The Thank-You Giveaway Extravaganza!

Thank You banner
Remember that blogoversary giveaway I said I’d hold in August? (If you don’t, that’s totally OK.) Well… I’ve been so busy with other projects that I kept postponing it until I could make time to write this post and figure out how I was going to conduct said giveaways. But a LOT of amazing things have happened during that stretch of delays, so now is still an appropriate time to give you a chance to win some goodies. As a result, this is no longer a blogoversary giveaway, but a Thank-You Giveaway Extravaganza! 😀

What exactly am I thanking readers for? 

  • The overall response to the Character Evolution Files has blown. Me. AWAY. Seriously, I didn’t expect so many of you would share these posts via social media and reblogs. You have no idea how grateful I am for your excitement, and that you’ve learned something from the three posts I’ve written for it so far.
  • Beautiful People and Chronicling The Craft are also getting a lot of love. Yes, the support for The Keeper’s Curse and its characters is rewarding – BUT the craft discussions, suggestions, and inspirations that have sprouted from both series (especially the Chronicles) have benefited not only the readers, but me as well.
  • Everyone who submitted questions for Eva’s character interview in July: YOU are the ones who made it rock. Your questions challenged me, and made me laugh, smile, and think more deeply than I’d expected to. How about we do another one in the future, with a different TKC character? 🙂
  • Writers for Worksheets may be one of the “youngest” pages on this site, but it’s already the most popular. I’m thrilled that so many of you have found the worksheets helpful and, again, that you’ve spread the word to other writers via social media. (If you’re curious, the most downloaded worksheets are currently for Novel Title Brainstorming and Character Arc Themes.) And guess what? More are on the way! 😉
  • All of this has led to an explosion in blog statistics since the end of June. Plus, not only is 2015 shaping up to be the site’s most successful year, but it has already more than doubled 2014’s totals in page views, visitors, and comments.

So, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for all of your comments and shares, but more importantly for your encouragement, enthusiasm, and insights. I’ve learned so much from the past 6 months of blogging than I have in the first 5 years of maintaining this tiny corner of the Internet. All of this calls for a celebration, wouldn’t you agree?

Green Dragon gif

Why call it an “extravaganza”? Because I’m holding three different giveaways: one for U.S. residents only, and two for everyone (U.S. + international). And, all three giveaways cover three of the major topics I talk about on this site (tea, writing, and reading). 😉 Ready?

Giveaway #1: Two Keeper’s Curse Custom Tea Starter Packs (U.S. Only)

TKC Starter Pack 2

Some of you might recall that I’ve taken up tea-blending as a hobby this year.  Here’s the first batch of results: the Keeper’s Curse Custom Tea Starter Pack! This set of four loose-leaf tea blends is inspired by characters and places from my YA fantasy novel, The Keeper’s Curse (which I’m currently revising); and has been made possible by Adagio Tea’s customer tea-blending program. My ultimate goal is to have a custom “tea line” as part of the official swag for TKC whenever and however it’s published.

This first giveaway will have two (2) winners. Each will receive a TKC Starter Pack and a list of ingredients and recommended measurements / steep times, all of which I’ll mail directly to you. For this reason, the giveaway will be limited to U.S. residents only. Also, if you wish to enter this giveaway, please make sure you have a method of brewing loose-leaf tea at home (infusers, gong fu, strainers, etc.).

Finally, if you win, I’d love it if you could share your thoughts with me about the teas once you’ve tried them! This giveaway is one of my first opportunities to have other people try these blends, so I’d like to know whether you think they smell and taste good, or if I should tweak the recipe(s).

Here’s what you’ll receive as part of the TKC Starter Pack:

Isonyeva banner

The heroine of The Keeper’s Curse, Councilor Isonyeva (a.k.a. Eva) is quick-thinking, a devoted friend, and reliable when crisis erupts. This dynamic blend of chai, black, and oolong teas reflects the young Fae woman’s personality thanks to cocoa hints, creamy hazelnut, and spices including ginger and clove. Fragrant, sweet, and zesty, with a lovely reddish-brown liquor and fiery safflower accents.

Ingredients: Ceylon black tea, oolong tea, cinnamon bark, ginger root, natural hazelnut flavor, natural vanilla flavor, cocoa nibs, natural chocolate flavor, natural cinnamon flavor, and safflower petals

Aurek tea banner

A strong, warm blend for an accomplished yet compassionate Mountain Folk warrior. Aurek Kolsteg earned his lordship after rising quickly in army rank, but he’s best known for his kindness, fierce loyalty, and maturity. This blend of pu erh, Ceylon, and Lapsang Souchong emanates Aurek’s duality. Don’t let the bold, smoky aroma intimidate you, though. The rich brown infusion is crisp and comforting, with notes of mineral, pine, and spice tempered with vanilla.

Ingredients: Pu erh tea, lapsang souchong, Ceylon black tea, cinnamon bark, ginger root, orange peels, aniseed, safflower, and natural vanilla flavor

Kasialonen logo

Mystical, lush, and a bit dangerous – that’s how the peoples of the Great Isle describe the Faerie forest known as Kasialonen. A tea blend for such a woods should marry the freshness of green tea with a brisk Ceylon, savory berries, and the enigmatic tang of bergamot. Refreshing and spellbinding, with a pleasantly dry finish that balances fruitiness with citrusy sweetness.

Ingredients: Green tea, Ceylon black tea, orange peels, raspberry leaves, natural bergamot flavor, blue cornflower petals, raspberries, and strawberries

Bhadurak tea logo

No one wants to meet a Bhadurak. This race of shadow demons, whose existence is secretly the Faeries’ doing, enters a living host’s body and possesses the mind, killing victims slowly while using them as a means to an end. However, this tea is far from “unfriendly.” Cinnamon and red peppercorns mingle with Assam and Ceylon black teas for an assertive yet approachable cup. Malty, aromatic, and full-bodied, with a lingering finish that’s spicy-sweet and slightly peppery.

Ingredients: Assam black tea, Ceylon black tea, cinnamon bark, natural cinnamon flavor, and red peppercorns

Giveaway #2: Free Critique of Your WIP’s First Chapter (International)

For this first international giveaway, I’m offering to one (1) lucky writer a critique of their WIP’s first chapter! Whether you’re working on a story and unsure if it’s going in the right direction, or you’re almost ready to have beta-readers and critique partners review your manuscript, this is an opportunity to have another writer read the beginning of your WIP and help make it sparkle.

As I read your first chapter, I’ll pay attention to your character’s introduction, narrative voice, and possible conflict, among other things. I’ll also offer constructive feedback on what works and what could use improvement. If you also have anything specific you’d like to me look at, I’d be happy to do that as well.

Since I’d like this winner to benefit in a timely manner, you should be ready to send me your WIP’s first chapter on or before Sunday, November 8th. We can discuss other details (e.g., timeline for my response, how and where to send the first chapter) once you have accepted your prize.

As for genres, here’s what I read most often and would therefore be most interested in critiquing:

  • Fantasy (Young Adult, New Adult, and Adult)
  • Historical Fiction (see above)
  • Science Fiction (see above)
  • Dystopian (see above)
  • Contemporary / literary fiction (Adult only)
  • Other genres on a case-by-case basis, depending on what the story is about

Giveaway #3: Your Choice of Book (Up to $15) from My Favorites Reads So Far in 2015, Courtesy of The Book Depository (International)

If The Book Depository isn’t your best online book-buying friend yet, it will be soon. Unlike Amazon, The Book Depository allows users to buy from all over the world to purchase U.S. and international editions of millions of books – without delivery fees, in most cases. That’s right. So, you know that book that you can’t seem to find in bookstores anywhere? Chances are you’ll find it at The Book Depository, and you won’t have to pay shipping costs, either.

For this giveaway, I’m offering to one (1) lucky reader their choice of one of my favorite books I’ve read so far in 2015, up to $15 in value. This giveaway is open internationally, as long as The Book Depository ships to your country. (Click here for their current availability.) You may want to have one or two back-up choices, in case your first choice isn’t available or exceeds the $15 limit.

Here are the books you can choose from, with links to my reviews of each one:

Need other choices? How about I recommend some of my all-time favorites?

Rules for the Giveaways

  1. Click on the link at the end of this post to access the Rafflecopter widget. Then, follow Rafflecopter’s instructions to earn points for different activities (comments, social media, etc.).
  2. Comment on this post to let me know which giveaways you want to enter.
  3. You may enter as many giveaways as you like. However, U.S. participants can enter all three, while international participants can enter Giveaways #2 and #3.
  4. There will be a total of four (4) different winners. In other words, no participant will win more than one giveaway.
  5. If you’re entering Giveaway #2 (First Chapter Critique), please share in your comment the current title (if you have one), genre, and a 1- or 2-sentence “pitch” for your WIP.
  6. If you’re entering Giveaway #3 (The Book Depository), please share in your comment your top three (3) book choices from the lists provided.
  7. All giveaways will be open through midnight EST on Saturday, October 31st. No entries will be accepted beyond the deadline.
  8. Once selected, the winners will have 48 hours to respond to my email and claim their prize. If I don’t hear from you with 48 hours, I will contact a new winner. (Also, please note that I value your privacy and will not share your information with anyone else.)
  9. I will be checking all entries during the giveaway – so, no cheating please!
  10. Once all four winners have claimed their prizes, I will formally announce their names via blog post.
  11. While I don’t mind you sharing the links for this “extravaganza,” I’m not making it mandatory for giveaway entries. I’d like to see as many readers and friends who have already been following me benefit from this, since these are sort of like “thank-you” gifts to you.

Ready? Click here to officially enter the giveaway(s).

Thank you once again, and good luck to everyone who participates! 🙂 Let me know if you have any questions, too.

40 thoughts on “The Thank-You Giveaway Extravaganza!

  1. This really is an extravaganza, and you set it up very thoughtfully! I’m super-impressed by what you’re doing to thank your fans. Taking note, as a fellow writer/future book promoter!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Aw, I want to thank YOU too for all your lovely posts and for being such a great bloggy pal 🙂 I have so much fun discussing books with you. Thank you too for the thoughtful giveaway, and through it I also realized I wasn’t following you on Twitter when I thought I was! Remedied that post-haste 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh my goodness! I so want to try those teas! That’s what I’d like to win. ^ ^ Thanks for hosting this! I want to make teas for my characters as well! I just haven’t gotten around to it. XD I’ve been trying to try all of the many flavors of Adagio Teas so I find just the right ones for them.

    storitorigrace.blogspot.com

    Liked by 1 person

    • *lol* I had a feeling you might be interested in #1, Tori. 😉

      Let me tell you: Making tea blends inspired by your characers is HARD. Not all of Adagio’s teas are available for their blending program (though many are, so you still have a good selection to choose from); and then it’s a matter of getting the right flavor combinations down. I’ve been mixing them at home manually before deciding on which teas and the blend percentages. It’s been fun and delicious, but challenging and expensive too.

      Like

      • You know me well. 😉

        I’ll keep that in mind. I have some good flavor combinations in my head from what I’ve seen and tasted. It’s good to get some insight on the process thank you. ^ ^

        Liked by 1 person

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  5. Woohoo, thanks for this AMAZING giveaway! The tea pack sounds fantastic, even though I’m not in the US. But it is the most wonderful marketing idea I’ve heard in quite a while 😀 In terms of books, I’d probably go for Vengeance Road or Red Rising or maybe Six of Crows. And my current WIP is a YA fantasy called Matryoshka about a bastard boy seeking vengeance for his warmonger father 😀 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re welcome, Alyssa! And thank you for entering. 🙂

      I’m so, so happy that Adagio gives customers the chance to make their own tea blends. It’s the only tea company I’ve come across who does that, and the tea-blending idea itself is just a neat idea for book swag. 😀

      And yay for Matryoshka!!

      Like

  6. I’d like to enter giveaways 2 and 3. Is that alowed? If I have to pick #2.

    My book is a young adult fantasy called Woven Magic. It’s about a girl who lives on another planet who discovers she has magic. (I don’t have a pitch, okay I have about 100, but I decided to keep it short.)

    I’d like Uprooted or Six of Crows. I’ve already read and loved Uprooted! If I need a third maybe Daughter of the Forest.

    Thanks and Congratulations!

    Liked by 1 person

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  8. This is a fantastic giveaway, Sara! Extravaganza is right! Hmm, I’d like to enter Giveaways #1 and 3, please. 🙂 My top 3 choices of books are: Graceling, Uprooted, Daughter of Smoke and Bone.
    Your tea blends sound delicious! I’m glad you were able to create the perfect blend for each of them. Was it Eva’s that was the most difficult? 🙂
    I am thrilled that this year has been a time of growing for you as a writer and that your blog has become as successful as it is today! Your worksheets are very helpful and well thought-out, as well as the Character Evolution Files. It has been a blessing getting to know you, and watching your blog grow, Sara.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Awwww, thank you, Elizabeth. It’s been exciting and surprising all at once, since a lot of the growth is due to people sharing articles and spreading the word. I’m just glad that other writers and bloggers find my posts worthwhile in that way. 🙂

      I’ve got you down for Giveaways #1 and #3. 😉 And great choices for possible books!

      Yes! Eva’s WAS the most difficult one! *lol* I had an idea of what I wanted, but Adagio doesn’t make all of their teas (particularly the more expensive ones) available for the blending program. So I had to figure out a new flavor combination that would work for Eva; something that exuded femininity while having a certain “kick” to it. It took a while to figure out that ginger was the right “kick” and then to find other flavors to compliment it. But I’m happy with what I came up with in the end!

      Liked by 1 person

      • That is great, Sara! I’m glad more and more people are finding your articles. You have a real talent for giving writing advice and creating worksheets that are easy for everybody to use. Some worksheets out there on the web are too complicated or busy, but yours are clean and easy to follow along with.
        I am eager to try Eva’s tea! I’ve never tried blending teas before, but the process sounds like a lot of patience and understanding of flavors is needed.

        Liked by 1 person

      • *blushes* I don’t know what to say, except “Thank you.” 🙂

        Yes, tea-blending involves a lot of patience, an understanding of what flavors go well together, and imagination. You especially need the last one if you’re creating a line of teas based on fictional characters, settings, etc. You have to think about what flavors represent certain traits or qualities about the source of inspiration, and then figure out the right amount of certain teas to put in so it tastes just right. It’s a lot of work (and a teensy bit expensive, because I’ve had to buy many samples to blend at home), but it’s been fun, too.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. This is a great idea. 🙂

    I’d like to enter #2 and #3.

    My WIP is called Into The Unknown. It’s about a pirate captain, who is also a witch. She guards her heart very closely, and then she meets Beth, and strange things start happening. She has to confront her past, and its consequences.

    For #3 I’d like win Game of Thrones, and as a back up Harry Potter or Golden Compass.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Aww Sara, this is a really sweet thing to do 🙂 And I am still commenting – even though I’m #latetotheparty as usual! (Hashtags typically annoy me, but that one is the story of my life!)

    I LOVE THE TEA IDEA (And I’m not really sorry for shouting at everyone in Capslock-that’s just how awesome the tea blending thing is). So you can put me down for #1!
    The teas sound delightful 🙂 And I am a big fan of lapsang souchong – but it isn’t a commonly seen “mixer,” in tea blends, so I find its inclusion exciting!
    Oh, and you can put me in for #3, because I will never, ever, pass up even the slightest chance at a book. I’d go for Shadow and Bone, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, or The Fifth Season (all still languishing on my TBR list!).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, you caught the giveaway before the deadline. I say you’re right on time. 😉

      YOU LOVE THE TEA IDEA, TOO?? 😀 (I’m also not sorry for using Capslock here. *lol*) I loved the idea as soon as I came up with it, and dove in before putting much thought into whether enough other people would be interested. But so far, it seems like it was a good idea after all. 🙂

      I like lapsang souchong, too! It’s not a black tea I have often because it’s so strong, but I’ve come to appreciate it since I first tried it.

      Not surprised at any of your book choices, since they’re all ones that you and I have talked about before. 😉 Thanks for participating!

      Like

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  12. Oh how exciting! Finished my rafflecopter and I’m interested in Giveaway #2. My WIP is a YA dragon fantasy.
    And here’s my twitter pitch: Kaliyah’s soul’s at risk every time she kills a dragon. Is she willing to risk it to reveal the truth that lives inside her?
    I recently received a nice reject on a partial :/ ….just hoping to shine it up for future requests.

    Liked by 1 person

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