Posted in Reading, Winter Fairy

How do you find books?

Like most writers, I’m also a reader.  Back in the olden-golden days of yore, I discovered new books by browsing the shelves at my local bookstore and seeing what covers jumped out at me.  As bookstores disappeared near my former home, I relied more and more on my public library and their eye-catching displays.  I also discovered Goodreads.

It’s been more of a challenge to find quality ebooks.  I know they are out there, but it can be overwhelming, especially if you don’t know the author and the cover is in basic black and white.  And that is why I’m so excited to share one of my latest “discoveries” as both an author and a reader.

Have you met The Fussy Librarian? My book, Winter Fairy is being featured Wednesday.  The Fussy Librarian offers personalized ebook recommendations. You choose from 30 genres and indicate preferences about content and then the computers work their magic and send you a daily email. Check it out at www.TheFussyLibrarian.com

Since most of the books have a low price point, your wallet won’t even be mad at you.  Happy Reading!

Posted in Winter Fairy, Writing

Happy book birthday

Has it really been a year since Winter Fairy first appeared on an ebook shelf near you?  Why yes, yes it has.  This past year has brought a lot of excitement and turmoil for me and I’m sure, for many of you two.  I’ve grown as an author and learned a lot more about readers and what you want.

To celebrate my book birthday, I’m kicking off a newsletter.  You can sign up here.  I promise not to overwhelm your mail box.  Look for occasional announcements and quarterly mailings with the first coming in late November.  As an incentive, I’ll share some of my favorite “Frankenrecipes.”  I won’t claim credit for inventing each delight, but I’m known for combining up to four recipes to make one I really like.

What else could you want in a newsletter?  Seriously.  Let me know.  I want to make this a fun moment for all of us.

Posted in Crimson Romance, Winter Fairy

Sale!

Shameless promo here, but in case you didn’t see it elsewhere, Crimson Romance is celebrating its first anniversary with a sale at Amazon.

Winter Fairy is available as an e-book for $1.99 through this promotion. So if you didn’t win a copy in my Goodreads giveaway, click here and treat yourself.

While you are there, be sure to check out other Crimson Romance titles published between June 2012 and June 2013.  If you are a fan of Once or Grimm, check out Kristine Overbrook’s Once Upon a Couch or Sharon Clare’s Love of her Lives.  Do you prefer contemporaries?  Try Robyn Neely’s Destination Wedding or Synthia Williams You Can’t Plan Love

Go ahead, unwrap the present.  I won’t look, but if you like what you see, be sure to let me know.

Posted in Conference, For Writers, Giveaway, Winter Fairy, Writing

What’s your Swag?

I consider myself a connoisseur of swag.  Let’s face it, who doesn’t love free? As a reader, getting a free book makes my day and I can’t remember the last time I bought a pen.

All of this has made me a bit picky.  If you offer me a cheap ball point stick pen with a cap, I won’t pick it up. If you offer me a smooth writing gel pen, I’ll look at your logo every time I need to scribble out a shopping list or sign something for my kids’ school.  At some point, I’ll pause say “this is good” and check out your website or product.  I will develop a favorable opinion of you and your brand.

As a newbie author with only Winter Fairy to my name, I cannot afford to spend a lot of money.  I’m not a New York Time’s best seller like Cathy Maxwell, who gives out the best swag.  Between kitchen utensils and a tote bag, Cathy is on my mind everyday.  That cheap stick pen from an aspiring author or  multi-published author? It’s in the trash heap.

So how do you find good swag? Here are some questions I used to evaluate potential giveaways:

1.     Is it memorable?  To me – this is the big one.

2.    It is useful?  You want your giveaway to be used, not languish in a drawer.

3.     Is the quality acceptable?  I have yet to find a seller of promotional items unwilling to send a sample item. If you don’t like the quality, don’t buy it., even if the cost is low.

4.     Does the item fit logically with my brand?  I considered Emery boards at one point, but none of my books are set in nail salons. Likewise, a jar opener in the shape of a cowboy boot would be out of place for my midwestern books, but perfect for someone who sets their books in Texas.

5.    Is the item affordable?  Remember to add artwork and shipping costs.

6.     Where will I store this item?  500 bookmarks don’t take up much space.  A box of 500 water bottles will.

7.      Where will I distribute this item?

8.     What is my branding goal?

At this point, I don’t know whether my sticky flags have led anyone to purchase my book.  I am certain they are being used by the recipients and developing my brand.  As more books come out, I’ll expand my swag options and when I reach Cathy Maxwell’s level of success, y’all will come running for what ever I’m giving for free.

So tell me, what’s the best swag you’ve received?

Posted in Blog Hop, Food, Giveaway, Reading, Winter Fairy

Holiday Gifts of Love

CWelcome to the Holiday Gifts of Love Blog Hop, one of many hops run by the fabulous Carrie Ann Ryan.  Be sure to comment so you can be included in the grand prize drawing and for your chance to win an adorable  Penelope fairy custom made by Sweet Baby James Stitches.

While you’re hopping, chances are I’ll be baking or candy-making.  Spending time in the kitchen with my children (ages 9 and 5) and husband is one of my favorite parts of the Christmas season.   We will bake at least five types of cookies and deliver them to neighbors, while keeping a tasty portion for ourselves and Santa.  Baking together makes a huge mess, but the joy on their faces is too good to miss.  We’ll start with sugar cookies.  Then, we’ll move on to Mint or Kiss Surprises, Chocolate Crinkles and Oatmeal Butterscotch. For something new, I think we’ll try a recipe I found for chocolate-chip-peppermint-crunch cookies.  Somewhere in there, we’ll dip pretzel sticks in white chocolate and turn them into snowmen with gum drop hats and fruit leather scarves.

By the end of the day (days? Sometimes we make the dough in advance), we’ll be covered in flour and have sugar oozing from our pores, but more importantly we will have laughed, created a precious memory and shared some happiness with special people in our lives.

I’m pretty sure young Eloise, the budding ballerina at the center of my romance WinterfairycoverWinter Fairy will be busy making cookies this weekend too.  She’d also love to win the custom fairy since it looks like her ballet teacher, Penelope.  You can meet Eloise, her father Carson and Penelope in Winter Fairy, available now in ebook and paperback at Amazon, iTunes, B&N and more.

The Rafflecopter giveaway allows extra ways to win the custom fairy. Sorry overseas fans. I can only ship to US addresses.

Let me know your favorite cookies to make (or eat) in the Comments below. Be sure to include your email to be entered to win one of three grand prizes including your choice of a Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet, a $200 gift card to your choice of Amazon or B&N, or a Swag Bag (swag is US shipping only).

To get additional entries to the grand prizes, click here and visit other participating Authors and Bloggers. There are over 200 giveaways in all!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Posted in Giveaway, Winter Fairy

Joy of Giving

Today, I’m talking teacher gifts. I have some idea what I’m talking about since my mom taught preschool for a number of years.  Opening the students’ holiday gifts was a cherished part of our Christmas tradition, one that solicited lots of laughs, “Awwwww cute!” comments and shouts of “I claim the Frangos.”

Out of the chaos of statuettes, baked goods, coffee mugs and gift cards, I gleaned the following:

DO NOT give ornaments to the teacher. She (or he) probably has enough apple ornaments to decorate a forest.  Also avoid “objects d’art” and jewelry.  I drew on real life examples for the gifts Penelope received from her students in Winter Fairy.

DO give Good quality chocolate. It can be consumed or regifted.  Baked goods should include an ingredient list in case someone in the home has allergies. Gift cards are great, especially for places where the teachers can restock supplies used in their classrooms.

Thinking of giving, Jenna Jaxon is giving away TWELVE books on her blog today including a copy of Winter Fairy.  Click Here to see all Twelve Books of Christmas on her list.

Before you go completly, what are your thoughts on teacher gifts? Do you have a go to gift?

Posted in Giveaway, Reading, Winter Fairy

St. Nicholas Day Giveaway

Indulge me a moment while I tell you about my mom and Christmas.  Yesterday was her birthday. As a kid, her birthday was a special day because we were not a family that typically put the tree up over Thanksgiving weekend.  Instead we waited until December 5th.  Later my parents confessed this was less about keeping my mother’s birthday special and more about trying to tame Christmas excitement.

Another way my mom channeled our excitement was to have my sister and I learn about traditions in different countries.  Since this was before the Internet, we went to the library and poured over books.  Most years, we tried out a new tradition.  Mom refused to let my sister and I walk around with lit candles on our head (Sweden) but the Dutch tradition of St. Nicholas Day became a regular feature.  Traditionally one puts straw and carrots in their wooden shoes on the night of December 5th for Santa’s horses.  Even though we used stinky sneakers, Santa still left us a little treat, often a chocolate bar, to tide us over until his regularly scheduled visit.

It is in this spirit I offer you a St. Nicholas Giveaway.  I’m giving away an electronic copy of Winter Fairy through the rafflecopter window below.

You can set straw filled shoes by the door if you wish, but I don’t require it.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Posted in Six Sentence Sunday, Winter Fairy

Six Sentence Sunday

Welcome to Six Sentence Sunday

I’m getting into the Christmas spirit with this excerpt from Winter Fairy.

Eloise spent the night with her grandparents and Carson spent the night with Penelope. In the morning, reality slapped Carson hard. Not only did Penelope storm off in a huff, but Grandma Sue confronted him with a new problem.

“Do you want to know what happened during Santa’s visit with the grandkids?”

Carson swallowed hard. Last year, right in front of Santa, Eloise pushed one of her cousins hard enough to knock off his glasses.

“The other children all climbed up on Santa’s lap and asked for nice things. A new video game. An American Girl doll. A couple of books. A power wheel. But not Eloise. She told Santa she didn’t want any toys this year. She wants Miss Penny to be her mommy.”

Will Eloise get her wish? What’s on your wish list?

You can pick up Winter Fairy at Amazon, B&N, iTunes,  Kobo and elsewhere.

Posted in Blog Hop, Crimson Romance, Reading, Uncategorized, Winter Fairy, Writing

Escape with me

Escape with me into a moment from Winter Fairy.  Early in writing the story of Carson and Penelope, the romance could have unfolded anywhere. I had no setting until they went to the Art Institute of Chicago. No other museum or city would do.  Penelope takes Carson and his daughter Eloise to a Degas special exhibit. As they walk to the cafe, Carson pauses to look at the striking piece that is one of my favorite escapes.

I first visited the Art Institute of Chicago on a school field trip in fifth or sixth grade.  My mother chaperoned. As our docent guided us through the maze of hallways, my mother pulled me aside and whispered, “That’s a Chagall.”

I fell in love. I fell hard and fast for the myriad blues, askew cities and figures untethered by gravity. The more I looked, the more I saw and further I fell into Chagall’s world.

Over the years, I have spent hours looking at Chagall’s America Windows, getting lost and escaping to a world I cannot physically visit. I could write at length about the meaning and significance of Chagall’s work, but I don’t want to. I’d rather imagine myself in front of the America Windows escaping to a world where people and dreams can fly.

Be sure to comment below for a chance to win the Eloise Fairy made by Sweet Baby James Stitches and one of three gift cards being offered as part of the Crimson Wonderland Blog Hop.  To be considered for the gift cards, please include your email in name(at)provider(dot)com format.  Remember, the more authors you visit, the more chances you have to win.

UPDATE: Congratulations to Beckey!  She’s the lucky winner of the Eloise Fairy.

Posted in Reading, Six Sentence Sunday, Uncategorized, Winter Fairy, Writing

Winter Fairy Six Sentence Sunday

This is my first time posting for Six Sentence Sunday and today I’m sharing from Winter Fairy, my newest release from Crimson Romance.

Single father, Carson has just arrived at his daughter’s dance studio for the show off day celebrating the end of her “Fairy Dreams” class.  A loud blast of music, followed by a giggle draws his attention to the corner and he gets his first glimpse of Penelope.

She was taller than the other fairies. He guessed she stood closer to 5’7″ than 3’6″. The woman wore shimmery blue-green wings that reminded him of the water off the small island where he honeymooned years ago. She had a blond pixie cut and large blue eyes that gave her the look of an overgrown Tinkerbell. When she moved, light reflected off her body like tiny fireworks. This must Eloise’s infamous Miss Penny.

Are you as curious as Carson?  You can find Winter Fairy at Amazon, Crimson Romance, iTunes and more.

Return to Six Sentence Sunday