my vacation from real life Part 1

how's that for a view?

how’s that for a view?

I’m blessed with a great day-job as a trademark paralegal. I work with wonderful people, have kind and respectful clients, and make a lucrative salary. But let’s be real—I love being on vacation!  I haven’t worked since Wednesday, May 20th and it’s been awesome. On Thursday, May 21st, I left for a six-day trip to Barbados with some girlfriends and I returned on Tuesday, May 26th just in time to greet my author peeps who were in town for Book Expo America (“BEA”). Held at the Jacob Javits Center this year, BEA is the leading book and author event for the North American publishing industry. I didn’t attend the conference myself, but I spent most of the week catching up with my talented writer and blogger pals and it was (and continues to be) fantastic.

my vacation-mates :)

my vacation-mates 🙂

When I decided to delay my return to work until Monday, the 1st, I fully intended to spend my days writing and my evenings with my friends. The first half of that plan was a complete and utter fail. This blog is the first thing I’ve written since the Saturday before I left for vacation, when I handed over my latest novel, Novel Girl, to my final beta reader. I’m feeling a bit rusty (and more than a little lazy) so this blog might be heavy on photos and light on text. For the most part, what happens in Barbados stays in Barbados, and what authors talk about amongst themselves might be boring to non-book people – reviews, marketing, agents, publishers, Amazon rankings, blah, blah, blah. Who am I kidding? We totally talked about sex.

Let’s start off with Barbados.  Aside from a very occasional sprinkle, the weather was fantastic, the food was delicious, and the company was highly entertaining. The hotel staff was so friendly and the locals were a little (a lot) too friendly…the beer was cheap (4 beers for $5), the happy hour often (11:30-12:30 and 4:30-5:30 every day), the sunblock used in excess (I still managed to burn my back), and the debates regarding the talents (or lack thereof) of Taylor Swift and Rihanna heated. Between the six women, we participated in countless water activities. I wasn’t brave enough to water ski like two of my friends, but I did attempt to paddle board. I failed miserably, but I would try it again. I thoroughly enjoyed the banana boat and alternated between laughing hysterically and screaming in terror while sitting on an inflatable couch and dragged along the waves by a motor boat. The driver attempted to “fear shame” my friends and me by insisting he was driving the boat slowly but he was full of #$%#!! He was NOT slow!! The vacation was a success and no one was itching to return to our “real lives” when the trip came to an end.

local beers - two thumbs up!

local beers – two thumbs up!

seafood tower - DELISH!

seafood tower – DELISH!

swimming with the fishes for real.

swimming with the fishes for real.

a couch on the ocean - not as relaxing as it sounds!

a couch on the ocean – not as relaxing as it sounds!

I might have needed an anti-depressant upon my return to New York City if it weren’t for the serendipitous timing of the BEA conference. Almost the moment I bid adieu to my vacation-mates, I got to say a face-to-face hello and hug the heck out of some of my favorite people from my “other” life—my life as an author— and it did not disappoint!

TO BE CONTINUED.

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Find Your Next Chick Lit Read / #ChickLitMay Giveaway!

May is International Chick Lit Month. Let’s be honest—it’s the best month of the year! Every year, chick lit readers and writers get together to celebrate, share, discuss and gush about their favorite book genre. Not familiar with chick lit or Chick Lit Month? Visit internationalchicklitmonth.com for more information.

This year marks the fifth anniversary of ICLM. To celebrate, a bunch of enthusiastic authors got together and made an infographic to help readers find their next chick lit read.

We’re giving away 19 ebooks to 19 lucky readers. Just enter to win the books you’d like to read!

To enter, comment on the blog post below, listing which books from the graphic you’d like to read and WHY you would like to read them. (Make sure to include your email address so we can contact you. If you’re uncomfortable leaving an email address, message me privately.) Entrants can only enter once per blog, but can check out other blogs with this same post and comment there for extra entries! All those links are down below.

Entries close on midnight Friday, May 22 (Pacific Daylight Time), and winners will be contacted directly on May 31.

Good luck everyone—and happy reading! 😀

(Even if you missed this giveaway, feel free to share this graphic on your blog and spread the chick lit love!)

ChickLit-Infographic

Find the authors and books here, and enter again!

Deeper Themes

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A Little Magic

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Laughs Guaranteed

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Light & Bright

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On Distant Shores

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Enter one more time at these great chick lit blogs!

Introducing French Twist by Glynis Astie

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For something new, I am handing off my blog to introduce the release of a new book, French Fry, by my author friend Glynis Astie. This is the third and final book in a romantic comedy series based on the author’s own life! Check it out! And scroll for a chance to win all three books in the series along with a $25 Amazon gift card!

French Fry

Sydney Durand had finally achieved the perfect life she had always wanted. After a whirlwind romance with a charming Frenchman, she endured the three weddings it required to satisfy the members of the newly formed Bennett-Durand clan. All she had left to do was stroll into the sunset with Louis to enjoy their long-awaited happily ever after.

But everything changed when the stick turned blue. Suddenly, Sydney finds herself facing the daunting task of becoming a mother before she has even returned home from her honeymoon. Keeping a tenacious hold on her hard-won happiness, Sydney is determined not to give up without a fight – no matter what or who is thrown in her path…and that includes an overbearing mother-in-law, a know-it-all father and her own anxiety about having a baby.

Will she finally be able to tame her neuroses for the sake of her unborn child? Or will her hormone-induced panic cause a meltdown of epic proportions? One thing is clear: Sydney and Louis’ nerves are going to fry…

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Purchase the book on Amazon

For your chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card as well as all three books in the French Twist series, enter here:

https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/NTNjZTliMTM5OTgwN2EwZTNiZDE0Y2FiN2RlNmI0OjE1/

Giveaway begins on 5/13/15 at 12:01 AM and ends on 5/20/15 at 11:59 PM. 3 prizes will be awarded:

  1. $25 amazon gift card & ebook set of the French Twist series
  2. 2 e-book sets of the French Twist series.

Giveaway

The giveaway is open for US Only.

About the Author

Glynis never expected in her wildest dreams to be a writer. After thirteen years in the Human Resources Industry, she decided to stay at home with her two amazing sons. Ever in search of a project, she was inspired to write the story of how she met and married her wonderfully romantic French husband, Sebastien, in six short months. The end result became her first novel, French Twist. As this was just the beginning of their epic love story, Glynis continued to chronicle their adventures in the sequel, French Toast and the final installment in the series, French Fry.

When Glynis is not writing, she is trying to keep the peace amongst the three men and two cats in her life, finding missing body parts (Lego pieces are small!), supervising a myriad of homework assignments and keeping a tenuous hold on her sanity by consuming whatever chocolate is in the vicinity.

Glynisphoto

Website:  www.glynisastie.com

Facebook Author Page:  https://www.facebook.com/glynisastieauthor

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/GlynisAstie

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7271294.Glynis_Astie

What’s on Page 45 – International Chick Lit Week – Blogger Girl

What'sonPage45

Welcome to the Fifth Annual International Chick Lit Month. This month, we celebrate all things chick lit. Today, I join my fellow chick lit authors to share What’s on Page 45 of one of our novels. I’ve chosen my novel Blogger Girl. For one, it was hailed “chick lit at its finest” by many readers and bloggers (Thank you, by the way) and for another, I recently completed the sequel and am now working on a prequel. But before a sequel or a prequel were even a blip on my radar, Blogger Girl was how it all got started.

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Blogger Girl tells the story of late twenty-something Kimberly Long, a disenchanted legal secretary at a New York City law firm who happens to run one of the most successful chick lit blogs on the internet—Pastel is the New Black.

Kim has a major crush on an attorney at her firm, Nicholas Strong. Although she’ll deny the accusation, she’s been known to comment on the rhyming of their last names—Strong rhymes with Long—usually under the influence of alcoholic beverages. But as far as Kim was aware, Nicholas did not see Kim as anything more than “that chick who occasionally connects him to Rob’s (the boss) voicemail.”

This all changed when Nicholas cornered her at a recent department happy hour and asked her questions about Pastel is the New Black. Kim tried unsuccessfully not to drone on and on about her love of books but she couldn’t help herself and Nicholas seemed really interested. And then he joined her for lunch in the firm’s cafeteria and proceeded to flirt shamelessly after confessing to checking out her blog. According to Kim, successful and hot Nicholas probably dates super models or brainy heart surgeons, what would he see in her—a measly legal secretary with a nice rack? But her friends think otherwise: what are the chances of a heterosexual male perusing her chick lit book blog if he’s not interested in her?

Taking her friends comments to heart, Kim decides it’s time to turn up the heat and let him know she’s interested too. But as she approaches his office, she spies Nicholas with his hand on the lower back of another girl—a pretty blonde with a bronze complexion and the body of a female volleyball player—he’s escorting her into the elevator and Kim later runs into them (or rather avoids running into them) at a popular burger joint in the neighborhood. Nicholas would never take a client to a burger joint (or caress her lower back) and so Kim deduces they must be dating and her initial instinct was right – Nicholas was just being nice. And if Kim can’t get “under” Nicholas, she’s determined to get “over” him even if it means pretending not to register his existence.

Is Nicholas dating this blond bombshell?

Does his interest in Kim extend beyond cordial colleague-to-colleague behavior?

And how will he respond to Kim’s attempts to ignore him out of her mind?

Read Blogger Girl and find out! It’s currently on sale for only $1.99 on Amazon 🙂

Check out what’s on Page 45 of some of my favorite chick lit books here:

Kristina Knight

Pippa Franks

Laura Kenyon

Jayne Denker

Amy Gettinger

Gina Henning

Jennifer Ammoscato

Lauren Clark

Laura Chapman

Celia Kennedy

Jennifer Farwell

Glynis Astie

Clodagh Murphy

Stacey Wiedower

Bethany Turner

Franky Brown

Tracy Krimmer

Jillianne Hamilton

Catherine L Hensley

Becky Monson

Georgina Troy

Zanna Mackenzie

Monique McDonell

Samantha March

Sky Greene

Whitney Dineen

Maggie Le Page

Kathryn Biel

Karen M. Cox

Rachel L Hamm

T. A. Munroe

Heather Balog

Jennie Marts

Serena Clarke

How PMS screwed with my laundry

I suffer from PMS almost every month. Along with the physical symptoms—bloating, swollen breasts, an occasional pimple—the “condition” affects me emotionally. The go-to symptom is “bitchiness” but this isn’t typically my issue. Instead, I become sad, needy, and paranoid, and maintaining emotional health is a challenge. Thankfully, I am usually able to talk myself off the ledge by reminding myself that my feelings are temporary and as soon as Aunt Flo storms into town, I will be back to normal. I will no longer fear my friends don’t like me anymore, that my clients/colleagues think I’ve lost my touch, that every other woman is prettier, smarter, funnier than me, that my latest novel is garbage, that I will never be able to write another book, that I’m not special or worthy of love. I’ve been through it enough times over the past twenty-five or so years to know the drill: If I hide away long enough on my couch, lost in back-to-back episodes of whatever show I’m currently binge-watching, I will eventually emerge a much more upbeat and optimistic version of myself.

So, yes, I’m no stranger to PMS. But this weekend, PMS threw me for a shiny new loop by messing with my brain cells, not to mention my laundry. I’m going to tell you what happened because I’m curious if anyone else has experienced something similar.

I’ve been sick for almost a week with what I hope is the last of the winter cold. I had an out-of-town friend visit on Monday, book club on Tuesday, a meeting with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society on Wednesday, and a date on Thursday in addition to my day-job. Although I called out sick on Tuesday, with the exception of the date, I kept my evening plans. (The guy was sick too so it was easy to postpone.) Because I hadn’t rested as much as I would have liked and had plans for Saturday, I decided to stay home on Friday night.

Sidebar: I just realized I told my mom I was supposed to have a date on Thursday. Damn.

Back to my story. I decided to stay home on Friday night, do a little research for my next writing project, and catch up on the shows on my Hulu Queue. I figured I should also do laundry since the room would likely be less crowded on a Friday night with everyone going out and, even though it’s a pain in the butt, I’d be happy I got it over with.

On a “regular” night, here is how my laundry process should go:

Wait for elevator to take me to third floor laundry room

Load laundry in machine.

Wait for elevator to take me back to 18th floor apartment

Set timer for 30 minutes and work on book

Wait for elevator to take me to third floor laundry room

Remove laundry from washer.

Put portion in dryer and bring the rest upstairs to hang dry

Wait for elevator to take me to 18th floor apartment

Set timer for 30 minutes and hang wet clothes to dry

Wait for elevator to take me to third floor laundry room

Remove clothes from dryer

Wait for elevator to take me to 18th floor apartment

Put away clothes

Finish

Total time: An hour and fifteen minutes maybe?

By my estimations, by starting at 6:30, I would absolutely be finished in good time to eat dinner while watching Grimm at 8pm.

This is what really happened:

Wait for elevator to take me to third floor laundry room

Load laundry in machine.

Realize I forgot to bring my laundry debit cards with me (I have two cards for a reason I can’t recall and can never remember which one has more money on it so I always bring both with me.)

Curse under my breath

Wait for elevator to take me back to 18th floor apartment

Pick up laundry debit cards from coffee table

Wait for elevator to take me to third floor laundry room

Begin wash

Wait for elevator to take me to 18th floor apartment

Set timer for 30 minutes and work on book

Wait for elevator to take me to third floor laundry room

Remove laundry from washer.

Separate what needs to be line dried and put the rest in the dryer

Realize I forgot my laundry debit card upstairs

Curse loudly

Wait for elevator to take me to 18th floor apartment

Search frantically for laundry debit cards with no success

Wait for elevator to take me to third floor laundry room

Search frantically for debit cards with no success

Remove wet clothes from dryer

Wait for elevator to take me to 18th floor apartment

Begin to cover my entire apartment with wet clothes

Realize some of my clothes are missing, notably a couple of pairs of my new workout shorts

Cry and wonder why someone would steal my laundry debit cards AND my gym shorts

Wait for elevator to take me to third floor laundry room

Find remaining clothes in a laundry basket

Search once more for missing debit cards with no success

Wait for elevator to take me to 18th floor apartment

Finish covering every inch of my apartment from kitchen, bathroom, bedroom/living room with wet clothes

Weep

Reheat dinner from Wok to Walk

Curl on couch with overheated dinner

Turn on Grimm thirty minutes late

Try not to ignore that my apartment looks like a clothing factory

Lament why I had to add $5 to my laundry debit card less than an hour before the card is stolen by some asshole and wonder how I’m going to get a new card

Wish I went out with my friends instead of doing laundry

Realize I might have a blog post for this week after all

Total time – two hours, most of which was spent waiting for the damn elevator.

I have to blame my train wreck laundry experience on PMS. Seriously, I spilled water across my desk at work, screamed at my computer for not responding fast enough, and felt like I gained forty pounds all in my gut. I’m clearly in the throes. The absentmindedness that caused me to misplace not only my laundry debit cards but a portion of my clothes could not be an unrelated coincidence.

I’m in no hurry to start menopause and so I gladly put up with the “usual” symptoms because they remind me I’m not over-the-hill yet, but I seriously hope my brain functioning doesn’t begin to suffer each month along with my relatively flat stomach, usually clear complexion, and somewhat healthy disposition. I’m not sure how much more I can take 😦

Has this ever happened to you?