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16801. Spotlight and Giveaway–To Charm a Naughty Countess by Theresa Romain

To Charm a Naughty Countess by Theresa Romain

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Publishing Date: May 6, 2014

Back Cover:


Brilliant but rumored mad, Michael Layward, the impoverished Duke of Wyverne, has no success courting heiresses until widowed Lady Stratton takes up his cause–after first refusing his suit.


Caroline Graves, the popular Countess of Stratton, sits alone at the pinnacle of London society and has vowed never to remarry. When Michael–her counterpart in an old scandal–returns to town after a long absence, she finds herself as enthralled with him as ever. As she guides the anxiety-ridden duke through the trials of society, Caroline realizes that she’s lost her heart . But if she gives herself to the only man she’s ever loved, she’ll lose the hard-won independence she prizes above all.

Genre: Regency-set historical romance

Tone: Romantic, passionate, lighthearted

Heat Level: Love scenes with euphemisms

Elements/Tags: Pygmalion story, virgin hero, widowed heroine

Series, #: Matchmaker trilogy, book 2

Format: Mass market paperback, digital

Words: 87,000

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18480544-to-charm-a-naughty-countess?ac=1

Buy Links:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1tGcn39

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1f6SKgK

Books-a-Million: http://bit.ly/1jX1O3K

Book Depository: http://bit.ly/1hrmI9u

iBooks: http://bit.ly/1f6SX3q

Sourcebooks: http://bit.ly/1ii5oUu

Indiebound: http://bit.ly/RXWQ0m

Meet Author Theresa Romain:

Historical romance author Theresa Romain pursued an impractical education that allowed her to read everything she could get her hands on. She then worked for universities and libraries, where she got to read even more. Eventually she started writing, too. She lives with her family in the Midwest.

Social Media Links:

Website: http://theresaromain.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorTheresaRomain

Twitter: @TheresaRomain



“I wanted you tonight,” she admitted. “I’ve wanted you for a long time. But I can’t be the wife you need.”

“Of course you can.” He looked puzzled, as though she’d misunderstood a simple command. Pass the salt. Be my wife. “I just told you that you could. Besides this, you ought to marry me now that we’ve—well.”

“What, you think you’ve ruined me?” She dug her fingernails into her sheet as passionately as she’d clutched for his body a few minutes before.

“‘Ruined’ isn’t the right word, exactly.” Those damnable eyes of his. They were so sharp but missed so much.

“Perhaps eventually I shall hit upon the right word for something. Until then, I thank you for your concern for my reputation. Or honor. Or whatever the right word might be. But as you’re not the first man who has come to my bed since my widowhood, the responsibility for my ruination is not yours.”

He looked as stunned as if she had clouted him. His lips parted, then closed again.

Damnable lips. Damnable eyes. Damnable chin and nose. He was too handsome to be so callous. It was impossible to keep up an icy guard when the sight of his face, so austere and yet so vulnerable, always melted her.

She hadn’t cried since the death of her elderly husband, a kind man who had doted on her and bequeathed her the cachet and money to remake her life. She could cry now, though, for the death of another fancy as improbable as the clergyman’s daughter marrying an earl. She might admire Michael for his honor, his dedication to duty, but he could offer her no more than this—not with his clockwork heart.

To help him save his dukedom, he needed a woman much like himself, a business partner who signed her name to a marriage license as she would any other contract, and who would be content never to be loved. Caroline could not be that person. Her heart was not clockwork, but human enough for two; twice tried and deeply bruised. She could only be ashamed that she had given herself away so cheaply, when she’d meant never again to give away anything at all.

Giveaway Details:

Theresa is generously gifting all five of her books to one lucky commenter!

*Season for Temptation

*Season for Surrender

*Season for Scandal

*It Takes Two to Tangle

*To Charm a Naughty Countess

Open internationally. Please follow the Rafflecopter directions.

Tour Stops:


Important Additional Information:

Facebook Event:

May 6th ~ 8 – 10pm EST

More info at: http://events.litconnect.com/facebook-celebration-to-charm-a-naughty-countess-by-theresa-romain/

Twitter Party:

May 7th ~ 8 – 9pm EST


More info: http://events.litconnect.com/twitter-party-to-charm-a-naughty-countess-by-theresa-romain/

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The post Spotlight and Giveaway–To Charm a Naughty Countess by Theresa Romain appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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16802. Happy 2nd Anniversary to The Last Timekeepers series!

Anniversaries should be something we celebrate. Whether it’s for a wedding anniversary, a special event, or the anniversary of a book release people need to celebrate their milestones to see have far they’ve come in life. This upcoming May 18thmarks the second anniversary not only for the release of the first book in The Last Timekeepers time travel series, but also for me as a debut author.

It took me a long time to get a publishing contract—thirteen years to be exact. I know nowadays, writers can whip up a story in the morning, create cover art, format their book, then send it out into the bookstore universe before the sun sets. That’s not my style. I prefer to be with a publishing house. I guess it comes down to the spirit, support, and cooperation I receive from being part of a team of authors writing under a brand name. Plus I don’t have to go traipsing across the internet to find an appropriate editor, cover artist, and formatter. I have enough to do with book marketing, creating an author platform, and building my back list. Yes, there have been growing pains in this business, but I’m in for the long haul, and want to learn all that I can to become a better author for my readers.

To celebrate my second anniversary, my publisher Musa Publishingis having a 2 for 1 sale on my books. Buy one, get one free! What a deal! And it’s only happening at Musa Publishing beginning May 1st and ending May 19th at midnight. So if you haven’t picked up an ecopy of either the first book, The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, or the prequel, Legend of the Timekeepers, in this MG/YA series here’s your chance to save BIG!

Don’t have an ereader yet? No problem! There’s a Goodreads Giveaway going on for both my books during the same time period. All you have to do is enter for a chance to win a signed paperback! Bonus: I’m throwing in some signed trading cards too!

And please watch for the Children’s Book Week Kid Lit Giveaway Hop I’m participating in beginning May 12th and running until May 18th. I’m setting up a Rafflecopter chock full of prizes and book swag for this hop, so don’t forget to mark these dates on your calendars! Cheers and thank you for celebrating with me, and best of luck!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis by Sharon Ledwith

The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis

by Sharon Ledwith

Giveaway ends May 19, 2014.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Legend of the Timekeepers by Sharon Ledwith

Legend of the Timekeepers

by Sharon Ledwith

Giveaway ends May 19, 2014.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

0 Comments on Happy 2nd Anniversary to The Last Timekeepers series! as of 5/1/2014 3:35:00 AM
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16803. chatsworth countess

While I was in Derbyshire with Stuart and my parents, we went around Chatsworth, which is one of the biggest, grandest English country houses you can imagine. (You might also know it as Pemberley, in the BBC's Pride & Prejudice.) I managed to get a little bit ahead of the rest of the group at one point and draw this Van Dyck painting. (I added the fly; she looked a bit bored.)

Ah, here's the original, in the dining room.

Illustrator Cathy Brett is doing daily doodles of old masterpieces and spending a lot more time on them. (Her painting of Fragonard's The Swing took her about three hours.) Go over to her blog and have a peek, I think she's going to be posting a few more soon. (She's posted them on Twitter as @gingerdoodles.) Here's the original painting, for comparison.

And here are Stuart and me, pretending we are gentry and surveying our vast lands.
- Do you want to move in, dear?
-Imagine running this place. It would be, like, a zillion full-time jobs.

Ah, and here are the parents.

I think this was my favourite curiosity in the house, the devil's pram. It's serpent themed (which is the theme of the family crest) and about as macabre a childhood object as one could ever hope for. I bet it freaked out the nannies.

Okay, this library is a bit more enviable. I could spend some happy hours in there.

And here's a smaller study with cool tiles on the floor. But check out that white pointy thing by the fireplace. That's a narhwal tusk! It goes all the way to the floor. I had NO IDEA narwhal tusks were so long. There were two of them. Unicorns of the sea. I drew a confused-looking narwhal into Oliver and the Seawigs by mistake, and Philip Reeve changed the text so we wouldn't have to get rid of the narwhal.

We had a big walk around the grounds, then ended our visit as all English holiday visits end. Stay tuned for a couple more Derbyshire blog posts...

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16804. The First Ever Pretty Much World Famous Illustration Contest Finalists! - Come Vote!!

O   H     M Y     G   O  O   D  N   E S   S !!!
O   H     M  Y     G    O    N     E  S S

(Sorry!  I can't help jumping up and down!)

Do you know what time it is???

It's time to announce the finalists for

The First Ever Pretty-Much-World-Famous Illustration Contest!!!

But first I have to say that I was thrilled with what a great turn out we got for a first-ever contest!  I was hoping we'd get 10, and really hoping we'd get 20, so how completely wonderful that we got 35 entries!!!

And they were all so beautiful and creative and well done!

There were 8 fabulous stories for the illustrators to choose from - stories that won the March Madness Writing Contest last month.  Happily, every single story inspired at least 2 illustrators, so all the stories were represented.  The entries broke down as follows:

1. The Three Wiggly Worms Bluff by Wendy Greenley - 6 illustrations
2. Goldilockup by Mike Allegra - 5 illustrations
3. Goldibawks And The Three Pairs by Dawn Young - 2 illustrations
4. The Sweetie Witch by Pen Avey - 4 illustrations
5. The Princess And The Stinky Cheese by Lauri Myers - 9 illustrations
6. Mongoose's Holi Party by Darshana Khiani - 2 illustrations
7. The "Princess" And The Pete by Jennifer Caritas - 3 illustrations
8. The Jackrabbit Who Cried Gila Monster by Elliah Terry - 4 illustrations

So a very nice spread!

And now, a few words from our illustrious judges, award-winning author/illustrators Iza Trapani and Lisa Thiesing:

Iza said, "Thank you everyone for the wonderful entries!  Lisa and I enjoyed them and regret that we could only pick 6 finalists. You all did a great job.  Keep up the good work!"

Lisa said, "We were so impressed with everyone's enthusiasm and how much effort you all put in!"

I say, many thanks to our wonderful judges for donating their time and expertise to pore over all these entries, carefully weighing the merits of each until they could reach a consensus as to which ones should qualify for the finals.  Many thanks as well to all the very talented illustrators who took the time and care to produce such beautiful book covers for these original stories!  We have enjoyed your work so much, and it's been different and fun to experience a competition for illustration instead of writing!

Please consider each of the following finalists carefully and vote for the one you think you'd be most likely to pluck off a bookshelf :)  Remember that the contest rules specifically asked for art only.  Some artists chose to include the title/author/illustrator anyway, but covers which do not show title/author/illustrator should not be penalized in your judgment.

Although there's no real way to keep these anonymous, I will show the pictures only, no artist names for now (they will all be shown when I announce the winners on Monday May 5.)  I encourage you to share this post with your tribe - the more views these talented illustrators get the better - but I ask that you please not try to influence the vote by saying "Vote for #3!" or whatever.  Let's let these gorgeous book covers speak for themselves.  It's not supposed to be a contest about who has the most FB friends or whatnot.  Thank you all for playing fair.  Because many of the finalists are for the same stories, I have identified them with little notes in parentheses to help you remember which is which on the voting poll.

And now, without further ado, I am pleased to present the finalists!  Each cover is accompanied by a few words from the judges :)

#1.  Cover for The "Princess" And The Pete
Cover image for The "Princess" And The Pete
Judges comments:  This is a cool image and the illustrator has left plenty of space for a great type design.

# 2.  Cover image for Goldilockup (green border)

Judges comments:  The girl is sweet and nicely drawn.  The details and design elements were carefully thought out.

#3  Cover image for Goldilockup (black border)
Cover image for Goldilockup
Judges comments:  This illustration is very well done. It is a humorous, strong, eye-catching image.  It would be very appealing to a lot of young readers.

 #4.  Cover image for The Jackrabbit Who Cried Gila Monster (black background)

Judges comments:  The character is funny, quirky, interesting and we wonder what he's thinking. We would want to read this book. The whole design is great.

#5.  Cover image for The Jackrabbit Who Cried Gila Monster (3 beds)
Cover image for The Jackrabbit Who Cried Gila Monster
Judges comments: The bunny is cute, with an especially nice face. The picture makes us curious about the story. 

#6.  Cover image for Goldilockup (bears pointing thru bars)

Judges comments:  We thought this cover was a good drawing with a nice composition and colors. We could see it standing out on the Barnes & Noble book wall.

Ready, set, VOTE!

First Ever Illustration Contest 2014
Please vote for your favorite by Sunday May 4 at 5PM EDT!

Boy oh boy is it going to be hard to wait until Monday to find out how these finalists finish up!

Have a great weekend, everyone! :)

0 Comments on The First Ever Pretty Much World Famous Illustration Contest Finalists! - Come Vote!! as of 5/1/2014 5:49:00 AM
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I am surprised how often writing feels more like maths or a game of logic than anything free, creative and expansive.

I say this as one  who avoid all sums if at all possible,though i am not proud of that fact.

  Recently, I have begun wrangling with the Tome again.  
  Note: My use of “Tome” is not a comment on the to-be-book’s quality or importance. Tome is my name for how the heaviness and unwieldiness of the project feels. The Tome lurks there, on my mind’s shelf, weighed so heavily with all the hope, fear, faults, characters and complicated plot-lines that,  if it slipped, it could probably crush me. It did, combined with other factors, certainly halt me in my tracks for a good while.
However, the Tome is now out of hiding, and into the daylight of the real world. All the existing short and tricksy chapters are spread across a pasting table in my workroom, so I can observe the flow of the novel, and see what still needs to be done.

Planners, you are now totally welcome to roll about laughing on the floor, fling your stashes of post-it notes in the air, or aim paper arrows at your detailed wall charts here. Ha. Ha. And Ha.

Although I could write on – and how happy I am now to see how the ending could actually be done! -  this particular plot is at a stage where I need the structure to be very secure indeed. So, as well as dreaming and noting and playing with the ending and all that creative stuff,  I am toiling away, almost at SUMS!    

Or, in other words, I am REVISING. Slowly. Bit by bit. Analysing the details. As well as listening to the sounds of and flow of the words and voices, I am constantly thinking “Does this bit make sense? Of itself, and within the story? Does this bit fit? Or is it a diversion? Does it come too late or too early? Is this bit even needed? ”

Today I have been working on a small “aside” scene. The scene has a double purpose. First, to let readers know that practical preparations for a major scene and plot moment are advancing. Secondly, the scene also increases the menace of the setting, the place where the two young heroes will be soon arriving.

I’d originally written the scene some months ago, and though it read quite well. Then I looked properly, and - "hides head in stupidity and shame" - saw that I needed to re-structure the conversation. All this tiny scene contains are three very minor characters, brought in partly because of the historical context: a scullion, a servant and a cook. They are shown gossiping around the fire, caught between the attraction of their master’s suspicious activities and the need to keep quiet about what’s going on.
Yet, when I truly studied the scene, the “sum” did not really work out. The logic I had presented was all over the place.  The dialogue flowed between the three, but it was too much like real life chat and I don’t mean those “er” or “um” or “like” utterances, or similar.   

In ordinary conversations – in my experience – people often suggest one fairly random viewpoint, meander to another angle, suggest another and so on until eventually the conversation shifts on to something more practical like Do you want a chocolate biscuit with that?” or Are we nearly there yet?”

However, in the much tighter conversation of fiction, each character’s words represent a point of view and a step in the story.  
Which “argument” won at the end, status-wise if not morally? 
Which character was dominant within the interactions, even if not by the number of their interactions?  

 In other words, by the end of even a small scene, the reader needs to know the “sum” of the talk and where the writer is taking them, and this is especially important for the young reader.

So I re-thought and re-allocated the lines, and on the way, developed the small character relationships. The scullion is the troublemaker, the fool that won't stop asking why.

The servant is the one easily lured into speculation and unwise suggestions. 

What about the cook, sitting in his chair? In the new version of the scene, he is no longer the main, expansive conversationalist. 

Now he sits almost silently, murmuring an occasional  brief response. Then, at the end, he dominates the scene:  
The cook suddenly leaned forward, his smile spread with menace.
“Which means that my advice is that we all keep our noses out of it, right?  I’m telling you now that the Master don’t act kindly-like when he’s been crossed, and the river’s often tricky round here. Understand?”
The servants nodded, eyes full of  fear.
The cook eased himself back into his chair, folded both arms over his wide stomach and dozed.
They tried not to notice what was going on, they really did.

I’m happier. I feel as if there is - now - an inner logic behind the total run of lines. The “story maths”are working perfectly. For the moment, I’m giving this scene a mental tick and moving on to revise another. Or do I mean check my next calculation?

As Oliver Postgate once wrote:

“Writing a story is not simply a matter of writing lines of words, but calls on the writer to assemble sentences in such a way that the reader receives them in the right order for stacking in the mind.”

Even so, whether you’re thinking “writing” or “sums” when you are revising, getting those small details right can be very slow work indeed. Good luck.

Especially in a Tome . . .

Penny Dolan.

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16806. Author Interview with Jamee-Marie Edwards

It’s Author Interview Thursday… Yes! I have to admit that I had a low period earlier on this year due to some issues with my illustrator and a potential book deal that got put on ice for the meantime.Jamee-Marie Edwards However, following my visit to the London Book Fair (and you can read all about it here) where I met quite a few famous authors and attended some world class seminars, I’m happy to say that my enthusiasm and passion for writing and growing my self publishing business has been rekindled. Something that has greatly benefited from this renewed passion is Author Interview Thursday! It has been an absolute pleasure meeting and interviewing the featured guests every Thursday. I learn so much and I hope you do too. It was such a delight getting to know our featured author today. I found the story regarding her inspiration for storytelling very inspiring. She has written and acted in several theatre productions. I love the fact that she delights in bringing out the unique talents and gifts in her students, clients and readers. With the months of May and June themed as  National Teen Self-Esteem and National Child Awareness Months respectively, I believe she’s the perfect author to kick us off for the month of May. So without further ado, please join me in welcoming Jamee-Marie Edwards.


Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and the first time someone complemented you on something you had written?

My passion for storytelling was inherited from my grandfather since childhood. I remember him taking me out (as part of my family’s tradition) to watch the planes take off and land on the weekends. As I sat on the hood of his car, he would amaze me with stories from his childhood. There was always an exciting story to be told in his company.  With that being said, I thought it would be fitting to use Jamee-Marie Edwards as my pen name in honor of the literary seeds my grandfather James Edward Lawrie planted in my life.

As I matured, I acquired a passion toward health, the sciences and the arts. I truly feel blessed and thankful to have such a rewarding career, which has allowed me to combine all of my passions into one. Educating children about living a healthy lifestyle through the arts (storytelling, dramatic presentations) is one of my dreams that has finally been actualized. I am currently employed in the health office of Allen Christian School located in Queens, N.Y. and recently obtained my Masters in Public Health with a concentration in Health Promotion and Education. The Media/Television Production teacher at my alma mater high school, Hillcrest H.S., was the first person to say those infamous words to me “You Got It!” This came after my group performed a skit I wrote about challenges travellers face at an airport. The teacher and the class got plenty of chuckles out of that one.


What can a reader expect when they pick up a book written by Jamee-Marie Edwards?

As an author/health educator/science buff/animal lover, my books are typically fables which encompass health, character development and science related themes such as self-esteem, healthy lifestyles and animal kingdom basics. Overall, I write from the heart with a purpose to take readers on a journey filled with colourful illustrations and entertaining dialogue from fun loving characters who depict real life situations, lessons and resolutions.


Congratulations on the publication of your first children’s book ‘But I Am a Cat!’ Can you tell us where the idea for this book came from and what you hope the reader takes away after reading it?But I Am a Cat

Thank You David!

In the scheme of life, we all wonder, “Where do I fit in?”  I wanted to create a playful, but meaningful story that gives children, and even adults, a lesson on what it truly means to be “comfortable in your own skin.” It is my desire that “But I Am a Cat!” will inspire readers to discover, embrace, and celebrate their unique gifts, talents, and abilities.  The book was also written to fuel a child’s interest in the sciences, as it presents a fascinating look into the basics of the animal kingdom, giving children new insights on the habitats of some of their favorite animals.


You’ve written several stage plays and acted in quite a few. How did this help or hinder when you were writing your children’s book?   

My theatrical background proved to be very beneficial in my endeavor as an author. This especially holds true in the area of character development. As an actor and writer, you must “know your character” (i.e. their objectives, style, mannerisms, etc.). The goal is to make your characters believable and relatable.


Can you tell us how you worked with your illustrator to ensure that your vision was conveyed through the illustrations in the book? 

I was very fortunate to work closely with an illustration coordinator throughout the entire process. Before the process began, we had several conversations to ensure I was matched with an illustrator that best suited my vision. In addition, I was able to incorporate pictures of my cat Mason (who is the main character) and other animals I desired. Each sketch had to be approved by me, down to the vivid coloring of the illustrations.


What have you found to be a successful way to market your books?Mr. Cat and Mr. Bird

As an indie author, marketing can be one of our greatest challenges. I have found that social media has played an integral part in marketing my book. I also participate in various events— schools visits and health fairs, to market myself. I always have promotional items such as business cards, bookmarks and pencils on hand to help get my name out and build my brand. Book giveaways/contest are also beneficial.


What were some of your favourite books as a child?

The Little Engine That Could” is without a doubt my favourite book of all times. Although I owed a copy of the book, my mother told me I was adamant about taking the book out with each library visit. I also loved reading anything by Dr. Seuss, Don Freedman’s Corduroy, The Nursery Rhymes Classics as “Jack and Jill” and “Humpty Dumpty”, “Curious George” and “Uptown, Downtown” to name a few.


What book or film has the best dialogue that inspires you to be a better writer and why? 

“I think I can, I think I can, I thought I could, I thought I could!” are the infamous words of the Little Engine. I realize words have the power to change a person’s life, be an Inspiration to others.


Toy Story or Shrek?Jamee-Marie Edwards Reading

Hmmm, this question is a toss-up considering the fact that, I am truly a kid at heart and I can appreciate all animations with positive themes. I am also chuckling as I read this question because I do have a closet full of my childhood toys and books.  However, if I must choose, I would have to say Shrek. As stated by Jeffrey Katzenberg (Shrek’s producer) the theme of the movie is ‘there is something wonderful about us all.’ As a facilitator of self-esteem workshops, I realize the importance of instilling a positive self-image into children, teens and adults alike. My choice is also in honor of May being National Teen Self-Esteem Month.


What three things should a first time visitor to New York do?

Choosing only three things to see from the city that never sleeps was definitely a challenge. However, I did manage to narrow the plethora of activities and sights the Big Apple has to offer to: Times Square where the infamous New Year’s Eve Ball is dropped. The bright lights and fan-fare especially at night is a must see. Of course, NYC is also known for its stunning productions on Broadway. Lastly, what would a trip to NYC be without a visit to Central Park? From the gardens, to the infamous fountain that is often seen on the big screen and the surrounding attractions as FAO Schwartz (toy store), the park seems endless and a venture through it is worth the trip. In addition, if I may sneak in another one, Rockefeller Center during the Christmas holiday season. The tree lighting is amazing!


What can we expect from Jamee-Marie Edwards in the next 12 months?

“But I Am a Cat!” is the first of the character development “I Am” series. So the next installation is in the works. Of course, there is always another skit or play waiting to be birthed. I would also like to venture into the Young Adult world.


Where can readers and fans connect with you?Mr. Cat and Mr. Turtle

I would appreciate and love to connect through

My website -  www.maeinspireu.com  (may inspire u)

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/jameemarie.edwards

Facebook Author Page - https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jamee-Marie-Edwards-Author/435774816492157?ref=hl

Twitter -  @JMarie_Edwards


Link to IPAD Application - https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/but-i-am-a-cat!/id815125891?ls=1&mt=8

I am also on Linkedin.


Any advice for authors out there who are either just starting out or getting frustrated with the industry?Melissa and Gabby2

Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” I hold this eloquent statement close to heart and love to share with students during school visits. I believe it can be inspirational to adults alike. Continue to BELIEVE in your dream of becoming an author and surround yourself with people who are pursuing or have pursued the same dream. I have joined countless writing groups/forums/associations as a support system to exchange ideas and to give and receive encouragement and inspiration. Remember tomorrow is another day and another chance. So many people give up too easily and are closer to their dreams than they think. Keep pushing! #dream #believe # create # succeed

David, this was truly an honor!  I greatly appreciate the opportunity to share and all that you do to encourage and inspire others. Continued blessings always!


The pleasure was all mine Jamee-Marie and it was such a joy to have you today. I really found the story of how your grandfather inspired the desire in you to write and tell stories very uplifting. It really goes to show that as children book authors, we really are in a privileged position to inspire the next generation. Jamee-Marie and I would like to hear any questions or comments that you may have regarding our interview. So do leave your comments in the box below and remember to share this interview on your social network.

Jamee-Marie’s Page on Amazon

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16807. From the Archives: Narrative, Transitions & Maintaining Forward Momentum In Your Story

Our job as writers is to keep readers reading. Beyond that, we want to make them forget they are reading so they feel they are in the story and have a stake in the outcome. That's easiest to do in scenes, which consist primarily of action and dialogue with some internalization and description sprinkled in. But narrative, much maligned, is often useful or even necessary despite the bad rap it gets from the oh-so-often-repeated "show don't tell" rule we all throw around.

Narrative lets us do some things faster than we can in scene, in ways we can't do in action or dialogue. We can use it to:
  • Create mood and tone
  • Describe characters
  • Build a setting for the story
  • Provide emotional context for the scene or coming scenes
  • Fill in necessary background information
  • Cue the reader to understand character reaction or decisions
  • Foreshadow future events
It's true narrative can add distance between the reader and the story though, so it's critical to get in and get out. Narrative has a different rhythm than action, dialogue, or even introspective. It's a slower rhythm, a more leisurely rhythm closer to a lullaby than to the pounding drum of running feet or tense conversation. And the moment the reader's brain is lulled into a slower rhythm, that's the moment they can start thinking about checking email or deciding what to make for dinner. Making shorter paragraphs can help, but our eyes can skim a paragraph very quickly to see something that ends up looking like blah, blah, blah pretty tree, blah, blah lovely sky, blah blah, went to fifth grade with him, blah, blah most popular boy, blah blah and too blah. Time to close the book.

To keep the reader from getting lulled right out of the story, there's a school of thought that says we should have no more than two paragraphs of narrative before we interrupt it with something more active. But switching from one element of fiction to another is often the most dangerous moment in fiction, the one where we risk jarring the reader out of the story into confusion, or force them to reread something to catch what they missed. The moment they are doing that, they aren't reading forward. We risk losing them to the lure of the refrigerator or the television, or the thousands of other things competing for their time at any given moment. Moving smoothly in and out of the switch requires a good transition.

Transitions are bridges that help keep the reader on the path of the story. They should be short and smooth, and there are many different types that connect different elements of a story:
  • Between times or moments
  • Between locations or settings
  • Between characters (POV shifts)
  • Between stimulus and reaction
  • Between scenes and sequels
  • Between moods, tones, emotional shifts, or significant changes of pace

Transitional words and phrases describe the shift using references to time passing, location shifting, etc. Common transition phrases include:
  • A month later
  • After the confrontation
  • After dinner
  • Afterwards
  • As the moon came out
  • As the rain stopped
  • At the same time
  • At one o'clock
  • At school the next day
  • At the appointment
  • At the same time
  • At the summer solstice
  • By noon
  • By the time that
  • For three days
  • In the morning
  • In the second year
  • It took two weeks to
  • Later that afternoon
  • Meanwhile
  • On the way to
  • On the first day of school
  • That night
  • The next meeting
  • The next morning
  • The next week
  • Two weeks later
  • Weeks passed
  • When dinner was over
  • When it was time for the date
  • When the moon came up
  • When the police arrived
  • When the rain stopped
  • When they got back
  • When they saw the place
  • When we reached the location

We can incorporate these transitions into narrative in different ways, too.
In action: She spent an hour picking out her dress and two hours in front of the mirror, and when it was time for the date, she was ready to make the boy swallow his tongue.
In description: When it was time for the date, she was dressed in black to match her mood. The moon hung low and shrouded in cloud, and the city streets had an eerie sense of waiting. 

In dialogue: "I can't believe it's almost time for the date. How has it been three days already?"

In exposition: When it was time for the date, she had been waiting at the bar so long, she knew the name of the bartender and the lifestory of all his kids.

In introspection: I glanced at my watch and confirmed my suspicion. I'd slept too long and now I was two hours late for my date.
In recollection: Sitting at Rita's later, I swiveled around in my chair and searched through my pockets again for the business card he had given me, the one where I'd scrawled the time for our so-called date on the back. It was still nowhere to be found, but I was sure I had gotten the time right. I remembered exactly how he had sounded, half-way to breathless, when he said, "Seven o'clock at Rita's, sweetcheeks, and don't be late."

In sensory detail: The sun beat down mercilessly for the next four hours, and by the time she should have been getting ready for her date, Jemma's skin stretched too tight over her bones and her lips were cracked.

In summary: Three days of the usual, impossible boredom went by full of school, and studying, and the dramaqueen text messsages full of who was hot for Ally and which cretin on the football team was caught with Paige. When it was time for my date with Alden, I was ready for some drama of my own.

You can also ease in and out by reusing a word, object, or concept that appears in the previous sentence or paragraph in the beginning of the next paragraph.
She raced through the empty street, the slap of her footsteps on the asphalt echoing off the darkened buildings reminding her that she was too alone and vulnerable.

But she was used to being alone. Even in the foster homes surrounded by other unwanted kids, misfits and miscreants most of them, she had been alone, and all too often she had needed to run from someone. It had made her fast.

If all else fails and we are moving from one scene to another, or we deliberately want to increase the pace of the story, we can use four blank lines or centered asterisks to indicate a scene break.

The most critical thing to in any kind of narrative or with a transition between scenes is to remember that every word and revelation has to count. Everything we include needs to be new and critical information for the reader either on an emotional or informational level. Ideally, it should multi-task the same way that great dialogue often reveals emotion, character, and information to propel the story forward. That's hard for us to guage of course, and for me, I know it's one of my hardest tasks as a writer to guage where I've added too much. Narrative can be a writer's quicksand. To avoid lulling the reader out of the story, we need to make sure that our narrative is never plain vanilla. We invoke strong images and precise verbs to make it count and make it compelling, and that leads to the risk of writerly indulgence. Narrative is most often where we fall in love with our words. Hopefully, our transitions are smooth enough that we take the reader along for the ride until we get right back into the next, necessary, scene.

Where's your writing achilles heel? Is it in narrative like mine?

Happy writing and may the transitions always move you forward,


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16808. My Writing Process - Blog Tour

I was invited by the lovely and talented C. Lee McKenzie to join in the fun for The Writing Process Blog Hop, so here we go…

What am I working on?  

With the urging of my critique group (thanks Karin and Marilyn) I have dusted off a middle grade manuscript that I've been working on and off for several years now (yes, I'm embarrassed to say so, but exhilarated that I'm back in the saddle again of fine tuning this manuscript). Thanks ladies! 

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Thus far my children's books have ended up in the theme of overcoming obstacles without preaching to the reader. 

Why do I write what I do? 

I enjoy writing for children and watching the expressions on their faces of joy and wonder of escaping into an exciting book. 

How does my writing process work?

I always write my first draft in long hand with my favorite pen, Graf von Faber-Castell away from my computer and email distraction and of course my cell phone off. I then put it to the side and read through for the first time at least several hours to a day or so later giving myself a fresh set of eyes and perspective. Then I get down to task of typing it into my computer. Yes, I'm old fashioned, I then print it out for my next round of proofreading. 

I'm delighted to have tagged the following talented writers in The Writing Process and visit them May 5th...

Penelope ColeAward Winning Author of Magical Matthew and Magical Mea  and Mágico Mateo (Spanish Version of Magical Matthew)

Karin Larson - debut children's author, Bedtime Kisses 

Nancy Stewart - Amazon Best-selling author and award-winning author - Sea Turtle Summer and One Pelican at a Time 

Wishing you an inspirational day! 


Best wishes,
Donna M. McDine
Award-winning Children's Author
Connect with

A Sandy Grave ~ January 2014 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.

Powder Monkey ~ May 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.

Hockey Agony ~ January 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.

The Golden Pathway ~ August 2010 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.
~ Literary Classics Silver Award and Seal of Approval, Readers Favorite 2012 International Book Awards Honorable Mention and Dan Poynter's Global e-Book Awards Finalist

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16809. Things I Love Thursday

I love Skype days.

With students at Gwin Oaks Elementary in Gwinnett, GA

More Gwin Oaks students. Thank you, Ms. Amolo!

A teacher at Fort Worth Academy showed me her dog, Plato, posing like the cover of How to Steal a Dog. Go, Plato!

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16810. "There's a book in this!"

Today my kid invited me to tag along on her Engineering group field trip to the local landfill. I've learned never to pass up that sort of opportunity because something useful will come of it. I was right!

I learned:
- it's a landfill, not a dump. Landfill people dislike the D word. In my state, dumps are illegal, and they offer no protection for earth, air or water. Landfills have strict regulations, and a lot of  engineering goes into meeting them.
- those plastic grocery bags are worse than I'd thought. They blow around at dumps. I already knew they're terrible for our lakes and oceans, they are unrecyclable, and they don't break down into compost like paper bags can. 
- There is beauty even at the landfill -- my daughter found a tiny perfect heart rock for me.
- my work-in-progress picture book about a (shhh, it's a secret!) needs more work, and probably more research.

Of course I took along a sketchbook. 
Our tour guide seemed a little nervous at one point when she noticed I was taking copious notes. I hurried to explain that I was writing a kids' book, and this was just research for it.
(The last Engineering group field trip was to a special top-secret facility where the kids had to produce picture IDs to enter and parents had to wait outside.)
She relaxed and said most people don't take notes on her tours.
If people knew what power the almighty pen wields, they might scrutinize children's book authors more.
But I am harmless, and she must think so too; she offered to send me a poster showing a cross section of the landfill.

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16811. Spotlight and Giveaway–At Star’s End by Anna Hackett



Published by: Carina Press

March 31, 2014


Dr. Eos Rai has spent a lifetime dedicated to her mother’s dream of finding the long lost Mona Lisa. When Eos uncovers tantalizing evidence of Star’s End—the last known location of the masterpiece—she’s shocked when her employer, the Galactic Institute of Historic Preservation, turn its back on her. Left with no choice, Eos must trust the most notorious treasure hunter in the galaxy; a man she finds infuriating, annoying and far too tempting.

Dathan Phoenix can sniff out relics at a stellar mile. With his brothers by his side, he takes the adventures that suit him and refuses to become a lazy, bitter failure like his father. When the gorgeous Eos Rai comes looking to hire him, he knows she’s trouble, but he’s lured into a hunt that turns into a wild and dangerous adventure. As Eos and Dathan are pushed to their limits, they discover treasure isn’t the only thing they’re drawn to…but how will their desire survive when Dathan demands the Mona Lisa as his payment?

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/At-Stars-End-Anna-Hackett-ebook/dp/B00H08N9YO/

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/at-stars-end-anna-hackett/1117650298?ean=9781426898105

ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-atstar039send-1411019-343.html

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/at-stars-end/id802839801?mt=11&uo=4

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/at-star-s-end

About Anna Hackett

I’m Anna Hackett and I write action romance stories to thrill you, excite you and leave you inspired. I write about people overcoming unbeatable odds and achieving seemingly impossible goals to inspire you with the truth that the possibility exists for all of us to do the same. I love car chases, explosions and spaceships…and of course when the boy wins the girl. Oh, and I’m a sucker for that moment when the team is walking in slow motion, shoulder-to-shoulder heading off into battle. After reading or writing an awesome action romance story, I’m left energized and feeling like anything is possible. I aim to give the same to my readers.

Contact links:

Website: http://annahackettbooks.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AnnaHackettAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AnnaHackett

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2983829.Anna_Hackett


GRAND PRIZE: $50 Amazon gift card

RUNNERS UP: 2 runners up receive an Aussie Sci-fi Romance eBook pack (books by Anna Hackett, Mel Teshco and SE Gilchrist)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The post Spotlight and Giveaway–At Star’s End by Anna Hackett appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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16812. Book Bites for Kids Guest Joe Scott coming soon . ..


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16813. Spotlight and Giveaway–April Edge Releases!

Edge, a digital-first single-title romance line from Entangled Publishing, takes its lead from their popular Select imprint but gives its novels an edge in the marketplace by bringing great stories to readers at reasonable prices in a quick-and-easy way. Whether sexy or sweet, traditional romance or love and lust with a women’s fiction bent, at the center of every Edge book is heart. From Urban Fantasy to Contemporary Romance to Science Fiction Romance, Edge has a book for all romance readers—and right at their fingertips! As they say, all’s fair in love and war. To find out more about their titles, chat with authors, participate in special events, and to find out what books are coming next, visit the Entangled website, follow them on Twitter, and like their Facebook page.
Today I’m happy to be featuring Edge’s April 28th releases!!

Night Child by Lisa Kessler
Night #4

Special $0.99 Introductory Price For One Week ONLY!

Find Out More!

Issa is one of the original Night Walkers, a proud protector of the mortal world. Now, when the key to the survival of the entire Night Walker race rests on protecting an unborn child, Issa is the only immortal strong enough to defend Muriah and the prophecy. But Muriah’s headstrong spirit and soulful eyes awaken feelings in him that are best left buried. When the Egyptian God of Chaos sstrikes, Muriah and Issa must find the lost scrolls to trap him. But as the battle between love and chaos ensues, sacrifices must be made…

Call of the Siren by Rosalie Lario
Demons of the Infernum #4 

Special $0.99 Introductory Pricing!

Find Out More!

Siren-demon hybrid bounty hunter Dagan Meyers swore he’d never settle down. Tying himself to one woman is so not his bag. Until he meets the gorgeous angel Lina, and can’t think of being with anybody BUT her. The last thing Lina wants is to develop feelings for the smooth-talking man she knows will eventually leave her. But as they battle a growing darkness—a powerful dark fae who’s harnessed untold power—Dagan and Lina find that love may be their greatest weapon against the evil that threatens to destroy them all.

Angel Kin by Tricia Skinner
Angel Assassins #1

Special $0.99 Introductory Pricing!

Find Out More!

When a beautiful woman comes to The Bound Ones, half-angel assassin Cain is immediately drawn to her. But when Katie fingers him as the killer, he can come to only one conclusion. His twin, who he thought was dead, is very much alive…and sending him a message. Unfortunately, that message is: “You’re next.” Now, with Katie’s life in his hands, Cain must fight to keep them both alive. But Abel has just one goal: destroy his brother, starting with the woman he’s falling in love with.

Just A Kiss by Ally Broadfield

Novella Only $0.99!

Charlotte Lightwood has one season to find a husband or she’ll be forced to marry her guardian’s loathsome cousin. With no title or dowry, she doesn’t have much hope of making a good match. Sebastian Wilkinson, the Earl of Marley, has been the most eligible bachelor on the marriage mart for more years than he cares to count and is very aware of his duty to marry a woman who will add to the wealth and stature of his title. Sebastian makes Charlotte an offer she can’t refuse: he will pretend to court her to help her attract more suitors in exchange for her advice about which ladies he should pursue. As they work together, their mutual attraction grows. When they realize they just might be perfect for one another, they must decide whether to bow to the dictates of society or follow their hearts.

The Demon Lord by Paula Altenburg
Demon Outlaws #2.5

Novella Only $0.99!

Find Out More!

The Demon Lord has conquered the mortal world and sampled its pleasures. Now all he needs is to conquer the goddess who is meant to complete him. The goddess Allia, however, has other plans. She is sent by her immortal sisters to win the heart of the Demon Lord and make him her slave but soon discovers that the Demon Lord’s heart is not easily given, and that in order to win it, she must sacrifice her own.

The post Spotlight and Giveaway–April Edge Releases! appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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16814. Joe Scott – Author of The Friendship Friendesha

Joe ScottJoe Scott is a major developer and contractor in the Merrimack River Valley, and also an acclaimed author. His first book, The Joe Dial, received glowing reviews for its perceptive take on human interaction, and the role of positive and negative energy in relationships.

His new series, The Friend Ship Friendesha, introduces many of the same lessons to children ages 4-8. With bright, bold illustrations by local artist R. Boone, and delightful characters, the new story is sure to be a hit with young ones and their parents, as the lovable extra-terrestrial race of Friendeshans spread happiness and positive energy around the galaxy.

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16815. Interview with Ally Broadfield, Author of Just a Kiss and Giveaway

[Manga Maniac Café] Good morning, Ally!

[Ally Broadfield] Thanks so much for inviting me to Manga Maniac Café! I’m excited to be here.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in five words or less.

[Ally Broadfield] Passionate, determined, whimsical, kind, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Just a Kiss?

[Ally Broadfield] The idea for this story came from a short story I entered into a Jane Austen contest in the spring of 2011. It was a continuation of Sense and Sensibility focusing on the youngest sister, Margaret. I didn’t win, but Sebastian was such a fabulous hero I decided to write Just a Kiss so I could expand his story, and Charlotte gladly took over the role of Margaret.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you share your favorite scene?

[Ally Broadfield] After more than an hour of brisk walking and a rousing game of tag, the boys settled down to investigate a fountain while their grateful nanny rested on a nearby bench. Charlotte chose to continue walking. Of all the gentlemen she’d met since her arrival in London, there was only one she imagined herself wanting to know more intimately. She wondered what it would feel like to kiss him, to run her fingers through his thick, dark hair. Both Charlotte’s thoughts and her momentum were abruptly halted when she crashed into a horse blocking the path in front of her.

“I say, Miss Lightwood, are you all right?” Lord Marley said. It was as if her imagination had conjured him to appear in this very spot.

The timbre of his voice set her heartbeat into a staccato rhythm. Despite the protection afforded by the rim of her bonnet, the sun shone so brightly she had to shade her eyes as she gazed up at him. “Yes, I am fine, thank you, Lord Marley.”

The horse shook its head, and he loosened the reins. “Then why did you walk into my horse?”

She put her hands on her hips. “Why did you position him in the middle of the path?”

He returned the wave of a gentleman trotting past along Rotten Row. “I’d thought to greet you, but had I known you meant to attack my horse, I would have moved on.”

“I did no such thing.” Charlotte stroked Lord Marley’s very fine bay gelding along his neck and shoulder. “He’s beautiful.”

Lord Marley momentarily appeared as if he’d sat on a thorn. He cleared his throat before speaking. “If you step back, I shall dismount so we can converse more comfortably. I know how overwhelmed you must be by my illustrious presence, but I shouldn’t wish to be the cause of you injuring your neck.” His eyes sparkled with mirth.

Charlotte let out a disgusted snort and stepped back.

“Why, I do believe that is the first time I’ve been snorted at by a lady.” He swung down from his horse.

“That’s the first time you’ve ever noticed a lady snort at you, more likely,” Charlotte said mildly. She noted a spaniel trotting along behind the man on horseback. A wave of longing for her own dog unfurled inside her, and she cursed Elizabeth for forbidding her to bring her dog to London.

He raised one brow but declined to comment. “May I walk with you?”

“Of course, my lord. Please call me Charlotte. I do not like to be called Miss Lightwood.” In truth, she was no longer accustomed to responding to her surname. Everyone now called her by her given name because Elizabeth didn’t wish for Charlotte to be confused as one of her offspring.

He tapped his riding crop against his boot. “As you wish. You may take leave to call me Sebastian.”

Charlotte slanted her head back, enjoying the warmth of the sun on her face, which was rare this time of year. Lord Marley sighed. Their eyes met when she turned toward him.

He drew his brows together. “Does your family call you Charlotte? It seems rather a long name for everyday use.”

“As opposed to Sebastian,” she said, giving him a sideways glance. “I am sorry the recitation of my name is too taxing for you, my lord, but I have no other. You may revert to calling me Miss Lightwood if you prefer.”

“I guess I shall have to be satisfied with Charlotte. And you are supposed to call me Sebastian.” He returned her sideways glance.

“Sebastian.” She liked the sound of his name. It rolled off her tongue quite pleasantly. “What about you? Don’t you have a sobriquet I should use?”

“None I can repeat in front of a lady. And none I would wish you to use.” Without warning, Sebastian stopped and searched the area. “Where is your maid? Surely you are not without an escort.”

Charlotte stroked his horse again. “I’m here with Nanny Filcher and the children.”

He nodded. “Ah, that explains your disheveled appearance.”

“My what?” Her gloves were a bit soiled, but she could find nothing amiss with her dress. Perhaps the hem was a tad dirty, but that wasn’t uncommon when one went out walking.

“It’s not your dress so much as your hair that contributes to your general state of disheveledness.” He reached out and ran his fingers down the length of a loose tress.

A rush of heat suffused her. She attempted to tuck her hair back into her bonnet. “I don’t believe disheveledness is a word, my lord.”

“It should be. Is dishevelment more to your liking? I expect it would work in this situation.” He waved toward her dress.

She swallowed, his nearness momentarily stealing her words. “Yes, my lord.”

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What gave you the most trouble with the story?

[Ally Broadfield] Charlotte and Sebastian love to exchange witty banter and it was difficult to keep them from going off on tangents that had nothing to do with the story.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s one thing you won’t leave home without?

[Ally Broadfield] A leash. I keep one in my purse, one in my car, and one in the pocket of most of my coats in case I come across a loose dog or have one or more of my dogs with me (they love to ride in the car!). You wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve come across someone’s dog running loose.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name three things on your desk right now.

[Ally Broadfield] Empty coffee mug, my compact edition of the Oxford English Dictionary, and my daughter’s potholder loom, patiently waiting for someone to finish the edges.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you could trade places with anyone for just one day, who would you be?

[Ally Broadfield] Jane Austen, because I would love to experience Regency England for one day. I kinda wanted to say my husband, though, because I want to know how difficult and stressful his job really is!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] You have been granted the use of one superpower for one week. Which power would you choose, and what would you do with it?

[Ally Broadfield] I’m not sure this is a superpower, but I recently watched the move About Time (which is excellent, by the way!), and I’d love to be able to travel back in time to see my mom again, and maybe fix a few situations that deserve a shot at a do-over.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are some books that you enjoyed recently?

[Ally Broadfield] The Perfect Match by Kristan Higgins, The Luckiest Lady in London by Sherry Thomas, and Janet Evanovich’s Takedown Twenty (who doesn’t love Stephanie Plum?).

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Ally Broadfield] My website: http://allybroadfield.com/

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/AllyBroadfield

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/allybroadfield

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/abroadfield

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZZ98KE4QU__pnI5mkiWAeg/about

Just a Kiss by Ally Broadfield

Tagline: His proposal could only lead to temptation…

Book Synopsis: Charlotte Lightwood has one season to find a husband or she’ll be forced to marry her guardian’s loathsome cousin. With no title or dowry, she doesn’t have much hope of making a good match. Sebastian Wilkinson, the Earl of Marley, has been the most eligible bachelor on the marriage mart for more years than he cares to count and is very aware of his duty to marry a woman who will add to the wealth and stature of his title. Sebastian makes Charlotte an offer she can’t refuse: he will pretend to court her to help her attract more suitors in exchange for her advice about which ladies he should pursue. As they work together, their mutual attraction grows. When they realize they just might be perfect for one another, they must decide whether to bow to the dictates of society or follow their hearts.

Goodreads: Amazon: Barnes & Noble: Entangled

Author Bio: Ally lives in Texas and is convinced her house is shrinking, possibly because she shares it with three kids, five dogs, a cat, a rabbit, and several reptiles. Oh, and her husband. She likes to curse in Russian and spends most of her time letting dogs in and out of the house and shuttling kids around. She writes historical romance set in Regency England and Imperial Russia.

She loves to hear from readers and you can find her on herwebsite,Facebook, andTwitter, though she makes no claims of using any of them properly.

Website: Blog: Twitter: Facebook: Goodreads:


a Rafflecopter giveaway

The post Interview with Ally Broadfield, Author of Just a Kiss and Giveaway appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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16816. The Basics of Writing Dialogue

Some tips on writing dialogue into your novel.

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16817. Puddles

Always in a heavy rain
On roads or paths that cannot drain
What forms, of course, should not befuddle –
Yes, I’m talkin’ ‘bout a puddle.

Some are fun for kids to splash in
(Or adults, with boots in fashion);
Others look like little lakes
(Missing pipes cause those mistakes).

Great for pigeons, frogs or toads,
Puddles cropping up on roads
Make the traffic start to crawl
And those in cars just want to bawl.

Rain is needed, quite a lot;
Puddles, though, are really not.
Though kids may love that wet terrain,
To drivers, puddles are a pain!

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16818. International Giveaway of THE GREAT BROWNIE TASTE-OFF



The Great Brownie Taste-Off:   

The Yolanda's Yummery Series (Book 1)

Enter here to see what is going to happen and to get the winning brownie recipe. 

Contest ends May 8.


This contemporary romance will be available on May 1, 2014, at all online bookstores.

Do you like your romance sweet...and heavy on the chocolate? 

The Great Brownie Taste-off is the first book in the Yolanda's Yummery series. Yolanda Carter is a self-taught baker who dreams of owning her own bakery, a/k/a yummery. Employed at a small cat shelter, she stumbles across a scheme that threatens all the employees and cats. Will her magical brownies save them? 

Yolanda Carter comes from a family of artisans and lives in her deceased grandparent's cottage in Sherman Oaks, California. She works at a small cat shelter but dreams of owning a bakery. Her friend from high school, Teagan Mishkin, knows that Yolanda needs money and suggests better paying work as a cocktail waitress. The interview takes an unexpected turn and she stumbles across a scheme to close down the cat shelter.

The plan Yolanda concocts may be the only way to save the shelter. Helped by her parents, coworkers and friends, a rising young blogger also takes an interest in her plight. Will she bake the best brownies of her life?

So...are you going to enter to find out the winning recipe or always 
wonder what the recipe includes that makes it special?
I hope you choose to enter the 

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16819. The Fortune Hunter by Daisy Goodwin

Wealthy families, the right marriage, the proper husband, dancing balls, horse racing, fox hunting, ​proper seating at dinner parties, and proper everything is what you will find inside THE FORTUNE HUNTER.         

Charlotte is the heiress to the Lennox fortune, and her brother and new sister-in-law to be must make sure the proper suitor is selected for her.  Not just anyone can be the husband of the heir to the Lennox money.

Charlotte is a bit of a rebel, though, and wants to choose the man she loves not someone her family approves of because of his status, and love conquers all as you follow Charlotte and Bay through their ups and downs​.​

If you enjoy "proper" lifestyles with all of its formality, you will love THE FORTUNE HUNTER.  Ms. Goodwin will definitely impress the reader with her attention to detail in every sentence.  You will feel as though you are at the fox hunts and the dinner parties and vividly see the dresses and jewels of each of the ladies.  The characters were very well described and quite authentic.  

For me, THE FORTUNE HUNTER was a bit too detailed, though, and was repetitive, but if you enjoy reading about aristocratic activities, you won't be disappointed.

I am rating the book a 3/5.  For me THE FORTUNE HUNTER was a tedious read. 

This book was given to me free of charge by the publisher in return for an honest review.​

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16820. Review: Marked by Hades by Reese Monroe


May Contain Spoilers


I wanted to like Marked by Hades better than I did.  I thought there were some pacing issues that hindered my enjoyment.  Maybe it’s because I couldn’t stand Pario, the evil villain of the piece.  Pario is a demon, and he wants nothing more than to overthrow Lucifer so the demons can have their merry way without his interference.  Pario believes that Yvonne knows the location of the weapons needed to overthrow the lord of Hell.  Yvonne has been banished from the underworld for helping Sadie, a Gatekeeper, escape after she was captured by the demons.  Yvonne has no memory of her other life, when she was Dyre, a demon.  The setup is a little complicated if you are jumping into the series blind, but the confusion doesn’t last long.  I was able to read this as a standalone without too much difficulty.

Yvonne wakes up on a bench in a park, naked and with no memories of her past.  She is helped by a nice stranger, but when she touches him, he turns to dust.  She quickly realizes that any living thing she touches is quickly reduced to dust, so she takes measures to avoid touching anyone again.  She wears leather clothing and never venturing out without her gloves.  She takes day jobs, hoping to earn enough money for a hotel room and to ease her unhappiness with a few stiff drinks.  When she meets Justin, her life teeters out of control.  Justin is the companion to the Gatekeeper of North America, and it’s their job to keep humanity safe from demons.

Justin  has been alive for centuries, and he’s become jaded with his existence.  He hasn’t found his fated mate, and isn’t even sure that he wants one.  He’s doing just fine by himself, killing any demons unwise enough to venture into his territory.  When he sees Yvonne turn a man who is trying to attack her to dust, he is intrigued. Who, and what, is this woman? And why does he feel so attracted to her?

The fun aspect of this story is how Justin fights against his fated mate.  Once he discovers that Yvonne was a demon, he has nothing but contempt for her.  He refuses to consider that she could have just been a victim of circumstance.  Becoming a demon is a choice, and he can’t forgive her for making it.  Yvonne really did the get the short end of the stick.  She was compelled to do the unthinkable to save her family, and was forced to watch as her sacrifice was in vain.  Once a demon, she longed for closeness and a connection with anyone or anything, a need that the other demons mocked her for.  After she helps the Gatekeeper escape, she is cursed to the worst fate possible.  She can’t get close to anything, because she’ll only turn it to dust!  What a crappy fate!

I did not enjoy most of the time Yvonne spent back in the underworld.  She is treated horribly, and it made me feel uncomfortable.  Worst of all, because she’s lost her memories again, she doesn’t realize how poorly she’s being treated, or that she’s being manipulated to help bring about Lucifer’s downfall.  I really wanted her as far away from Pario as she could possibly get.  Certain plot points felt a bit repetitive, too.  It seemed like most of the characters were kidnapped and held by the demons, at one point or another, so the suspense was not as strong as it should have been. 

Marked by Hades is a fast read, and despite some quibbles, it’s a fun way to spend an afternoon. 

Grade:  B-

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:

One choice away from eternity… For 911 years, Gatekeeper companion Justin Bradford has denied the possibility of being mated to only one woman. He enjoys them all too much to settle down. So when he feels his mate’s Ahavah mark surface, his first instinct is to ignore it. But when he sees the leather-clad beauty in need of his help that’s easier said than done…

Yvonne wakes up naked on a cold park bench in a small town with no memory of who—or what—she is. All she knows is the gentle man who woke her was turned to dust when she touched him. And now the strange mark that appeared on her shoulder throbs in the presence of the raven-haired man now offering to help her…

As Justin and Yvonne navigate the mystery of her past, their bond grows, but the secrets they discover and the sacrifices that must be made could be enough to rip them apart for eternity.

The post Review: Marked by Hades by Reese Monroe appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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16821. Finding Your Way in the World


When you are trying to develop your personality, there are several things that you need to look at, but probably the most important thing is that you should have the correct realization about yourself. You should know who you are. It is only when you have a complete realization of yourself that you can plan to make improvements.


Each and every one of us has their own strengths and weaknesses. You have them too. You may be a very confident person, but at the same time, even if you don’t admit it openly, you surely have some shortcomings. If you are trying to develop your personality, the first thing is that you have to come out of this denial. Denial leaves no scope for improvement, because you become shortsighted about your weaknesses. Overcome the denial and accept to yourself what your limitations are. When you do that, it is as good as telling yourself that these are the aspects where you have to improve.


At the same time, you have to realize the things that you can do very well. There will certainly be a host of such things. And there will be one special talent at which you excel. This is the talent that defines your profession, or maybe your passion or your hobby. This is the one thing that you can pursue for your entire life, and keep becoming better at it. This is what you need for your professional, personal and creative growth, and it becomes the focus of your life. You may have a flair for writing, or maybe you can build websites, or probably you are good at sales, or perhaps you can handle a truck very well. All these are special talents. Realize what talent you have and keep improving upon it.


Understand your personal limitations as well. Do people think of you as a good, friendly person? Do you have many friends? Is your spouse happy with you? Do you keep your children happy? Are you prone to temper outbursts? These are the things you should know, and work upon them. The main thing is that you should understand that you have follies in you and improve.


In conclusion, if you are looking for personal development, you have to have a pragmatic view of your faults and your talents. This tells you which direction you have to take your life into.


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16822. Interview for Quincy and Buck by Camille Matthews

 Come and join me as I talk with author Camille Matthews about her picture book Quincy and Buck on Stories From Unknown Authors 
http://blogtalkradio.com/storiesfromunknownauthors at 1 pm EST today.

In Quincy’s third adventure, Quincy and Buck, Quincy tries to overcome his fears about “surprises waiting for horses out on the trail” by going on his first trail ride. Quincy’s main concern is the wild animals he might meet but the real challenge turns out to be another horse. Buck, the horse he hopes will be his trail buddy and guide him, turns out to be a bully who is dangerous! Quincy learns some important things about dealing with a bully . . .




Quincy and Buck is a delightful story of a horse who is afraid to go into the desert. 
There are many dangers lurking about. Fear holds him back from even trying. 
When he asks his best friend, Beau, what he should do. He tells him to face his fear. 
His owner takes Quincy into the desert and there he finds the courage he didn't 
know he had.  Along for the ride came another horse named Buck who was mean.
Quincy wasn't quite sure what to make of it, but when a strange noise spooked Buck
things began to change and Quincy now had to lead and be brave.

This story teaches children about facing their fears and under extreme pressures finding  
the courage to rise above the fear and do what is right. Children of all ages will be able to 
relate to Quincy's plight and hopefully find the courage to face the difficult situations
in their own lives. 

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16823. My Writing Process - Blog Tour

I was invited by the lovely and talented C. Lee McKenzie to join in the fun for The Writing Process Blog Hop, so here we go…

What am I working on?  

With the urging of my critique group (thanks Karin and Marilyn) I have dusted off a middle grade manuscript that I've been working on and off for several years now (yes, I'm embarrassed to say so, but exhilarated that I'm back in the saddle again of fine tuning this manuscript). Thanks ladies! 

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Thus far my children's books have ended up in the theme of overcoming obstacles without preaching to the reader. 

Why do I write what I do? 

I enjoy writing for children and watching the expressions on their faces of joy and wonder of escaping into an exciting book. 

How does my writing process work?

I always write my first draft in long hand with my favorite pen, Graf von Faber-Castell away from my computer and email distraction and of course my cell phone off. I then put it to the side and read through for the first time at least several hours to a day or so later giving myself a fresh set of eyes and perspective. Then I get down to task of typing it into my computer. Yes, I'm old fashioned, I then print it out for my next round of proofreading. 

I'm delighted to have tagged the following talented writers in The Writing Process and visit them May 5th...

Penelope ColeAward Winning Author of Magical Matthew and Magical Mea  and Mágico Mateo (Spanish Version of Magical Matthew)

Nancy Stewart - Amazon Best-selling author and award-winning author - Sea Turtle Summer and One Pelican at a Time 

Wishing you an inspirational day! 


Best wishes,
Donna M. McDine
Award-winning Children's Author
Connect with

A Sandy Grave ~ January 2014 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.

Powder Monkey ~ May 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.

Hockey Agony ~ January 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.

The Golden Pathway ~ August 2010 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.
~ Literary Classics Silver Award and Seal of Approval, Readers Favorite 2012 International Book Awards Honorable Mention and Dan Poynter's Global e-Book Awards Finalist

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16824. Memento Mori Tour and Giveaway

Title: Memento Mori

Author: Katy O’Dowd

Genre: Crime Fiction/Victorian Mafia/ Alternate history with a dash of Steampunk
Publisher: Untold Press
Release Date: April 1st, 2014
Tour Host: Lady Amber’s Tours



Take tea with the Victorian Mafia – organized crime has never been so civilized

Revenge is a dish best served cold. At the Lamb residence, it is also served on fine bone china.

The untimely demise of Thaddeus Lamb leaves his son Riley in charge of the vast Lamb empire, which imports tea, picks pockets, extorts, and keeps men warm on cold winter’s nights. And so the Lambs grieve for their father in the best way they know how… Retribution.

Hired by the new head of the Fox Family, a position recently vacated by another untimely demise, the assassin O’Murtagh is tasked with the utter destruction of all the Lamb Family’s business associates. They learn the hard way that there is no better hit man than a beautiful woman with tricks and weapons up her finely coiffed sleeves.

Treachery and deceit abound in the streets of London, and no one is safe. Honestly, it’s enough to make anyone drink. Would you care for one lump or two?

Enter the Giveaway for a chance to win a 20$ Amazon Gift card!

Click Here!


Author Bio:

Katy is an arts and entertainment journalist and has worked for Time Out, Associated Newspapers and Comic Relief and her articles have appeared in The Times (London), Metro (London) and many other arts and entertainment publications, paper and online.

Alongside writing with her Dad under the pen-name Derry O’Dowd, whose first book ‘The Scarlet Ribbon’ was chosen to launch the History Press Ireland’s fiction line, she writes under her own name. ‘The Lady Astronomer’, a YA Steampunk tale was released by Untold Press in 2012.

Katy reviews for the Historical Novels Review and the British Fantasy Society.

Connect with Katy: [Webpage][Twitter][Goodreads]


Katy blogs at www.katyodowd.com
Twitter: @katyod
Facebook: www.facebook.com/katy.odowd
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5311518.Katy_O_Dowd

eBook  Links  

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Memento-Mori-Katy-ODowd-ebook/dp/B00JG3NQ4O
Amazon Smart Url:http://bookShow.me/B00JG3NQ4O
Goodreads- https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21795048-memento-mori


Snip. The jewelled secateurs caught the soft light thrown by the candles. Snip. Dark orange on green. Snip. Tiny white blossoms fell to the stone floor. Snip, snip.

Carmine Fox took an orange in her gloved hand and turned it over, this way and that, examining the pitted skin and running a finger along the bumps and grooves in the fruit.

In an alcove, the huge Brass Lady statue gleamed, her beautiful features painted buttery gold, eyes looking blindly at nothing at all.

Carmine’s dress swept the floor, not a mourning dress as you might expect, having lost her father, but rather dove grey and lavender picked out with black trim along the panel, cuffs, hem, and bustle. Her hair, long and coiled, was the color of Grip’s wings, as were her eyes. The muted tones of her dress made her sallow, or maybe it was just the lack of light.

Years of water and living things within the man-made lake had given the huge cathedral style glass ceiling and everything beneath a greenish hue and made the walls bleed rust.

She looked up from her study of the orange and threw it across the room, faster than the eye could see.

The woman standing in the shadows caught the orange, her arm shooting up to stop the fruit, as it nestled in her palm.

“Oh, brava.”

O’Murtagh stood silently before Carmine Fox who walked toward her, the secateurs dangling lazily from her hand.

“Quiet little thing, aren’t you?”

Fox peered at her intently, taking in the pale face and brown eyes framed with a veil of auburn hair.

“Well, quiet suits my needs. Feel free to eat the orange, which will be sweet and ripe. Ah, but how could such a thing grow here you wonder?” She paused. “It didn’t, of course, there is a vast orangery in the house, but I like to be here to prune, the setting eases my mind.”

O’Murtagh made no move to peel the fruit; instead she put it in one of the many pockets of her skirts.

Carmine Fox shrugged. “No matter. When you come to eat the orange, you will find it as I say. But now, we have other matters to discuss.”

She walked back to the table where the plants stood and put the secateurs down.

“You have come highly recommended.” Her heel tapped on the black and white tiled floor. “I have been told of your merits, misdeeds, and probably know more about you than your own mother, whom I believe has been dead a long time. But that doesn’t interest me, your skills do.”

O’Murtagh nodded imperceptibly.

“This is not a pretty tale, but then I suppose these things never are.” Fox sighed and smiled, pacing the room, warming to her tale and the task ahead.

“Tell me, O’Murtagh. Do you believe in an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth?” Fox waved her hand airily. “We are not here to talk about the philosophy of doddery old men falling asleep and drooling into their beards. I mean vengeance, retribution. Honor, even if it is only the kind to be found among thieves.”

Fox stopped pacing, abruptly, and O’Murtagh could feel the heightened tension in the room under the still water.

“There is no need for you to know everything, but know this,” Carmine resumed talking and walking, “I am not sorry that my father is dead. Vile man. He made my mother’s life a misery. Drove her to her death. I had this statue of her made. You know, I talk to her as I prune.” She gazed fondly at the Brass Lady.

“But he didn’t do this alone. No. Rather he was fuelled by his once great friend turned great enemy. Interesting that they should have died in the same week, is it not? Thaddeus Lamb and my father climbed the tree to the gold at the top, from ragged boys to prosperous men, branch by branch to the prize at the end. Suffice to say there was a falling out and my father the Fox did everything in his power to bring the traitor Lamb down.”

Carmine went to the Brass Lady, and standing on tiptoe, ran her hand down the statue’s cold cheek.

“My mother would have hated to see this. Hated to see what he made me. But my father not only left me his riches, he left me his hatred. After my mother died, all I heard of was how he was going to get his revenge. Now that he is no longer here, it is up to me to see this thing through. You do understand, don’t you?”

“I do.”

O’Murtagh’s voice was so quiet that Carmine Fox wasn’t sure she had heard her in the first place.

“I suppose you do, why would you be in your line of work otherwise?”

The assassin kept her brown gaze on the woman who had hired her, but held her tongue.

“Very well. Your job then, is to take the family down. Not directly, but by hitting them where they will hurt the most. Trade routes, business associates, and so on. My father left a diary full of any information you should need. I shall release the names of four people to you when the time is right. None of this shall be traced back to me, and if you should fail, I will make your life one long misery.”

“I have no doubt.”

“Good. So,” Carmine Fox rubbed her hands together, almost gleefully, “Thaddeus Lamb, the Head of the Family is out of our way. I have been told that other factions are gathering like vultures over the rotting corpse of what remains and that the Lambs–when they are able to act–will find other matters to occupy their time. Such as a nasty little turf war. At which point we shall have progressed to a point where we will be able to muzzle them entirely.”

She laughed, and O’Murtagh, seasoned as she was, felt the small hairs on her arms raise and her skin became as pitted as that of the orange in her pocket.

Fox pirouetted, her skirts spreading out and then settling.

“None of it shall ever be traced back to me,” she delighted in her glee, before quietening. “Then I can get straight to the heart of things.”

O’Murtagh’s place was not to ask. She was being paid handsomely and had more time than she cared for to do these jobs. Nor was she squeamish, her body-count was impressive. Though she stopped short at children, babies, and pregnant women.

“Now, my dear.” Fox clapped her hands together. “Time for tea. Would you care to accompany me back to the house?”


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16825. Hillerman Prize and St. Martin’s Press

Hillerman Prize guidelines and specifics

Sponsored by WORDHARVEST, the Tony Hillerman Writers Conference (THWC) and St. Martin’s Press, LLC

​​​​​​​​​​​The contest is open to any professional or non-professional writer, regardless of nationality, who has never been the author of a published mystery, as defined by the guidelines below, and is not under contract with a publisher for publication of a mystery. Only one manuscript entry is permitted per writer.

All manuscripts submitted: a) must be original works of book length (no less than 220 typewritten pages or approximately 60,000 words) written in the English language by the contestants; b) must not violate the rights of any third party, and c) must generally follow the guidelines below.​


  • Murder or another serious crime or crimes is at the heart of the story, and emphasis is on the solution rather than the details of the crime.
  • The story’s primary setting is the Southwestern United States, including at least one of the following states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and Utah. (The decision of the Competition’s judges as to whether or not a manuscript qualifies will be final.)
  • Nominees will be selected by judges chosen by the organizers of the THWC, with the assistance of editorial staff of St. Martin’s Press, and the winner will be chosen by St. Martin’s editors. The decision of the editors as to the winner of the contest will be final. St. Martin’s reserves the right not to select any winner if, in the sole opinion of the editors, none of the manuscripts submitted are of publishable quality.
  • An attempt will be made to notify the contest winner, if any, no later than October 1.hillermansidebar80
  • If a winner is selected, St. Martin’s Press will publish the winning manuscript by offering to enter into its standard form author’s agreement with the contestant. The winner will receive an advance against future royalties of $10,000. Those terms of the offer not specified in the printed text of the St. Martin’s Press standard form author’s agreement will be determined by St. Martin’s Press at its sole discretion. The contestant may request reasonable changes in the offered terms, but St. Martin’s shall not be obligated to agree to any such changes. St. Martin’s may, but will not be required to, consider for publication manuscripts submitted by other contestants.
  • All entries must be received or postmarked no later than June 1 and must include: a) A double-spaced and neatly typed copy of the manuscript (photocopies are acceptable), with pages numbered consecutively from beginning to end. The author’s name should appear only on the title page, and otherwise not appear anywhere on the manuscript pages. b) A letter or cover sheet containing the name, address, email address and telephone number of the contestant and the contestant’s previous writing credits, if any. c) The application form, duly completed and an SASE.
  • All entries must be mailed to St. Martin’s Press.
  • For additional copies of the rules and to request an entry form, please send a stamped, self addressed envelope to:
  • St. Martin’s Minotaur/THWC Competition St. Martin’s Minotaur 175 Fifth Avenue New York, New York 10010
  • *Each contestant must keep a copy of the manuscript for his or her own protection. St. Martin’s Press will not be responsible for lost, stolen, or mislaid manuscripts. Because of the great volume of submissions we receive, the fact that judges are volunteers with full-time responsibilities elsewhere, and the fact that most writers now have the work in their computers, manuscripts will not be returned. Please do not send return postage or envelopes.
  • No critical evaluation or commentary will be offered by the judges or the editorial staff of St. Martin’s Press unless, in the sole opinion of the editorial staff evaluation or commentary is appropriate in the case of a manuscript being considered for publication.
  • This Competition is void where prohibited or restricted by law.

*It is important that you submit your manuscript as early as possible. Our judges are volunteers who are extremely busy with their primary concerns, and it is inevitable that your submission will get a more careful reading if the judge does not have to contend with a flood of last-minute entries. However, it is not necessary to send it the most expensive way. We judge on-time delivery by the post-mark or equivalent, not by the date the judge receives the manuscript.

Good luck!

All entries must include a completed Hillerman Prize Contest form, which can be downloaded by clicking the button to the left

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