Saturday, January 16, 2010

** My First Blog Contest for a Book Give-Away **

Have you ever stumbled across a book in the library, bookstore, or online, when you were actually searching for something else?....And you were curious because of the title, book cover, or first couple of sentences you read? And it turned out to be an amazing book? One that made you remember why you love to read so much? A self-help book that helped you tremendously? A novel that you couldn’t forget? A book you had to tell others about? And try to find more by the same author?

That experience has happened to me quite a few times and I thought it would be fun to know if I'm not alone in this. I'd like to do this every other month or so, depending on the responses I receive! The prize this first time will be one of Kelly L. Stone's wonderful books, either "Thinking Write: The Secret to Freeing Your Creative Mind" or "Time to Write: Professional Writers Reveal How to Fit Writing into Your Busy Life". The winner can choose which one he or she would like, and Kelly will autograph a bookplate, especially to the winner! I'm choosing Kelly as my first author, because I stumbled across her book "Time to Write" in the library while searching for other books about writing. Just the first few sentences made such an impression on me that I borrowed it that evening, and purchased it shortly after, so I would have it forever and could always go back to it for more inspiration! Thanks, Kelly, for being part of my first blog contest!

Just a couple of “Rules.” Addendum: The copyright year (rule 3) is not that important! I'm mostly particular about the author not being famous. (rule 1)

1) It can’t be written by a “famous” author. Someone we’ve all heard of….Those people that are continually pumping out books and winding up on the Best Sellers List. I want to hear about unknowns & semi-unknowns, male or female writers.

2) It can’t be a book that someone recommended to you. You had to have found it all by yourself.

3) Leave a comment telling me the name of the book, the author, the copyright date, approximately when you read it, and a brief description about the affect it had on you.

4) You many enter up to 3 books, but they all must be on separate comments.

I’ve found most of my favorite writers this way and I’m curious about the rest of you! This should be a great way to share some of those hidden gems out there. I’m really looking forward to discovering more great writers! Tell your friends, too, to stop by my blog and enter for a chance to win.

*Don't fret if you don't see your comment immediately, or even really fast! I have the comment moderation on, so it may be awhile before I get around to checking them!*

Deadline will be next Saturday, January 23rd at midnight CST.
The winner’s name will be chosen randomly.
I will not post any comments I believe to be vulgar or in bad taste, etc. If the comment isn't posted, it obviously won't be eligible to win.

Books can be dangerous. The best ones should be labeled "This could change your life." -- Helen Exley


  1. Hi Becky,
    So sorry it has taken me a while to get back to you. Thank you for stopping by and for your comments. You sounded so enthusiastic. Where in Germany were you? We are quite close to what was an old US base. It is now Frankfurt Hahn airport. You stop by and say hello if you do manage to get over here.
    I love reading. When choosing books in the library I will be drawn by the cover initially, unless I know the author of course. But I am limited here to what I read at the moment. I don't expect the library to have any books written in English!
    All the best to you.

  2. Thanks for choosing me to be your first give-away, Becky!


  3. This is not by any means an unhidden gem (just check the reviews on However, I stumbled across it at the book store without benefit of researching the title..."The Help" by Kathryn Stockett. The book is Stockett's first novel. It's the story of a young white college graduate who wants to be a writer. She proposes to a potential publisher a collection of stories as told by the black maids of her southern 1960's era town. The publisher is interested. But can she find anyone with the courage and will to work with her on the dangerous project?

    I've been recommending this book to everyone, and have purchased several copies as gifts. It makes you think...especially if you grew up in the '60's.

  4. What a great idea!! I've had so many experiences were I picked up a random book, flipped it open, and read something so significant that I was floored! But this one was just fun: The Cracker Factory by Joyce Rebeta-Burditt. I guess it was a best seller in the late 70s, but I didn't know it. I was at my high school job in a department store, and they briefly moved the books near my department, and I just liked the cover and title. I love black comedies, and this was my first one.

  5. Hi Lynne! I'm so glad you stopped by to comment! My first stay in Germany was in a small town near Frankfurt, and the second was another small town near pretty...and SO long ago! Don't look for me any time soon! :-)
    Do you have a book title you can suggest for the contest? If not, that's okay. I'm just really happy you left a comment and I'm sure we'll be "seeing" each other on our blogs from now on!

  6. Hi Miss Kelly "Free Your Creative Mind" Stone! Thanks again for writing your wonderful books in the first place...and for being part of my first contest!

  7. Hi Pat! Thanks for your book suggestion! This is exactly what I'm talking about! The kind of book that you want to give as a gift to others!! You are entered into the contest!!

  8. Hi Tammy! Thanks! Sounds like another wonderful gem! It kind of feels like being an archeologist, doesn't it?! Searching for those rare finds! You're in the contest!

  9. This is a fun idea, Becky! One book that I found this way about a year ago was "Rhyme Stew," c1990, by Roald Dahl. I had heard of his children's books like James and the Giant Peach and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but I wasn't familiar with his poetry. This book of poetry is actually aimed more at adults than children, I think. He parodies fairy tales and has other poems in it as well. I just enjoyed reading it because it made me laugh.

  10. What a novel idea! But naming books that aren't by a famous author can be hard since sometimes I "bump" into an accomplished author I just did not know about, like when I bought a lone paperback by May Sarton squeezed in on a store shelf. She was famous but I had no idea who she was!

    I will recommend here anotehr book here though that I found by accident: Mrs. Whaley's Charleston Garden by William Baldwin. It is a tiny book about one woman's small garden on the East coast. I loved it, read it twice, and just ordered a used copy for my own shelf. Nothing profound in the book but pleasant views on the beauty of gardening and telling the story of a regional garden.

    Comments on The Help: My book club passed on this title last year and WHAT a mistake.I just read it and found it chock full of things to discuss and think about...while things have changed for Civil Rights issues, basic prejudice has not and this book shows how prejudice of all kinds works...and hurts.

  11. Hands down, my favorite author was a total fluke. Looking for something else in the library, I stumbled on Bailey White, a knock your socks off storyteller from the deep south of Georgia. She's from "before my time" when it comes to NPR, so I never heard her as a contributor and her words were new, and wonderful, to me.
    Two books of hers I have read and reread, and actually accidentally purchased one twice.
    "Mama Makes up her Mind" (a reprint in 2009) and "Sleeping at the Starlight Motel" (1996) come highly recommended by me.

  12. And here's another one--
    Robert James Waller. I am not a fan of sappy novels, but by accident I found a book in our local library that was shelved by accident. It didn't even belong to our library! "Old Songs in a New Cafe" (1995- the year I graduated from Highschool...) is a collection of essays by this author we've all thought we knew. It's just a shame that it was his fiction, and not his essays, that became so mainstream. More people should read these.

  13. Hi Claudia and Karrie! Thank you both so much for your kind comments and book suggestions!!

  14. Hi Becky! I just found you blog through the Coffee & Critique blog.

    One of my best finds was The Book of Unholy Mischief by Elle Newmark. I was just wandering around the library and it was on a book stand on a shelf and I absolutely loved it!

  15. Another fun cozy mystery that I found was Face Down Upon an Herbal by Kathy Lynn Emerson. I found that book at box day during a local library sale. It is the first book in a wonderful medieval mystery series.

  16. Hey Daisy! Thanks so much for your kind comments and suggestion!

  17. Hi Janel! Thank you so much for your comments and suggestions! And thanks for becoming a new follower!

  18. Hi Becky,
    What a great idea for a contest!

    About a year and a half ago I won honorable mention in a flash fiction contest on the WOW website. A few books were included in the prize package. One hard-bound book was "Mudbound" written by Hillary Jordan. I added the book to my reading stack and didn't get around to it for almost a year, but after I started it I couldn't put it down. "Mudbound" is a haunting novel set in the rural South after World War II.

    Oh, on the topic of Germany: I lived and worked in Germany for three years. Lived in Kaiserslautern and worked at Kaiserslautern Support Center and later at Ramstein AB. I've also visted Germany several times. My husband was born in Erding and grew up there and in Ubersee-Chiemse before emigrating to the USA. He still has family members in the Munich area.

  19. Hi Donna! Thanks so much for your book suggestion and also the Germany info!! I remember hearing you had lived there...but we've never had the chance to talk about it! One of these days.....!

  20. Hey Becky,
    What a wonderful contest idea! Thanks for inviting me to enter. I find lots of great books and authors by stumbling across them when I least expect. One of my favorite discoveries was at Costco one day, when I happened upon the book "All The Numbers," by Judy Merrill Larsen. It thrilled me to find that Judy was local, so I looked her up online and was further delighted to see that she was on book tour at the time. I always try to support our local authors, so I went to her book signing at Borders and really enjoyed meeting her. Her book is about a mother who sees her son killed in an unspeakable way, and must come to terms with the guilt and shock of this. What she discovers about herself as she seeks justice for her child is powerful and redemptive. I loved this book and have given it as a gift several times! Thanks again, Becky! Teri

  21. Thank, Teri! Heck, you don't ever need an invitation to leave comments on here! That book does sound very powerful!

  22. Girl, I had to work for this contest!

    First I had to think up a book that would fit...then I had to look up when I'd read it. And when I looked it up (in my book journal), I got sidetracked, skimming all the wonderful books I've read!

    Whew! Here it is: I read "Ellen Foster" by Kaye Gibbons in 2000. Now, it's true I saw a label on this book "Oprah's Book Club Pick" but that's not a big draw for me (no offense, Oprah. I just don't watch daytime TV.) I saw it in the stacks and liked the cover, read the back, saw it was a Southern story, and took it home. And DEVOURED it.

    Honestly, I read a lot of books, and hardly remember any of them (that's why I keep a book journal)but Old Ellen has stuck with me all these years. I recommend it to everyone, Southerner or no. Because Kaye Gibbons is a wonderful storyteller. And she made me wish I were her.

    And P.S. to Carrie: I love Bailey White, too. "When Mama Makes Up her Mind" is genius.

    And P.P.S. to Becky: I don't suppose you could call Kaye Gibbons unknown or semi-unknown. But "Ellen Foster" was written in 1987, didn't make it to Oprah till 1997. So maybe a new generation can come to know Old Ellen.

  23. Hey Cathy! Thanks for the book suggestion and all your comments! I am perfectly okay with your author, too. I just didn't want to hear about books by people like Stephen King, John Grisham, etc...the REALLY well known ones! This is such a great way to know about some of those gems "out there" that many of us have never read!

  24. Thrift shops have yielded some of my favorite finds--often for only a dollar or two. I couldn't resist forking over $4 for Lauren Belfer's "City of Light"(1999 The Dial Press) because it was hardbound, 2 inches thick, and featured a picture of Niagara Falls on the cover. Niagara Falls has long beena source of fascination to me. It turned out to be a historical novel set in Buffalo, NY at the turn of the 20th century, when Pan-American Exposition of 1901 and the electricity generated by Niagara Falls made Buffalo one of the most important cities in the world. The story is told from the POV of Louisa Barrett, headmistress of a girls' school. I don't remember the plot of the book now, but I loved how much I learned about late Victorian culture, the legacy of the robber barons like Vanderbilt and Astor, and how audacious mortals harnessed the powers of such mighty falls. If you loved "The Devil in the White City" you'll really dig this!

  25. Hi Susan! Thank you so much for your book suggestion! It sounds like something I'd really like! And, some of my great "finds" came from the Bargain Table at book stores, almost as great a price as a thrift store!

  26. Hi Becky - thanks to Cathy C. Hall I found your site (and this nifty contest). The book that serendipity threw my way is by first time author Leslie Silbert. The book is "The Intelligencer" and the copywrite is 2005 (or thereabouts). I was at the library and desperate for a new book, but I was caught up with all my usual authors. This book lay out of place on the shelf, and so caught my eye. I took a chance on it and LOVED it. I keep checking back to Ms. Silbert's website for info on her next novel, "Killing Caravaggio". Can't wait. This was such a great find. (Much like your blog!)

  27. Hi Lisa! Great to meet you and thanks so much for leaving what sounds like a wonderful find. You sounded so much like me! When I get hooked on a writer, I gobble up everything she's written and then I wander the fiction aisles aimlessly looking for something that can live up to my expectations...and voile'...somehow it's found! Thanks to Cathy C., too!! I hope you keep coming back and so glad you enjoyed my blog and contest!

  28. Hey Lisa! I don't know how to reach you have a blog? Wanted to congratulate you for being a finalist in the Snow Contest!

  29. My favorite was GOOD-BYE, GLAMOUR GIRl by Erika Tamar which was published in 1984 (Harper Collins), but I read it probably when I was about 12. It was on a sale shelf in Walden Books & I loved the cover of a movie marquee. The book deals with a girl from Austria whose family leaves because of the nazis & how she & her sister have to fit into this new American culture. She becomes obsessed w/Rita Hayworth & decides to become an actress when she grows up. I love reading about how she starts noticing the differences between her background & her American friends & how the Hollywood culture also changes her views on life. I've read it a dozen times & I notice something new in it every time

  30. Hi Krysten! Thanks so much for stopping by and suggesting another wonderful sounding book! I'm only sorry to say that you were too late for the contest itself, but, please come back anytime. I will definitely add your book to my list of "wanna reads"!


I'm sorry, but I have to change my comment moderation, due to some strange and offensive comments that were left overnight.
July 31, 2017