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The "Standard of Ur" from ancient Mesopotamia

The "Standard of Ur" from ancient Mesopotamia

14 April 2008

Mitzvah Madness: A pay-it-forward contest

I had the amazing luck of winning pay-it-forward contests at both Charles Gramlich's Razored Zen blog and Angie's blog, Angie's Desk. Now it's my turn to host a pay-it-forward contest in which you can win free books.

Yes, free books!

As Charles and Angie did, I will change the rules a bit. However, the goal of the contest remains the same: To introduce you to authors you have not read before.

The Rules

Comment on this post between now and 30 April, start your post with the words CONTEST ENTRY, and tell me what you will do (or have done) this month to make the world a better place. This can be as small as one small good deed or as big as running a Website for a good cause (hint, hint, Lisa K.).

If you are too modest to post about your good deed, comment with just the words CONTEST ENTRY and then email me your good deed at ShaunaRoberts [at]

After the deadline, 30 April, I’ll put everyone’s name into a hat, draw four winners, and announce them on this blog.

Winners pay it forward by running some variation of this contest on their own blogs. Winners may use the Pay It Forward logo or not, as they choose.

The Prizes

Each winner can select one of the following:

1. Try something from me. If you choose this option, you will receive a copy of the forthcoming science fiction anthology Barren Worlds (which contains my science fiction short story "Elessa the Restless," based on the Child ballad "The Maid on the Shore") and a copy of the Fall 2006 issue of Continuum Science Fiction magazine (which contains my science fiction novelette "The Hunt").

2. Try something from my favorite authors. Choose as many books as you like from the following authors, up to a price of $20 at

Barbara Hambly (fantasy, horror, historical fiction, historical mysteries set in early New Orleans)

Y Guy Gavriel Kay (fantasy, most based on European history; poetry)

Y Ursula LeGuin (fantasy, writing instruction)

Y C.L. Grace (mysteries set during the Renaissance)

Y Candace Robb (mysteries set during the Middle Ages)

Y Caroline Roe (mysteries set during the Middle Ages)

Y Kate Sedley (mysteries set during the Middle Ages)

Y Sharan Newman (mysteries set during the Middle Ages)

3. Try something from my friends and blog visitors. Choose as many books as you like from the following authors, up to a price of $20 at

C. S. Harris a.k.a. Candice Proctor (romance, mysteries set during the Regency)

Farrah Rochon (contemporary romance)

Y Laura Joh Rowland (historical mysteries set in Japan during the Shogunate and in 19th century England)

Y Carleen Brice (women's fiction, self-help)

Y Christee Gabour Atwood (humor, nonfiction)

Y Rexanne Becnel (romance, women's fiction)

Y William "Billy" Hammett (uh . . . magical realism?)

Y Charles Gramlich (fantasy, horror)

Y Therese Fowler (women's fiction)

Y Carolyn Woolston (Western romance, medieval romance)

Y Karen DeGroot Carter (general fiction)

Y Timothy Hallinan (mystery, thriller)

Y Bernita Harris (dark fantasy story in the anthology Weirdly)

Y Barbara Colley (romance, contemporary mystery, saga)

Y Hailey North (contemporary romance)

Y Sandra Landry (time-travel romance)

Y June Shaw (mystery)

Y Robin Wells (contemporary romance)

Y Sabrina Jeffries (romance)

Y Pamela Kopfler (nonfiction essays)

Y Jennifer Blake (historical and contemporary romance)

Y Caryn Carter (erotic romance)

Y C. J. Parker (fantasy mystery)

Y Jude-Marie Green (science fiction story in the anthology Desolate Places)

(If you're my friend and I've left you out, please let me know and I'll add you.)

That's a great round-up of books you might win, so take this chance to do a good deed and possibly get free books!


Next week: an overview of the recent Literary Orange conference


Lisa said...

What a Mitzvah YOU! Nice contest and very good karma is surely headed your way. I'll have to come back later and enter the contest -- I'm off to find an old lady to help across the cul-de-sac (sorry, I live in the suburbs) -- I would agree with your description of Billy's style as magical realism. I read JOHN LENNON & THE MERCY ST. CAFE this weekend and I love, love, loved it. ;)

Charles Gramlich said...

Hum, although I just ran a contest, the potential prizes are very tempting and I think I'll enter this one too. I'll be back with my entry.

WH said...

Shauna, I just watched PAY IT FORWARD two nights ago for the fourth time. I love it. I will definitly enter. (I've put up a link to your site so others can learn the concept and hopefully make someone's day a little better.)

Yep, several agents told me the book fits magical realism better than any other category. You are so kind to include it in your list. (And thanks, Lisa! I think I have acquired a publicist by pure serendiptity -:)

I'm interested also in the horror fiction set in New Orleans since I was born there and still live a stone's throw away.)

Shauna Roberts said...

LISA and BILLY, thanks for clarifying the genre of Billy's book. I haven't read it yet, but hope to soon because it sounds really cool. ("You had me at 'John Lennon'.")

BILLY, thanks also for linking to my contest.

CHARLES, I think you just revealed yourself as a true bibliophile.

Shauna Roberts said...

P.S. LISA. why not use your Compassion in Juvenile Sentencing blog as your good deed?

Lana Gramlich said...

CONTEST ENTRY; I'm forgoing camping until Autumn so that a pair of wrens can raise their brood in the folds of my tent...Does that count? I'm feeding them, too (& all the other birdies, for almost 2 years now!)

Shauna Roberts said...

LANA, sure that counts! Congrats on being the first entrant, and good luck.

Leon said...

CONTEST: Shauna, I'm not sure if I should be eligible for the contest. The last 7 years of my professional university life was spent as Director of an Office of Community Service Learning. I participated in many of the communities surrounding the campus.

As an entry, I currently contribute time at a local hospital as a "Heart-to-Heart" volunteer, visiting patients who are recovering from open heart surgery. In some ways it is a pay-back rather than a pay-forward. I had an emergency triple bypass 3 1/2 years ago and I remember how much I appreciated and was helped by the visits from 2 volunteers who had "been there, done that" and were leading productive, active lives. So, now I spend 2 afternoons a month stopping by and chatting with folks who are recovering from heart surgery but also may be feeling depressed and wondering about the quality of life available to them.

When you are lying where they are, it is a big help for them to see a healthy looking person offering reassuring words and answering questions about what may lie ahead. And I sure feel good after visiting them.

Thank you for the opportunity to talk about this here although I did a post on the Heart-to-Heart program about a year ago on my blog. ( - I hope you don't mind this shameless plug. :!))

Steve Malley said...

What a neat idea, Shauna!

I'm not entering for two reasons:

1) As I do most good deeds masked, I need to protect my secret identity, and

2) postage to NZ being what it is, I wouldn't want to risk winning!

Shauna Roberts said...

LEON, thanks for sharing your experience with the Heart-to-Heart program. That's a perfect example of paying it forward, which means discharging one's debt to one person by doing something for someone else who needs it. So I'll put you in the contest.

STEVE, hmmmm, do you read e-books? That could be your prize if you won. The secret identity bit is no problem . . . it's covered in paragraph 2 of the rules.

Angie said...

What a cool idea! [nod] Definitely a great continuation.

And if you're doing e-books too, you might include Fictionwise as a nice discount e-book distributor with a pretty wide range. Heck, they've even got one of mine. :) That'd definitely help folks on the other end of the planet, though.


WH said...

CONTEST ENTRY: I leave small presents for people in public areas. For example, I leave change on soda machines or newspaper stands since people think finding coins is good luck (or the homeless could use a cup of coffee). Other times, I buy a few lottery tickets and leave them on auto windshields in a parking lot, with a note saying "hope you win!" Sometimes I just leave a note that says "Have a great day and pass it on!" The kind of "present" isn't as important as getting people to feel that they're important, special, and lucky and that life isn't out to get them. Hopefully, these acts cause a ripple effect.

Shauna Roberts said...

Thanks, ANGIE!

What a great idea, BILLY. Sounds as if you've brightened a lot of people's days without a lot of effort or cost.

Charles Gramlich said...

Contest Entry: I sent books to a friend of mine who recently had a house fire and lost all his collection.

Carleen Brice said...

I just wanted to say everyone here is so nice! Made me feel good just to see what everyone else is doing!

Shauna Roberts said...

Thanks for entering, CHARLES. That must have meant a lot to him.

CARLEEN, I agree. I've gotten several ideas for good deeds for the future.

WH said...

Contest Entry: I don't know if two entries are allowed, but I got a great idea yesterday. A friend of my family is a 62 year old doctor in Alaska. He is riding a bike around the perimeter of America to raise awareness for breast cancer research (his wife was diagnosed last year) and to raise money for the cause. I'm going to try to help him, at no charge, get a book deal, plus raise awareness through email and blogging as he makes his 12,000 trip. If I can get people to send his blog messages of encouragement along the way, it will help him with this grueling trip. The full explanation is on my Chapter and Verse blog for April 29.

Shauna Roberts said...

I appreciate your enthusiasm, BILLY, but I think entries for the hat should be limited to one a person. But thanks for posting about this doctor. That would be great if you could get him a book deal and if my blog readers could be among those wishing him well at his blog.

Anonymous said...

It was rather interesting for me to read the post. Thanx for it. I like such themes and anything connected to them. I would like to read a bit more soon.