LOTR Audiobook Giveaway

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Here’s the deal. The second installment of The Hobbit is due to hit theaters soon, so in honor of all things Tolkien, I’m giving away this audiobook CD box set of the dramatized Lord of the Rings trilogy. I’ll even throw in that Hobbit Lego Minifig.

How can you enter to win?

Simply leave a comment with the answer to this question: If you were a character from the Lord of the Rings, what race of character would you be and why?

And you need a refresher, click here for a past post on the different character races available. I didn’t include any of the evil races in that post, but feel free to identify with those as well.

The winner will be chosen at random and notified on Friday, November 22nd. Really good responses will be given two chances to win. Good luck!

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The Winners of the Blog Giveaway!

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My beautiful youngest daughter is so happy for the winners. Oh, and the cake. Delicious, yummy cake.

Congratulations to the winners of the recent Happy Birthday giveaway. My wife helped me pull the winners at random. The books will be in the mail soon.

Here are the winners: Susie Finkbeiner gets Inside Narnia, Joy Zugg gets The Emerald Atlas, Susan Honeycutt gets Placebo, Pete Ford gets Fragments, and Amelia Rhodes gets The Hero’s Lot.

Thanks for participating!

Thanks for participating!

Happy Birthday Giveaway!

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No, it isn’t my birthday. But my youngest daughter is one year old today. So in honor of her birthday, I’m going to give away some presents.

Simply leave a comment with your order of preference for the books that you want. I’ll pull one winner at a time and give that winner their first choice as long as it is available. If their first choice has already been given away, I’ll move on to their second choice and so on. This way, the most people get the books that they want most (or hopefully, not least).

I’ll announce the winner next Monday (July 15) and ship the books out after that. If you win, I’ll contact you to get your mailing address. If you don’t win, I won’t. Simple as that.

Here are the books:

9780375872716The Emerald Atlas (The Books of Beginning) by John Stephens

Called “A new Narnia for the tween set” by the New York Times and perfect for fans of the His Dark Materials series, The Emerald Atlas brims with humor and action as it charts Kate, Michael, and Emma’s extraordinary adventures through an unforgettable, enchanted world.

These three siblings have been in one orphanage after another for the last ten years, passed along like lost baggage.

Yet these unwanted children are more remarkable than they could possibly imagine. Ripped from their parents as babies, they are being protected from a horrible evil of devastating power, an evil they know nothing about.

Until now.

Before long, Kate, Michael, and Emma are on a journey through time to dangerous and secret corners of the world…a journey of allies and enemies, of magic and mayhem.  And—if an ancient prophesy is correct—what they do can change history, and it is up to them to set things right.

(Josh’s note – This is an excellent book and series. Read my review of The Emerald Atlas here.)

9780764210440The Hero’s Lot (The Staff & the Sword) by Patrick W. Carr

With the King Near Death, Will the Kingdom Fall?

When Sarin Valon, the corrupt and dangerous church leader, flees the city of Erinon and the kingdom, Errol Stone believes his troubles have at last ended. But he and his friends still have dangerous enemies working against them in secrets and whispers.

In a bid to keep them from the axe, Archbenefice Canon sends Martin and Luis to Errol’s home village, Callowford, to discover what makes him so important to the kingdom, and in that journey they discover amazing new secrets about the workings of Aurae.

Back in Erinon, Errol is unjustly accused of consorting with spirits. Convicted, his punishment is a journey to the enemy kingdom of Merakh, where he must find Sarin Valon and kill him. To enforce their sentence, the church leaders place Errol under a compulsion–he must complete his task, or die trying.

(Josh’s note – I’m almost done with this book, and I’m really enjoying it. I’ll review it officially when I am finished. I did a review for the first in this series here.)

9780800734251Placebo by Steven James

While covertly investigating a controversial neurological research program, exposé filmmaker Jevin Banks is drawn into a far-reaching conspiracy involving one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical firms. Jevin is seeking not only answers about the questionable mind-to-mind communication program but also answers to his own family tragedy.

Rooted in groundbreaking science and inspired by actual medical research, Placebo explores the far reaches of science, consciousness, and faith. This taut, intelligent, and emotionally gripping new thriller from master storyteller Steven James will keep you flipping pages late into the night.

(Josh’s note – I’ve not read any Steven James books before, but I love his articles on writing and I know that he’s a gifted storyteller. So, I don’t know why I haven’t read his books yet. What is wrong with me?)

9780801065996Inside Narnia: A Guide to Exploring The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by Devin Brown

The Chronicles of Narnia series has sold over 85 million copies worldwide and single-handedly introduced people of all ages to the central doctrines of Christianity. Anticipating the December 2005 Walden Media/Walt Disney Pictures release of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, this book guides readers through the novel that started it all.Inside Narnia offers a close reading of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Tracing through the book chapter by chapter, Devin Brown explores the features of C. S. Lewis’s writing, supplies supplemental information on Lewis’s life and other books, offers comments and opinions from other Lewis scholars, and shows the work’s rich meanings. Insightful and thorough, Inside Narnia will dig deeper into Lewis’s magical world to reveal biblical truths that often go uncovered. Fans of C. S. Lewis and those who will meet him through the upcoming film release will want to read this book.

(Josh’s note – I realize that this is an older book, because it came out before the Narnia movies, but since the Narnia books aren’t all that new, I’m sure it is still good.)

9780062071071Fragments (The Partials Sequence) by Dan Wells

Kira Walker has found the cure for RM, but the battle for the survival of humans and Partials is just beginning. Kira has left East Meadow in a desperate search for clues to who she is. That the Partials themselves hold the cure for RM in their blood cannot be a coincidence—it must be part of a larger plan, a plan that involves Kira, a plan that could save both races. Her companions are Afa Demoux, an unhinged drifter and former employee of ParaGen, and Samm and Heron, the Partials who betrayed her and saved her life, the only ones who know her secret. But can she trust them?

Meanwhile, back on Long Island, what’s left of humanity is gearing up for war with the Partials, and Marcus knows his only hope is to delay them until Kira returns. But Kira’s journey will take her deep into the overgrown wasteland of postapocalyptic America, and Kira and Marcus both will discover that their greatest enemy may be one they didn’t even know existed.

The second installment in the pulse-pounding Partials saga is the story of the eleventh hour of humanity’s time on Earth, a journey deep into places unknown to discover the means—and even more important, a reason—for our survival.

(Josh’s note – I have no familiarity with this book, series, or author. I have no idea if it is any good at all. Also, this is the second book in the series. Just so you know.)

And The Winners Are…

Congratulations to the winners from from my recent book giveaway! You are the champions. Treasure this moment in your hearts.

The books that I did not give away will go back into my book dungeon, awaiting their next chance at freedom and a loving, new home.

But without further ado, here are the winners:

A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein

Congratulations to Cheryl Mohr. I’ll be contacting you shortly about how to get you your book.

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The Serpent’s Shadow (The Kane Chronicles) by Rick Riordan

Congratulations to Dawn Cazier. I’ll be contacting you shortly about how to get you your book.

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The Waste Land and Other Poems by T. S. Eliot

Congratulations to Rachel Hillman. I’ll be contacting you shortly about how to get you your book.

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The Emerald Atlas (The Books of Beginning) by John Stephens

Congratulations to No One. I won’t be contacting you shortly about how to get you your book. Back to the Book Dungeon with you!

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The Forgotten Warrior (Warriors: Omen of the Stars) by Erin Hunter

Congratulations to Susie Finkbeiner. I’ll be contacting you shortly about how to get you your book.

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Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

Congratulations to Jackie Slaughter. I’ll be contacting you shortly about how to get you your book.

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Thank you to everyone who participated in the After Christmas Book Giveaway. Whether or not you won, please keep reading (both my blog and books in general). Reading is what separates us from things that cannot read.

After Christmas Giveaway – Shel Silverstein, Rick Riordan, T. S. Eliot, John Stephens, Erin Hunter, and Kristin Cashore

Christmas has come and gone. New Year’s resolutions are just around the corner.

Have you resolved to read more books? Good choice. Reading is a lot easier to stick with than exercise.

In order to help you in your upcoming resolution, I’ve decided to hold a book giveaway.

Simply leave a comment with your order of preference for the books that you want. I’ll pull one winner at a time and give that winner their first choice as long as it is available. If their first choice has already been given away, I’ll move on to their second choice and so on. This way, the most people get the books that they want most (or hopefully, not least).

These are the books:

A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein

Last night, while I lay thinking here, Some Whatifs crawled inside my ear And pranced and partied all night long And sang their same old Whatif song: Whatif I flunk that test? Whatif green hair grows on my chest? Whatif nobody likes me? Whatif a bolt of lightning strikes me? . . .

Here in the attic of Shel Silverstein you will find Backward Bill, Sour Face Ann, the Meehoo With an Exactlywatt, and the Polar Bear in the Frigidaire. You will talk with the Broiled Face, and find out what happens when someone steals your knees, you get caught by the Quick-Digesting Gink, a mountain snores, and they’ve put a brassiere on the camel.

With 12 never-before-published poems, here is a special edition of this beloved poetry collection, from the creator of Where the Sidewalk ends and Falling Up.

The Serpent’s Shadow (The Kane Chronicles) by Rick Riordan

He’s b-a-a-ack! Despite their best efforts, Carter and Sadie Kane can’t seem to keep Apophis, the chaos snake, down. Now Apophis is threatening to plunge the world into eternal darkness, and the Kanes are faced with the impossible task of having to destroy him once and for all. Unfortunately, the magicians of the House of Life are on the brink of civil war, the gods are divided, and the young initiates of Brooklyn House stand almost alone against the forces of chaos. The Kanes’ only hope is an ancient spell that might turn the serpent’s own shadow into a weapon, but the magic has been lost for a millennia. To find the answer they need, the Kanes must rely on the murderous ghost of a powerful magician who might be able to lead them to the serpent’s shadow . . . or might lead them to their deaths in the depths of the underworld. Nothing less than the mortal world is at stake when the Kane family fulfills its destiny in this thrilling conclusion to the Kane Chronicles.

The Waste Land and Other Poems by T. S. Eliot

This volume includes the title poem as well as “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” “Gerontion,” “Ash Wednesday,” “Sweeney Among the Nightingales,” and other poems from Eliot’s early and middle work. “Eliot has left upon English poetry a mark more unmistakable than that of any other poet writing in English” (Edmund Wilson).

The Emerald Atlas (The Books of Beginning) by John Stephens

Called “A new Narnia for the tween set” by the New York Times and perfect for fans of the His Dark Materials series, The Emerald Atlas brims with humor and action as it charts Kate, Michael, and Emma’s extraordinary adventures through an unforgettable, enchanted world.

These three siblings have been in one orphanage after another for the last ten years, passed along like lost baggage.

Yet these unwanted children are more remarkable than they could possibly imagine. Ripped from their parents as babies, they are being protected from a horrible evil of devastating power, an evil they know nothing about.

Until now.

Before long, Kate, Michael, and Emma are on a journey through time to dangerous and secret corners of the world…a journey of allies and enemies, of magic and mayhem.  And—if an ancient prophesy is correct—what they do can change history, and it is up to them to set things right.

The Forgotten Warrior (Warriors: Omen of the Stars) by Erin Hunter

The end of the stars draws near. Three must become four to battle the darkness that lasts forever. . . .

With a divided StarClan driving a treacherous rift between the four warrior Clans, the spirits of the Dark Forest are gaining strength. Ivypool’s role as a spy is becoming more dangerous with each passing day. Dovewing is haunted by nightmares about the mountains and finds herself paralyzed by fear of what lies ahead.

Then an outsider appears in ThunderClan’s midst, spreading discord and pushing the Clans further apart. As tensions mount and Clanmates turn against one another, the warrior cats will be forced to choose whose word they can trust—before it’s too late.

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

The long-awaited companion to New York Times bestsellers Graceling and Fire

Eight years after Graceling, Bitterblue is now queen of Monsea. But the influence of her father, a violent psychopath with mind-altering abilities, lives on. Her advisors, who have run things since Leck died, believe in a forward-thinking plan: Pardon all who committed terrible acts under Leck’s reign, and forget anything bad ever happened. But when Bitterblue begins sneaking outside the castle–disguised and alone–to walk the streets of her own city, she starts realizing that the kingdom has been under the thirty-five-year spell of a madman, and the only way to move forward is to revisit the past.

Two thieves, who only steal what has already been stolen, change her life forever. They hold a key to the truth of Leck’s reign. And one of them, with an extreme skill called a Grace that he hasn’t yet identified, holds a key to her heart.

Winners will be notified on January 4, 2013, so put in your choices in the comments before then.

Flash Fiction Challenge | 10 Options, 100 Words, Limitless Possibilities

This past week, I posted the following on my Facebook page:

So, I’ve been writing a lot of flash fiction (really short stories) recently and posting them on my blog. The problem is that, while I enjoy writing flash fiction, once I post it, I can’t submit it anywhere else for publication. My favorite thing about the flash fiction that I’ve been doing is writing to a prompt. So here’s the deal: I would like you to give me some prompts. They should be a word or a short phrase around which I can craft a story. If I choose your prompt, I’ll give you a sneak peek at what I’m submitting. Any ideas for me out there?

I got back some wonderful prompts, but one of them stood out among the rest. The contributor gave me a whole list of prompt ideas. She meant them to be taken individually, but what I saw was a challenge. Could I craft a story using all of these words? After that, ideas started to form and a story is already in the outline phases. So rather than offer you the same challenge using the same words, here’s the plan.

I’m going to list ten words below. Your challenge is to craft a 100 word story using any three of the words as inspiration. The words themselves don’t need to be used in the story, but the reader should be able to see where you got your inspiration, so include them in the title of your piece.

The Words: Soda, Matchstick, Ninja, Dragon, Popcorn, Shoe, Crimson, Light, Trash, Levitation.

Once you post the story on your blog, drop me the link in the comments and I’ll post it in the body of this blog. Use the image here to link back to this post so people can see what you are doing and why. Also, so they can read the other contributors. The deadline for posting your story is October 19th. After that, you are welcome to post in the comments, but I’ll no longer be adding it to the body of the blog.

Sound a lot like what Julia’s Place does every week? It is. I love the Julia’s Place 100 word challenges and liked the idea of starting my own.

And last, though I’ve offered prizes for these challenges in the past, I got the best response when the only prize was the feeling of job well done. So that’s what the prize is for this challenge as well. Good luck!

The List of Contestants Starts Here:

50 Words, 1 Character | 4 Examples

The other day, I announced a new Flash Fiction Challenge, but I didn’t give you any examples. Consider this post the remedy for that wrong. Below you will find my 50 word character introductions to the main characters of my last three 3-Day Novel entries plus one that I will be writing soon.

If you haven’t done so already, check out the challenge and enter your own 50 word character description!

Daniel O’Ryan – Fathered by a demon, raised in an orphanage, and more powerful than he knows, Daniel O’Ryan is about to start his freshman year at a new school, the prestigious Blackwood Academy. But when his powers begin to manifest, Daniel must decide who he truly is, man, demon, or something more?

Ezra Stone – Ezra Stone blames the Union for his wife’s death in the birthing center. If only he could have been with her, he might have done something. But laws in the silent society dictated that she go alone to sound-proof facility. Soon, Ezra’s grief will make itself heard around the world.

Quentin Roosevelt – Youngest son of President Theodore Roosevelt, Quentin is eager to get into the Great War. But when his bi-plane is downed over France, Roosevelt is given the chance to fight an even greater war. Faking his death, Quentin sets out for the mysterious artifacts that grant mastery over time itself.

Connover Swofford – It seems that everything Connover Swofford wants, someone else gets. But when his depression hits a new low, and his successful co-worker commits suicide, Connover realizes that it isn’t just the good things that happen to those around him. Can he use his new-found powers to improve his own lot?