Tuesday, May 17, 2016

CHATTING WITH THE CHICKS OF CHICK LIT


Ha ha ha ha welcome, welcome everyone to Chatting With the Chicks of Chick Lit. I’m your host, Chuck Lottateeth, and I am so thrilled to be able to introduce you to some of the most fascinating characters in literature today. I’m talking about the leading ladies of Chick Lit—those enchanting, romantic, darling, sexy, sweet, funny, headstrong and, let’s face it, sometimes downright frustrating modern women who headline this fabulously fun genre. I'm sure you're going to love getting the skinny on these “novel” heroines, and who knows? You might just find your new BFF on the pages of one of these books!

Without further ado, please put your hands together and show some love for today's guests one's a pet psychic, the other's a forensic accountant. Not only are they sisters; they're identical twins! How fun is that? Welcome, Sloane and Willa Tobin!

CHUCK: So nice to have you here, ladies!

WILLA: Thanks, Chuck. I'm a big fan of the show.

SLOANE: This isn't going to take long, is it? I have an appointment with an important client at three. <looks at her watch impatiently>

CHUCK: Let's get to it then! I have five burning questions for the two of you. First, if you were a shoe, what kind of shoe would you be?

SLOANE: Are you serious? What kind of ridiculous

WILLA: It is a ridiculously hard question to answer, isn't it? We both love shoes, although we have wildly different tastes in footwear. If I were a shoe, I would definitely be a cute flat of some kind . . . Oooo, I know! I saw these flats the other day that had Sweetheart candies on them. You know, the ones with sweet, romantic messages like "Kiss Me" or "Be Mine"? The shoes were colorful and whimsical, just like me!

SLOANE: I suppose I would be a Jimmy Choo python pump with a 4-inch spike heel. Pythons are bad ass, and I like to think I am too.



CHUCK: Okay, next question What are the three items you would absolutely need to have with you if you were shipwrecked on a tropical island?

WILLA: I'm going to assume that Sloane and my canine best buddy, Cicero, are shipwrecked on the island with me, so I don't need to name either of them as an "item." That being the case, the three things I'd want with me would be: Sunscreen with a high SPF because I'm fair and burn easily. The complete works of Sophie Kinsella so that I'll have something lighthearted to read and keep my mind off being stranded. And a utility lighter so that I can start fires and cook food for all of us to eat.

SLOANE: First and foremost, I'd want a weapon for defense and to kill the fish (or whatever) Willa will be cooking for us. A big, sharp knife of some kind would work. Second item would be a waterproof, solar-operated laptop so that I can make lists and calculate things like tide times and our odds of survival. Last, but not least, a first-aid kit with bandages, antibiotics, needle and thread for stitching, etcetera, so that we don't die from some silly injury or illness.

WILLA: Good thinking! And I'll share my sunscreen with you.

CHUCK: Sounds like you two will make a formidable team on that island! Moving on to question number three. Get ready, audience, because the answers to this one will give us a little peek into these ladies' love lives . . . If you had only $15 to spend, what would be the perfect date? $50? $5,000?

SLOANE: I'll take a pass on this question because I don't have time for dating. Willa, this is your area of expertise . . .

WILLA: There are so many neat things to do in San Francisco, and they don't all cost an arm and a leg. Let's see . . .

For a $15 date, I'd go to the park at Alamo Square and watch the sunset with my guy, then walk hand-in-hand (SIGH) over to the Bi-Rite Creamery and get a cone to share. My favorite flavor there is cheesecake with blueberry swirl. Yum! 

For a $50 date, seeing a romantic black and white film at the historical Castro Theater followed by going to the Bisou (Translates to "kiss"!) Bistro for a late dinner would be perfect.


I've never been on a $5000 date, but if my guy had that kind of money to blow, I'd say we should go to Napa for the weekend, stay in a really nice B&B, and visit one of the vineyards for a wine tasting.


CHUCK: Listen carefully to this next question, ladies, because it's a multi-parter . . . Your best friend is asked to describe you in five words. What would they be? Your nemesis is also asked to describe you in five words. What would they be?

WILLA: My friend and roommate, Tommy, would probably describe me as being fun-loving, quirky, optimistic, compassionate, and imaginative.


SLOANE: Oh, geez, I have no idea how Gav, who's known me since we were kids, would describe me. On a day when we're getting along, he might say that I'm smart, ambitious, sarcastic, loyal, and self-sufficient.


WILLA: I'm afraid I don't have a nemesis, so I'm not sure how to answer that question.
 
SLOANE: Here, let me help you out. People who don't get my sister and her unique brand of kookiness might say that she's flighty, gullible, delusional, obnoxiously perky, and dresses like she's not sure which decade it is.

WILLA: If that's the worst anyone can say about me, I'm doing all right! <smiles>

SLOANE: You really can see the bright side of anything. Okay, let's talk about my nemesis, Thea - UGH! She's Gavin's ex and she's a humorless, manipulative bee-yatch. She hates me, so I'm sure she'd be happy to give a negative description of me including the words domineering, work-obsessed, testy, possessive, and much prettier. Ha! Kidding about that last one, Thea would never admit that.
 
CHUCK: If you could be the heroine in any chick flick, who would it be and why?

SLOANE: I don't really watch chick flicks unless Willa makes me. The last heroine of one of those I can remember relating to was Sandra Bullock's character in The Proposal. What was her name?

WILLA: Margaret - you are so her!

SLOANE: Yeah, she was a boss. Had a great job, the respect of her superiors, all of her underlings feared her. And she ended up with Ryan Reynolds. I'd be down for that. How about you? Which chick flick heroine would you want to be? Oh, wait, you're going to say that Amy Adams movie where she's a fairy tale princess who breaks into song all the time, aren't you? <makes a face>


WILLA: Of course! I love Enchanted and Giselle! She's so sweet, and her best friends are animals, and she gets rescued by the dreamy Patrick Dempsey. That movie shows that fairy tales can happen in real life too!

SLOANE: And we're done. Thanks for having us, Mr. Bleachedteeth, but I've got business to take care of. <gives Chuck a firm handshake and walks offstage at a brisk trot>

WILLA: It has been so much fun! I hope you'll invite me back when you're interviewing Chick Lit heroines and their pets. I would love for you to meet my adorable, little guy, Cicero. Do you have pets, Chuck? <leans forward with interest>

CHUCK: I have a pygmy hedgehog named Marty who bites me every time I try to touch him. <holds up hands that are covered in tiny fang marks>   

   
But you're not here to talk about my problems! <forced chuckle> Folks, give Willa and her, uh, over-scheduled sister, Sloane, another round of applause. If you'd like to read more about them, be sure to pick up a copy of Twin Piques. See you next time here on Chatting With the Chicks of Chick Lit!


Book Blurb: Forensic accountant Sloane Tobin and kooky pet psychic Willa may have the same face, but that’s the only thing these identical twins have in common.

How she can read the hearts and minds of animals has always been a mystery to Willa, and her rotten luck with men is equally baffling. Although she’s been looking for “The One” for what feels like forever (A teenage marriage to a French mime and dating a guy named Spider seemed like good ideas at the time!), optimistic Willa refuses to give up on love. When she meets Brody, the handsome rose expert hired to save her grandmother’s garden, she’s instantly smitten, but why does he keep sending her mixed signals? Does he return her feelings, or is their attraction all in her fanciful head?

Unlike her twin, Sloane has zero interest in romance. Her passion is her job, where she uses her gift for numbers to take down slimy embezzlers and asset-hiding spouses. When she’s assigned two high profile cases, Sloane feels confident the promotion she’s been angling for is within her grasp. But will her plan to climb the corporate ladder be thwarted by difficult clients, her co-worker-with-benefits, or – most surprisingly of all – her own sister? And how’s she supposed to stay focused on the drama at work when her childhood friend, Gav, moves in next door and the spark between them becomes impossible to ignore?

To get what they both want, can Willa and Sloane band together and rely on each other’s strengths? Or will their differences drive them apart once and for all?

Sunday, May 15, 2016

#CHICKLITMAY A TO Z SCAVENGER HUNT


Welcome to the third stop on the #ChickLitMay A to Z Scavenger Hunt! I'm all about the letter C, and C is for . . . CAREER!

Career plays a huge role in the life of a Chick Lit heroine. Either she's just starting out in some lowly position where she's tortured by a boss who's a big jerk/diva (see Andrea/"Andy" and what she goes through with her dragon lady employer, Miranda Priestley, in Lauren Weisberger's The Devil Wears Prada). Or she's struggling to find her professional niche. (Becky Bloomwood, the protagonist in Sophie Kinsella's Shopaholic series, is miserable working at a financial magazine until she finds her true calling as a personal shopper.) Or she might already have her dream job, but she has to deal with office politics, difficult clients, and/or finding a balance with work and her personal life. (The ladies of Candace Bushnell's Lipstick Jungle are confronted with all of the above.)


When Chick Lit was born with the release of Bridget Jones's Diary twenty years ago, most of the genre's heroines worked in media/publishing, but these days they have a variety of occupations that run the gamut from cupcake shop owner to corporate attorney. You never know what fun and interesting careers you might find in a Chick Lit novel. In my last book, Twin Piques, the heroines made their livings as a pet psychic and a forensic accountant!

What careers have you read about in Chick Lit that you found especially entertaining? Let me know in the comments below. I love to get book recs!

Thanks for stopping by! Read on for details about the amazing giveaway we're doing for the Scavenger Hunt.


GRAND PRIZE - Want to win a Kindle Paperwhite + a $100 Amazon gift card? Visit each of the 26 stops on the #ChickLitMay A to Z Scavenger Hunt and collect the alphabet word at each stop (A, B, C, D, etc.), then submit the A-Z list of words via e-mail with the subject line "A to Z Scavenger Hunt Entry." Entries will be accepted until Sunday, May 22nd at midnight E.D.T. A winner will be chosen on Monday, May 23rd. Good luck!

The next stop on the Scavenger Hunt (the letter D) is here.

If you'd like to start back at the beginning of the Scavenger Hunt (the letter A), go here

Want to find out more about Willa and Sloane, the aforementioned pet psychic and forensic accountant? Check out Twin Piques.

Book Blurb: Forensic accountant Sloane Tobin and kooky pet psychic Willa may have the same face, but that’s the only thing these identical twins have in common.

How she can read the hearts and minds of animals has always been a mystery to Willa, and her rotten luck with men is equally baffling. Although she’s been looking for “The One” for what feels like forever (A teenage marriage to a French mime and dating a guy named Spider seemed like good ideas at the time!), optimistic Willa refuses to give up on love. When she meets Brody, the handsome rose expert hired to save her grandmother’s garden, she’s instantly smitten, but why does he keep sending her mixed signals? Does he return her feelings, or is their attraction all in her fanciful head?

Unlike her twin, Sloane has zero interest in romance. Her passion is her job, where she uses her gift for numbers to take down slimy embezzlers and asset-hiding spouses. When she’s assigned two high profile cases, Sloane feels confident the promotion she’s been angling for is within her grasp. But will her plan to climb the corporate ladder be thwarted by difficult clients, her co-worker-with-benefits, or – most surprisingly of all – her own sister? And how’s she supposed to stay focused on the drama at work when her childhood friend, Gav, moves in next door and the spark between them becomes impossible to ignore?

To get what they both want, can Willa and Sloane band together and rely on each other’s strengths? Or will their differences drive them apart once and for all?

Buy Twin Piques (available in e-book and paperback)! 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

GUEST BLOG - LAURA CHAPMAN

Harper Duquaine, the main character of First & Goal, finds herself spending more and more of her time managing a fantasy football team with hopes of making it to the playoffs so she can win back the hefty entry fee she had to pay to participate. The more time she devotes to managing her team, the more she connects with one of her fellow league members: Brook MacLaughlin, the kind and friendly high school teacher and football coach.



Early in their friendship they discover a mutual fondness (and that’s using the word conservatively) for Bon Jovi. Their admiration for the band becomes a recurring element in their relationship. As a result, I ended up listening to a lot of Bon Jovi while I was planning and writing this novel. And, so many of the band’s songs are mentioned in the book I created a playlist to accompany it.

But how did this even come about? I mean, why did I feature an actual band when I avoided using any actual football players or linking them to specific teams?

Let’s say I was inspired. On October 20, with less than two weeks to go until National Novel Writing Month 2013 commenced, I had the opportunity to see Bon Jovi perform thanks to my Aunt Brenda, who surprised me with two tickets the day before the concert. I was excited. Thrilled. In disbelief until the moment the boys took stage. Like Harper and Brook, I love the band.

Keeping the texts all in the family.

I've had a thing for Bon Jovi since I was little. My parents have video footage of 3-year-old me dancing around in my underwear and a shirt that says "If You Think I'm Cute, You Should See My Grandpa" singing my own mash-up of Bon Jovi's "Lay Your Hands on Me" and New Kids on the Block's "Hanging Tough" in the fake microphone my dad made and attached to one of his cymbal stands.

In my early 20s, "It's My Life" was one of the songs I used to listen to when I was frustrated while on long business trips. And “Livin’ on a Prayer” has been a staple in my life forever. One of my fondest travel memories involves me singing that diddy with a group of agricultural salesmen in a piano bar on the Riverwalk in San Antonio.

During the concert when I wasn’t singing and dancing along with Jon, inspiration was spinning in my head. I had to work this band into the book, because well… I wanted to have them in the book. Though some writers shy away from making pop culture references in their books to avoid dating the stories, I like to work some in – within reason. And as far as any fears of dating the book, well, the whole story is told amidst the background of a fantasy football season. If I was worried about dating myself, I should’ve picked a different book to write.

Bon Jovi on stage at Pinnacle Bank Arena.

Based on how friendly and charming the band seemed, I firmly believed they’d be fine with me mentioning them in my novel. Particularly in the context of a budding friendship.

My initial instinct was to send Harper and Brook to a wedding together where they slow-danced to “Always” during the reception. But… there are pivotal dance scenes in my first two books, and I needed to branch out and use some other plot development. Then, I considered having Bon Jovi pop on the radio while they’re in the car together. But that didn’t seem sexy enough.

I needed another way for my characters to bond. Based on the development I’d already done for both characters, sharing an interest in Bon Jovi was a natural and believable way to create a connection. And though I don’t want to share the specifics of how the band is involved in the story for those of you who haven’t read it, I’m pleased with the way it turned out.

And as a writer, it was fun for me to incorporate. It constantly forced me to consider how the music would fit into a certain scene and how that song would push it forward. In addition to being a challenge for me, it also gave me a ready-made playlist to inspire me while I wrote.

Thank you, Tracie, for featuring me on your blog. I hope all of you enjoy reading First & Goal.


About the Book
When Harper Duquaine’s no-nonsense approach to work unintentionally ruffles the wrong feathers at her new job, she joins her co-workers’ fantasy football league to prove she can hang with the guys. Only problem: she doesn’t know a sleeper from a keeper (or any of the other lingo thrown her way).  
Embroiled in a world of lineups, stats, and trades, Harper’s quest to make nice topples when her competitive streak emerges. And her promise to herself that she’ll be a strong, independent woman and leave the drama and heartache behind is seriously tested when she catches the attention of her two biggest competitors: J.J., a local celebrity determined to win a fantasy championship, and Brook, the mild-mannered coach who seems too good to be true. Both threaten her resolve to remain single… and, more importantly, her chances at winning the prize pool. 
With a slew of conflicting advice in her real and fantasy worlds, Harper must figure out how to play the game and come out a winner.

Now Available


About the Author
Laura Chapman is the author of First & GoalThe Marrying Type, and Hard Hats and Doormats. Her work appears in Merry & BrightA Kind of Mad Courage, and a forthcoming Christmas anthology from Marching Ink. A native Nebraskan, she loves Huskers and Packers football, Netflix marathons, and her cats, Jane and Bingley. Laura is currently in pursuit of a fantasy football championship while penning her next novel.


Connect with Laura


Monday, August 3, 2015

GUEST POST - TRACY KRIMMER


Fit for Love: Getting Fit With Your Partner

The room is steaming, breathing is heavy, and sweat pours off your bodies. Grunts and groans can be heard throughout the house. You’ve never felt so close to your partner. You've been at it for almost thirty minutes now and you can barely catch your breath. Get your head into the game. You’re not having hot sex – you’re exercising together. Same difference. What? What do I mean same difference? Working out with your significant other is like sex? No way.

This is not us. This is a random couple. But we do look this hot. Really. Really! Believe me? 
This is not us. This is a random couple. But we do look this hot. 
Really. Really! Believe me?

In my new book, Jay Walking, Chelsea is dead set on losing her baby weight and meets a great looking guy while out on a walk. Jay is a runner, and his calves prove it. They begin working out together, and their chemistry couldn’t be hotter. Part of my daily routine is exercise. I know, I know, some of you are tired just thinking about it. What makes my workout great? Part of it is that I work out with my husband. We don’t always work out together, but sometimes we decide to do a program and it's fun as a team. In 2009, we completed a round of P90X together, and shortly after we started on Weight Watchers. This year, we tackled P90X3 and completed it in the beginning of July.

P90X3 is part of Beachbody and is an intense 90 day program. 
P90X3 is part of Beachbody and is an intense 90 day program.

Working out with a partner is awesome for so many different reasons. Let me break them down for you.
The convenience. I’ve exercised with girlfriends before. I remember going to Curves with my cousin Jody and taking a Jazzercise class with my friend Corinne. It didn’t stick though. Why? Partly because we needed to make arrangements to drive to the facility and work out. To put it simply, it wasn’t convenient. Working out with my husband, we have a set time we work out every day (Well, night. We work out at about 8 every night.), and we are in the same house to hold each other accountable. No excuses.

The support. If we’re doing a program to lose weight, we weigh in weekly and share the results with each other. We look back at the past week or so of eating and determine what in our daily food intake could have resulted in any gains. Right now my husband is trying to eat cleaner, so we evaluate our food choices together and different alternatives. I should mention, too, he’s the chef in the family, so he makes us tasty, healthy meals! I have yet to get him in just an apron.

This is not my husband. Not only did I already tell you I haven't gotten him in just an apron, but he would NOT be happy if I did and posted it on the Internet!
 
The competition. Since I’m not competitive by nature, I use this term in a broader sense. If we're in the middle of a workout and I don't feel I'm doing the best I can, I push myself harder to meet the intensity my husband has. I don’t often succeed, but sometimes I do (like that one time he fell before I did while in Warrior Three!)

The conversations. Fitness is something we have in common. Our workouts and eating habits have brought on some of the best discussions we’ve ever had! Not to mention my husband is now reading a lot. He’s reading fitness and nutrition books and they get us chatting. We lose track of time during our talks and I love it!

The view. Sure, some moves aren’t the most attractive, but watching my husband lift weights or own a Pilates move like it’s nobody’s business? Sign me up. The other night he was doing jumping jacks and I couldn’t break my stare. His body covered in perspiration? Sure, it may not smell the best, but it looks great.

The sex. Yeah, I said it. I mean, come on, I write romance! Working out together is H-O-T, not to mention the energy you get from being in shape! Some workouts can lead right into a good time, and others you need a shower after – but why not jump in that shower together?

Sexy shower, anyone?
Sexy shower, anyone?
Having a fitness friend or partner is so beneficial. Committing to a workout routine is difficult and it can be easy to lose motivation. I love having someone I can joke with (He loves my little comments while we exercise. Don't let him fool you!). It's great when my after-baby-bladder demands a new change of underwear after thirty seconds of jumping jacks and he needs to pause the program to get me new ones (No, I'm not afraid to ask him to get me a new pair!). What I love most is the intimacy and commitment. We've got each other's backs. 

jaywalking_cover_love 2

Check out my new book Jay Walking (releases 8/4) and see how Chelsea works fitness into her daily routine. It's on sale for $2.99 throughout the book tour, which ends August 15th. Also check out the first book in the series, Caching In, which combines romance and geocaching, for free during the tour. Both can be read as stand-alone novels. 

Click on your retailer to purchase Jay Walking:  
Amazon

But wait - there's more! Enter this Rafflecopter to win a signed paperback copy of Caching In and a Wilson headband. US Residents only!

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About Tracy Krimmer: Tracy’s love of writing began at nine years old. She wrote stories about aliens at school, machines that did homework for you, and penguins. Now she pens books and short stories about romance. She loves to read a great book, whether it be romance or science fiction, or any genre in between, or pop popcorn and catch up on her favorite TV shows or movies. She’s been known to crush a candy or two as well. Her first romance novel, Pieces of it All, released in May 2014 followed in December with Caching In, a romance mixed with the hobby of geocaching. She also has written several short stories. 

Find her online at www.tracykrimmer.com, Facebook, or Twitter.