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Thursday, September 20, 2018

$40 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

Enter this giveaway for a chance to win a $40 (or equivalent depending on the country the winner's from) Amazon gift card. Good luck!

The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.

What Makes My Heart Beat Faster by Jaimie Admans - Guest Post & Giveaway

About Jaimie Admans

Jaimie is a 32-year-old English-sounding Welsh girl with an awkward-to-spell name. She lives in South Wales and enjoys writing, gardening, watching horror movies, and drinking tea, although she’s seriously considering marrying her coffee machine. She loves autumn and winter, and singing songs from musicals despite the fact she’s got the voice of a dying hyena. She hates spiders, hot weather, and cheese & onion crisps. She spends far too much time on Twitter and owns too many pairs of boots.

She will never have time to read all the books she wants to read.

She is the author of chick-lit romantic comedies The Chateau of Happily Ever Afters, The Little Wedding Island, It’s a Wonderful Night, and Kismetology, and she has also written young-adult romantic comedies Afterlife Academy, Not Pretty Enough, and North Pole Reform School.


Books by Jaimie Admans

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What makes my heart beat faster 
Guest post by Jaimie Admans

In a word, writing.

The act of writing and the things I write.

For me, nothing beats the feeling of a book going well. Books are strange things, they are hard to write, but sometimes – very, very rarely – you get these magical ones that write themselves, when your fingers are flying across the keyboard and inspiration is flowing faster than you can type. This is the best feeling. I’ve recently finished the first draft of HQ Book 4 (The Vintage Carousel by the Sea, which will be released in spring next year) and it was one of these rare books. It was a joy to write. I wrote it so fast, and with so little trouble, that I wrote 30k over my target word count and had to cut 26,000 words. I was sad to say goodbye to the characters when I sent the book off to my editor – but don’t worry, when I get them back with revisions, I doubt I’ll feel so positive then!

I’ve had a few of these books in the past, but in recent years, writing has been increasingly difficult. Each one of my recent books has not been easy to write. I’d started to think that every book was going to be like pulling teeth to get the words out, and while hopefully readers can’t tell this after many rounds of revisions and edits, it makes such a difference if you’re forcing yourself to sit at the keyboard every day or if you’re eager to open the document and get started in the mornings.

Writing Book 4 has made my heart beat faster!

Now if only there was a formula so I knew how to make all books like that!

The second part of writing that makes my heart beat faster is when you get a new idea and you know it’s ‘the one’! I get lots of ideas on a daily basis – snippets of conversations, news stories, articles, and I jot everything down because you never know when things like that will come in useful, but every so often, you get an idea and you can’t stop thinking about it. The more you think about it, the bigger it grows, and you just know. You know that this is the next idea you’re going to write. You know it will make a good book. Within a few minutes of having the idea, the characters and situations they’re in have presented themselves to you, snatches of dialogue are already appearing, and you can’t write it all down fast enough. There is no part of writing that’s more exciting than this feeling!

And the third aspect of writing that makes my heart beat faster is the romance!

I write romantic comedies, and one of my favourite parts about them is the “almosts”. The almost kisses, brief touches, and stolen glances. I love building the romance between characters and watching them fall in love. My life isn’t very romantic and I live vicariously through my characters. When my characters anticipate that first kiss, even though I’m writing it, I find that I’m on the edge of my seat, waiting for that magic moment. When I know something big is about to happen, I’m writing faster to get to it. When my characters laugh, I laugh. When they cry, I cry. When their hearts are pounding, so is mine. When they’re falling in love, so am I.

I love writing those secret glances, the raised eyebrows and flash of mischief in the eyes, and I love it when hands brush, and characters nearly kiss but pull back at the last moment. I love it as they grow closer and there are hugs that last too long and touches that linger. I love it when they start off as enemies but the sarcastic digs gradually turn into softness and understanding.

It’s no secret to say my books always end happily ever after, and by the time I get to the end, my heart is pounding in anticipation of the final pay-off and the hopefully happy sigh on the last page, and usually some happy tears too!


One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a $5 Amazon gift card from Jaimie Admans.

The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Etsy $50 Gift Card Giveaway

Enter this giveaway for a chance to win a $50 Etsy gift card. Good luck!

The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.

Three Great Things About Being a Writer by Diane Byington - Guest Post & Giveaway

About Diane Byington

I wrote my first “book” in the fifth grade. It was an updating of Charles Dickens’ novel Great Expectations. Pip was now Smitty, and so forth. I received an “A” for the project, and that encouraged me to keep writing. When I was 13 I spent the summer writing a book about meeting my fantasy loves, the Beatles – which made me so embarrassed that it ended up in the trash. But I couldn’t stop writing. I was the editor of my high school literary magazine and won an award for one of my essays.

I tried to major in English as an undergraduate at the University of Florida, but reading Pilgrim’s Progress stopped me cold! I couldn’t make it through that classic, and decided to switch gears. I got my undergraduate degree in psychology, and eventually earned my M.S.W. and Ph.D. in social work at Florida State University. After working for a while in the health field, I decided to be a college professor so I could, among other benefits, have summers off to dedicate to writing. Eventually I moved to Colorado to teach at the University of Denver.

Those years resulted in numerous professional and academic articles that gained me tenure and some status in my field, but I also wanted to write fiction and essays. So, toward the end of my twenty years in academia, I published a short story, several essays, and even a poem.

After leaving academia and moving to Boulder I burst forth into a multiplicity of occupations. I taught yoga and chi kung classes, earned a certificate in chi kung healing and practiced energy healing, used my license in social work to start a private psychotherapy practice, and made a relaxation CD. These were fun, but not very lucrative, so I eventually ended up as a management consultant, working with 360 feedback. I like using my skills to help people succeed in their careers.

Yes, I’ve enjoyed an eclectic work history.

I enrolled in a two-year creative writing program through Stanford University and received my Certificate in Novel Writing. Since then, I’ve been writing full-time. 


Books by Diane Byington

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Three Great Things About Being a Writer
Guest post by Diane Byington

Publishing a novel has been taken up most of the space in my bucket list for years. In March, I achieved my dream. Who She Is is now a reality. More often than not, these days, I feel as though every cell in my body is smiling. Here are some things I love about my job.

1. Having a book to show people.

I get giddy just looking at the beautiful cover of my novel. Last weekend, Who She Is won a literary award, and it’s up for a couple more. I receive emails nearly every day from people who enjoyed the book. The fact that people appreciate my work means more to me than anything.

Years ago, I had a vision of telling a story about a girl who wants to run the Boston Marathon, but it’s 1968, before women were allowed to enter the race. When she’s training for the race, she starts having “spells” that suggest she had a different early life. She doesn’t know if the spells are true or if they are a product of her epileptic brain, but she’s determined to find out. Thus, the running story and the mystery take place simultaneously, and it literally took me years to figure out how to combine them.

During the years of working on the novel, people would ask me what I did. “I’m a writer,” I would say, trying to sound confident.

“Have you written anything I can read?” they would ask.

“Not yet,” I would answer. “But I’m working on it.”

They would turn their attention to someone else and I would feel like cringing under the table.

Now I can point to my book, and that makes my heart sing.

2. Being part of a community. 

Another great thing about being a writer is being involved in the community of readers and writers. I have a writing partner, a critique group, and numerous friends who are writers. We cheer each other on when we’re depressed (trust me, everyone gets depressed), and applaud our successes (and everyone has successes). I absolutely love reading the books written by my friends.

I also love supporting new writers as they go through the process of finding their footing. Learning how to appreciate being edited takes quite a while, but it’s worth doing. I love helping people see the gaps in their work and brainstorming with them about how to fix the problems. I especially love seeing their next drafts, which are invariably much, much better.

3. The writing itself. 

Okay. Complete honesty here. Writing is the hardest work I’ve ever done. I love thinking of new ideas for stories, and I love reading the finished products. But I usually do not love the writing itself. It’s grueling, tedious work. But sometimes… sometimes it’s magic. Here’s an example. The other day I had to write a scene in which a husband and wife communicate for the first time since she left him. She’s still angry and has no intention of returning home. He’s still hurt and resentful.

I sat down and started. “How are you?” she asks. Not great literature, but it primed the pump of the conversation. I wrote down his answer: he’s lonely, the bed is too big, the house is too quiet. And then he gets sarcastic. “And how are you?” he asks. She tells him she’s still furious.

As the conversation evolves, I discover, along with the two characters, why she’s so angry. This scene is sixty-some pages into the novel, and I thought I understood what was going on. But I didn’t. Her anger went much deeper than I’d realized, and it made perfect sense. He apologizes, but it isn’t good enough. She needs some time to consider her options.

The magic of writing that scene was that I HAD NO IDEA what was going to happen before I started. I channeled both of those characters and learned along with them. It was as much fun as it’s possible to have sitting behind a keyboard.

I love when the magic happens. It’s not very often, but when it does, it’s worth every minute of struggle, every hour of tedium, and every day of revision.

I’m a writer. And my cells are smiling.


Two very lucky readers of With Love for Books will receive a digital copy of Who She Is and a handwoven bookmark from Diane Byington.

The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

$50 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

Enter this giveaway for a chance to win a $50 (or your country's equivalent) Amazon gift card. Good luck!

The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.