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Hello, Hallmark! National Cookie Month Giveaway #1

Well, I've got a bit of exciting news - for me and for you! Admittedly, this announcement feels a little anticlimactic, as I've been privy to this information for close to a year. Around about January, my book Cookie Swap, first published in 2009, was licensed to Hallmark for a bit of re-gifting, if you will. Basically, a second crack at sitting on bookstore shelves - which can be a very good thing for starving authors like me. (If you don't know the premise behind the original book, it basically advocates for cookie swaps not just at Christmas, but every time of year! More here.)


As for the licensing idea: Condense the chapters a touch, put a Christmassy spin on the cover and packaging (i.e., red bow, pine sprig, and tag), and feature it as the perfect holiday hostess gift in Hallmark store across the US and Canada!


Well, all that's been done, I've received my advance copies, and October 4 - about a week ago today - was the official launch date in stores! (To find the Hallmark store closest to you, check out this handy Hallmark store locator. Also to note: many Hallmark stores are independent retailers and it's up to them whether to carry a certain Hallmark product or not. So it's best to call first to check availability.)



Revamped Hallmark edition book jacket, featuring vintage-2009 cookie box by moi, sans red bow, pine sprig, and tag. Image by Steve Adams.



All tied up with ribbon and pine sprig. Plus, a fab Cookie Connection tote bag! Image by Julia M Usher.



The Hallmark team really did a nice job with the packaging. There's even a special bookplate page inside where you can inscribe the book. Image by Julia M Usher.


Enough about me! Here's where you come in!


To celebrate National Cookie Month and the book launch (or re-launch, as is really more accurate), I'll be giving away a copy of the book and an exclusive Cookie Connection canvas tote (pictured above) to each of two winners ($40 retail value each, with shipping anywhere included).


All you have to do to enter is:

  1. Share this post (using the links at the very bottom of the post) on as many social networks as possible! (Pssst . . . I'll never be able to verify that you did this, but I'll deeply appreciate any and all spreading of the word.)
  2. In the comments area below, tell me to whom you will give this book, and why, if you should win it. (Note: You must be a Cookie Connection member to comment here. To join, simply go to the home page of this site, click on "Join Community" in the upper left, and follow the prompts.)
  3. Do all of the above no later than October 18, 2014 (5 pm central).

At that time, the giveaway will close, and I'll randomly draw two people from among the commenters to receive the prizes. If you don't win this time, there should be an ample stash of books at your neighborhood Hallmark store* (hint, hint ) and maybe - just maybe - I'll be doing another giveaway. (Note the #1 in the giveaway title!)


Best of luck!


* Again, it's best to call your local store first to check availability, as not all stores may carry it.


P.S. Interested in other new cookie books hitting bookstore shelves during National Cookie Month? Check out this related post.




Thanks, everyone, for participating and helping to spread the word about my new book. It looks like three very young bakers will be the recipients of these books judging from the two winning comments (#12 and #34 from Jan Mac and Kelcy Workman, respectively) below. Aspiring bakers are my favorite kinds of winners!


JanMac - Comment 12

Kelcy Workman - Comment 34


Congrats, ladies (and daughters)! I'll be contacting you in few to get your mailing addresses!


Images (5)
  • Cookie Swap Book Jacket for Hallmark Edition: Cookies by Julia M Usher; Image by Steve Adams
  • Book, All Tied Up with Ribbon and Pine Sprig, Plus Cookie Connection Tote!: Image by Julia M Usher
  • Close-up of Tag and Ribbon: Image by Julia M Usher
  • Jan Mac - Winning Comment # 12
  • Kelcy Workman - Winning Comment #34

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Comments (84)

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I will be giving this cookie book to ME!  The heck with other people.  I do more baking than any other person I know and have had more cookie exchange parties than anyone else I know.  Who else would enjoy the book so much?  Although, I will admit, someone very close to me, a woman who I consider my "little sister" because we were Big and Little Sisters officially for 10 years have still always stayed in touch and although I've developed a love of cake baking and decorating in her, she's getting VERY attracted to the decorated cookies more so than I am.  (We were officially part of the Big Brother/Big Sister program. An OUTSTANDING organization and I HIGHLY encourage any woman or couple to become a "big" for a child from a "broken" home.)


It's been one of the greatest experiences of both mine and her lives.  As a cute tidbit what began as a 9-year old "little" sister of mine is now a 6'0" blond 34 year old special education school teacher, and...recently engaged (I made sure this brain-child went to college) while I'm STILL a short (I prefer petite really) 5'2" blond "big" sister who ended up self-employed after 10 years of college.  We laugh about how we ended up together althought we're VERY much alike in many ways, except height of course, more so than either one of us is with our family members. Most likely at some point either for Christmas, wedding, birthday or some sort of gift I'll be getting one of these for her too! She's my "baking buddy" and the one I most often share projects and information with. I make sure to share all of the decorated cookies I love on this site.


I'm hoping at some point to have a bridal shower for her which will be a "tea party" shower. My "little" (as we call them) has an extraspecial adoration for decorated cookies and petit fours.  


We both wish more of the amazingly, incredible, talented, artist decorators would do tutorials of their creations.  I guess I'm much more used to that in the cake world than I see done in the cookie world.  Congratulations on the re-release of your book!  Well-done!

Originally Posted by Cheryl Silas:

Congratulations...Will it be in Canada as well or just the US?

Not sure, Cheryl. I've asked them a few times and am waiting on an answer. Will let you know.

This is such a generous offering! If I won, I would gift this book to my daughter, who is my partner in cookie crimes. 


Why? For one thing, she loves to bake, decorate, and donate cookies to good causes. I love her altruism. On a more personal level, she has stood by me and taken physical and financial care of me through a long siege of radiation and chemotherapy--she was my ROCK, and I don't know what I would have done without her! (Every cancer patient needs and advocate, and she was it for me.) Most importantly, though, she would love this book--its premise simply fits her to a tee.

i would give the book to my sister - no question about it! (Although I would probably go and get a copy for myself too). I started dabbling in cookies early this summer and I was immediately hooked. I send my sister pictures of my cookies every time (she lives halfway across the country so it's a bit hard for her to see them in person). She started playing around too but hasn't quite gotten the hang of it so I would love to give her the book when we all meet up in St. Louis at Christmas (maybe with a platter of cookies) to help her along! Call it our adult version of sibling rivalry but it is fun to be able to connect over something while living so far apart. I constantly send her links to tutorials from the blog - thank you so much for having such a helpful and inspiring website.

Congrats on the "new" release. I would give the copy to my daughter who is 10 and loves to bake and cook. Although I think my little cousin would love one too. I guess I will be making a trip to Hallmark. Thanks for the giveaway. Good luck everyone. I also shared the giveaway.


Hi Julia!  If I win the book, I have a professor/friend who would just love it!  She loves when I bring cookies, but she's always talking about trying them herself!  Thank you!

Trisha McNeill

Honestly this might sound greedy but I would keep it for myself, as you are the one that inspired me to make these amazing creations. I have your other books and would love that book to add to my collection, with out sounding like a suck up or cheesy but your my inspiration and when people ask me where did I get the idea to start these project, I mention you Julia Usher. So even if I don't win it I will still go searching to buy it.

Hi Julia. After trying to make all your cookies I will most likely share it with my sister in law who also enjoys making cookies like me! Your cookies are so great! thanks for sharing!