Holly Jolly Chick Lit Hop 2018!

 

Wait, didn’t we just do this? How is November almost over? Is Christmas really just five weeks away?!

Perhaps I’m the only one, but it seems like I just announced the Pumpkins and Pages Hop winners a couple weeks ago. Well, there are some instances in which a speedy clock can be a good thing. Like while you’re sinking into a communal leather couch waiting for the world’s longest oil change. Or while you’re gearing up for the next epic Chick Lit Chat HQ event — in this case the third annual Holly Jolly Chick Lit Hop, which runs December 3-9 and features more than 60 amazing authors and contests.

In past years, I handed out e-books, paperback books, and holiday movies. But if I learned anything during the Pumpkins and Pages Hop, it’s that you guys love clothes! You want to cuddle up in sweaters, scarves, and hoodies when it’s cold out, and hit the beach when it’s hot. Rather than pick out something that may not fit your style, however, I’ve decided to let the winner work directly with my favorite online “personal stylist” by offering a $40 gift certificate to Stitch Fix. If you’ve already tried them, you know how exciting this opportunity is. If you haven’t, use my referral link to cover the styling fee, and tell them what you like. You only pay for what you love, so there’s nothing to lose. And in my experience, they do whatever it takes to make you happy — sending one free shipment after another until you fall in love with something and find your personal stylist match. Plus, the style quizzes are pretty fun 😉

In addition to my giveaway (which opens Saturday, December 8, on my Facebook page) and those of the 60-plus other authors, Chick Lit Chat HQ is offering a grand prize gift box stuffed with holiday-and winter-themed goodies, and four runner-up prizes. So join the Holly Jolly Chick Lit Hop group on Facebook, mark your calendars for December 3-9, and put a giant red circle around December 8. Trust me, it will be worth putting down the eggnog.

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Blog Hop Alert!!

Hooray for fall! Hooray for pumpkins! And apples! And jeans! And cozy fleece sweatshirts you should have gotten rid of years ago!

But most of all, hooray for Chick Lit Chat HQ and their absolutely amazing blog hops!

Yes, today marks Day 1 of the Pumpkins & Pages Bog Hop. I’m delighted to be giving away some scrumptious dark chocolate pumpkin biscotti, a $10 Starbucks gift card (buy a maple pecan latte, you won’t be disappointed), and a useless but totally adorable pumpkin-shaped knickknack 😉

But that’s only one of MORE THAN 50 contests going on during this hop. Toss in a group-wide grand prize giveaway featuring THIS hand-crafted wreath, and you just can’t say no!

For full details, visit my Facebook page. And best of luck!!!

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Chick Lit Chat HQ does it again

What’s your favorite fall activity? What’s the coolest pumpkin design you’ve ever done? What’s your favorite autumn treat? What are you dressing up as this year … or what’s your most memorable costume to date?

If you can answer any one of these questions, you’re ready for Chick Lit Chat HQ’s next killer Facebook hop: PUMPKINS AND PAGES!

From October 1st through the 7th, more than 50 Chick Lit and Romantic Comedy authors are banding together to bring you our most awesome event yet! Along with individual author prizes, we’ll be giving away a beautiful fall wreath by Etsy superstar TwoInspireYou (valued at $160), as well as THREE grab bags overflowing with pumpkin-scented, pampering goodies from Bath & Body Works. Pumpkin spice lattes, chunky sweaters, and crunchy leaves ain’t got nothing on this week-long party!

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Have you seen these?

Check out this new line of Disney Toms, so far featuring Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and now Snow White.

I wonder who’s next. Penelopea perhaps? 😉

Use this link to save $20 off a $75 order

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Readers’ Favorite announces 2018 winners (and look who’s listed!!)

I’m very excited to announce that Desperately Ever After has received the Finalist Award for Fiction – Chick Lit in this year’s Readers’ Favorite International Book Award Contest, which receives thousands of entries from over a dozen countries.

According to press materials, “Readers’ Favorite is one of the largest book review and award contest sites on the Internet. They have earned the respect of renowned publishers like Random House, Simon & Schuster, and Harper Collins, and have received the ‘Best Websites for Authors’ and ‘Honoring Excellence’ awards from the Association of Independent Authors. They are also fully accredited by the BBB (A+ rating), which is a rarity among Book Review and Book Award Contest companies.”

Respectively, the Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals went to The Summer of New Beginnings, by USA Today bestselling author Bette Lee Crosby; Seeds of Intention, a 2018 IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award winner, by Andrea Thome; and The Royal Treatment, by Melanie Summers.

For more information, visit https://readersfavorite.com/book-review/desperately-ever-after

Congratulations to all the winners!

 

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Mother’s Day

 

My plan, several weeks ago, was to organize a casual Mother’s Day get-together with my brothers, buy the wine my mom said she liked last month, get her either the orchid or sweet mason jar arrangement I spotted during my always frantic errands, and have my girls draw something just for her.

Maybe, if all that panned out, I’d even have time to write a glowing but still private tribute to her on this blog. I would tell her how, now that I’m a mother, I’m ten million times more appreciative of how she kept all four of us alive each day … let alone fed us, took us to school, scheduled play dates, broke up our fights, cleaned up our vomit, nursed our wounds, kept us clothed (especially pre-online shopping!), read bedtime stories, helped with our homework, planned adventures, made us laugh, taught us values, tucked us into bed every night, and made sure we always knew we were loved. 

I’d also tell her how, now that I’m a mother, I don’t know how she did all that without someone like HER helping out. Because she still helps me so, so much. She is the strongest woman I know. I am so grateful to have her, and also grateful that my daughters have her now. 

So while the flowers didn’t quite work out as planned (blame: a witching hour toddler tantrum for the ages), and I couldn’t find the wine I wanted (blame: poor inventory and poor time management), I did manage a nice Saturday afternoon get-together at her house. And my toddler did come through with a beautiful crayon portrait of her and Grandma. These days, two out of four ain’t bad — and I know she understands that. 

I love you, Mom. Happy Mother’s Day 🙂

For all you moms and moms-to-be, may you enjoy as restful a Sunday as this role allows. It isn’t an easy one. The hours are ridiculous, there is no employee handbook or HR department to vent to, and the parameters shift every time you finally start to figure things out. But you can’t find a job with better perks anywhere, the rewards last a lifetime, and the memories will always make you smile.

The following video from Motherly draws on that point. It is absolutely beautiful, but be warned: you’ll need tissues.

 

 

A few reminders:

  • Click Lit Chat’s Happily Ever Hop ends tonight! Dozens of prizes are up for grabs, including gift cards, a “royal treatment” grand prize package, and a copy of Desperately Ever After’s first audiobook. Check Facebook for details.
  • Tantor Media has released the Desperately Ever After and Damsels in Distress audiobooks, with Skipping Midnight coming out Tuesday. They are available at both Tantor.com and Amazon.
  • If you want to save some $$ on the audiobook or ebook, read this before buying.

			

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Happily Ever After Hop — and giveaway!

 

In addition to some gorgeous weather this morning, today comes with a very exciting event: the start of Chick Lit Chat HQ’s Happily Ever After Hop!

I am thrilled for several reasons. First, because there are so many wonderful, funny, talented writers participating beside me. Second, because I love giving things away. And third, because this hop truly seems tailor-made for my books.

Each day during the hop, a handful of us will take to Facebook to discuss how our books relate to the themes of “searching for Prince Charming” and living “happily ever after.” Well, in my case the question should actually be: How DON’T they relate? The Desperately Ever After series is a direct result of these concepts. It’s what happens when you take our most beloved fairy tale princesses and imagine how things went down after true love’s kiss. Did Snow White’s prince ever lose his luster? Was Belle eternally happy after Beast traded his fur for skin? Did four kids and the pressures of running a kingdom ever weigh too hard on Cinderella? Like us, the women in these books struggle with family, kids, career, regret, and especially … men. Like us, not everyone who’s achieved her “happy ending” seems to know it, and not everyone who hasn’t seems to know what she wants.

Thankfully, my CLC friends and I have put together a truly fantastic prize package that you most definitely WILL want — unless you have an aversion to jewels, chocolate and gift cards, this is.

The Happily Ever After Hop runs all the way through Mother’s Day, with new giveaways opening up each day (mine’s May 10 — mark your calendars).

For all the details, head over to the official Happily Ever After Hop event page via this link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1962370290669865/

Thanks and good luck!

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Psst… want to save some $$$?

The audio version of Damsels in Distress (Book 2) was released April 17, with Skipping Midnight coming out May 15. What better time to let you in on a few money-saving tips?

On the e-book:
Three years after blogging about Amazon’s Kindle Matchbook program, I’ve finally gotten with the program. Going forward, each purchase of a Desperately Ever After print book comes with the opportunity to add the Kindle version for just 99 cents. That’s right. No longer will my readers have to agonize between portable e-book and cozy paperback. Hey, in today’s crazy world, every bit of happiness counts. Am I wrong?

On the audiobook:
Aside from subscribing to Audible and listening in for free, Amazon’s Whispersync program allows anyone who has purchased the e-book to add audio for $7.49. Simply log in to the Amazon account you used to buy the e-book for details.

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The audiobook is out!

A few weeks ago, I let my Facebook followers and email list subscribers in on a not-so-little secret: the sale of Desperately Ever After’s audio rights to Tantor Media! I just couldn’t wait until the first recording was finished to announce. I was already bursting at the seams.

But today … I can finally shout to the WORLD that THE FIRST DESPERATELY EVER AFTER AUDIOBOOK IS OUT!!!!!!!!

What’s more, I can introduce the woman who is giving my series a voice, Sarah Mollo-Christensen.

Sarah Mollo-Christensen

According to her official Tantor bio, Sarah is a stage and voice actor who graduated from both Dartmouth College and the Atlantic Theater Company’s Acting Conservatory in New York City. She has appeared on many regional stages, including the Folger Shakespeare Theatre in Washington D.C., and can be heard on public radio’s This American Life. Her bio says she “enjoys finding the humor and depth in the stories she narrates,” and AudioFile magazine praised her ability to hit “the awkward moments and the sweet with equal sensitivity.”

It’s a pretty impressive resume. But that’s not what drew me to Sarah. What hooked me was her voice’s uncanny ability to change faster than my three-year-old’s moods. After all, there are a lot of characters in the Desperately Ever After series; it would be easy to lose track if Rapunzel, Belle, Cinderella, Snow, Dawn, and Penelopea all sounded the same. So when Tantor sent me their narrator recommendations a few months back, the choice was a no-brainer.

And she didn’t disappoint.

But don’t take my word for it. Hear the final product for yourself at Tantor.com or Amazon.

Additional release dates:
Damsels in Distress: April 17, 2018
Skipping Midnight: May 15, 2018

 

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Timeless lessons from Dr. Seuss

Earlier this week, my toddler came home from school with a copy of Horton Hears a Who. She had borrowed it from her class lending library, which the students stock with their favorite books twice a year.

My first thought when I saw the bright orange cover and grinning elephant was, “Oh, she’s not going to like that.” For even though my younger brother was a Dr. Seuss fanatic … and even though I have marvelous childhood memories of Go, Dog, Go! … and even though The Lorax holds a place of honor in this house … I don’t remember liking Horton very much as a child. Perhaps the kangaroo and her minions were just too cruel. Perhaps the thought of boiling an entire civilization in oil was too disturbing.

Or perhaps I disliked Horton simply because it wasn’t the “fun” side Dr. Seuss. There was no dog party, no hopping on pop, no goo-goo goggles, and not one single hat-donning cat. It was serious. It was Shakespeare’s Othello for someone expecting A Midsummer Night’s Dream. And I wasn’t old enough to make the wider world connections at that point.

But as I read it to my daughter over a breakfast of eggs and gluten-free pancakes, something unexpected happened. After a week of anger and fear and depression over yet another school shooting, I felt my spirit begin to rise. After a flurry of futile cries for change over social media, a dozen conversations with other anxious moms, and several moments of frustration doubting I could ever make a difference, I began to have some hope. Here was a book written almost 64 years ago, telling me that EVERY voice counts … telling me that you don’t have to be the mouthpiece to make a difference. You don’t have to be the mayor or the marching band beating kettles and pans.

In this case, all Who-vile needed to finally make itself heard, to convince the headstrong kangaroo and her toadies that they were real, was a tiny boy with a yo-yo … who at the last moment added a “Yopp!” to the other Who’s cries.

And that Yopp…
That one, small, extra Yopp put it over!
Finally, at last! From that speck on that clover.
Their voices were heard! They rang out clear and clean,
And the elephant smiled. “Do you see what I mean?…
They’ve proved they ARE persons, no matter how small.
And their whole world was saved by the Smallest of All!”

It’s the sort of message I think we all need to hear right now. Right now … and the next time an issue grabs us by the heartstrings and won’t let go. Because, you know, there’s always something. Even if we somehow eradicate these current storm clouds, there are always more.

My little girl liked the story too. She really seemed to care about the people on the dust speck. I could see the concern in her eyes when the vulture carried it away, and her dismay at everyone else’s cruelty. It’s probably a good thing that she, like me at that age, didn’t truly understand the larger meaning. But I’ll continue reading it to her over the years. Maybe someday her spirit will need lifting too, and this story will help.

I’ve learned a lot about parenthood over the past almost-four years. One is that children understand a heck of a lot more than we give them credit for at even the youngest age. Another is that while there are thousands of books out there that teach our kids about letters, numbers, colors, etc., there are very few that teach them how to be good people — at least not in a way that engages them.

(I’ve been working on a future post about the children’s books that have stood out for me and my girls. You can check back for that later or follow this blog for upload alerts. There are also some great recommendations at Filling Baby’s Bookshelf, run by a fabulous friend and mother of two.)

Little Jo-Jo’s “Yopp!” is just one of the countless wonderful, engaging messages in Dr. Seuss’s books — maybe not Hop on Pop and Mr. Brown Can Moo, but can you think of a better way to prime children to care for our planet than by reading The Lorax?

So today, on what would have been Theodor Seuss Geisel’s 114th birthday, I want to thank Dr. Seuss for teaching us how to laugh, how to imagine, and how to stand up for what really matters in this world.

 

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
~ The Lorax

.

“A person’s a person, no matter how small.”

“I’ve got to protect them. I’m bigger than they.”

“So, open your mouth, lad. For every voice counts!” 

~ Horton Hears a Who

 

“I know, up on top you are seeing great sights, but down here at the bottom we, too, should have rights.”
~ Yertle the Turtle

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“If things start happening, don’t worry, don’t stew, just go right along and you’ll start happening too.” 

“Step with care and great tact, and remember that life’s a great balancing act.”

“Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you.” 

~ Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

 

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
~ I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!

 

“Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the things you can think up if only you try!”
~ Oh, the Thinks You Can Think!

 

“I know it is wet and the sun is not sunny, but we can have lots of good fun that is funny.”
~ The Cat in the Hat
(a lesson I’d love my kids to learn)

 

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