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Friday, 9 December 2011

No Holly for Christmas Blog Tour

"As Brian McAlister struggles to move past being jilted not once, but twice by the only woman he's ever loved, he's all but given up on relationships. Then, on special assignment for the DA's office, he crosses paths with ex-socialite turned social worker, Holly Cavanaugh Winter-and romance blossoms. Widowed, practically penniless, and reduced to shopping at WalMart, Holly is dreading the approaching Holiday Season. However, her angst isn't due to her husband's untimely death the previous December 25th, but because of a secret that could reveal itself unless she can find a way to avoid the coming Christmas. Love at first sight quickly turns frigid for Brian and Holly when Holly gets pulled into a manhunt for an accused murderer who now has his sights set on her. His case unraveling, Brian finds himself tasked with keeping Holly and her two daughters safe while bringing an assassin and the powerful man who hired him to justice. A heart-warming story of suspense, healing, giving and receiving, No Holly for Christmas is the perfect addition to everyone's holiday reading list."

This isn't your standard Christmas story. Julie N. Ford has written a book full of romance and suspense - my favorite combination. The best thing about this book is the characterization. All the characters are flawed and their stories are interesting. As the book began, I found I could understand the characters and why they acted the way they did, though I didn't like them very much. As they developed I grew to like them. It was fun to watch the characters grow and change throughout the book.

It did take me just over a hundred pages to get truly caught up in the story, but I'm glad I read it through to the end because the suspense built and by the end of the book I couldn't put it down. If you want a Christmas story that is a little different, this is a good choice. You can read more about Julie here and purchase the book here.
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Thursday, 8 December 2011

Eclectic Books Catalog

If you are looking for books to give as Christmas gifts or even to stock you own shelves, check out the Eclectic Books catalog. Every book in this catalog is a clean read and look great under the Christmas tree. You'll find everything: YA, romance, suspense, non-fiction, and more. You'll find Double Deceit and Finding Rose there, too. So take a few minutes to check it out and give the gift of words this Christmas.


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Thursday, 17 November 2011

Bitter Blessings Blog Tour

Megan has the perfect life, but when her mother dies in an accident, everything spins out of control. With the rest of her family falling apart, Megan must confront her past to uncover the truths that will keep everyone together. Thought-provoking and heartfelt, this book shows that even in times of trial, you can often find blessings.  -Deseret Book.com
Every once in a while I pick up a book that I have to read until it is finished. Bitter Blessings by Christine Mehring was one of those books. I thought I would read a chapter or two while the kids were brushing their teeth and gathering their backpacks for school. A little while later the book was finished. The premise of the story was compelling enough that I kept turning the page to find out what Megan would do about the family's problems.

It is interesting to watch the strugges and triumphs of Megan, and interesting to watch her grow. This is a good read with lots to think about. It would make a great Christmas present for the teenagers and adults in your life.


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Thursday, 10 November 2011

Variant Book Bomb

What is a book bomb? A book bomb is when we ask people to all buy the same book on the same day. This pushes the book up in the Amazon rankings and provides much needed exposure for the author. I wanted to pass on the information about the Variant book bomb. Larry Correia started this through his blog. Here is what he had to say about Rob Wells and his book Variant:
 
"Normally I wouldn’t bomb the same book again, but Rob is also going through a really tough time. A little while ago he was diagnosed with a severe panic disorder. Basically, something in his brain chemistry has gone out of whack, and his fight or flight reflex is constantly switched on. As a result this has really screwed up his life. He has been trying to get it under control and his doctors have been experimenting with different treatments trying to find the one that will click.


Recently, Rob was laid off from his day job as a result of his illness. This is a real financial hardship for him and his family.


What many people don’t realize about writers is that we keep our day jobs until we have about five or six books in circulation, and sometimes longer depending on how well they are selling. Writing isn’t the most steady of paychecks. (I’m doing well enough now that I could just be a writer, but I happen to love my day job, so I plan on doing it for probably another year). You’ve got to earn back the advance and even then you only get paid every six months. Variant is Rob’s first book on the national market. He had a ways to go before he would be able to quit the day job, but his illness totally wrecked that plan.


So I want to book bomb the HELL out of Variant. I want to shove that thing up the bestseller lists on Amazon and I want to give my friend a hand.


What is a book bomb? Well, Amazon has its own bestseller list. It is calculated hourly and you are given a sales rank based up on how you stack up against the other six million books on there. It is some sort of strange rolling average algorhythm, but what it comes down to is, the more books that are purchased during that particular time frame, the higher you rank. The higher you rank, the more of their top 50 or top 10 lists you show up on. The more of those you show up on, the higher you go, the more attention you get, the more books you sell.


By getting as many people as possible to purchase the book on a single day, it really kicks a book up the rankings."

Variant would make a great Christmas gift for the YA readers in your life. My son will find one under the tree this year. (It's a good thing he doesn't take the time to read my blog).


Amazon link to Variant: http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=monshuntnati-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=0062026089&ref=tf_til&fc1=000000&IS2=1<1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr


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Thursday, 6 October 2011

A New Normal

Most summers my children entertain themselves by swimming, reading, and hanging out with friends. That still happened this year, but I found myself putting my own projects aside to spend more time with the kids. I knew that our household would change in September when my oldest daughter left home to go to university and I wanted to enjoy having them all together.

Many of my summer hours were taken up with getting her ready to move several hours away from home. I spent time sewing new dresses for both my girls and catching up on a few other projects. I de-junked the house and my family held a successful garage sale. We spent a weekend in Montana at the water slides and came back over Logan Pass in Glacier Park. (Breathtaking view. Breath-holding drive. The Going-to-the-Sun highway consists of a very narrow, winding road with no shoulder and sheer drops.) What I enjoyed the most this summer was the many hours I spent just talking to my daughter.

I'm excited she is at school and having new adventures, but there is a definite empty spot in our home. I can't imagine how my own mother sent me to university back in the days when phone calls were expensive, text was in a book or newspaper, and the internet was in its infancy. I'm so grateful for email and skype. My daughter and I talk several times a week, and my two younger kids can talk to her whenever they see she is on the computer. I miss her, but I'm so excited to hear all the things she is learning and discovering.

We are finally settling into a new normal at home. The chores have been redivided and I'm learning to cook a little less oatmeal in the morning. I'm still on the sub list at the school and I've taken on four sewing students. But even with all the emotional upheaval and changes, there are stories percolating in my mind. My fingers are itching to get back to the computer and see what adventures I find.

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Friday, 16 September 2011

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Monarch by Michelle Davidson Argyle (Contest Too)


"Nick’s life as a CIA spy should be fulfilling, but it has only given him unhappiness — a wife who committed suicide and two daughters who resent everything he has become. Now, stuck in the Amazon on the last mission of his career, he must track down Matheus Ferreira, a drug lord and terrorist the U.S. has tried to bring down for years. If he succeeds, he’ll have the chance to start his life over again.

Just when he’s on the brink of catching Ferreira, he’s framed for a murder that turns his world upside down. His only chance of survival lies in West Virginia where Lilian Love, a woman from his past, owns the secluded Monarch Inn. He’s safe, but not for long …" (from the back of the book)

This book was a refreshing change for me. I've been reading a lot of YA and enjoying it, but my first love is suspense so I was excited to receive this book to review. The first sentence drew me in and I found myself speculating from page one who the "bad" guy would end up being. Michelle Davidson Argyle definitely keeps the reader guessing about what will happen next and how it will all come together in the final chapter. I'm excited to read Michelle's next book which will be released Fall 2012.

Michelle is a mother, artist, and writer who lives in the Rocky Mountains with her sword-wielding husband and energetic daughter. She writes contemporary, literary, and fantasy fiction. Michelle believes imagination is the only rule in fiction. This is the foundation of her writing, and she plans to strengthen it with each and every story she writes. You can learn more about Michelle and her books here.

You can win your own copy of Michelle's book. All you have to do is leave a comment here and I'll enter you in the draw. Become a follower and you'll get two entries. You have until Sept. 15 to enter your comment. Please remember to leave a way that I can contact you. Good luck!
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Monday, 5 September 2011

And the Winner Is. . .

The Double Deceit blog tour has come to a close. Thank you for all your support. The grand prize package includes each of my books, a beaded bookmark, and of course chocolate.

The winner of the Grand Prize package is. . .


Congratulations! 

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Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Week Two Winner/Week Three Prize

The winner of the week two prize is:

Vivien

Congratulations!

The prize for week three is a $20 Amazon gift card. Remember you can enter by leaving a comment here or by leaving a comment on any of the blog tour's participants. Good luck!

August 15 - Maria Hoagland 
August 16 - Heather Gardner  
August 17 - Rachelle Christensen
August 18 - Jane Still
August 19 - Deborah Davis
August 22 - Renae Mackley 
August 23 -  Cindy Hogan
August 24 - Matthew Tandy 
August 25 - Taffy Lovell
August 26 - Kathy Habel 
August 29 - Don Carey
August 30 - Teri Rodeman 
August 31 - Cathy Witbeck
Sept. 1 - Shelly Seele 
Sept. 2 - Tristi Pinkston
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Sunday, 28 August 2011

Awesome August Blog Hop

Welcome to the Awesome August Blog Hop, where bloggers from all over the Internet have come together to throw a summertime party!

Every blog on this hop is offering a fun prize, and entering is quick and easy. Simply follow the instructions on each blog, leave a comment, and bop right along to the next blog. You can win multiple times, so be sure to check out all the participating blogs!

On my blog, you can win a $15 Amazon gift card.

To enter:


1. Become a follower of my blog.

2. Answer the question "Why do you like to read?" on your blog or in my comment section.

3. Leave me a comment and tell me that you've done both things. If your e-mail isn't available through your profile, I'll need you to leave that, too - I can't tell you if you've won if I can't contact you!

This blog hop runs through Wednesday night at midnight, so be sure to enter before then! The winner will be notified by e-mail.

Now that you've entered my contest, come meet all my other blog friends and see what fun things they are offering!



Awesome August Blog Hop Participants

1. Tristi Pinkston, LDS Author
2. Karen Hoover
3. Michael Young
4. Kristy Tate
5. cindy Hogan
6. Julie Bellon
7. Margot Hovley
8. Laurie Lewis
9. Mandi Slack
10. Melanie Jacobson
11. Joyce DiPastena
12. Renae Mackley
13. Debbi Weitzell
14. Donna Hatch
15. Carolyn Frank
16. Marsha Ward
17. Stacy Coles
18. Bonnie Harris
19. Danyelle Ferguson aka Queen of the Clan
20. Diony George
21. Lisa Asanuma
22. Susan Dayley
23. Christine Bryant @ Day Dreamer
24. Stephanie Humphreys
25. Ranee` Clark
26. Tamera Westhoff
27. I Am A Reader, Not A Writer
28. Heather Justesen
29. Rebecca Talley
30. Jennifer Hurst
31. Aimee Brown
32. Cheryl Christensen
33. Rachelle Christensen
34. Imaginary Reads
35. Andrea Pearson



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Friday, 26 August 2011

We Need a Little Christmas

Last week I was in my mother-in-law's home and saw the Sears Christmas Wish catalogue on the coffee table. Doesn't it seem like it comes a little earlier every year? I can't decide if it is added pressure and stress or if the early reminder will relieve the pressure and stress in December.

My oldest daughter has always loved Christmas music. I used to start listening to it in late September because the month of December just isn't long enough to really enjoy all the great seasonal music. Every year, my daughter tries to convince me to put in a Christmas CD a little earlier. Last month she had an idea. Maybe I would let her and her sister play some one day a month, say the 25th since Christmas is on the 25th. The idea sounded fine to me, so I agreed, sure they would find it a novelty for one month.

Guess what yesterday was. That's right, the 25th. I assigned the kids the chore of washing all the walls and then went into the office to do some work. When I came out to see how things were going, they were singing Christmas carols at the top of their lungs. When my husband came home for lunch and heard what was playing, he just rolled his eyes. He maintains that Christmas music should only played in December and put away on December 26th, but he determined years ago that he lives in a weird household and tolerates our quirkiness with a smile.

So this family celebrates Super Bowl Sunday in our own peculiar way and we listen to Christmas music on the 25th of every month. It keeps life interesting. What strange things do you do in your own families?

P.S. I apologize in advance to my daughter's roommates. I hope you like Christmas music!
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Monday, 22 August 2011

Running On Empty - Week 2 Contest

The winner of last weeks contest is:
Debbie Davis
Congratulations!

The prize this week will be this book:

Happiness and contentment are not the same. Happiness is circumstantial - it depends on outside influences that are often beyond our control. Contentment, however, has no preconditions. Contentment can be found by all - rich or poor, sick or healthy, privileged or underprivileged.

When was the last time you fueled up emotionally? Spiritually? Physically? Do you find yourself out of fuel when you encounter trials? We all need to find ways to refill our tanks as we navigate the road of life. If you're feeling overwhelmed, tired, confused, or just plain weary, the solution may lie in refueling.

In Running on Empty? Joseph Alston gives 12 revitalizing tips for navigating the road of life and the obstacles you'll face. With its conversational style and candid wisdom, Running on Empty? is a practical user's manual for life. As an added bonus, the book doubles as a meditation journal with space for you to reflect on the ideas discussed. 


Burns Alston was my neighbor, bishop, friend, and my children's school teacher. He wrote this book after he was diagnosed with ataxia. Despite the difficult years he spent living with this illness, he always kept his positive attitude and spent his time teaching others. Burns passed away this July and our whole community misses him. Running on Empty is an inspiring look at the way he lived his life.

I will also throw a few surprises into the package as well. To enter the contest this week, do any of these and leave a comment telling me what you've done. 

Here are the ways you can enter to win the prizes.

  • Become a follower of my blog.
  • Comment on any post or comment on any reviewer's post.
  • Blog about the contest or the book tour
  • Mention the book on Facebook or Twitter
  • Leave a review of either of my books on Goodreads, Amazon, etc.
Make sure you leave a comment telling me which of the above things you have done. Each thing you do will earn you one entry. You have until September 2. Have fun!

August 15 - Maria Hoagland 
August 16 - Heather Gardner  
August 17 - Rachelle Christensen
August 18 - Jane Still
August 19 - Deborah Davis
August 22 - Renae Mackley 
August 23 -  Cindy Hogan
August 24 - Matthew Tandy 
August 25 - Taffy Lovell
August 26 - Kathy Habel 
August 29 - Don Carey
August 30 - Teri Rodeman 
August 31 - Cathy Witbeck
Sept. 1 - Shelly Seele 
Sept. 2 - Tristi Pinkston
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Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Stretching

My kids take after me and are all avid readers. Like most young people they have a favorite genre and most of the books they read come from that genre. I suppose many adults are the same way. My son enjoys fantasy and some distopian and devours books so quickly I can hardly keep up with him. He tells me quite regularly that other books just don't interest him. I can relate. I read everything but fantasy.

Just before school ended in June, the English teacher asked my son what he planned on reading this summer. He listed a few books - all in his regular genre - and his teacher was impressed with the amount of reading he thought he could do. Then she told him that he should stretch his mind and reach something that he wouldn't normally pick up. She challenged my son to read a few classics and let her know what he thought.

When he told me about the teacher's challenge, I just shook my head. This is the first summer he has worked full-time and I couldn't imagine him taking what little spare time he has and using it for something that doesn't interest him.

I was wrong. This summer he read Ben Hur and he just finished Great Expectations. He can't wait to report back to the teacher about his summer reading. He just started reading A Tale of Two Cities and was wondering what to read after he finished it. I told him he should read some Shakespeare, quite sure he would laugh at the idea. Tonight, I noticed my volume of Shakespeare was on the couch. Somehow this teacher inspired him to try something out of his comfort zone and, even though he probably won't admit it, I think he is actually enjoying the experience. At the very least, he is inspiring me. There are several classics I've been meaning to read and I think it is about time I start on them.

What books have you read lately that have stretched your mind?
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Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Wild Irish Rose - Week 1 Contest

The prize this week will be this book:

"It is May 1865. When Rosaleen O'Shay and her mother lose their factory jobs, and then her father and brother are injured in a coal-mine cave-in, the family is in serious trouble. Rosaleen worries they will never save enough money to fulfill their dream to leave Pittsburgh and buy a farm in California. Hoping to give her a better life, Rosaleen's father secretly arranges to marry her off to Blaise Cameron, a young man on his way to his parents' ranch near Stockton, California. In a twist of fate, Blaise turns out to be the soldier from the street — the one Rosaleen considers a blackard.
To make matters worse, Blaise has a plan and dubious motives for taking a wife — so Rosaleen will have to drive a hard bargain of her own. Will Blaise tame the fiery redhead and make her truly his? Or will he annul the marriage as promised when he has achieved his objectives? And will Rosaleen realize that unusual beginnings can lead to happily ever after?" from DeseretBook.com

 I will also throw a few surprises into the package as well. To enter the contest this week, do any of the things listed here or leave a comment.
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Monday, 15 August 2011

Double Deceit Blog Tour and Contest

Welcome to my Double Deceit Blog Tour. I'm so excited to have fifteen amazing bloggers on board. Make sure to stop by each blog and come back here every day for chances to win prizes. The tour for Double Deceit starts Monday August 15 and runs through September 2.

I will be giving away a prize package each week.

Week 1 - Wild Irish Rose by Deborah L. Weikel, a beaded bookmark, and chocolate.

Week 2 - Running on Empty by J.Burns Alston, a beaded bookmark, and chocolate.

Week 3 - $25 amazon gift card

There will also be a grand prize. This will include both of my books, Double Deceit and Finding Rose a beaded bookmark, and of course chocolate.

Here are the ways you can enter to win the prizes.
  • Become a follower of my blog.
  • Comment on any post or comment on any reviewer's post.
  • Blog about the contest or the book tour
  • Mention the book on Facebook or Twitter
  • Leave a review of either of my books on Goodreads, Amazon, etc.
Make sure you leave a comment telling me which of the above things you have done. Each thing you do will earn you one entry. You have until September 2. Have fun!

August 15 - Maria Hoagland 
August 16 - Heather Gardner  
August 17 - Rachelle Christensen
August 18 - Jane Still
August 19 - Deborah Davis
August 22 - Renae Mackley 
August 23 -  Cindy Hogan
August 24 - Matthew Tandy 
August 25 - Taffy Lovell
August 26 - Kathy Habel 
August 29 - Don Carey
August 30 - Teri Rodeman 
August 31 - Cathy Witbeck
Sept. 1 - Shelly Seele 
Sept. 2 - Tristi Pinkston

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Thursday, 4 August 2011

A Favorite Quote

This is the quote that hangs on the wall in my office. 

"The man who follows the crowd will usually get no further than the crowd. The man who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever been before.

Creativity in living is not without its attendant difficulties, for peculiarity breeds contempt. And the unfortunate thing about being ahead of your time is that when people realize you were right, they'll say it was obvious all along.

You have two choices in life: you can dissolve in the mainstream, or you can be distinct. To be distinct, you must be different. To be different, you must strive to be what no one else but you can be. . ."

Alan Ashley-Pitt
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Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Peaceful Place

It has been a crazy year and my blogging has suffered. In the last year, I've had two books published, co-directed a high school play, redecorated two rooms of my home, and made or altered four prom dresses. Like everyone else, I'm too busy.

Last September I talked about the office makeover my husband and I started and I promised pictures - which I never got around to taking or posting. So here they are for the few people who asked to see the finished project.

I didn't take "before" pictures. I'm new to the redecorating thing, so it didn't occur to me to document the process. I also forget to take pictures of my kids most of the time, so it only makes sense that I would forget a mere room.
So the first picture is approximately the original colour of the room. My name for it was "blah" and I didn't find it inspiring at all. The room was a standard bedroom that held two tables which my husband and I used as desks. A previous owner built in  bunk beds on one wall. The room has always functioned as an office/guest bedroom. I would make the beds with whatever quilts the kids weren't using on their beds and hope the guests didn't think it too odd that the wood on the beds had never been painted or finished in any way.

The whole makeover began when my uncle offered me a desk. It was one of those huge, old, wooden desks that all the teachers had in their classrooms and came with a large piece of glass to cover the top of the desk. The light coloured wood didn't appeal to me, but the size of the desk did and besides that, it had drawers (remember, I was using an old office table.) I decided to paint it white and replace the old gold pulls with new silver ones. Of course once the painting was done, I just couldn't put my shiny new desk in my old blah office. What better colour to show off the white desk than a deep blue? So I picked this colour, then crossed my fingers and held my breath. I've always lived with neutral walls and knew even if I hated it we wouldn't be repainting the room any time soon. We painted the unfinished wood on the bed white to match the desk and found some bright fabric to make into quilts.

The finished room ended up being much darker then I had initially pictured, but once I put everything in place, it was perfect. The blue is calming and shows off the desk and quilts on the bed. It took me quite a while to figure out what I wanted on the walls. I ended up making a wreath out of an old dictionary I picked up at the thrift store. There is also a family tree and some framed prints of Celtic knots and hummingbirds that I love. I've also framed one of my favorite quotes. The room does have a little bit of a split personality. My husband's half of the office still has his old office table for a desk, but we put two narrow white shelves on the wall and put some of his mission memorabilia from Japan. I just need to finish sewing the quilts and put some curtains up.


Here is my little corner of the world.

Guests beds or the perfect place to shut my eyes for fifteen minutes when I just can't keep them open any longer.

So that's it. I don't think I have a talent for decorating or even a real desire to do too much of it, but in the end, I'm pleased with my peaceful corner of the world. Now if I could just figure out what to do with the rest of the house.
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Sunday, 31 July 2011

Hang 'em High

Author Tristi Pinkston is excited to announce the release of the third novel in her Secret Sisters Mysteries series.

Titled Hang ‘em High, this novel takes place on a dude ranch in Montana. When Ida Mae’s son invites her to come for a visit, of course she brings Arlette and Tansy along with her. They are expecting to spend the week looking at horses, avoiding the cows, and making amends in Ida Mae’s relationship with her son. What they don’t expect is to be stuck on the ranch in the middle of a blizzard and to be thrust headlong into the middle of a mystery.
***
Help Tristi celebrate her new novel in two ways. First, come participate in the two-week-long blog contest, where you can win a book nearly every single day! All the details are up on Tristi’s blog.


Second, come to the book launch!
You are invited to an
August Authorama!
Saturday, August 13th
Pioneer Book, 858 S. State, Orem
12 – 4 pm
Games, prizes, balloons, face painting,
and Dutch oven cobbler
prepared by world champion cook
will all be there to sign books.
This is one book launch event
you will not want to miss!

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Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Book Giveaway - Boost Your Revenues by Turning People Away


 Cami at Cami's Books is giving away this book on her blog. This is what she has to say about it.

 "I was so impressed with this book I decided I needed to do a giveaway so one of my wonderful followers can be inspired to update their website like I was (give me a few weeks, I'm still working on it).

Boost Your Revenues By Turning People Away is a fabulous how-to book. I learned a lot about how to startup or update a website but I also learned about promotion, marketing, and general internet info (that I probably should've known but didn't). I would recommend the book to anyone who is selling a product online."

If you want a chance to win this book, go here and leave a comment. 
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