel like writing. Don't underestimate the need of a good editor.

What are you currently working on?
I am currently working on writing a sequel to Embracing Destiny. It's called Challenging Destiny. I originally intended for Embracing Destiny to be a stand-alone novel. However, the feedback from readers has compelled me to write a sequel. I had been writing a paranormal novel at the time that I decided to start the sequel. I do plan to return to it once the sequel is complete.

Well, I must do my WWW's which are what have you just finished reading? What are you currently reading? And what do you plan to read next?
I just finished reading Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Currently reading Darby Rae's Merciful Law. Planning to read Stephen King's Full Dark, No Stars.


How are you and Sara, the main character in Embracing Destiny, alike?
Sara and her best friend, Laura, both look like me. We worked in engineering-related fields. And I too had a psychic reading that changed the course of my life.

How are you different from Sara, the main character in Embracing Destiny?
I would not have made the same decisions Sara made concerning her love life. And truth be told, I am more like Laura's character.

What's the best advice you've been given? 
Be true to yourself and do what makes you happy.

Tell us something that readers may not already know about Embracing Destiny?
My favorite character is not the main character, Sara Taylor, it's Joe Lazaro's mother, Rose. She was the easiest character to write. She's an amalgamation of several women in my life.    

Thank you Ms. Purewal for stopping by and sharing your literary journey with us. I wish you the very best in your literary endeavors.


To follow Suzanne's literary journey you can visit her at the following:
Website
Facebook
To purchase any of her books, click here.

Would you like to win a copy of Embracing Destiny? Click The Book Lover's Holiday Giveaway to enter to win a copy of her book and a chance to win 1 of 3 gift boxes including lots of books, goodies and bookish items right here on my blog. Good luck!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Book Lover's Holiday Giveaway Hop


Welcome to my blog and to the Book Lover's Holiday Giveaway Hop. There are over 260 blogs participating in this hop, hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy and I Am A Reader, Not a Writer.

Well, this will be the last giveaway hop I participate in for the rest of the year. It's near Christmas and I need to concentrate the gift giving closer to home. So I wanted to make this last one really special. 

What am I giving away?

I will be giving away (3) three prizes open to U.S and International participants. Each prize is a gift box filled with books and goodies. How will the winner choose the prize? The first winner chosen by Random.org through Rafflecopter will get first choice, then the second winner will choose, and the the third winner will get the remaining gift box.

What are the rules?

1. Must be a follower of my blog via GFC, RSS or Email. 

2. Let me know in the comments section below if you are a U.S. or International resident.
(If postage is too much, I may opt to give a $25 credit towards purchases at The Book Depository instead.)

That's it. All other entries on the Rafflecopter are optional. If you decide to tweet about the giveaway on the Rafflecopter form, don't worry about pasting the URL, just tweet it. I think pasting is such a hassle. Plus, I get a notification whenever someone does. :-)

What are the gifts? Well, let me show you instead. Everything shown inside the gift box is included along with the gift box too!
--------------------------------------
Gift Box 1

The Gift Box 1
What's inside?
Let's Take A Peek.
It's a brand new Da Vinci Code
Special Edition DVD Set,
along with three books,
The Da Vinci Code,
Angels and Demons
and A New Prospect
by Wayne Zurl


------------------------------
Gift Box 2

Kids Fun Book
Bundle and
Gift Box

A jumbo pen, two pencils,
a jumbo coloring book,
two stencil rulers, an etcha
sketch type drawing board,
3 boxes of card games
& 4 color stamps.
Includes books, Amy HodgePodge
The Secret's Out, One Brother
Too Many &
Standing Against the Wind.
Two sealed dvds,
March of the Penguins
and Osmosis Jones


 --------------------------
Gift Box 3
Include The Night Circus,
Freedom by Jonathan Franzen,
Trouble Don't Last Always
by Francis Ray, Leaving Atlanta
by Tayari Jones and Embracing
Destiny by Suzanne Purewal


A gift box with carrying handle.
Very spacious and can
be used to hold or carry
clothes, makeup, etc.
Conair Massager,
one vanilla cookie candle,
one coffee mug,
bookmark, two journals
and a planner

























----------------------------------------------------------
That's it. Have fun entering all the other giveaways on the Book Lover's Giveaway Hop. For a list of other participating blogs, click List of Blog Hop Participants.

GOOD LUCK!


*Also, stop by and enter my 1,000 Followers Kindle Giveaway for a chance to win a new Amazon Kindle eReader. Valued at $99! And it's Free! Click Kindle Giveaway for more details to enter. Giveaway ends just in time to receive the Amazon Kindle for the holidays.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Book Review: Trouble Don't Last Always by Francis Ray

Mass Market Paperback: Trouble Don't Last Always
Length: 389 Pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperback; First Edition
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1250000343
Received: By Publisher

Synopsis: Amazon
Desperate to escape her abusive marriage, Lilly Crawford files for divorce, then slips away from her small east Texas hometown with little more than the clothes on her back. She points her twelve-year-old car east, hoping to find a new beginning. When her car breaks down in Louisiana, Lilly finds unexpected employment as the caregiver for a wealthy neurosurgeon named Adam Wakefield, who lost his sight in a recent carjacking. At first, this handsome, brooding man reminds her too much of the angry husband she left behind and she reminds him of how far he has fallen from the self-assured man he once was. But as the two spend long days together, an unexpected bond develops---one that will be deeply tested. For Lilly must confront her violent husband before she can ever hope to move on and truly discover a second chance at life and love.


My thoughts:
I read Trouble Don't Last Always some years ago when it had a different title called The Turning Point. It has now been re-released with a new title and a new cover. Trouble Don't Last Always also had a different cover before this current one above. I like the new cover, however something about the old cover conveys the sentiment of the title much better. When I began reading it a second time, I didn't know I had previously read it. The more I read, the more familiar it became to me. I guess the new cover and title threw me off. I enjoyed it, even the second time around.


What I liked: 
The relationship between Dr. Wakefield and Lilly feels organic. It develops naturally. It's presumable that Lilly would have issues trusting another man, so it's nice to see them fighting against what I as a reader could already foresee; true romance. I appreciate the author, Francis Ray, giving Lilly such fortitude amidst adversity, especially as an abused woman trying to escape a terrible marriage. It was a delight to see Lilly come into her own even during Dr. Wakefield's periods of distrust and animosity due to the violent carjacking that left him blind. I also enjoyed the relationship between Adam's mother, Eleanor Wakefield and Jonathan Delacroix. To watch Jonathan's devotion to Eleanor and her children is something magical. I love it when a man loves another man's children as if they are his own. So when Eleanor becomes a widow, Jonathan and Eleanor have a chance to explore upon feelings that were never examined deeply before. This subplot is a mature romance that was just as enjoyable to see unfold as was Lilly and Adam Wakefield.


What I Didn't Like:
Sometimes the romance lingered a little too long. As a reader I could sense early on that these couples would ignite. But at times their romance felt like wet matchsticks unable to strike a flame.


Conclusion:
I know Trouble Don't Last Always is about romance. But it's also about two victims who realize they are stronger than they initially thought. Through reliance on family and each other, they discover love, hope and the realization that trouble doesn't last always.

I highly recommend this book. I give it 4 1/2 STARS 


*** If you think you'd enjoy this book, stay tuned for my giveaway starting at midnight that will include Trouble Don't Last Always, plus many more goodies as I give away three gift boxes bursting with wonderful items just in time for the holidays. 


Please don't forget to leave a comment and tell me what you thought about the book review :-)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Guest Post by Wayne Zurl: A New Prospect

Author Bio: Wayne Zurl
Wayne Zurl grew up on Long Island and retired after twenty years with the Suffolk County Police Department, one of the largest municipal law enforcement agencies in New York and the nation. For thirteen of those years he served as a section commander supervising investigators. He is a graduate of SUNY, Empire State College and served on active duty in the US Army during the Vietnam War and later in the reserves. Zurl left New York to live in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee with his wife, Barbara. Ten (10) of his Sam Jenkins mysteries have been produced as audio  books and simultaneously published as eBooks or are under contract. His first full-length novel, A NEW PROSPECT, was named best mystery at the 2011 Indie Book Awards. A new full-length novel, A LEPRECHAUN’S LAMENT, is on the coming soon list at Iconic Publishing and will be available in print for early 2012.

  

Just One Guy's Honest Perspective on the World of the Post-publication Blues

Getting my first novel into print wasn’t an easy ride. From the day I wrote that first sentence on my yellow legal pad in the summer of 2006, to the day a signed contract showed up in our mailbox, the journey spanned four years. Prior to A NEW PROSPECT’s actual release in January 2011, I learned how some of the big names on the best seller lists took as much as ten years before their debut novels appeared. James Lee Burke mentioned once receiving 111 rejections before one of his earliest books got accepted by a publisher. So, I didn’t feel too bad.

Once my book was released and on all the data bases of the usual vendors, and I had my publisher’s press kit in hand, a new journey began—post-publication promotion and marketing. I had spent my entire adult life as either a soldier or a cop. I knew nothing about marketing, precious little about selling, and even less about the electronic media world. I didn’t know a tweet from chirp, a facebook from a facelift, or a blogspot from a sunspot. But I figured if I could convince a suspect it was in his best interest to write a statement admitting to one or more felonies, I could learn how to peddle books. I’m old-fashioned, so my first excursions began with arranging traditional book signings at the storefront bookshops near my home in east Tennessee.
                
I had seen pictorial accounts of famous authors sitting at a desk next to a five-foot-tall stack of their books, getting exhausted signing oodles of copies for a block-long line of their adoring fans. Don’t expect your first events to be that spectacular. I’m happy if I sell between four and seven books in two to three hours sitting in a retail store. Wouldn’t you know that the place where I sold out the entire stock of fifteen copies, Borders in Knoxville, Tennessee, went out of business? But success is a relative thing. I set up one Friday evening at a Hastings Book Store, right at the front entrance, next to one of those five-foot stacks of James Patterson’s latest mystery. I occupied a card table with a half-dozen copies of A NEW PROSPECT. Two and a half hours later, I packed up after scoring 5 books for me, while James sold none.

Don’t get discouraged if you only sell a few books at an event. You’re winning the hearts and minds of potential readers and book buyers when they take your business cards and/or one of the printed handouts you’ve prepared with a brief summary for your book(s)…HINT. Shoppers aren’t stupid. They may like a signed copy of your book, which might be worth a few cents more after you’re famous…or dead, or they may prefer to shop the Internet discount sites rather than pay retail plus sales tax.
                
Other writers surprise me when they say how terribly uncomfortable (or afraid) they are to meet their public at book signings. Considerate it part of the job. I had to learn how to become intimate with dead bodies in my former occupation, live ones are now a breeze. Speaking engagements are also part of the job. Start practicing—it really gets easier with experience. And remember the old public speaker’s trick to feel in control of a group. Imagine your audience sitting there in their underwear. That may be more exciting some places than at others, but if you’re laughing to yourself, you tend to lose stage fright quickly.
                
After much soul searching, you still can’t bare the idea of watching shoppers avoid eye contact with you and scurrying away from your table quicker than if you were trying to sell time shares? Maybe a virtual book tour is more up your ally. You may arrange these personally by networking with bloggers for reciprocal favors. But if you don’t maintain a blog and lack the time to thoroughly read and review other writer’s books, you can hire a publicist who will arrange stops with his or her stable of reviewers, interviewers, bloggers, and radio show hosts. I’ve done a two-month summer VBT and now I’m in the middle of a pre-holiday sales push. These virtual tours can be a lot of work. You MUST prepare intelligent, interesting, and sometimes wordy responses to an interviewer’s questions and quality guest postings for someone’s blog.  And be prepared to give away review copies of your book and prize copies to contest winners—that’s all part of the package, too.
                
Book tours are the glamour part of selling. The day-to-day reality involves posting clever and catchy blurbs on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google &, etc., ect. Follow the lead of some of your favorite authors to see how they handle it. Then be prepared to devote hours a day to “establishing an Internet presence.” Gads, I hate that phrase as much as seeing a Blue Screen of Death.
                
Here’s my take on this extremely necessary aspect of an author’s life: Writing is fun. Post-publication marketing is too much like work. But for me, it’s like saying, “I love to cook. I can’t wait to eat what I’ve made. But I hate to do dishes.” That little voice inside my head keeps telling me, “Suck it up, pal.”

~ Wayne Zurl

Synopsis:  A New Prospect by Wayne Zurl 


Sam Jenkins never thought about being a fish out of water during the twenty years he spent solving crimes in New York. But things change, and after retiring to Tennessee, he gets that feeling. Jenkins becomes a cop again and is thrown headlong into a murder investigation and a steaming kettle of fish, down-home style. 


In true Jenkins style, Sam turns common police practice on its ear to insure an innocent man doesn't fall prey to an imperfect system and the guilty party receives appropriate justice. A NEW PROSPECT takes the reader through a New South resolutely clinging to its past and traditional way of keeping family business strictly within the family.
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Here are several ways you can keep up with author Wayne Zurl's literary journey.
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Would you like to read Wayne Zurl's new book, A New Prospect? 

If so, check back after midnight where I'll be giving away a copy of A New Prospect along with other goodies that will be apart of 3 gift boxes. And just in time for the holidays.


Please leave a comment and tell me what you think about A New Prospect by Wayne Zurl?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Post Thanksgiving: A Week in Update

I hope everyone had an enjoyable Thanksgiving holiday and weekend. I truly did. I ate well and spent some quality time with my family. My best friend and computer decided it wanted a vacation too, so she refused to come on for several days. Then Sunday, she just poof came on. We are best friends once again, for now.

Please help me congratulate two recent winners.

Monica V. won for the Turkey Trot Giveaway. Yay!!! 
And Angela B. won for the Gratitude Giveaway. Yay!!!


You could be a winner too, so stop on by and enter the Amazon Kindle Giveaway. 
But you can't win, if you don't enter. So enter today!

Welp, that's all I have for today. I'm going to catch up on some of my favorite blogs since my computer is fully functioning now. I also have some reading and writing to do as well. So a lazy kinda day spent in bed with a bowl of Fruity Pebbles. A productive pajama day I call it.

How was your Thanksgiving?
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I am a writer, filmmaker, wife and a mom of five beautiful, intelligent, quirky kids. This blog is for writers, aspiring writers, filmmakers and movie lovers. Bringing you my favorite books, films and photos, as well as giveaways and updates on my journey. I'm currently in the process of producing my first short film from my collection of short stories titled, If I Had My Way. The first story to be filmed will be Tandarin Drive. My award winning book, If I Had My Way, is available now. You can purchase a copy at Amazon.com and BN.com. You may contact me via email at: blog@lenasledge.com

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