Welcome Tracie Banister, ChickLit Author

Today we have with us, Tracie Banister talking about writing and her book Blame It on the Fame. Welcome Tracie 

1.   Tell us a little bit about yourself.

 My name is Tracie Banister, and I love to read and write sassy, sexy, funny fiction for women.  I just recently released my debut Chick Lit novel, Blame It on the Fame.  I’m a Southern girl who’s lived in Georgia for the last 26 years.  In my spare time, I like to lose myself in a good book, watch movies, hang out with my three beautiful rescue dogs, and see live theatre whenever and wherever I can (I’m a freak for Broadway musicals and Shakespeare plays!)


2.   We really want to hear about your writing.  What are you working on now?

 Right now, I’m preparing my second novel, which follows the romantic and professional trials and tribulations of a Latina psychologist in South Beach, for release in May.  And I just started work on what I hope will be the first in a series of novels about an aristocratic family of young women in early nineteenth-century England.  I’m calling it “Regency Chick Lit” since there will be a lot of romance and wit in the series.


3.    What do you have available we can buy and read now?

 My Oscar-themed Chick Lit novel, Blame it on the Fame, is currently available at Amazon and Smashwords.  Here’s the blurb:

 A power-trippin’ bitch, a has-been, a skanky ex-model, a press-shy indie queen, and a British stage actress no one knows – this is how the Best Actress hopefuls in this year’s too-close-to-call Oscar race cattily describe each other.  Which of them will win the much-coveted gold statue and what price will they be forced to pay as they travel the red carpeted-path toHollywood glory?

Amidst all the press-schmoozing and angsting over which designer gown to wear, these Oscar contenders feud, commiserate, and face a succession of personal crises – scandalous secrets come to light, marriages implode, accidents land two nominees in the hospital while another receives news that could derail her career, all culminating on Tinsel Town’s biggest night when anything can happen, and does.

4.    Where do you get your inspiration for your stories?

 For me, inspiration can be found anywhere – the internet, magazines, the news, an overheard snippet of conversation, friends, family.  I never know where the next idea might come from, which keeps life interesting!

 5.    Are you a plotter or a pantser?

 Can I be both?  A plotty pantser?  Or maybe a pantsy plotter?  I always start out with a game plan – detailed character sketches, ideas for scenes, snippets of dialogue, and I know where I want the story to begin and where I want it to end, but how my characters get from Point A to Point B is almost entirely up to them.  I like to set them down on the page and let them play. 

 6.   When did you start writing? 

 Elementary school, that’s when I started writing plays (two of which my 4th grade class performed on stage for the student body.)  And my writing just developed from there.  In junior high, I wrote serial stories starring me and my friends – new installments would be shoved into my pals’ lockers every morning.  When I got to high school, I found that I really enjoyed writing literary analyses and was nominated for an award for some papers I wrote in my sophomore English Lit class.  I didn’t attempt to write my first novel (a historical romance) until I was an adult.  Since then, I’ve dabbled in many writing formats, including short stories, fan fiction, and blogging, but I always come back to full-length fiction.

 7.   Tell us a little bit about how you write.  Do you have a favorite place or a favorite time of day to write?  Music or quiet?  Something you have to have nearby?

 I don’t own a laptop, so I do all of my writing at my desk.  My brain works best when it’s fresh, so I find that I do my most productive writing in the morning and early afternoon.  I’m pretty much done by 4PM.  I am very sensitive to noise and find it terribly distracting, so I must have peace and quiet while I’m in creative mode (Alas, my dogs don’t really appreciate my writerly sensibilities, and I’m often treated to a barking refrain from the Cocker Chorus.)  The items I must have nearby when I’m working are post-it notes for scribbling thoughts, ideas, and reminders on, my William Shakespeare paperweight (I rub his head for luck), and a glass of Lemon La Croix water (I am absolutely convinced that the carbonation stimulates my imagination!)

8.    Who is your favorite author?

Of all time?  Easy.  Jane Austen.  Her stories and characters are timeless, and I can’t think of a greater wit than she.  I am not one to reread a book, even one that I love, but I have read Austen’s stories over and over throughout the years and they never cease to delight.

9.    If there was a movie about your life, who would you want to play you?

I’ve been compared to several petite, blonde actresses (Melissa Joan Hart, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Reese Witherspoon) in my life, although I wouldn’t say that I’m the spitting image of any of them.  If I had to choose one to play me on the silver screen, I guess I’d go with Reese as she comes across as very intelligent while still having a good sense of humor that shines through.

10.   Do you have any advice for any aspiring writers who might be reading today?

Write as much as you can, as often as you can, because it will help you to hone your craft.  And be sure to challenge yourself – try a different genre, a different POV, a different format, it will keep your writing from growing stale.  And most importantly, believe in yourself and your ability.  You will encounter A LOT of rejection in your writing career, and it’s only natural to feel bummed out, but don’t ever let anyone else’s opinion stop you from doing what you love.

11.   Now just for fun, you’ve seen my Totally Hot and Totally Shirtless men do you have a favorite among them or a suggestion for someone to add.

I am a big fan of hot, shirtless guys, and you’ve got some good ones on your blog, Darlene.  Hard to top Daniel Craig aka 007 in those blue swim trunks, but I think that the gorgeous Joe Manganiello of True Blood fame is worthy of your attention.  That man’s chest is a sight to behold!


12.    Okay now we need the 411 where can our readers find more about you.  Give us the Scoop.  Facebook?  Twitter?  Webpage?  Blog?  Most importantly, where can we find your book.

 I love Twitter and welcome new followers:  https://twitter.com/#!/traciebanister

My blog is Books by Banister (Yes, I like alliteration!):  http://traciebanister.blogspot.com/

My author Facebook page is a work-in-progress, but it will be up soon, hopefully.  I’ll post a link on my blog when it’s finally up and running.

Blame It on the Fame can be purchased at Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Blame-Fame-ebook/dp/B006ZBG5HU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1329252763&sr=8-1

And Smashwords:  http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/124304

 Finally, do you have an excerpt or blurb you’d like to share?

 Of course.  Here’s an excerpt from Blame It on the Fame that involves Oscar nominee, British stage actress Philippa Sutcliffe, and her co-star, Miles McCrea, the Scottish cad whom she had a torrid on-set affair with.  Their relationship ended badly (major understatement) and the two haven’t laid eyes on each other for the better part of a year.  That’s about to change as they’ve been ordered by the studio to get out and promote their Oscar-nominated film together.  The first stop on their Reconciliation Tour is a chat show called “Eye on London.

 *   *   *   *   *

 She let the production assistant lead her down a series of corridors to the backstage area of the Eye on London set.  There was a sound tech waiting to hand Philippa a small microphone, which she clipped to the v-neck of her dress while he moved behind her to work on hiding the mic cord and attaching a small battery pack to her belt.  It seemed to take an inordinate amount of time for the tech to perform what should have been a simple task and it occurred to Philippa that his touch was lingering on certain parts of her anatomy that were by invitation only.

“Is there a problem back there?” she wondered.

“No problem,” the words were delivered in the distinctive Scottish burr that used to make her insides melt.  She felt the familiar scrape of a stubbled cheek brush against hers as he bent down to murmur in her ear, “It’s been so long since I’ve had my hands on you; I just wanted to savor the moment.”

“URGH!  Miles!”  She pushed his hands off her hips in disgust and spun around to face him.

He laughed with wicked delight, enjoying the fact that he’d flustered her.

“You look good, Phil.  You’ve put on some weight . . .,” his eyes traveled up and down her body, which was encased in a form-fitting wrap dress that showed off every womanly curve, “. . . in all the right places.”

“Well, you look like hell,” she commented waspishly after taking note of his rumpled hair, unshaven face, and drooping eyelids.  “Did you even bother going to bed last night?”

“Oh, I went to bed.  I just didn’t get any sleep.”  He gave her a lascivious wink and chuckled, but Philippa was not amused.

“Spare me the gruesome details of your latest conquest,” she ordered frostily.

“Jealous?” he teased, stepping closer so that only an inch or two of space separated their bodies.

Trying not to breathe in the heady scent of him, she looked up to meet his inquisitive gaze.  “You could exchange bodily fluids with every fame-chasing slag inGreat Britain, and I wouldn’t care.  What I do care about is my career and my public image, both of which are inextricably tied to yours at the moment, so I’d appreciate it if you would–”

“Mmmmmm, inextricably.”  His eyes dropped to her mouth.  “I love it when you use words with lots of syllables.”

“Would you focus, please?”

“I am focused,” he assured her.

“On the interview, not my lips.”

“But they’re such nice lips,” his mouth was just a whisper from hers now, “very soft and kissable as I recall.”

“You should cling to those memories because I won’t be refreshing them any time soon.”  Her tone was hard and resolute.

“Ah, but I live in hope.”

“No, you live in debauchery, and it’s taking its toll.”

* * * * *

Thanks Tracie.  This was a great interview.  Thanks for visiting with us today.

Jillian Chantal shares: Sebastian’s Salvation

Thanks for having me here today, Darlene. I appreciate the invitation to chat a bit about my new release, Sebastian’s Salvation.  It’s a contemporary romantic suspense. The hero is a former Green Beret who was injured on a mission in Afghanistan and while in rehab, he learned he had a gift for painting.  He’s now a celebrated artist who paints nude portraits. He meets the heroine at his one man show in London where she’s not very friendly to him. Once she sees his work in detail, she’s determined to have him paint her. He sees her as a snobby aristocrat and since she rebuffed him at the art show, he’s reluctant to deal with her. The excerpt here is the scene where he refuses to paint her portrait.

One of the things I do when I begin a new story is to make a soundtrack of songs that I feel will go with the story. Since I write without an outline and no real advance plotting, sometimes I have songs on the soundtrack that don’t initially make sense but later on, I realize why my subconscious chose a particular song. I play the soundtrack in my car, in my office and pretty much anywhere I can immerse myself in the music. This helps my focus and I believe it helps in the deep recesses of my mind with the plotting. Even though I’m a pantser, I find that my subconscious always knew where the story was going. The brain is a mighty powerful thing!

One song that I used on Sebastian’s soundtrack was by The Pet Shop Boys. West End Girls fit the story somewhat as the heroine is a west end of London girl, an earl’s daughter. The hero is not a London east end boy; rather, he’s a New York City east end boy which is totally different but the song worked for me and helped me in the writing of their characters.

Thanks again for having me here, Darlene. It’s been super fun.

Visit me on the web here: http://jillianchantal.com/news/

twitter: https://twitter.com/JillianChantal

Book trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvzMd4ttvmU

Buy link: http://www.bookstrand.com/sebastians-salvation


Three lives intertwine—a former Green Beret, now a painter of nude portraits tormented by the death of his comrade, an earl’s daughter, and a crazed stalker. Will the acts of the stalker force the soldier back into the life of violence which he sought to avoid?

Sebastian Hughes, wounded on a mission in Afghanistan, discovers a talent for painting nude portraits while in a rehabilitation center learning to walk again after losing part of his leg. He becomes the toast of London society and women clamor to be painted by him.

Lady Joanna Gresham, nursing a broken heart and used to getting what she wants, sets her sights on having her portrait painted by Sebastian. Once she meets him, she wants him for herself. She pursues him, intent on winning him. What she didn’t count on was a stalker who wants to harm everyone Sebastian holds dear.


Joanna Gresham passed Margaret in the hallway of Bast’s building. Margaret carried a saddle under her arm.

Margaret stopped her and hitched the saddle to a more comfortable position. “You one of the many?”

“Many what?”

“Clients of Bast’s?”

Joanna shook her head. “No. But I’m thinking about it. I was at his show last night and am very impressed.”

“With the man or the artist?” The woman smiled coyly

“The artist of course.” Joanna stood tall and looked down her nose at the impertinent woman. The nerve to ask me such a thing. As if I’d be interested in a hoodlum.

“Don’t have to get huffy, Lady Joanna. All the women in town are swooning over the man. Some are even commissioning portraits just to tempt him with their bodies. No harm meant.”

Joanna ran her hands through her hair. “Sorry. Just moody, I guess.”

“No problem. Enjoy your session.”

“I don’t have a session. I’m just going to talk.”

“Good luck then. I think you’ll like Bast. I gotta go. Late for a practice run.”

“Good luck with practice. Ta, Margaret.” Joanna waved good-bye and approached the door to Bast’s atelier. Why am I so nervous? He’s just a man I want to hire. Why should I feel so skittish?

Joanna knocked lightly on the door.

The door burst open, and the man asked, “What did you for—”

He stopped short. “Uh. Sorry, I thought you were Margaret, come back for something she forgot. She always leaves something behind.”

“Is that why you were already at the door?”

He smiled. “Yeah. I give her about three minutes after she leaves to come dashing back. I thought I timed it right.” His smile got larger.

Why does his smile have to be so spectacular? He’s gorgeous even with that scar across his face. “Sorry, it’s just me. I’m not sure if you remember—”

“Of course, I do. You’re the lady in the alley, the one that needed no help with her aching feet. Come on in.” He opened the door wider to allow her access to the loft.

Once they were inside, he showed her over to a client chair. He took a seat behind the desk, leaned across the top, and asked, “What can I do for you?”

She put one hand on the desktop and scraped her nail across the surface. “I was at your show last night—”

“Yeah, I know. I saw you, remember?”

“I recall.” She frowned. Was the man determined to make her feel stupid?

“Sorry, ma’am. I didn’t mean to interrupt you. Go on.” Bast nodded his encouragement.

“I was thinking I might want a portrait of myself. Your work is impressive. Very tasteful. I know it seems like I’m just jumping on a trend, but I really am in awe of your abilities.”

“Thank you, ma’am. I appreciate it. I’m a little full right now. The show last night garnered me a lot of commissions, and I’m afraid I don’t have time to add one more person to my schedule. I’ll be glad to put you on the waiting list.” He pulled a pad out of his top drawer.

She stood, and the chair teetered and fell back against the wall. “I know what you’re doing. You jerk.”

He leaned back in his chair and looked at her. His face showed no emotion. “What’s your problem, Lady?”

Lady? You say it that way because you know who I am? You think you can be a sarcastic bastard to me?”

“Ma’am, you came in here, didn’t introduce yourself to me, and now you’re offended? I can’t figure that out. All I said was I have to put you on my waiting list. How you think that’s something offensive, I don’t know.” He sat forward in the chair.

She glared. “I’m Lady Joanna Gresham. I don’t do waiting lists.”

He stood up and walked around the desk to her. He got in her face and said, “I don’t do snobby Ladies. So, I suggest you get out of my studio.”

Joanna pushed his chest. “I just bet you don’t do ladies.” She looked around and took in the whole room and nodded toward the fainting couch under the window. “I bet you do the ladies right over there.”

Enraged, he grabbed her arms and shoved her against the wall. He pressed against her. “If I wanted to do a lady, I’d do her right here against this wall.” He lifted her off her feet as if she was no larger than a toy doll and pulled her over to the other client chair. He sat in it and pulled her on top of himself. “Or here in this chair.”

She jerked off his lap and stumbled backward. “How dare you touch me, you arrogant—”

“What? Black bastard? Is that what you want to call me, your white holiness? Lady Joanna Gresham that doesn’t do waiting lists? Huh? Huh? That what you want to say?” He stood up.

She continued to back up. “You’re crazy. You know that? You’re insane.”

He stalked toward her. “And you’re all alone here with me. A crazy, scar-faced, big black man who isn’t intimidated by a title. Now, what are you gonna do?”

“I’m leaving.” She flounced toward the door.

Just as she got to the door and opened it, he slammed his hand on it and shut it. His body leaned against hers. He pressed against her and whispered, “I bet you always leave. When the going gets tough and you don’t get your way, you leave. Right?”

He let go of the door and stepped back. “Thank you for coming by, ma’am. I’ll be sure to not add you to the waiting list.”

She jerked the door open and left.


I’ve just finished reading the most delightful book, The Door to Time a Ulysses Moore book. It’s a Scholastic book, but was a fun read. My point you may ask. That we should give some books a chance that we would normally overlook. Something far from our usual reading list. A light romance when your favorite is Stephen King. Or Tom Clancy when you are normally drawn to chick lit. So that’s my thought for the day try something different. You may find a treasure.

I’d also like to mention Bret Michaels again. He’s still in critical care and still needs our prayers.

Movies From Books

What are your thoughts? Best done? Worst done? Most true to the book? Most strayed away? I love the Harry Potter books and movies. I think the adaptations to the big screen have been nearly as well done as they possibly could be. Casting has been fabulous. Casting brings me to the adaptation I have not been able to bring myself to watch. I read all the Twilight books in about 2 weeks. I had a picture of him in my head that is far far away from Robert Pattinson. I like the Edward in my head and don’t want to spoil it. Gone With the Wind. Even in four hours you couldn’t include the whole book, I think they did a good job even though they did cut out Scarlett’s other kids. Hunt For Red October big thumbs up. Patriot Games Okay. Clear and Present Danger, I don’t think so. Those are the biggies that come to mind at the moment. I have to include Bond here. I must admit, I haven’t read the books. Which Bond movie and/or actor do you think portrays Ian Fleming’s Bond the best?

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