Jane Frank’s New Year’s Resolutions 2013

As part of the A State of Jane blog tour with CLP Blog Tours, I was asked to write a guest post on Jane Frank’s New Year’s Resolutions. From studying daily for the LSAT to being nicer to her ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend, read on and decide for yourself if you think Jane will be able to keep up with these resolutions or if she will give up by Friday Happy Hour!

Guest Author – Princess Jen Tucker

As a special treat, I have the fabulous and always funny Jen Tucker on my blog today.  I am so happy she is here and hope you will enjoy her post as much as I did.  I laughed but I also choked up reading about her grandmother, who reminded me so much of both of my own.  My grandmothers both knit me sweaters with the label, “Made especially for Meredith with love.” And I think my grandmothers even wore the same glasses – Long live the 70s!  Once you have laughed and cried re-living Jen’s experience with her grandmother, please check out my guest post on her blog where I share some of my feelings (and pictures) on Halloween. http://authorjlht.blogspot.com/2012/10/tricks-and-treats-with-meredith-schorr.html

Without further ado, I hand the baton off to Jen:

Thank you Meredith for letting me stop by your blog today while on tour for my new memoir, The Day I Lost My Shaker of Salt!  You’re so sweet to let me take over the page today, and I appreciate it very much.  Meredith and I were chatting about topics, and I told her that with Halloween quickly approaching, I knew exactly what I wanted to share with you all.  


The secret’s out.  I’m a princess.


Growing up a child of The Great Depression, June Ponicki quickly learned to stretch a buck. Making the most of her dollars included crafting clothes for herself, and younger siblings.  As a young wife, this talent for sewing carried on to making items for her children, David and Becky.  The tag in the collar read, “Stitched with love by June.”  As a little girl, it didn’t take long for me to realize I wanted a label just like that in my clothes.  And it didn’t take long for me to catch on that June wanted to sew for me; her only grandchild.



     Every Christmas, there were meticulously crafted robes and pajamas waiting for me under the tree. Unlike most wide-eyed children ripping through paper to get to the toys, new jammies were my favorite gift of all gifts to open from her.  In “olden times,” when we went back to school the day after Labor Day, Grandma always had newly tailored dresses waiting for me when we’d spend the holiday weekend at her house in Kalamazoo, Michigan.  Her arthritic hands would not be deterred from making me the best dressed gal the first day back to class.  For the first day of third grade, Grandma created a blue, Swiss dot, flouncy dress for me.  It twirled on the playground, unlike my friend Betsy’s Sergio Valente jeans.  Betsy had nothing on me. 

     Labor Day weekend of 1978, Grandma took me to the fabric store.  The heavy, metal doors swung open to reveal endless fabrics and rich patterns that danced in my eyes.  “Jenny, make sure you look at all of the patterns before making a choice.  Grandma will make you anything you want, Sweetheart.”  She always called me sweetheart. 

     I spun the cylindrical towers of patterns, looking for just the right one.  Clowns, cats, bunnies…  Nope.  Those were inferior choices.  I went quickly about my search, knowing exactly what I wanted.  My eyes sparkled and a smile spread quickly as I grabbed the perfect one off the rack.  The princess gown pattern.  Not only could you craft a dress, but also the pointy princess hat complete with veil was included too!  Oh boy!  “Grandma!  This is it!  I wanna be a princess!  A pretty princess!”

     Ever the stickler for proper English, Grandma lovingly took my face into her hands, lecturing me with, “You want to be a princess, Jenny.”

     “Yes!  Yes, I know I do!  Isn’t it the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen, Grandma?”  I was floating above grammatical errors.  Why?  Because in my heart-of-hearts, at the ripe old age of seven, I knew princesses lived above speaking in correct sentences.  Princesses lived a life of sparkle, and ponies, and magic; and a prince always arrived just in the nick of time to kiss their sleepy bodies back to life.  Once Grandma made my dress gown, the keys to my very own kingdom would suddenly appear.  My destiny as royalty would be fulfilled.  I would be a princess.     

     I remember the day the package arrived at my house.  I tore through the layers of newspaper with anticipation to catch a glimpse at its contents.  I carefully removed each item one at a time.  The pink satin gown with gold brocade trim.  A liquid gold, braided belt.  A tall, pointy hat, with remarkable height and grandeur; it was my crowning glory.  All I needed was my dog Jin Jin (yes, named after the pooch on I Dream of Jeannie) to turn into my royal escort.  I looked at her, closed my eyes and wished really, really hard to change her into something; anything princess!  Despite my best efforts, Jin Jin remained a Lhaso Apso.  Darn the luck.

     I tripped up the stairs racing to my bedroom.  I couldn’t wait to try it all on.  As the dress slipped over my head, I felt a little taller.  A little more regal.  A little prettier.  What is it about a princess dress that jazzes up your life a tad?  I pranced downstairs to show my mom. 

     “Oh, Jenny…  It’s beautiful!  Grandma worked so hard on that; just for you.”

     I wanted to look in the bathroom mirror.  The one over the sink that I could only see into while perched on the lip of the bathtub, with one arm outstretched, clinging to life on the towel bar and the other above me holding the curtain rod.  A maneuver I learned while young that served me well into high school until my first floor length mirror waltzed into my life.  “Mommy,’ I yelled while being a tub-thumping stunt girl, ‘I’m a princess!  A real live princess.”  It didn’t matter that my castle and moat were missing from the picture.  My metamorphosis was now complete.

   Trick-or-treating came and went, yet my princess costume remained in my wardrobe rotation.  My mother was not thrilled.  I wore it to school.  I wore it to the supermarket.  I wore it to swim team practice.  That was until the day a boy named Robbie in my Sunday School class mercilessly made fun of me while wearing my princess gown to church.  I think my mom slipped him some candy on the down-low for his devilry.  

     I’d like to thank Robbie for being the inspiration for the witch costume my grandma sewed for me the following year.  While waiting for fall to reappear, I made it my mission to learn how to cast spells on people.  My goal was not to turn Robbie into a frog.  I wanted to POOF him into a princess.  That’d show him why you never mess with a princess with witchy tendencies.


Jen Tucker has never met a gluten free cupcake that she didn’t like.  A former teacher and educator, she has worked with children in school, hospital, and enrichment settings. In her years at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, it was Jen’s job to bring the “hands on fun” into the visiting exhibitions in the galleries.  Jen broke away from writing children’s books and thematic units in 2011 with her memoir, The Day I Wore my Panties Inside Out which was a semifinalist in the humor category in the 2011 Goodreads Book Awards. She is a monthly guest blogger at the website, Survival for Blondes where she marries humor with preparedness. Jen lives in West Lafayette, Indiana with her husband, Mike, and their three children. 

You can purchase Jen’s latest book, The Day I Lost My Shaker of Salt, here.  You can also find her on Twitter, Facebook, her blog or on her website at Princess with a Pen.

Interview with Pilar Alvarez from In Need of Therapy!


I recently had the pleasure of reading Tracie Banister’s second novel, In Need of Therapy.   I found Pilar Alvarez to be a very interesting main character and so I was very excited when Tracie connected us and Pilar agreed to answer some questions for me.  In exchange, Tracie interviewed Jane Frank, the main character of my second novel, “A State of Jane” which you can check out here: http://traciebanister.blogspot.com/2012/10/character-interview-jane-frank-state-of.html

So…without further ado! 

 1. Of all of the psychologists in pop culture/literature, who would you most like to be your shrink and why? Who would you least want?

I’d like Dr. Hartley on The Bob Newhart Show to be my shrink. My father used to watch reruns of that show when I was a child and I always thought that Dr. Hartley had a very soothing way about him. Plus, he had foibles and a sense of humor about himself and his patients, which I found endearing.

The fictional shrink I would never want to have is Fiona Wallice on Web Therapy. I couldn’t even get through one episode of that show because I was so appalled by how vapid, selfish, and completely uncaring Fiona was as both a person and a therapist. Her patients would be better off self-treating!  

2. What would you choose for your last meal?

Cuban roast pork with an extra tangy mojo sauce, black beans, fried plantains, and chocolate flan for dessert. My arteries would probably explode afterwards, but what a way to go!  

3. If you had to choose one family member to be stranded with on a deserted island, who would it be and why?

Not my older sister Ana because she’s too bossy, and not my younger sister Izzy because she’d just lay on the beach, napping and working on her tan, and expect me to gather food, build a fire, etc. My mother? I shudder at the thought. She’d be miserable without her telenovelas and that $650 skin cream she swears by (It has the secretions of honey bees or something equally disgusting in it.) And she’d probably spend every day telling me that if I’d only snagged a rich husband who could have financed an exhaustive search for us, we wouldn’t be in this situation. No, thank you! The only family member I would ever want to be stranded on a desert island with is my good-natured papá.   

4. Wedding dress style – princess/ball gown, fit and flow (mermaid style) or straight?

Mermaid style looks best on women, like myself, who have voluptuous figures. This is the style of red carpet gown that Sofia Vergara favors and we have a similar shape.  



5. Pick one male type: dark and exotic looking, blonde surfer dude, or all American clean cut  

Well, I’ve been attracted to all three, so I don’t think I really have a type. If I had to choose, probably All-American clean cut à la Channing Tatum.

6. If you weren’t a psychologist what would you be?

 Probably a teacher, at the high school or university level. Not sure what subject. Spanish would be the obvious choice, but I really enjoyed World History in school. So, I’d probably go in that direction as a teacher.  

7. You just won 5 million dollars in the lottery. How would you spend it?

 I’d pay off my house. Buy my sister, Izzy, her own place (I am over this whole roommate thing!) Set up trust funds for my three nephews (I have a feeling one or more of them will be needing bail money when they get older.) Send my parents on a nice, long cruise. Put some money into my psychology practice (Advertise, give my wonderful receptionist, Margo, a raise, update our computers, etc.)  And I’d invest in my best friend Sara’s swimwear line (I’m sure that she’ll be a huge success one day, so I expect to get a great return on my investment.)  

8. If you could immerse yourself in any television show, past or present, which would you choose?  

The Big Bang Theory. Those are some characters who are in dire need of my therapeutic help! Poor Raj with his female-triggered selective mutism, Howard with his bizarre mommy issues, and Sheldon with his egomania and anti-social tendencies. I’d have a field day with those boys!

9. What would you want to name your daughter? Son?

Rose for a girl, after my grandmother Rosalinda. Us Catholics are big on the biblical names, so probably Luke for a boy.   

10. Describe yourself in 5 words.

Work-oriented. Intelligent. Funny. Loyal.     

11. You have been cast in a movie. What actor would you choose to be your love interest and what other actresses or actors would you want to work with?

I would go with Michael Fassbender as my on-screen love interest as he has an intensity that really fascinates me. I’d, also, love to work with Ryan Gosling (The Notebook is one of my favorite movies!), Sandra Bullock (I could be her sassy, Latina BFF in a rom com!), and Salma Hayek (We could play sisters!)  

12. Would you prefer that you love your partner more than he loves you or that he loves you more than you love him? Equal is not an option.

I’ve always been more of a giver than a taker, both in my profession and my familial relationships, so I think it would be heaven to have a partner who loved me more than I loved him. Not in a clingy way, hopefully, but in a “I value you above everyone else” way. SIGH    

13. Favorite date outfit: jeans, sexy top and heels; little black dress; capri pants, tank top and flip flops; pencil skirt, blouse and pumps; sun dress and sandals?

Jeans don’t really work in Miami, plus they do my bootie no favors. Little black dresses aren’t really my style, and again, they’re not really appropriate for Miami. We’re all about bright, vibrant colors here! I’d probably go with a really pretty, form-flattering sundress in turquoise, yellow, or coral and a sexy, strappy sandal with a heel if I wanted to impress a date and feel my best.   

14. If you weren’t the middle child, would you rather be oldest or youngest?

I think it might be nice to be in Izzy’s position. When you’re the baby in the family, you can get away with murder! You never have to take responsibility for anything and your siblings and parents will always coddle and make excuses for you.

15. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I’m too trusting by nature, which has been my downfall on more than one occasion. I wouldn’t want to be cynical or suspicious, but it would be to my benefit if I didn’t always assume that people were being upfront with me.   

16. Best physical attribute? Worst?

Best would probably be my hair as it’s thick and healthy and has a pretty caramel color. Worst is definitely my JLo-sized butt – the curse of being a Latina!


Eve Mendes/Pilar Alvarez

Book Blurb (In Need of Therapy):  Lending a sympathetic ear and dispensing sage words of advice is all part of the job for psychologist Pilar Alvarez, and she’s everything a good therapist should be: warm, compassionate, supportive. She listens, she cares, and she has all the answers, but how’s the woman everyone turns to in their hour of need supposed to cope when her own life starts to fall apart?  While working hard to make a success of her recently-opened practice in trendy South Beach, Pilar must also find time to cater to the demands of her boisterous Cuban family, which includes younger sister Izzy, an unemployed, navel-pierced wild child who can’t stay out of trouble, and their mother, a beauty queen turned drama queen who’s equally obsessed with her fading looks and getting Pilar married before it’s “too late.” Although she’d like to oblige her mother and make a permanent love connection, Pilar’s romantic prospects look grim. Her cheating ex, who swears that he’s reformed, is stalking her. A hunky, but strictly off-limits, patient with bad-boy appeal and intimacy issues is making passes. And the sexy shrink in the suite across the hall has a gold band on his left ring finger.  When a series of personal and professional disasters lead Pilar into the arms of one of her unsuitable suitors, she’s left shaken, confused, and full of self-doubt. With time running out, she must make sense of her feelings and learn to trust herself again so that she can save her business, her family, and most importantly, her heart.

 Where you can find Tracie Banister:


Tracie’s blog:  http://traciebanister.blogspot.com/


Twitter:  https://twitter.com/#!/traciebanister


Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/tracie.banister



Purchase In Need of Therapy:


Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/In-Need-of-Therapy-ebook/dp/B008N6Z36Y


Amazon UK:  http://www.amazon.co.uk/In-Need-of-Therapy-ebook/dp/B008N6Z36Y/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1342893151&sr=1-1


Barnes & Noble: