Book History, podcast, Quirky Books

A Girl Named Anne Gets a Diary

Hello Book Nerds,

Seventy-eight years ago, a girl had her 13th birthday. And on that birthday she was given a book. The pages of that book were completely blank until she quickly jotted down a single sentence expressing her hope that the book would be a great support to her. 

Her writing career was cut brutally short two years later.

The girl was Anne Frank. The book in question would become her diary and a record of life trying to be normal under a very abnormal circumstances. And unfortunately, hate and utter cruelty would put an end to that life.

And it’s the story of how her diary turned into a book that would resonate and inspire hope in people across the world that I’m covering in this latest episode of The Book Owl Podcast.

Behind the Scenes

So when I was digging into a podcast topic for The Book Owl Podcast a couple weeks ago, I discovered that Anne Frank had been given her infamous diary on 12 June, which matched up well with my next release date of 11 June.

At the time, I was only thinking of how well Anne’s life in the attic could provide some perspective into everyone whining about Stay Home orders.

At the time, a man named George Floyd was still alive.

At the time, protesters against hatred and racism weren’t raising their voices across the country.

By the time I’d finished recording and editing, well…you know….

I really hadn’t intended the podcast episode to be a reflection on where hatred leads, but it’s hard not to tell the story of a young girl who died for no other reason than hatred and cruelty spurred on by the people in power without thinking about what’s going on today.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this more somber and timely episode. Clicking the image will take you to the episode’s web page where you can listen, or you can use the links just under the image to find plenty of other listening options.

Be Kind and Be Safe!!

Listening links…

Links mentioned…

Rough Transcript

Hey everyone, this is Tammie Painter and you’re listening to the Book Owl Podcast, the podcast where I entertain your inner book nerd with tales of quirky books and literary lore.

And while I usually try to keep things light and fun on this show, today we’re going to get a little somber with a story of a very special, very inspiring book written by a young girl who had great hopes for her future.

Now, because this is a more serious show, I’m not going to sully it with any sponsorship stuff. But I do want to say thanks to everyone who has been listening to the show! I love delving into these stories about books and libraries and stuff and it’s really humbling that you’re listening to them. 

And I want to give a ginormous amount of thank yous to Helen Crawford who mentioned the show on her blog a couple weeks ago. Helen, well, Helen makes monsters and I’m going to put a link in the show notes because you have to check her creations out. Each one of her hand knit Beasties – of which I have three – is unique, made of high-quality materials, and the amount of work and detail she puts into each one blows my mind. So do check out her site, but be warned…once you invite a Beastie into your life, things will never be the same!

Also I know a few of you over on Twitter have been sharing the podcast with others and that’s really brought a big grin to my face as have the very unexpected comments about my speaking voice. I’m going to be honest I HATE my voice and that really held me back from starting a podcast. So these compliments hav felt really weird and really unexpected and have really given me a huge boost in this endeavor. Anyway, as ever, if you like the show, I’d love it if you told just one other person about it. 

Alright enough babbling. It’s time to put a somber expression on The Book Owl’s beak. 

So, I’m releasing this episode on 11 June, but it’s actually in honor of a certain book that was given on 12 June 1942 to a girl on her 13th birthday. The pages of that book were completely blank until she quickly jotted down a single sentence expressing her hope that the book would be a great support to her. 

Her writing career was cut brutally short two years later, but her words of hope still touch readers today.

The girl was Anne Frank. The book in question would become her diary and a record of life trying to be normal under a very abnormal circumstances. And unfortunately, hate and utter cruelty would put an end to that life.

So Anne Frank was Jewish and she was born in 1929 in Frankfurt, Germany. This is right around the period when Germany was reeling from their defeat in World War I, their economy had tanked, and the Nazi’s were rising to power under the leadership of a rabble rousing, racist rogue named Adolf Hitler. So, basically Anne was born in both a really bad time and a really bad place to be Jewish. 

Because they didn’t like the vibe in Germany and because the German economy was doing so poorly, Anne’s parents, Otto and Edith, decide to move to Amsterdam. Good plan, Amsterdam’s a great city. Unfortunately, Hitler’s army shows up there in 1940 and starts throwing its weight around, including severe restrictions on Jews.

Then in early 1942, Anne’s older sister Margot gets a letter telling her she’s been recruited for work at a special camp. Yeah, just like a phishing spam email today, Otto and Edith weren’t buying this ruse. Trouble is they can’t leave the Netherlands due to those restrictions I just mentioned. 

So, Otto, again seeing what’s about to happen, begins remodeling the attic of his business on Prinsengracht. And one June day his daughter Anne picks out a journal which she is given as her birthday gift. About a month later, Otto’s family – which were himself, Edith, Margot, and Anne – and four other people enter the small attic that would be their their home for the next two years.

And during this time, Anne Frank writes in her journal. And boy does she write. She ends up filling most of the diary, then continues on filling up notebooks given to her by Margot.

At first Anne writes her diary to a range of imaginary friends, but by September she starts writing to one person who she names Kitty. Well, apparently Kitty was the cat’s meow because it’s not long after that Anne is writing solely to Kitty and dreaming of hanging out with her in Switzerland, which was neutral at the time, where they would go skating, star in a film, and probably giggle a lot over boys. 

So anyone who has been a teenage girl knows you have thoughts and feelings that you just HAVE to get out or you’ll burst. And of course you can’t tell anyone those feelings. I mean THEY wouldn’t understand, so you commit them to paper. Anne was no different and this seems to be the primary reason she started her diary. 

But we don’t really remember Anne as being full of teenage angst. We mainly remember her account of her daily life in the attic. So, what inspired this secondary work? Well, On 28 March 1944, keep in mind this is nearly two years since they entered the attic, the Dutch minister asked his people to keep a record of what was happening to them so they would be able to document what had happened during the German occupation. Anne got word of this request and set to work poring over her journals and rewriting portions of it into a new text that would be called The Secret Annex. 

During this rewrite she did plenty of self-editing and since she was the ripe old age of fifteen, gave a critical eye to that 13 year old Anne had written. She worked in missed details and left out a few details that had made it into her diary such as her crush on Peter and some very teenage comments about her mom such as, ‘my mother is in most things an example to me, but then an example of precisely how I shouldn’t do things.’ Ooh, snap.

I’m not sure exactly when Anne completed her rewrite, but in August 1944, Anne, her family, the four others in the attic, and the people who helped them were arrested during a Nazi raid of the premises.

Anne and 100s of others were crammed into train cars for the three-day journey to Auschwitz. And I know it doesn’t get all that hot in the Netherlands, but this was August and that’s a lot of bodies crammed together. It was likely incredibly hot and miserable as well as terrifying because by this point they knew exactly what happened to Jews who entered Auschwitz. 

Of the 100s of people on that train, 350 were immediately sent to the gas chamber. 

Anne and her family were strong and healthy enough not put be to death, and were instead selected for labor. Her dad went to the mens’ camp, she and her mom and sister went to the women’s camp. Sadly, even mom and daughters wouldn’t be allowed to stay together. Edith was kept at Auschwitz while Margot and Anne were sent off to Bergen Belsen in October 1944. Edith would die at Auschwitz only weeks before the camp was liberated.

At Bergen-Belsen, the cold, wet, cramped conditions of winter, and the severe lack of food left the girls susceptible to disease. The both died of typhus in February 1945. 

Of the eight people in the attic, Otto would be the only one to survive. When the camp was liberated, he weighed only 52 kilo, 114 pounds, and could barely walk.

But wait, remember those helpers who wee also arrested at the same time as the Franks? Well, they eventually were freed and two of them, Miep Gies and Bep Voskuil found Anne’s diaries. Miep held onto them hoping that one day she would be able to give them back to Anne. Instead, she gave them to Otto.

As you can imagine, Otto was torn. He wanted to read Anne’s words to bring his daughter back to life in some way, but it was also painfully hard for him to read those words. It took a while, but he did eventually read the diaries and couldn’t believe how strong her writing was. He’s quoted as saying

 ‘The Anne that appeared before me was very different from the daughter I had lost. I had had no idea of the depth of her thoughts and feelings.’

Like any proud papa, Otto showed his daughter’s work to a few family members who ended up showing a few friends who then encouraged Otto to compile them into a formal book and publish them because these were important words that needed to be read by others.

In 1947, The Secret Annex was published. Anne would have been eighteen. Upon its publication Otto said, ‘How proud Anne would have been if she had lived to see this.” Because Apparently in March 1944, she had written “Imagine how interesting it would be if I published a novel about the Secret Annex.”

Imagine.  Because of hatred, Anne’s life ends painfully early, but because of a few brave people she was able to live long enough to tell an amazing story that would impact thousands upon thousands of lives for years to come. 

And so while this episode is about Anne Frank and her diary, I also think it’s important to remember the people who helped her and her family. I mean these people stuck their necks out to help knowing full well that they risked being arrested and sent to the concentration camps for doing so. 

So while Anne Frank’s name is famous, it’s important to remember those who did their best to keep her and her family alive. They include…

Mies Gies  Her husband Jan Gies  Victor Kugler

Johannes Kleiman  Johan Voskuijl   And his mom Bep Voskuijl

Yeah, I don’t know where to go from here. Stop hating, stop giving voice to people who spread hate and incite violence, and do your best to be tolerant and compassionate. 

As Anne said…

“What is done cannot be undone, but one can prevent it happening again.”

Thanks for so much for listening and I promise more fun and giggles with the next episode. Since this is a longer episode than normal I’ll skip the personal update. However, I do want to say that I’d love to hear from you. If you have a favorite book or book-related topic you’d love me to explore, don’t be shy about suggesting it for a future show. The best way to get in touch is at

And as ever, If you like what you’ve heard, please do subscribe to the show, and if you want to get more out of every episode, be sure to join the flock by signing up for the book owl podcast newsletter. All the links you need are in the show notes. The book owl podcast is a production fo daisy dog media, copyright 2020, all rights reserved. The theme music was composed by Kevin Macleod.

Book Bargains

Five Book Sales That Will A”MAY”ze You

Sorry, I couldn’t resist the pun.

It’s a new month and that means it’s time for all new book promotions!! And boy, do I have plenty for you to choose from, including new releases to big ol’ box sets, and deep discounts to fully-fledged freebies.

Also, as part of my “owl”-ter ego’s (sheesh, I’m full of puns today) pre-launch push for her latest novel, The Return of Odysseus, you’ll find at least one of her books in each of the promos below….Even better? Several of those books are free!

Have fun with your book hunting!!

Sale #1: Hang Out with the Gods & Goddesses 

If you’re tired of your family and/or roommates, why not spend some time with the gods from mythologies around the world? This sale ends in next week, so don’t dilly dally.

Sale #2 features all things new!

Unlike some other specials that feature older books, each of the choices in this promo is brand new this month!! Some may require pre-ordering, but that means you’ll be the first to have it in hand on release day.

Sale #3: Don’t Stop Reading!

If you get hooked on the first book in a series, there’s no need to waste time hunting down the next book with this terrific promotion that will have you binging on entire series in no time!

Sale #4 Is Absolutely Fabulous Marvelous

This promo is full of bargains and freebies that will tickle your fantasy- and sci-fi-loving soul, and help you escape into some wonderful new worlds (since this one is a bit lame lately).

And Last But Not Least…

If you’re subscribed to Kindle Unlimited, author Dean Wilson has hand selected several science-fiction and fantasy tales he’s sure will delight you through the month of May (including my story Space Walk).

Did you discover anything new in these promos? I’m curious to know what you picked up, so don’t be shy about sharing your finds in a comment below!


About these promos (and a little request)…

These promos are organized by indie authors via Book Funnel (except the 99c sci-fi one) to help spread the word about each other’s books. It’s basically free advertising and is VERY effective.

To be a part of any of these promos I need to have a “good reputation”…in other words I need to share the links to the promos with as many people as possible.

If I don’t share, I risk being removed from the promo AND being excluded from other promos…and believe me, with my limited advertising budget, that would be BAD.

I get “points” each time you click on the links above. Those points don’t affect you in any way or cost you anything, but they do boost my reputation.

So, what I’m saying is, Please click on the links above and peruse the promos just for a few seconds. It’s a HUGE help that will allow me to keep advertising my books in a budget-friendly manner.


Book Bargains

Five, Wait, ELEVEN Ways to Get Book Bargains and Freebies

Hey Book Nerds,

The following is a re-blog from my writing blog over at I figured since the true book nerd can never have enough books, this would be right up your alley.

Enjoy. And happy book hunting.

Hoot hoot!!!

Begin Re-Blog, In 3, 2, 1….

Pandemic or not, humans are always looking for ways to distract themselves while also saving money.

Books are a great way to escape, but sometimes they can be a strain on a tight budget.

Which is why I thought now would be the perfect time to tell you how to find free and bargain-priced books delivered to your inbox every single day. Or, rather, newsletters full of hand-picked books for you to choose from.

But Before We Begin…

As a library junkie, my first recommendation for getting free books would be your local library. Even though most libraries are closed right now, their ebook systems are still wide open.

Unfortunately, the increased use may mean reduced availability and you’ll have to put the book you want on hold. So, while you’re waiting for that hold to come in, why not try out one of the bargain book newsletters listed below.

A Little About These Bargain Book Newsletters

Of course, BookBub is the big daddy of them all and I’ve covered all their benefits in a previous post, but since BookBub does have strict limits on how many books they accept, your choices each day may be slim. Also, since Bookbub is taking more and more books from traditional publishers, the freebie selections aren’t as plentiful as they used to be.

Luckily, there’s loads of similar newsletter services that offer a much broader range of books. Even better, the majority of these books are from indie authors. Not only does this mean you can support an independent creative hero (and yes, even getting a free book is a form of support, see below), but it also means you may meet a new writer you haven’t heard of before.

And don’t worry, just because you haven’t heard of the author, just because the books are self-published, doesn’t mean these tomes are of low quality in any way. Each of the newsletters listed below has a stringent list of requirements books must meet, including stellar reviews, and most have an actual human checking over the books before the book is accepted into the newsletter.

And, best of all, every newsletter is free to join, most will feature at least one free book every day, and many are brimming with freebies. Any book that isn’t free, will be heavily discounted…I’ve often snagged $10 box sets for only 99c.

Does this type of bargain hunting hurt authors?


Okay, yes, some people will download any and every free book they can get with no intention, no matter how much they enjoyed a book, of paying for something from that author. That’s fine. We all have budget constraints.

However, many readers will take advantage of these freebies and bargains as a way to try out a new author without risking too much hard-earned money. If the book captures them, these readers will stick with the author and buy more of his or her books. It’s no different than a brand name product offering a free sample in the hopes you will continue buying their product.

Finally, any download, whether it’s free or not, gives a book a little boost in the retailer’s ranking system. Enough downloads can rocket a book to the top twenty which means it will be front and center to other shoppers. Visibility like that is a boon to authors because it gives a form of social proof that that book is worth buying.

And, if the stars line up correctly, the book may soar to Number One, which is what happened for me with my book The Trials of Hercules. That book is permafree, but my sales for the other books in the series in the weeks after were AMAZING.

Note: If you do get a book you enjoy for free, the best way to pay the author back is to leave the book a review!!

snoopy typing, snoopy writing, snoopy thinking

Yeah, Yeah, Show Me the Newsletters!!

Okay, enough explanation, here’s a few of the newsletters I’ve worked with and many of which I subscribe to myself. Give one of them a try, or all of them. If one turns out not to be a good fit for you, you can unsubscribe at any time.

Book Raid – This one has a terrific array of books from many retirees. Plus, their mascot is pretty cute.

Free Kindle Books Today – As far as names-that-explain go, you can’t do better than this. The books are free and they’re for your Kindle (Amazon). They do have a few 99c books now and then, as well as new releases.

Freebooksy – Yep, free books, but they don’t limit themselves to Amazon, if you prefer to support other retailers.

Bargain Booksy – The sister newsletter to Freebooksy. Same idea, but the books range from 99c to $2.99.

E-Reader News Today – This newsletter sends out a mix of freebies and bargains for all retailers.

A Few Genre Specific Newsletters (all run by the same company)

  • Book Barbarian – Freebie and bargain sci-fi and fantasy tomes available at many retailers (although most tend to only be available at Amazon).
  • Book Adrenaline – Same as Book Barbarian, but for thrillers and mysteries.
  • Red Rose Romance – And the same again, but for romance titles.

And A Couple Bits of Freebie Self-Promotion

Of course, you can also subscribe to my own newsletter. ((Note: this is my author newsletter, if you’re interested in The Book Owl newsletter, you’ll find that sign-up HERE.)) You’ll not only get a free short story, but I also participate in at least a couple author-sponsored promos each month and I share these promos every other week with my readers.

The books in the promos may not be vetted by the powers that be, but each promo has a HUGE variety of freebies and bargains for you to try out.

And last but not least, the first books of both of my historical fantasy series are always free on all the retailers. If you’re interested, just click the covers below, select your favorite retailer, and grab your copies!


What about you? Do you have other book newsletters to suggest? Do you like free books to test out a new author?