Posts Tagged ‘Guest Posts’

5
Jun

Unspent Time Winners

   Posted by: Lynne    in Guest Posts

“I’m very polite by nature, even the voices in my head let each other finish their sentences.” Graham Parke, Unspent Time

I’d originally planned to have a monkey draw two random numbers out of a hat (then use the inverse hexadecimal value – because you cannot trust monkeys, not at the prices I’m willing to pay) but apparently there are laws against monkey labor. There are permits involved. It’s a whole thing. So instead I asked a friend to think of two random numbers while dressed in a monkey suit, without telling him what the numbers were for. This seemed sufficiently random to me, although it later occurred to me how worrying it was that my friend would actually do this without ever asking why. There might be a thinly veiled cry for help in there somewhere…

Kindle Fire Winner:
Cecilia Huddleston

Kindle Touch Winner:
Kathy Habel

A big thank you to all the bloggers and readers who supported the Unspent Time launch event (especially those who bought multiple versions of the weird little novels that wrecked a thousand reasonably useful minds.)

Anyway, here’s the results, thank you all for joining in, winners will be contacted and forced to accept prizes, let me know if you ever come across bits in the novels you like, stay healthy and sane,

Graham Parke

“We played for about half an hour before I realized we were actually playing two different games. What I’d thought of as ludo was actually a game called gin rummy, and what Warren was playing seemed to be a mixture of craps and table tennis. Once we started playing by one consistent set of rules, though, the fun was really over.” Graham Parke, No Hope for Gomez!

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18
May

Unspent Time Launch Party

   Posted by: Lynne    in Guest Posts


Unspent Time Launch Party

Get free books and win a Kindle Fire or a Kindle Touch



Warning: reading this novel may make you more attractive and elevate your random luck by about 9.332%*
(* These statements have not been evaluated by any person of consequence!)

From the award winning author of ‘No Hope for Gomez!’ comes a collection of impossible tales. Permeating the cracks between the past and the present is the realm of Unspent Time; time that was allotted but never spent. This is where we find the stories that could have been true.
Read how to enter below.

Excerpt

Sunday brunch; the table overflowing with food and drink, the fine china and silverware laid out, the clock ticking away painfully slow minutes before father finally speaks. “Well son,” he says, “isn’t it about time you got yourself a job?”

John looks up from his plate. “Dad,” he says, “I have a job.”

Father nods thoughtfully, chewing his medium rare steak. “I guess it’s about time you moved out then. Found a place of your own. Planted some roots.”

John is baffled. “But dad, I moved out five years ago. In fact, this is the first time I’ve been back.” He looks over at mother, who shrugs and says, “You know dear, your brother has his own business. He set up an accountancy firm.”

John rolls his eyes. “That’s me, mom. I set up an accountancy firm. John Williams and Associates.”

“That’s good to hear,” father says. “Always said you should run your own business. You have a keen business sense. You always had.”

“I just wish he’d find himself a girlfriend,” mother complains.

“What do you mean?” John smiles apologetically at Annabel. “I have a girlfriend, mother, she’s sitting next to you. She gave you flowers at the door, remember?” He points at the vase. “You put them in water.”

Mother waves it away with a warm smile. “Sorry dear, I meant a proper girlfriend.” She squeezes Annabel’s hand. “You know what I mean, don’t you dear?”

Annabel opens her mouth, but can’t think of anything to say.

“Didn’t you used to have dark hair,” father says suddenly, “and not quite so many arms?” He looks John over carefully. “Yes, yes,” he says, “you definitely look different. Did you get shorter?”

“That’s enough!” John gets up. He gestures at Annabel to do the same. “If you cannot behave like civilized human beings, then we’re going! I can’t believe you’d treat Annabel and myself this way. It’s appalling!”

Father throws down his napkin and stands as well. “Serves you right, young man,” he says. “Serves you right for not going home for five years and then ending up in the wrong house!”

… continued in Unspent Time

How to enter:
For the launch of the new novel I decided to discount it to $0.99 for today (PC and eBook), give away some exclusive content, and raffle off two Kindles. All entrants will get:

  • An exclusive spin-off novelette (not available for purchase anywhere!)
  • Making of Gomez: behind the scenes eBook
  • Signature for their paperback or kindle edition
  • Chance to win a Kindle Fire or a Kindle Touch


(Prizes can be traded for Amazon gift certificates if you already own them.)
Just email your receipt to nohopeforgomez@gmail.com to enter.
Each purchase counts, so stock up on birthday presents (for people you don’t like that much, for instance) The discount ends today, but be sure to send the receipts no later than June 1st.


(Or order the books from any bookstore.)
Coupon code for today: ZB77D

And then get by ing about your purchase and another by mentioning it on facebook

Sound bites from Unspent Time:

“I’m looking into my past lives. I’m convinced some of them still owe me money.”

“I’m very polite by nature, even the voices in my head let each other finish their sentences.”

“I didn’t actually want to do it,” Kiala told the boy. “The universe just kind of conspired to force me to make a fool of myself. It does that quite a lot, actually.”

“Sadly, my socks are like snowflakes, no two are exactly alike.”

Here’s what reviewers had to say:

“A veritable page turner of nonstop laughs!” — Reader Views
“An unputdownable read. a Coens Brothers’ film in book form.” — BookReview.com
“Extremely witty and clever writing.” — California Chronicle
“A Party for your Brain!” — Warren Baxter

Bio:

Graham Parke is responsible for a number of technical publications and has recently patented a self-folding map. He has been described as both a humanitarian and a pathological liar. Convincing evidence to support either allegation has yet to be produced.

www.grahamparke.com
www.grahamparke.blogspot.com
GoodReads
Facebook

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15
Jul

My First Blog Tour!

   Posted by: Lynne    in eBooks/Print Books, Guest Posts

I’ve heard of blog tours for authors before, but never quite knew how they worked. Well, there’s no better way to learn than by doing! So I’ve jumped right in and am a stop along the way for Tomi Akinyanmi, author of A Worthy Legacy. She kindly wrote to me about the process of publishing her book:

I didn’t realize that publishing a book was such a tedious task. I actually believed that the toughest part would be sitting to write. It wasn’t until I got down to the publishing part that it occurred to me that the writing was the easiest part of making a book.

Perhaps it was because it was the first time I would be doing this or perhaps it was the fact that I had three little ones to deal with during the day and the only time I could dedicate to this project was the time between when I got my babies to bed and the time it took me to get sleepy afterwards. I don’t really know which it was but I do know that it’s been quite a challenge. I must confess though that seeing “A Worthy Legacy” finally in print does give me a thrill.

Being a novice, I needed to do a lot of research and find information with regards to the book business. What this means is that for the last few months, I’ve spent a lot of time surfing the internet and reading all the articles I could find on authoring, publishing as well as marketing. I also picked up some books in my quest to learn all I needed to know. However, learning the whole process has been more tedious than I have imagined. Between cleaning up the house once the children are off to dreamland and getting the stuff for the next day ready in addition to learning the book business, I‘ve gotten little or no sleep most nights since I started the publishing project.

From obtaining an ISBN to getting the manuscript edited while working with an overseas designer to design the cover and finally sending the competed text off to the printers, it was a lot of fun. I especially enjoyed working with my designer mainly because she was someone who took pride in her work. Because she was more concerned about the outcome of the project than the timing, she applied herself and that put us on the same wavelength. It was as much fun for me to work with her as it was for her to do the job which I could tell she thoroughly enjoyed. I felt I had chosen the right person for the job. Also seeing the responses to the cover tells me I was not wrong about this. What I learned from this is that “it pays to work with people who take pride in what they do”.

Anyway back to the book business, so far it seems that every new level is more challenging than the last. As much as I thought putting the book in print was tough I’m finding out that maybe marketing is even tougher. I am yet to make up my mind which part of the process of creating a book is the easiest. However, I can pretty much say that I’ve learned so much about this business now that I know the next time around, it would be much easier. For anyone out there considering self publishing, here’s what I can tell you – when you are new to the game, publishing is not easy but it sure is a lot of fun especially if you love to learn new things.

Read my review of A Worthy Legacy here.

Tomi Akinyanmi is the author of A Worthy Legacy, winner of the Silver Award in the Inspirational/Spiritual Category of The Young Voices Foundation’s 2009 Young Voices Award, Second position in the Inspirational/Spiritual Category of the 2008 Reader Views Literary Award, Second position in the Young Adult Non-fiction category of the 2008 Reader Views Literary Award, and Top Book Awards by Black Pearls Magazine sponsored by EDC Creations.

Learn more about A Worthy Legacy and Tomi Akinyanmi.
Buy A Worthy Legacy here.
Check out the book trailer on Youtube

eBook Reviews Online is just one stop on Tomi Akinyanmi’s blog tour!
Visit the other sites of the tour here:

BLOG DATE
Write for a reader July 5
Merry Weather Book Blog July 5
Drey’s Library July 6
Violet Crush July 6
A Bookworm’s World July 6
Lost in books July 7
Book Nest Reviews July 7
Mis(h)takes July 8
A Circle of Books July 8
Peeking between the pages July 9
Reading Frenzy July 9
A Book Blogger’s Diary July 10
Luxury Reading July 10
Bella is reading… July 11
Jenny loves to read July 11
Belle of the books July 12
The Unadorned Book Review July 12
Worducopia July 13
Poisoned Rationality July 13
Socrates’ Book reviews July 14
My thoughts…your thoughts July 15
eBookReviewsOnline July 15
Grace’s Book Blog July 16
Bookalicio.us July 16
The Friendly book nook July 17
Just Another New Blog July 17
I’m on a bookathon
Simply Stacie
Real page turners
Booksnake reviews
The Eclectic Reader
The Bookworm

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18
May

Susan Boyle’s Gift

   Posted by: Lynne    in Guest Posts

By Donna VanLiere

I am one of the nearly forty-nine million You Tube viewers who have watched Susan Boyle, the unemployed cat owner from Scotland, blow away the audience of Britain’s Got Talent

Before she takes the stage we learn that Boyle is 47, never married, never kissed, spends her days with Pebbles the cat, and by eye-balling her: frizzy graying hair, eyebrows like caterpillars, ill-fitting dress, gray pantyhose and open-toed cream colored shoes, we assume she’s not a beauty pageant winner. The audience and judges size her up, too. When she says her age judge Simon Cowell responds with an exaggerated eyeball roll and fellow judge Piers Morgan, a former tabloid newspaper editor, furrows his brow (clearly this ancient dame is wasting his time). Amanda Holden, the third judge, is a beautiful English actress with a body and face that no matter how good your self-image is — if you stand next to her in line at the coffee shop — you instantly feel bloated and troll-like. Cutaway shots to the audience show young people snickering and looking at Boyle as if she forgot her mop backstage. 

“Okay,” Cowell says. “What’s the dream?” This is what it all boils to, really. The dream. The hope. 

“I’m trying to be a professional singer,” Boyle says. (Insert shot of young girl reacting as if saying, “Yeah, right. And I want to be Amanda Holden.”) 

When she says she’d like to be as successful as English musical theater legend Elaine Page, the cynicism in the room is as thick as Boyle’s eyebrows. If Boyle detects any of the sarcasm, unbelief, or disdain she never lets on. She announces her song choice from Les Miserables and Morgan laughs. 

Boyle signals for the song to begin and holds onto her mic like a child at her first school program. Then . . . she opens her mouth and when she does the audience erupts in cheers and applause. Simon Cowell’s eyes widen, Amanda Holden’s mouth drops open and Piers Morgan, who just seconds ago laughed at her, now smiles and applauds. Again, if Boyle is aware of the cheers, ovations and wild applause she doesn’t let on. In moments, the lovely Holden is on her feet aiming her applause directly at Boyle. Two women are facing each other: one is the epitome of success, loveliness and grace and the other has been accustomed to taking a backseat to the likes of Holden . . . but not now. The beauty is honoring the wallflower. 

As the final notes fade, the entire audience along with Morgan and Holden are on their feet (Cowell remains seated in case you’re wondering); Boyle blows a kiss to the crowd and begins to trudge off stage. The judges urge her back and the two hosts in the wings direct her to stay put. She has no idea what she has just accomplished or the effect she’s had on this once judgmental audience. The judges assess what they’ve just heard. “Amazing. I’m reeling,” Morgan says. 

But there is no greater compliment than that from Holden. “I just want to say that it was a complete privilege listening to that,” she says. Boyle wasn’t what she appeared to be; she was more. 

In Finding Grace (St. Martin’s Press) I relate the story of sitting in math class with my friend Peggy. Our seats were located in front of four of the princesses of the school. They were so beautiful, charming and trendy wearing their Izod alligator polo shirts and crisp khaki pants. Peggy and I wore Toughskin corduroys (Their slogan was, “The toughest of Sears tough jeans . . . lab tests prove it!”), sported either a bad perm or an uneven haircut and never made anybody’s cool list. Susan Boyle would have been our friend. 

Our math teacher was a man with a red face. It wasn’t sunburn or even a healthy glow; it was just red . . . all the time. Mr. Teacher Man seemed to be on the backside of his teaching career. Not because he was old but because he seemed to hate the job, or maybe he just disliked Peg and me. I don’t know. As Peggy and I went to the chalkboard one day I knocked the eraser to the floor. We both bent for it and clunked our heads together. The class laughed but Mr. Teacher Man did not. We were wasting his time. 

In the days following a school assembly was called. A special speaker was coming to entertain the student body. Peg and I threw our books in our lockers and made our way to the gymnasium. There were prime seats down front. We crossed the gym and climbed up two bleachers for our perfect spot when we heard him. “Those aren’t available.” We turned to see Mr. Teacher Man whose eyes were scanning the gym floor. I didn’t think he wasn’t talking to us and moved toward the seats again. “Those seats are taken, girls.” 

By that time every good bleacher was filled and we trekked up to the top row. I sat down and was positioning myself behind Ralphie the teenage giant boy when I noticed the four princesses sit in “our” seats down below. It turns out that Mr. Teacher Man was right. The best seats were unavailable . . . to us. Those seats were special and for special girls. We could make do somewhere else. 

Strange how people color the way we feel about ourselves. Somewhere along the way sociologists termed that as the looking glass self: we begin to perceive ourselves as those around us see us. You’re a good student but not as good as your sister. You’re a great athlete but not nearly as strong as your brother. You’re thin but just not thin enough for the job. You’re too fat for the job. You’re a good mom but have you seen her remarkable home and kids? You’re too old and frumpy to sing. Countless books, magazine articles, and television shows are dedicated to helping us be better in every way so we can finally reach those coveted best seats. 

But to love and accept someone despite their flaws and failures is a gift of grace in a cynical and hypercritical world where our own panel of judges smirk and snicker and whisper catty comments. Grace says, “Okay, what’s the dream?” without passing judgment or rolling the eyes. It sees beyond the frizzy hair and frumpy dress to the heart of the singer, or mother, or twice-divorced waitress. Grace stands up and says, “It is a privilege to know you.” Grace realizes there’s more than what meets the eye and is the most life-altering gift we can give to one another. 

I have a feeling that Susan Boyle knows that.

©2009 Donna VanLiere, author of Finding Grace: A True Story About Losing Your Way in Life . . . And Finding It Again

Author Bio

Donna Vanliere, author of Finding Grace: A True Story About Losing Your Way in Life . . . And Finding It Again, is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Christmas Hope series and Angels of Morgan Hill. She lives in Franklin, Tennessee with her husband and three children. 

For more information please visit http://www.donnavanliere.com

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18
May

When the Wheels Come Off

   Posted by: Lynne    in Guest Posts

I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s when parents still told their kids to go outside and play. My friends and I would spend all day in the yard and when we got hot and sweaty enough we’d run to the back patio, open the water spigot on the side of the house and get down on our hands and knees so we could get low enough to turn our mouths up for a drink of water that splashed all over our faces and down our necks. In the evenings I remember seeing my parents shaking their heads as they watched the oil crises in the 1970’s unfold on the nightly news. Gas prices skyrocketed to 73 cents a gallon! “Turn it off,” my mother would say to my dad. “Good grief! The wheel’s are coming off but they make it sound like the world’s ending.”

Like me, as a child you probably hoped for a life that would exceed your dreams but as those dreams collapsed along the way you’ve simply wished for a soft wing of hope but instead have gotten life in a culture of ungrace. That’s not a word but it should be. If you don’t know what ungrace is just listen to most people who didn’t vote for any sitting president, watch how fast Hollywood turns on a star who no longer sells at the box office or turn on the news anytime during the day. Ungrace pulsates in our workplaces, communities, and in the media and tells us that regardless of what has happened we must do better, look better, and make ourselves better. But to love and accept someone regardless of their flaws and failures is a breath of hope in a world that turns more upside down than right side up. That is the gift of grace. It’s being dirty and smelly and turning your face up under the spigot. Sometimes the wheels need to come off and you need to get pretty low before you appreciate grace.

The wheels are coming off for my friend Lisa. She’s the owner of a beautiful clothing store for women. She’s put her heart and soul into the store but then the economy tanked and people ran scared (even those who still had jobs and owned their homes). Trouble is, she did everything right: paid her mortgage, creditors and bills on time so she doesn’t qualify for help. The wheels are coming off for my friend Jacob. When he took his vows he never envisioned this animosity, anger or separation. The wheels are coming off for my friend Gerri. She finished chemotherapy and is beginning nine weeks of radiation for breast cancer. It wasn’t her dream but she’s added it to her daily schedule: go to work, get groceries, go to hospital for radiation, do laundry, make dinner.

When we plan our lives no one ever says, “When I grow up I want to get a divorce, maybe two!” Or, “When I grow up I want to lose my house, my business and my life savings!” Broken dreams are never part of anyone’s plan. We tie our plans up with ribbons and bows and aim for the mountain top but end up in the valley. In Finding Grace (St. Martin’s Press, March 2009) I relate a story of walking with my second grade class to the library when a sixth grader spit on me. He didn’t intend to spit on me but I was fortunate enough to be the one to pass at that exact moment. My teacher Mrs. Brewer cleaned me up but when I looked down at my maroon polyester blend turtleneck I could see the white tissue particles clinging to where the snot had been. “He blindsided you,” Mrs. Brewer said. “That’s how it goes sometimes.”

At some point, life blindsides us with something far greater than a giant loogie. The diagnosis, abuse, foreclosure, broken marriage, death, or financial collapse brings us to our knees and though we try to clean ourselves up the best we know how we’re still left with the stain of it all. “That’s how it goes sometimes.” True. But isn’t there more? The beauty of grace says yes. There’s more love after the infidelity, more joy after the diagnosis and more life after the financial ruin. Chris Gardner, the bestselling author of The Pursuit of Happyness was once asked how he and his son were able to overcome the shame of homelessness. Gardner said, “We were homeless, not hopeless!” Chris knew he was living on the streets but he was still living. That’s grace. Grace is always present and always near but it’s easy to miss — things aren’t always as they appear. I just returned from Winnipeg where The Christmas Hope is being filmed in a house. In previous months the homeowner fell off a ladder and broke several ribs. During x-rays it was discovered that he had cancer. That break-up, closed door to a job, or fall from a ladder may not be as devastating as you think but an act of grace that will save your life and help you discover higher dreams.

In a country of excess we suffer from a deficit of grace. In the last few months I’ve watched two stories on the news of men losing their jobs then killing their entire families and themselves. In another story a man lost his job after twenty years. “It’s heart wrenching,” he said. “But I still have my family and we’re all together.” That’s the hope of grace speaking and it beats the alternative any day. Last week my friend Lisa liquidated merchandise and said, “It kills me to close this store but I know God still has a plan for me.” That’s grace at the end of a shattered dream. My friend Miriam’s husband was devastated over their loss of money in the stock market. “How much do we have left?” she asked. Embracing and recognizing what is left is grace at the end of an economically depressed rope. There is life-altering power in that.

I once attended several Alcoholics Anonymous meetings for research. A man said, “I was a drunk for fifteen years. I lost my wife and son because she couldn’t take it anymore. One day I woke up and said, ‘What the hell am I doing? I need to live.'” For fifteen years the noise of his life drown out the voice that said he was worthy, needed and loved but then came the day that he finally heard it. That wake-up call to life is a gift from God. With what strength that man had left he turned his face up toward that spigot of grace and let it splash all over him.

Finding grace in a culture of ungrace seems an impossible task but it is present, it is real and it is an indomitable gift that has the power to change your life. It does come with one condition, though — like any gift you have to reach out and take it.
 

©2009 Donna VanLiere, author of Finding Grace: A True Story About Losing Your Way in Life . . . And Finding It Again

Author Bio
Donna Vanliere, author of Finding Grace, is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Christmas Hope series and Angels of Morgan Hill. She lives in Franklin, Tennessee with her husband and three children.
For more information please visit http://www.donnavanliere.com

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