Friday, December 28, 2012


Nerd Love
Guest Post by Libby Mercer

Derek Whitley, the love interest in my recently released novel, Unmasking Maya, is a technological whiz. He started writing computer programs as a small child, he’s running a hot new tech company, and his closet is full of tee shirts with cryptic scientific formulas printed on them. He’s a hottie, of course, but personality-wise, he’s a serious science geek. Maya, my heroine, is totally okay with this. She says:

“In my experience, nerdy people are more honest and have the most integrity. It’s the cool people – the charmers of this world – that you have to watch out for.”

While Maya is a bit jaded, I generally agree with the point she makes here. I’ve always felt a tad more comfortable around people who were slightly off-center. And truth be told, I’ve always had a kind of a thing for dorky guys.

With this in mind, I decided to blog about some geeky hotties you may or may not know about.

Just a quick disclaimer: in some instances, I’m celebrating an actor and in some cases, I’m celebrating a character. And in some cases, both! I do recognize the difference between fact and fiction, but the lines will be a bit blurry in this post.

And away we go!

1. Dr. Spencer Reid (Criminal Minds)/Matthew Gray Gubler

Spencer Reid is definitely my favorite nerdy television character, and I’ve got a total TV crush on him – even if he does have a stupid hairdo in most of the shows. A super genius with three PhDs and an IQ of 187, he struggles a bit when it comes to human interaction. It’s so endearing, though, how clueless he is about “normal” things. As far as I can tell, Matthew Gray Gubler, the actor who plays Spencer Reid, is not a nerd in real life.

2. Chuck Bartowski (Chuck)/Zachary Levi

Geeks all across the land fell in love with the star of Chuck, the cult hit show. Fans tuned in each week to watch Chuck complete a top-secret mission with the help of “flashes” from the CIA’s supercomputer that had been implanted in his brain. In real life, Zachary Levi, the actor who played Chuck, embraces his nerdy persona, flying the flag for geeks everywhere. He’s into Comic-Con and sci-fi stuff, big time.

3. Laurence Fishburne

This may seem like an odd choice because he doesn’t seem like a typical dork, but you can’t overlook his choice in film roles. Matrix, anyone? And Othello? Apologies to fans of the Bard (sorry, Tracie) but any actor who stars in a Shakespeare film is a drama geek at heart. Laurence Fishburne has just finished filming his role as Perry White in Man of Steel, the latest in the Superman franchise. Need I say more?

4. Seth Cohen (The OC)/Adam Brody

As the resident geek on The OC, he’s been credited with making dorky cool, but the jury’s still out on whether or not Adam Brody is a geek in real life. Before it got scrapped, he had signed on to play The Flash in a film version of Justice League (based on characters published by DC Comics) so I’m thinking even if he’s not a real-life nerd, he’s pulling a Laurence Fishburne here.

5. Stephen Malkmus

I wanted to feature a musician as my final nerdy hottie, and oh my goodness, the possibilities were just about endless. This is going to age me but… I thought back to the late 90s, when I was more informed about pop culture than I am now, and back then, the music scene positively was overrun with awkward alterna-nerds. In the end, I decided to go with Stephen Malkmus from Pavement because he’s apparently a huge fantasy basketball geek and bangs on about it to everyone who will listen. Seriously. Googling “Stephen Malkmus” and “Fantasy Basketball” brings up over 10,000 results.

And there you have it. I hope you enjoyed reading my post about dorky hotties. If you’ve got a soft spot for gorgeous geeks, be sure to download a copy of Unmasking Maya where dorky Derek Whitley awaits.

Author Bio:

Born and raised in the Midwest, Libby Mercer’s adventurous spirit kicked in after graduating from high school, and she’s since lived in Boston, NYC and London. San Francisco is the city she currently calls home. For several years, Libby worked in fashion – first as a journalist and then as a shopkeeper. She also dabbled in design for a while. Even through the crazy fashion years, Libby never let go of her dream of being a published author, and has since developed her signature writing style, crafting quirky chick lit/romance hybrids. Fashioning a Romance was her first published novel, and Unmasking Maya will be her second. Libby has a third novel, The Karmic Connection, scheduled for release in 2013.

Book Blurb:

Defamed, Disgraced and Displaced...

Fresh from a career-killing scandal, New York fashion girl, Maya Kirkwood, arrives in San Francisco to reinvent herself as a fine artist. She's offered the opportunity to create an installation at the Silicon Valley headquarters of a hot new tech company. Fabulous, right?

Not so much.

She can't stand Derek Whitley - wunderkind software genius and CEO of the company. Hot as he may be on the outside, inside the man is a cold, unemotional, robotic type. Way too left-brained for her right-brained self.

As Maya and Derek get to know each other, however, their facades begin to crack. She catches her first glimpse of the man behind the superhuman tech prodigy, and he starts to see her as the woman she used to be. But is this a good thing? Once that last secret is revealed, will it bring them closer together or will it tear them apart?

Buy Unmasking Maya:

Where you can find Libby Mercer:

Friday, December 7, 2012


In conjunction with the fabulous Season's Readings Chick Lit Promo, I and the 7 other participating authors are answering the same set of funny, holiday-related questions. Read on for my responses and be sure to drop by the other authors' blogs to see what they had to say (The creativity and humor in these posts have been cracking me up all week!)

1) What is your best (or worst) holiday memory?

I have so many wonderful holiday memories that it would be impossible for me to choose just one, so I’ll go with my worst holiday memory as that’s a no-brainer. During the holiday season of 1979, my house was visited by a plague that came in the form of a horrible stomach virus. It took every member of my family down one-by-one over the course of a few days. I was the last to get this most unwelcome “gift” and spent all of Christmas Eve worshiping the porcelain goddess. Of course, it didn’t matter how sick, tired, or wretched I felt, I managed to drag myself downstairs the next morning so that I could open all the presents waiting for me underneath the tree. Nothing gets between me and a present!

2) What’s the most embarrassing/disappointing gift you ever received?

How about the disappointment I felt over a gift I didn't receive? I was completely obsessed with having a Frosty Sno-Cone Machine when I was a kid. Every time I saw the ad for that cheesy Hasbro product on TV, I would start jumping up and down, pointing at the screen, screaming, “I want it! Can I have it? Please! Please!” I put this item at the top of my Christmas list THREE YEARS IN A ROW. I even asked Santa in person at the mall, but I never got it. I remain bitter to this day.

3) Favorite holiday beverage?

I like a warm, spicy beverage this time of year. When I’m hanging out with my family on Christmas morning, opening gifts, I always make myself a nice, steamy cup of Apple Cinnamon tea. The spicy smell of it means Christmas to me.

4) What would you add to a snowman to personalize it?

I loved those rainbow-colored afro circus wigs that the animals wore in Madagascar 3. So, I’d probably go that route and make a clown snowman with one of those crazy wigs, a red squeaky nose, and maybe one of those ruffled clown collars along with some colorful mittens.

5) What are three things you can’t survive the holidays without?

The internet because that’s how I do most of my holiday shopping – I hate malls! 

My DVR because I have to record and watch every single sappy holiday movie that airs on Hallmark, Lifetime, ION, or ABC Family during the month of December. 

And last, but certainly not least, my family. Christmas wouldn’t mean much if I couldn’t share it with my loved ones.

6) Santa – sexy or let’s just be friends?

Santa’s always been a benevolent, grandfatherly type of man to me. I mean, come on! His belly shakes like a bowl full of jelly when he laughs – so NOT sexy!

7) Favorite holiday song, album, or movie?

There’s nothing better than Bing Crosby’s version of “White Christmas” as far as I’m concerned.

My favorite holiday album is “When My Heart Finds Christmas” by Harry Connick, Jr., another great crooner. I listen to it non-stop all through the month of December while I’m writing my Christmas cards, wrapping gifts, etc.

I pretty much love any holiday film, but Elf is my favorite and I watch it continuously at this time of year. I just love the sweet, Christmas-loving innocence of Buddy, the Elf and the humor in the film. My brother and I get a big kick out of quoting lines from Elf – “You sit on a throne of lies!” “Son of a NUTcracker!” “Oh my God! Santa’s coming! I know him!” Smiling's my favorite.

8) It’s midnight New Year’s Eve – you can kiss any celebrity, living or dead. Who’s it going to be?

I’m going to embrace my inner cougar and pick that gorgeous Aussie with the sexy accent and twinkly blue eyes, Chris Hemsworth. Of course, he’s 6’4 and I’m not quite 5’2. So,  I might need a step ladder to make this kiss happen, but I’m game! 

Don't forget to visit these blogs to read more amusing holiday anecdotes from my Chick Lit-writing friends!

Samantha Stroh Bailey - Mon., December 3rd

Francine LaSala - Tues., December 4th

Libby Mercer - Wed., December 5th

Jackie Bouchard - Thurs., December 6th

Tracie Banister - Fri., December 7th

Cat Lavoie - Mon., December 10th

Lucie Simone - Tues., December 11th

Meredith Schorr - Wed., December 12th

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


It’s my pleasure to welcome back Scottish Chick Lit author, Susan Buchanan, to Books by Banister. Susan recently released her second novel, The Dating Game, a delightful book which I gave a 5-star review to over on Amazon. Without further ado, I give you Susan’s interview with one of the very entertaining supporting characters in TDG:

Lisa, is one of Gill’s three friends whom we encounter in The Dating Game. We meet her just after their return from Barcelona, by which time Gill has already dated four different men.

Interviewer:  Lisa, thanks so much for joining me today. What would you have been doing otherwise?

Lisa: I’d probably have had a long lie. I was out with my sister last night and we didn’t get in until 3am. She doesn’t know the meaning of the word tired.

Interviewer: So , I hear you are quite the party animal. What’s your favourite night out?

Lisa: Well, yes, I am often called the life and soul of the party, but mostly I am just out for dinner or a few drinks with Gill, Debbie and Angela. Gill’s the only one with no ties, but even though she doesn’t have any husband or kids, she’s married to her job. To be honest, apart from having a good gab with the girls, the night out I had last night with my sister is probably my favourite night out.

Interviewer: I see. And what about you, do you have a special someone in your life?

Lisa: Nope and quite happy for it. (she flicks her long, blonde hair over her shoulder, with a hand bearing perfectly manicured fingernails) I’m enjoying myself too much to settle down and whilst having kids and getting married might be the thing for Angela and Debbie, it’s so not my scene. I don’t want a guy telling me what to do. Maybe I’m just selfish, but I want to do what I want when I want.

Interviewer: Fair enough - girl power. But, you’re a very attractive girl - you must get loads of interest?

Lisa: (she laughs) Oh don’t get me wrong, I do. In fact I definitely have more than my fair share and I know I’ve broken a few hearts, but I’m not looking for Mr Right. I’m looking for Mr Right Now. The best bit in a relationship is right at the beginning, isn’t it? So I like to relive those best bits over and over, just with different people. You can’t really have a first kiss twice, can you? And yes, with regards to sex, I like to let them stay around until we both know each other’s bodies well, if you know what I mean. But the minute they start making too many demands on my time, or get at all clingy or want me to meet their friends or family, I usually break it off. I’m not looking for an engagement ring - I want to enjoy myself.

Interviewer: So, have you ever been interested in anyone who hasn’t been interested in  you?

Lisa: (without any hesitation) No. Guys are always interested in me and if there are girls who are equally as attractive as me on the scene, I get around that, because I can talk to guys easily, and I don’t do the whole simpering thing - quite frankly that makes me want to puke. I don’t do the pathetic girly thing either. I prefer to go for the all-out sex siren approach! It hasn’t failed me yet. Oh, nope, I’m wrong there. I forgot about those guys in Barcelona, but how was I to know they were gay?

Interviewer: So how important do you think looks are?

Lisa: Well as a beautician, I think they’re very important, although not the be all and end all. That goes for men and women. Take Gill for example,  she is naturally beautiful, yet she hides herself away mostly in those dark suits she wears for work. She needs a bit of colour, a bit of makeup (apart from her usual foundation and a touch of mascara when she can be bothered) and a bit of zing! She works far too hard, so she needs somehow to give her tired skin a lift. She also needs to make more of an effort with her hair. When she meets guys, she tries to interest them intellectually, but let’s face it, that’s not what they’re interested in. They don’t want to think you’re cleverer than they are.

Interviewer: You’re very frank. You’ve told Gill this straight to her face?

Lisa: Oh yeah, dozens of times. My friends know me well. I tell things as they are  - take it or leave it. OK, maybe I’m not the most tactful, but they know I have their best interests at heart.

Interviewer: And you don’t think guys are interested in how intelligent a woman is?

Lisa: Seriously? No. At least not initially. OK, they want to ensure she’s not a total airhead, but let’s face it, for men and women, you know in the first ten seconds if it’s going anywhere sexually (Lisa coughs) I mean, romantically. If you’re not attracted to each other, what’s the point? If you can’t see yourself getting naked with the guy at any point in the future and if you’re not looking at his lips and thinking ‘I want to snog the face off him, right now’, why bother? You’d be better off faking an emergency and legging it.

Interviewer: An interesting take on dating. So, you’ve seen photos of some of Gill’s dates, is there anyone you like and if he wasn’t one of Gill’s dates you’d happily, dare I say, pounce on?

Lisa: Well, a few of them are good-looking. But the one who stands out for me is Charlie. He has lovely broad shoulders and a sexy, cheeky, smile. Couldn’t tell from the photo, but I just bet he had a cute bum, too. I can just tell - he was so fit-looking.

Interviewer: And last question, do you think Gill has found her Mr Right already?

Lisa: Hah! That would be telling. Let’s just say she wasn’t particularly interested in the Spaniards.

Interviewer: Well thanks Lisa for such a candid interview. I hope Gill finds her Happy Ever After.

Lisa: No problem. Well, if she doesn’t, at least she’s going to have a right good time trying.


Susan Buchanan lives in Central Scotland with her partner, Tony. The Dating Game is her second novel, released 2nd Nov 2012. Sign of the Times, her first novel, was published in Mar 2012. She will shortly start work on her third novel, due for release Spring 2013.

Here exclusively is Susan Buchanan talking about The Dating Game:

The idea for The Dating Game came from a friend who had joined a dating agency for professional people in Glasgow. Although none of the escapades or experiences Gill has in The Dating Game are those my friend had, the seed was sown! How does a busy, career-oriented woman in her late thirties, find a guy, and not only a guy, but the right guy? I wanted the relationships she had had and the dates she would have, to be as realistic as possible. As I love travelling, I always incorporate at least one foreign country into my books. You’ll have to read The Dating Game to find out where it is!

When I read, I love to read books about foreign parts that I have visited - it immerses me more in the story. I wanted to do the same in my own novels. I love reading, always have - romantic fiction, crime, contemporary drama, pretty much everything.


Workaholic recruitment consultant, Gill McFadden, is sick of her friends trying to match-make for her.  Up until now her love life has been a disaster and she’s going through a drier spell than the Sahara desert. 
She realises she has to act, as work keeps piling up and at this rate she will have retired before she has time for a relationship.
Seeing an ad on a bus one day, she decides to visit Happy Ever After dating agency.  She quickly discovers men are like buses. They all come along at once. Unsure what her type is, Gill decides to keep her options open.  Soon she has problems juggling her social life as well as her work diary. Will she ever strike the right balance?
Before long she is experiencing laughs, lust and… could it be love?  But like everything in Gill’s life, nothing is straightforward and she ends up wondering exactly who she can trust.



Thursday, November 29, 2012


In the spirit of coming together for the holidays, eight popular Chick Lit authors are "partying it up" with a shared promotion for book lovers! That means eight fun and fizzy e-books, each priced at $3.99 or less, that are packed with plenty of laughs and romance to keep you entertained on those long winter nights! And if you'd like to gift one of these books to a Chick Lit fan, we've got you covered with your choice of paperbacks!

Which books are featured in this festive promo?

Finding Lucas by Samantha Stroh Bailey - Daytime talk show producer Jamie Ross is beyond fed up with her toxic bad boy turned metrosexual boyfriend. Spurred on by her gang of quirky friends, she goes on a hilarious, at-times disastrous, and totally life-changing hunt to track down the "one who got away." But are some loves best left behind? E-book and paperback available on Amazon.

In Need of Therapy by Tracie Banister - Handling the problems of hysterical hypochondriacs, lovelorn neurotics, and compulsive man whores is all in a day's work for super-shrink Pilar Alvarez. But can she deal with her crazy Cuban family, a trio of unsuitable suitors, and a threat to her practice without ending up on the couch herself? E-book available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble; paperback available on Amazon. 

What the Dog Ate by Jackie Bouchard - Discovering what her dog ate turns Maggie Baxter’s world upside down. With her chocolate Lab, Kona, as her guide, can Maggie forego her overly analytical ways to find a new life filled with tail-wagging joy? E-book available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes; paperback available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. 

The Girl, the Gold Tooth, & Everything by Francine LaSala - Suburban housewife Mina, beaten-down and struggling with amnesia, starts getting her memory and her mojo back. But she soon learns everything has a price in this fast-paced, richly layered, and darkly humorous satire! E-book and paperback available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. 

Breaking the Rules by Cat Lavoie - When Roxy Rule shares a passionate kiss with her lifelong best friend, she must come to terms with her feelings for him while dealing with two sisters in full crisis mode, a boss who makes her want to stab herself with a letter opener and a fiancĂ© who can't wait to walk down the aisle. Can she keep it together--or will she break under the pressure? E-book available on Amazon, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble; paperback available on Amazon. 

Fashioning a Romance by Libby MercerDevastatingly handsome and deliciously weird, John Harrington is the man of Caitlyn Taylor's dreams… and her nightmares. She has no use for a womanizer like him, and dodges his advances like a pro. But when they end up in Paris together, Caitlyn feels her resolve begin to slip. How will she ever be able to resist the irresistible in the most romantic city in the world? E-book available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo. 

A State of Jane by Meredith Schorr - Jane Frank is newly single after nine years and looking for a second chance at love. But when she dives head first into the NYC dating scene and finds it infested with flakes who are interested today and gone tomorrow, it may be time for Jane to turn the tables! E-book available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes; paperback available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. 

Picture Perfect by Lucie Simone - Lauren Tate's perfectly planned life quickly unravels at the seams when a smear campaign threatens her career as a top TV executive, but she learns just how cutthroat showbiz can truly be when the hottest scandal in Tinsel Town turns deadly and the Hollywood hunk who's stolen her heart goes missing. E-book available on Amazon; paperback available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

I'd like to give a shout-out to all of the wonderful bloggers who have graciously agreed to host our Chick Lit Holiday Promo during December. Be sure to check them out!

December 3

December 4

December 5

December 6

December 7

December 8

December 10

December 11

December 12

December 13

December 14

December 17

December 18

December 20

December 27

Chick Lit Bee

In conjunction with our Chick Lit Holiday Promo, all of the authors involved will be posting their answers to a series of fun (and hopefully entertaining!) holiday-related questions from Dec. 3rd-12th. Please drop by our blogs every day so that we can share some holiday memories (the good, the bad, and the ugly!), tell you how we really feel about Santa, and fantasize about who we'd like to share a New Year's kiss with!

Samantha Stroh Bailey  Mon., Dec 3rd 
Francine LaSala – Tues., Dec 4th  
Libby Mercer – Wed., Dec 5th
Jackie Bouchard – Thurs., Dec 6th  
Tracie Banister – Fri., Dec 7th
Cat Lavoie – Mon., Dec 10th  
Lucie Simone – Tues., Dec 11th
Meredith Schorr – Wed., Dec 12th

Monday, November 26, 2012


I’d like to thank Isabella Anderson at Chick Lit Goddess for nominating me for The Liebster Award! I had fun answering all of your questions!

Here are the rules:

- When one receives the award, one posts 11 random facts about oneself and answers the 11 questions asked by the person who nominated you.

- Pass the award onto 11 other blogs (while making sure one notifies the blogger that one nominated them!)

- One writes up 11 NEW questions directed towards YOUR nominees.

- One is not allowed to nominate the blog who nominated one’s own blog!

- One pastes the award picture into one’s blog. (You can Google the image, there are plenty of them!)

11 Random Facts About Tracie Banister:

1) My favorite meal as a child was fried chicken, mashed potatoes with gravy, and buttermilk biscuits (Yes, I’m a Southerner!)

2) I have a fuzzy slippers addiction. I own five pairs in different colors and wear them whenever I’m in the house because being barefooted gives me the creeps!
3) My mother's first pet was a Cocker Spaniel named Dilly. My first pet was a Cocker Spaniel named Brandy. Decades later, I have 3 dogs who are guess what? Cocker Spaniels! My family is stuck on that breed!
4) I have a thing for left-handed men. Maybe because they tend to be creative types?
5) If I had been born a boy, my name would have been Todd Owen Banister. 
6) My office always smells like eucalyptus oil.
7) I worked as a caterer's assistant, a waitress in a seafood restaurant, and a salesperson in an outlet store by the beach when I was a teenager.
8) The first concert I went to was Hall & Oates.
9) My father was adopted, so 50% of my DNA is a complete mystery!

10) My favorite color is red; I love anything and everything in that color.

11) I have never sent a text in my life (and I'm proud of it!) 

Questions From Isabella Anderson:
1) If you could stay at the same age for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Oh, gosh, I'd say 30 as you still have your looks and energy then, but you've had enough life experience to know how to make smart decisions.

2) Did you have a high school sweetheart?

A few, actually, but I refuse to name any names! ;)

3) What’s your favorite smell?

Cinnamon. Makes me think of my childhood as my mother used to make my brother and I cinnamon toast as a special treat. 

4) What is your favorite drink?
I really look forward to those two Diet Caffeine-Free Cokes I allow myself to drink every day. I drink so much water the rest of the time that I feel like I earn those sodas! 

5) Which would you rather be, the First Lady or the Queen of England?
Definitely Queen of England as I've had a lifelong fascination with the Brits and the royal family in particular (I have a huge collection of Princess Di memorabilia that I amassed as a young girl.) The best thing about being queen would be getting to wear designer hats all the time. I look great in hats!

6) What are your favorite pizza toppings?

I like to kick it old-school with my pizza - extra pepperoni is the only topping I need.

7) How old were you when you you knew what you wanted to be?

I've wanted to be a writer since I was really young, like 8 or 9. I was writing plays in the 4th grade.

8) Coffee or tea?

Tea - it's the English thing again (my maternal grandmother was born in the UK.) I love a cup of Earl Grey with a dollop of skim milk.

9) Date night in, or date night out?

In, because my idea of the perfect date is being cuddled up on the couch with my honey, eating popcorn and watching a good movie.

10) If you could be any actress, who would it be?

Amy Adams. She's so talented! She can sing, as well as act, and is equally good in dramas and comedies. Plus, she's so sweet and pretty! I have a total girl crush on her.

11) What movie can you watch over and over?

Pride and Prejudice, the Keira Knightley/Matthew Macfadyen version. If I see that movie while channel-surfing, I have to stop and watch it. That film never gets old, and I always cry at the same parts!

My nominees for The Liebster Award are:

Questions for my nominees (I look forward to reading your answers!):

What's a talent you don't have, but wish you possessed?
Name one item on your bucket list?
Willy Wonka - Delightfully quirky or paranoid, Oompa Loompa-loving freak?
What's a girl's best friend besides diamonds?
Musician you'd like to be back-up singer for?
How many of the seven continents have you set foot on?
Who's your favorite Bond?
What's the most disgusting food you ever ate?
Reality show you can't live without?
How many times have you been a bridesmaid?
Pick your poison - If forced to spend a day with one of the following celebrities, which would be the most painful for you: Taylor Swift, Lindsay Lohan, Kim Kardashian, or Kristen Stewart?