Wednesday, November 23, 2011

New Author Blog Hop & Book Giveaway!

This blog hop is to help support first time authors. It is really tough to get our stories and books out there and anything I can do to help my fellow writers is a pleasure. I am delighted to offer free copies of Mamalita and Hippie Boy too! Please comment on this blog below by 30th November, let me know which book you would like and I will pick two people randomly on 1st December.

Mamalita - An Adoption Memoir by Jessica O'Dwyer

My first author is Jessica O'Dwyer, a fellow member of the Writing Mamas. Mamalita tells the story about Jessica's journey through the hideous Guatemalan bureaucracy on her quest to adopt her daughter. Mamalita is brilliantly written. I was hooked from the first page and couldn't put it down (and let me tell you, nowadays that is becoming a rare thing, as I have recently stopped reading four books that couldn't hold my interest!). Mamalita is the story of how Jessica had to fight against almost insurmountable odds, alone in a foreign country, with only her love for her prospective new daughter and her iron determination not to give up to sustain her. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.

I would also like to include this review by Joyce Maynard (author of Labor Day, At Home in the World, To Die For):

“On one level, Mamalita: An Adoption Memoir is the story of a woman’s fight to bring home her Guatemalan-born daughter, in the face of huge obstacles. But Jessica O’Dwyer has written more than an adoption story. Her book explores the nature of parenthood—the fierce love and loyalty that makes it possible for us to do more than we ever knew we were capable of, inspired by the presence of more love than we knew we had to give. It’s a terrific adventure story with an unlikely heroine who discovers, through her fight for her child, that she is stronger and braver than she ever knew. I was rooting for her all the way through to the book’s gripping and deeply moving ending.”

You can buy it on Amazon and on her website.

Hippie Boy - A Girl's Story By Ingrid Ricks

Ingrid Ricks is someone I have met through the fabulous and supportive writing community on Scribd. Her first book is also a memoir, but is about going on the run with her father at a young age to escape an abusive Mormon stepfather. I have to admit that I have only had time to read extracts from Ingrid's book, but I cannot wait to read the whole thing. I am delighted, however, to have another fantastic Scribd writer, Laura Novak (author of Finding Clarity), give her review below:

"Hippie Boy is the story of a girl whose life is so brutally unsettled, so depressingly fractured that it's any wonder at all that she survives. But it is also perfection. Not just because it is a book full of hope that offers a narrative arc that soothes and satisfies, but because this book in Ingrid Ricks' hands, is a triumph of spirit and a beautiful work of art.
This memoir is ripe for success because it is readable for men and women who have survived rough upbringings and kids who are suffocating there now. The story flashes forward and back giving just enough background into the Mormon lifestyle that ties down Ingrid's mom into a series of disastrous marriages that are sure to doom her five children. 
Ingrid's dad takes to the road, escaping a hellish home life, while creating just enough confusion and uncertainty to keep a relationship exciting and brewing with his favorite, tomboyish daughter. The scenes are drawn with such specificity that you can feel the hot car leather on your legs, the nervous ache in your heart and the pit in the stomach that says nothing is safe or right. 
The writing is crisp, clear, and achingly poignant. And Ingrid gives new meaning to the words "plucky heroine." The final sentences in the book left me in tears. Ingrid Ricks begins to soar just at the same time most teens do. The weight of poverty, dysfunction, religious mania and unreliable parenting don't get the best of her. Indeed, her drive and determination to survive and live a wonderful life shine through in this fabulous memoir she has published here.
Brava, brave author. Your survival and your ability to capture your life on paper, is a gift to all of us."

You can buy Hippie Boy - A Girl's Story at Amazon.

It's Okay To Cry By Tatiana Grieve Oliver (age 10)

Finally, I am thrilled to introduce you to a truly inspirational 10 year old girl, Tatiana. She is the daughter of another fellow writer, Hyla Molander, and her father died when she was only 17 months old and her mother was pregnant with her sister. Instead of feeling sorry for themselves, Hyla and her daughter have tried to come to terms with their terrible grief by reaching out and helping others. For her birthday recently, Tatiana made a short video to explain what it was she wished for this Thanksgiving season. Please take a minute (actually, less than a minute, a mere 45 seconds!) to watch this amazing little girl with a huge heart, and then please help her achieve this fantastic goal, here.

Well, if you are not moved by that, then you have a heart of stone! Okay, that's it for this fantastic blog hop. Please take a minutes to look at all the other New Author blogs which can be found on Saba's blog Of Thoughts and Words. And don't forget to leave a comment letting me know which book you would like to receive.


  1. These sound touching and wonderful. Great choices to highlight!

  2. I would love any of the prizes! Also I can send you an amazon gift card for your ipad. Just send me an email address. I erase the comments several times a day so no one has their email on my comments for longer than a few hours. Thanks so much!

  3. So nice to meet you. Each of these choices sound great! Best to you :)

  4. Jessica, I hope you do well with your books, both stories sound delightful!

  5. Thanks for hopping by my blog. You are too sweet to feature other newbie authors. Hippie Boy sounds really interesting to me. Thanks for the chance & happy Thanksgiving.

  6. Heather - thanks, they are all great!
    Jamie - thanks, I have been back and left my email.
    Louise - nice to meet you too :)
    CM Brown - LOL it's Claire :)
    Jessie - Love to give a shout out to new authors and these are fabulous. Sure they will be the first of many more.

  7. This blog hop is brilliant. I have met authors I would otherwise have missed out on.

    I especially would love to read "Mamalita - An Adoption Memoir", but all the books look wonderful.


  8. Thanks so much for featuring Hippie Boy on your blog, Claire! I so appreciate it. Happy Thanksgiving weekend!

  9. "Mamalita, an Adoption Memoir" sounds like a great read. Thanks.

    hg195 at yahoo dot com

  10. "Mamalita" sounds fascinating; I would love to read it.


  11. Marybelle - yes, it's such a great idea, isn't it.
    Ingrid - I am honoured to have your book on my blog. NYTimes best seller, here we come!
    Heidi G's - lol are you one and the same?? It is a fantastic read, I can promise you. Jessica said she could probably give away more than one ... :)

  12. Wow, all three sound great. I think I would go with It's Okay to Cry if I had to choose. :)


    tamibrothers at yahoo dot com

  13. Great books! Thanks for participating in this hop!

    I would love to read Mamalita: An Adoption Memoir.


  14. great book hop! If it's international, I'd love Hippie boy!!!

    aliasgirl at libero dot it

  15. I'd love to read Mamalita - An Adoption Memoir.

  16. I would love to read Mamalita! It sounds absolutely amazing! Thanks so much for the giveaway. :) amazing_alex.0818[at]yahoo[dot]com

  17. Wow, thank you so much for featuring Tatiana's video for It's Okay to Cry. As her mommy, I can't wait to show her your post. She will be elated!

    I have read many incredible excerpts from Hippie Boy and can't wait to read it in its entirety. Go, Ingrid! And Mamalita is already proudly sitting on my shelf of must-reads for when I can ignore my 4 kids long enough to devour it.

  18. Ps. It's Okay to Cry by Tatiana, 10, can also be purchased directly at

    So much gratitude for the support!!

  19. Tami - glad you like It's okay to cry but this is a fundraising book and not one of the free ones :)
    Susan - it's a great book.
    Reading Mind - sure that would be okay, where are you?
    Nicole & Alex - great to meet you.
    Hyla - It is my pleasure to help you and Tatiana, she is an inspiration to us all.

  20. Finally stopping by from the New Author Blog Hop. Thank you for sharing Tatiana's video - her spirit and enthusiasm is just beautiful.

  21. Pick me, pick me! Both books look fabulous but, as an adoptive mother of a Guatemalan-born son, I am partial to "Mamalita" by Jessica O'Dwyer. Thank you for featuring these authors. Happy holidays!


  22. Thanks for the giveaway! Man, it was hard to choose but count me in for "Mamalita - An Adoption Memoir". And I just read about your book, "Right from the Start", and wanna know why you didn't give IT away?!?!? I love long-lost-love stories! Maybe the next blog hop you can give yours away!?!? Here's to much continued success!


  23. KM - thanks for stopping by. Tatiana is amazing, isn't she?
    Shannon - LOL Oh you will love Jessica's book then. She went to Guatemala to live in order to get her daughter. So check out her blog too.
    Laura - Aw shucks thanks :) I would give it away if only I had finished it! Working hard on this.