Sunday, March 22, 2015

GUEST POST - LYNDA RENHAM

Today, British RomCom author, Lynda Renham, and I are playing the blog swap game. I'm pleased to be featuring a guest post of Lynda's that I'm sure all you cat lovers will get a kick out of, and if you hop over to Lynda's site, you'll see a fun Q&A I did. Thanks to Lynda for hosting me and for sharing this post!


I’m thrilled to be featured on author Tracie Banister’s blog. It is always fun to meet another romantic comedy writer. So, thank you so much for inviting me Tracie. I thought it would be fun to tell you a little about me through a guest blog posting about my cat. But feel free to check out my latest novel ‘Fudge Berries and Frog Knickers.’  <Blogger's Note: Does Lynda have the best titles for her books or what? They always make me smile!> 

I so enjoyed writing it and hope you enjoy reading it just as much. Meanwhile more about my cat Bendy. 


Bend It Like Bendy

Easter is heading towards us and I have bought my husband, Andrew, a chocolate bunny, a little chocolate treat to celebrate Easter. As I looked at it I was immediately reminded of the little headless bunnies that Bendy our cat brought in for us last year. The thought of all that again this summer makes me shudder. The pleasure of owning a cat is certainly overshadowed by that cruel thing called nature. Don’t you just hate those calm cat lovers who, as the cat belts into the house with a live mouse, say,

‘It’s nature.’

What are they talking about? Nature is flowers and colourful butterflies. Nature is watching those little cress seeds slowly grow into something edible. I love my cat but the pleasures of having a pet are wearing a little thin in this household. Our cat while cuddly and loveable inside the house turns into a genocidal maniac outside. The problem is not his hunting ability but his inability to hang onto his prey, and his insistence on bringing it inside the house.

Last summer I walked into the kitchen to many a headless rabbit, a leftover mouse’s kidney, and on the odd occasion a bat. But there were many more bodies that he had dropped and lost inside the house, some dead and others alive and not to mention the half dead which Andrew has to finish off. Then there are the sparrows and finches which no amount of screaming will force him to drop. Last weekend mother-in-law came to stay and, as a gift to her, Bendy brought in a large live mouse. Mother-in-law thanked him with a horrendous scream and a fast leap to the bathroom which, after her hip operation is some mean feat I assure you. In shock at this reaction Bendy dropped said mouse. Andrew had conveniently gone for a run so I was left screaming at the cat, ‘Find it. Find it.’ As if he understood English.


I also swear he waits for Andrew to go out before committing his evil acts. When Andrew is away on business Bendy assumes the position of head of the house and showers me with more than my fair share of gifts. One time he brought three bunnies in the space of two hours, and another time he left a big juicy rat. I shudder at the memory. The problem with Bendy is that he loses more mice than he kills. Last week Andrew went to get a saucepan from the cupboard only to find mouse droppings.

‘That’s it, I’ve had it with that cat,’ he snarled, as saucepan after saucepan came out of the cupboard and the whole place was scrubbed and disinfected and a mouse trap strategically placed.

‘That’s one mouse dead then,’ I hear you say.

Oh, if only it were that simple. This mouse was not just any mouse. It is Super-Houdini-Mouse. So far it has chewed through a jar of peanut butter which was used as mouse bait, teased Andrew when he tried to catch it and tormented Bendy. Three times he has been caught in the trap and managed to escape. It has peed all over my J cloths and left a tidy mess eating through my dusters. But worst of all it has bitten through and consumed my box of Maltesers. Now that is just plain off, right? To say Bendy, who was the cause of this mayhem, is not popular is an understatement. This weekend I traipsed around the hardware shops searching for superhuman industrial strength mega mouse traps. I came home with two traps and a sonic deterrent which scared me and the cat but has had no effect on the mouse. We now have five mouse traps in the cupboard but amazingly Houdini Mouse is still at large. We are reaching the stage where blowing up the kitchen doesn’t seem like a bad idea. But hey, its nature.



About the Book

Poppy Wellesley is rich. In fact Poppy Wellesley is very rich, so when her fortunes change from riches to rags Poppy has to start a whole new life. Put yourself in her Guccis as she swaps her penthouse apartment for a run-down houseboat on Regent’s Canal. Meet her dippy friend Chelsea, the infamous Jack Diamond (see The Dog’s Bollocks) and her hunky boat neighbour, Taylor. Will Poppy hold on to her millionaire fiancĂ© or will Pug-face Pandora steal him from her? Can she avoid the advances from Balls (Lord Balthazar Wyndham-Price) or does she find true love on the canal? Fudge Berries and Frogs’ Knickers is a romantic comedy roller coaster ride that will put a smile on your face and a cheer in your heart.


Buy the Book

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Barnes & Noble


About the Author

Lynda Renham has been writing for as long as she can remember and had her first work published in a magazine at age nine and has continued writing in various forms since. She has had several poems published as well as articles in numerous magazines and newspapers. Recently she has taken part in radio discussions on the BBC.

She has studied literature and creative writing courses and has a blog on her web page. Fudge Berries and Frogs' Knickers is her newest book. Her previous releases include Pink Wellies and Flat Caps, The Dog's Bollocks, and Coconuts and Wonderbras among others.

Lynda lives with her second husband and cat in Oxfordshire, England. She is Associate Editor for the online magazine The Scavenger and contributor to many others. When not writing Lynda can usually be found wasting her time on Facebook.


Connect With Lynda Renham

Website

Twitter

Facebook 

Monday, March 9, 2015

BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION - THE RIGHT DESIGN SALE & GIVEAWAY


In the author's debut novel comes a story about picking up the pieces, letting go of the past, and finding love along the way--even if morals are tested! 

Interior designer Carrie Newman could not have envisioned a more perfect life for herself. She had a great job doing what she loved, wonderful friends, and a close relationship with her sister and brother-in-law. Add in an amazing man who she’d hoped would soon become her husband, and her life was perfect. Until one devastating decision ruins her relationship and changes the course of her life. 

Determined to make a new start, Carrie leaves Texas and heads to Palm Beach to pick up the pieces of her shattered and broken life. The last thing she expects is to find herself attracted to her first client at her new job--Brad Larson, who has proven himself time and time again to be caddish. But there’s something beneath the surface of Brad’s arrogant exterior that keeps her craving more of him--something almost sweet that Carrie can’t seem to resist. Is Carrie ready to take another chance on romance? And will this new design of her life prove to be the right one? 

**To celebrate, Isabella has put “The Right Design” on SALE for the entire month of March!**
 
Get it now for only $0.99!



Buy The Right Design

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon Canada
Barnes & Noble 


***GIVEAWAY***

Enter via the Rafflecopter widget below to win “The Right Design” Birthday Prize Package, (US residents only, and no P.O. boxes, please)!  


The grand prize package contains the following: a mini-beach bag, lip gloss, ring/jewelery polisher, Scentsy “Love Story” hand lotion, bookmarks, and an 8-inch Nothing Bundt Cake. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Author Bio

Isabella grew up with a book in her hand, and to this day nothing has changed. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America and has been featured on several blogs. While Isabella doesn't blog a lot, she focuses her time on featuring other writers, along with writing and editing. Isabella Louise Anderson created Chick Lit Goddess to share the love of the following genres: Chick Lit, Contemporary Romance, Romance, and Romantic Comedies! She loves featuring authors and their books. She lives in Dallas with her husband and cat. She enjoys spicy Mexican food and drinking margaritas, and can be found spending time with family and friends, cheering on the Texas Rangers, and reading. Isabella's short story, Meet Me Under the Mistletoe, was featured in Simon & Fig's Christmas anthology, Merry & Bright, in November 2013. The Right Design is her first novel. 


Connect With Isabella Louise Anderson

Author Website
Facebook 
Goodreads
Twitter 
Pinterest

Chick Lit Goddess Links

Website
Facebook
Twitter

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

GUEST POST - LAURA CHAPMAN

To celebrate the launch of my new novel, The Marrying Type, I recently “planned” my dream wedding. Of course, because I can’t make my own decisions, I had to rely on the assistance of various Internet quizzes to help me pick out the appropriate theme, dress, ring, and so on. When Tracie invited me to share an interview with Elliot Lynch, the main character of my book, I figured I’d extend my character the same courtesy I gave myself. Elliot is a wedding planner for some of the splashiest events in Charleston, South Carolina, which means she is far too busy to coordinate her own special day, should she ever have one.

I channeled my inner-Elliot to take these quizzes and make the accompanying sketches of what she actually had in mind for the answers to the questions. (She assures me the images she uses to create wedding vision boards is much more than my attempts, but she gave me an “A” for effort and enthusiasm.)


Question 1: What Kind of Wedding Should You Have? (Source: BuzzFeed)
Answer: A very traditional wedding in a church

According to BuzzFeed: “Whether your style is glamorous or modest, you like to keep things traditional and by the book. You’ve always had a very clear idea of what you wanted your wedding to look like ever since you were ~this big~, and you won’t be straying from that one bit.”

Elliot’s Take: Umm… I don’t know about this. I mean, I could definitely pull off this kind of a wedding. It’s what I do, after all. But when I’ve thought about getting married--not that I have often, mind you--I always figured it would be something small and intimate with just a couple of guests to watch my future husband and I tie the knot. Then again, that little idea of mine hasn’t changed much in the past decade, so maybe BuzzFeed gets me. Except for the super traditional part.

It doesn't take much to make a South Carolina
beach wedding ready.

Question 2: What’s Your Wedding Floral Style? (Source: Better Homes and Gardens)
Answer: 20 percent Simple Style, 40 percent Natural Style, 40 percent Romantic Style

According to Better Homes and Gardens: This was too long to share, but suffice it to say, Elliot will have this area covered. She knows all the best florists in the area, what flowers will be in season, and how to effectively incorporate arrangements into her day.

Elliot’s Take: I’m a romantic at heart--that probably comes from a lifetime of living around and working in the wedding industry--so I could definitely see having a bouquet full of gardenias, hydrangeas, and such. Still… the best bouquet of flowers I ever received were more natural in style picked from a garden, and I loved them. If my wedding day ever comes, the flowers will be lovely, but I won’t care if they’re daisies or roses as long as the person I’m marrying gets me.

Simple but lovely is all I ask.

Question 3: Which Disney Character’s Wedding Dress Should You Wear? (Source: Disney Blogs)
Answer: Maid Marian

According to Disney Blogs: “You’ve always had a sense that you weren’t born in the right decade, which is why Maid Marian’s wedding dress is the one for you. The high collar and long sleeves might seem a bit old fashioned, but you know that this gown was made for your timeless sense of style. Now that you have the perfect dress, find out which Disney hairstyle you should try!”

Elliot’s Take: Not exactly what I had in mind for my wedding (you don’t work in weddings as long as I have without having a pretty good idea of what looks would be most flattering), but the sentiment probably fits. Much as I appreciate some of the flashy bridal styles, I’ve always liked classic dresses--think Kate Middleton at the Royal Wedding a few years ago. That’s what every bride should look like: elegant and timeless.

I imagined something more like this: light lace, small
train and a little bow. Perfect for an intimate wedding.

Question 4: What type of wedding cake fits your personality? (Source: SomethingBlueBook)
Answer: White Cake

According to SomethingBlueBook: “Just like white cake, you are very conventional. You like traditions and sticking to the norm. You are a classic bride!”

Elliot’s Take: If I had one splurge at my wedding, it would be with the cake. Maybe something with custard or ganache in it. But… I’ll admit. If we’re picking the cake based on my personality, I’m pretty vanilla. There’s nothing wrong with that, though, is there? Oh gosh, that means I’m boring. I hate when I take quizzes and they confirm that I’m boring. I swear I have the potential to be way more interesting if given the chance.

I'm a girl who loves her sweets. A wedding seems like
the perfect opportunity to skip calorie counting.

Question 5: What Song is Perfect for Your Wedding? (Source: PlayBuzz)
Answer: “At Last” by Ella Fitzgerald 

According to PlayBuzz: “The lyrics that make 'At Last' your perfect wedding song: 'And here we are in heaven/ For you are mine/ At last' -- The soulful song is about patiently waiting for true love and discovering it was worth the wait. It's just the right song for people who are getting married late in life or are starting their second marriage and believed there was someone special for them.”

Elliot’s Take: Okay, this gave me chills. I’m not even kidding, this is the exact song we--I mean, I imagined I’d want to dance to at our--or rather my future wedding. If I ever have one. I’m not that old, and I’ve never been married before, but I have… a bit of a romantic history. I’ve known great love. I’ve known how wonderful it is to have and how terrible it is when it goes away. I’m sure I won’t ever find myself walking down the aisle unless I’m totally sure my partner is the one. It might be hard to come across again. If it does, I’ll know that I’ve found the person who makes my heart whole at long last. (See, I told you I’m a total romantic.)

Just me, him, and some beautiful music.

Thanks so much to Tracie for having Elliot and I by today. If you pick up a copy of The Marrying Type, I hope you will enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it. Be sure to enter this Rafflecopter for your chance to win one of three novel-inspired prize packages.


About the Book
Always the wedding planner, never a bride, Elliot Lynch is famous for orchestrating the splashiest weddings in Charleston, South Carolina. When her father’s sloppy management practices leave them on the brink of bankruptcy, Elliot will do whatever it takes to save the family business. When asked to appear on “The Marrying Type,” a reality TV show about the people behind the scenes as couples exchange I dos, she says yes to the invasion of privacy (and the hefty paycheck that comes with it).

With a camera crew capturing every detail of her life, Elliot faces her most challenging contract yet: planning a wedding where her ex is involved in every part of the process. Add in a lazy assistant, liquor-loving bridesmaid, and rival planner encroaching on her turf, and Elliot’s wedding season goes from high-end to high-stress.

Forced to confront her past, Elliot must live out her troubled present on national TV if she has any hope of saving her future.


Buy the Book
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
Marching Ink


About the Author
Laura Chapman is the author of The Marrying Type, Hard Hats and Doormats, and the Autumn and Tuck series, which appear in Merry & Bright and A Kind of Mad Courage. A native Nebraskan, she loves football, Netflix marathons, and her cats, Jane and Bingley. Until she fulfills her dream of landing a British husband or becoming a Disney princess, you can find her in a bar penning her next novel.


Stay Connected
Website
Blog
Facebook
Goodreads
Twitter
Instagram

Monday, February 16, 2015

GUEST POST - T. A. WILLIAMS


Can a man write Chick Lit? 
Should a man write Chick Lit?

I’ve been writing for years. I write all sorts, from historical novels to thrillers and, more recently, romantic comedies. Rom Coms aka Women’s Fiction aka Chick Lit are titles aimed principally at women. But I’m a man. Should I be doing this? We writers have to draw upon our imagination as far as plot and characters are concerned, so why not use this same imagination to think ourselves into the heads of our readers?

So just what is Chick Lit? Wikipedia defines it as, ‘…genre fiction which addresses issues of modern womanhood, often humorously and lightheartedly.’ It seems to me there is a potential conflict here. That word issues all too often has nothing to do with humour. We all have issues and few of them make us laugh. Issues can involve work, relationships, health…. You name it, there are issues connected with it. So, as an author setting out to write about issues in a lighthearted way, I knew I would have to tread lightly.
  
The next problem I had to face was to what extent women readers react differently in the face of issues, as compared to men. My own experience tells me that when it comes to the big stuff, our reactions are strikingly similar. I cried when my mum died. I cried when I had to take the old Labrador to the vet to be put down. When my business hit a bad financial patch, my wife and I were equally worried for the future. When our daughter got a place on a round the world sailing voyage, we were both concerned for her well-being. So, I would suggest, we all react the same way as far as the big stuff is concerned. We maybe show it in different ways, but that is as much to do with upbringing and conditioning as gender. The days of the Victorian father who hurrumphs quietly and returns to his newspaper after receiving the news of his son being eaten by cannibals are long gone. Emotions are closer to the surface nowadays for men as well as women.
  
The small stuff is a different matter. I acknowledge that. Shoes to me are things I put on my feet to help me walk. They are not objects of desire to be hoarded and cherished. And we all know, boys like toys. I freely admit it. Take a look in my shed. I still have wetsuits from thirty years ago and enough pieces of bikes to build a new one. But even there, that’s as much down to personality as gender.
  
That leaves the prickly subject of emotions. Women are moody. Women are touchy and neurotic. Men are feelingless, football-obsessed morons. Need I go on? We’ve all heard it before. But I don’t buy it. Stereotypes abound, but that doesn’t mean they are generic. I know some miserable, emotionless women and some soft-hearted men. We shouldn’t assume each sex always reacts as the stereotype dictates.
  
So where does that leave me? My latest book, What Happens in Tuscanyis written from the perspective of Katie, the main female character. She’s just left her job and her relationship. When her whole world feels as if it’s falling apart, she takes a deep breath and gets on with it. I would like to think that her reaction is the same as mine would have been. Does that make her more masculine or me more feminine? I don’t think so. I think it makes us human. That’s what we all are, after all.


Author Bio

T. A. Williams lives in Devon with his Italian wife. He was born in England of a Scottish mother and Welsh father. After a degree in modern languages at Nottingham University, he lived and worked in Switzerland, France and Italy, before returning to run one of the best-known language schools in the UK. He has taught Arab princes, Brazilian beauty queens and Italian billionaires. He speaks a number of languages and has travelled extensively. He has eaten snake, still-alive fish, and alligator. A Spanish dog, a Russian bug and a Korean parasite have done their best to eat him in return. His hobby is long-distance cycling, but his passion is writing.


Book Blurb

From rainy England…

Katie never imagined her life was perfect. But when she finds herself on a rainy street, soaked to the bone and with only a cheating boyfriend and a dead-end job keeping her in town, she knows something has to change. Which is what leads her to Iddlescombe Manor, to be companion to Victoria Chalker-Pyne – the only 25 year old Katie’s ever met who hasn’t heard of Twitter, thinks girdles are de rigueur, and desperately needs an education in the 21st century! 

…to the Tuscan sun!

But it wouldn’t be an education without a summer holiday – and where better than Tuscany? Decamping to Victoria’s family villa, it’s soon clear that the valley really does have it all: sun, sea…and some seriously gorgeous neighbours. The only question is: when the weather’s this hot, the wine is this smooth and the men are this irresistible…will Katie ever want to make the journey home?


Buy What Happens in Tuscany



Connect with T. A. Williams

Facebook

Enter to win a digital copy of What Happens in Tuscany:

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway