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?
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)
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:
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
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
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
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:
- Blackbringer (Dreamdark Duology, Book #1) by Laini Taylor
- Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy, Book #1) by Laini Taylor
- Daughter of the Forest (Sevenwaters Trilogy, Book #1) by Juliet Marillier
- Ironskin (Ironskin Trilogy, Book #1) by Tina Connolly
- Shadow and Bone (Grisha Trilogy, Book #1) by Leigh Bardugo
- Shadow Scale (Seraphina Duology, Book #2) by Rachel Hartman
- Shadow Study (Soulfinder Trilogy, Book #1 / Study Series, Book #4) by Maria V. Snyder
- Six of Crows (The Dregs Duology, Book #1) by Leigh Bardugo
- The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
- The Distance Between Lost and Found by Kathryn Holmes
- The Fifth Season (Broken Earth Trilogy, Book #1) by N.K. Jemisin
- The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (Inheritance Trilogy, Book #1) by N.K. Jemisin
- The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
- Uprooted by Naomi Novik
Need other choices? How about I recommend some of my all-time favorites?
- A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book #1) by George R.R. Martin
- A Wizard of Earthsea (Earthsea Cycle, #1) by Ursula K. Le Guin
- All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
- Black Star, Bright Dawn by Scott O’Dell
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Harry Potter, Book #1) by J.K. Rowling
- Fire by Kristin Cashore
- Graceling by Kristin Cashore
- Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell
- Poison Study (Study Series, Book #1) by Maria V. Snyder
- The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
- The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials, Book #1) by Phillip Pullman
- The Heretic Queen by Michelle Moran
- The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
- The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
Rules for the Giveaways
- 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.).
- Comment on this post to let me know which giveaways you want to enter.
- 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.
- There will be a total of four (4) different winners. In other words, no participant will win more than one giveaway.
- 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.
- If you’re entering Giveaway #3 (The Book Depository), please share in your comment your top three (3) book choices from the lists provided.
- All giveaways will be open through midnight EST on Saturday, October 31st. No entries will be accepted beyond the deadline.
- 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.)
- I will be checking all entries during the giveaway – so, no cheating please!
- Once all four winners have claimed their prizes, I will formally announce their names via blog post.
- 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.
Thank you once again, and good luck to everyone who participates! 🙂 Let me know if you have any questions, too.