Wednesday, March 5, 2014

THE BANISTER BUZZ 3/5/14 - DANCING WITH THE STARS SEASON 18 CAST ANNOUNCEMENT


Friends and fellow sequins lovers, I'm so excited about Dancing With the Stars' upcoming 18th season that I decided to ignore my No-Blogging-Until-You-Finish-Book-3! rule and indulge myself in a major geek-out! Won't you slather yourself with tanning cream, don something sparkly, and join me?

First of all, let's talk about some of the changes coming up on my favorite reality show. As I'm sure you've all heard, Brooke Burke Charvet is out as co-host and sportscaster/S10 third place finisher Erin Andrews is in. I felt badly for Brooke when I heard about her not being asked back at the last minute. Not cool, ABC! But I don't think it's necessarily a bad idea to mix things up. I'm willing to give Erin a chance. The good news is that the celebriquarium/skybox will be back, so Erin will be doing post-dance interviews with the couples up there rather than down in the audience. Thank the mirrorball gods! I hated the set-up last season with the celebs sitting next to the judges' table in the front row of the audience and having to do interviews from their seats. It was just so painfully awkward!

Also, Harold Wheeler and his orchestra will no longer be supplying the ballroom with their classic brand of music. In their stead will be new musical director Ray Chew. No idea what type of band he'll be directing, but rumor has it that we'll be hearing more electronic music rather than orchestral.

Fun Fact: Ray Chew was the bandleader at Barack Obama's first inaugural ball.

Now for some really shocking news - for the first time ever, celebs will be switching partners during the course of the season! GASP The fans have a lot of power here, because their votes will decide which pro each celeb will be switched to. It's still unclear as to whether these partner switches will be permanent, or just for one week. Either way, it's an intriguing concept . . . and kinda scary. We'll have to see how this pans out. I predict drama and lots of celeb meltdowns!

Season 18 will premiere on Monday, March 17th, which is St. Patrick's Day! Ironically, beloved ballroom leprechaun, Tristan MacManus, will not be partnering with a celeb this season. All together now . . . BOOOOOO!!!!!! Here's a statement from the yummy Irishman himself. Sounds like he might not be returning to DWTS at all. Sad face.

Fun Fact: During the break between Seasons 17 and 18, Tristan got married to beautiful Aussie actress Tahyna Tozzi. These two are going to have some beautiful babies!     


So, who will be competing this season and what do I think their chances are? I'm going to look into my glitter-dusted crystal ball and make a few predictions. Let's start with the men. Women have won the past three seasons, so I'd say that it's time for a man to dominate the ballroom again. Will this new crop of fellas be up to the task?


Sean Avery (Hockey player), paired with Karina Smirnoff - I knew nothing about this guy prior to the announcement, but I was intrigued by the idea of a NHL player hitting the hardwood floor. Unfortunately, Sean doesn't have a great reputation. When I mentioned him to a Canadian friend, she branded him a "douche." He was very scowly on GMA when the cast announcement was made, and there was an uncomfortable vibe between him and Karina. So, I'm not feeling very positive about this couple, although maybe he's got a big voting fanbase as a lot of athletes do? My prediction: Out early, then he'll really have something to glower about.


Drew Carey (Actor/Game show host), paired with Cheryl Burke - Drew's lost a lot of weight in recent years and has become quite active physically, running a marathon, etc., so he's got that going for him. And he's funny, which is a quality that appeals to viewers of DWTS (see last year's surprise semi-finalist Bill Engvall.) Still, I don't really see him and Cheryl gelling, and the competition will be tough this season. My prediction: Middle of the pack


James Maslow (Actor, Nickelodeon's Big Time Rush/Boy band singer), paired with Peta Murgatroyd - EYE CANDY ALERT! Expect to see this young man dancing sans shirt a lot this season, and I'm sure Peta will play up the sexy angle with her choreography as she loves to do. I expect that James has a large teen following, who may help him out. Let's hope he has some dancing skillz to go with that handsome face and six pack. My prediction: Middle of the pack
 
Fun Fact: James and Peta were rumored to be dating last month - this would have been long before they were partnered. Will be interesting to see whether or not the show (or the couple) acknowledges them having any kind of a romantic relationship. 


Cody Simpson (Australian pop singer), paired with Witney Carson) - I wasn't overly impressed with this kid at the GMA announcement, but I'm, also, not 16 and The Bieber Factor doesn't influence me. He can probably dance since he's a singer, and I'm sure his fanbase is powerful (6.41 million followers on Twitter - YIKES!) Witney is small, cute, and blonde, so she should pair well with young Cody, but she probably won't be bringing any fans to the table since this will be her first season as a pro. My prediction: FINAL FOUR


Charlie White (Olympic gold medalist in ice dancing), paired with Sharna Burgess - Okay, let's just get this out of the way. SQUEEEEEEEEEE! I am a freak for ice dancing and have been a fan of Charlie and his partner, Meryl, for years. I cried when they won in Sochi, so I'm not even going to pretend not to be biased about these two. I heart them both and I'm excited to see them compete against each other for the first time. On a shallow note, I think Charlie is adorable (love that curly moptop of his!) and I'm stoked beyond belief that he will be dancing with Sharna Burgess, who's my fave female pro. I think she'll bring some edge and sexiness to her routines with Charlie, which will be fun. I will be rooting for this couple BIG TIME! With his athletic ability and fanbase, there's no way Charlie's not making it to the end. My prediction: FINAL FOUR  

Fun Fact:  Although their chemistry on the ice is palpable, Charlie and Meryl have never been a romantic couple. Charlie's long-time girlfriend is ice dancer Tanith Belbin (another favorite of mine back when she competed with Benjamin Agosto!)

Billy Dee Williams (Actor, Mahogany and The Empire Strikes Back), paired with Emma Slater - Lando Calrissian! Billy is very smooth, so I think he'll do well in the Ballroom dances. Latin, not so sure. He is 76 years old now, which means his body may hold him back. Fortunately, he's got Emma, who proved last season with Bill Engvall that she is a genius at choreographing to her partners' strengths. I wish this couple well, but fear that they'll have trouble making an impact with so many fierce, talented competitors. My prediction: Out early 


Candace Cameron Bure (Actress, Full House, Make It or Break It), paired with Mark Ballas - Candace brings a huge nostalgia factor with her to the ballroom, because we all watched her grow up on Full House. And she's still relevant today, with her Hallmark movies and bestselling books. So far, Candace and Mark seem very goofy cute in their interviews, so I think they can play up the "fun" in their partnership and do well. I expect that Candace will excel at the elegant Ballroom and struggle a bit with finding her "wild side" in Latin. My prediction: Middle of the pack

Fun Fact: Andrea Barber aka Kimmy Gibbler, DJ Tanner's bestie on Full House, is already showing her support for Candace on Twitter, claiming that she'll be power voting for her friend and former co-star!

 
Meryl Davis (Olympic gold medalist in ice dancing), paired with Maksim Chmerkovskiy - It goes without saying that Meryl will be grace and sophistication personified on the ballroom floor. Her posture and expressive hands in her ice dancing have always been exquisite, which will serve her well on the show. I'll be interested to see how her partnership with Maks works out. We all know how tough and blunt he can be as a teacher, but Meryl can probably handle it since she's been dealing with hardcore coaches most of her life. They'll need to find some chemistry and a spark to make it work, though. Fingers crossed. My prediction: FINAL FOUR  

Fun Fact:  Meryl and Maks are both Capricorns!


NeNe Leakes (Actress, Reality star, Real Housewives of Atlanta), paired with Tony Dovolani - I've heard she can be a handful, so Tony may have his work cut out for him. NeNe doesn't strike me as being very inhibited, which may work to her advantage. I don't know that NeNe has that powerful of a fanbase and the last Housewife who did the show (Lisa Vanderpump) didn't last long. These two will have to bring something special to the show right off the bat if they want to stick around. My prediction: Out early 


Danica McKellar (Actress, The Wonder Years/Math whiz/Author), paired with Val Chmerkovskiy - Another celeb with a huge nostalgic factor. Who didn't love Winnie Cooper? And Danica has grown up to be a very accomplished and impressive woman. She has admitted to taking ballroom dance classes and is a huge fan of DWTS, so I think that experience and knowledge will serve her well. She and Val are well-matched physically and temperamentally, and I'm excited to see how they dance together. Val is such a creative choreographer (second only to Derek, in my opinion), so I think he'll work up some great routines to showcase Danica. If anyone has a shot at beating out Meryl and Charlie, it's Danica. My prediction: FINAL FOUR 

Fun Fact:  Did all her own dancing and lifts in 21 and a Wakeup with partner Jamie Bayard, of So You Think You Can Dance fame.


Diana Nyad (Long-distance swimmer), paired with Henry Byalikov - Diana has the stamina and work ethic to do well on the show and she seems to have a really fun personality, which should endear her to viewers, but it might be difficult for her to stand out in this crowd of uber-talented, high-profile celebs this season. I hope she enjoys her time on the show, however long that is. She's got a really great  partner in Henry, and from what I've seen he's a patient instructor. My prediction: Out early 


Amy Purdy (Paralympic snowboarder), paired with Derek Hough - This woman is a fighter and clearly enjoys a good challenge, so I'm looking forward to seeing how she does with the demands of this show. I have no doubt that Derek is the perfect partner for her, and he'll craft clever routines that will take her disability into consideration, but still push her and show what she's capable of. Heather Mills, who's also an amputee, did quite well on DWTS, and she wasn't an athlete like Amy. I think we'll see great things from Amy and Derek this season. My prediction: Middle of the pack 

Which couple(s) will you be rooting for this season? Do you think folks with previous dance experience (Meryl, Charlie, Danica) have an unfair advantage, or are you okay with "ringers?" Are you excited, or wary, of the new changes? Sound off below! 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

GUEST POST - TRACEY LIVESAY (THE TYCOON'S SOCIALITE BRIDE)


I am so honored to be here on Books by Banister today. Tracie and I met over a random “The Mentalist” tweet a few years ago and have been supporting each other ever since. Just thinking about how we met, I wondered…

Would that qualify as a “Meet Cute?”


If you’re a fan of Chick Lit, romances or romantic comedies (rom coms), then you know about the meet cute. It’s where the romantic leads meet for the first time in a manner that’s supposed to be delightful and charming. They can take many forms, but there’s one type that seems to show up more frequently. It’s the one where the heroine is unexpectedly clumsy the moment she meets the hero, and then afterwards, her clumsiness miraculously disappears.  You could probably list five such meet cutes off the top of your head. And I bet at least one involves Katherine Heigl.

I’m not a fan of clumsy fall meet cute—Or maybe it’s just Katherine Hiegl movies?—and yet they are a checklist must in romantic comedies. But why? It has to be more than making the audience believe the heroine is so gosh-darned adorable? The clumsy fall meet cute usually occurs in movies. Could there be a medium specific reason?


Ninety minutes isn’t a lot of time to show two people falling in love. What might take weeks or months in real life, often needs to occur in a matter of minutes in a movie. And one way to introduce an attraction between two people is to have them touch each other. That first touch tells us a lot, doesn’t it? Touch implies trust and vulnerability. When you take a chance and let someone touch you and you’re validated with that spark of attraction, you tend to view the source of that touch through a new lens. In the twelve steps to intimacy, the first touch (hand to hand/arm) comes in at number four. Twenty-five percent of the intimacy courtship occurs before two people even touch each other. It’s that important. The clumsy fall meet cute allows our leads to skip intimacy steps and thus get the relationship ball rolling.

Just because I don’t like the clumsy fall meet cute, doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the value of a meet cute that involves touch. In my debut release, The Tycoon’s Socialite Bride, my heroine, Pamela, confronts my hero, Marcus, on a golf course. What starts out as a mildly flirtatious encounter, with lots of eye contact, quickly turns hostile. But I can’t let things end that way. If I do, why would Pamela ever want to see him again?

“There’s nothing I can do.” He turned and started down the cart path.

She ran up alongside him. “Is that it? You aren’t going to help us?” She was so focused on him she didn’t notice a golf cart heading their way. He reached out and pulled her off the path just as the cart zoomed by. The old man driving it never stopped.

Adrenaline raced through him and they stood breathing heavily, his arm around her waist, their bodies pressed together. A diamond solitaire winked at him where it lay in her cleavage. He had a sudden and unexpected vision of her naked except for the necklace, in his bed, her long limbs and soft skin open and welcoming.

“Thank you,” she whispered.

“You’re welcome.”

This is their meet cute. It’s the incident that allows them to touch, to cement that the attraction exists and is two-sided, before they go their separate ways. And we need them to want each other. That desire will lead them to search each other out and send them on a journey to happily ever after. I’m not saying touch is mandatory. Certainly, intense eye contact can jump start an attraction. But ask yourself, when face to face with a person you find attractive, would you rather be looked at or touched? ;-)

What’s your favorite “meet cute?”


Author Bio: Tracey Livesay wrote her first romance novel at the age of eleven, called “The Healing Power of Love.” With a detour through college and law school--where she met her husband on the very first day--she’s finally achieved her dream of being a published author. She lives in Virginia with said husband and three kids. Her debut novel, The Tycoon’s Socialite Bride, is available now from Entangled Publishing. For info on her upcoming releases or to chat about TV, movies and/or purses you can check out her website or find her on Facebook and Twitter.




Book Blurb:  To avenge his mother’s mistreatment at the hands of her upper-crust employer, self-made real estate tycoon Marcus Pearson needs entree into their exclusive world. When D.C. socialite Pamela Harrington comes to him for help, Marcus realizes the golden admission ticket he’s been seeking has suddenly fallen into his lap.

Pamela will do anything to save her favorite cause, even agree to a marriage of convenience. The altruistic "it-girl" isn't worried about the pretend passion with Marcus turning real; she's sworn off powerful, driven men who use her for her family's connections.

So she'll deny the way her pulse races with one look from his crystalline blue eyes. And he'll ignore the way his body throbs with each kiss from her full lips. Because there's no way he'll lose his blue-collar heart to the blue-blooded beauty.

Buy The Tycoon's Socialite Bride:






Wednesday, February 12, 2014

VALENTINE'S PROMO - FUN, FLIRTY FACTS (THE MEN OF IN NEED OF THERAPY)


More #ChickLitLove fun as the hotties from In Need of Therapy share some juicy tidbits about themselves. I think even people who've already read the book will be surprised by a few of the revelations here . . .


BACHELOR #1:  
Name:  Ford
Occupation:  Psychiatrist 



Celebrity you've been told you look like: I sometimes get mistaken for that guy who was on the dinosaur show a few years back, Jason Something. We're both tall and have brown hair and blue eyes.  

<Blogger's note: Jason O'Mara who was on Terra Nova.>


Naughty food you like to indulge in:  Up until recently, seasoned cheese fries, but a friend just introduced me to polenta fries, which may become my new favorite naughty food. They're amazing! 



What you wear to bed: Boxers and a t-shirt from one of my New York sports teams (Giants, Mets, Knicks)


Favorite body part of the opposite sex:  The eyes. I like to know what a woman is feeling, and you can always tell that through the eyes.



How many people you've said "I love you" to:  Twice. I only say it when I mean it.


Relationship deal-breaker: I don't like women who are manipulative. I'm a shrink; I see right through mind games. 


Your first kiss - How old were you? Did you instigate it?: I had a summer romance with a girl named Shelly when I was ten. She and I met at Coney Island and hung out every day after that, playing games on the boardwalk, building sandcastles on the beach, sharing hot dogs and ice cream cones, until school started back after Labor Day. I kissed her on our last night together. It was very sweet.


Do you have any tattoos or piercings? If so, describe:  I let my roommate in college try to pierce my ear. That did not go well.


Favorite alcoholic drink:  I'm not much of a drinker, but I'll have a Jack and Coke if I'm at a party. 



Describe your dream girl:  Smart, self-aware, independent, kindhearted, and funny. I adore a woman with a sense of humor. 


BACHELOR #2:  
Name:  Mitch
Occupation:  Lifeguard



Celebrity you've been told you look like: I used to get Josh Holloway a lot when Lost was a big deal. Not so much now that his hair's short.



Naughty food you like to indulge in:  I don't really consider any foods "naughty." As long as I work out, I can eat whatever I want. I am a fan of chocolate syrup, especially when it's drizzled on a beautiful woman.


What you wear to bed:  A smile.


Favorite body part of the opposite sex:  I'm not gonna lie; I'm a breast man. Big, small, real, fake - doesn't matter; it's all good.


How many people you've said "I love you" to:  Who can keep track? I'm sure I say it at least once a day to some girl.


Relationship deal-breaker:  Clinginess. Yuck. Possessive women drive me nuts. I need to be free do to what I want, when I want, so I don't need some chick hounding me to spend time with her. She'll see me when she sees me.



Your first kiss - How old were you? Did you instigate it?:  I was young, maybe 7 or 8, and I had a crush on this older girl who lived across the street from me. One day, when we were waiting at the bus stop with a bunch of other kids, I just grabbed her and planted one on her. She loved it!


Do you have any tattoos or piercings? If so, describe:  I have a "Carpe Diem" tat on my left shoulder blade. That's my motto in life - "Seize the day!"



Favorite alcoholic drink:  Beer, man. Doesn't have to be anything fancy. Heineken, Corona, Bud, whatever. 


 
Describe your dream girl:  Hot, fun to be with, spontaneous, doesn't care about monogamy. 


BACHELOR #3:  
Name:  Victor
Occupation:  Tapas restaurant owner



Celebrity you've been told you look like:  Antonio Banderas, of course. I'm the spitting image of Antonio when he was in his prime.



Naughty food you like to indulge in:  Fried sweet plantains - sweet, a little greasy, so delicious. 



What you wear to bed:  Black silk pajama pants. I like to keep it classy, as well as sexy.


Favorite body part of the opposite sex:  I'm a Latino, and we love our women to have curves. So, my eye is always drawn to a woman's backside. Kim Kardashian's is perfect. 



How many people you've said "I love you" to:  I am very  passionate and have no trouble expressing my feelings, so I've probably said those words many times. Off the top of my head, I can remember telling 8, no . . . 9, maybe 10 women I loved them.


Relationship deal-breaker:  If I see my woman flirting with other guys, we're done. I want her undivided attention and I want to know she's completely devoted to me.


Your first kiss - How old were you? Did you instigate it?:  My first kiss happened at my First Communion, so I hit two milestones at the tender age of 8! I did not instigate the kiss because I would never do such a thing in a place of worship, but I must have been too handsome in my white suit and tie for Lola Gonzalez to resist! She kissed me on the mouth, in front of God and everybody, when all of the communicants were standing at the altar getting a group photo taken. The poor girl was confused and thought we were married for a few weeks after that. I've always had that disorienting effect on women.


Do you have any tattoos or piercings? If so, describe:  Never! I wouldn't want to mar my skin.


Favorite alcoholic drink: The mojito, which is the best-selling drink at my bar. You can never go wrong with rum!



Describe your dream girl:  Beautiful, spirited, family-oriented, sociable.  



Read more about about Ford, Mitch, and Victor in In Need of Therapy and check out Fun, Flirty Facts about other hot Chick Lit bachelors by following the #ChickLitLove hashtag on Twitter.


Book Blurb:  Lending a sympathetic ear and dispensing sage words of advice is all part of the job for psychologist Pilar Alvarez, and she’s everything a good therapist should be: warm, compassionate, supportive. She listens, she cares, and she has all the answers, but how’s the woman everyone turns to in their hour of need supposed to cope when her own life starts to fall apart?

While working hard to make a success of her recently-opened practice in trendy South Beach, Pilar must also find time to cater to the demands of her boisterous Cuban family, which includes younger sister Izzy, an unemployed, navel-pierced wild child who can't stay out of trouble, and their mother, a beauty queen turned drama queen who’s equally obsessed with her fading looks and getting Pilar married before it’s “too late.” Although she’d like to oblige her mother and make a permanent love connection, Pilar’s romantic prospects look grim. Her cheating ex, who swears that he’s reformed, is stalking her. A hunky, but strictly off-limits, patient with bad-boy appeal and intimacy issues is making passes. And the sexy shrink in the suite across the hall has a gold band on his left ring finger.

When a series of personal and professional disasters lead Pilar into the arms of one of her unsuitable suitors, she's left shaken, confused, and full of self-doubt. With time running out, she must make sense of her feelings and learn to trust herself again so that she can save her business, her family, and most importantly, her heart. 



Buy In Need of Therapy:

Amazon

Amazon UK

Barnes & Noble 
 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

VALENTINE'S PROMO - ROMANTIC EXCERPT FROM "IN NEED OF THERAPY"


The #ChickLitLove-fest continues today with participating authors sharing romantic excerpts from their books. In this snippet from my novel, In Need of Therapy, heroine Pilar Alvarez is trying to close the door on an old relationship (Her ex, Victor, just won't take the hint!), and in the process she might be opening a new window . . .


*  *  *

Humming the tune to some Nicki Minaj song I didn't know the name of, I headed down the stairs.  Just as I reached the landing that divided the steps before they veered to the left, I heard the muffled sound of my cell phone ringing.  I stopped and unzipped my purse.  Extracting the phone, I checked the Caller ID.  Victor.  UGH!  There went my good mood.  I could have just let the call go to voice mail, but I was annoyed that my ex was once again intruding on my life and I suddenly felt confrontational.  So, I answered it.

"What do you want?" was my curt greeting. 

"To take you out for a romantic dinner at Tantra, mi amor."  Tantra was a Miami Beach hot spot that was known for its sensual environment.  Its exotic smells, decor, and cuisine were all designed to enhance and arouse the senses, and there were, in fact, several aphrodisiacs on the menu.  When a man took a date to Tantra, it was with one goal in mind.
 
"That's not going to happen.  Ever," I said firmly.

"But you love Tantra!  Don't you remember we went there for our one-month anniversary?  I hand fed you lobster dipped in bleeding heart truffle vinaigrette and grilled quail with fresh figs."  Mmmmmmm, he was making my mouth water.  "Then, we went back to my place and spent hours experimenting with Kama Su--"
 
"Victor!" I interrupted him before his walk down memory lane became X-rated. 

"Okay, you don't like Tantra anymore.  I'll take you to B.E.D."  Where patrons ate their meals while sitting on large mattresses.  A theme seemed to be developing with Victor's restaurant choices.

"I don't want to go to B.E.D. with you."  It sounded like I was turning down a proposition much more salacious than dinner. 

"Alright, you'd rather not commit to sharing a meal with me.  I understand.  We can just take a walk on the beach and talk."

"We are not a couple anymore, Victor."  In my agitated state, I began to pace back and forth on the landing.  Three steps towards the wall, pivot, then three steps back to the top of the stairs.  "We broke up.  And people who are broken up do not spend time with each other."

"But you said we could still be friends, and friends spend time with each other."

"Friends give each other space when they ask for it."
      
"I've given you plenty of space."
     
"Then, why do I feel so claustrophobic?" I questioned irritably.  "You've got to back off."
 
"If I do that, you'll find somebody new, and I can't bear the thought of you with another man."
 
In that moment, I actually felt a pang of sympathy for my former lover.  Maybe his campaign to win me back wasn't all about his over-inflated ego?  Maybe he did have real feelings for me?

Softening towards him, I said, "Don't worry, Victor.  It's not like I'm going to walk out the door tomorrow and run into my soul ma--" I bumped face-first into a hard, flat surface, let out a startled yelp, and staggered back against the wall.  My cell phone clattered to the stone floor and I watched dazedly as a leafy green plant toppled off a large cardboard box being carried by a tall man with a square jaw and thick brown hair that was attractively disheveled.

"Damn," he cursed and dropped the box down on the pile of potting soil that now covered the landing.  It hit the ground with a loud thump.  "Sorry.  The plant blocked my view and I didn't see you.  I shouldn't have tried to carry so much in one trip.  Are you okay?"

He had a brusque way of speaking that immediately outed him as a New Yorker.  There were plenty of retirees in South Florida who hailed from that part of the country, so I knew the accent well.

I blinked hard a few times, trying to reorient myself.  "I-I think so."

"What about your head?  Did you bang it when you hit the wall?"  There was concern in his eyes, eyes that were the most brilliant shade of blue I'd ever seen.  Gazing into them was almost like staring directly into the sun;  I felt dazed, woozy, like the back of my head was going to split open and my brain would fall out . . . okay, so it wasn't the color of this man’s irises that was having such a strange effect on me, I'd obviously suffered a serious cranial injury.
 
*  *  *

Wanna find out who Mr. Square Jaw is? Pick up a copy of In Need of Therapy today; the e-book is only $1.99!

Amazon

Amazon UK

Barnes & Noble



Book Blurb:  Lending a sympathetic ear and dispensing sage words of advice is all part of the job for psychologist Pilar Alvarez, and she’s everything a good therapist should be: warm, compassionate, supportive. She listens, she cares, and she has all the answers, but how’s the woman everyone turns to in their hour of need supposed to cope when her own life starts to fall apart?

While working hard to make a success of her recently-opened practice in trendy South Beach, Pilar must also find time to cater to the demands of her boisterous Cuban family, which includes younger sister Izzy, an unemployed, navel-pierced wild child who can't stay out of trouble, and their mother, a beauty queen turned drama queen who’s equally obsessed with her fading looks and getting Pilar married before it’s “too late.” Although she’d like to oblige her mother and make a permanent love connection, Pilar’s romantic prospects look grim. Her cheating ex, who swears that he’s reformed, is stalking her. A hunky, but strictly off-limits, patient with bad-boy appeal and intimacy issues is making passes. And the sexy shrink in the suite across the hall has a gold band on his left ring finger.

When a series of personal and professional disasters lead Pilar into the arms of one of her unsuitable suitors, she's left shaken, confused, and full of self-doubt. With time running out, she must make sense of her feelings and learn to trust herself again so that she can save her business, her family, and most importantly, her heart. 



Read romantic excerpts from other Chick Lit authors by following the #ChickLitLove hashtag on Twitter.

Monday, February 10, 2014

VALENTINE'S PROMO - Q&A WITH IN NEED OF THERAPY'S HEROINE


In honor of Cupid's favorite holiday, some talented author friends and I are teaming up to celebrate our female-centric genres. The #ChickLitLove party kicks off today with us shining a spotlight on the heroines of our fun, romantic reads. We're asking these ladies some probing (sometimes cheeky) questions about love and men, and I think you'll find their answers quite revealing. Read on to get a peek inside the head of psychologist Pilar Alvarez, the protagonist of my novel In Need of Therapy.



1) What three qualities do you find most attractive in a partner?

Honesty, loyalty, and a good sense of humor.


2) What’s your idea of romance?

Candlelit dinners, flowers, and pricey gifts are all well and good, but for me romance is spending quality time with the man I love and having really deep, meaningful conversations where we share our most intimate thoughts and secrets.




3) Who's your favorite on-screen couple (Film or TV)?

It's no secret that I'm a bit obsessed with The Notebook. I've seen that movie more times than I care to admit, and with every viewing, I am more entranced by Noah and Allie's beautiful love story. I hope to find a man as wonderful as Noah one day (They do exist outside of fiction, right?) and grow old with him.  



4) What's been your most embarrassing moment in regards to the opposite sex?

Something happened recently involving a drunken confession of love and Twisted Pleasure condoms, and that's all I'm saying because I'm too mortified to relive the whole experience again. If you want to know all the embarrassing details, you'll have to read In Need of Therapy.
 

5) What was your first impression of your partner or crush? How accurate was it?

When I first met my ex, Victor, I thought he was a "catch" because he was charming, successful, and knew how to treat a woman. Unfortunately, he ended up being an old rubber boot kind of catch, instead of a marlin, and his charm quickly turned into smarm. I should have looked past his glossy exterior to the insincere, annoyingly possessive jerk underneath. 




6) How have you coped with break-ups in the past?

I don't recall ever being really devastated over a break-up. Of course, being dumped is never fun. In those cases, I usually just vent to my best friend, Sara, over a pepperoni pizza and she tells me how unworthy the guy was and gives me a long list of all his shortcomings, then congratulates me on my lucky escape. I always feel much better after that.


7) Which hot actor would you want to be stranded on a deserted island with and why? 

Since I've already expressed my fondness for him, the obvious answer here is Ryan Gosling. I'd never get bored on the island if I had his abs to look at all day and night. 




8) What is the craziest thing you've ever done for love?

I treat crazy, so I don't normally do crazy. But there was this one time in college when I'd done a few too many Jell-O shots and let Sara talk me into doing karaoke. I sang a horribly pitchy version of The Beatles' "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" and dedicated it to this boy I was crushing on. The object of my affection did ask me out afterwards, so at least I didn't embarrass myself for nothing.


9) PDA: How much is acceptable? 

Well, I'm a Latina, so I'm pretty touchy-feely, but I do think there's a line you shouldn't cross in public. Hand-holding, shoulder rubs, a PG-rated kiss, a little sensuous dancing - all okay. Groping butts and boobs, playing tonsil hockey, or doing anything else that makes bystanders uncomfortable - not cool. Also, it's overcompensation and tells me that the couple may have serious issues they're not dealing with that's making them feel like they have to prove their couplehood to the world.


10) What is the best relationship advice you've ever gotten?

I can't believe I'm going to say this, but I think the best relationship advice I ever got was from my mamá. She usually advises ridiculous things, like "try not to act too smart" and "tell him how much you love babies," but once in a while she'll says something surprisingly sage that I'll take to heart. Just recently, she told me, "There are no guarantees in life. Sometimes, you just have to take the risk and hope for the best."


Read more Chick Lit heroine Q&As by following the #ChickLitLove hashtag on Twitter.




Book Blurb:  Lending a sympathetic ear and dispensing sage words of advice is all part of the job for psychologist Pilar Alvarez, and she’s everything a good therapist should be: warm, compassionate, supportive. She listens, she cares, and she has all the answers, but how’s the woman everyone turns to in their hour of need supposed to cope when her own life starts to fall apart?

While working hard to make a success of her recently-opened practice in trendy South Beach, Pilar must also find time to cater to the demands of her boisterous Cuban family, which includes younger sister Izzy, an unemployed, navel-pierced wild child who can't stay out of trouble, and their mother, a beauty queen turned drama queen who’s equally obsessed with her fading looks and getting Pilar married before it’s “too late.” Although she’d like to oblige her mother and make a permanent love connection, Pilar’s romantic prospects look grim. Her cheating ex, who swears that he’s reformed, is stalking her. A hunky, but strictly off-limits, patient with bad-boy appeal and intimacy issues is making passes. And the sexy shrink in the suite across the hall has a gold band on his left ring finger.

When a series of personal and professional disasters lead Pilar into the arms of one of her unsuitable suitors, she's left shaken, confused, and full of self-doubt. With time running out, she must make sense of her feelings and learn to trust herself again so that she can save her business, her family, and most importantly, her heart. 


Treat yourself to a fun read this Valentine's. Buy In Need of Therapy:

Amazon

Amazon UK

Barnes & Noble