October 25, 2016

the dude behind the series

A couple of weeks ago, I had the crazy (okay, not crazy--not even by my standards--but still kind of fun) idea to ask my fantasy football league commissioner if he'd be willing to do a brief interview with me to celebrate the release of Three & Out. Trevor and I met several years ago when we were both corporate journalists for a newsletter company (yeah, that's a real thing) and shortly before we both left for greener, or at least different, pastures, he started a workplace fantasy football team, and I joined up. That decision is ultimately responsible for the Queen of the League series. That means Harper Duquaine, Brook MacLaughlin, J.J. Sanchez, and the rest of the gang never would have existed if I hadn't met Trevor.

More than allowing me to crash the boys' club and join their fantasy football league (I'm pretty sure I was ready to whine and accuse them of sexism if they didn't kindly accept my first request, but they did, so I didn't have to be a brat), Trevor also served as my guide into the world of fantasy football. He coached me through my first mock draft, talked me through setting my first lineup, and stole Aaron Rodgers from me, even though he knew how badly I wanted him on my team. In short, Trevor was the Obi Wan Kenobi to my fantasy football Luke Skywalker. (It's also worth noting that his wife's team recently destroyed mine in fantasy football, proving that these two are a dynamic duo.)

Even though our OG league disbanded a few years ago, Trevor has continued to invite me to participate in one of his leagues (I say one, because he's in several), which means every fall I get a chance to fret and delight in the world of fantasy football. I hope you'll enjoy getting to know the guy who helped to inspire it all.

Trevor has been playing fantasy football for over a decade and has won several championships along the way, along with being a perennial playoff team. He has always been fascinated with the ratio of luck to skill that comes along with playing fantasy football. He even researched the topic and after acquiring a hefty file of articles and journal research, nearly wrote his Master's thesis on whether fantasy football was skill or luck and if daily fantasy sports should be labeled as gambling or sports betting. He is married with two kids and his family is the most important thing in the world to him . . . even during fantasy football season. 

Laura: What is your favorite part about playing fantasy football?

Trevor: My favorite part about playing fantasy football is the people. The people I have met in my life that I felt were worthy of being a part of my league I commission. I have played for over a decade now and I have lived everywhere from Washington State, where I am originally from, to California, Nebraska, and currently, Texas. The people that play in my league span every time zone, different friends I have made over the years, people who LOVE fantasy football. It is a great way to keep in touch, something hard to do these days, even though social media etc. exists it still is hard to find time to touch base with all the people you were friends with. But it’s fun to negotiate a trade over email or messenger and then side chat about the family or how the career path is going. My league consists of friends from my college, friends from one of my first jobs out of college, and a few friends I have known since elementary school. It is quite the motley crew. It is just a fun way to be connected, even if it is just through a game; it just keeps that person in your life and I think that is something really cool.

Another thing I love is that a random game could mean the world to you. Fantasy expands your knowledge of other teams besides your home team. There are times that certain games like the Browns vs. Titans you would never watch because they aren’t your home team and are not great teams to watch (Sorry Browns fans, I have family in Ohio so I have sympathy).

One more thing . . . I LOVE seeing everyone’s clever team names. Here are a few of my favorites: Stafford Infection, Dread Pirate Rodgers (Editor's Note: That's my team!!!), Corn on the Cobb, Pretty in Pigskin, It Ertz When I…, Zeke-A Virus, My Vick in a Box, Teenage Mutant Ninja Bortles, Do the Sankey Leg, Golden Tate Bridge, Blount Force Trauma, and finally, Red Hot Julius Peppers.

Laura: Who has been your all-time best player on one of your teams?

Trevor: Wow, that is a tough one . . . I have had so many teams over the past decade. I think for me that honor goes to Jamaal Charles back in 2013. I have won a title since then and won ones before that, but in that particular season, I was 7-6 and grabbed the last spot in the playoffs in a 10-team league where 6 made it in. Charles had a great stretch of games in the playoffs for me and brought me home the title in a year I believe I had started off 1-4, before storming back to claim the playoff spot and then eventually win the league. He outscored anyone else on my team, including my QB, which is saying a lot for how standard scoring is tallied.

Laura: What prompted you to take a chance on a fantasy football rookie like me back in 2012?

Trevor: I think it was because you were eager. I love people who are excited to try fantasy football and want to win. Playing is fun, but you wanted to jump in, learn, and win right away. I don’t have people in my league who aren’t actively making roster changes, adding waiver wire pickups and proposing trades (and actually negotiating and not just rejecting them with no explanation, that’s a pet peeve of mine). I think fantasy football is a great way to try something new and some people discover they absolutely love watching the games through a new lens of cheering not only for your home team, but for “your guys” on your fantasy team. Little did I know that inviting a new friend and co-worker would lead to you writing a book series about fantasy football! I feel like a Jedi Master who has a young Padawan with whom the force is growing. That was a nerdy thing to say, but hey, that’s how I feel.

Laura: This one is a two-parter: Why did you callously steal quarterback Aaron Rodgers from me during the draft that same year when you knew he was the linchpin for my team and did you regret crossing me in such a traumatic way?

Trevor: Wow, it just got real in here. First off, let me again express how proud I am of you, Laura, and how fond I am of you as a person. That being said, I feel zero remorse for my actions.  Rodgers fell to me and I took him. I thought you may be upset, but I have done that kind of thing to my own wife and I share a bed with her and she is the mother of my children. That matters not to me in fantasy football. She is just another team owner standing between me and the title. Sometimes you have to just break a few eggs to make an omelet you know? Let it be known, the fantasy football gods may not take kindly to it though; you actually finished 4th that year, one spot ahead of me and then finished fourth overall in the playoffs, while I finished 5th. However, I will say, if I know people in my league, and I know most of them very well for years, have a soft spot for their home team or certain players, I will try and make them overpay in a trade for them or hold them for ransom. I consider myself a good person, but in fantasy football, I am a ruthless negotiator and get a rush of finding a deep waiver wire pickup then flipping them for a premium to someone who overvalues them or is the replacement for their starter who got injured.

Laura: What is one piece of advice you'd offer to a first-time team owner?

Trevor: Hard to pick just one! Can I do a couple? I am going to be a rebel and do more than one. First off, don’t overvalue QB position. With the new league rules, guys throw for a bunch of yards and defenses find it hard to stop them. The ADP (Average Draft Position) of the top QBs like a Cam Newton or Drew Brees or in the past, Peyton Manning are tempting, but save for an outlier season where one of those is head and shoulders above the rest, go back and look at the point differential between the top-tier QBs and the middle of the pack ones. You may have a QB who scored 300 points for the season and another who scored 270, but WHAT round did you take them in? ADP matters. Everyone knows Cam Newton is a better fantasy player than Philip Rivers, but if you take Cam really high like 2nd or 3rd round and he scores only 25-30 more points over the season, which breaks down to about 3-4 points a week, is that too hefty of a price?

Albeit, there will be varying discrepancies certain weeks depending on the opposing team’s defense. But for me, this year for example, I grabbed Matt Stafford in the 10th round and at the time of this writing, ranks 3rd among all QBs in points. He is above Cam Newton, Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger, Andrew Luck, and Carson Palmer, who were all going no later than the 5th round in most drafts. Do you want to know who I took in the 5th round? Marvin Jones Jr., who at the time of this writing, is leading all WRs in points in a standard league. He is beating guys like Jody Nelson, A.J. Green, Mike Evans, and even Antonio Brown. The point differential between the WR and RB tiers drop off a lot quicker than that of the QB crowd, of whom there are plenty of good, if not at least viable, options. Between bye weeks and the inevitable injuries, you will need to have a solid starting WR and RB corps first before overspending on a QB.

My second thing is to scour the waiver wire. Your starting lineup may look great so you don’t think you need to go to the bargain bin on waivers or in free agency, but I routinely shop for my 4th and 5th WR on my team outside my 3 WR starters. Now every league is different but mine is QB, 3WR, 2RB, TE, D/ST and 6 bench spots. Use those bench spots to stash players who have potential. You never know when an injury will force that player either into a starting role, or even better, a featured role. Then you have a real asset on your hands. And really, think of your players as assets. Like the stock market, it can be volatile so your goal is to buy low and sell high in trades or acquisitions. If you see someone in the league got hurt who is a starter on a team, go see if the backup is a free agent or on the waiver wire. If the injury is serious they could become a late-season gem, or what I love to do, is grab backup RBs and then demand a king’s ransom to the owner of the person who had the starter who just got hurt and is left high and dry with no legitimate starting RB2. See I told you I am ruthless. In fantasy football, just like Gordon Gecko says, “Greed is good.” It doesn’t matter if you don’t NEED that player, you want to acquire the most talented players or most coveted asset. Then it’s your decision whether you believe the production or potential of that player is worth keeping him or if it behooves you more to flip him and upgrade somewhere else on your roster.

Thanks so much to Trevor for answering these questions for me, and bonus thanks for introducing me to fantasy football.

Find it on

After rushing to the altar and moving across the country, Harper Duquaine (or is it MacLaughlin, now?) is in uncharted territory. What once seemed like a promising opportunity to advance her husband’s career while giving her some much needed independence and adventure has proven to be a bust. By the time fall rolls around again, she’s back in a boring job by day and overstocking her inventory of crocheted scarves by night. Not even the prospect of a new football season holds much excitement.

 At least that’s what she thought. Harper suddenly finds herself the manager of not one but two fantasy football teams—each with its own set of drama. Between the added pressure of her new marriage, an unexpected career prospect, and the hiccups created by people from her past and present worlds, Harper quickly finds herself going from bored to overwhelmed.

Can she hold up under the pressure, or will Harper learn the hard way that the turf isn’t always greener on the other field?

Buy it on 

*** BARGAIN ALERT *** To celebrate the new release, for a limited time, you can pick up the first two stories in the series for only 99 cents each. EBooks First & Goal and Going for Two are available for only 99 cents each. ***

First & Goal 

Going for Two 

***Let's keep in touch. Connect with me on FacebookInstagramTwitter, and YouTube.***

now available: 'three & out'

New from Laura Chapman, the third installment of her fantasy football romantic comedy Queen of the League series . . .

Find it on 

After rushing to the altar and moving across the country, Harper Duquaine (or is it MacLaughlin, now?) is in uncharted territory. What once seemed like a promising opportunity to advance her husband’s career while giving her some much-needed independence and adventure has proven to be a bust. By the time fall rolls around again, she’s back in a boring job by day and overstocking her inventory of crocheted scarves by night. Not even the prospect of a new football season holds much excitement.

 At least that’s what she thought. Harper suddenly finds herself the manager of not one but two fantasy football teams—each with its own set of drama. Between the added pressure of her new marriage, an unexpected career prospect, and the hiccups created by people from her past and present worlds, Harper quickly finds herself going from bored to overwhelmed.

Can she hold up under the pressure, or will Harper learn the hard way that the turf isn’t always greener on the other field?

Buy it Now 

*** BARGAIN ALERT *** To celebrate the new release, for a limited time, you can pick up the first two stories in the series for only 99 cents each. EBooks First & Goal and Going for Two are available for only 99 cents each. ***

In Laura Chapman’s Queen of the League series, Harper Duquaine joins a 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). Her competitive streak soon emerges, and she catches the interest of her top two competitors. 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.

First & Goal 

Going for Two 

About the Author 

Laura Chapman is the author of First & Goal, Going for Two, Three & Out, and The Marrying Type.  Her holiday novellas Making Christmas and What Happens at Midnight will be released on November 8, and are now available for pre-order. A native Nebraskan, she loves football, Netflix marathons, and her cats, Jane and Bingley. Connect with her online on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube and on her website at www.laurachapmanbooks.com.
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October 6, 2016

miss independent

This post was hard to write. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Another author whining about how tough it is to do their thing. (But for serious, writing isn't for the faint-hearted.)

What wasn't hard to was making the decisions that led me to being in a position where I would be encouraged to write this post. On October 1, nearly three years after becoming a published author, I officially became an Indie author. And just in time for Indie Book Day this weekend.

This came about after my publisher contacted me in early September to say she'd made the tough decision to shut the business down. When I read the email, I was shocked. This news was totally unexpected and just the week before we'd talked about my new book, which was in editing and due for release this fall. It was stunning to switch from that mindset to something so different in an instant.

But after staring at the words for about two minutes, I went into action. First, I called my publisher to get more details. I'll keep The content of the conversation private, but by the time we ended our talk, I was already forming plans. That evening, even while I shared the news with my closest friends and talked things over with a couple of fellow officers, I began implementing each course.

Plan A: find a new publisher. I was actually in talks with a few agents about an unpublished work of mine, and I checked with a few of them to get their take on the situation. I also sent out a couple of queries to a few other smaller publishers. Just to see. Even though I did this, I already knew I'd probably go with...

Plan B: go indie. Even though I had a publisher, I always identified with these offers. I was part of a small house, which meant everyone was kind of all hands on deck. You had to work hard and play an active role in building your stories and your brand.

So already knowing I would probably go with Plan B, I started sketching out new covers and creating timelines and to-do lists for how I could make this happen. By the time I went to bed, I ad three logistical plans and a tentative budget in place.

I ultimately didn't wait to hear back from any of my new queries. I'm not opposed to working with other publishers in the future, but I was so excited by the prospect of moving forward, by the freedom of being my own boss, I decided I needed to take a chance on myself.

I have never felt more empowered or powerful in my writing career.

When I received my rights back at the end of September, I was ready to re-publish three of my books. The Marrying TypeFirst & Goal, and Going for Two are now available again. I decided to hold off on Hard Hats and Doormats because I have a few changes I'd like to make before unleashing it again. As the publisher, I get to decide that.

By October 1, I also had two freshly proofread and re-designed novellas ready to go. Making Christmas and What Happened at Midnight will be released on November 8.

And as the icing, my new book will be released October 25. Thanks to relationships and friendships I have formed during the past few years, my book will be released--with a lot of love and support.

There are no guarantees about what will happen with this new publishing venture, but that's life. No matter what, though, I took a chance, a risk, and bet on myself and my friends. When I look back years from now, I'm sure that will count for something.

Be sure to check out this Pinterest board for more on other Indie Book Authors.

You can also find my books online now:

The Marrying Type
Amazon | Audible | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks | Goodreads

First & Goal
Amazon | Audible | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks | Goodreads

Going for Two
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks | Goodreads

Making Christmas
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks | Goodreads

What Happens at Midnight

***Let's keep in touch. Connect with me on FacebookInstagramTwitter, and YouTube. Read The Marrying Type, First & Goal, and Going for Two.***

July 13, 2016

meet the voice of 'the marrying type' - emily lawrence

One of the coolest (and, I'll admit, strangest) moments as an author is having your book turned into an audiobook. While it's awesome to know your story, one you've labored over for months (or in the case of The Marrying Type, years) will be available in another format, it's also a little strange to hear that story read by someone else.

Fortunately, when the time came to produce the audio book for The Marrying Type, we met Emily Lawrence. While we had several talented voice artists submit audition reels to bring this story to audio life, there was something about Emily's voice that seemed to perfectly capture the story.

And as of last month, The Marrying Type is now available for your listening pleasure on Audible (big shout-out to Audible for their help in making this book available). And as of today, I'm featuring an interview I did with Emily so you can get to know a little bit more about the voice behind The Marrying Type audio book.

Be sure to check out the sample at the end of the post and the Rafflecopter for your chance to win a three audio books from Marching Ink, including Peri in Progress by Cat Lavoie, Up to I Do by Samantha March and, of course, The Marrying Type by yours truly.

Laura Chapman: Emily, thanks so much for doing this interview and giving us a chance to meet the voice behind Elliot Lynch and the rest of her friends. Let's start with the basics. How did you get into acting?
Emily Lawrence: When I was very young, I used to copy everything my sister did. After making her way through several typical little girl hobbies (horses were a big one), she found her way to acting. My sister eventually moved on to become a High School English teacher, but I was hooked. I was in my first play at seven and never stopped.

LC: It sounds like you started young! What was your first play and what was your role? What was your favorite part about that role? 
EL: It was called Folk Tale Magic and I was the Swan. I honestly don't remember much about it, just that I loved doing it.

LC: What drew you to audiobook narration?
EL: I've always been a voracious reader. It honestly never really occurred to me that I could narrate audiobooks until I took a workshop on how to get into voiceover and audiobooks was listed as an option. The idea of combining two of my greatest loves (acting and reading) was too tempting to ignore. I took a risk, bought some equipment, and set up a recording studio. It took about six months to really pick up, but I've been doing it steadily full time ever since. It's a dream come true and I absolutely love it.

LC: One of my favorite hypothetical questions to ask other readers is this: if you were stranded on an island and you could only take three books (and no e-reader) with you, what would you take?
EL: Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins, Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut, and American Gods by Neil Gaiman.

LC: Have you read any Jane Austen? Which one of her books is your favorite?
EL: I think I've read all of Jane Austen's books. If I had to pick a favorite, I'd probably pick Pride and Prejudice.

LC: I love that one. Mine is Persuasion, and . . . The Marrying Type is a modern reimagining of Austen's Persuasion. Which of the contemporary characters did you enjoy performing the most and why?
EL: Elliot was fun: the conflict between her Southern manners and desire to make everyone happy while also needing to take care of herself and her own needs is something I think a lot of people can relate to. I also liked Sadie a lot. I'm definitely a hopeless romantic, so her enthusiasm for getting married and her relationship with her groom was all very sweet.

LC: What did you do to get into the mindset or characters of this story while you narrated it?
EL: It was actually fairly easy for me to connect with the characters in this story. It just so happens that my dad got married this past weekend. So working on this in the weeks leading up to his wedding, where we were all already excited with planning and wedding jitters, made it a fun project.

LC: Who are your biggest inspirations as a performer?
EL: I'm not so much inspired by people as I am by stories and ideas. I tend to be inspired by writers who create sympathetic characters or express things in a way that I never could. I get inspired by emotions and situations and how they interact with my own imagination. I think that all art, whether it's writing, acting, painting, sculpting, composing, is all just about expressing an aspect of being human. As long as it taps into some sort of inherent truth about life, I find it inspiring.

About Emily
Emily is an actor and writer living in Los Angeles. She's narrated more than 125 audiobooks and has also worked in film and television. Born and raised in New York, Emily moved to Los Angeles shortly after receiving her BFA in drama from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. She also studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in London. Emily's other passions include reading, traveling, LARPing, and chocolate. For more about Emily, including photos, videos, and voice samples, visit her website or imdb. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instragram.

About the Book
Always the wedding planner, never a bride, Elliot Lynch is famous for orchestrating the splashiest weddings in Charleston, South Carolina. When her father’s sloppy management practices leave them on the brink of bankruptcy, Elliot will do whatever it takes to save the family business. When asked to appear on “The Marrying Type,” a reality TV show about the people behind the scenes as couples exchange I dos, she says yes to the invasion of privacy (and the hefty paycheck that comes with it).

With a camera crew capturing every detail of her life, Elliot faces her most challenging contract yet: planning a wedding where her ex is involved in every part of the process. Add in a lazy assistant, liquor-loving bridesmaid, and rival planner encroaching on her turf, and Elliot’s wedding season goes from high-end to high-stress.

Forced to confront her past, Elliot must live out her troubled present on national TV if she has any hope of saving her future.

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May 18, 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 guest . . .

Harper Duquaine joins us from Laura Chapman's fun and flirty Queen of the League series, which tells the story of one woman's journey into the world of Fantasy Football. Along the way she finds love, friendship, and one of the best quarterbacks a person could ever want on his or her team. A native of Wisconsin, Harper now resides in Lincoln, Nebraska, where she works as an office manager for a car dealership. When she isn't busy scouting new talent for her fantasy football teams or setting her weekly lineups, she enjoys crocheting, baking, spending time with her brothers and friends, and watching really bad TV. 

With that, let's begin the interview.

Chuck Lottateeth: If you were a shoe, what kind of shoe would you be?
Harper: Oh, that's a first-time question for me. I guess I'd say I am a stylish, but sturdy, pair of boots. I'd like to think I have a put together look (or at least I try to fake it till I make it), but I'm also hardworking and dependable. And wow. All of that sounds super braggy. Can we redo that or are we live? Let's just say stylish, but sturdy boots, because those are my favorite shoes to wear.

CL: What are the three items you would absolutely need to have with you if you were shipwrecked on a desert island?
H: The practical person in me would say a switchblade, or something useful like that, so I could attempt to make some kind of shelter and find sustenance. The more whimsical side of me would want to bring a crocheting hook so I could maybe create a line of scarves and potholders created out of palm tree leaves and the like. And for my third item, I'm going to take a giant vat of sunscreen. I'm a delicate flower, and I'd rather not get a sunburn.

CL: If you had only $15 to spend, what would be the perfect date? $50? $5,000?
H: I'm really pretty low-key about my dates, so $15 is usually the price range. I'd say we'd use part of the money to put gas in the car and use the rest to make a picnic of hot cocoa and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to take for a night out of star-gazing. At the $50 range, we'd probably go to one of my favorite restaurants, which is a local pub. That kind of money would cover drinks, meals, and maybe even a couple of desserts for the table. At $5,000, I'd buy the best tickets I could find for a Bon Jovi concert, a hotel to stay the night, plane tickets, dinners out, and new outfits for myself and my significant other. I think we'd still possibly have some leftover money from that, which I'd give to my SO, because he's a lot more generous with his money than I am, and he'd use it for a good cause.

CL: 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?
H: I think, or at least hope, my best friend would say I'm dedicated, driven, creative, classy, and caring. My nemesis would say I'm a ballbuster, tease, cockblock, klutz, and driven. I don't think anyone could deny that I'm driven, but not everyone would agree it's a good thing.

CL: If you could be the heroine in any chick flick, who would it be and why?
H: My first instinct is to say Renee Zellweger's character, Dorothy, in Jerry Maguire, because of the football connection, the fact that she's gorgeous, and our mutual willingness to support the people we love and stay positive despite our past romantic failures. But I don't know if that's completely accurate. I'm also not sure if that's really answering the question, because it is who I would want to be if I could be any heroine, right? I don't know if I'd want to be Dorothy, because she has it kind of rough. So, I'll say... Giselle from Enchanted, because she's a princess, she can get animals to do her work for her, she has a great attitude and style, and she has great options for male suitors. I mean, she really can't go wrong with Patrick Dempsey or James Marsden, right?

Don't forget: This week, to celebrate International Chick Lit Month and #ChickLit May, the first two books in my Queen of the League chick lit series are on sale for 99 cents each!

First & GoalAmazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads

Going for TwoAmazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads

And as an extra bonus, I am giving away two autographed copies of each book on Goodreads. Click here to enter to win First & Goal and here to enter to win Going for Two. (U.S. and Canada only!)

***Let's keep in touch. Connect with me on FacebookInstagramTwitter, and YouTube.***