Friday, December 30, 2011

Giveaway #4: And the Winner is...

As the year comes to a close, so too, the giveaways are wrapping up for this round. I will continue to connect with fellow writers, and as future giveaways and book tours pass by, I'll let you know of other giveaways you can join in on my blog. In the meantime, I hope you are all reflecting back on what went well with this year, and what needs improvement in the new year. If you haven't decided on a resolution, you've still got a day to come up with something, and start the new year off with a bang!

2012 is not only a leap year, but the year of the dragon in Chinese tradition. I hope you have a wonderful and prosperous New Year, and I'll see you back here when we'll have to concentrate a bit to stop writing 2011, and start writing 2012 on everything.

There are a huge stack of great books coming out, my TBR pile is massive, and I'm writing and editing like a maniac. So, let's get ready to rock 2012. Are you with me?

Oh, yeah, and the winner of the giveaway, an autographed copy of SUMMER ON FIRE by Kevin Craig was Amber Rose of Oregon. I used to choose the winner. Here is her comment below:

[Vampyre Princess] said...

I want to enter! :) Awesome giveaway!


Congratulations, Amber! I'm so glad you participated and won. Thank you to all of the participants. I look forward to many more giveaways in 2012. Until then, stay safe, healthy, and fortify yourselves by reading lots of books, and writing them if you dare.

I know I will! If you'd like to share your New Year's Resolution, please feel free to post them in the comments.

Monday, December 26, 2011

A Dozen Best YA Books of 2011 & My New Year's Resolution

This final week of 2011 is devoted to reflecting back on the year I wrote my first novel, revised it 7 full times (cover to cover--currently on ch 21/45 of the 8th full revision), and began writing a new sci-fi dystopian book with series potential.

I have also started and maintained social networking to begin the base of a writer's platform for myself as I strive to make 2012 the year I achieve agent representation, my first published book contract, and hopefully a career as a person fiercely devoted to the craft of writing.

As I have tinkered with this and my New Year's resolution, I came up with a list of a dozen YA books I've read this year that were my top choices. This is not a scientific list.


I have not placed numbers on this list on purpose. These are roughly ranked but not exactly. I liked many of these books equally next to other books in this list. They are seperated by the author who wrote them. They are are marvelous books you should read. I know I am better for having read them.

As for my New Year's resolution, this is what I have come up with:

To be a better writer today than I was yesterday. To write and read something every day until my book arrives!

This means that 2012 will be devoted to the following things to achieve this resolution. Since 2012 is a leap year, I've got 366 days to make this goal a reality. And, in fact, it's what I wanted for Christmas, too! I got 2 writing books to help with this:

Outlining Your Novel by K.M. Weiland

The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman

Here's a list of things I intend to do to attain my goals and resolutions as a writer. I am determined to be a lifelong learner, to educate myself daily in the writer's craft and to strive to reach higher with every day:
  • Organize my schedule to ensure that I am reading, writing, and revising on a regular basis.
  • Scheduling at least 2 Writer Workshops to improve my writing. Attend the workshop and pour myself into each part to get the most out of the workshop.
  • Complete a deconstruct of my first novel and use it to learn what a book is missing after having completed 8 cover to cover revisions on my own. Use this knowledge to help me as I write my current WIP.
  • Complete my current WIP with tighter, more purposeful revisions to get it query ready before my summer birthday.
  • Set apart writing time for blogging, twittering, Facebooking for the purpose of growing my audience and writer platform (not to just kill time in front of the computer).
  • Support fellow writers, get to know them better, cheer them on for writing achievements, publications, and with contests and giveaways.
  • Conclude that at the end of 2012, I am recognizably, measurably a better writer than the writer I am right now.
  • Never give up my dream of finding the very best agent to represent me and my books, and never give up on writing the very best book I can write, and finding a publisher who believes in my books more than I do.
  • Meet my readers and offer them a reachable writer who responds to every inquiry. Remain thankful for the privilege of sharing my books with readers.

What would you add to this list or take away from this list if you used it as a starting point for your own goals in 2012? Please post your thoughts in the comments below.

Finish well. Make every day count. As you lay your head on your pillow each night, only do so if you've accomplished something toward your goals. Sleep well, and do it again the next day!

Write on! Rock on! Let's Do This!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Giveaway #3: And the Winner is...

Merry Christmas Eve Eve! The holidays are in full swing, decorations are out, cookies are being consumed way too quickly (confession time) and we're all in a shopping/wrapping frenzy in preparation. During all the craziness, try to slow down, spend time peacefully looking at the lights, listening to music, and remembering what it's really all about.

Love. Peace. Joy.

Keep that focus and try not to let every jerk driver who cuts you off and blares their horn, or annoying slow shopper in front of you while you're dragging your boys to go shop for mommy in all the chaos with a 20 minute window to make it through the store get you to lose that focus.

It's not about that stuff. It's about a precious gift and one that's eternal. It's about love. The most important thing of all. So, thank you for sharing the holidays with me. Thank you for participating in my giveaways, reviews of great YA books out there, and even about my own writing and projects in the works. I appreciate each and every one of you. Thank you. Sincerely. Thank you!

I know I've stalled long enough, so let's get to the important part, the reason you came by: Who won the autographed ARC of DESTINED by Jessie Harrell? I used to select a winner, knowing that Jessie herself posted among the comments. I figured, I'd let the numbers stand as they are, and if I drew #2, I would draw again. Thank you VERY much to Jessie Harrell for being such a giver to her readers. She said she was excited to get another book in the hands of her readers. So, here is the winner:

Victoria said...

Just added it to my goodreads! I hope I win! ;)

Congratulations, Victoria. Please get me your address and Jessie herself will send you an autographed ARC, one of the last in existence! Enjoy it. I know I loved the story, and I hope Jessie will find inspiration to write another amazing book for us in 2012. (Hint, hint, Jessie! That was a throwdown, FYI!)

I know I've got to finish my lastest revision on my WIP and hammer out my new book/series. And, I've got a short story to finish as well, so I will be plenty busy myself in 2012. What do you all have planned? Feel free to share in the comments below! Let's do it together!

I hope you'll take a moment and look around the blog for interviews, excerpts, and other giveaways. I currently have one more giveaway running. So, if you weren't selected, maybe you can enter my last giveaway of the year and warm up your Winter Solstice...

Until the new year, Have a blessed holiday, Christmas, Hannukkah, and a wonderful and glorious New Year full of amazing possibilities and dreams!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Giveaway #4: Winter Solstice Summer On Fire!

It's the first day of Winter Solstice! Only 88 days left until spring. Can you feel those buds shimmering inside their branches, humming in anticipation of spring? Well, if not, it'll come soon enough. Seasons change. Time moves irrevocably forward, and waits for no man or woman...

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

Right now, I've got one giveaway ending at 9 p.m. EST for Jessie Harrell's amaZING debut, DESTINED, a YA fresh take on the Eros and Psyche Greek love story. If you haven't posted a comment to be entered, click here now!

And, starting today and running through next Thursday at 9 p.m. EST, Kevin Craig offers us his debut novel, a NaNoWriMo success story you will LOVE called, SUMMER ON FIRE. See how I did that with my blog title? Nice tie-in! It was all staged. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. These aren't the droids you're looking for...

Where was I?

Oh, right! Kevin has kindly offered to giveaway one autographed copy of this Stand By Me -esque story of three friends and all the trouble surrounding a barn fire that tests the bonds of friendship, loyalty, and the secrets found in small towns. You'll love how the story unravels as Kevin expertly weaves the story together and peels it back layer by layer. His characters are gripping and tenacious. You will fall in love with this story. It's so full of honest and vulnerable storytelling. If you want to see my 5/5 star review, click here.

Giveaway #4:
Summer on Fire by Kevin Craig (Begins Thursday, December 22nd)
Ends Thursday, December 29 at 9 p.m. EST
Winner Announced Friday, December 30th on the blog.

HOW CAN I ENTER? Post a comment at the bottom of this thread to be entered to win!

To learn more about Kevin and the various projects he's working on, including his second book currently in the process of publication, visit his blog here and his website here. If you don't already follow Kevin on Twitter, you can do so here. And, if you're on Goodreads, find Kevin here.

With such a scorching hot giveaway as SUMMER ON FIRE, you'll soon feel those buds stirring to burst forth from their branches, even in the cold of winter. Even at the beginning of Winter Solstice!

Stay warm! Eat a few cookies! Happy Hannukkah! Merry Christmas! Peace and Joy to you all this season and in the New Year!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Giveaway #2: HUNTED by Cheryl Rainfield, And the Winner is...

We are on the cusp of Winter Solstice, where my third giveaway ends, one you won't want to miss. If you haven't already added a comment, make sure you do before you leave here. Also, yesterday was the beginning of Hannukkah, so I want to wish all of my Jewish friends HAPPY HANNUKKAH! I love this time of year with the festival of lights and Christmas lights--everything is illuminated!

And let's not forget about the cookies! My wife and I and our four boys made dozens and dozens of cookies. We have many family traditions, especially at this time of year. We also decorated gingerbread houses together. When I was young, I didn't have all of these traditions, but now that I have a family of my own, I'm blessed to share these things and begin my own traditions with my loved ones. I hope all of you have such traditions, and if not, now's as good a time as any to begin something new!

I know, I know, you all aren't here to listen to me wax nostalgic about holiday lights and traditions. You want to know who won the autographed copy of HUNTED by Cheryl Rainfield. I used to select my winner and the winner is:

VanillaOrchids said...

I have not had the chance to read any dystopian style books but I've been seeing a lot about them online. And, of course, I'd love to read some. So thank you for this opportunity!

Pam, please check your email and send me your mailing address, and I will get that out to you as soon as I receive it from Cheryl. I have also let Cheryl know, and she may opt to send it to you directly. For those of you on twitter, you may have followed Cheryl's amazing giveaway party throughout the day where she gave away amazing prizes to those posting the hashtag: #HUNTED. If you missed out, there's still more partying going on at Cheryl's blog, including:

If you missed my Twitter contest yesterday, you can still enter on my blog to win signed books, a Kindle, and more ! So, make sure you head over and sign up to win any of these exciting prizes. I have said it before, but Cheryl is an author who pours herself into the pages of every book she writes, and she is SO giving to her readers! If you haven't read my interview with her yet, check it out here. She really knows how to celebrate the launch of a book, and I admire her so much for her example. Party on, Cheryl! Celebrate the beauty of taking what was ashes and polishing it until it shines and twinkles in the holiday lights! It's a celebration full of meaning and one well worth the effort and the payoff. It's why every page of your writing glitters with its own internal light.

Tomorrow another giveaway ends, but a new one begins! Check back here for more news! And, if you haven't read the excerpt from Chapter 1 of my book, THE PACKING HOUSE, check it out here and post a comment. Authors love to hear feedback! It's what every writer wants for Christmas.

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukkah, and wishing you all an amaZING New Year!

Monday, December 19, 2011

My interview with YA Author Cheryl Rainfield

Greetings to all my blog readers. I hope you're knee deep in holiday cookies, decorating and final touches on gift shopping for your loved ones. I know I am! I'm also loving all of these giveaways I've been so blessed and honored to host on my blog from such amazingly talented writers as Barry Lyga, Cheryl Rainfield, Jessie Harrell and coming up, another surprise this Thursday!
It's also WINTER SOLTICE, so get ready, the first offical day of winter arrives this week.
As promised, I have received answers for my Interview with Cheryl Rainfield, author of HUNTED, SCARS and other books. Cheryl provided amazingly intimate and thorough answers to my questions, and I think we're all in for a treat, so let's get to the interview.
What does a typical writing day look like for you?

Hm. It depends where I am in a book (and can also depend on how I'm doing emotionally). If I'm really into a draft (writing or editing it), I may start writing in the morning, after I take my dog out and have breakfast. But often, I'll find myself answering emails and doing some book promotion in the mornings, and then get writing or editing done later on. I've found that the amount of time I have to spend on book promotion is much, much more than I ever thought it'd be before I got published; it takes up as much or more time than my writing. But right now it feels important to me--I want my books to keep reaching people.

Since I work at home and for myself, I tend to work all day and into the evening--something I've got to try to change a bit, because I can wear myself out and then need a real break. Though I've always worked like that....

 Do you have a daily word count goal? If so, how many words per day?

I don't work like that. I know many writers do. If I have any goal in my head, I may think 10-20 pages of writing or editing. But my focus, when I'm writing, is on letting the words flow, staying connected to my inner voice and to the characters and story. I have days where I don't write. I even take weeks off, or longer--it's just how I've always worked, and for me the time off helps me recharge (or sometimes it's just because abuse memories or the effects of the abuse are overwhelming me)--and then I'll dive back in and write like crazy. It's how I work best, personally. I think it's important for each of us as writers to find the way that works best for us.

How do you edit a WIP (Work In Progress)? Do you revise cover to cover? Do you target specific things? (adverbs, passive voice, dialogue, etc.)

I do multiple edits. Initially, it's more of a general edit--trying to make sure that the story is working, flowing, and looking for all the places where I need to pull threads through more consistently in the novel, need to fix areas, address issues mentioned in various places in the book, etc. Then I'll often do passes for separate issues, like one specific thread I'm making sure runs throughout the book, or making sure I have setting and physical description (which I usually leave out in my initial drafts; I'm far more focused on the emotional experience for the characters), or trying to make sure my language feels alive. I also do at least one complete read aloud of the entire manuscript; I've found that reading writing aloud helps me to hear when the language isn't flowing, when it's stilted, when something feels off, in a way that I don't get when I just read it silently.

I make notes to myself as I edit. I also can't seem to turn off my editor when I'm editing, even for one specific thing, so I'll often edit many smaller things on top of the one issue as I go, like the language and word choice--making it stronger or more vibrant, or more clear. I usually do many, many edits of the entire manuscript. For SCARS, I did more than 40 before it was accepted. For HUNTED, I did about 14 before it was accepted. For my next book, I did about 12 before it was accepted. So I think I'm getting better...but I think I'll probably always do multiple edits. It's important to me to make sure my writing is as powerful as I can make it and that it reaches the reader, moves them.

How do you find/create a character? Do you hear their voice while you're writing, or even between writing? At what point do you know you've found your character for sure?

I draw a lot on my own self and my own experiences, especially for the main character; there is SO much of me in both Kendra (from SCARS) and Caitlyn (from HUNTED). I also draw on people I know; I take bits and pieces of people, and the emotional truths that I've observed, and put them into characters. I think because I write with a lot of emotion and emotional truths, that's the way characters come for me--through their emotions, their hopes and dreams, things they need--and yes, their voices. I hear them best when I'm writing.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Writing a new story (I hope!)? Can you tell us any specifics? Do you have plans already?

I hope with many books published by then, and still writing many more books. And I hope my books will reach even more people, and keep moving people, touching them emotionally. I have another book coming out in 2013 (another edgy realistic stand alone), and hopefully there'll be many others as well. I have more books that I'd like to write in the HUNTED world--both from Caitlyn's perspective, and possibly from some other paras' perspectives, even ones not in HUNTED. And I have many, many other books I want and need to write. I went through such extreme trauma (abuse and torture within ritual abuse) that I think I have a lot to draw on, and a lot I need to write about. I think, I hope, that I'll always be writing.

Would you like to see any of your books as a movie? If so, which ones? Why? Would you like to be involved in the process? How so?

I would love to see HUNTED as a movie. I think it has a lot of potential for the screen; it has a lot of tension, a character that overcomes huge odds, and a lot of hope in the end. I've thought of SCARS as a movie, too, but I'm a bit more reluctant to see that as a movie, because I wouldn't want anyone to sensationalize the self-harm. But if it was done well, it could help more people understand about self-harm.... I'd love to be consulted about movies made out of my books. (smiling) I don't think that happens very often, though. But who knows; it could! I can dream. :)

Thank you so very much, Cheryl for your articulate and personal interview. You give so much of yourself to your readers and fans, and I think you clearly delivered on that here in this interview. I'm blown away by your answers and definitely will consider them in light of my own writing habits. You've got great tips for up and coming writers. Thank you for agreeing to this interview.

I know I can't wait to see what this new book is you have coming in 2013! I'll be watching to add it to my Goodreads TBR pile for sure! If you'd like to know more about Cheryl Rainfield, please see her details below, and go check out all of her sites on the links below.

If this blog post has inspired you to ask Cheryl a question, I invite you to ask her here, and who knows? She might even stop by and answer you here in the comments below!

Cheryl Rainfield is the Author of:

Hunted (WestSide Books, Dec 15, 2011, F&W Canada, Jan 2012)
Caitlyn, a telepath on the run from government troopers, must choose between saving herself or saving the world
Read the first 6 pages:
Get fr-e-e HUNTED goodies:
Scars (WestSide Books, 2010)
Kendra must face her past and stop hurting herself before it's too late
GG Literary Award Finalist, ALA's Top 10 Quick Picks, 2011 Rainbow List
Twitter WordPress Google Plus Facebook goodreads

Thursday, December 15, 2011

And the Results Are In: Giveaway #1 Winner Is...

I had hoped for a greater turnout on my first blog giveaway, but I am glad it was at least a 50/50 battle. I used to obtain the results and the winner is: Mike Hays!

Congratulations, Mike! Please email me at: with your mailing address and I will get that shipped out to you, hopefully in time for Christmas! Also, if you haven't read The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl, well, now you've got a compelling reason to do so! Enjoy the autographed book, and please come back to share your comments once you've received it and/or read it!

For those of you who missed it, here's what Mike said in his comment:

Mike Hays said... highlighted these books and Barry Lyga a while back and I have him on the TBR list. Great contest!

Thank you to all who entered, and if you didn't win, I hope you'll take a few minutes and check out the other contests that are still open on the blog. Just click the logo at the top to find my most current blog posts. In fact, I'll be posting a new giveaway starting next week, so be sure to check back for that!

Have a Great Weekend!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Autographed YA Giveaway #3 is Here!

If you've been following my blog over the past few weeks, you've noticed I have several giveaways going on simultaneously. We're in the season of giving, after all, and it's better to give than receive. Plus, I am so blessed to know many amazing writers in the YA world and I am happy to share their autographed YA giveaways with you. Writers themselves are amazing. They pour their heart and soul into a novel, and then they give it away! Who else does that?

Okay, so before I give you this week's giveaway, I've got a rundown of my first two giveaways with links to enter before they end and you're left out in the cold without a name in the hat or a chance to win. My first giveaway times out today, so don't wait, hurry up and get in on the drawing before it's too late!

Here's a rundown (click on the link to go to the related post and enter now. Just post a comment to be entered to win.):

Giveaway #1:
Goth Girl Rising by Barry Lyga
Ends Wednesday, December 14 at 9 p.m. EST
Winner Announced Thursday, December 15th on the blog.

Giveaway #2:
Hunted by Cheryl Rainfield
Ends Tuesday, December 20 at 9 p.m. EST
Winner Announced Wednesday, December 21 on the blog.

Now onto today's giveaway. I've already featured this on my blog. You can read about that here. Also, I have reviewed the book on Goodreads here. Check out my review to learn more about this amazing book. I was surprised how much I liked it, since I figured it was a "girly" story. My son, Trenton says "girl" as if it rhymes with squirrel. So, I would say it's too gwirrely! Ha! (watch out, I'm using exclamations with abandon!) My point is: I was wrong. (Just don't tell my wife. She'll tease me mercilessly!) What's cool about this story is it appeals to males from the quest aspect of the storyline. Also, Jessie incorporates many twists and turns and the Greek mythology is cool, as well. Anyone here seen 300? Read the graphic novel? But, I digress...

Giveaway #3:
ARC of Destined by Jessie Harrell (Begins Wednesday, December 14th)
Ends Thursday, December 22 at 9 p.m. EST (the beginning of Winter Solstice)
Winner Announced Friday, December 23 on the blog.

In order to be considered for the drawing next Friday, you'll need to add a comment at the bottom of this post. That is all. Easy, huh? Jessie is mailing this prize herself (saving me postage...thank you, Jessie! You Rock!!) so you never know what might go in the package along with the ARC. Heck, I don't even have a hard copy. Mine is in electronic format.

Jessie's debut novel, DESTINED, is a great read and if you don't have it on your TBR list/pile/mountain, then hurry up and add it! Jessie's book has been burning up several of Amazon's bestseller lists already and it only came out November 17th, not quite a month ago. Way to go, Jessie! If you don't already follow Jessie Harrell on Twitter, follow her here:!/JessieHarrell and if you aren't already following Jessie's blog (what, are you crazy?) you can follow her blog here:

So, what's on the list for an autographed YA giveaway next week? Check back here and find out. Of course, you'll want to do that anyway to find out if you've won Giveaway # 1, #2 or #3.

I appreciate you visiting my blog and I hope you'll take a moment and look around. You'll find out lots of information about my first novel, THE PACKING HOUSE, as well as my current WIP I started with NaNoWriMo. If you'd like to read my first chapter, click the link in the upper right corner of my blog. If you don't have dropbox, it may not work for you. In that case, please email me at: g.donaldcribbs@yahoo and I'll send it to you directly as a .pdf. If you do read it, I'd love to hear your thoughts, good or bad. I want it to be the best debut I can muster, and I still have time to revise! Feel free to follow me on Twitter or Facebook as well for more updates and news on writing and such.

I wish everyone a Happy Holiday and a most wonderful New Year. I hope you'll keep writing and reading and I look forward to all the new year brings. Blessings!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Another Autographed YA Giveaway!!

In case one giveaway isn't enough for you this holiday season, in the spirit of giving (and seriously, what could be better than an autographed book?), I present to you another free, autographed YA book. After speaking with the author, I was so excited about this giveaway, I couldn't wait until my first giveaway was finished to post this one, even if they overlap. Call me crazy. Go ahead. I'm fine with that (besides, it says I'm WEIRD at the top of this blog, anyway).

If you're interested in increasing your chances, I suggest entering both contests by adding comments below each post. My first giveaway can be found here. To give you a hint about what book it is, I've already blogged about this book here, and I've given it a 5/5 starred review on Goodreads here.

All that is required to be entered to win is for you to post a comment on this thread.

This book comes with a lot of great freebies. Watch the book trailer, read the first six pages, check out comics and post cards and articles about her book. The author has them collected here. Once you've read the book, I'd suggest reading through all of these freebies, and downloading them as well. It will help as you salivate and wait until Book 2 comes out. Oops, I guess I let it slip! This is Book 1 of a series. Still haven't figured it out yet? Okay, okay, I'm getting to it! Go hold a horse or something.


This giveaway is an autographed copy of HUNTED by the amaZING Cheryl Rainfield, an exciting futuristic dystopian paranormal thriller about a girl named Caitlyn and her mother on the run from the government. Caitlyn has mental telepathy, reading people's thoughts, and she can suggest thoughts to others as well. The government hates anyone with paranormal powers, and calls them PARAs. The story is chock-full of fast-paced, cliffhanger chapters and I absolutely FLEW through it. My heart was pounding and I stayed up and read it as fast as I could get through it. My hands were sweaty and I was enthralled by this book. It's my first paranormal read, but I found it absolutely delicious. I think you will, too.

So, what are you waiting for? To coincide with the book's release on December 20th, I am beginning the contest now through 12/20/11 at 9 p.m. EST. I will randomly select one person who has posted a comment below. I will announce the winner on December 21, and send you your prize right away. I cannot guarantee a Christmas delivery, but I will do my very best. Cheryl is sending it to me as soon as she gets her copies. Trust me, it will be worth the wait!

If that wasn't exciting enough, I also interviewed Cheryl about her writing and will post it on my blog next week. In the meantime, check out several recent interviews at this link page. I feel so honored to know Cheryl, let alone having the privilege of giving away one of her autographed books. She's such a great person to know, and so supportive and thankful and humble to her fans. We are fortunate to know her. She is one of those rare people that makes the world an all around nicer place to be. I have learned much from Cheryl and I am grateful for her friendship.

If I haven't provided a link to something related to Cheryl Rainfield, check out her website here:

I welcome your comments below. I hope you will take the time to enter both contests, and I hope you'll check back for more great news and giveaways in the future. Happy reading!

Speaking of reading, if you haven't read the first chapter of The Packing House, it's posted in the upper right corner of my blog. Email me if you have any trouble viewing it and I will send a copy to you right away. My email is: I welcome your feedback as well.