Giveaway Winners, Chocolate Experiments, and a Guest Post

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Huzzah! Random.org (my go-to random number generator!) has chosen a winner of last week’s hot chocolate giveaway, and it is: Rene! And oh, I do love this photo she posted for the giveaway:

What a good dog! :)

My new order of Winter Spice hot chocolate (one bag for me, one bag for the giveaway winner) arrived today from Black Mountain Gold, and it included a lovely surprise – they’d included one of their newest Dragon Bars, Mombar Dragon, with the note that it’s “super healthy and yummy.” Honestly, I was not only nervous but downright skeptical when I looked at the full list of ingredients. I don’t like liquorice in general, and: cumin? turmeric? coriander? in a chocolate bar? really? – but I love Black Mountain Gold chocolate in general, and I wasn’t about to turn down a free gift…so I thought, okay. I’ll just take a small bite.

Guess what? It is, in fact, super yummy. You mostly taste the mint and dark chocolate in the first bite, but then there’s a really unexpectedly pleasant warmth of aftertaste where the cumin/turmeric/etc gives some warm, savory heat that somehow blends beautifully with the sweetness rather than clashing with it at all.

I was only going to take one taster bite, just to sample it, but…well, you can see the situation it’s in now, just ten minutes later. Oops! ;)

(PS: the Mombar Dragon Bar and the Winter Spice hot chocolate aren’t listed on Black Mountain Gold’s website yet, but you can already order either of them by emailing through their contact email address – that’s how I did it! They’re really friendly and efficient – I emailed my order yesterday morning and it arrived less than 24 hours later.)

Thanks so much to everybody who’s already reviewed Snowspelled on Amazon and elsewhere. I really, really appreciate it – every single review makes a huge difference! (I’m crossing my fingers that we might actually hit the magic number of 50 reviews on Amazon this time round – we’re already getting close on Amazon.com! Remember: even one-line reviews like “Excellent” / “Horrible” / “I loved it” / “I hated it and need to drink an ocean of hot chocolate in order to recover from the trauma of reading it!” totally count. ;) )

It’s been getting some really lovely book-blog and other online reviews, too. I was really, really happy to see it reviewed in the latest Book Riot Romance newsletter (a newsletter I’ve subscribed to for ages! so I loved seeing my book there), which said

“The compelling plot and the effortlessly diverse world kept me smiling and sighing in this single-sitting read.”

Hooray!

And today I’m guesting over at Mary Robinette Kowal’s blog, talking about just why Snowspelled was such a personal story for me. This was, to be honest, a very vulnerable blog entry to write – I’m talking there about my own M.E./CFS and the fact that Snowspelled (for all its frothy magical and romantic fun) is the first time I’ve really written about my experience with chronic illness. (This is also – being vague so as to avoid spoilers! – one of the reasons why I’ve been so happy to see people resonating with the ending of the story. It’s very personal to me.) Anyway – check out the blog entry!

And now I’m going to drink some lovely Winter Spice hot chocolate to buck myself up after having exposed my vulnerabilities in public. ;)

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