Friday, April 27, 2012

Fish for a Free Book: April 27

Welcome to Fish for a Free Book!

If you are hosting a children's book giveaway, or if you found a giveaway somewhere on the net that you just have to share, I'd love to have you share your links with us here on our weekly giveaway linky so that we can all stop by and enter.

If you're looking for more children's book giveaways, be sure to visit
Brimful Curiosities' Full to the Brim,
Winning Readings (listings of adult and children's book giveaways),
and Got Great Giveaways? (linky of adult and children's book giveaways at I Am a Reader, Not a Writer)

Please post your links however you wish. Some like to include their blog name, some just want to leave the prize and the ending date. Post it whatever way you feel like, but make sure that the prize listing and the date the giveaway ends is listed. And make sure you post a link directly to your giveaway - not just to your main blog page.

Here's an example:
Your name: Lori Calabrese Writes--Two YA Novels--6/24
Your URL: http://loricalabrese.blogspot.com/2011/06/welcome-to-midsummers-eve-giveaway-hop.html

Now it's your turn. Leave your links here...
(If you're reading this in a reader, please click through to the original post)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Digital distribution on the rise not just with ebooks, but with video games

Digital distribution is becoming a staple when it comes to publishing. We've all witnessed the rise in ebooks and reading devices such as The Kindle, The Nook, and The iPad. But how is this platform affecting other areas of entertainment?

With two boys, my household has become big on video games. We have a PS3 and our iPods are loaded with apps from Temple Run to Run Stick Run to of course, Angry Birds. So with all these free apps and games that you can download to your tablet and computer, have you wondered what's going to happen to Playstation, XBox, and Wii?

Matt Hulett at Startup Whisperer writes, "General purpose devices are the de-facto platform for gaming. No, I am not saying that the console is going to die. The $20 billion dollar console market is going to be on a a slow steady decline over many years and its not going away overnight. But, the numbers don't lie."

I don't know about you, but I'm fascinated by this. I mean who ever saw the decline of bookstores coming? Well, the numbers state that in Q4 2011, there were 26.8M tablets shipped and 150M smartphone shipped worldwide compared to only 21M dedicated game consoles and 13M dedicated game handhelds. So with digital distribution on the rise, game developers are getting very competitive and devising ways to get you to download their games.

I've always downloaded our apps and games from iTunes, but did you know there are other sites where you can get your game on? One of those sites is Gamehouse, which is one of the biggest online games sites out there and not only are they a game site, they also develop, publish and distribute video games. GameHouse offers various genres of games that will suit almost anyone's interest and are perfect for your tablet. From card games to word games to strategy games to adventure games, you're certain to find something that will keep you busy. GameHouse offers 2 membership methods--FunPass and FunTicket. A FunPass Membership costs $20 a month and allows you to download as many games as you want without annoying pop-ups and the FunTicket membership costs $6.99 a month and allows you to play games with time limits and advertisements. They also distribute credits, and you use those credits to purchase games at a discount of 30% per game purchase and each month you'll be rewarded with one free game to download. There are so many fun games on the site, you're sure to become addicted to at least one.

With sites like Gamehouse and more taking over the market,
I can definitely see Tablets and smartphones becoming the new gaming platform of choice. Hulett also predicts that we might see Amazon develop a Game Cloud.

"...imagine an expanded notion of what Amazon has done with their Kindle app — making it cross platform and dabbling in HTML 5," says Hulett. "Imagine building your game once and hooking into services like distributed entitlements, game state support, etc? For example, if players are on the bus using their Kindle Fire, they can save their gameplay and then pick up where they left off at work via Facebook on their laptop."

I don't know about you, but I'm definitely intrigued!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Fish for a Free Book: April 20

Welcome to Fish for a Free Book!

If you are hosting a children's book giveaway, or if you found a giveaway somewhere on the net that you just have to share, I'd love to have you share your links with us here on our weekly giveaway linky so that we can all stop by and enter.

If you're looking for more children's book giveaways, be sure to visit
Brimful Curiosities' Full to the Brim,
Winning Readings (listings of adult and children's book giveaways),
and Got Great Giveaways? (linky of adult and children's book giveaways at I Am a Reader, Not a Writer)

Please post your links however you wish. Some like to include their blog name, some just want to leave the prize and the ending date. Post it whatever way you feel like, but make sure that the prize listing and the date the giveaway ends is listed. And make sure you post a link directly to your giveaway - not just to your main blog page.

Here's an example:
Your name: Lori Calabrese Writes--Two YA Novels--6/24
Your URL: http://loricalabrese.blogspot.com/2011/06/welcome-to-midsummers-eve-giveaway-hop.html

Now it's your turn. Leave your links here...
(If you're reading this in a reader, please click through to the original post)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Happiness Blog Tour and Giveaway

Bryan Cohen here, guest poster and author, promoting my new book The Post-College Guide to Happiness for The Happiness Blog Tour. I'm giving away free digital review copies of the book and doing a giveaway for paperback copies, audio copies and even a Kindle Fire! Read on and check out the info below the post.

"Purpose is the place where your deep gladness meets the world's needs."
- Frederick Buechner


The Chain


Back in high school, I used to be on the wrestling team. Being both an honors student and a meathead was both a blessing and a curse as I knew a ton of the different moves on the mat, but I was much more likely to think than to act. Knowing all of the moves was cool and all, but if they didn't flow from one to another more quickly than the other guy, you were dead meat. We called the ability to move quickly from one move to the other without having to think as "chain wrestling."

For a long time, I knew a lot of the things that I wanted to do in life, but I didn't feel like I was in a position to do them. I knew I wanted to act and be involved in artistic projects. I knew that I wanted to write. I also knew that I wanted to be a leader and an example. Despite the knowledge of what I would enjoy doing, for the longest time I kept them in mind without actually going for them. Was I doomed to a life of being too "in my head" to experience a chain of moving from one happy activity to another? Was wanting to do things I enjoyed enough to get me to actually do them?

I needed more than a desire, I needed a purpose. Contrary to popular belief, a purpose isn't simply a desire to do something that you want, that's just a goal. A purpose is when you can sync up a goal with something that will help the world at large. A purpose for my acting would be to entertain people. My writing would need to bring some kind of good to my readers. I couldn't just be a leader for the sake of leading, I needed to lead followers toward something that would improve their lives. Buechner puts it well here: you need to do something you like in such a way that it helps the world.

I think that this is why so many people go out of the world with their song still inside them. They know what they want to do but they are never able to connect it to a purpose that will fulfill them. They get too caught up in paying the bills and grinding out one more day of their drab office accommodations. I realize that it feels risky to leave a job you don't like or a situation you aren't suited for that is "comfortable enough," but what's the point of living if you aren't doing it for some greater purpose?

Find what you love to do. Find a way to do it for other people. If you can accomplish those two things, you are bound to lead a much more enjoyable life.

--

Bryan Cohen is giving away 61 paperback and audio copies of The Post-College Guide to Happiness and a Kindle Fire between now and May 7th, 2012 on The Happiness Blog Tour. All entrants receive a free digital review copy of The Post-College Guide to Happiness. Bryan hopes to give away at least 1,000 copies during the blog tour. To enter, post a comment with your e-mail address or send an e-mail to postcollegehappiness (at) gmail.com. Bryan will draw the names at the end of the tour. Entries will be counted through Sunday, May 6th.

Bryan Cohen is a writer, actor and comedian from Dresher, Pennsylvania. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2005 with degrees in English and Dramatic Art and a minor in Creative Writing. He has written nine books including 1,000 Creative Writing Prompts: Ideas for Blogs, Scripts, Stories and More, 500 Writing Prompts for Kids: First Grade through Fifth Grade, Writer on the Side: How to Write Your Book Around Your 9 to 5 Job and his new book, 1,000 Character Writing Prompts: Villains, Heroes and Hams for Scripts, Stories and More. His website Build Creative Writing Ideas helps over 25,000 visitors a month to push past writer's block and stay motivated.

Feel free to follow along with the tour at The Happiness Blog Tour Hub Page or on the book's Facebook Page.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Enter the wintry world of Anne Ursu in Breadcrumbs

Breadcrumbs was one of the most talked about books last year and for good reason. Not only is the cover stunning, but it gives you a sense of the wintery world you're about to enter.

Hazel and Jack seem like your typical fifth-graders. They're best friends despite the fact that Hazel's a girl and Jack's a boy (and yes, they get some backlash from both friends and parents over that one). Although Jack has his own circle of friends, Hazel is very wrapped up into Jack. However, as Jack is forced to face family issues, the two friends drift apart and things really take a turn when Jack disappears into the wintry woods, lured by a mysterious woman made of ice.

When I first started reading Breadcrumbs, it seemed like your typical contemporary middle grade novel. Then the story turns into a modern-day fairytale that's quite magical. I must admit, it took me a little while to change gears as this story does, but once you enter Ursu's winter wonderland, you'll find yourself letting the story wash over you.

Avid fantasy readers will appreciate the fact that the book is based on Hans Christian Andersen's fable The Snow Queen, which features a woman in white who inspired Jadis the White Witch from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. And that's what truly makes this book special--the references to fantasy literature and other classics such as The Hobbit and The Wizard of Oz.  I loved Hazel who has a huge imagination, is a daydreamer and attempts to interpret life from the stories she reads. If only everything had a happy ending, right?

Additional Information:
Reading level: Ages 8 and up
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Walden Pond Press; 1 edition (September 27, 2011) 
ISBN-10: 0062015052
ISBN-13: 978-0062015051
Source of review copy: Publisher

 Browse Inside Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu, Illustrated by Erin McGuire

Friday, April 13, 2012

Fish for a Free Book: April 13

Welcome to Fish for a Free Book!

If you are hosting a children's book giveaway, or if you found a giveaway somewhere on the net that you just have to share, I'd love to have you share your links with us here on our weekly giveaway linky so that we can all stop by and enter.

There are so many amazing giveaways taking place this week. If you like free books, you might want to hit The Autism Giveaway Hop. Click here for all the deets and my giveaway.

If you're looking for more children's book giveaways, be sure to visit
Brimful Curiosities' Full to the Brim,
Winning Readings (listings of adult and children's book giveaways),
and Got Great Giveaways? (linky of adult and children's book giveaways at I Am a Reader, Not a Writer)

Please post your links however you wish. Some like to include their blog name, some just want to leave the prize and the ending date. Post it whatever way you feel like, but make sure that the prize listing and the date the giveaway ends is listed. And make sure you post a link directly to your giveaway - not just to your main blog page.

Here's an example:
Your name: Lori Calabrese Writes--Two YA Novels--6/24
Your URL: http://loricalabrese.blogspot.com/2011/06/welcome-to-midsummers-eve-giveaway-hop.html

Now it's your turn. Leave your links here...
(If you're reading this in a reader, please click through to the original post)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Welcome to the Autism Giveaway Hop

Welcome to the Autism Giveaway Hop hosted by I Am a Reader, Not a Writer, Page Turners,
Fire and Ice and Just Another Book Addict.

April is Autism Awareness Month, and to help spread the word about autism, the above blogs are hosting a giveaway hop! You will find lots of variety among the prizes.  Some of the blogs are giving away prizes that relate to autism, other blogs are giving away gift cards or other prizes and posting information about autism to help make others aware.

This all takes place from Wednesday, April 11th through Tuesday, April 17th

For More Information about Autism, please visit these sites:
http://www.autismspeaks.org/index.php
http://www.autism-society.org/
http://autism-resources.com/

 Here at Lori Calabrese Writes!, I'm giving away 3 picture books...


 A LITTLE BOOK ABOUT FEELINGS by Ruby's Studio:
A LITTLE BOOK ABOUT FEELINGS is a helpful book for toddlers and will help them identify emotions. The book dives into feeling happy, mad, sad, shy, curious and more and lets the youngest of readers know that everybody in the world has emotions--even pets! Told as simple as can be, toddlers will be fascinated with the pictures of stuffed animals and parents will love the message that "feelings are clues to help you understand what you need and who you are."





MY FEELINGS (activity book) by Ruby's Studio:

Kindergartners will also appreciate an accompanying book...MY FEELINGS: ACTIVITY BOOK that allows them to write and draw in the book, helping them to identify their feelings while having fun. Ruby's Studio also offers DVDs and apps, so be sure to visit their website.





PEEP IN THE DEEP: SEA CREATURE COUNTING BOOK by R.M. Smith:

Yeah, you can count sheep when you go to bed, but that's so overdone. How about a counting book that dives into the deep blue sea? PEEP IN THE DEEP will have young readers discovering some of the animals you can find in the big blue such as a goby, seahorses, clownfish, dolphins and more. The double-page spreads have the sea creatures creatively chasing their former group across the pages, which makes for a fun bedtime or anytime read.

Giveaway Details: Enter to win all of these books!
To enter giveaway, please click on the Rafflecopter below. Giveaway closes at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, April 17th and is available to US only. Good luck and don't forget to visit the blogs listed below for more great giveaways!

If you read this book, milk might come out of your nose

Why do I love the Horrid Henry books? Because Sourcebooks writes, "If you read this book, you'll laugh so hard milk might come out of your nose!" If that doesn't make you want to read Horrid Henry, then I don't know what will.

Henry is back and yes, young readers' favorite bad-boy is getting in trouble as usual in HORRID HENRY AND THE ZOMBIE VAMPIRE. (I feel like I should be saying that in some evil Bwa-ha-ha voice and holding a white cat like Cee-Lo on The Voice!) There are 4 brand new stories...

-Horrid Henry Writes a Story:
Henry hurls a sprout at Perfect Peter at the dinner table as he's forced to sit and listen to Peter's horrific stories, so when Henry is forced to go to his room, he vows to write the greatest story ever.
-Horrid Henry and the Nudie Foodie
Henry's school is chosen to be a healthy-eating school, meaning their new healthy and nutritious meals will be an example for schools everywhere. Henry knows what that means--celery, beets, eggplants, and anything that tasted yucky and looked revolting. And to top it off, Mr. Nudie Foodie, the world famous chef, is there to help, but not if Henry has anything to do with it!
-Horrid Henry and the Mad Professor
Henry comes with a brilliant, spectacular idea when he's forced to play with Perfect Peter--they'll play Robot and Mad Professor. But what's Henry up to? You'll have to read this one to find out!
-Horrid Henry and the Zombie Vampire
A class sleepover in a museum? Henry's only consolation is his comic book he snuck in that explains how to tell whether anyone you know is a zombie vampire. Unfortunately, his comic is confiscated, but that doesn't stop Henry from tracking down the zombie vampires himself!

If you're a fan of Horrid Henry, you won't be disappointed with this new addition. Each story is more hilarious than the next and even if you don't agree with Henry's horrid ways, you have to admit, he is quite clever! Just don't drink any milk when reading this book!

Additional Information:
Reading level: Ages 7 and up
Paperback: 112 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky (April 1, 2012)
ISBN-10: 1402267851
ISBN-13: 978-1402267857
Source of review copy: publicist

Disclosure: Some of the books I review are received from publishers , PR agencies, and authors, but it does not sway my opinion of the book.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Welcome to Fish for a Free Book!

If you are hosting a children's book giveaway, or if you found a giveaway somewhere on the net that you just have to share, I'd love to have you share your links with us here on our weekly giveaway linky so that we can all stop by and enter.

If you like free books, you might want to hit THE HOPPY EASTER EGGSTRAVAGANZA GIVEAWAY HOP happening now. I'm giving away TWO picture books perfect for Easter. Check here for all the deets!

If you're looking for more children's book giveaways, be sure to visit
Brimful Curiosities' Full to the Brim,
Winning Readings (listings of adult and children's book giveaways),
and Got Great Giveaways? (linky of adult and children's book giveaways at I Am a Reader, Not a Writer)

Please post your links however you wish. Some like to include their blog name, some just want to leave the prize and the ending date. Post it whatever way you feel like, but make sure that the prize listing and the date the giveaway ends is listed. And make sure you post a link directly to your giveaway - not just to your main blog page.

Here's an example:
Your name: Lori Calabrese Writes--Two YA Novels--6/24
Your URL: http://loricalabrese.blogspot.com/2011/06/welcome-to-midsummers-eve-giveaway-hop.html

Now it's your turn. Leave your links here...
(If you're reading this in a reader, please click through to the original post)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza Giveaway Hop


I love Easter, which is why I'm excited to be participating in the HOPPY EASTER EGGSTRAVAGANZA GIVEAWAY HOP hosted by Once Upon a Twilight and I Am a Reader, Not a Writer.

How does it work? Simple...Over 200 participating blogs are offering a book related giveaway and we're all linked up together so you can easily hop (just like the Easter bunny) from one giveaway to another. Just enter to win and you don't have to worry about popping open a plastic egg for a prize!

This all takes place from Friday, April 6th through Thursday, April 12th.

Now on to my giveaway. I'm giving away TWO picture books perfect for Easter...

PEEPSQUEAK by Leslie Ann Clark--
Book description:  As soon as little Peepsqueak bursts out of his shell, he is on the move! He is determined to fly—high, High, High! But is he too little to reach the sky? Young children will love this debut from author-illustrator Leslie Ann Clark about Peepsqueak, a lively little chick who doesn’t give up, no matter what.


Read my review of PEEPSQUEAK.


A BIG BOY NOW by Eilieen Spinelli--
Book description: From getting dressed all by himself to making his own bed and helping Dad wash the car, this little bunny is certainly a big boy now. But riding his bike without training wheels? That might just prove too difficult. Young readers will cheer for and relate to the little bunny who learns that no matter how big and grown up you are, you are never too old to go to Mom for some help . . . and a hug.


Giveaway Details: Enter to win both of these books!
Giveaway closes at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, April 13th and is available to US only.

To enter giveaway, please fill out the rafflecopter form below...

Welcome to the Neversink Blog Tour!

Discover the birds of the Northerly World in Barry Wolverton's debut novel, NEVERSINK. NEVERSINK takes places on a small island that was forged by fire from an undersea volcano. Intrigued? You haven't even heard the best of it. In fact, according to our narrator, we wouldn't have the chance to read this story if walruses couldn't talk. That's right, but wait--it gets better. Our hero is Lockley Puffin, a puffin who earned a reputation as a bit of a troublemaker. A puffin! Who doesn't love penguins?

I must say, NEVERSINK is unlike many novels I've read. Wolverton has created a world in which arctic animals rule their own, literally from their government to their history and more and the characters are quirky and fun. For instance, there's a scholarly walrus who has an opinion on everything and Ruby, a hummingbird who's very critical. Life is just fine until owls threaten their way of life and it's up to Lockley to stop an owl invasion.

Young readers will love the animal adventure and fall in love with the characters. Not to mention get a good laugh. As part of the Neversink blog tour, I was fortunate enough to snag an interview with the creator of this unique middle-grade novel, Barry Wolverton.

A little about the author: Barry Wolverton is the first human ever granted access to the walrus library at Ocean’s End, where he conducted extensive research for NEVERSINK, his first book. In addition to Walrus he speaks Chicken, although actual chickens don’t appear to understand him. He lives with a moderately overweight cat named Charlie (who understands him but doesn’t listen) in Memphis, Tenn. Visit him at www.barrywolverton.com.

Tell us about your path to publication.
It was so long I wore through many pairs of shoes. After piddling with the story for a few years, I got serious about finishing a draft in 2005, and by the spring of 2006 was pleased enough with myself to shop for an agent. I was offered representation by Jen Rofe of Andrea Brown.

I rewrote the book for her first and she spent most of 2007 trying to sell it, without success. I spent 2008 rewriting the book using notes given to me by an editor who had really liked Neversink, just not enough to buy it. In early 2009 we re-submitted to that editor, who passed again, but Jen put together a new list of editors for the new and improved manuscript.

If memory serves, by the fall of 2009, all had passed except three. In one day Jen got three emails — two passes, and one incredibly enthusiastic response from Jordan Brown at Walden Pond Press. Of course, instead of simply buying the book, they made me, a completely unknown aspiring author, submit to a partial rewrite trial-by-fire, which completely ruined all my holidays between Columbus Day 2009 and Easter 2010, including President’s Day. But boy, was Easter great that year.

Every writer has probably heard the "don't use talking animals" advice from editors and publishers. What made you persist?
Blissful ignorance! I had no idea what I was getting into, until Jen signed me and promptly said, “The hardest thing about selling your book is that it has talking animals. And even worse, birds.” But by then it was too late to turn back.

What's a typical writing day like for you?
Sadly, a typical day is going to my full-time job and trying to squeeze in writing time on my lunch break or before work. I’m always too tired after work. I do most of my fiction writing on weekends at a coffee shop.

What was the inspiration for NEVERSINK?
My first job out of college was writing ad copy, just like Don Draper of Mad Men. Except I drank Diet Coke and didn’t smoke. I was asked to create a mascot for a new brand of marshmallows that was to be called Puffins. The project was aborted, but years later I was living in the DC area and visited the wonderful aquarium in Baltimore. They have an auk exhibit, and when I saw these amazing birds in person I remembered Lockley, the tea-drinking puffin I had created a decade before. And when I looked into it, I was amazed to find that despite having their own publishing imprint, puffins were virtually unrepresented in children’s lit.
-----

A big thanks to Barry Wolverton for taking the time to share his story with us. I'm always amazed at how long it takes to see a story evolve from idea to publication, but Neversink was worth the wait!

Want to win a copy of NEVERSINK?

Giveaway Details:
To enter giveaway, please leave a comment below.

Optional Extra Entries:
+1 Follow this blog
+1 Like my Author Page at Facebook
+1 Follow me on Twitter
+1 Have a confirmed email subscription to The Book Bugz and/ or Lori's Newsletter
(please let me know in the comments about your extra entries)

Giveaway closes at midnight on Wednesday, April 11th.

Be sure to visit the other stops on the Neversink Blog Tour...

Tuesday, 3/27 –  Guest Post at Nerdy Book Club
Wednesday, 3/28 – Guest Post & Giveaway at Cari’s Book Blog
Thursday, 3/29 – Interview & Giveaway with Teach Mentor Texts
Friday, 3/30 – Review & Giveaway at Buried in Books
Saturday, 3/31 – Guest Post at Buried in Books
Saturday, 3/31 – Review & Giveaway at Icey Books
Sunday, 4/1 – Review & Giveaway at The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia
Monday, 4/2 – Review & Giveaway at The Write Path
Tuesday, 4/3 – Guest Post with The Other Side of the Story
Wednesday, 4/4 – Interview with There’s a Book
Thursday, 4/5 – Interview & Giveaway with National Children’s Book Examiner
Friday 4/6 – Author/Editor Interview at Another Gray Day

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Forget counting sheep

Yeah, you can count sheep when you go to bed, but that's so overdone. How about a counting book that dives into the deep blue sea? PEEP IN THE DEEP: SEA CREATURE COUNTING BOOK by R.M. Smith is just what you need to have your young readers counting some Zzzz's.

PEEP IN THE DEEP will have young readers discovering some of the animals you can find in the big blue such as a goby, seahorses, clownfish, dolphins and more. The double-page spreads have the sea creatures creatively chasing their former group across the pages, which makes for a fun bedtime or anytime read. And let's not forget, they'll  also learn to count in this deep sea adventure.



Watch the book trailer...




Additional Information:

Reading level: Ages 2-5
Paperback: 28 pages
Publisher: Clarence-Henry Books; First edition (January 7, 2012)
ISBN-10: 0615422977
ISBN-13: 978-0615422978
Source of review copy: Author
Disclosure: Some of the books I review are received from publishers , PR agencies, and authors, but it does not sway my opinion of the book.