Rough week + PMS = nothing good

This past week was a doozy.  To start, I was PMSing big time, which always has an extreme effect on my emotional state.  When some women PMS, they get bitchy, make snide comments and want to eat everything in sight.  When I PMS, I become sad, needy, paranoid and hopeless.  I doubt everything from my relationships (if I’m in one), to my friendships (why hasn’t “so-and-so” called me in so long?  Does she not like me anymore?), to my writing ability (one of my reviews said A State of Jane took entirely too long to get to the point?  Is that true?  Surely all of the positive reviews were lies), to my physical appeal (Do I look fat?  I look fat, don’t I?), everything.  I try to talk myself off of the ledge, i.e. “I know I get this way when I’m PMSing, just ride through it and wait until Aunt Flo arrives.  The cramps will take the place of the exploding hormones.” It usually works, but coupled with everything else that went down this week, it’s been rough.  I know you want to know what went down this week so here it is.  Wait for it. Wait for it…


  1.       This time last week, I was on top of the world.  I had just signed a contract with Booktrope Publishing for my third novel, Blogger Girl.  The book is about, you guessed it, a blogger!  I will be sharing more details about Blogger Girl in the near future so stay tuned.  Naturally, I was in a great mood until I spoke to my mother who told me that Gypsy, my sister’s Golden Retriever, was very ill.  I had seen Gypsy over Mother’s Day and thought something was off with her.  She clung to my leg and just didn’t move.  Gypsy was always the cuddling type.  She loved to be hugged and kissed but this last time, she just attached herself to my leg and stayed there as if she needed my leg to hold her up.  Additionally, rather than planting herself under the kitchen table during dinner to lap all of the food that fell to the floor because we’re all a bunch of slobs (Well, most of us. Okay, mostly me), Gypsy stayed in her own corner of the kitchen.  It was not like her at all.  I was concerned but hoped it was just because she was getting older.  Unfortunately, it was more serious than that.  The vet told my sister that Gypsy had bleeding tumors and she was put to sleep on Monday morning.  I was (and still am) devastated.  I never had a pet growing up and am waiting to move into a larger apartment or have a more “stay-at-home” lifestyle before getting a puppy of my own.  Gypsy was the closest thing I had to a dog and I loved her so much.  I don’t want to spend too much time talking about her because my pain cannot even begin to compare to what my sister and her children are going through. Gypsy was a direct member of their family and her absence has left a giant hole in their home. 
  2.       If losing Gypsy wasn’t enough to endure this week, I also had my first mammogram on Wednesday.  I’ve been terrified about the mammogram for months to the point where my sister was worried that I was making myself sick over it.  We do not have a history of breast (or any) cancer in my family, aside from my paternal grandmother who got it at 70 and still lived past 90; my internist did not feel a lump when doing her routine breast exam only a month ago; and there was no reason for me to think I had cancer.  Nevertheless, I was extremely frightened to the point where I had to change the television channel each time there was an advertisement for the Revlon Walk for Breast Cancer.  My mother knew I was anxious and offered to come with me to which I responded with an enthusiastic, “Yes, please!”  Unfortunately, the appointment was at 11:30 and my mom’s bus into the city didn’t arrive until after 11.  I had already been through the test by the time she arrived so I had no one to calm my nerves ahead of time. To be honest, I don’t think my mother being in the waiting room with me would have made the experience less traumatic, but I sure did appreciate the offer.  The tight embrace we shared afterwards was comforting enough.  I love you, Mom!  Anyway, for those of you who have had mammograms, you know it is not a pleasant experience.  I received mixed comments from people about the pain.  My sister said it wasn’t that painful, just uncomfortable pressure.  A friend of mine said it hurt A LOT.  My opinion is somewhere in between.  The pain was bearable and all I really cared about was getting a clean bill of health at the end.  I was kind of in a daze throughout the process.  My legs were visibly shaking and the technician’s calming words went in one ear and out the other.  I did feel a sense of relief when it was over although I was worried about the results.  More on that later.
  3.       After the mammogram, my mom and I walked to Macy’s where I purchased a pair of shoes for Book Buzz New York City, an author event being held at Stone Creek Bar & Lounge on Thursday, May 30thI’m not going to pitch the event in this blog but if you want more information, check out the website here:  The shoes were the highlight of my day, along with my mom’s bear hug.  The rest of the day was pretty painful as I had to spend it visiting a member of my family in a place I hope to never see again.  I won’t go into details because I think some things are better left private but I can tell you it was awful.  So awful that when I got home, I immediately opened a bottle of wine and smoked a cigarette.  I’m not a full-time smoker but I do partake from time to time and this was one of those times when I couldn’t fight the urge.  
  4.      I woke up Thursday morning ready to put Wednesday behind me and enjoy the new day but my phone rang at 10am with a number I didn’t recognize. I answered with a shaky voice already worried about who it was and my instincts were correct.  It was my doctor.  Now, don’t freak out (although I did).  The doctor said that the results of the mammogram were not conclusive because the images were not clear (or something like that).  She said it wasn’t urgent but she wanted me to have additional images taken and would be sending a new prescription in the mail.  She told me I did not need to be concerned as this was very common for first mammograms and that they just want clear base-line images.   Despite her words, the call (assisted by my PMS) drove me directly into my boss’s office where I proceeded to cry.  He told me that his wife and sister have needed additional images many times and there was nothing to worry about.  My sister said the same thing and a few of my friends said they went through the same experience.  They made me feel better although I’m still crazy scared, I’m not going to lie.


So, that was my shitty week in a nutshell.  I’d like to thank the people who reached out to me and asked if I wanted to talk, go for drinks etc.  The support sometimes came from unexpected sources and I do appreciate it.  I’m happy to say that I have crossed to the other side.  I got my period this morning and while I require 3 Alleves every eight hours for my cramps, at least I am in a much better emotional state.  I’m able to appreciate all of the wonderful things in my life, the people who love me, my upcoming book release etc.  I still miss Gypsy terribly and always will and I remain anxious about the follow-up ultrasound on my breasts but I am better able to put things into prospective.  I will try to enjoy the next month until PMS comes along again to rear its ugly head! 


RIP Gypsy Rigotty – we love you and always will. XOXO.

Introducing – Heartbreak Cake by Cindy Arora!

I’m very excited to help introduce a new writer in the chick lit world – Cindy Arora. Her debut novel, Heartbreak Cake, is scheduled for release by Simon and Fig sometime this summer. The cover looks sweet enough to eat – LOVE it!





Heartbreak Cake


Cindy Arora

Business is sweet for pastry chef Indira Aguilar. Her indie bakery, Cake Pan, is fast becoming the talk of the wedding circuit for its unique take on cakes and homespun creations for the modern bride, garnering national recognition and drawing in celebrity clients. But while her professional life is blossoming, her personal life is crumbling.

Indira may have a talent for blending buttercream into bliss, but when it comes to relationships, she’s got a lot to learn. Considering that the love of her life, Josh Oliver is not only married, but also runs the award-winning pastry department of her fiercest competition, Crystal Cove Resort, Indira puts much more at stake than just her heart when she ends her affair with him.

Rumors begin to fly as the small seaside community of Long Beach learns of her secret relationship, and Indira must defend not only her actions, but her wedding business and her reputation while trying to maneuver the choppy heartbreak waters of starting over, finding new love, and facing her past. With the support of friends, family, a fondness for butter, and a determined spirit, Indira may just bake her way back to happiness and possibly into the heart of Crystal Cove’s dishy new chef, Noah. But one thing is certain. Where there’s heartbreak, there must be cake.

For information about Cindy Arora, check out her website:




International Chick Lit Month Author Blog Hop


Welcome to my stop on the Second Annual International Chick Lit Month Author Blog Hop!

As you probably know by now, one lucky hopper will win the GRAND PRIZE: A FREE Kindle Keyboard 3G, with Free 3G + Wi-Fi, and a 6″ E Ink Display. That lucky grand prize winner will also receive a “chick lit starter library” filled with great chick lit books written by the indie authors participating in the blog hop. Please see bottom of post for instructions.  For More Information Click Here:

The topic of this Blog Hop is “What’s on Page 25” and today, I am sharing the contents of page 25 of my chick lit novel, A State of Jane.


On page 25 of A State of Jane, my main character, Jane Frank, is assuring her doting father that she is studying hard for the LSAT exam. There’s one problem though: Jane is lying.

Jane’s father is definitely her favorite of her two parents as she considers her mother to be a bit on the critical side. Whereas her mother often encourages Jane to wear dark clothes to disguise her curvier lower half, Jane can do no wrong in her daddy’s eyes and she’s a daddy’s girl to the Nth degree. Since she was a little girl, Jane and her father talked about working side-by-side on multi-million dollar deals as legal partners. Jane’s life plan includes kicking butt on her LSAT exam so that she can get into a top tier law school like the Ivy League Columbia.

Unfortunately, Jane’s life plan also includes finding a serious boyfriend. She waited the requisite year after breaking up with her first and only boyfriend of nine years and is ready (and eager) to fall in love again. Jane is afraid that if she waits too long to commence the boyfriend search, she will start law school single and have no time to date. After a few “false-starts” on eHarmony, Jane is getting ready for a first date with a guy she randomly met at an ATM machine and her daydreams about their future together are getting in the way of her studies. (Win the grand prize! The 7th secret word in the 25-word sentence is: Blog) Jane is positive that she can juggle preparations for the exam with her romantic aspirations and she does not see the need to concern her father with minor details like how much she has strayed from her studying schedule ( a lot).

Does Jane really have it all under control or is she about to encounter a rocky road on both the academic and romantic fronts? You must read the book to find out and I hope you will 🙂

Learn “How to Hop & Win!” New to blog hops? Want to learn how to win the grand prize? Find complete information here.

Keep hopping! Click here to return to the list of blogs.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

P.S. Speaking of buzzing over books and summer parties… If you happen to be in NYC on Thursday, May 30th, please come on down to Stone Creek Bar and Lounge on East 27th (between Lex and 3rd) from 7pm to 9pm for a mix-and-mingle event a few of us in this Hop are hosting. Should be a hoot! Book Buzz 2013–click here for details!

Stay Tuned – Second Annual International Chick Lit Blog Hop – May 20th-27th



WHO: fabulous chick lit authors of the world

WHAT: The Second Annual International Chick Lit Month Blog Hop – this one is being hosted by the fabulous blogger, Julie Valerie.

WHERE: Chick Lit Author Blogs everywhere

WHY: Because we’re fabulous, that’s why!!

WHEN: May 20-May 27th


TOPIC: The topic of this year’s Blog Hop is “What’s on Page 25?” and each participating author will be writing a post on the contents of page 25 of their novel.

PRIZES: A grand prize will be awarded in the nature of a FREE Kindle Keyboard 3G, with Free 3G + Wi-Fi, and a 6″ E Ink Display. That lucky grand prize winner will also receive a “chick lit starter library” filled with great chick lit books written by the indie authors participating in the blog hop.

Individual smaller prizes will be awarded by participating authors. I have not yet decided what I will be giving away, so please feel free to leave a comment with suggestions. Please be reasonable, i.e “gift certificate to Barneys New York” or “helicopter ride around NYC” are not viable options until I become a major best selling author, sorry!

For more information, click here:


Guest Blogger – Zanna Mackenzie, author of How Do You Spell Love?

I’m very excited to invite the lovely Zanna Mackenzie, author of the newly published chick lit novel, How Do You Spell Love?, to my blog.  Take it away Zanna!

Today we’re interviewing the character of Summer from Zanna Mackenzie’s novel How Do You Spell Love? (HDYSL)

Tell us a bit about yourself Summer

I’m a bit of a modern eco warrier I suppose. I manage the local Save The World charity shop in the town where I live in Yorkshire, I grow all my own fruit and veg on my allotment in town and I’m a practising white witch.

Wow! A witch eh? I don’t think I’ve ever met a white witch before, what does that mean exactly?

It means I cast ‘spells’  but only good ones, not ill intentioned or evil ones. I do spells to help others, asking for things like protection or fertility or, the most popular, for love.  I inherited this ‘gift’ from my gran and I abide by the old code of never accepting money for any spells I do and never wishing anyone any harm. Another code is not to cast spells asking for something for yourself. I usually abide by this one but, as you’ll see if you read the book, I end up bending the rules a bit on this point.

So what do these spells involve?

Usually the chanting of a rhyme and the use of things like herbs, essential oils, plants and crystals. I perform most of my spells in a shed on my allotment / vegetable plot.

So you mentioned bending the rules to perform a spell asking for help for yourself, can we ask what that was about?

I don’t know if I should say too much but, well, it involves Rob, my boyfriend, we’re having problems at the moment and I thought a lunar love spell might get our relationship back on track.

And did it?

Unfortunately, it just seemed to make things even more complicated!

In the book blurb for HDYSL it mentions that you meet a guy called Tom, can you tell us more?

My friend and co-worker Kat invites me to a party her family are having and that’s where I meet Tom. He’s her cousin and we get talking about this and that.  He mentions he grew up on his gran’s allotment/veg plot and how much fun it was, when I mention about having an allotment myself. Then, a few days after the party, he turns up at my veg plot and asks if he can help out from time to time but we both know he’s asking for much more than that! Anyway, I agree, ok, I admit, I do like him, but for a whole variety of reasons we really can’t be together so I’m soon left wondering why on earth I agreed to him being around and what on earth  is going on between us.

Thanks Summer!



Publisher: Crooked Cat Publishing Published on: March 1st 2013 Genre: Chicklit/rom com with magical theme


Make A Wish…

Kat can’t help wishing there was more to life than this. What happened to her dream job? What happened with Nathan?

Summer is wondering where her life is going too… battling the developers of a controversial housing estate and working out why boyfriend Rob is increasingly distant.

When the developers win the battle and move into town everyone’s life is turned upside down.

Kat meets building site project manager Alex. She enjoys his company far too much, even though he’s on the town’s most hated list.

Summer meets Tom who has plenty of relationship troubles of his own, so things could get really complicated.

Soon everyone is keeping secrets, lives change and hearts are broken. Is everything falling apart, or does life just work in mysterious ways…


*Crooked Cat Publishing –

*Amazon UK –

*Amazon USA –


How Do You Spell Love?

Kat pushed the last of the cottage cheese and shrimp sandwiches into the cool box and slammed the van door shut. As if her life wasn’t enough of a disaster zone as it was – no money, lousy job, losing Nathan, having to move back home to live with her parents – now this had to go and happen. Plus, of course, it didn’t help that today she was feeling shattered after spending half the night chanting some ridiculous protection spell in the middle of the allotments with Summer.

Cringing as a van full of builders stopped at the nearby traffic lights, Kat braced herself for the inevitable. After the standard-issue wolf whistles had drifted across from their van, next came the leered, “Wouldn’t argue with that, love!” as one of them nodded towards her sparkling clean van, parked neatly at the curb. The words “A Bit of Crumpet on the Road” emblazoned down the side in deep purple, glittery lettering. Not for the first time Kat cursed her boss Janice for calling her bakery-cum-deli that name.

Kat sighed, well it certainly drew comments from the public and from their customers, not always welcome ones, but as Janice was always keen to point out, any kind of publicity and attention was, in her eyes, good publicity and attention.

Pulling her navy and white striped apron more tightly around her T-shirt and shorts, Kat ignored the builders and climbed into her van to begin that morning’s deliveries. As she indicated to pull out into the busy street in Luisborough, she mulled over the bad news – that she was to add the controversial Netherton Meadows housing development to her daily sandwich round.

Netherton Meadows. Yippee. If Summer found out, she’d surely be ostracised for fraternising with the environmental enemy. This was a development that pretty much everyone in Luisborough had fought against for getting on towards a year. It had been the focus of STW campaigns. It went against everything that Kat believed in environmental-wise. Everyone hated the Netherton Meadows developers. Except, it seemed, Janice, who was perfectly happy to, in her words, ‘supply yummy builders with yummy sandwiches.’

Lost in thought, Kat just managed to spot the approaching traffic lights had turned to red and hastily slammed a foot on the brake. The van lurched to a halt and several boxes of crisps and one of the cool boxes in the back tipped over. Damn. It was shaping up to be one of those days.

Two hours later Kat had visited all her usual drops, was extremely hot and bothered, and could put off going to Netherton Meadows no longer.

Driving through the assorted vans, machinery and portacabins Kat parked next to a building marked as being the Site Office and hit the button on the dashboard. Tinkling chimes filled the air as Kat climbed from the driver’s seat and made to open the back doors of the vehicle. It was embarrassing enough that the van had the company name in large lettering along its side but, just to make sure that it received maximum exposure – and achieved maximum embarrassment – Janice had had some irritating chimes fitted to the vehicle too. Kat was under strict instructions to sound the chimes when she called at all of the sites where people came out to the van; such as they were about to at Netherton Meadows.

A man came down the steps of the office with a grin on his face and walked towards her. “Hi, you must be Kat.” He wedged a clipboard under his left arm and offered a hand to shake. “I’m Alex. Project manager for the site.”

“Hi,” mumbled Kat, spotting a group of hard-hat-clad builders advancing towards her with hungry expressions on their faces.

“Right, lads,” Alex turned towards the men. “This is Kat and she’s very kindly agreed to venture onto this site to bring you all your lunch. Don’t give her any hassle, OK?”

The men laughed and then nodded. “Sure, Alex. You’re the boss.”

Fifteen minutes later it seemed that all of the team at the development had made their sandwich, crisp and drink selections and sloped off to devour them in the sunshine. Only one of the builders, a portly man who must have been twenty years Kat’s senior, had pushed the boundaries a little, despite Alex’s earlier warning. As he’d selected a smoked salmon and cream cheese roll – a choice that had surprised Kat somewhat, having pegged him as a ham and cheese kind of guy – he’d asked Kat if she’d fancy joining him for a drink sometime. She’d politely declined his offer, saying that she had a boyfriend. No need to tell him that, technically, she and Nathan were no longer an item. No need to tell him why either.


Zanna Mackenzie lives in the UK with her 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 her ‘day job’ but, at every opportunity, she can be found scribbling down notes on scenes for whatever novel she’s working on. She loves it when the characters in her novels take on minds of their own and start deviating from the original plot!

Formerly a travel agent and therapist (she has qualifications in clinical aromatherapy, crystal healing, naturopathic nutrition and herbalism) she loves walking the dogs and gardening – that’s when she’s not writing or reading!

Zanna has written two novels, The Love Programme (Astraea Press) and How Do You Spell Love? (Crooked Cat Publishing) and both were published in early 2013.


Twitter: @ZannaMacKenzie

Facebook: mackenzie

Goodreads –

Amazon Author Page –

likeable “unlikeable characters” in chick lit starring Jane Frank & Giveaway

The winner has been chosen – congratulations to SusieQ – you have won an ecopy of my first novel, Just Friends with Benefits!  Thanks for playing all 🙂


“Somehow, rather quickly Jane became that friend who you love, but drives you crazy along the way.”

Jane Frank, the main character in my novel, A State of Jane, is a twenty-six-year-old woman who has had a pretty easy life.  She comes from a well-to-do family, her parents are still very much in love, she earned good grades in school and her first romantic relationship was a loving and supportive one.  Jane has never wanted anything she couldn’t have and her childhood dreams of becoming a partner in her father’s law firm and being married by 30 are only 3 years of law school and a great boyfriend away.  Or so she thinks

 Sometimes I found Jane to be naïve, childish and rather self-absorbed but I also found her to be funny and just trying to find her path.”

Jane re-enters the dating world a year to the day after her break-up with her first and only boyfriend of nine years only to discover that finding a second boyfriend isn’t as easy as she thought and studying for the LSAT is a little difficult when all she wants to do is decipher the Manhattan male.  Why are they all completely smitten with her one day and then gone the next? 

“As the story went on I saw how Jane had to go through this dating journey to end up where she did.”

My desire in writing A State of Jane was to tell a story of a girl whose life spiraled out of control after she realized that things didn’t always go according to plan.  Jane Frank is a good person at heart but she is naïve and sheltered.  She would never intentionally hurt anyone’s feelings but is ill-prepared to handle what she deems as failure.  Jane becomes obsessed with controlling her destiny to the detriment of her career aspirations and her relationships with friends and family.  She becomes self-absorbed and unlikeable but it’s all part of her path to self-discovery and growing up.  I don’t want to spoil anything for people who haven’t read A State of Jane yet but Jane ultimately sees the error of her ways and makes amends.

“Through her vulnerable, all-about-me phase, I enjoyed watching her character arc of becoming just plain Jane.”

Jane Frank has a strong character arc and a lot of readers have commented that they found her extremely relatable, even though they wanted to shake her at times.  I’ve also received comments from readers who couldn’t warm to Jane despite her character development.   Jane is definitely a flawed character and if that is not your cup of tea, you probably will not enjoy A State of Jane.  I feel very protective of Jane as if I gave birth to her, which I kind of did.  But I know that if Jane really was my daughter, I’d probably have to sit her down at some point and explain that not everyone would like her and that’s ok – it’s part of  life. I might introduce her to some other imperfect female characters in chick lit, such as the following:

Darcy Rhone – Something Borrowed/Something Blue – Emily Giffin –Introduced to readers in Something Borrowed, Darcy is the completely self-absorbed, selfish and conceited best friend of Rachel Green and the fiancée of Rachel’s love interest. 

From Publisher’s Weekly: “Perhaps beautiful Darcy Rhone isn’t really wicked, but she is one of the most shallow, materialistic, self-centered and naïve 29-year-olds around.”

Darcy was an unlikeable character yet most readers appreciated her growth as a character.

“You really did come to care for and root for Darcy as she became less self-centered.” 

 “Emily Giffin has done a great job creating a character that, at first, I found myself disliking, and then in the end rooted for her as she founded her happy place in life”

Maggie Feller– In Her Shoes – Jennifer Weiner – The younger and more “beautiful” of two sisters, readers instantly dislike Maggie when she sleeps with her older sister Rose’s boyfriend.

From Publisher’s weekly, “Twenty-eight-year-old Maggie Fuller relies on her looks and size zero body to flirt her way through life while working dozens of dead-end jobs and dreaming of stardom.”

Maggie was easy to dislike at the beginning of the novel having betrayed her sister in one of the worst ways imaginable. It is also difficult to relate to a woman who is completely lazy and irresponsible, relying on her looks to get by in life.  However, readers see a different side to Maggie as she comes to terms with her inferiority complex and works hard to be a better person and sister. 

 “Maggie was so irritating and unlikeable, that the first half of the book was difficult to endure.  The second half brought redemption, healing, and transformation to Maggie.”

 “Just as you start hating Maggie, the one who has it easy getting jobs and men, Weiner emphasizes a hidden dimension of her character that allows us to empathize with her and realize that maybe she doesn’t have it so easy after all.”

Mattie Johns – The Hating Game – Talli Roland – Mattie Johns is very tightly wound to say the least.  She has built walls up around her to keep others away and she’s not a very nice person.  However, as the story develops, readers learn that Mattie is in fact capable of true love and selfless behavior. 

 “At first I found Mattie unlikeable.  But even in the beginning, I could detect her vulnerability within her uncompromising exterior.  This is a woman who wants to be in control, so it’s interesting to see how she grows as her life becomes more and more out of control.”

Just like these characters, Jane Frank is not always likeable.  She’s not always nice.  She doesn’t always do the right thing and she can be flat-out selfish.  In a word, she is human.  Another word is “flawed.”  But just like these other characters, there is an explanation for Jane’s behavior, and the consequences of her actions lead her to the path to redemption.  I hope that readers will forgive Jane’s “all about me” phase and admire her for putting her flaws out there for the world to see. 

“I liked that Jane was not perfect, and even got a little mad at her myself while reading.  But that is what makes her a real character.” 

What about you?  To win an ecopy of my first novel Just Friends With Benefits, please comment with your email address AND the name of one of your favorite flawed females in fiction! 

BookBuzz NYC 2013

bookbuzz graphic


I am so excited to announce that along with seven other authors, I will be hosting the first annual BookBuzz event in New York City on Thursday, May 30th!

If you are in the area, please come and mingle with us, have a complimentary “Pink Stiletto” cocktail and chow on some free appetizers. We’ll also be selling signed copies of our books at a discounted price. If you aren’t in the area and want to take a trip to NYC (and who wouldn’t want to do that), we’d love to have you!

For full details, please see the attached link. I’ve posted the reasons I am so BUZZED to be a part of this event and I would love to meet all of you so come on by! But don’t forget to email your rsvp to to ensure that your name is on the list and secure your free Pink Stiletto!