Contest Archive - 2009
In honor of the release of Sex Drive, the first book in my sexy “planes, trains, automobiles, and a cruise ship” Wild Ride to Love series, I asked people about their favorite way to travel. There was a clear winner: travel by automobile. People like having control over the journey, being able to get off the beaten track and explore, being able to stop when they want, and having those long, leisurely conversations with their travel companion. Planes and trains pretty much tied for next favorite, and cruising got several votes. Points to the people who said backpacking — you’re in the healthy, adventurous minority! Winner Susan K from PA receives an autographed copy of Sex Drive and a firefighter calendar.
In November I had two releases, the very sexy Men on Fire and the very sweet Calendar of Love. The covers are as different as night and day. That got me thinking about how important covers are in conveying the tone of a book. So I asked, what kind of cover jumps out at you when you scan a display of new books? Lots of people said they like the ?hunk? covers like the one on Men on Fire. Some prefer to see a couple, rather than just the hero or heroine. Beautiful scenery is popular too. Some readers like photos of real people; some like more abstract designs or cartoon-type drawings. An aura of mystery is nice, if that suits the book. Here?s a very well thought out answer: bright colors, clear, readable text for the title and author?s name, an attractive subject and a quality illustration. Thanks to everyone for their thoughts on this! (Now I just wish authors got more say in choosing those covers!) This month?s winner is Donna H from DE and she gets an autographed copy of Men on Fire.
Because October is the month of Canadian Thanksgiving, I asked people what they were thankful for. Reading the replies was heartwarming. Here’s just a small sample: “the doctors who found the lump in my aunt's breast to catch the cancer early enough; she is a survivor,” “the fire that introduced me to my firefighter husband” (hey, I’m writing a story like that for SEX ON THE SLOPES!), “the people in my life who’ve made me a better person and taught me what love and trust mean,” “my best friend for 30 years: never judgemental, sometimes too honest, always supportive, her love is unconditional,” “that my 83-year-old grandmother will watch my daughter get married,” “a husband who doesn’t complain about my book addiction.” I could go on and on. Aren’t there amazing things in our lives to be thankful for?
Special thanks to the person who said, “I'm thankful for the wonderful books by my favorite authors. In these times, it is a necessary indulgence to be able to escape to the world they create!” I feel exactly the same way about my favorite authors.
Congratulations to Penny from FL who won an autographed ARC of SEX ON THE BEACH and a firefighter calendar.
For me, I actively avoid finding out the ending before I read a book or watch a movie or TV show. Curious, I asked if other people are the same. And over 90% of you are! Of course, many of us do enjoy re-reading favorite books, but that’s a different experience. The first time, there’s a sense of excitement and discovery. When you re-read, it’s like revisiting a much-loved old friend. This month’s winner, Michelle from MA, gets an autographed ARC of my December release, Sex Drive.
Scents can be evocative of memory and emotion. I asked people what scents they love or hate, and why. For favorites, the highest vote went to lavender, followed by vanilla and cinnamon. (Though of course some people hate lavender, vanilla, or cinnamon!) My favorite “I love it” answers were these: “My cat’s clean fur after he’s taken a ‘sun bath’” (oh yes, don’t you want to bury your nose in his fur?) and “Buckwheat pancakes because my grandmother made the best and I miss them both” (aw, this one made me sniffle). My favorite “I hate it” entry was this: “I cannot stand the smell of cooked cabbage. My husband and kids have a dish they really like, but every time he makes it, I go over to my mother’s house!” (that one made me LOL).
The winner, Karin A from OH, won one of my books and a bar of hand-crafted jasmine soap I picked up at a farmer’s market in Washington, D.C.
People have a lot of different methods for re-energizing or filling the well. The most popular were: reading (yay!); getting out in the great outdoors; walking; taking a bubble bath or hot shower or visiting the hot tub; napping or sleeping; and indulging in a favourite food and/or beverage. Those are all things that resonate with me! Put them all together, and it sounds like a perfect prescription. Congratulations to winner Kelli R. from MN. She wins one of my books and a package of colonial soaps that I bought in Washington, D.C., at a terrific place called The Old Stone House.
June 2009 – How do you celebrate special occasions?
I?ve been doing a lot of celebrating lately. A new writing name, the move to a new line (Brava), a bunch of deadlines that I?ve met. My favorite way to celebrate is the old classic, champagne. Or, for the smaller triumphs, a tiny bottle of Henkell Trocken bubbly. In June, I asked people about their favorite way of celebrating. Many are strongly into food
May 2009 – What’s your favorite music?
Music is an inspiration, a joy, and a comfort for many of us. In May, I asked if people have a favorite song or type of music, or a theme song that expresses their personality, or lifts them up when they’re down. Lots of people weighed in with their favorites, and the overall winner was country music. I truly enjoyed reading everyone’s picks - being reminded of songs I’ve enjoyed, and getting ideas for others to try out. Congratulations to the May winner, Christine from CO, who wins an autographed copy of one of my books plus E.C. Sheedy’s Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye.
April 2009 – How has the economy affected your book purchases?
As a writer, and avid reader, with a doubly vested interest in the survival of the publishing industry, I asked readers how their book purchases have been affected by the economy. Over 300 people responded and I’m sad to say that 72% said they’d had to decrease purchases. They're finding creative ways to keep reading. The library was most often cited – hurray for our local libraries and may their budgets increase. Others buy used, trade with friends, shop store sales, use coupons, buy e-books rather than paper, frequent garage sales, and re-read old books. A number of people said they now only buy paperbacks and that they stick with authors they know rather than trying new ones. It's all very understandable, but it's going to make it hard for the stores, publishers, and authors to survive...
On the bright side, a few people said they're buying more books because they still need entertainment and distraction, and books are the best cheap entertainment around. Here's a tip for the book lover who's on a tight budget: for gifts, request gift cards for your favorite bookstore. And if you're buying gifts, please consider giving books!
April's winner is Julie P from WI. She will receive – what else? – a book! An autographed copy of one of my titles, plus a pashmina shawl I bought in NYC.
March 2009 – What do you like and not like about the Olympics?
Because we’re counting down to the 2010 Olympics here in Vancouver, BC, I asked people what they like and don’t like about the Olympics.
Among the things people like are: so many different countries getting together, the way it goes beyond ethnic and political differences, the spirit and history, sportsmanship and goodwill, the talent and training and the way the athletes give it their all, athletes from different countries mingling, the human dramas, the pageantry, the opening and closing ceremonies, the awards ceremonies, patriotism, and let’s not forget the eye candy. Among the individual sports mentioned, the most popular was my personal favorite, ice skating.
The things people didn’t like included: the expense (it’s too expensive for many countries to host the Olympics, too expensive to sponsor athletes, and most people in the host city can’t afford to attend events), the hype leading up to it, the commercialism, politics and controversies, biased judging, the stress for the athletes, the people who take competitiveness too far, use of drugs, the hours it’s telecast, the length of the coverage, too many talking-head commentaries, the fact that only the higher profile events are on TV, and the way it interferes with other TV shows.
Congratulations to the March contest winner, Gladys P from TX, who won one of my books and a 2010 Olympics pin and inukshuk (the emblem of the Olympics).
February 2009 – How do you feel when you finish a big project?
Big projects were on my mind because I’d just finished one (writing a book in 3 months). When I asked people how they felt when they finished a major project, answers were pretty much evenly split between: (1) relieved/like a weight has been lifted, (2) proud/satisfied/contented, and (3) elated ’ or some combination of those. A few people mentioned wanting to celebrate (oh, yeah!) and a few said they were ready to tackle the next (hurray for you!). Personally, I’m a strong believer in stopping to celebrate accomplishments. Congratulations to this month’s contest winner, Krista B in MN., who won an autographed copy of one of my books and a set of blank cards made from my photographs.
January – What do you most wish for in 2009?
In January, I asked everyone to send some collective positive energy out into the universe and hope that our wishes come true. My contest question asked what people most wished for in the coming year. I guess it’s not a big surprise that most people said health, a better economy, peace, and happiness. Here’s hoping that, on the personal and world level, 2009 brings those things – and let’s do our individual best to work toward them. January’s winner is Roberta H. from KY, who receives an autographed copy of one of my books, plus great books by two of my writer friends: By the Book by Nancy Warren and The Heart of a Renegade by Loreth Anne White.
Find more contest results in the 2008 Contest Archive >