Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Story Structure

I've been perusing Larry Brooks' site, Storyfix, and I like his approach to story structure. I recently took an online class through WriterU called Character-Driven Plotting and the teacher, CJ Lyons, covered story structure that was similar to what I've been studying from Larry Brooks. CJ actually combined story structure with the Hero's Journey which I found fascinating and it made a lot of sense to me.

I saw this link to Dan Wells' presentation at BYU's LTUE in February on story structure and thought some of you might find it helpful. I could not attend LTUE so I appreciate this opportunity to watch Dan's presentation. It's in five parts and I've only uploaded the first one here. It's well worth the watch if you'd like to learn more about story structure--all five parts take about an hour.


Monday, June 28, 2010

Good morning, Monday!

I'm TRYING to be glad it's Monday, but sometimes I feel like Garfield the cat. :)

Having a writer's brain can be a fascinating thing. It can also be a pain in the neck. Take yesterday, for instance. My husband and two of my sons went camping with some friends. As I drove out to Murray behind them, mainly because I really wanted a drive, my brain kept wandering. I re-plotted, again, the first few chapters of The Wild Queen. I saw a cool car and thought, oh--that story I was playing with about the woman who witnesses a shooting. She never described the car. That style would work, and color. But what about plugging a past event, so the car would stay in her memory? I wonder if Buick uses that color...

And so it went. The whole drive I had to fight with my writer's brain, because I really like to concentrate on driving while I'm, well, driving. You know? And all I really wanted to do was pull over and write some stuff down.

I wonder if I'm the only one who struggles with this, so I thought I'd toss it out there this morning. How many of you find your mind wandering to writing things when you really need to be focused on the "here and now?"

Come on, I know I'm not the only one. :)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Anything Is Possible

By Christine Thackeray

As some of you may know, I've been in bed off and on for weeks with a stupid back that won't forget I overdid it. Any day I do too much, it reminds me and begins to seize. It's like having a new baby only not as cute, in that I have to nurse it and inconveniently change my schedule to care for this part of my body that has to be succored to the point that it becomes all consuming. I hope I'll pass this stage and eventually return to a whole person.

Terrible analogy, I know, and not what I wanted to talk about but pain meds make us say the darndest things. So I leave, despite my back, on vacation in four days and wanted to do some booksignings on my latest release, "Lipstick Wars". It's my best book ever and a great Book Club Selection because there are so many valid questions it raises about perfectionism, the isolationism of mothering, diversity in friendship and whether service really makes a long-term difference.

When I called Sheralyn our fabulous PR person she said that the books had not been ordered by stores yet, although they are in the warehouse and bowed my head, thinking, oh well. Then I had a friend tell me about Eborn books. They will let you bring your books and do signings on consignment. Wa-hoo. Now I have four pre-release signings set up and am thrilled about it.

See, nothing is impossible with good friends to give you a few pointers and a little persistance. You can order the book now from and hopefully it will be in most LDS bookstores in the next few weeks.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Better, Faster, Funner

(My blog day was Thursday, but I was a bit under the weather. Hope you’ll excuse the tardiness of this post!)

Recently my wonderfully kind family-in-law hatched a plan. A month later, I had in my possession a gorgeous new computer that has made my writing life GOBS better. Thank you, thank you, family!

This amazing gift from the fam got me thinking. I’d been getting the job done on the old computer, but now, getting the job done is so much better, faster, and funner (sorry if that word hits your grammar funny bone, but I kinda wanted to stick with the whole –er thing.)

Here’s a list of a few other things that help me get the job done better, faster, funner. Maybe some of them help you too.

The Treadmill- Quite often, I have those writing moments where I go over something again and again and still know it’s just not quite right. A lot of times, when this happens, I hop on the treadmill, turn on some Justin Bieber (don’t tell anyone I told you I listen to him) and run. Somehow getting my mind off my writing allows my mind to get on my writing in a different way, and helps me figure out the problem. Totally weird, but totally works.

The Bathtub- I felt pretty silly having “Master Bath with a Tub not Just a Shower” be on my list of Top Ten Priorities when my husband and I were searching for our first home, but there’s something about a hot soak that gets my creative juices flowing. I have a writing notebook and pen at the ready next to the bathtub and love that feeling I get when I scribble in it. (Now as to whether or not I can always read those scribbles…)’m obsessed with this website. Just type in an artist you like, and the website knows what other music you’ll probably like and plays it for you. If I didn’t find it so incredible, I might find it a little creepy. (A current favorite station of mine: Adele. She’s kind of amazing. And great to write to.)

Perrier-I think it might be the fizz. But, seriously, I swear, Perrier makes me a better writer. I’ve always kind of been one of those people who works better while chewing gum/crunching a pickle/sipping some raspberry tea. Perrier is the perfect writing drink because it’s cool, calorie-free, and fun to say. Perrier, Perrier, Perrier!

Control (or Command, for Mac users) F: What do you do if you decide after a couple hundred pages that the name you picked for your character (Barnaby?) just isn’t him/her? Control/Command F it. Sounds a little vulgar, works like a charm.

So, tell me, what makes you get the job done better, faster, funner? I’d love to know!

Road Trip!

By the time you read this, my daughters and I should be well into the last leg of The Great 2010 Carey Family Vacation. This 19-day, 4,000-mile extravaganza took us through seven states, two time zones, and involved 65+ highway hours.

It's a good thing I like to drive.

In order to fit in all of the aunties, uncles, grandmas, grandpas, cousins, and friends, while staying safe and sane with two pre-teen passengers, I developed a fairly detailed driving schedule. Weeks before leaving, I had explored routes, hotels, fuel stops, and even rest areas, and had everything plugged into Carly, our little GPS.

One relative, when I related my plans, asked, "Don't you like to be spontaneous when you travel?"

And the answer is, yes, I do like to be spontaneous. I love taking new roads and finding out where they go. I like taking a different route just so I know what is there. But a trip of this magnitude doesn't work well with seat-of-the-pants planning.

My time is limited, as is the patience of my kids, the fuel in my tank, and the capacity of everyone's bladders. Having a thorough plan can make the difference between filling up regularly with inexpensive gas or paying an extra thirty cents a gallon in desperation.

It also prevents searching for a sagebrush large enough to use as an outhouse.

When I first started writing Bumpy Landings, my writing was very much seat-of-the-pants. I had no real plan other than a general idea where I wanted the story to go. I wrote on it for years and years, exploring different story possibilities, running into dead ends, and basically letting the story have a life of it's own. And it's a wonder that it actually arrived anywhere.

I've since learned that writing a novel is a lot like a long, involved road trip. With a van full of unruly characters who don't necessarily want to do what they're supposed to. It really is best to have a plan, and the more detailed, the better.

However, that doesn't mean I'm against letting the story have a life of its own.

A character might want to explore a tangential story line, or a pint-sized passenger might need an unscheduled pit stop. Just because the plan is there doesn't mean it can't be changed. I find I'm actually more likely to make exceptions when I have a solid plan, because I have a good idea of what the consequences of such changes will be.

Don't get me wrong - I still love doing exploratory writing, with no plan in place. I think it's both fun and educational. But just like the short Sunday drives I take around the county, I tend to limit seat of the pants writing to short little writing exercises that are simply there for my own enjoyment.

For my long trips, and my serious writing, I like to have a plan.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Free books and movies!


                                                           By Trina Boice
I absolutely love to watch movies and read books.  Even better is when they’re free!   I also love the summer time because there seems to be more time to catch up on the books and movies I didn’t have time to enjoy during the school year.   Here are some great freebies for you and your family.  And by the way, treat your dad to a freebie for Father's Day!

FREE MOVIES!!    TV shows, movies

FREE BOOKS!!     free books on your cell phone    Books, videos, audiobooks    textbooks, hardbacks, paperbacks     Over 300 free medical books     free pdf books

To read about the books I write, check out my author web site at:

Sister Thrifty   (aka: Trina Boice)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Book excerpt for Rebound

I've been very busy preparing my next submission and publicizing my new book, Rebound. It's always an exciting journey, even when it takes a lot of juggling to keep up with life. I'm hosting a big giveaway next week on my regular blog, so come check it out and line up to win some great books and prizes!

Here's an excerpt from Rebound, which should be in most stores by now.

Her call went to his voice mail again.

In frustration, Lily Drake hung up her cell phone and ran her fingers distractedly over the soft, damp locks of hair on her son, Stephen’s head. His head was hot, warming her collarbone where it lay. His fist curled at the base of her throat and she adjusted the overloaded diaper bag on her shoulder and headed out of the babysitter’s house toward the car.

Her prenatal checkup had gone well enough, though the doctor had been concerned about her stress levels and how they affected her seven-month-old fetus. She shifted her attention back to the child in her arms. “Played too hard with Cindy, huh? Maybe you’ll stay down while I work on dinner then.” She brushed her lips over his soft head and inhaled the sweet scent of her child. “Mom could use a nap, too.” Her back ached and her arms were tired from hitching Stephen over and around her swollen belly.

The day was warm for mid January. The sun shone and the latest snow was disappearing into the grass. Before she knew it, early spring flowers would be popping into bloom. If Lily hadn’t had the dratted dinner party to prepare for in a few hours, she would putter in the yard after her nap. The roses needed pruning and a few other spring chores needed to be done before the crocuses decided to show themselves. Her advancing condition was another reason to get to the yard as soon as possible. Instead, she mentally checked off a list of preparations and felt the tension growing in her shoulders.

She used to enjoy entertaining.

As she handled her keychain one-handed, trying to maneuver the car key out from the rest, she wondered again where John was. She mentally reviewed her preparations for dinner. Her signature cheesecake and special strawberry glaze sat in the fridge. Hors d'oeuvres of cream-cheese herbed melba toast and stuffed mushrooms were prepped and ready for assembly. And the house sparkled.

Doubtless John would find something to keep him from being completely satisfied with the evening’s preparations, but Lily couldn’t think of anything else she could possibly do to. Still, the fact that John hadn’t called to grill her was unusual. Worrying even. It wasn’t unusual for him to let voice mail pick up her calls when he was with clients. However, it was not normal for him to be so quiet when they were having dinner with clients.

It took only a couple minutes to get Stephen settled in his car seat, untangling her long brown hair from his fist, and sliding behind the steering wheel of the Lexus John had bought new for her the previous spring. The car was comfortable, had lots of safety features, and most important to John, announced he was making plenty of money.

Pushing her thoughts of her husband aside, Lily turned her mind to something else. She considered new flowers she planned to plant in the yard, mused over some raised-bed designs she had seen in a magazine, and planned which vegetables she wanted to grow in the small kitchen garden in a back corner of the lot—her ‘potager garden,’ as John preferred the French term.

Her neighborhood roads wound around natural hills and valleys, making a confusing, twisting trail that she had long ago learned by heart. She came around the last bend, slowing down in anticipation of reaching her home.

The surprise of seeing three dark sedans parked in front of her home, and the front door standing open, slowed her reflexes so she nearly hit one of the cars. Just in time, she twisted the steering wheel to pull around them and into her parking space.

Her heart was pounding, the blood rushing in her ears as she tried to decide what to do. Did she go in when there were obviously strangers in her home? Should she call the police? It wasn’t like whomever was inside had bothered to conceal their being in the home. Did that mean they wouldn’t be aggressive, or did it make no difference? Before Lily could decide what to do, a man came out and walked over. He stood tall and rangy, his politely curious expression topped with a shock of dark hair.

Lily rolled down the window only a few inches, flipping the door locks. She looked into his eyes as he leaned over to speak into the window opening.

“Can I help you, Ma’am?”

“This is my home. What are you doing in it?” She heard her voice quaver, but tried to pretend she wasn’t disturbed by the questions swirling inside her.

“You’re Lily Drake then? Wife of John Sebastian Drake?” he asked. When she nodded, the man reached into his pocket and pulled out a black leather cover, flipped it open, and showed her his FBI badge. “I’m Agent Melton. I’m glad you’ve come home. I need to speak with you.”
Lily felt her brow wrinkle as she tried to make sense of his request. Why would the man want to speak with her? What were they doing in her home?

“What’s going on?”

“Please get out of the car so we can speak and I’ll tell you,” the man said.

Lily hesitated for only a moment before withdrawing her key from the ignition and hearing the doors unlock. Agent Melton opened the door as soon as the locks snicked, and backed away. Lily shut the door behind her and leaned back against it. “What’s going on?” She turned her head to steal a glance at her son, and saw him still sleeping peacefully. Small miracles, she thought as she wrapped her arms around her growing middle, suddenly cold, though the sun beat on her head.

The man stuck his hands in his pockets and put an understanding expression on his face. Lily distrusted him immediately.

“Mrs. Drake, what can you tell me about your family finances?”

That was one question she was not prepared for. Lily blinked. “What does that have to do with . . . anything? I . . . . ” she trailed off, not sure how to answer.

He sensed her confusion and came to the point. “Are you aware of your husband’s fraudulent activities?”

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Making a Difference

I'm traveling home from AZ today. We attended the funeral for my husband's grandmother yesterday. She was a month shy of turning 93. She lived a long, good life and though we'll miss her, we're sure that she's having a wonderful reunion with her beloved husband, her parents, siblings, and other family members. How blessed we are to have the knowledge of the gospel.

Recently, some friends and I have been discussing being moms and writers (this also applies to dads) and whether or not we do, or should, feel guilty for taking time to write. After all, shouldn't we spend that time organizing the pantry, sewing, cleaning the basement, teaching our kids another language, spending more time being a mom, developing our domestic goddess talents, etc. It's a serious reflection when we take our roles as wives and mothers to heart and want to be the best that we can, while also feeling this strong, deep need to write.

No one seems to begrudge a woman the time she spends practicing piano, sewing, singing, knitting, or redecorating a home. Those things seems to be "okay" while writing seems to fall under the "selfish" category. Why is that? Isn't writing a talent? Aren't we counseled to develop our talents rather than bury them under a bushel? Can't we also bless the lives of others with our writing just as we can through singing or playing an instrument?

President Kimball gave a talk admonishing those of us who have talents in the arts to develop them and then to share them with the world to give people art that uplifts their souls. The world needs our art and we need to produce it. There's plenty of smut out there--we need to combat that.

Orson Scott Card said, "...if your story really does matter, if your made-up tales have any real value at all, then it truly is an act of charity, of brotherly love, to open up that story to as many people as can possibly receive it." Don't you love that quote?

Our writing can make the world a better place. We can testify of truths in our writing. We can offer a respite, a safe resting place for a few moments while people read our stories. We can teach and uplift. We can entertain in a wholesome way. We can make a difference and we should.

Monday, June 14, 2010

This is not a suck-up Post

Even though it may sound like one. :)

I remember the first time I learned of Cedar Fort Publishing’s existence. As a member of the League of Utah Writers I’d received an invitation to the Spring Workshop, which that year would be at Cedar Fort. I remember pitching it to my husband. “A writing workshop at a PUBLISHER’s office!” What could be better?

I’d attended my first LDStorymakers Conference just a week before the workshop. I had a horrible time, but it was largely my own fault. As a practiced writer but still new to networking and the world of other authors, I went with all sorts of silly expectations. Determined not to make the same mistake twice, I went to the Spring Workshop much more spiritually centered. I’d even received a blessing that morning.

When I entered the room and Lyle Mortimer said hello, I had no idea who he was. I said hello rather shyly, and probably blushed, before finding a seat near the middle. Seriously, I think overcoming my initial shyness will be the hardest part of being a published author.

Then Lyle stepped up to pretty much run the show. Since I was at that time in the market for a publisher, I listened intently as he talked about what Cedar Fort looks for in a book and in the author. I noted the highlights of Lee Nelson’s speech when his turn came. I laughed several times when Jessica Day George got up to talk to us about writing, even though she’s not a Cedar Fort author.

I came away from that meeting with a really good feeling about Cedar Fort. And it stuck with me. When I found myself in the position to resubmit my novel, I seriously considered all the LDS publishers. But I kept returning to Cedar Fort. To be honest, I’m still not entirely sure why—even though they’ve decided to take a chance on me and my book—I’ve had such strong feelings about this particular publisher.

It’s probably one of those things that will be clearer down the road.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sister Book

Over the past few months, I have had the incredible opportunity to write a middle grade book with my two sisters. We started this book as something fun to do in our spare time, each taking our turns to write a chapter, and just letting our imaginations run wild. What was so fun and rewarding about writing this way was, we really had no control over how the book would develop or end. We just let the plot unfold as we typed. Another thing I enjoyed was that I didn't get a brain ache from thinking and thinking about the plot, plot holes, character development, etc. I just focused my creative energy on those five pages when it was my turn, and then let it go until it was my turn again. There was no point in putting a lot of mental energy into thinking ahead because I knew those thoughts would likely be irrelevant by the time the story came back around to me.

You may think that by the time we were finished, we just had a jumbled, incoherent storyline, but for some reason--perhaps because we're related and share much in common, including brain genes--the story ended up being completely adorable. Our different way of writing ended up working for us. Not only that, but a natural character arch developed and certain plot elements came to life that wouldn't have otherwise.

Sometimes in life, it's good to just focus on our little part for a while, then let go and trust in someone else. With writing this way, none of us had control over everything, and we had to trust each other--and ourselves--to be contributing members of a project.

My sisters and I have dreams of getting this book published and then doing book signings together...on a cruise-ship somewhere in the Bahamas. But even if that doesn't happen, the writing experience has been so fun and rewarding, we may just have to keep writing together under our pen name. Thank you Jen and Jax, you are a couple of the most wonderful, courageous, and creative women I know, and I love being your sister. <3

Monday, June 7, 2010

Emotional Rollercoasters

Giving readers the ride of their lives
Rachael Renee Anderson

At the LDStorymakers Conference, Julie Wright taught a phenomenal class on using emotion in your writing. I figured I’d recap (in my own words) a little of what I learned because I found it so helpful . . .

  • Feel what you’re writing. Envision yourself in your character’s place and imagine thoughts that might be going through their mind or feelings they might be having.
  • Use situations from the past to explain the present emotion. (Example: He blamed the wrecking ball of a girl he was unaccountably drawn to. She was like the pocketknife his parents had given him when he turned twelve. Unable to resist running his finger over the shiny metal blade, he had been shocked when blood oozed from his finger. The blade had been sharp, shiny, and irresistible—like Dani. She, too, was difficult to resist and she, too, brought problems—albeit unwittingly. It was irrational, he knew, but he held her responsible for his temporary loss of control.)
  • Show, don’t tell. Try avoiding abstract nouns too much. (happy, sad, angry, irritated, embarrassed)
Example #1
“Come in!” Dani yelled when a determined rap sounded on the door. She worriedly stepped back and allowed the EMTs access to her grandmother. Petrified, she watched and waited while they worked.

Example #2
“Come in!” Dani yelled when a determined rap sounded on the door. She stepped back and allowed the EMTs access to her grandmother. Time seemed to slow and deliberate, as if it couldn’t decide whether the seconds were minutes or hours. Nana looked old, frail, and still lying there on the carpet. Dani wanted to scream at the medics. You are the professionals! Get her to wake up!

But she didn’t scream. She watched; waited. And while she stood there, the ever-threatening fatigue seemed to swoop down and envelop her body. She slouched against the wall behind her as her legs threatened to give way. Locking her knees, she turned to the one source of comfort she could access. She closed her eyes and prayed.

Which is more effective? Which will draw the reader into the story more, and make them feel what the characters are feeling?

“There is only one must in creative writing: the author must transfer an emotional experience to the reader.” Mildred I. Reid, Writer’s Digest Guide to Good Writing

Sunday, June 6, 2010

100 years after Mark Twain's death

By Trina Boice

Mark Twain spent the last decade of his life toiling over his autobiography, and demanded the text not be published until 100 years after his death. That day has finally come.

Mark Twain wrote 5,000 pages of his memoir, and the University of California Berkeley will publish the first volume this fall. The eventual trilogy will have half a million words. Scholars argue over whether the Tom Sawyer author wanted to delay publication to talk freely about religion and politics or gossip freely about friends.

Twain thought Christian missionaries trekking to Africa should stay in their own country and try to do something about lynching in the South.   An angry 400-page addendum details the tumultuous relationship with secretary Isabel Van Kleek Lyon in the last years of his life. Some say she “hypnotized” Twain into giving her power of attorney over his estate.

Whatever his motivations, Twain was certainly a man who knew how to make people want to buy a book!  What a legacy he left.  A century of readers, young and old, know Mark Twain's writings.  Now we'll get to know some of his thoughts behind the books. 

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Peek in the Past—USA, Here I Come—Almost!

Although they may not sound like much to do with writing, the work and travel years of my life were influential, contributing much to material I would use later in books.

My initial secretarial jobs are still vivid memories. I worked first for ICI Pharmaceuticals near Alderley Edge, Cheshire in their Medical Services Department. Talk about throwing myself in the deep end. Medical terminology in shorthand was not taught at secretarial college. Getting that right, took mental scrambling and practice. And patience from the various doctors who dictated. One of them specialized in tropical diseases. Try writing Neurocysticercosis in shorthand and later remembering what in the world your hieroglyphics meant.

It was many miles from home to ICI, and there was no bus. If I couldn't catch a ride, I  cycled for at least an hour through winding country lanes. I’d progressed to owning a sports bike in those days. The Snowball imaginings from childhood were replaced with new daydreams—about a young man who also cycled to ICI and worked in the research labs. Unfortunately for me, he always overtook, zooming past (his hobby was speed racing) with no more than a “Good morning!” floating back on the breeze.

Next, came a receptionist job in a (now demolished) hotel at Milford-on-Sea near Bournemouth, Hampshire. That place was a joy, situated as it was, right across the road from the cliffs and beach. With the New Forest within cycling distance, I wandered the countryside on my days off, soaking in the sea air; loving the views, the wild forest ponies, the green smells, and the melancholy cry of gulls. I was something of a loner back then. Not so anymore. At least, not when it comes to travel. These days, I’m a weekday keyboard loner.

There was so much to see in Hampshire: beaches, castles, the Isle of Wight, the New Forest, rivers, a motor museum, The Downs, cathedrals and abbeys . . . I’m beginning to sound like a tourist guide. But best of all, Hampshire was the birth place of Jane Austen, and Charles Dickens, two of my literary heroes. I actually share the same birthday as Dickens--well, day and month at least :-)

By strange coincidence, I recently recorded something about Dickens for one of Seth Adam Smith’s YouTube videos, which can be heard by clicking HERE.

Nice timing, Seth. Thanks! (I promise, he knew nothing about this Writing Fortress post when he asked me to narrate.)

Back to the past. After leaving Milford-on-Sea and returning to my home in Hale, I worked for a while in a tiny office up many floors in a Victorian building in Manchester. That, I did not like.  I’ve never been a city person. It was like going from sunshine to thunder. I can still smell carbolic floor-wash from the stuffy, closed-in office with its grim sash window that let in way too much traffic noise. I blame subsequent allergies on that archaic building.

So yes, after ten gloomy months, I was glad to see the ocean again. On a ship. Heading for America.

More when it's my turn to blog again, first Saturday in July.

Why Did You Write it?

By Christine Thackeray

Motivation is key to any strong plot, but it is also an interesting factor in terms of the author. Understanding as an author why we are writing a project can shift the way we create it and how much input we are willing to take. I also believe that as authors mature, their motivations for writing often change.

With my first book, I wrote it to illustrate how a single individual can make a magnificent difference if they follow the Spirit. At the time aware of a mini-feud going on in our small branch and it was my way of writing what I wish had happened. My next book, non-fiction was an intellectual study and although I believe it had moments of brilliance, typing it out was often more like a homework assignment.

"Lipstick Wars" was a different endeavor, written to help women see the impact they can have through diversity, being friends with people of all ages in and out of the church. It also dabbles in the theme of how women so often push each other away when we need each other most. I wrote it because a sweet friend pushed through my barriers and helped me through a very difficult time.

In writing group a few weeks ago one of my fellow authors was struggling with her book and was asked why she was writing it. Her response is she often lost her car when she came out of the grocery store and wanted to write about someone that had the same experience. That can be the nugget for starting a project but the reason for writing has to be bigger.

My motivations have been so didactic, illustrating truth, but I admire people who also include a strong desire to entertain. Can telling a thrilling story be the sole motivator of an author or do you think it needs to be more?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

New Ways to Promote

We're all looking for new, innovative ways to promote our books because we've all learned that promotion is up to the authors. I used to think all I had to do was write a book and if it was published, I could go on to writing my next book while my publisher marketed and promoted my first book. Um, yeah. Learned pretty fast that's not the way that it works.

So here's a couple of things going on out in the blogosphere that might help us find more ways to promote our names and our books.

Our very own super cool and incredibly talented PR rep, Sheralyn Pratt, has been hosting a contest on her website to go along with her book launch. Each day she asks trivia questions and winners can then choose a prize from a list of available prizes.

Joyce DiPastena, author of Loyalty's Web a Whitney finalist for 2008, is hosting a summer treasure hunt. Readers must go to different blogs and answer questions about those bloggers to be entered to win prizes such as books, a DVD, and a free edit/critique. You can find more information here: This is a fun contest that will allow you to get to know other bloggers as well as win prizes. This contest concludes in July.

Karlene Browning of Inksplasher is hosting a Countdown to Eclipse contest which features a virtual road trip to Forks, Washington. Prizes include books, perfume, and other Twilight themed gifts. This contest lasts through the month of June.

Many authors donated prizes to the Brenda Novak auction to raise money for diabetes that ended on May 31, 2010. This event helped raise money for more research and drew attention to those participating.

Summer is a great time to participate in and sponsor these contests. If you are not a sponsor this summer, you may want to think about contacting these blog owners and becoming a sponsor in the future. These blogs have good followings and will allow new people to see your name and your book(s). The more we can get our names out there, the better. And, if we can help support a worthy cause, all the better.

What have you done to promote your book lately?