Martha’s Big December Giveaway!


JINGLE VALLEY GIVEAWAY!

My 9th novel, All’s Well in Jingle Valley, is available for pre-order HERE and it will be released officially on Monday, December 2.

Cover All's Well in Jingle Valley SERIES Book 3

To celebrate the publication of this third book in The Happy Ever After series, I’m giving away a big box of prizes to one lucky winner. Here’s what’s included:

  • a black Eccolo journal with magnetized closure and a fancy pen to record your brightest thoughts (maybe this will be the year you write that novel?)
  • an Almond Cookie gift set from Carol’s Daughter, featuring Almond Cookie Softening Body Wash, Almond Cookie Frappe Body Lotion, and Almond Cookie Nourishing Hand Cream
  • A $10 Starbucks gift card
  • A set of postcards from the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts (Dalton, Massachusetts is practically next door!)
  • a small box of maple sugar candy from Stockbridge
  • a Vera Bradley zip ID case in Romantic Paisley
  • and of course, a signed copy of All’s Well in Jingle Valley with a fabulous BookFlip bookmark
  • and a few more surprises!

There are many ways to earn entries, loyal readers! This giveaway will conclude on Monday, December 23, 2019 at midnight, and I will randomly select a winner on Tuesday, December 24.  (NOTE: If you live outside the U.S., I will send you an ebook and a gift card valued at $75)

Here’s how to earn entries:

  1. Pre-order the book no later than November 15. You can email me the link or screenshot. 3 entries
  2. Pre-order the book by December 1. Again, email the link or screenshot. (if you don’t know how to do this, then you can let me know you pre-ordered the book, and I will trust you!) 2 entries
  3. Post a review of the book on Amazon before December 13. 5 entries
  4. Post a review of the book on Amazon before December 22. 4 entries
  5. Share the book and on Facebook (tag me!) 3 entries
  6. Post a photo of the book on Instagram using hashtag #JingleValley 3 entries

As a bonus, I’ve lowered the price of A Jingle Valley Wedding to just 99 cents (ebook) all month, in case you haven’t read it yet. Get your copy HERE

And thank you for your continued support!

Indie with Ease!


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If you self-publish your books (as I do), this new book by my friend Pauline Wiles is a must-have. We who self-publish – we indie authors – do a lot of work to get our books out there. And sometimes the entire process is overwhelming, because it’s not just about writing the book.

As Pauline writes, “Being an indie author should be a delight, not a drudgery. Indie With Ease demonstrates how a blend of clear purpose and steady pragmatism will enable you to thrive as an independent publisher. Through simple self-care techniques and a few mindset secrets, you’ll maximize motivation and minimize author anxiety.”

The book includes contributions and advice from over a dozen indie authors (including me!) and also includes templates, checklists, and trackers – all designed to help you with your writing journey.

I would love to give away a digital copy of this book! Just comment on this post and tell me one reason you’re an indie author (or would want to be!) I’ll choose a winner randomly a week after this date and will correspond with you directly.

Pauline

British by birth, Pauline is now a contented resident of California, although she admits to occasional yearnings for afternoon tea and historic homes. You can find all of her books here.

Forty Years Back


Nice, France

Forty years ago today, I boarded my first airplane and began a year abroad that would forever mark my life. The thirty or so students who went with me might well have the same thought – we all were impacted by a year in Switzerland, with no internet or cell phones.

My first novel, Chocolate for Breakfast, was (very) loosely based on that year. Like Bernadette Maguire, I was 20, naive (yes), and hopeful. Unlike Bernadette, I did not have an affair with a married man, nor did I get pregnant with his child. 😉 I recall explaining that to friends, who took my storytelling literally.

I’ve returned to my beloved Switzerland often – in 1981 to work as an au pair (there’s a book I should write), again a few years later, multiple times in the 1990s, and most recently in January 2017, where I was inspired to write Villa del Sol.

But the year that began on 28 September 1978 was my year. I don’t have any Cardinal beer to drink, no Giandor chocolate bar, and the Café Chemin de Fer is now, I believe, an Indian restaurant. Things change, even in Fribourg, Switzerland.

“Mesdames et messieurs, it is time to go sleep!” 🇨🇭🇨🇭🇨🇭

It is the heat. And it is the humidity.


Nearly September. 95 degrees today. Heat index 104. Just like yesterday.

So who else is cranky? I know (at least) three people who live without air conditioning. I don’t know how they live, though. Our thermostat is set at 74 and I’m hot. But I’m grateful for A/C, especially at night.

I’ve never liked summer best. Fall is my favorite. How about you? Depending on where you live, you might not experience four distinct seasons. But by September, the sun rises later and it’s dark by 8:00 now, so I want that cool air to follow.

Meanwhile, I’ve finished the second round of edits for my new novel, so now it’s off to my trusted readers, who give me honest feedback. I sometimes can’t see a plot hole or a character who uses repetitive language, but they can! I’m still on track to have this book ready by December 1 – the day I’ll be at the Rhode Island Authors Expo!

Until then, I’m reading a lot (what are you reading?). I loved How to Walk Away by Katherine Center and Crossing the Bamboo Bridge by Mai Donohue (her memoir of growing up in Vietnam – you won’t be the same after reading it). I’m almost done with How Hard Can It Be? by the hilarious Allison Pearson, just started Alternate Side by the wonderful Anna Quindlen, and The Pendulum’s Truth by the very talented writing team of Leigh Brown and Vikki Corliss. Vacation next week means lots of reading!

Autumn will get here, eventually. You won’t hear me complain about the cold. Not me.

It’s #RIAuthor Month – Meet Pat Mitchell


Pat Mitchell photo

The Girl, with her fiance, in 1946

A Girl from the Hill is a tribute to my mother, who grew up on Federal Hill during the Great Depression. The collection of essays depicts her life of as one of laughter and love, as well as its share of suffering and sorrow.

Providence’s Federal Hill neighborhood was, and still is, Rhode Island’s “Little Italy.” Thousands of Italian immigrants, including my grandparents, came to Rhode Island at the turn of the 20th century to begin new, better lives. They struggled to assimilate into American culture, and my mother’s parents, Giovanni and Maria, tried their best to become John and Mary. My mom, their youngest of eight children, was full of joy, and enjoyed much of her childhood despite her mother’s struggle with diabetes.

I began the book merely as a simple exercise, to see if I could actually write a book. Once we got going, once I started listening to my mother’s story, I gained an appreciation for her journey, her losses, and how the absence of her mother left a gaping hole in her young heart that never truly mended.

A Girl from the Hill is a story for mothers and daughters alike, as it speaks of the bonds between us as women, both loving and strained by the inevitable growing pains that daughters naturally experience. I remember how sure I was that I knew so much more than my mother. Now, as a mother myself, I see how my own daughter can run circles around me and my self-righteous confidence, which makes me appreciate my own mother more each day. She was right about so much, and my impatience to grow up and away has now become a yearning to return to my mother and her roots in order to understand critical life lessons.

In addition to my mother’s memories and my realizations, A Girl from the Hill also contains some stories that her mother “made up” and my mother further embellished in order to entertain their children at bedtime, as well as Italian lullabies that have been passed down for generations. And did I mention recipes? Some of our favorite family cookie recipes are also included. My mother’s delicious Christmas cookie trays were legendary, and she whipped up dozens of trays each year both for family and for my dad’s business associates.

Today my mother, 93, still loves to laugh, and says it helps her stay sane as she and my 96-year-old father care for each other. She continues to inspire me with her strength as she stubbornly insists on doing all of her own housework and cooking. To me she is still the little girl with the olive skin and big brown eyes that loved to make her family laugh.

Pat Mitchell author Pat Mitchell received a grade-school punishment and had to write a ten-page essay about appropriate classroom behavior. She enjoyed writing so much that she misbehaved more, hoping to get more writing assignments. A Girl from the Hill is her first book.

GIVEAWAY! The author is offering a copy of her book to one lucky winner. Just comment on this blog post to be eligible. One person will be chosen at random and the author will contact you directly. Contest ends one week from publication of this blog post. US residents only, please.

Meet over 100 local authors on Saturday, December 2! The Fifth Annual RI Authors ExpoThe Fifth Annual RI Authors Expo

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It’s #RIAuthor Month! Meet Julien Ayotte


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I write because I breathe.  As long as I can hold a pen in hand, I will come up with a new idea for the next mystery thriller, and I will develop the characters and the plot to satisfy my readers.

I once was asked how it was that I did not yet have a literary agent and major publisher after three very successful novels, Flower of Heaven, the sequel Dangerous Bloodlines, and A Life Before.  One of my readers said in a review that I was still a closely-guarded secret about to be revealed.

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So, this past spring, armed with my fourth novel, Disappearance, a suspense thriller about troubles in the witness protection program, I was determined to try literary agents again. And guess what? After hundreds of queries, I still do not have an agent, but I was so very close on two occasions. Major publishers, I was finally told, won’t take you on unless your novel is at least 85,000 words and, preferably, 100,000 words or more. My books are more like 70,000 words. So, in essence, literary agents would have much more difficulty in shopping my books to major publishers because of their size, not the quality of the writing or the unbelievable plot to the story…the freaking size!

While my first three successful thrillers all have sold thousands of copies and carry great ratings and reviews on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, all of these sales were due to my own marketing efforts. Imagine if I had been in the Ingram distribution network of over 40,000 bookstores. A traditional publisher will do this for your books, while my CreateSpace Amazon publisher will not unless, by some stroke of luck, your eBook version goes viral one day.

But, you know what. I will go on. I know my readers will thoroughly enjoy Disappearance, and I keep adding more readers with every novel. And you can bet that my next book will exceed 85,000 words, whatever story I come up with the next time around.

If anyone had told me in 2013 that I would write four novels in just over four years, I would have laughed out loud. But that’s exactly what happened. At the young age of 75, soon to be 76 (December 5th), my goal remains to write 10 books in the next 10 years.  And as long as people like Jon Land compare me to Harlan Coben and David Baldacci on the thriller scale, I am blessed beyond words.

I write about what people hardly think about…a young priest who finds out thirty-five years later he is the father of twin sons, the French mother, turned queen of a Mid-Eastern country, who is determined to find her sons, a young college student who is the reincarnation of a woman murdered twenty years earlier, and a very troubled U.S. marshal who jeopardizes the lives of witnesses in the government protection system.

What’s next?  I don’t have a clue, but then again, I didn’t have a clue for the first four thrillers either!

My name is Julien Ayotte, and I am an author.

Julien

Award-winning author Julien Ayotte co-authored his first book, Wealth Building for Professionals, in 2001, drawing from his years of experience as a corporate executive and business teacher at the high school and college graduate levels. In addition, he spent nearly fourteen years in legal administration at two law firms. The author holds a BA, MBA, and a PhD, all in business and finance. Flower of Heaven was his debut novel in 2012, followed by the sequel, Dangerous Bloodlines, in 2014. His third novel, A Life Before, was released in March 2016. Ayotte lives in Rhode Island with his wife, Pauline. They have three children. Visit the author’s website here.

GIVEAWAY! The author is offering a print copy of his latest book, Disappearance, to one lucky winner. All you have to do is comment on this blog post. Winner will be chosen at random and the author will contact you directly. Contest ends one week after publication. US residents only, please.

Meet over 100 local authors on Saturday, December 2! The Fifth Annual RI Authors Expo

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It’s #RIAuthor Month – Meet Ana Arelys Cruz Cabrera!


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Author Ana Arelys Cruz Cabrera is one of the finalists of the 2017 contest of the State Poets of Rhode Island. She received the pin of the City of Providence in 2012 for her literary work about the cities of Providence and Santo Domingo, Contrast of Two Cities  Providence and Santo Domingo and Tourist Guide Santo Domingo and Providence. She is one of a few artists who have published three books on the same day! Cruz Cabrera is a dedicated and accomplished Polysomnographic Technologist

She is also a poet, songwriter, and she loves to write about her Dominican-American heritage. The books mentioned above were her first published books presenting a historical contrast of both cities culturally and historically. These books also contain beautiful poems dedicated to the cities of Providence and Santo Domingo, cities profoundly loved by the author and poet. Find all of her books here

So far, Ana has five published books, including her second anthology, Melodies of the Heart, published in October this year. Her first anthology, Inspiration of the Soul, contains the Anthem to the Fathers. This musical production was interpreted by singer and fashion designer Laura Diaz Alberto.

Ana book 2

Ana has plans to publish a book related to information about sleep breathing disorders next year. Since 2009, she has been creating awareness about sleep breathing disorders and its treatment.

Ana profile pic

Ana believes that the key to her success is persistence, and sincere love and passion for what she does. She hopes to take advantage of all of the benefits that come along with being a bilingual member of the Rhode Island community to spread her message about sleep disorders awareness.  “My most beautiful and rewarding task has been being the mother of my two children.”

Learn more about Ana here

Meet over 100 local authors on Saturday, December 2! The Fifth Annual RI Authors Expo

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@poetanaarelyscruzcabrera  #poetanaarelyscruzcabrera.

 

 

 

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