Blurb - Any Way You Build It
When single-mother Sarah pulls up in front of the house her aunt left her she has three goals; help her kids be happy and healthy, find a job and stay away from men. The last year has been a hellish roller-coaster and now she needs to create a stable life where everyone, including her, has their two-feet firmly planted on the ground. What she didn’t count on was a sexy neighbour who made keeping her focus and her balance way too hard.
Todd has two rules, never date locals and even more importantly never date women with kids. Growing up with his own mother and a revolving door of ineffectual step-fathers Todd has vowed never to put anyone in that position. He’s perfectly happy living his life with his Peter-pan syndrome undisturbed – until Sarah and her two adorable children move in across the street and turn everything upside down.
Todd isn’t the kind of guy who can stand back when someone needs help and Sarah clearly needs a lot. When Sarah gets injured Todd has no choice to step in and be a good neighbour who lends a hand, because he’s definitely not helping her because he likes her, after all that would be crazy.
Opportunity, proximity and attraction mean two neighbors determined to remain single have quite a struggle on their hands.
If you like tree houses, indoor camp outs and shameless flirting you’ll love Any Way You Build It.
Any Way You Plan It is Book 6 in The Upper Crust Series
Book 1 – Any Way You Slice It
Book 2 – Any Way You Dream It
Book 3 – Any Way You Fight It.
Book 4 – Any Way You Plan It
Book 5 – Any Way You Want It
About the author – Monique McDonell
I am an Australian author who writes contemporary women's fiction including chick lit and romance.
I have written all my life especially as a child when I loved to write short stories and poetry. At University I studied Creative Writing as part of my Communication degree. Afterwards when I was busy working in public relations I didn't write for pleasure for quite a few years although I wrote many media releases, brochures and newsletters. (And I still do in my day-job!)
When I began to write again I noticed a trend - writing dark unhappy stories made me unhappy. So I made a decision to write a novel with a happy ending and I have been writing happy stories ever since.
I am the author of six stand alone novels and novellas including Mr. Right and Other Mongrels and Hearts Afire and the Upper Crust Series. Many of my novels focus on an Australian characters meeting and visiting US characters.
I live on Sydney's Northern Beaches with my husband and daughter where I enjoy drinking copious amounts of coffee and long walks on the beach.
To learn more about my books, my writing, my caffeine obsession and my upcoming books please visit www.moniquemcdonell.com.au.
PLAYING HOUSE, Laura Chapman's new rom-com, is out today! If you're an HGTV fan, you'll love this story.
Get it today!
Today we've got an interview with Laura, and excerpt, AND a giveaway!
Caroline Fardig: HGTV couple drama is so huge and in the news right now. Were you inspired by current events or did you happen to predict the fall of some of the HGTV supercouples?
Laura Chapman: This was definitely a case of life imitating art—to a degree. I came up with the idea for this story after spending a weekend binge-watching various HGTV shows after a bit of a hiatus. Somewhere around hour ten, I turned to my colleague (we were killing time between sessions at an academic conference) and said, “What if all of this is fake?” That was back in Fall 2015 and I finished the first draft last spring. I went through quite a few rounds of edits on this one. I’ll admit that when news broke about a certain couple’s massive break-up, I had a moment when I wished the story was ready to publish. Then I felt like a jerk, because there are kids involved.
Caroline Fardig: I loved Bailey and the gang. I know you intended this as a standalone, but will we ever see these characters again? Like maybe Waverly having her own story?
Laura Chapman: I’d never say never—and I do kind of, sort of have the inkling of an idea for a spin-off with Waverly—but at present there are no concrete plans for a follow-up. I could also see a story with Renee, the producer, but I have too many other stories on deck to be written for now.
Caroline Fardig: Are you interested in interior design at all—did you have to research a lot or were you simply describing your dream homes?
Laura Chapman: I definitely have an interest in interior design. After as much home improvement TV as I’ve watched in my lifetime, I—like many others like me—am under the impression that I am secretly a talented interior designer. I’ve devoted many, many hours to watching home décor shows, reading blogs, and so on. And that was before I decided to write the book. I’m still developing my own sense of style in my home. It’s a slow process, but I’ve started to acquire more and more pieces I love, and it’s coming together. I’m particularly proud of my office and bedroom. Here are a couple of photos.
Caroline Fardig: This book got a little steamy! (But in a good way—I thought it was artfully done.) Were you nervous about going the full monty, so to speak?
Laura Chapman: Yep. Totally. I’ve been reading romance novels since I was twelve, and I’ve always been fine with that. But writing it and knowing that one day my mom—and maybe even my dad—might read it made me question myself. My little sister has made me promise to tell her what pages get a little sexy, because she would rather skip those than imagine me coming up with them, I guess. Bless her, but I get it. That said, those scenes were kind of fun to write—but definitely strange to edit. Particularly with word choice. There are some words I have a hard time using, and they’re not included in this. Like 30 Rock’s Liz Lemon, the word “lovers” “bums me out unless it’s between the words meat and pizza.” Also, certain words for body parts and such.
Caroline Fardig: There were several black moments where I remember forlornly thinking to myself, “This situation is unfixable.” Yet (without giving anything away) you were able to bring it all to an extremely satisfying close. Did you know how your characters were going to end up before you started writing, or did you let them guide you as the book progressed?
Laura Chapman: I work from an outline, so I usually know the destination before we get in the car, so to speak. That said, the stories do always take some twists and turns along the way—though nothing major that changed the ending. Going with the road trip analogy, I like to think of those elements as unexpected roadside attractions we’re stopping by on our way to the big show. I wasn’t completely certain how the final scene, the climax would play out until I wrote that scene. And as a fun fact, the epilogue that appears in this story originally started as a scene to play out in the second half of the book. I cut it—and another scene I loved—because I needed to speed up the pacing. Fortunately, I was able to salvage that and give it a new purpose.
I’m so glad you enjoyed this book. Thank you for reading it and for having me on the blog.
About the Book
She's a work in progress . . .
Bailey Meredith has had it. As an assistant at a prestigious interior design firm, she’s tired of making coffee and filing invoices. She’ll do just about anything to get out from under the paperwork and into the field for real experience. Then she sees an ad for a job that seems too good to be true.
He's a fixer upper . . .
Wilder Aldrich knew she would be perfect for the crew the moment he saw her. His hit home improvement show only hired the best, and Bailey had potential written all over her. It isn’t just her imaginative creativity and unmatched work ethic that grabs his attention. There’s just something about her.
With chemistry on screen, it’s only a matter of time before sparks fly behind the scenes as well. But with Bailey’s jaded views on romance and a big secret that could destroy Wilder and everyone he cares about are either of them willing to risk it all for love?
Now Available! Find it on:
Excerpt from Playing House
Keeping a close distance, she followed Waverly up the cracked path to the house. Bailey took quick mental notes of her surroundings. The exterior needed a lot of work. The sagging roof missing gutters made her think they’d find the inside in similar disarray. They stepped through the front door, nearly tripping over Wilder Aldrich, who was measuring the entryway.
“Hey!” He sprang to his feet and out of their way. “What did I tell you about waiting until I gave you the all clear?”
“You were taking for-frickin’-ever, and some of us were freezing our tits off.” She pursed her lips and took on a warrior stance, seemingly daring him to say something else.
Conceding victory to her, Wilder turned and flashed an apologetic grin at Bailey. “Hey.” He offered a hand. Warmth permeated through the thin material of her glove. “Welcome to Casa de Waverly.”
Giving him a smug grin, Waverly sipped her coffee and faced Bailey. “Do you have a smart phone?”
Bailey stared blankly for a second, still dazzled by seeing Wilder up close. But she quickly snapped to attention and dug her phone out of her coat pocket.
“Good,” Waverly said after inspecting it. “While you’re on the job, I’d like you to snap some photos for our social media accounts. I’ll want to vet everything before we post it, but we need to start building the buzz for the next season while we’re filming. In exchange, we’ll cover your phone payments to take care of your data usage. Understood?”
“I can do that.”
“Good. Now . . .” She pulled out her own phone. It was the latest model that had come out on the market a month ago. With all of its reported bells and whistles, it put Bailey’s poor phone to shame. “I’m going to make a quick call. I’ll be back in a few minutes, and we can get started on,” she gestured around her, “this mess.”
She spun on her heel and waltzed out of the room, cooing into the phone.
Wilder cleared his throat, and Bailey turned to give him her full attention. She estimated he was only a couple of years older than herself—maybe in his late twenties or early thirties. He looked younger in real life than he did on TV. He was leaner and a little shorter—though she still had to crane her neck a little to meet his gaze.
He was also more handsome. Not the GQ model, your tongue-sticks-to-the-top-of-your-mouth kind of sexy. But he was hot in the same way the guy you sat next to in Chemistry was. It was enough to distract you from formulas and Bunsen burners every so often, but not enough that you’d ever set the lab on fire or forget to finish your final exam.
So far, he seemed much more serious. Where was the guy who scared Waverly with a stuffed dummy in a closet in the last episode she’d watched before calling an end to the marathon?
He was, she realized, studying her every bit as closely, with those hazel eyes speckled with green. Noting that, she didn’t feel quite as rude taking mental notes on the man in front of him.
At least she looked good. She’d laid out three outfits that morning in the hotel room. The first was a long, silky turquoise tunic that she’d paired with a pair of black leggings and knee-high boots. It was similar to the clothes Waverly favored on screen—only hers weren’t name-brand knockoffs. Then she had the casual jeans, a gray T-shirt that she could dress-up with a navy blue blazer. And there was option three: dark-wash, fit jeans, a chambray shirt, and a scarf. It was an ensemble that fell somewhere in the middle. It was the one that looked the most like her when she inspected herself in the mirror.
It was the one that felt most like her now in the middle of the foyer.
She wondered what he saw when he looked at her. Did he see a confident young woman ready to tackle major projects adeptly? Or did he see someone who was desperate to create, no matter what happened? Both were correct, but which one shone through right now?
Like a light switch, that triggered something in her. She offered her hand again. “We haven’t officially met. I’m Bailey Meredith.”
About the Author
Laura Chapman is the author of First & Goal, Going for Two, Three & Out, The Marrying Type, and Playing House. A native Nebraskan, she loves football, Netflix marathons, and her cats, Jane and Bingley. She loves talking to readers. You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You can also get the latest news from her website, blog, and monthly newsletter.
This month, during the Playing House blog tour, you can enter the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win one of 1 free Audible copy each of The Marrying Type, First & Goal, Going for Two or 1 $20 Amazon gift card.
To wrap up the “I’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” blog hop, I’m taking losing that lovin’ feeling a step further. We’re going to explore co-stars who’ve lost that lovin’ feeling and by doing so, made us as viewers lose it, too.
It’s double the drama, folks!
There are a lot of famous rivalries between co-stars, even dating back to the days of Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. But I’m going to focus more on the ones that ruined shows for me (or in rare cases made them better).
The Contenders: Nathan Fillion vs. Stana Katic
The Winner: No one, because the show ultimately got cancelled. (Although Stana got fired before the final axe came down on the show, so technically Nathan won this one. It is his character’s name in the title, after all.)
Ah, Castle and Beckett. Caskett. (Quite a fitting mash-up for a murder mystery show, no?) Their witty banter and sexual tension in the first three seasons was some of the best on TV. Then something weird began to happen. Maybe it was the writing; maybe it was the behind-the-scenes stuff. I don’t know. But either way, I would rename nearly every episode in Season 4 “The One Where Castle’s Balls Are in Beckett’s Purse.” It’s evident that he’s falling for her (onscreen—and maybe off screen?) but she’s not having it (maybe on and off screen).
Anyway, in Season 5, when Beckett reluctantly decides Castle’s not so bad and they get together, it’s way forced. At least at this point the powers-that-be decided poor Castle could go retrieve his balls, so there’s that. Generally, the fire between them that was so characteristic at the start is all but extinguished by now. (Word was, they couldn’t stand each other off screen.) However, once someone (besides me) figured out it wasn’t working, there were a lot less Castle/Beckett scenes and a lot more Castle/Espo/Ryan scenes, which—let’s face it—were always the best, anyway.
Complaining aside, something absolutely magical happened at the beginning of the the final season. I don’t know if it was the writing or what, but the episodes were back to Season1-3 awesome. So awesome, in fact, Castle is going to be included in my post on the next blog hop, “Bring Back That Lovin’ Feeling,” where we’ll discuss how we fell back in love with a show that previously wasn’t getting it done for us. But you’ll have to wait a couple of months for that one.
The Contenders: Victoria Justice vs. Ariana Grande
The Winner: Ariana, who got her own spin-off, Sam & Cat. Oh, and her singing career kind of went nuts, too.
Yes, I watch Nickelodeon’s teen programming. Sometimes even without my kids. Don’t judge—you do it, too.
Victorious was one of the best of the best. They had a super-talented group of leads who were as good (if not better) at singing as acting, and they all had comedic timing in spades. What went wrong? Well, if you believe the gossip sites, some people wanted more money/their own tour/etc.
Bottom line, Nick execs and the talent couldn’t come to an agreement, so the children of America (and their parents) suffered as a result. Then of course, there was the requisite Twitter war between Victoria and Ariana. Then there was the deleting of posts and denial that the ambiguous passive-aggressive accusations were directed at each other. Whatever. Victorious just ended with no wrap-up.
So we had to move on to the Victorious/iCarly spin-off Sam & Cat, which is a good show, but it’s no Victorious (or iCarly). Oh, and it got cancelled after only 2 seasons because of some dirty pics of “Sam.” Classy.
The Contenders: Shannen Doherty vs. Alyssa Milano (and the show execs)
The Winner: Alyssa, Rose McGowan, and the rest of us.
After Shannen Doherty couldn’t get along with her female castmates on the set of 90210, what did anyone think would happen when she was cast on a new show full of women? Well, she exited Charmed also, only making it through three seasons this time. There are lots of articles out there that state Alyssa gave the execs the old “either she goes or I go,” but there are just as many that say Shannen had always butted heads with the show execs, and that was the reason for her character being killed off. So, who knows? Either way, when Rose McGowan came on the show as Shannen’s replacement of sorts, the focus changed up a bit. The show got more campy and less serious, more about romance and less about kicking demon ass. Which for me was fine—I thought the first three seasons were sometimes a little dry, anyway. Some viewers lost that lovin’ feeling, but I wasn’t one of them.
So there you have it—the big wrap up of the “I’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” blog hop! Thanks to Lanea, Kerrie, and Jami for participating, and especially to Deb for the cool idea! Join us in a couple of months for the “Bring Back that Lovin’ Feeling” blog hop.
Isabella Louise Anderson is on my blog today with a guest post, info about her new release, and a giveaway!
Three Fun Facts about “Cards From Khloe’s Flower Shop”
Fun Fact #1: There were three drafts of this book, though what some many don’t know is that a man played a leading role, along with Khloe, Gabby, and Connie. Richard was a businessman, who was married to his high school sweetheart, and while his wife thought they were happily married, Richard was cheating on her with a much younger woman (a waitress he met at a restaurant while having a business lunch). Without any words, he and the woman started their affair, where Richard was pleasured in ways he hadn’t been in years. Soon, the woman fell in love with him, and Richard promised to tell his wife he wanted a divorce, but he just couldn’t do it—his wife did it for him. In front of hundreds of people, who came to the opening of her art gallery, she courageously divulged to a roomful of people—including her husband—that she knew about his infidelity, and that night, when she came home, she kicked him out. In the end, Richard and his wife took the time to get to know one another again, and he vowed to change and even proposed to her again.
While Richard and his infidelity was fun to write, along with the sizzling sex scenes, I’m grateful to my beta readers for encouraging me to delete Richard’s character from the book, and for this reason, I think it emphasizes three strong female characters that I hope my women readers will relate to.
Fun Fact #2: I have a favorite local flower shop that I love to go to. Each time I go into it, I’m in awe of the place, (as of recently, it has expanded, and it was everything I’d imagined Khloe’s Flower Shop would be). The flower shop premise came to me because I’ve always loved sending and receiving flowers. That being said, I’ve also wanted own a flower shop, and wrote the vision of how I’d want it to look like, how I’d run my business, and, of course, to read the messages written on the cards, (each one would tell a story, I’m sure).
Fun Fact #3: Not only did Khloe Kardashian inspire the main character, she inspired the name for the title of the book. Now, before you get on my case for the silly “reality” show—a guilty pleasure of mine—I wrote this book in seventeen days, during NaNoWriMo, which I’m proud of. I had no idea about what this book would be about, names, characters, or anything like that, but thanks to my seeing Khloe and Lamar on the cover of my USWeekly magazine, I instantly had a direction and started writing.
**I hope you enjoy this book as much as I loved writing it!
About the Book
As the owner of a successful florist shop, Khloe Harper trusts her instincts. She has a strong bond with her family and friends, but after being betrayed by her last love, she's kept herself at arms’ length from romance. When dashing entertainment attorney Derek Thomas walks into her store, Khloe’s interest is piqued. What at first seems like a business relationship quickly turns into romance, and Derek slowly plucks away the petals she’s been hiding behind. Just as Khloe lets down her guard, she discovers that Derek may not be worthy of her love after all.
Frumpy Connie Albright has a faux fascination with an imaginary man named Walt, thinking that by sending herself flowers from him she’ll feel less out-of-place with the “mean girls” she works with. When she comes face to face with her possible prince charming and thinking she might have a happy ending, when a truth is revealed, she wonders if she’ll ever have a Cinderella story.
A recently widowed senior, Gabby Lewis, isn't ready to give up on love—which means releasing herself from survivor's guilt and taking a chance on finding happiness and companionship again. After signing up for an online dating site for senior citizens, much to her surprise, she’s matched with Harry, an energetic and loving man, who quickly eases himself into her heart. Will Gabby take the leap of falling in love again, knowing it’s possible to have two loves of her life?
As each woman’s story develops through flowers and cards sent from Khloe's shop during the Fall months, they begin to learn that love can only truly blossom when you trust your heart.
February 20 – Chick Lit Plus – Review
February 21 – Caroline Fardig – Guest Post
February 22 – Novel Escapes – Q&
February 23 – Books Dreams Life – Q&A
February 28 – Granny Loves to Read – Review
February 28 – Book Lover in Florida – Review & Guest Post
March 3 – Spunky N Sassy – Guest Post
March 6 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review & Guest Post
March 6 – Rainy Day Reviews – Review & Guest Post
Snapchat username: mrsanderson1981
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/isabella+louise+anderson?_requestid=117584
I'm excited for my friend Zanna Mackenzie,
for the release of Book 1 in her Glen Falls series,
I got the privilege of beta reading this one, and I loved it!
Running from your past can land you in a whole lot of trouble in the present!
After Kat’s life falls apart she seeks a fresh start in the picturesque tourist town of Glen Falls. Needing a job – any job – she becomes an assistant in a shop selling magical candles, charms and crystals. When she learns the truth behind the town’s paranormal vibe and discovers the locals have supernatural abilities, she starts to wonder whether running from her past has landed her in even more trouble in the present!
A controversial development of executive homes on what used to be a pretty area of riverside meadows is stirring up bad feelings in Glen Falls. So, when the development is hit by vandalism, there’s a rather long list of suspects – including Kat’s new employer. Desperate to keep her boss and good friend out of serious trouble with the police, Kat wades into sleuthing mode, attempting to catch the vandals herself before things can spiral dangerously out of control.
With a broken heart and more than enough crazy stuff already on her plate, risking a new romantic involvement is the last thing she needs, but then she meets the gorgeous and mysterious Alex. As the architect in charge of the housing development everybody hates, Alex is Public Enemy Number in Glen Falls – another reason why Kat should stay as far away from him as possible. Unfortunately that’s proving rather difficult to do...
Soon, she’s way out of her depth and battling magical forces, mysteries and major mayhem – as well as trying to fight her growing attraction towards the intriguing Alex, a man who seems to be keeping even more secrets about his current life than Kat is about her past.
Can she track down the culprit before their vandalism escalates to murder and they end up in a prison cell? Why is charming Alex being quite so secretive? Is Kat’s disastrous past about to catch up with her?
Be sure to grab your copy of Keeping Secrets, a romantic comedy mystery with supernatural forces at play, while it’s on the special offer launch price of just 99c/99p and join Kat on her fun sleuthing adventures!
Look out for Finding You, Glen Falls Book 2, out later in February!
I live in the UK (Derbyshire/ Leicestershire border) with my husband, 4 dogs, a vegetable patch that's home to far too many weeds and an ever expanding library of books waiting to be read.
Being a freelance writer and editor of business publications is my 'day job' but, at every opportunity, I can be found scribbling down notes on scenes for whatever novel I'm working on. I love it when the characters in my novels take on minds of their own and start deviating from the original plot.
I enjoy walking the dogs, gardening and reading.
Have a great day!
Happy Release day to ME!
Java Jive #3 is available today
A WHOLE LATTE MURDER
Get it HERE
Coffeehouse manager and reluctant sleuth Juliet Langley returns in a gripping novel from the bestselling author of Death Before Decaf and Mug Shot. Just as things are perking up in Nashville, a serial killer sends tensions foaming over.
Juliet’s personal and professional lives have recently received an extra jolt of energy. Her romance with the hunky detective Ryder Hamilton continues to simmer, and business at Java Jive has never been better. But her good mood quickly turns as stale as day-old espresso when she finds out that Ryder has been promoted to his precinct’s homicide division. With him risking his life to catch the worst kind of criminals, Juliet’s growing sense of unease ignites when a local college student goes missing.
Suddenly every Nashville resident is on high alert, especially Juliet’s neighbor Chelsea. Juliet does her best to calm the girl’s nerves, but her worst fears are confirmed when she finds Chelsea dead. Even though she tries her best to stay out of it, Juliet’s involvement puts a strain on Ryder’s first homicide case. The situation soon becomes even more personal for Juliet and her best friend Pete Bennett when one of their employees disappears during her shift. As a killer lurks in the shadows, Juliet, Pete, and Ryder seek out a double shot of justice.
To go along with the book, I've recorded "You Are Mine" (featured in the story) as a fun added bonus!
Find it here: http://www.carolinefardig.com/music/
FOLLOW MY A WHOLE LATTE MURDER BLOG TOUR
Whenever Claudia of Collectors of Book Boyfriends & Girlfriends reviews a book, she makes an awesome meme to go with it. And this time she's outdone herself. I am truly blown away by this one, just because of the perfectness of it.
The words are from my first recorded song, YOU ARE MINE, which is available here for purchase.
And not to go all guitar nerd on you, but the model is actually playing a Cadd9 chord, which is used in the song and happens to be one of my favorite ones to play!
Not only that, but Claudia gave me a great review, which I am extremely grateful for.
will be released on Tuesday, November 8th!
The Christmas Surprise by Samatha March is out today!
About the Book
Juliette Mabry is a happily married stay-at-home wife and mother...until there appears to be trouble brewing in her nearly ten-year marriage. Juliette takes it upon herself to find out if her husband is up to no good, but does she want to know the truth? Everything is revealed on Christmas, and Juliette is in for her biggest Christmas surprise.
Jersey Girl Book Reviews
Nothing Better Than a Book
Chick Lit Goddess
The Book Bag
Granny Loves to Read
Book Lover in Florida
Queen of All She Reads
Authors and Readers Book Corner
A Southern Girls Bookshelf
Hello Chick Lit
Spunky N Sassy
Jen's Reading Obsession
A Page to turn
Little Miss Drama Queen
About the Author
Samantha March is an author, editor, publisher, blogger, and all around book lover. She runs the popular book/women’s lifestyle blog ChickLitPlus, which keeps her bookshelf stocked with the latest reads and up to date on all things beauty, fashion and fitness. In 2011 she launched her independent publishing company Marching Ink and has four published novels – Destined to Fail, The Green Ticket, A Questionable Friendship and Up To I Do. You can also find her on Youtube sharing beauty reviews and creating makeup tutorials. When she isn’t reading, writing, or vlogging, you can find her cheering for the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Cubs. Samantha lives in Iowa with her husband and Vizsla puppy.
Our favorite fantasy football queen is back in
THREE & OUT,
the latest in the Queen of the League series by
the lovely Laura Chapman!
It's another hilarious, compelling read we've come to expect from this series. I'm an exhausted mess this morning thanks to Laura--I sat up reading past midnight because I just had to find out what happened to Harper and Brook.
Keep reading for a fun interview she did with me, as well as a giveaway!
Find it on
After rushing to the altar and moving across the country, Harper Duquaine (or is it MacLaughlin, now?) is in uncharted territory. What once seemed like a promising opportunity to advance her husband’s career while giving her some much-needed independence and adventure has proven to be a bust. By the time fall rolls around again, she’s back in a boring job by day and overstocking her inventory of crocheted scarves by night. Not even the prospect of a new football season holds much excitement.
At least that’s what she thought. Harper suddenly finds herself the manager of not one but two fantasy football teams—each with its own set of drama. Between the added pressure of her new marriage, an unexpected career prospect, and the hiccups created by people from her past and present worlds, Harper quickly finds herself going from bored to overwhelmed.
Can she hold up under the pressure, or will Harper learn the hard way that the turf isn’t always greener on the other field?
My interview with Laura:
So Harper is in a new town, so that means a new crew for her fantasy football league. Can we expect some new alpha males in THREE & OUT?
There is a new, somewhat significant alpha male in THREE & OUT, but he isn’t in either of Harper’s fantasy football leagues. While she still plays with the Mega Ballerz back in Nebraska, her crew in Seattle has the distinction of being all female. The Real Coaches’ Wives of Seattle is a league comprised entirely of the wives and girlfriends of the coaches and staff members on the fictional Seattle State football team. The commissioner in this league makes the guys in the Mega Ballerz look like a bunch of prince charmings. Harper will have more than bragging rights and a prize pool at stake with this cutthroat group.
Now that Harper and the oh-so-loveable Brook are married, did you find it difficult to keep the spark in their relationship alive in this book?
This was a fun an interesting step for me to explore as a writer, because saying “I do” certainly changes dynamics. With Brook’s work schedule even busier, and the demands even greater, they don’t get a ton of time together. Thanks to another complication in their lives, they have almost no alone. So when they do steal precious moments together, they definitely make it count. While they might be physically apart, they come up with some inventive ways for keeping in touch. Brook, in particular, acquires a taste for overusing emojis and sending snaps when they aren’t together. The new technology might seem modern, but in a way, it kind of felt like a nod to the love letters you imagine in historical romances. Only instead of flowery prose and sonnets, they’re sending each other hearts and smiley faces.
Not only do you have a cast of characters, but you also made up a league full of football players for the fantasy league. How do you keep track of all the football players and their stats?
Keeping track of the fictional football players, and the weekly matchups, is definitely the most challenging part of this story. It became twice as difficult this season, because there were two teams, two leagues, and two sets of games to track. I write with Scrivener, which is writing software with fantastic organizational components. In Scrivener, I keep a file of Harper’s players and a schedule for how her team will perform on each week, including wins, losses, and points. I figure out this part early in the plotting process, because so much of Harper’s world gets shaped by what happens with her players. That said, I get a little confused sometimes, and I am super fortunate to have a couple of vigilant beta readers, and my copywriter Chrissy Wolfe of EFC, who help me make sure players names and positions stay consistent. Another challenge was coming up with names for so many people. For the first book, I enlisted the help of my blog readers. For the second, I held court at my sister’s bar and bounced names back and forth with her for an evening. For THREE & OUT . . . I honestly don’t remember. There were a handful of repeat players from previous seasons and the rest I kind of made up under the duress of a deadline.
When you started the series, did you think you’d be moving Brook and Harper across the country to start a new life?
I initially started this series as a standalone book. After conducting interviews with a couple of coaches and the significant other of a coach, I realized there was a lot more drama to mine in football beyond the first book, and the series was born. Once I committed to a series, I knew I’d send them to Seattle for the third book. FIRST & GOAL explores the ins and outs of fantasy football. GOING FOR TWO builds on that, but also focuses on the world of high school football. THREE & OUT moves them into college football, which seemed like a natural progression. I chose Seattle, because I love the Pacific Northwest and wanted to set a story there. I actually initially planned to set the series there, but early in the writing process my hometown of Lincoln, Nebraska, felt like a more natural place to begin. Young coaches like Brook seem to move around a bit early in their careers. Harper also seems to have a latent wanderlust that partially stems from trying to find personal and professional fulfillment. Once they were together, it only seemed natural that they would hit the road at some point.
Are you planning more adventures for Harper in the future?
It depends on when you ask me! I keep going back and forth. I’m pretty satisfied with where I left Harper at the end of this book, because at a certain point, you kind of want to stop beating up your characters and give them a chance to live happily ever after. But… I left the door open for a continuation of it feels right. As of now, I do not have a definite plan or schedule to write a fourth story, but I have an idea of what I’d like to explore next if there ever came a FOURTH & INCHES. What really excites me is the possibility of a spin-off. There is a certain character who really seems to want a starring role. But, I have other story ideas itching to be told, so we’ll see. In a few months, I might miss Harper enough to push them aside and bring her out of retirement. Even if Harper isn’t back for next football season, there’s a good chance we could visit her down the road. How’s that for a non-committal answer?
*** BARGAIN ALERT ***
To celebrate the new release, for a limited time, you can pick up the first two stories in the series for only 99 cents each. EBooks First & Goal and Going for Two are available for only 99 cents each. ***
In Laura Chapman’s Queen of the League series, Harper Duquaine joins a 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). Her competitive streak soon emerges, and she catches the interest of her top two competitors. 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.
First & Goal
Going for Two
About the Author
Laura Chapman is the author of First & Goal, Going for Two, Three & Out, and The Marrying Type. Her holiday novellas Making Christmas and What Happens at Midnight will be released on November 8, and are now available for pre-order. A native Nebraskan, she loves football, Netflix marathons, and her cats, Jane and Bingley. Connect with her online on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube and on her website at www.laurachapmanbooks.com.
Congrats to my author friend Tracie Banister on the release of her latest novel!
Get it HERE!
I got my copy today and can't wait to read it!
Born with a silver spoon in her mouth, Manhattan upper-cruster Cecily Sinclair now uses that pricey utensil to dish up fancy French fare on her cooking show, Serving Romance. When there’s an executive shake-up at the network, she’s not worried. Not much anyway. Her show’s a hit after all. Why would the new CEO want to mess with success?
The driving force behind several buzzed-about networks, Devlin Hayes is considered to be a wunderkind in the television industry. Although his plans to rebrand CuisineTV and make Serving Romance more Millennial-friendly don’t thrill Cecily, her charming, blue-eyed boss is a hard man to say “no” to and she really wants to keep her job—even if that means sharing screen time with a loathsome blast from her past.
Mercurial Italian chef Dante Marchetti a.k.a. “Il Duce” was once Cecily’s boss, and she has the PTSD to prove it. Now the owner of one of the hottest restaurants in town, Dante’s egomania knows no bounds and his constant attempts to provoke and upstage Cecily make her want to conk him on the head with a sauté pan. She thinks they’re toxic together, but viewers love their chemistry and clamor for more.
As Cecily battles to maintain the integrity of her show, she finds herself scheming and manipulating right along with Dante and Devlin. Is she fighting a lost cause? Does she really belong on TV, or would her culinary talent be better served elsewhere? And could one of the men who makes Cecily’s blood boil ignite a passion in her for something other than food?
RELEASE WEEK GIVEAWAY
Purchase a copy of Mixing It Up between October 19th, 2016 and October 25th, 2016 and you could win this fantastic prize pack inspired by the book’s heroine and her love of French food!
This prize pack includes:
Garnier-Thiebaut Oh, La La, Chéri French-themed Kitchen Linens Set
(Apron, kitchen towel, pot holder, and oven mitt.)
Kate Spade Deco Dot Recipe Box
with 8 tabbed dividers and 40 recipe cards
The French Women Don’t Get Fat Cookbook by Mireille Guiliano
To enter this giveaway, simply e-mail the author at email@example.com with your proof of purchase. Entries will be accepted until midnight on October 26th, 2016 when a winner will be selected via random drawing. This is an international giveaway, so anyone who buys Mixing It Up within the allotted time frame is eligible to win. Good luck!
An avid reader and writer, Tracie Banister has been scribbling stories since she was a child, most of them featuring feisty heroines with complicated love lives like her favorite fictional protagonist Scarlett O'Hara. Her work was first seen on the stage of her elementary school, where her 4th grade class performed an original holiday play she penned. (Like all good divas-in-the-making, she also starred in and tried to direct the production.)
Tracie’s dreams of authorial success were put on the backburner when she reached adulthood and discovered that she needed a "real" job in order to pay her bills. Her career as personal assistant to a local entrepreneur lasted for 12 years. When it ended, she decided to follow her bliss and dedicate herself to writing full-time. Mixing It Up is her fourth Chick Lit release, and in it Tracie finally got to live out her fantasy of being a Cordon Bleu-trained chef.
CONNECT WITH TRACIE
Author Newsletter – The Banister Buzz http://eepurl.com/by0VAv