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RELEASE DAY GIVEAWAY

WHAT I’M LOOKING FOR by Karen Grey What reviewers are saying: “This is my first book by Karen Grey and I’m hooked.” —Rellim Reads “This story was bodacious! Totally Tubular!” —Live, Laugh, Love and Books “I felt like I was in a time warp and I loved it.” —Betty Loves Love “Ah, the 80’s…pagers, answering machines and waiting days for a call, oh my!” —Kathryn, Goodreads  “Will and Kate are a wonderful pair. Ms. Grey shares allows both their fears and affection to shine across the pages, giving What I’m Looking For a strong story and satisfying conclusion.” —Jen, That’s What I’m Talking About “Set in the 1980s, this funny yet warmhearted character-driven tale checks all the boxes for classy contemporary romance while providing the longed-for “something different” readers seek out. It’s smart. It’s sexy. It’s sophisticated romance at its best.” —Lea Hensley, Audiogals WHERE TO FIND IT AUDIO Libro.fm (use the code KARENWHITE for a 3 for 1 book deal), Downpour or Audible PRINT The Ripped Bodice (click below) or any indie bookstore via Indiebound or Bookshop.org (or just ask your local bookstore to order it) and Amazon. EBOOK Kobo, Apple, , Barnes & Noble, Google RELEASE DAY GIVEAWAY THIS GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED, BUT STAY TUNED AND/OR FOLLOW ME ON SOCIAL MEDIA TO HEAR ABOUT OTHER GIVEAWAYS OR OTHER NEWS! Cathy, Karen and Bloom are the winners and I’ve contacted them via email.

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#LOVEAUDIOBOOKS MONTH EVENT

June is Audiobook Month, the time when we celebrate how much we #loveaudiobooks. However, this has been no ordinary June. I’ve been doing as much as I can to listen to black leaders in my current home town, which is particularly in need of a great deal of healing. I do have a book coming out, however. I also have an amazing group of narrator friends who’ve inspired me with their creative endeavors beyond audiobooks. Earlier this spring, when we were unable to gather for our annual audiobook conference, I had the idea to bring this group of super cool women together to talk about what inspires them, what drives them, what they love about telling stories in multiple formats. So we’re doing that. And you’re invited. We’re calling it: STRAIGHT FROM THE AUTHOR’S MOUTH THURSDAY, JUNE 25th at 8PM EST. We’ll just be nine women chatting about books and creativity, but we’d love to answer your questions. (If you want to find out more about how you can connect with any of us and/or buy our books, it’s all on this page.) If you’d like to join us, just fill out this Google Form, then look out for an email from karen@karenwhiteaudiobooks.com with your Zoom invite. The event is free, but if you’re able to make a donation to ProLiteracy, we’d love it. This non-profit makes the work of literacy organizations across the country possible, and has lost out on fundraising opportunities because of cancelled events during the current health crisis, so any amount you can give will help them help others. You can find out more here. Space is limited, so sign up soon!

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What I’m Looking For Double Giveaway!

I received the first hard copies of my very first novel in the mail this week. To celebrate, I’m giving away one paperback and one audiobook (CDs). I can sign them if you’d like, too. THIS GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED. Aimee and Shonte are the winners but there will be more giveaways to come! To enter, just comment below telling us where you were in 1988. Deadline Monday, 6/15 at 5 p.m. EST. For extra chances, you can follow Karen Grey on Facebook @KarenGreywriter, Goodreads or Bookbub. (Just tell me in your comment if you’ve done it, I’ll believe you.) I’ll pick the winners at random. Entrants must be 18 and in the continental U.S. only. (Psst. There’s also a giveaway of the Kindle version on the book’s Goodreads page, so you have lots of chances to win! And this one is open to readers anywhere in the world.) But if you want to just go ahead and buy a copy, you can see all the current options on my website (which includes the option to buy directly from me). Alternatively, you can order from your local bookstore!

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Newsletter Snafus…

I tried to get this to work yesterday but it was a failure. So trying again today. Here we go: So, I have a confession to make. I thought that all my new blog posts were being automatically emailed to subscribers, but for some reason that has not been happening for awhile. It’s taken me some time and (for me) a whole load of mental gymnastics to navigate the maze of RSS feeds and other gobbledygook to figure all this out, so forgive me if you received an email yesterday with no content. And please have mercy on me for blundering through all this in the midst of multiple national crises. This will probably end up in your spam folder. But if it doesn’t, if you’re still with me, before you actively unsubscribe, I do have some big news. My first novel releases June 23. You can find it in this nifty list of new releases linked here (and I appreciating you clicking through as that gives me credit on this promotion): https://books.bookfunnel.com/junenewreleases/qq10knllle Also, I’ll be reading from my book at the virtual event NOIR AT THE BAR on Thursday, June 11 at 7pm EST. (My book is not a mystery but the organizer, Edwin Hill is an author I record for who has kindly invited me to read anyway. I’ll also be reading a bit from one of his Hester Thursby books. It’s free and doesn’t require an app but you do need to sign up to attend here: https://www.crowdcast.io/e/virtual-noir-at-the-bar-4 Plus, Please save the date for another virtual event coming Thursday, June 25 at 8pm EST. More on that coming soon…but, (hint, hint) it includes EIGHT audiobooks narrators! Finally, Between now and June 23, if you want to help me get word out on my novel, I have a whole “secret” page set up where you can find links to follow me on my new author social media sites, download images and copy and paste posts. ANY help from this page is very much appreciated. Thanks for your support and feel free to unsubscribe if you no longer want to receive emails about Karen White audiobooks, Karen Grey books, articles on Creativity, recipes and/or cute pet photos. Actually the latter are mostly on Instagram and Pinterest. Like this one:

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EVERYDAY MUFFINS

(and preferably, baked goods) If you have a family like mine, where everyone likes different things, this is the recipe for you. Easy and quick, not too dense and not too sweet, these were great on their own or with a bit of butter or cream cheese. Based on this blueberry muffin recipe, I added chocolate chips to some and a berry variety to others. Yield: 24 regular sized muffins Ingredients 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour 1/4 cup almond flour (or flour of your choice) 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder 3/4 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt 3 eggs 1 1/2 cups buttermilk* 3/4 cup canola or other light vegetable oil 2 teaspoons vanilla extract about 2 cups berries, chocolate chips, nuts or other add-ins Turbinado or other coarse sugar for dusting (optional) Instructions Preheat the oven to 400°. Line or grease 24 muffin cups. In a large bowl, whisk together the first five ingredients In a medium bowl, beat eggs and then whisk in next three ingredients. *if you don’t have buttermilk, you can substitute sour cream, plain yogurt, regular milk and/or cream. If you use the latter two, cut the baking soda Mix ingredients into the dry, just until blended. If everyone wants the same kind of muffin, gently fold in the final ingredients and then fill each muffin cup almost to the top If people want different add-ins, fill each muffin cup halfway with batter, drop in a few berries/chips/nuts, add more muffin batter and sprinkle a few more add-ins on top Sprinkle with coarse sugar Bake 20 – 25 minutes, until tops spring back to a gentle touch, or tester comes out clean. Don’t overbake! Cool on a rack for five minutes and serve. You can print the recipe here:

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FREE BOOKS

(& not just mine) I’ll keep this short and sweet. I’m taking part in a fun book giveaway with eleven other romance writers: MATCHMAKER. Each of us created a “match card” for our heroes and readers can choose free ebooks to read based on the hero descriptions. All you have to do is join that author’s mailing list. RomanceBooks.blog has lots of giveaways and fun stuff so whether you’re a reader or writer or both you might want to sign up for their newsletter, too. You can get an Advance Reader Copy of my book THIRTY TWO DAYS before it releases! (Reviews on Goodreads, Facebook, Instagram…wherever you hang out are appreciated.) Here’s the link https://bit.ly/matchmaker-grey to all twelve free books – available only through May 28.

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The Making of a Book Cover

Years ago, my then tweenaged daughter was invited by the folks at the delightful bookstore Children’s Book World to interview author Jacqueline Kelly about her book The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate (one both my girls would recommend, both in print and audio). Since my daughter was only eleven, I came along. When the discussion centered on the book cover, I was surprised to learn that while Kelly felt lucky to have suggested the woodcut style for her cover, authors rarely have much input into the cover design of their books. While I suppose it makes sense on some levels to hand this over to marketing and design experts, when it came time to publish my first novel I was glad that going indie meant I could have full control. I was quite happy at the beginning of the process, and in the end. But in the middle, it was hard to be the one to make choices that could make or break the success of the book. So, I thought I’d share how all this went down for readers who might be interested and for other authors (who can hopefully learn from my missteps). First task: study current design styles in the genre. For me, a difficult part of my process overall was pinpointing this book’s genre. I started out writing a 3rd person romance. A year and a half in, I decided to switch the point of view to first person, which was surging in popularity. Then I noticed that the Romantic Comedy sub-genre seemed to have been nicked from the movies to replace the somewhat offensive Chick Lit sub-genre. (See “Chick Lit,” Genre or Insult? and Chick lit? Hate the term. Love the genre for more on that subject.) Since Romantic Comedy could embrace my not-quite-contemporary-not-quite-historical setting, I decided to jump on the bandwagon. And I loved the rom-com covers – the colorful, quirky, illustrated covers. I was determined to have one. Trick was finding a designer who would work with an indie author. After checking the copyright pages of the books whose covers I loved, I did my best to contact the designers. But most of them aren’t freelancers, they worked for a publishing house. Often, there are two people involved; an illustrator and a designer. Thankfully, after many internet searches, I found Lana Pecherczyk and Bookcoverology all the way across the world in Australia. Lana is an illustrator and a designer (and a writer – we had such fun working together that I’ll be recording her first audiobook), and she was excited about the 80’s theme. So we got to work. First we talked about illustration styles. Lana had the idea to use the Aha video . . .

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MARBLE BUNDT CAKE

(and preferably, baked goods) This is an adaptation of a favorite from a bakery that was in biking distance of my house in Los Angeles, the Buttercake Bakery. The recipe I started with, printed in the LA Times, was a bit too sweet for me, so I made a few adjustments. Today, since we are doing our best to limit visits to the grocery store, I had to make do with some ingredients (see photo below of dairy product lineup) . It still came out yummy! Ingredients 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons baking powder ¾ teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon baking soda** 2 cups sugar 1 cup butter, room temperature 4 eggs, room temperature 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1 cup buttermilk* 1 cup chocolate chips (optional) ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened (good quality) cocoa powder ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons boiling water powdered sugar, for dusting (optional) *if you don’t have buttermilk, you can substitute (or use a combo, as I did today) of sour cream and/or plain yogurt **if you don’t have any of the above dairy options, you can use regular milk but if that’s the case, eliminate the baking soda Directions Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter well and lightly flour a 12-cup bundt pan. Whisk together the first four ingredients in a medium bowl.  In a stand mixer, cream sugar and butter. Beat in eggs one at a time, then vanilla. Mix in flour and buttermilk alternately in a couple batches. Stir in chocolate chips if using. In a medium glass or metal bowl, stir together the cocoa powder and hot water until smooth. Then mix in about 1/3 of the flour mixture. Pour half of what’s left of the plain batter into the bundt pan. Pour chocolate mixture on top, and then the rest of the plain batter on top of that. Gently swirl with a wooden skewer or sharp knife to marble (don’t over do this). Bake for about an hour, until the cake springs back lightly and tester comes out clean.  Don’t overbake.  Cool completely in pan on a wire rack and then invert onto serving plate.  Dust lightly with powdered sugar and serve. You can print the recipe here:

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MEET LIBRO.FM

or, SOCIAL DISTANCING AND YOUR READING LIFE Since we are all grappling with the changes that prescribed social distancing is bringing to life at the moment, I thought it might be a good time to share some ideas for ways to keep reading and listening without all the money going to one monopoly of a company, even if you can’t leave your house. Have you seen a bookmark like this on the counter of your local bookstore? If you have, that means they are a partner store with Libro.fm. I’ve been a fan of audiobook distributor Libro.fm since I first learned about the company. In fact when I did, I emailed the man who started the company and said, “You stole my idea!” Now, Mark Pearson couldn’t have stolen my idea since it only existed in my head, but years ago I did think it’d be a great idea for someone to figure out how independent bookstores could sell audiobooks. My local bookseller had explained that it just wasn’t cost effective for them to stock audiobook CDs. Even Barnes and Noble tends to stock only a small display of audiobooks. Meanwhile, Mark Pearson founded Libro.fm. Here’s how it works: When you sign up for your Libro.fm account, you get to choose your partner bookstore and every time you purchase an audiobook, that store gets a percentage of the profit. If you don’t choose a specific store, that percentage goes into a pot that benefits all member bookstores. In this way, even if you don’t leave your house, you can support your local economy. “But,” you might say, “I have a subscription and I download a book or two a month from a different company.” Here’s the thing. You may or may not know this, but the company you’re mostly likely talking about is owned by a much larger company. A company that not only owns online retail but actively squeezes profits from publishers and authors by using books as loss leaders. If you’ve studied any economics, you’ll know that it’s not healthy for most markets if one company holds a monopoly. So if we want authors to be able to afford to write and publishers to publish, we need to push back against the monopoly. One way to do that is to buy elsewhere. Here’s the awesome thing. You can get the same exact subscription at Libro.fm with almost** the same selection of books. I’m such a fan, I talked Mark into letting me share an incentive. If you try out Libro.fm with the code KARENWHITE, you get THREE BOOKS FOR THE PRICE OF ONE. https://libro.fm/redeem/karenwhite You won’t lose the books you’ve purchased from other companies. You’ll just listen to . . .

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Word for 2020

Home for the holidays, my daughter was describing some issue with her roommates or her classes or her job. Honestly, I can’t remember what she was talking about, probably because I wasn’t listening carefully. What I did do, was jump in with my opinion about what was happening. After I’d held forth for a few moments she stopped me with, “I don’t need you to solve my problems, Mommy.” What she didn’t say was, “But I do need you to listen to me.” I heard it all the same. And that’s my word for 2020. Listen. I’m worried about what’s happening in the world, about the high levels of acrimony and anger. My impulse is to fix things, but these issues are so deep and complicated that I don’t even know where to begin. I’m also aware of my position of relative privilege. I’m female, but I’m white, well-educated and grew up without hardship. My health is good and my family is well (at least at the moment–avaunt evil spirits). I live in a city that has a history of racial violence, is currently affected by the opioid crisis, but in my neighborhood it’s easy to avoid all of that. I volunteer at the homeless shelter, give money to various causes, but I’m hesitant to wade it to the larger problems because they seem so complex. Meanwhile, I do my best to live lightly upon the earth, raise my girls to be good people, take care of my critters and do work that helps, or at least doesn’t hurt people. None of this seems like enough, but I’m aware that problem solving from a POV of privilege is not useful, whether it’s gang issues in my community or my kid’s problems at school. I think the best thing I can do right now is listen. To as many people, from as many different backgrounds, as I can. So that’s my word for 2020. What’s yours?

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