Thursday, July 29, 2010

Book Review and Giveaway: MINDER by Kate Kaynak. One Winner, Three Prizes!

I met Kate Kaynak, author of Minder at a writer's conference last year. At that time, we were both writers trying to hone their craft and working our way toward publication. Kate has beaten me to the finish line and the first of her Ganzfield Series, Minder became available in June. Let's go to the blurb on the book:

Sixteen-year-old Maddie Dunn needs to learn how to use her special abilities before somebody else gets hurt. Ganzfield is a secret training facility full of people like her, but it's not exactly a nurturing place.  Every social interaction carries the threat of mind-control. A stray thought can burn a building to the ground. And people's nightmares don't always stay in their own heads. But it's still better than New Jersey, especially once she meets the man of her dreams...

Minder is a YA paranormal that takes on a different element: that of teens that possess extrasensory abilities. As a fellow writer and one that is moving along the same professional trajectory as the author, I read this book and reviewed it with a more critical eye than I normally would. I previously read some of Kate's first pages when the story was still in its manuscript form and so, was very interested in the final product.

I really like the premise of teens with special  extrasensory powers. This is an element that hasn't been worked to death in the YA genre and has fresh appeal and is wide open with potential. Now let's talk about the execution of that potential.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Book Giveaway of Two Perfect Summer Reads. Try a Bit of Frothy Chick Lit in the Hot Steamy Summer. Two Winners for these!

I'm off to do a bit more traveling this week, but I'm leaving a little giveaway behind for my faithful followers and any new folks that drop by my humble blog while I'm away.

You've heard of Candace Bushnell  haven't you? Well if you haven't, I know you know her work. She's the author of Sex and the City, the basis for the HBO hit. I'm offering two of her books as a giveaway.

I'm giving away a copy of Lipstick Jungle. This book was the inspiration for the NBC television series of the same name. It's substantial at 435 pages. It is Bushnell's fourth book. Lipstick Jungle brings the reader into the lives of three powerful New York City women, each at the top of her field, each navagating her way through work, relationships, success and scandal.

Nico O'Neilly is the ultimate executive - glamorous and always in control-until her marriage loses steam, and she is tempted to find refuge in the arms of a younger man. Wendy Healy, president of Parador Pictures and mother of three children, may not be able to save her most important production - her family. And Victory Ford, a wildly successful fashion designer and girlfriend of a billionnaire, begins to question love and money - why shouldn't a woman be as rich as a man? 

The next book up for grabs is One Fifth Avenue. It's another nice thick book at 433 pages. Clearly, by the title, it tells the tale of high powered women working their way through the concrete, but fancy jungle known as Manhattan.

In One Fifth Avenue, Bushnell tells the intertwined stories of five women at one swanky Manhattan address. One Fifth is the building--the chicest, the hottest, the one with the best pedigree. And within its gorgeous pre-war walls, fortunes fall and rise in the early days of the new millennium. Here as in her previous novels, Bushnell turns a gimlet eye on the social and sexual politics of New York's elite, this time through the lens of where they live.

There will be two winners. One winner per book. I can't guarantee who will win which one. Two names will be drawn randomly and then each name will be assigned one of the books randomly, so if you enter, you may win either one.

If you're interested, please become a follower if you're not already. Leave a comment telling me how you define chick lit. Remember, you have to answer the question for a chance to be a winner. Leave your email in the comment so you can be contacted if you win. That is all. Have a good week.

Giveaway will end July 31st.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Blogmania Special Announcment. More Chances to Win.

Blogmania bloggers are all about building relationships -between our blogs, our cherished readers, the online community and business†owners. We value each other's opinion as we all are endeavoring to make the best
choices for our home life. So it seemed natural to partner up with The LaneReal Estate Team and Breebee's blog to bring you our first†ever twitter and blog blast party. The Lane RealEstate Team is all about building relationships through communities - specializing in Kennewick Homes for Sale.†And Bree is a blogger - and a mom - trying to think outside of the box and help build community ties in NW ColumbusOH via her Macaroni Kid event website! Our other twitter party sponsors also offer items to help strengthen and maintain relationships - from stationary to hand stamped†sentiments.

Our Party Theme: "Building toward Blogmania with The Lane Real Estate
Team" []

Info on the Blog Blast:

If you post on your blog(s) our announcement between now and the twitter party
you will be entered to win $100 cash. If we reach 500 blogs†there will be two additional $50 drawings, totaling 3 winners!

You can email me,† or for the HTML code for blog(s)†links and some posting specific OR ask the post owner for info and that blog†owner will provide you an HTML code.

Please return with your specific blog post links on Bree's Blog, under her
Twitter Party PAGE tab.

Info on the Twitter Party:

Aug 22, 9:30-10:30pm, Sunday, EST we will party!

There is a custom tweet grid (if you want it) and a linky for early†RSVP. RSVP'ing early also enters you into special drawings. You do not have to†RSVP to tweet and win but the 'extra' will not be available.

You can win both the blog blast and at the
twitter party!

RSVP at BreeBee's

{Breebee's sent me this post to re-post, would you like to repost for the chance to win $100? Ask me for the code; anyone you refer to post will gain you an extra entry into the drawing}

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

They Came in the Mail! What I'm reading, what I'm going to read and some of what I'll be giving away *smile*

There are so many great books coming down the pike, honestly, I wish I had a job in which I got paid to do nothing, but read books--then write about them! I've received some really great novels over the last few weeks.

With the exception of MINDER, which I'm in the midst of reading and is available now, the other books you see here will be releasing in August, September and October. I'll be posting reviews on all, and giveaways of some of the books.

I'm enjoying MINDER so far and I couldn't resist starting HALO. Oh my goodness, can you say awesome?! This teen author is going places! Anyway, I've got tons of books to read and review as well as continuing to revise my own novel and do some more traveling, whew! It's a busy summer. Hope you all are enjoying yours.


Sunday, July 18, 2010

And the Winner of THE ART of RACING in the RAIN Swag and Book Giveaway is...but wait. I have to thank you first!

Hey guys. To paraphrase Bruce Springsteen, not only was I born, but I'm back in the USA! And I have to say thank you. I believe these were some of the most heartfelt comments I've ever recieved on this blog. Clearly, you guys love your pets as do I. I really enjoyed reading each and every one. I wish there could be more than one winner, but when you open your home and commit love to one of God's fourlegged creatures, you're all winners to me. They depend on us for love and care and God bless all of you who have stepped up to fill that need.

And now, let me announce the winner of THE ART of RACING in the RAIN swag and book packet, it is...

Monday, July 12, 2010

Did You Know Today is the Birthday of an American Literary Classic?

Now I know I said I'm on hiatus and I am. I'm not even in the US right now, but I did manage to snag a computer and get access to the internet, so I'm stopping in. It's just hard to kick this blogger/online addiction!

As a book lover and teacher as well, I couldn't let this day go by without giving you just a little lesson. I know it's summertime and all, but this is a mini lesson. So, are you ready? Good. I was hoping you'd say yes. Do you know who's birthday it is today? No, not your mom's, your friends, or anyone you've spoken to in your lifetime. Heres a hint. Who made this quote?

"Words do not lose their truth by time or misinterpretation, but stand unscathed longer than who spoke them"

If you've answered correctly, much congrats! I'm impressed. If you don't know or even if you do, check this out ...

Friday, July 9, 2010

Book Review, Book Giveaway and Swag Giveaway: A little something extra while I'm away! THE ART of RACING IN THE RAIN by New York Times Bestselling Author Garth Stein

Now I know I'm a little late to this party, but better late than never right? I recently finished reading The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. It came out in hardcover in 2008 and the paperback version was released in 2009. I reviewed an earlier work of his, Raven Stole the Moon and I thought that was fantastic. The Art of Racing in the Rain clearly exemplifies his enormous talent as a writer.

The story is told from the perspective of the family dog, Enzo. He is the narrator and inside the body of this family pet, beats the heart and soul of an old and wise sage. He is near the end of his life and desires to be reincarnated as a man. He watches as life takes its toll on his once happy and seemingly perfect family. That family consists of his master Denny, Denny's wife Eve and their daughter Zoe.

Enzo knows so much and wants so badly to offer his advice and assistance, but as a dog without speech and an "opposable thumb" he is clearly limited in his ability to help, especially when he knows trouble abounds and he can't let his family know. In spite of his limitations, Enzo does his best to protect and encourage those he loves.

We watch as Enzo enters Denny's life as puppy when Denny was a single man, as life transitions through marriage, childbearing and parenting and then sadly premature death. This is often a sad and a tragic story, but also one that offers hope and resolution. For those who haven't read it I won't say more because it's something you should read and discover for yourself.

As an interesting aside, let me tell you this. When the author, Garth Stein, proposed this story to his agent, the agent was not interested in representing a story told from a dog's perspective. What did Stein do? He promptly got himself another agent! He believed in his story and he searched until he discovered someone who did as well. Let this be an inspiration to aspiring authors everywhere. If you believe in yourself and your abilities, in what you have written, forge ahead as much as you are able, to see it published.

Now to the giveaway. There will be the opportunity for one winner to receive the book as well as a nice little swag packet which consists of a cloth tote bag,  a notebook, lapel pin and bookmark. Become a follower if you're not already and leave a comment telling me about your favorite pet. If you don't have a pet, just say so, but you must mention something. Those who don't comment about a pet will not be considered for the giveaway. It's not fair to those who take the time to do it and comply with instructions. Thanks for your understanding. Please leave your email in the comment, so you can be contacted if you win. That is all.

The giveaway will end Saturday, July 17 and is open to residents of the US and Canada only. Winner will be chosen randomly using

Thanks to Sarah Daily of Terra Communications for making the book and swag packet available.


Thursday, July 8, 2010

Working on My Novel: The Revision Process.

I'm happy to report that I have completed the story and I'm on my second round of revisions before I formally submit it to an agent. If you've never done this, you may think the job is done when you can write "The End" on the last page, but really, the work is only just beginning. No matter how much I believe I'm done, I always find ways to improve the writing when I go back to it.

Some agents were kind enough last night to have a chat and answer whatever questions you may have about getting published, what they do etc. I asked what do they see too much of in the way of the topics submitted to them. The answer was paranormal romance that is derivative, in essence, stories that are a copycat of what's already out there. A lot of folks envision themselves writing the next Twilight.  I have a suspicion that publishers want a book that has Twilight sensibilities, but has a new, unique spin--and this doesn't necessarily mean vampires. In fact, you'd probably be better off if it didn't have vampires because they are so prevalent, it's hard to stand out now. One agent confirmed this when she told me publishers are looking for a book that generates the same kind of emotions Twilight did.

I've been fooling around with two stories. One is a contemporary YA and one is a paranormal. I'm not sure how I ended up writing this paranormal story. It popped into my head and evolved. It flowed out and I wrote it down. I love to read a good romance and writing one has proven to be so much fun. I try to think of what girls would like to read. Books are a way to escape into another world and I want that world to be as intriguing as possible.

Of course, I know a publisher may have no interest in publishing my story, but I'll try and see if I get any bites. If I don't, my friends have certainly had a good time reading it, so I know someone enjoyed it and I  had a great time writing it--no matter how things turn out.


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

And the Two Winners of THE PARTICULAR SADNESS of LEMON CAKE are....

Well, it seems the winners of this book scored nicely. I just read yesterday that The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake is one of Oprah's 25 best books to read for the summer! Congratulations. I see this book popping up all over the place, so it's getting a bit of buzz. I'm not going to make you wait a moment longer, the winners are...

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

And the Winner of CHANGE of HEART is...

Wow. Another winner today. I love it! Thanks to all who entered. It is so appreciated. Let's get to the good stuff. The winner of Change of Heat is...

And the Three Winner's of The Castaways are...

It's an awesome week for winners on this blog. Thanks to my faithful followers who often check in, it's a true pleasure to do business with you girls (guys too, but let's face it, I do seem to see more gals dropping by!) The Castaways is a perfect beach read and based on the comments, I think some of you were confused. I didn't mean you had to choose a book to read at the beach, I meant a summer-time read--whether you choose to take it to the beach or not *smile*. Sorry if anyone was confused. Anyhoo, on to the important stuff--the winners! The three winners of The Castaways are...

Monday, July 5, 2010

Blomania Sneak Peek: HEATHER ZAHN GARDNER Photography: Photos and Handcrafted Jewelry!

I want to profile another one of my great sponsors for the Fall Blogmania event. Heather Zahn Gardner has very graciously agreed to provide an item for my Teen Love/Angst giveaway in September.  She is a talented photographer as well as an artisan. What I think is especially cool is that she crafts jewelry based on the themes of popular young adult books like Twilight, Hush Hush, Shiver, Wings and The Dark Divine to name a few. This is in addition to the professional and unique photographs she takes that are frame worthy and decorative.

Stop by her shop here  and take a look around. Come the Fall, someone will be receiving a lovely item from her shop, but you don't have to wait till then. Go shopping now!

HeatherZahnGardner's Shop Announcement

Heather's photographs and handcrafted items have been featured in several Etsy treasuries this month. Wow! Thanks so much to the crafters for choosing us! 40 % of our sales go to families in Chile who are recovering from earthquakes. Please stop by the shops at HeatherZahnGardner and LittleRedReads on Etsy and take a look. In the meantime, feel free to browse these user's treasuries while you can :) 

And the winner of THE WEIGHT of SHADOWS is...

Thanks everyone who stopped in and entered the giveaway. I have a number of winners this week, so I won't belabor the issue. The winner of The Weight of Shadows is...
Martha Lawson!

Congratulations Martha.

Please send me your address so I may pass it on to the author. This is a busy week, if I don't hear from the winner in 48 hrs, another will be chosen.

Winner was chosen using


Saturday, July 3, 2010

Meanderings of ECLIPSE, Stephanie Myers, an interesting writer observation...stuff like that.......

Hey guys, just thought I'd throw in my two cents about Eclipse and a few tidbits about the great Stephanie Myers. I went the first day it opened, which I usually don't do, but I already had my ticket, so I didn't have to do anything but walk in, so I did.

For those of you who pay any attention to what I say around may be aware that I watch the Twilight movies first, then read the book, so I have no clue about what's going to happen, especially if there's a new character involved. Anyone who is an aspiring author, has heard time and time again, you should open your book with something interesting and in a meaningful moment of the story. Many new writers have interpreted this to mean open with some sort of dramatic action, whether that be a fight, a murder, a bomb or the character being in some kind of serious trouble. Now the problem with that is, unless the reader has connected with the character in some way and cares about them, they don't give a hoot about who's dying, who's facing some sort of peril etc. And how can they bond with the character unless they get a chance to know them first?

Much advice is offered on line and elsewhere, often by literary agents, suggesting the writer not do that. The first scene of Eclipse was a perfect example. Now maybe folks who read the book, understood, but when this big dramatic scene came on--a huge rainstorm, a guy apparently being stalked and ultimately attacked by some unseen force, I didn't have the merest clue about what was going on. I know the drama of the scene was meant to elicit an emotional reaction from me, but I didn't really have one because I was too busy trying to figure out who the guy was and why I should care about what happens to him. At first, with all that rain, it took a few seconds for me to realize he was under some kind of attack...LOL...anyway this was an excellent example of what writers are warned not to do and I saw very vividly why that is so.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Book Review and Giveaway: THE PARTICULAR SADNESS of LEMON CAKE by Aimee Bender. Two Winners for this one.

I love the cover of this book. It's my favorite color, aqua; combined with the lusciousness of the cake, it pulled me right in. The title intrigued me as well and I settled down to dig into what appeared to be an unusual story. Let's look at how the blurb on the book describes things:

On the eve of her ninth birthday, unassuming Rose Edelstein, a girl at the periphery of schoolyard games and her distracted parents' attention, bites into her mother's homemade lemon-chocolate cake and discovers she has a magical gift: she can taste her mother's emotions in the slice.

She discovers this gift to her horror, for her mother--her cheerful, good-with-crafts, can-do-mother--tastes of despair and desperation. Suddenly, and for the rest of her life, food becomes a peril and a threat to Rose. Anything can be revealed at any meal. She can't eat her brother Joseph's toast, a cookie at the local bakery is laced with rage; grape jelly is packed with acidic resentment.

Rose's gift forces her to confront the secret knowledge all families keep hidden--truths about her mother's life outside the home, her father's strange detachment, Joseph's clash with the world.

Yet as Rose grows up, she realizes there are some secrets that even her taste buds cannot discern.