February 9, 2016

interview with phoebe fox, author of 'heart conditions'

Today I'm delighted to welcome Phoebe Fox to the blog today to talk about her latest novel, Heart Conditions. I hope you'll enjoy getting to know her better in this interview.

Change the Word: Where do you draw your inspiration for writing? 
Phoebe Fox: Life is a fertile ground from which I harvest. And not just mine, people, but yours. If you have ever been my family, friend, casual acquaintance, or someone I bumped into on the subway, there’s every chance that somewhere along the line you have sparked something in one of my books. I don’t lift directly from life, but I certainly shoplift the hell out of it for inspiration. 

CTW: What are three things you always need when you sit down to write? 
PF: I’m going to bet you get pretty much the same answer from everyone: my computer, coffee, and a decent night’s sleep.

CTW: Are you a plotter or a pantser? 
PF: Total pantser. If I know how the story’s going to go, I lose interest in writing it. I have a general idea, and I pretty much know the arc, but the rest grows as I write. I have to “tell myself the story” to want to write it.

CTW: With Valentine's Day just around the corner, what's the most romantic gesture someone has ever made for you? 
PF: My husband is a genuine introvert (you may have figured out that I am not), so crowds are so not his thing, and neither are parties, planning, lots of detailed organizing, etc. But when I told him that I’d never had an actual birthday party outside of my immediate family because my birthday is near Christmas, he organized a surprise party for me, secretly contacting every one of my family and friends all over the country, enlisting local friends to get me out of the house, hiring a caterer, helping people with travel arrangements, etc.—and he did it in June, nowhere near my birthday, calling it my “500th month birthday.” I think we’re all very lucky I didn’t wet myself when I walked into the house and dozens of people I knew from every aspect of my life and everywhere I’d lived screamed surprise at me out of nowhere in the middle of summer. The fact that he did all that when he’s such a total introvert…it still makes me feel a little squishy when I think of it.

CTW: What do you most hope readers will take away from the experience of reading Heart Conditions and the rest of the Breakup Doctor series? 
PF: I’ve had several readers write or tell me that the books helped them through heartbreak or a tough breakup. That’s everything I hoped for when I wrote them. Just to help share and lessen the pain a little, hopefully with a lot of humor and heart.

CTW: If you could have dinner with any character in this series, who would you pick, where would you go, what would you order, and what would you spend most of your time talking about? 
PF: I think I have to say Sasha, because she is the least like me. She’s like a human dog, just letting out everything she thinks and feels, and totally owning it. We would most likely sneak into a VIP party somewhere we weren’t supposed to be, and we’d drink illicit champagne that we plucked off the trays of passing servers, and we would talk about men and breakups. Of course. 

CTW: What's one piece of relationship advice you think every young woman (or man) should keep in mind before they jump into a relationship? 
PF: You will never be happy with someone else until you learn to be happy with yourself. Trite but one of the truest things I’ve learned about love.

CTW: What is the biggest lesson you've learned as a writer since publishing your first book? 
PF: This answer comes up in every single interview I’ve given in some form or other. Years ago, long before I was published, my friend Sarah Bird, a multipublished, megatalented author, told me that the only thing separating her from all her unpublished friends was persistence. Nothing has impacted me more in my career, and I’ve never received better advice. It applies to your writing itself, to querying, to shopping a manuscript to publishers, to marketing, everything—persist. You must be the person who always believes in you, who never gives up faith. Keep moving forward. Persist.

CTW: What is one of your favorite recent reads? 
PF: I read Taylor Jenkins Reid’s Maybe in Another Life recently and just Hoovered it up. I love her voice, her style, and the story—a woman makes one seemingly minor decision and then lives the two very different lives that result from each one in parallel story lines. It’s so genius I wish I had done it--kind of like Sliding Doors, but her twist is that whatever choice you make could be the right one. That there is no one correct path—which I love.

CTW: What's up next for you and your writing career? 
PF: I’m almost finished writing book 4 in the Breakup Doctor series, Out of Practice. That will be the last in the series, which is a bit sad, but I think Brook’s story is told (for now!). After that I have a new series I’m working on for my publisher, about a very nontraditional matchmaker and dating guru, plus a single-title women’s fiction that has been awaiting a final edit for a while now while I scrambled to finish all the Breakup Doc books, and I’m eager to get back to it and get it out there.
Laura, thanks for such specific and well thought out questions. I loved answering these, and I’m so happy to be here on your blog!

About the Book
Running a massively successful relationship counseling practice should guarantee smooth sailing in a girl’s own love life. But Breakup Doctor Brook Ogden has spent the last year sifting through the fallout from the disastrous decision that led to her unconscious uncoupling with boyfriend Ben Garrett.

Despite advising her clients you can’t be friends with an ex, she and Ben have somehow begun to stitch together a friendship—one Brook hopes is slowly turning into more. That is, until Ben introduces his new girlfriend, Perfect Pamela, a paragon of womanly virtues who is everything Brook is not.

While Brook navigates her newly volatile emotional life, an unwelcome surprise shows up on her doorstep: the ex-fiancĂ© who broke her heart two years ago—one month before their wedding. Between her ex’s desire to rekindle their attachment, her best friend Sasha’s unexpected crisis, and her own unsquelchable feelings for Ben, Brook finds herself questioning the personal progress she’s made in the last two years—and threatened with the highest-stakes Breakup Doctor failures she’s ever faced.

Buy the Book

Bedside Manners, book two in the series, is on sale for 99 cents Feb 8-14!
About the Author
Phoebe Fox is the author of the Breakup Doctor series—The Breakup Doctor, Bedside Manners, Heart Conditions, and Out of Practice, coming fall 2016—and has been a contributor and regular columnist for a number of national, regional, and local publications (she currently writes about relationships for the Huffington Post, Elite Daily, and She Knows). She has been a movie, theater, and book reviewer; a screenwriter; and is a close observer of relationships in the wild.

Connect with Phoebe

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February 2, 2016

fun facts about 'going for two'

In case you missed any of the stops on my Going for Two launch blitz, I wanted to give you a chance to play catch-up and see the various fun facts I shared about the book along the way. Thank you to all of the bloggers who helped me share these during the past week. And happy (almost) one week birthday to Going for Two!

About the Book
Harper Duquaine is back for another season of fantasy football! This time she’s a year wiser and prepared to dominate the league. But while she finally seems to have her fantasy life in order, reality proves more challenging.

Her plans to peacefully play house with her boyfriend come to a halt when the high school suddenly names Brook its head football coach. The promotion comes with more responsibility on the field and less time at home. It also unexpectedly means more work for Harper, who already has her hands full helping a friend pull off the perfect proposal (while dodging questions about when she and Brook are going to get hitched already). Plus, a new development at work could leave her—and half of the fantasy league—jobless.

With the complications of her career and being “Mrs. Coach” adding up, Harper wonders if she’s committed to the life she’s already building or if there is something else out there.

Find the Book
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads

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January 28, 2016

interview with caroline fardig, author of 'funny valentine'

Today I'm pleased to welcome Caroline Fardig to the blog. In our tradition, we're doing an interview swap to celebrate our respective new releases. You can see my interview on her blog from yesterday here. And I hope you'll join me in congratulating her on the release of Funny Valentine, the latest in her Lizzie Hart series.

Laura Chapman: What was the first murder mystery you remember reading and what did you most enjoy about it?
Caroline Fardig: I know my first mystery was the first book in the Trixie Belden series, The Secret of the Mansion. Once I read it, I was hooked, and I read every Trixie book I could get my hands on. When I got into high school, I quit reading for pleasure because of the mountain of required reading I had to do. I didn’t pick up another book for fun until I was well into my late twenties, when I discovered chick-lit. Probably the first murder mystery I read as an adult was Size 12 Is Not Fat by Meg Cabot because I loved her chick-lit and decided to give it a try. And then I was a true mystery fan.

LC: Who is your all-time favorite fictional sleuth?
CF: Non-literary? Richard Castle. The show is SO much better this season. The writers have really stepped it up. Literary? Probably Trixie Belden. She’s a classic.

LC: If you could spend a day with any of the characters in your most recent book, who would you choose and what would you do?
CF: I think I’d choose Pete from the Java Jive series.  He’s fun and funny, and I would love to sit down and play some music with him!

LC: Would you consider, or have you already written any books in other genres? If so, which ones?
CF: I’ve written one that’s a forensic procedural. It’s not funny or light-hearted like any of the books I’ve ever published. It was a real challenge to write—the mystery and evidence had to be much more solid because the main character is a CSI and her partner is a homicide detective. It’s not ready for publication yet, but soon, I hope!

LC: If you were planning your dream writing retreat, where would you go, who would you invite, and what would be on the itinerary?
CF: Sounds like fun! I would rent the vacation home my family gets every year on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. I would invite my long-distance bestie and beta-reader, Karen Franklin; my writer friend, the devil’s advocate with amazing ideas, Jami Deise; and my always inspiring editor, Julia Maguire. On the itinerary, that’s easy—beachside brainstorming sessions, writing and editing while sunbathing in the comfy chaise lounges by the pool, lots of amazing food, and of course, my staple frozen beach cocktail, Sneaky Pete!

Sneaky Pete
1 lg can or bottle of pineapple juice
1 can frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
1 bottle Malibu rum
½ c powdered sugar
1 liter Sprite

Mix together in an empty plastic ice cream tub.  Pour the Sprite last, because you might not have room for all of it.  Freeze overnight and enjoy!

And now for Carolyn to answer her questions...

Were you a big football fan in high school?  A cheerleader, perhaps?
CF: No, way!  I was in the marching band, either carrying around a heavy drum or standing up on the rickety ladder for the drum majors while waving my arms around, trying to keep the band members all playing at the same tempo.  We goofed around during the game and didn’t really watch what was going on.  I’m not much of a football fan.  (Sorry, Laura!)

Fun fact about my high school band days:  I was in the percussion section with Jeremy Spencer, the drummer for the crazy popular metal band, Five Finger Death Punch!  He's a super nice guy, and honestly one of the most talented musicians I've ever had the privilege of playing with.  He could play circles around us in high school.  It wasn't difficult to see that he'd make it big.

Now that you’re grown up, would you prefer to go to a local high school football game, a college football game, or a professional football game?
CF: Probably a high school game, but mostly to watch the band.  Although I will have to say, there’s nothing quite like going to “Friday Night Lights” in a small town.  You see everyone you know there!
I wouldn’t mind going to see a Colts game, though, although if given the choice I’d choose a pro basketball game.  I’m a big Pacers fan, and I’ve been to a few games.  If I lived closer to Indy, I’d have season tickets!

Any big plans for the Super Bowl?
CF: We always have a big party at my house because my husband put a ridiculously large TV in our theater room.  I mostly watch the commercials and the halftime show, drink Sneaky Pete (the recipe is included on one of the other questions), and eat yummy snacks until I’m sick.

This series involves fantasy football.  Do you play fantasy football yourself?
CF: This was really my question specifically for Laura…  But no, I’ve never played.

Do you have a “soundtrack” for your books?  
CF: I have a soundtrack for every book I’ve ever written.  Probably my favorite one is from Death Before Decaf. I’ve listed them in a blog post here.

I’ve written a new song for each Java Jive book, and the sheet music is included with the books. You can find me performing them on my YouTube channel here.

How do you come up with character names?
CF: I normally go to babycenter.com and look up the 100 most popular names from the year my character would have been born.  That way, you won’t end up with a “Grandma Britnee” or a teenager named Bertha.

What can readers expect to see from you in 2016?
CF: I’ve got a lot going on this year!  Of course, there’s the launch of My Funny Valentine today.  Mug Shot (Java Jive #2) comes out April 19th. Wedding Bell Blues (Lizzie Hart #5) will be out sometime this summer, chronicling Lizzie and Blake’s wedding (and of course there’s also going to be murder and mayhem). And finally, in October, A Whole Latte Murder (Java Jive #3) will be released. Whew!  I’m going to be one busy girl!

About the Novella
All Lizzie wants for Valentine’s Day is for her fiancĂ©
NOT to be the prime suspect in a murder investigation. 

Is that too much to ask?

Lizzie Hart is finally living the dream.  She’s engaged to the love of her life, Blake Morgan, and more importantly, she hasn’t even given a thought to dead bodies or murder investigations for an entire year.  The only hurdle in Lizzie and Blake’s way to wedded bliss is introducing their polar opposite families to each other at their engagement party.

Blake’s parents have thrown a lavish shindig, but the fun is quickly over when Blake’s brother arrives with an unexpected guest, the woman who left Blake at the altar years ago.  If that weren’t enough drama for one evening, Lizzie and Blake find the town mayor dead and the detectives on the case put Blake at the top of their suspect list.

It’s a race against the clock for Lizzie and Blake to find the real killer before the police decide to lock Blake up and throw away the key.

Find it on Amazon!

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January 27, 2016

'going for two' is now available!

Hooray! Today's the day--Going for Two, the second book in the Queen of the League series is now available. I hope you enjoy reading this book as much as I did writing it. And now for the details...
Harper Duquaine is back for another season of fantasy football! This time she’s a year wiser and prepared to dominate the league. But while she finally seems to have her fantasy life in order, reality proves more challenging. 
Her plans to peacefully play house with her boyfriend come to a halt when the high school suddenly names Brook its head football coach. The promotion comes with more responsibility on the field and less time at home. It also unexpectedly means more work for Harper, who already has her hands full helping a friend pull off the perfect proposal (while dodging questions about when she and Brook are going to get hitched already). Plus, a new development at work could leave her—and half of the fantasy league—jobless. 
With the complications of her career and being “Mrs. Coach” adding up, Harper wonders if she’s committed to the life she’s already building or if there is something else out there.

Find the Book

And from January 20-29 you can get First & Goal, book one in the Queen of the League series, for only 99 cents.

I'm super excited for all of you to find out what Harper and her friends have been up to since we last saw them at the end of the first season. And I'm also thrilled to be able to send you on a little scavenger hunt of sorts to uncover little behind-the-scenes facts about the books. You can get the details right here on my author website.

Thank you so much for being part of this crazy, but delightful, writing adventure of mine.

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January 26, 2016

interview with erin cawood, author of 'maybe tomorrow'

Today we welcome author Erin Cawood to the blog as part of her Chick Lit Plus blog tour. Be sure to check out the other stops here and check out the fabulous prizes available at the end of the post!

Change the Word: What was your inspiration to write this book?
Erin Cawood: I don’t know where the inspiration came from, I woke up one morning with Keon’s voice inside my head. He was trying to explain to his daughter why he had to go away, and why when he came back he would be a changed man, but he wouldn’t be able to talk about it. He’d realised that he loved Darcy and he intended to follow her. He wanted to be with her when she died but his daughter, Lily, was too young to understand.

CTW: What was the biggest challenge you faced while writing, and how did you overcome it?
EC: This is the first medical romance I’ve written, so learning all about Liver disease and the behind the scenes operations of a hospital. Luckily for me, my sister is a midwife, and my editor is a registered nurse. Their input was invaluable for me.

CTW: What excites you most about this book?
EC: Although this is a second chance romance, it’s also a story about bad decisions, lifelong regrets, acceptance, and forgiveness. Through Keon and Darcy we see how life altering bad decisions can last manifest over a lifetime and how they can lead someone to keep on making bad decisions while they try right those wrongs. Maybe Tomorrow begs the question ‘what if tomorrow never comes?’

CTW: If you could trade places with any fictional character for one day, who would you choose and why?
EC: Ooh what a great question! There’s far too many to answer that…. Would I want to be magical? Or Shakespearian? Or a fairy tale character? Or on the Broadway stage… I am going to spend weeks wondering about this.

CTW: What book have you read recently that stayed on your mind for days?
EC: It’s been a while since my last book hangover. I’d have to say Me Before You by Jojo Moyes.

CTW: Describe your ideal writing retreat.
EC: I don’t need a lot. Just somewhere hot, with a villa/apartment by the sea… or a pool.

CTW: What does a typical Sunday afternoon look like in your world?
EC: Well, I’m out of the house between 8 a.m.-and 7 p.m. most days, so my weekends are full of writing, and preparing for the week ahead. So I’m either writing …or designing …or scheduling emails, social media and blog posts … or the dreaded house work… or I might be visiting with family there’s not rest day unless there’s a good film on.

CTW: Where would you most like to travel to on vacation?
EC: I have two favourite destinations; Mexico and Corfu.

CTW: What is the best piece of writing advice you would pass on to a beginner?
EC: Write for your readers. It might sound hard to do at first because you don’t know who your readers are. But think of your readers as people who like to read the types of books you like to write.

CTW: What's up next for your writing career?
EC: Fans of my Behind Closed Doors series will be happy to know that book three Crossing Lines is on its way early in 2016. Right now, I’m working on Life’s a Ball. Elle Richards is the ultimate career-girl-come-commitment-phobe, juggling a high powered career with being the single mother of a fifteen year old championship figure skater. And she hates Valentine’s Day. Adam Lacey is a self-confessed playboy with an aversion to children, but deep down he’s a hopeless romantic whose favourite day of the year is Valentine’s Day and he’s just waiting for the girl of his dreams (Elle) to see him the way he sees her.

About the Book
Welcome to the FORGIVE OR FORGET series, a compelling contemporary women's fiction love story and family saga series. Cawood's love inspired medical romance series follows the close-knit McGowan siblings; Keon, Kiera, Cormack, and Cara, as they face the difficult choice between forgiving or forgetting true love after a broken heart.

Does a heart ever really heal from its first break?

On an unseasonably hot night in late September, Dr. Keon McGowan is called away from a family gathering to a hospital emergency. Amongst his patients that night is a blast from his past he'd rather forget. He'll certainly never forgive butterfly hunter Darcia Davenport for leaving him alone as a single dad while she chased butterflies through the Amazon rainforest.

Coming face to face with the woman who broke his heart after all this time, Keon realises that he has never fully healed from it. But any chance of finding closure is ripped away when Darcy chooses to end treatment and live her final weeks without regret. Can Keon let her go? Or will he fight for the tomorrow they might never have?

MAYBE TOMORROW is an emotional journey of love caught between fate and destiny, and Keon is forced to choose between his head and his heart, his wants and his responsibilities, forgiving Darcy or forgetting all about her, and between a second chance family or an ill-fated heartbreak romance.

**Maybe Tomorrow is only 99 cents while on tour!**

Find the Book

About the Author
Erin Cawood is a commercial women's fiction author, with a taste for dramatic storylines and a passion for strong lead characters she really gets behind, cheering on right to the very end of their story. Her focus? Taking romance into the darker, edgier side of contemporary fiction.

Connect with Erin

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