Mixing It Up – Happy Publication Day! #Giveaway


Born with a silver spoon in her mouth, Manhattan upper-cruster Cecily Sinclair now uses that pricey utensil to dish up fancy French fare on her cooking show, Serving Romance. When there’s an executive shake-up at the network, she’s not worried. Not much anyway. Her show’s a hit after all. Why would the new CEO want to mess with success?

The driving force behind several buzzed-about networks, Devlin Hayes is considered to be a wunderkind in the television industry. Although his plans to rebrand CuisineTV and make Serving Romance more Millennial-friendly don’t thrill Cecily, her charming, blue-eyed boss is a hard man to say “no” to and she really wants to keep her job—even if that means sharing screen time with a loathsome blast from her past.

Mercurial Italian chef Dante Marchetti a.k.a. “Il Duce” was once Cecily’s boss, and she has the PTSD to prove it. Now the owner of one of the hottest restaurants in town, Dante’s egomania knows no bounds and his constant attempts to provoke and upstage Cecily make her want to conk him on the head with a sautééé pan. She thinks they’re toxic together, but viewers love their chemistry and clamor for more.

As Cecily battles to maintain the integrity of her show, she finds herself scheming and manipulating right along with Dante and Devlin. Is she fighting a lost cause? Does she really belong on TV, or would her culinary talent be better served elsewhere? And could one of the men who makes Cecily’s blood boil ignite a passion in her for something other than food?


Purchase a copy of Mixing It Up between October 19th, 2016 and October 25th, 2016 and you could win this fantastic prize pack inspired by the book’s heroine and her love of French food! This prize pack includes:

  • Garnier-Thiebaut Oh, La La, Chéri French-themed 4-piece Kitchen Linens Set (Apron, kitchen towel, pot holder, and oven mitt.)
  • Kate Spade Deco Dot Recipe Box with 8 tabbed dividers and 40 recipe cards
  • The French Women Don’t Get Fat Cookbook by Mireille Guiliano


To enter this giveaway, simply e-mail the author at traciebanister@gmail.com with your proof of purchase. Entries will be accepted until midnight on October 26th, 2016 when a winner will be selected via random drawing. This is an international giveaway, so anyone who buys Mixing It Up within the allotted time frame is eligible to win. Good luck!

Buy the book HERE


An avid reader and writer, Tracie Banister has been scribbling stories since she was a child, most of them featuring feisty heroines with complicated love lives like her favorite fictional protagonist Scarlett O’Hara. Her work was first seen on the stage of her elementary school, where her 4th grade class performed an original holiday play she penned. (Like all good divas-in-the-making, she also starred in and tried to direct the production.)

Tracie’s dreams of authorial success were put on the backburner when she reached adulthood and discovered that she needed a “real” job in order to pay her bills. Her career as personal assistant to a local entrepreneur lasted for 12 years. When it ended, she decided to follow her bliss and dedicate herself to writing full-time. Mixing It Up is her fourth Chick Lit release, and in it Tracie finally got to live out her fantasy of being a Cordon Bleu-trained chef.


Author Newsletter – The Banister Buzz http://eepurl.com/by0VAv

Blog http://traciebanister.blogspot.com/

Twitter https://twitter.com/traciebanister

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/tracie.banister

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/traciebanister/

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5448518.Tracie_Banister




Focus on the Positive

“Find every opening to reinforce the value of returning to right and reason in your own life.”

~ Deepak Chopra

I thought I’d post this one line instead of Chopra’s entire article (which you can read here if you’re so inclined). I didn’t want to turn it into a political post – haven’t we all had enough of this exhaustive ugliness anyway? It’s Sunday and I’m feeling a little bit lazy, so here are some pictures to brighten your day. Focus on the positive when you can – all this negativity does you no good.


All photoS by M. Reynolds

Gandria, Switzerland

Gandria, Switzerland


Wilcox Park, Westerly, RI


Roger Williams Park Zoo, Providence, RI



It’s Sexual Assault and It’s #notokay


On Friday evening, when the online communities were ablaze with the topic of Trump (again), Kelly Oxford asked women to share their stories of sexual assault and rape on Twitter under the hashtag #notokay. Three hours later she was getting a new post every second. By 2:00 a.m. Saturday morning, a million women had posted about their assaults.

I posted mine. One of two. Both times, I was a 20-year-old college student living overseas. Once in France, once in Switzerland. Both times, I wasn’t drunk, I wasn’t dressed provocatively. I don’t look like a model, never have. I wasn’t ‘asking for it.’

The first time, I had just arrived for my junior year abroad and was spending an evening in Nice with college friends – some new, some established. We were drinking beer. I had had one beer. I got up to find the bathroom, which was inside the cafe, down in the basement. Before I could enter the stall, a burly, hairy man in a white apron reached out and grabbed a breast before I could slam the stall’s door against him. I was afraid to leave the stall and stayed there until one of my friends came downstairs looking for me.

The second time was months later. There was an outdoor festival with German music. I had had one or two beers, tops. Everyone was dancing to the music, no one was paired off. My girlfriend and I joined the group, and after moving around for a few minutes, I found myself face to face with a man probably in his forties. As he exhaled a breath that stank of beer, he grabbed my crotch through my jeans. I staggered backwards and away from him as he grinned.

According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), an American is sexually assaulted every two minutes. That’s females and males. We cannot allow children to grow up in a society that permits such behavior. It’s not ‘boys will be boys.’ It’s not ‘locker-room talk.’ It’s assault. And it’s not okay.


photo by m. reynolds

photo by m. reynolds


For Better or Worse


Oh, those pesky vows. How they can interfere with one’s selfish pursuits.

Shortly before I married my husband, 22 years ago next month, one of my former co-workers stood in front of me. She was middle-aged and divorced. Giving me a smirky smile, she said, ‘Oh, you think he’s so perfect now. Check back in ten years when the magic’s worn off. Believe me, it disappears.’

Thanks for that, I replied. And I’m sorry your marriage didn’t last, but bestowing your bitterness on me didn’t work. I reflected on that exchange this week as I’ve been thinking about marriage. Commitment. Vows.

Jim and I met up with a couple from New York earlier this week. Sometimes we only see them once a year, but it’s always enjoyable. They’ve been married for longer then we have. They’re two pieces of a puzzle, they’re just both.

Then there’s the woman who, after thirty-odd years of marriage. is still gushy over her husband. It’s sweet, yes, and a bit off-putting sometimes. But she can still get corny after thirty years with the same man, so who can find fault, really?

‘In sickness and in health’

The guy who acts like a seven-year-old when he has the flu. The woman who is unbearable once a month. And now, as I see more and more frequently, the partner with a life-threatening illness. Every day can’t be sunshine and flowers. Every relationship is tested during the most difficult times – illness, financial challenges, raising children. That’s also when a marriage can be at its strongest. Stresses are everywhere. Saying “I Do” means saying “I Will.” I will love you even on the days I don’t like you. I will laugh with you, not at you. I will support you and respect you. I will stand by you, no matter what. And I will love growing old with you.


Looking Back (Way Back)


As I’ve been working on recreating this journal written by my maternal grandfather (which will be a book by December), it’s inevitably led to some family tree research.

Over twenty years ago, I picked up on my mother’s love of genealogy and created a binder of information for her. Lots of pages, many, many branches of a tree that went all the way back to King Alfred the Great. (‘Mom, if we’re descended from royalty, why do I have to work?’ ‘Someone married for love, that’s why.’) Of course, the argument can be made that we’re all connected, and the more I do this research, the more I believe it.

My husband’s mother was born in Salzburg, and we have documents, official certificates of births and marriages and deaths. I have Zeinzingers back to the late 1700s, and Strauss, Altmann, Eder. Everything in German!


This has helped! So has my online friend Eva Merryman – her translations have been valuable in figuring out the who, the what, and the where.

So, how about you? Do you look back? Have you discovered something wonderful in your family history?

Introducing Vineyard Chocolates!

Vineyard Chocolates

Vineyard Chocolates

Not just any chocolate, my friends. Wine-flavored chocolate! That’s right, and I actually sampled some recently. Now, you know how I am about chocolate – if I’m going to indulge, I want it to be very good quality.

This is top-notch. Joe Woerly has created three different varieties:

  • Cabernet flavored dark chocolate with 73% cocoa
  • Merlot flavored dark chocolate with 61% chocolate
  • Chardonnay flavored white chocolate with 31% cocoa

Good-quality chocolate is not gritty or grainy. Vineyard Chocolates are so smooth they’ll melt on your tongue. The flavors are subtle but definitely there. The Cabernet dark is the least sweet (and with 73% cocoa, a very healthy choice!) but satisfying. The Merlot dark is fruity and soft, just like the wine. Now, a word about white chocolate. There are a lot of cheap, bad white chocolates out there. This one, however, flavored with Chardonnay, is rich and creamy, and will turn you into a fan. It was my husband’s favorite of the three. I loved them all.

You can help Joe start his business through a Kickstarter campaign – and you can get chocolate as well! View his video here:

And now that you are as excited about this venture as I am, visit Joe’s Kickstarter page! (Click on the link below)




And thank you for helping someone realize a dream.

November is Book-a-Day Month!


Each day in November, I’ll be featuring a different book by a Rhode Island author, all leading up to the  4th Annual Rhode Island Authors Expo on Saturday, December 3 (11:00am – 5:00pm) at Rhodes on the Pawtuxet.

There are hundreds of authors located in little Rhode Island, and this is a way for me to showcase some real talent. Each author will showcase one book, and, in nearly every case, there’s a chance to win that book just by commenting on the blog post. Easy-peasy! And just in time for some holiday gift-giving (because we all know books make the best gift).

So be sure you’re following this blog and each day in November you’ll have a chance to win. The contest for each post will run for a week before I let the computer randomly select a winner.

For more info about the Expo, follow this link http://www.riauthors.org/riexpo/



I know three or four loyal readers of this blog who don’t have a social media presence (I love them!), but many of us do, whether it’s on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, blahblahblahblahblah. We do it for varying reasons: I first joined Facebook at the invitation of a high school friend, and found I could enjoy a virtual reunion without worrying about what to wear. College friends, former co-workers, an old crush, neighbors, even my best friend from second grade. We’re all connected online.

Some have more of a presence than others, for different reasons. As an author, I’ve learned that it’s important to stay connected with readers. I try not to shill my books (they’re all right there on the page, isn’t that enough?!), and love to promote others. I enjoy seeing photos of my friends’  kids grandkids, pets, and even the same sunset from another viewpoint.

This past week I was struck with the concept of oversharing. And its opposite. A former co-worker completed her rounds of chemotherapy (breast cancer) without a single post to the world. Her family and close friends were aware, I’m sure, but someone like me, an acquaintance at best, had no need, and she didn’t find it necessary to share her struggle. Only when the chemo was completed did her husband post joyfully (with her okay). And I think we all felt the same joy for her, even if we hadn’t known what she’d endured these past months.

That isn’t to say that those who feel the need to share every last tidbit are bad people. According to the Daily Mail (UK), scientists have revealed that people who feel compelled to share intimate details of their lives on social media sites have heightened activity in the region of the brain relating to self-cognition. Some folks just like to share information about themselves. It’s their diary (for everyone to read!). And for us, we have the option to simply hide, delete, scroll through.



Two Weeks, Three Rivers

photo by Martha Reynolds

photo by Martha Reynolds

I’ve been working on a new novel, Villa del Sol, for months now. Sometimes the writing comes easily (I have the story in my head, but getting it out isn’t always easy). Life can be a distraction, an inspiration, a temporary derailment. And as much as I had wanted it to be finished in time for the 2016 Expo, that’s looking more and more unlikely. So what’s a writer to do?

Well, last week I was featured locally here, and perhaps it was talking about my grandfather that pushed me back to a project I’d backburnered. In 1924, Earl Handy (my mother’s father) and John B. Hudson (a local treasure and one of Rhode Island’s foremost naturalists), took a canoe trip. Two weeks and three rivers. Earl kept a journal of the adventure. There are photographs. I’d wanted to publish this account, and now I’m determined to do it.

photo by Martha Reynolds

photo by Martha Reynolds

In delving back into this project, I’ve reawakened an interest in family history. I’ve spent days at the library, scanning microfilmed pages of old newspapers, finding articles of note, reading about long-forgotten villages in Rhode Island and Connecticut. It’s fun! And, I hope, will provide for an interesting piece of history. So, stay tuned – my novel will be published sometime in 2017, but Two Weeks, Three Rivers will be ready by December (fingers and toes crossed).