Archives for category: Joint international giveaway

Hi all:

This is an extra post today because wonderful author Marie Lavender has organised a fantastic giveaway. 42 authors, 77 titles and 150 donations. I’m donating a couple of my titles Click Me Happy! and I Love Your Cupcakes but there is such a great choice that I’d go there straight away if I were you.

biggiveawayValDayWritModAgeILRB (15)To participate in the giveaway, you only need to CLICK  on the links and visit the two blogs.  And I recommend you carry on visiting. Here they are:

Go, quick! Don’t waste any time!

Good luck with the giveaway, thanks to Marie for organising such a great event and thank you all for reading and clicking!


I connected with María Victoria de Lourdes through Twitter, checked her webpage and was impressed by this author’s work. I asked her if she would come and be a guest in my blog, particularly to talk about how she got into writing. She kindly agreed but told me she’d written a post about that already that I might want to use. When I read it I couldn’t think of a better way to introduce her than to use her post. So here it is!

María Victoria de Lourdes
From the Imagination to the Page
MVL1I am often asked to talk about how I became a writer. In this space I will share my learning down the path of this wonderful literary adventure. I should first clarify that to me, at least, being a writer is not the same thing as being an author. I have been a writer all my life, ever since I learned to write. The decision to become an author and publish my work came much later. After I had a fit.

MVL2I can’t remember when or how I learned to walk, ride a bike, or roller skate, but I remember well the moment when the ever-so-patient, Sister Carmen, guided my hand over my calligraphy notebook and taught me to write. From her I learned that when my pudgy round letters “held hands”, they actually formed words. The first word I ever wrote was Mom. Exactly the word I needed. I had lost my mother when I was three years old, and in my childish mind I thought that if filled my whole notebook with that word, she may come down from heaven and visit. I missed her.

From that magical instant when I learned to convey my feelings on paper, I gave in to the exercise full time. Paper was never enough. It was expensive in Mexico, so I would beg my friends in school, not only to share their lunch, but also a clean page, just one, as there was always something very important I had to write or draw. I journaled with fierce devotion. In the act of writing I found a a best friend. It was my solace and my hope.

MVL3In the beginning, I specialized in writing long, elaborate, letters. I wrote them to whoever would read them, and even if they didn’t. My favorite aunt, Aunt Cris, who lived in a ranch in Cordoba, was one of my first un-willing pen-pals. She never did like to write, not even her name, busy as she was taking care of her four children, her husband and the ranch. Out of pity, no doubt, she indulged me and for every ten lengthy letters of mine, she werote back a succinct telegram, shorter than a tweet. I am certain she did it in honor of her dead sister who blessed her from the heavens. I anxiously looked forward to her replies. Nothing made me happier than to see the elderly mailman approach our house, riding his bike down our street, sweating under the hot Veracruz sun while happily whistling. He was always in a good mood. When he handed me the mail, he would say “Here you go Blondie, but don’t be sad, there’s no letter for Little Lulu today.” On the days there was a letter for me, however, he would ceremoniously kiss the envelope before handing it over through the iron gate. My delight was so profound that I could have kissed him in the spot if it weren’t for the fence that separated us. Through the gate he would had over the mail and through that same gate I would gift him a cold glass of water. Thus I was raised. To never deny anyone respect or water. That very afternoon I would rewrite my prompt reply to poor aunt Cris. Another long letter filled with clichés, love and nostalgia. Dramatic prose has always been my literary style.

When I reached puberty, I became a poet. And since poetic inspiration comes from being in love, I fell in love with everyone, even the cocotero MVL4(coconut seller). It is true. I don’t know whether or not he was handsome, but to me he seemed divine. He was the same age as my brothers, tall and thin and had dimples. I’m sure he knew I had a crush on him, because every time he saw me, he giggled. And so it was that every afternoon, right after I finished my homework, I would casually walk along the boardwalk just to watch him work. The hours would fly by, watching him trim the palm trees with his machete. Nothing seemed more romantic than this platonic, impossible, love affair, that defied the conservative protocol of Veracruz’s proper society where “nice” girls should get married (without tainting their virginity) with boys from “good families”. My notebooks were filled with tacky poems repeating the same theme: the schoolgirl, still in uniform, ran away with the cocotero in his coconut trolley. I never confessed my forbidden love, because I would have been sent overseas, which is exactly what happened anyway, but not for being a lovelorn poet, but for being a dunce who could not learn English.
MVL6In the United States, I finally learned how to read in English, mostly to satisfy my insatiable hunger for literature. The kind family that was my hosting family owned only one book in Spanish: the Bible. They were Evangelists and they felt compelled to save my soul from the Pope’s deluded ideology. I tried to oblige, and read the big book for the very first time (in those days we were not allowed to read it). Much as I tried, I could not get past our Lord Jesus Christ‘s genealogy. I fled to the library and, with a dictionary in hand, I spent my long hours of solitude and longing engrossed in Hans Christian Andresen’s and Brothers Grimm’s fairy tales. Gradually, I progressed from Children’s Literature to the Great ones. The best reward was to finally be able to read Oscar Wilde in his native tongue!
Writing in English was not as easy. In fact, I must confess that I am still perfecting the technique. To this day, I don’t dare translate my own blog entries. I have long believed that translation is an art reserved for people from outer planets. (Note from Translator: not true, she’s really good at it too). There are three things that I can only do in Spanish: write, pray, and love.

One good day I fell in love with my true prince, and given that he liked music (he plays the piano), I immediately ventured into musical composition.MVL7 The fact that I was never able to figure out the ants on the pentagram never stopped me. My love was such that the lyrics flowed in English with great ease and little variation: I love you, I want you, I need you. My prince welcomed my serenades with the typical smile of a well-educated gringo. Not once did he complain or comment about my blatant plagiarism of his most favorite British band.
Years later, after we were married, I attended the university and pursued a degree in literature and creative writing. Those were the most wonderful years. I had a part time job at a hospital to pay my tuition and help with my husband’s tuition as well. Going to school was simply delightful. Wise teachers introduced me to the most wonderful books ever written. Narrative writing opened my eyes, and for the first time, I realized that my words were sticky and overly sweet, worse than softened bubble gum. The overuse of adjectives was not a narrative “style”, they toought me, but pure tackiness. My mentors gently helped me awaken the merciless editor in me who, with a red pen, showed me to be demure, succinct, and purposeful. Now the editor is out of control. She torments me each and every day. I detest her and yet, I also need and respect her.
MVL8The decision to publish my work came years later. I was working as a law professor at the University of Washington. My sons, Nicholas and Manolo were teenagers and were very busy with sports. They rarely dinned at home. On those rare instances when they joined us for dinner, we, the parents, would shut our mouths and listen. Every question could be interpreted as an invasion of their privacy; every suggestion a sermon.
It was during one of those rare, family meals, when my sons talked about the race issue. They didn’t know who they were, they said. Were they white, black, yellow, or exactly which color? Their college applications had that very question: what is your race? If they selected Hispanic, their applications may be given deference. According to the definition of Hispanic in the form, it was clear that if their mother was Mexican, they were Hispanic. The fact that they were bilingual, and that most of their family lived in Mexico, also put them on that “box”.
To me, the issue was clear, but not to my sons. What about the skin color, they asked?. How Mexican was I, being so white? Miguelito’s mom, for example, she did look Mexican. And Miguelito also looked Mexican, which is why he has been chosen to play the role of Cesar Chavez in the school’s play. Nicholas, on the other hand, was as white as flour, with ginger hair that made him look like a Viking. Manolo, on the other hand, was closer to “looking Mexican”, he had dark hair and dark eyebrows, which is why he had been accepted into the Chicano club at school, but not without difficulty, because, actually, he looked more Arabic than Latino. It was true. Manolo could have been from anywhere. He could even be the cocotero’s son.
I stood up, went to my office and got my Mexican Passport. I sat it on the table and reminded them that Miguelito’s mom had been born in Minnesota, did not know how to speak Spanish, and had no idea on how to cook black beans. My children were not convinced. They looked at me suspiciously. Maybe I was not the person they knew, after all. Maybe I was hiding some terrible family secret. I suddenly realized that my children had no idea of how diverse Mexico and our roots really are. I realized that how little they knew about their ancestors, and that with so little understanding, they could never feel proud of their heritage. That same night I called my father and asked him to help me write the story of our family.
When I finished the first chapter of that first novel, I sent it to my brother, Tali, so he could give me feedback. Unbeknownst to me, he, in turn, sent it to an editor in Mexico. A few weeks later, Tali called me to tell me that the editor had sent him an urgent fax, requesting my novel for publishing. I felt flattered and scared. The novel existed only in my head. Now I would actually have to write it!

And that is how my career as an author began. After fifteen years in the business I have learned that being an author means being the owner of a small business. You need to secure financing, set up shop, sell your product, obnoxiously, manage accounting, negotiate agreements, and generate content, because without content, there is no product to sell.
Often, I think of the cocotero on the boardwalk. There he was, selling coconuts each and every day. Sometimes his only clients were the flies, which he swatted away, without frustration, with a red bandanna. In better days, he would sell out and then, he would quickly, and happly, go swimming in the sea. I try to be like him. When I get rejections, I swat them away from my life, without frustration, like flies. When I do well and sell my books, I try to return to my beloved sea, my home, Veracruz. In the end, the entrepreneurial effort is the same; it requires tenacity, discipline, persistence, faith, and patience. Most of all patience.
To end, I’d like to share that that my purpose as a writer is not the same as my purpose as an author. As a writer, I will have reached success when the editor in me, whom I call Mrs. Doubt, doesn’t use her red pen. I don’t strive for immortality with my work but I do want to respect the time my readers gift me when they read my work. My goal is to present them with my very best effort. As an author, I will have reached success the day I can live from my books. I don’t seek fame (God deliver me from that woman!), nor do I strive to become a best-seller, but I would like to make a modest living with the income from my work. On that matter you, my dear readers, have the last word.


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And now it’s usually the time when I tell you what I’m going to be posting next week and make some kind of announcement. Well, I’m not sure what I’m going to post on Tuesday (I have a couple of ideas doing the rounds in my head but haven’t decided yet) and with regards to the announcement…Yes, I have one. Or rather, it’s an update from the post on Tuesday.

If you remember I told you about the giveaway Mary Meddlemore (my friend, author and oh, such a fascinating character) and I had organised. From the 10th to the 14th of the month we’re giving away 6 of our books. Yes, there’re novels (paranormal romance, sci-fi), collection of short stories, another one of my novellas from the series ‘Escaping Psychiatry’ and my book ‘The Man’ (I could not resist giving you the link to the great feature Freebooksy have posted about it) in Spanish and English.

Just in case you’ve missed it, here is the link…

How is it going? We think well. We’re both pretty new at this (I had a giveaway for another one of my novellas and for Mary it’s the first time), and only published our novels a few months ago (not 3 months yet) but we think it’s going OK. But of course, it’s only the 11th. We still have a fair bit of time left. And we wondered…OK, we’ve posted in our blog about it, we’ve told our friends in Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Google +, LinkedIn…We’ve told people at work, neighbours, friends…No, we haven’t shouted from the rooftops (I leave in a small house, I don’t think it would have much impact), but…we thought (rather, Mary suggested. Credit where credit is due), why don’t we ask the people who read our blog for ideas?

And here we are…She’s posting about it and so am I. Of course, please feel free to share with everybody, but if you can think of other things we could be doing (doable…, legal…timely…), please let us know…

You can leave a comment here, or send me a Tweet (@OlgaNM7), or leave me a message in my Facebook page (, or if you check my webpage (  I also have my e-mail address there.

Any suggestions or ideas are welcome.

Thanks very much for reading and thanks on behalf of Mary and me for downloading. And of course thanks to the marvellous María Victoria de Lourdes for her fantastic post.



I promised I would be writing about this wonderful giveaway we have organised. WE as in Mary Meddlemore and I. “Who is Mary Meddlemore?” you will ask? Excellent question, as questions go. Mary is a character. And a writer…Or something like that.

Mary is also writing in her blog about the giveaway and the process of setting it up and all. Well, I don’t know exactly what she’s writing as we were both going to post on the same date, so I haven’t seen her post. But if you check, she might explain it more and better…

Here is her blog page:

So, what’s the story? Mary and I met through a group of writers. ASMSG (Authors Social Media Support Group). I was happily Tweeting about all kinds of things, but doing a fair amount of retweeting about other writers and the founder of the group (R. Grey Hoover, great man) contacted me and there I was…a member of the group. We have a variety of fora, one being Facebook, where people post about their writing, interesting stuff they’ve come across…you know…(By the way, if you want to check the webpage of the group, here is the link:   Plenty of useful stuff.) Somehow Mary and I got talking (or messaging), and got on like a house on fire. Yes, we live very far away from each other, in different time zones, completely different climates (luckily for her), and we’ve never set eyes on each other (only our avatars or some pictures) but what does any of that matter? We shared the joys, the frustrations the misunderstandings, the hopes and aspirations, the gossip, the ups and downs, and we enjoyed each other’s companies. If nothing else comes out of this writing thing, meeting Mary and some of the other wonderful people I’ve come across along the way will make it well worth it. (I would add some nice sentimental music here, but you should see how difficult it was to just do a sound post, so…sorry…).

Through chatting about writing we discovered we had published in Amazon around the same time (in October 2012…it seems years now!) and therefore chances for using our free giveaway days were running out. And, hey presto! Light bulb! Why not combine the giveaways? Yes, our writing is quite different, but that should make it far more interesting. Mary was working on her new collection of short stories The Seven Sheep (it’s fabulous, but don’t take my word for it! Download it! It’s free from the 10th to the 14th January!) and wanted to give all her books away. She’s a truly generous soul. I started with my novel ‘The Man Who Never Was’ but then thought…I should give the Spanish version away too…And…Maybe we should make it half a dozen, so why not add one of my novellas?

We had some comings and goings and thankfully Mary organised our blog/webpage for the giveaway. Although you can choose to go to each one of the books and get them, why make life difficult for yourself? If you follow the below link, you can click on all the books and download them to your heart’s content. If you’re not in we have the ASIN of the books and they should be available in all Amazon stores (beware of time zone differences.) Not only that. Even if you don’t have an e-reader, Mary has also added the link to download the Amazon PC e-reader App, so you can always read them in your computer.

And Mary kept going with her writing and editing, and I kept investigating how to promote our giveaway and sending information to Mary (who had sent me information before. We’re like explorers in an alien planet trying to understand the language and laws of this book marketing thing) and started pestering people and posting things on websites…and of course, here…

Now, the time has nearly come. From the 10th to the 14th of January Mary and I are giving away 6 books. Sci-fiction, short-stories, novellas, family sagas, humour, absurd, magical, tears, laughter…Why? Because we love stories, and without stories we’re nothing.

Or as Mary writes in her introduction to The Seventh Sheep:

“Stories cannot be contained. They can be labeled and sorted into categories, but readers read and make of them what they will and so it should be.

Stories have wings. They fly where they want to.

Stories are the soul of mankind. It doesn’t matter whether the story is “intellectual/literary” or just fun, whether it is meant for children or adults etc., all stories contain the same story elements, namely: characters, settings, actions (or non-actions), consequences of actions or non-actions, story moments and a story line etc.

Whether you read just for pleasure or whether you study a story, the story elements invade your being, because your life, is a story too. Stories merely mimic human existence, because being human, human authors cannot think of anything outside their “human” capabilities.

Extraterrestrial intelligence will be elegant, complex, internally consistent and utterly alien.

Carl Sagan in Cosmos


Stories bring extra experiences, because when you read, you get to “know” thousands of “characters”. There is no way that you could ever “know” so many “real” people intimately. Thus, reading automatically widens your perspective.

Stories can also bring awareness if you “read/notice ” yourself, or others  or specific familiar circumstances in a story.

Awareness brings the possibilities of change, if it is wanted or needed.

Each story is experienced and interpreted differently by every single reader and so it should be, because you are all unique.

The gifts of stories are immense!”

Readers, here are our stories. Please help us share them with others! If you have any ideas of how to spread the word, please leave a comment and we’ll be on your eternal debt!

And thanks for reading!

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