Guest Post by Courtney Elliott for “The Chick Flick Project” Tour


I’m hosting Courtney Elliott on my blog today. Courtney Elliot is the author of romance/comedy novel, The Chick Flick Project. She’s now touring with The Chick Flick Project and dropping by my blog with a guest post.

My Style of Writing

I usually get an idea for a story from just about anything. I can see a leaf falling from a tree branch, and it can make me want to tell a poignant love story. I’ve gotten ideas from a word in a song, a name in a movie, and even a friend’s dream.

I don’t usually like to stick to one genre when I write. I know that can be a major downfall to writing, but the way I see it, it can reach a wider audience. I know personally I will read any kind of story so long as it’s a good story. If I can get all that from one author, then more power to them. I know it’s a different way to approach things, but that’s usually the way my mind works.

I don’t really have a filter when it comes to what kind of story I’m telling. One day, I’ll write a story about a girl who’s spent her entire life being in love with the cute boy at the local coffee shop. Then the next day I’m writing a story about a young man that finds out he’s something much different than he ever imagined. The only thing that I do keep as a standard point is that there is always a love story. There will always be two people that, despite everything going on around them, will find each other and realize they’re meant to be. There’s something so incredible about that to me.

While I don’t have a particular genre that I keep to, I think the style that I work the best in is probably romantic comedy. When I began working on The Chick Flick Project, I was able to incorporate a lot of my own personality to it. The sarcasm that the characters share with one another is usually how my friends and I are around each other, so it was a lot more fun for me to write.

I tend to model my stories after some of my favorites. For instance, some of my favorite stories to read are the tragedies. I think in all honesty that those are the stories that can capture a reader more than anything else. They are the ones that can stay with a person. I also happen to like reading happy romantic comedies. I’m a fairly sarcastic person so any kind of story that can make me laugh out loud is one that I will read over and over again.

I try and make most of my stories have that aspect just as much as the love story. When you can make your reader laugh or cry with your characters then you know you’ve done something right. I know that’s something that will keep the reader coming back to relive the story over and over again. That’s the main goal that I aim for when I decide to transform any idea into an actual story.

About The Chick Flick Project

Title: The Chick Flick Project
Author: Courtney Elliott
Genre: Romance, Comedy

Ally Nichols is fed up with constantly putting herself out there to only be rejected again and again. After her most recent failure, she comes up with a solution. She decides to start modeling her love life after all of the big screen’s most recognizable love stories. Hilarity, heartbreak, mishaps and mayhem ensue. She hopes that maybe one of them actually figured out the secret to true love. The only problem: no one ever told her that sometimes your Hollywood Happy Ending is where you least expect to find it.

Author Bio

Courtney Elliott lives in a small town in Texas called Cleburne. She has been writing stories since she was eight years old. She’s an easy person to get along with. She loves making jokes, most of which are self deprecating. She’s not ashamed of who she is therefore not afraid to be herself. She may be young, but does not believe age should be a factor, her writing should speak for itself.

Links

Goodreads | Author on Goodreads | Facebook | Courtney’s Blog | Senzuri Books Facebook

Book Review ‘Rescued’ by Arlene Lam

Title: Rescued
Author: Arlene Lam
Genre: Historical & Interracial Romance
Published: July 27th, 2012
Rating: 4 stars
Amelia has a problem: she is set to marry a man twice her age and though she does not love him, she aims to please her domineering aunt and do what is expected of her. This changes when she meets Jordan Bradford, her handsome white employer.

A man with everything—Jordan Bradford is interested in Amelia instantly and cannot for the life of him figure out why she lets those around her treat her as they do. He is determined to make her see her self worth but never dreamed that the pretty little maid could cause him such grief. Yet as time passes and they encounter each other more it is near impossible for him to keep his hands off the brown-skinned maid.

Book Review

Amelia is a young, black girl growing up in an era when there’s still a large difference between black and white, and all men are certainly not treated equal. Growing up with a sister who misses no opportunity to tell her she’s ugly, Amelia is a shy, timid girl with no self-confidence. When her employer, Mr. Bradford (Jordan) returns from a trip at seas and notices the shy maid, he feels an immediate attraction toward her. But being a ladies man, he disregards it at first. However, the longer he spends time with Amelia, the more attracted he feels toward her, until he can no longer resist.

Mr. Bradford reminded me of the male roles in gothic romances – strong, intelligent men who hide a deep, dark secret and often have a dark streak to them. He’s also a lady’s man, another reminder of those gothic romances I used to read. I liked him, even when he acted a bit alpha, and his charming, feel-good personality.

Amelia was a shy, quiet girl, but she could be quite witty toward Mr. Bradford, which I thought was amusing. I also liked how she was described as a clumsy person, especially when he was around.

The side characters were well-described, and I had a certain interpretation of all of them. I liked Vivian, the governess, and George, Mr. Bradford’s little sister. I disliked Amelia’s half-sister, and Morgan, the old man who wanted to marry Amelia. Another bonus is how the issue of the interracial conflict back then are presented. Even if slavery was abolished, it was still frowned upon for a white man or woman to marry a black man or woman. I’m glad those days are over now, but it’s interesting to get a view of how that must’ve been liked for interracial couples.

Release Day Party ‘Creepy Christmas’

We’re hosting a release day party for “Creepy Christmas”, a MG fiction book by author Jaimie Admans. You can get the book for free for a limited time from Amazon (from November 15th to November 17th) so get it while you can!

About Creepy Christmas

Title: Creepy Christmas
Author: Jaimie Admans
Genre: MG Fiction

“Strange things are occurring in the neighbourhood. A mysterious snowfall, one Santa too many, and eyes of coal that watch you wherever you go.

Ten-year-old Kaity is busy trying to get rid of her mum’s creepy new boyfriend and reunite her divorced parents, but her curiosity gets the better of her when she meets the new mall Santa and his enchanting daughter Blizzard. Can Kaity help them save Christmas from being destroyed by Anti-Claus – a pretend Santa who is a permanent member of the naughty list?

It’s Christmas in the village of Chelferry, but this year the snowmen can move, the fairy won’t stay on top of the Christmas tree, and if you listen closely to the musical Christmas cards, you can hear the faint sound of screaming over the Jingle Bells…

Creepy Christmas is a 50,000 word (approx 200 pages) novel suitable for ages 8 and upwards.”

Read an Excerpt

The next morning we wake up to white. The world that is. Unexpected snowfall has hit Chelferry, and it’s incredible. It’s a Sunday so we don’t get a day off school – we don’t get snow very often around here, maybe once a year, and the whole town literally stops still until it melts. School closes, public transport stops, and shops close, either because the staff can’t get in or because they realise that even if they did open they would have no customers. My little sister Pippa is bouncing on my bed at six o’clock in the morning, and for a minute I think I’ve lost the past four weeks and it’s Christmas Day already. Then I realise that she’s squealing about snow and it’s so dark outside that I don’t even know how she can see the snow, let alone get excited about it, but she does. I get out of bed and pad over to the window with her just to get her to be quiet so as not to wake Mum and Dad, and when I—

Wait… It’s Mum and Seth now. Not Dad. How can I still forget even after all these months that Dad’s not here anymore? How can I forget that on the real Christmas morning, when Pippa goes careening into Mum’s room and bounces on their bed, that Dad isn’t going to be there? I wonder about Dad. How does he feel knowing that his daughters are going to be waking someone else up on Christmas morning? Well, okay, probably relieved given our tendency to wake up in the early hours at Christmas, but still. The thoughts suddenly make the snow less appealing. “I’m going back to bed for a couple of hours, Pips,” I say sadly. “You should too, it’s early.”

She shuffles out of my room like she can sense the change in my mood, and I can’t help but wonder what she really feels about all of this. I’m finding it so hard to adjust and I’m five years older than Pippa. Either she’s too little to really understand what’s going on with our parents’ divorce, or she’s much more mature than we give her credit for and she’s handling everything much better than I am.

I smile at the thought of her and snow. An overnight snowfall is almost as exciting as Christmas for Pips as she’s only just old enough to understand that snow means school closure and playing outside for hours on end and losing feeling in your extremities.

I stay in bed but end up tossing and turning for a couple more hours. Just as it starts getting light, I decide to take Harry for his morning walk early, before every kid in the neighbourhood is outside having a snowball fight. Harry doesn’t particularly like kids or snow, so he can be a bit of a handful if the two are mixed. Mum and Seth aren’t up yet, and I can’t hear any signs of Pippa so I guess she went back to sleep too. Dad always used to be up early. It was always a rare occasion to come downstairs to an empty house, even on a Sunday. Dad would always be here because he said his body clock was used to getting up early for work. I never realised how much I liked coming downstairs to see Dad sitting at the kitchen table reading his newspaper.

I sigh and try to shake myself out of these thoughts. I’m far too melancholy today. I grab my warmest coat, the one that makes me look like the Michelin man, attach Harry’s lead and walk out into the snow.

I’m surprised to see the street totally deserted. I stand on our front step and survey up and down the road, and there isn’t a sign of anyone about. Okay, it is still early and it is a Sunday, but I’m surprised not to see any kids out here yet. Oh well, all the more space for me. I pull my wellies up and jump off our front step, landing knee deep in a snowdrift.

The snow looks so beautiful as I shuffle down to the end of our driveway and let myself out the gate. Virgin snow with no sign of a footprint makes the picturesque street look like a Christmas card.

That’s when I notice the snowmen.

How strange. I guess I’m not that early after all as evidently half the neighbourhood has been outside building snowmen already. Every house, in every garden, there’s an almost identical looking snowman. Almost the same in size, with the same tree branch arms, coal buttons, coal eyes, and carrots for noses.

There is even one in our garden, which is a bit of a cheek if you ask me, as I’m sure Pippa would have loved to build one, but someone’s already done it.

Odd though that there are no footprints. Anywhere. I mean, I’m the first person making footprints this morning, and yet there are snowmen in almost every garden, so obviously people have been out and playing in the snow and probably just popped back in for breakfast. So why no footprints? I try to puzzle it out as I drag Harry off down the street, just to nip around the block so he can do his business and then go back. I love the snow but it is cold this morning.

I try to glance into some of the houses, but they all look dark still, like the occupants are still sleeping with their curtains and blinds closed.

And then I want to physically smack myself in the head for being so stupid. Obviously the reason that there aren’t any footprints is because we’ve had another snowfall since everybody came out. Fresh snow has obviously covered up all the previous tracks in the snow. Epic facepalm. Although I wasn’t really sleeping since Pippa woke me up, I was just lying there thinking, so I’m quite surprised I didn’t hear the kids yelling and shouting and playing in the snow. But that’s beside the point. Every house has a snowman. I can’t believe all these people were out here making snowmen and I didn’t hear a thing.

I look at the snowmen as I pass and suddenly I get a chill up my spine. All of a sudden I feel very alone and small in the world, and I can’t help but speed up a little in my walking. I’m not far from the house and getting back there suddenly feels like it would be a very good thing so I hurry Harry along.

I can feel their creepy coal eyes staring at me. I know it’s my imagination but I feel like the eyes follow me as I pass them. They’re all so eerily similar to look at. Almost military and uniform in their build, and I briefly wonder if maybe the families who built them all discussed how their snowmen would look and synchronized them. And how did they all manage to do that before eight in the morning and without me hearing?

I speed up so much that I am almost running, not wanting to be out here on my own anymore. I turn the corner into our street again, not surprised to find it still completely empty bar the snowmen. I don’t want to look behind me, I’m too scared, and where did that fear come from? I feel that if I look back I will find twenty pairs of snowmen eyes staring at me, even though I know that’s not possible. Maybe this divorce is affecting me more than I thought. I’m clearly losing my marbles if I think snowmen are watching me.

I’m bright red and panting as I race up to our house, dragging Harry behind me and still refusing to look back. I fall in the door and slam it hard behind me.

“What’s up with you?” Mum is on her way down the stairs, yawning and rubbing her eyes tiredly.

“Mum, there are snowmen everywhere. In every house.”

“Well, the neighbours must’ve been busy.”

“No, you don’t get it. There’s a snowman in every garden. Even ours. And we didn’t build it.”

“Well, isn’t that nice, Kaity? Obviously one of the neighbours has been round and done it overnight.”

“I don’t know…”

“What a nice way to spread Christmas cheer. I wonder who it was?”

“I don’t think—”

“Pips! Kaity says there’s a snowman, do you want to come and see?”

“Yaaaaay,” Pippa runs out of the kitchen shouting.

I ignore her and shuffle up to my bedroom. I sit on the windowseat and watch Pippa in the front garden talking to the snowman, and Mum yelling at her to come back and get her coat on.

I guess Mum is right. I don’t know what’s gotten into me. Obviously someone has come round and built a snowman in every garden during the night. It actually is quite a nice way to spread Christmas cheer. And I suppose that if the same person has built them it would explain why they all look the same.

I don’t know why they creeped me out. I guess I’m just reading too much into what is quite clearly a simple explanation.

I glance out the window at them all again, lined up perfectly in each garden, and I can’t help the eerie feeling that creeps down my spine.

Author Bio

Jaimie is a 27-year-old English-sounding Welsh girl with an awkward-to-spell name. She lives in South Wales and enjoys writing, gardening, drinking tea and watching horror movies.

She hates spiders and cheese & onion crisps.

She has been writing for years, but has never before plucked up the courage to tell people. Creepy Christmas is her second novel and she hopes you like it!

Links

Website | Twitter | Facebook

Creepy Christmas on Amazon UK | Creepy Christmas on Amazon US

Get the Book for Free!

You can get Creepy Christmas for free from Amazon for a limited time – November 15th, 16th and 17th. Go get your free copy while you still can!

Book Review ‘The Escape of Princess Madeline’

Title: The Escape of Princess Madeline
Author: Kristin Pulioff
Genre: YA Fantasy

The Kingdom of Soron is known for many things, its rolling landscape, haunting history, fiery sunsets, and its beautiful princess. Princess Madeline woke on her sixteenth birthday to realize that her future had been planned out, a life full of privilege, royalty, and boredom… a life with a husband and knight champion that she did not choose. Using her charm, strength and stubbornness, she defies the King at every turn, determined to keep her freedom on her terms.

Freedom quickly turns to disaster as she finds herself seized by a group of wandering bandits. With the kingdom in turmoil over her capture- her Knight Champion eager to prove himself, a group of dedicated suitors determined to win her hand, and a group of exiled wizards join forces to rescue her. Follow Princess Madeline in this adventure to find freedom and love.

Book Review

I doubt you’d like to marry a man/woman you didn’t choose. Well, neither does Princess Madeline. Except she’s a Princess, and that means she has to put her own wishes aside for the good of the Kingdom – yeah, right. Like the kingdom would care if she married or not. It’s her Dad, the King, who’s being annoying again. Madeline would do anything to escape the upcoming marriage, and what better way than to escape and flee the Palace? Except the Princess, whose never been outside unescorted, doesn’t really think her plan through and gets into more trouble than she thought possible.

Princess Madeline was a nice character. I liked her wit and humor, and her intelligence and passion. She’s very passionate for things she believes in. I thought some of the other characters, like the Knight Champion and the King, were a bit underdeveloped, but since it’s a short story, intended for upper MG or lower YA audiences, I guess that’s normal. The plot itself is fast-paced, the writing is decent, and the setting is well-developed.

I have the faint feeling, since the ending left some questions unanswered, that there will be a sequel. In that case, I’d really like to read it.

Book Review ‘Living The Thin Life’

Title: Living The Thin Life
Author: Elle Meyer
Genre: Diet/Weight Maintenance
Rating: 9/10

Living the Thin Life – Creative Ways to Maintain Your Weight for Life was written to help successful dieters maintain their ideal weight. Each person is different, so everyone needs to develop his or her own personalized plan for fitness and weight maintenance. This book explains how to build that personal plan to take into account each individual’s unique eating personality. Tips for staying motivated, shaving off calories, and working exercise into an everyday routine are provided in a light-hearted manner. As an added bonus, over 50 healthy, low calorie recipes are included.

The author, Elle Meyer, successfully lost weight ten years ago and came up with her own methods for keeping the weight off. She decided to write a book to tell her story and share strategies that really work. She interviewed many people who have lost and maintained weight and included their best ideas and suggestions. These tips are from real people, for real people.

In addition to including common sense, effective diet techniques, Elle also describes some habits of her husband “Elvis” (name changed to protect his reputation). These habits provide examples of what not to do when trying to maintain a healthy weight.

Book Review

I don’t usually read non fiction novels, but I wanted to make an exception for this one. I’ve been struggling with my weight for many years now, and I’m glad to read a book by an author who not only managed to lose the weight, but who also managed to keep it off for a long period of time. I’m quite jealous, to be honest (but in a good way!) and wished this would work for me as well, so I’m going to take the principles mentioned in Living The Thin Life and use them myself to keep the weight off.

The author gives some useful suggestions, ranging from what to eat and what not to eat to how to exercise and how many times a week to exercise. I found her exercise tips in particular very useful. I also loved how she referred to her husband as ‘Elvis’ because he’s the King! Haha. I also liked how she contrasted certain things she did with things her husband did, and which obviously didn’t work. It was nice to see the contrast.

This book inspired me to start my eternal struggle against the extra weight again. I hope that if you read it, it inspires you just as much!

Book Excerpt

Chapter 1 Let’s Get Motivated

This is my key message – discover what motivates you and what works for you. We are all unique individuals. We don’t look alike or think alike, so why should we expect the same eating or exercise program to work for everyone? In fact, research has shown that women differ from one another more than men do1. These differences make it important to develop your own system and not expect a “one-size-fits-all” program to work for you. Pick and choose from all the suggestions and advice presented here to come up with your own personalized plan. Improvise by adjusting, combining, or adding suggestions.

Over the years I’ve realized you can develop a system that suits you through experimentation and learning from your experiences. It’s an ongoing process that you will continue to fine-tune over time. There are new products continually being developed – exercise equipment and programs, sugar and fat substitutes, new menu items at restaurants – so you can add variety to your routine and avoid monotony. That keeps it fun!

The first step in developing your custom plan is to discover your own personal motivators. What truly makes you want to do whatever it takes to stay healthy and fit? When you’re tempted to overeat or skip a workout, what thoughts will keep you on track by reminding you of why you want to stay in good shape? Here are some possibilities to consider:

A desire to be healthy. This is a great motivator for most people. Maintaining a healthy weight can help reduce your risk of developing certain health conditions such as:

• High blood pressure
• Type 2 diabetes
• Heart disease and stroke
• High blood fats such as cholesterol and triglycerides
• Arthritis
• Cancer
• Gallstones
• Fatty liver disease

Release Day Party The Chick Flick Project

We’re hosting a release day party for The Chick Flick Project, a romantic comedy novel by author Courtney Elliott, published by Senzuri Books.

Read more about The Chick Flick Project, find out more about the author AND get a chance at winning an eBook copy of this delightful and fun read!

The Chick Flick Project

Title: The Chick Flick Project
Author: Courtney Elliott
Genre: Romance, Comedy

Ally Nichols is fed up with constantly putting herself out there to only be rejected again and again. After her most recent failure, she comes up with a solution. She decides to start modeling her love life after all of the big screen’s most recognizable love stories. Hilarity, heartbreak, mishaps and mayhem ensue. She hopes that maybe one of them actually figured out the secret to true love. The only problem: no one ever told her that sometimes your Hollywood Happy Ending is where you least expect to find it.

Author Bio

Courtney Elliott lives in a small town in Texas called Cleburne. She has been writing stories since she was eight years old. She’s an easy person to get along with. She loves making jokes, most of which are self deprecating. She’s not ashamed of who she is therefore not afraid to be herself. She may be young, but does not believe age should be a factor, her writing should speak for itself.

Links

Goodreads | Author on Goodreads | Facebook | Courtney’s Blog | Senzuri Books Facebook

Giveaway

We’re giving away eBook copies of The Chick Flick Project to 5 lucky winners. Fill in the Rafflecopter form to participate!

Click here to view the form!

If the link doesn’t work, please fill in the form on Enchanted Book Promotions to participate.