Wednesday, May 29, 2013


Today's featured author on Books by Banister is the lovely and talented Martha Reynolds. She and I connected on Twitter and Facebook, and we share a love of great books and cute dogs! When she told me that she wanted to write a guest post involving her adorable Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Bonnie, I, and my trio of Cocker Spaniels, thought that it was a fantastic idea! Read on to learn how Bonnie has helped Martha with her work.

What My Dog Has Taught Me About Writing
by Martha Reynolds

1) Be Curious - Bonnie never lets an opportunity pass if she has a chance to sniff. There might be something good there! Similarly, I am learning to explore new possibilities in reading. Although I write what is considered contemporary women’s fiction (romance, mystery, chick lit, it’s all there sometimes), I’m trying paranormal, young adult, adventure. A well-written story will grab me, no matter what genre it’s called.
2) Nap- Unlike me, Bonnie knows when to shut down. Sleep is vital to our well-being, and although not everyone needs eight hours, we need enough. Skimping on sleep will never be good for productivity. 

3) Get Outside and Play - When Bonnie hears the words “ride” and “park” in the same sentence, she races to the door, her tail wagging furiously. She knows how wonderful it is to be outside, off-leash, running through grass. For those of us who sit for hours in front of a computer, taking a break by going outside is important. Fresh air, sunshine, even a walk in the drizzle can clear away some of the junk that builds up in our heads. I always have a little notebook and pen in my pocket, just in case an idea forms while I’m outside walking.

4) Learn New Words - No, it’s never too late to teach a dog new words. Bonnie is almost four, but she can still learn something new. And so can I. One of the best ways? Read, read, read. I read both print books and digital versions, and if I come across a word I don’t know, I look it up!

5) More Wag, Less Bark - Yes, the barking is annoying. She wants more food, or she sees a squirrel out the window, or the blasted doorbell rings. Or I’m on the phone. No one wants to hear it. And no one wants to hear me whine, either. Instead of griping about the work involved in self-publishing, or the slower-than-I’d-like book sales, how about I make happy noises about all the blessings in my life?

6) Stick to a schedule - Bonnie gets up, she goes outside, she tinkles and poops. Every morning. Every afternoon. And another tinkle at night. She likes her routine. And so do I. Two cups of coffee and a light breakfast in the morning, then write for two to three hours. That’s my routine, my schedule. And when something throws that schedule off (and something always will), I’m out of sorts. It’s okay, life happens. I just get back on track as soon as it’s feasible.

7) Never give up - Bonnie has one of those toys with a hole in it for hiding a small treat. It’s her job to figure out how to get it. And she gets it every time! Sometimes it takes a long time, but she is persistent. Because she knows, she understands that there is a reward. Same with writing. Feel like you want to give up sometimes? Of course you do. But there is a reward to writing. You finish your manuscript and all its revisions, you publish, or you find an agent and get a publishing deal, but none of this happens overnight. We all know that some of the world’s best and most prolific writers went years before they found success. Some had to die first. Hopefully, that won’t be us! Never give up on your dream.

Thanks to Martha and Bonnie for dropping by Books by Banister and sharing their wisdom with us. Be sure to check out Martha's very popular and well-reviewed CHOCOLATE series. Details below!

Author Bio:
Martha Reynolds published her debut novel, CHOCOLATE FOR BREAKFAST, in 2012. It follows a young woman into adulthood during a year abroad in Switzerland. CHOCOLATE FOR BREAKFAST was voted the 2012 Book of the Year in the category of Women's Fiction by Turning the Pages Books.

Her second novel, CHOCOLATE FONDUE, is the sequel to CHOCOLATE FOR BREAKFAST. Both books are available in digital and print versions. If you haven't read the first book, you can still enjoy the second, but it's better to start with Breakfast!

She and her husband live in New England, never far from the ocean.

Book Blurb:

Young Bernie (Bernadette) Maguire is in for the journey of a lifetime when her junior year abroad takes her to Fribourg, Switzerland. Ripe for love and adventure, she is seduced by a handsome Swiss banker, but is horrified when she discovers she's pregnant. Protected and befriended by those who help to keep her secret for as long as possible, this moving rite-of-passage tale will warm the heart as a young woman struggles with an all-too-familiar dilemma. Yet after an unexpected death and the discovery of her pregnancy by a classmate, Bernie’s life takes some unexpected turns that will take decades to resolve.

Buy Chocolate for Breakfast:


Since CHOCOLATE FONDUE is a sequel, I'm not going to post a blurb because it would be spoilery!

Buy Chocolate Fondue:

Connect with Martha Reynolds:

Friday, May 24, 2013


Click on the book titles below to download from Amazon!

Alphabet Dating by Monique McDonnell

Serena’s friends have a plan to get her dating again – 26 dates in a month – one for every letter in the alphabet. What could possibly go wrong? When Serena Sanders reluctantly agrees to participate in the Alphabet Dating Plan she knows it will be tough but there’s so much she hadn’t factored in. Who knew men were so complicated? Not Serena.  As she begins dating her way through the alphabet she starts to learn more about herself and her friends than she ever expected as secrets and hidden agendas are revealed. Alphabet Dating is a love story – a tale of lost love, unrequited love, platonic love and ultimately it’s about learning to love again.

Believe in Me by Mishael Witty

Reconciliations can occur. Broken hearts can be mended. If you believe…

Trina Gray leaves a stack of paperwork on her desk and heads home for the holidays. There’s just one slight problem. Her mother has invited her soon-to-be ex-husband, Walt, to spend Christmas with them. Walt’s presence sends Trina running to a friend’s house, where she runs into another ex—her old high school boyfriend, Kurt.
Trina and Kurt almost immediately pick up where they left off, and this is where the fun (and the questions) start. Will Trina and Kurt rekindle their young romance? Or will she repair her relationship with Walt, who keeps showing up at the most unusual times? Read BELIEVE IN ME to find out.

This is a “heartwarming tale” that has “tension, romance, and characters that are warm and believable.”

Blame It on the Fame by Tracie Banister
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 was a 2013 Next Generation Indie Book Award Finalist in the Chick Lit category. 

Finding Out by Sheryn MacMunn

Finding Out is an engaging story of friendship, the challenges we face and the importance of learning from the past. Getting dumped on the sidewalk by her live-in boyfriend of seven years and realizing that he nearly emptied their savings account is the first of Sheila Davenport’s problems. At thirty-six, Sheila had thought her life was on track.

Help comes unexpectedly from her elderly neighbor, Ruth Grey, who has had her own share of ups and downs. As their friendship grows, Ruth reveals her deeply moving story  of survival in WWII Germany. Ruth’s mesmerizing past is a powerful tale of love and revenge that provides the perspective Sheila desperately needs to put the pieces of her own life back together.  A story of love found and lost, true friendship, and how the human spirit endures.

Flirting with Magick by Leigh Bennett

When a new-age remedy fixes Abby Williams’ career rut, the twenty-five year old figures a spell could heal her broken heart too…  Suddenly, she’s having hot sex with an even hotter musician, which might work as long as she doesn’t get in the way of his rock stardom. Her work colleague is flirty and fun, but could he be keeping something from her? And now, the guy who broke her heart wants to rekindle their relationship. Can she trust him enough to give it another shot? So far, it seems Abby’s spell hasn’t worked. Or then again, perhaps it has?

The Forgotten Ones (New Adult Paranormal Romance) by Laura Howard

Allison O’Malley’s plan is to go to grad school so she can get a good job and take care of her schizophrenic mother. She has carefully closed herself off from everything else, including a relationship with Ethan, who she’s been in love with for as long as she can remember.
What is definitely not part of the plan is the return of her long-lost father, who claims he can bring Allison’s mother back from the dark place her mind has gone. Allison doesn’t trust her father, so why would she believe his stories about a long forgotten Irish people, the Tuatha de Danaan? But truths have a way of revealing themselves. Secrets will eventually surface. And Allison must learn to set aside her plan and work with her father if there is even a small chance it could restore her mother’s sanity.

The Gatsby Game by Anne R. Allen 

THE GATSBY GAME is a rom-com mystery inspired by a real unsolved Hollywood mystery. When David Whiting was found dead during the filming of a Burt Reynolds movie in 1973, it set off what’s been called one of “Hollywood’s 10 most notorious scandals”. Author Anne R. Allen knew Mr. Whiting and this is a fictional speculation of what might have happened to the man who thought of himself as “the ghost of Jay Gatsby” on that fateful night. 

NYT Bestseller Ruth Harris said it’s “Dark, twisted chick lit with a side of laughter. Plus celebrities, murder and and a smart-mouth nanny.” And Pay it Forward author Catherine Ryan Hyde said, “In The Gatsby Game, Anne R. Allen blends a perfect combination of witty, sharp narration, a plot that won’t let the reader go, and nuanced characters that evoke our caring. A genre novel that artfully transcends its genre.”

The Island of Secrets by Tammie Lynn Gibbs

What if you received a note of warning dated hundreds of years before you were  born? What if it was addressed to you?

A Time Travel- A Love Story  filled with Suspense-

A Mystery that will keep you guessing til the end…

On an Island of Secrets one woman, two men and a love that transcends time get a second chance to prevent history from  repeating itself.  But will love be enough to win the battle against time and  stop the force that’s kept them apart for centuries?

Mr. Right and Other Mongrels by Monique McDonnell

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!

The Perpetual Quest by Michelle Pace

Tourists flock to Jefferson Point for the antique shops and riverboat tours.  Everyone knows everyone and secrets are impossible to keep. Or so it  seems… Dr. Ryan Harper’s brutal slaying stuns the picturesque river  town. High school football star, Prom King, and on his way to finishing his  residency, Ryan was their golden child. After a two-year struggle to  care for their young son alone, his widow, Nicole, reluctantly returns to  Jefferson Point. Her homecoming reopens old wounds, as Ryan’s family and friends  struggle to adapt to life without his dynamic presence. The last person Nicole expects to reconnect with is Aaron Foster, Ryan’s best man and reluctant  keeper of his secrets. With opinions circulating on Nicole’s post-Ryan existence, she must maneuver the rapids of past loves, new expectations, and  haunting dreams of her fallen husband. The Perpetual Quest for the Perfect Life is a frank story of questionable decisions, small town politics,  and love after loss.

The Secret Keeper by Brea Brown

Peyton Stratford is her family’s unofficial keeper of all  things secret, from the petty and mundane to the potentially life-changing. Only  when she starts to keep a few secrets of her own does her family begin to  realize there’s more to her than a sympathetic set of ears and a tightly-closed  mouth. And it’s not until she relinquishes the title of Stratford Family Secret Keeper and assumes a more positive role in her own life that she can become the  person that someone’s been telling her she has the potential to be.  Newly formatted and includes a sneak peek to “The Secret Keeper Confined,” Book 2 in the series!!

The Smartest Girl In The Room by Deborah Nam-Krane

Nineteen year old Emily wants her college diploma fast, and she’s going to get it. But when the perfect night with perfect Mitch leads her to a broken heart, Emily is blind to her vulnerability. When the person she cares about the most is hurt as a result, Emily’s ambition gives way to more than a little ruthlessness. She’s going to use her smarts to take care of herself and protect the people she loves, and everyone else had better stay out of her way. But shouldn’t the smartest girl everyone knows realize that the ones she’d cross the line for would do the same for her?

Tainted Love by Erin Cawood

For anyone in a relationship, the words ‘we need to talk’ can only mean one thing. In the last twenty-two years, the McKenzies have been through it, survived it, learned by it, and grown stronger from it, because life didn’t stop for breath when they needed it. Amongst the tears and the tragedies, the hopes and happiness, they’ve built something amazing: a happy family, a luxury lifestyle and a booming empire. Don’t they deserve to have it all?

But for the perfect wife, those four sinister words mean something entirely different. They’re a summons into a private world where what happens behind closed doors stays behind closed doors.  Faith has no doubt in Calvin’s undying love for her. It’s what kept her sane in the darkest hours. If only she could figure out what it is she does wrong… because it’s rapidly becoming apparent their tainted love is running out of time.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


Learn "How to Hop & Win!" New to blog hops? Want to learn how to win this hop’s fabulous grand prize (a Kindle Keyboard 3G, with Free #G + WiFi, and a 6" E Ink Display + a Chick Lit starter e-book library)? Find complete information by clicking HERE and be sure to make note of the secret word that you will find in this post.

Pilar Alvarez, the beleaguered heroine of my novel, In Need of Therapy, just can’t catch a break. Having recently called it quits with her boyfriend, handsome restaurateur Victor Liscano, she’s ready to dive back into the dating pool, so she agrees to have dinner with a guy her bestie Sarah fixes her up with. To say that this blind/double date starts off badly would be an understatement of epic proportions. You’ll have to read the book to find out exactly what goes wrong, but I can reveal (since it happens on Page 25!) that in the middle of this debacle, Pilar spots her ex, Victor, at the bar.  

Now up to this point in the book, the reader hasn’t actually met Victor, just heard about him from other characters. Pilar’s sister, Izzy, thinks he’s loco and will probably come to their house in the middle of the night and murder them in their sleep (She watches too many movies about serial killers.) Meanwhile, Pilar’s mamá has practically canonized Victor because he’s rich, charming, and most importantly, Cuban-American, and she’s very miffed that her daughter let such a big fish off the hook!

As for the perpetually unfaithful Victor, he can’t quite grasp the concept of a “break-up” and he’s been exhibiting some stalker-ish behavior (calling, sending gifts) that has now culminated in him spying on Pilar. Although Pilar, who’s a psychologist, has deemed her ex “harmless,” she’s getting frustrated with his inability to take We’re through, Rico Suave. Stop harassing me! to heart. Their confrontation in this scene is one of the comical highlights in In Need of Therapy. Here’s an excerpt for your reading amusement:

"You are developing an unhealthy fixation on me, Victor. Please, get up." I tugged on his arm, and with a plaintive sigh, he stood up.
"You have no romance in your soul, mi querida," he chastised. "Most women would be thrilled to have a man fall at her feet and pledge his eternal devotion."
"So, why don't you go find one of them and leave me in peace?" I suggested.

Does Pilar finally get rid of Victor? Is her blind date a bust, or does she somehow manage to salvage it? Will watermelon mojitos be involved? You’ll have to read beyond Page 25 to find out!

Win the grand prize! The 1st secret word in the 25-word sentence is: Welcome.
Thanks so much for stopping by Books by Banister for The Chick Lit Author Blog Hop! Don't forget to visit all of the wonderful sites participating in the blog hop, which are listed at the bottom of this post. Enter to win the grand prize using Rafflecopter below. Contest is open to residents of US and Canada.

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: 


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