Book Review: Tiffany Girl by Deeanne Gist

I love historical fiction, and Deeanne Gist is one of those authors who you know will deliver a great story, wonderful characterization, and the zing of romance. Gist's latest novel, Tiffany Girl, releases today.

Set during the time of the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago, this book (Gist's third set in that year) takes place in New York City, where Louis Tiffany creates stained glass windows. Check out the synopsis:

SYNOPSIS: From the bestselling author of It Happened at the Fair and Fair Play comes a compelling historical novel about a progressive “New Woman”—the girl behind Tiffany’s chapel—and the love that threatens it all.

As preparations for the 1893 World’s Fair set Chicago and the nation on fire, Louis Tiffany—heir to the exclusive Fifth Avenue jewelry empire—seizes the opportunity to unveil his state-of-the-art, stained glass, mosaic chapel, the likes of which the world has never seen.

But when Louis’s dream is threatened by a glassworkers’ strike months before the Fair opens, he turns to an unforeseen source for help: the female students at the Art Students League of New York. Eager for adventure, the young women pick up their skirts, move to boarding houses, take up steel cutters, and assume new identities as the “Tiffany Girls.”

Tiffany Girl is the heartwarming story of the impetuous Flossie Jayne, a beautiful, budding artist who is handpicked by Louis to help complete the Tiffany chapel. Though excited to live in a boarding house when most women stayed home, she quickly finds the world is less welcoming than anticipated. From a Casanova male, to an unconventional married couple, and a condescending singing master, she takes on a colorful cast of characters to transform the boarding house into a home while racing to complete the Tiffany chapel and make a name for herself in the art world.

As challenges mount, her ambitions become threatened from an unexpected quarter: her own heart. Who will claim victory? Her dreams or the captivating boarder next door?

Gist's characters Flossie and Reeve will pull you in and keep you turning pages. I handed the book to my husband the other night and haven't seen him except for meals. You can read more about the characters here.

Through a special arrangement, readers can buy the book at a 30% discount from Givington's. Not only will readers get a great deal, but $1.50 of the purchase will go toward an organization helping kids with dyslexia, which Gist herself suffered from.

If you belong to a book club, Gist has not one, but three different free book club kits available for download. Choose the one that fits your group the best. Also, head over to Gist's site to enter a contest for a great bathtub reading kit.

What was the last book you read? Leave a note in the comments.

Contest Alert: Free Entry and Prizes of over $20,000 in Write to Done Contest

Another contest? You bet.
Free entry? Check.
Huge prizes? Check.

Writers love feedback--and the chance to seek validation. But that usually comes with a price. Twenty and thirty-dollar entry fees really add up when you're not making a lot of money from your writing.

So it's refreshing to see that the Write to Done site is offering a contest with real [read: substantial] prizes, AND no entry fee!

Write to Done's Freeditorial Long-Short Fiction Contest offers a whopping first prize of $15,000. Second place brings $5,000, and third place is $2,000. No small potatoes here.

Write to Done has teamed up with Freeditorial, an online publishing house. What is Freeditorial? Here's a quote from them:
Freeditorial is an online Publishing House and represents a great opportunity for new writers. In our purchases, we give preference to books from new writers and to short stories or articles from established authors.Our goal is to expand the literary world by fostering more writing talent. Here at Freeditorial, we buy digital publishing rights while incorporating innovative methods to the publishing field. While Freeditorial writers get paid for their work to reward their efforts and maintain motivation–just like with any traditional publisher–there is a significant difference: the reader has free access to all books and articles we publish.This is possible due to our innovative business model, which is mainly based on using advertising space on our online platform.

Your story will go on their site, and winners will be selected after June 4th, when the contest closes. Winners are selected depending on literary quality and the number of downloads.

Since the contest is participatory, you'll want to enlist your tribe, your writers groups, your friends, your relatives, and your neighbors (a good reason to shovel their walk!).

Submissions can be 10,000-40,000 words in length. Not many contests allow this kind of latitude.
Free ebook for signing up.
Writers can submit from anywhere in the world, however, the submission must be in English.

When you sign up (even if you don't actually enter), you'll get a free download of the report 10 Vital Self-Editing Tips.

For contest details, see the main contest page and the FAQ page.

There's not much to lose. Check through your files to see if you have a story of the right length, and get it submitted. The sooner you enter, the better chance you have of winning readers with your submission. And if you're not interested in submitting, you might want to check out the other contest submissions and make another writer's dream come true.

Question: Have contest entries strengthened your writing?

Note: One reader alerted me to some concerns about Freeditorial. To read them and evaluate for yourself, go to Absolute Write (a great site for writers) and search for Freeditorial. As with any contract, you want to be sure you know what rights you may be relinquishing and for how long. Thanks for the heads up, Bill!

Horror Writers: Free Writing Contest

Dark and creepy is your thing? Goosebumps make you smile? Don't mind spine-tingles and skitters up your spine?

If so, then this contest is for you.

Inkitt is an online platform where writers of all genres share their stories (and even fan fiction) with readers, billed as a "platform for writers to write, share, and improve their writing".

To promote the Berlin-based site, Inkitt is hosting a writing contest during the month of February. Here are the details they shared:

What is Inkitt?
Inkitt is a free platform for writers to cultivate ideas and watch their stories grow. On our site, users collaborate with fellow writers and readers to give each other feedback and improve their work. Our vision is to help writers get the exposure they deserve and the publishing deals they covet without having to jump through the fiery hoops of traditional publishing, or wade in the shark-infested waters of self-publishing.

What is the theme of the horror contest?
"You are in the darkest place in the world." (This theme can be interpreted literally or figuratively.) We want writers who will submit their blood-curdlers, spine-tinglers, skin-crawlers, and hair-raisers; writers who will make it their duty to scare and shock their readers; writers who can really take us to the darkest place in the world.

What are the guidelines?
It’s all about fiction: flashes and shorts up to 10,000 words, written from any point of view. Entries must be posted on the Inkitt contest page to be considered eligible. The contest opens on February 2nd and closes on February 28th. The contest is completely free to enter, and authors will retain all rights to any and all work submitted in the contest.

What are the prizes?

All entrants will have the chance to show their work to a growing community of authors and readers hungry for high-quality fiction and win the following prizes:
1st Prize
$25 Amazon gift card, Inkitt custom mug, Inkitt custom notebook, custom cover design for the Inkitt story of their choice (created by Inkitt’s designer).
2nd Prize
$20 Amazon gift card, Inkitt custom mug, Inkitt custom notebook.
3rd Prize

Inkitt custom mug, Inkitt custom notebook.

Even if horror isn't your thing, check out the site. They also accept action, adventure, children's, drama, fantasy, humor, mystery, poetry, romance, sci-fi, and thrillers. Readers can rate stories based on several criteria and leave comments. What a great way to get your writing out there and receive feedback. 

Have you ever posted your writing on an online site? What was your experience?


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