Wednesday, October 19, 2016

RELEASE WEEK BLITZ


Congrats to the winner of my Mixing It Up Release Week Giveaway - Bonnie Zobel Karoly! 

Alert the media! Mixing It Up is now available in both e-book and paperback formats on Amazon. I am so excited to share this book with all of you and can't wait to hear what you think of Cecily and the gang.


Purchase a copy of Mixing It Up during release week (October 19th-25th, 2016) and you could win this fantastic prize pack inspired by the book’s heroine and her love of French food!

 This prize pack includes:

Garnier-Thiebaut Oh, La La, Chéri French-themed 4-piece Kitchen Linens Set

(Apron, kitchen towel, pot holder, and oven mitt.)


Kate Spade Deco Dot Recipe Box with 8 tabbed dividers and 40 recipe cards

The French Women Don’t Get Fat Cookbook by Mireille Guiliano 
 
To enter this giveaway, simply e-mail me with your proof of purchase. Entries will be accepted until midnight on October 26th, 2016 when a winner will be selected via random drawing. This is an international giveaway, so anyone who buys Mixing It Up within the allotted time frame is eligible to win. Good luck and thanks so much for your support!



BOOK BLURB

Born with a silver spoon in her mouth, Manhattan upper-cruster Cecily Sinclair now uses that pricey utensil to dish up fancy French fare on her cooking show, Serving Romance. When there’s an executive shake-up at the network, she’s not worried. Not much anyway. Her show’s a hit after all. Why would the new CEO want to mess with success?

The driving force behind several buzzed-about networks, Devlin Hayes is considered to be a wunderkind in the television industry. Although his plans to rebrand CuisineTV and make Serving Romance more Millennial-friendly don’t thrill Cecily, her charming, blue-eyed boss is a hard man to say “no” to and she really wants to keep her jobeven if that means sharing screen time with a loathsome blast from her past.
  
Mercurial Italian chef Dante Marchetti a.k.a. “Il Duce” was once Cecily’s boss, and she has the PTSD to prove it. Now the owner of one of the hottest restaurants in town, Dante’s egomania knows no bounds and his constant attempts to provoke and upstage Cecily make her want to conk him on the head with a sautééé pan. She thinks they’re toxic together, but viewers love their chemistry and clamor for more.

As Cecily battles to maintain the integrity of her show, she finds herself scheming and manipulating right along with Dante and Devlin. Is she fighting a lost cause? Does she really belong on TV, or would her culinary talent be better served elsewhere? And could one of the men who makes Cecily’s blood boil ignite a passion in her for something other than food?
 

Friday, October 14, 2016

MEET JESSICA (MIXING IT UP)

Cecily doesn't just battle men in Mixing It Up. She has a very formidable female foe in Jessica, Devlin's right-hand at Modern Media, or as Cecily often refers to her "his henchwoman." These two ladies get off on the wrong foot, and it's pretty much downhill from there. Jessica is always vamping it up around Marchetti and takes his side whenever he and Cecily have a skirmish on-set and Cecily is convinced that the two of them are plotting against her, a theory that is validated on more than one occasion. What really drives Cecily nuts about Jessica is that Devlin seems to value her opinion above all others. He's constantly waxing rhapsodic about Jessica's business savvy, but Cecily has no respect for her get-good-ratings-at-any-cost m.o. 

Author's Note: I didn't realize until I'd finished writing the first draft of this book that I never gave Jessica a last name! In the end, I decided she didn't really need one, so she's following in the footsteps of other strong, ballsy women like Cher and Madonna. I do enjoy writing a good bitch, and Jessica definitely fulfills that role in this book. She's one of those women who always has men eating out of her hand, but other females are completely put off by her. 

When thinking of Jessica, Melanie Griffith's famous line from Working Girl, "I have a head for business and a bod for sin," comes to mind. Jessica wears a lot of makeup and dresses in a somewhat provocative way for work. (This is what Cecily thinks anyway. The men at Modern Media don't seem to mind!)

Quotes: "What's going on with your face? You look like a clown, with a bad case of rosacea."

"He is one tall, cool drink of grappa, an alcohol I've heard is very potent."    

"Are we going to shoot these pictures or what? We only have the studio for another forty-five minutes. Tick-tock."


Casting: I immediately thought of Holland Roden (best known for her role on Teen Wolf) as Jessica. Physically, she's perfect as she has the wavy, dark red hair, the pouty lips, and the va-va-voom figure, plus she's great at giving attitude. No one does a disgusted eye roll better!


Poor Cecily really has her hands full in this book, doesn't she? To see how she handles Jessica and all the other obstacles I throw in her path, be sure to pick up your copy of Mixing It Up when it's released in just FIVE days!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

MEET DINA SINCLAIR (MIXING IT UP)

More like sisters than cousins, Dina has been Cecily's bestie since the two of them were born just eight days apart. They couldn't be more different in both looks and personality, but they share the bond of being Sinclairs and all the expectations and responsibilities that come with the name. Of the two girls, Dina is the more free-spirited and uninhibited. She follows the beat of her own drum, only worries about pleasing herself, and is very quirky in everything from her wardrobe choices to her men. She would ascribe all of this to being an easygoing Libra. Oh, that's right, I forgot to mention that she makes her living as an astrologer, a career path no one in her family, except Cecily, supported. And she doesn't make enough money doing people's natal charts to actually pay her bills; she has to rely on the allowance from her trust fund to do that.

Author's Note: Dina is an easy character to love and a fun one to write for, because I was never quite sure what was going to come out of her mouth! She was the perfect complement to Cecily, because she's such a non-conformist while Cecily is more conservative. Dina is always encouraging Cecily to let loose and take risks, which the latter needs because she's too cautious by nature.

There are some surprises in this book in regards to Dina's love life and I don't want to spoil any of them, but I will say that Dina's casual attitude about men and sex never ceased to amuse me. The woman has no hang-ups whatsoever in that department! If she'd been around in the '60s, I'm sure she would have been a member of the free love movement! 

Quotes: "Rich people are weird."

"Aries are formidable, but not unconquerable. He's a Fire sign; you're a Water. Water can douse flames."

"I have to cut you off before you stress eat yourself into a wardrobe of clothes with elastic waistbands."

Casting: I was racking my brain trying to think of twentysomething actresses who have heart-shaped faces and long, curly brown hair like Dina and came up with bupkis. So, I asked my pal, Melissa Amster, for suggestions, and she came up with a couple of really good ones! In the end, I decided to go with Rachel DiPillo. (Melissa and I know her from Jane the Virgin, but she's also a regular on Chicago Med.) Rachel's a little funky and bohemian-looking, which is exactly how I pictured Dina. And even though she and Laura Vandervoort, who I cast to play Cecily, aren't twinsies; they both have delicate facial features and an aristocratic look about them that would work for the characters and make it believable that they are cousins.

I look forward to hearing what you think of Dina once you've read Mixing It Up, which will be out in only six days! Oh, and I just consulted your horoscope for tomorrow and it says, "You will return to a favorite place (Books by Banister!), where you will receive enlightening information (The final Mixing It Up character profile!)." Who is this character? Hint: another thorn in Cecily's side.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

MEET DANTE MARCHETTI (MIXING IT UP)

A self-taught chef who had a meteoric rise in the restaurant world, Dante Marchetti is the talk of the town amongst foodies in Manhattancritics love his dishes, women love his sexy accent and muscular physique, and Dante loves himself . . . a lot. In his mind, no other chef is his equal, and he has no patience for anyone in his kitchen who does not meet his exacting standards, which is why he yells . . . a lot. And, also, why Cecily hates him. Having been subjected to Dante's temper and tyrannical behavior back in the early days of her career, the last thing she wants is to work with him again. He's not as bothered by the prospect, because he assumes (wrongly) that he can steamroll right over Cecily as he did in the past.

Author's Notes: Years ago, when I first came up with the idea for Mixing It Up and scribbled down some notes about the characters, the male chef who was going to be the heroine's antagonist was Russian! I even had a name for the characterAlek Guznichev, but when I started writing the book, I quickly realized I couldn't do much with Russian food. There are only so many creative variations on Stroganoff and borscht! I debated other cuisines and finally decided that Italian was the best way to go because there's always been a rivalry between Italy and France, and the rustic fare from the former is a more organic contrast to the elegant French food Cecily favors.

I have to say that Dante cracked me up more than any character I've ever written. He's just so conceited and impressed with himself, and his ego is constantly fed by the reactions he receives from every woman he comes into contact with. He's so used to being fawned over and praised that he can't even take Cecily's dislike of him seriously and thinks she secretly has the hots for him, because why wouldn't she? She's seen him, right? ;)

Quotes: "Life ees too short to restrict yourself. Food, wine, love—theese are the theengs that make-a life worth liveeng."

"Passion, eet ees positive; eet drives you and those around you to be better."

"You should treat-a the risotto like you would a woman. Give eet all your love and attention; make eet feel like there ees nothing more important to you. For eighteen to twenty minutes anyway."


Casting: This is a total no-brainer for me. Justin Baldoni of Jane the Virgin fame was the actor I pictured the whole time I was writing Dante. He's half-Italian; he's got charisma to spare and he can play seductive, smarmy, and arrogant, all while still being very appealing. (I am not going to lie. Flashbacks to Bad Boy Rafael on Jane are my favorite!) So, yeah, if Mixing It Up is ever turned into a movie or TV show, Justin will be the first actor I'll tell the casting director to call. No audition necessary! ;)


This intro was just a little appetizer to whet your appetite for the character of Dante. To see him in all his main course glory, be sure to grab a copy of Mixing It Up when it's released a week from today on Wednesday, October 19th. And swing by the blog again tomorrow when I'll be giving you the lowdown on Cecily's quirky cousin and best friend, Dina.