Saturday, May 7, 2011

Guest Post + Giveaway: Baby, write me a letter by Naomi Bulger, author of Airmail

 I'm very pleased to introduce to you the wonderful Naomi Bulger, author of the newly released novella Airmail. Naomi has written us a guest post that I think you all should check out below. It is based on her experience with penpals growing up and the impact of technology on penpalling. At the end of her post, Naomi has generously offered up a copy of her book to one lucky winner!


Baby, write me a letter
A guest post by Naomi Bulger, author of Airmail

Growing up I had a cousin, Laurence, who lived in New Caledonia. We only ever met once but we wrote letters every month, each using the other’s language to practice what we learned at school. Ours was a form of friendship that has all-but died out in today’s world, as far as I can tell: we were pen-pals. 

We’d write about our lives. In broken English, Laurence would tell me what it was like to dig for pipis in the shallow waters by the beach, then cook them in the sand. She’d tell me about breakfast with Tontine Yvonne (our mutual aunty), who’d spill all the family gossip while breaking open baguettes to let the steam escape and spreading them inside with candied honey.

In broken French, I’d tell Laurence about the horse-riding lessons I was taking out in the Australian bush, the costume I planned to wear to my end-of-year ballet recital, and that my singing teacher had given us a black-and-white puppy who had a crooked ear but already knew how to sit and shake hands. 

My pleasure in receiving a letter from Laurence began even before I opened it. On the red and blue-trimmed airmail envelope, my address in her handwriting was a beautiful cursive compared to my childlike print, rich with old-fashioned loops and swirls although she was only 10. The stamps were foreign. Often, Laurence would draw little pictures on the outside of the envelope, or decorate them with scratch ‘n sniff stickers.

That was more than 20 years ago. I don’t have pen-pals today, I have Facebook friends. I don’t write letters, I send text-messages. And I don’t write anything out by hand. I’m much faster at typing.

I could mourn the lost art of letter-writing, and in some senses I do. Writing a letter by hand is deeply personal, and the reader gains insight into the very process of your thinking, as your mistakes or changes of heart are crossed out, and new thoughts are crammed between the lines and into the margins. 

But if I’m honest, I think I miss the romance of letters more than the intimacy it provided. Email, Skype and instant messaging bring us closer than letters ever made us. What we lose in penmanship and the tactile joy of paper in the hand, we gain in the frequency with which we’re now able to share, and the presence of our friends’ voices and even their faces. My friends overseas, now, are more than pen-pals. They are true pals. When we need each other, we can be instantly in touch.

So I wouldn’t substitute today’s technology for yesterday’s romance, but there’s no reason why I can’t have both. Today I’m going to message my friends on Facebook and ask them for their postal addresses. And every now and then, I’m going to write one of them a letter. Just for fun. Now, where did I put those scratch ‘n sniff stickers?

My question for you: Did you have a childhood pen-pal? What did you write about? 

Airmail, a new magic realism novella by Naomi Bulger, was published in April 2011, and is available online at Barnes  Noble  and numerous other good bookstores. Naomi maintains a blog about writing, creativity and the absurdities of life at, and she promises to write a personal letter of thanks to everyone who buys a copy of Airmail.


Book and Giveaway Details:

 Reclusive old Mr. G.L. Solomon's favorite things are single malt whiskey, Steve McQueen movies, and gingersnap cookies. He hates processed cheese, washing detergent commercials, and the way the teacup rattles in the saucer when he picks it up. Solomon has become accustomed to his lonely routine in Sydney, Australia-until the day he begins sporadically receiving letters in his mailbox from a complete stranger. On the other side of the world, Anouk is a mentally delicate young woman living in New York who insists she is being stalked by a fat woman in a pink tracksuit. When Anouk declares to Solomon that she is writing "from the Other Side," the old man breaks away from his daily grind of watching soap operas and reading Fishing World and travels to New York to find her. As he is drawn into Anouk's surreal world of stalkers and storytelling, marbles and cats, purgatory and Plato, Solomon has but one goal-to unravel the mystery before it is too late.

How to enter:
Leave a comment stating you want to be entered into the giveaway as well as a way to contact you if you win.

-Open Internationally
-Must be 13 or older to participate
-one copy of Airmail by Naomi Bulger will be awarded to a random entry chosen by random number generator

Extra entries (+1 each)
-follow Naomi on Twitter, Facebook, or Goodreads
-follow 100 Stars Or Less (this blog) on Google Friend Connect
-Spread the news by sharing a link to the giveaway (Twitter, Facebook, Sidebar, etc)
-Leave a comment answering Naomi's question above

Giveaway ends May 28, 2011
Winner will be announced on 100 Stars Or Less and will be notified via email. Winner will have 48 hours to respond or another entry will be chosen as an alternative winner.


  1. Sounds like an interesting book. I'd like to enter the giveaway please.

    I'm a GFC follower (Judith). I also tweeted about the giveaway:!/Leeswammes/status/66923879192465408

    I can easily answer Naomi's question, because I had quite a few pen pals. I had at least 3 or 4 in the Netherlands, my own country, as well as one in Malta and one in Czechoslovakia.

    We wrote about normal daily life I think, nothing in particular. With the girls abroad we compared customs in our countries. I loved having these penpals. I think it kept me just as busy as blogging these days.

    jh303015 at gmail dot com

  2. The premise for Naomi Bulger's book is so darn interesting, who would not want to be entered for a chance to win it? Count me in, please! :)

    Extra entries:
    +1 Following Naomi on Twitter (@inluvwithbookz), Facebook and Goodreads (Hira Hasnain).

    +1 I'm a GFC Follower of this blog: ~Enamored Soul~

    +1 Tweeted the Giveaway:!/inluvwithbookz/status/66943286283218944

    +1 Shared the Giveaway on Google Buzz:

    +1 Answer to Naomi Bulger's question: Yes, I did indeed have a pen-pal when I was young. My father had been training to be a liaison to the country of Kenya, and in my excitement, I found myself a pen-pal in the city of Nairobi. She was a young girl, a year younger than I (I was 9 then), named Nadah. Unfortunately, due to some family issues, my father did not end up being the liaison and we didn't end up in Kenya, but she and I continued corresponding till I was 14 years old. The thing I love most about this book is that the cover totally reminds me of the letters that Nadah would send to me, since the envelopes had the same blue and red edges (the blue was a much darker, navy colored blue, though).

    Thank you so much for this amazing opportunity.

    GFC Follower: ~Enamored Soul~
    Email: Enamoredsoul(at)gmail(dot)com

  3. I'm so pleased to be a part of this giveaway!

    Extras: - following on goodreads
    - following on GFC

    Question: Yes I did have a childhood pen pal and we were both huge fans of Duran Duran so we wrote about them. Thanks! Margaret

  4. Awesome guest post, Naomi! I already read about your book on my friend's website (Ashton the book blogger) and since then it's on my TBR list:) would love to win a copy!

    First, let me answer the question:
    Yup, I've had and still have many Penpalls, I love the thrill of receiving a letter or a package from an overseas friend! Ever since I can remember I enjoyed learning about different culture and what's a abetted sauce of knowledge than people themselves? I still have several great pen palls, who became my lifelong friends and I'm sure will be great friends forever! One of my Penpalls is now my husband :)


    I'm a follower!

    Total : 3 entries

    Thanks for this awesome giveaway!

  5. Thanks so much to Erika for the opportunity to post on this blog, and good luck everyone in the competition. I so deeply appreciate your support! All the best, Naomi

  6. I'd love a chance into this giveaway thanks!

    unforgetable_dreamer_always (at) hotmail (dot) com

  7. Ever since I saw this book on GoodReads, I've had in on my to-read shelf. I'd love to receive a copy!

    -Answer: I had a penpal from Texas for a while. Except instead of letters, we would chat through email. It was really fun. We would talk about anything and everything, mostly the differences between our countries. It was one of the most enlightening things I've done.

    -I follow this blog

    -I follow your GoodRead's account

  8. Sounds great!

    -Follow via GFC quixoticdreamer

    -Follow via Twitter QuixoticWeetzie


    -Answer: No I never had a penpal as a child but it would have been nice...

  9. forgot to add my e-mail quixoticdreamer(at)hotmail(dot)com

  10. I'd love to enter!

    - follow Naomi on Twitter @aikchien

    - follow Naomi on Facebook - Aik Chien

    - follow Naomi on Goodreads - Aik Chien

    - follow 100 Stars Or Less on Google Friend Connect - Aik

    - Spread the news by sharing a link to the giveaway (Twitter)!/aikchien/status/67535945917939712

    - No, but I'd love to have one if possible. It would be fun writing to someone from a different country.

    aikychien at yahoo dot com

  11. The summary sounds fantastic. I would really love to read this book.

    Im pretty sure I have to be excluded from the contest since I am Erika's sister, so I'll leave the giveaway to others!

    BTW - I did have pen pals as a young girl, I actually had 3. My favourite cousin, a friend of hers who I met once and we struck up a relationship and started writing, and the third was a girl in a missionary family in South America (her letters were the most interesting).

    I still have most of these old letters in a shoebox somewhere. Makes me want to dig them out and read them again :)

  12. I'm loving all the penpal responses! Keep them coming...I'm going to have to do my own response soon :)

  13. How intriguing. I would love to win this book. I never had a pen pal but whenever I had the chance to write a letter, I did. Still do. I own a selection of monogrammed stationary! Donna

    I am a new follower. I would love a follow on my blog when you have a moment. Thanks. Donna

  14. Hi!
    I'm a GFC follower of the blog and I follow Naomi on Facebook,Twitter and Goodreads. my answer:I've never had a pen-pal but there were some attempts.
    petra_socaciu@yahoo(dot)com .

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