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Posts Tagged ‘book clubs’

One of the most exciting and scary things an author has to do is the “Author Talk.”

I’ve been to many “Author Talks.” Some were so wonderful, I recommend attending this author’s events to fellow readers/writers (Sherman Alexie, Neil Gaiman, and Alice Hoffman come to mind). Some were so awful, I recommend not attending this author’s events to fellow readers/writers. (No, I’m not going to name names). Most were just “okay.”

Which beings me to a good article by Matthew Dicks, Re-imagining the Author Talk in Three Parts, published in Huffington Post. I hope you find the article as informative as I did. Here’s the link.

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Though the holidays are almost over, I encourage each of you to support authors (and illustrators) by purchasing their books. I’ve been published by several Indie book publishers. They’re keen on finding undiscovered writers and placing their books in front of readers.

Many of the big name bookstores chains aren’t interested in books from Indie presses. In contrast, most independent bookstores are happy to host events for and carry books from Indie presses. Here’s the link to an article listing 10 Reasons to Shop at Your Local Indie Bookstores this Holiday Season. Do you shop at Indie Bookstores or do you like to shop at the big name stores?

If you’re like me, you might like to shop on Amazon or other online bookstores. If you do like to shop at Amazon, please check out my books (and maybe purchase one for yourself or a friend).

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I stumbled across this Reader’s Bill of Rights from French writer, Daniel Pennac, and thought it quite good. Can you think of a few more “rights” which should be added, or has Daniel managed to list the most important rights a reader needs?

“Reader’s Bill of Rights

1. The right to not read

2. The right to skip pages

3. The right to not finish

4. The right to reread

5. The right to read anything

6. The right to escapism

7. The right to read anywhere

8. The right to browse

9. The right to read out loud

10. The right to not defend your tastes”

And writers, by reading the “rights” of readers, you should be able to discover things about your audience.

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The Greener Forest 300 dpi cover Every time I discover a new review of my books, my hands sweat and my heart thumps quickly. It’s always a little scary to see what a reader thinks of the worlds I’ve created. Perhaps they won’t like my story or language or characters or… Well, you get the idea.

I really appreciate my readers, and I try to not only please myself with my tales, but also, those people who part with a few dollars and open the (real or virtual) pages of my books. I’m thankful for readers and for their support, both when they purchase my books and when they take the time to review them.

Here are some Amazon reviews of The Greener Forest:

“A fantastic collection of short stories about the hazy boundary between our world and the hidden faerie world, with roots in archetypal fables (the good get rewarded, the bad get punished), but with branches extending into a more modern setting. Judging by the cover, I gather the author is also an accomplished artist, but sadly the interior illustrations were not made available in the Kindle edition. I wish I could have seen them.” – Mark Taylor  (Sorry Mark, Kindle versions usually don’t include illos. You can see some of the illos included in The Greener Forest on my website).

“Mrs. Crist has a wonderfully vivid imagination which is brought to life in these poems and stories. She is both an excellent writer and an extremely talented artist. The imagery in the poetry is beautiful, such as in “The Greener Forest”, “Late Winter,” and “Key.” What makes the stories truly touching and memorable are the relationships between the characters. “Birdling” reminded me of traditional stories of faeries and how tricky they can be. In “Appleheads” and “Blood of the Swan” the bonds of friendship and affection are truly magical and deep. In “Scarecrow” one is reminded to accept friendship no matter who or what it is from, and to do what is right despite what others say or think. As also in “Blame it on the Trees” we remember to look beneath the surface at what is within. Finally, we learn to respect the natural world, for it is very much alive, and the home of many creatures. Some of the other stories were very short and I wanted more from them, but nevertheless they were still imaginative and well-written. Well done Mrs. Crist. Well done. ” – AM

And a link to a post with earlier reviews of The Greener Forest Intrigued? Why not buy a copy?

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I’m really excited my newest book, Owl Light, has been published. I’ve added owl information and videos to Whimsical Words, but I need help from my friends and readers to make Owl Light a success.

My publisher, Cold Moon Press, is indie. What that means is their marketing budget is tiny, but YOU, my friends and readers are mighty.

I’ve compiled a list of things you can do (#1 requires spending money, but the rest are free) to help promote Owl Light. (And, if you choose, my other 2 recent books, The Enchanted Skean and The Greener Forest, also from indie presses).

I’ve tried to make the tasks on this list as easy as I can – in some cases, a simple cut-and-paste. But, as easy as these tasks seem, each and every one of them will have a huge impact.

I hope you’ll consider taking a few minutes and choosing one task from this list (or more!) And if you do, scroll all the way down to the bottom of the post for the bribes – ah, rewards – I’m offering. Thanks for your help. – Vonnie

Costs some dollars:
1Buy Owl Light. Of course. Then…
1aWrite a review and post it somewhere (your blog, Goodreads, Amazon, etc.)

Free to do:
2Contact your local library and ask them to purchase copies of Owl Light (and also, The Enchanted Skean and The Greener Forest, for that matter). This is usually pretty simple. In fact, most metropolitan area library systems have an online form where patrons can request a book. Then…

2aCheck Owl Light out, read, write a review, and post it somewhere (your blog, GoodreadsAmazon, etc.)

3Copy one of the below icons, and use it for a day as your user picture on social media, with a post explaining what it is:

For Twitter:
My icon today is @VonnieWCrist ’s new book, Owl Light, a collection of dark fantasy & science-fiction tales: http://tinyurl.com/Owl-Light-Vonnie-W-Crist-Amazn

small owl light

 

 

 

 

 

For Facebook:
My user picture today is the cover of Vonnie Winslow Crist’s  new novel, Owl Light, a collection of dark fantasy & science fiction tales. Check it out at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and elsewhere.

Maybe6 owl light cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

For Pinterest:
Pin Owl Light or one of Vonnie’s other books.

3a– Post about Owl Light, skipping the icon. That’s great, too.

4Bookmark Owl Light on sites such as Delicious/del.icio.us, Digg, or add it to StumbleUpon, or Reddit:
http://tinyurl.com/Vonnie-Winslow-Crist-Amazon
http://tinyurl.com/Vonnie-Winslow-Crist-B-N

5Freely post this specially-written blog post as a guest post on your blog. You don’t have to ask permission or anything. Just copy, paste, and publish.

6Tell a fellow reader about the book, face to face or in email.

7Chose Owl Light for your readers’ or book club’s selection. Contact me using the form on my website and I’ll be glad to Skype with your group. Discussion questions are on my website, too.

8– Are you a middle or high school teacher or home schooler? Chose Owl Light to read with your students. Discussion questions are on my website. Contact me using the form on my website and I’ll be glad to Skype with your group.

9Organizing a sf/f con or writers’ conference? If you’re nearby, it would be an honor to attend and participate on writer and/or illustrator panels. Or if you’re looking for an Artist Guest of Honor, I’ve had over 1,000 illos published, and for travel expenses, room, and con fees, I’d be happy to appear. Contact me using the contact form on my website and let me know if you’re interested.

10Create! I’d love for you to draw/paint something from Owl Light or create a youtube video dramatizing a story (or the whole book). I only ask 2 things: credit Owl Light as inspiration, and let me know about it (so I can link to it).

11Put an affiliate buy now link for Owl Light on your website, using a program like Amazon Affiliates (doesn’t cost $ and you may make some $).

I’d like to show my gratitude to anyone who does any of the above on my behalf. Please email me using the contact form on my website and let me know!

– If you complete tasks 1 – 4 from the list, I’d like to publicly thank you on my social media, so let me know your handle or user name.

– Complete tasks 1-5, 6, and (either 7, 8 or 9) from the list, I’d like to send you an e-copy of one of my books, and publicly thank you.

– Complete 1-5, 6, (either 7, 8 or 9), and 10 or all 11 tasks, I’d like to mail you a paperback copy of one of my books, and, of course, publicly give you my thanks.

PS. Thanks to Caren Gussoff for the idea for this post.

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Readers and Writers Recipes: Tomato Mozzarella Salad

I had an open house for a couple of dozen people while my daughter was visiting from California. I’ve decided to share 3 of the recipes I fixed. Tomato Mozzarella Salad is the second. Like my last recipe Strawberry Salad, Tomato Mozzarella Salad works well for a church or organization pitch-in, book club or readers’ group get-together, family party, or any other fun gathering. (I’ll add pictures next time I fix it. I was so busy put food out, I forgot to photograph the salads!)

Tomato Mozzarella Salad

Ingredients:

2 pints grape tomatoes

1 pound of mozzarella cheese

1/3 cup balsamic vinaigrette dressing

1 Tablespoon dried basil

Salt and pepper to taste.

Directions:

1- Slice tomatoes in 1/2 and place in a medium-sized bowl.

2- Cut mozzarella into cubes (or pieces) about 1/2 to 3/4 inch square. Add to bowl.

3- Sprinkle basil over tomatoes and cheese. Add vinaigrette dressing.

4- Stir and serve. (Keeps well in refrigerator for a couple of days).

Notes:

1- Two 8-ounce containers of 1/3-ounce mozzarella can be cut into quarters and used for the cheese in this recipe. Likewise, 1-pound of mozzarella cheese sticks can be sliced into chunks and used. 2- Fresh basil can be used in place of dried, but you need 1/4-cup or more. This is a pretty salad.

Appearing Monday on Whimsical Words: guest horror author, M.J. Moore.

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Readers and Writers Recipes: Strawberry Salad

I just had an open house for a couple of dozen people while my daughter was visiting from California. I’ve decided to share 3 of the recipes I fixed. Strawberry Salad is the first. Like my last recipe Olive Jones Vegetable Salad, Strawberry Salad works well for a church or organization pitch-in, book club or readers’ group get-together, family party, or any other fun gathering. (I’ll add pictures next time I fix it. I was so busy put food out, I forgot to photograph the salads!)

Strawberry Salad

Ingredients:

12 ounces raw spinach

1 quart fresh strawberries, sliced

1 can mandarin oranges (drained)

Dressing Ingredients:

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 Tablespoon poppy seeds

2 Tablespoons sesame seeds

1 Tablespoon grated or finely diced onions

Directions:

1- Mix dressing, set aside until ready to serve.

2- Put spinach into a large bowl.

3- Slice then add to the spinach, strawberries.

4- Add drained oranges to the salad.

5- When ready to serve, stir dressing, then pour over spinach salad.

Notes:

1- Left-overs don’t store well, so make what you think your family/friends will eat. Halve recipe if you don’t think it will be eaten right away. 2- This is a really pretty and tasty salad, so try it out when strawberries are in season.

Appearing Monday on Whimsical Words: links to a 2-part video of me giving a talk on the Young Adult market to Annapolis Chapter, Maryland Writer’s Association. Warning: I am a chatterbox!

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Dear friend, Anne, is a marvelous cook and the source for many of my favorite recipes. I have an abundance of blueberries this year on my blueberry bushes. Anne made the most marvelous cake for a family Fourth of July picnic using blueberries and a lemon cake mix. I share it here today with you. Like my last recipe Brookies, Blueberry Citrus Cake works well for a book club or readers’ group get-together, family party, or any other fun gathering.

Blueberry Citrus Cake

Ingredients:

1 package 2-layer-size lemon cake mix

½ cup orange juice

½ cup water

1/3 cup cooking oil

3 eggs

1-½ cups fresh or frozen blueberries

1 Tablespoon finely shredded orange peel (1 large)

1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel (2 lemons)

1 recipe Citrus Frosting (recipe below)

Directions:

1- Preheat oven to 350°.

2- Grease-and lightly flour two 8×1 ½ inch or 9xl ½ inch round baking pans; set aside. (Try coating the fresh blueberries with some of the dry cake mix to keep the berries from settling to the bottom of the pans.)

3- In a large mixing bowl combine cake mix, orange juice, water, oil, and eggs. Then, beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium; beat for 2 minutes.

4- With a wooden spoon gently fold in blueberries, orange peel, and lemon peel. Pour batter into prepared pans.

5- Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near center comes out clean.

6- Cool layers in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Then, remove cakes from pans and cool thoroughly on racks.

7- Frost with Citrus Frosting (recipe below).

Citrus Frosting

Ingredients:

3-ounce package of cream cheese

1/4-cup softened butter

3 cups powdered sugar

2 Tablespoons orange juice

1 cup whipping cream

1 Tablespoon finely shredded orange peel

1/2 Tablespoon finely shredded lemon peel

Orange peel curls and additional blueberries for garnishing (optional)

Directions:

1- In a medium bowl beat together one 3-ounce package softened cream cheese and ¼ cup softened butter until fluffy.

2- Add 3 cups sifted powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons orange juice. Beat until combined.

3- In a small bowl beat 1 cup whipping cream to soft peaks; add to cream cheese mixture.

4- Add 1 Tablespoon finely shredded orange peel, and ½ Tablespoon finely shredded lemon peel. Beat on low until combined.

5- Frost cake. Garnish with orange peel curls and fresh blueberries, if desired.

Notes:

Store frosted cake in the refrigerator. Serves 12. 

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Readers and Writers Recipes: Brookies

099 These brownie-cookie creations using brownie mix and chocolate chip cookie mix are quick and easy to fix. A hit with kids and grown-ups alike, you’ll always want to keep the ingredients around for a hot-from-the-oven treat for guests. Like my last recipe Chocolate Waffles, Brookies work well for a book club or readers’ group get-together, family party, or any other fun gathering.

Brookies

Ingredients:

1 package Brownie Mix for 9” x 12” pan

   Ingredients to make Brownie Mix

   (usually eggs, vegetable oil, and water)

1 package Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix that makes 36 cookies

   Ingredients to make Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix

   (usually eggs and margarine)

Directions:

1- Preheat oven to 350º F. Spray 30 cupcake tin cups VERY WELL with a vegetable spray like Pam or grease-well.

2- Make Brownies according to directions on package in a bowl.

3- In another bowl, make Chocolate Chip Cookies according to directions on package.

4- Divide the Brownie batter evenly between the 30 cupcake tin cups.

5- Put a scoop of Chocolate Chip Cookie batter in the center of each Brownie-filled cupcake tin cup, making sure to use all the cookie batter.

6- Bake for 12-17 minutes (depends on your oven & mixes used). Watch the Brookies. They’re done when the cookie batter in the center is lightly browned.

7- Remove cupcake tins from oven. Cool briefly. Remove Brookies from tins with a clean knife.

8- Serve warm or cold, with or without ice cream. Keep leftover Brookies in an air-tight container. Brookies also freeze well.

Notes:

1- Again, make sure your cupcake tin cups are well-oiled, well-greased, or well-sprayed with a vegetable cooking spray (like Pam). Brookies will stick to the pan if you don’t.

2- When finished baking, only cool Brookies slightly, then remove from muffin tin cups. The only down-side to Brookies is that they’re a little challenging to remove from the muffin tin in perfect condition. Of course, imperfect Brookies will still taste fabulous!

Appearing Monday on Whimsical Words: a guest post from author, Alesha Escobar.

 

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Readers and Writers Recipes: Chocolate Waffles

These brownie-like chocolate waffles are a hit with kids and grown-ups alike. All you need is confectionery sugar to sprinkle on the waffles before serving, but sometimes I put a scoop or 2 of ice cream on top of a chocolate waffle for an extra-special treat. Like last week’s Pepperoni Pizza Dip, Chocolate Waffles work well for a book club or readers’ group get-together, family party, or any other fun gathering.

Chocolate Waffles

Ingredients:

1/2 cup margarine (or butter if you prefer), softened

1 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 Tablespoons vegetable oil

6 Tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa

1/2 cup milk (I use skim)

1-1/2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

Directions:

1- Cream margarine and sugar. Then, beat in eggs one at a time.

2- Stir in vanilla, vegetable oil, and cocoa.

3- Add flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Then, add milk. Mix until well-blended.

4- Follow the directions on your waffle iron for cooking waffles. Serve hot or cold.

Notes:

1- Make sure your waffle iron is well-oiled or sprayed with a vegetable cooking spray (like Pam).

2- Watch closely. As soon as the waffles appear cooked, remove them. Remember, because they’re chocolate, it’s harder to tell if they’re burning.

3- The cinnamon is optional. Some people prefer the waffles without it.

Appearing Monday on Whimsical Words: a guest post from author, JM Johansen.

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