February 24, 2015

now available: 'the marrying type'

The big day is here! The Marrying Type is now available!

I'm still having a tough time wrapping my head around the fact that my second book has been published. I wouldn't have made it today without the support of a lot of people. I wanted to give a shout out to a few people who played an important role in making this possible:
  • My sister, Sarah, and friend, Whitney, who read each draft of this novel and were my thought-partners throughout the process
  • My beta readers and fellow authors Tracie Banister and Cat Lavoie
  • My National Novel Writing Month 2011 buddies, including the national leaders who sponsor the event and my local friends and fellow writers Lisa, Jacie and Glenna
  • Samantha March, my editor and publisher at Marching Ink
  • Chrissy Wolfe, the fabulous line editor
  • Ashley Byland, the designer of the amazing cover
  • Polgarus Studio for formatting the novel for print and ereading
I'm also grateful to my family, friends, bloggers, writing groups (special shout out to the Chick Lit Chat crew and Chick Lit Goddesses), and you, the reader, for supporting me on this adventure. I also appreciate all of the blogger, reviewers and fellow authors who are helping to spread the word this week. It truly means more to me than I can say.

The Marrying Type is now available on AmazonBarnes & NobleKobo and Marching Ink. You can also add The Marrying Type to your to-read list on Goodreads and enter to win one of three prize packages by participating in this Rafflecopter:

Take a look at these prizes up for grabs:

The Bridal Package

The Planner Package

The Bridesmaid Package

I had a lot of fun putting them together. :)

And if you haven't already, please join the virtual launch party, which will happen tomorrow on Facebook.

Stay connected. "Like" Change the Word on Facebook. Follow my other adventures on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. Receive news updates via my e-newsletter.

February 18, 2015

happy fifth blogiversary

Happy birthday to Change the Word. Five years ago this week, I published my first blog post. You can read it here if you're interested. (I know I was curious to remember how I started five years later.)

I can still remember how I decided to start this blog. I was living in Houston, babysitting for some friends of a friend and chatting online with a classmate from college. I mentioned how much I'd enjoyed keeping a blog during my summer internship in college (on a blog I've long since deleted). That led me to wonder what it would take to start another one, and what I wanted to write about. I knew I wanted to be an author at some point, and it seemed that keeping a blog was a good way to start or at least something to do.

Since then my motives for blogging have stayed basically the same. I'm a writer and so having a place to share my thoughts and ideas and to be creative in a different way is an outlet. It's hard to believe this much time has passed.

Thank you to all of you who have followed along the way--and to those of you who have joined more recently. I set out to start this blog as a way to tell the adventure of my experience becoming a writer, and it has been that. Having you along for the ride makes it all the more fun.

With that, let's do a little reflecting on where we started, where we've been, and dream about where we are going.

Five Comparisons from Then Vs. Now

Then: This photo was actually taken (and
posted to my Facebook page) the day
after I shared my first blog post. I was
installing Texas license plates on my car.

You'll also note I have short sleeves.
In February.

1. On Living - Then: I lived in The Woodlands, Texas (located north of Houston). Now: I live in my hometown of Lincoln, Nebraska

2. On Writing - Then: I'd come up with the idea of Hard Hats and Doormats, but hadn't actually done more than write a paragraph or two. Now: I have published one novel, two novelettes, and my second novel will be out later this month. I also have a third book in editing and a fourth nearing completing on its first draft. Excellent.

3. On Working - Then: I was a traveling corporate journalist who wrote and photographed for employee newsletters. Now: I'm a communications coordinator at a museum.

4. On Playing - Then: I could destroy a six-pack of beer or a bottle of wine while dancing in my apartment and get up to be fine the next morning like it was nobody's business. Now: I still dance in my apartment, but I limit myself to one or two (or zero) drinks.

5. On Driving - Then: I drove Magnum, the red Mazda Protege with a stick shift. And I'd recently earned two hefty speeding tickets. Now: I have a silver Honda Fit without a name, and I'm an excellent driver. (I swear.)

It's interesting to see what has changed. I'm particularly proud of my writing changes, though five years ago I probably would've hoped I'd have a few more books under my belt.

It's also interesting to think about what has stayed the same and how the older I get, the more I'm OK with who I am. That's not to say I'm not still a work in progress. I just don't sit alone in my apartment drinking bottles of wine alone and crying about being single. (Now I only drink wine alone and cry if the Huskers are losing against Michigan State.)

The Five Most-Viewed Posts on the Blog

1. Book Review: Fifty Shades Freed

2. Book Review: Fifty Shades Darker

3. Fifty Shades Delicious

4. Buttering Up

5. Setting the Bar

So... apparently blogging about Fifty Shades during the peak of its mania was a good call on my part, ey? I know there's still a lot of mixed feelings where this series is concerned, but I had a lot of fun reading and blogging about these books. And, like a total nerd, I still have the screenshots I saved of tweets I received from EL James about a couple of my blog posts.

This was at a time I was feeling particularly down about my writing, my career, and life in general. Her kindness toward me on Twitter (and her willingness to share my posts with her fans) along with the distraction of reading these books and making these dishes pulled me through.

My Favorite Post From Each Year

This was much harder than I expected, so I selected one from each year. Or as close as I could get. (There were some real dog of posts to choose from in Year One.) So here they are, in order of appearance on the blog...

1. American as Green Pumpkin Pie

2. Thrown Not Stirred

3. Date Night (Hold the Blood)

4. Little Laura Struggles to Spell Good and Do Other Things Good, Too

5. The Ariel Effect

The Reading in the Kitchen posts were always some of my favorite ("American as Green Pumpkin Pie"). That's why I rebooted the series this year. I have also enjoyed opportunities to reflect (like with "The Ariel Effect") and to explore the worlds we see in favorite reads ("Date Night (Hold the Blood)"). I also like getting help from friends ("Thrown Not Stirred") and taking an opportunity to poke some fun at myself ("Little Laura Struggles to Spell Good and Do Other Things Good, Too").

Aside from being about my journey as a reader and writer, the other constant these posts all share is how much fun I had putting them together and sharing them with you readers.

Five Goals for the Future

1. Remember to have fun with this whole blogging, writing, living thing. Life's too short, #YOLO, however you say it. We have this life, and it's worth making it count.

2. Hold fewer grudges. This was a New Year's Resolution, but I'm sticking to it.

3. Another resolution that still stands true: Stop comparing myself, my writing, and my blog to others. I can only me, and that's good enough.

4. Read more books that I enjoy and add some variety. I have a bunch of books just waiting to be read, and I should get around to it.

5. Be open to change. You never know when the world can turn upside down (for better or for worse), and sometimes it's better to adapt than fight.

Thank you again for being on this journey with me. Here's hoping I'll have even more joy and fun to reflect upon in another five years.

Stay connected. "Like" Change the Word on Facebook. Follow my other adventures on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. Receive news updates via my e-newsletter.

February 16, 2015

galentine's day 2015

I've come to love February 13. Thanks to Parks and Recreation turning it into Galentine's Day, it's now an annual opportunity for me to reconnect and celebrate with some of my girlfriends.

For this year's festivities, I invited friends over for an evening of brunch for dinner and empowering lady time (actually it was mostly just chatting). That meant pink mimosas, a waffle bar (just toaster-ready Eggos, because I had to work all day), and an egg casserole. Sidebar, here's the quick and easy recipe for this dish, because it went over well with my guests, and I want a written record of it for later.

1 bag of shredded hashbrowns
8 scrambled eggs
1 cup of milk
1 package of sausage diced (I used faux meat)
1 cup of shredded cheese
Directions: Mix all of the ingredients, except the cheese, together and pour into a greased 9 x 13-inch pan. Sprinkle cheese over the top. Pop it into the oven at 350 degrees for 90 minutes.

For party favors, everyone received a string of pink Mardi Gras beads, a card, and the following activity:

I know it's not as extravagant as the year I gave away Recycled Reads or homemade sugar cookies, but I did make the activity myself. ;)

Mostly we talked, which is a lot of fun when you're blending friends from different parts of your life. At the end of the evening, a few friends stayed to watch Secretary (it was Fifty Shades of Grey weekend after all). It was a fun way to kickoff the weekend it also reminded me that I need to spend more time with my friends. They're a good time.

(I'm also brimming with ideas for my fifth annual Galentine's Day celebration--Cinco de Galentine's. There are so many possibilities.)

Stay connected. "Like" Change the Word on Facebook. Follow my other adventures on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. Receive news updates via my e-newsletter.

February 14, 2015

be my valentine

Go ahead and pickup this year's Hard Hats and Doormats-inspired Valentines in honor of #ChickLitLove (which was yesterday) and, of course, Valentine's Day (which is today, silly).

These are all sealed (electronically) with a lick, because I kiss won't stick. XOXO.

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?

(Pick up a copy of Hard Hats and Doormats from AmazonBarnes & NobleKobo, or Marching Ink for only 99 cents today!)

Stay connected. "Like" Change the Word on Facebook. Follow my other adventures on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. Receive news updates via my e-newsletter.

February 13, 2015

valentine's sale

Chick Lit

Dirty Laundry 
By Rachel Naples

vdaydirtylaundryJerry Maguire ruined my life.

Did he have any idea of the impact of those three little words on people's lives? I got married because of them. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

I'm Lucy Stars and I give advice to the lovelorn on a podcast from my kitchen table. My qualifications? None whatsoever, except for the fact that I've had more relationships than I can count or even remember, so by definition, I'm an expert.

And all because I was looking for someone to complete me.
My life reads like a chick-lit bestseller. Swear. Or a good beach read when you want to hit the pause button on life. But for me? My story doesn't end on the last page.

My incredibly romantic husband, Kraft Conboy, is a successful and oh, so handsome life coach. His specialty? Women. Relationships. Romance. He was nothing short of inspirational. My plan was to live happily ever after...with him. The pages of our lives would unfold like a sexy, romantic comedy or maybe even a contemporary romance novel. And? He was good in bed.

But my life zagged when it should have zigged.

It took a left turn when it should have gone right. I remember the exact moment because I was about to start my show. That's when it happened. The zagging, I mean.

Kraft walked in and announced he wanted a divorce. I was so stunned that I actually asked him who was getting divorced because I thought he was talking about someone else! But then he said it again. I didn't know what to do, so I begged him to stay. I know, bad move. And then? He turned on his heel and walked out the door.

I turned back to my computer. In the shock of the moment, I'd gotten distracted; I still had a webcast to give. What in God's name was staring back at me? Lights. Lots of lights on my screen. My callers were trying to get through. Oh, no, my microphone was live! My entire audience had just heard me get dumped! And heard me plead, no, beg, for him to stay. I give relationship advice and I tell people not to do that!

My romantic comedy had turned into a horror film and there was no pause button to hit.

What happened next I couldn't have predicted.

Call it genius. Call it serendipity. Call it meant to be.

Look, I can't tell you everything, you'll have to read the book!

Original Price: $2.99
Sale Price: $1.99
Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1AsouWW
Twitter: @RachelNaples1
Tweet: #VDayBookSale: DIRTY LAUNDRY by @RachelNaples1 #chicklit http://amzn.to/1AsouWW

There Are No Men 
By Carol Maloney Scott

vdaytherearenomenDivorced thirty-something Claire doesn’t know who’s in her dating pool—but she’s doing her best to avoid shark infested waters. Leaving her clueless and insensitive husband behind was a smart move after losing her fertility, but now she’s riding the wave of flying toupees, strange men in leather thongs and drunken nights in painfully impractical shoes. Claire desperately wanted to be a mother, but now she’ll settle for one middle aged man worthy of a second date.

After a long drought, men are flooding her shores and she’s drowning in choices. There’s Justin, the 25-year-old IT boy-genius with the GQ looks and cougar fetish, who won’t take ‘no’ for an answer. A woman would have to be a blind, lesbian nun not to fall for him, but he reminds Claire of her wasted youth. And then the charming but mysterious Dr. Nathan appears, but he’s cheating on her with his medical mistress—a demanding cardiology practice.

To further rock her boat, Claire’s ‘stable’ career in publishing has been tossed about by her floundering company’s launch of a new line of trendy, salacious books. Cookbooks aren’t selling these days, but erotica is flying off the shelves—and challenging Claire’s attitude about sex, work . . . and her tempestuous new life.

When her best friend convinces her to buddy up to the aspiring writer who just moved in across the street, Claire rejects the idea—he has already caught her in more than one embarrassing and scantily clad situation. Giving in to her friend’s nudging, she tries to ignore the details she discovers about him, including his hard rock night gig and his mesmerizing blue eyes, in the hopes his literary talents can pull her publishing house up from the bottom of the ocean.

Claire’s dilemma begs the question: Are there NO men or TOO MANY?

Original Price: $2.99
Sale Price: $.99
Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1KcyMMG
Twitter: @CMScottAuthor
Tweet: #99cent sale! Get THERE ARE NO MEN by @CMScottAuthor during the #VDayBookSale! #chicklit http://amzn.to/1KcyMMG

When Girlfriends Collection 1-3
By Savannah Page

vdaywhengirlfriendsThis digital boxed set includes the first three novels of the When Girlfriends collection: When Girlfriends Break Hearts, When Girlfriends Step Up, and When Girlfriends Make Choices.

When Girlfriends Break Hearts
Follow Sophie Wharton as she learns what to do about matters of the heart when things don’t quite go according to plan.

A novel about the bonds of friendship, the power of forgiveness, and the lessons you learn when you let go.

When Girlfriends Step Up
Join mom-to-be Robin Sinclair as she embarks on a journey she never could have imagined.

A novel about love and support, and learning that with enduring friendships, no woman is ever alone.

When Girlfriends Make Choices
Follow Lara Kearns as she struggles with how far she’ll go for true love…however forbidden…
A novel about forbidden love, the choices you make, and discovering what’s important in life.

Original Price: $7.99
Sale Price: $1.99
Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1s92x6C
Twitter: @Savannah_Page
Tweet: Get 3 titles from the WHEN GIRLFRIENDS series by @Savannah_Page at a discount for #VDayBookSale! #chicklit http://amzn.to/1s92x6C

When Girlfriends Chase Dreams 
By Savannah Page

vdaywhen girlfriends chase dreamsA novel about chasing dreams, for better or worse, and living your love story.

Claire Linley is finally a bride! After nearly ten years with her college freshman sweetheart, Claire is going to become Mrs. Conner Whitley. She’s got her bridal magazines, is the biggest Martha Stewart fan, and subscribes to all the major wedding blogs. She’s been dreaming of this moment for years! How could planning her dream wedding be anything but perfect?

The easy-going and bubbly type, Claire will obviously have a blast planning, and with her fantastic group of girlfriends-made-bridesmaids she just can’t go wrong. Whether it’s wedding gown shopping, makeup trials, or cake-tasting, Claire’s friends are there in a pinch.

But how big does the pinch get? All Claire wants to do is get married, but at every turn something seems to go awry and she’s starting to lose it. How is a girl supposed to remain cool and collected when the pricey dream wedding planner isn’t turning out to be so dreamy? When DIY projects and the perfect venue are going up in smoke? How is Claire supposed to marry Conner when the special day that’s supposed to join them together, forever, is slowly tearing them apart?

This is the charming story about how sometimes the biggest events in life are defined by the smallest acts of kindness and love. It’s a love story about dreaming large, loving deeply, and, in the end, truly having the happiest day of your life, no matter what happens (or doesn’t). About what happens when girlfriends chase dreams.

Original Price: $3.99
Sale Price: FREE
Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1tAt3dC
Twitter: @Savannah_Page
Tweet: #99cent #chicklit from @Savannah_Page when you grab WHEN GIRLFRIENDS CHASE DREAMS! #VDayBookSale http://amzn.to/1tAt3dC

Miss Adventure
By Geralyn Corcillo

vdaymissadventureWhen a freak fast-food accident almost kills dayreaming city girl Lisa Flyte, she decides it's time to get a backbone and really start living out loud. But how is a shrinking violet like Lisa supposed to get tough all of a sudden after a lifetime of watching from the couch? Jack Hawkins, that's how. When Lisa finds out that the outdoor extremist needs a clueless urbanite to test his top-secret line of idiot-proof adventure gear, she gets the most outlandish idea of her life: she will be his undercover test dummy if he helps her become brave on their adventures in the wild.

They strike a deal. Lisa survives the treks, jumps, and dives (barely!) But can she use her bumbling...uh, blossoming outdoor moxie to become the alpha hero of her everyday life? Will she find the grit to pursue a career she really wants or the nerve to stand up to her bullying family? And will she get gutsy enough to go after Jack? He's a man who's not afraid of anything...except maybe falling for Lisa.

Original Price: $2.99
Sale Price: $.99
Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1DxZRWm
Twitter: @GeralynCorcillo
Tweet: #VDayBookSale! Get #Amazon #BestSeller #chicklit Miss Adventure! #99cents or #kindleunlimited  http://amzn.to/1DxZRWm #romcom

French Toast 
By Glynis Astie

vdayfrenchtoastSydney Bennett is back! And her pursuit of perfection is alive and well. Naïve to the core, Sydney believed that when she finally married the man of her dreams, the hard part was over. Following a civil ceremony as a means to keep Louis from being deported, Sydney continues to plan the fairytale wedding that she had dreamed of since the age of five. Much to her chagrin, she discovers that her mother-in-law is planning what seems to be a rival wedding in France that SHE has been dreaming about for her only child since before he was born. How will poor Sydney be able to ensure two perfect weddings in the midst of Louis’ fruitless job search? Especially when her mother-in-law’s idea of perfection appears to be having Sydney embarrass herself in front of hundreds of French people that she has never met?

As if she didn’t have enough on her mind already, Sydney finds herself faced with the trials and tribulations of being a wife. Sydney had always heard that marriage was hard, but she thought that this was just a ruse that married couples portrayed in a bid to make single girls feel less desperate. But as the bills pile up and emotions run high, she realizes that there may just be some truth to this statement. And as she watches Louis’ perfection fade away before her very eyes, she begins to wonder if she made a rash decision in marrying a man that she had known for a mere six months.
With all of the obstacles that Sydney and Louis will encounter, will they be raising their glasses in celebration or watching their impulsive marriage crash and burn? One thing is for certain, Sydney and Louis Durand are headed for one hell of a toast…

Original Price: $2.99
Sale Price: FREE
Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1yS3vLZ
Twitter: @GlynisAstie
Tweet: #VDayBookSale: Get #chicklit FREE on your eReader! FRENCH TOAST by @GlynisAstie http://amzn.to/1yS3vLZ

Dangled Carat 
By Hilary Grossman

Dangled Carat Hilary GrossmanFor every girl who wondered if she should love him or dump him.....
     For every girl who listened to her heart instead of her friends advice....
          For every girl who l wondered if she was wasting her time dating that guy....
               meet Hilary....

She had gotten used to dating the commitment-phobic Marc, thirteen years her senior. They had a great relationship--why rush into things? She saw no need to pressure him for marriage, believing that when the time was right, he would propose. But after they had been together for four years, their friends decided to take matters into their own hands, pushing Marc to propose and making Hilary realize how much she really did want to marry the man that she loved. Unfortunately, Marc still wasn't ready--and their friends' meddling in the form of a faux engagement party led to a disastrous New Year's Eve that brought their relationship to an inevitable turning point.

For anyone who has ever dated a commitment-phobe, who has found their patience wearing thin with the one they love, or who has sat around wondering if he is ever going to pop the question while trying to remain the very picture of patience and grace, Hilary's humorous and honest story will hit home.

Original Price: $2.99
Sale Price: $.99
Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1LM3Qof
Twitter: @FeelingBeachie
Tweet: Love him or dump him? Find out for only #99cents during the #VDayBookSale! DANGLED CARAT by @feelingbeachie http://amzn.to/1LM3Qof

Zoey & The Moment of Zen 
By Cat Lavoie

zoey and the moment of zenWhen 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.

Original Price: $3.99
Sale Price: $.99
Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1EBDcKl
Twitter: @Catenabi
Tweet: Grab ZOEY & THE MOMENT OF ZEN by @Catenabi for only #99cents during the #VDayBookSale! #chicklit http://amzn.to/1EBDcKl

Give Your Heart a Break 
By Helen Peterson

give your heart a breakGorgeous? Check.

Wealthy? Check.

Sweet? Double check.

When Rachel Thomas meets Mason Conner, it seems she has found a man who is everything she’s ever wanted. After years of the single girl life in New York City, she’s due for some luck in the romance department. But with her less than stellar track record, Rachel can’t seem to let go of her past failures to fall too hard.

That is until Mason’s ex-fiancé reappears, determined to steal him back. With more than winning Mr. Perfect’s heart on the line, is Rachel finally ready to give her heart a break?

Original Price: $2.99
Sale Price: $.99
Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1z9RLzf
Twitter: @HelenPeterson37
Tweet: New #chicklit for only #99cents! GIVE YOUR HEART A BREAK by @HelenPeterson37 #VDayBookSale http://amzn.to/1z9RLzf

Rock Star’s Girl 
By Jennifer Farwell

vdayrockstarsgirlEmily Watts just wants a weekend break from the workaholic hours she's taken on to keep her business - a popular fashion-snark web site - up and running. What she gets is overnight celebrity and a career-killing media scandal.

While taking time out to attend a concert in support of friend Jesse Cinder, a struggling musician, Emily meets Cory Sampson, the lead singer of a chart-topping rock band. When she agrees to a date with Cory, making entertainment headlines is the last thing she expects. Even so, it's a minor surprise by comparison to her discovery that in the music world, media notoriety trumps all. Tabloid allegations erupt when Cory and fame-hungry Jesse use Emily for personal gain, and her tarnished image spells disaster - personally and professionally. To save the web site and writing career she's made her life and dream, Emily must go from being a pawn in the Hollywood headline game to becoming the media mastermind.

Original Price: $2.99
Sale Price: $.99
Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/16huQuJ
Twitter: @JennFarwell
Tweet: #99cents for ROCK STAR’S GIRL by @jennfarwell during the #VDayBookSale! #chicklit http://amzn.to/16huQuJ

Women’s Fiction

November Surprise 
By Laurel Osterkamp

vdaynovmbersurprise• Twenty years
• Six presidential elections
• One consuming love affair

For Lucy Jones, the distinction between love and politics is hazy at best. Both can be all-consuming, and either can lead to a heart-breaking loss or an exhilarating win. Whatever the case, if you’re seen as a loser, you probably are one. Lucy first learns this lesson in 1988, when she’s a shy girl, battling a high school bully and rooting for Dukakis. Through the years Lucy will experience stunning victories and agonizing defeats as she makes the choices that define her. Meanwhile, she also struggles to define her relationship with Monty, who comes in and out of her life like the changes in public opinion. Is Monty simply a one-night stand, a kindred spirit, or the love of her life? And by 2008, can he offer her a change to believe in?

Over the course of twenty years and six presidential elections, Lucy grows and adjusts with the times. Filled with snarky political and pop-culture references, November Surprise is about the journey we take to believe in a candidate, in love, and in ourselves.

Original Price: $1.99
Sale Price: $.99
Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1z9QsQG
Twitter: @LaurelOsterkamp
Tweet: Only #99cents for #VDayBookSale: NOVEMBER SURPRISE by @LaurelOsterkamp

American Angst 
By Laurel Osterkamp

vdayamericanangstIntimate, snarky, and completely relatable, American Angst is about two women grappling with love and pregnancy, sex and careers —while attempting self-discovery in a crazy world.

Lucy needs to save her family. Robin needs to save herself. These tightly interwoven stories chart their growth as they make their way through Thanksgiving dinners, bad breakups, celebrity scandals and political campaigns. For laughter through tears, don’t miss American Angst, whether you’re new to these characters or you think of them as old friends.

(Included in this collection are Lucy’s posts about the 2012 election, which were originally seen on her liberal blog, NovemberSurprises.blogspot.com. There’s new, additional material! Spoiler: Obama still wins.)

Original Price: $1.99
Sale Price: $.99
Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1u95oDc
Twitter: @LaurelOsterkamp
Tweet: #VDayBookSale: Grab your copy of AMERICAN ANGST by @LaurelOsterkamp for only #99cents! http://amzn.to/1u95oDc

Stardust Summer
By Lauren Clark

vdaystardustsummerSingle mom Grace Mason doesn't believe in miracles, magic, or love at first sight. She likes the quiet life, complete with her eight-year-old son, their tiny house, and her teaching job. For Grace, happiness means that nothing much ever changes in Ocean Springs, Mississippi.

Then, one thousand miles away, tragedy strikes. A massive heart attack leaves Grace's estranged father comatose in an Upstate New York hospital. While a team of doctors fight to keep Henry Mason alive, Grace and Evan rush to his bedside to say their final goodbyes.

Henry's passing brings little closure for Grace, but she finds herself inexplicably drawn to her new surroundings. What begins as a short trip results in an entire summer spent with Henry's second wife, Kathleen, and her next-door neighbor, Ryan Gordon, the town doctor. When a series of unlikely events lead to Evan's disappearance, Grace must face her worst fears to find her son and bring him back home.

Stardust Summer explores the complexities of forgiveness, what it means to be a family, and the fabulous possibility of falling in love—again.

Original Price: $2.99
Sale Price: $.99
Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1Cvr1Ap
Twitter: @LaurenClark_Bks
Tweet: Only #99cents during the #VDayBookSale - STARDUST SUMMER by @LaurenClark_Bks! http://amzn.to/1Cvr1Ap

The To-Do List 
By JC Miller

PrintBetween unending housework and thankless efforts to appease a loutish husband and acid-tongue teens, Ginny Cooper’s to-do list never seems to get done. Her guilty pleasure—fantasizing about her husband’s demise—her weakness—the drive-thru at Arby’s. On the job as head librarian at the county’s obsolete library, tedium reigns. One afternoon Ginny innocently stumbles upon a dating website, where the rabbit hole awaits.

Who is Ginny Cooper? She is every woman who knows the exact number of calories in a Snickers bar, every woman who has ever struggled with her weight. She is every woman who has grappled with the gray areas, every woman who has wanted to escape her own life. At times the reader will want to reach between the pages, shake her, and talk some sense into her. But Ginny will have to navigate her own road. And through it all, we root for her.

Ginny’s childhood memories of her fading hometown provide a bittersweet backdrop for The To-Do List.

Original Price: $3.99
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Twitter: @JCMillerWriter
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A Questionable Friendship 
By Samantha March

a questionable friendshipBrynne Ropert and Portland Dolish have been best friends since being paired as roommates in college. Seven years later they are now twenty-five, married, and living in Maine–– but the two women couldn’t be more different. Brynne finds fulfillment in her life as a wife, mother and owner of a small café and bookshop, but is struggling to expand her family. Portland is still coping with her mother’s death during her childhood, and her marriage is unraveling before her eyes. Portland envies her friend’s seemingly stable and easy life while Brynne doesn’t understand the growing distance between them and cannot begin to guess what secret Portland is hiding about her husband and crumbling marriage. While one woman feels shut out, the other enters into a web of lies to protect herself.

A Questionable Friendship explores what really makes someone a true friend, a support system, a sister. How much trust goes into a friendship and when is being a friend not enough? Brynne and Portland’s story will attempt to answer those questions, and show that happily ever after isn’t in the cards for everyone.

Original Price: $2.99
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Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/10W3WGk
Twitter: @bySamanthaMarch

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By Tima Maria Lacoba (Paranormal Romance)

vdaybloodpledgeBloodpledge continues Alec and Laura’s story from Bloodgifted. Having undergone the Ritual and induction into the vampire community, Laura— the prophesised Child of Light and Darkness and last of the Ingenii—takes her place as Alec’s consort and First Lady of the Brethren. But resentment and anger grow at Alec’s privileged position as daywalker.

Among a powerful few, alliances are made and conspiracies formed, threatening a war that could destroy them all and endanger every human on Earth—creatures who would do anything to prevent the curse from ending. Now Alec and Laura must invoke the Pledge, an ancient ceremony that enforces Brethren loyalty to the Principate.

When Laura’s ex-boyfriend, Detective Inspector Matt Sommers, turns up with a threat that could expose Alec, the battle for their world and their lives begins.

Original Price: $4.50
Sale Price: $1.99
Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1Degs3K
Twitter: @TimaMariaLacoba
Tweet: #VDayBookSale: BLOODPLEDGE by @TimaMariaLacoba #pararomance

What I Really Learned in College 
By Addison Winters

What I Really Learned in CollegeAlex Rose is a 32-year-old divorced mother of two, looking for a better life for her and her sons. In search of answers, she returns to college to finally get that degree she’s always dreamed of. What she finds is something she wasn’t even looking for.

Mason Brooks is every girl’s dream: 21 years old, tall, with dirty blond hair that curls when it’s wet, sea-blue eyes, and dimples. Hot, sexy…and deliciously naïve and innocent.

Enter a tantalizing world where an average soccer mom utilizes her newfound knowledge of psychology to make life just a little more interesting. Follow along as Alex educates Mason on the art of seducing and pleasing a woman. Take notes as she introduces him to a whole new level of intensity and sexual pleasure. Study the sensual art of tantric sex as Alex creates her own style of silk and lace female dominance.
This little tryst will never survive past college–but Alex is determined to enjoy it the fullest while it lasts.

Original Price: $3.99
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Twitter: @SexyAddison
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The Position 
By Dahlia Salvatore

ThePositionDylan Farrow puts on his pants every morning one leg at a time, just like everyone else at the Kerrigan Advertising Agency. He handles high-pressure projects with a fast turnaround. He's prized for his keen intellect and admirable performance. But how did he get where he is today—to the level of Junior Executive of Design Production?

Well, that involves how he takes his pants off...
and for whom...

Hoping to break through the glass ceiling under which she's been trapped for years, Valerie Caplan picks up her life and moves to Seattle. After hearing about the position of Senior Executive of Design Production from an art director at Kerrigan, she decides to apply. When she lands the big interview, she never thinks for a minute that she'll have any serious competition. She assumes that she has the job in the bag...until she discovers that the only competition has something she doesn't have—the willingness to go outside the office to impress Danica Stewart, their uptight female boss.

Original Price: $2.99
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Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1Cvt8nX
Twitter: @AuthorDahliaS
Tweet: THE POSITION by @AuthorDahliaS on sale for #99cents during #VDayBookSale! #erotica

Ruby’s Letters 
By Maggie Van Well (Paranormal Romance)

Ruby's Letters CoverYou never know what you’ll find behind the wall of a closed up fireplace.

Emma Hopkins is a recently divorced chimney sweep trying to make it in a man’s world. When she wins a huge job in Brooklyn Heights , she finds more than she bargains for; a sexy general contractor who makes her blood boil and an evil spirit who wants her dead.

Ryan Atkinson struggles to keep his once-successful general contracting business alive, but horrors in his past have made him a shell of the man he once was. Now he has to face those fears to save Emma from a murderous ghost hell-bent on revenge.

Together, Ryan and Emma become ghost hunting partners, hoping to solve the mystery behind Ruby’s letters. What they uncover is a one-hundred year old murder and a budding love that can’t be denied.

Original Price: $3.99
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Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1zAN6K9
Twitter: @MaggieVanWell
Tweet: Get a #ghostly #romance novel for only #99cents with RUBY'S LETTERS by @MaggieVanWell! #VDayBookSale http://amzn.to/1zAN6K9

Bound to Be Pleasured 
By Pam McKenna

boundtobepleasuredconceptPhoto Play
A BDSM romance novella. When frustrated Darla decides to pose for boudoir pix to spice up her limp love life, she doesn't count on the photographer being a sexually dominant hunk who's determined to show her what she's been missing.

Faking It
An m/f/m romance novella. When Britt tries to sell a fake masterpiece to sexy art collector Garrett, her punishment (or is it a reward?) is seven days of sexual servitude to him and his buddy Jack—an intense ménage a trois that alters their lives forever.

Binding Agreement
A BDSM romance novella. Sensible Kay is ushered into the world of sexual submission at the hands of the ultra-sexy yet tortured John, a Dom who shows her how to become fulfilled in ways she'd never imagined.

Original Price: $5.99
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Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1EGoIeJ
Twitter: @McKennaErotica
Tweet: #erotica bundle on sale for #99cents-3 novellas from @McKennaErotica! BOUND TO BE PLEASURED #VDayBookSale http://amzn.to/1EGoIeJ

Starting From Lost 
By SK Wills

Starting From Lost CoverLove is a risk. If you lose it all, would you dare to risk it twice?

Hannah Rogers is lost: cynical, insecure, and withdrawn. Skeletons forged through a bad breakup that should have been a marriage proposal. Now four years later, Hannah follows her dead-end job to the big city where her only hope is to survive the next eight months as her flirtatious boss’s personal assistant. The last thing her predictable life needs is to collide with the boy responsible for breaking her heart, or the twist of fate that sends a sexy new neighbor to awaken feelings she’s long since put to bed.

Alex Sorrento doesn’t have any room in his life for another pet project. He’s already put aside his career and his personal dreams to follow his half-sister Mackenzie to the big city. Lost in the guilt over the events that nearly took her life, he feels he owes her that much. When Mackenzie befriends the new girl on the third floor, Alex finds himself defenseless against the sizzling chemistry between them and the sadness in her eyes. Can he protect Hannah from her ex without losing his heart?

In this turbulent journey about self-discovery, forgiveness, and love, some second chances aren’t worth taking, but others have their own rewards.

Original Price: $3.99
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Twitter: @SKWillsAuthor
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Moonlight and Oranges 
By Elise Stephens

Moonlight and OrangesA timeless tale of young romance.

Lorona Connelly is ready for a change from her carefully planned, bookish life. When sparks fly at a costume party, she embraces a chance for romance with the handsome Kestrin Feather. However, she quickly realizes that even love and destiny may not be enough to overcome the reality of an overprotective mother-in-law and Kestrin's long, tarnished history of relationships.

When Lorona's curiosity leads her to Kestrin's journal, doubt plagues them both with insecurities and threatens the relationship. Can true love overcome the odds, or was their whirlwind romance just a frivolous crush? Author Elise Stephens shares a journey of young love, fate, and wounded trust in the story of Lorona and Kestrin, a couple who must learn to overcome their fears to share a life together.

Original Price: $2.99
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Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1I1HDDh
Twitter: @EliseStephens
Tweet: A timeless #romance for only #99cents - MOONLIGHT AND ORANGES by @elisestephens #VDayBookSale http://amzn.to/1I1HDDh

If I Say Yes 
By Brandy Jellum (Romantic Suspense)

if i say yesElizabeth Lewis was the child of Hollywood’s darling couple, until her father murdered her mother. Six years later, she has traded her flashy, luxurious lifestyle for one of safe anonymity as a literary agent. With a different name and appearance, Liza Winter is living the life of her dreams—one where she’s known for who she is instead of what her father did. Except her apartment should be condemned, her car only starts when it wants, she hates the romance genre she has been assigned, and the CEO’s deliciously attractive nephew is out to ruin her carefully laid plans. Reid Harder has never met an obstacle he couldn’t overcome. When his new position in the romance department comes with a benefit his uncle didn’t mention, he decides to wage a war against the intelligent, beautiful Liza to destroy every argument she has for turning him down. Still, the closer he gets to winning the prize, the more he realizes that the woman is keeping secrets that may endanger not just her life but his. Will Liza overcome her mistrust of Reid to reveal her secrets before he learns the truth and walks away? Or will a grudge-wielding apparition from her past make her the next deadly Hollywood headline?

Original Price: $2.99
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Twitter: @Brandy_Jellum
Tweet: Book 1 in the #SaySomething Series on sale for #99cents! IF I SAY YES by @Brandy_Jellum #VDayBookSale http://amzn.to/1LMlecF

If I Say No 
By Brandy Jellum ( Romantic Suspense)

If I Say NoReid Harder thought his life was seemingly perfect. He had the woman he loved and nothing could go wrong. The only exception comes in the form of his brother—Rhett.

Set on revenge, his brother will stop at nothing to make Reid pay for his past mistakes. Teaming up with the FBI, Reid is determined to put an end to his brother once and for all. But sometimes, fate has other plans in store. His relationship with Liza is falling apart, enemies become friends, and family becomes his worst nightmare. With the future unknown, Reid must figure out a way to make amends with his past if he wants to move forward with his future.

Original Price: $2.99
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Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/16zGYII
Twitter: @Brandy_Jellum
Tweet: IF I SAY NO by @Brandy_Jellum #romanticsuspense just #99cents! #VDayBookSale http://amzn.to/16zGYII

Young Adult/New Adult

By AL Waddington

EnlightenedContinuing where Essence, Book 1, EVE series ended, the barrier between Jocelyn Timmons consciousness continues to dissolve as she better understands the two lives she lives and enormity of her newly discovered inherited gift of EVE (Essence Voyager Era) which allows her to fall asleep on one plane of existence and awaken on another as her soul travels nightly.

In Enlightened, Book 2, present-day Jocelyn uncovers the vast wonderment of the Victorian era but soon learns that life then was not as grand for women as she has read in the classics. Still, she finds comfort in the support of family and friends; a bolstering contrast to her overly hectic, career-oriented family in the twenty-first century. Her love for Jackson Chandler strengthens across time and becomes the light she so desperately needs as the world she has always known no longer makes sense. Yet, the closer she is drawn to Jackson by their mutual ability, the more strain develops amongst those she loves in 2009.

On the other side of Jocelyn’s consciousness in 1878, she remains ignorant of EVE. Her life is crumbling around her, yet she finds herself anxiously awaiting the images that invade her dreams. Jocelyn longs to be the woman she portrays in that world yet her jealousy is unbearable. Miscommunication, betrayal and hidden agendas make trust near impossible. The clearer the visions become the more she questions motives of her closest confidants and foregoes revealing the images that plague her perception. As her life seems to unravel, Jocelyn’s two worlds collide, and she is enlightened as the pieces start to fall into place. But is she strong enough to survive the truth? Is Jackson really her destiny? And can their love transcend time?

Original Price: $3.99
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Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1zfVgJc
Twitter: @A_L_Waddington
Tweet: ENLIGHTENED by @A_L_Waddington #onsale for just #99cents! #VDayBookSale #YA

AL Waddington

PerceptionCoverMy hopes, my dreams, and most of all me…we will finally be, set free.

Questions, questions, and more questions . . . they consume Jocelyn Timmons’ life—both of them. Questions that never seem to have an answer. They haunt her, eat at her, and dreams of a normal senior year of high school have finally floated away into nothingness.

Inheriting the gift of EVE (Essence Voyager Era) has become both a gift and a curse. One that Jocelyn doesn’t know if she wants or can accept. The world she once knew and thrived in has all but disappeared in the last two months. And now she wonders if she can ever find her way home again.

Her fiancé, Jackson Chandler, and his family seem to be the only ones who understand what she’s going through besides her uncles, both of which she’s grown very close to. But even they do not fully grasp how turbulent the situation at home has become. Will Jocelyn survive the torments from her mother and brother? Or will she find a hidden key to finally unlock her golden cage?

Find out in Perception, the griping third installment in the EVE series.

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Twitter: @A_L_Waddington
Tweet: Book 3 in the #EVESeries by @A_L_Waddington is just #99cents! PERCEPTION #YA #fantasy http://amzn.to/1EGw3ee

Seven Weeks to Forever 
By Jennifer Farwell

Seven Weeks to Forever CoverCassidy Jordan knows she’ll die a few weeks after her eighteenth birthday, and she can’t wait. This is her second time here, and she knows what’s waiting for her in The Life-After — the place most mistakenly call “the afterlife.” Getting back there is supposed to be easy: she just has to find nineteen-year-old Riley Davis and help him get his life on track. By the time she finds him, though, she has only seven weeks to help him. Riley will die too young if she fails, and she’ll never see The Life-After or this life again.

But no one told her helping Riley would mean dating him; she hasn’t dated anyone since the love of her first life caused her death the last time she turned eighteen. When Cassidy realizes she’s falling for Riley, she’s faced with a choice: give him the life he’s meant for and leave when it’s time, or give up eternity for the true love she’s never had, knowing Riley will die the same way she did in her first life and that her entire existence could end at any time.

Original Price: $2.99
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Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1z9XKUK
Twitter: @JennFarwell
Tweet: SEVEN WEEKS TO FOREVER by @jennfarwell #YARomance for only #99cents! #VDayBookSale http://amzn.to/1z9XKUK

ViciousBy Andrea Murray

She can’t escape her past . . . or her future.

After Vivian Cartwright’s aunt is killed by the same mysterious man who caused her mother’s death, she flees to protect those she loves. Searching for the father she’s never seen, she spends months on the road, working her way from one rundown motel to another and trying to move on with her lonely life.

Vivian must face her past when the very people she’s trying to protect walk through the door of the diner where she works, but their bittersweet reunion is short-lived when her nemesis, the man with black eyes, kidnaps Abby and Cooper.

Forced to work for the man she’s tried so hard to escape, Vivian learns she is only one of several gifted teenagers belonging to a corrupt group called the Liaisons. She joins with Wyck, a sinfully handsome twin and computer genius. Together, she and her unlikely ally discover the truth about the organization and its strange connection to her family.

Original Price: $2.99
Sale Price: $.99
Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1BURIsW
Twitter: @ByAndreaMurray
Tweet: Book 2 in the #VividTrilogy is #onsale for #99cents! VICIOUS by @byandreamurray #VDayBookSale http://amzn.to/1BURIsW

six stringsSix Strings 
By Jen Sanya Williamson

Riley Witt is running out of time.

Battling Alzheimer’s disease, Riley’s grandmother Mary suffers from memory loss, mood swings, and a tendency to wander off.

As senior year approaches, Riley has to face the reality that the one person she depends on most is slowly fading. Making matters
worse, when Mary does remember the past, she tells tales of time travel and visions. As Mary’s version of the past gets more confused, Riley knows they are running out of time together.
But when Riley discovers a guitar belonging to a famous rock star at Mary’s house, the truth behind the crazy tales finally comes out.

SIX STRINGS tells the story of Riley’s journey back to 1973 where she enters a world of music, long-lost family, and first love. Her adventure is all about discovering her past, understanding her present, and figuring out how to step into her future.

Original Price: $2.99
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Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1CvAyrm
Twitter: @Jen_Sanya
Tweet: Travel back in time for only #99cents with SIX STRINGS by @jen_sanya! #VDayBookSale #YA http://amzn.to/1CvAyrm

Hard Hats and DoormatsHard 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?

Original Price: $2.99
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Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1xi3qv4
Twitter: @lmchap
Tweet: Why should nice girls have to finish last? HARD HATS AND DOORMATS by @lmchap only #99cents! #VDayBookSale http://amzn.to/1xi3qv4

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February 12, 2015

five questions with romi moondi

My funny and talented friend Romi Moondi has a new book. After penning the hilarious Year of the Chick series, she's back with a novel-sized travel guide written from her experiences living in Paris. Romi was good enough to stop by the blog today to play a round of "Five Questions" about her new release.

Change the Word: Who is this travel guide written for? 
Romi Moondi: This book is written for first-time Paris travellers looking for recommendations, to “some day I’ll go to Paris” dreamers looking for inspiration, and to those who have already been to Paris before, but are looking to discover something new. Overall, it offers the usefulness of a guide (over 130 places visited!), whilst being entertaining and personalized like a memoir, or at least that was my goal.

CTW: What should someone do if they have only enough time to visit one place or have one experience in Paris?
RM: If you only have time for one experience in Paris, forget about the tourist attractions, and let your experience be a “stroll.” Strolling in Paris is the epitome of getting a feel for the city’s vibe, the beautiful Parisian architecture, and the window into the past. Your best shot at getting all of the above would be a stroll through the hilly neighbourhood of Montmartre. I don’t mean the touristy area right next to the Sacré Coeur basilica, but rather a stroll up the hilly street of Rue Lepic (beginning at métro station Blanche). Here your only agenda is to wander, observe, and stop for a drink when you see a nice terrace view.

CTW: When is your favorite time of the day to go to your favorite Parisian spot?
RM: I absolutely adore sunset in Paris by the river. My favourite viewing spot is on the bridge Pont Neuf along the right bank side. From here you can observe the last rays of sun glimmering off the surface of the Seine River, as well as take in the top two thirds of the glorious Eiffel Tower.

CTW: Where were you most inspired as a writer in Paris?
RM: There’s a café in the Latin Quarter at the top of a hilly street, a spot with no traffic or tourists. I’d often sit on the terrace with my notebook, surrounded by the quiet buzz of French conversation. That, in combination with the view of the downhill street, was totally inspiring (PS: since you’re clever enough to read the “Change the Word” blog, I’ll tell you exactly what café I’m talking about! It was Le Petit Café in the 5th (6 Rue Descartes, M10 Cardinal Lemoine))

CTW: Why were you drawn to Paris?
RM: It’s hard to define why it was Paris specifically; I just remember being fascinated by Paris for years. In 2011 and 2012 it became an obsession, as I bought and read every book on Paris I could find. I suppose Paris represented adventure and freedom, as it’s this faraway place with a wonderful history of dreamers, and I was learning about it all during a time when I felt pretty trapped, both by a job and by the fact that I’d never really traveled on my own (except for a couple of long weekends in New York City).

About Vicarious Paris
What if you could get Paris nostalgia, Paris recommendations, vivid Paris daydreams, and regular doses of humour all from one book?  
Welcome to "Vicarious Paris," where the author takes you along through every corner of Paris, on a journey to cafés, bakeries, cocktail bars, and the ever-charming side streets of Paris. With candid memories and descriptive scenes, the author will invite you to days and nights with her expat and native French friends, for an inside peek into life and fun in Paris.  
As a full-length book (80K words) with photos, and over 130 places described in vivid detail, you'll come out of the experience feeling like you just returned from a wonderful vacation in Paris. 
More specifically, here is a small preview of the things you’ll vicariously do: you’ll mingle with strangers at a wine tasting, you’ll have cocktails at one of the ritziest bars in Paris, you’ll feast on a multi-course French style brunch (in a totally unpretentious environment), and you’ll even have a shot at romance in a charming café in Montmartre.

About the Author
Romi Moondi lived in Paris for six months in 2013, as well as for the summer of 2014. During her stays, she spent a lot of time with locals who shared great insights, navigated the streets with her expat partners in crime, and also had her share of solo expeditions (all three of which are key components to this insider’s view of Paris).

She has also written a romantic comedy series called “Year of the Chick.” The first book in the series is free as an ebook, and the third one is set in Paris and inspired by her trip.

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February 11, 2015

reading in the kitchen - heart-shaped cakes

With Valentine's Day upon us--and my resolve to try as many Little House recipes still strong--this month I selected heart-shaped  cakes. They're mentioned in Little House on the Prairie, when they appeared inside Laura and Mary's stockings on Christmas morning. Ma must have baked these little cakes with love, which made this treat seem extra fitting this month.

Once again, I turned to The Little House Cookbook by Barbara M. Walker for instruction.

The ingredients are few and basic for this dish.

White flour, sugar, baking soda, nutmeg, buttermilk, and lard (or butter in our case). The simplicity of the ingredients makes sense. The Ingalls family lived on the "unsettled" Kansas frontier. The nearest town was a long hike away. In winter, or ever really, Ma and Pa wouldn't have been able to pop out to the store for extra baking ingredients.

(Look for the recipe on pages 200-201 for the full recipe with portions.)

I started by mixing the dry ingredients together.

Then I got my hands dirty by mixing the butter in by hand. Then I made a well...

And poured the buttermilk in it for some more hand-mixing.

Worked together, the dough had a consistency much like pie crust, only a bit stickier and much better smelling (that sugar and nutmeg at work).

As instructed, I rolled the dough into an 8-inch circle, cut it into six wedges, and turned those wedges into hearts.

I placed them on parchment paper (which I'd also oiled down), and placed them in the oven at 425 degrees. That's where this story takes a bit of a downward turn...

In the cookbook, Walker suggest that the outcome of these efforts would be something between a sugar cookie and shortbread. Mine turned out more like a nutmeg-flavored scone. That was burnt.

Yep. After baking for only 12 of the 15 minutes suggested minutes, I detected the scent of burning bread wafting from the oven. In disbelief, I double-checked the temperature and time listed in the cookbook, and my approach had been correct.

I can only guess that ovens today are much hotter than the ones in the 70s and 80s (though I swear the oven in my apartment has to be ancient).

Though the cakes were too crisp for a sprinkling of sugar across the top, when served with apple butter or jam, the cake was actually edible.

Not totally satisfied with how this attempt at heart-shaped cakes turned out, I would like to give this recipe another try. I liked the taste of the dough, and I can only imagine how delicious it would be if it wasn't overcooked.

Better luck next time, I suppose. Thank goodness I'm still rocking the spinster life, otherwise I'd surely have disappointed my would-be Valentine with this dish.

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