Sarah's Scribbles

The Year of Months

Janice Hardy's Blue Fire


I know I've been neglecting my blog lately but I've just been SO busy. With working full-time at Rotech, part-time at Gaylord, Foundation work and writing, there's not even enough time to sleep, let alone post here.

So what pulls me out of my blog-hibernation? Janice Hardy's second book in the Healing Wars trilogy, Blue Fire, is due out October 5th. I can't wait! And there's a chance I might not have to. Because she's giving away an ARC on her website. (That's a link to the contest, but don't bother because I'm going to win! ;-))

The Healing Wars: Book II: Blue Fire

If we've ever talked about YA books, you've probably heard me talk about The Shifter, the first in the series. Because it's amazing. You can read my very short review on Goodreads, but I'll just say here that it is a great book. Imaginative, well-told and non-stop action. There are even explosions (we all know how much I love explosions)! And BONUS, Janice is really nice and is tireless in her efforts to help other writers via her blog.

The Healing Wars: Book I: The Shifter

Also, check out this anthology that Janice and her crit group put together, Eight Against Reality AND the Kickstarter program for the publisher of Eight Against Reality, Panverse Publishing here.

So if you're looking for a great YA fantasy, I highly recommend you read The Shifter. And I'm not just saying that because of the contest (which you should enter as long as you agree to let me borrow Blue Fire if you win). It's a great book and I'm looking forward to all of Janice's future books! (And aren't those covers awesome??)

Free Books

I woke up to an email telling me I had won a free book (The Life and Opinions of Amy Finawitz from a Goodreads giveaway). This happens every now and then - and it's always EXCITING! I won White Cat from AliseOnLife, Scones and Sensibility from Elana Johnson, and Suite Scarlett from Kate Testerman (though I never received that one, but that's another story).

A lot of people wonder how I do this, where I find out about things like this. My sister thinks I'm lucky. I don't know how lucky I am, if you take into account the sheer number of contests I enter. And how do I find out about these things? I read A LOT of books and more about books. To be a writer, you kinda have to.

I'm addicted to books. My bookshelf is exploding with them. I love to buy them, but my recent employment troubles have put a damper on that so now I feed my addiction with these contests.

And today, for the first time ever, I'm going to share some of my secrets with you.


The book from this morning is the first I've won on Goodreads, but I only just entered my first drawing last week. Publishers and authors will run giveaways on books that aren't released yet through Goodreads in the hopes you'll review the book and help them build buzz. They determine the winners based on an algorithm (with some luck thrown in) based on your activity on the site. So if you are on Goodreads (and if not, you should be - and be my friend) and you read a good amount, this may be worth looking into.

To see the giveaways, log in to Goodreads and click on "explore" on the top menu. Go to "books" and then click on the "giveaways" tab.

These giveaways are SO EASY to enter. After you enter your address once, it's just a few clicks. It's also pretty easy because there are hundreds of giveaways in one place.

Book Bloggers

Book bloggers are notorious for wanting to receive free books, but they also give them away - especially those who are trying to build their reader-base. Here is a list of ten that will get you started, but there are thousands of these blogs out there and I don't even know how to tell you to find them, except for maybe here. I don't even know how I found the ones I subscribe to.

Entering these contests can range from "so easy a monkey could do it" to "wait, isn't this the sequence for launching a nuclear missile?" Some just want you to leave a comment on the blog. Some may want you to make a video. Some may be easy to get one entry (leave a comment) but then will provide you additional opportunities for entries (Tweet about it, blog about it, become a "follower," etc)

But what's cool about doing it this way: often book bloggers will cross-link each other (for publicity) so reading one blog will usually lead you to many more. And if you're interested in books, you'll probably enjoy these blogs anyway.

Industry Pros

I'm lumping all these into one because, honestly, sometimes they overlap. Published authors, agents and (less often) editors will give away books on their website or blog to drum up publicity. 

To find these, I would first suggest checking out your favorite author's websites and blogs. Use Google Reader to subscribe to them. If you're interested in hearing about the publishing industry, you can subscribe to agents and editors blogs, but I imagine only writers are interested in this. If you're looking for some good YA agents and authors, check out my blog roll over there -----> Also, agent Nathan Bransford has a good selection of blogs in his left sidebar.

Aspriring Industry Pros

These are often (for me) the most exciting blogs and websites. It's especially fun when you start reading someone's blog while they're writing their novel, develop a relationship with them, getting to see them go through all the steps, and then reading about their three-book deal!

Aspiring writers run contests often, in an attempt to attract more readers. I don't even know how many of my favorite blogs I've found because someone linked to a contest. Come for the free stuff, stay for the awesome content. Group blogs are awesome, because they link to other blogs and contests all the time. Again, some of these are in my blog roll and in the blog rolls of the other blogs I've linked to.

Please Remember

So, that's the bulk of my free-book-getting secrets. There are a few things I would like y'all to remember when entering these contests, though: There are people behind these websites. People who spend their time and often their own money to bring these giveaways to you. Be nice to them. Leave them blog comments. Check out other posts on the site - because you'll probably enjoy them. They start these blogs because they have something say; something to give away is merely a secondary benefit.

And don't forget that pesky legal thing where, if you review a book that was given to you by the author or publisher, you have to state that with your review.

And I'll try to be better about linking to contests from this blog.

The End of Recipe Month, Beginning of WB4W Month

I know I'm a little late on posting the final recipe of June, but I've been really busy. In addition to Mac N Cheese, my sister also wanted me to make "real meatloaf." So, I did. And she said it was the best meatloaf ever. (it was all kinds of yummy!)

  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 cup finely crushed saltine cracker crumbs
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 5x9 inch loaf pan.
2) Press the brown sugar in the bottom of the prepared loaf pan and spread the ketchup over the sugar.
3) In a mixing bowl, mix thoroughly all remaining ingredients and shape into a loaf. Place on top of the ketchup.
4) Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour or until juices are clear. 

And with that recipe, Recipe Month is officially over. I'm really glad I did this, but I'm also really glad it's over. Deciding on and making a new recipe every day became tiring - but I discovered a whole bunch of new recipes that I will probably make time and time again.

I have begun Workout Before Work Month, with limited success. On the first day, I forgot to change my alarm time and woke up late so I only had 15 minutes. And I had to walk Hannah. Her walks are more like "walk three inches, stop, repeat."

However, on Friday, I woke up early enough and Jasper and I went on a 30 minute brisk walk on the lake behind our apartment. And I have to tell you a secret, Dear Readers: I liked it. Well, once I got over the overwhelming "I DON'T WANT TO GET OUT OF BED" feeling, I liked it. Jasper thought it was The Best Thing Ever and I was fully awake when I got to work. I think you all should try this thing with me!

On Monday, even though I didn't work, Charlie and I took our dogs for a walk around the neighborhood relatively early in the morning (for me, anyway). Today, I ruined it by being too tired to get out of bed. I stayed out a little too late last night. *shrug* Oh well. Tomorrow's another day :-)