Tuesday, January 31, 2012

POINT, CLICK, LOVE by Molly Shapiro

Congrats to:
Holly Poty!
Please email your address to me at stephanieelliot@gmail.com so you can receive your book!

I told you it would be a busy week here on MaNiC MoMMy and I’ve got another fun book for you already, but don’t forget, if you haven’t had a chance to enter to win Falling For Me, get over there RIGHT NOW and do so, you’ll have lots of time to enter for all of the books, and then later on this week, I’ll be debuting my eBook novella, so be sure to come back for that too!

I haven’t had a chance to read today’s book as I just received it last week, but it’s one I think we all can relate to in this age of social media. 

Molly Shapiro’s debut is Point, Click, Love and one of my favorite male authors, Tom Perrotta, has called it “a thoroughly engaging debut … with wit, insight, and a light touch.”

In Point, Click, Love Shapiro’s characters are across the board—she’s got happily divorced, miserably married and achingly single and they’re all trying to figure out their lives via the internet … one wants a sperm donor, one is tired of competing with Facebook for her husband’s attention (this, I can really relate too –  I can’t believe I encouraged my husband to get a Facebook page!), and the divorcee is looking for love online. 

Does anyone go out anymore or can we just order everything we want through this dang computer? Hahah! Sperm, love, you name it, the internet’s got it!

Here is the back-of-the-book blurb for you to check out:

Best friends and fellow midwesterners Katie, Annie, Maxine, and Claudia are no strangers to dealing with love and relationships, but with online dating and social networking now in the mix, they all have the feeling they’re not in Kansas anymore. Katie, a divorced mother of two, secretly seeks companionship through the Internet only to discover that the rules of the dating game have drastically changed. Annie, a high-powered East Coast transplant, longs for a baby, yet her online search for a sperm donor is not as easy—or anonymous—as she anticipates. Maxine, a successful artist with a seemingly perfect husband, turns to celebrity gossip sites to distract herself from her less-than-ideal marriage. And Claudia, tired of her husband’s obsession with Facebook, finds herself irresistibly drawn to a handsome co-worker. As these women navigate the new highs and lows of the digital age, they each find that their wrong turns lead surprisingly to the right click and, ultimately, the connection they were seeking.

Point, Click, Love is a fun read for all of us, whether we’re married, single, divorced, with babies, without babies, lovers or haters or Facebook, the internet, celeb sites, twitter. It’ll have you wondering what we did with all of our free time before we sat in front of these God-awful machines all day long! What DID we do!?

To win a copy of Point, Click, Love, tell me some of your favorite sites to surf, or tell me if you’ve found love on line? Would love to hear your internet story! Thanks!

Remember, MaNiC MoMMy is aiming to feature great books each and every week this year, and you’ll have a chance to win it as well! Please stop by often as I’m now posting new books more than once a week! Open to US/Canada residents only, and thanks to all the participating authors and publicists for providing the books. You can check back on this post over the weekend to see if you’ve won the book!

Monday, January 30, 2012

FALLING FOR ME by Anna David

Congrats to
Kimmi! (Hockey Penguin Kimmi!)
Please send your full name and mailing address to stephanieelliot@gmail.com so you can receive your book!


This is going to be a big week on MaNiC MoMMy as we’ll have THREE books for you (one will be the debut of my short story ebook on Thursday)! Make sure you come back to enter to win all three of them this week!

The first one is a memoir, and I love the memoirs I feature on here because, well, I only choose the best of the best when it comes to memoirs!

Falling For Me is by Anna David who has also written some amazing fiction including Party Girl and Bought if you haven’t checked her out before. Now I would describe Falling For Me as the cool chick’s Eat Pray Love, not that I didn’t enjoy Eat Pray Love, but Falling For Me is just a hip book. 

And you’ll love Anna from the very first chapter when she falls in love with a married man but restrains herself, although they spend two weeks together. I don’t know how she did it because the passion was definitely there. She’s a great writer. 

She gets back to NY after discovering she has fallen in love with a married man (but very good for her she didn’t act on it)! While lamenting the love that was not to be, she finds the book, Sex and the Single Girl, by Helen Gurley Brown, who was Cosmo’s editor for years beginning in the sixties. While some of Helen’s advice was less than sensible for today’s sexy single girl, Anna decides to embark on a journey following the advice in the book, in “the hope of overcoming the fears and insecurities that had haunted her for years.”

You’ll laugh at her dating antics, and some of them you'll be like ... whoa! (check out the excerpt down below!) You'll travel with Anna, get some decorating and fashion tips, learn to cook a mean roasted chicken, and read a great story when you get Falling For Me

Read Chapter One here. I promise you’ll be hooked. But if this chapter doesn't snag you, read this one about how Anna beds a much younger man in her quest for finding herself -- Oh.My.God. Gimme summa dat! HOT! HOT! HOT!

To enter to win Anna’s book, and I’ve asked this question before on my blog, tell me if you were choosing a title for your memoir RIGHT THIS VERY MOMENT, what would the title be? Make sure, as always, to leave an identifying name so I know how to reach you/who you are, and also your email if you can!

Thanks to Anna for sharing her amazing memoir with us, and check in later tomorrow evening for another great book. And then on Thursday, I'll be sharing my novella, The Cell Phone Lot with all of you. If you haven't gotten any info on it yet, you can friend me on FB to learn more! (When you do friend me on FB, just tell me you read MaNiC MoMMy so I know where you're coming from please!)

Remember, MaNiC MoMMy is aiming to feature great books each and every week this year, and you’ll have a chance to win it as well! Please stop by often as I’m now posting new books more than once a week! Open to US/Canada residents only, and thanks to all the participating authors and publicists for providing the books. You can check back on this post over the weekend to see if you’ve won the book!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Your Invisible Pixie
Please send your mailing address to stephanieelliot@gmail.com so you can receive your copy of 
A Promise of Safekeeping!

Surprise, I’ve got ANOTHER book for you this week. I thought this might happen - I think there will be many weeks where I'll feature more than one book!

(Please don't forget about yesterday's book, Beautiful Disaster, and make sure to go HERE to enter to win that book as well!)

A Promise of Safekeeping by Lisa Dale is another page-turner, full of suspense and surprises. When Lauren Matthews wrongfully sends an innocent man to prison, the one thing she desperately wants to do when he is released is ask forgiveness. He’s lost nine years of his life because of her error in judgment. How can she give him back that time she’s taken from him?

But in order to get forgiveness from Arlen, the man she’s wrongfully prosecuted, Lauren must get through his best friend, Will. He remembers Lauren from those long ago days and will do anything to protect Arlen from Lauren. 

Lauren prides herself on being able to read people, but when she gets to Virginia to seek forgiveness from Arlen, she’ll discover more than the importance of interpreting body language – she’ll learn about long ago kept secrets, redemption, friendship, forgiveness and love.

Lisa’s website: http://lisadalebooks.com/

Get the book on Amazon: A Promise of Safekeeping

In A Promise of Safekeeping, the book deals with interpreting a person’s body language to tell if that person is telling the truth or lying. Promises are hard to keep, and it’s also hard to tell a lie. Do you sometimes feel like a little white lie is a necessary evil? Tell me how so, and you’ll be entered to win a copy of A Promise of Safekeeping! Or tell me that lying is completely evil and you’ll still be entered to win a copy! Remember to leave an identifying/unique name or email address on your comment entry! 

MaNiC MoMMy is aiming to feature great books each and every week this year, and you’ll have a chance to win it as well! Please stop by often as I’m now posting new books more than once a week! Open to US/Canada residents only, and thanks to all the participating authors and publicists for providing the books. You can check back on this post over the weekend to see if you’ve won the book!

Monday, January 23, 2012


Congratulations to
Please send me your mailing address to stephanieelliot@gmail.com so you can receive your copy of Beautiful Disaster!

This week’s book is one that I’ve started but haven’t finished, and it’s not for lack of trying. Have had a couple of personal issues going on, and sometimes I don’t get a chance to read as much as I’d love too. (Okay, ALL OF THE TIME… If I could do nothing in life but read, write and nap and love my family, I would be one happy lady!)

I’ve got to tell you that this week’s book has one of the most beautiful covers I’ve ever seen, and from what I’ve read so far, I am intrigued and desperately want to know where it’s heading, so that is a sign of great things to come. My heart started racing from the first chapter.

A very good sign. 

I love the premise, not only because it’s a heart-racing stop-what-you’re-doing kind of book, but also because the book that I have out on submission is kind of along the same premise – the ex that the main character can’t stop thinking about comes back. 

But in the case of Laura Spinella’s debut, the ex comes back almost dead from a near-fatal accident.

And he’s in a coma.

Beautiful Disaster is a story about secrets kept and a love hidden, and what happens when that hidden love resurfaces. Can it outlive all that has happened in between? 

Here’s the back-of-the-book blurb:

Mia Wells is poised to finalize the deal that will make her eco-friendly career goals a reality.  The moment is interrupted when an unexpected phone call ushers in a tremulous past.  The man she’s always loved, the one who abandoned her years before, has mysteriously resurfaced.

Set in the Deep South amid magnolia leaves and the innocence of college life, Beautiful Disaster begins with Flynn’s arrival.  He’s a man with a doubtful past, half a name, and no ties to anything earthbound, except Mia.  For a year they have the kind of love affair a man like him inspires.  Mia trusts him with her life.  It’s a precarious leap of faith when she learns that he’s a fugitive on the run. For the next twelve years she keeps his secrets, long after Flynn vanishes, devastating her.  Succumbing to the common sense she once defied, Mia eventually marries.

Michael Wells is a wonderful man: patient, successful, driven.  She does love him; who wouldn’t?  Never anticipating Flynn’s return, Mia does her best to put the past behind her.  It’s a bittersweet truth as she must admit to a love and a passion that has never died. Yet, the future is grim as a gravely injured Flynn lingers, his dark past hovering like a storm.

When he finally recovers, the puzzle unfolds. Flynn’s recollections are sketchy, piecing together the years and moments leading up to his accident. A smart man for whom honor has been a nemesis, Flynn unravels the truth: one well meaning lie has altered three lives, creating futures that should have never been. As the past and present reconcile, Mia’s what ifs are endless.  Filled with sweetness and suspense, Beautiful Disaster is a powerful tale—a love story that is greater than honor or friendship or the passing of time.

Check out Laura’s website here: www.lauraspinella.net 

Read Chapter One Right Here, Right Now

Exes are certainly a mysterious being – we all wonder about them. Maybe you’ve stalked one, maybe you got back together with one, maybe you are really great friends with one, maybe you got REALLY even with one! Share a quick story about an ex and you’ll be entered to win a copy of Beautiful Disaster!

Remember, MaNiC MoMMy is aiming to feature a great book each and every week this year, and you’ll have a chance to win it as well! Please stop by for your chance every Monday. Open to US/Canada residents only, and thanks to all the participating authors and publicists for providing the books. You can check back on this post over the weekend to see if you’ve won the book! And please tell your friends - good karma can help you to win the books!    : )

Monday, January 16, 2012

THE UNDERSIDE OF JOY by Sere Prince Halverson

 Congrats to 
Dani in Chicago!
You've won The Underside of Joy!
Please email me at stephanieelliot@gmail.com
with your mailing address so you can receive your book!

The Underside of Joy
By Sere Prince Halverson

I knew I would love The Underside of Joy by the title alone. I mean, come on, what IS the The Underside of Joy? This is a book that I read in record time, and for me, finding time to read with three kids does not come easily. I usually only read at night before bed, or in the car while waiting for a kid during a basketball practice. 

With Sere Prince Halverson’s debut, I snuck in reading all the time, neglecting the laundry more than usual, forgetting to feed lunch to kids, and ignoring anything that got in my way.

It’s truly mesmerizing.

The premise is this: A step-mom loses her husband to a drowning, and the birth mother comes back to reclaim her two children. A custody battle ensues. It’s not your basic step-mom fights birth mother story – the writing is so lyrical and fluid, and the setting adds so much to the novel in the fictional Elbow, California, with its Redwood trees, the lush forest, and the flowing river that runs through it.

I fell in love with the characters—Ella, the widowed step-mother, who fights to keep her children, Annie and Zach, after their father dies. She’s the only mother they have ever known. And I even felt sympathy for Paige, the birth mother, who has been gone for three years because she couldn’t deal with motherhood due to a long-ago secret of her own.

This is a story that will tug at your heartstrings; that will have you turning pages so quickly because you can’t wait to find out what will happen next. You’ll love Ella’s extended family – her lost husband’s Italian family, and the heritage they hold close to their hearts, you’ll root for her, and you’ll cry for her losses. You’ll think of Ella, and of Paige even, and definitely of Annie and Zach long after you’ve closed the book, and you’ll wonder about your own Underside of Joy. 

To win a copy of The Underside of Joy, tell me about a particular time in your life or a particular place that is very joyful to you. Don't read other people's comments until you comment first because I don't want their choices to affect your answer. Tell me the first thing that comes to your mind, whether it was a place, being with a person, or a feeling about something or someone that gave you immense joy!

I'll choose a winner later in the week, and also, HOPEFULLY, I'll have ANOTHER book to give away this week too, so please do come back! I've got a TON of books coming up -- it's completely crazy! Which is GREAT FOR YOU!

Please remember, this is for US/Canada contestants only, and I have to thank the author and publicists for making these contests possible! 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Best Part/Worst Part

Our family doesn’t have a lot of family meals. First, many of you know here that I’m not exactly June Cleaver when it comes to all things house-hold. I hate to cook, can’t boil water to save my life, and seriously get heart palpitations when I have to go to the grocery store. 

When I do cook something, my kids are thrilled. I would say on average, we have a sit-down dinner twice a week. Better yet, if I took a calendar and looked at the four weeks in a month, I would say the likelihood of us sitting at the table to a real meal, is about six to seven times a month. Is that sad? Are you all shaking your heads in shame at me?

It’s not to say that we don’t have time for each other, although yeah, we don’t have a lot of time for each other when it comes down to your regular sit-down real family meals: a meat, potato, vegetable, bread and a gallon of milk at the table. But who does this anymore? I personally didn’t grow up that way. Did you? I know actually that my husband did, and I’m thankful that he is very easy-going and never expected that of me, or our marriage wouldn’t have lasted almost 19 years so far.

We DO however try to come together to eat when we can, and I DO provide food and time for us to be together when it’s possible. When he’s not traveling, when one kid isn’t at a practice, or an art class, or out with friends. And every single time we are all together, sitting around our table for five, we have specific rituals that we stick with, and these traditions will follow us through, until the kids go to college, and when the kids return from college, and when the kids get married and come home to visit with their own families. And I absolutely love these family rituals we have created with the five of us.

I don’t know how it started, but Luke, our youngest, must have learned to say Grace when he was attending his Christian pre-school when he was three. He’s ten now. Every time we gather for dinner, we all take each other’s hands and Luke is in charge of saying Grace. Not Dad. I don’t know why this started, maybe because he said it so cute, but he’s been saying it since he could talk, so it’s been a LOT of years. And he’s never gotten it right, and I’m sure he knows it’s wrong now, but this is what he says: “God is good, God is great, let us thank Him for our food.”

THIS is our family prayer, and I absolutely LOVE it. 

The other traditions we have at dinner is our discussion: Best Part/Worst Part, where we go around the table and share the best part of our day, and then the worst part. It’s an expected rule that we CANNOT say that dinner is the best part because we all know that for all of us, being there together at that time having dinner is probably the best part of the day. 

We have to choose another aspect of our day. This is a great time for us because we’re able to share moments throughout our day we couldn’t be with one another and open up about things that may have happened that were less than ideal. It’s our time to connect and reveal what has been going on in our lives.

Life is speeding by for us. I’ve got an eighth grader, a seventh grader and a fourth grader. The older ones go out with their friends on their own; my youngest is not far behind. High school is just around the corner. I need these moments to connect and be a family. We need to remind them that family is the most important thing, THE thing that matters most in the world. We’re all we have. Friends come and go. Family is for life.

This has been another post I’ve gotten to share with you because of my affiliation with Fresh Takes on Family with Subway and I’ve been grateful for the opportunity. It’s made me open my eyes up to how important it is to really take time to be with the family, to create even more traditions and rituals, to keep the conversations open and continuing between my children, my husband and me.

If you’ve got traditions you’d like to share, you’re still able to do so at the Fresh Takes on Family site, and you and your family could be featured!

Thanks for taking the time to peek into my life a little bit, and I’ll be back very soon to share another amazing book about an incredible family. This one is called The Underside of Joy and it’ll have you mesmerized from page one!

My blog is a part of an incentivized online influencer network for Fresh Takes on Family Time Powered by Subway.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Sunday Morning

Sunday morning our family got up and it was a typical winter day in Scottsdale. Absolutely stunningly beautiful. I don’t want to make you guys mad or anything but it was just gorgeous. I said to the kids, “How about we all walk to Starbucks?” There was no complaining from anyone. McK had a friend sleep over and she came along, and then we stopped to pick up another one of her friends. AJ and Luke grabbed their longboards (do you guys know what those are? They’re just like skateboards, but more moveable), and then one of AJ’s friends came too. We had a whole posse with us.

We walked along to Starbucks and on our way we can see the mountains and blue sky and the white clouds. Before we moved to the dessert, I never thought of a place like this having so much beauty and color. I always thought it was going to be brown, brown, brown. Some days I will leave a store and see the mountains in the background and palm trees in the forefront, and think to myself, “Holy Cow, I get to live here?” 

It was just really nice to walk with the fam, and spend some time with them. The weeks are so busy with basketball (two boys who are on three teams – do that math!), art class, car pools, friends, babysitting, Mr. Manic’s work schedule, and other obligations, it seems like we never get family time together. 

Plus, it is really nice to see that finally, FINALLY, we feel at home here. All of our kids have great groups of friends, we feel like if we need to, we have neighbors we can call on if we’re in a bind. It’s certainly not like our old neighborhood, but every day gets better and easier. We’re in a really good place. I could look back a year and a half at some of the posts I wrote when we first lived here, and when the kids first went to school, and how much we all cried and cried, and how much we missed our Chicago home. We’ve come a long way. And we’ve done that because of the strength we have as a family. 

When we got to Starbucks, I said to our group, “You know, I think I could really live anywhere as long as I lived close enough to walk to a Starbucks.” And AJ’s buddy finished my sentence perfectly by saying … “In January!”

Yep, I would have to be able to walk to Starbucks in January. I don’t think I could go back to freezing cold weather. I’m too much of a wimp now. But we all had a good laugh at that. The boys then skated home and we girls sat outside with our drinks and enjoyed the sun on our faces.

It’s nice to be with family and friends, and on the way back, I called my best friend from home, because even though I live here now, I still have my close friends from home, and I’ll never forget them. 

When we got back, McK said we should do that every Sunday. And I liked that idea. I wish we had all the time to do lots more things together. Are there things you and your family do together that have become something of a tradition to you?

I’m sharing this story as part of a FreshTakes on Family Time, and if you’d like to go to their site and share yours, you can win a $50 gift card and a chance to be featured on their site. Some of the stories are really amazing, like the one about this amazing family – the dad is blind yet they find ways to go on family adventures all of the time. It’s truly inspirational.

Thanks for taking the time to read, and I’ll be back later this week with a winner for MWF Seeking BFF, and then next week I’ll have another book for you to win!

My blog is a part of an incentivized online influencer network for Fresh Takes on Family Time Powered by Subway.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

MWF Seeking BFF by Rachel Bertsche

Loved hearing about your BFF stories! Congrats to:
You have won the copy of MWF Seeking BFF!
Please email me at stephanieelliot@gmail.com with your address so I can send you your book!

Now this is a memoir I can TOTALLY relate to! I have BEEN that Married White Female seeking the BFF. When we moved from Chicago to Philadelphia, I had to search for best friends. When we moved from Philly BACK to Chicago, even though I still had friends in Chicago, I STILL had to search for new friends. And just a year and a half ago, when we left Chicago to move to Scottsdale, well, I had to do it AGAIN, and I’m STILL DOING IT! It’s HARD to find friends that you can enjoy, trust, and relate to.

And Rachel Bertsche knows this better than anyone!

Rachel and her boyfriend had moved to Chicago, and then soon became husband and wife, which is great, but we married folks know that woman cannot live on man alone! Nope! Rachel needed a friend! She wanted someone to hang with, someone she could go grab a coffee with, she needed someone she could gripe to about her husband. Don’t we all? So what she decided to do was go on a year-long search to find the friend of her dreams, and that meant to put herself out there, to go on 52 friend-dates, to see if she could find a BFF in Chicago!

Rachel has met potential friends through classes, want-ads, through other friends, any way she can, and her hilarious memoir takes you through her friend-dating experience. You just have to put yourself out there if you want to make new friends. I have done the same thing – it’s fun if you are brave enough to do it! I went on a friend-date once that author Jen Lancaster set me up on, and it was a great time. I’ve friend-dated my blog buddies (hi Holly and Terri – we need to go out again!). It’s just a matter of putting yourself out there to see who might be a friend match!

Here is the fun book trailer for MWF …

Rachel’s book debuted last week but she was kind enough to answer some questions for me too even though she was busy with TV interviews and traveling and even MAKING new friends!

MANIC: I’ve done the girlfriend search too, and it’s much, much easier when you have little children you can pimp out at The Little Gym or at the park – where do you think is the easiest place for women to meet women who might want to become friends?

RACHEL: I think signing up for classes or groups are a great bet. I joined a book club, a cooking group from MeetUp.com, and took an improv class. These are fantastic for two reasons: 1) You have built-in consistency. If a group meets once a week or once a month, you have a time you are guaranteed to see your potential friend. This takes the work out of always finding a time to get together again. 2) You'll find people with similar interests. If you both love knitting, or reading, or running, that's a great beginning to a relationship.

MANIC: What was your most fun blind girl date?

RACHEL: There were so many! I definitely can't pick just one. But overall, I can say all the most fun dates involved A LOT of laughter. 

MANIC: Did you have a disaster date with anyone?

RACHEL: No, I wouldn't say that I did. There were definitely some that worked out better than others, though. When you meet some 52 new people, you won't click with everyone. When it didn't work out, it sometimes felt like I could hear the movie crickets chirping--there was that much awkward silence--but it wasn't because there was anything wrong with the women, we just weren't a match.

MANIC: Is there anyone you are particularly close to that you met through your girl-dating experience?

RACHEL: So many! I met a ton of women--more than just the 52 I went out with--over the course of 2010, the year I spent friend-dating. I have a number of close friends from the experience. Women in my book club, my cooking club, my dance class, ex-coworkers....

MANIC: How long have you lived in Chicago and would you call Chicago home now?

RACHEL: I've lived in Chicago for four and a half years. We moved in June of 2007. I did my year of friending in 2010. I definitely think of Chicago as home - more now that I have a whole social network there!

MANIC: Are you working on another book?

RACHEL: I'm at the very beginning stages of working on a second book. I have the kernel of an idea.... Hopefully something more concrete will be hammered out soon.

MANIC: Thanks Rachel! Your book is a lot of fun and is a great read! It would make a PERFECT gift for anyone who is moving to a new city, or for anyone’s BFF too!

Readers, you can enter to win it here on MaNiC this week by answering THIS QUESTION:

Have you ever met a close friend in an unusual way? 
I met one of my best girlfriends via the internet. My friend ‘Swishy’ and I became the best of friends when she emailed me saying she was going to a Jen Weiner book signing and asked me if I was attending. I didn’t even know Jen was going to be in my neighborhood. I told Swishy I would go, we met one another and we have been the greatest friends ever since! In fact, she’s coming out to Scottsdale to visit me in a few weeks!

So tell me how you have met one of your closest friends and you’ll be entered to win Rachel’s book! Remember, US and Canada readers only please, and check back later in the week for more blog posts and also for the winner to be announced right here on this post!

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

I've Got The Urge

I don't know what's happening but I've had a big old urge today. To do lots of things. First of all, a little backtracking -- many of you might know that my dear Little Granny died in December so we went to the funeral in Ohio in between Christmas and New Year's. She was 99 years old. It was the most absolute wonderful funeral/memorial/celebration you could ever expect to experience. You can't cry for a 99-year-old woman. I had the honor of writing and giving the eulogy. I will forever be grateful that my cousin Steve asked me to do that. My husband, sister, brother, and sister-in-law were all placing bets minutes before I gave the speech on when I would break down and cry during it. And because of that, and because I wanted to make it a gift to my Granny, I chose not to cry. I delivered that speech with the bad-assness and grace and slam-dunked that sucker.

Instead, I made everyone else cry. And laugh. I shared amazing memories of our grandmother and took my time and it was wonderful. I feel so blessed that I got to speak in honor of my grandmother.

So, there was that, and we got to see my cousins and spend time with my siblings and my parents and it was just a really awesome time. It was cold in Ohio and I didn't see much sun, and I missed my kids though, but when we got on the flight to go, I was struck with an idea for a novella that I had thought of a long while ago, so I started writing it, and I finished it last night.

So, I wrote a 60-page novella that I am considering putting up on amazon.com as an ebook and am wondering if you guys would be interested in buying it. It's called THE CELL PHONE LOT and this is the blurb:

Grant and Bridge didn't think their chance meeting at the cell phone lot would lead to anything, but after flight delays and a couple of beers, each start to wonder if they were meant to find one another. But Grant's supposed to pick up a girl he's met online, and Bridge isn't quite over her ex-boyfriend. Is the timing right, or might this possible relationship just never take off?

I'm just ready to start getting my own writing out there, and this short story just flew out of me. I couldn't stop writing it!

Also, I think that I may be bringing you all MORE books than just one a week - I have been getting many inquiries from authors and publicists so I'm guessing that there will be lots more to come. I may not have time to read them all to give you my own personal review, but I'll always be able to tell you about the book and let you know the author and the scoop. I'm so excited that so many great books are coming out.

I was in a huge major New Year frenzy today and yesterday, I don't know what has come over me - first of all, I went on a FREAKING hike yesterday. I HATE HIKING! I only went because it was supposed to be two miles, but it was a bait and switch deal and it turned out to be almost five miles. I was ANNOYED. But here are some beautiful photos from the hike.

The reason I hate hiking so much is that you have to focus on your feet and worry about not tripping so you can't really enjoy the surroundings. It's just not enjoyable to me. I came home and crashed hard.

Today is the last day of the kids' winter break and we worked hard -- I intended to take down all the Christmas stuff but we got sidetracked - instead, I had the boys clean the garage and get rid of old shoes and sports stuff they no longer use. Then we all decided we needed to freshen up the family room so we rearranged the furniture. We also moved the kid's bedroom furniture around too. I remember being a kid and loving changing the bed and dresser around in the room. Hey, it's a new year, we all could use a new vibe. It feels like a new vibe around here and I'm really getting into it. I may even get up and go for a walk in the morning. I think I may try to blog more too. I am definitely writing more, with completing that novella, and still working on that other book. Am hoping to hear something from my agents about the book that's on submission too, now that the holidays are over.

Come back in the next couple of days to check in to see if you've won Sarah Jio's The Bungalow, and I'll also be blogging about a new book next week! There are so many great ones coming up! How was your New Year's? I'm so excited to jump into 2012 and hope you are too! Thanks for taking time to stop on over!

Sunday, January 01, 2012


Winner of 
The Bungalow~
Congrats to:
Karen K!
Please email me at stephanieelliot@gmail.com
with your address so you can receive your book!

2012 MaNiC'S WeeKLY ReaDS ... 
A book a week ALL YEAR LONG!

Hi guys! I’m so excited to bring a new feature to MaNiC MoMMy – along with regular posts about writing, my family, gripes and the usual manic goings-on, I’ll also be featuring a great new book and author EVERY week with a chance for you to WIN that book!

I’m also extremely in awe that I’ve got half the year already scheduled filled with great books to share, and I’m very excited and thrilled that the first book of 2012 that I get to feature is Sarah Jio’s second novel, The Bungalow!

So … here goes! Knock that hangover outta your head and start reading ...


That’s the word that fell from my lips when I closed Sarah Jio’s latest book. It’s just magical.

And I’m going to be completely honest with this review, and tell you some surprising thoughts I had about it. For those of you who know me, you know I’m not a big reader of historical novels.

I just don’t get into them. For instance, I could bet my life that if someone told me, “Hey, you gotta pick up this book – it’s set 1942, right smack in the middle of World War II” I'd be like, "nope, I'm not going to read that." And they’d be like, “But it’s got soldiers in it, with uniforms.” I’d still be like, “I’m not too sure.”

You know why? Because I don’t read war stories. Never. 

(Remind me to not be so closed-minded from now on!!)

But, I picked this one up because this is Sarah Jio’s book. And she wrote The Violets of March, which was a great book. And the cover of The Bungalow is stunning. Vibrant, and gorgeous. Which will definitely be a plus for people like me who may not be initially attracted to books with a war-like setting. Many will be drawn to the beautiful cover, then fall in love with the beautiful story.

And oh my gosh, this book sucks you in immediately. In fact, from the very first chapter, I emailed Sarah and I told her that it felt like I was reading a scene straight out of The Help, and I could totally see The Bungalow as a movie – in as few as the first 15 pages – it’s that colorful.

It’s amazing to me that such a young writer can capture the feeling of the 1940s like that. Jio’s voice is spot-on as a 21-year-old woman grappling with the decision to go overseas to serve as a nurse in the war, or to stay home and marry the man she is not sure she loves.

But, the main character, Anne Calloway, does go to Bora-Bora, with her best friend Kitty, to serve in the war as a nurse. What happens on the island, and in the bungalow with Westry, the young soldier Anne falls in love with, will unequivocally change her life forever.

That’s ALL I’m going to tell you about the story, except that there’s also a murder that will haunt Anne for 70 years, and a mysterious painting. Did I mention I was an art history minor and I LOVE any story that tosses in some art stuff. LOVE it.

I loved this book because in a way, it reminds me of Titanic, how the old woman begins telling the story and there’s the flashback of the story, and I was especially surprised that I was so drawn to a historical novel. This just proves to me that I can be more open to books of a different time! However, I knew this would be a good book to start out with since I was familiar with The Violets of March.
Here, taken from Sarah’s website, is the back of the book blurb:

A sweeping saga of thwarted love, murder, and a long-lost painting… In the summer of 1942, twenty-one-year-old Anne Calloway, newly engaged, sets off to serve in the Army Nurse Corps on the Pacific island of Bora-Bora. More exhilarated by the adventure of a lifetime than she ever was by her predictable fiancĂ©, she is drawn to a mysterious soldier named Westry, and their friendship soon blossoms into hues as deep as the hibiscus flowers native to the island. under the thatched roof of an abandoned beach bungalow, the two share a private world–until they witness a gruesome crime, Westry is suddenly redeployed, and the idyll vanishes into the winds of war. A timeless story of enduring passion, The bungalow chronicles Anne’s determination to discover the truth about the twin losses–of life and, and of love–that have haunted her for seventy years.

It is days later now, since I've finished the book, and I still find myself thinking of various scenes (especially one particular hot beach scene!). I can picture Westry and Anne on the big screen, and see them perfectly in color. I have a big feeling that this one will make it there. I truly hope it does. This book definitely belongs in the movies!

And YES! Thanks to Sarah, you can win a copy of The Bungalow!

Since it is the New Year, and since Anne in the story made choices that led her down a path she may have regretted, tell me what your plans are for the New Year so that you don’t have regrets in your own life!

Thank you Sarah for another amazing book, and for you MaNiC readers, Sarah will have ANOTHER book out in September 2012 called Blackberry Winter!
I’ll choose a winner (US or Canada only please!) most likely on Friday or Saturday each week, and when I choose YOU, I’ll always post a comment in the thread saying that the comments are now closed, so that’ll be your clue that you can no longer enter. I’ll post the winner’s name (make sure to leave an IDENTIFYING NAME – no ‘jen’ or ‘sue’ – make it UNIQUE!) at the top of the post after it’s been announced.

Then next week, and every week during the year, I’ll be featuring and giving away another book. If this takes off successfully, I may be giving away more than one book a week! (If I can manage it!)

Thanks readers, and Happy New Year! What a great way to start out the year!