Tag Archives: book giveaway

Standing Tall…Even When You Want to Hide -Guest Post & Book Giveaway!

Leave a comment or question for our guest author, Meredith Zeitlin and you can win a copy of her book: Freshman Year and Other Unnatural Disasters

 

Win this Book!

FRESHMAN YEAR AND OTHER UNNATURAL DISASTERS by Meredith Zeitlin

Designer clothes. Parties with champagne corks popping. Limousines. Dreamy guys falling at your feet. Oh, the glamour of New York! Isn’t that what being a teenager in New York City is all about? After watching teenagers compare their NYC lives to those of the stars of hit TV shows, Meredith Zeitlin decided to write a YA novel capturing what it’s really like to live in NYC as a teenager. Sweaty gym classes. Descending into the bowels of the city—also known as the subway. Having people hate you “just because.” Living with annoying younger siblings.

Freshman Year and Other Unnatural Disasters explores stepping off the precipice from “just school” into “high school.” Kelsey decides she’s going to abandon her personality from middle school and become a new and improved version of herself. Better love life. Better sports career. Better social life. Better after school activities. But something happens along the way to “new and improved”…and Kelsey has to live with the sometimes hilarious results.

Standing Tall…Even When You Want to Hide

 

Over the years I’ve had this experience a bunch of times: I’ll be with other people who are all upset about something that’s going on – something small, like a random person being rude for no reason, or something bigger, like a superior treating her entire staff terribly, or something really big, like a family member making awful discriminatory remarks… and then I always think we’re going in as a group to take a stand. And every time, what happens?

I find myself all alone, my cohorts’ mouths glued shut and their eyes wide, leaving me to be the spokesperson and the “bad guy.” Which isn’t really surprising, right?

I mean, let’s face it: hiding is SO MUCH EASIER than standing tall!

Seriously, choosing between huddling safely behind a nice, sturdy tree instead of confronting someone who’s being a jerk, or admitting you made a mistake, or holding your head up when you’ve just embarrassed yourself in front of the entire world? No contest. Tree wins every time.

Unless… you actually want to change things in your life – or in someone else’s. If you always hide instead of speaking up, you’re encouraging a pattern of not getting what you want or what you think is right.

And that sounds about as much fun as crouching behind a tree, frankly.

In Freshman Year…, Kelsey has a lot of experiences that are embarrassing, and in the case of a certain party, a little bit dangerous. It’s so hard for her to stick to her guns and have confidence in herself – and she isn’t always able to do it, either. (No one is. Not even me. I know, I know – that’s almost impossible to believe, but it’s true.)

But ultimately she realizes it’s more worthwhile to be true to herself and push forward, even if that means standing up to a horrible bullying junior, or confronting a friend who really hurt her, or sticking out her role in the school play even though she KNOWS it’s going to be humiliating. And while there are no magic solutions, and sometimes the outcome is not what she expected, Kelsey always ends up in a more interesting place than where she started out.

And that – to me, at least – is the whole freaking point of life.

What do YOU think?

 

About the Author:
Meredith Zeitlin is a writer and voiceover artist who lives in Brooklyn with her two adorable feline roommates. She also writes a column for Ladygunn Magazine, changes her hair color every few months (we’re taking bets on what color it is to celebrate launch day!), and has many fancy pairs of spectacles. In case you’re wondering whether any of Kelsey’s experiences are based on Meredith’s own, the answer is NO WAY. When she was fourteen, Meredith looked and behaved perfectly at all times—just ask her mother!—was never in a single embarrassing situation, and always rode to school on her very own unicorn.

Find the Author Online:
Meredith Zeitlin’s Website: www.kelseyfinkelstein.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/FRESHMANYEARBOOK

Twitter: @zeitlingeist

Meredith’s voiceover site: http://mzspeaks.com/home.html

 

And next on the blog tour Meredith will be at…

March 14 @ Callie Kingston http://calliekingston.blogspot.com/     Interview

March 15 @ Words by Webb http://jodiwebb.com Review

March 16 @ Reader Girls http://www.readergirls.blogspot.com  Quiz/Review

 

 

 

Advertisements

3 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Journal Write to Discover What You Know (plus a BIG Giveaway!)

Today, please welcome back, Mari McCarthy, as she talks about how to discover what we really know and spinning this into our writing. BUT, the BIG NEWS is…today, one lucky commenter will have their choice of THREE COOL PRIZES:

Giveaway: Winner’s Choice (either an eBook copy of Dark Chocolate for the Journaler’s Soul, a spiral-bound copy of Mari’s Most Musefull Journaling Tips, or a Dark Chocolate T-Shirt)

RULES: You must leave a comment or question after today’s post before midnight tonight! I will use Random.,org to select the winner, and the winner will then select their prize!

Option #1: ebook

Journal Write to Discover What You Know

 

“Write about what you know.” If you’re into writing, you’ve heard this a zillion times, and you believe it makes sense. After all, if you’ve always been rich, protected, and pampered, you’re probably not a good candidate to write about growing up in the ghetto. If you’re a cowboy, you probably don’t know much about high society manners. Sure, you can understand why it’s important to write about what you know.

 

So what exactly is that? What do you know well enough to write about it? Seems like such a simple question, but when you seriously examine it things get complicated, quickly.

 

For some (even me, many days) it’s challenging to come up with anything at all that you truly know. Other days, you may mistake raw experience for knowing, thinking that since you endured something, you then know it.

 

You might know what it is to lose a job, for instance, or to become a mother, but what do you know about those things that you would write about?  There’s knowing that is simple cognizance, and then there’s knowing that is worth sharing.

 

Here’s a key point: You Do Know Something Worth Sharing. Don’t ever believe you don’t. You may, however, find the search for that Something to be interminable. Hang in there. You will find it. Your whole life may be about the search. That’s okay; there are few more noble endeavors.

 

Want a shortcut to finding out more about your unique knowing? There actually is a way to speed up the progress of your expanding awareness. It’s called journaling.

Option #2 spiral book Museful TIps

 

When you keep a journal, you take the pause that refreshes, you slow down enough to contemplate, you give yourself a chance to put the pieces together and create something new. The result? Appreciation, inspiration, and a much better idea of “what you know.”

 

Establish and wholeheartedly commit to a practice of writing regularly. Journal for self-discovery, which means

  • Hand write in your notebook. A keyboard doesn’t yield the same direct self-perception that hand writing does.
  • Do a lot of stream-of-consciousness writing.
  • Be extra stern with your inner critic: this is one place that tyrant doesn’t belong.
  • Be faithful to the process and to yourself; be willing to grow; be willing to be surprised.
  • Ask your journal questions: Where am I going? Who am I? What do I want? What do I know? What don’t I know?

 

If all the introspection makes you dizzy, use a journaling prompt now and then and enjoy the revelations that kind of writing affords. Following an impartial lead can often lead to personal treasures, just as direct soul searching does. Keep your practice fresh and on its toes by mixing these two approaches.

 

Option #3 T-shirt

#

Mari L. McCarthy, journaling therapy specialist and author, owns Create Write Now, a website dedicated to all things journaling. The site includes hundreds of journaling prompts, personal journaling stories, interviews, a blog, and many other resources. Mari has published nine books to date. For more on ways that journaling brings self-knowledge, see Who Are You? How to Use Journaling Therapy to Know and Grow Your Life.

CreateWriteNow.com
Twitter.com/CreateWriteNow
Facebook.com/JournalWritingTherapy

 

Don’t forget to Leave your comment!!

4 Comments

Filed under Believe, books, Creative Essays, Give Aways, Inspiration

Writing Backstories – Guest Post & Book Giveaway!

Writing Backstories

By Karen Wojcik Berner

Thank you so much, Mary Jo, for inviting me to guest blog today. I am very excited to be here.

You may find yourself living in a shotgun shack

And you may find yourself in another part of the world

And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile

You may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife

You may ask yourself, “Well, how did I get here?”

Talking Heads. “Once in a Lifetime.” Remain in Light. Sire Records, 1980. Vinyl.

This song pops into my head all the time. Not only were the Talking Heads one of my favorite bands back in the day, but it also helps put me into the proper writing mode to create a character’s backstory, which happens to be every time I begin writing a Bibliophiles novel.

Most series focus on the adventures of one main character. I decided to switch things up a bit. Each novel in my series spotlights one or two members of a classics book club and tells the story of their lives up to joining. The book club storyline is furthered throughout the series.

Win this Book!

For example, A Whisper to a Scream (The Bibliophiles: Book One) is about Sarah, an overwhelmed, stay-at-home mom, and Annie, a P.R. executive dealing with fertility issues. My next book, due out in spring 2012, follows Bibliophile Catherine Elbert as she bounces from coast to coast in search of her true self.

Backstories are a big part of all fiction, don’t you think?

I start with the standard journalism questions: who, what, why, where, when and how. I can’t help myself. I was a magazine editor for ten years and a newspaper freelancer before that.

Who is this person? How old? Where does he or she come from? What kind of family? House or apartment? Rural, city or suburb? What school? What does she look like? What kind of family life did he have growing up?

Relationships, or lack thereof, with siblings or parents. Goals and dreams. Clothes? Music? Cars? Drinks? Favorite food? All these things help create well-rounded characters. As you make your choices, be careful not to make your new character a stereotype. Mix in some seemingly conflicting traits to shake things up a bit.

The main question I think backstories should answer is how did this person get to this point? What are the ramifications of the past upon the present?

Also, don’t forget to include the things that just spill out while you are writing. Most of the time, these can be the best details, even though they might change your previously conceptualized notions about your character.

That’s okay. It’s your world. You can alter it however you please.

Don’t you wish life had that option? I know I do.

About the Author:

Karen Wojcik Berner lives a provincial life tucked away with her family in
the Chicago suburbs. If it was good enough for Jane Austen, right?
However, dear Miss Austen had the good fortune of being born amid the
glorious English countryside, something Karen unabashedly covets, so much
so that she majored in English and communications at Dominican University.

Like the magnificent Miss Austen, Karen could not help but write about the

Society that surrounds her.

A booklover since she could hold one in her chubby little toddler hands, Karen

wanted to announce to the world just how much she loves the written word.

She considered getting a bibliophile tattoo but instead decided to write about

the lives of the members of a suburban Classics Book Club. The series is called,

of course, The Bibliophiles.”) When she isn’t reading, writing, or spending her
time wishing she was Jane Austen, Karen spends her time can be found sipping

tea or wine, whichever is more appropriate that day, and watching Tim Burton

movies or “Chopped,” her favorite foodie TV show.

Just Thought You Should Know:   A Whisper to a Scream is Book One of a series called The Bibliophiles. The second book in the series will be released in February 2012. Stay tuned!

Author’s Websites:                                                  
Karen Berner’s website:  http://www.karenberner.com/index.html

Leave a comment or a question and Random.org may select You as a winner!

3 Comments

Filed under Advice, books, Fiction, Give Aways, writers

What Color Should Your Writing Room Be?

Guest post and Book giveaway by Cat Larose

WinThis Book!

Color has a profound psychological impact on our lives. It’s used every day to stimulate our senses, excite us, calm us and, yes, induce us to buy products. Each color family has its own set of characteristics that trigger certain responses in us. With that in mind we should tread carefully when adding color to our space, especially our writing space.

There are trend colors, those colors du jour that we fall “in like” with. Be careful here because this relationship is a bit like infatuation. Color fatigue sets in quickly with trend colors. And before your know it, it’s time to move on to something else.

Then there are colors that last a lifetime – those are your favorite colors, the colors your intuition chooses. These are the colors that you feel close to and comfortable with. These are the colors that already appear in your closet and in the most comfortable rooms of your house.

When it comes to choosing color for any room, keep in mind that you don’t have to have an all red or all green room. Sometimes a dash of color is just enough to stimulate your creativity or get you in writing mode.

What follows is my take as a color marketer on color and how it can affect us as writers. Keep in mind that if you’re seriously engaged in the writing process, your focused and so you don’t see any color – it’s actually the absence of color, i.e. black type on a white page.

Red is a very stimulating color; it is the color of heat, passion and warning. It’s used a lot in fast food restaurants to move people in and out quickly.  Use a dash of red to jump start your project.

Purple is a mystical color. It promotes healing and meditation. Leonardo da Vinci said that the color purple can increase meditative powers tenfold.  A purple room is good for contemplating plot and structure.

Blue is a very relaxing and calming color. If you’ve put yourself under the pressure of deadlines, then blue is the color for you.

Green is Mother Nature’s favorite color. And just look how creative she is.

Yellow is a high-energy color that stimulates the mental process of thinking and activates memory. If you’re writing a memory a little yellow will go a long way.

Orange is a color you either love or hate. It’s also a high-energy color and encourages socialization. It might be a good color to use in a room where writers convene to discuss their work.

Whatever color you choose for your writing room it should be a color that enhances and promotes your personal well-being – as you feel it. Color like everything else in a room should disappear after a while as you engross yourself in your story. At that point your story’s own color will jump off of the page.

Cat is eager to chat with you and hopes you’ll have lots of questions for her!

One lucky commenter can win her book! But, post TWICE and you can win a whole Book Club Prize Pack!!

See details below…

On Monday,December 19 at the end of her WOW Blog Tour, Cat Larose will be awarding a special Book Club Prize ! The prize includes 10 copies of her memoir Any Color But Beige, a guide on how your book club can enjoy Any Color But Beige, a virtual visit from Cat Larose, and several other surprises. If you want to enter this contest just leave a comment after this post with the words “Book Club Contest” in the message. You can enter to win both the individual contest for one copy of Any Color But Beige and the Book Club Contest but you have to leave two different comments. Don’t forget to tell everyone who belongs to your Book Club to enter the contest!

For more about Any Color But Beige, and more chances to win, follow the rest of her tour!

Friday, December 9 @ Kritter’s Ramblings

Learn more about yourself and color with a fun quiz from color guru Cat Larose. You can also enter to win a copy of Cat’s memoir about embracing a colorful life: Any Color But Beige.

http://www.krittersramblings.com

Monday, December 12 @ From the TBR Pile

Are you brave enough to bare all? Your soul that is…to write memoir! Cat Larose writes about baring all and gives away a copy of her memoir Any Color But Beige.

www.fromthetbrpile.blogspot.com

Cat Larose

About the Author:

 

Catherine is one part hot blooded Latin and one part wild eyed Celt. She’s the oldest of seven children raised in a large Irish/Italian family – Catholic, of course. But family and friends think of her as the gypsy. She’s spent her life studying, living, and working all over the place.  Cat is forever destined to wander incessantly as a person currently without country(CWC), or with no fixed address(NFA). Blessing or curse? Grandma V had her pegged long before she ever left Clevleand, Ohio when she gave her red-headed Italian granddaughter this advice , “All you need is a place to hang your hat.”

As she was traveling the world, Cat managed to acquire a husband. A rather beige husband. Not a good match considering the fact that Cat sells color for a living. What does that mean? When you go to a home improvement store  and to choose a paint color, those little color chips are made by Cat’s company. They produce color chips for the automotive industry, cosmetic industry and of course your local Home Depot.  While in Paris on business, Cat decided that life was too short to be beige. Her memoir is a record of her escape from the beige tinge of her marriage to the wild colors of singlehood.

 

Author’s Websites:                                                  

Catherine Larose’s book trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9vh0IkE3YU&feature=related

Catherine Larose’s blog:

http://cafegirlchronicles.wordpress.com

Cat also has two fun videos you can check out:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9vh0IkE3YU

http://vimeo.com/31352868

3 Comments

Filed under Advice, books, Fun Stuff, Give Aways

Win this book! Hospice Tails: The Animal Companions Who Journey with Hospice Patients and Their Families

Win this Book!

Leave a comment or question by midnight on Tues. Nov 22 for a chance to win this sweet book! (Why not purchase a few for those on your holiday shopping list!)

<Scroll down for the guest post>

About Hospice Tails:

Told from the perspective of a hospice social worker, Hospice Tails is a baker’s dozen of stories about the animal companions of hospice patients and their families.

 In these pages you will meet King, an abused pit bull fiercely loyal to his rescuer, Fizzle, a teacup poodle who guarded his human in death as well as life, Io and Oi, two cats who facilitated a beautiful conversation between their owners, and Lightning, a horse who helped a widower find the strength to go on.

Uplifting, matter-of-fact, sometimes funny and never sappy, Hospice Tails will change the way you think about the animals in your life.

Only 24 Hours in a Day? Making Time for Writing

guest post by: Debra L. Stang

I’m afraid I have to start this post with some bad news. There is no way to increase the number of hours in your day. Much as we might wish for a 26-hour day, or even a 46-hour day, we are stuck with 24 hours.

Now for the good news: Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, Jonathan Kellerman, and Margaret George are stuck with the same 24 hours, and look what they’ve managed to do with their time!

If you’re having trouble carving out time to write, you’re not alone. Almost every writer who ever lived has struggled to make time for his or her craft.

You’ll notice, by the way, that I said make time, not find time. You’re unlikely to stumble across a cache of extra minutes. If you want to write, you’ll need to schedule time and then fight for that time as fiercely as a mother bear fights for her cubs.

When I was writing Hospice Tails, for instance, I wrote in the evenings after I got home from my day job as a hospice social worker. I tried to explain to my friends that I actually was working during this time, but they kept calling, and I finally took the phone off the hook during my writing sessions.

I’ve developed a few other secrets that have helped me make the time to develop my writing career.

Schedule your writing times to coincide with your peak creativity. If you’re a morning person, get up half an hour earlier to write; if you’re an evening person, stay up half an hour later to write.

Commit to writing during your scheduled time whether you’re in the mood or not. Train yourself to sit down for the scheduled amount of time and write or type, even if all you are typing is, “This is stupid. I can’t think of anything to say.”

Don’t be afraid to write badly. I’ve been at this for ten years, and my first drafts of anything still stink up my apartment, though not as badly as they used to. Writing is like a muscle, and the more you work it, the stronger it will get.

A short block of writing time is better than none at all. If you only have ten minutes a day to write during a morning commute, so be it. Even if you only write half a page a day, within two years you’ll have a 365-page book.

Find a writing buddy. It’s much easier to stick to your writing goals if you know you’re accountable to a friend. A writing buddy is also a great person to turn to when you’re feeling hopelessly stuck.

If you’ve tried all these steps and you still find that you can’t make the time to write, check in with yourself about your motives. Do you really want to write, or are you doing it because you feel that you should or because you think you’d be letting someone down if you don’t? If you find that you really don’t enjoy the writing process, there’s no shame in that. Put writing aside for now, and move on to an activity that you really do enjoy.

If, however, you do enjoy writing and are still committed to making the time to do it, grab your calendar right now and block out ten minutes a day for the rest of the week. Just ten minutes. You can do it, and it will be productive time.

When are you going to schedule the time to write?

About our Guest Author: Debra L. Stang

In addition to her parents and two sister, Debra’s family includes four cats. The current crew includes a grouchy nine-year-old named Achilles; and orange tabby and alpha male named, appropriately enough, Alexander; and a black and white long-haired cat with attitude named Leroux. Then there’s the foster cat named Pumpkin. Of course, it all started with a three-month-old brown-and-gray tabby named Calypso who had strong feelings about most people. And not warm fuzzy feelings. Calypso even had the dubious honor of being banned by not one, but two vets.

When not caring for cats or writing, Debra spent many years as a social worker. She worked with AIDS patients, emergency room patients, and those with Alzheimer’s. Her final years as a social worker were spent with hospice patients. Although some would view that as a depressing job, Debra chose to view herself as a catalyst helping people make their final hopes and dreams come true. Sometimes it was making up with a family member after a decades long feud or leaving behind the stress of the office to reconnect with another aspect of their personality.

Debra took a clue from her patients and recently decided her writing–for years a part-time career–couldn’t wait any longer. Worried she would become one of those people who would one day say, “I wish I had…” she handed in her resignation and is now living her dream as a full-time writer.

Author Website: http://www.debrastang.net

Author Blog: http://debrastangfreelancewriter.typepad.com

 

Don’t forget to leave a comment or question for the author to be entered in the book drawing!!

3 Comments

Filed under Advice, books, Give Aways

Winner!

Today’s Thankful Thursday is being interrupted to announce the winner of Kathy Handley’s Birds of Paradise…

Randomly selected from those who left a comment, the winner is…

Sandi Hershenson

Congrats, Sandi!  I sent you an email with details. Thank you to Kathy for her inspirational post and to all my readers who stopped by.  Keep us posted on your progress with those writing contests.

Quick list of love:

  • My followers!
  • My Man
  • My boys
  • Pumpkin Spice Lattes
  • Deep purple Nailpolish
  • Led Zepplin (I’m adding to my LAKE RESORT NOVEL’s playlist and Zepplin figures prominently.)

Who do you LOVE ??

 

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Writing Contests: Go for the Big Ones (plus a book giveaway!)

Twofer! A Great guest post by novelist, Kathy Handley, on the in’s and out’s of entering writing contests – PLUS! a chance to win her novel, Birds of Paradise. Just post a comment or question today and be entered in the random drawing! Check back Thursday for the winner…

Win this Book!

When it comes to Contests- Go for the Big Ones

I was once told to submit to well-known journals along with the lesser known ones. “You’ll get a fair reading,” my friend, Jamie Cat Callan said. That may be the same with contests.

A new writer is often hesitant to submit their work to contests. Early on I sent stories to the National League of American Pen Women, Soul-Making Contest, in the short story category. I placed several years in a row and was invited to join the team of judges later on. How cool is that? If I had never entered, I wouldn’t have the pleasure of meeting the great folks who judge and enter the contest that was started by Eileen Malone, the dynamo writer and do-it-all gal.

A good rule of thumb is to get your work out there and move quickly to the next project or submission. True, you’ll have rejections, but try to see them as paying your dues. I often said that I’d have to pay my dues by writing a million words–still working on this–just to learn and get better, but I have Indie-published two books this year.

It’s a good idea to submit in varying genres for the many contests there are out there.  You can access Poets and Writers for deadlines.  If you are writing a novel, take a chapter that will stand alone as a story and send it out. Try flash fiction and poetry and perhaps a short non-fiction piece that speaks to your passion.  Although we didn’t win the national contest for a boundless playground for my grandson’s town, the letters served to educate persons who were not aware of special needs. In this case, we wanted a playground accessible for all.

My big win involved the Nervous Breakdown site that sponsored a Page-To-Screen contest with a prize of a Kindle and the opportunity for entertainment folks to consider the story for a movie. With many entries judged by Sara Gruen, Water for Elephants author, this win was a great thrill for me. You can do it too. Polish up that work and go for it.

I want to wish all of you writers out there good luck in the contests you enter. Send me an email when you place or need suggestions about venues for you work. Imagine your excitement when you are able to use your publishing and contest winning data in the front of your book.

Warmest Wishes,

 Kathy Handley

Kathrynhandley@msn.com

http://www.kathyhandley.com

About the Author:

 Her grandfather entertained his family with stories and dancing, her father quoted Shakespeare and her mother was known as “Mary the Poet” so naturally Kathryn would become a writer…eventually!

Now a published novelist at age 71, Kathy’s short fiction has appeared in many literary
magazines. She recently won Word Hustler’s Page-to-Screen Contest (2011) and currently serves as Prose Poetry Judge for the National League of American Pen Women Soul-Making Contest. A collection of her work will soon be released under the title A World of Love and Envy (short fiction, flash-fiction, and poetry).

*Don’t forget to leave a comment or question for our visiting author and be entered in the book giveaway!!

4 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized