Join The Book Party & Enter My Epic Contest!!

Today I’m celebrating the release of my second novel, The Doctor’s Lady!

It seems like just last week I was gearing up for the launch of my debut book, and now here I am watching in awe as my second book starts to make its way into reader hands.

To kick off this party, I’d first like to invite you to enjoy a gourmet cupcake or two, grab a glass of punch, and then play one of the party games!

Okay, so maybe this party doesn’t have a piñata or pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, but . . .

Here are a few fun things that you can do to join in the celebration!

1. Take a quiz about the Oregon Trail and life in the early 1800’s. Head to my Reader Fun page and see how much you know!

2. Send me YOUR picture with The Doctor’s Lady! Check out the slide show in the sidebar for all of the awesome readers who’ve already been sending in pictures! I would LOVE to add your picture too!

3. Head over to Amazon or B& and pick up my gift to you! For a limited time, my debut book The Preacher's Bride is available FREE for the Kindle or Nook.

4. Make sure you stop by some of the blogs participating in my Blog Tour in September and October. I will be giving away LOTS & LOTS of signed copies of The Doctor’s Lady (close to 40 copies!). For this week's stops, see the bottom of this post. For the full schedule see my News & Events page.

5. Enter the Be A Trailblazer CONTEST!! The grand prize winner will receive a $300 pioneer package. To get your name into the drawing, fill out a simple entry form on my Contest page. If you've already entered the contest and you want to earn extra entries, you can go on a treasure hunt for 4 puzzle pieces (see the Extra Entries page on my web site for where to collect the puzzle pieces).

My digital marketing team created the whole Trailblazer Contest for me and they did a fabulous job! I’m super excited about it!

You may be wondering—what exactly is the purpose of a contest like this?

Well, basically a social network sharing contest is a marketing tool that can help authors spread the news about a book in a fun and exciting way. Contests like this help us show love for our readers with a great prize, plus reach beyond the scope of our normal sphere of influence, and give readers easy ways to share the news of the contest with friends and others that they think might be interested.

You may have seen other authors do giveaways for things like Kindles or iPads or other electronic gadgets. My digital team, PulsePoint has a different philosophy about prizes. The prizes for the Be A Trailblazer Contest are all things unique to my book, including:

• An antique wooden trunk (a smaller version of the one Priscilla has to leave behind on the trail)
• An antique sterling silver rose ring (just like the wedding band Eli gave Priscilla)
• The award-winning Oregon Trail DVD (so readers can enjoy a visual look at the journey my characters took)
• The Pioneer Women: The Lives of Women on the Frontier coffee table book (filled with incredible photos of real-life pioneers, and stories of their adventures and challenges)
• A leather and antique lace embossed travel journal (so the winner can keep record of their own trailblazing adventures)
• A pheasant feather quill pen and ink (I can imagine Priscilla writing home with this)
• Two packets of Lupine flower seeds (so readers can grow flowers like those featured in the book)
• and a 6-pack of Bear Valley Fruit & Nut pemmican bars (a staple food for pioneers in the 1800s)

I asked Kelli Standish (Founder/Creative Director of PulsePoint Design) to share a little bit about the philosophy behind the prizes they suggested for this contest. Here’s a summary of what she said:

"I think the use of thoughtful, creative prizes is a great way to demonstrate both love for your readers and real marketing savvy. Specialized prizes can help build an emotional connection to the author, and the story the author wants to promote--helping to make both more memorable in the minds of contest participants. A generic giveaway doesn't always draw the types of followers who are truly interested in the author's work."

So, as you look through the prize package above, you’ll see that every single one of the gifts is something directly related to the story in some way. I feel as if, through the prize, I’m giving readers a deeper glimpse into the story and a special way to remember the book.

Ultimately, through all of the fun release activities, my hope is that I can celebrate with friends, engage with readers, and share the news of my book in a way that can bless many people!

So, there you have it! I hope you'll join in all of the fun today and in the coming weeks! And don’t forget to grab one of the cupcakes!

What do you think? What are your favorite kinds of contest prizes? And what appetizer are you bringing to the party today?!

P.S. Don't miss this week's blog tour stops! (And LOTS of book giveaways!)

*9/1 Want to know what inspired the writing of The Doctor's Lady? Then check out Jaime Wright's blog! (And pick up Contest Puzzle Piece #1 there!)

*9/1 Stop by Karina Russell's blog to learn a little bit more about my writing process!

*9/2 Find out what movie I have almost completely memorized at Lydia Sharp's blog!

*9/2 Head over to Ellie Soderstrom's blog to learn why I'm known as the "Famous Hat Balancer."

*9/3 I'm sharing a guest post on Sylvia Ney's blog called: 5 Ways to Make Our Stories Different & Unique.

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