Saturday, June 30, 2012


This giveaway is now CLOSED!  Congratulations to Yasmin Selena, the lucky winner of Rose McClelland's e-book, HOW TO LOOK LIKE YOU.  And thanks to all who participated in the giveaway!

Rose has generously offered to give away one e-book copy of her soon-to-be-released (July 5th!) Chick Lit novel, HOW TO LOOK LIKE YOU.  So, leave a comment below with your answer to Rose's quiz and you'll be entered to win!  Don't forget to leave your e-mail address so that I can contact you if you win!  Giveaway is open to people in the US and the UK.  Drawing will take place on Saturday, July 7th, so get your comments in by midnight on Friday, July 6th.

Book blurb:

Have you ever had a frenemy? Someone you smile at sweetly but secretly you are filled with jealousy? Meet Chloe and Ella.

While Chloe sees herself as dowdy, quiet and going nowhere, Ella is brimming with talents: acting, singing, and outward-sitting, bronzed boobs.

Yet, Ella envies Chloe’s steady relationship with Aidan, her stick-thin figure and her perfectly poised style. As a result, Ella feels overweight, over-single and over-the-hill.

As Ella begins to work alongside Aidan, she develops feelings she shouldn’t have. When he invites her to join his band, it’s no surprise Chloe reacts by slamming the door off the handle.

Then Chloe begins a strategy of her own: Operation Simon. If she starts to go out more often with the bloke from work, surely Aidan would take notice?

Will Aidan smell Simon’s advances? Will Chloe and Aidan’s shared plans go ahead?

Will Ella become a friend or an enemy?

Find out How To Look Like YOU.

Author bio:
Rose McClelland lives in Belfast and writes chick-lit/women's fiction.
Her debut novel THE BREAK-UP TEST received lovely reviews on Amazon including: "Rose McClelland's voice reads like the younger sister of Marian Keyes with a more streetwise but vulnerable edge."
She is delighted to see her second novel HOW TO LOOK LIKE YOU also published by Crooked Cat.  
Rose wrote a short play which was directed by Rawlife Theatre Company and performed in The Black Box Theatre, Belfast. She writes book reviews for 'Judging Covers' and writes a mixture of theatre reviews and author interviews for her blog.
Rose has been writing creatively since her twenties. She started writing her first novel six years ago and is currently writing her fourth book.

What is the feature you find most attractive in the opposite sex? 

A. Lovely smile
B. Cheeky personality 
C. Confidence 
D. Reliable & trustworthy
E. Fit & active 

Leave your answer, along with your e-mail address, in the comments section below and you'll be entered to win an e-book copy of HOW TO LOOK LIKE YOU!

Visit author Rose McClelland at:

HOW TO LOOK LIKE YOU will be available for purchase on Amazon US & Amazon UK on July 5th!

Friday, June 29, 2012


This giveaway is now CLOSED!  Congratulations to Chris Murray, the lucky winner of Jackie Bouchard's e-book, WHAT THE DOG ATE!  Enjoy, Chris!  And thanks to all who entered!

Yes, I’m the Baby; But Don’t Look at Me That Way
by Jackie Bouchard

When people find out I am the youngest of six children, the phrase most often said is, “So, you’re the baby.” (The second most-often said thing is: “You’re Catholic?” Although I’m proud of my big family and love having so many siblings, I’ve always found it a little embarrassing to have my religion easily pegged by the sheer numbers of us…) 

Anyway, the “You’re the baby” comment generally comes with a look that seems to size up whether I fit the classic Baby profile— an assessment of my rate of spoilage.

Birth order: That’s what I want to talk about today. I’ve always been interested in where people fall in their familial lineup, and I believe there’s some truth to the traits often ascribed to each position. I touch on this in my novel, WHAT THE DOG ATE. The heroine, Maggie, is overly-analytical, responsible and rule-obsessed; she pretty much had to be the eldest child. In contrast, her happy-go-lucky, quit-jobs-and-relationships-on-a-whim brother has “baby” written all over him.
In the novel, I also touch on how their birth order affects their relationships with their mother. (My own mother has a tendency to talk to my eldest sister about things like her will and, the always cheery subject, death. With me, we talk about what we’re reading and funny things the dog did.)

On the other hand, in my current work-in-progress novel, the loner, “I can do it myself!” heroine needed to be an only child.

For a long time I wasn’t sure I fully agreed with the usual stereotypes about birth order placement: namely that the eldest is the most responsible, often an over-achiever; the middle child is often adrift or a people-pleaser, trying to find his/her place in things; and the baby is spoiled and indulged to the point that he/she grows up being the most free-wheeling of the family.

Personally, I consider myself to be uber responsible and a border-line over-achiever. The last words I would use to describe myself would be “free spirit.” I admit I’m a rule-follower, just like Maggie. So, when people give me that Baby-assessment stare, I usually say, “I’m not a typical baby though.” I’m not sure they believe me, and I’m sure my siblings would have something to say on whether I’m spoiled or not. (Luckily they don’t get to write this post!)

Then, about fifteen years ago, I stumbled upon an article by a researcher discussing how your birth-order personality traits will be affected if there is at least four years between siblings. He hypothesized that a baby four years behind the rest becomes a sort of combo-plate of First/Only child traits. That’s it! I thought. This guy has me to a tee! Since I’m six years behind everyone, this explains my responsible/loner self! So, I was right all along—I’m not a typical baby. This also explains my hubby, also the baby, also Mr. Responsibility, also six years behind his brother.

Some researchers dispute the birth order theories, but I think there’s a lot to be said for them. I like to use them in my writing to help me get a feel for who my characters are. What about you? Do you consider your characters’ birth order? Do you think your own personality has been at least somewhat influenced by where you fall in the lineup? I’d love to hear what you think.

Leave a comment below answering one of Jackie's questions about birth order (Where do you fall in your family?  If you're a writer, do you consider birth order with your characters?) and you'll be entered to win an e-book copy of WHAT A DOG ATE. Don't forget to leave your e-mail address so that I can contact you if you win!  Drawing will take place on Friday, July 6th, so get your comments in by midnight on Thursday, July 5th.

Many thanks to my writing pal and fellow dog-lover, Jackie Bouchard, for being a part of Authorpalooza today!  May you have great success with WHAT THE DOG ATE!

Book blurb:

The vet handed Maggie Baxter a plastic specimen bag containing a pair of size-tiny lavender thong panties extracted from her dog; but they were not hers. Or rather, they were hers now since she'd just paid $734 to have Dr. Carter surgically remove them from Kona's gut.

This is how Maggie Baxter, a practical, rule-following accountant, discovers that her husband of seventeen years is cheating on her. All her meticulous life plans are crushed. When he leaves her for the other woman, Maggie and her the-world-is-my-smorgasbord chocolate Lab, Kona, are left to put their lives back together. As Maggie begins to develop a Plan B for her life, she decides to be more like Kona. No, she's not going to sniff crotches and eat everything that isn't nailed down; rather she'll try to approach life with more ball-chasing abandon. Finding herself in situations where she begins to go through her usual over-analysis of the pros and cons, she stops and instead asks herself: What would Kona do? With Kona as her guru, Maggie begins her quest for tail-wagging joy.

WHAT THE DOG ATE is a funny, tender story of mending a broken heart and finding love and a new life right under your nose, with woman's best friend at your side. If you enjoyed Claire Cook's MUST LOVE DOGS or Lolly Winston's GOOD GRIEF, you'll love WHAT THE DOG ATE and be rooting for Maggie and Kona.

Purchase WHAT THE DOG ATE at:

Visit Jackie Bouchard at:

Thursday, June 28, 2012


This giveaway is now CLOSED!  Congratulations to Tobi Helton, the winner of Savannah Page's Chick Lit novel, WHEN GIRLFRIENDS BREAK HEARTS, and thanks to everyone who left a comment!

Hello there Chick Lit enthusiasts! Thanks for stopping by the fabulous Blog and Authorpalooza special hosted by the even more fabulous Chick Lit author, Tracie Banister. Now before you dive into your latest girly read I’ve got a question for you. (And, if you answer you could win an ebook copy of my latest novel, WHEN GIRLFRIENDS BREAK HEARTS!) So here’s my question (and guest blog post for Tracie’s Authorpalooza):

What is a girlfriend?

Is she the best mate from grade school with whom you have dished the juiciest of your childhood secrets? The girl who promises to never tell anyone that you forged your mom’s signature on that failed math test in fifth grade?

Is she that bestie who knows exactly how you take your coffee? And on a down-in-the-dumps-day brings you that caffeinated concoction just the way you like it, despite her constant warnings against the loads of saccharine syrups and hydrogenated creams you insist on adding? (And do you let her nutritionally chide you because she’s your bestie and is only trying to look out for you?)

Is she the friend who tells you everything will be alright when the going gets tough? And that she doesn’t blame you because obviously you’re right? 

Is she that friend who says everything will get better, even though you did make a mistake? And does she at some point tell you to pull your head out of you-know-where when you keep griping about how unfair love and life are?

Is she the girl who comes to your rescue when you madly dig through your oversized, faux designer bag to find your subway pass and fling out onto the ground your jumbo tampons during your search? Does she discretely stash the unmentionables back into your bag, acting as if nothing of the sort happened? (At least not until you’re back home in front of the tube watching reruns of Sex and the City over glasses of Merlot laughing hysterically about the day’s faux pas.)

Is she the woman who knows that you still can’t quite get over the lost love of your life, even though you’ve sworn to everyone you’ve moved on? And is she the woman who tells you that she understands…because she, too, can’t quite let go of her lost love?

For me, each girlfriend of mine offers a unique friendship and bond. We promise we’re there for each other and whether that means helping hide the flying tampons, or simply lending an ear when one needs to vent about how wretched the new supervisor at work is, my girlfriends are pieces of my life’s puzzle that fit just right. You know what I mean? 

Whether I’m talking about my childhood friend from the days of the merry-go-round at recess, my college roommate, or my sister, my network of girlfriends and the friendships we develop over the years are really fabulous relationships.

I was inspired and struck with amazement one day (I’m pretty sure it was in the shower as that’s where 90% of my good ideas come from) by how my girlfriends and I are all such great friends, despite (or maybe because of) how different we are from one another. How can a band of diverse women with such varied personalities be such good friends?

Obviously all of us have quite a lot in common with one another as we were initially attracted to each other and became friends for a reason. But we’re all pretty different in terms of our personalities, our likes and dislikes, our political and religious opinions, our life aspirations, our pasts, our paths…yet we’re all dear girlfriends through thick and thin. Thinking about just how amazing it is to have such dear friends no matter how alike or how different we may be, was the inspiration I stumbled upon before starting my WHEN GIRLFRIENDS book series.

My recent novel and debut chick lit,  WHEN GIRLFRIENDS BREAK HEARTS, is the first in what I’m predicting to be a series of 6 or 7 novels where the subject matter is just that: girlfriends and their friendships. The girlfriends I’ve created in my recent novel are absolutely pivotal in one another’s lives, and for different reasons and in various ways, just like my own band of girlfriends. Perhaps like yours, too! And they’re just as diverse a group. These girlfriends are each other’s Lucy and Ethel, and sometimes each other’s Jekyll and Hyde. (We all have those sides, who are we kidding?)

I wanted to write a series of novels about girlfriends who became dear companions in college, and are still friends years later. Novels about girlfriends experiencing their trials and tribulations together and in their daily lives, their ah-ha moments, their relationships, their hallmarks, their dark times… And I wanted to share how their friendships play into all of it. To show just how special and important girlfriends are in life, no matter how similar or how different everyone might be. Your girlfriends are your girlfriends for your very own reasons, and that kind of bond—that beautiful kind of relationship—needs to be celebrated!

If you get a chance to pick up  WHEN GIRLFRIENDS BREAK HEARTS you’ll find all sorts of friendships among the girlfriends. Friendships that entail one girl taking in another because of a sour breakup with a not-so-cool boyfriend. And friendships that, though the women may not take their friendship beyond the yoga room, still mean something very special to each other. 

I hope you enjoy the first installment in my WHEN GIRLFRIENDS  series and thank you for checking it out. To close, here’s a little “virtual toast” to all of our best mates, BFFs, soul sisters, and every fab female in our lives…to all of our girlfriends, “Here’s lookin’ at you, girl!”

Tracie, Thank you for inviting me to be a guest blogger for your Authorpalooza. I’ve enjoyed getting to form our own friendship through the interwebs and this fun world of indie author-ing. It’s been a pleasure to guest blog and I’m excited to see where this Chick Lit wagon will take us! :) Best of luck with your current and upcoming novels!

Would you like to WIN a copy of  WHEN GIRLFRIENDS BREAK HEARTS for your Kindle? Savannah Page is giving away one free Kindle ebook to anyone who leaves a comment below and answers the question: What is a girlfriend? Don’t forget to include your name and email address so you can receive the ebook if you win!  Drawing will take place on Thursday, July 5th, so get your comments in by midnight on Wednesday, July 4th.  

Thank you so much for participating in Authorpalooza, Savannah!  You are a delight!  I wish you great success with WHEN GIRLFRIENDS BREAK HEARTS and I look forward to seeing what you write next!

Book blurb:

A novel about the bonds of friendship, the power of forgiveness, and the lessons you learn when you let go.

Sophie Wharton doesn’t like losing control, especially of her life. She’s always been the girl who’s kept it together—the girl with a charming boyfriend, a lively social life, and plans to start her own bakery. Life is great for Sophie a few years out of college in Seattle…or so she thinks.

Then a series of events start to turn Sophie’s perfectly ordered world upside down.

After three years, her boyfriend suddenly decides to call it quits. Her close camaraderie of girlfriends is starting to fall apart. Secrets are exposed. And when she thinks things couldn’t get any worse, Sophie learns that one of her friends is fighting a devastating battle.

Now living with her best friend Claire, Sophie struggles with learning to forgive or forget those who break hearts, while trying to accept that there are some situations she cannot control. But is there still a light at the end of the tunnel? Can a girl find the “good” in the “bad”?

This is a heartfelt story about what happens when friendships take different paths and when life doesn’t exactly go according to plan. It’s a story about betrayal, forgiveness, acceptance, and letting go. About what happens when girlfriends break hearts.


Visit Savannah Page at:

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


This giveaway is now CLOSED!  Congratulations to Krystal Lynn, the lucky winner of Lucie Simone's new e-book, PICTURE PERFECT, and thanks to all who participated in the contest.

In the City of Angels
by Lucie Simone

I’ve lived in Los Angeles for eighteen years, and when I first came to Tinsel Town, my head was filled with wild ideas about my new home. Like most Americans, my impression of what life in LA might be like came from TV and movies. I figured everyone in LA either drove a luxury car and lived in a million-dollar beach home, or they were gang members ruling the mean streets of LA with a 9 millimeter and a tough ‘tude. Luckily for me, however, Los Angeles is home to over three million people from all walks of life. And despite my non-celebrity status and not having a single gang affiliation, I managed to fit in just fine. I discovered that you don’t have to be a bazillionaire (although it helps!) or belong to a crime syndicate to thrive in the City of Angels. All it takes is a little imagination.

One thing Los Angeles does have a lot of, though, is dreamers. Home to three prestigious film schools (I went to one!), countless acting classes, five major motion picture studios, and hundreds of production companies, Los Angeles plays host to scores of people all hoping to fulfill their showbiz wishes. Seriously, you can’t throw a rock in this town without hitting somebody with a screenplay hiding under his bed or a headshot in her purse.

But with so many dreamers descending upon Los Angeles every year (I swear these people are being shipped in!), and only so many golden opportunities floating around, LA is also home to a lot of heartbreak. When I first moved here, I met loads of people with big ideas of being on the silver screen or working behind the scenes. And I also saw a lot of them give up on their goals after struggling too long chasing that ever elusive “big break.” I’ve been witness to many a crushed fantasy, my friends.

So, when I decided to write my first novel, HOLLYWOOD ENDING, I wanted to explore the lives of those Hollywood hopefuls. The people who came to Tinsel Town with their sights set on finding a career in the land of make-believe. I chronicled their struggles and their achievements. Their heartaches and their victories. I wanted to reveal life in Los Angeles for the not-so-rich-and-famous. Because it really isn’t all red carpets and after parties.

But when it came time to work on my second novel, PICTURE PERFECT, I thought it would be fun to look at the lives of a few dreamers who actually did make it in Hollywood. Of course, it isn’t all rosy. Showbiz can be a very cutthroat industry. One that runs on rumors and churns on scandal. In a business where who you know is often a lot more important than what you know, loyalty can be a costly companion. Especially when one’s reputation is at stake and the gossipmongers are at work. Of course, just about any business is susceptible to a little scandal, but in Hollywood, it gets hit with a spotlight. And that’s what makes it all the more fun!

To be entered to win an advanced ebook copy of PICTURE PERFECT, leave a comment, sharing your favorite Hollywood gossip story. Britney Spears’ breakdown, Paris Hilton’s jail sentence, Winona Ryder’s shoplifting arrest (remember that?), or you name it!

Please be sure to leave your e-mail address, along with your comment, so that I can contact you if you win!  Drawing will take place on Wednesday, July 4th, so get your comments in by midnight on Tuesday, July 3rd.  

Thank you so much, Lucie, for dropping by Books by Banister and being a part of Authorpalooza!  I wish you much luck with PICTURE PERFECT and all your writing endeavors!

Book blurb:

For Lauren Tate, a high-powered TV producer, sex, lies, and scandal make for a great movie-of-the-week, but when she becomes the target of a smear campaign, even the most salacious of Hollywood’s tales can’t compare to her real life drama. With her soon-to-be-ex-husband leading the effort to sully her reputation, and her former assistant threatening to snatch her hard-earned position at Timeless Television out of her hands, Lauren’s perfectly planned life quickly begins to unravel at the seams.

Clawing her way back to the top of the TV food chain is no easy task, especially in an industry where backstabbing is a sport and gossip is a full time business. But Lauren learns just how cut-throat showbiz can truly be when the hottest scandal in Tinsel Town turns deadly and the Hollywood hunk who’s stolen her heart is missing in action. Can she salvage her career, her reputation, and her love life? Or will Hollywood be the death of her?

PICTURE PERFECT will be available for purchase on Amazon and Barnes & Noble on August 31st!

Author bio:

Lucie Simone has a passion for travel, romance and all things chick lit. She also has a degree in Journalism and a Master of Fine Arts in Television Production. Her love of comedy (and living under the delusion that she might one day be an actress) resulted in a stint studying improvisation, which, ironically enough, taught her to be a better writer. She lives, loves and writes in the City of Angels

Visit Lucie Simone at:

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


This giveaway is now CLOSED!  Congratulations to Barb Caddy, the lucky winner of Rachel Schurig's e-book, IN SEARCH OF A LOVE STORY.

Today, I have the pleasure of welcoming Rachel Schurig, author of the über-popular THREE GIRLS series (over 40,000 copies sold!), to Books by Banister.  Rachel, a special education teacher, is taking a year-long sabbatical to devote herself to writing full-time (Exciting!  Scary!) and she's here to tell us more about herself and her new release, the funny and romantic Chick Lit novel IN SEARCH OF A LOVE STORY.

Rachel has generously offered to give away one Kindle copy of her e-book IN SEARCH OF A LOVE STORY.  So, be sure to leave a comment, including your e-mail address, below to be entered for a chance to win.

1) Can you give us a brief overview of IN SEARCH OF A LOVE STORY?

Sure! Here’s the synopsis from the back cover:

Emily Donovan doesn’t have a romantic bone in her body.

At least, that’s what her friends Ryan and Ashley keep telling her. They’re convinced her bad luck with men is directly related to her life-long lack of interest in all things romantic. When Emily’s latest relationship crashes and burns, she decides to go along with her friends’ plans for a romance research project. Sure, the idea that she’ll have better luck if she learns about the great romances of literature and film seems a little silly, but Emily figures it can’t hurt.

In no time at all, Emily finds herself buried under a mountain of romance novels, chick flicks, and sappy love songs, hopeful that her hard work will pay off with true love. When she meets Greg, Ashley and Ryan are convinced she’s found prince charming—after all, he’s rich, handsome, and totally into Emily. What more could she want? And why does it seem that her friend Elliot isn’t exactly happy for her?

Faced with misunderstandings, miscommunications, and a seemingly endless string of missteps, she is nevertheless determined to give true love a try. In doing so, Emily will eventually find that true romance, the kind that lasts, has little to do with stereotypes or clichés, and everything to do with finding out what’s in her own heart.

2) What's your favorite quality about your hero/heroine?

Emily is so determined to find lasting love. Despite all of the ups and downs,  she experiences in her search for romance, she never gives up the belief that love—including her love for friends and family—is essential in her life.

3) What made you want to write this book?

I have always loved all things romance—chick flicks, sappy love songs, romantic comedies, classic love stories. I thought it would be fun to explore the romantic journey of a girl who is the opposite of me, a girl who couldn’t tell her Elizabeth Bennet from her Julia Roberts.

4) What are you working on now?

I am working on a sequel of sorts to my THREE GIRLS series. Kiki Barker was a character introduced in THREE GIRLS AND A WEDDING. I ended up liking her so much I decided she deserved to have her own story told. I’m hoping to have the book ready to go sometime in July.

5) What comes first for you -- character idea, plot idea?

Usually a plot idea, though it rarely gets fleshed out fully until I develop a good character. For the most part, the two go hand in hand.

6) How do you think of titles?

Oh, man. I hate coming up with titles. Hate it! For some reason they give me a headache. It’s hard to think of one line or phrase that fully represents a book! If I am ever a gagillionaire, I’m going to hire someone to be my dedicated title-comer-upper!

7) What are your thoughts on love scenes in books?  Do you prefer to read/write sweet/romantic encounters between your hero and heroine or spicy ones?

I have so much respect for people who can write good, spicy love scenes, because I do enjoy reading them when they are done well. However, that’s a talent I don’t think I possess. I usually aim for sweet and romantic in my own books.

8) Who are the authors who inspire you?

So, so many! Authors like Marian Keyes, Harriet Evans, Sophie Kinsella, Lucy Kevin, and Elizabeth Young inspired me to write chicklit. Jane Austen, Louisa May Alcott, and L.M. Montgomery inspired in me a love of reading from a very young age.

9) What genres do you like to read?  Do you stick to one or are you eclectic in your reading tastes?

I will read just about anything! My favorite genres are chicklit and young adult, but I have been known to read some thrillers, sci-fi, and fantasy. If it’s well written and has compelling characters I’ll read it!

10) What was the last book you read that really WOWed you?

THE WOOL series by Hugh Howie. I don’t usually go crazy for sci-fi, but this series was so, so good. I literally couldn’t stop reading it! I was so thankful for my Kindle so I could immediately download each installment as I finished the last.

11) Do you prefer a series or stand alone novels?

I love a good series. If an author can draw me in and make me care about the characters in a story, I love to be able to learn more about them in a series of books.

12) If you could be plopped down in the middle of any book, which one would it be?

Oh man, what a terribly hard question! I would love to experience the Regency period of Jane Austen’s PRIDE AND PREJUDICE — and get the chance to check out Pemberley and hottie Mr. Darcy! But I would also love to see the magic of Hogwarts in HARRY POTTER.

13) If you could invite any five people (living or dead) over for a dinner party, who would they be and why?

Rachael Ray, J.K.Rowling, Joss Whedon, Paul McCartney, and Michael Phelps. Rachael Ray can cook for us, J.K. Rowling can tell us all the little secret details of HARRY POTTER that didn’t make it into the books, Joss Whedon can tell us what would have happened if FIREFLY didn’t get cancelled, and Paul McCartney can sing for us after we eat. Oh, and Michael Phelps will provide eye candy.

Fast and Flirty 

Favorite scent?  Jasmine
Favorite color?  Purple
Favorite food?  Pasta (Or bread. Or cheese. Wait, is wine a food??)
Favorite word?  Scuttlebutt
Dream vacation spot?  
Favorite time period in history?  Regency England
Favorite girl's night out drink?  Chocolate martini
Favorite date night activity?  I’m a simple girl, give me dinner and a drink and I’m happy!
Coffee or tea or soda?  Tea
Strong but lean or built and burly?  Can’t I have both?
Scruffy or clean-shaven?  I like the scruff!
Dark-haired or blond?  Dark
Celebrity hottie on your laminated list?  John Krasinski. So tall and pretty!
Novel hero crush? Gilbert Blythe from ANNE OF GREEN GABLES. Or Mark Darcy from BRIDGET JONES. Or Sirius Black from HARRY POTTER…again, do I have to choose just one??

Thanks for being a part of Authorpalooza, Rachel!  Good luck with IN SEARCH OF A LOVE STORY and all your future writing endeavors.

Leave a comment below telling me what your favorite sappy love song is and you'll be entered to win a Kindle copy of IN SEARCH OF A LOVE STORY.  Don't forget to leave your e-mail address so that I can contact you if you win!  Drawing will take place on Tuesday, July 3rd, so get your comments in by midnight on Monday, July 2nd.


Visit Rachel Schurig at:

Monday, June 25, 2012


This giveaway is now CLOSED!  Congratulations to Cat Lavoie, the winner of Dina Silver's e-book, KAT FIGHT!  

My special guest on Authorpalooza today is the fun and fabulous Dina Silver!  Dina made her debut as an author last year with her amazingly successful, award-winning novel, ONE PINK LINE.  She is an inspiration to all of us indie writers!  Recently, she released Book 2 aka KAT FIGHT in paperback (the e-book version will be coming very soon!) and Dina's here to tell us more about her new riotous, romance-filled novel!

Dina has generously offered to give away one copy of her book, KAT FIGHT, in either paperback or Kindle format.  So, be sure to leave a comment, including your e-mail address, below to be entered for a chance to win. 

1) Can you give us a brief overview of KAT FIGHT?

KAT FIGHT is loosely based on how I met my husband, and centers around the main character, Kat Porter. It’s a modern day love triangle wherein the book opens with turmoil in Kat’s long term relationship, and follows her through a string of (hopefully hilarious!) events that eventually lead her to the love of her life.

2) What's your favorite quality about your hero/heroine?

She has a sense of humor. She is a hopeless romantic, but truly wants to build a family, not just find love for love’s sake.

3) What made you want to write this book?

I initially wanted to write it as a screenplay, and pictured many of the scenes in my head as live action. Once I sat down to write it, I thought I would enjoy seeing it as a novel first.

4) What are you working on now?

I don’t want to give too much away, but my third book will be taking a lighthearted, humorous look at a serious topic.

5) What comes first for you -- character idea, plot idea?

Definitely plot idea.

6) How do you think of titles?

Thinking up titles is one of my favorite things to do, and for me, less is always more. I have worked in advertising writing headlines for 15 years, so I always try to think of my titles as succinct headlines. How can I say the most about my book with the least amount of words.

7) What are your thoughts on love scenes in books?  Do you prefer to read/write sweet/romantic encounters between your hero and heroine or spicy ones?

I absolutely love to read both sweet and spicy love scenes, but I have not perfected the same comfort in writing them…the spicy ones that is.

8) Who are the authors who inspire you?

I adore old-school women’s fiction pioneers like Helen Fielding & Melissa Bank. I also really love Sarah Gruen’s writing style, and pretty much anything by Nora Ephron.

9) What genres do you like to read?  Do you stick to one or are you eclectic in your reading tastes?

I like murder mysteries as much as I like love stories. I have often referred to myself as a ‘Top Ten Reader’ because I’m always interested in reading what’s immensely popular. I think it’s important for authors to read what’s on trend, whether you write that genre or not.

10) What was the last book you read that really WOWed you?

Well, that’s an easy one – FIFTY SHADES OF GREY. It wowed me for a few reasons. One, the hype was fascinating to me. Two, the sex scenes were also highly fascinating. And three, the whole fan-fiction infusion was something new to me as well. I had an interesting time learning about the author’s inspiration.

11) Do you prefer a series or stand alone novels?

As far as reading, no preference. As far as writing, I would love to write a series…daunting as it may seem.

12) If you could be plopped down in the middle of any book, which one would it be?

I have to say PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. It’s a standout as one of my all time faves.

13) If you could invite any five people (living or dead) over for a dinner party, who would they be and why?

Jon Stewart (He cracks me up)
Jon Bon Jovi (It’s obvious why)
Andy Cohen (I want to be his BFF)
My son, Ryan (He likes a good party like his momma)
Kathy Griffin (I prefer loud, funny people at my dinner parties)

Fast and Flirty 

Favorite word?  Random
Dream vacation spot? 
Favorite time period in history?  The 80’s
Favorite girl's night out drink?  Extra dirty martini with an obscene amount of blue cheese olives
Favorite date night activity?  Dinner out
Coffee or tea or soda?  Coffee
Strong but lean or built and burly?  Strong but lean
Scruffy or clean-shaven?  Scruffy
Dark-haired or blond?  Dark hair
Celebrity Hottie on your laminated list?  Chris Pine
Novel hero crush?  Mr. Darcy  

Thank you for spending some time with us, Dina!  Wishing you much success with KAT FIGHT!

Leave a comment below telling me about your favorite love triangle in a book and you'll be entered to win a copy of KAT FIGHT (in Kindle or paperback format - your choice!)  Don't forget to leave your e-mail address so that I can contact you if you win!  Drawing will take place on Monday, July 2nd, so get your comments in by midnight on Sunday, July 1st. 

Purchase KAT FIGHT at:

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Friday, June 22, 2012


This giveaway is now CLOSED!  The lucky winner of Samantha Stroh Bailey's e-book, FINDING LUCAS, is Sophie Harris! Congrats, Sophie, and thanks to everyone who left a comment!

I am delighted to have Canadian author, Samantha Stroh Bailey, on Books by Banister today.  Sam and I connected through Twitter recently and became fast friends.  She's a fun, interesting, and multi-faceted lady (mom, entrepreneur, writer - I get tired just thinking about all she does every day!)  Read on to learn more about Sam and her personally-inspired debut novel, FINDING LUCAS.

Samantha has generously offered to give away one Kindle copy of her e-book FINDING LUCAS.  So, be sure to leave a comment, including your e-mail address, below to be entered for a chance to win.

Hi, Tracie! Thank you so much for interviewing me.

1) Can you give us a brief overview of FINDING LUCAS?

I’d love to!

Can you ever really go back to the past?

On her fifth anniversary with boyfriend Derek, Jamie Ross finds herself in a Montreal hotel room wondering how the carefree guy she met in a Chicago bar has turned into “the quintessential metrosexual.” Weighed down by Derek’s disdain for her second hand wardrobe, unusual family and low-paying job as an associate producer of a daytime talk show, Jamie reaches a breaking point. And when her new boss plans to reunite lost loves on the show, she remembers Lucas— the boy she’d loved and lost ten years earlier. What follows is a quest that is at times hilarious and at others disastrous as Jamie’s life transforms from run of the mill to absolutely crazy. But will finding Lucas give Jamie everything she’s looking for?

2) What's your favorite quality about your hero/heroine?

I love that Jamie is just an average woman with a not so average family. Dealing with a tough childhood and in a demeaning relationship, she’s too afraid to make the changes in her life that she needs to. Eventually, she finds the courage to accept her differences and be proud of them and to finally go after the things she wants.

3) What made you want to write this book?

That’s a great question. Late one night, I was lying in bed and wondering what happened to Jake, my “friend with benefits” from my high school and early university years. We’d lost touch and hadn’t spoken in ten years, but he had always been such a good friend to me. I’m madly in love with my husband so I wasn’t searching for my lost love like Jamie is, but Jake had profoundly touched my life, and I was so curious to know where he was and what he was doing. Was he married? Did he have kids? Was he happy? And it hit me that so many women must wonder about the people from their past, and with Facebook and Twitter and everything on the Internet, it’s quite fun to hunt these “exes” down.

The book took a totally different direction than I had expected, and I’m so happy with what Jamie finds. For me, I did find Jake, and he’s happily married with a crew of kids, and it’s been so nice keeping in touch.

4) What are you working on now?

I’m always writing and editing because I have a freelance writing/editing company called Perfect Pen Communications. I’m working on articles, editing manuscripts and thanks to your fabulous advice (Tracie's note: People actually listen to me?), I’m now revising a chick lit YA novel that I plan to publish in the late fall. 

5) What comes first for you -- character idea, plot idea?

Plot idea is always first. My ideas usually come to me late at night, just as I’m falling asleep. I think a lot before I go to bed though oddly, I keep forgetting to put a notebook on my nightstand. Instead, I race downstairs and jot down my ideas. Once I have an outline of the plot, I start creating my characters and they tell the story.
6) How do you think of titles?

Titles are so hard for me! FINDING LUCAS came to me very easily, though, because the title says it all. For other novels, I brainstorm a lot with my husband, friends and family.

7) What are your thoughts on love scenes in books?  Do you prefer to read/write sweet/romantic encounters between your hero and heroine or spicy ones?

I enjoy both sweet/romantic and spicy love scenes without too many clichés. The sweet love scenes cannot be too saccharine or silly, and the spicy ones have to be well-written with dialogue I can imagine myself saying. I’m not a big fan of “throbbing” and “heaving” unless it’s done very well. 

8) Who are the authors who inspire you?

There are so many authors who inspire me. But, I have to mention Jennifer Weiner, Emily Giffin, Marian Keyes, Sarah Mlynowski, Helen Fielding, Candace Bushnell, Elin Hilderbrand and Ernest Hemingway.

9) What genres do you like to read?  Do you stick to one or are you eclectic in your reading tastes?

I’m pretty eclectic. Of course, I love chick lit, but usually the ones that I can relate to. Now that I’m a mom, I’m drawn to mom lit, I love mystery and suspense, chick lit or not, and I also like literary fiction.  
10) What was the last book you read that really WOWed you?

SEA CHANGE by Karen White. I don’t usually go for any historical fiction or books with a lot of description because I like dialogue and fast-paced action. But, SEA CHANGE is powerful, moving, intriguing, and it has a totally unexpected plot. I also loved BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP by S.J. Watson because it is original, unique and so suspenseful.

11) Do you prefer a series or stand alone novels?

I usually read stand alone novels because just like movie sequels are rarely as good as the first, book sequels often disappoint me. But I loved the SINGLE series by Wendy Markham, SOMETHING BLUE by Emily Giffin, and I adore the SHOPAHOLIC series. And oddly, I loved the TWILIGHT series even though I would never have thought I’d like a book about vampires. I was totally sucked in!

12) If you could be plopped down in the middle of any book, which one would it be?

SEX AND THE CITY, for sure. I have always felt at home in New York and like it is where I’m supposed to be. I love Toronto, where I live, but New York has my heart. I would love to be at brunch and out for cocktails with the girls, and being able to wear some of those clothes would be awesome!

13) If you could invite any five people (living or dead) over for a dinner party, who would they be and why?

Ernest Hemingway

I fell in love with his writing when I was teenager because of its simple yet hard-hitting prose. He is such a complicated person and a wonderful story-teller, and I’d love to ask him all about his life, marriages and challenges.

My grandparents

My grandparents, except for my paternal grandfather who died before I was born (actually I’m named after him), passed away when I was a snarky, rebellious teenager. I loved them, but I didn’t appreciate how much they meant to me until I had my own kids. Watching my parents with my two kids touches me so deeply, and the relationship between a grandparent and child is so special. They had emigrated to Canada from Lithuania and the Ukraine and weathered some arduous times. I’d love to see them again so I could tell them how much I adore them, and I’d love to learn more about their lives and struggles.

Jennifer Weiner

Jennifer Weiner is such an inspiration to me. Her novels are edgy, clever and often dark, and I just fall into her stories. I would love to sit down with her and ask her about her success, where she gets her plot ideas and what she thinks of all she’s accomplished. I would certainly ask some advice on being a best-selling author!

Mr. Crawford

My grade eight teacher, Mr. Crawford, is someone I will always remember. Never good at math, actually I was terrible, he sat with me patiently day after day trying to help this lost cause. But, he was also one of the first people who told me I could write. He loved my stories and always encouraged me to write more. He believed I had real talent, even giving me the English award at my graduation, and his belief in me really inspired my love of writing. I want to thank him.

Kurt Cobain

I have a serious love for alternative music, and I think Kurt Cobain is one of the most talented and tortured singer/songwriters. I, like everyone else who loved Niravana, was devastated when he died. I wish I could sit down with him and find out about his life and why he felt he could no longer deal with his success. “Where Did You Sleep Last Night” is still one of my favourite songs.

Fast and Flirty 

Favorite scent?  Fresh cut grass, but if it’s perfume, I currently love the light, fresh scent of Daisy by Marc Jacobs.
Favorite color?  Red
Favorite food?  A nice fat steak
Favorite word?  Discombobulated
Dream vacation spot?  Italy
Favorite time period in history?  Now 
Favorite girl's night out drink?  Bloody Caesar
Favorite date night activity?  Dinner and a great conversation with my husband that’s not about the kids
Coffee or tea or soda?  Coffee, coffee, coffee
Strong but lean or built and burly?  Definitely strong but lean
Scruffy or clean-shaven?  Scruffy! 
Dark-haired or blond?  Dark-haired
Celebrity hottie on your laminated list?  Matthew McConaughey
Novel hero crush?  Luke from the SHOPAHOLIC series

Thanks so much for being a part of Authorpalooza, Sam! Wishing you great success with FINDING LUCAS and I look forward to reading that YA novel when you finish it!

Leave a comment below telling me about someone from your past you've reconnected with (high school friend, college roommate, ex-boyfriend) and you'll be entered to win a Kindle copy of FINDING LUCAS.  Don't forget to leave your e-mail address so that I can contact you if you win!  Drawing will take place on Friday, June 29th, so get your comments in by midnight on Thursday, June 28th.

Purchase FINDING LUCAS at:

Visit Samantha Stroh Bailey at: