Character Q&A: Poppy from True Love Way

8 fabulous authors and I have lowered the prices of our eBooks to 99 cents from February 14th - February 17th. To celebrate, one character from each on-sale book is answering some fun, romantic questions. Be sure to check the other authors' blogs listed at the end of this post to read their characters' interviews, too!

On sale for 99 cents, February 14-17
In True Love Way, Poppy is an employee at main character Savannah’s bakery, and she’s here today to answer questions in honor of Valentine’s Day!

Are you currently in a relationship? If so, tell us a little bit about your significant other. If not, what are you looking for in a romantic partner?

It's sort of complicated at the moment. I do have my sights set on a certain someone. I’m not quite sure how Savannah would feel about it, though, since she knows him intimately. But I can’t help fancying him! He’s charming and sweet and absolutely gorgeous. And he makes me laugh whenever he visits the bakery. He’s a foodie yet he’s quite fit, just like me. I think we’re compatible in so many ways.

How old were you when you had your first kiss, and can you share what you remember about it?

I was fifteen. My mum and dad sent me to a boarding school (way before Harry Potter was cool) in Hertfordshire, and that’s where I met Roger. We lived in the same house. He attended one of my lacrosse matches and offered to walk me home when it was over. He kissed me then. It was a sweet but brief adolescent romance. I was forced to leave the school two weeks later. Roger and I didn’t keep in touch.

Describe your ideal romantic evening.

I absolutely adore food, so I’d love to go to a classy restaurant for dinner followed by a stroll along the pier. And dessert is a must. If my date can cook a proper Sunday roast with all the trimmings, that would be even better.

What's the best romantic gift you ever received and the best one you ever gave?

My ex-boyfriend wrote a song for me and performed it during his concert at the Electric Ballroom on my birthday. I felt like the most special girl in the whole world, or at the very least in all of London. And on his birthday, I gave him a collection of original, autographed records of The Rolling Stones. That may not sound very romantic, but it was the first time I put an incredible amount of effort into a gift for someone. Rare vinyl albums are not that easy to track down, but it was all for love. Or so I thought.

What's your favorite romantic comedy movie, and why?

Notting Hill. Julia Roberts is my favourite actress, and I’ve always fancied Hugh Grant. This film makes me laugh, cry, and continue my search for my own Will. I’m a sap for a fairytale.

Can you tell us about your worst date ever?

It was my first and last blind date. The guy was a ventriloquist and spoke to me through his puppet for the entire evening. His own mouth never moved. Not once! It was quite remarkable actually, and yet bloody awful at the same time, as you can imagine. Needless to say, I didn’t go on a second date with either dummy.

Have you ever had a secret romance? And if you have, will you share about it here?

I have, but if I tell you about it, then it won’t be a secret anymore. I love the thrill of a covert affair and wouldn’t be opposed to another one…

Thanks, Poppy!

Get your 99 cent copy of True Love Way now!
--

More Blogs to Visit for Character Interviews:
Meredith Schorr - Author of Just Friends with Benefits and A State of Jane
Cat Lavoie - Author of Breaking the Rules
Libby Mercer - Author of Espresso Macchiato, Fashioning a Romance and Unmasking Maya
Tracie Banister - Author of Blame It on the Fame and In Need of Therapy
Samantha March - Author of Destined to Fail and The Green Ticket
Lucie Simone - Author of A Taste of Italy, The Waterdance, Hollywood Ending and Picture Perfect
Francine LaSala - Author of Rita Hayworth's Shoes and The Girl, The Gold Tooth and Everything
Samantha Stroh Bailey - Author of Finding Lucas

Valentine's Day Weekend eBook Sale!


Love is in the air... and it can be on your Kindle, too!

Do you want to fall in love with a good book this Valentine's Day weekend? How about 9? Then don't miss this special promotion. For four days only (February 14th - February 17th), 9 popular Chick Lit authors will be lowering the prices on their favorite rom-coms to 99 cents on Amazon.com! At that price (A bottle of wine costs more!), why not sample them all? Some delicious literary treats await you, and unlike chocolates these goodies are calorie-free!

And guys: If your sweetie is a book-lover, you'll make her Valentine's Day by gifting her with one (or more) of our fun, romantic stories! 

Finding Lucas by Samantha Stroh Bailey - Daytime talk show producer Jamie Ross is beyond fed up with her toxic bad boy turned metrosexual boyfriend. Spurred on by her gang of quirky friends, she goes on a hilarious, at-times disastrous, and totally life-changing hunt to track down the ”one who got away.” But are some loves best left behind? Buy Finding Lucas

In Need of Therapy by Tracie Banister - Handling the problems of hysterical hypochondriacs, lovelorn neurotics, and compulsive man whores is all in a day’s work for super-shrink Pilar Alvarez. But can she deal with her crazy Cuban family, a trio of unsuitable suitors, and a threat to her practice without ending up on the couch herself? Buy In Need of Therapy

Rita Hayworth’s Shoes by Francine LaSala - Jilted bride Amy's down on everything until she convinces herself to purchase a cute, ridiculously expensive pair of second-hand shoes. Once she does, life starts looking up, and she falls into an unexpected new romance with the last man she'd ever expect to love. But can a pair of shoes really be magic? And is her new prince really just a frog? Buy Rita Hayworth's Shoes

Breaking the Rules by Cat Lavoie - When Roxy Rule shares a passionate kiss with her lifelong best friend, she must come to terms with her feelings for him while dealing with two sisters in full crisis mode, a boss who makes her want to stab herself with a letter opener and a fiancé who can’t wait to walk down the aisle. Can she keep it together–or will she break under the pressure? Buy Breaking the Rules

The Green Ticket by Samantha March - College junior Alex Abrams scores her dream job at the ripe age of twenty, but her good fortune quickly turns disastrous when she realizes her job is filled with lies, betrayal, and cover-ups. Keeping up with classes, her girlfriends and a budding romance, Alex feels the pressure – but will she overcome the challenges? Buy The Green Ticket

Unmasking Maya by Libby Mercer - Disgraced New York fashionista, Maya Kirkwood, is fashioning herself a new life as an artist in San Francisco when she's hired to do an installation of her work by dorky, yet dashing dotcom executive, Derek. The sparks soon start to fly... But is this a good thing? Buy Unmasking Maya

A State of Jane by Meredith Schorr - Jane Frank is newly single after nine years and looking for a second chance at love. But when she dives head first into the NYC dating scene and finds it infested with flakes who are interested today and gone tomorrow, it may be time for Jane to turn the tables! Buy A State of Jane

True Love Way by Nancy Scrofano - When her high school sweetheart, Josh, suddenly returns after twelve years in Paris, Marlo Spencer travels to her hometown to try to rekindle their relationship. But when dreams of a blissful reunion are shattered as old secrets and betrayals are revealed, can she forgive and forget, or will true love find a different path to her heart? Buy True Love Way

Picture Perfect by Lucie Simone - Lauren Tate’s perfectly planned life quickly unravels at the seams when a smear campaign threatens her career as a top TV executive, but she learns just how cutthroat showbiz can truly be when the hottest scandal in Tinsel Town turns deadly and the Hollywood hunk who’s stolen her heart goes missing. Buy Picture Perfect

Short Story: Let It Snow!

Let It Snow! by Belinda Jones


When my boyfriend asked me what I wanted for Christmas, I said, “Snow! And lots of it!”

I was quite emphatic about the volume. I didn’t want the light sprinkling you glimpse from your window and then run outside to find it turning to slush the second it touches the ground. I wanted a deep, thick, wonderland you could disappear into.

I’m looking out on that now – not so much a blanket of snow but a vast puffed up duvet as far as the eye can see. It’s magical and other-worldly and exactly what I had hoped for. Except for the fact that I am alone. Not because Adrian got lost in a blizzard, I hasten to add. Chance would be a fine thing - he never even boarded the plane.

We got as far as the airport check-in desk and then he blurted, “Angie, I’m sorry. I can’t do this!”

“We’ll be fine!” I assured him. “We have thermals and bobble hats and I’ve even packed some of those hand warmers – you know those little sachets you jiggle to activate-”

“It’s not the cold,” he cut me off. “It’s us!”

“What do you mean?” I still didn’t get it. 

So he spelled it out for me.

“You can’t break up with me on Christmas Eve!” I protested. “Isn’t there a law against that kind of thing?”

“I’m sorry.”

When he first began walking away, I was too stunned to move. I was just lost to the hubbub, jostled this way and that by people humping oversized rucksacks. 

But then I came back to my senses and went chasing after him, just in time to see him step into the car of Denise from Human Resources. I couldn’t believe it – she’d actually been bragging about her “hot new romance” a few days earlier but had refused to reveal his identity. No prizes for guessing who’s in her stocking now. 

So there I was in a daze again, losing count of the number of suitcase wheels that rolled over my feet. 

There was no car waiting to whisk me away. No trains running that could take me to my parents’ where I could suck the brandy out of the Christmas pud. It was either take the flight or spend Christmas at Heathrow airport. The wretchedness of that scenario suited my mood, but then I thought of all that glistening snow, it’s shimmering purity, the freshness of the pine-sprigged landscape... 

Plus, I had been reading that the local dessert specialty was Maple Syrup Pie.

“Oh, Quebec City!” The girl on the Air Canada desk swooned as she scanned my ticket. “There’s no more romantic place in the world at this time of year! Are you meeting someone there?”

I could’ve told her the truth – that I’d just been dumped and was severely regretting not packing my hot water bottle – but then why ruin her Christmas too? So I gave a secret smile and said:

“I am!”

“Does he speak French?” she gurgled.

“Oui!” I nodded. 

“Oh!” she swooned. “Enjoy! Enjoy every second!”

So now I’m in my hotel room with the faux fire on full blast, desperately trying to enjoy myself but not quite knowing how.

I decide to try and revive my senses by wrenching back the balcony door and stepping out into the zinging chill.

“Ice, ice baby!” I gasp. That wind is laceratingly cold.

And noisy. Less of a whistle and more of a whine. Almost like the howl of a wolf.

That is when I look down and see a Husky dog. At least I hope it’s a dog.

His immaculate monochromatic fur is being ruffled by the swirling snow, but his piercing opal-blue eyes are fixed on me with laser-like intensity. 

“H-hello?” I call down.

His jaw jolts upright, then he turns towards the road and looks expectantly back at me.

“Are you trying to tell me something?”

He repeats the motion.

“You want me to follow you?”

Oh gosh! What if someone is trapped in the snow and this is his Lassie-like cry for help?

“Ummmm...”

The dog yelps again. No time to waste!

“Well, I’m really not familiar with the area, I’m not prepared...” I say this to myself, but I’m still pulling on my Puffa coat, winding my scarf around my neck, donning hat and gloves and boots...

At the very least I can ask at Reception – perhaps he’s a local dog, perhaps they’ll know what to do?

Of course there’s a long line of people checking in, and I can see my friend outside getting ever-more impatient. 

I’d like to say that it’s my naturally adventurous spirit that leads me outside, but actually it’s another kind of spirit, or spirits – namely the brandy, vodka, sherry and port that make up the Caribou cocktail they drink here. It seems so festive, just like mulled wine, but the effects are far more intense. For example, right now, although I feel like I’m on some kind of Polar Expedition, I don’t feel cold. I also don’t feel afraid. Maybe because some part of me thinks, “That’ll show Adrian! Think how bad he’ll feel when my frozen corpse is discovered in the morning, possibly with a half-gnawed leg.”

We round a corner, and then I come to a stunned halt.

There before me is a building unlike anything I’ve ever seen. It’s low and long with three main arcs and – get this – it’s entirely made of ice.

I scuttle forward and place my hands on the translucent bricks and then peer at a sign saying Hôtel De Glace.

“Ice hotel,” I translate. “This is where you wanted to bring me?” I check with my canine companion. 

His tail starts wagging. 

“I like your style.” 

He whines again. 

“You want to go inside?”

He pants eagerly.

“Okay...”

Now this really is incredible – there are beautiful etchings in the compacted snow and a neon throb of lights turning the ice from pink to green to violet. I follow the sound of pumping club music into the bar. 

This has to be one of the most surreal sights I’ve ever seen - everyone is mummified for warmth, all woolly layers and down-stuffed coats, cheerfully drinking from glasses made from hollowed out ice.

The husky trots over to a square-jawed guy at the bar. He’s got good taste, I’ll give him that.

“There you are!” Square jaw brightens, removing a glove to rumple his head and revealing a wedding ring.

Oh well, that was a bit much to hope for.

I’m just wondering if I should introduce myself or retreat, but the dog gives me no choice, running excitedly between the two of us. 

“Oh Dini!” the guy tuts. “Have you been picking up women again?”

My eyes narrow at the dog. “I thought I was special!”

The man, who introduces himself as Ryan, laughs. 

“I’m sure you are. It’s just that ever since Laurent’s girlfriend left, Dini has been bringing round all manner of women.”

“Like a series of old chew toys?”

“Well, a few of them haven’t been supermodels, but I wouldn’t go that far...”

Now it’s my turn to laugh. 

“Where did he find you?”

“Over at the Hotel Chill.”

“So you’re not staying here?”

I look around me. “How exactly would one do that? I mean, are the beds made of ice too?”

“As a matter of fact they are.”

Whaaat?”

As Ryan explains that the mattresses are real and you sleep in Arctic-strength sleeping bags, preferably after a dunking in the hot tub, I realize I am starting to get curious about Laurent – I mean he has a nice dog and a nice friend and he’s just been dumped, which obviously I can relate to. Although I think I’m going to view it as being liberated - there’s really nothing positive about the word dumped. Besides, Adrian’s the one in Neasdon right now while I’m in, well, Narnia...

“There he is!” Ryan points through an archway, back out into the snow. “Laurent! Ici!” He calls and then shakes his head. “He can’t hear us. We have to go to him.”

Snowflakes are catching on my eyelashes, blurring my vision, so at first it’s hard for me to make out the details of the figure in the bulky coat heading towards us. Even now that he is beside us, the bottom half of his face is shrouded in a fleecy scarf, until he pulls it down to speak. In French... 

There is a gentleness behind his stubbly ruggedness, the way he interacts with Dini, giving him a “You little tyke!” look one minute and then a full body hug the next. It makes me want to be next in line...

And then he reaches for my hand...

“I’m Laurent,” he husks. “I’m so sorry my dog dragged you here!”

“Don’t be - I’m just relieved I didn’t have to rescue anyone from a ditch!” I confess, though as I speak, I realize I might have been the one who just got rescued. “Does Dini mean anything in French?” I’m curious.

“It’s actually short for Houdini. He’s quite the escape artist.”

“As well as matchmaker!” I say and then immediately blush. 

Laurent looks awkward. I can see he’s a little shy. After Adrian’s cockiness, this is a welcome trait.

“May I offer you a ride back to your hotel?” 

I go to be terribly British and say, “No, no, I’ll be fine!” when I realize I absolutely wouldn’t be. Not least because I can’t even remember which direction I came from – was it this wall of white or that one?

“We’re just around the corner here...” Laurent leads the way.

We? I frown to myself.

And then I spy the team of sled dogs awaiting us. There’s five of them, all a-fluster to see us, clearly all raring to go, except for one who is chomping at the snow like she’s enjoying a flavourless Slush Puppy.

Wait! “Is this our mode of transport?”

“Is that okay?” he falters. “You can go with Ryan in his truck if you prefer-”

“No, no,” I gasp. “I just can’t quite believe it - I’ve never done this before...”

I look around the sled itself. “Does it have jingle bells?”

Laurent laughs. “I really should have thought of that!” And then he beckons Dini to the front harness. 

“He’s the lead dog?”

“Don’t worry. He’ll stay put for the duration.”

“Well, at least he knows the way,” I concede. “Shall I get in?”

Laurent nods and helps me ease into the sled. It’s low to the ground and less substantial than I was expecting, but I’m soon distracted from the flimsiness of the wood by the fact that Laurent is tucking a check blanket around me. He smells so good, like a cedar fire with a dash of nutmeg. 

“Warm enough?” he asks me.

Looking back into the hazel glow of his eyes, it’s all I can do to manage a nod. Something about him gives me a toasty feeling, on the inside. I know I’m in good hands. And paws.

And we’re off!

The sky is so black, the stars blazingly bright, as is the moon globe. It’s so quiet out here. All I can hear is the swish of the sled through the snow, the padding of paws and panting of jaws.

“Ca va?” Laurent asks. 

“More than ca va. I’m wonderful!”

“You like?”

I love it!

Frankly, I’d be game for the thousand-mile Iditarod right now, but already we’re approaching the hotel. 

“I wanna go again!” I whine as I clamber up from the sled.

Laurent pauses, peering at me through his dark lashes. “Tomorrow, are you busy?”

“Not remotely,” I shrug.

Dini gives a little bark as if to encourage his master.

“Would you like to ride with us at sunrise, with you mushing?”

My eyes widen at the prospect. “Really?”

“I think Dini would like to run for you.”

I expel a frosty breath. “I can’t think of a nicer way to start the day!”

“Bon!” Laurent grins back at me. “I’ll see you here at 6am?”

“I’ll be here.” 

He gives me a little wink. “With bells on!”

I’m all but squeaking with glee as I wave him off.

Suddenly, I feel like writing my Christmas thank you notes early – at least the one to Adrian. 

I keep it simple, telling it like it is:

“Dear Adrian, thank you so much for my Christmas gift. I have to say: this is the best present I've ever had.

--
This story first appeared in My Weekly magazine. 

Belinda Jones’ Quebec-set novel Winter Wonderland is available now as an eBook at Amazon and paperback & eBook at Amazon UK and Amazon Canada!

Valentine's Day Flash Fiction Contest

We're so excited to announce our Valentine's Day Flash Fiction Contest

Here are the details:
  • Women's fiction only
  • Valentine's Day theme
  • 500 - 1000 words (If you aren't familiar with flash fiction, it just means a really short story)
  • Submissions are open now and stories will be posted from now until February 12th
  • Winners will be announced on February 14th
  • Nancy and Shannon will choose the winners based on comments from readers. So, if you love a story, be sure to comment and let us know!
  • First place prize is a $25 Amazon gift card, second place prize is a $15 Amazon gift card and third place prize is a $10 Amazon gift card
We hope you'll submit your Valentine's Day flash fiction to our contest!

Please email submissions and any questions you have to Nancy at editor@chicklitbee.com. Thank you! We look forward to reading your stories!