January 28, 2016

interview with caroline fardig, author of 'funny valentine'

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And now for Carolyn to answer her questions...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Is that too much to ask?

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

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

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

Find it on Amazon!


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January 27, 2016

'going for two' is now available!


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

Find the Book

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

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

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


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January 26, 2016

interview with erin cawood, author of 'maybe tomorrow'

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Does a heart ever really heal from its first break?

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

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

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

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

Find the Book

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

Connect with Erin

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January 20, 2016

interview with carol maloney scott, author of 'the juggling act'

I'm pleased to welcome Carol Maloney to Change the World as she takes her novel, The Juggling Act, on tour with Chick Lit Plus. Be sure to check out the rest of the stops here.


Change the Word: How would you describe your book in fewer than 25 words?
Carol Maloney Scott: The Juggling Act is the story of a couple who have forgotten how to communicate, with disastrous but hilarious consequences, at least for the reader.

CTW: What was your inspiration for this story?
CMS: My original inspiration for Claire’s story in There Are No Men, the first book in the Rom-Com on the Edge series, was my own experiences as a mid-thirties divorced woman with very little dating experience. However, my life is very different than Claire’s, and her story took off in different directions.

CTW: What do you like most about your main character?
CMS: Her growth in The Juggling Act makes me happy. In There Are No Men, she was neurotic and behaving in self-destructive ways. Her decision making has improved, as has her confidence. Watching Claire learn and develop as a woman is a fun part of writing this series.

CTW: What was your greatest challenge writing this story and how did you overcome it?
CMS: One of the most challenging things about writing a series is ensuring that each novel can be read as a standalone, but without boring the pants off readers who have read the other books, and don’t need as much backstory. I made sure some of my early beta readers had read the first two books in the series, There Are No Men and Afraid of Her Shadow, and some were new to the Ron-Com on the Edge world. Having both perspectives was helpful in making sure that I had struck a balance.

CTW: What are your three favorite books?
CMS: Tell The Wolves I’m Home, I Know This Much is True, and Bridget Jones’s Diary.

CTW: Where would you hold your dream writing retreat?
CMS: I am not sure exactly where geographically, but the setting would be in the mountains, in a log cabin, near a lake. But a fancy log cabin with a Jacuzzi and someone delivering gourmet meals. I like to dream big.

CTW: If you were holding a dinner party, what three people would you most want to invite (living or dead)?
CMS: Bradley Cooper. Bruce Springsteen. Billy Idol. All the ‘B’ men.

CTW: What is one goal you have for yourself in the coming year?
CMS: In addition to writing my socks off, my main goal is to embrace myself as I am. I am a super high energy person, and I have a hard time relaxing. But I have decided to embrace it, keep busy and enjoy my productivity – instead of trying to be calmer or more like others who are more laid back.

My husband helps by forcing me to sit still and watch TV shows – but they have to be extremely engaging! We just finished Breaking Bad. Wow, is all I can say!

CTW: What is one piece of advice you would offer to someone just beginning his or her professional career?
CMS: Do your research! Read books on the craft of writing, ask questions, join writing groups in your area, and engage other writes on social media. Take advantage of the wealth of information available to you, but take your time in the beginning.There is SO much to learn if you want to do it right.

CTW: What’s next for you and your writing career?
CMS: I am releasing a Valentine’s Day-themed short story collection in early February – three stories set at Valentine’s Day and narrated by three different Rom-Com on the Edge supporting characters. It’s called Valentines on the Edge.

This week I am in Chicago bringing my son to art school, and crying. A lot! No, really I’ll be okay. When I get home I am going to get back to writing Book 4 in my series, Accidental Makeovers. This is a fun one and about a third of the way completed. I’m excited to share Bianca’s story, and to continue to develop the cast of the Rom-Com on the Edge world.


About the Book
Now that her dating days are finally behind her, Claire is enjoying a blissful life with her new husband and baby boy. Gone are the drunken nights in impractical shoes, and Internet dates with men who lose their hair…and their pants.

Unfortunately, she’s discovering that life as a married, working mom isn’t turning out to be the perfect happily ever after she dreamed about. She adores her little boy, but her husband’s behavior is about to make him eligible for the Most Disappointing Spouse of the Year Award.

His unwillingness to help around the house and his slacker work ethic are frustrating enough, but the constant parade of beautiful, single women in his life has Claire in a constant state of distress. Didn’t she realize that the cute front man of a popular cover band would attract hot, young women with perfect cellulite-free legs? And whose idea was it to hire the curvy nanny with the sexy accent?

When an unexpected business trip pops up – with a super-hot, much-too-young former love interest, Claire’s own loyalty is put to the test. A publishing conference in Key West may be the ideal escape from her troubles, but will she be tempted by the forbidden in a town full of swingers and breakfast alcohol consumption? And why does everyone they meet think the business colleagues are on their honeymoon?

Scrambling to cover up innocent, but suspicious circumstances, the couple struggles with honesty, loyalty and what to share with each other. As they sink deeper into their marital gloom, will they find their way back to wedded bliss, or finally succumb to the enticement of new…and uncomplicated romance?

THE JUGGLING ACT is Book 3 in the Rom-Com on the Edge series. All books are standalone novels, however read in order for maximum fun!


Find the Book


About the Author
Carol Maloney Scott, author of the Rom-Com on the Edge series, is a frazzled new bride and wiener dog fanatic. She is a lover of donuts, and a hater of mornings. Recently unearthing a childhood passion for writing, she can once again be seen carrying around a notebook and staring into space. Her stories are witty, fresh and real, just like life.

Join her on "The Edge" for giveaways, cover reveals, excerpts, contest and members-only content at carolmaloneyscott.com/.

Connect with Carol


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January 19, 2016

new bookish digs

At the end of 2015, I was fortunate to have a week off from my day job. This year, I elected to treat it as a total work break, meaning I didn't blog, write, or do much interaction on social media.

I spent a big chunk of that time moving out of my apartment and into a house I'm renting from my parents. It's actually the house I lived in from birth through middle school, during college, and again a few years during my mid-twenties (which wasn't that long ago). This time it's different. It's just the cats and I, which means we have space to sprawl out. And because it's just me, I get to arrange and decorate to my taste. And because I'm me, books are core to the design.

For one, I made some new throw pillows for my living room couch. I scored this fantastic typewriter burlap at Michael's a year ago and finally put it to use. I totally heart them.


I also worked some of my favorite book quotes into frames that line the hallway to the bedrooms. It was difficult to pick just four, but I chose from favorite reads that have left their mark on me at various points of time in my life.





But the big room filled with literary influence is my office. It was actually my dad's study when I was young. I even had it for a bedroom my first year after college. Now it's my glorious office.

I selected a beautiful shade of green (minted lemon from Behr) for the walls, hoping it would be both calming and inspiring.


I found a home for my fiction and writing books. (I didn't have room for the non-fiction, so they're in my living room.) And of course my favorite bookish art hangs on the walls. You can see it all a little better in this little video tour I put together for my YouTube channel last week.


So far, I love my new office and having a place totally devoted to books. It's still too early to say if I'll be crazy productive in there, but I have high hopes it will continue to be a haven for writing and reading.


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January 12, 2016

a sneak peek of 'novelista girl' by meredith schorr

I'm super thrilled to welcome Meredith Schorr to the blog to help her celebrate Novelista Girl, the follow-up to her Blogger Girl (which I loved!). She was good enough to share an excerpt of the book with us. I hope you enjoy it!


CHAPTER ONE

To: KimMLong@gmail.com
From: Libby_Knox@Knoxliterary.com
Subject: Re: Query—A Blogger’s Life

Dear Ms. Long,

Thank you for your interest in Knox Literary. While I found the premise of A Blogger’s Life interesting, I’m afraid I wasn’t sufficiently intrigued to ask for more at this time. Because this business is so subjective, and opinions vary widely, we encourage you to query other agents. 

After all, it only takes one.

Best of luck on your journey to publication.


Libby Knox
Knox Literary

I let out a deflated sigh before resting my head on my boyfriend Nicholas’s shoulder. It was a Sunday afternoon, and after a late lunch, we had come back to my place to watch television. Well, I was watching television—a romantic movie on the Hallmark Channel. Nicholas was doing work. As the in-house attorney for a cosmetics company, he often took work home with him.

Nicholas stopped typing furiously on his laptop. “What’s the matter, Kimmie?”

With my eyes closed, I responded, “I got another rejection from an agent.” Making it fourteen rejections in total for my chick lit novel, A Blogger’s Life. When I finally gathered the courage to write a novel—a complete manuscript with a beginning, middle, and an end, as opposed to a partial story that I shoved in the back of my closet unfinished—I knew the journey to publication would be difficult. Now, I was thinking “impossible” was a more befitting adjective.

Giving my hand a gentle squeeze, Nicholas said, “I’m sorry.”

I opened my eyes and sat up. “Me, too.”

“It’s just one agent. Did you know Kathryn Stockett received sixty rejections of The Help before she got an agent?”

I jerked my head back in surprise. “I did know that. How did you know that?”

Nicholas smiled. “I did some research after your last rejection.”

I kissed his cheek and ran my palm up against his ever-present five o’clock shadow. “How nice of you.”

“I’m a nice guy.” Nicholas paused for a beat. “For a player, that is.”

When I first met Nicholas a little over a year ago, he was an attorney at the New York City firm where I worked (and still work) as a legal secretary. He was single, successful, hot, and flirtatious. Naturally, I assumed he was a player when we first hooked up. Either that, or out of my league. What would someone with his credentials want with me—a measly legal secretary with a nice rack? When Nicholas gently suggested my dreams might extend beyond book blogging to book writing, I worried maybe he was the one who wanted me to be a writer so I would be “good enough” to hang with all of his successful friends. I was blinded by my insecurity, but after some soul-searching, I concluded he was right, and I was wrong—something he enjoyed reminding me of on a regular basis. It had been almost six months since our reconciliation, and sometimes I still had to pinch myself to confirm that the guy I adored—the one who not only caused my knees to go weak and the butterflies to dance in my belly whenever he touched me, but also made me laugh and encouraged my dream to be a published author—was equally crazy about me. I was in love big time but too chicken to be the first to say the words.

I playfully punched his arm. “Are you ever gonna let that go?”

Nicholas flashed me a sexy grin. “Not likely.”

I shook my head in mock annoyance. Inching closer to him on my love seat, I draped one of my legs over his and sighed. “Maybe I should have tried to publish Read My Mind first.” A Blogger’s Life was technically my second novel. I had given up writing Read My Mind in high school only to pick it up and finally finish it ten years later. Although Read My Mind was the novel that qualified me as a “finisher,” I ultimately decided to shelve it and pursue A Blogger’s Life instead.

Crinkling his brow, Nicholas asked, “I thought you said this one was much better.”

Rubbing the opal pendant on my necklace, I said, “Do you not think so?”

Nicholas shook his head. “I can’t say. I haven’t started reading it yet.” Probably noticing my face drop, he added, “I promise I will soon.”

“It is better, but apparently, chick lit is dead among traditional publishers unless you’re an established author in the genre. Young adult paranormal, on the other hand, is hot.”

“Considering how many fans Pastel Is the New Black has, I’d say chick lit is pretty hot, too.” Patting my knee, he added, “Almost as hot as its founder.”

Nicholas was correct that my book blog, Pastel Is the New Black, had thousands of followers.

Unfortunately for me, none of those fans were literary agents as far as I knew. “Why couldn’t I have written A Blogger’s Life ten years ago when chick lit was on fire?” I whined. Considering I didn’t even know what a blog was when I was nineteen, it was a rhetorical question.  

“It is what it is, Kimmie.” Nicholas ran one hand along my thigh and then slowly up to the zipper on my black skinny jeans. “Anything I can do to make you feel better?” he asked.

“You can try, but it will be hard.”

Placing my hand over his crotch, he said, “It’s very hard, but you’re worth it.”

There was nothing I wanted more—besides an offer for agent representation—than to get down and dirty with Nicholas right then and there, but I was so behind on book reviews for my blog. I also wanted to make some revisions to my agent query letter based on suggestions from one of my author friends. And I knew Nicholas was swamped, too. I decided a compromise was in order. “How about we do it in an hour?”

Nicholas frowned and tugged at my zipper. “But I want to do it now,” he said, adopting the bratty entitled voice of Veruca Salt from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.

Sliding away from him, I said, “It’s called delayed gratification. You should try it.”

Nicholas got up from the couch and stood in front of me. Extending his hand, he said, “You don’t want to make my brown eyes blue? Do you, Kimmie?” He frowned, drawing my eyes to his full and completely bitable lower lip.

I couldn’t help but smile. “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue” had become “our” song the night we got back together. I sang it to him at karaoke in a grand gesture when my two best friends, Bridget and Caroline, dared me to stop moping about and write my own happy ending.

I reached for Nicholas’s hand and allowed him to pull me to a standing position. “I don’t want anything of yours to be blue,” I said as my eyes dropped down to his groin.

Leading me to my bedroom, he said, “That makes two of us.”

As promised, Nicholas made me feel better. He had mad skills. But even as I writhed in ecstasy beneath him, I wondered if my fifteenth rejection letter had already landed in my in-box.

***

“Can I tell you how much I hate the commute downtown from here?” Nicholas asked later that night. He was sitting on the edge of my queen-sized bed and stood up to pull his jeans over his hips.

I gazed at his lean but muscular chest and reached forward to run my pointer finger up and down the happy trail of dark hair that extended from his belly to the button of his jeans. “Why don’t you stay over?” I might have been preoccupied with catching up on my blog a few hours ago, but now I just wanted more Nicholas.

“I don’t have work clothes here, so I can either go home now or stay and stop at my place before work first thing tomorrow.” Crinkling his nose, he added, “But the thought of getting up extra early to go downtown just to go back to midtown is not at all appealing.” He leaned down to plant a soft kiss on my lips. “Sorry, Kimmie.”

I reclined against my headboard and sighed. “I suppose I’ll do some reading. The exciting life of a book blogger.”

Nicholas narrowed his eyes at me. “You love reading.”

“Not as much as I love …” You. Not as much as I love you! “Spending the entire night with you.”

“Then why don’t you move in with me?”

I sat upright. “Wha-what?” My heart was beating rapidly, and I wasn’t sure if it was due to excitement about possibly cohabitating with Nicholas or terror at possibly cohabitating with Nicholas. What would my parents say? I was almost thirty, and my younger sister was already married. They wouldn’t say anything.

His brown eyes probing mine, Nicholas said, “Just think about it, Kimmie. We spend several nights a week at each other’s apartment anyway, and mine is more spacious. Why pay the extra rent?”

I gaped at him, still in a semi state of shock. “Isn’t it too soon?”

Nicholas shrugged and ran a hand through his short, dark hair. “Later this month will be six months we’ve been dating … would be longer if you weren’t such a stubborn brat.”

I opened my mouth to protest, but he put his finger to my lips and smiled. “Joking.”

Nicholas sat on the bed and kissed the top of my head. “I’ve been thinking about us moving in together for a while.”

“You have?” This was news to me, albeit good news.

Nicholas nodded. “Unless you’re not taking this relationship seriously.” With a straight face, he went on to repeat verbatim what I said to him after the first time we had sex. “I’m not interested in a fuck buddy or friends-with-benefits situation.” And yes, I’m aware I should have mentioned that before getting naked with him.

I jabbed his elbow with mine. “Okay, I’ll give it some thought.”

While Nicholas continued getting dressed, I began thinking out loud. “My lease is up next month, so the timing is good. It would be weird living so far away from Bridget, but since Jonathan moved into her apartment, I don’t see her as much, anyway. At least your place is close to the subway, and the Village is hipper than the Upper East Side with more coffee shops for me to write—”

Chuckling, Nicholas said, “You keep thinking about it, Kimmie.” He bent down and twirled a strand of my long, light brown hair around his finger. “I’ll text you when I get home.”

“Sounds good,” I said. As I followed him to my front door, I visualized his apartment, already mentally redecorating it with splashes of femininity. I wrapped my arms around his neck and stood on my tippy-toes to give him a real kiss good-bye. At four foot eleven, I was still significantly shorter than Nicholas, who was also somewhat vertically challenged (but hot) at five foot seven. “Get home safely.”

“I will, Kimmie Long.” He gazed into my eyes for a moment and then gave me a soft smile. “I love you.”

Before I could digest the magnitude of those three words—words we had yet to exchange in the entirety of our relationship—he turned his back on me and jogged down the two flights of stairs to the ground floor of my building, whistling to the tune of “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue.”

“I love you, too,” I whispered to the air before closing my front door and leaning against it with a huge smile on my face.

He loved me. I couldn’t wait to tell Bridget.


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And check out Blogger Girl, the story that started it all, on Amazon.



About the Author
A born and bred New Yorker, Meredith Schorr discovered her passion for writing when she began to enjoy drafting work-related e-mails way more than she was probably supposed to. After trying her hand penning children’s stories and blogging her personal experiences, Meredith found her calling write chick lit and contemporary women’s fiction. She secures much inspiration from her day job as a hardworking trademark paralegal and her still-single status. Meredith is also the co-founder of Bookbuzz, a live author/reader event held annually. She is a loyal New York Yankees fan and an avid runner. Novelista Girl is Meredith’s fifth novel.

To learn more, visit her at www.meredithschorr.com.


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January 11, 2016

book giveaway!

Looking for a chance to win some books? Thanks to the fabulous Hilary Grossman, I have teamed up with 30 fellow authors to GIVEAWAY 44 books! Half the books are listed here on the blog and all the books as part of a Facebook event - for more chances to win.

So let's have a look at what's up for grabs, shall we?

Plan BeaCould falling in love allow a cold, stubborn, and selfish woman to open her heart back up to her family? Beatrice Buchanan has spent more years than she can remember distancing herself from everyone close to her. She has no relationship with her grandchildren and the only time she speaks to her daughter is during her weekly fifteen-minute commute to the nail salon. When Bea meets Walter on a cruise she realizes there may be more to life than designer clothes and impressing the ladies at her country club. We live our entire lives thinking we know those closest to us. But do we ever really? On the outside, Annabel O'Conner has it all - the perfect husband, two adorable children, and an amazing job. The only thing missing is her mother's love. When Bea begs her daughter to help plan her wedding, Annabel reluctantly agrees. Little does she know the impact of her decision or the surprise that is in store for her! This emotional and honest women's contemporary fiction novel will tug at your heartstrings and the twist ending will shock you.
Available Amazon, Barnes & Noble - eBook $4.99 Print $14.95


RD_COMPS.inddStacey Ballis cooks up a delicious broth of a novel about a woman whose perfect life falls apart in spectacular fashion--leaving her with a house to restore, an antique cookbook (but no cooking talent), and one very unhappy schnauzer. For fans of Jen Lancaster, Jennifer Weiner, and Emily Giffin. To an outside observer, Anneke Stroudt is a mess—her shirts are stained, her fingernails stubby, her language colorful. But, despite her flaws, Anneke’s life is close to perfect. She has a beautiful historic house to restore and a loving fiancé who cooks like a dream. Until Anneke’s charmed existence falls apart when she loses both her job and her future husband in one terrible day. In need of a new start, she packs up her disgruntled schnauzer and moves into her half-finished home, where she throws her pent-up frustration—and what little savings she has—into finishing the renovation. But at the first step into the house’s overhaul, Anneke is sidetracked when she discovers a mysterious leather-bound book, long hidden away, filled with tempting recipes and steamy secrets from Gemma Ditmore-Smythe, the cook for the house’s original owners. Slowly, with the help of some delicious food and Emma’s life lessons, Anneke begins to realize that, just like a flawless recipe, she’s been waiting for the right ingredients to cook up a perfect life all along… “With the perfect blend of humor and heart, Ballis’s writing is powerfully honest and genuinely hilarious.”--Jen Lancaster
Available Amazon, Barnes & Noble - eBook $11.99 Print $13.27


Speak NowIf there’s one thing that Bridgette Reynolds has learned recently, it’s that the perfect shoes, the perfect hair, and the perfect dress do not make for the perfect proposal. In fact, sometimes they make for the not-so-perfect breakup. Now, Bridgette must do everything in her power to win Adam back. She knows they are meant to be. And nothing will stand in her way—not her friends, not her grandmother, not even the fact that Adam is now engaged to Serene after a whirlwind romance. Focused on her plan to win Adam back, Bridgette isn’t expecting Ian—her college best friend, her love, her big regret—to come back into her life. They sink back into their comfortable friendship as if no time has passed at all, making Bridgette start to question her feelings for Adam. But Ian has a few secrets of his own . . . secrets that could shatter their friendship once and for all. Bridgette has to make some major decisions—should she speak now? Or forever hold her peace?
Available Amazon eBook $2.99 Print $13.25

Dangled-Carat-Hilary-GrossmanHow many faux engagements can one girl have? Hilary learns the hard way more than you can imagine. She has no idea what to do. She's been dating perfect on paper, Marc, for years. He's everything she wants in a man except for one thing. He's beyond afraid of commitment! Tired of waiting for Marc to come to his senses, the couple's friends decide to take matters into their own hands and throw a surprise "engagement" party. Only problem is their meddling has unforeseen consequences... In this real life chick lit story, Hilary Grossman digs deep as she explores the good, the bad, and the frustrating of dating. Dangled Carat is the perfect light hearted, funny, and relatable story for every girl who wondered if she should love him or dump him. Chick lit readers will be hooked!
Available Amazon eBook $2.99 Print $12.74 


Up To I Do
Emerson Sinclair, twenty-seven year old hotel heiress, has said yes. With just over a year to plan her extravagant, over the top nuptials to Logan Worthington, it's all hands on deck with the wedding plans. A Sinclair marrying into the Worthington family is the talk of their small New Hampshire town, and ideas include filming the wedding for a TV segment. But as the items get checked off the list, plans start to go ... not as planned.From not getting a designer dress to a selfish bridesmaid and unaccountable best man, Emerson is afraid her wedding will be more a joke than anything. When both her mother and sister seemingly begin to lose interest in her wedding plans in favor of their own personal lives, Emerson fears her big day will turn into the forgotten wedding. With the pressure to pull off a beautiful and elegant event that everyone expects from their respectable families, Emerson starts to forget the reason why she is saying I Do in the first place. 
Available Amazon


Novel girlReaders first met sassy Kimberly Long in Blogger Girl, and now the feisty New Yorker is back in a sequel packed with quick wit, friendship, heartache, and, of course, romance. Kim runs the most popular chick lit book blog on the web, loves playing house with her sexy lawyer boyfriend, Nicholas, and is finally pursuing her lifelong dream to become a published author. At first glance, her life is five-pink-champagne-flutes worthy. But is there more to the story than meets the eye? After hearing the phrase “chick lit is dead” more times than she’s read Bridget Jones's Diary, Kim is driven to desperate measures, seeking advice from up-and-coming chick lit author, Hannah Marshak, her high school nemesis and resident “mean girl.” As if Kim doesn't have enough on her plate balancing her secretarial duties with her blog Pastel Is the New Black, shrugging off the growing pile of agent rejections, and keeping her best friend from turning green over Kim’s budding friendship with Hannah, Nicholas is so blinded by his career ambitions, he doesn't see that their home sweet home could use more than a dash of sugar. This is the year when all of Kim's dreams—professional and romantic—are supposed to come true, but will the story have a happily ever after, or will Kim end up unpublished and all alone? This novel can be read as a sequel or as a standalone and is best accompanied by a cocktail, preferably a pink one.


book trio (2)From Book 1: Sydney Bennett had spent her life in pursuit of perfection. She planned, weighed her options and made careful choices based on calculated outcomes. Through all of her efforts, she had come pretty close to perfection, if she didn’t say so herself. She had fled the cold winters in New York for sunny California, found a job that she loved and lived in the same town as her sister, and best friend, Kate. The one area of perfection that had always eluded her was her love life. No matter how hard she tried, she always ended up with a broken heart. After a particularly traumatic breakup, Sydney vowed that she was done with love.

french twistJust as Sydney threw herself into her new plan to forget about men, a handsome Frenchman tossed all of her intentions out the window as he swept her off of her feet. Louis Durand had lived a life filled with excitement and adventure. He was impetuous, intelligent and incredibly charming. So naturally, he scared Sydney half to death. From the moment they met, Louis and Sydney’s romance progressed at warp speed. Sydney did her best not to run, but her deep rooted relationship anxiety threatened to provide an easy exit. When Louis mentioned marriage before Sydney even knew his favorite color, she was more than tempted to reach for her running shoes. Will she be able to put her fears aside to follow her heart? The one thing that Sydney will learn is that sometimes perfection comes with a twist...
Available Amazon eBook $6.97


First + GoalWhen Harper Duquaine’s no-nonsense approach to work unintentionally ruffles the wrong feathers at her new job, she joins her co-workers’ fantasy football league to prove she can hang with the guys. Only problem: she doesn’t know a sleeper from a keeper (or any of the other lingo thrown her way). Embroiled in a world of lineups, stats, and trades, Harper’s quest to make nice topples when her competitive streak emerges. And her promise to herself that she’ll be a strong, independent woman and leave the drama and heartache behind is seriously tested when she catches the attention of her two biggest competitors: J.J., a local celebrity determined to win a fantasy championship, and Brook, the mild-mannered coach who seems too good to be true. Both threaten her resolve to remain single… and, more importantly, her chances at winning the prize pool. With a slew of conflicting advice in her real and fantasy worlds, Harper must figure out how to play the game and come out a winner.
Available Amazon


peri in progressYou know what they say about best-laid plans… After a disastrous thirty-first birthday party where she gets stood-up by a man she isn’t supposed to be dating, Peri McKenna decides it’s time to change what hasn’t been working—which is pretty much everything. Her love life is going nowhere fast, she’s bored to tears by a job that makes her the office pariah, and the lifelong junk food addiction that used to be somewhat quirky is now positively problematic. To top it all off, her newly-purchased home is falling apart and wishful thinking hasn’t done much to fix the leaky roof. It’s time be an adult now that she’s officially ‘thirty-something.’ But when the first step of Peri’s self-improvement plan backfires, she starts to wonder if change might be overrated. Enter Milo Preston, an up-and-coming chef who’s in town to take over a local restaurant. When Peri and Milo begin working together, she finds it hard to ignore his easy charm and captivating emerald-green eyes. Since Milo is her best friend’s estranged brother, Peri has to keep reminding herself that he is completely off-limits. As they grow closer, Milo introduces Peri to new foods, the joy (and pain) of jogging, and makes her think her luck might finally be turning. But when the past catches up with them, Peri finds herself back at square one. Will she be able to sort herself out—or will the roof cave in on her once and for all?
Available Amazon


broken collectionAward-winning author Rachel Thompson courageously confronts the topics of sexual abuse and suicide, love and healing, in her second nonfiction book of prose: Broken Places. The sequel to Rachel’s first nonfiction book, Broken Pieces, Rachel bares her soul in essays, poems and prose, addressing life’s most difficult topics with honesty. As you follow one woman’s journey through the dark and into the light, you will find yourself forever changed. Rachel’s first book in this series, Broken Pieces, has been a #1 best seller on Amazon (eBooks) on Women’s Poetry and Abuse. Please note: this book discusses serious topics, and is intended for mature audiences only. Broken Pieces is an award winning book about relationships, a study of women, and a book with heart. Vastly different in tone from her previous essay collections A Walk In The Snark and The Mancode: Exposed, Broken Pieces is a collection of pieces inspired by life: love, loss, abuse, trust, grief, and ultimately, love again. While still non-fiction, best-selling Broken Pieces is not humor at all. In Thompson’s most intensive work to date, she opens her soul and invites the reader in for a visit. Thompson goes into those long buried rooms we lock up deep inside and shares a bit of her soul. Broken Pieces is vulnerable, raw honesty, and no-holds barred.
Available Amazon


starting from lostHannah 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. 
Available Amazon, Barnes & Noble eBook $2.99 Print $16.95


Maybe Tomorrow CoverWelcome to the FORGIVE OR FORGET series, a compelling contemporary women's fiction love story and family saga series. Cawood's love inspired medical romance series follows the close-knit McGowan siblings; Keon, Kiera, Cormack, and Cara, as they face the difficult choice between forgiving or forgetting true love after a broken heart. Does a heart ever really heal from its first break? On an unseasonably hot night in late September, Dr. Keon McGowan is called away from a family gathering to a hospital emergency. Amongst his patients that night is a blast from his past he'd rather forget. He'll certainly never forgive butterfly hunter Darcia Davenport for leaving him alone as a single dad while she chased butterflies through the Amazon rainforest. Coming face to face with the woman who broke his heart after all this time, Keon realises that he has never fully healed from it. But any chance of finding closure is ripped away when Darcy chooses to end treatment and live her final weeks without regret. Can Keon let her go? Or will he fight for the tomorrow they might never have? MAYBE TOMORROW is an emotional journey of love caught between fate and destiny, and Keon is forced to choose between his head and his heart, his wants and his responsibilities, forgiving Darcy or forgetting all about her, and between a second chance family or an ill-fated heartbreak romance.
Available Amazon Barnes & Noble


vivid trilogyWhen Vivian Cartwright was five years old, she witnessed her mother’s death. Now, sixteen-year-old Vivian only wants a normal life, but to do that she must keep her ability to control energy a secret. Only her guardian, Charlotte, who has hidden Vivian from the man responsible for her mother’s murder, knows of her staggering power. Her secret is safe until Vivian defends herself at school using her power. After this first use of her gift in many years, Vivian’s power seems to take on a mind of its own, increasing in strength and bringing dreams of her mother’s death and the mysterious man associated with it.
In her desire to unlock her past, Vivian is forced to use her supernatural gift over and over. With each use, Vivian fears she is losing control and discovers her powers are growing—maybe too much—bringing her unknowingly closer to the man who murdered her mother, but she soon learns she can’t escape her past . . . or her future. When she will finally learns the truth, it will turn her world upside-down.
Available Amazon


TheMiracleGirl (1)Newspaper publisher and world traveler JJ Cavendish continually feels pressured to live up to her Miracle Girl nickname. Not many people know she’s living a carefully crafted lie. She may not hide ties to the LGBT community, but she does hide past struggles with addiction. When the Colorado native is handpicked to take the helm at a dying Denver newspaper, she ends up reconnecting with her long lost love in this contemporary lesbian romance. Only there’s a catch. If JJ fires the most belligerent editor at the paper, she risks losing the love of her life. Mid-afternoon office romps abound in this romantic comedy while also focusing on what it takes for a newspaper to remain relevant in this age of social media. Must JJ lose everything in order to gain a life more fully her own?
Available Amazon eBook $2.99 Print $7.99

party-girl-cover

When newly-single party girl Vicki moved to Paris, she was hoping to indulge in wine, stuff her face with croissants, and fall in love. It proved to be much more difficile than she'd imagined. In this laugh-out-loud memoir, this cheeky storyteller recounts the highs and lows of her life in the City of Light. Sassy and shamefully honest, Vicki makes you feel as if you're right there in Paris stumbling along the cobblestones with her. Will she find love? Will she learn to consume reasonable amounts of alcohol? Will the French administration ever cut her a break?
Available Amazon


the to do listBetween 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.
Available Amazon


rock star's girlEmily Watts just wants a weekend break from the workaholic hours she's taken on to keep her business--a popular fashion-snark website--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 website 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.
Available Amazon


crazy little thing called matchmakingIs it possible to find two loves in one lifetime? Dubbed “The Child Whisperer” by his peers, twenty-nine-year-old Jake Harris is a lollipop-sucking, video game-playing pediatrician, who moves to Seashore Cove, Long Island to start a family. What he finds is an immediate attraction to his new nurse, Kate, and a list of reasons why he has to keep his distance. Kate Henderson is a grieving widow with two teenage boys, struggling to keep her head above water. She knows exactly why she must fight her growing desire for the new doctor, and nothing is going to change that. But Kate’s sons think Dr. Jake is the perfect match for their mother. When they put their heads together, the duo comes up with crazy little schemes in the hopes of igniting a spark. The teenagers succeed in throwing them together but is it enough to make their mom and the doctor tear up their lists and take a chance on love?


the positionDylan 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.
Available Amazon


walk on the wild sideViolet Monte believed her love and marriage would last a lifetime–until she catches her husband in bed with a younger woman. When she realizes she was nothing more than a trophy wife, Violet decides to chase her own dreams. The only problem is, she has no idea what they are. Violet begins to pursue her own interests which sometime include spying on her mysterious neighbor, who might actually be a lady of the night. Just as Violet is finding stability–– and the possibility of opening her heart again–– her husband returns not with an apology, but with a signed pre-nuptial agreement, claiming he’ll keep everything and leave her with nothing. Violet is far from the compliant woman he once knew but she doubts she has the strength to fight and win, until her intriguing neighbor unlocks what Violet has been looking for all along. Can Violet fight back from a lost love and reinvent herself into the person she always wanted to be or will she forever be just an ex-trophy wife?
Available Amazon


swings
After attending three new mom groups, only to be banned for eating Cheetos (not organic!) and uttering the occasional swear word, Sadie Walker questions why she is trying so hard to fit in. While sitting in another dingy community center playroom full of squealing babies and new moms enthusiastically discussing homemade organic baby food, Sadie meets John, a handsome, vivacious dad. They quickly form a friendship and Sadie finally finds an adult outlet. John soon becomes a lifeline and she looks to him for advice and support, and confides in him about her strained marriage and career as a copywriter. Sadie begins to have sexual fantasies about John. Those fantasies turn into opportunity when he tells her he’s in an open marriage. As Sadie contemplates how far is too far in regards to her friendship with John, she must also question herself, her marriage, an d her life. Will swinging with John improve that life, or destroy it?
Available Amazon


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.
Available Amazon, Barnes & Noble

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BUT WAIT!!! There are more books! You can win these too - check out the Facebook event HERE to win these books!
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