Tag Archives: competitions

Do You Run Contests or Giveaways on Your Blog? Are You Sure They’re Legal?

Cartoon pic of man at computer

photo credit: office coffee via photopin (license)

Many of us run the occasional promotion on our blog in the form of giveaways or contests. Having had experience over a number of years of running competitions in jobs I’ve had, I was aware of a lot of the legislation that exists, however I had never really thought about it much in terms of my blog. I decided to look into it, naively thinking I could just do a little bit of research and then post the main rules on here for any other bloggers who may be interested. Turns out it’s far more complex than I had realised.

This post is going to be quite long, and frankly not very interesting for anyone who doesn’t run prize promotions on their blog, so if that’s you, you may as well stop reading now, I won’t be offended, see ya, wouldn’t wanna be ya!

For the rest of you (and I know I’m going to lose more of you along the way)…

Let’s Begin

As you can imagine there is different legislation in different countries, and in different states/territories/areas within countries. And even within those, there isn’t just one piece of legislation – depending on what type of prize promotion you are running (I’m going to use the term “prize promotion” to cover all types of contests and giveaways), you could need to refer to legislation about prize draws, giveaways/sweepstakes, competitions/contests, lotteries, promotion/advertising/marketing, gambling, gaming, data protection, equality etc. Plus there are many variances in terminology that can be confusing, and when you do read the legislation, you have to contend with all that Paragraph 6 Section 4(b) Schedule 7 type of malarkey.

I couldn’t possibly cover everything in this post (nor would you want me to), so instead I’m going to draw out some key points which you may want to think about (although PLEASE do note my disclaimer at the end).

The first question that sprung to my mind, and possibly yours is this – if you’re running an online prize promotion on your blog, and you are allowing entries from around the world, do you have to comply with the legislation of all countries? The short answer is yes (eek!). The long answer is yyyeeeesssss (eeeekkk!).

Let’s ignore that question for now (I’ll come back to it later), and answer some others…

Doesn’t all this legislation only apply to businesses/corporations?

No. A lot of it won’t be relevant to little ms/mr blogger, but much of it is, and you’d be wise to inform yourself of it.

Are there some general rules that apply in all countries?

What? You expect me to have read the legislation for ALL countries? Get real! I have however looked at the legislation for several countries, and what I can say is that there are some general rules that seem common to many.

Primarily, for the types of prize promotion we are talking about, there are three main categories:

  1. A free prize draw Also known as a giveaway, or a sweepstake. It is free to enter, and the winner/s are drawn at random. (in some countries, free prize draws are generally free of direct legislation, although you do of course still need to comply with common laws. In other countries free prize draws with no skill element required to enter are not allowed). Remember that if it’s random, it really must be random; a simple way is to attribute a number to each entrant and then use an online random number generator.
  2. A competition or contest These involve some skill or special knowledge to be demonstrated in the entry, and may or may not involve a cost, or purchase required, to enter. The winner/s are judged on merit of their entry, and not by random selection.
  3. A lottery This involves a payment to enter, and the winner/s are drawn randomly.

Be clear on those distinctions because mixing them could run you into trouble. If you require entrants to pay something, or buy something, in order to enter and then the winners are chosen randomly, you could be deemed to be running an illegal lottery or possibly a gambling operation depending on the nature. And if they are required to play a game of chance, this could be an illegal gaming operation, EVEN if payment is not involved (Whhaaattt?).

Almost everywhere, if you run a lottery, or any form of gambling, or gaming, you need a permit. Therefore if you are requiring people to pay something in order to enter, then there MUST be a skill/knowledge element to enter, and the winner MUST be judged on merit of their entry, and not randomly or by chance. And you need to have something in the case of a tie, that also isn’t random.

To add some more complication. When I spoke of “payment” to enter, in some countries, mainly the US, payment is classed as “consideration”, and other things can also count as consideration, such as time invested in making an entry, which can count has having paid to enter, and therefore to reiterate, there MUST be a skill/knowledge element involved, and the winner MUST be judged on merit of their entry. I’ll also throw in here another point, sometimes it’s ok to have a payment type entry, with a random drawing, as long as there is an alternative free entry route that is as easy, and as well publicised as the payment route entry (I’m a bit fuzzy on the details of this aspect). Rafflecopter entries presumably cover this well because whilst they may have some entry options that involve some “consideration” there are others that do not, so they’re covering all bases. I saw talk on one lawyer’s site which implied that even asking people to ‘Like’ or ‘Follow’ something could potentially be classed as consideration.

Are you following this? Good, let’s complicate it further…

What is meant by skill/knowledge?

In many countries, the skill/knowledge required to enter, mustn’t be so simple that the vast majority of people could do it, so it couldn’t just be a question that was say “What is 2+2?” You may be wondering where the line is drawn between what is too simple, and what is acceptable right? Well indeed, and there is no definitive answer, that would be for a court to decided if it got to that stage.

In the case of blog contests, we quite often see creative skill required, to draw something, or write something, or come up with an idea for something. These are skill contests, and thus winners must be awarded on merit and not by random drawing.

Got that? Here’s a bit more…

Does “free entry” mean completely free?

When we talk about “free entry”, the cost of a phone call, text message, internet usage cost, or postal stamp to enter would still be classed as free entry as long as they are at the standard rates; any premium rate calls, or special postal delivery costs etc would then be classed as paying to enter, unless there is also an equally valid free route.

Is it ok to ask people to buy something in order to enter?

When we talk about “Purchasing a product” in order to enter, this is fine as long as the cost of the product required to enter the contest isn’t more expensive than the product costs anyway. And in some cases, purchasing a product to enter can still count as free entry (I’m not going to explain this one further, as it’s another area I’m a bit fuzzy on).

If I’m running a skill based contest on my blog, is it ok for me to be the one who judges it?

This one is a bit tricky (you know, like most of the rest of it). The UK legislation says that where the judging of results could be subjective (i.e. it’s not something with a right or wrong answer) you must always have an independent judge, you can be a judge too as part of a panel, but there must be at least one independent person. I found this in the legislation of a couple of other countries too, but not all those I looked at; do check that one out yourself (I’m not doing EVERYTHING for you). Either way, you must state clearly what the judging criteria is.

Are there restrictions on what you can give away as prizes?

Yes, in many countries you need a permit if the value of your prize is over a certain amount (generally much higher than would apply to most of us bloggers). Also, there are prize restrictions on items that are restricted (funnily enough), such as alcohol.

Do I have to list the terms and conditions of the contest, and if so, what must be included?

Yes, listing the terms and conditions is as much to protect you as anything else. There are lots of examples online of what should, or could, be included in the Ts and Cs, so do an online search for that and find something suitable. One point to keep in mind, when you state the closing date/time of a contest, remember to take account of time differences if it’s open to residents outside of your time zone, and specify which time zone your closing time refers to.

Are you nearly finished here Vanessa because I’m getting soooo bored?

I sure am. As well as reading my disclaimer below, remember that my notes above are a broad overview of SOME of the rules that MAY be applicable in your country or area. My mind keeps going back though to my first question, about whether an online contest open to everyone must comply with the legislation of every country. Because if it’s true that it must, then we’re kind of screwed….except, I saw on one law site where they suggested including the words “Void where prohibited” in the rules/Ts and Cs, which then puts the onus on entrants to find out whether they are eligible to enter from their country or not. Although of course if you do that, then presumably you’d still need to check out the legislation yourself for the country that the winner comes from, to be sure they are eligible before you give them the prize? But maybe that’s the only way around it, and it may be the way I go from now on. Did I mention how complex this all is?

Also worth noting, Facebook and Twitter have their own rules if you run prize promotions on there that you should seek out and adhere to.

For any of you that have stayed with me to the end of this post, congratulations, I would give you a prize except I’m not sure if I’m allowed…

Were you aware of all of the rules/some of the rules? Do you let it affect how you run prize promotions or do you just do it the way you want to and keep your fingers crossed that it won’t ever be an issue?

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this post is correct to the best of my knowledge, however, I am not a lawyer, nor do I claim to be any kind of expert on the law. Nothing in this post should be taken as legal advice. Always do your own research and/or get legal advice before running any kind of promotional activity on your site.

These are some of the websites that I looked at when researching this post:


10 Minutes More (and a Chance to Win a Prize!)

New Year 1950

After swimming a couple of months ago, I was showering next to two people (don’t worry, this post isn’t going in THAT sort of direction, I’m just setting the scene). The guy was in his 60s I guess, and he was chatting to a woman.

(I’ll get to the prize thing in a minute, stay with me).

She asked him if he still swam for an hour every day, and he replied that he now swims for an hour and 10 minutes every day. He went on to tell her that he had made a decision in his life a while back to give everything an extra 10 minutes. “If I can swim for an hour, I can swim for an hour and 10 minutes right?” he said, “If I can work in my garden for two hours then I can do it for two hours and 10 minutes. If I can do my paperwork for half an hour then I can do it for 40 minutes, see?” He explained that giving everything just that little bit more time, pushing himself just that little bit more, made him feel generally more satisfied with himself and with what he was achieving.

As we head towards the end of 2015, many people will be thinking of new year’s resolutions. We all know that most new year’s resolutions are likely to be abandoned before January is out, but that doesn’t stop many of us setting some anyway. What that man in the shower said has stayed with me, and my resolution therefore is going to be to give things 10 minutes more. It doesn’t always have to be a literal 10 minutes of course, it’s about giving things just a little bit more effort, a little bit more focus, a little bit more time. Generally when we think we’re done, we could probably give it just a little bit more. All those little bits should add up to a lot right?

So that’s my sensible, but not very exciting resolution. My other resolution is to do more silly frivolous fun things, just because. So here is where the prize thing comes in. I’m giving away a £10 (or your equivalent, e.g. $15 US), Amazon gift certificate. All you have to do is suggest something fun or silly I can do, if it’s challenging then so much the better. It does need to be something that I can practically do and that I can evidence having done with a photo or video on the blog. Anyone who suggests something in the comments will go into the random drawing for the prize, your suggestion doesn’t have to be a good one to be in with a chance of winning. Additionally I will aim to do as many of the suggestions as I can over the year.

You have until 15 January to enter. I’m giving quite a long time because some people are away from the blogs until the new year, so I’ll post a reminder at some point. And Happy New Year to you all!

photo credit: 78/100: Drink via photopin (license)

Come and Play with Lorna to Win an Amazon Gift Card!

Lorna Lee talking

Would you like to meet Lorna? Would you like to play a game called Truth or Fiction? Would you like to win a £10 (approx $16 USD) Amazon Gift card? Of course you would!

Lorna Lee has just written and published her second book, a wonderful novel called Never Turn Backwhich I LOVED. 

Never Turn Back

It is based on the life of her grandmother and is part fiction, part reality, which is what led Lorna and I to come up with this genius idea of playing Truth or Fiction. I’m SO excited to play this!

First, let’s meet the lady herself. Hello Lorna, welcome, could you please tell everyone about the game?

Hi Vanessa, thank you, yes certainly I can, but first maybe we should tell them about…

Hang on! Sorry to interrupt, but I’m too excited! I’ll just tell everyone about the game myself! Is that ok?

Er, well yes, but maybe first we should tell them about the bo…

Wait! First we should tell them about the book. I’m surprised you didn’t think of that Lorna!

Indeed, glad YOU thought of that Vanessa. Ok, here’s the book blurb:

Meri Vaarsara had a dream and something to prove. She also had incredibly bad fortune and even worse timing.

Her dream was to become a famous fashion designer in Paris, a dream born from a need to prove herself worthy of love and a happy life, something her stern Finnish mother never fostered but her seafaring father always knew was hers for the taking. So at the tender age of eighteen, Meri left the security of her family and her home for a country where she didn’t speak the language and she didn’t know a soul.

Paris in the late 1920s was not friendly to immigrants, even those with extraordinary talents. Forced to find work as a domestic, Meri forged ahead through turns of fate and misfortune as Paris braced for Hitler’s invasion. By choice, Meri becomes a single mother caring for her half-Jewish daughter throughout the occupation of France. Once the war was over, she used her feminine wiles to find her way to America, the land of milk and honey, with the hope of finally being able to work as a designer in a New York fashion house. But that too was not to be, until fate and a kind stranger stepped in to help.

Great, thanks Lorna. Now do you want to tell them about the game? Oh no wait, I’m too excited! I’ll tell them! No, you tell them…go on!

Ok, well if you’re sure. I’m going to read out eight statements about myself, and some of them will be tr…

Hush now Lorna, I need to tell them about the game!

But you sai…

Sshhh! Some of the statements will be true and some will be fiction, and all everyone has to do is guess which are which! The person who gets the most right wins, and if there’s a tie then we’ll do a random drawing from those! Anyway, go ahead with the statements Lorna, we haven’t got all day.

Whatever you say Vanessa, right…

POST UPDATE: As the deadline has passed, I’ve put the answers to the statements below in red.

1. I hate chocolate and never eat it. TRUE

2. In my spare time, I crochet afghans (the blankets, not the people). FALSE

3. I have been struck by lightning twice. TRUE

4. My biggest phobia is of worms. TRUE

Worm saying he won't hurt Lorna

5. I am so enamoured with gorgeous blonde cultural icons, that my engagement ring is a replica of Princess Diana’s ring. TRUE

6. As someone who loves and respects language, I ensure that I always use proper English in my blog posts. FALSE

7. Since I was a little girl, I’ve always wanted to have a large family. FALSE

8. I am a non-violent, Buddhist who happens to be a great shot with a pistol. TRUE

Thanks Lorna! Now, tell them that regular followers of your blog, and those who have read your memoir, may be at an advantage with some of those.

Erm, well I think you already…

Also tell them that they have until Monday, November 17, to submit their answers using this form (nobody else will be able to see what is entered and submitted using the form) –

Again Vanessa, I don’t think I need to tell them because you already tol…

Tell them that the contest is open to anyone, from anywhere in the world, and the winner will receive a £10 (or equivalent in their currency) Amazon Gift Card. Go on, tell them!

You want me to repeat what you just said?

Oh I’m so excited! Anyway, no need to tell them those things Lorna, I already did, why would you want to repeat what I’ve already said?

Good point Vanessa, good point. Sigh.

And finally, tell them where they can buy Never Turn Back from. Never mind, I’ll tell them, you’ll probably just get it wrong:


And they can also read my review of the book on those links.

Well thank you so much for stopping by Lorna. A little bit of advice for you – in future try to be a bit more prepared, I had to cover your back a few times there, I don’t think anyone will have noticed though.

Sure Vanessa, I’ll keep that in mind, thanks for having me, and good luck with the contest everyone!

How was Lorna supposed to know? Win her book and find out!

book-coverLorna Lee

Does lightning ever strike twice in the same place? It does if your name is Lorna Lee. To find out more, you’ll have to read her newly published memoir, ‘How Was I Supposed to Know?‘. This book will make you laugh, cry, and laugh some more. True tales of near misses and direct hits, and did I mention lots of laughs? Lorna has a talent for finding the comedy and the positive side even where there really isn’t any. Readers of her blog, Lorna’s Voice, will know what I’m talking about.

I’m going to put a pot of coffee on now, so please join me and Lorna for a chat, and if you leave a comment at the end of this post, you will be entered into a draw to win a copy of her book.

Beautiful inside and out, charming, intelligent, funny. But enough about me, let’s talk about Lorna (the old jokes are still the best, right? Right?!). But of course I was talking about Lorna. Ladies and gentlemen, please put your hands together and make some noise for the wonderful Lorna Lee!!!! Woohoo!!!

Hello Lorna, glad you could join us.
Hello Vanessa, thank you. Wow, what a welcome!

Do you mind if I ask you a few questions?
Please do.

Firstly, the obvious question – what prompted you to write this memoir?
Since I knew from an early age I ‘had a book in me’, it was either this or ‘Little Men, Big Problems.’ I already had piles of short stories about my youth that I wrote as therapy when I became ill with dizziness-blondeness (Chronic Fatigue). So I chose to go that way. Plus I needed to put the past behind me for good. Writing this memoir did that for me.

Well, you certainly pull off dizziness-blondeness very well. I wonder, what song would you pick as the theme tune if your book was made into a film, and why?
I ruminated over this question for a long time for two reasons: I’m not a music aficionado, so my selection of tunes is limited to songs I like to sing or dance to and none of those songs were perfectly appropriate for the theme of the book. ‘The Long and Winding Road’ by the Beatles is my all-time favorite song by that group and it connotes the twisty path my life has taken, but it’s kind of soulful and my book is upbeat. ‘Open Arms’ by Tina Turner is what I’m going with. It has a snappy beat. The lyrics are positive and upbeat, while acknowledging that life isn’t always that way. I’d say that captures the spirit of my memoir. Plus, Reggie (my cockatoo) and I used to dance to this tune all the time.

Yes I’ve heard all about your wild dancing nights with Reggie. Now, apart from the dizziness-blondeness thing, what road blocks did you have in writing this memoir?
I had too much material and didn’t see a way to organize it. Memoirs need a theme like fiction needs a plot. Once I settled on a theme, the book took shape. Then there were the days when I doubted myself. My illness is one that affects my ability to think coherently. I would be writing and stumble because I knew there was a perfect word for what I wanted to say, but couldn’t ‘find’ it in my brain. What kind of writer loses words? Finally, telling this story involved more than just me. I was concerned about my ex-husband and how he would react to my honest tale. Making the decision that this was my story told from my recollections and feelings, I forged on. If he wants to tell his side, it’s a free country, he can write and publish a book. Who am I kidding? He probably won’t even read the thing!

Speaking of the effect you have on others, if you were stranded on a desert island with a group of people, which skill/s do you have that would help ensure the group’s survival?
I sure hope that desert island has lots of shade, doesn’t get too hot, and has lots of fruits (the edible kind, not the looney kind). The only skill I could lend to ensure our mutual survival is my natural aversion to conflict. I am a peace-keeper. As a highly sensitive middle-child, I have learned how to anticipate when tension is brewing and use my humor and/or negotiation skills to avert conflict. We may be stranded, but I’d make sure we were all cooperating and being nice to each other.

Those are important skills Lorna. No shelters or rafts are going to get built if everyone is fighting, right? Now, looking back at your life, what advice would you give to your teenage self?
Use your unique voice, Lorna; don’t squelch it just to please others. You don’t have to put on an act. The real you is a show worth seeing. And get some help with that drinking problem.

And finally, and this isn’t a hint (although I am free on Saturday), if I came round for dinner, what would you cook for me, and what sort of entertainment would you provide?
I make a delicious vegan eggplant parmesan with quinoa pasta (gluten-free). I would serve it with a fresh tossed salad with a homemade dressing of aged balsamic vinegar and Tuscan herb olive oil. And my specialty: challah, which I couldn’t have, but you could. For dessert, a bowl of fresh fruit drizzled with mango sauce (no sugar added). Healthy and delicious. Oh, and Melbeck wine from Argentina (that’s Phil’s favorite wine). I’d have seltzer water. As for entertainment…Scrappy has an amazing number of adorable tricks. Maybe not a whole evening’s worth, but I’m sure we’d find lots to chit-chat about too. [Editor’s note: Phil is Lorna’s man, and Scrappy is her dog, in case you thought it was the other way around]

Sounds great! 7pm ok for Saturday?

Thank you so much for your time Lorna.
My pleasure.

Right, the giveaway works like this…
1) You leave a comment on this post by 11pm (GMT) on 31 January 2013.
2) I put the names into a hat and get one of my kids to draw one out.
3) I let the winner know that they have won a copy of Lorna’s book, ‘How Was I Supposed to Know?’ and they can pick either the paperback version or an e-book in their preferred format.
4) They get their book.
5) They read it and love it.

If you would like to buy the book for yourself, then this page on Lorna’s blog has the buying details – http://lornasvoice.com/how-was-i-supposed-to-know-a-memoir/

Well, what are you waiting for? Let the comments begin!

Author chat and a chance to win an Amazon gift card, oh yes!

Make Believe Blog Tour ButtonToday I’m joined on the couch by three wonderful authors; they’re here as part of their blog tour for ‘Make Believe’, an anthology published by J.Taylor Publishing. And as if that wasn’t exciting enough, I’m also giving away a £10 (approx. $16 US) Amazon gift card to one lucky person who comments on this post! *

The authors are J. A. Belfield, Jennifer M. Eaton, and J. Keller Ford. Welcome ladies. They are three of the six authors whose stories have been published in ‘Make Believe’. I read it, and I LOVED it. All six authors certainly know how to tell a story; adventures and fairytales for grown-ups, what a joy!

Make Believe book cover


Here’s a bit of info on the three gals…

J. A. Belfield

J.A.Belfied author imageBest known for writing the Holloway Pack series, J. A. Belfield lives in Solihull, England, with her husband, two children, three cats, and a dog. She writes paranormal romance with a second love for urban fantasy.

Her story in Make Believe: ‘Escort to Insanity’. Booking a male escort was supposed to be a simple affair for Nicole Harrington but somehow leads to the craziest night of her life—and Benjamin Gold is wholly to blame.

Blog | Twitter | Facebook

Jennifer M. Eaton

Jennifer M EatonJennifer Eaton lives on the east coast of the USA… where she pulls new worlds out of the air while juggling her knight in shining armor, three young princes, and a conceited poodle.

Her story in Make Believe: ‘Last Winter Red’. Emily leaves the safety of Terra in search of a husband, but what she finds outside the city walls will question everything she believes in, and the basic fabric of life as she knows it.

Blog | Twitter | Facebook

J. Keller Ford

J Keller-FordJ. “Jenny” Keller Ford lives on the west coast of Florida with her husband, two sons, three spoiled pets, and an endless supply of fictional characters desperately trying to escape her head.

Her story in Make Believe: ‘The Amulet of Ormisez’. When Lord Elton Fletcher returns home from war to find his brother possessed by a magical stone, he finds himself in yet another battle where the price of failure could be his own life.

Blog | Twitter | Facebook


I asked the same three questions to the three of them, so while me and the gals sit here on the couch eating virtual Christmas chocs and drinking virtual mulled wine, you can have a read through their answers…

1) The book is called ‘Make Believe’, but what did you make believe about when you were a child?

J. A. Belfield – Um … how many people are gonna read this before I answer? Okay, I’ll ‘fess up. When I was waaaaaaaay younger, I used to do a lot of putting myself in the spotlight imaginings. So when I played on my roller blades, I’d pretend I was in a competition and do spins and stuff and pretend the crowd was clapping whilst mumbling commentary under my breath. Also, in our kitchen, there was a big square window right in front of the main work surface, and whenever I baked (which I did quite a lot) I would talk to the window like it was a TV camera and I was on my own cooking show. But seriously, don’t tell anyone. I have my rep to think of, ya know?

Jennifer M. Eaton – Oh!  Tons of stuff.  I was always on one wild fantasy or another.  I think I saved the world three times, and the galaxy twice.  Yeah, I was a bit of an under-achiever.

J. Keller Ford – I loved playing dress up, even into my early tweens.  I loved gowns with elbow length gloves and would collect them from thrift shops like some people collect trinkets.  I was a bit of an actress even then, and would often write stories and act them out for family and friends.  Yes, I was a bit eccentric.  I still read my stories aloud as it helps me to find unnatural words and cadence.

2) If you had the opportunity to do one of these, which would you choose and why? a) Travel into space. b) Time travel into the past or future. c) Swap lives with somebody rich and famous for one week.

J. A. Belfield – Eeeek. Well, I definitely wouldn’t travel into space. The mere thought of it scares the bejeebus outta me. I have no desire to travel into the past because what’s happened already should never be tampered with and consequences are there for people to learn from. If we had the ability to go back and alter every crappy decision we ever made, we’d never treat our lives with the respect they deserve. And I think seeing what’s up and coming would be a seriously dangerous tool for anyone to have. So, I’d have to go with ‘c‘ – though who I’d swap lives with would take a whooole lotta consideration.

Jennifer M. Eaton – I think I would time-travel.  I’m really into history… especially ancient Egypt and Medieval times – you know – knights and castles and all that stuff.  I’m sure as fascinating as it would be though, I’d be glad to come home.  I like my modern conveniences… and writing a novel with a feather dipped in ink sounds painful.

J. Keller Ford – Hmm, time travel, definitely.  I would love to go back to June 13, 1886 to Berg Castle in Germany and find out how King Ludwig II actually died.  Was it suicide?  Murder?  If only Lake Starnberg could talk.

3) How would your closest friends describe you?

J. A. Belfield – Probably as slightly vacant and nuttier than the nuttiest fruit cake. Ha!

Jennifer M. Eaton – Ha!  Unpredictable. I’m one of those really quiet people who pops up and surprises you once in a while.  I have a very wild side, but I keep it under wraps with the hubby and kids… well, my oldest son is starting to see it.  Yeah, I am the mad woman who ran through a corn field with my kids a few weeks ago doing research for my novel.  My youngest was afraid we’d get arrested… okay… maybe I cut loose with my kids too.  Don’t tell my husband. 🙂

J. Keller Ford – Don’t know, so I asked.  From the mouth of one of my best friends: “Jenny is passionately stubborn, overly-trusting, loving, moody, impulsive, weird, imaginative and a free spirit who forgets on a daily basis how amazingly wonderful and beautiful she is, both inside and out.” Yeah, ok.  *blush*


* Amazon gift card giveaway info/rules

1) Leave an interesting/funny/sparkling comment on this post by 11pm (GMT) on Friday 28 December (actually, dull and uninteresting comments have just as much chance of winning – it’s random!).

2) After the closing date, I will put all the names in a hat and ask one of Santa’s elves to randomly pick one out. In the unlikely event of my not being able to find an elf, I will ask one of my children to randomly pick a winner out of the hat. I will select which of my children will do this by asking one of Santa’s elves to randomly pick one of them. Oh no…wait. Well it’ll be random anyway.

3) The lucky winner will be notified and will receive a £10 Amazon gift card. If the winner is outside of the UK, I will check the currency exchange rate applicable on 28 December and will get an Amazon gift card closest to that amount from the relevant country’s Amazon website.

4) The lucky recipient will spend the gift card at Amazon on whatever they like. As a completely random suggestion, plucked out of nowhere, they could buy an anthology, such as ‘Make Believe‘.

You’ve got one week people, so get commenting! Additionally, I am informed that random commenters throughout the blog tour will receive ebook copies of either ‘For the Love of Christmas’ (another anthology which includes a story by Jennifer M. Eaton) or ‘Make Believe’, so even more reason to comment.

And follow this Rafflecopter link for even MORE chances to win – a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you so much for your time ladies. I wish you, and all my readers, a very Merry Christmas!

Candy cane with holly

News about your ticket!

Do you believe in luck? If you do, then guess what? I’m currently experiencing a lucky streak! And if you don’t, then guess what? I’m currently experiencing a series of unrelated good occurences. A lot of people say that you make your own luck, but I don’t really understand what that means, in fact I’m pretty sure it’s a phrase that doesn’t really hold up to scrutiny. But I guess the point of it is to say that you are responsible for making your own success, and that’s what the logical part of me believes.

Starting 10 days ago, I have had these wins:

1) I won a bookmark signed by J.Keller-Ford, one of the authors of the soon to be released anthology ‘Make Believe’, by being the randomly selected person who solved a riddle on her blog – http://jennykellerford.wordpress.com/2012/09/29/did-you-figure-it-out/

Bookmark - Make Believe

2) I won £10 on the Lotto lottery.

3) I won £3.10 on the Euromillions lottery.

4) I won a copy of the newly published book ‘Graeveburn’, signed by its author, Craig Hallam, over at his blog, by wearing the front cover of his book as a dress! (Don’t ask) – http://craighallam.wordpress.com/2012/10/06/competition-winner/

Book - Graeveburn
5) I won an ARC copy of the soon to be released anthology ‘Make Believe’ (yes, the one that I won the bookmark for in prize one!), by writing a poem which begged for the release of another of the authors, Jennifer M.Eaton, who had been tied up by a little blue lady from Mars (the things I do to win prizes!). For those who don’t know, ARC stands for ‘Advanced Reader Copy’, so that means I get to read it before it’s even released, yay! – http://jennifermeaton.com/2012/10/07/its-been-all-about-memes-lately-whatsa-meme-anyway-aka-another-lesson-in-writing-without-looking-oh-and-we-have-a-winner/
Book - Make Believe
6) I won a $10 Amazon Gift card from Carrie Rubin, author of ‘The Seneca Scourge’, by being one of two randomly selected people on Char’s blog, Joy in the Moments. I shall of course spend the gift card on buying Carrie’s book! – http://joyinthemoments.com/2012/10/08/winners-and-smelly-dogs/
Book - The Seneca Scourge

Yes, all that has been in the last 10 days, and in case you’re wondering, I haven’t been entering LOADS of things. To the best of my recollection, these are the only things I have entered in that time. Oh, I think there’s one more on another blog where the winner hasn’t been announced yet…

The lottery wins bring me to the title of this post. Here in the UK we have the option of buying our lottery tickets online. The benefit of buying them online is that you don’t have to remember to check your numbers, the site emails you if you’ve won. The downside is that the site emails you if you’ve won. The problem is in the cruelty of the email. The email arrives with the subject line ‘News about your ticket!’. You know this means you have won, but it doesn’t tell you how much, it just tells you to log in to your account. During that time from when you receive the email until you log in, you dare to dream, you dare to build up your hopes, and then you log in and your hopes are dashed as you discover that you have won just a few pounds. Do you see the cruelty? I don’t want to seem ungrateful, but… At least they have dropped the word ‘exciting’; the emails used to say ‘We have exciting news about your ticket!’ which was even more cruel, now it just says ‘News about your ticket!’ but they still couldn’t resist leaving the exclamation mark in at the end.

Whatever logical thoughts I usually have get thrown out of the window as soon as I receive the ‘News about your ticket!’ email. I start to believe that maybe I can influence the outcome, depending on how and when I choose to log in to my lottery account – maybe I have won the millions, but unless I log in to my account within 30 seconds of receiving the email, it will shrink back to a small prize…or maybe it’s currently a small prize, but if I leave it for a few minutes, hours, or even days, it will give the luck a chance to grow the small prize into a big prize…or maybe it has nothing to do with the timing, but everything to do with the method, maybe I have to stand on my head and use my toes to tap the password in. Whatever the right way is to log in to maximise the luck, I certainly haven’t discovered it yet.

So going back to my little series of wins, again, any logical thoughts have been cast aside and I have been pondering on how I can make best use of the luck I am currently experiencing. Should I enter more competitions? Should I buy extra lottery tickets? Or maybe luck doesn’t like to be tested, so perhaps I should just sit and wait for more luck to be thrown in my direction. What are the rules when it comes to luck? Anyone know?