Tag Archives: chick lit

CentreStage with Cat Lavoie: Introducing “Zoey & the Moment of Zen”

Welcome to CentreStage!

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It’s my enormous pleasure to introduce you to a new friend I recently made in a fabulous Facebook group. Give it up for the one and only Cat Lavoie! Cat has recently released her new novel, Zoey & the Moment of Zen. She’s sharing with us today the blurb and… *Nicky cheers very loudly indeed* Zoey’s playlist!! Read and be ready to be wowed!

Zoey & the Moment of Zen

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

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

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

Get your moment of Zen here: :-)
eBook – Barnes & Noble | eBook – Kobo | Amazon

ZOEY’S PLAYLIST: MUSICAL Q&A WITH ZOEY EVERWOOD

Song that reminds you of someone from your past: “Un-break My Heart” by Toni Braxton. Whenever I hear it, I think about my ex, Braden.

Song you sing at the top of your lungs when no one is around:  “Just Dance” by Lady Gaga. I usually sing (and dance!) along to it when I’m closing up the coffee shop at the end of the day. Thank goodness the customers don’t see my horrible dance moves because we’d probably go out of business really fast!

Song that reminds you of your childhood: My aunt Nessa has developed a love of Mozart and Beethoven in the last few years but, growing up, it was more classic rock than classical music. Whenever I hear “More Than a Feeling” by Boston or “Roxanne” by The Police, I remember sitting in the passenger’s seat of her car and singing along with her.

Favourite karaoke song: “If I Could Turn Back Time” by Cher. But I’ll only sing it if my best friend Dar is on stage with me… and if I’ve had a few cocktails.

 Song you know every single word to: Easy. “You Were Meant For Me” by Jewel. I know it by heart—I could sing it right now if you want… No? Okay.

Song that would play in the movie of your life:  “She Works Hard for the Money” by Donna Summer would play in the opening credits over a montage of me working in the coffee shop.

Best song to cry to: “Someone Like You” by Adele. Can anyone listen to that song without tearing up?

Wow. Love love LOVE this playlist, and what a great way to introduce a character. Thanks for sharing, Zoey! X :-)

About Cat Lavoie
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Cat Lavoie was born in the small town of Jonquière in Québec, Canada. At the age of nineteen, she packed up her things (mostly books) and moved to the big city of Montreal where she currently lives with her tempestuous cat Abbie–who is both adorable and quite possibly evil.

An incurable Anglophile since her university days where she studied English Literature, she can often be found daydreaming about her next trip to London. Since she’s an expert at the art of procrastination, Cat is easily distracted by cooking and home improvement shows–even though she’s not particularly good at either.

Cat grew up watching soap operas and legal dramas and–had she not decided to be a claims analyst by day and write chick lit by night–she would have probably become a designer suit-wearing lawyer. Or a character on All My Children (which is what she really wanted to be when she was twelve).

Cat is not sure whether she’s a geek or a nerd–and is afraid she might be both. Cat blogs about the writing life and posts adorable pictures of Abbie over at the Catenabi Chronicles. Come say hello at: http://www.CatLavoie.com and follow @Catenabi on Twitter.

AWESOME!

Huge congratulations on your launch, Cat, and thanks for sharing these fabulous songs. I’m all a-rocking here! :-)

Folks ~ give Zoey, her playlist, and her moment of Zen a warm welcome and let’s hear your thoughts!

Forever Fredless! CentreStage with Suzy Turner / @Suzy_Turner

Welcome to CentreStage!

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Give it up for a really special guest today… the one and only Suzy Turner and her latest Chick Lit delight, Forever Fredless!

Suzy is a woman of many talents. We met on Twitter (or was it Facebook?) and have been chatting ever since. Suzy simply loves networking, and you can usually find her blogging and promoting authors other than herself… to the exclusion of herself! Yup! So when I got an email saying, “HELP! In all this blogging, I completely forgot to think about promoting Forever Fredless”… well, what could I do but say, come on round and the stage is yours? So without further ado, take it away, Suzy!

Forever Fredless ~ The Blurb!

Kate Robinson has spent the past two decades yearning to find her soul mate, the boy she found and then lost during a family holiday.

Shortly after her twenty-eighth birthday, however, she inherits a fortune from an old family friend and becomes something of an overnight celebrity. Can her new-found fame lead her to him after all this time?

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EXCERPT

Thank God for anti-perspirant, I thought as I sat on the couch and waited for the countdown to begin. I clutched at my hands until they were white and looked across at the two people sitting opposite, both completely at ease in front of the cameras.

Five, four, three, two, one…

‘Welcome back to this morning’s edition of Good Morning GB,’ announced Ireland Rothschild, the blonde-haired, blue eyed darling of morning TV.

‘I’m here with Fergus O’Reilly and we’ve a special guest with us this morning. None other than Britain’s love-struck multi-millionaire, Kate Robinson. ‘Welcome, Kate,’ she said with a dazzling smile aimed more towards the camera than at me.

As my cheeks began to heat up, I was so grateful to the make-up artist, who had insisted on caking on the foundation before the show had started. In fact, I had so much make-up on that I was hoping once I’d removed it, nobody would recognise me when I headed to the airport in my now rather stupidly chosen car. I couldn’t exactly blend in driving a pink Mini could I?

‘Good morning,’ I whispered shyly.

Fergus grinned back at me, tilting his head as if he was about to speak to a child. ‘Now, tell us, Kate dear, how does it feel to never have to worry about money ever again?’ he asked, his toothpaste advert  teeth twinkling beneath the heat of the studio lights.

‘Erm, well, I guess it’s… erm, kind of… erm,’ I felt so bloody stupid. Great time for my brain to stop working. ‘I – erm. Great,’ I nodded. ‘Great, really great.’ Idiot.

Ireland glanced across at her grey-haired colleague and pouted before nodding. ‘Tell us how you knew this man. This,’ she glanced down at the iPad on her lap and continued, ‘Samuel?’

I cleared my throat and lifted my head, feeling like my brain was back in action. ‘He was a very good friend of the family, some years ago,’ I answered.

‘Just a friend? Why did he leave you all his money and his property?’ asked Fergus.

‘He didn’t have any family and I guess you could say that my mother and I were the closest he ever had to a family.’

‘Isn’t that lovely?’ pouted Ireland. ‘You certainly are a lucky woman. But what about your mother? Didn’t she receive any of his inheritance?’

‘No,’ I said before swallowing hard. ‘My mother lives a rather… nomadic lifestyle, in Africa. She doesn’t want any of it. All she asked of me was to donate a sum to charity which, of course, I have done.’

‘She lives in Africa? A nomadic lifestyle? That sounds intriguing. Perhaps we should interview her one of these days,’ laughed Ireland and Fergus together.

‘Have you splashed out on anything since receiving your inheritance back in June?’ they asked, leaning forward eagerly awaiting my answer.

‘Yes I have actually. I bought a car and a new house.’

‘Well good for you, Kate. But now, most of us are curious about this boy you lost. Tell us about him?’

Oh no. Why did I agree to this?

Taking a deep breath, I knew I had no choice. Several articles had been printed since the one in Liberty; everyone wanted to know more and nobody was going to leave me alone until I told them everything.

‘He was just a boy who I had a connection with when I was much, much younger. It was at Skegness. At an afternoon disco for kids. I was dancing and I felt someone touch my back and when I turned around there he was.  The most beautiful boy I’d ever seen,’ I said, stopping and smiling as I reminisced. ‘It was one of the happiest memories of my life.’

Sighing, I continued, ‘We just looked at each other and it was like everything else just disappeared into the background. We stood staring, for what seemed like ages. I could barely move. And then, almost as soon as it had begun, my dad appeared and took me away. I couldn’t do anything as we walked to the car. I looked around for the boy but he was gone. And then, just as we were driving away, I turned around in my seat and there he was. He had a daffodil in his hand. I always assumed he’d gone to pick it for me, but that’s just a childish fantasy, I guess. The whole thing is probably nothing but a childish fantasy, really.’

Ireland was very carefully dabbing at her eyes with a tissue, pretending to be moved, while Fergus smiled sadly.

‘What a beautiful story, Kate. I don’t believe for one second that this is a childish fantasy. It’s romantic and beautiful,’ Ireland said.

‘Now, tell us, Kate. Why did you call him Fred?’ asked Fergus.

Smiling, I explained about the Right Said Fred song, just as the music began in the background.

‘What a wonderful tale. Thank you, Kate, for joining us today. It’s been a pleasure having you with us to share your story,’ said Fergus.

‘Thank you,’ I whispered before the camera moved back to Ireland as she straightened her skirt and looked alluring. ‘Do you remember this moment in time?’ she asked. ‘Are you the elusive Fred? We’d love to hear from you. You can contact us at…’

Before I could hear anything else, I was ushered off the couch and back behind the scenes where Jo stood, waiting patiently for me, with open arms.

 Stop being FREDLESS and get your copy here:

AMAZON | SMASHWORDS

About Suzy Turner

Suzy Turner Author Pic

Suzy Turner has worked as a journalist, assistant editor, features editor and magazine editor. Early in 2010 however, she began writing full time and has since completed six books for young adults (the Raven Saga and The Morgan Sisters series) and one chick lit novel, Forever Fredless.

Although Suzy is a Yorkshire lass at heart, she left her home town of Rotherham, UK, to move to Portugal with her family when she was ten. The Algarve continues to be her home, where she lives with her childhood sweetheart and husband of 15 years, Michael, and their two neurotic dogs and a cat who thinks she’s a princess.

For more details about Suzy and her books, visit:

Website | Chick Lit Blog | YA Blog | Facebook Page | Twitter | Pinterest

Thanks so much, Suzy, for stopping by here today and telling us about Forever Fredless. I love the cover, the title, the concept and the excerpt had me gasping for more. Talk about the killer hook!  :-)

Have you got a FRED in your life? Someone who you had a magical connection with that was sadly lost? Go on, you can tell us, we won’t share your secret!

My Fred? You want to know about my Fred? But you already know all about my FREDs. One’s called Jon, and one’s called Joey. LOL!

Oh, you mean the real one, the one that got away? Well, his name was Danny. We dated for three blissful weeks. He was the coolest boy in town, complete with black floppy hair and cool American dad. (Don’t forget I grew up in Germany, so this was really way cool). I was fourteen. He was a little older. We were a match made in heaven until one day, he stopped calling me. Just like that. End of story. See. Easy. You can share yours, too! And maybe, if we say pretty please, Suzy will let us in on hers????? :-)

CentreStage with Samantha March: author, editor, publisher, blogger, and all-round book lover

Welcome to CentreStage!

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CentreStage showcases amazing authors from around the world. These authors might share with you their dreams and hopes, stories about their lives and books, their inspiration, or their writing journey. Today, it is my great pleasure to welcome the amazing Samantha March.

Sam and I ‘met’ in the blogosphere when I first released Sophie’s Turn and we’ve been keeping in touch via Facebook, Twitter and blogs ever since. I was delighted when Sam published her first novel, and I am even more delighted to have her here today talking about her… yes, you guessed it: second novel. That was quick work if I ever saw it!

Congratulations on publishing The Green Ticket, Sam! Here’s a little bit of the story about your journey from book 1 to book 2…

Samantha March

Congratulations again on releasing your second book! How did that feel?

Releasing my second book was a very big deal to me. When I would tell people I was an author, it seemed their first question was always, “How many books do you have out?” When I would (proudly) answer, “One”, their interest would seem to wane. We are all familiar with one-hit wonders, and I started to wonder myself if that is what people thought of me. So to have a second novel on the virtual shelves felt pretty amazing. Now when people ask the question, I (proudly) answer “Two – and I’m currently writing the third.”

Way to go, Sam! I love your style. Was it different to be working on book 2 than working on book 1?

I actually did feel some pressure to get The Green Ticket published that I didn’t feel the first time around with Destined to Fail. It was strange and a bit surreal to get people commenting on my website or sending me an email asking when my second book would come out. That is such wonderful motivation to keep on writing and to feel appreciated within the industry.

Hear, hear. That’s an awesome feeling. What’s on the cards going forward?

Of course I feel that pressure and even a bit more with my third book, which I am currently writing – about a whopping 10K words as I write this post! I worked hard on the plot and characters, and extra research had to go into this one as the setting is in Maine – a state I have not yet had the chance to visit. I’m having a blast writing it and it will be very different from my first two books, so I hope my followers enjoy it!

I’m sure they will. I know I look forward to it. Let’s backtrack a little though and introduce The Green Ticket!

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The Green Ticket

College junior Alex Abrams scores her dream job at the ripe age of twenty – manager to a successful salon and spa. Thrilled to finally have a real adult job, Alex enthusiastically jumps into the world of schedules, conference calls, and getting a massage when interviewing prospective employees. What she doesn’t expect are the very grown-up issues that comes with a demanding boss. Kevin Dohlman quickly becomes Alex’s worse nightmare – covering up his affairs, dealing with his enormous ego, and trying to protect her female staff from him becomes a full-time job in its own right. Alex has also befriended Kevin’s wife and co-owner, Dani, and is trying to keep Kevin’s secrets hidden from her. The situation only worsens when Kevin starts paying Alex off to make sure she keeps her insider knowledge to herself.

While struggling to keep her wits and stay happy with her new grown-up job, Alex is juggling college courses, a new love interest, and keeping up with her close group of girlfriends. When her roommate and best friend Lila gets offered an opportunity to move to Los Angeles and sign with an agent, Alex realizes her life truly is changing, and everyone around her – including herself – is growing up. Knowing she is faced with some hard decisions ahead, Alex struggles with keeping her job at Blissful. But does she really want to throw away what she dreamed of as a career – or will the secret-keeping for Kevin become too much to handle? The Green Ticket is a story about morals versus money, and how one young woman navigates the shaky line between the two.

About Samantha March

Samantha March is an author, editor, publisher, blogger, and all around book lover. She runs the popular book/women’s lifestyle blog ChickLitPlus, which keeps her bookshelf stocked with the latest reads and up to date on all things health, fitness, fashion, and celebrity related. In 2011 she launched her independent publishing company Marching Ink and her debut novel Destined to Fail. When she isn’t reading, writing, or blogging, you can find her cheering for the Green Bay Packers.

You can find Sam on her author’s website, http://www.samanthamarch.com/, as well as Facebook, Twitter and GoodReads. The Green Ticket and Destined To Fail are available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.

Morals versus money ~ an intriguing conundrum. Ladies, where do you stand on this?

CentreStage with Jessica Strassner: Introducing the Semi-Sequel, One of the Guys

Welcome to CentreStage!

CentreStage showcases fabulous authors from around the world. These authors might tell you about themselves or their books, their writing habits or their authorly inventions. Today, it is my great pleasure to welcome fellow loveahappyending.com featured author and great virtual friend, the lovely Jessica Strassner. Jessica has just finished writing her latest book, a sequel of sorts… a semi-sequel, so to speak, to her fantastic novel, The One Who Got Away. I adored The One Who Got Away so I can’t wait to read on! But hold on, a Semi-Sequel? What’s that all about?

Take it away, Jess!

 

Introducing… Jessica Strassner!

A little bit about me… I recently packed up my flip-flops and moved from sunny Florida to Washington, DC. I live with my wonderful boyfriend who makes my coffee every morning and bakes me cookies.  I love anything that sparkles. I could eat cereal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  I like just about any kind of music and love going to concerts, even though I have no musical ability whatsoever.  If I’m writing, my headphones are on and the music is turned up loud!

My three novels (Here We Go, The One Who Got Away, One of the Guys) are all available on Amazon.com.

Jessica talks about her latest book ~ a Semi-Sequel!

One of the Guys is a “semi-sequel” to my last book, The One Who Got Away.  I’m calling it a “semi-sequel” (Is there such a thing?  If not, I just made it a thing.) because it continues the story of Lucy and Jackson, but is told more from the viewpoint of their best friend, Kate.

When I finished The One Who Got Away, I kind of left things hanging, because I wasn’t sure how I wanted Lucy and Jackson’s story to continue.  Plus, Kate was one of those secondary characters that I liked writing, and I thought she needed a story of her own!  Readers can find out more about what happens with Lucy and Jackson, and now they get to learn about Kate, too!

In the book, Kate is helping Lucy and Jackson plan their wedding while attempting to juggle a few romances of her own.  Everyone questions when it will finally be Kate’s turn to walk down the aisle, but she can’t even manage to hang on to a boyfriend! She does have several options, though. There’s Chris, the smooth, sexy photographer. And then there’s Max, the boy next door “friend with benefits…”  Kate can’t help but wonder – is it possible to date one of your guy friends? How about two? At the same time? Which one of the guys will she choose?

Visit, follow or watch!

You can find Jess all over the place. She has a website as well as a blog. She has author pages at amazon and lovehappyending.com. You can follow her on Twitter or find her on Facebook. And there’s also a fabulous video called New covers!

Huge congratulations, Jess! I adore the cover and can’t wait to get reading to find out how the story goes on.

Semi-Sequel… I’m intrigued! How do you address the challenge of continuing a previous book without writing an outright sequel?

Readers, what do YOU think of sequels, semi or otherwise?

My Next Big Thing

Oh yes. My Next Big Thing. Are you ready? It’s going to be big. Huge. Fantabulous. If I say so myself!

Preamble: I was invited to take place in The Next Big Thing by several lovely people in the past few months, and I had to regretfully pass on each invitation as I was in the throes of launchig Sophie’s Turn. You know who you are and you know how much I appreciated your invitation! This most recent invitation came at the tail end of my blog tour and therefore I couldn’t resist taking part and shouting about my WIP. Thank you for your understanding, my friends!
:-) xxx

Last week, my Romantic Novelists’ Association friend and writer of family sagas and historical novels, Freda Lightfoot, tagged me in her post The Next Big Thing ~ and this week it’s my turn! The idea is that I answer ten questions about my current Work in Progress (my Next Big Thing!) and tag five other writers to tell you about their latest work next week!

So here goes:

What is the working title of your next book?

~ Sophie’s Run ~

Where did the idea come from for the book?

Sophie’s Run is the sequel to Sophie’s Turn. The ideas inside the book have been inspired by events in my own life, whether they happened to me, were witnessed by me, happened to others, or were a fancy flight of my imagination based on something I read, heard or saw on television.

What genre does your book fall under?

The obvious answer to this question would be that it is a contemporary romance, or even chick-lit. However, the entire trilogy is also so much more than that. There is a big element of self-discovery going on here, especially in Sophie’s Run. And undeniably, Sophie travels a lot. So I’d say it’s romance with a twist!

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

Her famous star remains her rock while life takes her on a little detour…

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Neither, nor. The book will be published by my wonderful publisher, Sapphire Star Publishing (how many ‘publish’ words can you fit in one sentence, Nicky?) but we have a direct relationship without an agent involved. Oh, and before I forget: release date is 7 February 2013 ~ not long to go!

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

Fourteen weeks exactly. :-)

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Do you know, I don’t know how to answer this questions. There are elements of Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones in there, just in terms of the bizarre situations Sophie finds herself in. Obviously the rock star theme likens it a little to Public Secrets by Nora Roberts. But the Trilogy as a whole charts Sophie’s life over a period of almost ten years so that reminds me of some of Maeve Binchy’s great works. So ~ a tough one to answer.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Evidently, Sophie’s Run being a sequel, this inspiration arose from the first part of the story. However, I can pinpoint the impetus for actually writing it very precisely. It was 12 July 2011, a few days after I launched Sophie’s Turn onto the world (in indepenedent publisher format). I had temporarily exhausted all promotional avenues, or so I thought (little did I know!) and when I had a bit of a tearful conversation with my long-time friend, Shirley Mukisa, she had only one answer to my conundrum. “The next logical thing will be to write the second book.” So I did. :-)

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Apart from being fun, sexy, wildly romantic and an absolute page-turner, Sophie’s Run also is a story about keeping the faith when life takes you down its long and winding road. I hope it inspires faith and patience in everyone whose life, like Sophie’s, doesn’t seem to work out to plan. Sophie’s message is that you are in charge of your destiny, ultimately, and if life doesn’t follow your intentions, you have to make it so. (Goodness, that sounds deep!)

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Ah, Sophie’s Run, the movie! This is obviously after we’ve made Sophie’s Turn, right? So… the dream cast would be:

Dan the Rock Star…. Played by Ewan McGregor! (Or Jon Bon Jovi, but he’d have to adopt an English accent!!!)

Sophie… Played by Keira Knightley!

Rachel … Played by Emma Watson!

And that’s my Next Big Thing. Here are the writers I’m tagging: rock on!

The amazing Jen Tucker, who writes hilariously funny biography giving amazing insights into family life and parenting.

The fabulous Jane Risdon, who posts some very intriguing articles-with-a-difference on her blog, who’s acting as my chief adviser on all things to do with rock-star lifestyle, and who’s been secretely slaving away at her WIP: I’m dying to see what it’s all about!

My brilliant Sapphire Star Publishing sister,  Jane Lark, who writes historical fiction and has just started a brand new author’s blog.

Wonderfully candid ‘scarlet woman’ Tanith Davenport, who I met through Freda Lightfoot and whose blog has me thoroughly intrigued.

The fifth spot… is open for YOU, if you want to take part. Don’t be shy, go on, I’d love to hear about your WIP! :-)

CentreStage with Tracie Banister: Girl Talk with BFF Heroine, Sara Reade

Welcome to CentreStage!

CentreStage showcases fantastic authors from around the world. These authors might share with you stories about their books, their lives, their writing or anything else that takes their fancy. We’ve had picture posts and music posts, interviews, guest posts and all manner of exciting things. So sit back and enjoy today’s rocking feature as I welcome my good friend and American novelist extraordinaire, Tracie Banister.

Tracie and I met quite randomly on Twitter, as you do. We got chatting and liking and haven’t looked back.

Welcome, Tracie! **Waves frantically across several thousand miles of Atlantic Ocean**

Introducing: Tracie Banister and her BFF heroine, Sara Reade

It’s a pleasure to be featured on CentreStage today.  Thanks so much for having me, Nicky!  I thought it might be fun if I shared the spotlight with one of the characters in my recently released Chick Lit novel, In Need of Therapy.

Model-turned-swimsuit designer Sara Reade is the best friend of my heroine, Latina psychologist Pilar Alvarez, and I’ve been told that she’s a pretty entertaining character in her own right.  Unlike Pilar, who’s always diplomatic and sensitive of other people’s feelings, Sara is a no-b.s., calls ‘em like she sees ‘em kind of gal.  She is fiercely loyal to Pilar and doesn’t like to see other people take advantage of her, which she thinks everyone from jobless Izzy (Pilar‘s younger sister) to the perpetually-cheating Victor (Pilar‘s ex) does.  As Sara is on the verge of debuting her first swimsuit collection and was too busy to leave work for our interview, I agreed to meet her late in the evening at her “office” aka a small warehouse in the Miami fashion district.

Tracie:  I appreciate you taking time out of your hectic schedule to chat with me about Pilar.

Sara: *Distractedly examines swatches of fabric*  Anything for my best friend.  Who knows her better than me, right?

Tracie:  Right.  Can you tell me how the two of you met and became friends?

Sara:  Sure, yeah.  Are you a Summer?  *reaches across the table and holds a green-colored swatch up to my face*  Ew, no, this shade makes you look ill.  You must be a Spring.  *flips to a swatch that’s a brighter green and places it next to my cheek*  Better.  Definitely better.  *scribbles some notes on a pad of paper*

Tracie:  You were going to tell me how you and Pilar met . . .

Sara:  Huh?  Oh, yeah.  My friendship with Pilar – how it all started.  Freshman year, UM, that’s the University of Miami for anyone who’s not a Hurricane.  Pilar and I sat next to each other in the world’s most boring Anthropology class.  To keep ourselves entertained while the professor droned on and on about evolution and cultural dynamics, we would pass notes and drawings back and forth.  Pilar would make observations about the other students (Who had the hots for who, why the guy in the third row was acting twitchy, which girl had obsessive-compulsive tendencies.) and I would sketch out new wardrobes for everyone (Most of our classmates were in dire need of a fashion makeover!)  Pilar and I had so much fun together that we started to hang out after class and soon we were inseparable.  Sophomore year we became roommates at the dorm, and the rest is history!

Tracie:  So, the two of you have been besties for over 10 years now.  Have you ever had a fight?

Sara:  *guffaws*  Pilar get into a fight with someone?  No way!  She’s all about managing problems and avoiding crises.  If there’s an issue, she’ll want to sit down and have a calm, rational discussion about it, then find a mutually satisfying resolution.

Tracie:  So, she knows how to keep a cool head in difficult or emotionally charged situations?

Sara:  Yeah, well, she got good practice growing up in the Alvarez household.  There are some strong personalities in that family.  I, personally, get a big kick out of Pilar’s mother, Luisa, but growing up with her had to be exhausting for Pilar.  Luisa acts like she’s starring in her own telenovela 24/7.  It’s high drama all the time with that woman.  Dios mio, we’re out of milk!  What did I ever do to deserve this?  Why am I being punished?  If I don’t have my daily glass of milk, my bones will get brittle.  What if I fall?  I could break a hip!  Not that anyone would care!  I could be lying on the floor of this condo all day, writhing in agony, and none of my daughters would even think to call or stop by to check on me!  So ungrateful, so lacking in sympathy for their poor mamá, and after all I’ve done for them, all the sacrifices I’ve made!

Tracie:  *snickers*  Your Luisa impression is spot on!  Hysteria laced with a not-so-healthy amount of passive-aggressiveness.

Sara:  Thanks.  I can do Pilar’s sisters, too, but I’m going to need to grab something to eat first.  I skipped dinner and I am starving!  You hungry?  *I shake my head ‘no’ before Sara hops off her stool and sashays over to a table that has a grocery bag sitting on top of it.  She pulls out a can of Betty Crocker frosting and a Toblerone bar, then returns to her seat.  I watch in fascination as she dips the candy bar into the dark chocolate frosting and takes a bite.*

Tracie:  That’s your dinner?

Sara:  *shrugs*  Chocolate’s made from dairy, which is one of the four basic food groups, and you’re supposed to have 3 servings of dairy a day, right?

Tracie:  Well, that’s one interpretation of the FDA’s dietary guidelines.  Now, about Ana and Izzy?

Sara:  *digging the frosting out of the can with her fingers now*  Worthless, both of them.  They clash as badly as chartreuse and tangerine, and Pilar’s always stuck in the middle of their petty squabbles.  Ana’s totally uptight, which is what happens when you get married young and set up camp in the ‘burbs.  And Izzy is a major brat who thinks the world owes her.  For what, I have no idea.  She’s just been spoiled by her family her whole life and now she expects to be handed everything.  Izzy plays Pilar like a conga drum, always making her feel guilty and responsible for her.  I keep telling Pilar to cut the apron strings, but she’s too damn nice.

Tracie:  And you see Pilar’s niceness as a flaw?

Sara:  Mmmm, not a flaw per se, but it definitely blinds her to the faults in others.  That’s why she needs me to clue her in sometimes.

Tracie:  Do you give her advice on her love life?

Sara:  Of course!  That’s one of my duties as her best friend.  Not that she always listens to me.  I warned her about that creep Victor repeatedly.  I knew he was bad news the moment I met him and that feeling was validated a few weeks later when he cornered me at a party and tried to put the moves on me.

Tracie:  What?!?!?!?  Victor hit on you when he was with Pilar?

Sara:  Yeah, and I shut him down so fast that I probably set a Guinness record for the world’s speediest and most emphatic rejection.  He tried to play it off like he was drunk and had just been kidding about his fondness for threesomes, but I knew better.  Ugh, such a sleazebag!  I debated telling Pilar the truth about what happened that night, but I thought it might be best for her to come to the conclusion that he was a cheating jerk on her own, which she did not too long afterwards.  She might trust too easily, but in the end, my girl is a smart cookie.  Mmmmm, cookies.  I wonder if I still have that box of Girl Scout cookies around?  I could go for some Thin Mints.

Tracie:  Do you think there’s any chance that Victor has changed?  He’s been trying to convince Pilar that he has, that he really loves her and wants her back.

Sara:  *snorts*  And I’ve got some gator-infested swampland in the Everglades to sell anyone who believes a word of that.

Tracie:  So, if Victor’s not the one for Pilar, who is?

Sara:  Your guess is as good as mine.  It seems like there’s something wrong with every potential soul mate she meets.  I tried to hook her up with a friend of the guy I’ve been seeing . . .

Tracie:  And how’d that go?

Sara:  One word – disaster.  I can’t bear to relive that evening again, so you’ll have to read the book if you want all the gruesome de– <her phone beeps>  Sorry, let me check this . . . Uh oh, 911 from Pilar.  Izzy’s pulled another one of her crazy stunts, and Pilar needs help with damage control ASAP.  Where’s my purse? *looks around frantically*

Tracie:  Hanging on the end of that clothing rack. *I point to the other side of the warehouse.*

Sara:  Oh, you’re a lifesaver!  *grabs her purse and one of the swimsuits off the rack*  I hate to chat and run, but hopefully, you got everything you need for your interview.  Here.  *tosses a leopard print bikini in my direction as she races past me towards the door*  That’ll look fab on that petite bod of yours.  Help yourself to the rest of that Toblerone if you want it.  Ciao!

Nicky says: A-mazing! I’ve listened with open-mouthed fascination in between bouts of belly laughs, but now I’ve got to say something. I LOVE Sara. Where can I get a best friend like her? I totally adore her sense of humor and her pragmatic outlook on … uhm.. well, men.  Awesome. *And* she dispenses glorious dietary advice and gives out free clothes!

Thank you, Tracie, for bringing Sara along today, I had the best time!

Many thanks to the lovely Nicky Wells for letting me (and Sara) drop by her site today!  If you’d like to take a fun, romantic trip to the sunny beaches of Miami this fall, I invite you to pick up a copy of my novel, In Need of Therapy.  It’s now available in e-book and paperback ~ links below.  Happy reading!

In Need of Therapy

Lending a sympathetic ear and dispensing sage words of advice is all part of the job for psychologist Pilar Alvarez, and she’s everything a good therapist should be:  warm, compassionate, supportive.  She listens, she cares, and she has all the answers, but how’s the woman everyone turns to in their hour of need supposed to cope when her own life starts to fall apart?

While working hard to make a success of her recently-opened practice in trendy South Beach, Pilar must also find time to cater to the demands of her boisterous Cuban family, which includes younger sister Izzy, an unemployed, navel-pierced wild child who can’t stay out of trouble, and their mother, a beauty queen turned drama queen who’s equally obsessed with her fading looks and getting Pilar married before it’s “too late.”  Although she’d like to oblige her mother and make a permanent love connection, Pilar’s romantic prospects look grim.  Her cheating ex, who swears that he’s reformed, is stalking her.  A hunky, but strictly off-limits, patient with bad-boy appeal and intimacy issues is making passes.  And the sexy shrink in the suite across the hall has a gold band on his left ring finger.

When a series of personal and professional disasters lead Pilar into the arms of one of her unsuitable suitors, she’s left shaken, confused, and full of self-doubt.  With time running out, she must make sense of her feelings and learn to trust herself again so that she can save her business, her family, and most importantly, her heart.

In Need of Therapy is available from Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and Barnes & Noble. What are you waiting for?

About Tracie Banister

An avid reader and writer, Tracie Banister has been scribbling stories since she was a child, most of them featuring feisty heroines with complicated love lives like her favorite fictional protagonist, Scarlett O’Hara.  Her work was first seen on the stage of her elementary school, where her 4th grade class performed an original holiday play that she penned (Like all good divas-in-the-making, she, also, starred in and tried to direct the production.)  Her dreams of authorial success were put on the backburner when she reached adulthood and discovered that she needed a “real” job in order to pay her bills.  Her career as personal assistant to a local entrepreneur lasted for 12 years.  When it ended, Tracie decided to follow her bliss and dedicate herself to writing full-time.  Her debut novel, the Hollywood-themed Blame It on the Fame, was released in January, 2012.  And she’s following that up with the Miami-set Romantic Comedy, In Need of Therapy.

Where you can find Tracie…

Tracie has an amazing blog which is well worth checking out. She does rather live on Twitter so you’re bound to find here there… or follow her on Facebook, too!

Wow. Isn’t Sara an astounding character? Everyone should have a Sara in her life. She would get on famously with Sophie’s best friend Rachel, she of the acerbic tongue and the wicked sense of humour.

Thinking back to all the novels you’ve read or written, and taking Sara and Rachel as incumbent number 1 chart toppers here, who is YOUR favourite BFF?

 

The Serial Juggler: One’s Out, Two’s Done, Three’s WIP as the Rock Star Romance Trilogy takes shape

Did you know I can’t juggle? Not at all. I’m hopeless with balls in the air. I have no spacial vision whatsoever and any kind of ball games involve me scrabbling around ungracefully, feeling foolish.

But write and promote a Trilogy within a contracted timeframe with a publisher while also performing my day job as a mum? Yeah, bring it on! Right at this moment, I am juggling. I’m juggling promotion, editing, planning and writing, and I’m having a ball.

The Trilogy in Process. On the far right is Sophie’s Turn, all done and dusted. The cardboard boxes contain promotional postcards and bookmarks. In the middle is the first draft for Sophie’s Run. And the small pile of paper on the left contains the initial outline, all plans and some of the research for book 3! (Read on to find out more about that…)

Promoting, promoting, promoting

You all know my first book, Sophie’s Turn, is now out and available to buy. It’s been getting fabulous reviews in my 67-strong blog tour, and I’m doing interviews, guest posts, give-aways by the dozens. I’ve also had the local paper round to do a lovely little feature, and I’m hosting a ‘meet the author’ event at my local library in October. In addition, I’m planning to contact local book clubs, independent book stores, the WI, radio stations… you name it, I’m on a roll. I live on Twitter and Facebook as the great promotional rollercoaster goes through loop after looop. Rock on!

Editing, editing, editing

My second focus at this time is Sophie’s Run. It is completely written but at just over 149,ooo words for the first draft (yes, you read that right) it is slightly too long. I am going through page by page, scene by scene, chapter by chapter, looking for excess fat, unnecessary detours and undue verbiage in my quest to eliminate around 30,000 words from the first draft. God, that sounds a lot, right? But it will be done. I have about four weeks to get the slimline version to my lovely publishers over at Sapphire Star.

Moreover, the cover is being designed right at this time and it is going to be absolutely stunning. I don’t know when the cover reveal will take place, but rest assured, I will shout about it!

What happens in Sophie’s Run? Here’s a little taster…

Her famous star remains her rock while life takes her on a little detour…

Who says that the road toward true love is straight and even? Sophie is certainly discovering that it is anything but.

So she has finally found the man of her dreams. Well…she knows who he is, even though she hasn’t actually quite met him yet. When she misses her opportunity, her life goes crazy. Rock star and ex-fiancé, Dan, keeps getting in the way of her new romance—even if he is just trying to be helpful. A fire, an impromptu mini-trip with Dan, and a dreaded wedding later, Sophie is still struggling to meet the love of her life. Just as she is getting it together with her perfect man, best friend Rachel commits an act of unspeakable betrayal. And to top it all, her new boyfriend leaves her lying in the mud.

Sophie has had enough. Confused and distraught, she decides that it is time for radical change. Surprising herself and shocking her friends, she embarks on a secret that eventually gets her life back on track.

If you’ve enjoyed Sophie’s Turn, you’ll be in for a real treat, if I say so myself with all due humility. Sophie’s Run is due for release by Sapphire Star Publishing on 7 February 2013.

And planning, and writing, and planning, and writing

So then… what about the last part in the Trilogy? Well, my friends, this is all planned out and I will be writing it just as soon as I’ve sent Sophie’s Run back to Sapphire Star for proper publisher editing.

The working title is Sophie’s Encore and this book is due for release by Sapphire Star Publishing on 7 September 2013!! It’s too early to give you a teaser for this last part, but it will end the story with due style and panache. I promise you, you won’t be disappointed!

The workplan for Sophie’s Encore. Yes, I know it’s blurred! I wouldn’t want you to read it right now… that’d spoil all the fun! xx

See, so I can juggle. I can have three balls in the air, figuratively speaking. One book out, one book editing, one book writing. And so it goes… How do you cope with multiple projects (books or other) on the go?