Wednesday, September 28, 2011

What's in the mail today?

Melissa A:

Received this from Vida Engstrand at Kensington Books:



Amy:

Won this from Luxury Reading:



Won this e-book from The Book Chick:



Becky:




Gail:

Received this for review from Jaime Weinberg at Planned Television Arts:



Received this from Colette Freedman for review:

Winner of "500 Acres and No Place to Hide"

To find our winner, we assigned a number to each entry and had random.org pick one number. It chose 17.

Congrats to Margie!

Reminder: If you have won a book, you have about 48 hours to claim it by sending your contact information. (You will be e-mailed if you have won, as well.) After that time, a new winner will be picked.

Thanks to everyone for participating and to Amy Bromberg, our promotional associate, for offering the book for the giveaway.

Don't miss out on our current giveaways:

"Pushover" by Laurel Mayer (e-book)
Ends 10/3 at midnight EST

"Fat Girls and Fairy Cakes" by Sue Watson (e-book)
Ends 10/2 at midnight EST

Blogs of the week!

Our recent feature is "Blogs of the Week." Each week, we will feature a reader blog (which has to be sent to us) and an author blog (which can either be sent to us, or we'll pick one at random). Please check out the blogs we are sharing. We're sure the bloggers would love some friendly comments on their posts or a follow.

To have your blog featured for a future shout out, please e-mail us. The blogs can be anything: personal, book themed or something else you're interested in that you write about (movies, fashion, pets, career, etc.)


Reader:

Queen of Reading

After spending time reading Chick Lit Central and winning tons of contests on various sites, Michele W. realized that she had amazing books in her possession. Since she had all these books, she decided that she too was going to start a blog to share her opinions about books. While her opinions on some may be brief, how she feels about the books is strongly displayed. Michele reads various chick lit books. She also posts about things that interest her, and that may interest others as well. Basically, she vents feelings about life, books she has read or plan to read and everything in between! So please stop by and say hello! She would love to hear from everyone! You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.

Author:

The Eco-chain of Dating: Life in LA

Courtney Hamilton is an author who is going to be e-publishing a book called "The Eco-Chain of Dating: Life in LA", a novel about four female "Civilian" friends (non-celebrities) who attempt to enter 'A Level" Los Angeles Society (not an oxymoron) -- the LA Royalty level-- by climbing their way up the LA Eco-Chain of Dating.

She has created a website to support her novel. She would greatly appreciate any thoughts or comments that you or any of your readers might have regarding the website.

Her blog was created to talk about the issues of dating and surviving in Los Angeles as a female "Civilian." As dating is difficult for everyone (even celebrities!!), she helps readers "survive" by commenting on the dating/romantic issues of Celebrities and "A Level" LA Royalty.

You can find Courtney and her blog on Facebook and Twitter.

On location with Laurel Mayer, plus a book giveaway

**Giveaway is now closed**

Laurel Mayer attended Boston University as a Cardinal Medeiros Scholar and majored in English Literature with a minor in Journalism. For over ten years she has been working in marketing communications industry. The story and characters of her debut novel, "Pushover," developed while driving home from work and chauffering her children to and from their afternoon play activities. Laurel lives outside of Boston with her three sons and husband.

Laurel is here today to share "Pushover" with us, and to explain how location and setting for a chick lit novel become such a huge part of the storyline. She is happy to offer one e-book of "Pushover" as the giveaway prize to a lucky winner anywhere in the world!

You can visit Laurel Mayer on Facebook, Twitter and her website.

Check out the trailer for "Pushover":

On Location: Setting the Scene

Some refer to a novel’s setting as the “other character.” And, indeed, in some cases the setting is a star in its own right. Imagine “Gone with the Wind” without Tara? “The Devil Wears Prada” without Manhattan? Often in chick lit the location is the anchor for the plot and the source for the mood we associate with the story.

With so many options in cities and occupations, it’s in many ways fun to choose a setting. My latest novel, “Pushover,” sweeps the reader away to Hollywood, Las Vegas, New Jersey, and Paris. But jetting across the globe doesn’t come lightly. Just like any character in the story, the setting requires consideration and development to fully meld with the overall novel.

Iconic
There are some novels with settings so memorable I actually feel like I’ve been there. Manderley, the palatial estate in the novel, “Rebecca,” is one of those places. It’s a remarkable feat by author, Daphne du Maurier, to create a location with so much presence. The descriptions of its enormous fireplaces, sprawling staircases, and views of a rocky coastline are vivid. But, more than that, they work in perfect synchronicity with the characters.

In my novel, “Pushover,” the setting is a restaurant on Sunset Boulevard. Its dark wood and high rafters paint both a glamorous and intriguing portrait, perfect for the restaurant’s fatal history. But, settings can also be bigger than a singular space. Major cities and small towns are popular locales for the chick lit novel. New York, Paris, London, and other destination cities have appeal, offering writers picturesque surroundings and readers the thrill of traveling and living vicariously in some of the world’s most recognizable places.

Authenticity
There’s nothing better than getting pulled right into a story, but it’s hard to do unless the setting as well as the characters are completely believable. Locations unique to the writer’s imagination require full development. Colors, textures, smells, sizes, all create a picture, the world that the characters live in. Often for me these fictional places become quite real, with both a past and present intrinsic to the story. In “Pushover,” Dani Wilder, an up-and-coming chef is searching for space for the launch of her new restaurant. The locale on Sunset is ideal with its massive wine wall, large picture windows, and exclusive loft area complete with plush, private banquettes. The loft is so high that the fall from it could kill someone. In fact, a waitress died from a tumble over the railing in recent history.

When it comes to cities, towns and landmarks, it’s even more important to be authentic. People actually live there so the description in the book must mesh with the real thing. In “The Great Gatsby” the setting embodies a Long Island/NYC summer in the roaring 1920s. The decadence is palpable and legitimate because Fitzgerald’s descriptions are true to the lifestyle. In “Pushover” a trip to Las Vegas for a marriage renewal features some of Sin City’s hottest spots including Bellagio, the luxurious resort boasting dramatic fountains. The blown-glass ceiling of the foyer, the piano bar off the lobby, and the perfectly primped hedges of the pool area make a realistic appearance in “Pushover,” and the high stakes imagery truly sets the stage for the crescendo of events to come in the story.

Voice
Sometimes in chick lit the choice of location provides a voice for the characters and for the author. Claire Cook’s beachy reads carry her signature style that conjures up images of flip-flops and beach totes. Elin Hilderbrand’s trademark Nantucket setting creates a seaside palette that is remote and unique to her story and characters.

In “Pushover” the character of Vic Valtieri is an L.A. transplant originally from New Jersey. His story as a Jersey cop is rooted in his neighborhood. The two-family house he grew up in, his mom’s outdated kitchen, the local pizza parlor, all help to explain Vic, and cast his story in stark contrast to the glimmer of the Hollywood landscape.

The “Other Character”

Whether it’s a charming farm or a bustling metropolis, a cube-lined office or a suburban home, the location and setting of the chick lit novel becomes part of the fabric of the story. The characters can hardly be who they are without giving them that concrete point in time and place. It may induce a sense of romance, freedom, hope, renewal, or sadness, and take us on a journey of emotions. But, whatever the setting, the “other character” is a staple of the chick lit novel, leaving writers and readers with the opportunity to examine and explore, if only for a few hundred pages, the most fascinating places on earth.

Thanks to Laurel for setting the scene for us and sharing her book with one of our readers.

How to win "Pushover":
Please comment below with your e-mail address.
(Please note: Entries without an e-mail address will NOT be counted. You can use AT and DOT to avoid spam. Or provide a link to your facebook page or blog if you can receive messages there.)

Bonus entries (can be listed all in one post):
1. Describe a favorite location from your childhood.
2. Follow this blog and post a comment saying you are a follower (if you already follow, that's fine too).
3. Post this contest on Facebook or Twitter or in your blog, and leave a comment saying where you've posted it.
4. Join Chick Lit Central on Facebook. Edit settings if you don't want to receive a lot of messages at your e-mail account. Please read our posting guidelines, as well. (If you're already a member, let us know that too.)
5. Add a friend to our Facebook group. (Tell us who you added.) Be sure to remind them to edit their settings.

Giveaway ends October 3rd at midnight EST.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Winner of "The Summer Season"

To find our winners, we assigned a number to each entry and had Custom Random Number Generator pick one number. It chose 53.

Congrats to Jencey!

Reminder: If you have won a book, you have about 48 hours to claim it by sending your contact information. (You will be e-mailed if you have won, as well.) After that time, a new winner will be picked.

Thanks to everyone for participating.
Thanks to Julia Williams for an entertaining interview and to Charlotte Allen of Avon Books UK for arranging the interview and providing the book for the giveaway.

Don't miss out on our latest giveaways:

"Fat Girls and Fairy Cakes" by Sue Watson (e-book)
Ends 10/2 at midnight EST


"500 Acres and No Place to Hide" by Susan McCorkindale
US only
Ends tonight at midnight EST






Winners of "Fourteen Days Later" (e-book)

To find our winners, we assigned a number to each entry and had the Custom Random Number Generator pick three numbers. It chose 2, 20 and 22.

Congrats to Jel, StereoQueenBee and Jane!

Here is a message from Sibel Hodge:

I'd like to thank the fab Chick Lit Central blog for celebrating all things chick lit, and for providing me with a way to connect with readers - without you, I wouldn't be here. A massive thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway, I hope you had fun. "Fourteen Days Later" was my debut romantic comedy novel with a lot of screwball humor. We all live in such a stressful world, so I hope it brings a smile to your face or gives you a laugh-out-loud moment to brighten up your day.

Long live chick lit!

Sibel :)
xx


Reminder: If you have won a book, you have about 48 hours to claim it by sending your contact information. (You will be e-mailed if you have won, as well.) After that time, a new winner will be picked.

Thanks to everyone for participating.
Thanks to Sibel for a lovely chat and for sharing her e-book with our winners.

Don't miss out on our latest giveaways:

"Fat Girls and Fairy Cakes" by Sue Watson (e-book)
Ends 10/2 at midnight EST


"500 Acres and No Place to Hide" by Susan McCorkindale
US only
Ends tonight at midnight EST






Book Review: 500 Acres and No Place to Hide

By Amy Bromberg
Picture a modern day woman fashionista, born and raised in Ridgewood, NJ, who has a prestigious job in New York City. She loves shopping (let’s just saw she bows down to Nordstorm ad Neiman Marcus) for clothes, designer handbags, and shoes (can we say Manolos?), and has to get her weekly blow dry. Can you imagine this woman surviving in the sticks on a farm in Fauquier County, Virginia? I sure can’t. But Susan McCorkindale proves us wrong in her memoir, "500 Acres and No Place to Hide," which is a follow up to "Confessions of a Counterfeit Farm Girl."

After Susan’s husband convinces her to leave her comfortable and familiar lifestyle, Susan has some trouble adapting to living on a farm. But after a few years she comes to the epiphany, as I quote from the back of the book “YOU CAN TAKE THE WOMAN OUT OF NEW JERSEY, BUT YOU CAN’T TAKE THE NEW JERSEY OUT OF THE WOMAN.” She makes it work for her. She wanders in the mud, attending to the farm and the animals wearing her fashionable shoes. With humor, wit, and a little craziness, she deals with the farm animals wandering into her house, taking a short leave of absence from the farm, a frog on her bathroom window, and with the pleasures of having to handle snakes. The readers are right along with her as she becomes the “manager” of the farm due to her husband’s diagnosis of cancer.

It’s been a very long time since I have read a book where I have laughed out loud as much as I have with this one. I shared with my husband some of the things Susan wrote because they are SO hilarious. I can totally see Susan being a guest on the Chelsea Handler show and the two women hitting it off. The underlying theme and message throughout her journeys, is to always look for humor in situations that life throws you, and not take life too seriously. We see this in her dealings with cows, crazy chickens, goats, and raising two boys, one of whom is autistic. And on the more serious side, getting her family, her husband, and her herself through the tragedy of her husband’s struggles with cancer.

I recommend this book to just about anyone. It doesn’t matter who you are, or what roles you play, life always throws us challenges. If we try to remember that laughter is the best medicine, we might cope with these challenges more successfully.

There's still time to enter to win this novel, if you live in the US. Check out our recent giveaway from "What's in the Mail Today?" It ends at midnight EST, so hurry up!

You might also like:


Monday, September 26, 2011

Winners of "Sophie's Turn"

To find our winners, we assigned a number to each entry and had random.org pick two numbers. It chose 41 and 45.

Congrats to Jeryl and WonderWoman!

Here is a message from Nicky Wells:
Thanks so much to the two Melissas for creating Chick Lit Central and giving readers and writers a chance to interact. Thanks also for all of CLC's support, which is absolutely critical to a new indie author like myself! "Sophie's Turn" is my debut novel and I am delighted to see so much interest in this competition: thanks very much to everyone who stopped by and entered to win. Watch this space for a sequel, which is very much in the making at this time.... I hope you all enjoy "Sophie's Turn" and would love to hear from you!

Cheerio,
Nicky


Reminder: If you have won a book, you have about 48 hours to claim it by sending your contact information. (You will be e-mailed if you have won, as well.) After that time, a new winner will be picked.

Thanks to everyone for participating and to Nicky for showing us how she went about choosing such a clever title for her novel and for sharing that novel with our winners.

Don't miss out on our latest giveaways:

"Fat Girls and Fairy Cakes" by Sue Watson (e-book)
Ends 10/2 at midnight EST


"500 Acres and No Place to Hide" by Susan McCorkindale
US only
Ends 9/27 at midnight EST


"The Summer Season" by Julia Williams
Ends tonight at midnight EST


"Fourteen Days Later" by Sibel Hodge (e-book)
Ends tonight at midnight EST





Winners of Katherine Owen's novels

To find our winners, we assigned a number to each entry and had random.org pick two numbers.

For "Seeing Julia," it chose 18.

Congrats to Sherry!

For "Not to Us," it chose 13.

Congrats to Nina!

Here is a message from Katherine Owen:

Thank you so much, Melissa P. and Melissa A., for hosting me this past week at Chick Lit Central. It's been a pleasure. I enjoyed seeing all the enthusiasm for my novels, "Seeing Julia" and "Not To Us". And, thanks to all of you readers out there who expressed an interest in my work by entering the giveaway. Best wishes to the winners!
Best,
Katherine Owen


Reminder: If you have won a book, you have about 48 hours to claim it by sending your contact information. (You will be e-mailed if you have won, as well.) After that time, a new winner will be picked.

Thanks to everyone for participating and to Katherine for chatting with us and sharing her books with our winners.

Don't miss out on our latest giveaways:

"Fat Girls and Fairy Cakes" by Sue Watson (e-book)
Ends 10/2 at midnight EST


"500 Acres and No Place to Hide" by Susan McCorkindale
US only
Ends 9/27 at midnight EST


"The Summer Season" by Julia Williams
Ends tonight at midnight EST


"Fourteen Days Later" by Sibel Hodge (e-book)
Ends tonight at midnight EST

Indulging in sweets with Sue Watson...plus a book giveaway!

**Giveaway is now closed**

Today, we welcome Sue Watson to share with us her debut novel, "Fat Girls and Fairy Cakes," published in early September 2011. Sue was born in Manchester and graduated from Manchester Polytechnic. She worked as a journalist for various tabloid newspapers and women's magazines. Sue transitioned into the television industry working as a producer for BBC. Sue lives in Worcestershire with her husband, daughter, two cats and a goldfish.

I don't know any chick lit lover who won't indulge themselves with classic chick lit fun and yummy cake recipes. To help in this matter, Sue has three e-books of "Fat Girls and Fairy Cakes" to give to some lucky readers anywhere in the world!

To learn more about Sue Watson please visit her on Facebook, Twitter, her blog and read the first three chapters of "Fat Girls and Fairy Cakes" at her website.


MP: What is your usual writing routine?
SW: Well I would love to tell you that I wake up each morning and skip to my desk where I write 1,000 words before breakfast and continue to write all day, stopping only for a light snack of leaves and mineral water. Unfortunately I don’t! Once my husband and daughter have left for school and work I tidy up... eat breakfast... start my diet... Tweet my friends and drink several cups of coffee. Next I put the TV on just in case there’s anything that will inspire me ("Frasier," "Ugly Betty"... this is research....honestly!) I then break my diet and eat too much cake. By about noon I’m finally ready to write and I sit at the kitchen table which overlooks the garden and I prepare myself by tidying my pens, checking out a few online shopping sites and before you know it – it’s way past lunchtime and more cake.
On a good day I will write solidly from about noon until 4pm, but if I get a call from the girls to meet them for emergency lattes or lunch... I have to drop everything. Well I can’t let my buddies down! If I haven’t had a good writing day I tell myself I will be good tomorrow (just like dieting really). Of course I rarely stick to this promise, the deadline looms and I end up having to work through the night, while eating my own body weight in cake!

MP: What was the biggest challenge you faced while writing "Fat Girls and Fairy Cakes?"
SW: The biggest challenge was devoting all my time to something that may never see the light of day. Like all new writers you have to commit to the book – but you don’t know until you’ve found a publisher that it will lead to anything. I think in the first instance, you have to write for the sheer love of it. I found writing this was quite cathartic for me – I had been through the mum/work struggle and writing about it really felt like therapy.

MP: How do you deal with bouts of writers block?
SW: I have to say I haven’t (so far) had a complete block. I have days that are better than others when I feel I’ve written a great scene that’s sharp and funny and the characters have all behaved exactly as I want them to. However there are days when things don’t flow and I’m not funny or sharp and I just use those days to move the narrative along ... I find baking and eating helps on those slow days.

MA: When you found out you were going to have your book published, how did you celebrate?
SW: I bought a flamingo-pink laptop! The whole family had been sharing one laptop and I’d written Fat Girls and Fairy Cakes on it which was impossible as I had to break off from writing every time another member of the family needed the laptop for homework or banking etc. Once I had the book deal I knew there would be edits and a second book so I was determined to have a laptop all to myself so no-one could stop my flow.

MP: Did you base your main characters on yourself or people you know?
SW: I think there’s a lot of me in Stella – we both worked in TV and struggled with our weight and being a mum/wife/career woman in a very young, trendy world full of size zero beauties. I know how Stella feels and I went with her on her journey, revisiting some of my own experiences along the way. As for friends – yes Stella’s friends and many of the characters in the novel are based on different elements of people I know or who I have worked with or met. Al, one of Stella’s best friends, is based on a very good friend of mine who inspired the idea for Al’s Gay Swimming group. Such a group exists (under a different name) and my friend flounces up and down that cocktail lane just like Al!

MA: If "Fat Girls and Fairy Cakes" were made into a movie, who would you cast in the lead roles?
LOVE this question... but it’s so hard to answer. I think Stella would have to be Brooke Elliot who plays Jane, the plus size girl whose body is inhabited by the soul of a supermodel in Drop Dead Diva. She’s a big, beautiful lady who would play a witty, intelligent heroine perfectly – and I think she’s fabulous. For Stella’s friend Al it would have to be Michael Urie who plays Marc St James in Ugly Betty – he has the energy and twisted humour that I love so much in Al.

MA: What is your favorite kind of cupcake?
SW: I love all of them – but my favorite is a coffee cupcake – the recipe is in the book – I like a strong coffee flavour, just like my cup of coffee. I ice them with coffee flavoured icing and top with a real chocolate coffee bean. Perfect to keep me going on those late writing nights when I need extra caffeine to stay awake and meet that deadline. Yum!

MA: Which female authors have inspired you the most?
SW: I LOVE Jen Lancaster and her book ‘Such a Pretty Fat,’ was a revelation to me. I love the way she is a big girl and she doesn’t apologise for it – I love her gutsy, witty, non-whingeing style too. She takes no prisoners!
I am also a huge Anne Tyler fan – I read her and wish I could write like her because it’s like she’s peeped into your soul and knows exactly how you’re feeling – and what real life is really like.

MP: If you could travel anywhere, where would you go and why?
SW: I recently achieved a lifelong ambition and visited NYC and The Magnolia Bakery – I love the US and our holidays of choice are usually Florida. Next year we’re planning a very special holiday to California and I can’t wait. I have never been so am using it as a ‘research’ excuse because I want to take Stella and her friends to Hollywood for the sequel to "Fat Girls and Fairy Cakes."

MA: What is your biggest addiction or vice?
SW: The three Cs – cakes, coffee and chocolate. I can’t choose one of those but I suppose if I had to – it would have to be fairy cakes!

(CLC: That must be how Sue "C's" it!)

Thanks to Sue for entertaining us with our answers and making us hungry for some sweet cupcakes, as well as for sharing her e-book with our readers. (We also must mention the "Ugly Betty" shout outs, as both Melissa A
and P LOVE that show!)

How to win "Fat Girls and Fairy Cakes":
Please comment below with your e-mail address.
(Please note: Entries without an e-mail address will NOT be counted. You can use AT and DOT to avoid spam. Or provide a link to your facebook page or blog if you can receive messages there.)

Bonus entries (can be listed all in one post):
1. Please tell us: If you could create your own cupcake, what would be the primary ingredient used and what flavor frosting would complement this tasty treat? Go ahead and name it if you wish....
2. Follow this blog and post a comment saying you are a follower (if you already follow, that's fine too).
3. Post this contest on Facebook or Twitter or in your blog, and leave a comment saying where you've posted it.
4. Join Chick Lit Central on Facebook. Edit settings if you don't want to receive a lot of messages at your e-mail account. Please read our posting guidelines, as well. (If you're already a member, let us know that too.)
5. Add a friend to our Facebook group. (Tell us who you added.) Be sure to remind them to edit their settings.

Giveaway ends October 2nd at midnight EST.

Friday, September 23, 2011

What's in the mail today...plus a giveaway!

**Giveaway is now closed**

Melissa A:


Amy and I both got this from Carol Snow for review and for having her visit us in November:



Melissa P:

Got this from Sue Watson after winning it from loveahappyending.com:



Sue will be visiting CLC on Monday, so stay tuned. :)


Got this from Scholastic Trade Book Publishing for review:



We'll eventually be doing a giveaway for this book, as well.


Cindy:

Got this from Kimberly S. Lin for review:



Becky:

Won this from Choc Lit (along with some delicious chocolate!):




Gail:

Got this from Sibylla Nash for review:



It is also available in Kindle for 99 cents!

Amy:

Won this from Rea Book Reviews:



It's currently $2.99 for Kindle.

Won this from One More Page...




Won this from College Lifestyles:




Won this from Rockland Mother, as well as from Susan McCorkindale herself. Since I only need one copy, I am sharing the other one with a lucky reader from the US.



How to win "500 Acres and No Place to Hide": Tell us about something you did the last time you visited a farm. (If you've never been to a farm, tell us something you'd do if you had a chance to go.) Also, please follow Susan McCorkindale on Facebook and Twitter to earn bonus entries. Please include your e-mail address or another way to contact you if you win.

US only. Giveaway ends 9/27 at midnight EST.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Winner of "Little Black Dress"

To find our winner, we assigned a number to each entry (one entry per person for this giveaway) and had random.org pick one number. Here is what it chose: 24

Congrats to Allison (abrown546)!

Reminder: If you have won a book, you have about 48 hours to claim it by sending your contact information. (You will be e-mailed if you have won, as well.) After that time, a new winner will be picked.

Thanks to everyone for participating and to our promotional associate, Amy Bromberg, for generously sharing this prize with one of our readers.

Don't miss out on our current giveaways!

"The Summer Season" by Julia Williams
Ends 9/26 at midnight EST

"Fourteen Days Later" by Sibel Hodge (e-book)
Ends 9/26 at midnight EST


"Sophie's Turn" by Nicky Wells
Ends 9/25 at midnight EST


"Not to Us" and "Seeing Julia" by Katherine Owen (e-book)
Worldwide; Print version available for US readers, as well
Ends 9/25 at midnight EST

Winners of "I'm Not the Biggest Bitch in This Relationship"

This is from Wade Rouse:

Winner, winner!!!!! We had a random drawing and the 2 winner's are (Drum Roll Please!!!)

Dolly (jcsites2002)
Lisa (callcentergal88)


The winners have been notified already and will receive the books on Wade's terms (not sure if he also waits 48 hours).

Thanks to Wade for hosting the event at Trixie and Peanut and to Kaitlyn from Penguin Group for sharing the books with our readers.



Don't miss out on our current giveaways!

"The Summer Season" by Julia Williams
Ends 9/26 at midnight EST

"Fourteen Days Later" by Sibel Hodge (e-book)
Ends 9/26 at midnight EST


"Sophie's Turn" by Nicky Wells
Ends 9/25 at midnight EST


"Not to Us" and "Seeing Julia" by Katherine Owen (e-book)
Worldwide; Print version available for US readers, as well
Ends 9/25 at midnight EST

Blogs of the week

Our recent feature is "Blogs of the Week." Each week, we will feature a reader blog (which has to be sent to us) and an author blog (which can either be sent to us, or we'll pick one at random). This is our first week doing it and we hope to keep the momentum going for a while. Please check out the blogs we are sharing. I'm sure the bloggers would love some friendly comments on their posts or a follow.

To have your blog featured for a future shout out, please e-mail us. The blogs can be anything: personal, book themed or something else you're interested in that you write about (movies, fashion, pets, career, etc.)

Reader:


Pia Bernardino has been a voracious reader since the age of ten. She also courageously admits that she's a bibliophile. As she embarks on a new chapter of completing her novel and being a published author, she will be harnessing all her writing prowess by gathering inspiration from novels, and even watching television and movies which are reviewed along with books at this beautiful and well-developed blog. Pia posts a lot of chick lit novels, including giveaways for some. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.

Author:

Musings of a Romantic Mind

Our latest wonder from down under, Joanne Ellis is a novelist and a book reviewer (mostly for books from her publisher or writers she has met). She likes to share book recommendations, as well. Her own books are a mix of women's literature, murder mystery, historical fiction and fantasy. You can find her on Facebook and Twitter.

Interview with Julia Williams and book giveaway

**Giveaway is now closed**

We welcome today Julia Williams, who will be sharing with us her newest novel "The Summer Season," published in June 2011. Julia grew up in North London, and is one of eight children, including a twin sister. She studied English at Liverpool University, where she met her husband, David. Julia began her career in publishing, starting with academic books and then moving on to children's books. She began focusing on writing after her second child was born. Julia also has a blog, Maniacmum, where she writes about the ins and outs of her mad life of being a mother of four. Julia and her family live in Surrey.

You can visit Julia on Facebook, Twitter and at her website.

Courtesy of Charlotte Allen at Avon Books UK, we have one copy of "The Summer Season" to give away to a lucky reader anywhere in the world. (Just in time for the fall...don't you just want to hold on to the summer?!?)


MP: What is your usual writing routine?
JW: I'd like to say I'm dead organised and start writing at 9 and finish at 3 when I do the school run, but sadly that isn't so... I spend weeks, literally weeks procrastinating and hardly writing anything, then I panic and write like a demon till I've got a first draft finished. In my procrastination phase my house is very tidy. In my demon writing phase it isn't. Guess which my husband prefers?

MP: What was the biggest challenge you faced while writing "The Summer Season?"
JW: Writing the historical thread was really tricky. I love history and historical fiction, but am very conscious that I wanted it to be right. I nearly came very badly unstuck with making Edward an orchid hunter and sending him to India to hunt orchids, as I'd read it somewhere on a website which I then couldn't find again. Luckily the copyeditor picked it up and told me orchid hunting took place in South America, not India. That could have been dreadful. Getting the structure of the book was tricky too, as I was trying to weave the historical story in with the modern day story. Somewhere between first and second draft I had to do a lot of chopping and all my chapter nos changed around, so I found a really important bit of Edward and Lily's story hanging between two chapters of the modern day story which took place at a party and it really didn't work. Rewriting it so it did work gave me a huge headache!

MP: How do you like to spend your time when you are not writing?
JW: I'm a keen gardener, so my favourite place to be in the world is in my garden, and I never have enough time to spend in it. But I also like walking, running and swimming and do work hard at keeping fit, as it's easy for writers to turn into sloths. Other then that, being with my family, as I as I am conscious that we may not have many more years all together.

MA: If "The Summer Season" were made into a movie, who would you want to star in the lead roles?
JW: Ooh, now that's really interesting. The hero for "Last Christmas" was inspired by Richard Armitage, so that would be an easy answer.... Hmm.. Let me think. Joel, I think could be played by someone like David Tennant, because I know he could bring out the depth of emotion, though DT wasn't in my mind when I wrote Joel. Or Jude Law. Jude Law would be good.. Kezzie I think needs to be played by someone quirky. I'd say Helena Bonham Carter but she's too old... Oh, I know, maybe Paloma Faith if she comes back to acting, or Gemma Arterton, and Lauren by someone like Claire Foy or Romola Garai.

MA: You used to publish children's books. What is your favorite children's book of all time?
JW: Another toughie... Not sure I have a favourite, as I love so many children's books, but probably the book I went back to more often then any other in my childhood was "The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe," so if I had to choose one book, I'd choose that. But also would include: "Tom's Midnight Garden," "Charlotte Sometimes," "The Dark is Rising" series and anything by Diana Wynne Jones.

MA: Did you ever try switching places with your twin sister? If so, were you able to trick everyone?
JW: Oh yes. Of course we did. What's the point of having an identical twin if you can't use it to your advantage? I once remember going into the park that backed onto our garden and changing clothes and coming back to trick our aunt who was pretty cross. But our most successful swap was one April Fool's Day when we were about 14. We spent the whole day in each other's classes and fooled nearly all the teachers. But I got terribly told off in Latin because I didn't understand any of it, and Ginia was top of the class, and she got shouted at by the poor Chemistry teacher for not having done her homework. The Chemistry teacher took a while to recover...In our adult lives we've often been mistaken for one another. I once met someone Ginia knew who wouldn't believe me when I said she must know my twin and got very annoyed with me!

MA: What is something funny that one of your kids has said or done recently?
JW: I was very bad tempered one day on holiday and told everyone to go away in uncertain terms. Now of course they're quoting my bad tempered comment "I'll be cross if I want to" back at me, which is pretty funny, if a little humiliating.

MA: While you have soundtracks for your novels, what would be a song on the soundtrack of your life?
JW: Easy peasy. "You Really Got Me" by the Kinks. It's my husband's and my theme song.

MP: If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go and why?
JW: I've always wanted to go to Norway to see the Ffords, because they sound beautiful, and peaceful, so I guess I'd choose to go there. Although, there is so much of the world I haven't seen I think I want to take a middle aged gap year and travel once the children have left home.

MP: What is one of your favorite childhood summer memories?
JW: Oh so many. We had a little park at the back of our garden, and all the local kids would play out till 9 pm all summer long. I can also remember clearly that delicious feeling of having a whole six weeks away from school, and the disappointment as to how quickly it went. We didn't always go away for our holidays as my parents couldn't always afford it, but because my dad was a teacher he was always around, so we used to go out for great days out in London, which made up for it. My favourite family holiday was in Wales when I was about ten. We did lots of walking, and swimming, and had an hilarious encounter with some very plump nudists on a local beach.

Thanks to Julia for visiting CLC and answering all our questions in such detail. Thanks also to Charlotte Allen for sharing Julia's book for our giveaway.

How to win "The Summer Season":

Please comment below with your e-mail address.
(Please note: Entries without an e-mail address will NOT be counted. You can use AT and DOT to avoid spam. Or provide a link to your facebook page or blog if you can receive messages there.)

Bonus entries (can be listed all in one post):
1. Please tell us: If you had to pick one movie soundtrack theme song that portrays your life, what would it be?

2. Follow this blog and post a comment saying you are a follower (if you already follow, that's fine too).
3. Post this contest on Facebook or Twitter or in your blog, and leave a comment saying where you've posted it.
4. Join Chick Lit Central on Facebook. Edit settings if you don't want to receive a lot of messages at your e-mail account. Please read our posting guidelines, as well. (If you're already a member, let us know that too.)
5. Add a friend to our Facebook group. (Tell us who you added.) Be sure to remind them to edit their settings.

Giveaway ends September 26th at midnight EST.

Book Review: The American Heiress

By Cindy Roesel
Season one of “Downton Abbey” captured four Emmy Awards, including best mini-series Sunday night at the “63rd Primetime Emmy Awards” proving American TV audiences are addicted to juicy British period soap opera television. While we wait on the edge of our seats for January 8th, 2012 when season two debuts on our "tellys," we have something to curl up with in the meantime.

Daisy Goodwin’s epic debut novel THE AMERICAN HEIRESS is called “a wonderful, guilty pleasure of a read.” What I like to call THE AMERICAN HEIRESS is 465-pages of, “The Real Housewives of New York” meets “Dallas” mixed with a couple of Gwyneth Paltrow and Colin Firth films. Reading the novel is incredibly visual, full of exquisite period details and sassy dish.

For daughters of the new American billionaires of the 19th century, it was the ultimate deal: marriage to a cash-strapped British Aristocrat in return for a title and social status. But money didn’t always buy happiness. Cora Cash is the beautiful and wealthiest American heiress, the darling of New York High Society. She’s been groomed to be the perfect woman and wife. Cora’s status-seeking mother schemes to marry her daughter off to a titled husband in Europe.

Cora is determined to do anything to get away from her mother, but ends up falling in love with her Duke. “Ivo cleared his throat. ‘Cora, will you do me the honour of accepting my hand in marriage?’ … ‘Yes,’ she whispered into his coat. There were tears in her eyes.”

The irony of THE AMERICAN HEIRESS is the novel set in such an outwardly beautiful world, but it’s rampant with fakery and excess. Cora’s wedding trousseau alone is comprised of ninety dresses, each handmaid in Paris, packed individually in yards of tissue paper. The well-to-do characters, dress in the most expensive silks, laces and fur behave in such an ugly fashion thinking of no one but themselves. Once Cora marries Ivo, the Duke of Wareham, she finds herself living within the dilapidated English Estate, Lulworth refurbishing it with her American dollars in exchange for a duchess title. “It had taken weeks before she (her mother) could persuade Wareham to install proper bathroom for Cora at Lulworth.”

Daisy Goodwin writes incredibly well and her research is exhaustive. The story moves along and the various plot twists make for an intriguing read. At once romantic and then tragic, delving into THE AMERICAN HEIRESS is a 19th Century voyeuristic trip between the New World America and Old World Europe. THE AMERICAN HEIRESS is an emotionally-charged decadent and delicious romantic historical treat. We look forward to Ms. Goodwin’s next novel.

Check out CLC's interview with Daisy Goodwin from last week. (The giveaway has closed, however.)

You might also like:

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

"J'Adore New York" is coming soon...

...to bookstores in the USA on October 4th! Check out the trailer for this novel, in the meantime.



"J'adore New York" by Isabelle Lafleche from Making Magique on Vimeo.



We're reading it now and it's great so far! "The Devil Wears Prada" meets "Sex and the City."

Check out the interview we did with Isabelle Lafl├Ęche last year.

We'll be doing another giveaway for this book closer to the release date, so stay tuned!

Interview with Sibel Hodge and book giveaway

**Giveaway is now closed**

Today we have the pleasure of speaking with Sibel Hodge and discussing her debut novel "Fourteen Days Later." Sibel has dual citizenship, both British and Turkish Cypriot, which I think is quite unique, and pretty cool. She divides her time between North Cyprus and Hertfordshire. For ten years she worked for the Hertfordshire Constabulary. (From Amy: I had no idea what "Constabulary" was till I looked it up. It's their police station.) Sibel then moved on and become a sports and massage therapists, and a personal trainer. She has written, and continues to write, freelance feature articles on fitness, health, and a variety of lifestyle topics.

"Fourteen Days Later" was highly praised by the Yeovil Literary Price in 2009. It was also short listed for the Harry Bowling Prize in 2008. She also wrote "My Perfect Wedding" and "How to Dump Your Boyfriend in the Men's Room" (and other short stories).

"Fourteen Days Later" is a combined "read" of "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" and "P.S. I Love You. (or per her answer to if one of your books were to be made into a movie, "Bridget Jones's Diary" and "My Big Fat Greek Wedding"). Sounds like our kind of book.

Sibel has three e-books of "Fourteen Days Later" to give to some lucky readers anywhere in the world! (The format is the winner's choice.)

You can learn more about Sibel by visiting her on Facebook, Twitter and her website.

MP: What is your usual writing routine?
SH: When I'm working on a novel I usually write about ten hours a day. Half the time I don't even hear my hubby talking to me. He'll say something and about an hour later he gets a "What?" from me.

MP: How do you like to spend your time when you are not writing?
SH: Reading, swimming, doing Yoga, although a lot of the time I've still got my head buried in the laptop promoting, marketing, or generally interacting with readers and other authors.

MP: Do you ever encounter "writer's block?" If so, what do you do to push through it?
SH: It's weird because I've just started on a new novel and for the first time I've had it! I don't normally plot very much in advance because I find that hinders my creativity. Half the time I don't know what I'm going to write until the words tumble onto the page, and it seems to work. But with this one, I started it, but it wasn't flowing very well, and then I decided to start the story earlier in the characters life. So maybe I've written the ending before the beginning this time!


MP: What is the biggest challenge you have faced as a writer?
SH: Getting people to notice your work and want to read it. When you consider there are 900,000 books on Kindle, that's pretty daunting, but so far (fingers and legs crossed), it's going pretty well.

MA: If you could choose one of your books to be made into a movie, which would you pick and who would you cast in the lead roles?
SH: I think my romantic comedy "Fourteen Days Later" would make a great film. It's Bridget Jones's Diary meets My Big Fat Greek Wedding with lots of quirky characters. I'd pick someone like Sandra Bullock for the leading female, Helen, because she plays comedy really well, and for the lead male, I'd pick Tamer Hassan, because he's Turkish Cypriot, just like the character Kalem, and he's pretty hot, too.

MA: What do you do to stay motivated?
SH: Read a lot.

MP: You divide your time between Hertfordshire and North Cyprus, what is your favorite thing about each place?
SH: Well North Cyprus beats the British Weather any day, and the lifestyle is more laid back. It's great for writing because it's peaceful, and I've got a fantastic view from my villa across a ravine to the sea and mountains. My favourite thing about the UK is my friends and family (although I don't miss all of them!).

MA: What was your most recent laugh-out-loud moment?
My sister and co. came out to stay with me in Cyprus recently and, after a few too many wines, we had an impromptu fancy dress party. She ended up as Gloria Estefan, hubby ended up as George Michael, and I ended up as Lady Gaga. I'm still laughing at the pictures.

MA: What is your guilty pleasure?
Red wine.

MA: Who was your celebrity crush when you were growing up?
Paul Weller. I had posters of him all over my bedroom wall. I was convinced I was going to marry him when I got older. Bummer!

Thanks to Sibel for visiting with us and sharing "Fourteen Days Later" with our readers.

How to win "Fourteen Days Later":
Please comment below with your e-mail address.
(Please note: Entries without an e-mail address will NOT be counted. You can use AT and DOT to avoid spam. Or provide a link to your facebook page or blog if you can receive messages there.)

Bonus entries (can be listed all in one post):
1. Please tell us: If you could have dual citizenship, which other country would you choose and why?
2. Follow this blog and post a comment saying you are a follower (if you already follow, that's fine too).
3. Post this contest on Facebook or Twitter or in your blog, and leave a comment saying where you've posted it.
4. Join Chick Lit Central on Facebook. Edit settings if you don't want to receive a lot of messages at your e-mail account. Please read our posting guidelines, as well. (If you're already a member, let us know that too.)
5. Add a friend to our Facebook group. (Tell us who you added.) Be sure to remind them to edit their settings.

Giveaway ends September 26th at midnight EST.

Book Review: Secrets and Sins

By Gail Allison
The first time. It’s a powerful thing, no matter what you’re talking about. The first time you walk. The first time you speak. And the first time you fall in love...well...that’s a thunderbolt that no one can forget. In “Secrets and Sins,” Jaishree Misra weaves a tale of what is, what was, and what could perhaps still be. She works through the tangled web of blood relatives, relatives by marriage, and best friends, all the while weaving a story that will leave you wondering “what would I have done?” It’s a scary question, but one that Ms. Misra addresses profoundly and unflinchingly, leaving the reader with a definite sense of closure at the end of the book, but with a spectrum of questions about themselves.

Riva Singh is a very accomplished author. Her latest book has received critical acclaim, and while she’s hard at work on the next book, the accolades keep rolling in. Her husband Ben was laid off from his bank job over a year ago, and is struggling to make it as an author. Riva’s seemingly easy success is a brilliant foil to Ben’s efforts, and Ben is seeing this himself, and starting to lash out at those he loves most. Riva’s latest claim to fame: she’s been asked to be a jury member at the Cannes Film Festival.

Riva’s sister Kaaya is married to a man who is incredibly attentive to her, but she doesn’t particularly care. She sees men as a challenge: if they appear to be uninterested, she will interest them, come what may. Her doting husband is away on business quite a bit, and has no idea about her extracurricular activities. Riva’s best friend Susan is married to her college sweetheart Joe. Susan and Joe have a seemingly unbreakable bond, but once Kaaya spots that challenge, she makes Joe her next target.

Aman Khan, Bollywood’s newest leading man, is trapped in a loveless marriage. He stays for a number of reasons: the son whom he can’t bear to leave behind and society’s expectations are the two biggest. He repeats again and again of his wife Salma throughout the book “I thought I could grow to love her”. In short: he can’t. Aman is still captivated by Riva, his first love from back at college.

Ms. Misra deftly illustrates the complexities of these various marriages, while bringing the book to its apex: Aman is also invited to be a jury member at Cannes. We find out throughout the book that Riva has been watching Aman’s rise via the magic of celluloid, and has seen all of his films two and three times. Her husband Ben has no idea. When Riva and Aman (inevitably) run into each other in Cannes, the spark is still there. Both of them can clearly remember what was once between them, but does that mean that it still could be?

This book delves into the complexities and the emotions that are caught up with being the initiator of an adulterous relationship in Kaaya, the feelings of being the spouse who has been wronged in Susan, and a myriad of other emotions in the triangle that Riva, Aman, and Ben end up forming.

There was a lot of British slang in this book, which could make for some very choppy reading if you weren’t used to it. Overall, though, I’d say the book rolled along nicely, really getting into how and why different characters were making their decisions, which was a refreshing point of view. When characters break down because they can’t deal with the staggering weight of their decisions, you’re right there with them, and understand completely what has caused the collapse. When characters worry about others, you know exactly why. Page after page, you learn not only what’s going on, but why it’s going on, and how everyone feels about it, without getting bogged down in touchy-feely language. Ms. Misra does a phenomenal job of keeping the story moving, while still giving you a real glimpse inside her characters on every page, which allows for some fantastically colourful character development.

If anyone has ever told you to “be careful what you wish for”, and you’ve wished it anyways, this book is for you. This book is captivating, the characters are very real, and at the end you can put it aside with a sigh, but the questions it cultivates will stay with you for a long, long time.

More by Jaishree Misra:


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Winner of "The American Heiress"

To find our winner, we assigned a number to each entry and had random.org pick one number. Here is what it chose: 2

Congrats to Margay!

Reminder: If you have won a book, you have about 48 hours to claim it by sending your contact information. (You will be e-mailed if you have won, as well.) After that time, a new winner will be picked.

Thanks to everyone who participated.
Thanks to Daisy for chatting with us and Ann-Marie Nieves from Get Red PR for sharing the book with our winner!

Don't miss out on our current giveaways!

"Sophie's Turn" by Nicky Wells

Ends 9/25 at midnight EST



"Not to Us" and "Seeing Julia" by Katherine Owen (e-book)

Worldwide; Print version available for US readers, as well

Ends 9/25 at midnight EST



"Little Black Dress" by Susan McBride

US/Canada only

Ends tomorrow at midnight EST



"I'm Not the Biggest Bitch in this Relationship" by multiple authors

US only

Ends tomorrow at midnight EST


Winners of "Paris, Baby!"

To find our winners, we assigned a number to each entry and had random.org pick three numbers. Here is what it chose: 7, 14 and

Congrats to Jel, Amber and StereoQueenBee!

Here is a message from Kirsten:
Merci beaucoup to all the fabulous Chick Lit Central winners! And to Melissa A & P and the blog you've created is the best blog out there!
I would prefer to sit with each of you and quaff champagne street side at Cafe Flore, getting to know your stories and dreams....alas, perhaps one day! I must admit, I am completely thrilled by all the interest and support of my 3rd book, 'Paris, Baby!' It's such a truly personal tale of my life in Paris; apres and avant-bebe. Extraordinary how sometimes ones dreams can rotate like a prism of light and that which we sought is, in fact, not the true reward- for me, I've always found the adventure is richer then the goal itself...That said, I hope everyone enjoys my anecdotes and stories of becoming a maman in the City of Lights, don't hesitate to contact me with your reviews-- for you, the readers, are my raison d'etre!
Bisous,
Kirsten Lobe
Author of "Paris Hangover," "French Trysts" and "Paris, Baby!"

Reminder: If you have won a book, you have about 48 hours to claim it by sending your contact information. (You will be e-mailed if you have won, as well.) After that time, a new winner will be picked.

Thanks to everyone who participated.
Thanks to Kirsten for a lovely interview and for sharing her book with our winners!

Don't miss out on our current giveaways!

"Sophie's Turn" by Nicky Wells

Ends 9/25 at midnight EST



"Not to Us" and "Seeing Julia" by Katherine Owen (e-book)

Worldwide; Print version available for US readers, as well

Ends 9/25 at midnight EST



"Little Black Dress" by Susan McBride

US/Canada only

Ends tomorrow at midnight EST



"I'm Not the Biggest Bitch in this Relationship" by multiple authors

US only

Ends tomorrow at midnight EST



Book Review: (Un)like a Virgin

By Becky Gulc

Described as ‘the UK’s funniest rom-com writer’ on her website, Lucy-Anne Holmes’ has produced her third novel, "(Un)like a Virgin" to once again make her readers laugh out loud. Based on the title; front cover and blurb on the back I was expecting a very light-hearted read; to be honest I wondered whether it would be a little too light-hearted for my liking when I received it from the publishers.

This book is written in first-person and tells the story of Gracie Flowers, a 26 year-old ambitious, but warm and friendly estate agent who has just a few days left before reaching the deadline of her self-imposed five-year life plan. Gracie reaches every goal with ease, with the exception of the one remaining goal, when the promotion everyone thinks she will get is suddenly handed to newbie Posh Boy. Gracie is gutted and this sparks a spate of bad fortune for her. Not only is she dumped by her long-term boyfriend Danny (or rather, by his Mum); her Mum (who has never been the same since the death of Gracie’s beloved father) appears to be going a little more crazy every day; and a dastardly construction company are trying to build over the grave of said father which Gracie movingly visits each week without fail. All this and I’m yet to mention the re-surfacing of a singing dream Gracie had put to rest with her father many years previously.

There’s so much going on in this book I can’t possibly do it justice in a few paragraphs – I loved that about this book, there’s simply no opportunity to get bored. You quickly warm to Gracie, her friends and family. Gracie’s memories of special times spent with her father are drawn on quite early in the book so you feel an emotional connection with them from the onset which just deepens the more the book progresses. Once cowardly Danny is out of the way there are two possible love interests for Gracie, another strength of this book was that it completely keeps you guessing as to what will happen next, you can see her with either character, they both appear eligible and good-matches, but with whom, if either of them, will she form a relationship?

All the characters are well-developed and their stories are all important to Gracie. As a reader I felt really rewarded how everything was neatly tied together at the end of the book. It was also a hilarious read, I can’t emphasise that enough, I haven’t come across many books that will make me laugh out loud as much as this one did; constantly amusing but never in a trying to be kind of way! This book was also incredibly moving and emotional which perhaps doesn’t resonate with the cover – I cried more than once; I also sang more than once - I think I will be singing John Denver’s Annie’s Song for a few days to come. Gracie and her family go through a lot in this book, but even if it is sad in parts the book always remains uplifting and that comes through having Gracie as the narrator throughout and the excellent and seemingly effortless story-telling.

My only negative is the title, I didn’t think it really represented the story that well, my automatic thoughts were that it would be about cheesy karaoke when it’s a lot more sophisticated than that. Overall I’d say this is one of the best chick-lit books I’ve read recently and I would definitely recommend it. I could really see this book working as a film too. There’s no question that I’ll be adding Lucy-Anne’s other books to my ‘to read’ list.


More by Lucy-Anne Holmes:



You might also enjoy:

Nicky Wells teaches us the trick to finding the right title...plus a book giveaway

**Giveaway is now closed**

"Sophie’s Turn" is the exciting chick-lit debut by UK-based author Nicky Wells. It is an honest, funny and occasionally bitter-sweet story of one young woman’s entanglement with a rock star. Watch out for the upcoming review of "Sophie’s Turn" right here on Chick Lit Central! (Courtesy of Melissa A., who is reading it now and enjoying it so far.) Meanwhile, Nicky, who lives in Bristol (UK) with her husband and two little boys, is telling us how "Sophie’s Turn" started out with quite a different title when it was first conceived over six years ago… and what incisive event changed Nicky’s views regarding the perfect title for her first novel.

Nicky has two e-books of "Sophie's Turn" to give to some lucky readers anywhere!

You can find Nicky on Facebook and Twitter, as well as at her blog.

"Sophie’s Turn" is available as an e-book from Amazon.com and Amazon UK. Readers don’t need a Kindle. E-books can be downloaded using free Kindle Reading Apps for iPads, Smartphones and PCs/Macs.

Turning the Title

Finding the right title for your book can be a tricky business—especially when you’re convinced that you’ve already got it!Here’s what happened to me and my debut novel.

December 2004: I sit at my desk at home, terribly excited. My goal: to write my all-time favourite romantic novel before my baby gets born. I’ve got my characters lined up and the climax and denouement of my plot sorted out in my head. But I like to be organised (over-organised, some say), and so this thing needs a title.The first page is staring at me from the computer screen, white and virginal. The cursor is blinking expectantly: blink, blink, blink. Time ticks by and I’m frozen. I can’t start writing without a title.

Utterly unable to work owing to woeful absence of catchy title, I compile a detailed outline instead. Now a chapter-by-chapter flowchart graces my wall. But that first page is still white and the cursor is still blinking.I let my mind wander. What happens in my novel? I talk to myself; that usually helps. Suddenly, something sticks:

Full Circle.
Full Circle…
Sophie, my heroine, comes full circle at the end.
I like that.
I like that a lot!

The curse of the blinking cursor is defeated. I type, confidently and in big bold letters: FULL CIRCLE. After that, the writing flows. I have a complete draft within three months. My debut masterpiece becomes known as "Full Circle."

April 2005: My first baby is born and "Full Circle" sits on the shelf, where it remains for… six whole years. I re-read it a few times and, on several occasions and make some sweeping changes. But then "Full Circle" continues to languish on the shelf.

June 2011: My husband casually mentions having heard on the radio that it is now quite easy to self-publish one’s work via Amazon/Kindle. I don’t latch onto that notion until a few days later. But the seed sown, I am suddenly determined to publish my long-neglected novel. In fact, I am totally energised: "Full Circle" is to see the light of day, at last! I re-read, edit, reformat the entire manuscript ready for conversion to e-book. I check out legalities. I am thoroughly over-excited. And then it’s all done… except I need a cover!

July 2011: I need a cover for "Full Circle," and have set aside an evening to make one, somehow. I’ve gathered rings, a pearl necklace, a champagne flute, a backstage pass I managed to blag a few months back. I’m working the symbolism. But I’m not getting anywhere at all. I’m taking some photos but it all looks very amateurish. And it doesn’t do what I want it to do. Somehow, the title is letting me down. It’s not workable.

I collapse on the sofa next to my husband, only barely holding back tears of frustration. So close and yet so far! After six whole years, I suddenly recognise that "Full Circle" isn’t actually the catchy, memorable, meaningful title I thought it was.What now?

My husband comes to the rescue. He pushes me to think clearly about what I want the cover to say. I doodle on a page: a girl, faced with two options. What options are those, my husband nags. Easy: to marry a rock star, or an accountant. Suddenly, inspiration strikes: a picture of a signpost pointing two ways. Pink background, some grass, maybe a butterfly. My husband illustrates as I speak. We like it—a lot. In fact, it’s brilliant. The problem is that the image doesn’t at all work with the title. I take a radical decision: "Full Circle" needs to go. I need something else.

Sophie’s… Sophie’s what? The image shows a ‘choice’ but “Sophie’s Choice” already exists. Fetch the thesaurus. Think. Think laterally. Try out various combinations. And finally: "Sophie’s Turn."

"Sophie’s Turn." That works on many levels. Sophie’s turn at pursuing happiness. Sophie’s turn—which way will she turn? How will she turn her situation around? And suddenly I know that’s it. Never mind six years of knowing my masterpiece by a different title, "Sophie’s Turn"
is what it is meant to be called. And so I publish.

Special thanks to Nicky for sharing her methods behind picking a title, and a clever one at that, as well as for sharing her e-books with our readers.

How to win "Sophie's Turn":
Please comment below with your e-mail address.
(Please note: Entries without an e-mail address will NOT be counted. You can use AT and DOT to avoid spam. Or provide a link to your facebook page or blog if you can receive messages there.)

Bonus entries (can be listed all in one post):
1. Please tell us: What was the biggest decision you've had to make? Did you feel comfortable with your choice in the end or would you do things differently if you had another chance at the same decision?
2. Follow this blog and post a comment saying you are a follower (if you already follow, that's fine too).
3. Post this contest on Facebook or Twitter or in your blog, and leave a comment saying where you've posted it.
4. Join Chick Lit Central on Facebook. Edit settings if you don't want to receive a lot of messages at your e-mail account. Please read our posting guidelines, as well. (If you're already a member, let us know that too.)
5. Add a friend to our Facebook group. (Tell us who you added.) Be sure to remind them to edit their settings.

Giveaway ends September 25th at midnight EST.