Find New Books, Authors & Enter for a Chance to Win – Goodreads Giveaway

Have you discovered Goodreads Giveaways?

It’s a great way to find new books and authors…and it comes with the thrill of winning a prize. It’s also a way for new authors to get their work in front of an audience.

the giveaway

Every day hundreds of publishers and independent authors mail out FREE copies of their (print) books to Giveaway winners. To enter the contests, the only requirement is to be Goodreads Member. To set-up an account, all that you need is your name, e-mail and a password.

You can search Giveaway books according to your favorite genre, by popular authors, or just by browsing through the “ending soon” section.

According to CreateSpace, Amazon’s printing affiliate, there are 1,500 new titles published daily. If you are a writer, you know that those numbers mean a sizable marketing challenge. For authors and publishers, a Goodreads Giveaway is one way to connect with their 20+ million members. It exposes a new title to a target market in a selected state, or worldwide and it gets the ball rolling for reviews…and best-of-all, it doesn’t cost a thing.

In order to run a Giveaway, one must become a Goodreads Author. Once you’ve signed up for a general membership, you can then set-up an Author Profile.

Through the Giveaways, I’ve discovered more than a few new books that I’ve put on my ‘to read’ virtual bookshelf. Recently, I won, Making Art Work: A case study for creative skills monetization in a non-traditional way, by Ekaterina Dorozhkinamaking art work

I am looking forward to learning some new art marketing tips and I can’t wait to see samples of her body painting (a Pinterest interest).

My first Goodreads Giveaway campaign is off and running – now through March 3rd. Within the first 24 hours, 171 people have entered the contest. Roughly half of them are in my target market (14-25 year olds).  That’s 171 people who had no idea that Haylee existed yesterday. Already, I’d say that the campaign has been a success.

If you’d like to enter to win a copy of Haylee and the Traveler’s Stone, click here.

Goodreads Giveaway
Goodreads Giveaway

I hope whoever wins the Haylee Giveaway is as excited as I am to win Ekaterina’s book.

[Note: The fine print in the Giveaway states that winners are not required to write a book review. But as an author and independent publisher, I will say that the hope for reviews is a major consideration when running a Giveaway. If you liked the book you won…please DO write your review!]

Connect with me on Goodreads.

Organization & Social Media for Authors

Author Interview – Resources for Writers

If you are a Haylee fan, you’ll discover a bit of the back story in this condensed author interview. You’ll also learn about the historical research – San Francisco and California Gold Rush – that went into the project.

Created to coincide with the release of Haylee and the Traveler’s Stone (paperback), the interview contains marketing and social media tips for authors. It also delves into character development, creativity and sources for Public Domain images.

The original, in-depth author interview can be read on the blog, You Read It Here First.

Interviewer:

Debbie McClure, author of In the Spirit of Love and In the Spirit of Forgiveness
You Read It Here First Blog owner—Christina Hamlett, Screenplay Consultant, Media Relations Expert and Award-Winning Author.

Jordy Meow

All Done Key Key

five minute ficiton

[Writing prompt – 500 words or less – topic: repair a hole.]

He followed, ’Key Key’ up the little dirt hill. Key Key was what he called the family pet whose real name the toddler would not be able to pronounce for years.

Jordy Meow
Jordy Meow

Wearing nothing but the wide, padded diaper that securely fastened around his hips—a diaper that sagged heavily at its lowest point—and a pair of shoes, Noah scrambled through the loose soil. It quickly filled every available space inside his sneakers.

Key Key, much quicker and more nimble than the boy on short, pudgy legs, daintily waited near the top for Noah to catch up. Once she was sure that he was paying attention, she began to deepen the hole that she’d started that morning. Bracing herself on her hind legs she leaned her upper body on her forepaws and made a scrambling motion that sent rooster tails of dirt shooting up in the air behind her.

Reaching the same vantage point as the cat, Noah got down on all fours to peer down into the hole. “What doin’ Key Key?”

Pausing, Key Key purred loudly and wove herself in and out of Noah’s arms and legs.

“What in Key Key?” he asked as he plopped down on his bottom and inched his feet down into the open space. Making his way to the bottom, some of the dirt around the edges fell back in. Once there, Noah mimicked Key Key, scooping out more earth. Something felt funny in there, something hard and cold. Noah stopped as he noticed a new smell. Not the rich, loamy dirt smell he loved…but something else.

Carefully, and slowly, Noah excavated more earth. He could see a little bit more of the thing they’d uncovered. He stopped and then he looked up at Key Key.

She sat there at the edge purring and whipping her tail from side to side.

Noah extended a finger and poked it. Then he frowned and looked back up at Key Key. Shaking his head from side to side, “No, no, Key Key!”

Noah climbed out of the hole and turned around to push the loose soil back into the hole.

It was unusual that a boy so young could stay focused on a task like this, but Noah stuck with it until all the dirt was back in place. He stood up on his little legs and tamped his feet over the spot. “Fixed. All done!” he said as he smacked his hands together to knock off the dirt that still clung to them.

He trundled back to his house with Key Key trotting along beside him.

As he walked in the door, his mother said, “Hey, No, what’cha been doing?”

“Dirt. Key Key.”

“I see that,” she said, “let’s go get  you cleaned up and change that dirty diaper shall we?”

 

———————————————————

My muse for the imagery in this story came from the rediscovery of some old family videos. My son was two. It was a hot summer day. He was exploring the yard wearing only his sandals and a diaper.

 

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Narrator Spotlight – Meghan Kelly on Eargasms Audiobook Reviews

“I believe both creating a very intriguing story to listen to AS WELL AS the production being top notch are vitally important! “ – Meghan Kelly

When I met Meghan Kelly through ACX [Aubible], It was love at first listen.

If you are interested in turning your Amazon book into an audiobook, you can post your title on ACX.com. Once it’s live on the site, finding your voice artist is like a virtual dating game…

Voice artists may send authors auditions or authors can scour through voice artist profiles listening to their sample files. When I first set-up my ACX account, I didn’t think that the gender of the artist would matter. Boy was I wrong! (ha ha) After listening to lots of voice samples, I realized that there were HUGE differences…in performance, the overall vibe of the voice and in the recording quality. I had just begun to create a list of artists to contact when Meghan e-mailed her audition file. Was it a fated sign from the cosmos that the best voice I could possibly imagine for Haylee just turned up…or was it just simple luck?

Her professionalism made working long distance seem effortless. The quality of the final product is something we are both proud of.

The day that she sent over chapter proofs is a day that will linger in my memory. Hearing my words…with HER beautiful, sultry, sexy and animated voice….made me laugh (in sheer delight!) until tears were streaming down my face. I felt a little like Cyrano de Bergerac.

Lotus Head from Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa

Christmas Every Day!

five minute ficitonA day in the life of a person holding a gritty, disgusting, and/or dangerous job. As described by a small boy.

I am the luckiest worker ever!  Every day is like Christmas!

I leave my house when the stars are still twinkling. There aren’t any lights on in anyone’s bedrooms.

My BIG truck rumbles when I turn it on. It tickles my butt and I have fun making zerbert noises that sound like the engine…or farts.

I think about playing smash and crash with the cars parked along the edges of the street. That would be sooo fun! …But my boss makes me fill out a hundred thousand forms if I bump into anything.

My BIG truck has robot pincher arms and a squishing compactor that starts when I press a red button. I would like to push that button over and over all day long…but I can’t.

When my BIG truck is full-up and I get close to the drop-off spot, there is a sweet, gooey smell everywhere. I make believe that it is candy cooking in a giant pot, but that doesn’t always work. Sometimes—like when it’s really hot outside—it makes me want to puke my guts out. That’s when I breathe through my mouth. It  doesn’t taste as bad on my tongue as it smells in my nose.

My favorite part of the day is when I dump my load. I can get out of my BIG truck then, and search for toys and treasures. I will only get stuff if it’s not covered in globby chunks of kitty litter or poopy diapers.  Even if it is dry, I still have to do a good job cleaning it before I can take it home.

People throw away some pretty cool stuff in their trash cans.

Lotus Head from Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa
Lotus Head from Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa

 

One Simply Secret Truth

 

ULTRA Short – 135 Words – a dinner party where a secret may be revealed.

one simply secret truth

 

“I’m not going.”

“You have to go Lydia, this will probably be Donnie’s last Thanksgiving. I don’t know how long he will last now that he’s at stage four.”

“I know, but Sharon threatened that if I show my face, she’s going to tell everyone what I did. I can’t bear to see the look on his face once he knows the truth.”

“But you didn’t do anything wrong.”

“That doesn’t matter, in his eyes, it will be unforgivable.”

“If you let her keep you away, then she wins.”

“She’s won every battle between us since I was born. It won’t be anything new.”

“But Donnie…  Could it be possible that this is why he’s hanging on?”

Lydia paused, she had been so sure until a minute ago that her decision was the right one.

 

Wedding Interruptus

five minute ficiton

[reddit writing prompt]

Kaitlin is getting married to the man of her dreams. When the priest asks if there’s anyone who objects to this marriage, one person stands up. No one recognizes who it is, but Kate does, it’s herself from the future (20 years from now).

Kaitlyn could not believe what she was seeing! A woman wearing a dark dress with hair a faded version of her own was standing in the second row. She had risen slowly, with difficulty from her seat before the minister completed his sentence, “Does anyone object….”  Her hands and arms moved in quick motions….that only Kaitlyn recognised.

Her morning had begun with a knot in her gut that translated into frown lines between her brows and around her mouth. It was going to be difficult to look like a calm, serene, bride when she was worried about her former college roommate—a sweetheart but a scatterbrain—being late for the ceremony in which she is supposed sing and the caterer who called at 6 a.m. to say that they were having technical difficulties getting the main course for the reception meal. Could they make a substitution instead?

“Are you kidding!?” came Kate’s shrill response. “Thirty thousand dollars! You charged me in advance with a promise of being the best in the business and you’re calling on the morning of my wedding to say tell me that you can’t get the lobsters? Is it possible that you could have found this out yesterday… or last week? I’ll tell you this—I don’t care how you do it, but lobsters better be on those plates by 1:30 today or you’re going to have my lawyer to deal with.” She’d slammed down the phone and was about to begin a tirade when a warm hand came to rest on her shoulder. It ran down the length of her arm as another arm wound around her from behind pulling her back against the warm length of his chest.

The contact and his reassuring comment was like releasing a valve from a steam gauge. Angst and frustration flowed out of her like vapors into thin air as she snuggled into Stephen. He is worth it, she thought. He is worth every ounce of effort to make today perfect.  Our marriage will be great, our children will be great…and even our pets will be great. Although a tiny, superstitious part of her wondered if it was all too good to be true.

The bridal party arrived filling their quiet house with voices and laughter. The hair stylist and photographer came next. There was a constant flow of activity as everyone made their preparations. By the time they were at the church and putting the final touches on, Kate was making a concerted effort to not break down into tears. I can’t do this….I can’t go through with it. I am going to trip on my dress and fall in front of 700 guests!

 

photography by John Ryan Cordova from Philippines
photography by John Ryan Cordova from Philippines

 

It wasn’t until she stood at the end of that long isle and laid her eyes on Stephen, all drop-dead gorgeous, dressed his finest and wearing a broad smile,  that her fears vanished.  It was only the two of them now. Nothing else mattered. She glided down the red carpet, without a hitch, knowing that her happily-ever-after awaited at the end.  He took her hand in his; she looked up at him, glowing with confidence.

The ceremony droned on. Kaitlyn wasn’t really paying attention to the words until, “Does anyone object…”  A collective gasp from the crowd traveled through the building like a wave. Stephen and Kaitlyn turned to see what had happened.

Stephen felt Kaitlyn’s hand turn ice cold. Her face lost all traces of color. “Who is that Katie? I’ve never seen her before.”

But Kate had no words, her eyes were locked on the woman. She was having trouble making sense of what she was seeing. If her identical twin had lived and had gotten…old, Kate would have thought that that was who she was seeing; they had a invented a silent hand and body language between them so they could communicate without anyone else knowing what they were saying.

The woman was spelling something out, but Kate wasn’t grasping the complete words.Kate was trembling like a leaf. Stephen, worried that she would topple, wrapped a strong arm around his bride, “Should we get someone to escort her out?” he asked softly.

“No,” Kate shook her head, “don’t touch her.” She failed to notice that nervous conversation had broken out among the congregation. Kate’s eyes never left the woman. I am you, the hand movements said. Kate looked closer. Her hands look like mine, the nose is right, the hair….  Kate also saw baggy deep, dark circles under the woman’s eyes, sickly yellow skin and a too thin frame. As the knowledge hit her,  Kate’s hands clutched the front of Stephen’s suit to keep herself upright.

“Kate!” Stephen called out in confusion, his arms tightening around her like fierce bands; his knees bent slightly as he supported her weight.

If I were given the choice, I would not do it again, the fifty-something Kate was saying. Tears gathered at the edges of her eyes. The children are in terrible pain. They moan even in their sleep. They scream if they are touched. Every breath is a struggle.  I wish death would hurry up and take them.  I have given everything I had…I am already dead inside. You must stop it before it begins. That choice is right here, right now, with you. 

Stephen could not maintain his grip. He guided them down to the floor. Kaitlyn’s dress billowed out around them like the petals of a white rose.

Her head finally snapped around in his direction, “Stephen we have to talk to her!” Kate cried. But when he stood up to find the woman she was gone.

It was only then that Kaitlyn began to recall the words that her older self had been spelling.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Long, Flowing Red Hair in a Watery Vortex

five minute ficiton[reddit writing prompt]

 A bald man who lives completely alone suddenly finds hair clogging his shower drain.

The alarm sounded incessantly in the dark room. From a sleep drunken fog, Manny blindly thrust his arm, like a dead piece of wood, toward the sound. Batting haphazardly until he found the snooze button, he yawned and settled back down. As a treat for today, he’d take a few extra winks.

More alert by the time the alarm went off a second time, he scratched the new stubble that populated his jaw and chin and rubbed at the sand-like crust along the edges of his eyes. With a groan, he swung his legs over the side of the bed while peeling back the still, warm covers. His free hand made contact with his forehead, smoothly gliding over the bare brown skin of his scalp and down the back of his neck.

Pushing his arms into his terrycloth robe and sliding bare feet into lamb’s wool slippers, the idea of getting some sort of pet drifted through his mind. “A pet would help alleviate your feelings of disconnection and isolation,” his psychologist had recommended. I wouldn’t want to deal with anything that would make a mess or something that needed to eat live food. Manny thought, frowning, as he trundled toward the kitchen.

With his freshly washed coffee mug drying in the dish drainer and his morning paper – folded three times – placed in the recycle bin, Manny walked into his bathroom. He reached in the shower to start the hot water running, then went into his closet room…an entire second bedroom had been converted for this purpose. His eyes scanned the rows of shoes on their respective shelves, his dress shirts, arranged according to color and his slacks and sports jackets hanging in uniform lines.

On the few occasions that he’d had a date, he would bring the woman into this room as a litmus test; if her eyes glazed over and she made some asinine comment about how her clothes would look in a space like this, he knew she wasn’t the right one for him.

In spite of what his psychologist or his boss said, Manny felt content and happy with his solitary life. At least in his home, he could keep everything exactly as he liked it. Nothing changed and there were no surprises.

The bathroom was hot and steamy by the time he returned. As Manny reached for the shower door, he failed to notice the scrawled message that appeared in the mirror. A billow of warm wet air enveloped him as he entered the enclosed space. With eyes shut tight, he turned his face into the spray, letting it cascade over him. Swiping the water from his eyes, he looked down.

creative commons attribution: Robert Frola
creative commons attribution: Robert Frola

That’s when he saw it and froze. A swirl of long red hair, undulated at the center of a watery vortex. He let out a shrill scream as he leaped from the shower – almost slipping on the tile floor in his haste. His mind raced and his hands trembled as his thoughts worked furiously to comprehend what he’d seen. His own hair was black…well…..black with a few gray ones.

“Where did that come from? And how did it get there?!” he whispered hoarsely.

He was reaching for a dry towel, still muttering to himself when he saw the writing on the mirror, ‘Happy 39th Birthday Son.’ What’s she done NOW? he wondered. Considerably calmer, he realized that his mother must have had something to do with what was going on in his shower.

He’d only taken a third scrape from the foamy Santa Claus beard covering the lower half of his face when he heard her call from the front room.

“Manny Honey! Youuuu Hooo! Come see what I have for you!”

A bark was followed by the sound of nails and multiple footfalls trotting down his hallway.

Exasperated, Manny turned away from the sink and his shaving in time to see a beautiful, long haired Irish Setter bounding through the bathroom door to greet him jubilantly.

 

Lēf Man’s Fatal Flaw

 five minute ficiton[reddit writing prompt]
You have a futuristic disability (which is a side effect of constant teleportation due to your job as a traveling salesman) that causes you to randomly teleport to a different location on earth. One day, it teleports you to-

As soon as the pungent smells hit me, I know that this is it.  I will be ejected from my job, my living quarters,  my social pod  and out of Sector Five…which means that Felecia will never know that I had feelings for her.

People don’t take kindly to a random person materializing in their off-the-grid spaces. Privacy laws have been created—lots of them—that protect the few remaining Dark Sectors. And here I am with all of my internal and external recording devices  set to ‘on’ standing in a store room of an….I inhale deeply to identify the scents; cardamom, black pepper and turmeric…. Indian style food preparation establishment.

A cold sweat breaks out over my entire body. Red warning signals flash in the upper left quadrant of my vision indicating that my heart is pounding at 150 beats per minute.  I know that more of those signals will be popping up when I move even one more muscle.  Security robots will detect my inadvertent trespass…and respond.

It is a good thing – Felecia never realizing my tender emotions toward her – if we’d ever gotten as far as filing an Intention Application, my genetic weakness would have been detected…with the same results. It could have caused her pain.

I wouldn’t change a thing about my life. I’ve experienced human habitats all over the Milky Way. Each one memorable. My work has been for the greater good –  selling the best quality clean air  possible.

Reaching into my pocket, I pull out a thin, green object – more red signals appear in my peripheral vision – an engineered leaf that produces oxygen in unheard of quantities. It is ultra-efficient, reliable and recyclable.  Like I used to be—until my teleportation disease became uncontrollable and obvious.Lēf Man's Fatal Flaw

My recyclability might be close to 90% if they can eliminate the genetic flaw.

I look around at the shelves of food. The heady aromas and my imaginings of the graceful, scholarly Felecia are good way to end.  Maybe the new and improved version of me will remember the spices.

I bring the Lēf up to my nose and inhale deeply. I smile slowly as I hear the sound of the security robots approaching.

Now and Then … the Tale of the Scar

five minute ficiton

[a reddit writing prompt]
A birthmark on your body is a result of you dying violently in a previous life. How did you die? 

They pulled back at the same time. Lips puckered, hearts racing and eyes wide with surprise and desire.

He was the first to speak as he picked up a dreadlock that had fallen over her face. Rolling the dense length of hair between his fingers, he gently tucked it back into the nest that surrounded her head, “Lulu,” he laughed uneasily, “I’m sorry — I wasn’t planning that.”

Now

When Mark made a move to step away, Lulu held him in place. Humor sparkled in her deep brown eyes, “I’m surprised Mark. I thought we were just friends…but now…” She reached up to trace the red, fern-like pattern that marked his pale skin from his ear down his neck.

As he leaned back in to capture her mouth, Lulu pulled him to her forcefully. A flash of passion flared between them. Their hands clutched at one another. She moaned wordlessly.

As an inner voice of constraint grew more insistent, Mark squeezed his eyes shut and forced himself pull away. They took a moment to let their labored breathing return to normal.

Lulu placed a hand on his cheek imploring him to look into her eyes, “I have missed you so much! I won’t let you go Mark! I can’t ever let you go….”

Mark’s eyebrows shot up. A shiver traveled down the length of his spine. “Why did you say that?”

“I don’t know.” Lulu smiled.

Three hundred and sixteen years earlier…

Rain pelted him as he ran through the night. Mud sucked at his leather boots. He ran down the narrow path. “Mary! Mary where are you?” he screamed.

Luke knew that she’d gone down to the river to wash clothes with some of the other women from town. lulu lukeLightening that lit up the dark sky was followed by a deafening crack and roll of thunder. The brief illumination revealed no signs of life, movement, or of his new wife.

They’d been married only three days earlier. Blissful days of joyful lovemaking filled his mind and heart. He couldn’t believe that she was finally his and he could love her whenever he wanted. He wished they were in their warm bed right now rather than sloshing through the wet. He would scold her for scaring him …once he found her. “Mary Darling! Can you hear me?” Another flash of light and rumble of thunder. The river finally came into view.

When he first went searching for her, asking about her here and there—her friends had told him how happy she was to be washing his clothes. Even as it started to rain, Mary had wanted to remain at the river so that she could finish her task.

“Mary!” he called out in relief as he spotted her struggling with a heavy basket. Another flash of light revealed her smile when she spotted him running toward her.

“Oh good! You can help me carry this,” her voice reached him faintly.

Luke released his breath in relief as he closed the distance between them. With a blinding flash of light that came and went faster than the human eye could track, his life path took a sharp, unexpected turn.

Mary stood frozen in place. “No!” he screamed with panic at the edges of his voice. Smoke or steam, he didn’t know which, rose up from around her hair.

Her eyes locked onto his as she began to topple.

“Noooo!” he yelled catching her in is arms, sinking down into the mud on his knees. Frantically he ran his hands over her, “Mary! Mary! Are you alright?”

A faint, raspy whisper escaped, “Lu….” before her body went limp.

“No! no ..no…no..no. This can’t be happening.” Mark repeated as he held her to him rocking back and forth.

She grew cold and stiff in his arms before he released her. Another flash of light illuminated his dead wife, her head rolled back, in his arms. An angry red, fern-like burn mark spread from her ear down her neck. “I won’t let you go Mary! I can’t ever let you go….”