July 31, 2014

from the desk of bingley no. 10

Blogger's Note: While I make an effort to generate some serious progress on Book 3, the wonderful Bingley Chapman has agreed to oversee Change the Word. All opinions expressed in these posts are his and his alone. (Except when they're mine, but being portrayed as his.)


So... this is my tenth post on behalf of my mom, and by now I'm sure you have lots of questions. I'll do my best to answer everything I think you'd like to know right about now.

1. My full name is Bingley Charles Chapman.

2. I have a little sister named Jane Elizabeth Chapman. She isn't always pleasant.

3. I love laser pointers, salmon treats and baked cod.

4. I typically like British period drama, but lately I've been into post-writing Friday Night Lights marathons with my mom.

5. I'm always down for a pre-dawn cuddle session. Always.


Here's another song from Mom's writing playlist:




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July 30, 2014

from the desk of bingley no. 9

Blogger's Note: While I make an effort to generate some serious progress on Book 3, the wonderful Bingley Chapman has agreed to oversee Change the Word. All opinions expressed in these posts are his and his alone. (Except when they're mine, but being portrayed as his.)


Writers! Let's talk about PDA. I say it's OK, as long as I'm the instigator. (I say it's crap if my mom is trying to smother me with affection without my permission.)

How do you know when enough is enough when it comes to canoodling in your books?


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July 29, 2014

from the desk of bingley no. 8

Blogger's Note: While I make an effort to generate some serious progress on Book 3, the wonderful Bingley Chapman has agreed to oversee Change the Word. All opinions expressed in these posts are his and his alone. (Except when they're mine, but being portrayed as his.)


Mom, I think we need to talk about your use of dashes and ellipses. I've seen your MS and, well, you're kind of out of control. I appreciate your enthusiasm, but you might want to consider using some other punctuation in your novel. Just a thought.

Do any of you overuse words or punctuation in your stories? What are your biggest offenders?


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July 28, 2014

from the desk of bingley no. 7

Blogger's Note: While I make an effort to generate some serious progress on Book 3, the wonderful Bingley Chapman has agreed to oversee Change the Word. All opinions expressed in these posts are his and his alone. (Except when they're mine, but being portrayed as his.)


Rise and shine!

In addition to helping my mom's writing career by filling in on her blog and offering motivation, I also like to give her an early morning wake-up call. Sometimes, I even get her up before the first alarm! Thanks to my help, she can usually get in a little writing before she goes to work.

Are any of you early morning writers? Do you have any tricks that help you start writing promptly after you get out of bed?



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July 25, 2014

from the desk of bingley no. 6

Blogger's Note: While I make an effort to generate some serious progress on Book 3, the wonderful Bingley Chapman has agreed to oversee Change the Word. All opinions expressed in these posts are his and his alone. (Except when they're mine, but being portrayed as his.)


And now I'm on laundry detail this weekend. I guess.

What's one chore you HATE to do? (And do you have any tips for getting out of it? Please and thank you for the advice.)

Laundry day. Best day of my life. Just kidding, but that is the name of another song Mom's been jamming. 



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July 24, 2014

from the desk of bingley no. 5

Blogger's Note: While I make an effort to generate some serious progress on Book 3, the wonderful Bingley Chapman has agreed to oversee Change the Word. All opinions expressed in these posts are his and his alone. (Except when they're mine, but being portrayed as his.)


Sometimes tough love is the only way to keep my mom motivated. In this instance, I was catching mom taking selfies of us when she was supposed to be working on her novel. I can appreciate her wanting to capture our cuteness (we're pretty adorable), but as her best friend, I owe it to her to be honest.

I glare, because I care.

And in this moment, the honest truth was this: Put down the damn cell phone and get back to work. Just not for too long. I'm going to want to cuddle at some point, today, and I'd like to be fed.

What's the best way someone has supported you during your writing journeys?

Before we say goodbye for today, I want to share another one of my mom's selfies in honor of a very dear friend of mine, who we said good-bye to last night. This is Mom with her furry brother, Buddy, celebrating Christmas back in 2009.


We miss you, Buddy. Thank you for the love and memories you shared with us. I hope you have lots of squirrels and bacon in Heaven.


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July 23, 2014

from the desk of bingley no. 4

Blogger's Note: While I make an effort to generate some serious progress on Book 3, the wonderful Bingley Chapman has agreed to oversee Change the Word. All opinions expressed in these posts are his and his alone. (Except when they're mine, but being portrayed as his.)


Sigh. I don't know what else I can say about this other than people should NOT leave stray ribbon sitting around the house. Because my mom WILL find it, and she WILL think it'd be absolutely adorable to put it on me for a photos shoot.

Mom is also more than a little addicted to her cell phone, selfies and Facebook. And I really don't like it when she drinks a little too much wine and wants to slow dance. (OK, so that only happened once or twice, but it was still embarrassing.)

In all fairness, I'm sure Mom would like it if I stopped licking her ear before dawn every morning (even though I just want to cuddle). I could also probably stop throwing up fur balls all over the house (I get a little excited). And I'm sure she'd be thrilled if I stopped insisting on watching her take baths (I let her watch me take baths).

Have I said "sigh" already?

Point is, we both have to exercise a lot of patience, and we both have opportunities for growing to make this relationship work. At least it keeps things interesting. And in the end, it's worth it for the one you love.

Here's a question for you word fans: What's one habit you'd like to break? What's one you refuse to give up?


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July 22, 2014

my tv do-over: gilmore girls, season six, episode 22

Let me tell you a little story about Luke and Lorelai. Luke owns and operates the diner in Stars Hollow, Connecticut, a fictional and quirky town not far from Hartford. Lorelai runs, and later owns, an inn.

She's also an addict. And Luke is her dealer.

Source

OK, so it's only coffee, but those of us who can't function without our daily dose recognize the significance of the relationship we have with the person who gives it to us.

In all serious, throughout the show Gilmore Girls, as much as we fans loved watching Lorelai and her daughter Rory make faster-than-the-speed-of-sound pop culture references, we also loved watching Luke and Lorelai fall in love, realize they were in love and do something about being in love.

Things are about to get all spoilery up in here, so if you haven't seen the show and plan to organize a binge-watching session, go ahead and pause right here, get in touch with Netflix, watch the show, then come back to read this.

Are we all we caught up now? Good.

So picture it. Sixth season. A lot of hours, days, years invested in these characters, and at last Luke and Lorelai are together. They're engaged. Luke is making renovations to Lorelai's simple, but lovely home. They're talking about maybe having a kid or two together. They're in luvre.

But when Luke learns he has a child from a previous relationship, he's a little distracted, and Lorelai gets upset. It's more complicated than that, but basically, the two start arguing. Ultimately, at the end of Season Six, Lorelai gives Luke an ultimatum: Let's just get married already; what are we waiting for?

Luke, a guy who lacks the impulsive gene and took several seasons to even work-up the courage to ask out the woman he'd been silently pining for doesn't jump at the idea. So what does Lorelai do in this ill-fated finale?

SHE GOES AND SLEEPS WITH CHRISTOPHER, HER DAUGHTER'S FATHER AND HER HIGH SCHOOL BOYFRIEND, AND BREAKS. LUKE'S. HEART.

When Caroline Fardig asked me to share my TV Do-Over, I knew this one had to be it, because... THIS WAS THE WORST THING THAT EVER HAPPENED TO THIS SHOW.

Phew. It felt good to say that. Even though things ended up OK for Luke and Loralei eventually, I still haven't forgiven her, and I hate-watched the final season of the show. Obviously I'm not as over this, even more than eight years later. But maybe fixing this now and forever will help.

So, here's what going to happen. Instead of Lorelai going to Christopher (who she ultimately elopes with in Season Seven, only to turn right around and divorce him a couple of episodes later), she's going to go home and spend a dark evening watching Pretty in Pink and Sixteen Candles. She'll probably eat some awful junk food (which really isn't like a coping mechanism so much as the norm for her). During that night, she'll stop to think about what she's done and said and realize she needs to chill the eff down.

When Luke shows up the next morning (and this is how the episode ends, not how the next season begins), tells her he does want to marry her, and let's go do it, she still says NO. She understands, and has been understanding, of the fact that his life has completely changed. But she's also realized she's deserving of love and attention, too.

So instead of spending Season Seven watching both of them suffer apart, because she cheated on him, and then her dealing with a hasty marriage and divorce, they both take a big old inventory of their lives, and they decide to elope at the end of the show.

It's not that big of a change really, right? It's nothing huge or grand or even really out of character. But it saves us fans--and these characters--a whole lot of heartache. And it keeps me from developing serious and major hate for a character I once loved.

Source

Be sure to visit Monique McDonell, tomorrow, to read her TV Do-Over, and in the meantime check out the rest of the blog hop here.


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July 21, 2014

christmas in july


Merry Christmas, y'all! This week, you can pick-up these four holiday titles for only 99 cents:
Merry & Bright by Isabella Louise Anderson, Cindy Arora, Laura Chapman, Lauren Clark, Libby Mercer & Nancy Scrofano
Winter Wonderland by Belinda Jones
Weight Till Christmas by Ruth Saberton
Married by Christmas by Scarlett Bailey

For more insider information on "Twelve Drummers Drumming," check out these blog posts:

You can also learn more about this story and the others in Merry & Bright by visiting the following pages:


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July 20, 2014

happy birthday to the page girls!


It's time to send out a happy birthday message to some of my new Twitter Friends: The Page Girls.

The Page Girls is a new online mag with an emphasis on books, cocktails, and female friendships. Each week, they publish a themed issue containing short stories, book reviews, personal and funny essays, videos, cocktail recipes and more. Check out The Craziest Thing I Did For Love and LYLAS (Love You Like a Sister).

From July 21-25, The Page Girls is celebrating its first official “birthday week,” which means a giveaway every day plus other goodies. 

Sign up for The Page Girls’ weekly newsletter to get notified about new issues, and be sure to follow them on Twitter and Facebook.


You can also enter to win an ebook copy of An Imaginary House by the Sea by Cecily Gates here on CTW. Check out the Rafflecopter below.

About An Imaginary House by the Sea
“Love is a messy thing. That hopelessly devoted, deep-in-your-bones kind of love we used to dream about when we were kids—it turns out that it’s hard. It aches. It takes time. Like a house that weathers the ages, it must be built, brick by brick.”

Snarky and ambitious Dawn Campbell almost had it all: a job producing lavish celebrity events, a hip downtown apartment, and a studmuffin of a boyfriend. But after losing all three in one fell swoop, Dawn finds herself resorting to the unimaginable: returning home to Bridgeport, an oceanside town where the air smells sweet but not much happens.

When a chance encounter brings her into the sturdy arms of John Brown, her childhood best friend, old feelings come rushing back. As the sparks fly, life finally starts to look up for Dawn...until she meets his wife.

Marguerite Brown has everything that Dawn doesn’t: a killer fashion sense, a breathtaking beauty, and a French accent—oh, and the kind of temperament that makes great white sharks seem docile in comparison. Determined to release John from an unhappy marriage, Dawn turns on the charm and makes a plan to finally win back her one-that-got-away.

But after Dawn stumbles upon a secret that, up until now, Marguerite has meticulously kept hidden, the two women are thrust into an unexpected friendship. An Imaginary House by the Sea follows Dawn’s journey towards self-rediscovery, finding purpose, and building a more complex, steadfast kind of love than she could have ever imagined.



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July 18, 2014

from the desk of bingley no. 3

Blogger's Note: While I make an effort to generate some serious progress on Book 3, the wonderful Bingley Chapman has agreed to oversee Change the Word. All opinions expressed in these posts are his and his alone. (Except when they're mine, but being portrayed as his.)


It's Friday, so I'm working from bed. While I can crash anywhere (it's one of my many talents), this little bed of mine gets just the right amount of sun to help me with my daily Vitamin D boost.

Were's your favorite place to work?

And while Mom might be "too busy writing" to work on her own blog, somehow she managed to find time to write a guest post for Beyond Little House. She claims she wrote it a week ago, but whatever. You can read it after 7:30 a.m. here.

Let's end this week with another jam, shall we? Here's yet another song my mama's been a'rockin while she writes.



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July 17, 2014

from the desk of bingley no. 2

Blogger's Note: While I make an effort to generate some serious progress on Book 3, the wonderful Bingley Chapman has agreed to oversee Change the Word. All opinions expressed in these posts are his and his alone. (Except when they're mine, but being portrayed as his.)


Maybe the little woman would find more time and energy to write if she spent a little less of it taking selfies. 

I'll admit, there is nothing that distracts me quite so well as a laser pointer or plastic bag. Once I get one of those in sight, not even my great desire to nap will keep me away from attacking those things.

Here's a question for you readers and writers out there: What do you find most distracting when you're trying to stay focused on a book or project?

(In other news: Please don't tell my mom I referred to her as "the little woman." She gets kind of... annoyed about things like that.)


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July 16, 2014

from the desk of bingley no. 1

Blogger's Note: While I make an effort to generate some serious progress on Book 3, the wonderful Bingley Chapman has agreed to oversee Change the Word. All opinions expressed in these posts are his and his alone. (Except when they're mine, but being portrayed as his.)


Talk about being a pushover. A little persuasive begging and a smooch from my mom, and here I am. Taking care of her blog while she allegedly writes another novel. I obviously have pressing matters to attend to (those naps won't take themselves), but I'm also a sucker for this dame.

Besides, I managed to negotiate some terms into this deal. In addition to giving me more salmon treats and cuddles, Mom promised to put a cat in this new book. As long as he's devastatingly charming and handsome like me, you readers will be in excellent shape.

So, unless you see otherwise, I'm in charge of things around here. I can't promise I'll have much to share, but I'll make up for my lack of depth with cuteness.

And before you ask, yes. That is a Fifty Shades of Grey movie poster in the background. SMH. Women. Not only do I have to look at that thing every day BUT I have to live with the knowledge that he'd never find himself in this situation.

I'm not really sure how to go about ending this post, so I'll do what my mom does a lot of the time and leave you with a music video. Here's one of the songs she's been playing a lot while she works on this new story. It may or may not get her in the mood to tell this story. It may just make her dance in her chair. You can never tell with Mom.



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July 11, 2014

negativity can go fly a kite

There's nothing like writing the first draft of your first novel. Maybe I'm alone on this, but there's something extra special about that first experience.

When I set out to write Hard Hats and Doormats in November 2010, I'd already tried and failed to write three other novels. Somewhere between doing the research, creating an outline and writing 3,000-5,000 words I'd lose interest or motivation in the project. This was different.

Thanks to the competitive spirit of National Novel Writing Month, I managed to get past 3,000 words, then 5,000 words. I hit a series of other milestones before I reached 50,000 words on November 30. Sure, I had some concerns with the project, but I'd actually managed to write 50,000 words on one project. I cried happy tears that night when my friend submitted the word count to the website for me (my Internet connection was too slow). I was beyond excited when I told my parents and friends about achieving this goal.

Sure, there was a part of me that felt halfway insane from all the feels I had (I told people I was just "in character"), but I was happy and proud.

A few months later, I finished the first draft and cried again. I'd done it. I'd written a full book, and I was sure it was going to be a best-seller one day. I knew it still had plenty of work to go before I ever saw it for sale in a book store, but I believed in my project. I believed in me.

Fast forward a few years and a few complete rewrites, countless editing sessions, lots of beta feedback and many failed queries to agents, editors and publishers. My confidence was slipping. I wasn't sure about the project, and I didn't have a lot of faith in my ability as a writer or storyteller.

After I finally found a publisher for Hard Hats and Doormats I had a brief reprieve in spirit. Having someone else tell you they believe in your project does wonders for the soul. But the positivity didn't last forever.

When you publish a book you're forced to face the reality that not everyone is going to love your baby. Some people are even going to be borderline (or full-out) nasty with their dislike. You can say you won't let negative reviews or off-handed comments bother you. But if you're like me, they do. For years, and even still now, I've told my author friends not to get caught up in the bad, to focus on the good. I've offered encouragement and advice for overcoming the doubt this causes, but I'm not so good at listening to or following it for myself.

It's hard not to take it personally when someone says they don't like your baby. I accept that books, movies and all arts are subjective. But it still shakes the soul.

With one published novel, two published shorts and one completed novel, I should feel better about myself and my writing. But those insecurities never really go away. I'm not sure they ever will. Whenever I sit down to work on my current project, I'm overcome by a wave of thoughts I never had while writing book one.
What if I can't find the right words?
What if I can't ever finish this draft?
What if I'm unable to publish?
What if people don't like the book?
What if people don't like me?
And those are only the tip of the worries. Lots of "what ifs," and none of them are doing me any good. I'm putting way too much pressure on myself, and it's killing my creative process. It's not helping.

And so, today, in an attempt to overcome my negativity, I'm telling my insecurities to go fly a kite.


For those of you unfamiliar with the term, Urban Dictionary defines "go fly a kite" as a nice way to say go eff yourself. I first heard the phrase in Juno when, after a particularly heated argument, Juno's step-mother tells her to "go fly a kite." I find this all quite liberating. I mean, I don't know about the rest of you, but I have a pretty difficult time being able to say "go eff yourself" in everyday conversation (I am a lady after all), but that doesn't mean I don't want to express the same meaning.

And yes, that is a photo of Little Laura, flying a kite circa 1989/1990. Look how happy and carefree she seems. (What isn't pictured is the moment about 20 minutes later when LL or her brother--can't quite remember who--got the kite caught in a tree or power line or tree and the fun and games was over. I don't remember if we ever went kite flying again after that.)

But back to what I'm actually telling to go fly a kite...

While I'll never be able to recapture the careless abandon I had when I wrote the first book--kind of like how you can't start a new relationship without bringing the emotional baggage you accrued from the last guy you dated--I can still give it my best effort.

I can still fall in love with characters and a project. I can still want desperately to tell their story. I can and should still come to each day of writing excited to work.

I can still have confidence in my ability to be an author. I can still believe in myself. And I can still have faith that someone, someday will read this book, connect with it and love the characters and story almost as much as I do.

There are no guarantees in life or publishing, but you have to keep your faith.

I'll send you off with a little song, which kind of takes on a whole new meaning for me after writing this post.



What's something you'd like to tell to "go fly a kite"?


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July 9, 2014

#sunnfun


Summer is officially here, and Marching Ink wants to celebrate with you! For a limited time, get the following titles for just 99 cents: Zoey & The Moment of Zen, Hard Hats and Doormats, and A Questionable Friendship, and don’t forget to enter the #MISummerSale giveaway!  We have a beach bag filled with summer items for you to win: sunglasses, a beach towel, and a picnic set including a tablecloth, carafe, napkins and cups. Also included is a $20 Amazon gift card that will be sent digitally. Please note this is open to US/Canada residents only. Follow the instructions below to enter, and a winner will be chosen Saturday, July 12. Happy Summer from Marching Ink!





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July 2, 2014

lexi's fourth of july cupcakes


People (I'm not sure who exactly) say the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. In Hard Hats and Doormats, Lexi Burke takes these words seriously. She arrives at Jason Beaumont's Fourth of July barbecue with holiday cupcakes in tow hoping to light some fireworks, or at least kindle more sparks.

While I can't promise you'll have the same results as Lexi--there is only one Jason Beaumont--you can give it your best shot by making your own patriotic cupcakes for Independence Day.

They're super easy to make. Lexi is a busy woman. She doesn't have time to make treats from scratch. And she's definitely someone who would re-pin a fast and easy recipe on Pinterest.

Still, wanting to impress her longtime crush by wooing him through food, she'll want to do something special. Something that at least gives the impression she'd spent a whole day baking in the kitchen.

To make these, you'll need:
  • one box of lemon cake mix
  • one bag of frozen strawberries
  • one bag of frozen blueberries
  • one container of cream cheese frosting

And whatever extra ingredients are required to make the cake mix. (You can also use fresh berries, but Lexi didn't see the point when she was using processed everything else.)

Follow the directions in the cake mix. Sidebar: In lieu of eggs and oil, you can substitute Diet 7-Up or applesauce in place of the oil. You're never going to be able to completely make this dish healthy, but it never hurts to make a couple of little tweaks to a recipe.


Add half of the frozen strawberries and blueberries to the cake batter.


Pour the batter into two lined cupcake/muffin tins. This recipe should yield 24 cupcakes, but check your cake mix directions for the official figures.


After baking the cupcakes and allowing them to cool, blend the remaining strawberries and mix into the cheesecake frosting. This will make the frosting a little soupy, but it's delicious and worth it.

If you've chosen to use fresh fruit, Lexi and I encourage you to skip this step and put some of the sliced strawberries on top with the blueberries. But quite frankly, the frozen strawberries are hot messes on their own, which is why we've added them to the frosting.

(Quick note: I kind of feel like royalty using "we." Then again, a small part of me feels nuts--in a good way--using "we" to talk about my character and I.)


Because the frosting will be a bit soupy at this point, you may want to use a pastry back to frost the cupcakes. That's what Lexi did. Unfortunately, I don't make as much money as Lexi, so I don't have fancy baking gear. I had to frost them the down and dirty way with a spatula. Like a peasant. I know.


Put the blueberries on top
 as you like, and add a dash of love (or at least wishful thinking), and you're all set.

It's a holiday weekend, so feel free to splurge and eat two (or six) of these cupcakes.

And if you're so inclined, feel free to celebrate Independence Eve in a way that is totally Jason Beaumont approved. (While he's not a beer snob, he'd definitely get behind any holiday built around a beer.)


Happy early Fourth of July to everyone celebrating. Otherwise, have a nice day.


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