Give, Give, Give! (Mary Strand)

This month at YA Outside the Lines, we’re supposed to offer YOU, our readers, a giveaway of some sort.

It’s unbelievable how much I give and give and give.  J

But, seriously, here are 10 things I’m giving away for the holidays. Your holidays, whatever they are.

1. ONE lucky winner (U.S. residents only, sorry!) gets a CD by one of my fave Minneapolis bands, the Belfast Cowboys: This Magic Night. Why? It was one of my go-to CDs this year as I zipped around this summer in my convertible, and I bought an extra copy because I thought SOME lucky person should also get to experience this. I just didn’t know who. That lucky person turned out to be YOU. Well, one of you. Just tell me your favorite holiday song!


2. ONE lucky winner gets a copy of my YA novel, Pride, Prejudice, and Push-Up Bras. Here’s the hitch: if you’re a U.S. resident, you can choose whether you prefer ebook or paper. If you’re not a U.S. resident, you’re limited to an ebook. Sorry! Just tell me your favorite thing to do for the December holidays. (Any December holidays!)


(Old and new covers, same book!)

3. Just because you put up with reading my blog post, YOU are the very first (aside from a handful of people I’ve shown on my phone, but, really, we’re talking only 5 or 6, tops, so this is still a victory to be savored) to see the cover of my upcoming women’s fiction novel, Sunsets on Catfish Bar.  Yeah, yeah, it’s not YA. But I’m going to be releasing a women’s fiction trilogy in 2022 when I’m not otherwise writing YA. I can’t wait!


4. Free books for all! Here’s one site, FreeBooksy, that offers them ALL THE TIME. I’m including the link for their YA books, but you can easily find other genres by scrolling through their website. Note: they also feature some bargain books (99 cents or $1.99), but they feature a ton of free ebooks, yours for the taking.

5. Charitable giving ideas: okay, so this is a gift FROM you, not to you, but the greatest gift is in giving, right? Right! Nicholas Kristof chooses a few charities each year that he thinks are the best to give your money to that year. Sounds crazy, perhaps, but I think he makes great recommendations, and last year we took a family vote and donated to two of the charities he recommended. This year he’s recommending one organization that works to restore sight around the world, one that fights sexual violence in the Congo, and one that helps young people in the U.S. find job opportunities.  Here’s the article with his recommendations this year.

6. I spend too much time on Facebook (something I’m trying to cure, somewhat), but it sometimes offers cool things. Here’s one: a website called Radio Garden, which links to radio stations around the world. You just click on a dot, which represents a radio signal, and tune in. A few nights ago, I was listening to music in South America, Spain, France, Japan, Ireland, and Australia.  It was a blast!  To find it, I just type in on my phone or computer, even though that doesn’t look like a legitimate link. It is!

7. Facebook and other social media offer way too much negative news, not to mention nastiness. Here’s one exception: a page called Good People News, which, yep, shares stories about good people and good things. For a happier day, here’s the link.

8. This may not seem like a gift - like, not even remotely; ha ha - but I now have a YouTube channel, because my first single will be released sometime early in 2022, and hopefully my first album later in 2022. I’ve uploaded to my YouTube channel my first two videos: a live version and a demo version of my upcoming first single, “Golden Girl.” 

9. There are tons of holiday songs and videos at this time of year, of course. Here’s a video of “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen” made for grammar geeks like me: all about where the comma placement should occur in the song title. It’s funny!

10. Finally, I saw this internet article about 18 of the best freebies you can find, and I thought it was pretty interesting! 

Enjoy your holidays, whatever they are (or aren’t), and remember that self-care is the gift that keeps on giving, especially in a month like December, which tends to come gift-wrapped with Too Many Expectations. As the airlines always say, put on your own oxygen mask before helping others. With that in mind, I just booked a massage in a couple of weeks. Do something nice for yourself today!

Mary Strand is the author of Pride, Prejudice, and Push-Up Bras and three other novels in the Bennet Sisters YA series. You can find out more about her at


  1. Sounds like a lot of interesting things.
    Theresa Norris
    weceno at yahoo dot com


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