December 31, 2013

saying goodbye to 2013


It's the last day of 2013, and it's been a ride. We've had some great times together, 2013, but I think it's time for us to move on a see other people. (I hear 2014 has a lot going for it, so I'd like to check it out.) But before we say goodbye forever, let's take one final look back at our time together and highlight some of the best moments in literature, pop culture and my own life.

Consider this a quick clip show from the past year. For whatever reason, I'm the weirdo who has always been a fan of clip shows. From my days watching Friends and the Simpsons to catching The Soup every week on E!, clip shows remind me of favorite moments from the past, which is like saying hello to old friends.

Ranking is a tricky business for me, so don't read too much into the order in which I list. 

Top Five Personal Moments

  • Releasing two publications, including my debut novel.
  • Going on a much-needed vacation to California with my sister to visit my best friend.
  • Moving out of my brother's basement and into my own apartment with the kittens.
  • Getting cable. At first I worried it would be too much of a distraction, but I've always found distractions.
  • Completing National Novel Writing Month 2013 one whole week before the last day - a new personal record for me. Even better, though I took a few weeks off, I'm still writing away and hope to finish my first draft soon.

Top Five Blog Posts







Top Five Reads







Top Five TV Shows

Downton Abbey (PBS)
Game of Thrones (HBO)
Mad Men (AMC)
The Mindy Project (Fox)
Parks and Recreation (NBC)

Top Five Pop Culture Moments


Tina Fey and Amy Poehler host the Golden Globes.


(Ah, and because I love them - here's another clip from the beautifully hosted show.)



Jennifer Lawrence wins the Academy Award for Best Actress



Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson promote Catching Fire



'NSYNC reunites on MTV


My BFF Andrew talks about biblical adaptations on GMA


I'm skipping the movie section, this year, because I did a super bad job of going to the movies. I don't even know if I saw five movies, and a few that I did don't belong on this list!

 This has been a wonderful year, and I hope you know how much I appreciate the support everyone gave me. Here's to 2014 and lots of joy to come in the new year.

Now you weigh in -- what were your favorite things from 2013?

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December 30, 2013

new reads for the new year from marching ink


Excellent news - my publisher, Marching Ink, is celebrating the end of 2013 and start of 2014 with a sale. From Dec. 30-31, you can purchase all Marching Ink titles for only 99 cents each in eBook format. Check out the details of each of the stories and pick up your copy, today.

Breaking the Rules by Cat Lavoie

When twenty-seven year old Roxy Rule’s best friend and roommate accepts a glamorous new job overseas, she expects their relationship to continue as it’s always been—carefree and easy—until they share a heart-stopping kiss moments before his departure. Overcome with mixed emotions, she fights the urge to over analyze the situation and resumes back to her normal life in New York City, working for an intolerable boss at a dead end job, creeping further and further away from her own dreams of becoming a professional chef.

While things become more complicated between her and Ollie, Roxy is sure that nothing can come between two lifelong best friends—not even mild jealousy over a thriving career or a silly little kiss that meant nothing. In fact, it was such a meaningless and forgettable kiss that she convinces herself that it’s not even worth mentioning to her fiancĂ©, although it is all she can think about.

Roxy’s already topsy-turvy life only gets more complicated when her sisters Steffi and Izzie suddenly become her roommates. Steffi is six months into a pregnancy she refuses to discuss and Izzie is in the throes of a premature midlife crisis. Roxy tries to take control of her career, her love life and her sisters – but can she really handle it all? And can the Rule family keep it together – or break under the pressure?
Buy the Book
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  Marching Ink

Zoey & the Moment of Zen by Cat Lavoie

When coffee shop owner Zoey Everwood takes her obsession with ex-boyfriend Braden too far, everyone—except Zoey—is convinced a bit of fun in the sun at the Moment of Zen Wellness Resort will help her get over him once and for all.

But Zoey’s relaxing vacation turns out to be anything but peaceful when she meets Shane Lawson, a resort guest who bears a striking resemblance to Braden. And things get even more complicated when the resort’s owner starts spilling secrets about Zoey’s aunt Nessa, the woman who raised her. Add a snarky Wellness Coordinator and Nate Holmes—Shane’s grumpy friend—to the mix, and you’ve got the recipe for a perfect tropical storm.

When Zoey comes back home with a new husband instead of tacky souvenirs, she must convince everyone she hasn’t completely lost her mind. As Zoey and Shane struggle to keep the magic alive outside the resort, Zoey discovers that she isn’t the only one having trouble letting go of the past. And when Nate drops a bombshell that changes everything, Zoey must decide if the old saying is true—what happens at the Moment of Zen stays at the Moment of Zen.
Buy the Book
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  Marching Ink

Hard Hats and Doormats by Laura Chapman

Lexi Burke has always been a stickler for following rules and procedures. As a human resources manager for a leading Gulf Coast chemical company, it’s her job to make sure everyone else falls in line, too.

But after losing out on a big promotion–-because her boss sees her as too much of a yes-woman––Lexi adopts a new policy of following her heart instead of the fine print. And her heart knows what it wants: Jason Beaumont, a workplace crush who is off limits based on her previous protocol.

While navigating a new romance and interoffice politics, Lexi must find the confidence to stand on her own or face a lifetime of following someone else’s orders.

Who says nice girls have to finish last?
Buy the Book
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  Marching Ink

Destined to Fail by Samantha March

Jasmine Jones is ready to begin her new life as a college student, and is ecstatic to have best friend Abby by her side. But weeks into their new college life, Abby drops the bomb- she is pregnant, and dropping out of college. Jasmine can’t handle the fact that Abby is wasting her opportunity to get an education, and going back to her cheating, abusive boyfriend. She struggles to move on from her friendship with Abby, and befriends two new girls at college- Kiley and Cari. Everything seems back on track for Jasmine- great new friendships and roommates, a strong relationship with boyfriend Nate, and excelling at her college courses. But Jasmine’s newfound happiness is shattered when her pregnancy test comes out positive. Does she have to drop out of college now and become a young mother? Will Nate stay with her? How can she afford a child? Jasmine’s life has been filled with obstacles and challenges along the way- from a missing father, sexual and physical abuse, and addictions that tore her family apart. With this latest setback, Jasmine fears her life will always be a struggle. Destined to Fail is one woman’s story about overcoming adversity in life, about taking the negatives and finding a positive, and about never giving up hope.

Buy the Book
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  Marching Ink

The Green Ticket by Samantha March

College junior Alex Abrams scores her dream job at the ripe age of twenty – manager to a successful salon and spa. Thrilled to finally have a real adult job, Alex enthusiastically jumps into the world of schedules, conference calls, and getting a massage when interviewing prospective employees. What she doesn’t expect are the very grown-up issues that comes with a demanding boss. Kevin Dohlman quickly becomes Alex’s worse nightmare – covering up his affairs, dealing with his enormous ego, and trying to protect her female staff from him becomes a full-time job in its own right. Alex has also befriended Kevin’s wife and co-owner, Dani, and is trying to keep Kevin’s secrets hidden from her. The situation only worsens when Kevin starts paying Alex off to make sure she keeps her insider knowledge to herself.

While struggling to keep her wits and stay happy with her new grown-up job, Alex is juggling college courses, a new love interest, and keeping up with her close group of girlfriends. When her roommate and best friend Lila gets offered an opportunity to move to Los Angeles and sign with an agent, Alex realizes her life truly is changing, and everyone around her – including herself – is growing up. Knowing she is faced with some hard decisions ahead, Alex struggles with keeping her job at Blissful. But does she really want to throw away what she dreamed of as a career – or will the secret-keeping for Kevin become too much to handle? The Green Ticket is a story about morals versus money, and how one young woman navigates the shaky line between the two.
Buy the Book
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  Marching Ink


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December 27, 2013

hard hat confessions

Back in November, I shared Hard Hat confessions as part of my cover reveal for Hard Hats and Doormats. Now that the novel has been published, I wanted to share all of those confessions here in one place for you readers.

You may need to click on the images to expand them (that print gets pretty tiny when it's all together like this), but I hope you enjoy learning a little more about the story behind the story of my debut novel.








About Hard Hats and Doormats
Lexi Burke has always been a stickler for following rules and procedures. As a human resources manager for a leading Gulf Coast chemical company, it’s her job to make sure everyone else falls in line, too.

But after losing out on a big promotion––because her boss sees her as too much of a yes-woman––Lexi adopts a new policy of following her heart instead of the fine print. And her heart knows what it wants: Jason Beaumont, a workplace crush who is off limits based on her previous protocol.

While navigating a new romance and interoffice politics, Lexi must find the confidence to stand on her own or face a lifetime of following someone else’s orders.

Who says nice girls have to finish last?


Available in eBook and Print
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
Marching Ink


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December 26, 2013

deleted scene from 'twelve drummers drumming'

Now that it's the day after Christmas, I wanted to share a belated present with you -- a deleted scene from "Twelve Drummers Drumming," my romantic holiday short in the anthology Merry & Bright.

*** Quick Spoiler Alert ***
The following blog post contains a super spoilery deleted scene. If you haven’t read the story, stop what you are doing, order it here or here (or here or here) read it, then come back to this post, or forever let this tale be spoiled.


In the first draft of “Twelve Drummers Drumming,” I included a scene depicting Autumn’s visit to the gynecologist. It was fun to write, offered a bit of humor and helped me get in the characters head.

It wasn’t until I shared the story with my good friend and beta reader Tracie Banister that I realized including gynecology in a romantic, holiday story doesn’t exactly set the mood. As she put it, “There's a strong "ick" factor to reading about stirrups and lady parts and someone's head being between the heroine's legs.”

She was right. As funny as I found this scene, it just didn’t fit the rest of the story’s tone. So I cut it. But thanks to the interwebs, I can share this scene with you readers as an extra bonus. Enjoy!


Autumn Visits the Gyno

A couple of hours later, dressed in a paper gown, I lean back on the examination table. I place my feet in the stirrups and face the wall. This part of any visit with a gynecologist makes me uncomfortable. Staring at a painting of a mountain is more appealing than watching a stranger go to work between my legs.

“It appears we have confirmation on the tests, Ms. Lawrence,” she says. “You’re pregnant.”

I sit up, forgetting to care about my less than flattering position.

“Can you tell how far along?”

“Based on the date of your last period and the measurements, I’d put you at about six or seven weeks.”

Almost to the date of our wedding.

“Would you like to do an ultrasound? Our tech is in the office, today.”

I nod and lean back on the table, trying to accept I’m going to be someone’s mom. Even after a few days of considering the probability, having a doctor proclaim I am in fact carrying a child and not fighting off a flu or bad breakfast burrito makes it more real.

Again, I turn my head when the ultrasound tech settles between my legs with a tube of jelly and wand. I focus on the screen and wait to see for myself Baby Williams.

The black and white picture appears with what must be my cervix or uterus or both.

“Your lining has thickened up nicely.”

I pull a tight grin. I assume this is good news, but what the Hell do I know? I’d messed up on my birth control pill and it took me more than a month to realize I’d missed my period. Gynecology clearly is not my strongest subject.

“And it looks like your baby is a good size.”

I bolt up again for a closer view at the little bubble on screen. If not for the technician pointing it out for me, I might have missed it.

“That’s my baby.”

The doctor nods. “That’s your baby.”

“That’s what keeps making me throw up every hour?”

The doctor rubs a hand over my back.

“Most women only experience serious morning sickness during their first trimester.”

“I have five more weeks of this?”

“Hopefully it’ll lessen.” She hands me a couple of pamphlets and print-outs, “But you can try some of these home remedies. Are you really vomiting every hour? Your blood work seems okay, but we don’t want you to become dehydrated.”

I shake my head.

“No, I’m exaggerating.” I stare at the screen. My hand once again moves to my belly. “And in the grand scheme of things, what’s a little puke when it means we’re having a baby.”

The doctor and the tech smile.

“Would you like a printout?”

“Please. Would it be possible for me to schedule another appointment for after Christmas? I’m sure it’s not necessary, but my husband wasn’t able to make it, today, and I he’ll want to…”

I trail off to stare at the ultrasound prints the tech hands me.

“Of course we can, Mrs. Williams, I mean, Ms. Lawrence.” My eyes fly to the doctor, who has the good manners to look embarrassed. “I’m sorry. I’m sure you wanted to remain anonymous, but it’s a small town…”

It was ignorant of me to pretend I could go to a small town doctor without being discovered.

“Don’t worry, none of us will say a word. We’re always discreet, but for you well…” She grins brightly and gushes more than I would’ve imagined from the woman who’d stared at my lady parts moments earlier. “I’m a big fan of Rolling Mountain. But can I say how honored I am to have you as a patient?”


About the Book
Sip your eggnog, linger under the mistletoe, and make a Christmas wish. Merry & Bright brings you six tales of Christmas cheer, featuring stories of budding romances, Southern charm, lost loves, heaps of humor, and lots of pie by authors Isabella Louise Anderson, Cindy Arora, Laura Chapman, Lauren Clark, Libby Mercer, and Nancy Scrofano. From sunny Los Angeles to the Rocky Mountains to the Deep South, Merry & Bright will take you on a heartwarming adventure you'll love to visit again and again. Wrap yourself in holiday mirth and prepare to be swept off your feet.
Merry & Bright, featuring "Twelve Drummers Drumming" is available from Simon & Fig. Add to Goodreads. Buy it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble or Kobo.

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December 23, 2013

little laura - the christmas special

Blogger's Note: Thanks to my family's pack-rat tendencies -- and my vanity -- I've managed to keep documentation of my progress as a writer from kindergarten on. Instead of letting those cedar chest gems go to waste, I figured I might as well do what I do best -- post them to my blog. This is Little Laura Learns the Ropes.


I know I said the Little Laura series had come to an end. But you know how there some things you just can't quit? This is apparently one of them. Actually, what it comes down to is this: While I was moving into my new home I found a letter I'd written to Santa when I was about 6 or 7. My parents saved it, and because 'tis the season, I figured it'd be fun to share.

So... consider this the Little Laura Learns the Ropes Christmas Special.



Dear Santa,

I would like to have the game, pretty pretty princes. A puppy Dog doll. And one ring. Two Troll dolls. Have are cookeis we lay out for you. Have a safe ride. I am learning about Matter. Theres solids, liquids and Gases. My reading book is My Best Bear Hug. I've read: Can do Jenny, Horble Hary, Brown Bears Wedding.

Sincerely
Love, 
Laura

P.S. Thanks for the candy canes.

Because it's Christmas, I'm not going to analyze the writing, grammar or questionable capitalization skills. Instead, I'm going to commend her for thanking Santa for giving her candy canes when she met him after the Thanksgiving parade (compliments go a long ways in getting what you want). And way to take pride of your school and preach safety. It's almost as if you knew one day you'd spend four years making a living off of writing safety publications.

Plus, your gift requests were awesome. Even if it didn't do much to teach you about being a strong, independent woman, Pretty Pretty Princess was probably the most awesome game of your youth. And it did teach you to challenge gender roles every time you played with your dad and big brothers.

As an added bonus, I'll even share a photo from the moment you met Santa and his better half:

Looking good, LL. You rock that flannel and torn jean look. Like a boss.

Merry Christmas, my friends. I wish you a safe and happy day with the ones you love.

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December 21, 2013

interview with the author of 'hearbreak cake'

Blogger's Note: Today, I'm pleased to welcome Cindy Arora, my fellow Merry & Bright author, to the blog to talk about her debut novel, Heartbreak Cake. I haven't had the chance to read the story, yet, but it's on my Kindle, and I'm excited to check it out.

Change the Word: What is your favorite type of cake?
CA: I love strawberry cake. And not the kind made with Jell-O, although I’m no cake snob, I’ll take what’s in front of me.  But my absolute favorite is they spongy yellow cake kind with layers of sweet strawberries and pillowy cream. It’s epic.

CTW: What drink is best to accompany this dessert? 
CA: I love cake with coffee. It’s a perfect combination!

CTW: Do you have any snacks you like to eat as writing fuel?
CA: Chocolate!

CTW: What surprised you most while writing this book?
CA: I have to say I was most surprised to discover that the characters became their own people. Sure, I created them, but as I continued to write, each one started to find their own way. It was fun, and sometimes I’d walk away from my desk feeling like I stepped away from a movie I really loved.

CTW: What one literary heartthrob would you like to run away with?
CA: This was a bit tough to decide on… But the first person who came to mind was the character Roux from the novel Chocolat by Joanne Harris. He is the dreamy and mysterious gypsy who comes into town and charms the magical chocolate lady with his bad boy good looks and love of hot chocolate.

CTW: And what literary character would you like to be BFFs with?
CA: Oh man, this one is tough, because there are so many great heroines out there who would totally have my back as my BFF. I think I’d like to have a posse, kind of like the Sex and the City girls but a little less cleavage. I’d have Lady Ashley from The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway, so I can have a drinking buddy in Paris who seems to know a thing or two about men. Dagny Taggart from Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand because she would keep me focused and career driven and never allow me to lose myself to a man. Then there’s Justine, who is a character in Lucie Simone’s book Picture Perfect, because she’s just a riot!

CTW: If you could only read three books over and over for the rest of your life, which would you choose?
CA: Bread Alone by Judi Hendricks: There’s something melancholy, sweet and hopeful about the book that resonates with me. I also love that I can practically smell the heady scent of fresh bread.

Seeing Me Naked by Liza Palmer: A touching, smart, snarky novel that made me cry & laugh!

The Love Goddess Cooking School by Melissa Senate: Melissa Senate is one of my very favorite writers in chick lit. She has a great voice, and I always have the biggest grin on my face when I finish one of her books.

CTW: What is the best piece of advice you can offer aspiring authors?
CA: I think the best advice I can give aspiring authors is to get out of your head and just write. Quiet the voices and write until you get to the end. And then make sure to celebrate because it’s really a beautiful thing, regardless of what happens after publishing. Be proud!

CTW: What's up next for you and your writing career?
CA: I am in the early stages of book #2! I learned a lot writing Heartbreak Cake, and this time, in order to save my sanity, I will reform my pantser ways and become a plotter. I’m in progress and will actually be taking a trip to Wisconsin in the spring for a little research on my next book, as well as indulge in some cheese curds and Schlitz (hell, yes!).

CTW: Is there anything else you'd like to share?
CA: You know, I just wanted to thank the blogging writing community who really makes it possible for indie writers to get to know readers and other writers. I’ve been introduced to so many incredible writers through this community, and I’m really happy to be here getting to know everyone! Thanks!


About the Author
Cindy Arora was a staff writer at The San Gabriel Valley Tribune, The Orange County Register and Sacramento Magazine. She’s been published in Saveur, Tasting Table, Orange Coast Magazine and Fodor’s. She’s also mama to an adorable little boy, a feminist, a whiskey enthusiast, and proud to call herself a Chick Lit author. Heartbreak Cake is her debut novel.


Connect with Cindy
Website: http://cindyarora.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/cindyarora
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cindyaroraeatwritelove


About the Book
Business is sweet for pastry chef Indira Aguilar. Her indie bakery, Cake Pan, is fast becoming the talk of the wedding circuit for its unique take on cakes and homespun creations for the modern bride, garnering national recognition and drawing in celebrity clients. But while her professional life is blossoming, her personal life is crumbling.

Indira may have a talent for blending buttercream into bliss, but when it comes to relationships, she’s got a lot to learn. Considering that the love of her life, Josh Oliver, is not only married, but also runs the award-winning pastry department of her fiercest competition, Crystal Cove Resort, Indira puts much more at stake than just her heart when she ends her affair with him.

Rumors begin to fly as the small seaside community of Long Beach learns of her secret relationship, and Indira must defend not only her actions, but her wedding business and her reputation while trying to maneuver the choppy heartbreak waters of starting over, finding new love, and facing her past. With the support of friends and family, a fondness for butter, and a determined spirit, Indira may just bake her way back to happiness and possibly into the heart of Crystal Cove’s dishy new chef, Noah. But one thing is certain. Where there’s heartbreak, there must be cake.


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December 20, 2013

12 days of writers encore - 2013

Blogger's Note: Welcome to the 12 Days of Writing, Change the Word's annual December celebration. After two years of sharing writing tips, this year, I'm sharing 12 writers with you. For the first three weeks of December, you'll have a chance to meet 12 wonderful women and learn about their favorite holiday traditions.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the 12 Days of Writers -- both the writers and you readers. I had a blast getting to know everyone involved a little better by learning about their holiday traditions and pastimes. I'm fortunate to have such a wonderful group of writer friends, and it was a pleasure to introduce you to a few of them. As we wind down the season, I wanted to share an encore of sorts by listing and linking each of the authors in case you missed a couple of days.


That's a pretty awesome bunch of ladies, don't you think? It's hard not to feel fortunate when you're surrounded by wonderful people.

Now, because a few people have asked if I'd be sharing my answers to the questions I put to them, I figured I might as well. Here you go:

What’s your favorite holiday tradition?
As much as I love putting up the Christmas tree, my favorite tradition happens during church on Christmas Eve. I love the part of the service when the lights go out and everyone lights a candle from the Christ candle while singing "Silent Night." Every year it gives me tingles to see and hear how beautiful the church becomes while everyone joins together in this one celebration of Christmas. I'm a fairly high-strung person, but during "Silent Night" I'm able to forget everything and live in the moment.



What is a must-have eat or treat this time of year?
It's not Christmas until I have a cup of eggnog. When I was younger I'd usually have a few glasses of it during the season, but lately I limit it to one or two on Christmas Eve or Day. My dad also gets eggnog-flavored saltwater taffy, and I love that. This year, we're planning on trying out eggnog pancakes for Christmas brunch, and I'm pretty excited.

What is the best gift you’ve ever received?
My family has always been excellent at gift giving, which means I've made out like a bandit most Christmases. But the gift that most excited me on a Christmas morning was this Cabbage Patch doll.


The picture of Little Laura says it all. I was beyond thrilled. I'd asked for a Cabbage Patch doll for months, and finding it under the tree was, like, the best thing ever. I mean, it came with an adoption certificate you had to sign and everything. That's a pretty big commitment when you're in elementary school. I'm pretty sure she was named "Anita" when I adopted her, but I changed her name throughout the years to fit whatever game we were playing. I still have this doll, and a couple of sentimental stuffed animals from my childhood, because she was such a huge part of my childhood.

I've recently learned that this present represents the one and only time my parents woke up super early on a Black Friday to make sure they snagged our most coveted gifts. Mom says she spent all of five minutes in line, picked up a doll each for my sister and I, and was back home before any of us knew she'd gone. Well played, Mrs. Claus.

What is your favorite holiday read and watch?
Aside from holiday classics like "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," one of my favorite holiday reads is "The MacGregor Brides" by Nora Roberts. Though it's considered an anytime of year sort of book, I love that all three love stories are told over the backdrop of Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year's Eve.


Perhaps that's why my two favorite holiday movies are "Love Actually" and "When Harry Met Sally." Both can stand alone any time of year, but there's something magical about the holiday season.


I'm also a huge fan of holiday comedies like "A Christmas Story" and sentimental like "It's a Wonderful Life." I'll also give most movies on ABC Family or the Hallmark channel a shot. Same goes for romance novels and chick lit stories with a Christmas theme. That's one reason it was such a great opportunity to be part of Merry & Bright this year.

What’s one New Year’s resolution you’re making for 2014?
I'm great at making New Year's resolutions, but I'm not as good at keeping them. Like every other year, I'll probably resolve to eat healthier foods that I make at home, do more cardio and try to get my money right once and for all. Unlike previous years, I won't have to make the resolution to publish my first novel, because I managed to do that this year. Instead, I'd like to get one or two more novels published in 2014. Wish me luck!


About the Author
Laura Chapman found a way to mix her love of romance and humor as a women’s fiction blogger and author. A 2008 graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Laura studied journalism, English and history. She spent four years traveling the country as a writer/photographer, and currently works in communications. Born and raised in Nebraska – in a city, not on a farm – she is a devoted fan of football, British period drama, writing in bars and her cats, Jane and Bingley. Hard Hats and Doormats is her debut novel.

Connect with Laura
Website
Blog
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads

Buy Her Books
Hard Hats and Doormats
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
Marching Ink

Merry & Bright
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
iTunes

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December 19, 2013

12 days of writers - no. 12: anna garner

Blogger's Note: Welcome to the 12 Days of Writing, Change the Word's annual December celebration. After two years of sharing writing tips, this year, I'm sharing 12 writers with you. For the first three weeks of December, you'll have a chance to meet 12 wonderful women and learn about their favorite holiday traditions.

I first met Anna Garner when I knew her only as Libby Mercer - the author of two romances I'd devoured, loved and reviewed. Since then, I've been fortunate to get better acquainted with the woman behind the books and pen names. And I've discovered an amazing person who is filled with brilliant ideas, a passion for sharing quality books with readers and someone who shares my love with writing books under the supervision of our brilliant cats. It has been fun to watch Anna/Libby's career grow, and I'm sure we'll see much more from this lady.


What’s your favorite holiday tradition?
Oh, there are so many holiday traditions that I love, but I think I’ll have to go with tree trimming. So many wonderful memories, decorating our trees over the years with my family.

What is a must-have eat or treat this time of year?
Gingerbread is my all-time favorite!

What is the best gift you’ve ever received?
Hmm. I don’t know if any one gift stands out as the best, but I do remember how excited I was to find a new Barbie popping out of the top of my stocking every year. Unlike my sisters, I was a definite Barbie girl.

What is your favorite holiday read and watch?
To read: I usually devour the holiday themed new releases, so I can’t pick just one, but to watch: It’s a Wonderful Life, hands down. I want to live in that film!


What’s one New Year’s resolution you’re making for 2014?
I’m resolved to start eating better—cooking more, eating fresher, more nutritious foods. I’ve actually started doing this already. It’s time-consuming, but I’m determined to stick with this one.


About the Author
Born and raised in the Midwest, Anna Garner's adventurous spirit kicked in after graduating from high school, and she's since lived in Boston, NYC and London. For several years, Anna worked in fashion—first as a journalist and then as a boutique owner, and for a while she dabbled in design. Although chick lit was her first love, Anna started writing quirky romances, and her first one, Fashioning a Romance, was published in May 2012 under the name of Libby Mercer. This was followed by two more quirky romances: Unmasking Maya and The Karmic Connection. Since Lying to Meet You is written in old school chick lit style and isn't a clear cut love story, Anna decided to publish it under her real name. She currently lives in San Francisco and spends most of her time cranking out more stories.

Connect with Anna
Blog: http://libby-mercer.blogspot.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LibbyMercer1
Facebook - Anna Garner: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAnnaGarner
Facebook - Libby Mercer: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Libby-Mercer-Author/184901528274900

Buy Her Books
On Amazon 
Lying to Meet You
The Karmic Connection
Unmasking Maya
Fashioning a Romance

On Barnes & Noble
Fashioning a Romance
Unmasking Maya
The Karmic Connection
Lying to Meet You

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December 18, 2013

12 days of writers - no. 11: brea brown

Blogger's Note: Welcome to the 12 Days of Writing, Change the Word's annual December celebration. After two years of sharing writing tips, this year, I'm sharing 12 writers with you. For the first three weeks of December, you'll have a chance to meet 12 wonderful women and learn about their favorite holiday traditions.

Brea Brown is one of the best writers I've come across in recent years. Her novel, Daydreamer, kept me flipping the pages of my Kindle app even in the middle of a night out with my friends. Heck, I was so determined to get to the end of this story, I even kept reading through a fairly serious case of morning dehydration. My face actually did that thing where it hurt, because I was smiling and laughing so much. Brea and I bonded the way I imagine most people do: A shared interest in Colin Firth finding photos of hot men holding puppies/babies or wearing cowboy hats/sailor suits/vests/almost nothing. We've since found other common interests, and she has become a regular source of entertainment and inspiration for me.



What’s your favorite holiday tradition?
I love going to church on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. It makes me feel connected to the less commercial side of the holidays and seals the deal on my Christmas spirit, but I'd have to say my FAVORITE tradition is less spiritual. I love decorating the tree. I buy one new Christmas ornament for each of my kids and a new family ornament to put on our tree every year.


Plus I have friends who have made ornaments for me over the years that are so dear to my heart.


Trimming the tree is like reconnecting with old friends. I have a memory for every ornament, and it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy to recollect them all.

What is a must-have eat or treat this time of year?
Eggnog. I know a lot of people think it's nasty, but I am obsessed with it. I drink it straight-up or with rum or with peppermint schnaps or in frozen custard or in a hat or with a cat. I just love it. Our local grocery stores sell it year-round now, but I'm disciplined and only partake around the holidays, so it remains special.

What is the best gift you’ve ever received?
A couple of years ago, my husband gave me the BBC Romance Collection Special Edition DVD box set...


...and I made noises only the neighborhood dogs could hear. I mean, the picture on the box set, alone, was enough to get me all crazy. My husband knows what I like, and he's not against indulging my ridiculous obsessions, as all of my friends and family can attest. Usually there's a theme involved. One year was all about the KC Chiefs. I got a fleece throw, some Matt Cassel football cards (that I made into magnets for my filing cabinet at work and that have since prompted major teasing from my co-workers), and a calendar. He's an excellent gift-giver! (My husband is, although I'm sure Matt Cassel is an amazingly thoughtful gifter, too.)

What is your favorite holiday read and watch?
Read: The Polar Express. I've loved that book since I was in grade school. My kids love the movie, but I still prefer the book.

Watch: Love Actually. It's the quintessential Christmas movie for me. So funny and romantic and irreverent! Close second: The Holiday. Jude Law. 'Nuff said. Although... Jack Black is very charming and sweet in that movie, too, and I LOVE Kate Winslet.


What’s one New Year’s resolution you’re making for 2014?
I want to publish at least one of my books in paperback form in 2014, if for no other reason than to say that I did. I'd also like to actually hold one of my books, instead of just seeing it on a Kindle or computer screen. I think the logical choice will be Daydreamer, since it's the first book I ever published, but we'll have to see. Since when have I ever done the "logical" thing?


About the Author
Brea Brown lives in Springfield, Missouri, with her husband and three sons, but her international support network stretches as far as Australia. She spends the majority of her time in front of her computer, imagining swoon-worthy guys and fictional situations. Occasionally, friends and family--and her day job--coax her out into the real world, which is sometimes almost as good as what goes on in her imagination.

Her published novels are Daydreamer, The Secret Keeper, The Secret Keeper Confined, The Secret Keeper Up All Night, The Secret Keeper Holds On, The Secret Keeper Lets Go, Plain Jayne and Quiet, Please! Coming Soon: Let's Be Frank.

Connect with Brea
Website: http://www.breabrown.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/breabrownauthor
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/breabrown3

Buy Her Books
http://www.amazon.com/author/breabrown


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