Posts

sk lamont Giveaway Neil Gaiman 3 Book Box Set

Giveaway! Neil Gaiman 3-Book Box Set: Coraline; The Graveyard Book; Fortunately, the Milk

sk lamont Giveaway Neil Gaiman 3 Book Box SetIn this week’s blog post I’m giving away the 3-Book Box Set: Coraline; The Graveyard Book; and Fortunately, the Milk, by author Neil Gaimen. Please note these are the British versions! I like this box set in particular because it is the British version and also because of the fun illustrations by Chris Riddell.

You can enter here or scroll to the bottom.

Bedtime Stories

In the fall last year I decided that it was time to bring back bedtime stories to our family. It’s such a wonderful time for us to connect and be together. It used to be part of our regular bedtime routine but managed to slip through the cracks, the year before last, when our newborn baby became deathly ill. Our baby boy had to go through thirteen surgeries including two liver transplants in 2014–he was not expected to make it–but remarkably he did! You can read a little about his story here.

It was enough to flip our family upside down for the last couple of years, so I was extremely happy when our life began to settle down once more. I loved bedtime stories when I was a kid and I wanted to make sure that all my kids could experience the magic that my older kids had, before life got in the way! So we began with Serafina and the Black Cloak to enrich our new bedtime routine. I even got the chance to interview author Robert Beatty, the article was featured on Writers Digest, you can read it here.

A Bit Spooky

Serafina and the Black Cloak was rather creepy and scary, and I could never of handled a tale like that when I was a kid. But my kids asked me for it repeatedly until they finally wore me down, and they they loved it. So I decided to pick up this lovely Neil Gaimen box set as our next set of bedtime stories even though they have the creepy factor too. There is a wide diversity of reading ages here–I’d say, five through eight for Fortunately, the Milk; Eight through ten (or older) for Coraline, though watch out this one is a bit creepy, especially if you have a sensitive child; and The Graveyard Book, is probably about ten and up, my 15-year-old snatched this one out of my hands and devoured in a matter of hours.

My daughter loved it, and it renewed her interest in reading again. Having spiraled into the world of all things teenager, her love of reading had been put on hold for months, so I was particularly excited that The Graveyard Book inspired her thirst for reading once more.

Here is what my daughter had to say about it:

“It was a really great book! I enjoyed the characters, all the different elements, and how everything tied together. I loved the plot twists and turns throughout the story, and overall it was an exciting ride. I just wish there was more!”

Our family has been enjoying these books immensely and I think they’re fun for adult readers too, Fortunately, the Milk, may be a little on the young side, but it is stuffed full of fun and interesting illustrations.

From the Back Cover of the Book Set:

Giveaway Neil Gaiman 3 Book Box SetAn exclusive box set containing three Neil Gaiman classics, including the Newbery Medal and Carnegie Medal winner The Graveyard Book; Coraline; and Fortunately, the Milk, all illustrated by acclaimed and award-winning artist Chris Riddell.

These editions, containing the British illustrations—which are both hilarious and moving—have never before been published in the United States.

From the back covers of each individual book:

The Graveyard Book

Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts.

There are dangers and adventures for Bod in the graveyard. But it is in the land of the living that real danger lurks, for it is there that the man Jack lives, and he has already killed Bod’s family.

Coraline

There is something strange about Coraline’s new home. It’s not the mist, or the cat that always seems to be watching her, or the signs of danger that Miss Spink and Miss Forcible, her new neighbours, read in the tea leaves. It’s the other house—the one behind the old door in the drawing room. Another mother and father with black-button eyes and papery skin are waiting for Coraline to join them there. And they want her to stay with them. Forever. She knows that if she ventures through that door, she may never come back…

Fortunately, the Milk

Mum’s away. Dad’s in charge. There’s no milk. So Dad saves the day by going to buy some. Really, that’s all that happens. Very boring. YAAAAAAAWWWN. There are absolutely definitely none of the following inside: Globby Green Aliens! Intergalactic Police! Pirates! Angry volcano gods demanding human sacrifice! And most definitely NOT a time-traveling hot-air balloon piloted by the brilliant Professor Steg…

To Enter

Use the Rafflecopter widget below!

    • You get an entry for every item you complete in the Rafflecopter widget (up to eight entries!)
    • You can also come back once a day and ‘tweet about the giveaway’ (for extra entries!).
    • You also get two entries, if you leave a comment!
    • If you already follow or friend any of the items listed, please help yourself to free entries in the Rafflecopter! Just click the appropriate checkbox in the widget.
    • You must have a US postal address to enter.
    • The winner will be announced here February 16th, the winner will also be contacted by email. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The giveaway will run till February 15th at midnight (EST).

Please share your comments in the comment box below, along with any other ideas you would like to share, I’d love to hear from you!

sk lamont Giveaway Neil Gaiman 3 Book Box Set

Who has been your most memorable character or characters, and why?

Follow me on twitter @sk_lamont


You might also like:

Do You Use All Five Senses — Do Your Characters?

sk lamont Do you use all five senses - Do your characters

Do You Use All Five Senses – Do Your Characters?

sk lamont Do you use all five senses - Do your charactersThis week I’m looking into the idea of fully inhabiting our bodies as a way to deepen the experience readers have with our characters. And, maybe in the process this will allow you to inhabit your body, even more fully. So that you too can appreciate the subtleties of life that you may possibly be missing out on.

There is a lot that can delight our senses if we deepen our awareness.

So first ask yourself a few questions:

Do you live fully in your body?
Do you use the full range of your senses?
Do you experience all of your senses on a regular basis, at a conscious level?
Do your characters?

For some this is easier than it is for others.

Some people are a lot more cerebrally driven, than sensory driven. Which means they tend to be pretty focused and get things done, which is great! But at the same time, this may mean that they miss out on a lot of the little pleasures in life that surround us on a daily basis.

Usually what is required to access all this extra information that our brain has managed to delete as unimportant, is an awakening with ourselves—allowing us to be completely grounded and centered in our body. A lot of people walk around not really connected to their body, or some are but only a little.

Others have a heightened body awareness, they are aware of where their limbs are in time and space the majority of the time, they feel the clothes against their skin and sense changes in the environment easily.

So what you might say—what has this got to do with me? For one, the more grounded in your body you are, the more you will experience the fullness of life. And two, if you are a writer, it’s going to help you get inside your characters skin—to breath life into them fully and see the world through their eyes.

sk lamont Do you use all five senses - Do your characters

Make Your Characters Come Alive

If you inhabit your skin well, then it will be much easier to jump into your characters bodies, and experiences life through their eyes and all of their senses. You will breath life into your scenes when you can step into them fully, clothed in your character skin, and experience the world you have created through their eyes.

Connect to Your Characters Environment

Breath in the air and describe it. Marvel at the nuances—the yellow kettle in the corner puffing steam gently into the room. The brilliant greens in a blade of grass at a significant moment. Also pay attention to pain and when the stakes are high, usually our senses sharpen and come into tight focus. We start to notice things that were insignificant moments before—time slows down and we actually start to see and feel what surrounds us in minute detail.

Switch on Your Senses

But this can apply anytime too, we don’t need a trigger like pain to switch us on—to make us come alive. Anytime we want we can step into this moment and feel, taste, smell, hear and see.

The benefits of characters who feel

When your characters fully notice and engage with their surroundings, your readers will too! Thus deepening your reader’s experience. Taste the air, take a deep breath, smell the sweetness or foulness that lingers there. What do you notice?

A Super Power

Do You Use All Five Senses - Do Your Characters

The way to learn this super power, and yes I consider it a super power—I know I’m weird—is to start noticing your environment on a much deeper level. Sound is a miraculous and underutilized sense. An interesting exercise is to open a window and listen to what you hear outside, do you hear birds singing, cars driving past, kids playing, what else do you hear, listen deeply. The same with music, listen to a complex piece of music that you know well—then listen deeper, depending on the music, you might hear a whole other level or layers of instruments that you never noticed before—then press closer.

Pay attention to your skin, what do you feel? Notice the surface you’re resting against, is it rough or soft? Smooth or hard? Where are you clothes touching you? Where do they squeeze or pinch? Where do they feel comfortable? Pick up a drink, feel the weight of the cup in you hand. Is it warm or cold? Touch the cup to you lips, what do you taste? Breath in. When you’re brushing your teeth, really brush them, consciously notice the bristles against you teeth how does it feel, taste the toothpaste, engage and then go deeper.

Now take your new super power and slip into your character’s skin. What does it feel like to be in their body? How do their senses interpret the world you have created around them? What does he/she feel, see, taste, smell or hear? What’s it like to experience your character in this way?

Do you have a favorite sense?

Does one of your senses dominate over another? Do you tend to experience life visually, audibly, through touch? What about in your writing? Do you tend to focus more fully on one sense? Would developing your character’s other senses give your reader a fuller experience?

What are you thoughts?

I’d love to know what you think! Do you inhabit your body? Do your characters? Do you consider yourself pretty well versed in this department, or could you grow? What tips and tricks do you have for living in a body, or for slipping into your character’s bodies?

sk lamont Do you use all five senses - Do your characters

Please share your comments in the comment box below, along with any other ideas you would like to share, I’d love to hear from you!

Who are you?

Follow me on twitter @sk_lamont


You might also like:

Do Your Characters Wear Masks — Do You?