Valentine’s Day is for Book Lovers

For those who love to read, we give our hearts to books. Reading a book can be like going on a date. Sometimes, it’s an amazing experience, and you become obsessed and want more. Other times… not so much. And then there are those times when you’re not so sure. Maybe you’ll read the second book in the series and, when you do, that’s when you fall in love.

So, on this special day, celebrate the love of your life! Oh, and maybe go on a date if you really have to. Regardless, crack open a book and let your heart soar.

Need more books to love? Of course you do! The following books and promotions contain freebies along with some bargains. These are all limited time offers and some won’t last beyond February 15, 2018, so click now or forever hold your peace.

First, big news! Tor is rebooting their Ebook of the Month Club. Every month, they will give away a free book. This month it’s a biggie: Robert Jordan’s Eye of the World. All you have to do is sign up for their newsletter. This deal is done on February 15, 2018, so sign up now!

EyeOfTheWorld_FC_big

Don’t miss these limited time free ebooks!

FairyGuard   FairyPrince   Falls

Discovery   HiddenMagic   Blood

Free and bargain books in the following awesome promotions!

ValentinesDayPromo

Unbelievable

BigBookBundle


My monthly newsletter, Wandering Times, includes news, contests, deals and steals. SUBSCRIBE NOW and receive a free coloring book, Dragons: A Crossroads Coloring Book.

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My books, FAKEFOLLY, and HIDDEN are available on Amazon in ebook and paperback.

Fake_WP   folly_WP   HIDDEN_WP2

Cheap and Free Books to Hook

I’m an author, but I’m also an avid reader and I love discovering new authors and series through deals and promotions. A cheap or free first-in-series or prequel novella is a great, no-risk way to decide if you really like the story, characters, and the author’s style. If so, I’ll gladly pay more to keep reading.

Looking for something to get you hooked? Check out these great promos and free books.

These three fine reads are always free, so download and dig in.

BurningFate   graveyardRose   blackHellebore

Buyer be warned: all of the following promos end on January 31, 2018. They are loaded with awesome books, so don’t miss out!

UFSale

UltimateFantasy

YA

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My monthly newsletter, Wandering Times, includes news, contests, deals and steals. SUBSCRIBE NOW and receive a free coloring book, Dragons: A Crossroads Coloring Book.

DragonsCover

My books, FAKEFOLLY, and HIDDEN are available on Amazon in ebook and paperback.

Fake_WP   folly_WP   HIDDEN_WP2

Freebies and a Giveaway

I’ve got some great freebies to share with you on this fine Tuesday, along with an awesome paperback book giveaway. Everything listed is time-sensitive, so act now. You will not want to miss any of these!

If you love YA, you’re going to want to check out the great selection of free books offered here.
YA

Award winning YA Fantasy novel free today!
Spark

Get your post-apocalypse on with this pulse-pounding free book!
Pulse

Enter for the chance to win paperback copies of FOUR COMPLETED YA Paranormal Series!
completeSeries

My monthly newsletter, Wandering Times, includes news, contests, deals and steals. SUBSCRIBE NOW and receive a free coloring book, Dragons: A Crossroads Coloring Book.

DragonsCover

My books, FAKEFOLLY, and HIDDEN are available on Amazon in ebook and paperback.

Fake_WP   folly_WP   HIDDEN_WP2

Tuesday Steals and Deals

Today’s Steals and Deals includes not one, but two dragons attacking spaceships! Is it an allegory for the weather? Nope. It’s just that kind of Tuesday. Cold and gray, sit back and read kind of day. These dealios all have a time limit, so grab ’em now!

This ultimate giveaway has free Sci-Fi and Fantasy reads.
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There are steals and deals in this fantastical collection.
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Arcane reads all for $0.99 each, including my first in series, Fake.
ArtArcane

The entire Hybrid Trilogy is on sale to celebrate the release of the third book.
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My monthly newsletter, Wandering Times, includes news, contests, deals and steals. SUBSCRIBE NOW and receive a free coloring book, Dragons: A Crossroads Coloring Book.

DragonsCover

Fantasy Free Reads on Such a Winter’s Day

Karen Carpenter sang “Rainy days and Mondays always get me down.” But what about a cold, windy, gray Tuesday? Rather than feeling down, I’m going to catch up on my reading. The couch and my Kindle are beckoning. If you’re in the same lousy weather boat, check out these sci-fi and fantasy freebies to add to your reading list. These are all time-sensitive, so act now!

Lots of great free books in this giveaway.
FantasyLovers

Free with Kindle Unlimited, plus a contest open to all.
6QueensContest

All three of these awesome fantasy books are free today!
gravitate   Brush   alone

My monthly newsletter, Wandering Times, includes news, contests, deals and steals. SUBSCRIBE NOW and receive a free coloring book, Dragons: A Crossroads Coloring Book.

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Banned Books Week

I’m back from a long summer hiatus and ready to blog again. I thought I’d jump right in by commemorating a fabulous yet controversial event. Sept. 22 – 28, 2013 is Banned Books Week. This event puts the spotlight on banned and challenged books.

After checking out a few lists of banned and challenged books, I was amazed to see how many books I’ve enjoyed were banned. I was inspired to create the following gif for my Tumblr, Literary Gifs.

Banned Books Week

Some of the reasons these books were banned defies logic. For example, I cannot imagine anyone reading “Speak” would think the novel was soft porn or that the author was promoting promiscuity.  It’s the story of a rape victim who loses the ability to speak. I can only think that whoever accused “Speak” of these things either didn’t read the book or is all about victim blaming.

Other books are more problematic. “Mein Kampf” by Adolf Hitler is a commonly banned and challenged book. Obviously, his worldview is repugnant and his crimes against humanity are the very worst. I haven’t read the book nor do I want to. However, I cannot in good conscious tell anyone else not to read it. It is an historical document that can give the reader insight into the mind of a madman who came to power and was responsible for the murder of millions of people. We prevent the next Hitler by knowing all we can about the original one.

The lists of banned and challenged books have perennial favorites that have remained on the lists into the 21st century. These include “Of Mice and Men” by John Steinbeck, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou, and “Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger. What do these books have in common? To my mind, they speak truth to power and sometimes power cannot stand the truth.

Looking for some banned books to read? Check out these lists:

A number of classic books have been banned. The following books are available free online. You may be surprised by what you see below.

Stories for Girls

During lunch yesterday, my husband and I happened to get on the subject of female protagonists in literature. He had recently listened to a repeat of a Fresh Air interview with Meryl Streep. She spoke of how, growing up, she identified more with male protagonists than female ones because she hadn’t read books with strong female protagonists other than Nancy Drew.

This intrigued me, so I looked up the interview online.  Here are her remarks in context:

GROSS: So I want to quote something else you said, and this was in the Barnard speech that you gave in 2010, that “The hardest thing in the world is to persuade a straight male audience to identify with a woman character. It’s easier for women because we were brought up identifying with male characters in literature. It’s hard for straight boys to identify with Juliet or Wendy in “Peter Pan,” whereas girls identify with Romeo and with Peter Pan.” What led you to that conclusion?

STREEP: Well, it seems like true.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

GROSS: I will accept that as evidence.

STREEP: All right. All right. What led me to that? What led me to that was I have never – I mean I watch movies and I don’t care who is the protagonist, I feel what that guy is feeling. You know, if it’s Tom Cruise leaping over a building I, I want to make it, you know? And I’m going to, yes, I made it. And yeah, so I get that.

And I’ve grown up, well, partly because there weren’t great girls’ literature. Nancy Drew maybe. But there weren’t things. So there was Huck Finn and Spin and Marty. The boys’ characters were interesting and you lived through them when you’re watching it. You know, you’re not aware of it but you’re following the action of the film through the body of the protagonist.

This is pretty loaded stuff. Girls identify with boy protagonists because they are the action characters, particularly in the literature available when she grew up.

First, I have to say that as a girl, I never identified with Juliet, Romeo Wendy or Peter Pan. My favorite Shakespeare heroine was (and is) Beatrice from “Much Ado About Nothing.” As for Peter Pan, never read the book, but my favorite character in the play and the Disney movie was Tinker Bell. I can’t tell another person who they identified with, but did Ms. Streep really identify with Darcy rather than Lizzie when reading and/or watching “Pride and Prejudice”?

I wondered when Meryl Streep was born, so I Googled her and found her birthday, June 22, 1949. This means Ms. Streep had her formative reading years in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Were there really no books available at that time with strong girl protagonists aside from Nancy Drew? The answer is there were a number of book in print, probably available at the local library. These include:

  • “Island of the Blue Dolphins” by Scott O’Dell
  • “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” by Betty Smith
  • “Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott
  • “A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeleine L’Engle
  • “The Secret Garden” and “A Little Princess” by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • “Anne of Green Gables” by Lucy Maud Montgomery
  • “Beezus and Ramona” by Beverly Cleary

I don’t fault Ms. Streep if she didn’t read these books. It’s possible she was unaware of them. This points to our responsibility as adults. If we want to grow girls into strong, independent, adventurous women, then we need to provide role models, both real life and fictional characters. Books with these characters have been and continue to be written. We need to help the girls in our lives become aware of female heroes and provide them with the books of their stories and lives. If we want boys to see girls and women as heroic and protagonist-worthy, we need to provide them with these books as well.

Looking for children and young adult books with strong female protagonists? Check out this WordPress blog, Amelia Bloomer Project. From their About page:

Welcome to the Amelia Bloomer Project blog! We create an annual booklist of the best feminist books for young readers, ages birth through 18. We are part of the Feminist Task Force of the Social Responsibilities Round Table of the American Library Association!

The chosen books by year are listed here.

You can also check out this Goodreads list: Popular Strong Girl Characters Books.

The following books mentioned above are now in the public domain and can be downloaded for free. You can find them in a variety of formats on Manybooks.net

Cover image for   “Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott
This popular novel concerns the lives and loves of four sisters growing up during the American Civil War, and was based on Alcott’s own experiences as a child in Concord, Massachusetts.

Cover image for   “Anne of Green Gables” by Lucy Maud Montgomery
A skinny, red-haired, and freckled orphan girl is mistakenly sent to live with a shy, elderly bachelor and his spinster sister on the north shore of Canada’s Prince Edward Island; The elderly siblings had asked to adopt a young boy who could work on the family farm, but the imaginitive and rambunctious Anne Shirley arrives instead, and becomes the center of a series of entertaining adventures.

Cover image for   “The Secret Garden” by Frances Hodgson Burnett
When spoiled child Mary Lennox loses her family to a cholera outbreak, she moves to her uncle’s manor surrounded by a massive garden. Within, Mary discovers a whole new outlook on life thanks to a supportive household and the garden’s power of healing. (Description from Amazon.com)

Cover image for   “A Little Princess” by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Sara Crewe, a pupil at Miss Minchin’s London school, is left in poverty when her father dies, but is later rescued by a mysterious benefactor.

Harper Voyager Update for May

Hello, I’m back! Eurovision ended with a grand final competition on Saturday in Malmö, Sweden. Emmelie de Forest of Denmark won the top prize with her song “Only Teardrops.” Well done, Europe. This is a beautiful and haunting song, and Emmelie de Forest has a strong, impassioned voice. Take a look at her winning performance.

While I was busy (obsessed?) with Eurovision and my 12 Points To… blog, other things happened in the world. In particular, Harper Voyager came out with a new update. For those not in the know, back in October 2012 Harper Voyager opened a two week submission slot for unsolicited manuscripts. Those accepted would be published as part of a new digital imprint. If you are a speculative fiction author, this was a big deal.

Of course, they received thousands of submissions. They’ve been very good about keeping those authors updated via their website. Here is a quote from their latest update.

Another update on the digital submissions! As per the previous update post, we received 4500+ entries, and by early March we had responded to 2905 entries.

We have now reviewed all the submissions in our inbox and responded to 3595 submissions that were not right for our list. The remaining 948 are marked for further reading and consideration.

You can read the full update here.

I haven’t heard back yet, which means my novel “Fake” is one of those 948. This is very exciting and even flattering. Regardless of the outcome, I’m happy to be part of this group.

Submitting your manuscript is a nail chomping experience, but it is necessary if you want to be a professional writer. Even if you plan to go the indie route, it doesn’t hurt to submit a short story here and there. It gives you the experience of pulling together a professional manuscript. Rejections aren’t pleasant, but occasionally editors will include a nugget of invaluable critique.

If you are ready to submit a novel or short story, or even a piece of creative nonfiction, you really should subscribe to Cindi Myers’ Market News blog. It’s a (mostly) weekly blog that contains news on markets open to manuscript submission. Cindi has been doing this for years and she is a fabulous, generous person. While visiting her blog, you can check out her novels as well.

Hey readers, I haven’t forgotten about you. A tasty freebie by Neil Gaiman has been made available by HarperCollins. It can be downloaded for numerous eBook formats.

How to Talk to Girls at Parties By Neil Gaiman How to Talk to Girls at Parties by Neil Gaiman
A short story from New York Times bestselling author, Neil Gaiman. Plus an excerpt from his new novel, The Ocean at the End of the Lane.

Another Neil Gaiman freebie you can find online is his Sherlock Holmes/H.P. Lovecraft mash-up, A Study in Emerald. It is available in PDF format and is a short, fun read. Enjoy!

Food and Writing

What a person eats reveals a great deal about them. This is probably why the TV show “Iron Chef” used a quote by French epicurean Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, “Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are.”

Food is also an important indicator of place, time and culture. Therefore, writers can’t afford to be sloppy when it comes to literary diet. Readers are ready to cry foul when they spot a food-based blunder. For example, a friend recently complained about a scene in a novel where the main character, supposedly a New Orleans native, prepared coffee. Herself a native, she claimed no one in the Big Easy would make coffee that way.

I recently went through a delightful BBC TV series called “Supersizers.” During the course of each episode, the hosts, Giles Coren and Sue Perkins, would spend a week living and dining according to the customs of a given time period. Done with tongue-in-cheek humor, the hosts were nonetheless quite serious about being authentic, particularly in terms of cuisine.

I highly recommend this series to readers and writers of historical fiction. It’s easy to glamorize the past, but it’s the elements of realism that make a story come to life. One awful reality the Supersizers had to face was not drinking water for a week. Instead, they had to subsist on wine and beer. Imagine that. Now, write about it.

“Supersizers” is available on Hulu Plus with a paid subscription. You can also find several episodes on the Supersizers YouTube Channel.

Today on Amazon, I found a free-for-now book about First Century food. It looks really interesting, great for readers and writers interested in that time period.

  At Table with the Lord – Foods of the First Century by E. G. Lewis
Relying upon the Bible and extensive research for his popular Seeds of Christianity™ Series, E. G. Lewis presents an interesting and informative study on foods, cooking and day-to-day life in the early Christian era. All major food groups are covered with specific chapters on Spices & Herbs, Fruits & Nuts, Grains, Vegetables, Salad Greens, Fish & Fowl, Meat, Milk & Cheese, Sweets and Sweeteners, and even one on What They Didn’t Have. Includes bonus chapters on Aviculture, Apiculture, Ancient Beers and Wines, Olive Oil, Manna, the Gladiator’s Diet and lots of Recipes you can try at home.

Description provided by Amazon

Disclaimers and Disclosures

I found this book via Amazon’s Kindle eBooks store. Resources for free Kindle and other format eBooks are listed in my sidebar.

This freebie is a limited time offer and there is no guarantee it will still be free when you click on the link. Grab it sooner rather than later.

Travel Genre

I’m sorry to have neglected my blog for so long. I took a short trip that wound up being longer and involved business, pleasure and helping out a friend. With that in mind, I thought I’d write a bit about the travel genre.

Travel writing can be divided into two equal parts, travelogues and guidebooks.

A travelogue describes a person or persons’ adventures away from home. The best travelogues are written as creative nonfiction and read like a novel. This means the narrative should involve conflict and resolution as well as character development. The narrator who begins the journey should be changed by their experiences, just as one would expect from a character in a novel.

Examples of travelogues include “A Year in Provence,” “Into Thin Air,” “Eat, Pray, Love,” “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail,” and “A Walk Across America.”

Guidebooks are pretty self-explanatory.  They are the what-when-where-why-how of travel. A good guidebook can spare you a lot of confusion and loss of time, whether you’re traveling to a nearby city or a distant continent. Guidebooks point out the major and minor attractions, as well as clue the reader in on culture, currency, nightlife, restaurants and hotels. Note: no book will be completely accurate on a currency’s rate of exchange. The XE Currency Converter is a good web resource for getting the latest rate of exchange.

Popular guidebooks include “Lonely Planet,” “Rough Guides,” “Fodor’s” and “Frommer’s.”

I highly recommend watching the TV show, “Globe Trekker.” It’s half-travelogue and half-guidebook as different narrators takes you on personal journeys to lesser-known worldwide destinations. It’s the one show that really gives me the travel bug.

Below I’ve listed some travelogues and guidebooks that are free-for-now on Amazon. Happy trails!

  Europe Essentials by Lonely Planet
Planning a trip to Europe? Know before you go! Download a free copy of Lonely Planet’s Europe Essentials and receive helpful tips on packing and planning, etiquette advice, transportation information, themed itineraries, and much more. It’s the perfect complement to Lonely Planet’s guidebooks and a great starting point to a dream vacation.

  5 of USA’s Best Trips by Lonely Planet
Whether you’re a local looking for a long weekend escape, or a visitor looking to explore, Lonely Planet’s TRIPS series offers the best itineraries – and makes it easy to plan the perfect trip time and again.

  Ye Olde Britain: Best Historical Experiences by Lonely Planet
Explore Britain’s rich and varied history with this ultimate guide to the best historical things to do throughout England, Scotland and Wales; includes author- recommended reviews and practical information on a wide-range of interesting options from fascinating pre-historic sites such as Avebury to excellent modern museums such as the Museum of London. This guide has been created by Lonely Planet’s dedicated authors and local experts who immersed themselves in England, Scotland and Wales, finding the best historical experiences and sharing practical and honest advice.

  Down Under All Over by Barbara Brewster
Down Under All Over is more than a travelogue. It is an account of Barbara Brewster’s very personal journey—one which entices us to follow along in her footsteps through that fascinating land of Australia. Her account of the adventures she and her husband, Sid, shared invites one to crawl under the skin of the land and to know its colloquialisms and people. Brewster’s enthusiasm for the place is contagious.

  Too Fat for Europe by Joe Leibovich
A hilarious travelogue through Europe featuring the adventures of two comedians, who happen to be married. Follow their whirlwind tour of London, Paris and Rome…all in about a week.

Descriptions provided by Amazon

Disclaimers and Disclosures

I found these books via Amazon’s Kindle eBooks store. Resources for free Kindle and other format eBooks are listed in my sidebar.

These freebies are limited time offers, so there is no guarantee any of these books will still be free when you click on the links. Grab them sooner rather than later.