Welcome to the Holly Jolly Chick Lit Hop!


The holidays are just around the corner, which means it’s time for Chick Lit Chat HQ’s annual Holly Jolly Chick Lit Hop and this year it’s bigger and better than ever! 63 bestselling and award-winning authors in the Chick Lit and Romantic Comedy genres are participating in this fun-filled event and each one is doing a fantastic giveaway. Books, author swag, gift cards, and other assorted holiday treats are all up for grabs.

But wait! There’s much, much more. On the hop’s Facebook group page, you can enter to win our Grand Prize—a large holiday gift box filled to the brim with a fabulous variety of holiday and winter-themed goodies (the darling, KitschNStyle gingerbread house apron, Snoozies! sherpa socks, Calvin Klein cashmere pom-pom beanie in petal pink, Too Faced sugar cookie eye shadow purse palette, Sally Snowflakes mug by Bella Pilar, Well Read Women: A Reader’s Journal, and handmade chocolate soaps shown in the graphic below are just a few of the items included in the box!).

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We’ll also be handing out four Runner-Up Prizes. Each one is a pair of Fitz & Floyd holiday mugs that will be accompanied by a canister of Williams-Sonoma classic hot chocolate as well as a tin of The Republic of Tea’s Hallmark Channel Countdown to Christmas Tea. So, you’ll have delicious, warm beverages to keep you cozy all winter long!

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The celebration runs from Monday, Dec. 3rd through Sunday, Dec. 9th, so head on over to the Holly Jolly Chick Lit Hop Facebook group for some lively conversation with both authors and readers, incredible prizes, and lots of holiday fun! You’ll find each day’s featured authors, along with the links to their pages/giveaways, in the pinned post at the top of the group. We look forward to seeing you there!

3rd Annual Holly Jolly Chick Lit Hop Schedule

Monday, Dec. 3rd

Rich Amooi https://www.facebook.com/author.richamooi

Tracie Banister https://www.facebook.com/tracie.banister

Beth Carter https://www.facebook.com/authorbethcarter/

Susan Hatler https://www.facebook.com/authorsusanhatler

Holly Kerr https://www.facebook.com/HollyKerrAuthor/

Jennie Marts https://www.facebook.com/JennieMartsBooks/

Robyn Neeley https://www.facebook.com/RobynNeeleyAuthor/

Melanie Summers https://www.facebook.com/MJSummersAuthorPage

Avril Tremayne https://www.facebook.com/avril.tremayne/

 

Tuesday, Dec. 4th

Glynis Astie https://www.facebook.com/glynisastieauthor/

Christina Boyd, plus Yuletide anthology authors

https://www.facebook.com/TheDarcyMonologues/

Whitney Dineen https://www.facebook.com/Whitney-Dineen-Author-11687019412/

Jenny Gardiner https://www.facebook.com/jennygardinerbooks

Amy Gettinger https://www.facebook.com/Amy-Gettinger-Author-1412625005719904/

Virginia Gray https://www.facebook.com/Virginia.Gray.Author

Cassandra O’Leary https://www.facebook.com/cassandraolearyauthor

Jean Oram https://www.facebook.com/JeanOramAuthor/

Janice Williams https://www.facebook.com/booksbyjanicewilliams

 

Wednesday, Dec. 5th

Maggie Aldrich https://www.facebook.com/maggiealdrichwrites

Shanna Hatfield https://www.facebook.com/AuthorShannaHatfield/

Erin Huss https://www.facebook.com/authorerinhuss/

Julie Evelyn Joyce https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJEJ

Maida Malby

https://www.facebook.com/carpediemchroniclesbymaidamalby/

Kirsty McManus https://www.facebook.com/kirstymcmanusauthor/

Diane Michaels https://www.facebook.com/dianemichaelsauthor/

Becky Monson https://www.facebook.com/AuthorBeckyMonson/

Joslyn Westbrook https://www.facebook.com/JoslynWestbrookOfficial

 

Thursday, Dec. 6th

Traci Andrighetti https://www.facebook.com/traciandrighettiauthor/

Alex Bailey https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAlexBailey/

Kristina Beck https://www.facebook.com/krissybeck73/

Angie Ellington https://www.facebook.com/angienellingtonbooks

Hilary Grossman https://www.facebook.com/HilaryGrossmanAuthor/

Daisy James https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009889775019

Kate Kisset https://www.facebook.com/authorKateKisset/

Tracy Krimmer https://www.facebook.com/krimmerauthor/

Joy Norstrom https://www.facebook.com/joynorstromwrites/

 

Friday, Dec. 7th

Melissa Baldwin https://www.facebook.com/authormelissabaldwin

Aimee Brown https://www.facebook.com/authoraimeebrown

Annabelle Costa https://www.facebook.com/annabellecostaauthor/

Lindsay Detwiler https://www.facebook.com/lindsayanndetwiler

Patricia Fischer https://www.facebook.com/patriciawfwriter

Laura Heffernan https://www.facebook.com/lauraheffernanbooks

Beth Labonte https://www.facebook.com/bethlabontebooks

Monique McDonell https://www.facebook.com/MoniqueMcDonellAuthor/

Meredith Schorr https://www.facebook.com/MeredithSchorrAuthor/

 

Saturday, Dec. 8th

Laurie Baxter https://www.facebook.com/LaurieBaxterAuthor/

Laura Kenyon https://www.facebook.com/laurakenyonwrites

Cat Lavoie https://www.facebook.com/CatLavoieBooks

Nikki LeClair https://www.facebook.com/NikkiLeClairBooks/

Just Call Me “M” https://www.facebook.com/BooksbyJustCallMeM

Natalina Reis https://www.facebook.com/authornatalinareis/

D.L. Stewart https://www.facebook.com/AuthorDLStewart

Holly Tierney-Bedord https://www.facebook.com/HollyRecommends/

Maggie Wells https://www.facebook.com/AuthorMaggieWells/

 

Sunday, Dec. 9th 

Roseanne Beck https://www.facebook.com/RoseanneBeckWrites/

Laura Chapman https://www.facebook.com/laurachapmanbooks/

Karen M. Cox https://www.facebook.com/karenmcox1932/

Rachel Cullen https://www.facebook.com/RachelCullenAuthor/

Hannah Ellis https://www.facebook.com/novelisthannahellis/

Ciara Knight https://www.facebook.com/ciaratknight

June Moonbridge https://www.facebook.com/JMoonbridge/

Kate O’Keeffe https://www.facebook.com/kateokeeffeauthor/

Stacey Wiedower https://www.facebook.com/StaceyWiedower.author

 

*The Grand Prize giveaway is open to US residents only. However, all of the individual author giveaways and the Runner-Up Prize giveaway are open internationally.

Forty Years Back


Nice, France

Forty years ago today, I boarded my first airplane and began a year abroad that would forever mark my life. The thirty or so students who went with me might well have the same thought – we all were impacted by a year in Switzerland, with no internet or cell phones.

My first novel, Chocolate for Breakfast, was (very) loosely based on that year. Like Bernadette Maguire, I was 20, naive (yes), and hopeful. Unlike Bernadette, I did not have an affair with a married man, nor did I get pregnant with his child. 😉 I recall explaining that to friends, who took my storytelling literally.

I’ve returned to my beloved Switzerland often – in 1981 to work as an au pair (there’s a book I should write), again a few years later, multiple times in the 1990s, and most recently in January 2017, where I was inspired to write Villa del Sol.

But the year that began on 28 September 1978 was my year. I don’t have any Cardinal beer to drink, no Giandor chocolate bar, and the Café Chemin de Fer is now, I believe, an Indian restaurant. Things change, even in Fribourg, Switzerland.

“Mesdames et messieurs, it is time to go sleep!” 🇨🇭🇨🇭🇨🇭

It is the heat. And it is the humidity.


Nearly September. 95 degrees today. Heat index 104. Just like yesterday.

So who else is cranky? I know (at least) three people who live without air conditioning. I don’t know how they live, though. Our thermostat is set at 74 and I’m hot. But I’m grateful for A/C, especially at night.

I’ve never liked summer best. Fall is my favorite. How about you? Depending on where you live, you might not experience four distinct seasons. But by September, the sun rises later and it’s dark by 8:00 now, so I want that cool air to follow.

Meanwhile, I’ve finished the second round of edits for my new novel, so now it’s off to my trusted readers, who give me honest feedback. I sometimes can’t see a plot hole or a character who uses repetitive language, but they can! I’m still on track to have this book ready by December 1 – the day I’ll be at the Rhode Island Authors Expo!

Until then, I’m reading a lot (what are you reading?). I loved How to Walk Away by Katherine Center and Crossing the Bamboo Bridge by Mai Donohue (her memoir of growing up in Vietnam – you won’t be the same after reading it). I’m almost done with How Hard Can It Be? by the hilarious Allison Pearson, just started Alternate Side by the wonderful Anna Quindlen, and The Pendulum’s Truth by the very talented writing team of Leigh Brown and Vikki Corliss. Vacation next week means lots of reading!

Autumn will get here, eventually. You won’t hear me complain about the cold. Not me.

It’s #RIAuthor Month! Meet Paul Caranci


Promise of Fatima

A Miracle for All Time

The day began as most any other, but on this morning, August 6, 1945, the world was about to change. At 8:15 am, the first-ever atomic bomb was dropped in Japan. The blast was felt as far away as 37 miles. Two-thirds of the city’s buildings were destroyed and estimates are that between 80,000 to 140,000 people were killed instantly. A thermal pulse ignited a firestorm so intense that it incinerated everything within a 4.4-mile radius of ground zero. Yet, just eight blocks from ground zero, in defiance of all odds and science, eight German Jesuit priests walked out of their home with only minor injuries. Theirs was one of only a few buildings still standing. Not only were the priests virtually unharmed, but over their rather long lives, they suffered no ill effects of radiation exposure, no loss of hearing, no diminution of sight, nothing.

Secular scientists are incredulous and cannot explain the miracle of Hiroshima. Fr. Hubert Schiffer, however, speaking on behalf of all eight men, had only one explanation. “We believe we survived because we were living the message of Fatima.”

Fatima, a small rural village in Portugal, was relatively unknown prior to 1917. In that year, however, against the backdrop of the horrors of World War I, a Lady from Heaven appeared to three young shepherd children as they played and tended sheep in the Cova de Aria. The subsequent series of heavenly visits reverberated around the world and were crowned with arguably the greatest miracle of the 20th century.

This was not the cure of a single person from some questionable disease, but rather a celestial event witnessed by 60,000 to 70,000 people gathered in anticipation of a miracle promised by the mysterious Lady over three months earlier. The spectacle was witnessed by people as far away as 25 miles, even by those who had no idea that it was supposed to take place. Today, one hundred years later, over 4 million pilgrims descend upon Fatima each year as a testament to the extensive power of the events that took place in 1917.

You see, at the request of 10-year old Lucia dos Santos, the oldest of the three visionaries, the Lady promised a miracle for all to see during her final appearance on October 13, 1917. She even promised the hour at which it would occur. And she promised these things the previous July. The children relayed her message both to the faithful and skeptics alike, placing their lives in extreme danger if the promised miracle did not occur. But such is the faith and innocence of children.

As promised, the 70,000-plus were not disappointed. They watched, first in amazement and then in horror as the sun danced in the sky, then fell toward earth, completely drying the rain-soaked ground and the drenched clothes of all assembled. As the sun returned to its rightful place, atheistic journalists from the secular newspapers, there for the sole purpose of debunking the story of the apparitions as childish nonsense, wrote front-page stories about the miracle they experienced. There was simply no denying that a miracle, one promised by Our Lady of the Rosary, had occurred.

But there is more to the story of Fatima than miracles and apparitions, for during her six visits with the children, Our Lady shared with them three secrets and several promises, revelations that will alter the course of history if her requests are heeded by the people.

The complete story of Fatima, the apparitions, the miracles, the secrets and the promises are examined in extraordinary detail in the newly-published book, The Promise of Fatima: One Hundred Years of History, Mystery, and Faith. This hour-by-hour, day-by-day accounting of the events are chronicled in the book that has already changed lives as the message of Fatima promises to transform the world. Learn for yourself the extraordinary secrets and the miraculous promises revealed in this book, or give it to a loved one as a holiday present and perhaps you will witness your own Christmas miracle. Both Kindle and paperback copies are available on Amazon.com at https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_1_12?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=paul+caranci+books&sprefix=paul+caranci%2Caps%2C152&crid=ENW0OFAXQMGH.

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Paul F. Caranci is a third-generation resident of North Providence, Rhode Island, and has been a student of history for many years. He is an author with seven published books to his credit including two award-winning books. The Hanging & Redemption of John Gordon: The True Story of Rhode Island’s Last Execution (The History Press, 2013) was voted one of the top five non-fiction books of 2013 by the Providence Journal. Scoundrels: Defining Corruption Through Tales of Political Intrigue in Rhode Island (Stillwater River Publications, 2016) was the winner of the 2016 Dorry Award as the non-fiction book of the year. Paul’s book Wired: A Shocking True Story of Political Corruption and the FBI Informant Who Risked Everything to Expose It (Stillwater River Publications, 2017) tells his own story of courage in the face of the political corruption that surrounded him.

GIVEAWAY! The author is offering a print copy of The Promise of Fatima to one lucky winner (US residents only, please). All you have to do is comment below. The winner will be selected at random and the author will contact you directly. Contest ends one week after blog publication.

Meet over 100 local authors on Saturday, December 2! The Fifth Annual RI Authors Expo

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It’s #RIAuthor Month! Meet Claremary Sweeney


I just looked over my post from 2016 for Martha’s blog where I featured my first book, A Berkshire Tale – ten stories about ZuZu, a kitten born in a barn at Tanglewood.  I’d always intended to blissfully continue writing the ZuZu Series until people began to ask, “You’re a Rhode Islander? Why don’t you write stories set in RI?” (We are a parochial bunch here in the Ocean State.) Since I take my readers very seriously, I immediately tucked away all future Berkshire adventures swirling around in my mind and sat down to write a mystery set right here in South County.

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Last Train to Kingston was launched this summer. It revolves around the murder of Thea Lorimar one chill, November night. In this first of a series set in South Kingstown, I introduce Detective Lieutenant Kara Langley, who investigates what brought Thea to Kingston and discovers the reasons behind the murder of this gentle recluse. The pages are filled with local references and places and I include photos of the historic settings within the chapters of the book.

I’m in the process of writing the second in this series, Last Rose on the Vine. It’s set at the University of Rhode Island and concerns  the untimely death of a professor who appears to be steeped in alleged misuse of college funds. Embezzlement is always a good motive for murder and not that far-fetched an idea, from my experience. And, I used to be a master gardener at the campus rose garden where the body is discovered – a very thorny place! Last Rose on the Vine should be out in the spring of 2018.

Murder does have a special attraction for me. My husband Charley is relieved that  I have a safe outlet for my overactive little grey cells. But my true love is writing children’s books. After doing a reading at a local school, a little boy jumped up and asked, “Have you ever written a book about bugs, and plants that eat bugs?!” It caused my imagination to go into overdrive, resulting in a verse book about Adonis, a baby pitcher plant living in the Roger Williams Botanical Gardens. He awakes one morning to find a fly in his digestive juices. The insect pleads, “Oh, please spare my life! I’m needed at home by my larvae and wife.” Adonis spits out the fly and declares he will no longer eat meat, causing much angst among the plants and creatures in the garden. “Not eating meat? That’s simply insane! You’ll starve,” said his mother, “you’ll wither and wane!” Everyone helps her try to find a solution to save her baby.

Although I usually use my own photographs in my work, I agreed to mentor an art student from URI, Zachary Perry.  It took us an entire year of working diligently together on the concept and translating it into the final illustrations. We both think our collaborative creation is the bee’s knees!  Carnivore Conundrum will be unleashed on the public this December.

If you’re interested in finding out more about my books, follow me at my blog. You can also friend me on Facebook.

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Claremary Sweeney was an English teacher and high school administrator in Rhode Island for over 30 years. Retirement began another segment of her life. She married, pursued interests in photography, gardening, music, travel and writing.

Claremary book cover

GIVEAWAY! The author is offering a copy of The Pacas are Coming! ZuZu and the Crias to one lucky winner. All you have to do is comment on this blog post. Winner will be chosen at random and the author will contact you directly. Contest ends one week after publication. US residents only, please.

Meet over 100 local authors on Saturday, December 2! The Fifth Annual RI Authors Expo

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It’s #RIAuthor Month! Meet Lisa Batch


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The premise for The First Song is, peace is obtainable through open communication. In the case of this children’s book, peace was obtained in the jungle village 30,000 years ago by singing together; people with people of other ethnicities, and animals with animals, and people with animals. All the jungle inhabitants bonded in friendship while singing together, the first song ever made up! There were very few howls and growls anymore, and best of all, there was no killing each other. These new friends discovered other means of survival.

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Lisa Batch is the author and illustrator of this story, which is the third book she’s written. She’s also composed three songs, to add another dimension to The First Song, that have been professionally arranged, and are available through ASCAP.
Lisa Batch’s background is in the music industry. A native of Newton, MA, Lisa moved to NYC and completed her schooling at Professional Children’s School and American Musical & Dramatic Academy, before performing on Broadway and as a headliner on international cruise lines. Lisa is a mother and grandmother who splits the year between her homes in RI and FL, where she lives peacefully with her wonderful husband, Herb.
Visit Lisa’s website,  or follow her on Twitter and Facebook
Her book is discounted 10% through December 15, when ordered through her website.
Recommendations: “The First Song teaches compassion and open communication. It’s an absolute winner!” – Wayne Barber, Host of WNRI Author’s Hour
The First Song is a miraculous yet believable story of a peaceful world. This is storytelling with great heart.” – Charlotte Burnham, Youth Services Librarian, Rogers Free Library, Bristol, RI
GIVEAWAY! The author is offering a copy of The First Song to one lucky winner. Just comment below to be entered. The winner will be chosen at random, and the author will contact you directly. Contest ends one week after publication. US residents only, please.
Meet over 100 local authors on Saturday, December 2! The Fifth Annual RI Authors Expo
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It’s #RIAuthor Month! Meet Leah DeCesare


 

For the past few years, I’ve had intermittent intentions of getting a “real” job, but writing keeps winning out and dabbling in applying for corporate jobs fizzles away. Writing is all I ever really wanted to do and I’m finally living that dream. As I was updating my Linked-In profile and my resume a couple of years ago, I discovered a thread that links my divergent and seemingly unrelated career and volunteer paths: Empowerment. Before recognizing this life theme, I’d written my debut novel which is all about encouraging women to believe in themselves.

 I’ve carried the central idea of this book with me since 1988 when my own father sent me off to college with the advice that my character, Amy York’s, dad sends her off to Syracuse University with: There are three types of guys: forks, knives, and spoons. That tidbit was true and when I shared this silly system with my college friends it took off, with everyone adding descriptions for new utensils and talking as if it were an understood concept, for example, “I met this complete fork last night.” 


That idea sat with me for decades, but there was no story around it, so when I finally sat to write this book, I had to build the characters and their arcs and let the Utensil Classification System (the UCS) become a backdrop and an organizing idea serving the characters and their growth. In the end, I had a story about friendship and learning to believe in oneself.

I feel strongly about bolstering and helping people to have true self-love and confidence, especially girls/women who often don’t get the same messages as boys/men from society, family, and media. How can we step out into the world and grab hold of what we want in life without believing in ourselves? It’s critical.
I’ve been a Big Sister to a young woman, now twenty-three, since she was seven years old and it’s something we’ve worked on consistently. I facilitate leadership experiences for collegiate women, middle school girls, and older women in various life stages and the time we share is often described as “life-changing,” and I know that’s because we all need to hear messages of empowerment and strength. Messages that tell us it’s not only okay to prioritize ourselves and our desires, but that it’s essential to our health and happiness. By going after our own dreams, we in turn model the way and empower our daughters, our friends, our peers.
As I’ve met with and heard from readers of Forks, Knives, and Spoons, I’m proud that I continue to hear sentiments such as: “This should be required reading for all young women,” “Every high school and college graduate should be reading this book,” “I will be getting this book for the young women in my life.” To me, that means the message I hold dear is coming through and being shared and that’s a joy to any writer.

Leah DeCesare is the award-winning author of FORKS, KNIVES, AND SPOONS and the nonfiction parenting series NAKED PARENTING, based on her work as a doula, early parenting educator, and mom of three. 

Leah’s articles have been featured in The Huffington Post, the International Doula and The Key, among others. In 2008, Leah co-founded the nonprofit Doulas of Rhode Island, and in 2013 she spearheaded the Campaign for Hope to build the Kampala Children’s Centre for Hope and Wellness in Uganda. In a past life, Leah worked in public relations and event planning. She now writes, teaches and volunteers in Rhode Island where she lives with her family and their talking cockatiel. 
Visit Leah’s website, find her on FacebookTwitterGoodreadsPinterestInstagramBookbub, and Amazon

GIVEAWAY! The author is offering one signed copy of Forks, Knives, and Spoons  plus one of the T-shirts pictured above (Men’s sizes M, L, or XL). Just comment below to be entered. Winner will be chosen at random and the author will contac you directly. Contest ends one week after publication. US residents only, please.

Meet over 100 local authors on Saturday, December 2! The Fifth Annual RI Authors Expo