Now, onto the post!
It's that time of year again. The time when even people who don't shop shop. Store are open earlier and later. Everything seems to be busier and more crowded. People are spreading goodwill and maxing out their credit cards, postponing payment until the New Year in order to celebrate the season today. And what a wonderful season it is! There is so much out there with advertisements coming at you from every direction. How does one know where to begin? I have a few suggestions for the writers on your gift list. Most of the items below are affordable, that is less than $100 (most less than $30), but there are one or two that are higher priced, just in case. So here are my suggestions for the Top 10 Gifts for Writers:
#10 TrekDesk Treadmill Desk Okay. So this is a little silly, if only because it's so expensive. But I would LOVE one of these! Between writing and blogging and researching and marketing and day jobs and just, well, life, the modern writer has no time to exercise! It often falls way down the priority list and the numbers on the scale go way up! This handy desk liberates two birds with one key! It's an excuse to exercise AND to write! It's totally going on my Amazon Wish List. :)
#9 Prescription Coffee Mug While I personally this this is an ugly coffee mug (I'm rather partial to my Starbucks London mug with Shakespeare and the white cliffs), it is a great gag gift and quite apropos for most writers. Coffee is our fuel, our life blood! Other great gifts would be a mug warmer for their workspace or even a coffee dispenser that they can access without getting up. We certainly don't want to interrupt that flow of inspiration just to get more coffee!
#8 Keep Calm and Write On T-Shirt I love this. Perhaps the only think I love more are the "Careful, You'll End Up In My Novel" merchandise. The WWII saying "Keep Calm and Carry On" has made a comeback. Big Time, in case you haven't noticed the original saying and a myriad of altered ones like this on everything from T-shirts to coffee cups to iPhone cases. This is perfect for writers, and there are so many colors available! #7 Writer's Block Motivational Folding Cube Fun and useful! It's got quotes from several writers like Mark Twain, Dickens, and Thoreau, plus other motivational quotes from major historical figures. This is a wonderful desktop adornment that can turn writer's block into inspiration! From the Amazon.com description:
This clever desktop gadget is actually eight blocks bonded together. Initially the writer's block has six inspiring images with six motivational quotes. The block can be simply folded into six completely new scenes with uplifting quotes...The palm-sized cube naturally folds to and from its original cube and its inverted cube for a mesmerizing effect.
#6 Writer's Book of Days One of the best-selling writer motivational books on the market in the past decade. This is full of writing prompts, web resources, and more! There is a new writing prompt every day, plus read fun and "astonishing tidbits" from literary giants like Eliot, Flaubert, and others. Sometimes, we just need a little push! This is SO going on my Wish List!
#5 Moleskine Writers Gift Box I adore Moleskine. It is the legendary notebook of writers and artists like Hemingway, Wilde, Matisse, van Gogh, and Picasso. This wonderful kit not only gives your writer this legendary journal, but it also includes a pen that stays attached to the notebook! Ooooh! Okay! Wish List, check! Perhaps this list should've been called this this writer wants for Christmas! Buy this Moleskine Writers Gift Box Today (for me, please!) #4 Noise Isolating Ear Buds One thing you can't buy your favorite writer, and what every writer needs, is silence and solitude. These are the next-best thing. For me, if I can't manage silence, then Classical Music directly in my ears is the way to go. Simultaneously soothing and inspiring, it blocks out distracting sounds and allows the author to disappear into his or her world, delving into the minds of their characters. Although you can spend hundreds on high-quality noise canceling headphones, these are light and affordable and will do the job for most situations. They come in a variety of colors. Couple these with a $16 yearly subscription to Pandora, and you're all set!
#3 Scrivener I don't personally use this software, but I know many writers who swear by it. As many writing coaches will teach, one should write by scenes rather than chapters. Scrivener does this beautifully, helping the writer organize thoughts, notes, and research all under one tool. Available for both Mac and PC.
#2 On Writing, by Stephen King This amazing book is what finally pushed my inspiration over the edge into a workable writing strategy. By reading how this literary giant got his start, manages his life, and creates his prose, I was able to write my first novel, which became Rowan of the Wood, an award-winning, Amazon best-selling novel, and the first of a five-book series. If you get no other writing book ever, get this one.
Well...and this one, too: #1 Publishing & Marketing Realities for the Emerging Author, by Christine Rose My no-nonsense book for writers to help them navigate the shark-infested and often murky waters of publishing as well as the overwhelming world of marketing. Each writer is unique, so my book guides the emerging author toward a publishing and marketing plan that will fit their needs, dreams, time, and budget. As a bonus, there are several essays in the back by published authors for further inspiration.
“This book gives readers a look into an author’s life while simultaneously imparting invaluable advice. It turns reading what could have otherwise been a dry textbook into an exciting learning experience. Needless to say, I highly recommend Publishing & Marketing Realities for the Emerging Author to everyone who wants to be published…The lifetime benefits as a writer that you’ll receive from this book far outweigh the small price you pay for it.” ~Rachel Brooks, Emerging Author (full review)
“Christine’s book offers a thorough, fresh, and honest look at both traditional and self publishing options. Reading it is like sitting down and having coffee with a good friend who’s in the know about the publishing industry.” ~Evelyn Lafont, author of The Vampire Relationship Guide, Volume One.
“Christine Rose’s book is mandatory reading for anyone who is thinking about writing a book, in process or has just completed one. As a successful, published author, Christine shares a treasure trove of information about marketing and publishing in a witty, concise manner. A mind-boggling world awaits. Let Christine’s guidance help you to get your work into the right hands.” ~ Caroline Kirby, emerging author.
“This should be required reading for emerging authors.” ~ TS Tate, freelance editor. “This is the one that will guide you through the jumble of today’s publishing options. Packed with practical information, the writing is fast-paced and to the point. No fluff, just facts. A must for every writers reference library. This author has experienced it all, and she graciously reviews the entire process enabling you to realize potential and practical options for your book. I bought the Kindle version and stayed up to read it. Couldn’t put this one down.” ~N. Bright via Amazon.com Reviews
Find more of my books, including the newly released Power of the Zephyr (Rowan of the Wood, Book 4) on Amazon and wherever books are sold!
BONUS GIFTS: Every emerging author needs a smart phone! It is their on-the-go marketing tool. With apps to record ideas, read, scribble notes, socially network on so many platforms, and research virtually anywhere, anytime, a smart phone is A MUST! My personal recommendation: the iPhone4S or iPhone5, as you can utilize your personal assistant, Siri, and dictate ideas while you drive. Additionally, I would highly recommend a subscription to Pandora, as mentioned above, and to Amazon Prime. Every writer needs inspiration from time to time, and as Stephen King says in the book recommended above, writers should spend at least as much time reading as they do writing. By gifting them Amazon Prime, perhaps along with an eReader like the Kindle Paperwhite, your favorite writer will never be without a book to read. Prime members can borrow thousands upon thousands of books for FREE for two weeks, plus they get thousands of streaming Amazon Videos for free as well as free two-day shipping. Well worth the $79/year, which comes out to less than your monthly Netflix subscription. I put off getting this for years, and in two weeks it's already paid for itself. I LOVE IT!
LASTLY: Remember, books (especially author-signed) always always always make great gifts for writers, so if I may be so bold, I'd love to recommend mine:
Throughout this week, you can buy the Yuletide 4-Book Package, which includes all four Rowan of the Wood books, author-signed and dedicated to your favorite reader, tied in a beautiful ribbon, and adorned with a handmade, calligraphy gift tag, and have it shipped directly to your door for only $60, including priority shipping! That's a savings of over $15, so it's like you're getting one of the books for free!
In addition to all this writerly goodness, please enjoy Chapter 1 of Rowan of the Wood via podcast as well as a short excerpt from Book 2, Witch on the Water. After a millennium of imprisonment in his magic wand, an ancient wizard possesses the young boy who released him. When danger is nigh, he emerges from the frightened child to set things right. Both he and the boy try to grasp what has happened to them only to discover a deeper problem. Somehow the wizard’s bride from the ancient past has survived and become something evil. Appropriate for all ages. Rowan of the Wood, Chapter 1
Excerpt from Witch on the Water, Book 2
Max looked at the clock on the wall. 7:35. Time was crawling by. She checked the mirror again and touched up her lipstick. Why was she so nervous? It was only Ralph after all, the same sweet, clumsy guy she saw every day. She jumped at the knocking on the door. Wow. She really was nervous, but then she smiled. Ralph was early. He must be really anxious, too. She felt like a schoolgirl with a crush. “Who is it,” she said with a smile in her voice, knowing full-well who it was.
“Maddy and April,” a small voice said from the other side of the door.
Or she thought she had known. Max looked through the peep hole and saw the two young girls waiting there. She opened the door and asked, “What are you two doing here?”
“We wanted to wait with you until Cullen and Moody come back,” Maddy said as she and April let themselves in. They removed their coats and threw them on the sofa, plopping down beside them, synchronized.
Max had so effectively put Rowan out of her mind by focusing on the possibilities with Ralph, that she had forgotten about tonight. Sadness filled her. She was just deluding herself with Ralph. Her heart belonged to Rowan. He would be gone from this world tonight, and he would take her heart with him. Perhaps it wouldn’t work. Perhaps he’d still be here. Hope blossomed in her heart at this possibility of failure, and her hand went involuntarily to her chest.
“Hello?” Maddy said, jolting Max out of her daydream. “Anybody in there?”
“Sorry girls,” Max said as she closed the door. “You can’t wait here, though. They won’t be back for another four or five hours yet, and I—um—I have a date,” Max stammered with a little bit of embarrassed excitement.
“Oooooh!” the girls sang in stereo.
“Okay. Okay,” Max said feeling genuinely happy again.
“Who is it?” April asked.
“None of your business,” Max replied coyly.
“I bet it’s Mr. Grims,” said April playfully.
“It’s not Mr. Grims,” said Max flatly. “Anyway, Mr. Grims is married.”
“Well who is it then?” Maddy asked through a sly smile.
“C’mon Ms. MacFey. We won’t tell anyone. Promise!” April continued.
Even Maddy looked truly interested for a change.
“Well, if you promise you won’t tell,” Max said, playing their game. “It’s Mr. Ferguson.”
“Ew!” Maddy said, screwing up her face.
“I think he’s very nice,” April said. “Good for you, Ms. MacFey!”
“Yes, but you haven’t seen him,” Maddy said.
“Don’t be rude, Maddy. He is very nice, and there are more important things than looks. Besides, he’s not all that hard on the eyes, in a mature sort of way, something little girls wouldn’t understand,” Max said, crossing her arms playfully.
“No. I mean, he’s okay looking. But he’s so old!” Maddy said.
Max laughed out loud. “Yes. Well us old-fogies must stick together.”
“Can we have some hot chocolate? It’s cold out there,” Maddy said.
“I’ll get you each a quick to-go cup. He’ll be here in fifteen minutes.”
“Ooooooh!” the girls sang again.
Max rolled her eyes, but she was still smiling. They were so full of life. It was nice to have them around. Somehow their banter made her less nervous. She heated the water in the microwave and stirred the hot chocolate mix into two of her travel mugs. She could hear the two gossiping and giggling away in the next room. Kids were so very resilient. After everything that had happened last November and with the shooting today and what with Rowan leaving tonight, but there they were, acting as if they hadn't a care in the world. She smiled to herself, glad that she called Ralph. Maybe if things went really well... “It’s really hot, so don’t burn your tongues” she said to the girls as she returned to the living room, “and you can drink it on the way home.” She emphasized the word “home.”
“Oh, we don’t have to go home, we told our mothers that we were spending—”
“Yes, that you were spending the night at each other’s house. You’re going to get caught one day!” Max warned, and then playfully added, “Besides, as a member of the PTA it is my duty to—”
“We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it,” Maddy interrupted, sounding a little too grown-up for a thirteen-year-old. She helped April on with her coat and then put back on her own coat. They took their travel mugs and headed for the door.
“You can return my mugs tomorrow, girls. Get home safe,” Max said.
“Whatever,” Maddy said, but she was smiling, too.
Max closed the door behind them and watched them go down the stairs into the darkness. 7:50. Only ten more minutes. She checked the mirror and touched up her lipstick. A sudden uneasy feeling made her turn around just as the front door slammed shut. The same leather-clad vampire who had attacked her last November stood before her. She dropped her lipstick.
“Nice how invitations stand, no? What a pleasure to see you again,” James said.