Thursday, December 15, 2011

Gift Card Giveaway Winners!

My apologies for posting this late. I had technical difficulties yesterday and had to spend the good part of the day/evening moving from a hotel to a corporate apartment on the other side of town. My quality of living went from a 4 to a 7. Even my dogs are happier in the new temporary place. So I'm definitely in the mood to announce some winners and give away some gifts.

Winner of the Starbucks gift card:

Spades High Reads

Winner of the iTunes gift card:

Just Peachy 36

Winner of the Amazon gift card or equivalent value from The Book Depository:

Jenni L aka Red Hearts XO

I will send out email notifications to the winners, as well as sending a tweet shout out since it has been far too long since I've hung out in Twitterverse.

Congratulations to all winners, a big thank you to every participant, and happy holiday shopping to all!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Gift Card Giveaway Hop

This is my last giveaway of 2011, so I wanted to make sure it's a good one and just in time for last minute holiday shopping.

Thanks to I AM A READER and Attack of the Book for hosting!

Three winners, three different gift cards, plus three chances to enter.

What is up for grabs?

A $15 Amazon gift card or value in books from The Book Depository(for my international entrants)

A $15 iTunes gift card

A $15 Starbucks gift card

You must fill out this FORM to get started!

Winners will be chosen using, announced here on 14 Dec, and contacted by email.

For a list of the other blogs participating in this hop, click HERE.

I'd love to know how you are spending the holidays. Please share in the comments.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Giveaway Winners & Insecure Writers' Support Group

First up, the two winners of the Book Lovers’ Giveaway:

Unabridged Bookshelf & Primrose

You have 48 hours to contact me at to claim your prize.


Now, the monthly post for the Insecure Writers’ Group started by the awesome Alex J. Cavanaugh.

As writers our craft and our characters can sometimes consume us. We get so caught up in patching a plot hole, figuring out how to create deeper conflict, layering more emotion, finding the perfect word, finding an elusive unicorn (aka Agent), or selling to a publishing house that we forget the most important thing of all. Writing is not your life. Or at least I hope it isn’t.

For some, it is an outlet for creativity. For others, it is a calling. Either way, when you’re feeling insecure about your process, your pages, or your future as a writer, don’t forget to take a step back and look at the bigger picture.

Last week a friend of mine, a fellow writer, lost her husband. He was sick and she had a difficult year spending lots of time in the hospital. Losing a spouse is never easy, but it is definitely harder around the holidays.

When I heard the news, my heart broke for her and I reached out as soon as I could. It also reminded me of what’s most important in my life, what my priorities are and how to put my insecure moments in perspective relative to the bigger picture.

Does counting your blessings instead of your problems help to lighten your load of troubles? If not, then what does?

To access the rest of the blogs participating in the support group, click HERE.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Book Lover's Holiday Giveaway

This month I have two great giveaways. First up is one for book lovers. Thanks to I Am A Reader and Alyson from Kid Lit Frenzy for putting this hop together.

Two winners will each receive any ONE book of their choice from Amazon or The Book Depository. The value of the book must be under $20. This is an international giveaway.

Rules are super easy:

1. You MUST be a follower of my blog to enter and leave a comment telling me one of your favorite books. Yes, I will check to make sure you are a follower.

2. If you also follow me on Twitter, you will be entered a second time, increasing your chances of winning. Leave your Twitter handle in the comments section for verification.

Once again, I’m not giving away gift cards this time, only books.

The two winners will be announced on 7 Dec, no later than noon EST (Eastern Standard Time). You will have 48 hours to contact me to claim your prize, so that means you’ll need to check back to see if you won.

To return to the giveaway hop, click Here.

Happy Holidays!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Leaving England & Gratitude Giveaway Winners

Wow, I can’t believe the last 10 days have flown by and it is the end of the Gratitude Giveaway hop. I used this time to take a break from blogging as I scramble to move across the Atlantic with two dogs. Even though I’ve done it before, it is an exhausting process with numerous details to track. Today is the last day for the movers to finish packing up our household goods, and then it is hotel time until we fly out.

Before I get to the winners of the giveaway, I wanted to share my top five things I’ll miss about living in England as I prepare to head to Florida.

What I’ll miss most about England:

1. The countryside. The verdant fields are absolutely breathtaking. I adore long walks in the parks with the dogs along paths that stretch for miles. Even when it’s damp or cool outside, which is most of the time, there’s something so peaceful and rejuvenating about it. Back in the states, if I’m out alone with the dogs, I usually listen to my iPod. However, here, I feel like I’m cheating myself out of the full experience if I dare don headphones. I can walk for hours, actually absorbed in nature.

2. The proximity to the rest of Europe and the ease of traveling. Paris is just three hours away by train on the Eurostar. Less than two hours on a plane will get you to Venice, Italy or Nice, France for the weekend. Although this is something we only indulged in three to four times a year, I think I might miss this most of all. The only reason I didn’t list it first is the expense of taking holidays. Jaunting off to Germany or Spain is fun, but adds up.

3. A perfect sunny day. They are so rare here that their infrequency demands heartfelt appreciation, but when they do occur, my oh my, they are glorious indeed. After living in Florida, I admit I took warm, sunny days for granted. They’re so common they eventually blend together. England renewed my childlike awe and gratitude for the little things, like sunshine.

4. Being immersed in a different culture outside my comfort box. Yes, England is pretty darn close to my comfort box, relatively speaking. Residing in Germany was a far greater adjustment. I can only imagine what it would be like in Africa or Asia. However, as an American, specifically a New Yorker, I’ve grown spoiled and accustomed to a particular way of life. Living in a house with no closets is a “hardship”, not being able to go to the mall at 8pm on a Friday or Saturday because the stores close early is an “inconvenience”, and showing up at a 24hr Asda (think Walmart) to find it closed because 24hr does not mean 7 days a week is “frustrating.” Yet, I’ve enjoyed the differences, big and small, the break from American media and politics, taking the time for a proper English Tea, and putting forth a little effort to appreciate the beauty of a slightly different way of life.

5. Cambridge Arts Picturehouse. A funky movie theater with a cafĂ© in the heart of Cambridge, specializing in independent and artsy films. Unlike the local monster movie chain, Cineworld, at the Picturehouse we could pick our seats when purchasing tickets. No need to show up early for the movie and wait in a line since we already knew exactly where we’d be sitting. They also serve beer and wine, which you can take into the theater with you, and offer discounts on tickets, drinks, and food when you become a member. Of course, there is also the annual film festival that never failed to surprise and entertain.

It’s been an amazing four years in England! I’m really going to miss it.

Now, what most of you have anxiously been waiting for, the results of the Gratitude Giveaway.

Chosen at random, the winner of the $10 Amazon gift card or equal value from The Book Depository:

Teressa Oliver

Winner of the $15 Amazon gift card or equal value from The Book Depository:


I also selected a THIRD WINNER based on comments:

Linda Henderson, you have won a $15 Amazon gift card

Congratulations to the winners! I’ll send you emails later today notifying you that you won.

Thank you to all followers. I hope you’ll join me often and of course stop by for the next giveaway. For those who stop by regularly, please bear with me for another week or so as I bounce around hotels, chase after a solid internet connection, and fly ten hours across an ocean.

Wish me luck.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Gratitude Giveaway Blog Hop

This Gratitude Giveaway is a thank you to the followers of my blog and on Twitter. I am appreciative of your support and hope newcomers will join and continue to return.

Of course this giveaway blog hop would not be possible without I AM A READER and All-Consuming Books. Thanks for hosting.

The rules are super simple this time and no form to fill out:

1. You must be a follower of my blog OR on Twitter to enter. No need to follow me on both to be eligible, but I’d be grateful.

2. Leave a comment letting me know if you are following me on my blog, Twitter, or both, AND tell me something you are grateful for.

3. Please be sure to include your blog follower name and/or twitter handle in the comment for verification.

4. Leave an email address so I can contact you in case you win.

TWO winners will be chosen using I’m giving away a $10 and a $15 Amazon gift card or that value from The Book Depository.

This international giveaway ends 2359 EST (Eastern Standard Time) 27 Nov. A winner will be announced no later than noon EST on 28 Nov.

To see a list of all participating blogs in this hop, click HERE.

Don't forget to let me know what you're grateful for!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Miserere Giveaway and More

I promised a winner of the autographed copy of Miserere by Teresa Frohock, so let’s get right to it.

Chosen using, the winner is:

Daniel Marvello

Congratulations, Daniel! I’ll send you a note on Twitter letting you know that you won.

Thanks again to Teresa for coming on and for the great giveaway.

In the United States, Veterans Day is a time to recognize and honor all who have served in the armed forces, both living and dead. It’s also a great opportunity to thank those who once served in the military or continue to do so. You may not encounter anyone in the service today, but when a member eventually crosses your path, please take 30 seconds to say something simple like “Thank you for your service.” It’s easy, free, doesn’t take much time, but will have a lasting impact that individual will appreciate.

Sometimes the little things mean a great deal.

To all of my brothers and sisters in arms:

Thank you for fighting for our freedom, the preservation of our way of life, and the protection of our country.

Is Veterans Day just another Federal holiday for you where you enjoy a day off from work? Do you send cards to hospitalized veterans or perhaps make a visit to your local veterans hospital?

If it’s something you’ve never considered but would still like to do something nice for those serving the military, please try the Holiday Mail for Heroes program sponsored by the Red Cross. You can send one holiday card or as many as you’d like.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Debut Author: Teresa Frohock

I have never purchased a book solely based on the cover, until I stumbled upon this one:

The killer cover art intrigued me immediately, along with the title since I knew the meaning. I had to know the story about the man kneeling and why the dark-haired woman glared at him with such hatred or mistrust. Not to mention everyone had a sword and their shirt on, which to me was a good sign there’d be more plot than sex.

After I bought it, I read the blurb, then went straight to my Kindle to start reading. And I’m so glad I did. This is going on my list of favorites for the year.

I loved the richly drawn characters, the unique world, and the layers of conflict that kept me turning the pages. I’m ecstatic the talented Teresa Frohock agreed to come on to discuss her complex and compelling debut novel that captivated me from start to finish.

IR: In 50 words or less, how would you describe Miserere?

TF: Miserere is an adult fantasy about Lucian, a man who betrays his lover in order to save his sister. When Lucian finds that his lover Rachael is dying, Lucian overcomes his fear of his sister so that he can find Rachael and destroy the demon he unleashed on her soul.

IR: What inspired you to write this particular book?

TF: A dream, actually. I had this really cool dream where a tall, Slavic man in medieval garb talked to a boy dressed in modern clothing. Beyond the city where they stood was a dark forest and in the forest was a sign nailed to a tree that read: Jesus Saves. Beneath the sign was a fender from an older model car and on the fender was the bumper sticker: Nobody Saves You More Than Winn Dixie.

That juxtaposition of the religious and the secular intrigued me. I love reading and writing fantasy, so I thought about ways to examine those concepts and Miserere slowly evolved out of that initial framework.

IR: How many agents did you query for this book before receiving an offer of representation? And how did you deal with rejection/criticism?

TF: I queried four agents before I signed with Weronika and every rejection, no matter how kindly worded, was like a kick in the gut. I don't believe you ever become inured to it. Of course, I understood that it wasn't me they were rejecting, nor was it my writing. It was just that particular novel. Still, every rejection was a slap. Then the feeling would fade and I would send out the next round of queries. I knew Miserere would be a tough sell because the story could easily be mistaken for Christian fiction even though it is not.

IR: How long was the book on submission with editors before you received an offer? And how did you maintain your sanity while waiting?

TF: Miserere was on submission for about six weeks before it was picked up by Night Shade Books. I maintained my sanity like all writers do, by checking my email every twenty minutes for the first five days. Then I realized nothing productive was coming from that behavior, so I resorted to researching my next novel and writing a synopsis for it.

IR: You created such a unique world or should I say Woerld with a fascinating mythos. Your evocative storytelling and rich descriptions brought the characters and environment to life. What research did you do for this novel?

TF: Oh, man. I read a lot of Eastern Orthodox texts that had been translated to English to acquire the tone I wanted for Lucian's voice. I've always had an interest in religion, but it wasn't until I started working on Miserere that I realized how little I actually knew about Christianity. I had what I call the sound-bite education—that is where all my information came from the snips and bits that I heard online or while I was growing up.

When I started really researching the roots of Christianity and how Christian beliefs were formed, I developed an entirely different appreciation for the religion, especially for women's roles in early Christianity. I wanted to capture those early beliefs from the days before Christianity became mired in wealth and politics and intertwine them with good old fashioned fantasy magic.

I also read about Slavic vampire lore. One excellent source for me was The Darkling: A Treatise on Slavic Vampirism by Jan Louis Perkowski. The Slavic vampire was more of a sexual predator, and I tried to reflect that in Catarina’s character.

In order to learn about exorcisms, I read several sources, but really enjoyed Armando Maggi’s Satan’s Rhetoric: A Study of Renaissance Demonology. I’ll stop there. I could go on for paragraphs. Research is one of my favorite parts of writing.

IR: Although this is not a horror book, some scenes, especially the ones depicting possession were wonderfully eerie. What scene or chapter was the hardest to write?

TF: Believe it or not, anything with the kid. Lindsay was the hardest character for me to write, because I don't remember what it was like to be twelve. I'm more like Rachael in that respect and trying to write someone young and innocent really threw for a loop. My agent, Weronika, was super about pointing out what needed to be fixed with Lindsay and she really helped me ratchet down on that kid.

Oddly enough, the more violent scenes were the easiest for me to write. I really enjoyed writing Lucian’s walk through the Ierusal Barren and the exorcism scene. Those were my favorites.

IR: Did you have any doubts or concerns about the marketability of this novel with the religious/spiritual aspect at the center of the story?

TF: Oh, yeah. I still do as a matter of fact. A lot of people see "Christian" and their brains shut off. They don't give the story a chance, so they don't realize it's not a novel about religion, but about a man. Justin Landon really discussed this frankly in his review of Miserere at his blog Staffer’s Musings and he said it the best: “Miserere while grounded in Christian myths isn't really about religion.”

I didn’t even start out with the Citadel being Christian; it all stemmed from Lucian and the character biography I created for him. Given that he was from Wallachia in the twelfth century, it was almost certain that he would Eastern Orthodox. I could have twisted things around, but it wouldn’t have been Lucian. I just knew in my gut that this character was Christian and if I wrote him any other way, it would be a betrayal to the character and the story I wanted to create.

I had resigned myself to the fact that if the Christian character meant the novel never sold, then so be it. I will write other novels, but there will be only one Lucian and his story was not about religion but about the redemption love can bring. I figured if people were too dense to see that, then I had no business writing.

I’ve been so wonderfully surprised at the reception to Miserere. A couple of reviewers haven’t understood the novel, but an overwhelming majority of reviewers have, and they have given Miserere marvelous reviews.

IR: What can we expect from the sequel without you giving too much away?

TF: We're going to Hell.

No, really. Most of the novel will take place in Hell.

I’m not being evasive, but that’s about all I can say without giving too much away. Dolorosa: A Winter’s Dream will be more about Rachael and her point of view. She hasn’t taken Lucian back; she has only offered him a chance to win her trust again. There are other men who are equally interested in winning the attention of the fiercely intelligent Rachael. Everything is up for grabs and Lucian knows it.

IR: What message/theme do you want readers to grasp?

TF: I think everyone has been taking something a little different from Miserere and I don’t want to ruin that. Romance readers have loved the romance between Lucian and Rachael; young-adult readers are a little confused, because they tend to identify strongly with Lindsay, who has a very small role this novel [Lindsay’s time will come in the third novel, Bellum Dei]; genre fans like the horror and world-building; and people who don’t normally read fantasy have really enjoyed Lucian’s story of redemption.

I wanted to write a novel about redemption. If people take more away, that’s wonderful. My biggest goal was to make readers forget their troubles while they fell into Lucian’s story, anything after that is icing.

IR: Do you use critique partners and/or beta readers?

TF: Absolutely. I need the feedback, especially in the early stages. Once I roll into the climax of the novel, I feel like I have the story under control, but those first chapters are killers for me.

IR: When is your next book coming out? And what are you currently working on?

TF: Currently, I'm writing on spec, which means I am not contracted for another novel with anyone. I'm working on a novel that is tentatively entitled The Garden. Going back to the concerns about Miserere, I didn’t think it would be wise to start a sequel to a novel that people might not like. So I decided to work on a different novel while we were waiting to see what happened with Miserere. I enjoy writing The Garden; it's kind of a perverted Beauty and the Beast story, and it's about acceptance.

IR: Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

TF: Write. Write and remain teachable. Those are the only two things I can tell someone. I read anything I can get my eyes on regarding story and plot. I read in and outside my genre, and I’m always willing to try new things.

Most importantly, have fun, because you will never be rich doing this.

IR: Okay, two final, fun questions. If money wasn’t a factor, what would be your dream vacation?

TF: SPAIN! I would live in Spain for a year. Then I would travel all over the world. I’d love to see Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

IR: What is one daring thing you’ve done in your life or something about you that readers would be surprised to learn (if you don’t mind sharing)?

TF: Hmm, must be legal … I was a real hellcat when I was a younger woman, and I loved to drive fast cars. I’m invoking the Fifth on everything else.

Thank you so much for inviting me for this interview, Isis! Your questions were a lot of fun.

Thanks for coming on!

Teresa will GIVEAWAY AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY TO ONE LUCKY COMMENTER. The winner will be announced on Friday.

Raised in a small town, Teresa Frohock learned to escape to other worlds through the fiction collection of her local library. She eventually moved away from Reidsville and lived in Virginia and South Carolina before returning to North Carolina, where she currently resides with her husband and daughter.

Teresa has long been accused of telling stories, which is a southern colloquialism for lying. Miserere: An Autumn Tale is her debut novel.

Teresa can be found most often at her blog and website. Every now and then, she heads over to Tumblr and sends out Dark Thoughts, links to movies and reviews that catch her eye. You can also follow Teresa on Twitter and join her author page on Facebook.

Miserere: An Autumn Tale

Exiled exorcist Lucian Negru deserted his lover in Hell in exchange for saving his sister Catarina's soul, but Catarina doesn't want salvation. She wants Lucian to help her fulfill her dark covenant with the Fallen Angels by using his power to open the Hell Gates. Catarina intends to lead the Fallen’s hordes out of Hell and into the parallel dimension of Woerld, Heaven’s frontline of defense between Earth and Hell.

When Lucian refuses to help his sister, she imprisons and cripples him, but Lucian learns that Rachael, the lover he betrayed and abandoned in Hell, is dying from a demonic possession. Determined to rescue Rachael from the demon he unleashed on her soul, Lucian flees his sister, but Catarina's wrath isn’t so easy to escape. In the end, she will force him once more to choose between losing Rachael or opening the Hell Gates so the Fallen's hordes may overrun Earth, their last obstacle before reaching Heaven's Gates.

Read the FIRST FOUR CHAPTERS of Miserere FREE here

You can also check out the book trailer here.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Holiday Fever and Giveaway!

First up today, the winner of Anita Clenney’s giveaway of her second book in her bestselling paranormal romance series:


Congratulations, June! Please contact Anita at to receive your free copy of Embrace the Highland Warrior.

There are so many things that I’m looking forward to this holiday season. Even though November just started, I thought I share a few with you.

5. Clarisonic Blue Plus Deep Pore Cleansing System. It uses oscillation technology to cleanse the skin 6x better to give a healthier, more radiant complexion. It has three speeds, three brush heads, and I think I’m a little too eager to get my hands on it. I’ve heard and read so many amazing things about this product I can’t wait to get one. (Hopefully my hubs is reading this post and will mark this item for upcoming birthday or Christmas item *wink, wink*).

4. Sunshine in Tampa, FL and a snow-free winter. I’ve endured some of England’s worst winters in history! And did I mention I’m not a fan of snow. Bring on the sunshine.

3. There are a ton of new book releases for Nov and Dec, from big publishers, small press, and indie authors. I have a long list, but without a doubt the one book I’m most excited to read is the urban fantasy Shaedes of Gray by Amanda Bonilla coming out in Dec.

2. Last year when I read an article that Angelina Jolie decided to put on a director’s cap and make a movie, I believe I sighed quite loudly. Of course I’d go see her directorial masterpiece just to satisfy my curiosity. Then I saw a preview for it and people let me tell you, I was impressed. Turns out she not only directed it, she also wrote it. Action star and Academy award winner, Angelina Jolie, who I really do enjoy on the big screen, might have what it takes to be a darn good director and screenwriter. Talk about a triple threat. I'll go see In the Land of Blood and Honey on Christmas Eve the day after it opens.

Take a look and give me your opinion.

1. Christmas in a new house with decked out tree, celebrating life with my husband and two canine kiddies.

Here are our furry babies dressed up for Halloween. Bella is wonder dog and Bodhi is a pumpkin. Yes, we are "those kind of people", but the dogs were rewarded with lots of treats and weren't kept in costume long.

What are you looking forward to this holiday season? Thanksgiving with an extra helping of family drama? Great cup of hot cocoa, perhaps spiked? Vacation with loved ones? Reading a gripping book while hiding from loved ones?

Please bear with me as I'll be delayed in responding to comments and visiting other blogs today.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Darkness of Doubt

Have you ever had one of those days where you want to scream or simply cry in a pillow? Well, I’ve had one of those months. I just wanted to beat my head against a wall. Okay, not my head, but someone’s head.

Between the stagnation of my writing career (limbo where I have an agent and now I’m waiting), my urgent need to find a house in Florida since I’m moving this month, and a necessary transition regarding my situation of paying government dues (yes that last one was deliberately vague) I had my pick of what to be frustrated about.

For those of you who don’t know me very well, I’m not the kind of person who wallows. I think it’s a waste of time and energy. However, I do believe in venting, which is healthy. October was a tough month to see the cup as half full.

I even received good news, found out I’m pregnant, but it turned into weeks of endless worry instead of celebration. We tried last year and suffered a miscarriage, which left me a wreck. I know the advice is not to tell anyone you’re expecting until you hit the second trimester. I didn’t tell anyone last year, except for my husband of course, and we simply went through the devastation in silence without support. So, I’m shredding the rules this year!

My point is that sometimes we hit a zone where things aren't going the way we want or expect. That zone might be so dark it overshadows the good stuff around us or makes it difficult to see the light on the other side.

Whenever you hit a rough patch and wonder IF things will turn around, stay focused on one undeniable thing. Nothing ever stays the same. Life is dynamic, fluid, shifting with the tide of the universe.

You are the single greatest catalyst to change your life. Start by changing your perspective. Focus on what you want. Concentrate on the end result of what you hope to will achieve.

In my darkest moments of doubt, I turn on “a light” and visualize reaching whatever destination I’ve chosen. Yes, the journey may be long and riddled with obstacles, but only envision success in the end.

It’s not always easy to find “a light” to help you see through the darkness. For me, music motivates and uplifts every time. I’ll leave you with the one song that helps me snap out of a defeatist mind-set and remember that I am the architect of my own destiny.

This is going to be an amazing month! Anybody else feel that way?

Thanks Alex for starting this once a month Insecure Writers' Support Group.

What do you do to snap out of a funk? Does music help change your mood? If so, do you have a theme song?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Two Giveaways, Two Winners!

Thanks to all who participated in the Spooktacular blog hop! It was great fun.

An even bigger thank you to all who left a comment letting me know the scariest or most disturbing book you’ve ever read. An overwhelming majority listed It by Stephen King as the scariest.

Many of you seemed quite disturbed by The Exorcist. One commenter said she couldn’t even keep the book in her house and threw it away because of how much it creeped her out!

Stephen King’s The Shining was also mentioned several times.

Now for the Spooktacular giveaway. Chosen using the winner is:

Giada M.

Congratulations, Giada! I’ll send you an email to make sure you claim your prize for a $15 Amazon gift card or $15 value from The Book Depository.

Today is also the release of Anita Clenney’s second book in her bestselling paranormal romance series, Embrace the Highland Warrior.

Here's the blurb:

When the powerful demon that left Shay for dead discovers her empty grave, he comes seeking retribution, believing she possesses an ancient book he has sought for centuries. Knowing she can't fight the demon alone, Shay returns to her clan and the Scottish Warrior who betrayed her...the only man she's ever loved, where she discovers that betrayal isn't always what it seems. Sometimes it's far worse.

To celebrate, Anita is graciously GIVING AWAY ONE COPY to a lucky commenter.

Simply leave a comment on this post no later than midnight EST (Eastern Standard Time) Thu. A winner will be announced on Fri.

Best of luck on the release Anita. Wishing you many happy sales!

Be sure to join me for the Gratitude Giveaway later this month. You won't want to miss it.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Spooktacular Giveaway

It's time for another fun giveaway, thanks to I Am A Reader and The Diary Of A Bookworm for hosting. Last time I checked, 400+ blogs are participating and I'm #109!

My giveaway is international. It begins 24 Oct 0001 EST (Eastern Standard Time) and ends 2359 EST on All Hallows' Eve. A winner will be announced on 1 Nov no later than 1200 EST.

The rules to enter are simple:

1. Must be a follower to enter.

2. Follow me on Twitter for an extra point (not required to enter, but I love connecting with people in Twitterverse).

3. Leave a comment for an extra point, answering the following:
What is the scariest or most disturbing book you've ever read?

Please complete the FORM to get started.

What does the winner get? A $15 Amazon gift card OR $15 worth of books from The Book Depository. The choice is yours.

Even though I'm not choosing a book to giveaway this time, I do have some scary recommendations, just in case you are in the mood.


Dean Koontz has written some scary books, but this one actually stopped me from jogging at night. I was too creeped out after reading this.


I’ve seen the play, but nothing compares to the book. A film adaptation with Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) is coming out in 2012. Let’s see if it’s scarier than the play. Fingers crossed.


This book left me traumatized.


OMG! Some chapters are hard to read in the daylight.


You couldn’t pay me to read this book. The title alone terrifies me. My late grandmother, an avid reader, devoured this book when it came out. I remember her telling me she couldn’t wait for the movie release to see how they were going to put some of those horrific scenes on the big screen. She didn’t think it could be done well. Thank you filmmakers for not disappointing my grandmother, but she still said the book was better.

Don't forget to tell me, what's the scariest or most disturbing book you've ever read?

To return to the giveaway hop, click HERE.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Third Campaigner Challenge & More

Since I neglected didn’t have time to do the second challenge, I figured I had to accomplish the third campaigner challenge.

Here are the rules:

Write a blog post in 300 words or less, excluding the title.

The blog post should show:

• that it’s morning,
• that a man or a woman (or both) is at the beach
• that the MC (main character) is bored
• that something stinks behind where he/she is sitting
• that something surprising happens.

Just for fun, see if you can involve all five senses AND include these random words: "synbatec," "wastopaneer," and "tacise."

My entry came in at 299 words.

Working Vacation

Stretching in her cushy lounger on their strip of isolated paradise, Vy yawned and turned the page of her client’s manuscript. Being old school, she liked to make notes on a hardcopy.

“Hon, do you know what tacise means?”

Jake shook his head, eyes closed as he basked in the divine sunshine. “Aren’t you supposed to know that stuff, since you’re the expert?”

As an agent she was the supposed expert, but ever since her client, Claude, became an Oprah book club pick, he started using words that she didn’t even know.

“I think Claude is messing with me.” She homed in on another word she’d never seen in the dictionary. “What’s a wastopaneer?”

“Isn’t your brother one of those?”

With her barefoot, she flicked warm sand at him.

“Hey!” Her husband jackknifed up from his lounger, brushing powdery white granules from his tanned, lean legs.

She slurped the last of her Mai Tai, craving another and it wasn’t even close to lunchtime. A breeze carrying the salty scent of the ocean tousled her hair, flipping pages. She considered going back to where she’d left off, but if this book didn’t pick up no reader was ever going to get the chance to be confused by Claude’s ten dollar words because no editor would buy it. “What about synbatec?”

“Don’t know. Don’t care. We’re on vacation. No more… Babe, whatever you do, don’t move.”

Vy froze, wrestling with the urge to see why she shouldn’t move. Jake leaped from his chair. Eyes bulging, he stared at something behind her. Goosebumps prickled her arms.

As a horrid stench of rotten eggs and burned rubber blasted her, she wrinkled her nose. Bitter foulness seeped into her mouth, clogging her throat. Shrieking, she threw the manuscript in the air and jumped up.

There are loads of entries, many I’m sure are awesome. I’ve only read a couple so far, but plan to read more this weekend. If you happen to like mine enough to vote for it, click here, I’m entry #88.

Now, let’s move along to other things. Mention-worthy blogs of the week:

At, Jessica Faust had three articles I found interesting, from how an offer from a small press can get you an agent, to reading your publishing contract, and Workshop Wednesdays running through 2011 where she’ll critique query letters.

Kristen Lamb’s guest post on Jane Friedman’s site, Three Blunders That Can Kill Your Author Platform, is a must read for writers.

Shout-out to some authors with recently released books:

The Waiting Booth by Brinda Berry

A missing boy, government agents, an interdimensional portal...

Mia has one goal for her senior year at Whispering Woods High--find her missing older brother. But when her science project reveals a portal into another dimension, she learns that travelers are moving in and out of her woods in the most alarming way and government agents Regulus and Arizona are policing their immigration. Mia’s drawn to the mysterious, aloof Regulus, but it’s no time for a crush. She needs to find out what they know about her brother, while the agents fight to save the world from viral contamination. But when Regulus reveals that he knows Mia’s secrets, she begins to wonder if there’s more going on than she thought...and if she was wrong to trust him...

Love’s Long Shadow by Ciara Knight

Sammy Lorre was cast from Heaven for conduct unbecoming an angel. Living in a demon infested small town with no memory of her previous life, she faces never-ending purgatory until Boon saunters into her life with a promise of angelic love. But is he an angel from Heaven or a minion from the underworld preying on her human emotions? To discover his true identity, she must risk eternal damnation and her heart.

Tempestuous Tales by Kandie Delley

Your wish is granted...or is it?

An urban legend becomes a nightmare when three women face the tragic consequences of an unexplainable vanishing, a sadistic marriage and a visit from beyond the grave, after an ancient talisman grants their wishes. Tempestuous Tales adds a modern twist to three classic American short stories: The Monkey’s Paw by W.W. Jacobs, Night Drive by Will F. Jenkins and Bluebeard’s Bride by Sarah Holland, based on the works of Charles Perrault.

Kandie is also having a Spooktacular Web Tour. Learn more here.

Wishing these authors many happy sales!

Are you a part of the campaign? If so, have you completed the third challenge yet? What blogs caught your eye this week? What’s new on your TBR pile?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Lessons Learned from Blogging & Publishing

Today I'm hosting another guest and friend, the fabulous J.L. Campbell. J.L. is a writer, mother, and all around incredible person. Sometimes it is difficult to know who to connect with in the blogging word and in Twitterverse. Hint, hint, you want to connect with J.L. if you're interested in meeting a positive person with high energy who knows how to support a friend. J.L., thanks for coming on and sharing your lessons!

Before I get going, I’d like to thank Isis for letting me take over her blog today. For those who are visiting for the first time, make sure to add yourself as a follower!

My blogging pals know that I’m published traditionally, and that I took the plunge into self-publishing in September. Am I out of my depth? You betcha, but although it’s said by know-it-alls that blogging doesn’t affect book publishing one whit, I know different. What have I learned so far? Stuff you probably know already, but they’re important enough for me to reiterate.

Start Promotion Early in the event that you ever plan to publish anything. I’ve been caught flat footed time and again and the lessons don’t seem to stick. For instance, my next novel comes out on November 1. I got a case of the blues - not to mention envy - today when I checked out another blogging buddy who’s hosting a blogfest for her book. Get this – her release date is the same as mine. Check out the cool stuff Susan’s doing. Lead up activity is wonderful and you want to give people time to get on your bandwagon for blast off day. That said, if you’re into YA/Paranormal/Sci-Fi books, go sign up for that virtual launch party.

Don’t be Afraid to Ask for help when you need it. Writers are the most helpful people I know. In September, I made an appeal for bloggers to help me get the word out on my Don’t Get Mad project. I still haven’t scheduled posts with some of the people who’ve offered to have me on their blogs, such was the outpouring. I admit it was awkward asking for help, but I’ve learned that writers do want to see others succeed and will help if given a chance.

Be a Beacon to your fellow bloggers/writers. Don’t assume that because you don’t have a huge blog following you can’t help. There are times when I’ll Tweet/Like/Share an article because I think it will be of interest to others. You never know who might need the information or what linkages you’ll make. I was plenty chuffed when Camy Tang followed me on Twitter and that was simply from tweeting one of her blog posts. I didn’t expect to gain anything from that tweet, and only did it because Camy’s a writer I admire and she’s done some excellent posts on writing.

Build Goodwill through your actions. I have some blogging buddies who exemplify this. They’re kind and helpful, just because. Damyanti Biswas, Jeanne Bannon, Michelle Fayard, Tirzah Goodwin and Wendy Ewurum are but a small sampling of bloggers who’ve been very good to me. I’ll help them in any way I can simply because of the favours, support and encouragement they’ve given me without asking for anything in return. A band of writers who share the same genre has some excellent advantages. Your reach is much bigger if you opt to promote each other’s books.

Share the Love by following other people’s blogs and commenting. You might say ‘Duh!’ to this, but I gotta confess that I had no clue what to do when I first started blogging. I wondered why I was the only one visiting me and when I did visit others, I didn’t follow, thinking that although they wrote interesting stuff, I couldn’t just roll up and add myself to their bunch of followers. I’d lurk and not say anything, which is a waste of time unless you’re hanging around a really good resource blog. Over time, I learned that most bloggers will follow back if they like what’s going on at your blog. I’ve also been pleasantly surprised by visits from writers who have a big following or whose books I’ve enjoyed. All I did was leave a sensible comment.

Be Approachable. Each of us started with a single follower or perhaps a handful. I continue to be amazed by super-bloggers like Alex, Arlee and Talli, who take time to respond to comments, or if they don’t respond on their blogs, they pop in to visit those who stopped by. I don’t know about you, but it’s a turn off for me to visit a blog, comment maybe once or twice and then start feeling invisible because the blogger never responds. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you is a good rule to live by.

Use Nifty Tools at your disposal. I feel like a hypocrite saying this as I don’t make enough time to pre-schedule my stuff. Anyway, save yourself the hassle of tweeting manually by using one of the many auto tweeting services now available. I’ve tried several and settled on Twuffer. If only I’d use it more! Triberr is a really cool site, basically it’s Twitter on steroids. Check it out and get an invite if you can. It gives tweeters a massive reach in combination with other people.

Here’s one more thing. ‘Brawta’ as we say in Jamaican Patois. Write things down. I can’t endorse this enough. I’ve downloaded one of those calendars from Microsoft where you can see a month’s activities at a glance. That way, I know where I’m supposed to be guest posting when, as well as the dates I’m supposed to be sending the post/interview over.

Thanks again, J.L., for coming on and sharing your lessons. It was great to learn something new. To find out more about J.L., check out her bio below.

J.L. Campbell lives in sunny Jamaica and is the author of Contraband, Dissolution and Don’t Get Mad…Get Even. When she isn’t plotting and researching new projects, she enjoys lollygagging on her blog at Twitter link - @JL_Campbell

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Winner and More!

I had intended this post to be up yesterday. However, my schedule is somewhat erratic at the moment due to house hunting.

My friend Steph Burkhart invited me to participate in her Football blog tour. If you'd like to read my interview over at Romance Under the Moonlight, please click HERE.

Now time to announce one lucky winner who will receive a free copy of Anita Clenney's USA Today best-selling debut paranormal romance Awaken the Highland Warrior!

Chosen at random, the winner is:

Runere McLain

Congratulations, Runere! Please e-mail Anita at to claim your prize.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Debut Author Anita Clenney

I'm thrilled to start my once a month series of debut author interviews with my friend, USA Today best-seller, Anita Clenney.

I met Anita in one of Margie Lawson's grueling yet worthwhile workshops. For any writer serious about getting published in fiction, I highly recommend one of Margie's workshops. You will not be sorry.

Last year, when I met Anita I asked her to come on my blog once her paranormal romance series was published. Not only did she graciously agree, but she's also giving away a copy to one lucky commenter in the US or Canada. Thanks Anita!!

AC: I’m thrilled to be here. I love connecting with readers.

IR: In 50 words or less, how would you describe Awaken the Highland Warrior?

AC: A chivalrous highland warrior from the past and a modern day quirky historian clash wits and hearts in this romantic, mysterious tale of secret warriors, ancient evil, and destined love.

IR: What inspired you to write this particular book?

AC: A dream. A really bad dream. I paired it with an idea I’d been tossing around about an undead buried warrior and came up with the story. I love this story. It’s the story of my heart.

IR: How many agents did you query for this book before receiving an offer of representation? And how did you deal with rejection/criticism?

AC: Not many. I got my agent fairly quickly. I think I queried a handful before her, and got rejected. Now I’m glad the others rejected me. She’s awesome. As far as rejection, it hurts, but you move on. It doesn’t mean your story is bad, just that it isn’t for them.

IR: How long was the book on submission with editors before you received an offer? And how did you maintain your sanity while waiting?

AC: The editor was actually on vacation when we submitted. She made an offer a couple of weeks after she returned.

IR: What makes this time-travel novel different from others?

AC: Usually with time travel, the heroine goes back in time. In this case, the hero, a big, strapping, chauvinistic warrior has been sleeping for 150 years, so he has to deal with the modern world he’s awakened in, and also modern women, which are a huge shock. It’s quite funny watching him adjust. The book has a lot of humor along with the mystery and adventure.

IR: Did you have any difficulty making Faelan’s (the hero) experience in the modern day world feel believable since he’s a highland warrior from 150 yrs in the past?

AC: I had to get inside his head and think like he would, which required some research to see what things were like in his time.

IR: Bree is a fun, feisty heroine. I was intrigued by her powers, but wanted to know more. Will readers see Bree again in future books?

AC: Yes, we will see Bree again. She plays a large role in book two and in the series. Her story has much more to be told. Everyone had questions about Bree. I had hoped to leave a little mystery to be solved in book two, but I’ve had such a noticeable reaction that I wish I had cleared things up a little more. Bree is in for a big shock in book two.

IR: Do you use critique partners and/or beta readers?

AC: Yes to both. I have one critique partner, Dana Rodgers. I don’t know what I would do without her. She knows how to keep me in check when I’m going too far, and how to push me when I need to make the story bigger. And I do have a few beta readers. By the time the story is done, both Dana and I have seen it so many times there are things we are bound to miss.

IR: What type of environment do you like to write in: office, surrounded by nature, on a sofa listening to music? And what are essential must have items while you work?

AC: Basically, I like quiet when I’m working. No music, nothing. I do love nature. Sometimes I go out on my deck where I’m surrounded by trees and squirrels. And I love candles, especially beautiful candle holders and lanterns, so sometimes I write by candlelight. The only essential items would be my computer or laptop and something to drink. Oh, and pens and scratch pads for notes.

IR: When is your next book coming out? And what are you currently working on?

AC: Embrace the Highland Warrior comes out November 1!

It’s the second in the series. It’s the story of Cody McBain, whose family spent over two decades protecting the identity of a powerful female warrior who was targeted by an ancient demon when she was a child. Fearing for her life, they even kept the secret from her. But years later, when she discovered that her entire life had been a lie, she turned her back on her clan and Cody, her best friend since childhood. Now she’s back, with hell at her heels, and Cody will have to break all the rules to save the woman who shattered his heart.

When the demon who left Shay for dead discovers her empty grave, he comes looking for vengeance, believing she possesses an ancient book he has sought for centuries. But the vampires also want the book. Shay knows she can’t fight this evil alone, so she’s forced to return to her clan and the Scottish Warrior who betrayed her…the only man she’s ever loved, where she discovers that betrayal isn’t always what it seems. Sometimes it’s far worse.

In the meantime, I’m working on the third book.

IR: Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

AC: Learn what you can from other writers, but don’t get locked into someone else’s journey. This is not a one size fits all business. Also, learn the rules of writing, but more importantly, focus on telling a great story.

IR: Okay, two final, fun questions. If money wasn’t a factor, what would be your dream vacation?

AC: First, we’d go to Scotland, and then we’d tour some of the great castles and old buildings in Europe. Hubby and I are fascinated by old architecture. Then, we’d go skiing somewhere fun, maybe Switzerland. I’d mostly sit by the fire reading and drinking hot chocolate while hubby and kids skied. Then we’d cruise to an exotic island where I’d sit on a beach of white sand and turquoise water, with tons of books and read. Hey, you said money was no object.

IR: What is one daring thing you’ve done in your life or something about you that readers would be surprised to learn (if you don’t mind sharing)?

AC: Several years ago, I traveled with a group of Aztec dancers. I booked shows for them; I didn’t dance. Now that would have really been daring. The dance was powerful, mesmerizing, but I would not want to stick my toes in fire.

Thank you so much Anita for the interview and for taking the time to say hi to commenters!

Don't forget, ONE COMMENTER WILL WIN A COPY. For more on Anita's debut novel, see below.

Excerpt from Awaken the Highland Warrior:

She started from the kitchen, when a crash sounded from her bedroom. Gripping the tray, she ran down the hall, coming to a halt in the doorway.

He was naked, sprawled face down, feet sticking off the bed, as bare as the day he was born. The lamp was overturned, his clothes piled on the floor next to his dagger and boots. He’d tried to turn the covers back, but now they were trapped underneath him. Bree set the tray on the table beside the bed.

He wasn’t the first naked man she’d seen, but he might as well have been. Taut skin covered muscle so defined it made her want to weep at the raw beauty. Several faint lines ran across his back and shoulders and a couple along the side of his hip. Scars.

Bree gave one lingering look from thick, dark hair to sexy feet, then averted her gaze and poked his shoulder with her fingertip. “Faelan, wake up.”

He didn’t move. She took one more look, leaned down, and shook him again.

He grunted and flipped over, pulling her flat against him. He rolled again, and the air whooshed from her lungs as he slammed her into the mattress, his forearm braced against her windpipe. “Druan,” he said, looking through her, “stop the war.”

She lay still, trying not to panic. “Faelan. Let me go,” she wheezed. When he didn’t, she tried to put her knee into his groin, but with her legs pinned under his it proved as ineffective as it had in the crypt,. He groaned and moved his arm from her throat. She was so busy sucking in air she didn’t notice his fingers threading through her hair until she calmed enough to realize he was still on top of her, stomach to stomach, where her shirt had ridden up. Her legs, bared by shorts, were tangled with his. His skin felt hotter. He had a fever. And that wasn’t his dagger rubbing against her thigh.

His head lowered, damp hair brushing her cheek as he whispered strange words that made every cell in her body sizzle. Gaelic? His look was more alarming than before, as if she were water to his thirst. This was a look she could die in, a look that made her want to trash logic for a slim chance at bliss. His lips touched hers.

She was too stunned to stop the kiss and too captivated by the feel of his mouth on hers to pull away. The soft nibble, a mere testing of flesh against flesh, deepened to lips parting and a flick of his tongue. Just when she thought she’d lift off into space, he raised his head and blinked at her, then rolled off so fast she grabbed fistfuls of the quilt to keep from falling off the bed. She sat up, too dazed to move, and tried not to gape.

She’d thought the back view was good…

Anita Clenney grew up an avid reader, devouring Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books before moving on to mysteries and romance. After working as a secretary, a Realtor, teacher’s assistant, booking agent for Aztec Fire Dancers, and a brief stint in a pickle factory (picture Lucy and Ethel--lasted half a day)…she realized she'd missed the fork in the road that led to her destiny. Now she spends her days writing mysteries and paranormal romantic suspense about Secret Warriors, Ancient Evil and Destined Love. Anita lives in suburban Virginia, outside Washington DC, with her husband and two kids. You can learn more about her writing at

Friday, October 7, 2011

Pushing the Envelope

With so much to do, writing, revising, brainstorming, swimming in the social media pool (blogging, visiting the blogs of others, tweeting), learning about promotion techniques now so I’m prepared later, exercising to keep the heart healthy, paying government dues, taking care of the mundane things that must be done, and preparing for a transcontinental move, I’m particular about how I spend my free time.

I don’t have cable with 140 channels. I do have iTunes and access to most shows. Some I’m still waiting on like Game of Thrones and the last season of Big Love. As my husband and I cull from the plethora of shows available, we go for variety: sci-fi, drama, comedy. I’ll give a show one to two episodes before making a decision. If I’m really on the fence, then I’ll give it a third chance to hook and win me as a viewer.

The shows that win are smart, fast-paced, sometimes sexy, sometimes funny, but always entertaining.

The shows that are my favorite leave me hungry for the next episode. Throughout the season the writers don’t hold back, they don’t wring every drop from a plot line as if they’re worried their imaginations can’t come up with something new to keep viewers hooked. More importantly, they force the characters to make tough choices and aren’t afraid to kill someone if it makes sense.

My top two favorites for now are:

The Vampire Diaries


Sons of Anarchy

One show that had so much potential, but failed miserably: V.

First, they dragged the story out, making us wait too long for the good stuff. TV shows can’t get away with this anymore and neither can a book. There’s simply too much to choose from.

Then V, the little remake that could but didn’t, had the kiss of death--the four to six month hiatus where they expect viewers to patiently wait instead of forgetting about the show and moving on to the next one.

Pushing the envelope is not easy to do, but if done well the rewards speak for themselves with hit TV shows and novels we recommend to our friends because we can’t stop talking about them.

What are you watching that you’d recommend? I’d love to know your favorites.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Insecurities to Success: Doubter's Guide to Believing in Self

For this month’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group post, led by the wonderful Alex J. Cavanaugh, I asked my friend Diana Cosby to be a guest.

Diana is an international best-selling author, fellow member of RomVets (military women who’ve turned the sword into a pen), and an inspiration who never ceases to amaze me.

Not only is she a gifted storyteller that turned this die-hard paranormal/urban fantasy reader into a lover of historical romance, but she is also a philanthropist with a big heart and generous spirit. I’m eagerly anticipating her Highland Vampire anthology.

Thanks for coming on and sharing your wisdom, Diana!

"Insecurities To Success - a doubters guide to believing in self!"

Dreams are visions of what we can become. But, dreams are also an invitation to doubt, to wonder if you’re good enough, or if you have what it takes. When I retired from the Navy, I decided to pursue my dream of becoming a published author. After 100 rejections, I quit counting as I figured I knew how to achieve a rejection. Then, after 9 ½ years, I finally sold. The journey taught me many things, which I’d like to share with you.

-Take yourself seriously: If YOU don’t, no one else will.

-Associate with people who inspire you, and encourage you to achieve your dreams. Encourage and inspire others as you grow in your own writing.

-Set a clear goal: Once you know exactly what you want, break down steps to achieve it. If you’re unsure how to start, read biographies of people who have achieved a dream similar to yours. What steps did they take? Are there comparable avenues you can pursue?

-Success is a compilation of small steps toward one focused goal.

-Affiliate yourself with professional organizations: Join accredited groups to educate yourself about the industry you’ve chosen. In addition to net-working, you will have opportunities to learn from on-line or local sources.

-Self affirmation: Each morning reaffirm that you are good enough and clarify your goal of the day. Then, move forward with positive, focused steps.

-Inspirational quotes: I’m a huge fan of inspirational quotes, they ground and remind me that each of us struggle as we pursue our dreams. Each day, I find a quote that touches me and post it on my Facebook page in hopes others find inspiration in the message as well.

-Permission to fail: Success is not a moment, but a journey. As we grow within our craft, there will be times when we fail at a certain steps. Focus not on the failure, but on the lessons learned. What worked, what didn’t? Move forward and make wiser decisions with the knowledge learned.

-The way we act, and talk about our goals reflects our commitment to them: What are you telling yourself? “I WILL do this!” Or, are you assuring yourself that one day you’ll really try?

-Give the gift of example: When you make the choice to follow your dream, you are doing more than commitment to self, but teaching your children an important life lesson — dare to dream, and follow through. So, be bold. Believe in yourself.

I hope you’ve found inspiration from my comments. Remember, there is no right path, but the steps right for you. Believe in yourself, YOU have what it takes!

*How do you encourage others to go after their dreams?

Diana's bio: Most people think of retirement as a time to relax. For me, retiring at 36 from my job as a Navy Chief Meteorologist/ Oceanographer allowed me to pursue my passion – writing romance novels. With 33 moves behind me and having traveled through many countries, I was anxious to create characters who reflected the amazing cultures and people I’ve met over the years.

I am currently working on the next Scottish medieval romantic suspense book in the award-winning MacGruder brothers series as well as a story for a Scottish medieval Vampire anthology featuring Hannah Howell to be released in 2012. I look forward to the years of writing ahead and meeting the amazing people who will share my journey.

To learn more about Diana or to purchase her latest release HIS DESTINY, click HERE.

Diana will stop by to answer any questions and to meet commenters!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Winner: Banned Books Giveaway

Thank you to all participants! I loved reading your comments, which only proved how important it is to have a good cover.

I am pleased to announce the winner of the Banned Books Week Giveaway that was drawn using

Eli Squared

I will also send the winner an email.

Please stop by later this month for the Spooktacular Book Giveaway Hop on 24 Oct - 31 Oct.

Congratulations, Eli!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Banned Books Week Giveaway Hop

Thank you to I Am A Reader and I Read Banned Books for hosting this giveaway.

If you are wondering what Banned Books Week is all about, here's a little more information.

Banned Books Week (BBW) is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment. Held during the last week of September, Banned Books Week highlights the benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted bannings of books across the United States.

The hop starts at 0001 EST (Eastern Standard Time) 24 Sep and will end 2359 EST 01 Oct. Last time I checked the giveaway hop roster, I was #199. This is an INTERNATIONAL giveaway.

Since all of the winners of the last giveaway didn't contact me as specified, I will contact the winner by email this time. In addition, I will post the winner on my blog no later than 1800 EST 2 Oct.

The winner will be drawn at random using and have five days to claim the prize.

To enter the giveaway, complete form by clicking HERE.

Required to enter:

1. You must be a follower of my blog.

For extra points:

1. Follow me on twitter @IsisRushdan or click HERE.
2. Answer the question from the entry form in the comments section.

What do you win???

Either a $10 Amazon gift card to purchase a banned/challenged book


$10 worth of banned/challenged books from The Book Depository


a Banned Books T-shirt, value $24. Your choice.

In case you forgot the question from the entry form, here it is again:

Have you ever purchased a book based on the cover? Do you remember which book? I'd love to know.

To return to the giveaway hop, click HERE.

An Unexpected Gem

Since I started the week with the Worst Movies Ever blogfest, I wanted this week's Friday movie review to be about a film that surprisingly captured my heart.

Both my husband and I were interested in seeing Tomboy, but it wasn’t high on our list and we didn’t really expect much. At one point, there was a conflict in our schedule and we considered skipping it. Fortunately, I’d overheard people in the Cambridge Arts Picturehouse recommending the film to others, saying how good it was, so we rearranged our schedules to see it.

Tomboy is a film about relationships, starring Zoe Heran as ten-year-old Laure, a girl who wishes she’d been born a boy. When she moves during the summer with her parents and six-year-old sister to a new suburb in Paris, Laure introduces herself to the other children as Michael.

Michael quickly becomes popular with the other kids, excelling at everything, and has everyone fooled.

Zoe Heran played the role with such subtlety, vulnerability, and sheer brilliance for her age that the audience soon forgets Michael is actually a girl while playing outside with the others. However, behind closed doors back at home, we are reminded of the character’s precarious predicament and her struggle to find new ways to overcome growing obstacles in leading a double life.

The character is so sympathetic you are compelled to root for her as she faces mounting complications such as peeing with the boys out in the woods, swimming which requires male trunks and a body part she wasn’t born with, and handling the advances of her friend, Lisa.

With each victory you are relieved she wasn’t caught, while knowing her charade can’t last forever, and the longer it continues the worse it will be when the truth is discovered.

I know foreign films aren’t for everyone, but this was one of the best movies I’ve seen this year with its strong script, touching performances, and vibrant cinematography. I highly recommend this French drama that stole my heart, nearly brought me to tears, and reminded me how grateful I am to have true friends.

Are you open to foreign films? Or do you pass regardless of genre? Is there anything on your movie list you plan to see this weekend?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Worst Movies Ever

Today, I am having some fun in Alex J. Cavanaugh’s Worst Movies Ever blogfest.

My list is completely subjective, of course. I’m sure worse movies have been made, but I listed ones I hadn’t deleted from memory that left me so bitter I had wasted a single minute of my life watching it. I apologize in advance if I listed a film you enjoyed, or dare I say even loved.

10. Phantasm IV Oblivion: This was the last installment in a series, which compounded my disappointment. The movie went in weird circles and crazy loops, like it wanted to lose the audience in oblivion. Mission accomplished.

9. In the Army Now: I didn’t know who Pauley Shore was when I saw this. I was in the Army at the time, hoping for a good laugh. This was the first movie I ever walked out of in the movie theater.

8. Catwoman: If Halle Berry had a time machine, this would be ample reason for her to use it. I blame her for taking the role, but the director, Pitof, should be punished for making this pitiful mockery of a character I grew up loving. Pitof took a phenomenal role, played perfectly by Eartha Kitt, Julie Newmar, and Michelle Pfeiffer (the best catwoman IMO) and trashed it with that horrible costume and forcing Halle Berry to play with yarn. Come on!

7. Shadows and Lies: A film with decent actors, but no plot…at all.

6. MacGruber:
Dear SNL,

You have some hilarious skits that have made enjoyable movies. This was not one of them. I prayed this film would improve since it was based on one of your funny characters and had solid comedic actors. It never did, and I feel cheated. I want a refund, of my time.

~Signed A Former Loyal Fan

5. The Spirit: A blur of Sin City type visuals, horrendous dialogue, lots of poses w/ poor acting, all wrapped around a flimsy, incoherent plot.

4. Troll 2: OMG! What more can be said?

3. House of the Dead: Bad acting, bad plot, bad everything.

2. The Last Godfather: Harvey Keitel was in this. I thought it couldn’t be ‘that bad’. I was so wrong. It wasn’t simply bad, it was AWFUL.

1. Kung Pow: I couldn’t make it through the entire 81 minutes of this mistake movie. After ten minutes, I wanted to poke my eyes out with toothpicks. After twenty, I wanted to spare my ears with more toothpicks. After thirty, I simply gave up and shut it off. I was so relieved, but at the same time I wanted to punch myself in the face for not ending my torment sooner.

Admitting you even watched a particular film can be humiliating, I know, but we're all friends and it will stay within our private circle. So share. What's the worst movie you've ever seen?

To return to the blogfest list click HERE. Big thanks to Alex for organizing this!