Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Chick Lit Cookbook - Guest Post

About the Book:
You’ve said it a dozen times before: If only you had the chance, you would write a chick lit novel. But between job, boyfriend, kids, school — life — you just can’t find the time.

The Chick Lit Cookbook: A Guide to Writing Your Novel in 30 Minutes a Day is the solution. This fun, cupcake-themed guide will take you from start to finish of your first draft. In 13 chapters, each with a short exercise that will get you writing now, you will learn how to create the perfect main character, her ideal love interest, a world for her to live in and an adventure that will draw in readers. You will outline your entire first draft — and then you will write it.

The Chick Lit Cookbook is a beginner’s guide to writing funny, snappy, sucks-you-into-the-story prose about modern women, life and love. It is full of tips and techniques, prompts and pep talks that will spark your imagination and inspire you to put pen to paper. The exercises can be done while sitting on the bus, waiting at the doctor’s office, or talking on the phone with your mother-in-law. This book will show you that you can and will write a chick lit novel.
Whether you’ve been wishing for years that you could write chick lit or are a brand-new fan of Bridget Jones and Becky Bloomwood, you owe it to yourself to pick up this guide. The Chick Lit Cookbook will prove to you that writing a novel can be fun and easy — it’s just like baking cupcakes!

Guest Post:
A few of my favorite chick lit novels…and why I think they work
I love chick lit. Devouring books by my favorite writers is what led me to write The Chick Lit Cookbook: A Guide to Writing Your Novel in 30 Minutes a Day. (It’s also what inspired me to start writing my own chick lit—you can follow along at When I crack the spine of a book by one of my favorite authors, I know that I’m going down the rabbit hole—in a good way. Here are a few of my favorite chick lit books and why I think they are so special. I’d love to hear your favorites!

Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding: This book is not only hilarious, entertaining, and full of great plot twists, it’s also genius. Helen Fielding is so dang smart. Throughout the book, Bridget is dealing with a very real societal prejudice against single people. A lot of the book could be read as social commentary on why women feel as though they need to live up to impossible standards by having perfect partners, perfect jobs, and perfect bodies. But you don’t even notice this when you’re reading, because you’re too busy laughing at Bridget. That’s what I call good writing.

Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella: I love this book because it was the first time I could not stop reading a character’s receipts. Receipts. That’s what this book revolves around. It turns out receipts tell you so much about someone’s life—or in this case, her shopping addiction. I’d love to write a book with some kind of alternative format like this sprinkled in.

This Charming Man by Marian Keyes: This book is dark, but I have to put it on the list because I stayed up all night reading it. It’s a loooooong book. I like the jumping around from multiple perspectives, and I love the charming cross-dressing male love interest. And I still can’t believe I didn’t get who was the bad guy at first…

Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding: It might not be as layered and complex as the original Bridget Jones’s Diary, but man, do I love Bridget. She really holds her own in this one, and yet it’s as entertaining as the first. Props to Fielding for killing off everyone’s favorite man—that was bold.

The Icing on the Cupcake by Jennifer Ross: Another book with a fun structure; there’s a cupcake recipe at the end of each chapter. I can’t help but love books that
resemble cookbooks, especially when the recipes are for cupcakes.

I’m looking forward to reading some new chick lit, especially by indie authors. What are your faves?

Thanks for hosting me, Marlene!

Buy The Chick Lit Cookbook: A Guide to Writing Your Novel in 30 Minutes a Day at Amazon or Smashwords.

About the Author:
I have a cat named Mitzi and a husband named Andrew Quinton. I live in Seattle and I write a lot of things: a book on how to write chick lit, articles about religion and other American sub-cultures, and currently, a book about my year in an evangelical church. I love to write and have wanted to be a writer since I picked up a pencil. My favorite color is purple and my favorite food is chocolate chip cookie dough.

I also teach.  I would love to teach a writing workshop in your town/library/bookstore/cupcake shop. Drop me a line at alicia (dot) delosreyes (at) gmail (dot) com.

Connect with the author at:
Website * Blog * Twitter

Head over to Chick Lit Central and enter to win one of 2 e copies of this book and a manuscript review!

Bittersweet Chocolate - Review

Review by Darcie Czajkowski

A winner. A gem. A rare book that keeps you guessing, but also makes you say, yes, that is how the story should have gone, like a puzzle that makes total sense once every piece is in its right place.

These are my initial thoughts on Martha Reynolds’ book, Bittersweet Chocolate. I previously wrote a review on the first two books in this series, so I won’t devote too much time to the plot to avoid giving anything away. But what I will say is that this series is a must-read. For someone in their twenties to someone in their fifties, it is a captivating story that follows a young girl from her college days of partying abroad in Fribourg, Switzerland to her return to the same city and many surrounding ones over the next thirty years of her life. It tells the story of her journey and the people who influence her and affect her life during that time. From clear, colorful descriptions of people, situations, and European vistas to Reynolds’ obvious knack for spitting out spot-on dialogue, I had to consciously slow myself down, especially as the story progressed, as I was eagerly gobbling it all up, insatiable for more.

One of the things I appreciate most about this series is the realness of it – both in terms of the characters’ personalities and the events as they unfolded. Hard issues were not skirted. Joyous moments were given their due appreciation. Life consists of ups and downs and those books which delve deep into both are poised to be winners for me.

Even more rare than finding an entire series that infuses a tingly warm aura into my heart is finding an author whose spirit matches her books. Martha has a way about her that not only makes you fall in love with her enthralling stories, but also with her kind, thoughtful, and hard-working personality. So in the New Year, if you resolve to read more, resolve to read everything that Martha churns out, starting with this series. You won’t be disappointed, especially if you enjoy them along with a piece of the Swiss chocolate that main character Bernadette Maguire loves so much.

Purchase book at:

To read Darcie’s review for the first two books in this series, click HERE

About the Author:

Real True Fiction.
Martha Reynolds is the author of the award-winning CHOCOLATE FOR BREAKFAST, its sequel, CHOCOLATE FONDUE, and the third and final book in the trilogy, BITTERSWEET CHOCOLATE.
She also is the author of BITS OF BROKEN GLASS, a novel about four high school classmates who meet up for their 25-year class reunion.
All books are available in digital and print versions.
She and her husband live in Rhode Island, never far from the ocean.
Connect with the author at: