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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Anita Clenney (Interview & Special Giveaway)

Today I have the wonderful pleasure of having new author Anita Clenney of Awaken the Highland Warrior joining me for an interview! You can catch my review of Awaken the Highland Warrior *here*


Welcome Anita, thank you so much for stopping by!

Thanks for having me.

Can you start off by telling us a little something about yourself, please?

I write paranormal romantic suspense and mysteries. I’ve always been a reader but it never occurred to me that I could write until about five and a half years ago. I had no clue what I was doing, but through practice, I found out that I had a knack for telling stories. I love romance and mysteries, so it’s only natural that I combine them in my stories.

Your debut novel, Awaken the Highland Warrior, was released in May; can you tell us about it and the Connor Clan series?

Scottish warrior, Faelan Connor is part of a secret clan charged by Michael the Archangel with protecting the earth from evil. Because of his prowess at destroying demons, Faelan is sent to America to capture the demon responsible for stirring up the strife and hatred that will culminate in the Civil War. But Faelan is betrayed and locked in a time vault that was created to stop time, imprisoning a demon until Judgment. With Faelan’s failure, hundreds of thousands die as his distraught clan searches for the missing key that will open the time vault. But the key is nowhere to be found, and eventually everyone who knows Faelan’s story dies, leaving him nothing more than a myth. For 150 years Faelan sleeps.

Bree Kirkland is no ordinary historian. Her specialty is the Civil War, but her peers accuse her of being more like Indiana Jones, obsessed with lost treasure, myths and legends. Haunted by longings she can’t describe, she immerses herself in history, seeking hidden treasure, both written and real, but after a lifetime of disappointments and mishaps, she determines to settle down to an ordinary, boring life. When she finds a treasure map in her great, great grandmother’s attic, Bree promises herself one more treasure hunt, and then she’ll stop. The map leads to the graveyard behind her house, where she finds an elaborate chest hidden inside the old crypt that she’d been so drawn to as a child. She opens the chest and discovers something far more compelling than hidden treasure, and there’s no returning to her normal life.

How did you celebrate its release, did you do anything special?

I launched the book with a booksigning at Turn the Page Bookstore, which belongs to Nora Roberts’ husband. There were several wonderful authors signing that day, including Nora, Sherrilyn Kenyon, and Kristan Higgins. It was such a great experience, made even better when I sold out, something that surprised even Nora. It was the best first booksigning I could have imagined.

Awaken the Highland Warrior focuses on the characters of Faelan and Bree, and their romance; what draws them together and makes them perfect for each other? Why do you think readers will fall in love with this couple?

The attraction between Faelan and Bree is instantaneous, and for a good reason, but so is the frustration, because they’re from vastly different cultures. Faelan can’t fathom a female being so bold and rash. The woman attracts danger like a bloody magnet. And she won’t let him protect her; he, a renowned warrior since before she was born. If he could drive that bloody thing she called a car, he’d toss her over his shoulder and get her away from her house before the demon who locked him up comes looking for him.

Bree feels something for Faelan that goes way beyond attraction, frighteningly so, but on the other hand she’s ready to stick him back in the time vault if he doesn’t stop with this over protective nonsense. It’s not the 19th century, for God’s sake, and he’s treating her like a child. Women are tough and independent. But after she finds out what has this big, bad warrior so worried, she’s glad to have all that muscle close by. And she’d give her pinkie toe to get her hands on that talisman hanging around his neck.

There are a few intense battle scenes in this novel; did you do any kind of research for those or the weapons used?

I did a little research, but after watching so many movies and reading stories with action, it gave me a feel for the battle scenes.

Is there a specific scene that stood out for you or was emotional for you to write? I know there were a few scenes that had me tearing up while reading!

I really felt Faelan’s pain in the graveyard scene in Scotland, when he discovers his family’s graves. I started to take it a little bit of a different direction and have Bree go to him, but I felt the next scene wouldn’t have been as strong if she had.

Awaken the Highland Warrior features many paranormal creatures, including ancient warriors with powerful talismans, angels, demons and more. What inspired this fantastical world?

It came from many directions; a dream, Biblical knowledge, folklore. The demons in disguise part of the story came from a dream. My young son and I were trapped in a castle with a man who was pretending to be kind and good, but was in fact a monster. I knew he was going to kill us, and I had to get my son out of there before the man realized I knew what he really was. I woke up as we were trying to escape. The dream was so disturbing, I couldn’t get away from it. Then I played on my knowledge of demons and angels and combined it all. I love paranormal because you can create such a wonderful world and intertwine it with normal things. In this case, the book is set on earth, upstate New York and Scotland, but things aren’t always what they seem. I love mysteries, adventure, and romance, and it was a joy to combine all three in this book.

Is there any part of the writing process that you absolutely love or a part that you don’t? Why?

Brainstorming is my favorite. I write big plots. I love creating characters and worlds then pulling all the pieces of the puzzle together.

Editing makes me crazy. I can get stuck on a paragraph for days. But it’s great to see a rough manuscript after it’s finally polished like a diamond. It’s like giving birth. It’s messy and painful, but it’s so worth it.

What are a few must read authors for you?

Diana Gabaldon, Kristan Higgins, Janet Evanovich, Elizabeth Peters. Very different authors, but I love them all.

Can you give us just a few tidbits of what we can expect from the second book in this series, Embrace the Highland Warrior, releasing this November? Is there anything that you are working on now that you can share with us?

Book two, Embrace the Highland Warrior, is filled with betrayal, lost love, and hidden secrets, and of course those hot Scottish warriors from book one. The hero and heroine sizzle. I’m working on book three in the series, Unleash the Highland Warrior, and I’m also working on a mystery series. Here are blurbs for book two and book three in the warrior series.

EMBRACE THE HIGHLAND WARRIOR
When the powerful demon that left Shay for dead discovers her empty grave, he comes seeking retribution, believing she possesses an ancient book he has sought for centuries. Knowing she can’t fight the demon alone, Shay returns to her clan and the Scottish Warrior who betrayed her…the only man she’s ever loved, where she discovers that betrayal isn’t always what it seems. Sometimes it’s far worse.

UNLEASH THE HIGHLAND WARRIOR
A talisman belonging to Tavis Connor’s brother is the only weapon powerful enough to kill the demon hell-bent on stealing the clan’s Book of Battles so he can destroy the world. But the talisman has been locked in a time vault with Tavis’s brother and won’t open for 150 years. In desperation, the Scottish warrior breaks the clan’s sacred rules and uses another time vault to travel forward so he can protect the book and rescue his brother, or if he’s dead, finish his quest. But when Tavis finally wakes in modern-day New York, he discovers he’s the one in need of help. Anna MacKinley has been searching for her clan’s Book of Battles which has been missing for 150 years, but instead she finds a warrior with no memories who claims he’s come to save the world.


Thank you again, Anita, for stopping by; it has been a pleasure!

Thank you for having me. Readers can find me at www.anitaclenney.com. I’m also on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Anita has also provided a special excerpt, check it out!

Bree’s fingers tightened around the metal disk as she ran through the graveyard, zigzagging past leaning headstones. Her lantern swayed, throwing shadows on the crypt looming before her, its stone walls the color of bones. Thick vines crept over it, sealing in cracks left by time, while gnarled branches from the twisted oak hovered like outstretched arms. Protecting… or threatening?


An owl screeched overhead as she scurried up the crumbling steps, wishing night hadn’t fallen, when shadows twisted into monsters and spirits came out to play. The burial vault lay open near the back of the crypt, waiting. Blood rushed past her ears, a sound like all the angels’ wings beating in unison. She moved closer and peered at the chest inside. It was ornate, made of metal and wood, with green gemstones embedded in each corner. It looked ancient, like it belonged in a museum or a pyramid, or perhaps Solomon’s Temple. The beauty of it struck her again, as it had when she’d first discovered it.

She set the lantern on the edge of the burial vault and studied the markings on the chest. Swirls and shapes like writing shifted in the amber glow. Stretching out a finger, she touched the surface. Warm? She yanked her hand back and hit the lantern. It crashed to the floor, throwing the top of the crypt into darkness. Dropping to her knees, she scrambled for the light. A sound cut through the silence, scraping, like fingernails against stone. She grabbed the lantern, not daring to blink, then remembered the wind outside and the claw-like branches of the old tree.

She placed the lantern securely on the vault cover she’d pushed onto the alcove and unfolded her hand. The metal disk she held was three inches in diameter and appeared to be made from the same metal as the chest, not silver, not gold. One side had deep grooves; the other was etched with symbols. With trembling fingers, she lined up the disk with the matching grooves on top of the chest and pushed. There was a series of clicks as the notched edges retracted.

A voice rushed through her head. What lies within cannot be, until time has passed with the key.

Bree whirled, but she was alone. Only stone walls stood watch, their secrets hidden for centuries. It was sleep deprivation, not ghosts.

She pulled in a slow, steadying breath and tried to turn the disk. Nothing. Again, this time counterclockwise, and it began to move under her hand. She jerked her fingers back. A loud pop sounded and colors flashed… blue, orange, and green, swirling for seconds, and then they were gone. Great, hallucinations to go with the voices in her head.

Her body trembled as she gripped the lid. This was it. All her dreams held on a single pinpoint of time. If this ended up another wild goose chase, she was done. No more treasure hunts, no more mysteries, no more playing Indiana Jones. She’d settle down to a nice, ordinary, boring life. She counted.

One.

Two.

Three.

She heaved open the chest.

Terror clawed its way to her throat, killing her scream.

The man inhaled one harsh breath and his eyes flew open, locking on Bree. A battle cry worthy of Braveheart echoed off the walls. Bree jumped back as metal flashed and a rush of air kissed her face. Petrified, she watched him crawl out of the burial vault, a wicked-looking dagger in his hand. Her scream tore loose as she turned and fled.

Fingers grazed her shoulder, and she glanced back. The last thing she saw before her feet tangled with the shovel was the dead man reaching for her.



~*GIVEAWAY*~

Anita is offering one copy of Awaken the Highland Warrior, sent directly from her publisher, to one lucky reader and I will also add this gorgeous matching book thong from my Etsy store, Dalla Luna, to the giveaway as well! So one winner will win the book and matching book thong to go with it, they'll just be shipped separately. J




To enter, just leave a meaningful comment or question for Anita! Don't forget to leave an email address in your comment so that I can contact you if you're a winner! 

Giveaway is open to residents of US and Canada. The giveaway will close at 11:59pm on July 21st when one winner will then be chosen at random and contacted via email. Good luck!

66 comments:

debbie said...

I really enjoyed the interview. I think it is fascinating that the idea for your book, came from your dream.
I would love to read the book, it sounds really good.
twoofakind12@yahoo.com

RtB Admin said...

I've been stalking Anita all over the web and I can't wait to get my hands on a copy of Awaken the Highland Warrior. It's totally awesome that your first book signing went so well.

Did you have visual inspiration for Faelan and Bree as you wrote their story?

Thanks!
Jen K
admin.bookblog AT gmail.com

Diana Cosby said...

Anita,
Congratulations on the release of, "Awaken The Highlander!" Fabulous premise. I enjoyed the interview, and what a life moment that you did a book signing with Nora and other authors at Turn The Page. I'm thrilled for you and wish you continued success! *Hugs*

Diana Cosby
diana@dianacosby.com
www.dianacosby.com

Marilyn said...

Anita, will a child in danger enter your trilogy? The reason I'm asking is because of your dream--was your muse suggesting that?

M

Jena Lang said...

Great interview, Anita! I love the premise for this book and how the idea came to you in a dream. The excerpt is a real teaser! I can't wait to read the rest!!!

Elizabeth Peters is also a must read author for me. =)

Thanks for the giveaway!
jenalang@live.com

Na said...

Congratulations on your release of Awaken the Highlander, wishing you much success with it.

I am so glad to discover a new series and author today. I am ready to fall in love with these Scottish warriors :)

What is the hardest part of writing a story? Is it the outlining, the fleshing out, the editing or?

Cambonified(at)yahoo(dot)com

Gail Barrett said...

Anita, I'm so glad your first book signing was such an amazing success. I can't wait to read your book. It sounds fabulous!

Elizabeth Kolodziej said...

Anita! How did you ever come up with this idea for the book thong? I want to make one for my books now! hehe

Liz ^_^

Anonymous said...

I would love to win a copy of this book and display a lot of my books with matching book thongs! It is on my "to be read" list already! I love novels about Scotland and love fantasy and the supernatural. Looks like it would fit which of course is why I have it on my list to read!

Leigh Michaels said...

Love the new photo, Anita! Good luck with finishing the third book -- are you finding it more challenging than the first two? Will it be a relief to finish, or does it feel sad to leave your warriors?

June M. said...

This story sounds really good. Congrats on the release. I love finding new to me authors and series to follow.

Are there any authors that for you are auto-buys when they have a new release?

GFC follower: June M.
manning_j2004 at yahoo dot com

Anita Clenney said...

Hi Debbie. I have some really strange dreams. :)

Anita Clenney said...

Hi Stalker Jen! Just kidding. For visuals, I'm strange. I don't have a really clear picture of my hero and heroine. I know the description, but I just have this very vague idea. As if my eyesight wasn't good. I know what they don't look like, but not what they look like.

Anita Clenney said...

Hi Diana. I'm so glad to see you here. This has been such a wonderful experience so far.

Anita Clenney said...

Marilyn, so far there aren't any present day children in danger, but that's the backstory for book two. Maybe I knew that subconsciously. :)

Anita Clenney said...

Jena, I love the Amelia Peabody series by Elizabeth Peters. I so admire her. I read her latest one, I think it came out last year.

Anita Clenney said...

Thanks Na. I hope you fall in love with these warriors as much as I did. Of course they feel more like family to me. The hardest part of writing is getting stuck on little details. Right now, I'm on book three and I'm stuck on this one scene. It's driving me insane. Plotting is my favorite part. I could plot all day.

Anita Clenney said...

Hi Gail. Thanks so much for stopping by. The WRW ladies are so great.

Anita Clenney said...

Hi Liz. The book thongs aren't my idea at all. It's my interviewer, Crystal's creation. She does them for all her books. Check out her Etsy store. Aren't they fabulous?

http://www.etsy.com/shop/DallaLuna

Anita Clenney said...

Hi Ter05. I'm so glad to know it's already on your TBR list. I hope it doesn't disappoint. I loved writing it.

Anita Clenney said...

Hi Leigh. Thank you! It was about time I got a new photo. The old one was 8 years old. :) Book three is easier in some ways, but promoting book one and editing book two got in the way. I'm running so far behind on it. I may keep the warrior series going. I have lots of ideas I could do. I feel like they're family so I hate to say goodbye.

Anita Clenney said...

Hi June. One auto buy author is Janet Evanovich. I will buy her hardcover as soon as it comes out. She's so easy to read, which is deceptive, because it's hard work to write so that it's that easy to read, and she's so funny. I love Diana Gabaldon as well.

Jodine Turner said...

Hi Anita,
I enjoyed reading about the premise of your novel, the setting, and Faelan's mission of helping to protect the earth from evil during the Civil War.
Was there 'divine timing' in having him reawaken during this period in our history? And I loved his name - Faelan - does it mean anything in Gaelic?

Bravo!

Jackie said...

Anita, congratulations on all your success with your book.

I, too, love the fact that you have included The Civil War in your book. It is ironic that it is the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War this year. Did you take that into account when you decided on the Civil War?

The book looks fabulous and I would love to be entered in the drawing

Krystal said...

This looks like a great book! Now I want to see the graveyard scene and read the other novels :) Thank you! edysicecreamlover18ATgmailDOTcom

Wendy Quest said...

Anita - congrats on the series! Faelan sounds sexy!
I am curious if you knew you would be writing a series from the beginning or did it just evolve that way? And how many more books can we look forward to?

Thanks,
Wendy Q

Keisha said...

Enjoyed the interview , I love the cover do you pick your own covers

Ktalley28@gmail.com

BLHmistress said...

Hi Anita I have a question if you had a chance to write with another author who would it be?

This book sounds so awesome, I can't wait to read it. congrats on the release as well.

vampiremistress2010(at)gmail(dot)com

Chelsea B. said...

Hi, Anita! :-) You books sound fabulous-- I'm all about the Highlanders ;-) Great interview!

justforswag(AT)yahoo(DOT)com

Lexi said...

A highlander, time travel, romance...everything I love in a book all rolled into one! Can't wait to read it! Love the name Faelan as well. Thanks for a chance in this giveaway!

eyesofblueice(at)gmail(dot)com

Tore said...

Congratulations on your new release Anita. I can't wait to read the book. It sounds very good. Romance, time travel. It has it all please enter me in contest. Tore923@aol.com

Melissa Jarvis said...

This is a unique concept, and it combines several periods I love too! I'm a published author as well who does time travel (although a bit more science based) and love finding out about new ones writing in my favorite topic.

Karen said...

Congratulations on the recent release of Awaken the Highland Warrior!!
I can't wait to get my hands on this book - and the subsequent books in the series!!
Definite additions to the TBR list and a new author to follow.
I would have been so tongue-tied if I'd been in the presence of Nora Roberts; were you?
Karen C.
kacbooks(at)hotmail(dot)com

Anita Clenney said...

Jodine, the timing for his awakening was destined for sure. And as far as the name, I found it while searching for names. There was a king of an Irish province named Faelan in the year 620 something. I loved the name and at the time was considering having Faelan be an Irish warrior, but I went with Scottish. However, his mother is Irish and Bree comments on Faelan's name sounding more Irish than Scottish.

Anita Clenney said...

Hi Jackie, actually I did include the Civil War for sort of that reason. Where I live is surrounded by Civil War battlefields, and I was trying to decide why Faelan was here in America. I needed a good reason, then it dawned on me. The Civil War. All my demons play a role in the worst disasters and horrors in human history. They're behind the scenes pulling the strings, so this was perfect and it fit my timeline.

Anita Clenney said...

Thanks Krystal. I loved writing this story, and it's a dream come true that others are finding it so entertaining too.

Anita Clenney said...

Thanks Wendy. Faelan is VERY sexy, but there are a lot of sexy warriors here. Ronan is the one that readers seem to be going nuts over, and we haven't even seen his story yet.

I didn't know this would be a series when I first started writing the book, but as these great secondary characters kept popping into the story, I knew they had to have a story. As soon as I got an agent she said it should be a series. I'm not sure how long I'll go on with it.

Anita Clenney said...

Wendy, forgot to answer your question. At least three books, maybe more. I could honestly go on with the series forever. There are some really cool things that will come out in books two and three.

Anita Clenney said...

Keisha, I don't choose my covers, my publisher does, but they loved my website so much they hired my webdesigner to do the covers, and she and I are totally in sync about what the covers should be. The publisher has final say. For instance, the crypt should have been on this cover where the house is, but the publisher didn't want it. I disagree. I think the crypt would have been better, but it's the publisher's money paying for the cover.

Anita Clenney said...

BLHMIstress, ooh that's an interesting question. I love Diana Gabaldon, so I'd probably have to say her.

Anita Clenney said...

Chelsea, thanks! I love highlanders too.

Anita Clenney said...

Lexi, I had the greatest review from a TV producer the other day. She said this book blended genres in a way that she absolutely loved, including everything that she wants in a book. That was such an incredible thing for me to hear because that's what I wanted to do. I like big plots and I want a lot included.

Anita Clenney said...

Thanks, Tore. This book is the book of my heart. But book two is special too. And I think three will be a humdinger.

Anita Clenney said...

Hi Melissa. Great to meet a fellow time travel author. I would love to read your work. This story really started with that horrible dream, then I blended it with the idea of a buried but undead warrior. I love how it turned out. I have the greatest dreams. If I could bottle them I'd be rich. I had one about vampires...oh my gosh it was powerful. I may use it somewhere yet.

winnie said...

Congrats on the recent release, Anita! I totally love the aspects to your new series because to me, time-traveling highlanders are awesome. I look forward to reading Awaken the Highland Warrior! :)

chibipooh(at)gmail(dot)com

Anita Clenney said...

Hi Karen, oh I hope you like the books. I had so much fun writing them. I wasn't tongue tied with Nora. She's very down to earth. She isn't chatty, but she mingles as if she's your average Joe. The people of the community there where her husband has the bookstore and she has the Inn speak very highly of her. She does so much for the community and never asks for publicity for it. She's really to be admired in so many ways. And her Inn is to die for. Magnificient. Is it possible to fall in love with a toilet?

Leah St. James said...

I was lucky enough to win my copy of Awaken the Highland Warrior about a month ago, so no need to enter me in the give-away! Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed the story! (Gotta love those sexy warrior guys.) I'm looking forward to the next two installments.

Carol L. said...

First I'll say Congrats on the release of Awakening The Highland Warrior.My favorite read is Highland romance and I can't wait to read the first book in your Connor Clan series.Love the whole premise and enjoyed your excerpt. Thank you for sharing. Love the book thong as well.
Carol L
Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

Lavinia Kent said...

Anita,

I have to confess I've never been a big Highlander fan (unless Adrian Paul is playing the Highlander), but you are fast persuading me.

Lavinia Kent

Maureen said...

I think it is so interesting that you were able to take a scary dream and use it to help create this story.
mce1011 AT aol DOT com

Pam S (pams00) said...

This sounds like an amazing series and can't wait to be able to read it. I really enjoyed finding out how the premise came about and found it interesting you built from dream. How Cool was it that you held your book signing at Turn the Page and with such other great authors present?

pams00 @ aol.com

redzsm said...

Oh my Gosh! I'm so excited about this book! Faelan & Bree sound fantastic and I can't wait to hear their story. I love, love, love Highlanders! Hope I win :) *fingers crossed*

Congratulations on your release and of your first booksigning sell-out!! Best wishes!

redzsm@yahoo.com

Denise Z said...

Thank you so much for sharing today. This book (series) sounds wonderful, I just love a good series. In going on to book two what made you decide to follow new leading characters? Did you feel Bree and Faelan's stories were done or will there be more of these initial characters to come?
I appreciate the lovely giveaway opportunity and look forward to reading Awaken the Highland Warrior.

dz59001[at]gmail[dot]com

Donna Cummings said...

I have my very own signed copy, so I don't need to be entered in the drawing. But I just wanted to say I'm enjoying this book, and I'm excited that there are TWO more to look forward to!

Amber said...

I loved the interview. I just read the book and I absolutely loved it. I can't wait for the next one to come out.

Mary said...

Great interview! Awaken the Highland Warrior book sounds mouth watering. Thank you so much for the giveaway!

mary_reiss @ hotmail.com

BlackwaterMama said...

What an awesome giveaway!! This looks like a great read!!
jlkg102961(at)yahoo(dot)com

shadow_kohler said...

Congrats! Your book sounds awesome! And the cover...wow! Hes yummy! What was your favorite part to write in this book? Thanks for sharing and for the chance to win!
shadow_kohler(at)att(dot)net

Temperance said...

Oh i just love storys about Highlanders.I dont know what it is about Highlander's but Yum;)
Thanks for the chance to win
I love the post!!

elliott2668(at)yahoo(dot)com

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on the release of Awaken The Highlander! I really enjoyed the interview and I thought it was interesting that you got your idea from a dream. Great giveaway!

ruby95660@yahoo.com

Sharon said...

I haven't heard of these books! So I am quite happy I stopped by :) Thanks for the chance to win a copy and your bookmarks are wonderful.

And of course I have to say, these covers are to die for! I have become a cover Ho lately. The problem with having an ereader is the loss of the covers. So I guess it is a case of absence makes the heart grow fonder.

Shay said...

This is great. I love when authors give away books. Free books rock. Thank you for doing this for your fans. :)

lovemyNook82 AT yahoo DOT com

Chelsea Rafferty said...

What a really cool interview! I liked reading how your ideas came about... especially the dreaming part. I must dream but I never remember them so I think its really awesome when an author does remember and creates these fascinating worlds... I really liked the excerpt on Awaken the Highlander. I especially love that a lot of paranormal books now are diving into Highlanders with their stories.. I like just Highlander books sometimes but having that extra paranormal touch makes them so much better to me :D I'm so adding this book onto my TBR list Anita! :D Can't wait to read it :D

swtlilangel4jc at yahoo dot com

P.S. The blog your on is great too :D love all the smuttiness :D I'm going to go look around hehe!

charly said...

I am always looking for new authors. This series is definitely right up my alley. I can't wait for the next release. Already have it on pre-order. Thanks you so much.

charly said...

I am always on the lookout for new authors. This series started out wonderfully. I finished it in a day. I cannot wait for the next book in the series. Thank you

MarthaE said...

Yummm- Highlander warriors for the angels! Sounds like a fun, sexy series. I would love to win the book and the matching bookmark. :-)
Thanks for the giveaway.
mesreadsATgmail.com