Wednesday, March 26, 2014

What the H?

Hello my little tulips! As usual, apologies for never posting anything. No excuses, really, except that I'm horribly disorganized. Oh, to one day have a personal assistant... Anyhoo, I've got something kinda unusual to blog about today.

It all started when I was on Lying to Meet You's Amazon page the other day and I saw I had a new review. A bad one (sob). Bad reviews are unavoidable, of course. You can't please everyone in the world, but this one has really been bugging me because the reviewer is clearly a romance fan and I reckon she read the book wanting a more traditional romance rather than a work of chick lit. The main problem she had with the story was a plot twist that would never fly in category romance.

I'm not just trying to rationalize here, I promise. The reason I know she's a romance fan is because she mentioned "the H and h" and "the H's parents" etc. which is the standard way for romance aficionados to identify "the hero and the heroine".  I must admit, the H/h thing got stuck in my craw for a bit. There isn't really an "H" in my story, per se. You don't really know for sure who Chloe's "hero" is until close to the end.

Eventually, I got over being bummed out over the bad review, but this H/h thing has really been bugging me. Not my reader's use of it in the review, but the use of it in general. When you think about it, it's so blatantly sexist. "H" means "hero" and "h" means "heroine". Why is that?

Just look at these two letters side by side:

H h

The big "H" is so strong and solid, whereas the little "h" looks a bit meek and fragile standing next to it. To me, the little "h" looks unfinished somehow, not fully developed. Definitely inferior. And this really bothers me. Perhaps I'm reading waaay too much into this (it's been known to happen) but I find it  frustrating that the women who write, edit and read these books use the H/h identifiers so easily.

Hop on over to Julie Valerie's Hump Day Blog Hop for links to loads of fabulous blog posts!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Cover Reveal: I Don't Know How She Will Do It by Kobby Tetteh Gyampoh and a Giveaway

Hello, my little snowflakes!

I know, I know. My lack of presence is abysmal. I'm sorry. I'm in the process of recharging and hope to come back in full force in a few weeks. But... I've decided to come out of hibernation in order to help spread the word about Kobby Tetteh Gyampoh's upcoming release. Check out the cover:

And now for the blurb:

Lily has had it with Aunt Lizzie. She wants her inheritance. She wants to be free. Aunt Lizzie wants Lily to find a husband, though she thinks it’s impossible. To her Lily could kiss freedom goodbye since it might be about the only person who’d allow that.
Aunt Lizzie’s thinking marriage; Lily’s thinking marriage-if-anyone-would-ever-want-me. Aunt Lizzie’s thinking cooking, cleaning and looking after a family; Lily wants a career that isn’t home-running. Aunt Lizzie’s not bent on making Lily have her way. So what would Lily do? She’d plot to gain her inheritance. She’d plot to gain her freedom. Her dad’s will says nothing about Mr. Right, neither does it mention an aspiring actress eager to break into Hollywood.
Join Lily in her quest for freedom as she poses as a couple with Clare behind a camouflage of flashy cars and cupcakes in order to get that inheritance. Follow this hilarious recipe of a low self-esteem girl, a sassy self-employed actress, an Aunt whose quotes would get you raising brows and two grannies who are willing to help low self-esteem girl. But watch out, one has a pistol which she stashes in her underwear.

Sounds like a fabulous cast of characters and I can't wait to read it!  Here's a bit about Kobby:

First of all, KobbyTettehGyampoh, simply Kobby, hates referring to himself in third-person.
I just turned eighteen. I am Ghanaian and have always loved Chick-lit. My Chick-lit role models would be Sophie Kinsella, Marian Keyes, Janet Evanovich and Sarah Strohmeyer.
I was introduced to the genre when I was thirteen. Sarah Strohmeyer made the introduction with her Bubbles Series. Since I read Bubbles, I quit writing Harlequin-styled romances and have always considered myself-since then, a humor writer.
My biggest dream is to be an EIC to a lifestyle magazine someday like Kate White-for my obsession for Cosmo’s language since she was running as editor. But for now, I am good with studying English to break into Advertising someday.
I am currently working on my next title which is sort of a series like Cupcakes R US, but it’s based on the lives of editors, columnists and freelancers in a Cosmo-lookalike magazine. Which would be available in more formats than kindle. Epub, PDF, Docx, Doc, Mobi, PowerPoint. And oh, Paperback.
If I am not writing something funny, I spend most of my time reviewing something funny on my blog, ChickLit Pad.

And now a word from the author:

I’ve had lots of inspiration for writing. But the one that moved me into publishing my very first novel, I Don’t Know How She Will Do It has to go to Allison Pearson. Words can’t describe how much I loved I Don’t Know How She Does It─both the book and the movie. Something about Kate’s struggle and how lovable she was portrayed made me nuts to pen something down. Days and days the title I Don’t Know How She Does It resounded constantly in my sleep, in my wake, every moment in my life (mainly because it was one hell of a funky title). I was practically haunted to put down my baby I Don’t Know How She Will Do It. Though they are both different stories, they both portray that sense of feminism that makes women all around the world proud. And that’s why I penned I Don’t Know How She Will Do It, a short story that would make women rejoice for their womanhood and cheering them for giving men a run for their money. There are points I might make you reach for your Kleenex, but forgive me for you will laugh at so many moments they would make up for all my sins.

You can find Kobby on Twitter @chicklitpad, on Facebook or on his blog.

Keep your eye out for I Don't Know How She Will Do It, which is scheduled for release on February 3rd, and if you'd like a sneak peak, be sure to enter the Rafflecopter below. Kobby is giving away three digital copies:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, November 22, 2013

Cover Reveal: Sugar Spun Sister by yours truly

Hello, my little sugar cones!

I've been super busy getting my new book buffed and polished for release, and I'm super stoked to reveal the cover today! This one is a trilogy about three friends in San Francisco who make plans to open up an ice cream shop. The trilogy is called Sweet Dreams, and this first book is called Sugar Spun Sister. And now, for the cover....

And now for the blurb:

Life isn’t exactly sweet for Cricket Whittier. Her boss hates her, her work is soul-destroying, and the sexy guy she’s hooking up with doesn’t want to date her. But this girl is far from hopeless. When Cricket’s in the kitchen with her ice cream maker and a few choice ingredients, her troubles slip away as she becomes a delectable dessert-designing powerhouse. She loves it so much, she dreams of opening her own ice cream shop one day.

As it turns out, “one day” just might be closer than she thinks. Propelled by the help and encouragement of her best friends, Lindsay and Nora, Cricket starts making plans to set up shop. Which is easier said than done what with the internal squabbling, the sky-high costs, her parents forecasting failure and her increasingly complicated love life. Despite all these hurdles, will Cricket be able to make her sweet dreams come true? 

I haven't set a definite release date yet, but it will definitely be out there before Christmas. Thanks for reading!


Sunday, November 10, 2013

Cover Reveal: Hard Hats and Doormats by Laura Chapman

Hello, my little baked cloves! I'm super stoked to share this cover reveal today. Laura Chapman is one of my very favorite book bloggers, and this is her debut novel! Here you go. The cover of Hard Hats and Doormats:

And now for the synopsis:

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

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

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

Who says nice girls have to finish last?

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

Here's # 6:

About the author:

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

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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Fat Girls and Fairy Cakes Meets Lying to Meet You in New York

Baking Hot in Birmingham!

My name's Stella and I'm a girl on the wrong side of forty, my marriage is in crisis, my daughter's a Goth. My mother's gone global (don't ask) and I'm about to lose my job as a TV producer.

But hey, when I'm in that kitchen baking I don't give a damn. There's something about the combination of butter, sugar and flour that never lets you down, isn't there?

Anyway, I've been corresponding with Chloe, the fashionista heroine from chicklit novel, 'Lying to Meet You' and having met up with her in New York recently, read about that experience here I returned the favour and invited her to my favourite place in the UK, my kitchen. So as I said, I love to bake (and eat!) cacke, I am also 20 pounds too heavy (oh ok... so I lied, 30 pounds and counting!) Chloe is young, thin and pretty, so I shouldn't really have anything in common with her, but she's feisty and fun and loves cupcakes... what's not to love?

I welcomed Chloe to the Midlands where I live near the city of Birmingham, famous in showbiz circles for being the birthplace of Ozzy Osbourne and David (Homeland) Harewood. After NYC, Birmingham is not the most inspiring place on Earth, but I took Chloe straight to my kitchen -- which is very inspiring! I didn't want her fretting about calories and working-out during her stay, so I told her to leave her trainers at the airport, as there would be no power-walking, sit-ups or spinning classes while she was with me. The only time I raise a sweat is when my oven's on and I'm baking a batch of delicious fairy cakes (you'll know them as cupcakes!)

Without giving too much of my story away, I am trying desperately to win a contract to bake cakes so I can leave my job as a TV producer (where I suffer daily at the hands of my nasty boss MJ). One of the contracts I'm working towards is the opening party for 'Strictly Come Dancing,' which you will know as 'Dancing with the Stars.' Like the US version, ours is a prime time treat of celebrities, glitz, music and dancing -- and there have been celebrity love affairs, scandals and sporting injuries along the way (you see, too much activity can damage a person -- proof).

Anyway, I'd invited Chloe to share some baking time and make two hundred chilli chocolate cha cha cakes for the 'Strictly Come Dancing' bid. I knew she'd appreciate the work that goes into my cakes and as she's into fashion I showed her some of my design sketches.

These cupcakes are sweet yet with a little sizzle, just like the dance. The paper cases are metallic red to suggest a hot scarlet dress and there's a hint of spicy chilli for some rather hot Latin dancing.

After a cup of coffee and a chat (I thought I had a complicated love life until Chloe told me about hers!) we began baking... with a little Latin influence in honour of the cha cha.

"Now," I said through cake crumbs (I was 'testing'); "Chloe, cream that cake batter, and start by letting your hips sway very slowly... feel that music pulse through your body and let those Latin rhythms take you as we cha cha round the kitchen."

Chloe really embraced this and and at one point was so enthusiastic, I had to move my porcelain balking bowl as she shimmied past the kitchen table a little too close and too fast!

While the cakes baked, I made hot coffee and opened my cake tin for Chloe to sample my latest 'Violent Violet Punk Rock Fairies.' These bright purple cupcakes with a Mohican top were recently created for a 70's theme night and I'm very proud of my recipe collection (to be found in Fat Girls and Fairy Cakes).

Once the cha chas were out of the oven and filling the room with warm, spicy chocolate aromas, we dressed them. I showed Chloe how to swirl warm, chocolate fondant on top of each one, (while gyrating -- of course) then we had great fun throwing on red sparkles and bling from a great height. Of course, the most vital part of baking is the testing -- and I am relentless in my cake research. So we both took several big chocolate chilli bites and danced the night away... who needs the gym when you can bake, bake, bake?

So, do I get that cake contract? Can I escape my hellish boss? Will I save my marriage and convince my daughter it's ok to wear pink? And can I stop my mother dating on Ebay?

It's all in the book 'Fat Girls and Fairy Cakes,' a story of love, loss, friendship and cake.

Here's a short excerpt if you'd like another little bite of fairy cakes...

After a tough time, Stella's best friend Lizzie has taken her on holiday to relax... to Ibiza, where everyone is 21 and 'relaxing' is not on the menu...

"The brochure described our resort as 'famous for its old town, cobbled streets, tasty local sausage and fine linen'," I called through to Lizzie.

She laughed. "Sweetie, it is a bit younger than I thought but on the plus side, it's just full of young men. Babes, it's Cougar Town out there!"

I drank my tea in silence. So, Lizzie had already discovered what the brochure referred to as 'tasty local sausage' and it was only the first night.

When we woke the following morning to the distant-yet-insistent beat of 'Veejay Bobbi' I stood on the steaming, concrete balcony and surveyed the scene. It was incredibly warm already and not yet ten. By the pool, a few late-night revellers had abandoned themselves to the sun-loungers and were sleeping off last night's orgasms on the beach and long hard screws against the wall (and no, I don't mean the cocktails).

As I sipped yet more comforting hot tea I heard Lizzie singing and rummaging around in the room. She was so used to travelling with work, she never bothered to unpack and by the end of the week her suitcase would look like an explosion in a dress shop, but as she pointed out, "a designer dress shop, darling." Anyway, from the already-detonated suitcase Lizzie had extracted a really stylish lime-green tankini which she was now sporting on the balcony with a matching silk sarong and a golden layer of 'Fake Bake'.

"Lizzie, you look gorgeous," I said, almost as green as her outfit with best-friend envy.

"I have a turquoise set too," she said. "You can borrow it if you like. It would go great with your blonde hair."

I looked at Lizzie's full, curvy shape, chin-length auburn bob and (despite years of Merlot and Marlboros) perfect skin, and smiled; she was so kind.

"I couldn't possibly look as lovely as you, Lizzie. I'd never get those lycra shorts over my bum. I'll stick to my big black upholstered costume, thanks."

Lizzie put down her cup and saucer and grabbed my wrist, gently but firmly dragging me inside the room.

"Madam," she said in a mock-stern voice. "You are looking good -- there's nothing better than a bit of marital trouble to make those pounds melt away."

She plucked the turquoise beach set from her exploded case and handed it to me. "Just try it on..."


Can you really make a a living from indulging in your dreams?

TV Producer Stella Weston is over worked, overweight and under fire. Having battled uphill for years to balance her career with family life, she is repaid by being put out to pasture on a religious gardening programme -- complete with a nervous vicar, his nymphomaniac wife, and 22 stone Britney wannabe gardener, Gerald.

In the past, comfort has always been found at the bottom of her mixing bowl, but when even the most delicious lemon sponge with zesty frosting cannot save the day, Stella decides enough is enough.

However, finding the courage to quit is sometimes the easy part. Can you really turn a passion into a profession? Does more time at home actually give you a happier family life? Are men truly from Mars or another universe altogether?

Stella has to roll up her sleeves and find out -- when the going gets tough, the tough get baking...

You can find Fat Girls and Fairy Cakes on Amazon US and Amazon UK.