Thursday, November 29, 2012


In the spirit of coming together for the holidays, eight popular Chick Lit authors are "partying it up" with a shared promotion for book lovers! That means eight fun and fizzy e-books, each priced at $3.99 or less, that are packed with plenty of laughs and romance to keep you entertained on those long winter nights! And if you'd like to gift one of these books to a Chick Lit fan, we've got you covered with your choice of paperbacks!

Which books are featured in this festive promo?

Finding Lucas by Samantha Stroh Bailey - Daytime talk show producer Jamie Ross is beyond fed up with her toxic bad boy turned metrosexual boyfriend. Spurred on by her gang of quirky friends, she goes on a hilarious, at-times disastrous, and totally life-changing hunt to track down the "one who got away." But are some loves best left behind? E-book and paperback available on Amazon.

In Need of Therapy by Tracie Banister - Handling the problems of hysterical hypochondriacs, lovelorn neurotics, and compulsive man whores is all in a day's work for super-shrink Pilar Alvarez. But can she deal with her crazy Cuban family, a trio of unsuitable suitors, and a threat to her practice without ending up on the couch herself? E-book available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble; paperback available on Amazon. 

What the Dog Ate by Jackie Bouchard - Discovering what her dog ate turns Maggie Baxter’s world upside down. With her chocolate Lab, Kona, as her guide, can Maggie forego her overly analytical ways to find a new life filled with tail-wagging joy? E-book available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes; paperback available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. 

The Girl, the Gold Tooth, & Everything by Francine LaSala - Suburban housewife Mina, beaten-down and struggling with amnesia, starts getting her memory and her mojo back. But she soon learns everything has a price in this fast-paced, richly layered, and darkly humorous satire! E-book and paperback available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. 

Breaking the Rules by Cat Lavoie - When Roxy Rule shares a passionate kiss with her lifelong best friend, she must come to terms with her feelings for him while dealing with two sisters in full crisis mode, a boss who makes her want to stab herself with a letter opener and a fiancé who can't wait to walk down the aisle. Can she keep it together--or will she break under the pressure? E-book available on Amazon, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble; paperback available on Amazon. 

Fashioning a Romance by Libby MercerDevastatingly handsome and deliciously weird, John Harrington is the man of Caitlyn Taylor's dreams… and her nightmares. She has no use for a womanizer like him, and dodges his advances like a pro. But when they end up in Paris together, Caitlyn feels her resolve begin to slip. How will she ever be able to resist the irresistible in the most romantic city in the world? E-book available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo. 

A State of Jane by Meredith Schorr - Jane Frank is newly single after nine years and looking for a second chance at love. But when she dives head first into the NYC dating scene and finds it infested with flakes who are interested today and gone tomorrow, it may be time for Jane to turn the tables! E-book available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes; paperback available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. 

Picture Perfect by Lucie Simone - Lauren Tate's perfectly planned life quickly unravels at the seams when a smear campaign threatens her career as a top TV executive, but she learns just how cutthroat showbiz can truly be when the hottest scandal in Tinsel Town turns deadly and the Hollywood hunk who's stolen her heart goes missing. E-book available on Amazon; paperback available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

I'd like to give a shout-out to all of the wonderful bloggers who have graciously agreed to host our Chick Lit Holiday Promo during December. Be sure to check them out!

December 3

December 4

December 5

December 6

December 7

December 8

December 10

December 11

December 12

December 13

December 14

December 17

December 18

December 20

December 27

Chick Lit Bee

In conjunction with our Chick Lit Holiday Promo, all of the authors involved will be posting their answers to a series of fun (and hopefully entertaining!) holiday-related questions from Dec. 3rd-12th. Please drop by our blogs every day so that we can share some holiday memories (the good, the bad, and the ugly!), tell you how we really feel about Santa, and fantasize about who we'd like to share a New Year's kiss with!

Samantha Stroh Bailey  Mon., Dec 3rd 
Francine LaSala – Tues., Dec 4th  
Libby Mercer – Wed., Dec 5th
Jackie Bouchard – Thurs., Dec 6th  
Tracie Banister – Fri., Dec 7th
Cat Lavoie – Mon., Dec 10th  
Lucie Simone – Tues., Dec 11th
Meredith Schorr – Wed., Dec 12th

Monday, November 26, 2012


I’d like to thank Isabella Anderson at Chick Lit Goddess for nominating me for The Liebster Award! I had fun answering all of your questions!

Here are the rules:

- When one receives the award, one posts 11 random facts about oneself and answers the 11 questions asked by the person who nominated you.

- Pass the award onto 11 other blogs (while making sure one notifies the blogger that one nominated them!)

- One writes up 11 NEW questions directed towards YOUR nominees.

- One is not allowed to nominate the blog who nominated one’s own blog!

- One pastes the award picture into one’s blog. (You can Google the image, there are plenty of them!)

11 Random Facts About Tracie Banister:

1) My favorite meal as a child was fried chicken, mashed potatoes with gravy, and buttermilk biscuits (Yes, I’m a Southerner!)

2) I have a fuzzy slippers addiction. I own five pairs in different colors and wear them whenever I’m in the house because being barefooted gives me the creeps!
3) My mother's first pet was a Cocker Spaniel named Dilly. My first pet was a Cocker Spaniel named Brandy. Decades later, I have 3 dogs who are guess what? Cocker Spaniels! My family is stuck on that breed!
4) I have a thing for left-handed men. Maybe because they tend to be creative types?
5) If I had been born a boy, my name would have been Todd Owen Banister. 
6) My office always smells like eucalyptus oil.
7) I worked as a caterer's assistant, a waitress in a seafood restaurant, and a salesperson in an outlet store by the beach when I was a teenager.
8) The first concert I went to was Hall & Oates.
9) My father was adopted, so 50% of my DNA is a complete mystery!

10) My favorite color is red; I love anything and everything in that color.

11) I have never sent a text in my life (and I'm proud of it!) 

Questions From Isabella Anderson:
1) If you could stay at the same age for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Oh, gosh, I'd say 30 as you still have your looks and energy then, but you've had enough life experience to know how to make smart decisions.

2) Did you have a high school sweetheart?

A few, actually, but I refuse to name any names! ;)

3) What’s your favorite smell?

Cinnamon. Makes me think of my childhood as my mother used to make my brother and I cinnamon toast as a special treat. 

4) What is your favorite drink?
I really look forward to those two Diet Caffeine-Free Cokes I allow myself to drink every day. I drink so much water the rest of the time that I feel like I earn those sodas! 

5) Which would you rather be, the First Lady or the Queen of England?
Definitely Queen of England as I've had a lifelong fascination with the Brits and the royal family in particular (I have a huge collection of Princess Di memorabilia that I amassed as a young girl.) The best thing about being queen would be getting to wear designer hats all the time. I look great in hats!

6) What are your favorite pizza toppings?

I like to kick it old-school with my pizza - extra pepperoni is the only topping I need.

7) How old were you when you you knew what you wanted to be?

I've wanted to be a writer since I was really young, like 8 or 9. I was writing plays in the 4th grade.

8) Coffee or tea?

Tea - it's the English thing again (my maternal grandmother was born in the UK.) I love a cup of Earl Grey with a dollop of skim milk.

9) Date night in, or date night out?

In, because my idea of the perfect date is being cuddled up on the couch with my honey, eating popcorn and watching a good movie.

10) If you could be any actress, who would it be?

Amy Adams. She's so talented! She can sing, as well as act, and is equally good in dramas and comedies. Plus, she's so sweet and pretty! I have a total girl crush on her.

11) What movie can you watch over and over?

Pride and Prejudice, the Keira Knightley/Matthew Macfadyen version. If I see that movie while channel-surfing, I have to stop and watch it. That film never gets old, and I always cry at the same parts!

My nominees for The Liebster Award are:

Questions for my nominees (I look forward to reading your answers!):

What's a talent you don't have, but wish you possessed?
Name one item on your bucket list?
Willy Wonka - Delightfully quirky or paranoid, Oompa Loompa-loving freak?
What's a girl's best friend besides diamonds?
Musician you'd like to be back-up singer for?
How many of the seven continents have you set foot on?
Who's your favorite Bond?
What's the most disgusting food you ever ate?
Reality show you can't live without?
How many times have you been a bridesmaid?
Pick your poison - If forced to spend a day with one of the following celebrities, which would be the most painful for you: Taylor Swift, Lindsay Lohan, Kim Kardashian, or Kristen Stewart?

Thursday, November 22, 2012


It's great to be part of the Black Friday Blog Hop! Thanks so much to Carrie Ann Ryan for organizing this wonderful event! I hope that all of your shopping ventures were successful today. Be sure to enter my Rafflecopter giveaway for an Avon Foot Works Pomegranate Chocolate Collection Gift Set so that you can pamper your tired tootsies this holiday season and leave a comment below so that you'll have a chance to win one of the three Black Friday Blog Hop Grand Prizes!

I've been thinking about Pilar Alvarez, the heroine of my Chick Lit novel In Need of Therapy, and wondering how she'd handle the craziest shopping day of the year. Pilar's a psychologist, so she's got a lot of patience and is used to dealing with people in a heightened state of emotion, so I don't think she'd be daunted by the Black Friday crowds at Dolphin Mall, the largest shopping mecca in Miami. In fact, she'd probably end up mediating fights between overzealous bargain hunters at the sales display tables in Bloomie's! Pilar's the type of person who'd put a lot of thought into getting the perfect gift for everyone on her list, but what would her nearest and dearest buy her for Christmas?

Ana Alvarez Castaneira - Ana is Pilar's older sister. She's a frazzled mom of three who's married to a lawyer, so she's a bit conservative and will only buy the priciest name-brand items as befits a woman of her status. She'd purchase a chic, yet practical, gift for Pilar, something her sister could use every day, like the Embossed Croc Skinny Wallet by Coach (in a sensible, neutral color, of course.)

Luisa Alvarez aka Mamá - Like all good Cuban mothers, Luisa's one goal in life is to see her daughters married off to attractive, prosperous men. Ana's already taken care of, so now Luisa is focused on getting her middle child down the aisle. To that end, she would call her travel agent and have him book Pilar a ticket on the Carnival New Year's Bash Singles Cruise. If Pilar was trapped on a boat with hundreds of eligible men for a week, surely she could find one who'd be willing to marry her, right?

Sara Reade - Sara has been Pilar's BFF since college, and no one knows her better. A bathing suit designer by trade, Ms. Reade likes to get creative with her gifts, plus use all of her contacts in the fashion world to snag designer goodies at cost. Since Sara is always encouraging Pilar to have some fun, she'd put together a Girls' Night Out gift basket for her bestie, which would include a sexy pair of shoes for dancing at the clubs (Louboutin's No Privé 120 slingback pumps in playful pink), a bottle of Oh, Lola - the flirty fragrance by Marc Jacobs, a limo service voucher (No drinking and driving!), a bottle of good red wine, some wine goblets that have "Sexy and Single" emblazoned on them, lipsticks by MAC in sassy shades like Lady Danger and Love Goddess, and last but most certainly not least, a hottie alert whistle (Every girl should have one!)



Jonathan Fordham aka Ford - Pilar's colleague, sounding board, and sometime lunch sharer. It wouldn't be appropriate for him to give her anything too personal as they haven't known each other that long, but he'd want to acknowledge their friendship. So, he'd give Pilar something humorous and work-related, like a Tickle Me Freud that she could sit on her desk and squeeze whenever she needed a laugh (Shrinks get stressed out, too!)

Victor Liscano - Pilar's obnoxiously persistent ex-boyfriend, who keeps trying to win her back with over-the-top displays of his affection, would consider the holidays to be the perfect opportunity to impress Pilar with his generosity and thoughtfulness. She'd wake on Christmas morning to find a brand new convertible BMW in her driveway (in red, of course, the color of passion.) Just for kicks, she might take it for a joy ride around the block, but then she'd return it to Victor and tell him that she can't be bought. A sentiment that Pilar's freeloading younger sister, Izzy, would not agree with. Finders, keepers, right?

If you're looking for a fun, romantic read this holiday season or a gift for someone who enjoys Chick Lit, I invite you to pick up a copy of In Need of Therapy. It's now available in e-book and paperback.

Thanks so much for stopping by Books by Banister for the Black Friday Blog Hop! Don't forget to visit all of the other wonderful sites participating in the hop. There are over 200, and you can enter to win prizes at each stop on the hop! Go here for the full list of participating blogs.

To celebrate the Black Friday Blog Hop, I'm giving away an Avon Foot Works Pomegranate Chocolate Collection Gift Set in holiday packaging, which includes:  Soothing Foot Soak, Smoothing Foot Scrub, Moisturizing Foot Cream, and Candy-Striped Slipper Socks. Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.

·  Giveaway will run one day only - until 11:59PM on Friday, November 23rd.
·  Must be at least 18 years of age to enter.      
·  Contest is open to residents of the U.S. only. Winner must have shipping address in the U.S.
·  The winner will be announced here and notified by e-mail. 
·  Winner has 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen.

Everyone who leaves a comment on this blog hop post, answering the question "What's Your Favorite Thing About the Holidays?" will be automatically entered in the Black Friday Grand Prize giveaway (Leaving a comment is one of the ways you can enter to win my Footworks Collection giveaway, as well. So, you might win TWO prizes, just for leaving one comment!) Please do NOT forget to leave your e-mail address along with your comment so that Carrie Ann can contact you if you win.  Here are the three Grand Prizes:

1st Grand Prize: A Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet
2nd Grand Prize: A $75 Amazon or B&N Gift Card
3rd Grand Prize: A Swag Pack that contains paperbacks, ebooks, 50+ bookmarks, cover flats, magnets, pens, coffee cozies, and more!

Book blurb (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. 

Purchase In Need of Therapy:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, November 5, 2012


How Much of You is in Your Book?
by Monique McDonell

When you write a novel, people often ask how much of the character is you and writers usually say, “It’s creative writing, it’s not about me.”
That’s true but I can’t help but think that elements of ourselves do end up in our characters. I know for me anyway, that’s certainly true. When you start writing you’re advised to write what you know – what can you know more about than your own hopes, dreams and aspirations? You know what makes you laugh, what holds your interest and what you like to read. Those things must surely come through in your writing.
My second novel, Hearts Afire, has just been released. I think there is less of ‘me’ in this book than my first. The main characters do find themselves on a tropical island and I did meet my own husband on a tropical island. The circumstances were entirely different but the setting is very familiar.
Still the rest of the book is pure imagination – I’ve never dated a fireman, I’m not a caterer and I’m happy to report no one ever stood me up on my wedding day (Sure I was stood up on a date but that’s hardly the same thing.) Jack and Cassie’s world is their world, just their world seen through my eyes.
Mr Right and Other Mongrels definitely has a bit more of ‘me’ in it. Allegra, the lovely main character, does talk a little bit like me and unluckily for her she does also have a rampant dog phobia, just like me. (For the record we don’t dislike dogs, we’re just very, very scared of them and we do work very hard to overcome that.) Again there are so many things different about us it’s crazy – my folks were never hippies, I don’t run a second-hand bookshop (sadly), I never lived with my grandmother, and I’m fifteen years older than Allegra (sadly again.)
I think authors draw on their own experience because it gives their writing a layer of authenticity. Writing about places you don’t know and people who you have nothing in common with removes you from the story whereas writing about places you know well allows you to use the details in your characters' descriptions and day to day life which draws readers into your story. That’s the writer’s hope, anyway.

Many thanks to Aussie author, Monique McDonell, for stopping by Books by Banister and sharing this post with us. Be sure to check out her fun, romantic Chick Lit novels, Hearts Afire and Mr Right and Other Mongrels - they're a steal on Amazon at $2.99 each!

Book blurb:  A jilted bride, a sexy fireman, a tropical island, a fear of the ocean, a fear of commitment, a new neighbour, an old flame, a secret identity – this is the story of Hearts Afire.

Cassie Callahan is not having a great day. First her fiancé jilts her hours before the wedding and then her sister sets off the alarm and sprinklers at her catering business, flooding the premises, soaking the wedding banquet and bringing the fire department.

When Jack Urquhart the cute fireman offers her a shoulder to cry on they both feel an instant attraction but they each know the other is not what they are looking for. She isn’t looking for a player and he is definitely not looking for the marrying kind.

Hearts Afire takes them on a journey from Sydney’s inner-west to Tropical North Queensland, and back, in search of and avoidance of love.

Will either of them realise that there is no risk at all in trusting your heart to the right person?

Buy Hearts Afire:  Amazon

Book blurb:  Blissfully happy in her own universe Allegra (Ally) Johnson is the sweet best friend everyone wants to have. Quietly and independently wealthy she runs a charming second-hand bookshop in beachside Manly. Heck, sometimes she even goes downstairs from her flat to run the shop in her Chinese silk pyjamas. It sounds like bliss. But is it enough? 
When dog-phobic Allegra is rescued from an exuberant canine by the chivalrous Teddy Green, Australia’s hottest TV celebrity and garden make-over guru, her life begins to change. Dramatically! 

Unaware of Teddy’s fame Allegra finds herself falling for him, despite her best attempts to resist his charm. Supported by her eccentric family and her fabulous gay friend Justin, Allegra embarks on an on-again off-again romance with Teddy, complicated by his jealous ex-girlfriend, fashionista Louisa and her own narcissistic hippy mother Moonbeam.

Will Ally be able to overcome her insecurities and find happiness with this possible Mr Right or will Teddy’s celebrity lifestyle prove to be too much? Mr Right and Other Mongrels is a light-hearted story about how one chance encounter can change your life.

Buy Mr Right and Other Mongrels:  Amazon

Where you can find Monique McDonell: