Category Archives: Contests

Winner of The American Heiress

Congratulations Cynthia Wong!

You’ve won a copy of The American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin! I’ve sent an email to you. Please send back an email with your address to receive your prize! If for some reason you did not receive the email, simply comment below and I will resend it. Thank you so much for your comment and for your support of this website! A HUGE thanks to everyone who commented!

Book Giveaway + Learn How T.V. Producer, Daisy Goodwin, became an Author!

*Author and T. V. producer, Daisy Goodwin, is here to tell us all about her novel and how she became an author!

*Read on to enter for your chance to win a copy of her novel, The American Heiress!

 –Giveaway ends Nov. 13th.–

1) Tell me all about how you got started in TV?

I joined a training scheme at the BBC and got my first break making a documentary about Raymond Carver.

2) Wow! What’s a typical day like for you as a mother, author, and TV producer?

Hectic.  On a good day I wake up really early, do a couple of hours writing before sending my youngest daughter off to school and then heading to my office.  It doesn’t often work out like that though.  I usually end up writing at weekends. I am too shattered when I get back from work and I need to preserve my mental energy so I can help Lydia with her homework.

3) A great mom and a great writer! In fact, you’re an author to numerous poetry books. So I have to ask….what do you love the most about poetry? 

I love poetry for the way that it crystallises the emotions that we cannot put into words ourselves – Coleridge called poetry, ‘the right words in the right order’.  I can’t write poetry myself, but I find it invaluable when I am going through any kind of strong emotion.  It’s cheaper than therapy!

4) What steps did you have to take to get a book of poetry anthology published?

I actually made a tv programme called the Nation’s Favourite Poem and it was such a hit that we published an anthology of Britain’s 100 favourite poems, which has sold nearly a million copies .  After that I found it quite easy to get 101 Poems that Could Save Your Life published.

5) That’s amazing! So when did you decide to write your first book?

My first book was a memoir, Silver River, which has a long section set in nineteenth century Argentina.  I found writing about the past mush easier than writing about the present, so I decided to write a historical novel.

6) Tell me about your fabulous debut novel, The American Heiress

It is the story of Cora Cash, a rich beautiful American who marries into the British aristocracy at the end of the nineteenth century.  It is a story of American innocence and European wordliness, New World money and Old World tradition.

7) Where did you get the idea?

I was walking round Blenheim Palace and I saw a painting of Consuelo Vanderbilt who married the 9th Duke of Marlborough in 1895.  She was very beautiful and clearly very unhappy and I thought that is good territory for a novel.

8 ) What’s the main message at the heart of your novel?

Money distorts all human relationships, and it takes great humanity to adjust for this.  Cora starts the book thinking that her fortune can solve all problems but by the end she knows better.

9) Are you working on anything new? Can we have any hints?!

Working on a book about the Last Empress of Austria, Elizabeth and her passion for hunting in England where she meets a young cavalry officer called Bay Middleton….

10) I wish I could hear more! Last but not least, everyone knows how much writers love coffee…so I have to ask, what’s your favorite coffee drink?

It is very British of me but I drink masses of tea – English Breakfast in the morning, Earl Grey in the afternoon.  I am really fussy – will only drink loose leaf tea made in a tea pot.

If I need the extra jolt of coffee, I tend to order a flat white.

Thanks for stopping by The Write Stuff!

*To Enter for a chance to Win a Copy of The American Heiress:

Simply leave a comment answering the following bolded question!

Rules for this contest:

*You can enter anytime from right now up to Sunday (Nov. 13th). Those who comment will be entered to win. This giveaway is U.S. and Canada only–sorry! When you comment, you will be asked for your email address. This information will not be made public. It will only be used to contact the winner. You must provide your name.

For additional entries and chances to win:

*Subscribe to this blog!

*Become a member on Facebook: The Write Stuff

*Follow me on Twitter

*Twitter, Facebook, or Blog about the contest (you must provide a separate comment that you did this with a link).

Every name is assigned a random number. The more you enter, the more numbers are assigned to your name. The range of numbers is put into a Random Number Calculator and the winning number is chosen! I’ll announce the winners on Nov. 14th! Once contacted, the winners will have three days to email me their mailing addresses. If I do not receive a reply within the allotted time, I will pick another winner. Good luck!

*What are your plans for Thanksgiving?

For Example: Now that my husband and I are back in CO near family, we’ll probably be attending 2 Thanksgivings. Therefore, we won’t be cooking our feast this year! But I’m going to miss that dearly!

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Winner of Hassie Calhoun: A Las Vegas Novel of Innocence

Congratulations Nancye Davis!

You’ve won a copy of Hassie Calhoun: A Las Vegas Novel of Innocence by Pamela Cory! I’ve sent an email to you. Please send back an email with your address to receive your prize! If for some reason you did not receive the email, simply comment below and I will resend it. Thank you so much for your comment and for your support of this website! A HUGE thanks to everyone who commented!

Learn How Singer Pamela Cory Became an Author + Book Giveaway

*Author Pamela Cory is here to tell us all about her award-winning novel and how she went from a singer and model to a published author!

Her book just won the USA Best Books 2011 Finalist Award for Chick Lit/Women’s Lit!

*Read on to enter for your chance to win a copy of her novel, Hassie Calhoun: A Las Vegas Novel of Innocence! –Giveaway ends Nov. 6th.–

 1) You spent 15 years as a cabaret singer, model and voice coach. What was that like?

My first love from the time I was a small child was music.  When other kids were playing games and participating in sports, I was playing the piano and producing talent shows in the back yard.  As a young teen, I started studying voice and instantly knew that I wanted to be a singer.  Although classically trained with a degree in vocal performance, my preference was the musical theater stage and I took every opportunity I had to work in local and regional theater.  This eventually led to the Cabaret circuit in and around the southeast US.  Through a local talent agency, I did television commercials and modeling, while teaching piano and coaching voice students on the side.  These were great years of my life and, despite the struggle as a “starving artist”, I wouldn’t trade them for anything now.

2) You were pursuing your dreams! When did you decide to write your first book?

Life as a performer was glamorous and exciting until reality kicked in and I had to think seriously about a more financially lucrative career.  I took an opportunity to relocate to London for a few years and set out to build a business that dealt with sourcing interior furnishings for hotels.  This meant that I traveled around the world, met some amazing people and experienced many things that I never would have done without this foreign adventure.

What I haven’t mentioned so far is that I also always loved to write stories and was regularly told that I had a wonderful way with words.  I had never really considered writing a book until I moved from London to Dubai with my husband almost seven years ago. He is a very busy architect in the region and I found myself looking for a new artistic outlet. I took a couple of writing courses online, out of which the idea for a novel was born.  The rest, as they say, is history.

3) What a great history. So how did you go from writer to published author? 

First, I should say that I consider myself very lucky to have become a published author so quickly. While visiting London a few years ago, I had the great fortune to meet a man who would become my writing coach.  He is also a writer, editor and publisher, but told me from the get-go that working with him did not guarantee a publishing contract. We worked very hard for a couple of years and turned my original novel into a trilogy. He loved the first book and took it to his partners in the publishing company.  Thankfully, they agreed with him and Hassie Calhoun: A Las Vegas Novel of Innocence hit the market this past June.

4) How long did it take you to write your novel? 

From start to finish, I spent almost five years writing and readying the first book of the trilogy for publication.  This involved a lot of re-plotting and revising and revising some more.  I never set a deadline for finishing the manuscript because I wanted to take all the time that was required to get it is as good as it could be.  But I did set personal goals for producing a chapter or a section and concentrated to reach those goals.

In the beginning, I followed the general advice to set a schedule for writing so many hours a day, at the same time every day, etc.  This didn’t work for me.  I am much more successful at writing when I am most motivated by a character or particular part of the plot or am simply just feeling creative. Sometimes I wake up ready to tackle the computer. Other days, I need to do something else in the morning and sit down to write at the end of the day. I do try to write something every day but if I’m really not drawn to the computer, I take the day off and read.  (Remember, writers must read!)

5) That’s very true, do you have any more advice for aspiring writers?

The most important advice I’ve been given for becoming a writer is to follow my bliss.  I think this is ultimately the driving force and affords the greatest reward in the end.  If you have a good story that you think others would like to read, make it happen. But don’t be afraid to get help along the way.  As you know by now, I did not study or major in journalism or creative writing so my passion for story telling came from within. But I needed help to get it on paper and finding an objective, talented writing coach was the best thing I ever did.

8 ) Thank you for sharing that advice, I think it’s important to note that every writer needs help in some form! Without further ado, tell me all about your debut novel, Hassie Calhoun: A Las Vegas Novel of Innocence:

The trilogy follows fifty years of a woman’s life. This first book deals with the very young Hassie as she leaves her home in small town Texas (age 17) and sets out to become a singer in Las Vegas.  She is immediately thrown into a world that she is not equipped to handle and spends five years learning lessons about life, love and loss. The story is set in the old Sands Hotel where Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack performed in the Copa Room.  It is a very rich time in the entertainment era of Vegas but ultimately, her propensity for making bad decisions forces her away from the opportunity to fulfill her dream.

There are several messages and subtexts in this unusual take on a “coming of age” story.  Ultimately, I think a lot of women can relate to Hassie at some time in their lives – though it’s not always comfortable to think about or admit, which is why readers are oftentimes frustrated with her choices or decisions. But just like real life, those early experiences help make the person that we become. Hassie leaves this book with the clear opportunity to correct her mistakes.

9) It sounds very compelling! How is the book rooted in your own struggles?

I am often asked if Hassie’s story is really my story. No, it isn’t but I don’t think I could convey the depth of her love for singing and her desire to succeed without having experienced the joy of performing myself.  I didn’t push myself to achieve great things and in some ways, I may want her to succeed in a way that I didn’t. But mostly, the passion that follows her through the trilogy is genuine and firmly rooted in her love of the audience and her desire to bring joy through her music, whether it be as a singer or a songwriter.  There’s no Cinderella story here. The entertainment business is tough and she meets it head on.

10) Since your novel is Book One of a Trilogy. Do you have any hints as to what’s in store for the next novel in your series?

One of the reasons that we decided to turn the novel into a trilogy is that it is such a big story. I am currently working on a serious revision of the second book, which takes place in 1985, set in NYC and possibly London. Hassie is in her early forties and in a completely different place in her life both personally and professionally. There is plenty of retrospective detail to fill in the years that have passed, some great new characters and a couple of twists and turns that readers of the first book shouldn’t expect. Does she achieve success as a singer and does she grow and learn from her mistakes? You’ll have to read it to find out!

11) I can’t wait! Before we depart, we want to know: If you could meet any author (dead or alive) who would it be?

I have read (and continue to read) a lot of great authors and love it when a book has the sort of profound effect that keeps it in my psyche for days.  I recently read Colum McCann’s Let the Great World Spin, which had that kind of effect on me through his amazingly well drawn cast of characters.  Strong, enigmatic characters are the reason I read and write and, in that vein, I would say that I would most love to meet F Scott Fitzgerald.  He has created some of the greatest characters in fiction and I would particularly love to talk with him about Dick and Nicole Diver in Tender is the Night.  I’ve read that book several times and am still not sure that I get all that he intended.  Oh to have a smidgeon of his genius….

Love it! Thank you for stopping by The Write Stuff!

*To Enter for a Chance to Win a Copy of Hassie Calhoun: A Las Vegas Novel of Innocence:

Simply leave a comment answering the following bolded question!

Rules for this contest:

*You can enter anytime from right now up to Sunday (Nov. 6th). Those who comment will be entered to win. This giveaway is U.S. only–sorry! When you comment, you will be asked for your email address. This information will not be made public. It will only be used to contact the winner. You must provide your name.

For additional entries and chances to win:

*Subscribe to this blog!

*Become a member on Facebook: The Write Stuff

*Follow me on Twitter

*Twitter, Facebook, or Blog about the contest (you must provide a separate comment that you did this with a link).

Every name is assigned a random number. The more you enter, the more numbers are assigned to your name. The range of numbers is put into a Random Number Calculator and the winning number is chosen! I’ll announce the winners on Nov. 7th! Once contacted, the winners will have three days to email me their mailing addresses. If I do not receive a reply within the allotted time, I will pick another winner. Good luck!

*Are there any dreams or careers you would have liked to pursue (if you had the chance?)?

For Example: Acting. I’ve always thought I would have enjoyed theatre but I never had the guts to check it out!

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Winner of the Paris Picture!

Congratulations Ashley!

You’ve won a 5×7 print copy of a Paris Picture by Karen A. Chase! I’ve sent an email to you. Please send back an email with your preferred email address to receive your prize! If for some reason you did not receive the email, simply comment below and I will resend it. Thank you so much for your comment and for your support of this website! A HUGE thanks to everyone who commented!

Review of Bonjour 40: A Paris Travel Log + Picture Giveaway

*Read my review of Bonjour 40: A Paris Travel Log (40 years, 40 days, 40 seconds) and enter for have a chance to win a 5×7 print of one of Karen’s professional pictures of Paris from her book! 

There are a few key moments in our lives: learning how to drive, graduating from high-school, turning 21….and turning 30 and 40.

Karen A. Chase turned her 40th birthday into celebration. She spent 40 days in Paris, sampling the food, immersing herself in the culture, and living life to its fullest in the City of the Lights. While she was there, she chronicled her adventures and vivid photography into a diary-like memoir as she reflected on her journey.

As a reader, I feel in love with Bonjour 40. Here’s why:

*For starters, the book is a quick read but the content didn’t feel rushed at all. In fact, it’s the authors ability to be so succinct with her emotions and details that makes this book so fabulous. I felt as though I experienced her journey without feeling like it took me 40 days to read it.

*The big 4-0 can seem downright Halloween scary but what I loved about Karen’s approach is her confidence. Because it is her 40th birthday, her status that she’s worked hard to achieve allows her to indulge into a month-long adventure worthy of anyone’s bucket list. As I read, it made my own heart yearn to live my own dreams…but at the same time, I felt at ease. I can have a breath-taking adventure at any point in my life.

*Karen addresses everything one would expect to come up in a big-travel trip from panicking before setting off, struggling to speak and learn French, feeling the thrill of a whole new world just when you thought you knew it all, refreshing your brain with some much-needed “me” time, and still feeling a tad lonely here and there.

*Her pictures made the book. It put me there as a reader. I loved seeing the Eiffel Tower and couldn’t stop my mouth from watering by simply looking at all the decadent French foods.

*Anyone who loves to travel or even dreams of traveling will love this book. It is a must-read! Click here to purchase your copy or add it to your Xmas wish-list! 

To enter for have a chance to win a 5×7 print of one of Karen’s professional pictures of Paris from her book:

*Take a good look at the picture to the left, that’s the one you’ll be winning! Then, simply leave a comment answering the following bolded question!

Rules for this contest:

*You can enter anytime from right now up to Sunday (October 30th). Those who comment will be entered to win. This giveaway is U.S. only. When you comment, you will be asked for your email address. This information will not be made public. It will only be used to contact the winner. You must provide your name.

For additional entries and chances to win:

*Subscribe to this blog!

*Become a member on Facebook: The Write Stuff

*Follow me on Twitter

*Twitter, Facebook, or Blog about the contest (you must provide a separate comment that you did this with a link).

Every name is assigned a random number. The more you enter, the more numbers are assigned to your name. The range of numbers is put into a Random Number Calculator and the winning number is chosen! I’ll announce the winner on October 31st! Once contacted, the winner will have three days to email me their mailing addresses. If I do not receive a reply within the allotted time, I will pick another winner. Good luck!

*What’s an item on your bucket-list?

For Example: Visit Napa Valley in CA!

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Read an Excerpt from Bonjour 40: A Paris Travel Log!

*Come back tomorrow to read my review of Bonjour 40: A Paris Travel Log (40 years, 40 days, 40 seconds) and have a chance to win a 5×7 print of one of Karen’s professional pictures of Paris from her book! 

Until then, here is a fabulous excerpt you can read to learn more about Karen A. Chase’s adventure in Paris during the month of her 40th birthday:

Day 17 ~ May 7

“This is the first time in a couple of years that I’ve traveled alone, without Ted, family, or a friend. It has its advantages at times. I’ve been enjoying my time to write until the wee hours, sit in parks with a book, fiddle with samples in makeup stores, or contemplate my forty-year-old pores in the mirror. When I really feel I am alone (aside from at night in the bedroom) is while seeing new things and during meals in restaurants. I like to share in experiences, and so I find myself wanting to grab Ted’s arm and point at things. When I laughed at a comment on a museum tour, the woman next to me did not find it as funny as he would have. When I go out to eat, I do miss him more. When it comes to sharing food, Ted and I simply cannot help ourselves, and we’ll often stab at each other’s plates to experience twice as much. Alone though, waiters always look behind me to see whom I’m with before they seat me. “Juste moi,” I’ve come to say. Sometimes, it brings enough pity I get a great table, and extra nice service (or a flirtation or two). Once, it got me a crappy table next to the silverware and drink station, which resulted, literally, in clean knives being thrown over my head into the bin.”

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Winner of Sophie’s Turn

Congratulations Gina Borkowski!

You’ve won an Ebook copy of Sophie’s Turn by Nicky Wells! I’ve sent an email to you. Please send back an email with your preferred email address to receive your prize! If for some reason you did not receive the email, simply comment below and I will resend it. Thank you so much for your comment and for your support of this website! A HUGE thanks to everyone who commented!

Review of Sophie’s Turn + Ebook Giveaway!

*After reading my review of Sophie’s Turn, enter for your chance to win a copy of this fabulous novel written by author Nicky Wells!  

Contest runs up to Oct. 16th!

What would you do if you a rock star proposed to you?

Would you say yes…even if the man whom you’d been dating for two years finally proposed?

That’s exactly the kind of predicament that Sophie Penhalligan finds herself in.

Sure when she was 19, she drove halfway across the country to join her favorite rock band on their last gig…all b/c she had a huge cursh on the lead-singer/killer rockstar. But she was 19.

Now she’s not only older and 28-years-old, she’s fine-tuning her career as a journalist. She’s also been dating a man named Tim, happily, for two whole years. He’s going to pop the question any moment…at least that’s what she’s been hoping for–for some time now. But Tim is a serious guy who takes his time with such things like engagements and romance. Sophie just needs to be patient.

But that’s when Sophie runs right into heart-throb Dan, the rockstar, at the airport. Thanks to her job, Sophie gets the chance to travel with the band again. She jumps at the chance. Not that she’s expecting too much.

Except when she finds herself engaged surprisingly to Dan and finally to Tim. After all, it would have been rude to say no. 😀

But what is Sophie going to do about it? Which man should she choose? What’s the smarter choice? Which choice won’t she regret?

While this was Nicky Well’s first novel, it’s written so well it doesn’t show at all. In fact, this book is chick-lit at its very best. The whole book is centered around dating, choices, and the chances life throws your way. I loved the main character, Sophie. She was easy to relate to like a best friend who’s struggling with all the fears and doubts that come into play when dating. As a reader, my favorite part was seeing how Sophie grew as a person as the book unfolded.

While this book combines honesty and humor in the most comical way, it also packs quite an emotional punch when you least expect it. You’ll love this story and especially the ending when Sophie makes her choice…or does fate make it for her?

You’ll have to find out!

*To Enter for a chance to win an Ebook Copy of Sophie’s Turn:

Simply leave a comment answering the following bolded question!

Rules for this contest:

*You can enter anytime from right now up to Sunday (October 16th). Those who comment will be entered to win. This giveaway is international! When you comment, you will be asked for your email address. This information will not be made public. It will only be used to contact the winner. You must provide your name.

For additional entries and chances to win:

*Subscribe to this blog!

*Become a member on Facebook: The Write Stuff

*Follow me on Twitter

*Twitter, Facebook, or Blog about the contest (you must provide a separate comment that you did this with a link).

Every name is assigned a random number. The more you enter, the more numbers are assigned to your name. The range of numbers is put into a Random Number Calculator and the winning number is chosen! I’ll announce the winners on October 17th! Once contacted, the winners will have three days to email me their mailing addresses. If I do not receive a reply within the allotted time, I will pick another winner. Good luck!

*What’s your favorite rock-band or singer?

For Example: Katy Perry–she just has so much fun with each song and she wore a pink wig for a magazine cover recently. I wish I had the guts to have that much fun with fashion! “Hmmm, maybe I’ll have pink hair today?”

Winners of Confessions of a Call Center Gal

Congratulations Lisa, Connie, Jane Cook, Ioana, and Faith!

You’ve won an Ebook copy of Confessions of a Call Center Gal by Lisa Lim! I’ve sent an email to you. Please send back an email with your preferred email address to receive your prize! If for some reason you did not receive the email, simply comment below and I will resend it. Thank you so much for your comment and for your support of this website! A HUGE thanks to everyone who commented!