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.