12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop

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Blog Hop: 12 Days of Christmas
Event Date: December 1st – 12th 2013
Hosted by: As You Wish Reviews & Confessions of the Paranormal
Sponsors: As You Wish Tours & Book Dragon Designs

melktert

Melktert – A South African favorite for the holidays! 

For the pastry:

  • 1/2 cup cold butter, chopped into cubes
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 cups of self-raising flour
  • (Or just go out and buy ready-made butter, tart pastry shells. Although, these are worth the time and effort.)

Ingredients for the filling:

  • milk, 4 cups
  • butter, ½ cup
  • eggs, 3 – yolks and whites separated
  • sugar, ½ cup
  • vanilla extract, 1 tablespoon
  • cornstarch, ½ cup
  • flour, 2 teaspoons

 To serve: ground cinnamon

To make the pastry, whisk the butter and sugar until it becomes fluffy. Add the eggs and mix well. Then add the self-raising flour, a half a cup at a time and mix with your fingers until you obtain a moist dough. The dough will be slightly crumbly. Flatten the dough and wrap in cling film. Leave it to rest in the refrigerator for one hour.

Preheat oven to 180° C / moderate temperature / 350 degrees F. Roll out the dough with a rolling pin on a well floured work surface. Line a round tart tin, 26 cm in diameter or mini tart pans. Or do as I do and use a muffin pan.  Prick the dough with a fork, cover with baking paper and pour over beans (i.e. blind bake). When it gets golden, remove baking paper and beans and let it rest on a cooling rack.

For the filling, melt butter in milk over medium heat. Beat egg yolks with sugar and vanilla and then add the cornstarch. Add a tablespoon of hot milk into the egg mixture, stirring to avoid eggs from scrambling. Add the remaining milk, mixing until everything is smooth and has the consistency of  thick custard. Whip the egg whites until soft peaks form and fold them custard mixture.

Pour the filling into the tart shell, sprinkle the surface with cinnamon. Now, you’re welcome to try to wait for it to cool down before you have one, but there’s no need to torture yourself. I love these hot, warm or cold.

Bon Appetit! Let me know what you think of melktert.

The Romance Collection, A Christmas 2012 Special 3 in 1 Romance Edition

The Romance Collection Christmas 2012 3 in 1 Bundle

The Romance Collection Christmas 2012 3 in 1 Bundle

“I can’t wait to read more by this author.” (Tattle Tale)

This is a special romance collection that includes sizzling tales that have each received excellent reviews. Catering for the lover of adult romance, it includes a paranormal tale of love and deception, a sweet contemporary romance about a woman who needs to find her independence and a scorching paranormal erotic novella. 

Coffin Girls, Elegantly Undead

A vampire descendent from the original Coffin Girls, Anais runs a successful event and wedding planning business from her majestic New Orleans plantation house. When Yves, her maker and head of the Vampire Council requests her assistance in hosting the mysterious, yet dashing Prince of Witches, Conall, she has no option but to accept. But Anais is the keeper of secrets; secrets that can kill. Conall and Anais are drawn together when confronted with fatal encounters and an unimaginable destiny… if she’s willing to accept it and fight.

Finding Promise

Caroline had led the life of a high society daughter and wife, one that was filled with soul-destroying emotional abuse. Upon the death of her husband, she finds that she is financially incapable of supporting herself and flees New York without a plan or destination in mind. Her travels lead her to the quirky town of Promise. Here she begins to explore her new found independence and the pleasurable side of love with ruggedly handsome local, Luke Edwards. Her contentment is shattered as her past resurrects itself and she needs to find the courage to face it before she can truly re-build her life.

Ghosts & Lovers: First Confession (An Erotic Novella)

Simone, the quintessential desperate housewife, is primarily absorbed on settling her family into their new home in the vibrant, metropolitan city of Johannesburg, South Africa. Unbeknownst to her, the greatest threat lurked not outside of the eight-foot walls and electric fencing but within the walls she seeks sanctuary. But the threat comes disguised as tantalizing pleasures of the most carnal nature that challenges her views of love, marriage and sex. Can Simone resist and rescue her family from the evil she’s let into their lives? This is her first confession.

Bonus Material –  4 holiday recipes from the author

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Grand Prize: $150 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

First Prize: One (1) eBook from Every Participating Author

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/fe782e84/

For more Favorite Christmas Cookie Recipes & Giveaways – Hop along the 12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop!

http://asyouwishreviews.blogspot.com/p/12-days-of-christmas-blog-hop.html

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Does Bling Bring the Swagger to Book Sales?

Facebook, Twitter and every social network are inundated with ‘ebook and swag giveaways’. They started off with more affordable prizes such as bookmarks and postcards then progressed to bling in the form of necklaces, jeweled bookmarks and bracelets. Now the recent trend seems to be the amazing prize of a Kindle or Nook giveaway – with the Kindle Fire being the biggest draw card.

I resisted going the swag route – not because I’m adverse to it but simply because as a new indie writer, just starting out with absolutely no budget, every ebook I gave away ate into my personal bank account. So, you can imagine that swag seemed like a dream.

To Swag or Not to Swag?

I first gave into the lure of getting my own swag when I observed the huge interest it drew and to be honest, my sales went from looking hugely promising to despondently dwindling. Another thing happened – I got a bit of disposable income, which meant that I could carve out some of that for swag. The thing with being an indie is that you cannot discount that indie writers mostly have day jobs, family responsibilities and thus also financial responsibilities with the majority of their income coming from outside of the sales of their books. But, because I was worried about my sales and I needed to create some form of hype around my work, I bit the bullet.

 Custom-made Coffin Girls Swag through Vistaprint

Custom-made Coffin Girls Swag through Vistaprint

What Swag To Choose?

The first thing I do before embarking on any venture related to indie writing is Google. Google is the most informative and amazing resource any writer has access to and Google gave me information on swag. My search led me to a blog by Curiosity Quills. What resonated the most was that the swag being given away should be functional as well as decorative and promotional. And even better, Curiosity Quills provided the website address of an international printing company called Vistaprint (www.vistaprint.co.uk).

I then spent hours poring over the contents of a variety of websites and settled on Vistaprint, who was affordable even with taking shipping into consideration. Having said that – if any indie writers are reading this blog and mosey over to Vistaprint or any other site – note that affordable is a relative term because what I paid still made me grimace.

In the end I settled for calendars, notebooks, postcards, tote bags, etc. The great thing is that you can build an online portfolio and order as little or as much as you want whenever you want to. So, I may not have a stock room full of swag – I have a small box – but I do have access to an on-site, personal portfolio for future use.

The Price of Swag?

Buying swag is one thing, shipping the swag from the vendor to your home is another. But the hidden cost that is not always taken into consideration pertains to shipping. Do not discount this because the indie writing and social literary networks are internationally spread and when you do a giveaway, what you send will be weighed and measured by your postal service or couriers.

Some authors are limiting giveaways to their home country. I can respect and understand why but what bothers me about this is that the literary community is an international one and by limiting a giveaway to a country, you exclude many from participating.

So now, I basically sit with a box of swag in the cupboard while I save money towards the shipping! (LOL – I’ve got to laugh at the irony of the situation.)

Has it Worked?

I’ve only recently started giving away the swag. Has it helped sales? Absolutely not (*grinning again*). But what it has done, which is why I’m a swag believer, is assist me in promoting me as a writer. The number of Author Page likes for Aneesa Price – Sugary, Spicy Reads has increased, so have the number of friend requests I receive and I’ve also been experiencing renewed interests from reviewers to host my work on their blogs and to provide me with honest reviews.

So, yes – it does work. I believe that Swag fits into the category of ‘short term (financial) pain for long term (sales and promotional) gain’.

The Future of Swag?

At the moment it seems to be flooding the literary social networks and to be honest, there’s a feeling of ‘you snooze, you lose’ if you don’t get onto the swag bandwagon. So my recommendation to other indie authors is to get out there and do the swag thing (but save up first – do not put yourself personally out of pocket).

What will swag look like in future and will I reap the benefits in the form of reader reach? Well I don’t know the answer right now but I’ll be watching.

Swag made by a friend and street team member

Swag made by a friend and street team member

Bookmarks

Bookmarks