BOOK FEATURE: “Debt” by Rachel Dunning

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“Debt” by Rachel Dunning

The Debt Collector:

I pay my debts, and I expect others to.

I was raised in the slums of London, I knew nothing of privilege. My father was murdered when I was seventeen. Morty figured my father’s passing meant I would automatically take on dad’s debts. I refused.

And I paid for that refusal.

So did my sister.

So now I fight. All I know how to do is fight. The best cash is in the states, so that’s where I am now. A big fish called Vito came along offering me a “favor” when I arrived.

Another debt.

I paid for that one too.

I knew Kyla Hensley would be trouble when I met her. But I wanted her. I could see through the falsehood of her wannabe-slutty clothes and her sexy legs. So I chased her.

Besides, trouble is my middle name. 

Kayla Hensley:

I was brought up in privilege, but I lacked everything else. My father is a business tycoon who buys and sells and doesn’t care who gets rolled over in the process.

I never knew my mother, and all I have of her is a photo with a note scrawled on the back in French saying “I’m sorry.” The only Female Figure I had growing up is my dad’s wife who is a bleach blond with seven boob jobs. We never bonded.

I drink. I party. I meet guys.

But I wasn’t always like that.

I’ve had a string of lovers in the last few years, the worst and most recent of which was Vince Somerset. My best friend Vera was dating a guy called Rory Cansoom who is the opposite of Vince in so many ways, and yet so the same.

She and I hit the road for the summer, getting away from the two college psychos and just trying to have some fun.

But there’s a funny thing about trouble, the more you run from it, the more it finds you.

Which is when I met the Debt Collector.

It was only supposed to be sex. He made that clear. I made that clear.

That’s all it was supposed to be.

I never expected to fall in love. I never expected to fall so deeply, madly, uncomfortably in love with a man who is wrong, so wrong for me.

And yet…so unbelievably right.

**Content Warning: Not intended for readers under the age of seventeen.

**Find “Debt” now!: Amazon – US   Amazon – UK   Amazon – Canada   Amazon Australia   iTunes   Nook / B&N   Smashwords   Goodreads


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EXCERPT

EXCERPT #1, KAYLA

I push my head back against the wall, not sure what’s coming, but not fighting it either.

“Who are you?” he repeats.

“I…I don’t know what you mean.”

“I see you at a bar in Texas, then I look for you all over Nashville. And suddenly you’re at my side in a hospital, following me into this warehouse. Who are you?”

“I didn’t follow you into the warehouse. You needed to pick up your truck, and you were stumbling.”

“So?”

“So I wanted to make sure you were OK.”

“And?”

And I want you to take my clothes off and I want us to live happily ever after. “That’s it.”

Logan grins, a deadly look for him with his dimples. “Don’t do that,” I say.

“What?”

“Smile.”

“Why not?”

Because you’re beautiful. “Just don’t.”


rachel-dunning-profile-pictureAbout the author: Rachel Dunning hit the scene in August 2013 and is the author of the highly praised Naive Mistakes Series, Truthful Lies Trilogy, Johnny Series and the paranormal romance series, Mind Games.

A prolific writer, she sticks to stories where Alpha Males aren’t pricks and where women have guts.

She’s lived on two different continents, speaks three different languages, and met the love of her life on the internet. In other words, romance is in her blood.

**Click HERE to sign up here to get Rachel’s Newsletter!

**Where Else to Find Rachel: Blog / Website   Facebook   Twitter   Amazon   Barnes and Noble   iTunes   Goodreads


AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Amy Lynch, author of “Bride without a Groom”

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About the author: Irish author Amy Lynch writes humorous romantic fiction, but not always with fairy tale endings! She has been working in the charity sector for twelve years, is married and is the mother of two young children. When Amy is not writing, she can be found juggling school lunches and two Shetland pony-sized rescue dogs. Now, how’s that for multi-tasking?  Amy is published by Harper Collins UK. Her debut ‘Bride without a groom’ is available on kindle or paperback.

**Contact Amy: Website   Facebook   Twitter


INTERVIEW

Rebecca is a challenging character – what was your motivation when developing her? As a child, I loved challenging, dramatic characters, and found them great fun to act out. There was always a spoilt, bossy Barbie doll in my games. I may have been exposed to excess daytime TV such as Dallas and Knotts Landing, it could explain a lot!

I found Rebecca, the main character, fun to develop. She’s a woman on a mission, and this meant that there were many comedic possibilities! Although Rebecca is demanding, there is also a softer side to her. She adores animals and is a good friend. It was important to me that the reader really understands that she genuinely loves Barry, and vice versa.

Rebecca has such a strong personality and a very loud voice – writing her stories comes easily to me. She whispers funny ideas at midnight when I’m falling asleep, and I jot them down with a pen and pad on my bedside locker, because she won’t simmer down until I do. In between laundry piles, school runs and a full day in the office, I find time for writing before collapsing into bed. Sometimes I wonder if Rebecca lives inside my brain, dictating the manuscript to me, and I am just her exhausted typist. To me, it is as if she is a real person.

What was your journey to publication? It was a tough journey – I’m sure that this is something that all writers can relate to. I am quite a determined person, so I was really persistent.

Writing comes easily to me, and is something I enjoy. It is something I find time for in a busy working-mum day. As the old phrase goes, “find a job you love, and you’ll never work again.” For me that job is writing, and although it takes up a lot of my time, it doesn’t feel like work.

Somewhere along the way, writing turned from a hobby to a passion. It’s something I do every day, even if it’s only half an hour between making the children’s school lunch and watching Eastenders. I love it! Sometimes, I feel that if I don’t get a funny line or a clever idea down on paper, I’ll forget it. This explains the notebooks lying about the house, in my purse, bedside locker, and glove-box of my car!

The first step in the journey was to join a creative writing class – this was to build up confidence in sharing my work and to learn from constructive criticism. Then, I wrote short stories for magazines to build up my exposure. I knew that I’d stand a far greater chance at getting my novels published if I secured a literary agent, so I persisted until finally one said that he would take a chance on me! We then self-published ‘Bride Without A Groom’ to build up reviews and show the publishers that we meant business! Months later, I signed a book deal with Harper Collins – it’s the most exciting time of my life.

I think we’re always a little curious as to what a writer’s process is. How would you describe a typical writing session, particularly with family and other work demands? I started writing at school, when a teacher really encouraged me. She once gave me a fancy notebook and said “You have a lot to say, Amy, you should write it down.” Then again, I was a chatterbox and she might have been telling me to be quiet. This teacher would ask me to stand in front of the class and read my short stories aloud. When the class laughed at the funny bits, I got a real kick from that.

I’ve taken several creative writing courses in the evenings, it’s a great way to develop skills and build confidence in yourself as a writer. Being able to share your work is often frightening, as many writers are their own worst critic. After a couple of years attending writing classes, I sent a few short stories off to various magazines. Seeing my name in print was a thrill, and quite addictive. Mum and I bought copies of the magazines and showed them to everyone!

I give myself four months to thrash out a first draft, and then four months to edit. The plot and chapter plan comes first – these are the bones which are later fleshed out.

My schedule is quite strict – writing every single day is important. Flex that creative muscle as often as you can, and it will become second nature. For me, eight o’clock in the evening is writing time. The kids are asleep and the house is quiet. My husband is very supportive. If I’m trying to finish a chapter on the weekend, he’ll sometimes take the kids off to the playground, and come back an hour later to find a more relaxed me! That’s why the dedication reads: “To Eoin. Sorry about all the burnt dinners, darling. As you can see, I’ve been a little busy…”

I’m a big believer that digital technology and the internet is a massive opportunity for writers. Do you agree? Do you use social media and digital in your own writing career? Digital marketing is so important, and I’ve learned that being an author is not just about writing books! Authors are now expected to participate in the promotion of the book, using social media. I have recently started to use twitter @AmyLynchAuthor as a way to link myself to other writers, publishers, book lovers and reviewers. It’s a whole new world, and I find it a fun way to network. I have an author page on Facebook, www.facebook.com/AmyLynchauthor which is a great way to keep people up to date with events. I have also set up a website www.AmyLynchauthor.com.

Who are your favourite writers? I’m a huge fan of the Irish author Claudia Carroll, who is also with Avon, Harper Collins. I reached out to her for advice, when I was trying to get a literary agent, and was getting rejections left right and centre. She really took me under her wing, even writing the blurb for ‘Bride Without a Groom’, which appears on the paperback cover. It reads ‘Fantastic! Punchy, full of energy, exactly the kind of book I’d take on holidays with me.’ I was so grateful for her help, and she was just as lovely in person when we met at her book launch recently. I also enjoy Sinead Moriarty, who also writes funny books.

What do you think about the new Irish writers coming through – are we seeing an exciting time for Irish women writers in particular? The great thing about Irish women writers is that they seem to support each other, helping new authors up the ladder and into the world of publishing. One day, I’d like to repay the favour, and coach someone who is talented but finding it tough to break in.

Ireland has so much talent to offer, especially literary talent. It’s an exciting time for readers and authors alike.

What do you read for pleasure? I just finished ‘Me and my sisters’ by Sinead Moriarty, which was a fun, light read. I picked up a signed copy of Claudia Carroll’s twelfth book ‘Meet Me In Manhattan’ at her book launch last week, and can’t wait to dive in. I mostly read when I’m in Spain – we go with the kids every summer.

Give us your top piece of advice for aspiring writers!

  1. Persistence pays off! Rejection is all part of the author experience, but if you really believe in yourself, and truly want to be published, don’t stop until you get a yes! Use criticism to improve, which is not easy.
  2. Write every single day – even if it’s only a half hour before bed. Flex that writing muscle as often as you can, and it will come naturally. Stephen King recommends writing 1,000 words a day. This might seem like hard work if, like myself, you are juggling a day job and children, but if you enjoy writing it doesn’t feel like a chore.
  3. Write short stories for magazines. Seeing your name in print will be addictive, add to your repertoire, and boost your confidence.
  4. Get an agent. This will hugely increase your chances of attracting a major publisher, as some do not accept unsolicited manuscripts! It will also help to have an agent at the negotiating stage!

If you still have no luck, but want to show off what you can do, commission an amazing book cover, self-publish on Amazon, create

Where do you live? I’m an Irish author, living in Co. Wicklow, Ireland, with my husband, two young children and two massive rescue dogs ‘Bella and Roly’. They are gentle giants and are part of the family. My eldest child is six, and my youngest is five – we call that ‘Irish Twins.’ Both children have inherited’ The Chatty Gene’ from me.


 

BOOK FEATURE

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“Bride Without a Groom” by Amy Lynch

Blurb: Rebecca has chosen the most luscious, five tiered, wedding cake – as featured in Hello! Magazine.  The engagement ring that she has selected is celebrity inspired. The wedding singer is on speed dial.  He doesn’t usually do Michael Bolton, but as it’s for a first dance he’ll make an exception.  She has fallen for an ivory lace couture gown that is to die for. The down payment may require her to sell a left kidney, but it will be worth it.   Isn’t that why you have two? There’s one teeny problem. It’s nothing, really. No need to panic! It’s just that Barry has yet to propose.  Truth be told, he’s had enough. There’s only so much wedding talk that one man can take. Now he’s leaving for a conference in Bangkok and frankly, he’s looking forward to the peace and quiet. As the Tiger beer flows and the tie loosens, his colleague Shelley is providing more than a shoulder for him to cry on. Back in Dublin, Rebecca worries, and Operation ‘Win Back Barry’ is in full swing. But wait… who is the mysterious woman that is so keen to talk to her? And what is it that Barry needs to get off his chest?

PROLOGUE

This is it. I can feel it. Four years of waiting for Barry to pop the question. Four years of hinting. Four years of dreaming and praying and wishing. Tonight’s the night.

He has chosen the perfect evening for it. You’ve got to give the man credit where credit is due. I mean, surprising me with an engagement ring on my thirtieth birthday in Jacques restaurant? It’s elegant class. I couldn’t have scripted it better.

I spied the velvet box last week, accidentally stumbling upon it when I was innocently vacuuming under the mattress. I’d already gone through his wardrobe and chest of drawers with a feather duster and rummaged through his bedside locker with a wet cloth. OK, OK, you’ve got me. I don’t dust. I don’t vacuum. I don’t wipe sticky things clean with wet cloths. Yuk! I admit it, I was snooping. But can you blame me? The suspense was killing me.

Fumbling with the box, so close to opening it, I heard the key in the door. Rumbled! Sneaking back later, he’d moved it. Next thing you know, he’s booked a table at the most pretentious restaurant in town. All deliciously suspicious behaviour.

The night is upon us. I have taken glam to a whole new level, even shelling out for a new posh frock, a designer one. The works! My tan is flawless, not pasty, not orange, just perfectly in the middle. My lipstick and shellac nails are a deep vixen red. It’s the kind of colour that says “Yes, I’ll marry you. And I’ll rip you apart in bed later.”

**Buy “Bride without a Groom now!: Amazon – US   Amazon – UK

RELEASE DAY: “My Funny Valentine”

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“My Funny Valentine” by Caroline Fardig, (A Lizzie Hart Novella)

Blurb:

All Lizzie wants for Valentine’s Day is for her fiancé NOT to be the prime suspect in a murder investigation.

Is that too much to ask?

Lizzie Hart is finally living the dream.  She’s engaged to the love of her life, Blake Morgan, and more importantly, she hasn’t even given a thought to dead bodies or murder investigations for an entire year.  The only hurdle in Lizzie and Blake’s way to wedded bliss is introducing their polar opposite families to each other at their engagement party.

Blake’s parents have thrown a lavish shindig, but the fun is quickly over when Blake’s brother arrives with an unexpected guest, the woman who left Blake at the altar years ago.  If that weren’t enough drama for one evening, Lizzie and Blake find the town mayor dead and the detectives on the case put Blake at the top of their suspect list.

It’s a race against the clock for Lizzie and Blake to find the real killer before the police decide to lock Blake up and throw away the key.

**Buy “My Funny Valentine” now!: Amazon

Release Blitz: “GOING FOR TWO”

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GFT now available

 

About “Going for Two”: Harper Duquaine is back for another season of fantasy football! This time she’s a year wiser and prepared to dominate the league. But while she finally seems to have her fantasy life in order, reality proves more challenging.

Her plans to peacefully play house with her boyfriend come to a halt when the high school suddenly names Brook its head football coach. The promotion comes with more responsibility on the field and less time at home. It also unexpectedly means more work for Harper, who already has her hands full helping a friend pull off the perfect proposal (while dodging questions about when she and Brook are going to get hitched already). Plus, a new development at work could leave her—and half of the fantasy league—jobless.

With the complications of her career and being “Mrs. Coach” adding up, Harper wonders if she’s committed to the life she’s already building or if there is something else out there.

**Find “Going for Two” now!: Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Goodreads   Kobo

**And from January 20-29 you can get First & Goal, book one in the Queen of the League series, for only 99 cents!:   Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Kobo


In honor of Going for Two’s release, I’m sharing some fun facts about the book and Queen of the League series.

Fact 4Harper needed to have some interests outside of football, and so I made her a crochet enthusiast. I have fond memories of learning how to crochet from my late Grandmother Huneke. Grandma could not only knit and crochet the most beautiful and perfect pieces, but she was also one of the best sports fans and aficionados around. Though a quiet and reserved woman, she could spout out facts like no one else. My brother likes to tell the story about the time he and my grandmother were in line somewhere. They overheard the men in front of them incorrectly discussing the stats from a recent game. My grandma politely interrupted and corrected them. So having Harper crochet throughout the season was a way for me to pay homage to my grandma. It also ended up creating some new opportunities for her, which are explored in more detail in Going for Two.

I hope you will check out the other facts—view a complete listing of locations and dates on my website, www.laurachapmanbooks.com—and the series.

Thank you, Isabella, for featuring Going for Two—and me—today. Enjoy!


AUTHOR INTERVIEW

In five sentences, what made you write your book, “GOING FOR TWO”?: The short answer: Because the Queen of the League series wasn’t done and needed another installment. The longer answer: When I set out to write a book about a girl who joins a fantasy football league I interviewed a couple of assistant coaches for local high school teams. While talking to them, I realized there were more angles to explore. I could visualize more conflicts and situations to write my characters into and out of again. Plus, once I got to know Harper, Brook, J.J., Wade, Amelia, and the rest of the crew, I wanted to know what happened next for them.

How much does football encourage you to write? It can be a mixed bag. On the one hand, participating in fantasy football and being a fan of football was my inspiration for writing this series. On the other, if my teams have a bad week, I can get a little bummed out about everything. The flip is that I get really excited to write when there’s harmony in my football world. Maybe I should imagine Clay Matthews sitting in my office with me, willing me to work faster and harder, while I write. It’d be worth a shot.

Who is your all-time favorite football crush, and if you two were to go on a first date, what would you two do? It’s hard to pick just one! Right now I’m in a bit of a tug-of-war with Clay Matthews and Aaron Rodgers, because each of them fulfills different… needs, shall we say. Sadly, neither of them are on the market. But if this is my football fantasy (see what I did there), my dream date would probably involve one of them taking me on a personalized and unique first date—maybe to a bookstore or play starring one of my other crushes, like Michael Fassbender or a Hemsworth—and the other one would jealously interrupt it, and they’d fight over me, before deciding we could all just get along and I could date both.

What is the fastest part of the publishing process, (ex: the writing, editing, cover art)? The slowest? I would say the cover is the fastest. I designed the covers for the Queen of the League series, and they just sort of came to me. The slowest is probably a tie between writing and editing. So far I have found that each story is a special snowflake and plays out different. First & Goal and Going for Two took me longer to write than to edit, but Hard Hats and Doormats and The Marrying Type both took longer to edit than to write. That may be because I am more aware during the writing process now than I was with my first two books. That’s probably a good thing, though I had a lot of fun writing with total abandon on those earlier stories.

Do you have any writing superstitions? Oh sure. My biggest is that I’m afraid to say too much about any of my projects while they’re in the writing phase. I kind of feel like book ideas and works in progress are like birthday wishes in that they don’t come to fruition if you tell them to anyone. (Also, earlier in my writing career I would talk more about whatever I was writing, and then I wouldn’t finish the project and felt like a liar.) I break the rule for my sister and one of my best friends, who are my sounding boards while I work.

As an author of four books and taking part in three anthologies, have you had an “AH-HA” moment? All the time. I feel like I have AH-HA moments every day both as an author and a human. I’m constantly evolving on both fronts, which means a new experience that leads to an epiphany. It should also be noted that almost every day brings an “oh my God, why doesn’t any of this make sense?” moment too.

With a busy schedule, what has motivated you to keep going as an author? Really it’s just a calling. There are stories running through my head waiting to be told. And both of those statements sound super pretentious. Really what it comes down to is this: I’ve always wanted to be an author. It’s my dream, and that dream keeps me going. Also, I like to keep busy. Even my downtime ends up being productive. “Laura, what did you do on Saturday?” “Oh, nothing. I tried a new recipe. Re-read one of the Little House books. Watched Hallmark. Started making a baby blanket for one of my friends. Had my sister over. Just a quiet little day.”

If you played football, what position do you think you’d be best at? I’d like to think I’d make a great quarterback. I like being in charge and telling people what to do. I can think quickly and make adjustments on the fly as needed. But I could also see myself thriving in a linebacker. It’d be fun to lay people out all the time and flex my non-existent muscles for my adoring fans.

If you would want anyone to read and review your books, who would it/they be? Actually, the person I most wanted to have read and review my books did. My dad hadn’t read any of my books until First & Goal came out. Because it related to football, he was more willing to give it a try. While he was reading, my mom gave updates such as, “I keep hearing him laughing” and “he was telling the people at the bar about it.” Once he finished, he sent me the best review I’ve ever had in the form of a group-text to my whole family: “Laura, just finished First & Goal. Very good read and I really enjoyed it.” And we had a pretty lengthy conversation about it—and his hopes and dreams for all of the characters. It was pretty gratifying to have my dad’s approval and pride.

How do you plan to celebrate if the Green Bay Packers win the Super Bowl? Oh, I’ll probably get drunk and go streaking through the quad, like usual. I’m totally kidding, but I’m also not entirely sure. The last time the Packers won I jumped up and down and screamed, which wasn’t the best idea on a belly full of beer cheese and beer. I’m more grownup and mature now, but I’ll probably do the same thing. And if I drink a little too much, I’ll probably end up sharing some embarrassing posts on all of my social media platforms including, but not limited to, selfies of me, pictures of my cats, praise for Clay Matthews’s arms, admiration for Aaron Rodgers’s cleverness, and promises to marry Eddie Lacy on top of a mountain with flutes playing, trombones, flowers, and garlands of herbs while everyone dances until the sun rises and our children will form a family band—and only fellow Packers fans will be invited.

Author-wise, what are your New Year’s resolutions? I actually didn’t make any resolutions this year, but promised myself I would strive to find balance and happiness this year. That applies to my writing, too. I often freak out and stress—I’m big on extremes. And this year I’d like to stay somewhere in the middle—to do (and write) what makes me happy and be the best person (and author) I can be while hopefully spreading some joy to others.

What are you working on now? I’m working on the third book in the Queen of the League series along with a couple of other projects that I’m not yet speaking about, because of that whole superstition thing. ;)

**About the Author: Laura Chapman is the author of Going for Two, First & Goal, The Marrying Type, and Hard Hats and Doormats. Her work also appears in Merry & Bright, A Kind of Mad Courage, and the holiday collection All I Want For Christmas from Marching Ink. She loves Huskers and Packers football, Netflix marathons, and her cats, Jane and Bingley. Laura makes her home in Nebraska, where she is penning her next novel.

**Connect with Laura: Facebook   Twitter   Instagram   YouTube   Goodreads   Blog   Website


Thanks for having me as a guest. I hope you all enjoy Harper’s latest adventure in Going for Two!

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BOOK REVIEW: “Novelista Girl” by Meredith Schorr

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“Novelista Girl” by Meredith Schorr

Blurb: Readers first met sassy Kimberly Long in “Blogger Girl,” and now the feisty New Yorker is back in a standalone sequel packed with quick wit, friendship, heartache, and, of course, romance.

Kim runs the most popular chick lit book blog on the web, loves playing house with her sexy lawyer boyfriend, Nicholas, and is finally pursuing her life-long dream to become a published author. At first glance, her life is five-pink-champagne-flutes worthy.

But is there more to the story than meets the eye?

After hearing the phrase “chick lit is dead” more times than she’s read Bridget Jones’s Diary, Kim is driven to desperate measures, seeking advice from up-and-coming chick lit author, Hannah Marshak, her high school nemesis and resident “mean girl.” As if Kim doesn’t have enough on her plate balancing her secretarial duties with her blog Pastel is the New Black, shrugging off the growing pile of agent rejections, and keeping her best friend from turning green over Kim’s budding friendship with Hannah, Nicholas is so blinded by his career ambitions, he doesn’t see that their home sweet home could use more than a dash of sugar.

This is the year when all of Kim’s dreams—professional and romantic—are supposed to come true, but will the story have a happily ever after or will Kim end up unpublished and all alone?

This novel can be read as a sequel or as a standalone and is best accompanied by a cocktail, preferably a pink one.

My Review: Having read “Blogger Girl,” I was more than eager to read “Novelista Girl,” (click HERE to see my review of “Blogger Girl”)!

From the beginning, the first thing that drew me in was that I felt that I was back in Kim’s world, along with her supportive boss, awesome BFF, and of course, her sexy boyfriend, Nicholas, who always seems to have her back. One of best things about this book was that the characters seemed no different from the previous book, which was a major plus, making it easy to jump into.

It’s hard to say what I enjoyed most about it, because I loved it all, especially Kim’s determination to never give up on her dream of becoming an author. With all the twists and turns in this book, I never knew what was going to happen, especially when Kim started up a friendship with Hannah, (this made me really nervous for Kim). This made for great conflict, and I appreciated the direction the author went with these two. Also, I think it shows that one never knows where life can take you, no matter how many years later, or what happened in the past.

Meredith Schorr’s writing is impeccable, creative, and she has a true gift of writing books that readers fall in love with. “Novelista Girl” was a really quick, fun, and delightful read, and I was cheering for Kim, the entire time–whether it be book world or relationship related, (no, sorry, I won’t give any spoilers)! Will there be a third installment of Kim’s life, titled “Author, Baby”??? Maybe so, but I’m pretty sure that’s just me wishing and wanting more…

I recommend this book to anyone who loves and believes in the Chick Lit genre, and who might consider writing a book one day, and, while it’s not biographical, it “Novelista Girl” shows the work and effort it takes to be an author, and Meredith Shorr has certainly proven that.

I give “Novelista Girl” 5 stars!

**Click HERE to get your copy of “Novelista Girl” now!


INTERVIEW with Cat Lavoie & EXCERPT of “Peri in Progress”

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**About author, Cat Lavoie: Cat lives in Montreal, Canada with her tempestuous cat Abbie. She is the author of BREAKING THE RULES, ZOEY & THE MOMENT OF ZEN and PERI IN PROGRESS.

If Cat isn’t reading or writing, she’s most likely watching too much TV or daydreaming about her next trip to London.

**Contact Cat: Website   Facebook   Twitter   Instagram   Newsletter

**Find Cat’s books: Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Kobo   Goodreads


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“Peri in Progress” by Cat Lavoie

Blurb: You know what they say about best-laid plans…

After a disastrous thirty-first birthday party where she gets stood-up by a man she isn’t supposed to be dating, Peri McKenna decides it’s time to change what hasn’t been working—which is pretty much everything. Her love life is going nowhere fast, she’s bored to tears by a job that makes her the office pariah, and the lifelong junk food addiction that used to be somewhat quirky is now positively problematic. To top it all off, her newly-purchased home is falling apart and wishful thinking hasn’t done much to fix the leaky roof.

It’s time be an adult now that she’s officially ‘thirty-something.’

But when the first step of Peri’s self-improvement plan backfires, she starts to wonder if change might be overrated.

Enter Milo Preston, an up-and-coming chef who’s in town to take over a local restaurant. When Peri and Milo begin working together, she finds it hard to ignore his easy charm and captivating emerald-green eyes. Since Milo is her best friend’s estranged brother, Peri has to keep reminding herself that he is completely off-limits. As they grow closer, Milo introduces Peri to new foods, the joy (and pain) of jogging, and makes her think her luck might finally be turning.

But when the past catches up with them, Peri finds herself back at square one. Will she be able to sort herself out—or will the roof cave in on her once and for all?


INTERVIEW

Describe your new book, PERI IN PROGRESS, in five words: Picky eater meets sexy Chef.

Have you always wanted to be a writer? As long as I can remember. When I was in grade school I used to beg my teacher to let me stay indoors during recess so I could read and I always dreamed of writing my own novels.

Tell us about your writing/editing/publishing process for your books? I’m a very (very!) slow writer, so it takes me forever to finish a first draft. The only good thing about spending so much time on my first draft is that it (usually) ends up being in pretty good shape. I’ll go through some self-edits before sending it to beta-readers. After more edits, I send it over to my publisher.

Is the social media a help or a hinder? Social media is definitely a huge help. I love connecting with readers and other writers… It can also hinder the process, though. I’ve been known to procrastinate on Facebook and Instagram when I should be writing!

Salty or sweet? Can I have both? I love a good salty/sweet combo like potato chips and milk chocolate. Yum!

What is a day like in Cat Lavoie’s world? On a typical weekday, I’ll wake up at 5.30 in the morning and get ready for work. (I’m a health claims analyst for an insurance company.) I’ll sometimes catch up on emails and social media on the bus and subway.

During my lunch break, I try to work on my WIP or blog posts. (Anything to bring a bit of the “dream job” to the sometimes dreary work day.)

My best friend and I work in the same office, so we usually go out for a bite to eat after the day is done. After that, I head home to Abbie the cat and after all the boring chores are done, I get to catch up on some TV, make progress on my WIP and read. (How I wish I could squeeze in a few more hours in the day for all that fun stuff!)

If you could meet any author, who would it be? That is a tough one. I’d have to pick Sophie Kinsella because she’s the reason I started writing chick lit. I would have a total fan girl moment if I ever met her.

What are the similarities and differences between you and Peri? I’m not as big of a picky eater as Peri—but I am definitely picky… and I’m also a fan of junk food! I also think we’re both hopeless romantics. That being said, I don’t think I’d ever let anyone convince me to start jogging—not even chef Milo!

Do you have any writing rituals? Apart from getting something to drink—either coffee or water—and snacks, I have a notebook that needs to be on my desk at all times when I write. It has notes, scene outlines, and book-related to-do list. I would be lost without it and I need to check it before I start writing.

Every writer must have: Awesome writerly friends who can provide advice, encouragement, and support at all hours of the day. I’ve met some amazing people in online writing groups and I’ve learned so much from them over the years.

Where do you see yourself in five years? Hopefully, I won’t have run out of ideas and I’ll still be writing. Perhaps I’ll be working part-time at the day job so I can devote more time to my books. I’ve been dreaming of going to Scotland for a long time so, if all goes well, I’ll have enough research notes from that trip to set a novel there.

What are you working on right now? I’m working on my fourth chick lit novel. Like my last two books, it’s going to be set in the fictional town of Messina. It’s too early to go into detail about the story, but I can reveal that my main character is very different from any of my other leading ladies. I’m having a lot of fun with it!


EXCERPT

When the phone rang again an hour later, I was convinced it was Mom calling back to grill me—but I didn’t recognize the number on my caller ID.

“Hello?”

“Hi, is this Peri?”

I knew that voice. It belonged to the man who’d made the chocolate mousse I could still taste on my tongue if I closed my eyes. Why in the world was Milo Preston calling me? “Yes?” I answered, as if I wasn’t sure of my own name.

“How’s it going? This is Milo. From the Messina Grill. Elsa’s brother.”

I nodded but then realized he couldn’t see me. “Yes. How are you?”

“Great. Thanks again for coming to the opening last night. My mom told me you’re a bit of a picky eater, but she said you were a great sport about trying new things.”

I almost dropped the phone. Thanks for embarrassing me, Sylvia. Did she also tell her gorgeous son that I made a fool of myself by declaring my love to a man who pretended he barely knew my name? I moved the phone away from my face for a few seconds and took a deep breath. Sylvia’s over-sharing was not her son’s fault. He was probably going to call and thank everybody who showed up last night. It was a kind gesture. “The food was great. I’d never tried goat’s cheese before, and now I really I like it,” I lied.

“That’s awesome. You really know what to say to flatter a chef. Listen, I wasn’t just calling to thank you for coming . . .”

“Oh.” There goes my theory.

“This is a bit awkward,” he continued. “But my mom told me about what happened with your boss and boyfriend and . . .”

Oh. No. No. No. Sylvia, how could you? I felt like hanging up. Messina was a small town, but there had to be something more newsworthy going on than my pathetic love life. A noise that sounded like a growl escaped my mouth before I could stop it. “Your mother sure is a chatty one.”

Milo laughed. “Yes, and I apologize. Ever since I came back, it’s like she’s been trying to tell me every single thing that’s happened to everyone in the last ten years. Most of the time, she talks about people I don’t know or care about, but I just sit and listen to make her happy. However, I perked up when she mentioned your current predicament.”

“Did you now?” I asked. “One person’s misery is another person’s entertainment, I guess.” I meant it as a joke, but it came out bitter and sad. I suddenly felt tired and wanted nothing more than to take a nap. An exhausting conversation with my mother followed by an awkward conversation with a stranger had drained the life out of me.

“I think that came out wrong. I’m sorry,” Milo said. “It’s just that . . . I need your help.”

“My help?”

“Yes.”

The line was silent for about thirty seconds. “Go on,” I finally said.

Milo cleared his throat. “I don’t know if you noticed yesterday but we were understaffed. Sam, my boss, was going crazy in the kitchen.”

And then I lied again when I said, “I didn’t notice anything.”

“Sam would be happy to hear that. But he’s too busy freaking out over the fact that one of our waitresses quit after her shift yesterday. And another quit this morning. We need to replace them as soon as possible. And that’s where you come in.”

“Me?”

“Yes, you. I hear you don’t have a job right now. Would you like one? The pay is not great and the conditions aren’t much better. But you get to work with me and eat some free food now and again. How’s that for an offer you can’t refuse?”

I got up from the bed and paced to the other side of the room. My head was spinning. I’d never worked in the food industry before and had no idea what it took to be a good waitress. I was used to paperwork and cubicles and good old Jeff as my boss—not some hotshot chef who happened to be my best friend’s brother. He probably had groupies waiting for him outside the restaurant and maybe he’d even ask me to collect phone numbers for him. Chefs were the new rock stars now, or so I’d read in a few magazines. “It’s an offer I can definitely refuse,” I answered. “I don’t have any experience being a waitress. I’m sorry.”

“Hmmm,” Milo said. “I still think I should interview you for the position anyway. First question: do you own a pair of black dress pants?”

“Yes,” I said, annoyed. Why couldn’t this guy take no for an answer?

“Okay. This next one is kind of tough. Do you own a white blouse-type garment?”

“Yes.”

“Good. This is going really well. Last question. Could you resist the urge to drop a bowl of steaming hot soup in a client’s lap if he called you ‘Darling’ or ‘Sweetheart’ or left a two dollar tip on a fifty dollar tab?”

I laughed despite myself. “Yes, I probably could.”

“Well, then—you’re hired. Congratulations, Peri McKenna! Come on down to the Messina Grill and claim your prize,” he said in his best game show announcer voice.

I shook my head. “Milo . . .”

“Listen,” he said, his voice suddenly serious. “Of course I’d love to hire a person who has experience, but there’s no time. We need you tomorrow. And this is just temporary until we can find someone else who actually wants to work with us. I’m aware I’ve completely bullied you into this. But Sam and I would be so grateful. What do you say?”

If Milo Preston ever felt like a career change, he could surely be a lawyer. He was persistent, a little bit cocky, and he seemed to love the sound of his own voice. Truth be told, I sort of liked it too—because it reminded me of Declan.

“Okay,” I said, against my better judgment. “I’ll be there.”


**GIVEAWAY**

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Peri in Progress (1)

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BOOK FEATURE: “Frosted Sweets” by A.M. Willard

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“Frosted Sweets” A Taste of Love (Book 1) by A.M. Willard

 

Blurb: Will it turn into sugar and spice? Or a friendship over some frosted treats?

Morgan Lewis, the owner of The Polka Dot Café & Bakery, is about to wed the man she’s spent the last four years building a life with. What she doesn’t know is, that’s all about to change. Can her life move past a wedding disaster? Can her crazy friends help her pick up the pieces? And what’s in store for this sweet baker? Along with a booming business, the Christmas holiday rush, and her friends, Morgan is really sent into a spin when Jayden Rivers moves to town.

Jayden’s focus is on his career in production, but what he wasn’t expecting was to be knocked off his feet by a woman in the park. Sparks fly, but he’s not sure if she’s truly available or taken. With a severe sweet tooth and an addiction to Morgan Lewis’s treats, he can’t seem to stay away.

A.M. Willard brings you a romantic comedy with a touch of contemporary romance and a dash of chick lit, which takes you on a journey of friendship.

Frosted Sweets is the first installment of A Taste of Love Series in which we follow the lives of Morgan and Jayden, who are discovering life is anything but what it seems.

**Buy “Frosted Sweets” now!: Amazon   Barnes & Noble   iTunes

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**About the author: A.M. Willard is a true believer of soul mates, and happy ever afters. She enjoys reading, sailing, and of course writing contemporary romance with some saucy scenes. Releasing her first novella of the One Night Series on April 12, 2014 has sent her on a new journey in life.

A.M.’s passion for writing started at a young age, but with the love and support from her husband of eighteen years pushed her to follow her dreams. Once she hit that first publish button, she hasn’t looked back.

Publications available from A.M. Willard include the Chances Series, Love on the Screen, and everyone’s favorite, the One Night Series. She’s also had an article published in the Writer’s Monthly Review Magazine and was just accepted into the Romance Writers of America organization in May of 2015.

A.M. Willard was born and raised in the Panhandle of Florida, but resides in Savannah GA with her husband, son, two cats, one rotten dog, and her six chickens. Yes, we said chickens…

**Contact A.M. Willard: You can connect with A.M. Willard on her website at http://www.amwillard.com or subscribe to her newsletter for the latest releases, teasers, and sale alerts: http://eepurl.com/bb-Cd1


 

BOOK REVIEW: “A Forever Kind of Love” by Ellie Wade

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“A Forever Kind of Love” by Ellie Wade

Blurb: Book Two: Jax’s Story

I believe in soul mates. Why? Because I have one and her name is Lily Madison.

I’ve loved Lily my whole life; she’s all I’ve ever known. I didn’t realize how deeply she was ingrained into the fabric of my soul until I felt her absence.

Sometimes in life, once choices are made and paths are altered, it is often impossible to go back.

I know this because I stand here with a two-carat engagement ring in my hand, waiting to ask someone to be my wife. I’m ready to love and cherish her ‘til death do us part. But, there’s just one problem.

She isn’t Lily.

Will the choices that have been made change our path forever or can fate find its way?

**This is the second and final book in the Choices Series. Book one, “A Beautiful Kind of Love” should be read prior, (please click HERE to see my review). 
*Intended for readers 18+ due to sexual content

My Review: I started book two, “A Forever Kind of Love,” in the Choices series, right after I finished book one, “A Beautiful Kind of Love.” I was excited to start this continuation, not only because of how much really enjoyed the first book, but because this time it was from Jax’s point of view–something that I was interested in from the start of book one.

The first quarter of the book was basically a rewrite from Jax’s POV, but once more of his story with Stella–who I had some issues with in the first book, only because I didn’t want her to come between Lily and Jax–came to life, I was torn between who I liked him with better. Then, when an unexpected twist is thrown in, though the timing was all wrong for…everyone.

By telling you what the twist is would cause a spoiler, but after reading “A Forever Kind of Love,” this series is the most-real series I’ve read–with real issues and feelings–proving that no matter whowhat, and when you want you want to love “the one,” no time is ever the right time, and that if it’s real love, no matter that, the feeling of your first love will never go away.

I am a fan of series books, so I definitely recommend this one, and while to at times it seemed like a Young Adult novel, a genre I rarely read, I recommend it because of what you will learn about love.

I give “A Forever Kind of Love” 5 stars!

Chick Lit Goddess’s Five Favorite Reads for 2015!

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Chick Lit Goddess’s Five Favorite Reads in 2015!

As another year is upon us, it’s time for us to look back at the books Chick Lit Goddess has reviewed this year, and while we weren’t accepting many review requests, when it came time to pick our top five favorites, it was quite a challenge. To see all the book we reviewed this year, click HERE.


 

**Counting down from five, here are the Chick Lit Goddess’s Five Favorite Reads in 2015!:

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This book was hilarious! If you’re looking for a quick, fun, and light-hearted summer read, this is for you!

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This book is for anyone who believes in love, even when you might not end up with “the one” you thought you would, (**Note: this is Book #1 in the series).

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This book is true Chick Lit, and I cannot wait to read more of Becky’s books! (My recommendation, start with this one!)

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Even with wedding drama, this book shows that love will find its way!

 


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Three words: Grab the tissues!

Here at Chick Lit Goddess, it’s been a wonderful 2015, and we look forward to the New Year. If you were featured on CLG this year, we hope we helped you and/or your book succeed, and if you’d like to come back, just email us! Also, as you know, our book blog company, Goddess Book Tours, opens Monday, so stay tuned for more information!

From our family to yours, we wish you a very happy New Year!

BOOK REVIEW: “Up To I Do”

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Blurb: Emerson Sinclair, twenty-seven year old hotel heiress, has said yes. With just over a year to plan her extravagant, over the top nuptials to Logan Worthington, it’s all hands on deck with the wedding plans. A Sinclair marrying into the Worthington family is the talk of their small New Hampshire town, and ideas include filming the wedding for a TV segment. But as the items get checked off the list, plans start to go…not as planned. From not getting a designer dress to a selfish bridesmaid and unaccountable best man, Emerson is afraid her wedding will be more a joke than anything.

When both her mother and sister seemingly begin to lose interest in her wedding plans in favor of their own personal lives, Emerson fears her big day will turn into the forgotten wedding. With the pressure to pull off a beautiful and elegant event that everyone expects from their respectable families, Emerson starts to forget the reason why she is saying I Do in the first place.

My Review:

First of all, I love the cover! Knowing it’s the famous author herself and her husband on their wedding day made for a wonderful feel of the book!

As some of you might know, I was a beta-reader for “Up To I Do,” and from the beginning, I knew it would easily be one of my top picks for 2015! With all the wedding drama, twists and turns that are part of this book, each time I turned the page, it was anything but predictable (YAY!).

Emerson’s character was very strong, and it was easy to see that while she wanted everything perfect for her big day (like any bride would), when it came down to it, the only thing she wanted was to be with the man she loved. The only thing I would have liked to have seen more is the bond she and her fiancé share–though, then they were in a scene together, it’s easy to see that these two are the real deal, and are madly in love. I’m not going to give away any spoilers, but I loved the way the book ended, (I even had to dab my eyes).

Samantha March is a brilliant author, who creates If you’re looking for an uplifting, fun, and delightful wedding read, I highly recommend this book, (and it would make for a great bachelorette party gifts, too)!

I give “Up To I Do” 5 stars!