Posted in Contest, Solstice Publishing

What’s New with this Pussycat?

I may be dating myself with that Tom Jones song title as a subject, but I wanted to post some updates for those of you who don’t subscribe to my newsletter (and I  hope some of you will consider doing that to keep up with my books and to enter my monthly contests).

Speaking of contests, I’m running a special end of summer one that started on August 1st and will end on September 15th when I choose a winner for an autographed paperback copy of my next Cobble Cove mystery and a $5 Amazon gift card. The winner will also have his or her name listed in the book along with the name they choose for the new female kitten who will be introduced in that book. To enter, email me the name and description for a female kitten. She can be one of your own cats or just one you make up. You should email the entry to debbiewriter@yahoo.com with the subject line: Name That Kitten Contest. The winner will be announced in my newsletter and on this blog, but you must be a subscriber to my newsletter to participate. To subscribe, complete the pop-up form on my website at https://debbiedelouise.com or email me your request to subscribe.

In writing news, my short New Adult Romance, Saving Snow White, will be released on Tuesday, August 22nd. It will be available for only 99 cents on Amazon.com as an eBook. Below is an excerpt from that book:

As I pulled into the driveway, I saw a young girl
sitting on her front step next door. She was holding
something white on her lap. I learned that our neighbors
had moved when I came home for the holidays, but I hadn’t
yet met the new people who’d bought their house. I decided
it might be nice to go over and introduce myself.
I walked to the fence that separated our yards and
called over. “Hi, there. You must be my new neighbor.”
The girl, who looked to be about seven or eight,
came over to the fence carrying what I now realized was a
cat.
“Hello. My name is Jenny, and this is Snow White.
She moved with us from New Jersey when Dad got a job in
Denver.”
“What a pretty cat.” I remembered Tinkerbell and
sadness washed over me.
“Thanks. Can you come over and pet her? You can
meet my mom, too. She’s friends with Mrs. Palmer already.
Are you her daughter?”
“Yes. I’ve been away at school. I’m studying to be a
vet.”
The girl’s big brown eyes lit up. “That’s what I want
to be. I love animals.”
I took her up on her invitation and went around the
fence to meet her at the gate. She handed me the big white
ball of fur, and the cat purred as I stroked its head.
“You’ll make a great vet.” The girl smiled showing
two missing baby teeth.
“I hope so. This summer, I’m getting some
experience by assisting Dr. Carter at the animal hospital.”

For Long Island folks or those who may be in the area on Friday, August 18, I will be appearing at the Hicksville Library for an author talk at 1:30 pm. No registration is necessary

On August 18, my publisher, Solstice Publishing, is also holding a big pre-Eclipse Party. My fellow authors and I will be participating with Q & A’s, giveaways, freebies, and some other fun activities. I will be posting further details and the link to join in closer to the date.

 

Posted in Contest, Monday blogs

Are Writing Contests Worth Entering?

If you’re an author, even an unpublished one, you may have submitted your work to a writing contest. There are many different kinds of competitions with various fees, prizes, and awards. How can you choose ones that you have a good chance of winning and that will further your career as a writer? There’s no easy answer to this question. It’s a matter of what you are willing to spend, what type of writing you do, and what you hope to achieve by winning. Like submitting your work to a publisher or agent, winning a writing contest usually involves the right mix of talent and luck.

Why do authors enter writing contests? Are they worth the time and expense? Shouldn’t published authors concentrate their efforts on writing and submitting to publishers and publications instead? There are many benefits to entering contests even if you don’t win. Some provide feedback and constructive criticism to entrants. Others consider non-winning entries for future publication. Learning how to follow contest rules and gear your writing toward a specific topic or audience is also a good experience for an author.

What type of contests are there, and how do you find them? There are many types of writing competitions. Some are sponsored by popular writing magazines. Writer’s Digest offers a large number of contests including those for short stories, popular fiction, self-published books, non-fiction, and poetry. The Writer Magazine hosts a monthly contest on a specific writing theme. Both these magazines also include lists of other competitions in their print and online versions. For their own contests, they charge a small entry fee and offer publication in an issue as a prize. Writer’s Digest also awards prize money to the top winners of their annual competition along with a feature article on the author and a free ticket and travel expenses to attend their annual writing conference in New York City. The deadline for this year’s contest is May 5. While magazine contests are highly competitive, the promotion and recognition winners receive make entering worthwhile for new as well as established authors. I have submitted to both these contests and have not yet won (my current submission, an Essay for the June issue of The Writer, is still under review ). Another good source of listings for contests, grants, and awards is Poets & Writers a magazine that you can subscribe to online and receive as a print subscription.

The highly coveted Muse Medallion Prize in the Cat Writer’s Association Contest (photo courtesy of the Cat Writer’s Association website)

Organizations also host writing contests. These are usually announced in their membership newsletter and/or on their website. Costs vary depending on the prizes offered. While competition is still tough, entries are restricted to members. A group I belong to, the Cat Writer’s Association, sponsors a contest each year of non-fiction and fiction writing as well as media related to cats. The entries are judged by professional members and are limited to those published the previous year. Last year, I won the special Glamour Puss award from the Hartz Corporation for my article, Brush Your Cat For Bonding, Beauty, and Better Health in Catster Magazine. I received a monetary award along with a beautiful engraved glass plaque that I treasure. This year, I’d hoped to win the MUSE medallion, the highest award the association awards to the finest writing. Although my three entries did not score high enough to be eligible for this coveted prize, it has motivated me to strive to improve my work to one day meet this goal.

For those who are self-published or write for small publishers, there are many Indie Awards up for grabs. I recently came across a list of the best ones according to the Non-Fiction Author’s Association. Here is their list with links to the contests:

Ben Franklin Book Awards
Recognizing independently published books.
http://ibpabenjaminfranklinawards.com/

Global Ebook Awards
The first awards program exclusively for ebooks, founded by self-publishing godfather Dan Poynter.
http://globalebookawards.com/

Foreword Book of the Year
Hosted by Foreword magazine, this is an indie-friendly awards program.
https://www.forewordreviews.com/services/book-awards/botya/

Nautilus Book Awards
Recognizes books that promote spiritual growth, conscious living, and positive social change. http://www.nautilusbookawards.com/

National Indie Excellence Book Awards
Many categories to choose from and honoring independently published titles.
http://www.indieexcellence.com/

The Eric Hoffer Awards
Recognizing excellence in independently produced books.
http://www.hofferaward.com/

Winning “badges” from the Reader’s Favorites contest.

Other popular online writing contests include the Kindle Book Awards and those sponsored by Reader’s Favorites and Authorsdb. This past year, I won 2nd place in the P&E Reader’s poll for my mystery, Between a Rock and a Hard Place, and 4th place in the Fantasy Short Story category for my story, The Path to Rainbow Bridge.

Social media writing contests also abound. I’ve participated in Twitter’s Pit2pub hosted by author Kristin D. Van Risseghem. By participating in this event, I found my first and current publisher. The first 250 pages of my unpublished novel, Sea Scope, was among the 50 entries also recently selected in a lottery for Miss Snarks’ First Victim contest where a secret literary agent will critique all entries after fellow contestants comment on them. During Other Twitter writing competitions include PitMad and Pitch Wars. Information and dates for each contest can be found on various blogs, the most popular one written by Brenda Drake.

Publishers also hold their own contests for their authors. My publisher, Solstice Publishing, is currently hosting a cover contest. My mystery, Between a Rock and a Hard Place, is one of the entries. Voting takes place here, and those who vote are eligible to win prizes donated by authors.

If you know of any other writing contests I haven’t included in this post, please list it below. I wish you luck on your winning entries.

 

 

Posted in Between a Rock and a Hard Place, Contest, Cozy Mysteries, Freebies and Special Offers, Short Story

Holiday News, a Contest, and Gift to Readers

auroraholidayhopI hope you are all enjoying this holiday season. I wanted to share with you a few updates. If you haven’t participated in the Aurora Holiday Hop in which 100 authors including myself are giving away prizes, you should do so before it ends today, December 18. You can find the details on the post on my Facebook author page at https://www.facebook.com/debbie.delouise.author/. The main hop page is located at https://www.facebook.com/events/1101537709967416/.

coming-soon-written-in-stoneI also have some good news to share with those who have read or would like to read my Cobble Cove Mystery series. Following A Stone’s Throw and Between a Rock and a Hard Place, I have completed the first draft of a third book that I hope to call Written in Stone. I will be sure to include more news about this new mystery and some excerpts as it gets closer to a release date. The best way to keep updated about all my author news is through my twice monthly newsletter which you can subscribe to at https://debbiedelouise.com by filling out the pop-up form. I also feature a  monthly prize contest for my subscribers.

celebrating-christmas-001As a holiday present to those of you who have not yet read my second mystery or would like to give it as a gift to someone, Between a Rock and a Hard Place, will be free on Amazon.com on Tuesday, December 20 and Wednesday, December 21. I also have a Christmas story for only 99 cents that features the Cobble Cove characters. Celebrating Christmas with my Characters.

I am also up for Best Author of the Year. If you’ve enjoyed this blog, my newsletter, and/or my books and would have a moment to vote in the next few days, please visit the polls at http://solsticepublishing.com/vote-for-author-of-the-year/ I truly appreciate your support.

The final piece of news is that I have just created a Facebook group that will be hosted by one of the Cobble Cove characters each month. The host will answer questions about their role in the mysteries and anything people would like to ask about the books excluding spoilers. The host will also offer a contest or giveaway and may post some interesting trivia about themselves and/or the series. The current host until January is Alicia, the main character. Even while she is host, readers are welcome to post questions to any of the characters. For more information, to post a question, and to join the group, please visit the Cobble Cove Character Chat at https://www.facebook.com/groups/748912598599469/.

cobblecovehcaracterchatThe Cobble Cove characters and I wish you and your families a very happy and healthy holiday.

 

 

 

Posted in A Stone's Throw, Between a Rock and a Hard Place, Contest

Win a $90 Gift Card and Read Some Great Holiday Books

holiday-blitz-768x289The two books in my Cobble Cove mysteries, A Stone’s Throw and Between a Rock and a Hard Place, are part of Book Enthusiast Promotions Holiday Blitz that features a $90 gift card giveaway in addition to wonderful holiday reads. Both my cozy mystery books take place near holidays.

stonesthrowamazonA Stone’s Throw, with a sweet romance and a page-turning, twisty mystery takes place in November and includes a Thanksgiving scene at the quaint Cobble Inn.

Between a Rock and a Hard Place features the Cobble Cove Christmas Faire as well as a few scenes in New York City during the holidays, several new characters, and three crimes to be solved. between-a-rockhard-place-001

More information on my books and how to enter the giveaway are included here: http://bit.ly/2fv3aLS

Posted in Between a Rock and a Hard Place, Contest

Announcing Special Holiday Contest

41gkohndn5l-_sx300_ In my next author newsletter around November 15, I am going to announce a holiday contest with a special prize connected with my second Cobble Cove mystery, Between a Rock and a Hard Place. The contest will run from mid-November to Mid-December. At the end of that time, I will randomly choose a winner from all my newsletter subscribers. The winner will receive the silver serenity photo locket pictured or, based on availability, a similar item. It will make a great holiday gift for yourself, a friend, or a relative. If you aren’t already a subscriber to my author’s newsletter, Debbie’s Drafts, you can sign up through the pop-up form at https://debbiedelouise.com or send a request to join with your email address to me at debbiewriter@yahoo.com.

newgraphicBesides this great contest, I will be hosting a Facebook party with several other authors to celebrate the publishing “birthdays” of my books. The event will feature prizes, giveaways, and fun on Tuesday, November 15 and Wednesday, November 16. If you can’t join in at the times indicated on the page, you can visit afterwards to participate in anything you missed as long as the contest or giveaways are still running. For further details, visit: https://www.facebook.com/events/686222481543213/

Posted in Contest

Enter Now: Two Contests Ending August 31st

bignewspic

ANNOUNCING TWO CONTESTS FOR AMAZON GIFT CARDS AND AN EXCLUSIVE ANTHOLOGY

BOTH CONTESTS END ON AUGUST 31

 Only Newsletter Subscribers are eligible to enter

Subscribe at https://debbiedelouise.com or email debbiewriter@yahoo.com with your address to ask to be subscribed. Prizes will only be awarded if a minimum of 10 people enter.

 PHOTO CONTEST FOR a $10 AMAZON GIFT CARD

 Submit a photo of you, a friend, or even a pet with my book, A Stone’s Throw. All photos submitted to me by email at debbiewriter@yahoo.com by August 31st. will be entered in a random drawing for the $10 Amazon gift card. Those who submit photos agree that they may be used on social media.

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PURCHASE LINKS FOR A STONE’S THROW

Amazon U.S.: http://amzn.to/1MjaJgN
Amazon Australia: http://bit.ly/1Sdh82D
Amazon Canada: http://amzn.to/1SdheHi
Amazon U.K.: http://amzn.to/1QutXBW
Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/1nQPyv4
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1KGYHep
Also available on iTunes and Ingram

Anthology Contest + $5 AMAZON GIFT CARD
For a $5 Amazon gift card and an anthology of romances written by 16 authors including myself, read the excerpt below and answer this question: What magical power did the stone have? Send your reply by August 31st. to debbiewriter@yahoo.com. Only newsletter subscribers are eligible to win, and this contest is not sponsored by Mailchimp or Yahoo. The winner will be announced in the September 1st. newsletter.

lovealwaysgiveawaypic

DeLouise TeaserExcerpt from The Seashell and the Stone by Debbie De Louise (c) 2016 Debbie De Louise

As Virginia and Stephen made their way toward the end of the boardwalk, the merry-go-round music that drifted along their path changed to a loud cacophony of whistles and horn blasts announcing “the greatest show on earth.” A man on stilts came hobbling toward them, his wide yellow polka-dotted pants flapping in the breeze off the ocean. “Good day, Ma’am. Good day, Sir,” he greeted them. “Right this way to the midway.” He chuckled at his use of words.

Up ahead, Virginia spotted the circus tents lined on the beach and the acrobatic high-wire strung high across two tall poles. 

“I guess you need to find the person in charge to ask about selling here.” 

Mr. Granger was scanning the crowd seated on folding chairs by the first tent where a magician was performing some tricks to the rapt audience. “Let’s look around first. Would you like to sit and watch the show?”

Virginia was pleased that he seemed more interested in her company than the business that brought him there. “No, but I would enjoy going there.” She pointed toward a tent that displayed the sign, “Madame Marie, Fortune Teller.”

“Are you serious? You know these carnival mystics are not worth the money.”

Virginia felt her anger flare again as it had when he had criticized her for feeding Seashell table scraps. “It’s my money to spend and that’s how I wish to spend it.” Her father had given her a $1 note as well as a few silver coins for carnival expenses. 

“Very well.” Mr. Granger followed her reluctantly toward Madame Marie’s tent. The psychic sat behind a round table covered in red velvet. She wore a matching red kerchief in her long dark curly hair. Several rings graced her hands as she sat turning over tarot cards and gazing into a crystal ball. At their approach, she lay down the cards and beckoned them with a smile missing several teeth. Virginia could smell the lady’s foul breath, onions mixed with garlic. She lay down one of her coins, but the woman pushed it away. “For you, I will tell a fortune for free. Please have a seat.”

Mr. Granger stood waiting by the side of the tent as Virginia took the chair opposite Marie. “Why are you not charging me?”

Marie shuffled the cards and placed them face down in a pile. “Direct your energy on the cards and then choose one,” the woman instructed ignoring Virginia’s question.

Virginia followed her directions while Mr. Granger stood with a bored look on his face shuffling from foot to foot.

“Ah,” Marie said as she turned over the card Virginia picked to reveal a man and woman with an angel above them. “The Lovers. How appropriate.”

“Does it mean I’ll be wed soon?” Virginia asked.

“Yes, my dear. There is a special gentleman in your life or will be soon.” She placed the card at the bottom of the deck and tapped the glass ball in front of her. “If you’d like to know more or ask a question, it will be 1 greenback, please.”

“Wait one moment,” Mr. Granger interrupted. “You told the lady your predictions were free.”

The psychic smiled showing her missing teeth again. “The tarot reading is free. There’s a charge for the crystal ball.”

“I guess you have to make money somehow. Come on, Miss Vance, let us move on.”

“Wait.” Virginia did not like being ordered around, and she was curious as to what Madame Marie would see in her crystal ball. She had her fortune told at the circus last year but by a gypsy man. Marie seemed to be new to the troop. “I told you I’ll spend my money the way I wish.”

A fire flared in Mr. Granger’s blue eyes. “You mean your father’s money, but, go ahead. She will only tell you what you wish to hear and what she observes from your reactions. I am sure the Tarot card was planted too. Most young women are looking for love. You don’t have to be a psychic to know that.”

Virginia stood up. As much as she disliked his words, she knew he had a point. None of the predictions made for her last year proved to come true. “Thank you, Madame Marie, but I may return after seeing more of the circus.”

“As you wish.” Marie glared after Stephen as he walked away with Virginia.

“If you really want to know your future,” he said as they passed several more tents, “I have something that can help.” 

“Whatever do you mean?” 

“I was not exactly honest with you about my occupation.” Virginia felt excitement flood through her at the thought that Mr. Granger was about to share the information she sought without her having to resort to any of her tricks to pry it out of him.

“Let’s sit on a bench for a moment,” he suggested guiding her away from the crowd.

He seemed to hesitate briefly as if he regretted his haste in revealing what he was about to say. Then he reached into his trouser pocket and retrieved a translucent stone. For a second she thought it was a Cape May diamond, the crystals that resembled the real jewels that Cape May residents and visitors searched for along the beach. However, they had not spent any time on the sand, and he had just arrived in town.
“You may have wondered why I did not bring along my merchandise to show the circus leader.”

Her eyes were focused on the glittery stone. “I thought they were too heavy to carry on our walk.”

“I would’ve at least brought a sample.”

“But what is that you have in your hand?”

“This is the reason I’m here. I’ve been following carnivals and circuses along the East Coast to offer my services, and this stone is one of my tools.”

“Your services?” This was more intriguing than she expected. “What exactly are your services?”

He smiled and, unlike Madame Marie, exhibited perfect white teeth. “I’m a psychic. A genuine one, but I need the stone to aid me. It was passed down to me from my father who received it from his own father. I believe it was originally found by my great grandfather.”

Virginia was not convinced. “Are you saying that rock guides you in telling the future?”

His smile deepened, and she saw a dimple appear in his cheek. “I guess that’s a way of putting it. If I rub the rock and ask a question, the answer appears in my mind.”

 

Posted in A Stone's Throw, Contest, Newsletter

Have you Entered My $25 Summer Photo Contest?

photocontest1A photo contest I announced in my newsletter is running through July 31st. To enter, submit a photo of yourself, a friend, or even a pet with a copy of my book, A Stone’s Throw, by midnight EST on July 31st. The photo can feature a paperback or ebook copy on your Kindle or other eReader. The most creative photo will win a $25 gift card and be announced in my August 1st newsletter. The photo can either be emailed to debbiewriter@yahoo.com or posted to my author Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/debbie.delouise.author/

By participating, you agree to allow your photo to be posted on social media sites and acknowledge that Facebook and Mailchimp are not responsible for this contest. Only subscribers to my Ruff Drafts newsletter (separate from this blog) are eligible to win. To subscribe, fill out the pop-up form at https://debbiedelouise.wordpress.com and confirm the email you receive. If you have any problems or prefer me to subscribe you, please send me your email address and request to be subscribed.

Love Always Anthology Cover (1)There are many benefits to subscribing to the newsletter besides being eligible to enter the photo contest. By being a subscriber, you will be updated on my book news with exclusive excerpts and other content, receive notices about my appearance schedule and other book news. I also run monthly contests only open to subscribers. A new prize that will be offered in the future is an anthology with stories by myself and 15 other authors. This book, Love, Always, features my historical romance, The Seashell and the Stone. It’s a departure from my mysteries, but I think you will enjoy the tale of a sweet current-day romance with a touch of the supernatural. It is set both in current-day and 19th-century Victorian Cape May. DeLouise Teaser

seashellstoneedited

Below are some contest photos that have already been submitted. Can you beat these great shots?

photocontest2photocontest3photocontest4photocontest5photocontest6

Widowed librarian Alicia Fairmont needs answers…

After her husband is killed in a hit and run accident, Alicia travels upstate to his hometown of Cobble Cove, New York, hoping to locate his estranged family and shed light on his mysterious past. Anticipating staying only a weekend, her visit is extended when she accepts a job at the town’s library.

Secrets stretch decades into the past…

Assisted by handsome newspaper publisher and aspiring novelist, John McKinney, Alicia discovers a connection between her absent in-laws and a secret John’s father has kept for over sixty years. But her investigation is interrupted when she receives word her house has burned and arson is suspected, sending her rushing back to Long Island, accompanied by John.

Back in Cobble Cove, cryptic clues are uncovered…

When Alicia returns, she finds a strange diary, confiscated letters, and a digital audio device containing a recording made the day her husband was killed. Anonymous notes warn Alicia to leave town, but she can’t turn her back on the mystery—or her attraction to John.

As the pieces begin to fall into place, evidence points to John’s involvement in her husband’s accident. The past and present threaten to collide, and Alicia confronts her fears…

Has she fallen in love with her husband’s killer?

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon U.S.: http://amzn.to/1MjaJgN
Amazon Australia: http://bit.ly/1Sdh82D
Amazon Canada: http://amzn.to/1SdheHi
Amazon U.K.: http://amzn.to/1QutXBW
Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/1nQPyv4
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1KGYHep
Also available on iTunes and Ingram