Advice I’d give to my college-aged self

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase: “Youth is wasted on the young.” I often wish I could go back to my days as a college student at Suny Albany with the knowledge I have now and live those four years again. But what would I do differently?

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What I’d change: I didn’t discover my passion for writing until I was in my thirties. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to be when I “grew up,” but it wasn’t a writer. I majored in criminal justice with a minor in sociology. Armed with the knowledge I have now, I’d go back and major in English with a minor in communications or journalism.

Why I wouldn’t: My interest in the law resulted in my career as a paralegal. Even though it’s not my passion, I am financially secure because of it. I’m extremely grateful for that. My day job at a law firm also brought people into my life I’d otherwise never have met, in particular my late boss, Alan. Over the course of eighteen years, Alan became my best friend, confidante, mentor, cheerleader, therapist, and comic relief. The thought of beginning my writing career right out of college and never experiencing a friendship I consider one of my greatest accomplishments makes my heart hurt. If given the chance to go back, I’d still sit through lectures in criminal justice if only to ensure I’d meet Alan again.

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My late, great best friend and boss of almost two-decades. I miss him every day!

Work
What I’d change: I didn’t come from a wealthy family. Most of my college tuition was paid for with financial aid. (For a lot of people, student loan debt is a big issue. Refinancing your student loans through a company like Earnest can be a great resource for graduates who didn’t get as much financial aid. Check out more information here.) I also worked summers as a camp counselor and was fortunate to have a small allowance from my grandmother for my spending money during the school year. Despite having to stretch every dollar as far as I could, it never occurred to me to get a job during the year. I wasn’t prepared to balance my school work, my social life, and a part-time job. In hindsight, I don’t know how I didn’t starve. Two of my roommates had jobs at the campus bookstore. If I went back in time, I’d try to get a job there, as well. I could spend hours at a bookstore. To get paid would be the chocolate sprinkles on my ice cream cone!

Why I wouldn’t: The fact that my impoverished self was able to manage financially without a job is something of a miracle. The post-graduate version has been working continuously since she was twenty-three, and retirement is about two decades away. Knowing there would be forty-plus years of work in my future, I’d probably skip the job again and enjoy the freedom while I had a chance!

Romance:

What I’d change: I never considered using college to get my M.R.S., i.e. to find a husband. I was way too young to think of getting married. I didn’t even have serious relationships in college. I’ve had them since, but none of them have led to marriage. I often wish I had spent less time partying in college and more time making meaningful connections with the opposite sex. Maybe I’d be married now with a house full of children (or an empty nester by now). If I could go back, I’d be more aware of how much harder it becomes to meet attractive, interesting, smart, kind, and available men as you get older.

Why I wouldn’t: While I sometimes give myself a hard time over the romantic choices I made in my younger days to explain my single status today, if I fell in love at university, I doubt we’d still be a good match today. I’ve changed so much since college—my priorities, interests, etc. I don’t think I was ready back then. Besides, I spent those years making countless memories with my four best girlfriends—Jesse, Laurie, Christine, and Gina. We’re still friends today, and I wouldn’t give up any of my time with them.

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In closing, I’ve shocked myself with this post because I’ve realized that if given the chance to go back to college, I probably wouldn’t do things much differently the second time around. For sure, I’d drink a little less, study a bit more, have more confidence in myself, and not worry about the minutiae. But it’s comforting to discover that the eighteen-to-twenty-two year old version of Meredith Schorr would make the forty-something version very proud simply by following her heart.

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happy birthday to me!

I’m taking a break from the Celebration of Chick Lit Tour to wish myself a happy birthday. Yes, today is my birthday—the anniversary of another revolution around the sun. I took the day off from work today and am going to spend the afternoon being lazy which, in my case, means going for a run (unfortunately on the treadmill since it’s raining outside) and editing my current novel! And then I will spend the evening being festive with some of my favorite people. It will be a good day. I try to be consistently aware of how much good I have in my life and how fortunate I am even though I know yearning for more is human nature and something I will always do.

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My family held a dual birthday celebration for my niece and me this weekend and as we collectively blew out the candles on our cake, I couldn’t think of anything to wish for. Although I am slowly replacing the furniture in my apartment, I had no desire to wish for a new kitchen table and chair set. And while I hope the novel I’m releasing early next year will be successful, I didn’t feel like wishing for it to be bestseller either. I was not going to waste a wish asking for something impossible, like my best friend Alan miraculously coming back to life, and I didn’t feel like wishing to fall in love because there are too many conditions associated with that one and the candles would melt before I could finish. So, what I wished for was simply to be a better me and to achieve some of the personal goals I set for myself.  It’s convenient that my birthday falls right before the New Year as what I hope to work on during my next revolution around the sun can double as New Year’s resolutions.

 

I think my biggest accomplishment this past year was learning to better balance my job as a paralegal with my career as a writer and my personal life. I’m extremely proud of how far I’ve come in this regard. I stress far less about my day job than I used to. My old boss used to say: The work will be there tomorrow. Do the best you can. Give yourself a break. It’s trademarks, not brain surgery. I finally get it. Not only do I physically leave the office on time, but I mentally leave my job at the office. The work will be there when I return at 9:30 the next morning. The quality of my work has not suffered, but my writing productivity has increased significantly, and I’m no longer always the last of my friends to arrive at the bar for happy hour.

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This year, while continuing to work on the job/writing/play balance, I want to be more consciously aware of what does and does not make me happy and where possible, flush anything that doesn’t. And quickly.

I don’t want to feel like my happiness rests upon one particular item on my wish list coming true because it doesn’t. Whether my books hit the bestseller lists or I meet the man of my dreams, my life is really good. Both of the above things coming to life can only take a life that’s good and make it better. And that’s only if I’m true to myself about what really makes me happy—truly, authentically happy and by my standards, no one else’s.

I want to hold less tightly to both of the above items and be mindful of my wellbeing at all times. I have spent sleepless nights worrying about how to market my books and why one book doesn’t sell better no matter how many accolades it gets. Or whether I was right to move on from a possible relationship that didn’t feel right no matter how much the guy liked me. Any time the things that are supposed to make my life better (writing, romance) are wreaking havoc on my wellbeing, something is wrong. I know myself—probably too well—if something didn’t feel right, it’s probably because it was wrong and I need to move on and cease wondering if I did the right thing, if I will regret a decision, or if I blew the last opportunity that will come my way. Since I can’t know the answers, I need to trust myself at the time and move on. And tossing and turning watching the clock tick toward morning doesn’t serve to improve my book sales, it just creates dark circles under my eyes. The important thing to remember is how much I love the writing process. A LOT.

I want to have more confidence in myself, raise myself up, and believe the hype.

I want to live any disappointment that comes my way in the moment and then let it go. Any let down is a temporary setback that has no permanent bearing on my future and I do not want to get caught up in long-term negativity. As Annie sang, “The sun will come out tomorrow.

I think that’s enough for now with respect to long-term goals for the coming year. I’ll conclude this post with one short-term goal:

HAVE A HAPPY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!

99 cent sale – The Right Design by Isabella Anderson

Okay, so I have to bail on writing a full blog post this week. For one thing, the last one really drained me. Also, I have a deadline of August 1st to get my next novel to my publisher—not a lot of time considering I keep deciding to change things around!

So, instead of original content, I am helping to promote the sale of my friend Isabella Anderson’s romance novel, The Right Design, complete with an excerpt. Isabella is also the founder of the Chicklit Goddess blog, she organizes a private board on Facebook under the same name for authors/bloggers of chick lit/women’s fiction, and she’s super supportive and just a wonderful person!

 

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Blurb of “The Right Design”

Do business and pleasure mix?

In the author’s debut novel comes a story about picking up the pieces, letting go of the past, and finding love along the way–even if morals are tested!

Interior designer Carrie Newman could not have envisioned a more perfect life for herself. She had a great job doing what she loved, wonderful friends, and a close relationship with her sister and brother-in-law. Add in an amazing man who she’d hoped would soon become her husband, and her life was perfect. Until one devastating decision ruins her relationship and changes the course of her life.

Determined to make a new start, Carrie leaves Texas and heads to Palm Beach to pick up the pieces of her shattered and broken life. The last thing she expects is to find herself attracted to her first client at her new job–Brad Larson, who has proven himself time and time again to be caddish.

But there’s something beneath the surface of Brad’s arrogant exterior that keeps her craving ore of him–something almost sweet that Carrie can’t seem to resist.

Is Carrie ready to take another chance on romance? And will this new design of her life prove to be the right one?

 

EXCERPT

After a long pause, Carrie finally spoke. “Fine. Yes, I’m seeing someone.” And when she said those words, she smiled because sticking it to him felt good. Damn good!

Roger stood up, walked toward her and kneeled down in front of her.

Carrie held her hand up to stop him, closed her eyes and took a breath.

“Does he know you like I do? Does he know how you like your eggs in the morning? Does he know how you have to sleep with socks on every night? Does he know you read magazines from the back to the front?”

She turned her head so she wouldn’t have to face him. “Roger, please leave.” Carrie couldn’t take it anymore.

Roger reached for her, grasping her arms and bringing her attention back to him.

“Get the hell out of here. Now!” Anger shot through Carrie as she raised her voice.

“Does he know how you like to be kissed?” Roger stared at Carrie as he caressed her cheek with the back of his hand.

While his hand had once been a source of soothing touch for her, it now stung. “Leave! We’re over! Get the hell out of here,” she yelled, pointing to the exit.

Suddenly, Roger grabbed her shoulders and pulled her tightly to him, catching her by surprise.

“I can’t do this,” she said trying to wriggle out of his arms, but his grip didn’t loosen. When they made eye contact again, she began to speak, but before she knew it, Carrie felt Roger’s lips on hers. For a moment, Roger had her paralyzed, as their lips reacquainted with one another. Kissing him felt familiar and for a half a second, it was as if nothing had changed between them. Seconds later, when she heard her door open, she immediately pushed Roger away, this time with more force, and saw Brad staring wide-eyed at the two of them. “Brad!” She ran toward him, but he held his hands up to stop her.

“Don’t bother,” he snapped and stormed out of her office.

Carrie quickly brushed past Roger and followed Brad down the hall calling his name, but he didn’t respond, and his pace quickened. “Brad, will you please just listen to me?” Carrie begged again as they quickly walked past Elaine’s desk and out the door. “Please let me explain.” When they made it outside to Brad’s car, he finally stopped and faced her. She tried to reach out to him, but he pulled away.

“What do you want, Carrie?”

Her eyes burned as tears ran down her face. She didn’t know where to start or what to say while memories of the last two days ran through her mind. “I’m so very sorry,” she said, wiping her tears away. “I didn’t know he was coming here.”

“He who? Who is he?” His voice was filled with dismay and spite.

“He’s my ex,” Carrie quietly confessed.

He gave a sarcastic laugh. “Of course he is.”

“We were together for six years, he cheated on me, and then I moved here to get away from him and start over. That’s when I met you.” She hoped that giving him the short version would satisfy him for now. Carrie just wanted things to get back to the way they were before Roger came to Florida.

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

Of all the many conversations, exes weren’t discussed on either of their parts. “He never came up in conversation. We never talked about our exes.”

“Fine, but how can you not mention someone you were with for that long? That’s kind of a big deal, don’t you think?”

“You and I have only known each other for a few weeks. Besides, at least I don’t zip in and out of women like you do,” she said. “Nor do I have flings with my assistant.”

“Danielle and I were together for only a short time, and that was years ago.”

“Well, geez, I’m sorry I didn’t follow proper Palm Beach etiquette and give you a history of my previous romances,” she fought back, but then realized that she was practically yelling. After taking a breath, she said, “I didn’t mean that, Brad. I’m sorry. I just want us back together.”

“You have a really funny way of showing that. Do you want to be with him?”

She shook her head. “No. I want you.”

He pointed toward the entrance to Ocean Designs. “That’s not the way it looked in your office.”

“I…” she began, but Carrie was at a loss for words. She buried her head in her hands. She’d been caught kissing her cheating ex and now was fighting to be with the man who she’d started to love. She looked up at Brad and began to cry harder.

“I guess I have my answer,” Brad said as he unlocked his door. “Oh, and don’t worry about finishing the project. I’ll have England take over.”

 

Purchase links, (please share that the book is on sale for $0.99, until August 3rd):

Amazon US (Kindle): http://amzn.to/TUmZNX

Amazon US (Paperback): 
http://amzn.to/1q3qxI9

Amazon – Canada: http://amzn.to/1o8nxYw

Amazon – UK: 
http://amzn.to/1vGLFFH

Barnes & Noble (Paperback and Nook): http://bit.ly/1AfWkcm

 

Author bio: Isabella grew up with a book in her hand, and to this day nothing has changed. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America and has been featured on several blogs. While Isabella doesn’t blog a lot, she focuses her time on featuring other writers, along with writing and editing. Isabella Louise Anderson created Chick Lit Goddess to share the love of the following genres: Chick Lit, Contemporary Romance, Romance, and Romantic Comedies! She loves featuring authors and their books. She lives in Dallas with her husband and cat. She enjoys spicy Mexican food and drinking margaritas, and can be found spending time with family and friends, cheering on the Texas Rangers, and reading. Isabella’s short story, Meet Me Under the Mistletoe, was featured in Simon & Fig’s Christmas anthology, Merry & Bright, in November 2013. The Right Design is her first novel.

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Isabella Louise Anderson’s links:

Isabella Louise Anderson: http://bit.ly/1j5AyWF

Author Facebook “Like” page: http://on.fb.me/1t6PAzC

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/1rv8Ipm

Pinterest: http://bit.ly/1n0XlCL

Twitter: http://bit.ly/1ze5rgg

 

Chick Lit Goddess Links:

Website: http://bit.ly/1n0Yryk

Chick Lit Goddess “Like” page: http://on.fb.me/1o8qxE8

Twitter: http://bit.ly/1j5D0MT

 

 

I’m letting my books speak for themselves!

My last post was extremely personal and raw. The multitude of comments and shares suggests that it touched many readers who were able to relate. I’m glad about that, but being so open and honest is draining and I couldn’t do it two weeks in a row. So, as a change, I’m focusing this week’s post on my books and what’s going on with them. And as a treat, I’m going to let them speak for themselves:

How Do You Know? – Thanks for letting me go first even though I’m the youngest. My characters are older so that should count for something, right? Anyway, I have some exciting news to share. Only, I was told that I’m not allowed to share yet because details are still being worked out. Sorry! In the meantime, I received my 57th review on Amazon this week and it was 5 stars! Woohoo! I would really love to catch up to my older sisters so if you haven’t left a review yet, please consider doing so. Pretty please?

Just Friends with Benefits – I’ve been a best seller in the UK for several months and consistently in the top 100 on the humor list. I’m very excited to be reaching chick lit readers and fans of romantic comedy across the pond. Like a good wine, I’m getting better with age!! Be sure to read my sisters too!

Blogger Girl – I was republished by AmazonEncore last year and—

A State of Jane – so was I!

Blogger Girl – Excuse me, we were republished by AmazonEncore.

A State of Jane –  It’s very exciting to be part of Amazon Publishing. We’ve recently been included in a special promotion for members of AARP offering discounts of up to 50% off our ebooks. If you’re a member of AARP, be sure to check out Amazon.com this month for an exclusive discount just for you!! http://amzn.to/1Ha5qwA

Blogger Girl – *rolls eyes* – Since I was so rudely interrupted, I’ll also speak on behalf of my sequel, Novel Girl. Her name might change, although I’m hoping we’ll hold onto the “Girl” part since “Girl” is very hot in books right now. Anyway, my sequel (whatever its name will be) is completed and with the final beta reader. We’re hoping to send it to the editor in the next month or two for release later this year. No spoilers but there are lots of exciting developments in store for main character Kim and her friends and frenemies.

And now a word from the author:

While waiting to begin final edits on Novel Girl, I’ve started writing a prequel to the series. The working title is Kim and the Mean Girl. I’m bringing Kim, Bridget, Hannah, and Jonathan back to high school in 2000. I asked several people who were teens in 2000 what it was like, have been binge watching Gilmore Girls, and added more YA to my TBR for inspiration. I’m currently reading To All the Boys I Loved Before by Jenny Han. The writing process is fun, particularly since I’ve never written YA before and I’m also writing from both Kim and Hannah’s perspectives. I hope this novella (aiming for 100-150 pages) will appeal to lovers of chick lit AND YA. It’s already 16 pages.

I’ve come up with what I think will be the plot of the second installment of the Seeking Happily Ever After series. This book will feature Maggie from How Do You Know?‘s friend Amanda. Again, no spoilers but think The Vow meets Glee meets The Best of Me.

I’m also toying with writing a novel inspired by the relationship between me and my late boss featuring a thirty-something single city girl and the ghost of her late mentor/best friend. It will be humorous yet heartbreaking at the same time.

I haven’t decided which one, if either, to write first. If you have a preference, be sure to let me know although I make no promises. And that’s it for me and my books. Books, say goodbye to my followers.

 Books: Later, followers!!!

Fairy Tale Fun Blog Hop featuring Kimberly Long from Blogger Girl

THE WINNER HAS BEEN CHOSEN AND THE BLOG HOP IS CLOSED. THANKS FOR PLAYING!

Welcome to the Fairy Tale Fun Blog Hop!

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Unless mine is the first post in the hop you are reading, you already know that the theme of this blog hop is princesses. We are supposed to compare the heroine of our novel(s) to a princess. At the risk of being thrown out of the blog hop (and the female gender), I have a confession to make: I don’t know very much about princesses. I don’t know why, since I grew up in a household full of women—my mom, two older sisters, and a grandmother. I watched a lot of soap operas and beauty pageants (both with my grandma) and sitcoms (I was supposed to be in bed, but I hid in the hallway outside my mom’s bedroom while my sisters played “look-out” so I could watch Laverne & Shirley) but nothing with princesses! And while I wasn’t a tomboy, I played sports and collected caterpillars (gross, I know), but I didn’t play princess.

In order to participate in this blog post, I did some internet research on the characteristics of princesses and other Disney characters. I had every intention of comparing Kimberly Long, the heroine of my novel, Blogger Girl, to a princess, but the first descriptions I read reminded me so much of Jane from A State of Jane and Maggie from How Do You Know?, that I decided to pick one princess to compare to each of my four heroines. But then I couldn’t find one that reminded me of Stephanie from  Just Friends with Benefits so I reverted to the original plan and stuck with Kim. And then I discovered that Kim shares characteristics of several princesses (or other Disney characters) and so to give you the most insight into her character, I’ve listed them all here:

Belle from Beauty and the Beast

Why? Because Kim loves to read and is not shy about it. She’s a (book) blogger girl, after all!

Why not? Because Kim’s love interest, Nicholas, is certainly not a beast. He’s a hottie with penetrating brown eyes and terminal five o’clock shadow.

Cinderella from, duh, Cinderella

Why? Because Kim learns that if you want to make a dream come true, you have to do the legwork. Kim’s Fairy Godmother in this path of self-discovery is very unexpected to everyone, Kim most of all.

Why not? Because Kim’s parents are alive and doting. And while her younger sister Erin is annoying and has a girl crush on Kim’s nemesis, she’s not evil.

Tinker Bell from Peter Pan

Why? Because Kim’s insecurity regarding her position at work and what she considers less “ambitious” life goals often leads to misguided jealousy.

Why not? – Because while Kim is not a pushover and will stand up for herself, she’s not vindictive either.

Dot from A Bug’s Life

Why? Because Kim is vertically challenged at only four foot eleven.

Why not? Because Kim doesn’t hate being small. She is, however, bored with the constant Long/Short jokes

Jessica Rabbit from Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

Why? Because like Jessica, Kim has big boobs, is confident about her sexual prowess, and loves her man

Why not? Because Jessica is probably a foot taller than Kim and whereas Jessica has green eyes, Kim’s eyes are brown—this physical characteristic plays an important role in the novel

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Blogger Girl on Amazon

The Grand Prize for this hop is the Congratulations Magic Morsels 48 Gift Box from Fairytale Brownies http://www.brownies.com/, which includes a bite-size assortment (Caramel, Chocolate Chip, Original, Raspberry Swirl, Walnut, Cream Cheese) of 48 delicious gourmet brownies.

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***EXTREMELY IMPORTANT*** To gain entry to win the grand prize described above, please comment by answering the question: With which Disney princess do YOU most identify and why? And please include your e-mail address along with your comment. Entries will NOT be valid if you don’t include an e-mail address. The contest is only open to U.S. citizens.

To continue hopping for seventeen more chances to win the grand prize, check out these fabulous posts:

 

New Release – Blended for Love – a four book romantic collection

December has been a very action-packed and exciting month for me so far. First, my fourth novel, How Do You Know? was released on December 2nd and now I’m thrilled to announce that my debut romantic comedy “chick lit” novel, Just Friends with Benefits, has been released as part of a four-book collection with romance as the common theme. The best part is that, while each book features a romance, the sub-genre of each novel is completely different so there is a story to satisfy your every mood, hence the title, Blended for Love.

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The collection includes romantic suspense novel, Tag, by Shari Ryan; Seductive Shadows, an erotic novel by Marni Mann; Blue Midnight, a contemporary romance by Tess Thomson; and last but not least, Just Friends with Benefits, a romantic comedy.

But wait…there’s more! The collection is currently only 99 cents for a very limited time!! If you haven’t read my debut novel yet, now you can get it, along with three other full-length manuscripts by best-selling authors, in one delicious collection. Read on for further details and buy links:

Cali, Charlie, Stephanie, and Blythe. . . four unique women with distinct stories and intoxicating essences to delight any mood. Are you in the need for adventure with a side of sexy marine? Meet fiercely independent Cali from TAG by Shari J. Ryan as she navigates the canyons of Mexico where the waterfalls provide safety and romance has a pesky way of showing up when she least expects it. And Tango is full of the unexpected. 

Need a sultry story with exotic undertones to make your heart race and put a naughty smile on your face? Then Charlie from Seductive Shadows by Marni Mann is your gal. She is a passionate, sensually inspired art student with a job offer at the mansion that is almost too good to be true. Add in the connection to the mysterious Cameron, who stimulates her art, intellect and desires all the way to her core, and you’ll be left captivated by this alluring novel.

Want something light that renews you like a girl’s night out with your BFFs and a few glasses of chardonnay? Meet Stephanie from Just Friends with Benefits by Meredith Schorr, in her pursuit of love, her adventures in friendship, and her journey to discover what really matters. Stephanie’s story couples humor with the age old yearning for Craig, ‘the one that got away.’

Or, perhaps the more mature Blythe from Blue Midnight by Tess Thompson fits your mood. Newly divorced, she questions her road not taken, sexy and sweet Finn Lanigan, and sets out to find him. This is a story of second chances, the complexities of family and learning to trust after betrayal. In these four books, the facets of love all combine to form: Blended for Love.

Please note: Seductive Shadows is for mature audiences. It contains explicit language and sexual content.

Like Blended for Love on Facebook

Bio: Shari J. Ryan hails from Central Massachusetts where she lives with her hubby and two lively little boys. Ryan has published the 3-book Schasm Series for Romantic Suspense/Thriller fans. TAG is her first book written solely for the Romantic Suspense audience. She is also hard at work on Red Nights, a standalone coming early 2015. www.sharijryan.com

Best-selling Author Marni Mann crafts sexy, titillating stories that weave together her love of darkness, mystery, passion, and human emotion. A New Englander at heart, she now lives in Sarasota, Florida with her husband and their two dogs who subsequently have been characters in her books. When she’s not nose deep in her laptop working on her next novel, she’s scouring for chocolate, sipping wine, traveling to new locations, and devouring fabulous books. www.MarniSMann.com

A born and bred New Yorker, best-selling author Meredith Schorr writes “real” chick lit and women’s contemporary fiction, securing much inspiration from her day job as a hard-working trademark paralegal and her still single (but looking) status. Meredith is a loyal New York Yankees fan and an avid runner. Her fourth novel, How Do You Know? was released on December 2, 2014. www.meredithschorr.com

Best-selling romantic suspense novelist Tess Thompson lives in a suburb of Seattle with her two young daughters and their two naughty cats. When not writing or taking care of her girls, she enjoys the outdoors, exercise, wine, cooking, sometimes cooking while drinking wine, travel, binge-watching quality television and reading curled up on the couch. Her seventh novel, “Duet For Three Hands”, will be released in February, 2015. www.tesswrites.com

Buy links:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

 

Blogosphere Blogosphere Make Me a Match, Find Me a Find, Catch Me a Catch

In almost all of the chick lit/romantic comedy novels I write, there is a central romance and after some missteps, my main character gets the guy—maybe not the guy she wanted on page one, but the guy she eventually falls in love with, and the guy who is ultimately her best match. The closing scenes of my books always leave me with the warm and fuzzies, but as thrilled as I am for my protagonist, I am also a bit envious. Despite being several years older than all of my main characters, none of my boyfriends to date have been “the one.” As a result, I often wish I was a character in a romantic comedy so that I would know that my happily ever after was around the corner. I feel like Charlotte York in Sex and the City when she exclaimed, “I’ve been dating since I’m fifteen, where is he?”

I always make my main character work hard for her happily after ever. I don’t let her get the guy until she is truly ready for him. First she has to make her mistakes (as we all do), figure her shit out and make amends (read: character development). This is because I believe that the blessings in our life are most appreciated and most likely to be nurtured when they aren’t spoon fed to us— when we actually have to work for them. Using this mindset, I understand why I didn’t settle down in my twenties or even early thirties. I was nowhere near ready. I didn’t know myself; I’m not entirely certain I really liked myself; and my priorities were not conducive to a healthy relationship. In my twenties and early thirties, we had not gotten to the part of the chick lit book starring Meredith Schorr where I figured my shit out and made amends. As a result, I so get why I didn’t get the guy at that time in my life and I am okay with it. I don’t look backwards (much).

I am more self-aware than the average person and I am fully cognizant of the mistakes I made in the past, however, my character development has been extensive. I’ve learned so much from my mistakes and have come to terms with them. I have taken responsibility for my failed relationships and those that didn’t make it out of the gate, but, equally important, I have also realized that the failings weren’t always a result of something I did or did not do, or someone I was or wasn’t. I have learned to cut myself some slack and I now understand that I can’t control everything; that relationships take two; and not every mistake is on me. I truly like (love) myself now, inside and out, and at this point in the Meredith Schorr chick lit book, it is time to get the guy. It took me over 40 years, but I am ready (hallelujah!), and I want more than anything to find my other half.

But I can’t! In a city as populated as New York, it is beyond challenging to meet available, somewhat age-appropriate men who are looking to meet a woman to eventually commit to and yes, I have tried online dating (hate it) and other avenues. Add to that finding a man with whom I have chemistry and actually want to date and…well, you can hopefully understand my frustration. I get hit on by married men and much younger guys who aren’t at the same stage of their life, but most of the other men I come into contact with are already taken or, if they are single, they are more interested in instant gratification and casual sex and disinterested in having a committed relationship. I don’t fault them for it, but I want something bigger, deeper, and more fulfilling! I’m aware that serious relationships aren’t made overnight but I yearn to find someone who, like me, sees it as an end goal.

New York is too big, too fast, too loud, too impersonal, too much sometimes and it is so easy to get lost. There must be true “catches” out there who would love to meet a woman like me but I don’t know how to find him, how to get his attention and how to connect.

This is where you come in (yes YOU). I need your help. Do you know a man who meets the general criteria listed below?

Single
35-50 (generally)
Lives in tri-state (NY/NJ/CT) area preferably
Physically attractive and fit
Healthy

Funny
Intelligent
Kind
Interesting

If you (yes YOU) know someone who fits the above description (everything else comes down to chemistry) who you consider a catch, I would love to hear from you (or him). If your introduction leads to an actual date, regardless of ultimate outcome, I will name a character in my next book after you! I am not interested in serial dating and will only go out with someone if he sincerely interests me, so be selective! As anxious as I am to find the “the one”, I will never be with someone merely to avoid being alone.

If he requires more information about me, he can read my blogs or simply ask me. A Google Image search will bring up lots of pictures too.

THANK YOU!

There was a time, probably not too long ago, when I would have been way too embarrassed to put myself out there in this manner. Each man I have dated in the past few years has taught me so much about what I want, need, and deserve in a relationship, and the fact that I am comfortable asking for help is indicative of how ready I truly am! I vowed to write my own happy ending and I’m starting here. Why should my characters have all of the fun?

 

Like to party? Hop along the Hump Day Blog Hop on Julie Valerie’s Book Blog. Click here to return to the Hump Day Blog Hop.

Cover Reveal – The Right Design by Isabella Louise Anderson

I am very excited to invite Isabella Louise Anderson to my blog today. As a blogger (The Chick Lit Goddess), Isabella is amazingly supportive of other authors. I have written guest posts for the Chick Lit Goddess on numerous occasions; Isabella posted a fantastic and thorough review of Blogger Girl; and she has participated in two of my own cover reveals. It feels good to turn the spotlight on Isabella as she prepares to release her debut novel, The Right Design.

 

 isabellaanderson_therightdesign_ebook_final

 

 

 

Blurb of The Right Design:

Interior designer Carrie Newman’s day starts out perfectly. For their sixth anniversary, her boyfriend, Roger, gives her diamond earrings, but the sparkle is lost later that same day when she catches him in the act with another woman. Heartbroken and in disarray, Carrie chooses to leave the past behind, possibly forever. She lands in ritzy Palm Beach, Florida where a new job and a new client leave her wondering if THE RIGHT DESIGN for her life has finally been found.

 ILA

 

About Isabella Louise Anderson:

Isabella Louise Anderson grew up with a book in her hand, and to this day nothing has changed. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America and has been featured on several blogs. While Isabella doesn’t blog a lot, she focuses her time on featuring other writers, along with writing and editing.

She lives in Dallas with her husband and cat. She enjoys spicy Mexican food and drinking margaritas, and can be found spending time with family and friends, cheering on the Texas Rangers, and reading.

 

Isabella’s short story, Meet Me Under the Mistletoe, was featured in Simon & Fig’s Christmas anthology, Merry & Bright, in November 2013. The Right Design will be first novel.

 

**Release date: Coming soon!

 

Contact Isabella Louise Anderson:

Website: http://chicklitgoddess.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ila121209

Facebook – Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Isabella-Louise-Anderson-Author/253277964716883

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7382151.Isabella_Louise_Anderson

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ILA121209?lang=en

Cover reveal – Vegas to Varanasi by Shelly Hickman!

I’m excited to reveal the cover for the upcoming release of Vegas to Varanasi, by author Shelly Hickman. The release is scheduled for December 1st.  After enjoying the cool cover and intriguing blurb, keep reading for an opportunity to read a free advanced copy of the book!!

Without further ado, check out this romantic cover:

 Mockup3_review_ebook

 

  

Blurb:

Anna has never been the beautiful one; she’s always been the nice one. So when the gorgeous man sitting across the table at a wedding reception remembers her from high school—and quite fondly at that—she’s taken off guard. Formerly overweight and unpopular, Kiran has never forgotten Anna, the one person who was kind to him when no one else could be bothered, and Anna’s a bit flustered as she slowly comes to grips with his intense attraction for her. In what feels like a romantic dream come true, all-grown-up, hunky Kiran invites Anna on a trip to Varanasi. But her troubled, whack-a-do ex-boyfriend starts interfering, creating drama at every turn, which begs the question, “Can nice girls really finish first?

Note from the Author:

Reviews can be a pain in the patootie to accumulate, but are so very important to authors. As part of my cover reveal, I’m offering an advanced reader copy to anyone who would be willing to share a review on Amazon (and Goodreads, if it’s not too much trouble) during the first week of December. If you are interested, please contact me at sydneyhickman91@gmail.com, or message me on Facebook, indicating in which format you would like your ARC (Kindle, Nook, or pdf), and I will gladly send you a copy.

 20130723_111806

Author Bio:

Living in Las Vegas since she was two, Shelly Hickman has witnessed many changes in the city over the years. She graduated from UNLV with a Bachelor of Art in 1990, and in her early twenties worked as an illustrator for a contractor for the Nevada Test Site. In the mid-90s, she returned to school to earn her Masters degree in Elementary Education. She now teaches computer literacy and media technology at a middle school in Las Vegas. She loves to write about people, examining their flaws, their humor, spirituality, and personal growth. Shelly lives with her husband, two children, and their dog, Frankie.

Author contacts:

www.shellyhickman.net

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Shelly-Hickman/219166834770664

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5814237.Shelly_Hickman

Twitter: @shellyhickman

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!

front

FACTS ABOUT HOW DO YOU SPELL LOVE?

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

BLURB:

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…

BUY THE BOOK HERE:

*Crooked Cat Publishing – http://www.crookedcatbooks.com/

*Amazon UK – http://www.amazon.co.uk/How-Do-You-Spell-Love/dp/1908910771/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1361800360&sr=8-2

*Amazon USA – http://www.amazon.com/How-Do-You-Spell-Love/dp/1908910771/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1361800417&sr=1-3&keywords=zanna+mackenzie

CHECK OUT THE FABULOUS EXCERPT HERE:

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.

ABOUT ZANNA MACKENZIE:

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.

FOLLOW ZANNA HERE:

www.zannamackenzie.blogspot.co.uk

www.zannamackenzie.co.uk

Twitter: @ZannaMacKenzie

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/zanna. mackenzie

Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/10703273-zanna-mackenzie

Amazon Author Page – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Zanna-Mackenzie/e/B00BKY1A18/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0