Last month, one of my favourite authors of all time, and all-round lovely human being, Zoe Marriott, held a Massive Reviewer Reward Giveaway. All you had to do was review her most recent book, Barefoot on the Wind, on Amazon and you would be entered to win the Grand Prize – including swag, chocolate, a signed copy of Barefoot on the Wind and bookplates, and most exciting of all, the beginning of her current literally-being-written-right-now book, a retelling of the story of Mulan.
Spoilers: I won! I almost thought I was hallucinating when I scrolled down on that post and saw my name, but it was really there! I’m so lucky, and so grateful to Zoe for putting together this amazing prize. As I write this, I keep peeking over the edge of my bed and… Yep! The (huge!) box is still there!
There was so much in the box, I couldn’t express all my excitement, appreciation and thanks in mere tweets, so I decided to do a proper unboxing post, to give all of these beautiful things enough space to shine.
But I digress. The box contained, as promised, plentiful swag (including two The Name of the Blade series notebooks, which I didn’t even realise was a thing!!), a signed and beautifully decorated copy of Barefoot on the Wind (my plain, undecorated copy has been inserted to provide the cover) and bookplates, a lovely card, a gorgeous BotW-themed necklace (more details below), some seed packets (I assume these are seeds, are they rose seeds, you’re going to have to help me out here, Zoe!), chocolate in both bar and truffle form (both forms being, as my mum and I can now attest, delicious), and finally (finally!), cunningly disguised but recognisable from Zoe’s signature in green there, the beginning of Zoe’s current project!
*insert out of breath pterodactyl screech here*
Wow, Zoe, thank you so much! This is a completely amazing prize, thank you so much for putting this together! I wasn’t sure how public the new book is – I feel like you’ve posted an extract on your blog before and I know the (fantastic!) title is up on your NanoWriMo page but I know how precious and changeable these things can be – hence the cunning disguise in the above pic. Consider me sworn to secrecy on anything you yourself haven’t made public at any point!
Below are some close-up pics of this mind-blowing haul, including the (am I saying gorgeous too much?) gorgeous arrow necklace, which is a reference to the heroine of Barefoot on the Wind, Hanna, who is the only hunter in her village who dares to go near the Dark Woods….
Also, a thing I’ve just realised is that Zoe has cleverly aligned her signature so that the Walker Bear’s candle dots the ‘i’ of Marriott! Nice one! Also also, the dedication made me well up, because it is simply beautiful.
Phew! This was a long post – though I do seem to be making a habit of long posts – but I finally feel like I’ve done all of the work and care that Zoe put into this prize justice. She is such a kind and generous person – and not just because she builds great prizes for her readers! Zoe Marriott’s Daughter of the Flames was one of the first books I read that really made me see what words could do, and made me want to take my own writing seriously. She’s the reason that the words ‘Creative’ and ‘Writing’ are even in my degree title, and therefore probably a significant causality in me working in publishing at all. And when I first met my platonic soul-twin, I made her read Zoe Marriott’s books immediately, and she loved them too. So, yeah. Not to be sappy or anything, but I feel like I owe a lot to Zoe’s writing. And if I ever DO manage to finish writing something that I actually like, and if it ever DOES get published, then she’ll definitely be someone who helped make that happen.
Ugh, sappy thoughts late at night, so much sap I’m practically a pine tree! But my filter turned off like half an hour ago, otherwise I’d have been too embarrassed to write this down. And in the morning, when I review before I post, I’ll do my best to keep most of this disgusting sentiment in. *thumbs up*