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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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Originally Posted by donaharrisburg:

Beautiful cover!  Eye-popping!  I had no idea Hallmark carries your books. 

Because I had to order online I went to Borders for your Ultimate Cookie book and they had to order it - lol.  I still had to wait for it.  (smiling)  Well, I'll be off to Hallmark... Congratulations!

Thanks! Well, that's because they don't! All Hallmark carries is this limited holiday edition of Cookie Swap - it's a pared down version of the larger book that you can find on Amazon. And it will only be offered this holiday season.

Honestly, I would keep the book! But if I had to share it, I would give it to my dear friend. She constantly likes and appreciates all the cookies I make. It would be the perfect gift for her, as she loves baking too!

I would love to have it for my own collection, but I have a sister-in-law that hosts a very elegant cookie exchange party every year. The same women have attended for many yeats. So many years now that all of the daughters attending are now bringing their own daughters. your book would be a perfect gift for her.

I would give the book to my 16yr old daughter who already has her own small baking business " The Whisk and Wooden Spoon ", and wants to train to be a patisserie chef! Must say though I would definitely be borrowing it a lot!!!

Beautiful cover!  Eye-popping!  I had no idea Hallmark carries your books. 

Because I had to order online I went to Borders for your Ultimate Cookie book and they had to order it - lol.  I still had to wait for it.  (smiling)  Well, I'll be off to Hallmark... Congratulations!

I think I will repeat what almost anyone else here is telling..... I would give that book to... ME!!!!!! I'm a book there's no way I'd give away such a precious thing!!! Congrats for your re-launch!!!

I'm hoping to get my daughters in the baking/cookie loving life. So far so good, but they are only 4 at the moment. This would be a WONDERFUL book to give to them and use as a family cookiebook. I would have to go buy a second copy of course, you can't give twins just ONE. 

I would happily gift it to my wonderful, sister in law, KarlaW, who introduced me to the wonderful world of cookies!  But, I am secretly hoping she wins and gifts it to me! (I sure hope she registers!)

Oh how wonderful Julia. Congratulations. It really does look quite special with the ribbon, sprig and tag.
Before I joined Cookie Connection, I had to check out who you were (remember I'm 0,000's of miles awayin NZ) and I was really interested in the ideas behind this book - you have refreshed it in my mind- thank you.
My Daughter Emily (almost 11) has a growing kitchen book collection and is proving to be quite the talented cookier (from watching me surreptitiously I might add) and it would make a wonderful addition for her to 'grow' into.
Off to start sharing Thanks, Kat

Dear Julia,
Even if I'd like ti keep This lovely book for me, I'll give it to the daugther of my cousin. Her name Is Sofia, she Is 10 . She loves cookies and Cakes and I always share recipes with her . Her Dream Is to become a pastry chef.
she has an incredible talent and I often forget that she is just 10 years old :-).
Thanks for This opportunity
Lots of love

Hi Julia! First of all, congratulations on your book and thank you for the chance to win it! I would honestly LOVE to get it for myself, but if I haaaaaaaaveeeee to give it to someone I know I would probably give it to a friend of mine who makes and decorates cakes, so she can expand her horizons.

I agree with most of the comments here: it would be pretty hard not to keep it for myself! Although, on the bright side, that would mean lots of new cookies I'd be giving away to family and friends, so they'd probably be OK with that. But if there's anyone I would give it to, it would be my Mum, who passed on her passion for baking and taught me everything she knows about baking. I kind of owe her.