February 24, 2014

cover reveal: the china doll by deborah nam-krane


BOOK THREE
The China Doll
By Deborah Nam-Krane
Genre: Mystery/ suspense


Hypocrisy, half truths and lies...

Sick of being treated like she's going to break, Jessie Bartolome is back to her old ways and calling everyone on their hypocrisy. Sheesh! One little breakdown and even easygoing Martin Shepard thinks she's too fragile to handle their age difference. Good thing her older and equally yummy teaching assistant Robert Lester thinks otherwise…right? 

After spending so long cleaning up after everyone else, Jessie's cousin Richard has never had the time to start a life of his own. However had he managed to find his girlfriend Zainab? So what is Richard going to do now that everyone else has grown up? Marry Zainab and start a family? Things have never been that easy for a Hendrickson…just ask his cousin Michael.

Richard's mother, Lucy, is one of the most powerful women in Boston... so when is she going to put a stop to the blackmail ruthless Alex Sheldon has been holding over her for years? And if Richard knows more than he's letting on, why hasn't he gone after Alex himself? The question is, how much does he- or anyone else- really know? 

Welcome to the Bartolome/Hendrickson family. 

The China Doll is Book Three in The New Pioneers Series




EXCERPT

“My dad drowned. My mom died in her sleep.”
“How old was she?”
“About twenty-six.” Jessie shuddered just a little bit. “Just a little older than Miranda is now.”
“That’s awfully young to die in your sleep.”
“Heart condition, they said.”
“Who’s they?”</ o:p>
“Richard and Lucy.” Jessie shook her head. “No. Just Richard.”
“What did your aunt say?”
“Nothing,” Jessie said quietly. “She just let Richard do all the talking.”
“How old was he?”
Jessie sighed. “Thirteen, I think.”
“And how old were you?”
“Four.”</ span>
“So how do you know you remember it correctly?”
Jessie looked at him square in the eye. “Because you know when you’re that age. When you’re a little kid, you don’t have to go through the apologetic BS you do when you’re older. When you’re eight, even. You just get it. And people think you’re crazy or in the way or rude because you get it and then you say it. So then no one wants to talk to you or they send you to your room. Then you start making up excuses for why they must be right and you must be wrong. Then you grow up, and you realize that you had it right back then, and if your world seems messed up, it’s because you bought into someone else’s lies. So don’t lie anymore, and everything will be just fine.”
“And when did you come to that nugget of wisdom?”
“When I was fifteen,” Jessie said quietly. “And I’ve been very happy ever since.”


BOOK ONE
The Smartest Girl in the Room
Genre: Coming of Age

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?


BOOK TWO
The Family You Choose
Genre: Family Saga

Miranda Harel has been in love with her guardian Alex Sheldon since she was five years old, and Michael Abbot has despised them both for just as long. When Miranda finds out why she wants both men out of her life for good and questions everything she believed about where and who she came from. Finding out the truth will break her heart. Without family or true love, will her friends be enough to bring her back?



About the Author
Deborah Nam-Krane is a writer living in Boston proper who has been storytelling since she was a little girl and writing those stories down since she was eight. Any given day will find her reading, writing, reviewing, editing and, just for fun, homeschooling her three school-aged children (she’s very grateful the fourth is now college-aged).

The China Doll is the third installment of the New Pioneers series, the sequel to The Smartest Girl in the Room (March 2013) and The Family You Choose(September 2013). While her long-suffering editor works her magic on the fourth installment Let’s Move On, Deborah is working on the fifth. That book will be set in the world of Boston and Massachusetts politics, and her job will be to tone down the true stories she’s heard so they seem believable.

Deborah is all over the place on the internet- no, really- but the best way to keep in touch is to follow her blog Written By Deb and subscribe to her newsletter (only publishing news, never spam).

Connect with Deb
@dnkboston

GIVEAWAY
$10 Amazon gift card
5 copies of both The Smartest Girl in the Room and The Family You Choose




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February 21, 2014

the state of my reading - february 2014

Audiobooks give me an opportunity to do some great
multi-tasking - like the Saturday morning I spent in
bed cuddling with the kittens and crocheting a scarf
while I listened to Whiskey Beach by Nora Roberts.
I haven't said much about the books I've been reading this year, because I haven't done much reading. Fortunately, thanks to audiobooks, I'm managing to make my way through a list of stories that have been on my to-read list for a while.

The only real downside of audiobooks is how long it takes to listen. The ones I have listened to lately average about 16 hours, which is more time than it takes to actually sit down and read it. But, audiobooks come with enough perks to balance this out:
  • I can listen on my way to and from work everyday (about 45-minutes to an hour round-trip).
  • I can listen while I fold laundry, do my dishes or make dinner.
  • I can listen while I work on some crocheting projects that have stacked up during the past year. (I'm currently making a throw, and I can't wait to share photos of it once I finish.)
  • Listening to audiobooks doesn't seem to distract me too much from my writing - not in the way the act of reading does.

Now, that last one is a tricky matter. Maybe there's a science behind it, or maybe it's all in my head. But for some reason, when I'm heavily involved in an editing or writing project, I struggle to get my mind focused on reading. Audiobooks, however, seem to be the exception. For me, they're more of a substitute for watching TV. Now, having said that, I tend to stick to a couple of authors when I listen to audiobooks while multi-tasking: Nora Roberts and Julie Garwood. My explanation - I've read so many books by both authors since I was 12 that my brain is accustomed to their styles.

Whatever the reasoning may be, here's a rundown of the audiobooks I've listened to so far this year and the reviews I left on Goodreads:

Dark Witch
By Nora Roberts
This was OK. I hate saying that, because it's Nora Roberts and I adore her, but it was only OK. A little slow to start, but once it got going (about five or six chapters in) it picked up speed nicely.

Overall I enjoyed it, but it had so many similarities to the Sign of Seven and Three Sisters trilogies that I felt like I'd read it before. Only... I liked the Sign of Seven better.

Still, the story's saving grace is how well it's written and the character Iona was relatable. And, because I'm a sucker for Nora, I'll certainly tune into the next two installments -- I just won't wait on pins and needles.
Rating: 4 Stars

Whiskey Beach
By Nora Roberts
I'll agree with what others have said. As seems to be the case with most of Nora's latest releases this book gave me the feeling of being a story I'd read before.

Like the defeated cop who fled Boston for small-town Alaska in Northern Lights, Eli Landon is a man trying to piece his life back together after a year of struggling with depression and pain stemming from a crime he didn't commit. His family's wealth and storybook history (both bad and good) has a feel like Cade Lavelle's in Carolina Moon, but their relationships are current clout are more MacGregor-like. He escapes to a family house with a history of treasure, like the Calhoun series.

But, maybe because of these similarities, I was drawn to Eli. And I actively wanted him to overcome his past and become better. And Abra, his love interest, was wonderful, too. While she did sometimes seem too good to be true, she was kind of inspirational. She's been through a difficult past, but had the courage to move on from it to focus on a simple life where she takes pleasure in simple things. Watching the two of them fall in love and become partners was lovely.

While I felt like I was reliving past stories, and even had the whodunit figured out well in advance (figuring out the person(s) behind the past and present crimes committed), the story still held enough natural suspense that kept me holding my breath to see how the revelations unfolded.

I listened to this on audio book, and don't share the opinions several others had. It was the original narrator, and I thought he did just fine.

The story seemed to drag on a little and could have been tightened up a bit -- particularly at the beginning. Still, I enjoyed this much more than I thought I would going into it, which was a pleasant surprise. By no means a new favorite, I don't regret the hours I spent listening to Whiskey Beach.

Rating: 4 Stars



The Witness 
By Nora Roberts

Nora Roberts not only delivers one of her best novels in recent years, this might be one of my favorites of all time. While there are some similarities to Carolina Moon and Carnal Innocence - girl with a complicated family/personal past she's trying to escape and a charming southern gentleman willing to help her no matter what - there was enough unique and different about this one to let it stand on its own. And where there were similarities, well, I loved both of those books, so it gets a free pass.

This story had me riveted from page one. It's been a long time since I've been so caught up so fast. I feel like it's impossible to really say much without spoiling the whole story, but I'll say the action was enthralling, the romance endearing and plenty of angst-filled moments from both.

I'll be adding this one to my NR favorites list.

Rating: 5 Stars

Birthright
By Nora Roberts

This was a fast-paced and interesting read. Carrying plenty of Nora's signature features and style, the characters are what you would expect. This is one of her more unique stories plot-wise. I kind of like how everything wasn't tied up perfectly I'm the end and well enough. That's all I can say without spilling plot details.

Rating: 5 Stars

Now I'm curious about all of you. What have you read lately?


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February 19, 2014

interview and excerpt with jl redington

Blogger's Note: Today, I'm pleased to welcome JL Redington to the blog as part of her Chick Lit Plus blog tour for her novel, The Lives That Save Us. Enjoy this interview with the author and excerpt of the novel.

Change the Word: How did you come up with the idea for this story?
JL Redington: It started with wanting to do a mystery involving the FBI. I wasn’t sure of a story line, wasn’t sure how it would all come together or if it would until my fingers hit the keyboard and then the movie started. I just followed along as best I could!

CTW: Who is your favorite character in this book and why?
JR: It’s hard to pick a favorite, but it would probably be Cayman. He’s confident enough to keep trying with Alexa, deal with her neurosis from the losses she’s experienced and stay focused on her good qualities.

CTW: What most surprised you while writing this story?
JR: How connected I got with the characters. It was hard to see it end, and really hard to move on to the next story. It surprised me more than anything how that connection formed and stayed with me. Surprises me on each book I write.

CTW: Where do you find motivation and inspiration for writing?
JR: It all comes from somewhere in my head. There is a piece of a story that starts and won’t go away, then another piece pops in there until the movie is off and running. I guess when that process stops I’ll stop writing. I hope it never does!

CTW: How do you get yourself in the mood to write?
JR: I wake up in the morning and I know this is my fulltime job. So I get ready for the day, eat breakfast and head to the office and my trusty computer. I must always be in the mood to write because I’ve never noticed it ‘hit’ me that it’s time to write. It’s just what I do, and so I go do it, if that makes sense.

CTW: What snacks/treats/drinks/do you need on hand when you’re writing?
JR: I always have a bottle of water (flavored with Propel – mostly grape), I may have a very small snack sized bowl of mixed nuts that I’ll chew on, but mostly I’m staring at the screen and often forget to eat, so I have to put a reminder in my phone that it’s time to eat. I treat myself to a Diet Caffeine Free Pepsi every once in a while…

CTW: What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
JR: My mom told me when I was engaged to be married to always make my bed the first thing in the morning, before I do anything else. She said that way, if I don’t get anything else done all day, I can at least look at my bed and say, “I got that much done!” She was absolutely right.  I make my bed every morning, and sometimes when I come up the stairs feeling like I’m just not being productive, I gaze into my room to that nicely made bed and know that I’m productive.  Sounds silly, but I’ve had more ideas for writing pop into my head when I see that tidy bed then from any other source. Just have to say, “Thanks, Mom!”

CTW: How much of yourself or your life do you put into your characters or story?
JR: I put a lot of what I would like to be in my female characters. Their strengths are sometimes what I feel my weaknesses are. Nothing from my personal life makes up any of the stories, but sometimes I will use a funny story from one of my kids youth or adulthood for comic relief in a book, usually something they did that cracked me up.

CTW: If you could only read three books for the rest of your life, what would you choose and why?
JR: The Scriptures, #3 in the Mistborn series, and hmmm….one Agatha Christy mystery, but that’s going to take some thought as to which one.

CTW: What’s up next for you and your writing career?
JR: I’m currently working on a second Romantic Suspense series called “Passions in the Park”.  The first one, Love Me Anyway is out and I’m about a third of the way through the second one, Cherish Me Always. I would like to take some time to get another YA book out in my Esme Chronicles as well. Next year? Writing, writing, writing. I love my job!

CTW: Is there anything else you’d like to share?
JR: For those youngsters who dream of writing books I say read, read, read. I found a whole new life, a new world in every book I read growing up. I often think all those stories combined in my psyche and now shoot out those movies that I type up and turn into stories. So read on!

Excerpt
“Don’t play those games with me, young lady,” said Keith, “I’ve been around too long, and don’t have that much time left that I would enjoy the game now.  You liked him, and you know it.”

Alexa dropped dejectedly down in the seat across from Keith.

“Did I really blow it?  I can’t fall for anyone again, Keith.  I really can’t.”

Keith chuckled and looked down at his empty coffee cup.

“How old are you?  Twenty-six?  Twenty-eight max?  Don’t you think that’s kind of a long time to be alone?  You may have to do that ‘kissing-the-frogs’ thing for a while, but you don’t have to sleep with every frog you kiss, and you don’t have to expect every one of them to turn into a prince.  But you could at least enjoy yourself along the way.  I need some coffee.”

Alexa sighed and reached across the table to pour the steaming coffee into his cup.

“I can’t, Keith.  I mean it; and I don’t want to.  I don’t want to deal with another human being in my life.”

“Yes, you do.” He said with determination.

“How do you--How could you even remotely know that?”

Keith looked at her across the table.  He picked up his coffee cup and took a slow sip, then put the cup back down on the table and stared into the dark liquid.

“I know that because there isn’t a human being on the face of this earth that doesn’t need to be loved.”  He looked into her eyes.  “You’re not betraying the memory of your father, nor are you giving in to a life you swore you’d never want.  Be human Alexa; live again.  Square your shoulders, take a deep breath and give it a go.  It’s a ride you can stop at any time.”


 
About the Book
Alexa is beautiful, smart and alone in the world, a result of devastating losses in her life. She purchased a diner in the quiet out of the way town of Startup, Washington and hired employees to help run it. She’s just beginning to feel secure in her loneliness.

Suddenly her world is jolted awake by Cayman, a handsome young stranger that enters her diner seemingly from nowhere. Event’s happen quickly, and soon Alexa is deep into secret lives, deception and desire.

Will she figure out the riddle of her father’s death? Will she be able to resist the temptation to fall in love with Cayman in spite of her suspicions? Will she live to tell the tale?

About the Author
JL Redington lives Juneau, Alaska,  with her husband Terry and puppy, Shelby. Together they are the parents of six grown children and 19 grandchildren. She loves to read, camp, cook and be with her friends and family. In writing this romance series, JL has found a new love in her life, and that is writing books. JL has always felt books are a way to take us out of the everyday and into a place we can relax, be entertained and enjoy a different world for a period of time. Happy reading!

Connect with JL
Website
Facebook
Twitter

Buy the Book
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February 17, 2014

greetings from... new england

In my novel Hard Hats and Doormats, human resources manager Lexi Burke travels the Gulf Coast training employees, settling disputes and maintaining order for a chemical company. Like Lexi, my first job out of college involved a lot of travel––I visited more than 20 states in four years. In this series, I'll share some of my real life experiences exploring the country.


It was September 2008, a couple of weeks before the onset of autumn, when I visited New England for the first time. Still adjusting to the idea of being in my first job instead of sitting in a classroom, I had high expectations for my first visit to New England. I'd be spending this week traveling across Upstate New York and Massachusetts visiting new customers. But for me, it was a dream.

It's kind of silly. But I'd wanted to visit Massachusetts -- specifically Greater Boston -- ever since I'd read the MacGregor series by Nora Roberts in seventh grade. I know I should have wanted to go to see the place where Robert Frost described in "North of Boston" or had some other profound reason. But I didn't. I loved those books -- my first foray into a story where a romance took the center stage. Roberts has a way of describing her settings that makes you want to visit. Paired with the fact that a year earlier, my church's youth program had discovered "Veggie Tales," which featured a song about pirates who had never seen Boston in the fall. So at 12, I decided that someday I'd go to Boston, and I'd see it in the fall.

The city, the rest of the state, didn't disappoint. As I drove through the Berkshires, I frequently found myself breathless. I'd had no idea the state would be filled with so many rolling, rocky hills with trees rising high into the air, and rivers and streams flowing down below. Like Upstate New York, I found myself captivated by charming towns nestled in valleys, my writer's brain crafting stories about the people who might live and work there.

I heard real Boston accents for the first time when I visited rail yards in Worcester, Framingham and Boston. I'm a little embarrassed to admit this, but I found myself smothering a laugh when a man -- while telling me a story -- used the word "re-tahded." For one, I was shocked. That's not a word that's part of my everyday conversation, and his use shocked me. For another, it made me think of the Saturday Night Live sketches when Jimmy Fallon and Rachel Dratch played a crazy in love Boston couple who would say "you re-tahded" "no you re-tahded" when they fought. At 22, it was a struggle for me not to give into the urge to laugh at the awkwardness mixed with the memory of those skits.

On that first trip East, I took a wrong turn while I was looking for the yard in Boston's Beacon Park and I ended up at Harvard. I felt like Elle Woods in Legally Blonde, only way less cooler.

As I drove deeper into the city, anxious to see what I found, I lost my breath again when over a crest on the Interstate, I saw the Charles River empty into the Atlantic. The blue water stretched forever, and somewhere in my mind, I thought about how this was the opposite sight pilgrims had seen when they landed on Plymouth Rock miles down the road.

Later, when recalling the sight to my father, I said, "The pioneers who moved west must have had a lot of faith in what they would find to leave behind such a beautiful place."

On future trips to New England, I spent time in Connecticut -- where I ate soft-shell crab on a beach -- and Rhode Island -- where I witnessed a trainmaster officiate a wedding for a yardmaster and his longtime girlfriend during a safety feed. I drove under the Atlantic Ocean on my way from Logan International Airport to the city. I sat in bumper-to-bumper traffic as Sen. Ted Kennedy's funeral procession passed by. I saw all four seasons played out twice.

And I saw Boston in the fall.

New England held up to my expectations. And though I haven't been back east in years, every time I catch the first leaves changing color in autumn, I think of that drive along I-90, and I miss it. 












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?


Order the Book
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
Marching Ink


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February 14, 2014

#chicklitlove


Happy Valentine's Day! As part of #ChickLitLove, I'll be sharing these valentines on Twitter throughout the day. But as my very special blog readers, you can check them all out here first.







If you're looking for some other great Chick Lit reads, tune in to #ChickLitLove on Facebook and Twitter and check out this Pinterest page.

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February 13, 2014

#chicklitlove: happy galentine's day!


Blogger's Note: In honor of Valentine’s Day, the ladies of #ChickLitChat are celebrating #ChickLitLove all week. Today, we're celebrating our best girlfriends for Galentine's Day. Check out how Lexi, Kara and Brenna from Hard Hats and Doormats make the day special. This is the checklist of must-haves for their festivities. Enjoy!

1. Frozen margaritas and chips and salsa. Kara is a pro at making mixed drinks and Brenna will cover the accompanying snacks. And if all else fails, they can hit up their favorite Mexican restaurant in The Woodlands for everything they need.


2. Homemade cupcakes. Though Lexi's work schedule keeps her busy, there is no way she won't stay up late the night before to bake something delicious to share with her friends. Given the Galentine's Day theme, she'll probably use one of the following recipes:
Heck, if she's feeling up to it, she might make a couple of them. She's an overachiever like that, and she has a big sweet tooth.

3. A reading of empowering quotes from powerful ladies. Here's a sample of what they'll likely read:
“Woman must not accept; she must challenge. She must not be awed by that which has been built up around her; she must reverence that woman in her which struggles for expression.” — Margaret Sanger

“I’ve come to believe that each of us has a personal calling that’s as unique as a fingerprint – and that the best way to succeed is to discover what you love and then find a way to offer it to others in the form of service, working hard, and also allowing the energy of the universe to lead you.” — Oprah Winfrey

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." — Eleanor Roosevelt

4. Marathon. In the interest of fairness, each lady gets to pick one hot man to include in their movie/TV marathon. Kara picks Michael Fassbender and Jane Eyre. Brenna chooses Ryan Gosling and The Notebook. And because they're pressed for time, Lexi picks Ian Somerhalder and an episode of The Vampire Diaries. She's OK with having the shortest pick, though, because she gets to stare into Ian's eyes for 45 minutes.

5. Karaoke. As usual, Brenna will sing one of two songs, Kara will randomly pick one and Lexi will select something from her extensive repertoire to mark the occasion. As a bonus, the ladies will join forces to perform "Hold On" by Wilson Phillips. It's obviously the best song to celebrate their friendship.




About the Book
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
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
Marching Ink

For More
Add to Goodreads
Visit the Publisher – Marching Ink
Read Behind-the-Scenes stories from the making of Hard Hats & Doormats

Watch the Book Trailer



For more about Lexi's world, visit her Twitter Feed and Pinterest Board.

If you're looking for some other great Chick Lit reads, tune in to #ChickLitLove on Facebook and Twitter and check out this Pinterest page.

Have the latest posts from Change the Word delivered to your Inbox by entering your contact information under "Follow by Email." Stay connected with Laura Chapman on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads. Receive updates from Change the Word between posts on Facebook.

February 12, 2014

#chicklitlove: meet jason beaumont


Blogger's Note: In honor of Valentine’s Day, the ladies of #ChickLitChat are celebrating #ChickLitLove all week. Today, I’m sharing a fun, flirty Q&A with the crushable Jason Beaumont from Hard Hats and Doormats. Enjoy!

Celebrity you've been told you look like: Oh, I hate questions like this. No one has ever really told me I looked like a celebrity, except once a girl said, “You look kind of like that guy who played Lancelot in ‘Arthur.’” I had to look up who that was – Ioan Gruffold. He’s quite a bit older than I am, though. So… I guess I look like me or kind of a younger version of this guy:


Source: Fanpop.com

Naughty food you like to indulge in: What do you mean by naughty? Like hotdogs because they're shaped like... Nevermind. I suppose the naughtiest food is having dessert before dinner. (Did I answer that right, Ms. Laura?)

What you wear to bed: Boxers.

Favorite body part of the opposite sex: A beautiful smile.

How many people you've said "I love you" to: My high school girlfriend, a college girlfriend, but no one other than my mama since.

Relationship deal-breaker: Dishonesty. I work with enough liars to have to deal with them in my personal life.

Your first kiss - How old were you? Did you instigate it?: I'd like to think I'm a southern gentleman. That may or may not be true, but either way, I don't kiss and tell.

Do you have any tattoos or piercings? If so, describe: None.

Favorite alcoholic drink: I'm a simple guy - tap beer.

Describe your dream girl: Smart, funny, witty, hard working, compassionate... and while we're talking dreams, someone who gets along with my mama and can bake. The way to my heart really is through the stomach. I may have met her already, though...



About the Book
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
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
Marching Ink

For More
Add to Goodreads
Visit the Publisher – Marching Ink
Read Behind-the-Scenes stories from the making of Hard Hats & Doormats

Watch the Book Trailer



For more about Lexi's world, visit her Twitter Feed and Pinterest Board.

If you're looking for some other great Chick Lit reads, tune in to #ChickLitLove on Facebook and Twitter and check out this Pinterest page.

Have the latest posts from Change the Word delivered to your Inbox by entering your contact information under "Follow by Email." Stay connected with Laura Chapman on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads. Receive updates from Change the Word between posts on Facebook.

the meredith schorr collection


Now Available, from one of my favorite authors... Real Chick Lit for Real Chicks: The Meredith Schorr Collection

This boxed set brings together three favorites from bestselling chick lit author Meredith Schorr. Blogger Girl follows Kimberly Long, a book blogger asked to review the debut novel of her high school nemesis. In A State of Jane, “good girl” Jane Frank is looking for love, but when all of her dates flake out on her, she decides to turn the tables. In Just Friends With Benefits, Stephanie Cohen is determined to turn the one who got away into “the one” despite advice from a friend not to put all her eggs in one bastard. Meredith Schorr’s characters are believable, relatable, and authentic—women who are easy to root for, despite their flaws. The stories are humorous, heartfelt, and definitely real.

Buy the Book
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
iTunes: Coming soon.

About the AuthorA born and bred New Yorker, Meredith Schorr discovered her passion for writing when she began to enjoy drafting work-related emails way more than she was probably supposed to, and was famous among her friends for writing witty birthday cards. After trying her hand writing children’s stories and blogging her personal experiences, Meredith found her calling writing “real” chick lit for real women. When she is not hard at work on her next novel, Meredith spends her days as a trademark paralegal. She is a loyal New York Yankees fan and an avid runner. Meredith is the author of three published novels, Just Friends with Benefits, A State of Jane and Blogger Girl and the full boxed set, Real Chick Lit for Real Chicks: The Meredith Schorr Collection.

Connect with MeredithWeb: meredithschorr.com
Twitter: @meredithschorr
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/#!/MeredithSchorrAuthor

Have the latest posts from Change the Word delivered to your Inbox by entering your contact information under "Follow by Email." Stay connected with Laura Chapman on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads. Receive updates from Change the Word between posts on Facebook.

free book


Just in time for Valentine's Day... Cindy Flores Martinez's Mail-Order Groom is now available for free on Amazon!

Here's the scoop on this read: 
A romantic comedy about an American woman who marries a stranger from Poland after her fiancé leaves her right before the wedding.

Lisa is about to marry the love of her life and have the wedding of her dreams, but her world is shattered when she finds her fiancĂ©, Jeff, in the arms of another woman. When he calls the wedding off and struts around town with his new love, Lisa is heartbroken, and she wants revenge. She gets it by marrying a total stranger at the wedding who she found on Mail-Order-Grooms.Com. He’s from Poland, and he needs to marry an American woman so that he can stay in America. He’s willing to pay her money for it. Lisa thinks he’s the perfect answer. It won’t be a real marriage, and her best friend Daphne insists she won’t even have to live with him. Lisa races to the altar with her stand-in groom and says “I do,” but she soon discovers that revenge isn’t as sweet or as simple as she thought it would be.

About the Author
Cindy Flores Martinez was born and raised in a suburb of Los Angeles. She has an MFA in Creative Writing with an emphasis in Screenwriting. She has been a screenwriting instructor, screenplay consultant, script reader, and screenplay collaborator. Cindy’s debut novel, Mail-Order Groom, which was inspired by her own Polish ancestry, started out as a screenplay and movie project. She spent years shopping it around Hollywood, New York, and other parts of the world and had two well-known actors, one of them Academy Award nominated, interested in portraying the main character’s parents. After not finding the success she wanted, Cindy officially canceled her film production company in November of 2009 and embarked on the journey of turning her screenplay into a novel. For more information, please visit http://cindyfloresmartinez.com.

Pick it up for free on Amazon today.

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February 11, 2014

#chicklitlove: excerpt of 'hard hats and doormats'


Blogger's Note: In honor of #ChickLitLove Week, I'm sharing a romantic scene from my debut novel, Hard Hats and Doormats. Here's a little info on the scene you're about to read: After two days of boring work meetings, Lexi Burke and Jason Beaumont blow-off some steam with their friends by spending Friday night at a dive bar in Houston. During dinner, Southern Boy Jason learns Northern Girl Lexi doesn’t know how to dance. He sets out to give her a lesson. Enjoy!


“My pleasure. Now.” He eyed the dance floor. “We’ve talked shop long enough. Wanna dance?”

“Oh.” She was caught off guard. Her eyes traveled to the dance floor, where couples now gathered. She wanted to but, “I can’t two -step.”

“Can’t or don’t know how?”

“Don’t know, but that’s basically the same thing.”

“No it’s not,” Jason said. He stood and held his hand out for her. “I’ll show you.”

She hesitated a moment, and Jason lifted his eyebrows. “Or, we can sit and talk about how much we hate our jobs while everyone else enjoys their Friday night off.”

That settled it. She placed her hand in Jason’s and he pulled her up. “I’m in.”

With her hand firmly in his, Jason led Lexi to the dance floor. They stopped in a dark edge of the floor, and she realized he was doing her a favor. She could learn here without drawing attention from the rest of the dancers.

Jason swiftly pulled her to face him. She nearly stumbled over her feet.

“Okay, Lexi, what we’re doing here is the Texas two-step. Now stand here facing me and keep your feet together like mine.

Still facing each other, Jason adjusted their stance. Okay. I can do this. Jason placed his right hand on her back under her left arm. She flinched a little at the near intimate touch.

“Lexi, be cool,” he instructed in a soothing tone. “This is how it works. I’m leading, which means I put my hand right here.”

Relax, Lexi.

“Now, put your left hand on my shoulder. You’ve got this,” he praised in a teacher-like voice. “You’re doing great.”

She beamed at the compliment. I’m doing a good job.

“Now, give me you right hand and bend your elbow like I’m bending mine.” He lightly held her hand outstretched in his. “Excellent. Now, when the music starts up again, you’re gonna have to follow my lead.”

She nodded.

“For the steps, do the opposite of whatever I’m doing. That means when I step forward with my left foot, you step back with your right. Got it?”

“Yeah.” She watched the dancers around them in hopes of picking up their moves if she watched closely.

“Good girl.” He grinned, and she almost forgot to listen to his instructions. “Now, the way it goes is like this: On the first beat I’ll step forward quickly with my left, then I’ll step forward as quickly with my right. Next, I’ll step forward slowly with my left. We’ll pause on the fourth beat. The next beat I’ll step forward slowly on my right. We’ll hold still a beat and pull our feet together. And then we repeat. See, it’s easy.”

“I have no idea what you said.”

Jason squeezed her right hand lightly and smiled encouragingly.

“Honey, relax. You’ll be fine if you follow my lead. Trust me.”

“I trust you,” she whispered.

The music began again, and they started to move. Patiently, Jason guided her through the movements. Mid-way through the first song, she found her footing and got the hang of it. She would never win a dancing competition, but she made an acceptable presence on the dance floor. After a couple of songs they moved around the dance floor more easily, laughing and joking.

Lexi exchanged a grin with Kara. She and Tyler stood in the back of the bar with the smokers. She gave an excited thumbs-up through the haze.

The music slowed, and she heard the first few bars of “Desperado.” It was an unexpected song choice, but she liked it. Instead of dropping his hands and taking her back to the table for the slow song, Jason moved his right hand to the small of Lexi’s back and pulled her closer.

“I told you you’d be a natural.” Jason’s voice tickled her ear.

She smiled back, her expression hidden from him. “Hardly. Your feet have to hurt from me trampling on them.”

“My feet are fine.”

“What a trooper,” she teased. “Where did you learn to dance?”

Jason moved his hand slightly on her back. The small movement sent chills through her body. “Why? Does it surprise you?”

“It does.”

He chuckled. “I’ll have to show you a few other moves some time. You’ll love ‘em.”

For your listening pleasure, here's a little music to set the mood:



About the Book
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
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
Marching Ink

For More
Add to Goodreads
Visit the Publisher – Marching Ink
Read Behind-the-Scenes stories from the making of Hard Hats & Doormats

Watch the Book Trailer



For more about Lexi's world, visit her Twitter Feed and Pinterest Board.

If you're looking for some other great Chick Lit reads, tune in to #ChickLitLove on Facebook and Twitter and check out this Pinterest page.

Have the latest posts from Change the Word delivered to your Inbox by entering your contact information under "Follow by Email." Stay connected with Laura Chapman on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads. Receive updates from Change the Word between posts on Facebook.

February 10, 2014

#chicklitlove: meet lexi burke


Blogger's Note: In honor of Valentine’s Day, the ladies of #ChickLitChat are celebrating #ChickLitLove all week. To kick off the festivities, I’m doing a Valentine-themed Q&A with Lexi Burke, the main character of Hard Hats and Doormats. Enjoy!

1) What three qualities do you find most attractive in a partner? 
I love a man who is driven. I have big plans for my life, and there is nothing sexier to me than a man who knows what he wants, too. Now that I’ve been living in Texas for a couple of years, I’d have to say I’ve become a fan of the Southern gentleman, too. You know the type – opens doors, offers to pay for your drinks, carries you home when you’ve had a few too many. And last, a sense of humor. Life is way too serious – so you’d better find someone you can laugh with.

2) What’s your idea of romance? 
It’s the little things for me. Do I love getting flowers? Yes. But more than that, I like a man who walks me to my car at night, and calls to make sure I got home safely. I travel a lot, so having a man who regularly checks in with me while I’m on the road – just to let me know he’s thinking about me – that’s about the most romantic thing in the world.

3) Who's your favorite on-screen couple (Film or TV)? 
I am a huge fan of those vampire-type shows. So for movies it’s Edward and Bella from "Twilight" (I know, I suck - ha ha ha) and on TV it’s Damon Salvatore and Elena Gilbert on "The Vampire Diaries" (when they’re together, and she isn't with his brother).

Source: E! Online

4) What's been your most embarrassing moment in regards to the opposite sex? 
I tripped over a carpet in my office and basically face-planted, dropping all of my paperwork, when I met my crush. I couldn’t even speak, and my face turned bright red. God, that was embarrassing.

5) What was your first impression of your partner or crush? How accurate was it? 
Considering that said crush stopped everything to help me pick up everything I’d dropped in the aforementioned incident, and made sure I was okay before going on with his day, I figured he must be a considerate gentleman. Two years later, and I’m pretty sure I was right.

6) How have you coped with break-ups in the past? 
I go into tween mode. I curl up on my couch with a pint of ice cream, comfy pants, and a marathon of my favorite Disney movies. There’s nothing like watching "The Little Mermaid" and "Beauty and the Beast" to perk up a girl’s spirits.

7) Which hot actor would you want to be stranded on a deserted island with and why?
Ian Somerhalder. He has the most beautiful piercing blue eyes and dark hair. He's basically the real-life version of Prince Eric, who is the hunky heart-throb from one of my favorite movies. There are… things I’d like to do to him. And if you’re stuck on a deserted island, you might as well have something to do – I mean, someone to hang out with – when you’re not busy searching for food, shelter, and rescue.

And he's friends with Grumpy Cat!

(Source: Perez Hilton)

8) What is the craziest thing you've ever done for love? 
I am such a total wuss. I haven’t done anything crazy. Yet. I keep going back and forth on whether or not I should make some grand gesture to win my crush over, but… I haven’t quite made up my mind.

9) PDA: How much is acceptable?
I’m a sucker for holding hands. There’s nothing sweeter than having your guy hold your hand as you're walking down the street. Maybe a little peck on the lips, because he can't believe how lucky he is to be with you. Otherwise, I’m more on the leave it in the bedroom type.

10) What is the best relationship advice you've ever gotten? 
“Listen with your heart.” That old tree told "Pocahontas" to listen with her heart in the Disney movie, and the girl landed a total stud. Granted, said stud got shot and had to go back to England (spoiler alert!) so maybe that’s not such a great idea after all. Hmm. On second thought, let's channel "The Little Mermaid" for advice. Be willing to fight for love, even if the obstacles seem too huge to overcome. (And it doesn't hurt if the man has a boat and ocean-front property.)


About the Book
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
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
Marching Ink

For More
Add to Goodreads
Visit the Publisher – Marching Ink
Read Behind-the-Scenes stories from the making of Hard Hats & Doormats

Watch the Book Trailer



For more about Lexi's world, visit her Twitter Feed and Pinterest Board.

If you're looking for some other great Chick Lit reads, tune in to #ChickLitLove on Facebook and Twitter and check out this Pinterest page.

Have the latest posts from Change the Word delivered to your Inbox by entering your contact information under "Follow by Email." Stay connected with Laura Chapman on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads. Receive updates from Change the Word between posts on Facebook.