Monday, January 18, 2016

Love through the Ages

Did you hear that? It was the sound of the cobwebs being swept off my blogging abilities. Seriously, I think a bat just flew out of my brain. ;) And why would I do such a thing, when clearly, my brain has been thrilled to be occupied with so many other tasks? Why else? I have something to celebrate.

Today my husband and I are celebrating our fourteenth wedding anniversary. Wow! Fourteen years of love, laughter and memories. Fourteen years of supporting each other, of celebrating each other’s victories and of leaning on each other through our hardest moments. Not to mention fourteen years of desperately trying not to kill each other…

Who could have imagined when I came across this dashing Frenchman, I would be his wife six months later? It’s truly the stuff of legends, which is why I chose to immortalize our story in my debut novel, French Twist.

My husband is such an amazing man! He’s kind, intelligent, gorgeous and he can make me laugh like no one else ever has. He’s also extremely defensive, has little tolerance for individuals less intelligent than he is (which is most of the world), and is also, um, a total slob. I, of course, come with my own list of faults, which I choose to ignore at this moment in time because a) I can and b) if your curiosity gets the better of you, you can read all about them in my French Twist series. (How’s that for a shameless plug? Ha!)

Marriage is one of the greatest adventures you’ll ever take. You’ll experience the highest of highs, the lowest of lows and everything in-between. Let’s break it down, shall we? For the first year of marriage, we were on our best behavior–especially since our dating window was so freakin’ short! We did our best to hide our faults from one another, which was downright comical. Before we knew it, shit got real, and we had to admit to ourselves (and each other) that things were not, and never would be, perfect. But they were pretty damn good!

So, we adjusted our expectations just in time to have our first child. Guess what? Children change everything. If you’re lucky, you have an easy pregnancy, and the hard part begins after the baby is born. This was soooo not the case for me. I remember monitoring my pregnancy closely, working my way through the discomfort and choosing to marvel at my ability to create life. Our bubble continued for the first couple of days following the birth of my son, since we were in awe of our little miracle. And then…I started missing sleep. When my husband went to work and I stayed home on my “paid vacation,” I began to resent the man I previously thought of as my knight in shining armor. Suddenly, he became the enemy, the man who was more interested in his own needs than those of his newly formed family. (There may have been some hormones at work here…)

Somehow, I pushed through the pain, balanced those hormones and found a routine. Life eventually settled down and we found our bliss for a few years. Then we had another baby. Woohoo! Our new bundle of joy didn’t feel the need for sleep, which meant I didn’t feel the need to make sense. At all. Thank God I decided to stay home with my sons or I would have been committed to an insane asylum. As it was, I came really, really close.

Life is now all about the kids. We still don’t get much sleep, but my husband and I make it work. During those few moments when we don’t want to rip every last hair out of our heads, we appreciate our little miracles and what we went through to bring them into this world. In fact, it’s almost like we’re war buddies. We remember the explosive diapers, the sleepless nights, the health scares and feeling like total morons because we couldn’t figure out why our babies were crying. This kind of experience bonds you like nothing else can.

Being married is hard enough, but adding children to the mix kicks everything up a notch. There were definitely days when I thought one of us wouldn’t make it out alive. My husband and I went after each other’s weak points, purposely upsetting the other by saying the pettiest things. This practice would be scary if it weren’t completely normal.

These days, I gaze at my darling husband over our morning coffee and often find myself overwhelmed by the depth of my love for him. Despite his inability to clean up after himself and his propensity for being an intellectual snob, I love this man. Truly, madly, deeply. I love him from the top of my head to the tips of my toes. He may drive me out of my mind, but he gets me like no one else does. He puts up with my craziness and loves me with everything he’s got. And honestly, what else do we live for?

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

New Release: Any Way You Fight It by Monique McDonell

Are you ready for another great addition to your Chick Lit library? The very talented Monique McDonell has just released Any Way You Fight It, the third book in her Upper Crust series.

Publication Date: October 12, 2015

Matchmaking came easily for Cherie . . . unless she was matching herself. A successful realtor, Cherie could sell a piece of property with ease, she could match up her friends with their perfect mates, but she couldn’t seem to find love for herself. Heck, even her seventy-five-year-old Nona was dating again! Cherie had the perfect love once, or so she had thought. But that was a long time ago, and yet, Luke was the standard by which she measured all potential mates.

After matching her two best friends and watching them live their happily ever afters, Cherie decides it’s time to make a change and get back in the game. Now all she needs to do is balance what she wants (a Luke-alike) with the demands of her crazy Italian family (a good, Catholic Italian boy).

Just when she is ready to shake off her past and move forward, her past walks through the door of her favorite local pub with her best friends. Luke is back, looks better than ever, and still has eyes for Cherie. And Cherie can’t control the heat she still has for him. But as with most long-lost loves, he has a past as well, and that past just might prevent Cherie from finding her happiness despite what her Nona’s visions predict.

Can Cherie and Luke make peace with their pasts and look forward to a new life together? Or will this be the final good-bye?

Want a sneak peek? Check this out!

Lucy called me the next day. I was unlocking the door to my office. I was juggling keys, a folder, a latte, and an open house sign but I still managed to take the call.
"What's up, buttercup?" I said.
"Not much . . ." I could visualize her on the other end in kitchen whites and a hairnet trying to come up with a witty reply. "You sound perky today. Piper said you were exhausted last night."
"I was. Still am, actually." That wasn't a lie. I barely slept, tossing and turning all night with sexy and angry thoughts about Luke. "Your call perked me right up. Oh yeah, and I'm about to down my third coffee."
"Oh, I hope you're okay."
"I'll be fine. What's happening there?"
"Well, you met the hottie corporate sent to help us with branding."
"Don't you have a fiancé already?" I tried not to let jealousy seep in. Keep it light, Cherie.
"A girl can look. Anyway, you don't have a fiancé . . ."
"Yeah, well, I don't want a fiancé, and even if I did, I wouldn't want that guy."
"He seems pretty cool."
"Not my type." I needed to shut this down. “Anyway, he's probably married. How long is your new eye candy in town anyway?"
“He’s not, married I mean. A week or two, but he'll be back and forth." Great. "Maybe you two could . . ."
"Thanks for pimping out your new colleague, but if I wanted a guy, I could find my own." I tried to sound haughty. "Anyway, Lucy, I have to run. I have about a million calls to return. "
I dropped my bundle, minus the coffee of course, on the office sofa and turned at the sound of the bell above my front door tinkling. There in resplendent glory -today in chinos and a white shirt with sleeves rolled to the elbows, offsetting a killer tan- was Luke.
"Not your type, huh?" he said, closing the space between us a little.
"First of all, don't you know it is rude to eavesdrop and second, definitely not."
"I used to be," he said, one hand shoved in his pocket and the other gesticulating.
"Well, we all used to be different, didn't we?"
"I bet we're not all that different, you know."
"That's hardly a ringing endorsement for either of us." I leaned back against the edge of my desk, using it to balance me, and took a long sip of my latte. Some days there just wasn't enough coffee in the world.
"I don't know, I thought we were decent kids back then . . ."
"Until at least one of us wasn't."

"And which one was that?" he asked as if he didn't know. The bastard.
"What brings you here, Luke? I kind of have a lot to get done today."
"I wanted to see you."

Now for a bit about Monique from the woman herself:

I am an Australian author who writes contemporary women's fiction including chick lit and romance. I live on Sydney's Northern Beaches with my husband and daughter, and despite my dog phobia, with a dog called Skip.

I have written all my life especially as a child when I loved to write short stories and poetry. At University I studied Creative Writing as part of my Communication degree. Afterwards I was busy working in public relations I didn't write for pleasure for quite a few years although I wrote many media releases, brochures and newsletters. (And I still do in my day-job!)

When I began to write again I noticed a trend - writing dark unhappy stories made me unhappy. So I made a decision to write a novel with a happy ending and I have been writing happy stories ever since.

I have been a member of the writing group The Writer’s Dozen for eight years. Our anthology Better Than Chocolate raised over $10,000 for the charity Room to Read and helped build a library in South East Asia. I am also a member of the Romance Writers of Australia. I was also had a piece in the Australian non-fiction book Copyfight in 2015.

I have written five stand-alone romantic comedies and three books in the Upper Crust Series ;Any Way You Slice It, Any Way You Dream It and Any Way You Fight It.

To learn more about Monique McDonell and her upcoming books please visit her at:

Website     Facebook     Twitter     Pinterest

Ready to buy Any Way You Fight It?

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Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Cover Reveal: Plan Bea

I am truly delighted to reveal the cover of Hilary Grossman's next book, Plan Bea!

Release Date: October 2015

Genres: Women’s Fiction
Publisher: Booktrope

Isn't it gorgeous? I don't know about you, but I want to know more! Here's the skinny:

How well do you really know the people in your life?  

Annabel O’Conner has the perfect husband, two adorable children, an amazing job, and the mother from hell! Annabel doesn’t like it but has come to terms with the fact that her relationship with her mother, Bea, deteriorated to the point of forced and strained communications. However, an unscheduled call from Bea turns her world around and makes Annabel question everything she believed about her life.

Despite the fact secrets, lies, and misplaced blame have destroyed the women’s relationship; Annabel reluctantly agrees to help Bea plan her wedding. Little does Annabel know the impact of her decision.

In this Women’s Contemporary Fiction novel, Hilary Grossman explores the complex relationship that exists between mothers and daughters in a light-hearted and relatable manner.

I'm totally ready to add this to my Goodreads list. It won't be much longer until you get your hands on this hot new book!

In the meantime, let's find out more about Hilary.

Hilary Grossman loves to find humor in everyday life. She has an unhealthy addition to denim and high heel shoes. She likens life to a game of dodge ball - she tries to keep as many balls in the air before they smack her in the face. When she isn't writing, blogging, or shoe shopping she is the CFO of a beverage alcohol importer. She lives on the beach in Long Island. 

Connect with Hilary

As all this weren't exciting enough, Hilary is giving away Chanel fragrances! Enter below for a chance to win!

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Monday, August 31, 2015

The Price of Freedom

The day is almost here. The day when my boys will be back in school and life can return to normal. Well, as normal as it ever gets around here. I rub my hands together with glee in anticipation of the little freedoms I have lived without for the past nine weeks. Once I get through the horror of getting them out the door and safely dropped at school, the world will become my oyster! I can write when I want to write, not when they are momentarily mesmerized by a cartoon–all the while, the guilt of using a screen as a babysitter eating away at me. I can run errands without constant whining in my ear. Hot dog! I can pee in peace! And I can actually finish a thought without being interrupted with a request for a Disney Infinity game system. (Ever since news spread of the Star Wars characters, it’s ALL my boys talk about. They are relentless!) Life looks pretty damn good.

Then the other shoe drops. I realize that I will now be left to my own devices in an empty house. Instead of sitting down with my laptop to bang out brilliant ideas for my latest book, I will be tempted to take advantage of the array of vices looming in front of me. Perhaps, a long, hot bath with a good book? I cannot remember the last time I could read without being interrupted every two minutes. (Constant requests for sustenance, technical assistance or refereeing prevent such a luxury. I’ve already been interrupted ten times since I started writing this blog post.) Once I talk myself out of my Calgon-take-me-away time, the remote will try to jump into my hand, beckoning me to lose myself in the wonders of Netflix, Google Play and Hulu Plus (Have you SEEN the number of cool shows they’ve added lately?) As I use one hand to force the other to drop the remote, I will remember the list of recipes I have bookmarked for the time when little helpers aren’t close enough to hear the whir of my KitchenAid. I will run from the kitchen, knowing if I set foot in there, I will come out several hours (and calories) later. I’m nothing if not thorough with my quality testing.

The more I think about it, my impending kid-free surroundings start to feel like a minefield of epic proportions. How can I possibly be trusted to bypass all this cool stuff in favor of buckling down to work on my next book? (If I didn’t fall asleep shortly after my boys went to bed, I wouldn’t be in this predicament. I have literally NO alone time. That’s what having two rambunctious boys will do to you.) I’m reminded of my early college days when the doors of freedom opened wider than I had ever seen them and I was left with the choice to stray into the unknown or stay on the beaten path. After a small detour into debauchery, I was able to stick to the straight and narrow, capitalizing on the benefits of my excellent education. Maybe this is what I need to do now. Just a small taste of freedom should do it, right? Then I can focus.

Suddenly, I remember my secret weapon. My husband has just changed jobs, which means he will be working from home EVERY SINGLE DAY. Ha! There’s no way I could stand the ridicule I would see in his eyes if he were to catch me, say watching my umpteenth episode of Gilmore Girls or perfecting my latest cookie recipe. The drill sergeant is in place, y’all. We can all breathe a collective sigh of relief. Come hell or high water, my next book will be written.

(Psst! Don’t be fooled. My husband may look like he’s a sweetheart, but he has a mean streak! He’s PERFECT for the job.)

The price of freedom is rough, peeps. I’m really glad I don’t have to pay it on my own. ;)

Monday, August 24, 2015

Unexpected Writing Partner

Writing is a lonely business. Well, it has been for me. Sure, I have people to bounce ideas off of, I have Facebook writing groups that I visit frequently to both give and receive tips, encouragement and at times, stage an intervention (hee!), but when it comes down to writing those words down, I’m on my own. It can be a rather chilling feeling.

Very recently, I was given a writing partner. I should specify that this partner is of the human variety, since I’ve had feline contributors for years. He fell right into my lap–literally! My brilliant ten-year-old son snuggled up to me (score! That almost never happens anymore.), sweetly offering his help in developing my next book. Given that I write Chick Lit, this may seem like an odd decision for a boy who thinks of little other than video games, battles and Star Wars (really anything with a hint of violence), but once I share an exciting tidbit, things will make MUCH more sense.

I have great plans to shake things up, peeps! I’m going to add a touch of *gasp* fantasy to book #4. What the what?!? I may be off my rocker, but it certainly sounds like fun to me. After writing about my life for the last three books, I relish the idea of writing characters whom I’ve never met. You should still expect a lot of wackiness and romance, since that’s how I roll, but you will encounter many otherworldly elements, creating what I hope will be a magical reading experience. Ha!

I suddenly find myself excited, rather than petrified, to start writing again. Not only do I get to spend more time with my amazing son, but he gives great writing tips to his panster mother. We sit down with our matching Star Wars notebooks (Darth Vader for him, Yoda for me, natch) and we discuss our plans. He has me write character maps, CLEAR plot outlines and detailed notes about my settings. I’ve been jotting down so much information that I may have to bust into the R2-D2 notebook we bought because it was too cool to leave behind.

He’s also a stickler for schedules. If we say we’re going to write for the next two hours, we write for the next two hours–no matter how many notifications we hear pinging from our tablets about our progress in The Simpsons: Tapped Out. Even when I remind him that he begged me to play this insane game, and is therefore, responsible for my current addiction, he won’t allow me just a quick peek. Honestly! Where does he get this determination? I suppose this is karma for my, ahem, strict attitude during homework season. Payback really is a bitch.

So, dear readers, you can rest assured that my next book will be written in a timely manner. At the very least it will be written, because even if I attempt to give up, my spectacular writing partner simply won’t let me. And thank goodness for that, since my furry companions seems to have far more interest in other activities…

Monday, August 17, 2015

To Write or Not to Write?

A crazy question for an author to pose, I realize, but it’s one I’ve been asking myself since I finished writing my last book. I often feel like, well, a fraud. I haven’t been penning masterpieces since I was six. I didn’t spend my formative years wondering what it would be like to see my book on the shelf in my local Barnes & Noble. I certainly never had the shakes from not creating my own fictional worlds. Truth be told, I spent most of my life hating writing. That’s right. You heard me. I HATED writing. With a white-hot passion.

Yet, here I am, an author with three books under her belt. If you’re interested in how I became an author, I’ll be happy to tell you the whole story. For now, we’ll return to the topic at hand. The burning question of whether or not to continue down this path has been haunting me for months. Sure, I was able to distract myself for a few weeks, what with the end of school, our trip to France to visit my husband’s family and the general craziness of summer.

But when the dust settled, it seemed as though the choice had been made for me. I honestly thought I had lost my writing mojo. *GASP* Every time I sat down with my laptop, my brain would freeze. I totally choked. Not one intelligible thing would come out. Unable to believe I could so easily lose a talent as stellar as mine (ha!), I quickly shifted into rationalization mode. You know the drill: find any excuse not to put your brilliant words to the page. I came up with some really good ones, if I do say so myself.

*I don’t have time to write.

I’m a stay-at-home mom. My boys keep me really busy! I don’t have a spare moment to myself! Yeah...somehow I found the time to watch all eleven seasons of Grey’s Anatomy. Clearly my reasoning was flawed. Shhh! It’ll be our secret.

*I have to exercise–doctor’s orders.

Since when has my life been ruled by such things? Well, I may be a bit of a hypochondriac AND have a few pounds to lose after overindulging my pastry obsession in France. And my wine obsession. And my chocolate ob–shutting up now.

*I need to clean the–

OK, I can’t even finish that sentence. I truly abhor cleaning, but I did it anyway in my tireless effort to avoid writing. My house was sparkling, but I was miserable.

*Summer is the time to spend with your kids. My boys NEED me.

Not as much as I needed them to distract me. Once they had hit their Mommy quota for the day, they were ready to hang out with friends–both two and three dimensional. (They love their video games a little too much. I really need to cut down their tablet time.)

Once I reached the end of my list of justifications, I thought all hope was lost. I was convinced my ability to tell amusing stories had been a fluke that left as quickly as it had come. It seems I was wrong. (It happens occasionally. OK. It happens often.) One night last week I couldn’t sleep. My youngest had a nightmare–the kind with such blood curdling screams that you think an intruder is trying to steal him. I flew out of bed, comforted him and sleepily acknowledged I had lost yet another of my nine lives.

Long after I had him settled back in bed, my heart was still racing. Then the most bizarre thing happened. My brain started filling in details for my next book. I had only done basic character sketches and a jotted down a few plot points, so there was barely even a skeleton. Suddenly everything started to fall into place. It was AMAZING.

And just like that, I decided to keep writing. For now. ;)

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Walk This Way: A Jay Walking Soundtrack

Can you believe summer is almost over! I sure can't. But there's still plenty of time to find some great summer reads.  Case in point - the delightful Tracy Krimmer's latest novel, Jay Walking. It's been out for less than a week! And who better to tell us about this awesome book than the woman herself. Take it away, Tracy!

When I first began writing, the only time I could sit and write was in total and utter silence. Even the sound of the dog snoring distracted me enough that I couldn't get my words down. By the time I drafted my second book, I couldn't write in silence. I learned I need a soundtrack. Music plays such an important role in the writing process, at least for me. I haven't seen a music video in years (do they even still exist?), but when I listen to a song, I always see a video playing in my mind. Story ideas form out of song lyrics all the time. My first draft of Pieces of it All transpired through Maroon 5's song "One More Night." The manuscript ended up taking a completely different turn, but its roots start there. Jay Walking was a fun playlist to create. When working on a draft certain scenes or themes remind me of specific songs. I start a Spotify playlist and keep adding to it. I keep Spotify open on my computer and listen while I write. To give you some background on Jay Walking, here is the blurb:


Chelsea Wyatt, a single mom trying to build a life for her and her son, is sick of the body she sees in the mirror. A daily diet of Cookie Crisp cereal is not doing wonders for her mood or her figure, and it’s time for a change. Setting out to get fit, she commits herself to a daily walking plan, forcing herself to give up her all-sugar and carb diet, a difficult task at her donut obsessed job. But her plan goes sideways when a stumble on the ice puts her in the arms of Jay, an attractive young man out on a run. They grab coffee together, and Chelsea finds herself thinking about him long after their short meeting. The thought of dating again hadn’t crossed her mind in years, and she doesn’t even know if Jay is available, or if he would be interested in her despite her unfit body. Just when she has a handle on her new routine, her past catches up with her, throwing her blossoming relationship with Jay and the rest of her life into chaos. Can Chelsea hold onto the people she loves most, or will a wrong turn set her up for failure? 

 This book focuses on fitness, romance, and body image. There are 32 songs on the playlist, and I always add to it. Here are some of my favorites: "Weak" by SWV. Come on 90s folks, who's with me here? I loved me some SWV back in the day. I love this song and it's perfect for Chelsea and her love interest, Jay. "Conqueror" by Estelle & Jussie Smollett. The first time I heard this song during an episode of "Empire" I thought of how hard we fight for things and do anything we can to achieve it. Chelsea wants a great life for herself and her son, a healthy lifestyle, and a great guy to boot. "Who Says" by Selena Gomez & "Try" by Colbie Caillat. Both of these songs are so important for young women. Body image is in our face all the time and these songs speak to everyone and remind us to love who we are just as we are. "Cold Hearted" by Paula Abdul. Chelsea's ex, Daniel, is, in a word, a jerk. This song is perfect for him! These are some of my favorites, but I love them all. Here is the full soundtrack. Follow me on Spotify to access the playlists for Pieces of it All and Caching In as well! 


 Pick up Jay Walking for only $2.99 for your e-reader through August 15th. On August 16th it goes back to its regular $3.99 price! Amazon Barnes & Noble iBooks Kobo

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About Tracy Krimmer: Tracy’s love of writing began at nine years old. She wrote stories about aliens at school, machines that did homework for you, and penguins. Now she pens books and short stories about romance. She loves to read a great book, whether it be romance or science fiction, or any genre in between, or pop popcorn and catch up on her favorite TV shows or movies. She’s been known to crush a candy or two as well. Her first romance novel, Pieces of it All, released in May 2014 followed in December with Caching In, a romance mixed with the hobby of geocaching. She also has written several short stories. Find her online at, Facebook at or Twitter at