Tag Archives: contest

Win The Knight in the Shadows

Halloween is embraced by all ages. Kids want to dress up and go trick-or-treating. Parents enjoy the holiday with and through their kids. Even childless adults get into it. One couple I know holds a big party with tons of decorations, theme food, and a costume contest. Guests in their 30s and 40s spend weeks preparing complex and outrageous entries.

I guess we all like a good, safe scare. So in honor of the spookiest month of the year, I’m giving away a copy of my spooky middle grade novel, The Knight in the Shadows. To enter, post below and tell me what Halloween means to you. I’ll choose a random winner from the posts. Check back on October 31 to find out the winner (or make sure your entry gives me a way to contact you).

Food for thought: What is it that makes Halloween so much fun? The fact that you don’t have to travel long distances, spend all day cooking, or buy presents? The slightly naughty excitement of running around in the dark pretending to be bad? The chuckles brought on by little kids in cute costumes?

Chris Eboch, Halloween 2008Chris Eboch won “Best Use of Materials” for her shower curtain skirt in the 2008 Steam Punk-themed Halloween costume contest.


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A last Seuss-fest

The Spectacle didn’t want our March Seuss Birthday Bash to fade into the past without sharing the fun rhymes our librarian contest attracted:

We are such a new library

So, we need all these books you see.

What a great gift this will be,

Please, pick me, pick me, pick me!!!!

— The Library Lady,

The School of Performing Arts @ P.S. 315, Brooklyn NY

Oh the books we could read

and the lives we could lead

and the web of learning we’d spin

if only  this contest we could win!

— Sue George, Becker Elementary, Austin TX

This is a wonderful, terrific, very fine day

When someone gives away a set of fine books,

To fill all my shelves, corners and nooks!

— JoAnn Field, Lied Winside NE Public Library

My personal favorite:

I will loan them to that boy,

and replace that video toy.

I will loan it to that girl,

the one with the magenta curl.

I must get someone to read,

it’s an all-consuming need.

Help me get my kids to look,

at a perfabulicious book!

— Michele Ascione, James Madison HS Library

And even an entry from our eventual winner (drawn by chance, though, not by doggerel!):

Celebrated Dr. Seuss’ birthday

Celebrated it happily, in many a way—

Cupcakes, reading, a video, and more

Celebrated an author we all adore.

Now, our older students would love to read

a Big Box O’ Books, which they received

from a contest they won.

What a lot of  fun!!!

— Arlene Alsmeyer,

Scribner-Snyder Community School, Scribner, NE

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Big Box O’ Books Time Warp

We know we promised to announce our Big Box contest winner today, but we were so swamped with entries that it’s taking a little time to be sure we capture all the second chances for repostings and such before drawing the winner. So project yourself a few days into the future, and we promise to name the winner by Sunday!

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Big Box O’ Books Birthday Bash Contest

ETA: This contest is now closed. Check back on Sunday, March 28 to see who won.

Happy birthday, Dr. Seuss!

I learned to read from a Dr. Seuss Beginner Book (P.D. Eastman’s SNOW) — I’ll never forget that lightbulb moment  — and I’ve had a very warm spot in my heart for the Cat and his Doc ever since. So I’m excited that the occasion of his birthday today (and a book birthday for me, to my delight), we can announce The Spectacle’s BIGGEST CONTEST EVER.

This one’s only for public or school librarians, and the prize is almost a library by itself: 0ne book, two book, red book, blue —oops, no, sorry. Not one or two books, but eleven great spec fiction books can join your library’s collection:

  1. INCARCERON by Catherine Fisher (hardback)
  2. SACRED SCARS by Kathleen Duey (hardback)
  3. THE BOOK OF NONSENSE by David Michael Slater (hardback)
  4. THE BOOK OF KNOWLEDGE by David Michael Slater (hardback)
  5. THE SECRETS OF THE CHEESE SYNDICATE by Donna St. Cyr (paperback)
  6. HOUSE OF THE SCORPION by Nancy Farmer (paperback)
  7. THE EMERALD TABLET By PJ Hoover (hardback)
  8. NAVEL OF THE WORLD by PJ Hoover (hardback)
  9. THE SEER #1: DON”T DIE DRAGONFLY by Linda Joy Singleton (revised large issue with short story bonus)
  10. THE FARWALKER’S QUEST by Joni Sensel (hardback)
  11. THE TIMEKEEPER’S MOON by Joni Sensel (hardback)

Are you hopping on Pop with excitement? Here’s how to enter:

Librarians, send us your library’s name and your professional e-mail address. You can leave that info in the comments here or e-mail it directly to joni AT jonisensel.com. Earn an additional chance at the prize if you repost or tweet the contest and let us know with the link.

And if you’re not a librarian, don’t be a Grinch! Instead, we hope you’ll repost and otherwise alert all your librarian pals. (In fact, we might pull out a bit of a prize for the referral, if our winner can tell us who told them about it.) We’ll draw the Box O’ Books winner on March 25, so there’s plenty of time to spread the word to all the Whos down in Whoville. Good luck!

— Joni, on behalf of everyone here at The Spectacle


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Not our contest, but one you could enter!

The Spectacle decided to hold off on our next contest until everyone’s less busy, once the holidays are over. But here’s another you might want to make time for, if you’d like to be a Farwalker’s apprentice (without having to walk very far).

Writer Joan Stradling has set up a cool contest that can get you not only an ARC of my forthcoming THE TIMEKEEPER’S MOON (for long enough to read it), but also a cool bookmark and a whole pack full of other fun stuff. It’s a cross between Farwalking, geo-caching, and blog contest. Check it out and enter here.

– Joni, who is not eligible but put some stuff from her village in the packs.

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Contest: Wow Us With Your Story Opening

ETA: This contest is now CLOSED to entries. Finalists will be posted on October 21st and 22nd, and voting will open on October 23rd. Good luck!

We’re doing something new here at the Spectacle: we’re having a contest and we’re letting our readers judge it!pumpkinhouse

Here what’s to do if you want to enter:

  • Write the beginning of a spooky/scary/suspenseful story (up to three sentences). Make it original, make it surprising, make us want to read more.
  • Enter it in the form below along with your name and email address (we will only use contact info to reach the winner–not for any other purposes). Entries are due by October 16.
  • Check back on October 21st and 22nd to see if you’re a finalist.
  • Visit our site on October 31 (Halloween!) to find out if you are the winner of a $20 online giftcard for Powell’s bookstore and a copy of Dead Girl in Love by our own Linda Joy Singleton.

Here’s what to do if you want to vote for the winner:

  • Visit our site on October 21st and 22nd to read the finalists’ story openings.
  • Come back any time between October 23rd and October 30th to cast your vote for the one opening you like best.
  • Find out who won on Halloween, October 31st.trees

Okay, get your ideas going and write those story beginnings. Remember to make them spooky, scary, or suspenseful (but not gory or violent–think PG 13 or under) in honor of Halloween. Of course it’s great if your story opening fits in the speculative fiction genre, but it doesn’t have to. And keep them between 1 and 3 sentences. Good luck!


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Right Now in Speculative Fiction

Book Blogger Appreciation Week is September 14-18: it will be devoted to spotlighting blogs that talk up books and promote reading. Plus, there will be giveaways and awards. You can vote now for your choice to win categories like Best Speculative Fiction Review Blog and Most Chatty.

Tweeting writers will want to use this Twitter guide for writers, which includes a great tip for easily finding out whether a person you follow is also following you, as well as a discussion about how much you should share in your tweets, (among other tips).

Harry Potter: 44. Hamlet: 7.  How much are your favorite books worth? This essay on the much-used Accelerated Reader school program laments the uneven approach to getting kids interested in reading.

Those handwritten notes stuck to bookstore shelves can influence buyers to pick up certain books. Publishers Weekly’s “Shelftalker” herself gives some interesting tips on how to use shelftalkers. Most notable to me: hand-written shelftalkers may work better than printable ones that come from outside sources (such as writers’ websites).

The New York Times spotlights something that could have come straight out of a futuristic novel: vertical farms. Global warming and population increases may end up severely limiting our farmland, but no problem–we’ll just build tall structures that make use of hydroponics to grow food year-round. From a distance, these leafy towers would look like “gardens suspended in space.”

Just when you were thinking the prolific James Patterson should take a vacation comes the news that he has  signed a deal to write 17 books by 2012, including both adult and YA novels. No word yet on how this is humanly possible…

HarperTeen has launched a new interactive books series for readers aged 13 & up: read an excerpt of The Amanda Project: invisible I. You can take part in the search for Amanda both by reading the novels and by participating online. Some readers will even have their online writing published in the books or the e-zine.

And if you’re itching for some free books, remember to enter our current giveaway of THE AMETHYST ROAD and THE NAVEL OF THE WORLD (ends Sep 21), and the Fantastic Book Review’s giveaway of 3 urban fantasy books of one winner’s choosing (ends Sep 13).

cheryliconParker Peevyhouse


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New Contest: Back to School Jewels

We’ve got two gems to award for our September back-t0-school contest! Enter to win THE AMETHYST ROAD by Louise Spiegler (who we interviewed here and here) and an ARC of THE NAVEL OF THE WORLD by our very own P.J. Hoover! (What, you say? How is a navel a jewel in the way an amethyst is? Well, this is the second book in P.J.’s THE FORGOTTEN WORLDS trilogy, which started with THE EMERALD TABLET, voila…. or think of a navel as the jewel of the torso… or a prime place to wear a jewel…. oh, never mind.)

roadcover navel

To enter, leave a comment on this post with your favorite thing about fall. If you can tie it to a book, so much better. (Here’s mine: I love the smell of dying leaves under my feet because they make me think of reading Stephen King, which is my consolation for the year dying, coming darkness…)

We’ll announce the winner on the day before the fall equinox (September 21).

– Joni, who apparently reads King most in the fall


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Chilly August Giveaway Winner!

What a great bunch of spooky stories! I think Michele P’s, Chelsea’s, and Sandra’s might have been my personal favorites, or maybe those just have the most in common with my own ghost encounters. But alas, this is the ghosts’ contest, not mine, and they have weighed in (by controlling the random number generator with their ectoplasmic energy, of course). I’m feeling a presence… yes, there’s definitely someone here with us, and they’re trying to send us a message… yes, yes… aha!

Rabid Fox

…is the winner of Chris Eboch’s Haunted: The Ghost on the Stairs!

Rabid (or can I call you Foxy?), contact me with your mailing info so we can send you your prize! If you don’t want to post it here, you can go to my website at http://www.jonisensel.com and e-mail me from there. And thanks to everyone for sharing their goosebumps!


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Chilly August Giveaway


HauntedNeed some shivers to take the edge off your summer’s heat? Enter to win a copy of Chris Eboch’s brand new THE GHOST ON THE STAIRS, the first in her middle-grade series, HAUNTED. (See our recent interview with Chris for more info.)

And to go with that theme, you’ve got to share your goosebumps with the rest of us, too. To enter, leave a comment in this thread with a brief spooky occurrence. If it’s happened to you, great! If you’ve no ghouls in your life, well… make something up. Or borrow somebody else’s. We just thought some fright might be fun.

We’ll announce the winner on August 15.


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