Author Laura Chapman on why she reads, writes, and needs chick lit!

I’m thrilled to welcome author Laura Chapman to the Celebration of Chick Lit Tour! Like my heroine Kim Long, Laura was a book blogger before she published her own novels ,and she helped inspire my Blogger Girl series. Thanks, Laura! Oh, and her second novel, The Marrying Type was one of my favorite chick lit novels of 2015…And, guess what, it’s on sale for 99 cents!!

 

When Meredith invited me to write about why I love to read and write chick lit, I jumped at the chance. I’ve been a fan of the genre since high school, which was when I picked up Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding. It was love at first sight. I couldn’t get enough of quirky, relatable main characters who made me laugh at myself. And I couldn’t resist hunky love interests that made my toes curl and heart pitter patter.

Once I’d worked my way through both of Bridget’s stories, I had to find something else. That led me to Ralph’s Party and Thirty-Something by Lisa Jewell, which continued on with a series of stories by Meg Cabot and on to my serious love affair with every book by Sophie Kinsella out of college.

With a storied romance that spans more than a decade, I was ready to write my love letter to these classic stories, which has carried on to my new favorite authors, like our hostess with the most-est.

But then I turned on the news.

It wasn’t a good day in our world. There were stories about plane crashes, murders, nasty rhetoric, and a whole lot of hate. There were headlines about terrorism, racism, sexism, and a lot of other  isms that make it hard to keep a positive outlook on our world. Sometimes it seems like the only way to avoid the bad and the sad is to go into hiding and completely cut off from the world. But even if you were able to pull off something like that, it wouldn’t change the truth of what was happening. You’d just be ignorant to it.

And so it was while I was feeling really sad and wondering why we even bother to pretend we live in a world with happily ever afters—or even happy for nows—that I realized why I don’t just love to read and write chick lit. I need it.

In times of personal and global tragedy, we need to remember that there is good in the world. Sometimes it comes from real life. Like when a father tells his scared son that there are beautiful things in a world of bad guys (watch it here https://youtu.be/xkM-SDNoI_8). Or when you stumble upon a list of photos that will restore your faith in humanity (See them here: http://www.buzzfeed.com/jennaguillaume/moments-that-restored-our-faith-in-humanity-in-2014#.pe0OvoJYm). And sometimes it comes from reading a story where a flawed, but good at her core, heroine finds a moment of happily ever after in a world that’s often hard to understand.

It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from Suzanne Collins’s Mockingjay—which is so not chick lit, but still a fantastic read:

“What I need is the dandelion in the spring. The bright yellow that means rebirth instead of destruction. The promise that life can go on, no matter how bad our losses. That it can be good again.”

Maybe it’s a bit of a stretch, or even a little melodramatic, but chick lit is my dandelion in the spring. It isn’t about escapism, it’s that sometimes I need a fun story full of laughs and a happily ever after to remember that there is still good in our world.

Laura Chapman Mug

 

About Laura

Laura Chapman is the author of First & Goal, The Marrying Type, and Hard Hats and Doormats. Her work also appears in Merry & Bright, A Kind of Mad Courage, and All I Want for Christmas, an anthology from Marching Ink. A native Nebraskan, she loves Huskers and Packers football, Netflix marathons, and her cats, Jane and Bingley. Laura is currently in pursuit of a fantasy football championship while penning her next novel.

First & Goal

 

Connect with Laura

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Laura-Chapman/e/B00GSD6HBE/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/laurachapmanbooks

Twitter – https://twitter.com/lmchap

Instagram – https://instagram.com/lmchap614/

YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/user/lmchap

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7374940.Laura_Chapman

Blog – http://www.change-the-word.com/

Website – http://laurachapmanbooks.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Novelista Girl – January 6, 2016

Readers first met sassy Kimberly Long in Blogger Girl, and now the feisty New Yorker is back in a sequel packed with quick wit, friendship, heartache, and, of course, romance.

Kim runs the most popular chick lit book blog on the web, loves playing house with her sexy lawyer boyfriend, Nicholas, and is finally pursuing her lifelong dream to become a published author. At first glance, her life is five-pink-champagne-flutes worthy. 

But is there more to the story than meets the eye?

 After hearing the phrase “chick lit is dead” more times than she’s read Bridget Jones’s Diary, Kim is driven to desperate measures, seeking advice from up-and-coming chick lit author, Hannah Marshak, her high school nemesis and resident “mean girl.” As if Kim doesn’t have enough on her plate balancing her secretarial duties with her blog Pastel Is the New Black, shrugging off the growing pile of agent rejections, and keeping her best friend from turning green over Kim’s budding friendship with Hannah, Nicholas is so blinded by his career ambitions, he doesn’t see that their home sweet home could use more than a dash of sugar. 

This is the year when all of Kim’s dreams—professional and romantic—are supposed to come true, but will the story have a happily ever after, or will Kim end up unpublished and all alone?

This novel can be read as a sequel or as a standalone and is best accompanied by a cocktail, preferably a pink one.

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celebration of chick lit tour

I’ve been a very bad blogger. Someone should spank me—please? JUST KIDDING! That’s a shout-out to a private joke between me and my late boss/BFF, who would have turned 58 today.

 

Anyway, I’ve been extremely busy gearing up to release my fifth novel, Novelista Girl. We have a blurb and cover (both to be revealed in a couple of weeks) and a tentative publication date of December 14th. I’m in the midst of going through the proofed manuscript and putting together a fabulous pre-release tour which has left me little time for blogging.

 

When I released Blogger Girl in 2013, I hosted a Celebration of Bloggers tour on my blog to turn the spotlight off of the author and onto the fabulous book bloggers I work with regularly. When I released How Do You Know? in 2014, I hosted an Age is Just a Number tour and asked authors, bloggers, and others to share their thoughts on aging. To ring in the publication of Novelista Girl, I’ve decided to host a Celebration of Chick Lit tour. As anyone who has read Blogger Girl knows, Kim Long is a champion for the genre of chick lit and since Novelista Girl follows her journey, I want to know why some of my favorite authors write chick lit despite the pesky phrase we always hear that “chick lit is dead.”

 

Chick lit is so not dead and I will have about fifteen authors on my blog to prove it, including Erin Brady, Cat Lavoie, Becky Monson, Laura Chapman, Stacey Wiedower and more. I will also tell you why I write chick lit.

 

This tour will get underway as we approach Thanksgiving. For now, I wish you all a happy Tuesday!

New Release – The Marrying Type

I don’t often feature guest posts on my blog, but I think this new release by author Laura Chapman sounds like so much fun. Featuring a wedding planner, reality television, and one of my favorite cites in the world (Charleston, South Carolina), I can’t wait to tear through the pages of this book and think my blog followers will enjoy it as well. So, without further ado, you are cordially invited to read Laura Chapman’s new novel, The Marrying Type.

 

LCB fb banners-2

 

Always the wedding planner, never a bride, Elliot Lynch is famous for orchestrating the splashiest weddings in Charleston, South Carolina. When her father’s sloppy management practices leave them on the brink of bankruptcy, Elliot will do whatever it takes to save the family business. When asked to appear on “The Marrying Type,” a reality TV show about the people behind the scenes as couples exchange I dos, she says yes to the invasion of privacy (and the hefty paycheck that comes with it).

 

With a camera crew capturing every detail of her life, Elliot faces her most challenging contract yet: planning a wedding where her ex is involved in every part of the process. Add in a lazy assistant, liquor-loving bridesmaid, and rival planner encroaching on her turf, and Elliot’s wedding season goes from high-end to high-stress.

 

Forced to confront her past, Elliot must live out her troubled present on national TV if she has any hope of saving her future.

 

 

Order your copy today by visiting:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

Marching Ink

 

You can add The Marrying Type to your to-read list on Goodreads and enter to win one of three prize packages by participating in this Rafflecopter:

https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/be50fc8710/

About the Author

Laura Chapman is the author of The Marrying Type, Hard Hats and Doormats and the Autumn and Tuck series, which appear in Merry & Bright and A Kind of Mad Courage. A native Nebraskan, she loves football, Netflix marathons, and her cats, Jane and Bingley. Until she fulfills her dream of landing a British husband or becoming a Disney princess, you can find her in a bar penning her next novel.

 

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Age is Just a Number series – Laura Chapman talks turning 25-26

Welcome my friend and fellow author, Laura Chapman (Hard Hats & Doormats), to the Age is Just a Number blog series. In the humorous and heartfelt post below, Laura talks about all she hoped to accomplish before turning 25 and how she reconciled hitting the milestone birthday without achieving it all even a couple of years later. (From me to you Laura – you’re doing great!)

Me at age 3. I suppose figuring out my life isn’t anything new.

Me at age 3. I suppose figuring out my life isn’t anything new.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I anticipated a quarter-life crisis when I was turning 25. I was single, in a job I didn’t love and living in my brothers’ basement with two cats (who are amazing, but kind of cliché for a spinster in training). I certainly hadn’t accomplished anything on the to-do list I’d created my senior year of college.

According to my life plan (which I rescued from the trash folder on Google Drive to refresh my memory for this post), by the age of 25, I was supposed to have:
• Worked at two newspapers—one small, one mid-level—as a news/features reporter
• Quit my newspaper job to pursue my master’s degree (in mass communications or literature, because both of those are so useful), and be one year into the program at this point
• Taken a new job as a graduate assistant
• Spent a summer studying abroad in England
• Followed that up with eight weeks traveling Europe (and according to my notes, this was for pleasure and research for another book)
• Written four books
• Landed a literary agent

Yeah, I was nowhere close to achieving any of these things. The only thing I’d done remotely close to this was writing the first draft of Hard Hats and Doormats. At that point I had no idea how much more work it was going to take before publication date.

So there I was, 24 going on 25, prepared for an epic meltdown of tears, self-pity and a lot of asking, “Why me? Where did I go wrong?” And it didn’t happen.

Instead, I took the day off from work. I went to Omaha to visit my parents, who took me out for a lunch of pizza and beer. Then my mom and I went for coffee, followed by cupcakes and a sushi dinner. I received sweet texts and phone calls (not to mention the annual reminder of casual acquaintances from Facebook), and felt pretty good about my life. I was only 25 after all. I had plenty of time to get my act together.

Turning 25 never tasted so good.

Turning 25 never tasted so good.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fast-forward one year. I was turning 26. Still single, still at the same job and still living with my bromates. But since turning 25 wasn’t nothin’ but a thang, I was cavalier about becoming 26. It was only a year later, and I didn’t have that many more things I was supposed to check off of my life plan list. Aside from writing—and publishing—two more books, receiving my master’s degree and starting my “someday own a bookstore just like Nora Roberts’s Turn the Page only make it my own” fund.

So for my birthday I cleaned the house, invited a bunch of people over and set up games in our backyard for a good old-fashioned summer barbecue to celebrate me, myself and I. People came, I scored two sets of stick-on mustaches and two princess wands. My mom even made a bunch of desserts (including an amazing caramel apple cheesecake) and I capped off the night with cocktails.

It had been a pretty decent day. But once I returned home, put on my pajamas and curled up on my chair with the cats it hit me: I was a year older and nowhere closer to being the woman I always wanted. I wasn’t sure I even wanted all of that fanfare and worse I had no clue of what I wanted to do with myself. Sure, I still wanted to be a writer and a successful one. But by now, I’d realized it was going to be much harder than I ever anticipated. I still wanted to find great romance and independence, but I had no clue where to start on either front.

So I cried. Not just a little sniffle, but a full-on Kim Kardashian-style cry. I probably would have gotten away with my epic moment of self-pity if my little sister hadn’t shown up. She was locked out of her apartment and needed a place to crash for the night. Instead of finding a place to sleep, she ended up spending the next while (let’s be generous and say 30 minutes) listening to me go on and on about everything bugging me in my life. I probably should have been embarrassed, but I was too far gone.

I wish I could say the crying helped, but it didn’t. It didn’t hurt anything either, though, which hopefully counts for something.

In the two years since my birthday weep-a-thon, my life has changed quite a bit. I have a new job, not one I love, but one I like. I’m still single, but the cats and I have our own place now, and we like it. I’ve published a novel and two shorts. I’ve written two more novels, and as you’re reading this, I’m hopefully working on the first draft of number four (Happy NaNoWriMo, everyone!).

Nothing has gone exactly, or even remotely, close to the plan I’d naively drafted when I was 21. Sometimes I still give in to the urge for a pity party, but I’m doing a better job at living in the moment. Or at least managing my expectations about what the next moment might hold.

About Laura
Laura Chapman is a former journalist-turned author and blogger based in Nebraska. A graduate of the University of Nebraska, she is a devoted fan of football, British film, writing in bars and her cats, Jane and Bingley.

Connect with Laura:

Website: http://laurachapmanbooks.com/
Blog: http://www.change-the-word.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/laurachapmanbooks
Twitter: https://twitter.com/lmchap
Instagram: http://instagram.com/lmchap614
Amazon: http://amzn.com/B00H7OME88
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hard-hats-and-doormats-laura-chapman/1117661135?ean=2940148851479
Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/hard-hats-and-doormats

 

 

Coming soon:

How Do You Know? – December 2nd.

What if you were approaching the end of your thirties and all of the life milestones you took for granted in your youth suddenly seemed out of reach?

On the eve of her thirty-ninth birthday, Maggie Piper doesn’t look, act, or feel much different than she did at twenty-nine, but with her fortieth birthday speeding towards her like a freight train, she wonders if she should. The fear of a slowing metabolism, wrinkling of her skin, and the ticking of her biological clock leaves Maggie torn between a desire to settle down like most of her similarly-aged peers and concern that all is not perfect in her existing relationship. When a spontaneous request for a temporary “break” from her live-in boyfriend results in a “break-up,” Maggie finds herself single once again and only twelve months from the big 4.0. In the profound yet bumpy year that follows, Maggie will learn, sometimes painfully, that life doesn’t always happen on a schedule, there are no deadlines in love, and age really is just a number.

The International Chick Lit Month 99 Cent Sale is here!

FinalRedHead
May is finally here! The weather’s warming up, your cute new bathing suit’s all ready to go, and you’ve got the kitchen stocked with fixins for your favorite fruity cocktails. The only thing missing is the perfect book to read while you’re soaking up some Vitamin D at the beach or pool. Good thing May is also International Chick Lit Month! To celebrate, some of the genre’s funniest and most talented authors are offering their lighthearted, romantic reads for $0.99 each! So, load up your eReader and slather on the sunscreen, because your new book boyfriends are waiting for you under the umbrella . . .
3) A link to the Pinterest board where all of the books are featured:
4) The full list of books on sale, including titles, authors, and Amazon links:
A Heat of the Moment Thing by Maggie Le Page
A Questionable Friendship by Samantha March
Another Saturday Night and I Ain’t Got No Body by Jennie Marts
Blogger Girl by Meredith Schorr
Breaking the Rules by Cat Lavoie
Dangled Carat by Hilary Grossman
Divine Moves by Ellyn Oaksmith
Exactly Where They’d Fall by Laura Rae Amos
For the Love of Cupcakes by Anita Kushwaha
French Twist by Glynis Astie
Good Intentions by Kathryn Biel
Hard Hats and Doormats by Laura Chapman
Here, Home, Hope by Kaira Rouda
In Need of Therapy by Tracie Banister
Let’s Be Frank by Brea Brown
Lila’s Choice by Laura Brown
Mail-Order Groom by Cindy Flores Martinez
Mr Right and Other Mongrels by Monique McDonell
Open My Eyes by Jennifer Collin
Reframing Emma by Missy Kierstead
Speaking of Love by Ophelia London
Tear Stained Beaches by Courtney Giardina
The Accidental Prophetess by Michelle Lam
The Bad Girls’ Club by Kathryn O’Halloran
When Girlfriends Collection (Books 1-3) by Savannah Page
Whiskey and Gumdrops by Jean Oram

 

Guest Post – Laura Chapman, author of Hard Hats and Doormats!

I’m thrilled to welcome Laura Chapman to my blog. Her debut novel, Hard Hats and Doormats was just released on December 11th and I’ve asked Laura to write a guest post on what inspired her to write the book. Keep reading for an excerpt from Hard Hats and Doormats.

 

When I graduated from the University of Nebraska with a journalism degree in 2008, I expected to spend the next five to 10 years working my way up from being a crime reporter at a community newspaper to covering the local government somewhere fabulous, like Boston, Chicago or Seattle. Or maybe I’d be a page designer – but I’d go the same route: small town America to the big city.

 

In reality, I faced the 2008 job market. It was right after the housing market crashed and right before the big banks had their bailouts. As I watched friends lose their jobs as newspapers downsized to adapt to the economic downturn, I quickly realized I might have to adjust my game plan.

 

That led me to a small niche publication company that specialized in producing employee newsletters for clients, such as Class I railroads, food production companies and so on. I was hired as a corporate journalist. I was told to plan on spending about half of the month on the road traveling from location to location taking photos, conducting interviews and documenting stories. I figured it would be a good way to bide my time until the economy turned around, and I’d get to see more of the country in the meantime.

 

Be prepared for all types of weather when you’re drifting between Upstate New York and the Gulf Coast.

Be prepared for all types of weather when you’re drifting between Upstate New York and the Gulf Coast.

 

 

About six months after I started my job, I came to a few realizations.

  • First: This was a lot harder than it sounded. Spending 10-12 days a month living out of a suitcase and 1,500-2,000 miles behind the wheel was exhausting. Sure I was getting a chance to explore different regions of the country, but I barely had time or energy to enjoy the experience.
  • Second: Everyone I interviewed was speaking another language. In the railroad, humping is a way of sorting railcars, frogs are a switch in the rails and a dead crew is one that is out of hours. I learned all of this eventually, but for a long time I had no idea what anyone was talking about, which made me feel dumb.
  • And third: This was maybe a more permanent gig than I’d expected. The economy not only hadn’t shown signs of improvement, but it seemed to be getting worse.

 

The best part of the job – the funny men and women in the field who cracked me up and kept me on my toes.

The best part of the job – the funny men and women in the field who cracked me up and kept me on my toes.

 

I was still trying to accept these revelations when I was in the middle of a seven-day trip along the Gulf Coast. I was visiting several customers in east Texas and Louisiana, and by day four, I’d already logged more than 1,000 miles on my rental car. I spent part of that day covering a rail-crossing safety event in Natchitoches, La., which was a lot of fun, but exhausting to follow. Back in my rental car, I pulled off my steel-toed boots to replace them with the flip-flops I preferred to drive in. I caught sight of my passenger seat – a mess of maps, hard hats, reflective vests, safety glasses and ear plugs – and I laughed.

 

I must have instinctively known I’d one day write this blog post someday, because I snapped a photo.

I must have instinctively known I’d one day write this blog post someday, because I snapped a photo.

 

“This is my life,” I thought. “It’s all hard hats and flip-flops.” This was quickly followed by another realization. “That’s a good name for a book: Hard Hats and Flip-flops.”

 

It would be about a young woman a couple of years out of college. She’d be at a job she never expected having. It couldn’t be the railroad, because that was too close to home. What would be a job with a similar work environment? One where everyone was nice enough to her, because she was typically the token young lady, but also had some grit. The chemical industry. That would fit nicely on the Gulf Coast, which is where I knew this had to be set.

 

And she couldn’t be in communications, because that was too easy for me to write. Based on the conflicting personalities that are thrown together to work, having to be the person to settle any of those issues had to be tough. That would make her a human resources rep.

 

My main character Lexi said it best: It’s hard to make personal protective equipment look sexy.

My main character Lexi said it best: It’s hard to make personal protective equipment look sexy.

 

What would happen to this chemical industry HR rep who traveled the Gulf Coast – aside from settling disputes? She’d obviously face a lot of confusion, because her workplace was hard to understand. She’d deal with having a career that differed greatly from her original plan. She’d need a couple of friends, some troubling co-workers and a bad boss to up the tension. There should be some kind of romance. Maybe she’d fall in love with one of the men in the field. It would be kind of forbidden and a long time brewing.

 

By the time I reached Lafayette for the night, I had the basic components including the opening scene and finale in my head. Her life was certainly a lot more exciting than mine, and I couldn’t wait to write the book. Granted, I spent the next 20 months not writing the book, but by the time National Novel Writing Month 2010 rolled around, I wrote a first-draft for Hard Hats and Flip-flops, which ultimately became Hard Hats and Doormats.

 

Hard Hats and Doormats

 

About the Author

Laura Chapman mixes her love of romance and humor as a women’s fiction blogger and author. Born and raised in Nebraska – in a city, not on a farm – she is a devoted fan of football, British period drama, writing in bars and her cats, Jane and Bingley. Hard Hats and Doormats is her debut novel.

 

 

Connect with Laura

Website (http://www.laurachapmanbooks.com/)

Blog (http://change-the-word.blogspot.com/)

Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/laurachapmanbooks)

Twitter (https://twitter.com/lmchap)

Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/lmchap)

 

 

About the Book

Lexi Burke has always been a stickler for following rules and procedures. As a human resources manager for a leading Gulf Coast chemical company, it’s her job to make sure everyone else falls in line, too.

 

But after losing out on a big promotion–-because her boss sees her as too much of a yes-woman––Lexi adopts a new policy of following her heart instead of the fine print. And her heart knows what it wants: Jason Beaumont, a workplace crush who is off limits based on her previous protocol.

 

While navigating a new romance and interoffice politics, Lexi must find the confidence to stand on her own or face a lifetime of following someone else’s orders.

BUY LINKS:

Amazon –  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00H7OME88/ref=cm_sw_su_dp
Barnes and Noble – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hard-hats-and-doormats-laura-chapman/1117661135?ean=2940148851479
Kobo – http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/hard-hats-and-doormats
Marching Ink – http://marchingink.com/buy/hard-hats-and-doormats/

 

EXCERPT

 

Chapter One

 

Alexis Burke @theLexiBurke

Can a person refer to employees as Jackass 1 & 2 in an official report? Asking for a friend. #HRProblems #ThisIsMyLife

The universe keeps telling jokes and I’m the punch line. #IHaveProof

Okay, seriously. When did this become my life? Can I get a mulligan? #ObscureGolfAnalogyForLife

 

 

In kindergarten Sunday school, Lexi Burke imagined Hell as a fire-ridden, hate-filled pit below Earth’s surface. On a mighty throne of blackened steel and skulls, Satan preyed on the souls of the damned for eternity.

Twenty years later, she discovered a new version of Hell. It was a windowless conference room on an oil platform off the coast of God-only-knew-where Texas in the middle of May. The devil took form in two men, both middle-aged and madder than a hornets nest. Despite the sweat building on her neck, she shivered.

When did babysitting old guys become my job?

How mad do hornets get, and what does their nest have to do with it?

Where did I come up with that analogy?

Solving those mysteries had to wait. Casting a glance at the figures gathered around the badly chipped table, she considered the situation at hand. The two men, their union reps, and a team of local managers were going yet another round in their verbal sparring without a semblance of resolution. The representatives wanted the men to go back to work. The managers wanted to give them pink slips.

As the HR manager assigned – albeit at last-minute – to the investigation, she wanted to keep everyone from killing each other. Not an easy task, considering the two men under investigation already gave murder their best shot.

According to the initial report, the incident happened over the weekend. The men engaged in a particularly heated discussion about college football. The man to her right apparently took offense to the one on her left using derogatory names to describe his beloved team.

She grimaced at the list of profanities. Three or four of them merited HR intervention on their own. Then again, others struck her as downright creative. Note to self: Use “dag nab ass backwards pile of swamp waste” in a sentence later today.

The fight escalated when Mr. Right expressed his displeasure by raking his broken glass across Lefty’s face. A few days later, the wounds swelled red and blotchy. Her stomach churned when she examined their faces closely.

His opponent fared no better. Lefty managed a couple of solid jabs with a shard from a shattered plate. His cheek and eyebrow were held together with the help of twenty-two stitches.

How did these men still have jobs? Surely trying to kill your co-worker violated the Employee Code of Conduct. But because they had no previous violence on their records, the company’s agreement with the union guaranteed them the right to an investigation – this investigation.

“I told ‘em to back off and leave my Tigers alone,” Idiot Number One shouted. “But he started waving around his God-damned glass. I had to grab hold of something to protect myself. A man’s got a right to defend himself and his pride.”

“What the hell are you talking about, son?” Moron Number Two chimed in. “You were the one bent outta shape in the first place. He’s pissed because my Hogs’ll beat the hell out of this pussy lover’s team next year.”

Hogs? Tigers? Did these men seriously put their jobs and lives on the line over the Arkansas and LSU football teams? Did Lexi have to take team allegiances into consideration when she hired new employees to avoid catastrophe? Were SEC fans this torn up about football year-round?

Will we have full-on riots come September?

She struggled to recall the last two football seasons, but nothing came to mind. In her early days at Gulf America, she’d spent most of her life adjusting to the heavy travel schedule of a field HR representative. Current events, sports, and anything unrelated to HR dealings never entered her mind. She instead concentrated on getting through each day, never mind remembering what happened in the rest of the world.

What kind of fights should she expect when the Big 12 schools in Texas started beating up on each other in the fall?

God help us all.

Pulling her shoulder-length brown hair off her neck, she longed for a breeze. Not the kind from men yelling at each other, but a real, honest-to-God breeze.

She sighed and stared back at her notes. Even if the investigation proved the men deserved firing, she wouldn’t make the decision. Her worthless boss would be using whatever recommendations she gave him.

Dale seldom left his office during the work day. Unless he heard an ice cream truck. Then he raced out the door with a dollar in hand. Why bother leaving for something important–– like his job–– when he had minions like her to do his dirty work in the field? He reserved his energy to sweep in at the end when he took credit and – by all appearances – saved the day.

This time, he didn’t even have the courtesy to make his decision before dawn. In her eagerness to please – the department had a promotion up for grabs – she overlooked the faux pas that sent her straight to hell. Sure the Assistant Regional Director job would be more work, but it came with a healthy salary increase and less travel. And at twenty-four, she’d be the youngest director at headquarters.

The shouts escalated.

Is a promotion worth this?

Another realization hit Lexi like a ton of bricks. Damn, another random metaphor. This dispute would have long-term implications impacting more than her chances of promoting within the company. The safety department would surely ban glass cups and plates from company premises before the end of the week. The idiots had proven breakables were a liability Gulf America would no longer risk.

Out of the corner of her eye, she caught sight of one man knocking his coffee mug to the floor. Damn. Another dish casualty. The shattered mug brought Lexi’s attention back to the present. One of the local managers sent her a silent plea. Clearing her throat, she filled her lungs with the heavy air weighing on her chest.

“Excuse me, gentlemen,” she began, in her sweetest drawl. A Midwesterner by nature and nurture, she spent the past two years cultivating her fake accent. It was useful in tense situations like this one. “I appreciate you sharing your perspectives. I’m sure both of your teams value loyal fans like you. But I need you both to take a few deep breaths and listen to what I say.”

She politely glared at the men. Their chests rose up and down in suppressed fury, but their mouths stayed shut.

“Violence is never the answer. It has no place in the sports arena or at work. Remember, you come from the same conference. Y’all should treat each other with the mutual respect your fine teams deserve.”

She paused for dramatic effect. She used a variation of the speech at least a dozen times in the past month alone. In her experience, a few well-timed beats of silence struck fear into the hearts of men better than a million words.

After giving her words room to settle uncomfortably, she continued. “Y’all need to treat each other respectfully. Not only because you’re co-workers and conference mates, but because you’re both good men with families who depend on you. Consider how you’d want someone to treat the people you love most. That’s how y’all should treat each other.”

The men had the good grace to bow their heads in shame. She mentally patted herself on the back for not flinching when she said “y’all.” Three times. When she moved to Texas after college, she swore she would never pick up the strange jargon.

It only took a month for the Southern slang to find its way into her vocabulary.

Sensing the men had finished their moaning, Lexi nodded at one of the managers to begin his end of the investigation. Leaning back in her chair, she scribbled on a copy of the report. She bored easily when her mind wasn’t constantly engaged. Doodling helped her maintain some focus on a situation without actively paying attention. As an added bonus, writing on paper gave everyone else the illusion she was busy.

On this day, she found paying attention to the investigation exceptionally difficult. Her afternoon meeting back at Corporate Headquarters would determine her future with Gulf America.

She made a note to dust off the training video about respectful language. More than likely, the oil rig’s crew would moan about having to sit through thirty minutes of bad acting. They’d also likely ignore the message, but she had to try.

For the men, she added a few suggestions for her boss to consider. They at least needed anger management counseling. Offering them a buyout in exchange for early retirement would satisfy the union and the company.

With her work done, she turned over her notes to doodle a picture. She drew two donkeys. One held a glass, the other a plate. Leaning back in her chair she admired her work, both the drawing, and the much more relaxed atmosphere in the conference room.

Damn she was good.

 

 

Cover reveal: Hard Hats and Doormats

I am thrilled to participate in the Cover Reveal for author Laura Chapman’s debut novel Hard Hats and Doormats! Laura’s blog Change the Word is one of my favorites and I am so excited to watch her segue from blogger to author and I wish her much success in her writing career.

cover_reveal

 

Drum roll please!

 Hard Hats and Doormats

 Nice cover ay? (I just returned from Canada…)

Synopsis

Lexi Burke has always been a stickler for following rules and procedures. As a human resources manager for a leading Gulf Coast chemical company, it’s her job to make sure everyone else falls in line, too.

 

But after losing out on a big promotion––because her boss sees her as too much of a yes-woman––Lexi adopts a new policy of following her heart instead of the fine print. And her heart knows what it wants: Jason Beaumont, a workplace crush who is off limits based on her previous protocol.

 

While navigating a new romance and interoffice politics, Lexi must find the confidence to stand on her own or face a lifetime of following someone else’s orders.

 

Who says nice girls have to finish last?

 

To celebrate the cover reveal for her debut novel, author Laura Chapman is sharing behind-the-scenes tidbits about the making of Hard Hats and Doormats here and on other blogs with her “Hard Hat Confessions.”

Here’s # 4:

 

Confessions-04

 

Visit http://change-the-word.blogspot.com/2013/11/hardhatsanddoormatscover.html for more “Hard Hat Confessions.”

 

About the Author 

Laura_Chapman_Mug

Laura Chapman found a way to mix her love of romance and humor as a women’s fiction author and blogger. A 2008 graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Laura studied journalism, English and history. She traveled across the United States as a writer/photographer before settling into a career in communications. She also maintains Change the Word, a blog devoted to promoting women’s fiction and documenting her experiences as a writer. Born and raised in Nebraska – in a city, not on a farm – she is a devoted fan of football, British period drama, writing in bars and her cats, Jane and Bingley. Hard Hats and Doormats is her debut novel.

 

Connect with Laura

Website (http://www.laurachapmanbooks.com/)

Blog (http://change-the-word.blogspot.com/)

Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/laurachapmanbooks)

Twitter (https://twitter.com/lmchap)

 

Welcome Laura Chapman of Change the Word to the Celebration of Bloggers Tour!

Today on the Celebration of Bloggers Tour, I am happy to introduce you to Laura Chapman, founder of Change the Word.  I initially met Laura when I asked her to read and review A State of Jane on Change the Word, but I later became more familiar with her through Twitter and Facebook.   Although her reviews are extremely well-written and thorough, her tweets are often hilarious.  Laura has one hell of a sense of humor and shares my love of television, movies and the alcoholic beverage!  Laura is also an aspiring author and I am sure we will be seeing her more in that capacity in the future.  Read Laura’s post below about her passion for writing and don’t forget to check out Change the Word.

Laura Chapman (1)

 

I’ve always known I wanted to be a writer. I didn’t always know how to be one.

 

During college, I studied journalism, creative writing and even dabbled in screenwriting. The coursework taught me the basics. I learned about when to use Oxford commas (fiction writing) and when to nix them (journalism). I learned when to show (fiction writing) and when to tell (journalism)

 

Learning the mechanics was a necessary base. It wasn’t until I became a blogger that I learned the most important part of being a writer: having a voice, perseverance and heart.

 

I fell into blogging because I was bored and broke. Though I’d written posts for my college newspaper’s blog, I didn’t start a blog of my own until after graduation. In the summer of 2008, I was interning at a newspaper in Southern Illinois. At 21/22 my idea of nightlife was barhopping, but bars were scarce and my money was scarcer.

 

Pretending Pretentious was born during those first weeks. It served as a platform for me to share my experiences as an intern, give my take on the state of the changing journalism industry and even critique media coverage of the 2008 presidential election. I described the mix of nerves I felt after my semi-exclusive interview with then-Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. I complained about the injustice of publications that focused on the clothing female candidates wore above their proposed policies.

 

When my internship was done, I decided my blog was more pretentious than pretending pretentious and I let it fall silent. I ultimately deleted the diary of my precious summer of limbo for reasons I can’t remember.

 

In early 2010, I once again had this urge to be heard. I was a little more than a year into my first full-time job out of college. I was living in Texas and spending much of my life traveling from motel to motel with a pair of steel-toed boots. This wasn’t the life I’d imagined on graduation day. Either journalism had failed me or I’d failed at being a journalist. The job market was bad, but even if it wasn’t, I was professionally lost. What did I want to do with my life? How was I going to make it happen?

 

Change the Word became my first real connection to the writing world. I wanted to be a novelist. I had ideas, and I’d even written the opening chapters of a few books. But my productivity always fell flat once I got past the initial planning stages. This time, having a blog was my way of experimenting with writing in a new format. It also gave me hope. If I could maintain a blog with steady content, surely I could write and publish a novel.

 

Eventually, I began posting book reviews on the blog. I’d done reviews for my college newspaper, and as a voracious reader, I wanted to share my opinions with the world. Through the reviews came another connection to the writing world. I began receiving review requests. I made connections with other writers.

 

The more I blogged, the more I wrote for other reasons, too. Since starting Change the Word, I’ve completed two novels and a novelette (all in editing). I’ve developed several future projects. While I’m still at the aspiring author stage, my blog has helped me inch closer and closer to publication.

 

Thanks to my blog, I’ve learned more about what it took to be a writer. It’s more than knowing how to string together words and sentences. It’s about finding and building an audience. It’s about developing your craft and stories. It’s about keeping your goal in mind even when faced with adversity.

 

Blogs are a great way to promote yourself and your projects, but more importantly they are a great way to experiment and learn.

 

Out of all the lessons I’ve learned – and continue to learn – as a blogger girl, perhaps the greatest has been finding my voice. Whether writing a review, sharing a literary tip or retelling a silly story from my day I’ve found a way to let my words speak in a way that represents me as a person.

 

I have to admit, the voice I found is a bit more ridiculous and less prim and proper than I’d imagined it would be when I started my first blog. But I’m fine with that. I am me, so why not embrace it. Even if that means I’m devoting an obscene amount of content to my cats and my latest literary crushes.

 

 

About Laura

Laura Chapman is a blogger and soon-to-be published author of women’s fiction. A 2008 graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Laura studied journalism, English and history. She spent four years in corporate journalism, traveling the country as a writer/photographer, and currently works in marketing and communications. Born and raised in Nebraska – in a city, not on a farm – she is a devoted football fan, lover of British period drama and frequent bar attendee. Her debut novel and a holiday novelette will be released later this year. 

 

Contact Laura

Website (http://www.laurachapmanbooks.com/)

Blog (http://change-the-word.blogspot.com/)

Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/changetheword.blogspot)

Twitter (https://twitter.com/lmchap)

 

Stay tuned for Blogger Girl, coming August 28th:

 

What happens when your high school nemesis becomes the shining star in a universe you pretty much saved? Book blogger Kimberly Long is about to find out.

 

A chick lit enthusiast since the first time she read Bridget Jones’s Diary, Kim, with her blog, “Pastel is the New Black,” has worked tirelessly by night to keep the genre alive, and help squash the claim that “chick lit is dead” once and for all. Not bad for a woman who by day ekes out a meager living as a pretty, and pretty-much-nameless, legal secretary in a Manhattan law firm.

 

While Kim’s day job holds no passion for her, the handsome (and shaving challenged) associate down the hall is another story. Yet another story is that Hannah Marshak, one of her most hated high school classmates, has now popped onto the chick lit scene with a hot new book that’s turning heads–and pages–across the land. It’s also popped into Kim’s inbox–for review. With their ten-year high school reunion drawing near, Kim’s coming close to combustion over the hype about Hannah’s book. And as everyone around her seems to be moving on and up, she begins to question whether being a “blogger girl” makes the grade in her off-line life.