Friday, January 27, 2012


As some of you may or may not know, it's been a banner week for me.  I released my first novel, BLAME IT ON THE FAME, on both Amazon and Smashwords.  I've been through so much with this book - working on it on-and-off for several years, having to continuously make tweaks to keep the book current, querying agents, trying to decide how to get the book out to the public when I was told by everyone in the industry that the Chick Lit market was "closed" and this type of novel could no longer be sold.  I could have given up in defeat, buried my manuscript in some folder on my hard drive, and tried to forget about it, and believe me, I was sorely tempted.  But in the end, BLAME IT ON THE FAME meant too much to me to just let it go. 

So, I dipped my toe into the indie publishing waters, just to see what all the fuss was about.  Was this really a viable option for me?  Could I handle all that was involved?  I was nervous, skeptical, wondering if this was the right path.  That's when I joined Twitter and met the most fabulous group of authors, readers, and bloggers, all of whom loved Chick Lit as much as I did!  I was no longer alone in my quest to see this wonderful genre embraced and appreciated once again.  With the encouragement of these new friends (along with the unwavering support of the family members and friends who'd always believed in my writing talent), I took the plunge and joined the digital revolution! 

Last week, when I uploaded my book to Amazon and Smashwords (and yes, there were some glitches and a couple of meltdowns along the way), I had such a feeling of accomplishment!  This was it!  Finally, after years of dreaming of it and working hard to achieve this goal, I was a published author!  People would be reading my book.  It was so exciting!  I had always imagined that the biggest thrill I would ever have as a writer would be to hold a printed copy of my first published novel in my hands.  It's a sign of the changing times that that defining moment ended up happening in a very different, but nonetheless special, way when I opened up my e-reader and was greeted by the sight of BLAME IT ON THE FAME's colorful cover right there on my carousel next to books written by best-selling authors Erin Morgenstern, Lauren Willig, and Sophie Kinsella.  I had arrived!

Now, I begin the daunting task of getting the word out about my book and to that end I will be doing a blog tour over the next couple of months.  My first stop was at Michelle Betham's site, where I did a fun interview about my book, movies, the Oscars, and much more.  If you haven't already read the interview, I invite you to check it out here:

Thank you, Michelle, for having me on your blog!  I loved doing the interview and appreciate your support and enthusiasm for BLAME IT ON THE FAME.

If you'd like to purchase BLAME IT ON THE FAME, please visit Amazon or Smashwords where my novel is currently available for $1.99.  I look forward to hearing what you all think of the book!

Sunday, January 15, 2012


Philippa Sutcliffe, an English stage actress better known for her tempestuous on-set affair with Scottish lothario Miles McCrea than her film work, dismisses the Oscars as nothing more than a popularity contest and is outraged when contractual obligations force her to reunite with her former lover, who’s also a nominee, to campaign for their film.

Author’s Notes:  There is probably more of me in Philippa than in any of the other characters in BLAME IT ON THE FAME.  She has a sharp tongue, but a good heart.  Unfortunately, it was broken by the roguish Miles, a man Philippa knew she had no business being with in the first place (Fancying bad boys is a fatal character flaw that Philippa and I share.)  I had the best time writing the banter between Miles and Philippa, but then love/hate relationships are always fun in fiction, aren’t they?  Miles and Philippa are like a British Dave and Maddie (Moonlighting shout-out) for the new millennium.

Philippa Quotes (non-spoilery):  “This is typical Miles McCrea.  He makes a commitment then forgets all about it when something shiny or silicone-enhanced comes along and distracts him.” 

“You’re awfully sensitive for a Hollywood sell-out.”

“Lovely.  So, if I win this award, it won’t be because of my acting, it’ll be because letting Miles McCrea get into my knickers gave me global name recognition.”

Casting:  Although she doesn’t perfectly match my physical description of Philippa, I always envisioned Emily Blunt (one of my favorite actresses) in the role.  She’s so good at playing prickly while still conveying the vulnerability beneath the tart words and that’s Philippa to a tee.  A friend of mine said that she saw Rachel Weisz as Philippa and that would work, too.  I’ll leave it up to readers to decide who their Philippa is.

Saturday, January 14, 2012


The daughter of a Bond girl and a Spielbergian director, Jordan Schaeffer was born with movies in her blood.  Wanting to be an actress, not a celebrity, she’s toiled happily in indie films for a decade, never imagining that her work would receive any recognition.  Both thrilled and terrified by her Oscar nod, Jordan wonders if she can live up to the expectations everyone has of her because of her DNA.

Author’s Notes:  I was really interested to explore what it’s like to be a second-generation actress, especially when the first-generation was wildly famous, charismatic, and successful.  Jordan grew up in a fishbowl with everyone watching her, wondering what, if any, talents she’d inherited from her parents, and how she would make use of them.  She is the polar opposite of her mother, vivacious, world renowned sex symbol Lisa Merrin (my favorite character in the book because she’s so deliciously outrageous) and that sets up a lot of great conflict between the two of them. 

Jordan Quotes (non-spoilery): “Silly me, I thought the Oscar was for Best Actress, not Best Self-Promoter.”

“Ugh, I’m so bad at this.  I have no fashion vision.  I can’t imagine myself wearing any of these.  I’m all about comfort, not couture.”

“Why do I even bother voicing an opinion?  It’s just a waste of breath with her.  She never listens; she just does what she wants to and expects me to fall in line.  Well, not this time!  The Oscars are going to be my night.  Not hers, MINE!”

Casting:  Jordan is not your typical, glammed up starlet.  As an indie actress, she favors the more casual, funky look, something along the lines of Lena Headey.

Bonus Casting:  Since Jordan’s mom, Lisa, was an iconic sex symbol of the ‘80s and is still a blonde bombshell in middle age, Kim Basinger, who looks gorgeous as ever at 58, would be the perfect embodiment of the character.

Friday, January 13, 2012


A supermodel who ditched the catwalk to try her hand at acting, Anaya Reynolds is Tinsel Town’s latest It Girl.  Her hard partying ways, casual hook-ups with himbos, and uncensored mouth keep the tabloids happy, but her self-destructive behavior, which spirals out of control as the Oscars near, threatens to destroy her credibility, her career, and quite possibly, her life.

Author’s Notes:  Celebrity trainwrecks – we hear about them and their shenanigans every day and we wonder how they can be so self-destructive and out-of-control.  Sometimes their stories have a happy ending (Robert Downey, Jr. – such an amazing comeback!) and sometimes a tragic one (R.I.P. Amy Winehouse.)  Like other celebrity trainwrecks before her, Anaya has it all (fame, talent, beauty, adoration) and she’s arrogant enough to think that she can hold on to it no matter how badly she behaves. 

You’ll have to read the book to find out what happens to Anaya, but I think of her story as a cautionary tale and I found it both fascinating and challenging to delve into the psyche of someone who never considers consequences.

Anaya Quotes (non-spoilery):  “I have a great ass, an ass that sold eight million pairs of True Religion lo-rise jeans.  My ass brought dark wash denim back.”

“Yeah, yeah, I know, I’m a bad, irresponsible girl, but can’t the lecture wait until I’ve had a smoke and a cup of Brazilian Dark Roast?”

“Bitch, please.  You’re the one who shops the sales racks at Macy’s and gets her hair color from a $6 bottle of Clairol.  If anyone in this club is ‘low-rent,’ it’s you.”

Casting:  I didn’t really have a particular person in mind while writing Anaya, but I’ve looked at photos of several black supermodels and I think that the gorgeous Arlenis Sosa comes pretty close to how I imagined Anaya.  She’s tall, dark-skinned, edgy and chameleonic in her looks, and she exudes sensuality and confidence.  

Thursday, January 12, 2012


Having retired to a quiet suburb in Connecticut after winning an Academy Award in the ‘90s, Laurel Hastings is shocked to learn that her first film role in 15 years has garnered her another nomination.  Suddenly back on the media’s radar, Laurel fears that the real reason she chose to leave show business will be exposed, and her plans for a low-key comeback will turn into a journalistic feeding frenzy. 

Author’s Notes:  Laurel has a lot to contend with, both personally and professionally, in BLAME IT ON THE FAME.  Her story is one that I think most women will be able to relate to as it’s about overcoming obstacles, finding the inner strength that we all have deep down, and believing in yourself despite the odds.  Show business is tough for aging actresses; they wonder if they’re still relevant and if they can compete with others who might be younger, prettier, more talented, etc.  Laurel doesn’t know if there’s a place for her in Hollywood anymore, she’s not even sure if she wants to be a part of the crazy world she left behind so many years ago. 

Laurel Quotes (non-spoilery):  “Great.  I’ve been given the grand old dame/Helen Mirren/Meryl Streep slot.  I hope I have something appropriately matronly to wear.”

“There were at least a dozen reporters waiting for me at La Guardia last night.  They were circling the baggage carousel like a pack of jackals.  I gave them a statement and posed for a few pictures, but it wasn’t enough.  It’s never enough for those people!”

“My stomach says, ‘yes,’ but my thighs say, ‘You’ll be sorry when you have to do that photo shoot with all those swizzle stick-thin starlets tomorrow.’”
Casting:  No one else could be Laurel for me but Laura Linney.  She’s the right age and she has the right look - mature, but still very attractive, blonde, classy, and a kind face.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


All sweetness and light when dealing with the press and her fans, Danielle Jamison is a different creature behind closed doors.  Cold, cunning, and career-obsessed, she’s managed to parlay her role on a teen soap into movie stardom, but she won’t be satisfied until she has the Oscar, an award that’s already eluded her once.

Author’s Notes:  Every story needs a villain right?  The one in BLAME IT ON THE FAME just happens to come in a petite, sweet-voiced package.  Not that Danielle considers herself a villain; she’s just ambitious and goal-oriented and woe betide the person who gets in her way (that includes her husband and two small children.)

I love Danielle and make no excuses for it.  I’d totally want to hang out with her and listen to her talk smack about all of the other nominees in her category.  I’d just have to be careful never to turn my back on her; otherwise, I might end up with a knife stuck in it.

Danielle Quotes (non-spoilery):  “Are you insane?  How many kids with leukemia are members of the Academy?  If I want to win this thing, and you know I do, then I need to be courting the gay vote, not wasting my time on sick rugrats.  Tell GLADD I’ll be there.”

“I’ll look like frickin’ June Cleaver.  Minus the pearls, of course.  I’ll leave those to Reese, whose kids aren’t nearly as cute as mine.  I think she bleaches their hair.  It looks just a little too blonde to be natural if you know what I mean.”

“I’ve heard that drugs make you paranoid.  I guess you’re living proof.”  

Casting:  In my mind’s eye, Danielle looks like a young Amy Adams with the natural beauty (strawberry blonde hair, perfect skin, lovely smile) and aura of wholesomeness.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


A power-trippin’ bitch, a has-been, a skanky ex-model, a press-shy indie queen, and a British stage actress no one knows that’s 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.

BLAME IT ON THE FAME is the debut novel of author Tracie Banister whose writing is similar in tone to the works of Lauren Weisberger and Candace Bushnell.  This is a full-length novel that runs approximately 136,000 words.

***AUTHOR’S NOTE***  The characters in BLAME IT ON THE FAME are a naughty bunch who live and work in the notoriously debaucherous film world, so you will find some colorful language and a few spicy love scenes in this book.  

Monday, January 9, 2012


Welcome to my blog!  It’s a new year, and January is going to be an exciting month for me because my debut Chick Lit novel, BLAME IT ON THE FAME, will be released in just a few short weeks.  This book has been a labor of love, and I am really looking forward to sharing it with all of you.  If you are fascinated by celebrities, enjoy a good, steamy read with lots of humor, and want to spend time with five fictional women who are by turns endearing and exasperating, then BLAME IT ON THE FAME is the book for you.  Please check back here often as I plan to dole out several juicy tidbits about the book leading up to its release.

Today’s big reveal is the cover art for BLAME IT ON THE FAME.  I wanted something bold, colorful, and glamorous for this cover and I am absolutely delighted with how it turned out.  I hope you like it, too.