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Posts Tagged ‘readers groups’

I’ll be updating my website in the next few weeks. In order to streamline the site while still offering an opportunity for my readers to check out a few free samples, I’ve turned to Wattpad.

Watt-what” a few of you might ask. Wattpad is a site where many writers, some professional and some beginners, post free excerpts and complete stories. There are even some complete books for readers to enjoy.

I think it’s a great site for readers (free reads – need I say more) and writers. For writers, it’s an opportunity to offer a sample of your work to readers who might become fans of your work. If you decide to only offer excerpts, perhaps readers will be intrigued enough to search out the complete story or book. If you own all rights to a story or book, and are so inclined, you can gift your readers with a complete tale. Again, in the hopes those readers will become fans.

Here’s a link to one of my excerpts (over 12,000 words, so it’s a big excerpt) on Wattpad. You can easily find the other free prose I’m offering (including a complete story). If you like my excerpts and complete story, please Follow me, make a comment, favor the tale, and tell your friends.

Happy reading!

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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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Nathan Fillion, even the name brings images of Firefly, Serenity, Browncoats, and, of course, mystery writer Richard Castle. Whether you’re a fan of Nathan Fillion or not, I hope you’ll find his support of reading admirable.

“Whatever our bedtime was as kids, we could stay up an extra half hour if we were reading. My parents didn’t care as long as I was under the spell of a Stephen King or a Douglas Adams. Now I read in bed. I read at work. I read standing in line. It’s like, ‘Hello, my name is Nathan and I am a reader.'”

I, for one, believe the future belongs to readers!Nathan Fillion Reading

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Author Diana Gabaldon “Overall, the library held a hushed exultation, as though the cherished volumes were all singing soundlessly within their covers.” – Diana Gabaldon, Outlander

First, let me say I’m a sucker for all book-positive library quotes. Plus, I’m a fan of Diana Gabaldon and her books. So this quote is naturally one of my favorites. (And I hold librarians in the highest esteem, since they are the custodians of books and steadfast promoters of reading).

I’ve had the privilege of hearing a number of authors speak at libraries (and I have gladly traveled hours to hear these author talks). Here’s a you-tube video of Diana Gabaldon, June 20, 2014, at Toronto Public Library which I hope you’ll enjoy. It does come with a warning – Diana writes for adults, so some of the content is a little racy!

Do you ever go to hear authors talk about their books?

 

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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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