Wednesday, November 13, 2013


Thank you so much for having us on your blog today, Tracie!

I had a great time chatting with Zoey at Everwood's Coffee Shop. In the interest of full disclosure, I have to admit that I had one or two (or five!) cups of their amazing coffee on the house while Zoey and I talked and I spent a few hours working on my latest WIP. This interview took place before the events of Zoey & the Moment of Zen, so I should definitely go back and catch up because I hear some crazy things happened a few days after our chat... 

CAT: If you didn't own and manage Everwood's Coffee Shop, what would you be doing?

ZOEY: Growing up, I always knew I was eventually going to take over my parents' coffee shop… but I also secretly wanted to be a vet since I love animals so much. (I have a cat named Mocha.) For a while I thought I could do both but, after seeing my aunt Nessa work long days at the shop, I realized that it would be really tough to save all the animals and own a business. 

CAT: Are you currently in a relationship? 

Zoey pauses and takes a long sip of coffee. 

ZOEY: That's a complicated question. Braden and I aren't technically together anymore but I know that whatever we're going through right now is only temporary. It's more of a break than a break-up. My best friend Dar thinks I'm delusional — but I know it's only a matter of time before things go back to the way they used to be.

CAT: What's your dream vacation spot? A tropical island or a bustling city?

ZOEY: I'm not a huge fan of the beach, so I think Europe—maybe London or Paris. And I've always wanted to have a slice of authentic Italian pizza, so I might hop over to Rome while I'm there. I don't have time to go on vacation right now, so I'll probably have to wait until I'm retired to go on this trip. 

CAT: If you were stuck on a desert island, what three things would you bring? 

ZOEY: My phone, because it's filled with music and games. Hopefully, I'd also be able to get a signal and call for help.

Snacks. I definitely need some coffee (from Everwood's Coffee Shop, of course) and cupcakes smothered in icing.

A thick book to pass the time. My friend and employee Owen is an English Literature student and he always carries around heavy books that look like they'd take years to read. The Complete Works of Shakespeare or something like that.

CAT: What's the craziest thing you've ever done?

ZOEY: I once ate an entire chocolate mousse pie in one sitting—does that count? And my best friend Dar and I used to sneak into a ton of movies when we were in college. But her boyfriend—and now husband, Dex—worked at the theater, so I guess it wasn't much of a challenge. 

CAT: If you could have a superpower for one day, what would it be? 

ZOEY: I think I'd choose to be invisible so I could follow people around and see what they're doing. Some people might call it stalking—but I'd prefer to say it's observing. 

CAT: Final question. Where do you see yourself in ten years? 

ZOEY: I'll still be here working in the shop. Hopefully, we'll have expanded and business will be even better than it is now. Braden and I will have proved everyone wrong and we'll be happily married and raising the next generation of Everwood Coffee Shop owners. (If Dar or my aunt Nessa heard me right now, they'd be really upset. So let's just keep that last part between you, me and your blog readers, okay?)

Book Blurb:

When coffee shop owner Zoey Everwood takes her obsession with ex-boyfriend Braden too far, everyone—except Zoey—is convinced a bit of fun in the sun at the Moment of Zen Wellness Resort will help her get over him once and for all.

But Zoey's relaxing vacation turns out to be anything but peaceful when she meets Shane Lawson, a resort guest who bears a striking resemblance to Braden. And things get even more complicated when the resort's owner starts spilling secrets about Zoey’s aunt Nessa, the woman who raised her. Add a snarky Wellness Coordinator and Nate Holmes—Shane's grumpy friend—to the mix, and you've got the recipe for a perfect tropical storm.

When Zoey comes back home with a new husband instead of tacky souvenirs, she must convince everyone she hasn't completely lost her mind. As Zoey and Shane struggle to keep the magic alive outside the resort, Zoey discovers that she isn't the only one having trouble letting go of the past. And when Nate drops a bombshell that changes everything, Zoey must decide if the old saying is true—what happens at the Moment of Zen stays at the Moment of Zen. 

Buy Zoey & The Moment of Zen:

Find Cat Lavoie Online:

Monday, November 11, 2013



About the Book
Lexi Burke has always been a stickler for following rules and procedures. As a human resources manager for a leading Gulf Coast chemical company, it’s her job to make sure everyone else falls in line, too.

But after losing out on a big promotion––because her boss sees her as too much of a yes-woman––Lexi adopts a new policy of following her heart instead of the fine print. And her heart knows what it wants: Jason Beaumont, a workplace crush who is off limits based on her previous protocol.

While navigating a new romance and interoffice politics, Lexi must find the confidence to stand on her own or face a lifetime of following someone else’s orders.

Who says nice girls have to finish last?

Hard Hats and Doormats will be released on 12/11/13.

To celebrate the cover reveal for her debut novel, author Laura Chapman is sharing behind-the-scenes tidbits about the making of Hard Hats and Doormats here and on other blogs with her “Hard Hat Confessions.”

Here’s # 7:

Visit Change the Word for more “Hard Hat Confessions.”

About the Author
Laura Chapman found a way to mix her love of romance and humor as a women’s fiction author and blogger. A 2008 graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Laura studied journalism, English and history. She traveled across the United States as a writer/photographer before settling into a career in communications. She also maintains Change the Word, a blog devoted to promoting women’s fiction and documenting her experiences as a writer. Born and raised in Nebraska – in a city, not on a farm – she is a devoted fan of football, British period drama, writing in bars and her cats, Jane and Bingley. Hard Hats and Doormats is her debut novel.

Connect with Laura:

Monday, November 4, 2013


Welcome to the #ParadiseParty, my friends! It is my distinct pleasure to be your recapper for this week's very eventful and squee-worthy episode of my favorite new period drama, The Paradise. Lots to talk about, so let's get right to it . . .  


Love is in the air at The Paradise this week - love that can no longer be denied, lost love, one-sided love, love of duty - this tender, multifaceted emotion is embodied by the beautiful pairs of love birds that the always-enterprising Moray has decided to sell at the store. While explaining his latest marketing ploy to the Paradise staff, Moray is the recipient of several furtive glances and coy smiles from his "little champion," Denise, all of which he returns with a twinkle in his eye. These two aren't exactly being subtle about their interest in each other any more.

Later, when Miss Audrey sees the normally hard-working Denise staring off into space dreamily, she orders her underling to come with her for a private chat. Miss Audrey's no fool; she's aware of what's ailing Denise. "I know love when I see it. It never fails to disturb me." Miss Audrey quickly deduces that Moray is the object of Denise's affections and declares the girl "doomed." She warns Denise that if she acts on her feelings for their boss, she will end up like the bitter and pathetic Clara, who was allowed to keep her job, but will never advance because of her dalliance with Moray. Will Denise heed Miss Audrey's warning or will her heart override her desire to climb the ladder professionally? 

Meanwhile, Denise isn't the only one pining for the seemingly irresistible Moray. Katherine is becoming more and more desperate to win him to her side. She apologizes for trying to make him jealous with philanthropist Peter Adler (Poor guy, he really liked her.) and assures him that she will be constant going forward. Moray wants to believe her. He longs for "peace, to settle my soul." Apparently, Katherine is unable to extract a firm commitment from Moray because her father finds her sobbing into her pillow like a 12 year-old who couldn't get tickets to a One Direction concert. She claims that she will never be able to love another man the way she does Moray, the implication being that she will spend the rest of her life miserable if she can't coax him into marrying her. Why, oh why, is this woman so fixated on Moray when he has given her so very little in return? Instead of using his money to buy Moray for his bratty daughter (more on that in a minute), I think Lord Glendenning would do well to send her to a shrink! 

Back at The Paradise, Pauline is relishing her new position as "Lovebird Assistant," which she thinks is a big step up from Haberdashery. She practices her sales pitch on Sam and names her favorite pair of birds "Sally" and "Bertie." Mr. Dudley takes a shine to the brightly-plumed couple and stops by frequently to admire them. Anxious to keep up the momentum after she makes her first avian sale, Pauline stupidly listens to Sam when he tells her a story about a man who trained a bird to sit on top of his head. Thinking this would be a great way to attract customers, Pauline opens Sally and Bertie's cage, and (GASP!) the female half of the duo takes flight. Sam and Pauline spend the rest of the episode trying to keep Dudley from discovering that Sally has flown the coop.

In other Paradise news, Jonas is acting even shadier than usual. Aware that Arthur saw something he shouldn't have (erstwhile barber Mr. Burroughs getting into J's carriage on the night the latter mysteriously disappeared), Jonas tries to buy the boy's silence with a new pair of boots, a gesture which makes Dudley incredibly suspicious. The Paradise manager tries to question a terrified Arthur, but gets nowhere. Subsequently, the eternally skulking Jonas is disturbed to see Arthur playing a game of peevers (looked like hopscotch to me) with Denise's uncle, Mr. Lovett. Worried that Arthur will share his Burroughs tale with the rival shop owner, Jonas makes a preemptive strike to discredit Lovett, framing him for writing an inflammatory note about Helene Moray's death in the street, then goading him into a fight, which leaves Jonas with a bloody face. For me, the best part of this storyline was finally getting to learn something about Helene when Jonas tells Denise how kind the lady was to him, seeing past his handicap (the missing arm) and securing him a job at The Paradise. She died three weeks later and now Jonas honors her by protecting Mr. Moray and the store. Poignant, believable character motivation - yes! Thank you, Paradise writers.

Jonas isn't the only one doing morally questionable things to keep The Paradise safe. Moray makes a Faustian deal with Lord Glendenning, agreeing to take a huge loan from the banker so that he can buy the leases of all the stores on the street, thus keeping them out of the hands of a notoriously bad landlord. In exchange for his largesse, Lord G hints that he expects his daughter to receive a proposal of marriage. Moray has no choice but to offer his hand to Katherine, which is a dream come true for her. Unfortunately, Moray does not share in her giddy enthusiasm and looks like a man headed to the gallows.

Later, Moray is alone in his office, having a crisis of conscience. He knows that Jonas perpetrated some crime against Burroughs on his behalf because the barber threatened to implicate Moray in Helene's death. Denise finds him in a despairing and self-reflective state. He says that he has tried to live without feeling since losing Helene and now he doesn't know how to do anything but pretend (see his sham engagement to Katherine.) Denise attempts to comfort him, and he asks that she call him "John." Emboldened by Moray's request for more familiarity, she blurts out how she feels about him: 

"I love you, John. I cannot help myself. I promised myself I'd never tell you. But I love you. I love you so that I cannot sleep, and I cannot think, and I cannot remember my name half the time." 

Then, she kisses him! Yes, that's right, people, our sweet, little country girl Denise showed some moxie and planted one on Moray. He seemed a bit startled at first (God knows why since he has women throwing themselves at his head every five minutes on this show.), but he responds in kind. Things heat up quickly only to be interrupted by Arthur, who has the worst timing ever!

Moray is hustled off by Arthur to see to the increasingly volatile Jonas/Dudley situation. An overwrought Denise returns to work, but is quickly removed by Miss Audrey who can't have tears in Ladieswear. Denise confides in her superior about the kiss with "John" - a name that confuses Audrey as she only knows her boss as "Mr. Moray." Denise waxes rhapsodic about how she's sure John returns her feelings while Miss Audrey tries to talk some sense into her to no avail. What does bring Denise down to Earth with a loud thud is having to bear witness to Dudley announcing Moray's engagement to Katherine Glendenning, who's dropped by The Paradise to flash her ring. Moray looks pained, Denise looks like she wants to crawl in a hole and die, and Clara looks murderous. Doing the polite thing, Denise gives her best wishes to Moray in front of her co-workers, then tenders her resignation to Dudley, citing  the brouhaha with her uncle as her reason for leaving.

What Denise needs at this point is a pint of Häagen-Dazs chocolate chip cookie dough and some repeated viewings of The Notebook, but neither of those has been created yet, so she has to settle for throwing herself into her new job, working at her uncle's dress shop. She hopes to breathe new life into his failing business with some fresh marketing ideas, like selling less expensive items (i.e. men's neckties and embroidered pillowcases.) Soon, she's set up a stand with the ties out on the sidewalk in front of the store. Guess who her first customer is? Moray, of course, who teases her about her inspiration for the neckties as he is the only man of her acquaintance who wears them. He buys one, then plaintively asks, "Will you come back to me?" I'm sure it wasn't easy for her to resist those puppy dog eyes of his, but she stands her ground. She's upset with Moray for making a fool out of her when she confessed her feelings (He might have mentioned his recent engagement!) Unlike Sally, the love bird, who did return to The Paradise to be with her mate, Denise will not go back to the status quo at the department store. She knows it would be torturous now that Moray is going to marry Katherine. He gives her a sincere apology, shakes hands with her uncle, then leaves, turning back to give Denise one last soulful look. SIGH  

So, what do you think Paradisers? Is there hope for Denise and Moray, or will he go through with this marriage to Katherine? How will Miss Audrey manage in Ladieswear without Denise's creative input? Will Denise be able to make her uncle's business profitable once again? Tune in next week to find out . . .

And don't forget to enter our "Shopping at The Paradise" contest, which will end on Nov. 17th. You could win a $50 Macy's gift card and some other Paradise goodies.

The #ParadiseParty will continue next week with a recap written by romance author, Tracey Livesay. If you’d like to check out some fabulous and clever recaps from previous weeks, click on the links below. And please share your thoughts and feelings about episode five below. Thanks for stopping by!

Episode 1 (1st hour) - Elizabeth Marx

Episode 1 (2nd hour) - Martha Reynolds

Episode 2 - Julie Valerie

Episode 3 - Laura Chapman

Episode 4 - Sara Palacios

Episode 5 - Me!

Episode 6 - Tracey Livesay (Coming on Nov. 11th)

Episode 7 - Lauren Clark (Coming on Nov. 18th)