Call for Submissions: Christmas Chick Lit

xmas-submissions-blog

Around here, we really love Christmas stories. And it’s been a couple years since we released our own, so we’re on the hunt for a new Christmas Chick Lit novel for 2017! If you love celebrating the holidays as much as we do, and you’ve got a story to tell that will knock our socks off, we want to read it! Since we are looking for Chick Lit only that means humor is a must, and a heroine with panache will steal our hearts! Whether it’s Christmas in the City or a Hometown Holiday, we are looking for classic Chick Lit charm with leading ladies who have a lesson to learn that only the spirit of Christmas can bring. A sexy love interest always helps, too, but this story should be more focused on the woman herself and how her Christmas experience brings joy to her entire life – not just her love life. Happy endings are a must (and that doesn’t always mean the girl gets the guy). Basically, readers should finish the book with big, fat smiles on their faces. 🙂

We are seeking novels between 55,000 and 75,000 words. Please email us your query with  a one to two paragraph synopsis of your story (similar to what you’d find on the back cover of a book) along with a brief bio, including any previous writing or publishing experience, as well as your contact information. Having your manuscript copyedited before submitting is HIGHLY recommended. Nothing puts us off more than rampant errant commas and typos galore. If we’re interested in reading your manuscript, we will email you with a request to see more. Please allow six weeks for a response. Submission deadline is April 1, 2017. 

Happy Writing!

Holly Jolly Chick Lit Hop

Make the holiday season even merrier by discovering new reads from some of today’s best chick lit and romantic comedy authors during the Holly Jolly Chick Lit Hop on Facebook.

Here’s how it works: every day from Monday, December 5 through Friday, December 16, readers are invited to hop around to more than 60 authors’ Facebook pages (with about five stops each day) to receive gifts and enter to win prizes.

Here is the schedule, which includes the list of authors posting each day and links to their Facebook pages in case you’d like to give them a “like” and follow along:

MONDAY, DECEMBER 5
Rich Amooi
Glynis Astie
Melissa Baldwin
Laura Chapman
Nikki Mahood
Carol Maloney Scott

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 6
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 7
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 8
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 9
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 11
MONDAY, DECEMBER 12
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 13
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 14
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 15

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 16
Cindy Arora
Amy Avanzino
Erin Huss
Susan Murphy
Lucie Simone

We will also give away several Amazon gift cards as bonus prizes on the event page. Every day that you participate and leave a comment on the main post for the day, you will be entered into the drawing to receive the prizes. Be sure to check back every day to maximize your chances!

Happy Holidays to all and to all some fabulous reading!

Authors at Work: Lucie Simone

Today, it’s our Editor-In-Chief, Lucie Simone, who shares her writing (and editing) space with us. Basically, this is where all the magic happens! Well, a lot of it anyway.

authors-at-work

I have a Macbook Air, which means my office is pretty darn portable. Sometimes it’s the sofa, sometimes it’s my balcony, sometimes it’s a coffee shop, and sometimes it’s an airplane. But when I need to edit, I need a proper desk and a big monitor (the better to catch those misplaced commas!). But I live in Los Angeles, where a home office is definitely a luxury I cannot afford! Instead, I have a computer armoire!

open-armoire

I just plug my laptop into the monitor, pull up my cushy chair (which usually has to be wrestled away from my cat), fix a cup of tea, and I’m good to go…for hours! Editing is one of those things I like to do in a single sitting (if possible) so I don’t lose any story threads that may slip away if I take too long of a break. Formatting also happens in a single sitting, but that’s usually because I just want to get it done! Formatting is a truly tedious task, but oh so important to ensure print and ebook editions look as good as they read!

buddha

And to help me get through those long hours staring at my monitor, I make sure that my space is as zen as possible. With a little Buddha statue overlooking my work, and maybe a mixture of lavender and lemon essential oils burning in the background, I can focus on the story in front of me and catch any goofs, typos, or errant commas (my nemesis!). And when the job is done, I just close up the armoire and tuck it all away for another day. 

closed-armoire

And then it’s back to the sofa where I write with a cat sitting on either side of my lap (and sometimes in my lap). 

fullsizerender

About Lucie Simone

Lucie Author Pic 2013

Lucie Simone has a passion for travel, yoga and all things Chick Lit. She is the author of the novels, Hollywood Ending and Picture Perfectand the novellas, “Aprez Vous” (which was featured in the anthology, Petit Four), “A Taste of Italy,” and “The Waterdance.”  She also has a degree in Journalism and a Master of Fine Arts in Television Production. She lives in the foothills overlooking Los Angeles where she is at work on her third novel.  For more information on Lucie, please visit her website.

Authors at Work: Sue Watson

Today, Sue Watson is here to share her writing space with us in our latest Authors at Work post, and with her trademark sense of humor that we love so much! Sue’s short story, “The Heart-Shaped Secret of Raspberry Jam,” is featured in our collection of short stories all about cake, Petit Four. Read on to hear how Sue stays focused (or not) on her work.

authors-at-work

Love, Lies and Lemon Cake, was my third book, and as I’d written my first two books on the kitchen table, I felt I had earned myself a writing space. So I came over all ‘Virginia Woolf’ and demanded ‘a room of one’s own.’ I couldn’t possibly write my masterpieces in a kitchen while the washer whirred, the cats meowed for food, and people asked where their clean socks were. So I turned the spare room into a ‘writer’s loft.’ When I say ‘writer’s loft,’ it was a box-room with a desk and a lamp covered with a scarf (my futile attempt at Bohemia in a Barratt Home) but a girl can dream. I would say, ‘I have to be alone,’ and would ‘swish upstairs Greta Garbo style,’ and the family (even the cats!) respected my wishes, and didn’t disturb me. This continued for two more books and I realised I hated my exile upstairs; and on hearing laughter or the smell of toast, I was drawn back into the hubbub downstairs, my life’s work abandoned. Any thought of writing lost in the lure of cake and Coronation Street. So I moved back downstairs and positioned myself on the sofa where I could write, eat cake, stroke cats, bark orders and watch TV – all at the same time.

sue-kitty

But my multitasking literary haven didn’t last. Harry our big fluffy cat loves sitting on my knee – even if there’s a laptop there – and in his eagerness to be fussed, erased much of my work on a regular basis. Perhaps he was just doing a brutal edit, but I didn’t appreciate his editorial contribution. So my husband suggested a compromise: a return to my favourite place, the kitchen. But this time I would have a designated area not just a laptop on the kitchen table by the washing machine. Here I could look out onto the garden, make toast, feed cats, load the dishwasher, procrastinate deeply and other glamorous things us writers do all day.

sue-office

And so… my ‘writing room’ was born. It’s pink and black, has a swivel chair (my daughter likes to ‘race’ on) and I’ve lots of cupboards to hide counterfeit cake and chocolate (I’m not a sharer). Yes it’s untidy, but I know where everything is and that’s all that matters. I wrote my short story for Petit Four here and was able to bake cakes and imagine I was in the kitchen of a busy tea rooms. And recently I wrote my latest book The Christmas Cake Cafe, gazing onto the garden, imagining a snow-covered Swiss landscape, sparkling with fairylights – while the cats meowed, the washer whirred, and people asked where their clean socks were.

Virginia Woolf would be horrified…

Sue Watson

sue-at-her-desk

Sue Watson was a journalist on women’s magazines and national newspapers before leaving it all behind for a career in TV. As a producer with the BBC she worked on garden makeovers, kitchen takeovers, and daytime sofas – all the time making copious notes so that one day she might escape to the country and turn it all into a book. She is the author of Fat Girls and Fairy Cakes; Younger Thinner Blonder; Love, Lies and Lemon Cake; Snow Angels, Secrets and Christmas Cake; Summer Flings and Dancing Dreams; Bella’s Christmas Bake Off; We’ll Always Have Paris, and The Christmas Cake Cafe.  To learn more about Sue, visit her website here!

Petit_Four_03

Cake is often a major part of life’s celebrations, both big and small. From birthdays to wedding days, cake, in all its delectable concoctions, marks joyous occasions with a sweetness that can’t be beat. But even better is the love that is shared when two people connect over a sweet confection. Maybe it’s a cute new guy wreaking havoc on a broken heart, or a beautiful woman testing the limits of love, or an old beau stirring up long lost desires. Whatever the circumstances, cake can always be relied upon to save the day when it comes to affairs of the heart. In this collection of short stories, cake is the delicious center around which each tale unfolds and romance blooms.

When single mom and journalist, Olivia, sets out to find romance in Cindy Arora’s “Cake Therapy,” she gets a little help from her friends and more than a few slices of cake to coax her off the couch and into the arms of a truly great love. Lucie Simone’s “Aprez Vous” finds success-driven Tara in Paris reminiscing of her long lost love, Jean Marc, and her niece bound and determined to reunite them. In “The Heart-Shaped Secret of Raspberry Jam” by Sue Watson, cake enthusiast, Milly, meets her match in the kitchen, and other places, when new owners take over the tea rooms where she works and her talents and her heart are put to the test. And Scott, mayor of a small seaside community, flirts with political suicide in Joel Zlotnik’s “Her Charms” when he falls for new-in-town Nicole, an entrepreneur with a passion for cupcakes and whose latest venture proves a little too sexy for the sleepy beach town.

From San Francisco to Paris, from small towns to tea rooms, this anthology tempts readers with humor, style, romance, and the powerful aphrodisiac that is cake. Petit Four is four stories, frosted with love.

Authors at Work: Lisa Doyle

Today we welcome Lisa Doyle, author of MILKED, to share her writing space with us. Lisa’s desk may be very clean and uncluttered, but her writing is full of heart, hope, and humor. Read on to learn why a clear space works for Lisa.

authors-at-work

My writing space may seem a bit utilitarian, and it is, but it’s the perfect space for me.

ld-office-1

Ever since I learned how to KonMari and clear the clutter from my life, I’ve embraced the items that spark joy–and inspiration.

ld-desk-1

A favorite baby photo of my son. My ideas notebook, which is never far from me. A reminder on the wall that I can and will grow as a writer. And, my tried and true laptop to accompany me along each character’s journey.

About Lisa Doyle

LDoyleheadshot_2014

Lisa Doyle is a communications manager and freelance writer based in the Chicago area. A graduate of Miami University, she spent several years editing business-to-business publications for the personal care industry before moving to the nonprofit sector, and currently works in advocacy for homeless families at Bridge Communities. Her writing has appeared in Writer’s Digest, The NaNoWriMo Blog, Global Cosmetic Industry, Skin Inc, Salon Today, Modern Salon, Renew, Suburban Life and the essay collection Women Reinvented: True Stories of Empowerment and Change (LaChance Publishing, 2010). Her fiction debut, Milked, was published by Simon & Fig in November 2014. Keep up with Lisa on Twitter and Facebook for updates on events, book news and more!

20140929-230405.jpgBy and large, Amanda Keane makes pretty good decisions. Okay, she might not have thebest taste in men, but she’s got great friends, a good job, and an independent spirit. That is, until her 30th birthday ushers in a whirlwind romance with a sexy Irish musician who leaves her, not at the altar as she imagined, but accidentally pregnant. And when he disappears, she’s downsized out of a job, her apartment is robbed, and lapsed health insurance coverage leaves her with a C-section to pay for, Amanda is launched headfirst into the life of a broke single mom. But her friend and uber successful ob-gyn, Joy, clues her in to an unlikely temp position with one of Chicago’s celebrity elite that just may be the answer to all her woes. Or could it be just the beginning?

It’s with serious trepidation that Amanda embarks on her surprisingly lucrative new career: underground wet nurse to the offspring of Chi-town’s rich and famous. Amanda must quickly understand how to live at the whims and mercy of the one percent as she deals with the irony of nursing – and loving – someone else’s child, while still making ends meet for her own daughter. And then there’s Cute Daycare Dad (aka Dan), who’s obviously interested in her. But can she afford to tell him what she really does for a living? Is her new job (something she thought went out with the 19th century) a shameful thing? Just another way of selling her body? Or does it have something to teach her after all?

A novel of motherhood, its many demands, and all the little triumphs along the way, MILKED is a warm and witty debut about making tough choices and traveling the roundabout road to happiness.

Authors at Work: Isabella Louise Anderson

 

Today we welcome Isabella Louise Anderson, whose short story “Meet Me Under the Mistletoe” appeared in our Christmas anthology, Merry & Bright. Isabella is a romance author, and her writing rituals definitely evoke the romantic! Read on to learn what puts her in the writing mood!

authors-at-work

While I am fortunate to have an office outside of my home, my favorite places to write and edit are in my home-office–in the dark while listening to Spotify, (depending what the stage is that I’m working on, the music station changes), and drinking a glass of hibiscus tea. I also have on my Scentsy warmer that makes for a great atmosphere, (at the moment, I’m warming Flower Shop, which makes it highly motivating for working on “Cards From Khloe’s Flower Shop,” my upcoming release).

deskimage

Here are three things that make me the most productive:

Working in the dark: While a lot of authors I know seem to work best in the morning, I work best in the afternoon or early evening (at least before the hubby comes home). So, in my office, I close the shutters and get to work. Some might think working in the dark is odd; it helps me feel along with my characters, hoping to make them the best they can be.

Just do it: When I have writer’s/editor’s block, I’ve come to realize that using the Pomodoro Technique helps me the most, in ways of being the most productive. I try to do at least seven twenty-five minute sessions a day.

Find a cheerleader: Whether it be a parent, sibling, friend or a beta-reader, be sure to find someone who can cheer you on, especially when the words aren’t coming easily to you. Give them a call and tell them your problem, then I bet your brain will be flooded with ideas to help you continue with your WIP.

Isabella Louise Anderson

IsabellaPicIsabella grew up with a book in her hand, and to this day nothing has changed. She focuses her time on featuring other writers on her blog, Chick Lit Goddess, along with organizing Goddess Book Tours, and is a member of the Romance Writers of America. 

She lives in Dallas with her husband, enjoys spicy Mexican food, margaritas, gin on the rocks (with a splash of lime). She loves spending time with family and friends, and cheering on the Texas Rangers. Not only is Isabella an author, she’s also a Scentsy hoarder and consultant.

Isabella’s short story, “Meet Me Under the Mistletoe,” was featured in Simon & Fig’s Christmas anthology, Merry & Bright, in November 2013. The Right Design is her first novel. Her next release, “Cards From Khloe’s Flower Shop” will be released soon, and she is currently working on another book. Connect with Isabella via her Author Website,  Chick Lit Goddess, Facebook – Author Page,  Goodreads, Facebook – Chick Lit Goddess Page,   Twitter-Isabella Louise Anderson, Twitter-Chick Lit Goddess, and Instagram

20130922-214953.jpg

Sip your eggnog, linger under the mistletoe, and make a Christmas wish. Merry & Bright brings you six tales of Christmas cheer, featuring stories of budding romances, Southern charm, lost loves, heaps of humor, and lots of pie by authors Isabella Louise Anderson, Cindy Arora, Laura Chapman, Lauren Clark, Libby Mercer, and Nancy Scrofano. From sunny Los Angeles to the Rocky Mountains to the Deep South, Merry & Bright will take you on a heartwarming adventure you’ll love to visit again and again. Wrap yourself in holiday mirth and prepare to be swept off your feet.

Authors at Work: Cindy Arora

authors-at-work

In our third installment of Authors at Work, Cindy Arora, author of Heartbreak Cake, “Christmas at Mulberry Inn” (featured in Merry & Bright), and “Cake Therapy” (featured in Petit Four), shares with us her cozy and inspiring writing nook.

My Writing Nook
by Cindy Arora

For years I did most of my writing in coffee houses, I loved the ambience, great coffee and people watching. But let’s be honest, when it comes to writing – distraction is an all too common bedfellow and hanging out in coffee houses meant I didn’t get any actual writing done. So, I gave up my laptop and created a writing nook in my apartment, that is a bit less exciting, but still comfortable.

aw_ca_full-view-nook

I happen to have a great window that looks out onto a big tree and my desk gets dapples of sunshine in the early morning, which is pretty cozy. I have created a playlist on Spotify that I use for writing and coffee in my house is revered, so I’ve got the best ‘joe’ in town.

aw_ca_sunlight

When I started putting together my nook, I knew that one thing I wanted to create is a collection of photos from different parts California of where I’ve lived and that were taken by photographers I had the privilege to meet through my years as a journalist.

This is the photo gallery I ended up putting together. I still have a few more photographs I am looking for, but right now this is a source of inspiration for me.

aw_ca_photos

Cindy Arora

20130519-104805.jpg

Cindy Arora was a staff writer at The San Gabriel Valley Tribune, The Orange County Register and Sacramento Magazine. She’s been published in Saveur, Tasting Table, Orange Coast Magazine and Fodor’s. She’s also mama to an adorable little boy, a feminist, a whiskey enthusiast, and proud to call herself a Chick Lit author. Heartbreak Cake is her debut novel. To learn more about Cindy, please visit her website

20130521-200430.jpg

Business is sweet for pastry chef Indira Aguilar. Her indie bakery, Cake Pan, is fast becoming the talk of the wedding circuit for its unique take on cakes and homespun creations for the modern bride, garnering national recognition and drawing in celebrity clients. But while her professional life is blossoming, her personal life is crumbling.

Indira may have a talent for blending buttercream into bliss, but when it comes to relationships, she’s got a lot to learn. Considering that the love of her life, Josh Oliver, is not only married, but also runs the award-winning pastry department of her fiercest competition, Crystal Cove Resort, Indira puts much more at stake than just her heart when she ends her affair with him.

Rumors begin to fly as the small seaside community of Long Beach learns of her secret relationship, and Indira must defend not only her actions, but her wedding business and her reputation while trying to maneuver the choppy heartbreak waters of starting over, finding new love, and facing her past. With the support of friends and family, a fondness for butter, and a determined spirit, Indira may just bake her way back to happiness and possibly into the heart of Crystal Cove’s dishy new chef, Noah. But one thing is certain. Where there’s heartbreak, there must be cake.

Authors at Work: Isabelle Andover

authors-at-work

Welcome back for our second installment of Authors at Work. Today, Isabelle Andover, Author of Cocktails at Le Carmen, shares with us her favorite writing spot in Paris. Pretty much, any place in Paris is going to seem heavenly, but this converted church is loaded with charm and plenty of peace and quiet. Read on to learn more about Isabelle’s favorite place to work.

isabelle-andover-exterior

“As much as I would like to write from the comfort of my bed, the temptation to take a nap with the cat has an unfortunate tendency to win out over writing words. I’ve tried writing in libraries–too quiet and serious–and cafes–too busy and noisy–throughout Paris, but it wasn’t until I stumbled across Nuage (French for cloud), just off Boulevard Saint Germain in the 5th arrondissement, that I found what I’d been looking for.

isabelle-andover-interior2

“Housed in the back of a converted church, Nuage is a cozy co-working space inspired by a coffee shop. You can choose to work at a table, on a sofa, or–my personal favorite–curl up on cushions in an alcove. There’s unlimited coffee and snacks on tap, and you can order your lunch to be delivered, too (think sushi, bagels, burgers…).

isabelle-andover-aaw-late

“It’s a place that has everything you need for a day of creativity, and perhaps best of all, there is a well-stocked bookshelf for when you need to take a break. Certainly for me, there’s nothing like reading another author’s words to inspire you to write your own.” ~ Isabelle Andover.

About Isabelle Andover

author pic 1

Originally from England, Isabelle Andover moved to France after graduating from Durham University with a degree in Modern Languages. She lives in Paris with her tabby cat, Oscar, who occasionally blogs about apartment-style living in the City of Light, and who also inspired a prize-winning short story when he was a kitten.

Following several years as a media analyst, Isabelle now works at a Paris-based media company specialized in the international beauty market. In addition to fully embracing the culture of her adopted country by way of consuming plenty of French wine and cheese, Isabelle can also be found indulging in the typically British pursuits of shopping at Marks and Spencer on the Champs Elysées and drinking copious cups of Earl Grey. Cocktails at Le Carmen is Isabelle’s first novel. You can learn more about Isabelle by visiting her website.

Cocktails_at_Le_Carmen_V3

When job cuts at Chloe Saddler’s London communications firm result in an unexpected transfer to Paris, she finds herself leaving behind her friends, family, and boyfriend Scott to start a new life in the City of Light. Getting to grips with La Vie Parisienne and keeping a long-distance relationship afloat is not made any easier by the culture shock. Committing the odd French faux pas and inadvertently indulging in a few too many flirtations with her very sexy (and very taken) boss, Jean-Luc, is just the start of it. Factor in her bridezilla of a sister’s wedding (the hottest event of the year in the Saddler family’s social calendar), an unexpected session of hot, naked yoga, a slightly psychotic stalker, and one incredible kiss at an infamous Montmartre nightspot, and Chloe can say au revoir to her old, safe London life and bonjour to the romance, splendour, and glamour of Paris.

A delightful debut that harks back to the early days of Chick Lit when heroines were flawed, funny, and forever battling for love and happiness. With quirky characters and classic comedic charm, Cocktails at Le Carmen is pure fun from page one.

Authors at Work: Laura Chapman

authors-at-work

We’re going behind the scenes in our new series, Authors at Work, and taking a peek at our authors’ work spaces! The creative process can happen just about anywhere, as our first author, Laura Chapman, will tell you. Laura’s short story, “Twelve Drummers Drumming,” appears in our Christmas anthology, Merry & Bright, and is a reader favorite.

laura-chapman-office

“I write in airports, bars, coffee shops, and even sometimes dictate dialogue in my car. But I’m so lucky to have this gorgeous office as my home base. I have shelves full of the stories I love, walls covered in bookish artwork, and little gadgets and gizmos acquired during my travels and as gifts from friends. I even have a cute love seat where my cats, Jane and Bingley, can curl up to watch me work. It’s an inspiring and cozy place to work.” ~ Laura Chapman

About Laura Chapman

Laura Chapman Mug

Laura Chapman is the author of, Going for Two, First & Goal, The Marrying Type, and Hard Hats and Doormats. Her work also appears in Merry & Bright, A Kind of Mad Courage, and All I Want For Christmas. Laura serves as a municipal liaison for National Novel Writing Month, is a member of the Romance Writers of America, and was appointed to the board of the Nebraska Literary Heritage Association as its 2016-2017 author representative. She previously served on the Laura Ingalls Wilder Legacy and Research Association. A native Nebraskan, she loves Huskers and Packers football, Netflix marathons, and her cats, Jane and Bingley. Connect with Laura: Facebook Twitter Instagram Goodreads  YouTube Blog, Website

20130922-214953.jpg

Sip your eggnog, linger under the mistletoe, and make a Christmas wish. Merry & Bright brings you six tales of Christmas cheer, featuring stories of budding romances, Southern charm, lost loves, heaps of humor, and lots of pie by authors Isabella Louise Anderson, Cindy Arora, Laura Chapman, Lauren Clark, Libby Mercer, and Nancy Scrofano. From sunny Los Angeles to the Rocky Mountains to the Deep South, Merry & Bright will take you on a heartwarming adventure you’ll love to visit again and again. Wrap yourself in holiday mirth and prepare to be swept off your feet.

 

Beach Read Giveaway!

Beach Chairs

Summer is in full swing and we have your beach read needs covered! From sweet romance to sweet treats, this giveaway is sure to make those lazy days of summer a breeze to enjoy. Just enter via the rafflecopter below for your chance to win six of our favorite summer reads – paperback editions. Winner will be announced July 16th! Open to US residents only.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway