Monday, December 3, 2012

Book Lover's Holiday Hop

Welcome to the Book Lover's Holiday Hop, hosted by Kathy at I Am A Reader Not A Writer and Maryanne at Chapter by Chapter!

I'm giving away three e-books!  The hysterical Tracie Banister's IN NEED OF THERAPY and BLAME IT ON THE FAME, and A. Gardner's fun winter read THE ENGAGEMENT GAME.  Just leave a comment sharing one of your favorite holiday traditions, follow this blog or follow me on Twitter.  Enter below to win!

I'll start.  One of my favorite traditions is cutting down the Christmas Tree.  We drive to a farm and trek through the foliage, rain or shine, until we find the perfect tree.  Then we battle the tree stand until our prize is mostly upright.  And then we stuff blocks/cardboard/towels under one side of the stand until the tree is nearly upright.  And then we give up and just enjoy the sight of our beautiful tree.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to visit the linkys below to win more fun prizes!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Cover Reveal: The Engagement Game

I came across this fun new read on Amazon, and the author was gracious enough to let me do a cover reveal.  

A. Gardner's story of girly subterfuge blends a colorful tapestry of romance, heartbreak, scheming and of course, friendship.  Kat's a heroine who's easy to root for, and the girls' disastrous attempts at one-upsmanship left me laughing out loud.  Look for it on Amazon, and tell me what you think!

The Engagement Game (How to Marry A Billionaire)
Two best friends. One billionaire bachelor.

When Kat Artino meets the billionaire of her dreams she doesn't expect the number one contender for his heart to be Holly . . . her best friend.

Rex Kinlan needs a fiance and he hits every checkpoint on Kat's list. A life with him means trading in shabby hospital scrubs for a closet full of Jimmy Choos. But after a tell-all lunch with best friend Holly, Kat discovers they're falling for the same guy. And Holly refuses to step aside. Why waste a good catch?

A friendly competition suddenly turns into a disastrous game of "out the backstabber". And after humiliating herself in front of her future mother-in-law, Kat finds herself running into the arms of the one man who is completely wrong for her.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

In the Kitchen With ELSKER's Inga

Hei Hei!
Velkommen to the Autumn's Harvest Blog Hop, hosted by Carrie Ann's Blog Hops.

Today one of my favorite Norse Goddesses from
 stopped by to share her new fall tradition.

Without further ado, In the Kitchen With Inga.

Hello again Mortals.  My little vacation to your realm is stretching a bit longer than I expected.  But I like Autumn here.  On November 1st I watched your small people come off their sugar rush by running amok like crazed Valkyries wreaking havoc in my 'hood.  Naturally I was safely ensconced in Gunnar's favorite apron baking holiday goodies. (You know, the one with the dog on it that says "Wuff Da, I'm Norsk".) 

My own favorite apron is way too cute to be covered in Mexican Vanilla.  I scored it off Pinterest - I am so loving your internet BTW!  And Baking Day - as Nov. 1 shall heretofore be called - involved heaps of highly stain-worthy vanilla.

Since anything worth doing should be done to absolute perfection, I spent fourteen hours of Nov. 1 test driving my recipes for Saint Lucia's Day.  Sure it meant Gunnar put on a few extra pounds eating my rejects, but a tubby hubby is a small price to pay for being crowned Baking Goddess at December's Saint Lucia celebration.  Last year the title went to an ungracious biddy named Bertha Larson.  She did a highly unladylike victory dance then refused to share her winning recipe.  Really?  We can't let that happen again.   

Here's a teaser of this year's booty.  Bertha's got nothing on me this year.  

There will be gingerbread.  And sugar cookies.  And of course, Norsk waffles.  Danged if I haven't gotten Olaug to share her recipe yet.  But I will.  That'd score me the crown for the next decade, easily.  Ooh... ten years of guaranteed victory.  Olaug!


Now the Hop prizes!  Enter to win a $5 Amazon gift card from me, and leave a comment with your e-mail address to enter to win the grand prizes.  And be sure to click the linkys to read more great Autumn posts.

1st Grand Prize: A Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet
2nd Grand Prize: A $50 Amazon or B&N Gift Card
3rd Grand Prize: A Swag Pack that contains 10+ paperbacks, ebooks, 50+ bookmarks, cover flats, magnets, pens, coffee cozies, and more! (US residents only)

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Friday, November 2, 2012

Interview with Tracie Banister

Today I'm thrilled to host the lovely Tracie Banister - a true Southern Belle with equal dedication to her creative and philanthropic interests.  When she's not tending to her special needs rescue dogs or supporting diabetes research, Tracie's building engaging worlds and developing sassy characters.  She's earned rave reviews for her books BLAME IT ON THE FAME and IN NEED OF THERAPY - both "great chick-lit reads" are heralded as compelling tales of characters that are relatable and lovable, with stories so riveting readers can't put them down.  And both books have just been released in paperback!  I'm honored to have Tracie here today, and I'm so pleased she agreed to answer a few questions for me.  Read on to discover what makes her tick, and find out how you can get your hands on one of her fantastic novels!

Welcome Tracie.  Will you tell us a bit about yourself?

Like my favorite fictional heroine, Scarlett O'Hara, I am a Southern belle who lives on the outskirts of Atlanta. I'm addicted to television (I watch everything from Disney shows to Top Chef and think the DVR is the best invention since the wheel.), crossword puzzles (I do 3-5 a day and like to time myself.), and salt and vinegar potato chips (My one junk food weakness.) Animal rights (I have three rescue dogs, two with special needs.) and finding a cure for diabetes (I've been a Type 1 diabetic for over 25 years.) are my two passions. I love theater and try to get to New York to see several Broadway shows every year. And, of course, I am a rabid reader who enjoys a wide variety of genres, everything from Historical Romance to Steampunk.

What drew you to writing?

I believe it was my love of books and reading that made me want to become a writer. I always revered the written word. When I was a kid, I had a word-a-day calendar, enjoyed flipping through the big dictionary my grandmother had sitting on a stand in her living room, and couldn't wait to enter every spelling bee at school!

Will you share a bit about your creative process?

I'm both a plotter and a pantser. I would sooner walk into traffic than write an outline; I loathe the things. However, I have been known to use dry erase boards and copious amounts of neon-colored post-its to help me figure out the chronology of a book and how different plots/characters intersect. I always know the beginning and ending of my books and I write very detailed character bios before I ever start work on a book. Then, I set the characters down on the page and let them play. They're very good at leading me where they need to go and I find that my stories unfold in a much more organic way when I use this method rather than plotting out every little detail in advance. I always say that the best bits in all of my books are the surprises, not the things I planned.

What inspires you?

I get ideas everywhere – from friends, family, the internet, TV, magazines. I never know what will provide a springboard for my imagination. There is a little bit of me and my life experiences in every story I write – these can show up in character quirks (like a heroine loving to do crossword puzzles), or places I’ve visited, or relationship dynamics.

How did you develop Blame It on the Fame?

I've always loved the movies and reading about the lives of celebrities, so writing a book about the five women vying for the Best Actress Oscar seemed like a natural for me.  Once I'd decided to set my novel in salacious, scandal-ridden Hollywood, I had to commit to being honest about the kinds of things that go on behind-the-scenes in that industry and in my characterizations of the female leads. These women are not saints; they use colorful language, they engage in steamy sex, they stab each other in the back (as do all of the people they work with), but they also have their deep-seated issues and vulnerabilities. One of my favorite reviews for Blame It on the Fame came from a woman who had worked in the movie business for years. She said that my book and the characters in it were very "realistic," which made my day!

What about In Need of Therapy - how did that story come to you?

As for In Need of Therapy, one day my mother off-handedly said, "You should write a funny book about a female psychologist," and a light bulb went off over my head. It just seemed like such a great idea that was rife with possibilities (What does a psychologist really think when she's listening to her patients' problems? How does her shrink persona translate to her personal life? Is there a downside to being caring and empathetic?) I've always been a bit of an armchair psychologist myself as I took some Psych courses in school and I love to analyze people and give them advice, so I relished the opportunity to write for a heroine who did that for a living.

Blame It on the Fame dives into the backstage drama of Hollywood awards season.  Have you ever had a brush with a celebrity?  

I met quite a few celebrities back in the '90s as the company I worked for attended a convention for the television industry in Vegas every year. I was supposed to be working the booth, but I snuck off quite a bit to stand in line to have my photo (Polaroids!) taken with various actors/actresses. Off the top of my head, I can remember meeting Jane Seymour, Joe Lando, Fran Drescher, Lorenzo Lamas, the cast of Party of Five, Robert Urich, William Shatner (Captain Kirk!), and Chuck Norris. Oh, and I ate dinner in a restaurant in Vegas sitting at a table right next to Shaun Cassidy, which was a big thrill for me because I had a crush on him when I was very young.

Which celebrity would you most want to meet?

If I could meet any celebrity now, I'd probably choose Kenneth Branagh. 

Ooh.  I just adore him.
He's one of my favorite actors, and I think he's incredibly talented, plus he seems very nice and funny in interviews. I think we could have a wonderful chat! I'd love to pick his brain about some of my favorite Shakespeare plays.

Do you have any projects in the works?

My next project is a still-untitled Chick Lit novel about two sisters who are polar opposites and live in San Francisco. I can't say anything more without getting spoilery, but I can promise plenty of comedy, romance, cute guys, and even cuter dogs.

I am, also, hoping to write a Regency Era series that will have the same comedic and romantic elements that my modern-day novels do. I've already got several chapters of the first book in the series under my belt and I look forward to moving forward with it as soon as I'm done with my San Francisco story!

Thanks for joining me Tracie - and congratulations on the paperback release of your novels! 

Thanks so much for having me on your site today, ST! If your readers would like to take a fun, romantic trip to the sunny beaches of Miami this fall, I invite them to pick up a copy of my novel, In Need of Therapy. Or if they prefer something a bit spicier à la the works of Candace Bushnell or Gigi Levangie Grazer, I suggest they give Blame It on the Fame a try. Both novels are now available in e-book and paperback.

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 in e-book and for the first time in paperback at Amazon , Amazon UK and Barnes & Noble

Also from Tracie Banister:

Blame It on the Fame: 
A power-trippin' bitch, a has-been, a skanky ex-model, a press-shy indie queen, and a British stage actress no one knows - this is how the Best Actress hopefuls in this year's too-close-to-call Oscar race cattily describe each other. Which of them will win the much-coveted gold statue and what price will they be forced to pay as they travel the red carpeted-path to Hollywood glory?

Amidst all the press-schmoozing and angsting over which designer gown to wear, these Oscar contenders feud, commiserate, and face a succession of personal crises – scandalous secrets come to light, marriages implode, accidents land two nominees in the hospital while another receives news that could derail her career, all culminating on Tinsel Town’s biggest night when anything can happen, and does.

You can find Blame It on the Fame in e-book and its newly released paperback format at Amazon and Amazon UK .

To get to know more about Tracie, stop by her blog, Books By Banister or visit her on Twitter or Facebook .

And be sure to pick up In Need of Therapy and Blame It on the Fame, available in e-book and now for the first time in paperback!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Alpha Male Blog Hop

Hei Hei!
Hvordan har du det?   

Velkommen to the Alpha Male Blog Hop.

Carrie Ann opened the can of worms that is the Alpha Male.
Tall.  Dark (or shockingly blonde, depending on your preference).
Always devastatingly handsome.  

To me, nothing says Alpha Male like Bond.
 James Bond, of course.

He's strong.  Stoic.  Immeasurably capable.
And drop dead gorgeous.  (Daniel Craig, I am talking to you.)

A few years back I found myself in Jamaica.
A lovely place to find oneself, all things considered.
And on the side of the road in a nondescript area of town,
I stumbled across this sign:

It's not much bigger than a brick, 
and fades right into the stone wall on which it rests.
But it marks one of the literary world's greatest treasures:
The villa where Ian Fleming wrote his James Bond novels.

If one is creative with one's request,
i.e. if one outright begs the right people,
One might find oneself on a tour of the property.  

And once inside one might find a little something like this:

Yep.  That's the desk where Ian Fleming created 
James Bond himself.

And a little something like this:

Uh-huh, the pool adjacent to Mr. Fleming's villa.  

Can't you just imagine the ultimate Alpha Male 
Coming out of the ocean 
To sun himself in one of these chaise lounges?

Seeing Goldeneye was a writer's dream.
The combination of Ian Fleming's literary genius
And the location that inspired James Bond
Was simply fabulous.

Now for the fun.
As if all this talk of Alpha Males and Jamaica isn't fun enough.
Enter to win fabulous prizes in the Alpha Male Blog Hop!
Go to the Linky List below and leave a comment on any and all blogs (be sure to include your e-mail address!) to enter.  
That's right, you can enter over 200 times to win:

1st Grand Prize: A Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet
2nd Grand Prize: A $130 Amazon or B&N Gift Card
3rd Grand Prize: The Following Swag Pack
(Swag Prize ships to US residents only.)

And don't forget to enter my raffle below for a chance to win 
A $5 Amazon gift card!

So tell me.  Who is your favorite Alpha Male?
And who is your favorite Bond?

What are you waiting for?  Get Hopping!