Tag Archives: giveaways

Linking Around: The Holiday Edition!

What better thing to do on a lazy Saturday afternoon then doing some fun linking around (nope, I’m not out there battling other holiday shoppers – yet)? And it’s such holiday fun!

Holiday Card Exchange. Haley, at The Life (and Lies) of an Inanimate Flying Object is holding a Holiday Card swap. You fill out her form, and on the 10th she’ll send you an email with someone’s snail mail – you’ll get a surprise holiday card from someone, and you’ll get to send a surprise holiday card out. It’s a lovely idea – I’ve signed up!

Exchange cards with me! Speaking of which, I love sending and receiving holiday cards. If you’re a regular reader here, and would like to exchange holiday or Christmas cards with me, email me and we can exchange addresses!

Christmas on the iPhone. Are you an iPhone user? The AppventCalendar offers up an iPhone game a day up until December 22 – you only have 24 hours, though, to download that day’s game for free.

Handmade holiday giveway. The Handmade Holiday Gift Guide Giveaway: This is one amazing giveaway. A group of Etsy sellers have put together an incredible package of goodies from their various shops. Three winners will split the prize package. Last day to enter is January 6, and all you have to do is leave a comment telling “about one handmade gift that you are giving to someone this year. It doesn’t need to be handmade by you, but handmade by someone, not a big company.” Me? Ward and I are going to be trying our hand at food gifts this year – maybe even truffles!

And my own giveaway. Of course, there’s also my December giftaway. Enter now if you haven’t yet!

The Dewey Tree. Lisa, at OnlinePublicist, is hosting The Dewey Tree donation project. Lisa notes, “It’s a little bit The Giving Tree, a little bit Dewey, a little bit charity.” I’d love to participate, if I can find a Canadian charity that accepts book donations (our local library and all its branches doesn’t accept book donations, unfortunately). You can find a great list of places that accept book donations at the American Library Association’s list of book donation bookmarks at delicious.

Recycled Magazine Gift Bows. One of my favorite weekly links round-ups is Janel’s Jumblicious posts at Janel’s Jumble. It’s a great list of food and craft links and I always find something interesting there. In this Jumblicious post a while back, I discovered this great post on how to make a gift bow from a recycled magazine. I haven’t tried it yet, but I really hope I’ll be able to set an afternoon aside to have some fun with this. (It will also make me feel a tad better about my magazine addiction.)

What fun links have you discovered this week? Anything interesting for the holidays? I always love this time of year – people always post such fun holiday-related stuff!

BBAW: Me and My Reading Habits – And a Giveaway!

I thought this one would be tough for me. Everyone knows how much I like using five words where one word will do, ten words where two will do, twenty words where three will do (need more numerical examples or was that just perfect?).

This BBAW meme requires me to answer the following questions in as few words as possible – and be creative while I’m at it.

And guess what? I had a TON of fun doing this. Why? Because I CHEATED! I’ve snuck in a few extra words (well, okay – a WHOLE LOT of extra words) throughout this post. The extra words are here, on this page. You DON’T have to leave this post to read them.

PLUS there’s a little BBAW giveaway hidden here, too. Yes. On this page. You DON’T have to leave this page to read about the giveaway. Honest.


Let the games (and fun!) begin:

1. Do you snack while you read? If so, favorite reading snack?

Yes. Food. Any food.

2. Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you?

Pristine pages (except for food stains).

3. How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog-ears? Laying the book flat open?

Tried corner bookmarks:

CIMG1985Didn’t work. Still do this.

4. Fiction, Non-fiction, or both?

This and that.

5. Hard copy or audiobooks?

Yes and yes.

6. Are you a person who tends to read to the end of chapters, or are you able to put a book down at any point?

Read to the finish. Sometimes.

7. If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop to look it up right away?

Like this? I wish.

8. What are you currently reading?

This, this and this.

9. What is the last book you bought?


10. Are you the type of person that only reads one book at a time or can you read more than one at a time?

Multiple books.

11. Do you have a favorite time of day and/or place to read?

Anytime. Anywhere.

12. Do you prefer series books or stand alone books?

Yes and yes.

13. Is there a specific book or author that you find yourself recommending over and over?

Yes. Several, in fact.

14. How do you organize your books? (By genre, title, author’s last name, etc.?)

Organize? What do you mean, organize?


Did you figure it out? Here’s a clue: put your mouse over any of my links but don’t click.

And the giveaway? Put your mouse over the links in my answer to the “bookmark or dog-ear” question, but don’t click – you might have to move your mouse off the link and put it back on again to finish reading.

It’s just a little giveaway – and it’s only for as long as my mailing budget holds out. (Click here to email me your info). BUT you’ll also get added to my holiday card mailing list. AND my RAK list – I’m always on the lookout for little book-related things or slim paperbacks that can be easily slipped into an envelope and mailed out to names on my RAK list!

[TSS] Big List of Book Giveaways – June 14 Edition

Update: I will not be posting the Giveaways List during my vacation – I’d still love to hear from you about any giveaways you’re holding, but the next list will be posted on July 19, so I can only include giveaways ending on or after July 19.

Welcome to the Big List of Book Giveaways, which I post every Sunday in conjunction with The Sunday Salon. Knock wood, but I think I’ve solved the template problem (it turned out to be a conflict with a plugin, and now – hopefully – all is remedied). So I’m able to post this as one truly big list, with both fiction and non-fiction giveaways, instead of having to divide it up into two to three smaller lists!

As always, the giveaways are sorted into genres so that you can see what giveaways correspond to your reading interests. I have included eligibility restrictions, if I see any – sometimes I miss them though, so make sure when entering a giveaway that any restrictions stated won’t rule out your entry.

Even though this list looks large (because fiction and non-fiction are now combined), it’s actually shorter than last week’s. I’m not sure why – either I missed some, or there were just less giveaways out there. Still, enjoy, and good luck!

If you’re on Twitter, I’d love it if you could help spread the word by tweeting about this giveaways list post. There’s a little “TwitThis” button at the end of this post which hopefully should do the trick.

Note: all links open up in a new tab or window, depending on your browser. If I’ve missed your giveaway and it ends between now and next Sunday (June 21), please feel free to post details of your giveaway in the comments to this post, with a link to your giveaway URL (URLs are auto-linked; more than two links, though, will get your comment pegged as spam, so you might want to make separate comments if you have multiple giveaways.) If your giveaway won’t end until after June 21, please let me know and I’ll include your giveaway in my next giveaways round-up post (which will be posted on Sunday, June 21). A huge thanks to everyone who emailed me this past week about their giveaways.


The Cabinet of Curiosities, by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, at J. Kaye’s Book Blog (ends June 26, US and Canada)

One Deadly Sin, by Annie Solomon, at A Journey of Books (ends June 26, US and Canada)

The Night Gardener, by George Pelecanos, at Carol’s Notebook (ends June 20, US and Canada)

Killer Keepsakes, by Jane K. Cleland or Death Books a Return by Marion Moore Hill, at Lesa’s Book Critiques (ends June 18, US only)

Posed for Murder, by Meredith Cole, at Novel Journey (not sure of end date) Note: to enter, you actually have to leave a comment on this post, not the one announcing the giveaway.

Agent in Old Lace, by Tristi Pinkston, at Book Giveaways (ends June 16)

Triple Cross, by Mark T. Sullivan, at Wendy’s Minding Spot (ends June 21, US only)

The Ghostwriter, by Travis Thrasher, at Book Critiques (ends June 20, US and Canada)

The Night Gardener, by George Pelecanos, at Bellas Novella (ends June 22, US and Canada)

The Prosecution Rests, edited by Linda Fairstein, at True Crime Book Reviews (ends June 15, US and Canada)


The Host, by Stephanie Meyer, at Peeking Between the Pages (ends June 27, US and Canada)

Angel’s Choice, by Lauren Baratz-Logsted, at Shooting Stars Mag (ends June 29, worldwide)

The Awakening, by Kelley Armstrong, at The Brain Lair (ends June 17) *I love the name of this blog!

Coffeehouse Angel, by Suzanne Selfors, at The Book Resort (ends June 19, worldwide)

Blood Ties, by Tanya Huff, at Reading with a Bite (ends June 30)

The Sorcerers’ Plague, by David B. Coe, at David B. Coe (ends July 1)

The Host, by Stephenie Meyer, at Wendy’s Minding Spot (ends June 25, US and Canada)

Harry and the Pirates, by Brian Lumley, at Graeme’s Fantasy Book Review (ends June 21, US and Canada)

Warbreaker, by Brandon Sanderson, at Fyrefly Books (ends June 24, US and Canada)

Chick Lit/Romance

Secrets to Happiness, by Sarah Dunn, at Wendy’s Minding Spot (ends June 28, US and Canada)

Secrets to Happiness, by Sarah Dunn, at Savvy, Verse & Wit (ends June 18, US and Canada)

A Summer Affair, by Elin Hilderbrand, at Peeking Between the Pages (ends June 30, US and Canada)

Secrets to Happiness, by Sarah Dunn, at Peeking Between the Pages (ends June 30, US and Canada)

Secrets to Happiness, by Sarah Dunn, at Linus’s Blanket (ends June 15, US and Canada)

Historical/Historical Romance

To Beguile a Beast, by Elizabeth Hoyt, at Medieval Bookworm (ends June 29, US and Canada)

Where The Rain Is Made, by K. Celeste Bryan, at Vampire Wire (ends June 14 – today!)

Bound by Your Touch, by Meredith Duran, at The Book Binge (ends June 18)

Stand the Storm, by Breena Clarke, at Peeking Between the Pages (ends June 30, US and Canada)


Breathe My Name, by R.A. Nelson, Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev and Emily the Strange: The Lost Days by Rob Reger and Buzz Parker, at Carrie’s YA Bookshelf (ends June 30)

Along for the Ride, by Sarah Dessen, at Freebies 4 Mom (ends June 15, US only)

Eyes Like Stars, by Lisa Mantchev, at Reviewer X (not sure of end date, US only)

Fire, by Kristin Cashore, at Reviewer X (ends June 26, worldwide) Note: eligibility is restricted – read post for full details.

Children’s Books/Picture Books

Set of four Dr. Seuss books, at Giggles & Sugar Kisses (ends July 10, US only)

Chicky Chicky Chook Chook, by Cathy MacLennan, at The Mommy Files (ends June 24, US only)

Penny and Rio: The Mysterious Backyard Meeting, at Book Giveaways (ends June 16)

Say Daddy!, by Michael Shoulders and illustrated by Teri Weidner and My Daddy Likes to Say by Denise Brennan-Nelson, illustrated by Jane Monroe Donovan, at A Patchwork of Books (ends June 14)

It’s the Best Day Ever, Dad!, by Brooke Shields, at aPARENTLYspeaking (not sure of end date)

Short Story Collections/Anthologies/Essay Collections

Transparency: Stories, by Frances Hwang, at Half Deserted Streets (ends June 14)

The Book of Dads: Essays on the Joys, Perils, and Humiliations of Fatherhood, edited by Ben George, at Single Mommyhood (ends June 21)

Christian Fiction

Beyond this Moment, by Tamera Alexander, at Edgy Inspirational Author Blog (ends June 14 – today!)

All Other Fiction

The Blue Notebook, by James Levine, at A Reader’s Respite (ends July 7) Note: and if you don’t win this one, consider buying it if you see it as you’re browsing through your bookstore: “100% of the proceeds from U.S. sales of The Blue Notebook will be donated to the International and National Centers for Missing and Exploited Children.”

Testimony, by Anita Shreve, at A Journey of Books (ends June 26, US and Canada)

A Thousand Veils, by D. J. Murphy, at caribousmom (ends June 20, worldwide)

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, by Lisa See, Peony in Love by Lisa See, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon and Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen (one book per winner), at books, the universe and everyhing (ends June 19, worldwide)

Summer Beach Bag Books Giveaway at Old Musty Books (ends July 3, US and Canada)

Selection of books, at All Books Review’s June giveaway

Selection of books, at KellyVision (ends June 19, US only)

Book of your choice, at Reading in Appalachia (ends June 30, worldwide)

Selection of books, for Kathy’s (Bermudaonion’s) One-Year-Blogiversary! (ends June 22, US and Canada)

Shelter Me, by Juliette Fay, at Sweeps 4 Bloggers (ends June 21, US only)


The Vixen Diaries (audiobook), by Karrine Steffans, at J. Kaye’s Book Blog (ends June 26, US and Canada)

Perfection, by Julie Metz, at Luxury Reading (ends June 16, US and Canada)

Not Becoming My Mother, by Ruth Reichl, at Family Friendly Food (ends July 4, US and Canada)


Patchwork Style, at Dreadlock Girl (ends June 22, worldwide)

Passion for Life, by Stephen Silver, at Stephen Silver (ends June 29)

Ad Boy: Vintage Advertising with Character, by Warren Dotz, at Ephemera (ends June 29)

Cookbooks/Food-Related Books

America’s Best BBQ: 100 Recipes from America’s Best Smokehouses, Pits, Shacks, Rib Joints, Roadhouses, and Restaurants, by Ardie A. Davis and Paul Kirk, at Apron Memories (ends June 21)

Planet Cake, by Paris Cutler, at Sweetopia (ends June 16)

Rawvolution, by Matt Amsden, at Chaucerian Girl (ends June 30)

Dana’s Top Ten Table, by Dana McCaule, at Christie’s Corner (ends June 15)

Martha’s Stewart’s Cupcakes, by Martha Stewart, at Hoosier Homemade (ends June 15)

The Diet Survivor’s Handbook, by Judith Matz and Ellen Frankel, at Coupon Queens of Laurel Run (ends June 14 – today!, US only)

Dinner on Ice, by Jenny Stanger, at Fabulous Fun Finds (ends June 19)


Grads: Take Charge of Your First Year After College, by Kathryn Marion, at Total Candor (not sure of end date)

The Richest Man in the World (audiobook), by Randall Jones, at J. Kaye’s Book Blog (ends June 26, US and Canada)

The Skinny on Credit Cards, by Jim Randel, at Bargain Briana (ends June 19)


Horse Soldiers, by Doug Stanton, at Starpulse (ends June 28, US only)


Obama’s Blackberry, by Kasper Hauser, at Chocolate and Croissants (ends July 4, US and Canada)

Obama’s Blackberry, by Kasper Hauser, at Reading with Monie (ends June 15, US and Canada)

I Hate People!, by Marc Hershon and Jonathan Littman, at Vivian Deliz’s Blog (ends July 12, US and Canada)

Obama’s Blackberry, by Kasper Hauser, at Reading with Monie (ends June 15, US and Canada)


If your kid eats this book, by Lara Zibners, at Book Giveaways (ends June 16, US and Canada)

Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Twins: A Step-by-Step Program for Sleep-training Your Multiples, by Marc Weissbluth, and Chicken Soup for the Soul: Twins and More, by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen and Susan Heim, at I’m Living Proof That God Has a Sense of Humor (ends June 16)

I Was a Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids, by Trisha Ashworth & Amy Noble, at But Mommy (ends June 22, US only)

You’d Be So Pretty If… , by Dara Chadwick, at 5 Resolutions (ends June 25, US only)


Coursing Around, by Debbie Tougas, at IE Mommy (ends June 16, US only)

The Nonrunner’s Marathon Guide for Women, by Dawn Dais, at I Run Because I Can (ends June 19, US only)

The End of Overeating, by David A. Kessler, at Living Healthy in the Real World (ends June 18, US and Canada) Note: post also has links to two other giveaways of this same book

Children’s Non-Fiction

A Visit to the Farmer’s Market, and Vegetable Match-up cards, at IE Mommy (ends June 18, US only)

Learn the States and Postal Abbreviations (e-book), by Joy Miller, at Homeschool Blogger (ends June 15)

Why? by Lila Prap, at Curious and Creative Kids (ends June 26)

All Other Non-Fiction

Dads and Grads giveaway, at A Sea of Books (ends June 27, US and Canada) Note: some fiction titles included

Bobbi Brown’s Makeup Manual, by Bobbi Brown, at Book Giveaways (ends June 19, US and Canada)

Literary Lust: The Sexiest Moments in Classic Fiction, by Stella Hyde, at Virginie Says (ends July 20)

One Good Turn, at DogEar Diary (ends June 16)

Kitchen Ideas that Work, by Beth Veillette, at Home Digz (ends June 30)

Dancing In the Eye of Transformation: 10 Keys to Creative Consciousness, by Sylvia Brallier, at Sweeps 4 Bloggers (ends June 15, US only)

Super Natural Home, by Beth Greer, at Ec0nomical Mom (ends June 18)

Miscellaneous Book-related Giveaways

11 Amazon gift certificates, at Nadine Dajani (ends June 30)

Lovely Bookish Surprises Today!

I’m so excited – it feels like my birthday today!

I just went to the library to pick up some more holds that had come in, and discovered The Language of Bees, by Laurie R. King, waiting for me!

I’m super-thrilled about this. I had been downright envious when I was over at Bookish Ruth’s the other day and discovered that the book has just been released (and lucky Ruth was already curling up with her own copy of it).

And now it’s here, right here in my house!

And then, wandering around the library (because who ever pops into the library for “just a sec”, right?") I discovered The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, by Alan Bradley, in the “New in Books” display.

I had just blogged about adding this title to my TBR pile in my Friday Finds post this morning!

So I’m on a roll, right? Absolutely. Because when I got home from the library just now, I discovered an email from EcoSalon.com, letting me know that I’ve won this Buddha Bowl in their Mother’s Day giveaway. It’s kind of bookish news since I usually drink tea when I’m reading.

Now I’m off to curl up in a comfy corner and read …

TSS: Book Giveaways

Here are the great book giveaways I’ve discovered this past week; my goal is to unearth all sorts of different book giveaways, including not only those sponsored by the major publishers we book bloggers all know and love, but also giveaways sponsored by authors themselves as well as those by generous book bloggers offering up books from their own shelves. (Note: all links in this post will open in new windows/tabs, to make it more convenient for you to make your entries).

This giveaways round-up post is a regular feature here at MsBookish so if you’re holding a book giveaway, let me know and I’ll include your giveaway in my next giveaways round-up post.

Testimony, By Anita Shreve, at Readaholic (ends May 1, 2009, US and Canada)

Finding Grace, by Donna VanLiere, at mis(h)takes (ends April 27, 2009)

When the Whistle Blows, by Fran Cannon Slayton, at Brimful Curiosities (ends May 4, 2009, US only)

By the Book How To Take Care of MY Kids (ebook), by Melissa Bishop and Karen Berg, at Confessions of a Psychotic Housewife (ends April 24, 2009)

Edible Plants and Animals: Unusual Foods from Aardvark to Zamia, by A. D. Livingston and Helen Livingston, at Chile Chews (ends early May)

Treasure Hunt – A Book of Clues for Parties, by Nancy Kruse, at Jolly Mom (ends May 1, 2009, US only)

B as in Beauty, by Alberto Ferreras, at Debbie’s World of Books (ends May 1, 2009, US only)

Great Hawaii Book Escape, with books by Mia King, Jill Marie Landis, Jane Porter and Carol Snow, at Mia King (ends May 31, 2009, US only.)

Designing Your Dream Home, by Susan Lang, at Designing Your Dream Home (ends May 20, 2009)

Fine Art of Carving Lovespoons, by David Western, at Fine Woodworking at Taunton.com (ends April 27, 2009)

The Pocket Daring Book for Girls, by Miriam Peskowitz, at Crafters Guru (ends May 22, 2009)

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, by J.K. Rowling, at My Readable Feast (ends April 20, 2009, US only)

Collection of six poetry books, at Gather.com (ends April 30, 2009)

Made in the USA, by Billie Letts, at Readaholic (ends May 1, 2009, US and Canada)

Comfort Food , by Kate Jacobs, at Red Lady’s Reading Room (ends April 24, 2009, US and Canada)

Backyard Medicine, by Julie Bruton-Seal and Matthew Seal, at Prissy Green (ends April 28, 2009, US only)

The Lucky One, by Nicholas Sparks, at Moxie Mom (ends May 20, 2009)

Three books from Waterbrook Multnomah (Random House), at Books and Needlpoint (ends May 10, 2009, US only)

Caution: Children Should Come With Warning Labels, by Patti McKenna, at Barefoot Mommies (ends April 30, 2009)

Passion Unleashed, by Larissa Ione, at Yankee Romance Reviewers (ends May 1, 2009, US and Canada)

Dog on It: A Chet and Bernie Mystery, by Spencer Quinn, at Brimful Curiosities (ends April 27, 2009, US only)

All of Me by Lori Wilde, Passion Unleashed by Larissa Ione, and Stakes and Stilettos by Michele Rowen, at Chic Book Reviews (ends April 24, 2009)

Mother’s Day book giveaway event, at 5 Minutes for Books (ends April 30, US only)

Keeper of Light and Dust, by Natasha Mostert, at Peeking Between the Pages (ends April 25, 2009, US and Canada (1 copy) and International (1 copy))

Not So Big Remodeling, by Sarah Susanka, at My Design Secrets (ends April 22, 2009)

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Natural Remedies, at dkMommy Spot (ends April 23, 2009)

Dead Until Dark, by Charlaine Harris, at Maymay’s Memos (ends May 1, 2009)

Misplacing God (and finding Him again), by Joanne Heim, at Joyful Heart (ends April 27. 2009)

Penny and Rio, by Jennifer Swanson, at Merry Weather Book Blog (ends April 26, 2009)

Poem In Your Pocket: 200 Poems to Read and Carry., at Biblioaddict (ends April 23, 2009)

And don’t forget to check out J.Kaye’s blog – scroll down and you’ll see all her giveaways listed in the sidebar.

Author Interview: Barbara Levenson (and a Giveaway) Part 2

Due to a glitch in my blog theme, it turns out I can’t go over a certain word count per post, so I’ve had to post my interview with Barbara Levenson in two parts. Here is Part 2 of Barbara Levenson’s interview (and here is part 1 of the interview).

MB: You had a rich and rewarding career in another field before turning to writing. What words of advice would you have for the aspiring novelist who is currently making a living in another profession?

BL: Most authors have had other professions before turning to writing.  It is rare that a person decides he or she is going to support themselves by writing alone.  Work in another field enriches an author’s writing.  For one thing, it brings an understanding of people in real situations.  (I am not sure what profession prepares you to write about vampires or other paranormal subjects.  Maybe a strange boss who reminds one of a werewolf?)  My advice is to steal as much time as possible to sit down and write.  It doesn’t matter whether you write short stories or plays or descriptive paragraphs.  The more that you write, the more your writing improves.  Secondly, aspiring writers should go to as many conferences and seminars as possible.  Interaction with other authors is very helpful.  These gatherings offer the opportunity to learn about the industry of publishing.  Publishing has its own set of quirks.  Preparation for dealing with a whole new profession puts the new writer ahead of the game.  Thousands of people are writing books, most of which won’t get published.  By studying the industry and learning from other writers, chances are good that you will be published.  The best things to keep in mind are that there are no set rules for being a good writer except the rule that says, “You will not get discouraged.”

MB: Could you talk a bit about the events leading up to getting the publishing contract for Fatal February? I was thinking that must be such an exciting moment in an author’s life.

BL: No moment can be more exciting to an author than an actual contract to publish a book.  It means that someone out there likes your work enough to gamble on readers liking it too.  It validates the hours spent slaving over a hot computer.

I began attending writing classes, seminars and conferences when I began working on my novel.  I was fortunate enough to be admitted to the Kenyon College summer wrting institute where I first gained valuable information about the world of publishing.  Two years ago, I attended Sleuthfest, the Florida Chapter of Mystery Writers of America’s annual conference.  Agents and publishers attend this event and share knowledge regarding how to contact them and others, and how to write a query letter that stands out from the thousands publishers and agents receive.

At the luncheon at Sleuthfest, I was lucky to be seated at the table with the editor and president of Oceanview Publishing.  We had a great discussion and they told me when my book was finished to contact them.  In early 2008, Fatal February was ready for the push to sell.  I had heard horror stories from other authors about the amount of letters necessary before publishing became a reality; one author said it took 250 letters.  Undeterred, I started with six letter, one of which was to Oceanview Publishing.  Five of the six responded promptly.  Four of them asked for a few pages, or a few chapters.  Oceanview asked for the full manuscript.  A few weeks later I heard from the editor at Oceanview saying she was sold on Fatal February, but had to have others of their readers sign off on it as well.

The next month, February in fact, there was another Sleuthfest.  While there, I talked to an agent and shared with him what was happening.  He happened to be a lawyer, as well.  He gave me excellent advice.  “You don’t need an agent.  You are a lawyer and have access to other lawyers to look over any contract.”  He also confirmed my impression of Oceanview as being an excellent small publishing house.  The next month, Oceanview offered me a contract and by April, I was signed up.  The first thing I did was to sit down and cry.  All the tension was released, but little did I know that there would be brand new tensions.

New authors need to understand that the process of bringing a book to the bookstore is long, arduous and needs preparation.  Art work, website design, advanced reader copies, blurbs for the cover , advance reviews, and finally a launch date.  It is easier and quicker to have a baby!  I must give Oceanview Publishing a big thank you for turning out quality products and for being a guiding hand every step of the way.  I never felt alone or without resources to guide me.  Also, I will always attend Sleuthfest. It started the process for me.

Fatal February Giveaway

A huge thank you to Barbara for such an insightful interview. This is Barbara’s first stop on her book tour for Fatal February. Check out the link to see other stops on the tour, which includes several guest posts and reviews of the book.

You also have a chance to win a copy of Fatal February. It’s a little bit more complicated than most giveaways, as you need a PIN number. If you’re clicking through to the giveaway link (the form is at the bottom of the page) before noon tomorrow (February 18), use this number: 6126. If you’re a little bit late, don’t despair! You can still enter the giveaway – check out the most current tour stop for a valid PIN.

Author Interview: Barbara Levenson (and a Giveaway)

Fatal February is the first book in a new mystery series featuring criminal defense attorney Mary Magruder Katz and written by Barbara Levenson.

In addition to being a writer, Barbara is also a senior judge in the circuit court of Miami-Dade County; prior to her election to judgeship, Barbara was a criminal defense and civil rights litigator. Fatal February is her first book, but she has already finished her second Mary Magruder Katz mystery and is hard at work on the third book in the series!

I recently had the opportunity to interview Barbara, an interview I enjoyed very much -it was interesting learning more about Barbara’s process in writing Fatal February, and how she manages to balance her career as a judge and her writing career.

An Interview with Barbara Levenson

MB: You’ve mentioned that the idea for Mary Magruder Katz popped full-blown into your head. How did her stories come to you? And what motivated you to put pen to paper to capture these stories?

BL: I guess that Mary had been in my subconscious for a while.  I have mentored young women attorneys and new judges over the years.  Mary is a compilation of their thoughts and problems, along with my own experiences as a new litigator.  Additionally, Mary personifies the melting pot people who populate the Miami area.  Something wonderful is afoot here. We have learned to appreciate our differences or to overlook those we can’t appreciate.  I wanted to share these areas with readers, and to tell the real Miami story that isn’t about tourism.  It’s about day to day living.  It’s just done in fabulous weather.

MB: Carlos is such a charismatic and interesting (not to mention sexy!) character. How did you get the idea for his character? Did you know right away that he would be perfect for Mary?

BL: The idea for Carlos actually occurred to me at the car wash that I go to.  I was there one day when I saw this amazingly handsome guy.  We chatted while we indulged in the free popcorn.  He was very charming.  Then I observed him being absolutely rude to the attendants and cashier; two personalities.  He fit right into the stories swimming around in my brain.  I thought he was the one person who could keep up with Mary (at least most of the time).

MB: You’re currently working on the second Mary Magruder Katz novel. Could you describe your writing process? How do you start each writing day? Do you have any writing rituals that you follow?

BL: Actually, the second book is finished and will be published in June,2010.  My writing process is simple;  sit down in front of the computer and write. Writing is not a job to me.  I love to write and look forward to the time spent doing it.  I usually try to get rid of the mundane things in my life early in the day.  things like straightening out the house, brushing the dogs, or going to the grocery.  I answer e-mails and then close my brain to anything but writing.  This may mean two hours or six hours of pleasurable time writing.

MB: You’ve spent 32 years as a litigator and then a circuit court judge. How have your experiences enriched your writing career?

BL: Being a lawyer or a judge requires many of the same traits as being a writer. Lawyers and especially judges must be excellent listeners.  You must concentrate on hearing what a client is saying or what witnesses are presenting.  When an author creates a book, she must listen to the characters.  Are their voices authentic?  After listening closely to so many voices in courtrooms, it gives an author the ability to develop voices of characters that readers can relate to and feel the characters emotions. A litigator must be immersed in her case and must create the story of the case in language that a juror can readily understand.  This is the same job that an author has in creating the plot and characters for the reader.

MB: Your writing style in Fatal February is very engaging – the reader is immediately drawn into Mary’s world. Was the transition from the dryness of legal language to the richness of fiction difficult or did it come easily?

BL: I never subscribed to the theory that legal writing must be wordy and boring.  My writing style has always been to be brief and clear, so I didn’t have to cleanse my writing style.  I believe more lawyers are moving away from verbosity as they understand that when you want a judge to find in your favor, writing clearly and persuasively will win the day.

Due to a glitch in the blog template I’m using, I’ve just discovered I can’t exceed a certain word count per post. My interview with Barbara Levenson is therefore divided into two parts: please click here for Part 2, and information regarding the giveaway.

Surfing Saturday: Focus on Giveaways

This week I thought I’d focus on giveaways, because I seem to have come across a ton of them for some reason. Here’s the list of great book giveaways I’ve come across this week – I haven’t entered all of them, but there are definitely some for which I’m keeping my fingers (and toes) crossed!

(Note: while I don’t normally set my links to other book bloggers to open up in new windows, I’ve done so in this post, on the assumption that you might want to keep this page open so you can check out more of the giveaways.)

From Fantasy Book Critics:

Signed Copy of Drood plus Bonus Copy of Terror (ends Feb 10) – open only to North American residents

Set of T.A. Pratt’s Marla Mason novels (ends Feb 24) – open to anyone

Signed Set of Two Books by Mark Henry (ends Feb 24) – open to anyone

Set of Carrie Vaughn’s Kitty Norville novels (ends Mar 1) – open only to North American residents

Set of Three Books by Chris Roberson (ends Mar 2) – open to anyone

Set of Mike Carey’s Felix Castor Novels (ends Mar 5) – open only to those outside the U.S.

Signed copy of Eric Nylund’s Mortal Coils (ends Mar 3) – open only to North American residents

From She is Too Fond of Books: Do I Disturb the Universe memoir giveaway (ends Feb 13) – open to US and Canada

From Stone Soup: Book of Your Choice giveaway (ends around noon, Feb 8) – open to anyone

From Book Dads: Queen Vernita’s Visitors by Dawn Menge giveaway (ends Feb 15) – open to US and Canada

From Enroute to Life: The Terror, by Dan Simmons, giveaway (ends Feb 17) – open to US and Canada

From S. Krishna’s Books: Midori by Moonlight by Wendy Tokunaga giveaway (ends Feb 8) – open to US and Canada (Note: I want to win this one!!)

From Lesa’s Book Critiques: Eleven Love Titles from Hachette Group giveaway (ends Feb 14) – open to US and Canada

From Kathy at Bermudaonion: Five Copies of The Terror by Dan Simmons (ends Feb 17) – open to US and Canada

And there’s also my own giveaway of five copies of My Little Red Book, by Rachel Kauder Nalebuff, hosted at my personal/creativity blog – this one ends Feb 12, and is open to US and Canada.