Giveaway of Sparks and Shadows by Lucy A. Snyder

Posted in Giveaway at 9:21 am by Amber

Sparks and Shadows New Cover

Lucy A. Snyder is the Bram Stoker Award-winning author of the novels Spellbent and Shotgun Sorceress and the collections Sparks and Shadows, Chimeric Machines, and Installing Linux on a Dead Badger. Her writing has appeared in Strange Horizons, Weird Tales, Hellbound Hearts, Masques V, Doctor Who Short Trips: Destination Prague, Chiaroscuro, GUD, and Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet.

She’s at the World Fantasy Convention this weekend and Shotgun Sorceress went on sale this week.  I’m holding the giveaway to celebrate the release date and introduce more people to her work.

Lucy and I live in the same city but never connected until the Ohioana Book Festival in May.  This is a signed copy of Sparks and Shadows.  It’s the only place you can read “Forgetting”, my Story of the Month pick.

You can receive an entry by leaving a comment that you’re interested in this book.  Contest is open to International entries.  The randomizer at Random.org will pick a winner at 11pm Eastern on 11/1/2010.

Good luck!

Story of the Month – “Forgetting”

Posted in Story Of The Month at 9:05 am by Amber

“Forgetting” by Lucy A. Snyder has been the ultimate Story of the Month for me.  I read it several years ago either as a link from her web site or a story on her site.  It’s the melancholy tone that’s stayed with me.  The story has five characters – daughter, mom, dad, dog and chicken.  It’s amazing what the love of a child can do in this little tale.

The story is no longer available online because it was included in Sparks and Shadows, a collection of her poetry and short stories.  And you have the opportunity to win your own copy!  A sticky post later today will have the details.


Mailbox Monday – October 25th

Posted in Event at 12:48 am by Amber

Mailbox Monday

A big thank you to Avis at shereadsandreads for hosting Mailbox Monday during October.

One item showed up for review this week from the author.  Dan Carrison sent me Bill at Rainbow Bridge. It will be perfect for my November reviews. It’s a slim book (under 100 pages) written to assist people mourning the loss of their pets. Illustrations were done by Peg DuVal.

What arrived in your mailbox this week?


The Marshall Plan for Novel Writing by Evan Marshall

Posted in Review at 2:06 pm by Amber

Title: The Marshall Plan ® for Novel Writing
Author: Evan Marshall
Source: Anna at FSB Associates

Evan Marshall offers easy to follow advice on how to set yourself up for success in writing a novel.  He gives you the basics such as how (and why) to pick a genre, how to determine the number of words needed for the particular genre, character sheet information, mixing point of views, and how to plot in a way that creates tension.  Marshall points out that he can’t help with the hardest part – the actual writing.

Of particular interest to me is the section on plotting.  Marshall’s plotting advice is to have the character do an action in an attempt to overcome the obstacle.  However, the action results in failure.  This can be in several ways… the character has to figure out a new way to overcome the obstacle, fails and finds out about a bigger obstacle or does succeed but finds out about a bigger obstacle ahead.  It reminds me of the first season of the tv show Prison Break.  Each time Michael Scofield figured out how to overcome an obstacle in getting his brother out of prison there was a new one waiting around the corner.  It was so exciting to watch because you didn’t know if the prison system, other inmates or the shadowy organization in the background was going to get in his way.  Marshall includes examples of action and reaction sheets to help with the plotting. 

Another section of the book is an overview of writing mechanics.  He explains passive action without saying he’s explaining it.  It’s a nice refresher.

Now, if you’re unable to keep everything straight with your papers or electronic files, Marshall and Martha Jewett wrote novel writing software to accompany the book.  It organizes the alternating viewpoints and action/reaction sections.  I’ve only seen the screenshots of the software.  If filled out properly it should greatly assist in writing the synopsis of your novel.

Marshall and Jewett are running a Fiction Makeover Contest for NaNoWriMo.  Until November 15th, 2010 you can send them the first 25 pages and a synopsis for a chance at winning the software or a copy of this book.  Good luck!

About the Authors:

Evan Marshall is an internationally recognized expert on fiction writing and author of the ‟Hidden Manhattan” and ‟Jane Stuart and Winky” mystery series. A former book editor, for 27 years he has been a leading literary agent specializing in fiction. His Marshall Plan® Novel Writing Software, co-authored with Martha Jewett, is an adaptation of his bestselling Marshall Plan® series. He is the president of The Evan Marshall Agency, a leading literary management firm that represents a number of New York Times andUSA Today bestselling authors.

An award-winning business book editor at McGraw-Hill, John Wiley & Sons, and HarperBusiness, Martha Jewett is currently a literary agent and editorial consultant specializing in business books. An avid memoirist, she blogs at www.writeyourmemoir.com. With Evan Marshall she created The Marshall Plan® Novel Writing Software, an adaptation of the bestselling Marshall Plan® series.

For more information, please visit http://writeanovelfast.com/ and follow the authors on Facebook and Twitter.


Mailbox Monday – October 18th

Posted in Event at 1:39 am by Amber

Mailbox Monday

A big thank you to Avis at shereadsandreads for hosting Mailbox Monday.

I finally figured out where The Reliable Wife from last week came from.  It was an afternoon siesta win from Algonquin Books during BBAW. 🙂

Two books arrived in my mailbox this week.  The first was an ARC of Lawrence Block’s A Drop of the Hard Stuff.  It’s one of the first books to launch the Mulholland Books imprint of Little, Brown and Company.

Grandmaster Lawrence Block brings his greatest character, Matthew Scudder, back into action in his most personal case to date.

Matthew Scudder is finally on the straight and narrow when he runs into “High-Low” Jack Ellery, a childhood friend from the Bronx. In Scudder, Jack sees the moral man he might have become. In Jack, Scudder sees the hard-won sobriety he hopes to achieve. Then Ellery, following to the letter the dictates of Alcoholics Anonymous’ infamous twelve steps, is shot down while attempting to atone for past sins, and Scudder is drawn into a murder investigation that threatens to upset his path toward recovery—and get him killed in the process.

The second was Out of the Transylvania Nightby Aura Imbarus.  It’s a memoir about leaving Communist Transylvania for America and making a new life.

In an epic tale of identity and the indomitable human spirit, OUT OF THE TRANSYLVANIA NIGHT explores tyranny, freedom, love, success, and the price paid for misaligned dreams. An incredibly powerful memoir.

What arrived in your mailbox this week?


CSN Stores Giveaway Winner

Posted in Event, Giveaway at 10:35 pm by Amber

Congratulations to Tiffany Christie on winning the CSN Stores gift certificate giveaway.  I hope you enjoy it.  A butterfly cake pan sounds like fun!


Mailbox Monday – October 11th

Posted in Event at 5:54 am by Amber

Mailbox Monday

A big thank you to she reads and reads for hosting Mailbox Monday in October.  For this weekly meme participants share which books came into our homes.

Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword by Barry Deutsch was my husband’s find.  We were at the local comic book store when he saw it.  The tagline “Yet Another Troll-Fighting 11-Year-Old Orthodox Jewish Girl” made him think it would be perfect for me.  I liked the artwork so we brought it home.

What arrived in your mailbox this week?


CSN Stores Giveaway

Posted in Giveaway at 6:26 pm by Amber

I can be indecisive when it comes to things I may have around for a long time.  Whatever I get must be something I’ll like for a long while and won’t break after six months. 

When we decided to buy new bedroom furniture we knew the most important thing would be the bed.  What would be best?  A platform bed, a sleigh bed and so on.  The new bedroom furniture is still on hold.

When CSN Stores approached me about reviewing a product of theirs it took me a week or so to decide I might want an immersion blender.  It’s autumn and soups are a good way to stay warm for the next six months.  Wouldn’t it be perfect to make some soups and freeze them for NaNoWriMo?  It would be perfect but I’m not feeling ambitious right now.

So you get a chance to do what you want with a $75 CSN Stores gift certificate!  What might you spend your gift certificate on?  Take a look around at their stores  a little so you won’t be indecisive like me.  All you have to do to sign up for the giveaway is leave a comment to let me know you’re interested.  I’ll pick a winner on October 17th at 10:00pm Eastern using my favorite randomizer, random.org.  If you’re shipping address is in Canada the item(s) you order may have additional shipping or international charges.


September 2010

Posted in Status Report, Writing at 11:32 pm by Amber

These statistics are all for short stories, poems, or contest entries. Book reviews are not included.

  1. Sales in September: 0
  2. Rejections in September: 1
  3. Submissions sent out in September: 1
  4. Total stories/poems/contests pending responses: 1

I’ve assumed my item sent to Writer’s Digest for the September issue was rejected since no one contacted me to do a profile.  I’m sure I have that issue somewhere around the house…

I have a few ideas colliding in my head for this year’s NaNoWriMo but I haven’t settled on one yet. 

Later this month I’ll be attending the World Fantasy Convention.  It’s being held in my hometown this year and should be fun.

Mailbox Monday – October 4th

Posted in Event at 11:18 pm by Amber

Mailbox Monday

A big thank you to She Reads and Reads for hosting Mailbox Monday during October.

Two books arrived in my mailbox this week.  The first was A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick.  I’m almost certain it’s a win from BBAW but I can’t figure out if it came from the publisher or a blog.  It’s about a mail order bride who isn’t what she appears to be and the husband who has more in mind then he presents.

The second book was American Salvage by Bonnie Jo Campbell.  It was sent from the publisher and is the book I’m reading for the Eco-Libris 2010 Green Books Campaign.  It’s a collection of short stories about people that aren’t often represented in literature.

What arrived in your mailbox this week?