Books are food for my soul! Pull up a beach chair and stick your toes in the sand as the Jersey surf rolls in and out, now open your book and let your imagination take you away.

Monday, October 22, 2012

That Time of the Month by Emily Shaffer (Author Guest Post / Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews welcomes Emily Shaffer, author of That Time of the Month!

Author Guest Post

Ready, Set, Write ... Right?

There is a phenomenon that occasionally happens in my world, which I cannot quite explain. It occurs when I am unable to make myself do the one thing that I wish I could make a career of…there are days, sometimes whole weeks, where I cannot make myself sit down and write.

I often say that I don't ever get writer's block. Instead, I get "writing block" where I can't make myself physically start the writing process. If I do ever actually plant myself in a chair and fire up the computer, the writing will happen…but sometimes sitting down can be the hardest step.

I've tried everything to remedy this problem. For a while, I would leave my house…laptop in tow…and go to a coffee shop or bookstore. Instead of writing, I would just end up eating cookies and buying books. That plan wasn't helping my novel, pocketbook, or waistline.

My next attempt at motivation was to watch movies that would inspire me to start knocking out 1000 words a day on my novel. I watched Julie & Julia, Romancing the Stone, You've Got Mail and pretty much any other movie that was somehow related to books and writers. This probably won't surprise anyone, but instead of inspiring me to write, this little plan inspired me to watch even more movies while my laptop gathered dust.

After my failed plans, I was still no further along with my book, and my quest for motivation and inspiration was completely unfulfilled. I finally realized that looking outside of myself was where I had gone awry. The only place I can find motivation is within. It doesn't matter where I am or what is happening around me…the only deciding factor to my ability or inability to write, is me.

When I finally quit looking for places and people to inspire my writing, and instead just told myself "Emily, if you wanna be a writer, you have to write", everything changed. Writing is the only way to become a writer, and the only way to ever turn it into my full-time job is to look at it as that…a job.

It's my job to progress my stories by working on them (almost) every day. It's my job to be my own cheerleader and "rah-rah" myself into finishing my novels.

It's my job, and I finally take it seriously.

About The Author

I am a Tennessean by birth, and have lived pretty much everywhere. My Dad always says that when I was born, and the doctor tried to slap me to make me cry, that I stood up on the table and slapped the doctor instead…and from then on, I never did anything that I didn't want to do.

Luckily, what I want to do is write…and not carjacking or vandalism.

Like my main character, Ellie, I love making random lists…so here are some random facts about me:

-I'm nearsighted in one eye and farsighted in the other. The world looks like a fun-house mirror if I don't wear my glasses or contacts.

-I was almost kicked out of Graceland for using flash photography in the peacock-mirrored front room, and my tour group shunned me the entire rest of the tour. That made for a lonely trip through the Jungle Room.

-I was once mistaken for a member of Hanson…granted, they all had long hair at the time, but still….not what you wanna hear as a girl.

When I wrote That Time of the Month, I really saw it as though it was a movie. I can see every scene, every character and what they are wearing, every piece of pie, perfectly in my mind. I'm currently writing the sequel, That Time of the Year. I love the story and characters so much, that I am tempted to turn the series into a trilogy.

Emily Shaffer's That Time of the Month Virtual Book Tour Page On Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours

Virtual Book Tour Contest Giveaway

Win A $10 Amazon Gift Card 

Contest Dates: October 8 - 29

Everyone who leaves a comment on Emily Shaffer's That Time of the Month Virtual Book Tour Page On Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours will be entered to win a $10 Amazon gift card! Anyone who purchases their copy of That Time of the Month before October 29th and sends their receipt to, will get five bonus entries.

Book Review

That Time of the Month by Emily Shaffer
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing
Publication Date: June 19, 2012
Format: Paperback - 310 pages / Kindle - 367 KB / Nook - 160 KB
ISBN: 1478249536
Genre: Chick Lit / Contemporary Romance / Women's Fiction

BUY THE BOOK: That Time of the Month

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours.

Book Description:

Recently fired and almost broke, thirty-year old Ellie decides to push all distractions aside and form a crash-or-burn plan to save herself and finally pursue her dreams. She gives herself one month to make the near-impossible happen, otherwise she has to leave New York City and move into her niece's toy room.

The plan seems simple but becomes complicated by a nosey best friend, a difficult roommate, a dreamy stranger, and a really bad ring. As the month progresses, Ellie must confront the realization that by deciding to focus on herself, she may have become completely self-centered.

Will she let her own ambitions, insecurities, and assumptions ruin her friendships and get in the way of a possible romance? Ruled by endless lists and fueled by several plates of pie, Ellie's comical thoughts and mishaps drive this story from the office to the coffee shop during a month that will leave her with a broken foot, a great pair of shoes, and a forever changed life.

Book Excerpt:

                                         CHAPTER ONE

“Come to my office.”

I stare at the email containing those four words: four simple words, no greeting, no sign-off, just a command. The message is from my boss, Mr. Edwards.

In the world of office emails, you never want to get one from your boss, and if you do, you definitely don’t want the message to be short. I count the words again. One, two, three, four…yep, that definitely counts as a short email.

As I read it, I’m positive that I quit breathing…probably somewhere around the word “to,” and I have yet to start again, even as I rise from my seat to take my dead-man’s walk. My only source of comfort is the thought that I might actually pass out, or better yet, die…then I won’t have to face Edwards.

As bosses go, Edwards is your typical nightmare. He is biased, hypocritical, and always in a bad mood…and now he wants to see me in his office.

I mentally start compiling a list of all the possible reasons he could want to see me:

1. I am getting a promotion.

2. He wants to tell me what a valuable employee I am.

3. He wants advice on how to be a better manager, which is advice he desperately needs.

4. He wants advice on how to dress more appropriately for his age and body type, also an area he desperately needs to take under advisement.

All of my options are just a way to try and steer my mind clear of the most likely reason he has summoned me: I am about to get canned. That is usually the only reason that Edwards ever lowers himself to having personal contact with anyone he feels is beneath him, and from all of my observations, Edwards feels that everyone is beneath him.

As I begin to make my way to the lion’s den, I stop by my best friend’s desk. “Beth…Edwards sent me an email and wants to see me in his office,” I say in what could only be described as a squeaky gasp. It’s really hard to talk without breathing. Beth immediately understands the gravity of the situation. Her eyes become huge. She reaches towards me, and squeezes my hand. 

“Don’t worry Ellie, I will make sure all your belongings get sent to you,” she whispers. Great, I’m not the only one who feels that the end is near.

Beth is usually the most optimistic person I know, no matter the situation. She once had her identity stolen. The thief managed to charge up most of her store accounts. She was quickly maxed out at Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s, Sephora…you name the store and I guarantee Beth had a card there and that card was compromised. The whole affair would have frazzled most people, but Beth cheerfully took it as a confirmation that her life was enviable enough to steal. The girl that thinks everything that ever happens is a positive, sees that I’m headed into a big fat negative.

I continue my walk toward the office. Attempting to channel a little of Beth’s nothing-bad-can-ever-actually-happen-to-me-and-my-charmed-life attitude, I try to ignore any and all of my actions that might merit an office visit. My mind goes over exactly why he has picked me to focus on this time. With Edwards, it could be anything.

I have worked for the law firm of Edwards & Egg for four years…four horrible, soul-sucking, mind-numbingly boring years. I accepted the job right out of law school and moved to New York City from Tennessee. It had seemed like a stepping stone to greater things. I was hired in as a temporary attorney, with the possibility of perhaps one day becoming permanent. But, as more and more temps were brought on, it became clear that I was never going to be anything more than what I currently was…a nowhere-bound nothing. I have sat in a beige cage for four years, doing work that requires the skill-level of a chimpanzee…and not one of those advanced chimps that speak sign language, wear overalls, and know how to smoke cigars…my job could be done by any chimp right off the street.

As I inch closer to Edwards’ office, my heart begins its journey out of my chest. The New Year’s Eve ball in Times Square would be envious of the steady descent my heart is making into my knees.

Finally, I reach my destination, and with all the strength I have left in my oxygen-deprived body, I knock on Edwards’ door.

“Yes,” he says loud enough from inside that I can’t pretend he’s somehow not in there. The man gives one-word responses and sends four-word emails. Part of me hoped that he had disappeared leaving behind a ten-word note saying he was running away to a deserted island.

I force myself to take a breath, and open the door.

“Hi Mr. Edwards, I got your email. How are you today, sir?” I try to sound chirpy and optimistic, as though I have no clue that something bad is about to happen.

“Close the door.” Another short statement. He doesn’t even look up at me.

I close the door and sit down. Edwards isn’t speaking; he is typing on his keyboard. From where I’m sitting, I can see part of his computer screen and it looks like he is checking his emails. I can’t believe how long he is stretching this out! I’m pretty sure he even clicks on a link to watch a video. He’s watching a cat play a piano, or one of those dogs that howls “I love you,” while I feel myself melting into a sweaty stress puddle.

This guy truly elevates being a bad boss to an art form. I dare anyone to find a supervisor quite like Mr. Edwards. As far as I can tell, they broke the mold after they made him, and his mold was originally formed from the leftover mold pieces of a warlord, an evil dictator, and an overly strict librarian from the 1950′s. Naturally, after his mold was finally cast, it was forged in the fiery pits of Hell. I really do hope his mold was destroyed, and that it didn’t just form back together like that liquid Terminator and slide away to form a whole army of bad bosses.

Pulling myself away from the image of fifty marching Edwards, I try to focus on my present condition. I am feeling more and more uncomfortable in the silence. Uncomfortable silences are torture for me. In them, I start to go crazy and could do or say anything to alleviate the painful situation. Before I start slapping a tune on my knee, I try to distract myself by assessing the creature before me.

I never realized how vain Mr. Edwards is, until this moment, when I finally have a chance to really look at him up close. His eyebrows are overly plucked. His teeth are so white that I kind of think he’s been exposed to radiation, and I am pretty sure his nails have clear-coat nail polish on them. His clothes are expensive, but also too tight. He’s a man who cannot accept that he has eaten his way up a few pants sizes by consuming one too many gallons of fudge ripple ice cream…Haagen Daaz, if I had to venture a guess.

I begin to mentally count the number of empty chip and candy bags in his wastebasket, when Edwards suddenly turns from his screen and unleashes his wrath on me. There are things in life that I have not been fully prepared for. 

1. Getting “the talk” from my Dad during a trip to Dollywood.

2. Having exactly zero dates for every wedding I’ve ever gone to.

3. The joy I felt the first time I saw the mountains of cheese at Zabar’s.

Yep, there are certain things that a person can never be ready for, and this moment is one of them. Mr. Edwards begins by saying that one of my co-workers has complained about me being loud and chatty. I want to ask who had complained, as we are all pretty loud and chatty, but I can tell that he is not ready for the question and answer portion of this firing to begin.

Next he starts asking me if I am stupid, or if I think that I am smarter than him. I know the answer to that one immediately, but I figure Edwards doesn’t want to hear just how much smarter than him I know I am.

Edwards’ voice is definitely growing from a low bark to a high bellow. His face begins to bead with sweat and turn a purplish-red. I am pretty sure it’s beginning to melt from the stress he is imposing on it. Edwards has a love affair with bronzer, and that bronzer was trying to escape this awkward situation by creating an orange stream down his face. As it begins to flee, I think the bronzer yells “peace out,” but I can’t be sure.

He is still yelling. As he yells, he begins gripping various items that are sitting on his desk, and I am convinced that a stapler is about to fly past my face. I need to diffuse this situation now.

“Mr. Edwards, I hope you know that I have appreciated working here for the past four years, and absolutely have always tried to do the best work possible,” I blurt out.

He pauses to take a breath and tells me that my work is great, and that his yelling at me has nothing to do with my work at all. Why is he yelling if my work isn’t an issue? Maybe his vanity includes steroid use, and the past few minutes were just the result of “roid rage.” If my work is good and the worst thing I’ve done is chit-chat, then the yelling leaves me confused, but also hopeful that maybe I am going to be able to save my job. Edwards seems to be calming down, and looks almost a little apologetic about the whole situation. I think the bronzer is even starting to feel a little more comfortable, and decides not to creep completely off his face.

My spirits are lifting. Getting yelled at isn’t fun, but I can weather any storm if I get to keep getting a paycheck.

“I’m going to have to think about whether or not I can keep you,” he finally says and goes back to staring at his computer screen.

Those words knock a little of the wind out of me. I try to tell myself that there may be some hope because he didn’t fire me on the spot.

Still looking away, he waves his hand at me in a gesture that says, “you may leave me now, you insufferable peasant.” For a moment I debate whether I should curtsy and kiss his tiger-eye ring, but I decide to just turn and leave the office the same way I came in.

As I walk back to my desk, I can feel the eyes of the other temps on me. There is no way that Edwards’ rampage will be a secret. Anyone that sits near his office could hear every word that was yelled, and those individuals will make sure that the story is spread over the entire floor before I even return to my desk. I don’t care though; I’ve been through far more embarrassing situations than this one. Besides, I can’t blame any of them for gossiping. This place is so boring. The gossip is the only thing that keeps us going.

When I reach my desk, I shoot an email out to Beth and a few other friends. I let them know that I may or may not be fired. As I hit the “send” button, an email comes in from Edwards.

“Don’t tell anyone what took place in my office,” it reads.

I send another email out to my friends immediately. “Don’t tell anyone that I may or may not be fired.” Okay, I have my bases covered. Plus, Edwards’ email makes me think that my trip to his office will be water under the bridge, and we will start anew.

For the rest of the day, I make a point to work very diligently. Edwards keeps walking by, and I am pretty sure I can hear his inner monologue praising me and my obvious respect for my job. He probably feels terrible about the way he spoke to me today, now that he sees what an asset I am. There is no way he is going to let go of a worker like me!

Finally, it’s five o’clock, and time to leave. Beth swings by my desk so that we can walk to the subway together. Once we are out of the building, I tell her the entire story of all the stuff that happened in Edwards’ office. Then, because I am all about following Edwards’ rules, I tell her “shhh, it’s a secret.” I don’t want Edwards to ever think I would disobey his orders, no matter how ridiculous they are.

Beth has her positive-face back on, and keeps assuring me that everything is going to be alright.

“Of all the people called into Edwards’ office, you’re the only one that wasn’t forcibly removed from the building afterward. That has to be a good sign, right?” She is really spinning this situation, and I’m starting to buy into her thought process.

My purse is buzzing. I must have forgotten to take my phone off vibrate when I left work. I rifle through my bag until I find it.


“Hi Eleanor. This is Kat from Empire Temps. We have just been informed that your assignment with Edwards and Egg is ending, effective immediately. The firm will mail you all of your personal effects.”

This cannot be real. This whole day has to be a dream, a bad dream…but all of my dreams about Edwards and Egg usually end with me dousing the place with lighter fluid and maniacally laughing as I strike a match. I turn around and see that the building is still there, and I am reminded that I don’t ever carry matches. This is definitely not a dream.

My breathing is stopping again, and I am pretty sure it will never re-start this time. Losing my job is about to kill me. My life begins to flash before my eyes, but it has been such a dull existence that the flash quickly fizzles out like a dud firework on the Fourth of July. Beth is staring at me with a confused glance. 

“Ellie? Ellie! What’s going on?” She is waving her hands in my face.

I hold the phone away from me, and push it towards Beth. She grabs the phone and puts it to her ear, but Kat must have already ended the call because she pulls it away again.

“Ellie, what is it? Who was on the phone,” she asks, giving me a worried look.

I can’t speak, so I try to make a clawing motion with my hand, figuring she will know I am impersonating a cat and will realize I was talking to our agent, Kat.

She doesn’t understand my gestures, and I shouldn’t be surprised…we were a charades team once at a friend’s party and she guessed “Encino Man” when I was trying to get her to guess “The Shining.”

“Ellie, talk,” she says very loudly and shakes me on the shoulder.

“Fired,” I pant the word, and know that I am about to drop dead from the shock of that call.

Beth grabs my arm and shuttles me onto a nearby bench. I try to give her directions to the nearest funeral home. It’s going to be a lot cheaper for my family if they don’t have to transport me all around the city. A direct trip to the funeral home will work. I’m less than thrilled with being buried in the outfit I have on today, but I will soon be dead, and who cares about fashion at that point. I try to tell Beth that I don’t want them using peach lipstick on my corpse, but I can’t form the words.

“You were fired? Ellie, talk to me, what was that phone call?” She snaps her fingers in my face several times and manages to break through my veil of panic.

I finally regain use of my voice and tell Beth the bad news. She takes it all in for a moment and I can tell she’s letting it roll around in her head. My faith in Beth is strong. I know she will be able to appraise the current situation for me.

She is done thinking. She turns, looks me in the eye, and takes a deep breath to deliver her assessment.

“Edwards is a tool, we all know that,” she says. Beth is honest. Edwards really is a tool.

“I’m going to buy you dinner so we can talk this out,” she says, looping her arm through mine. I am so weak from not breathing that I cannot fight the offer of a free meal. We rise from the bench and walk to the nearest diner.

By the time the waitress puts my diet soda in front of me, I have completely regained my senses…and I am mad. Who does Edwards think he is? How can he fire me, yet keep the others, several of whom have clearly escaped from a circus sideshow? What did I ever do that was worse than what everyone else in that office does?

Beth agrees with me on every point. We begin going through the list of great people who have been fired for stupid reasons.

“There was the guy who got fired for checking his lotto numbers on the internet,” Beth says.

“Oh, and don’t forget the girl who was fired for reading the newspaper at her desk,” I say.

“Remember that guy who was fired because his lunch breaks weren’t long enough?” Beth asks. 

“And somehow, the guy who was caught looking at x-rated websites only received a warning!” I shout. I even add a fist pound on the table.

“Keep the pervs, ditch the personalities. That’s his motto. You are too likeable, that’s your only crime, Ell,” she sharply points out.

Beth is making me feel a lot better. We have both worked at Edwards & Egg for four years. For four years we have both had to deal with and observe the injustice of that office. I don’t think I would have survived the first month at the place if I hadn’t had my friend there.

I met Beth on my first day at the firm. We were both in the same hiring group. By chance, we sat next to each other during orientation. Sitting across from us was another new hire, a man named Gus. Gus introduced himself and starting telling us about the menagerie of animals he kept in his apartment (that he called his “anifamily”), and asked who we thought he should talk to about the firm’s policy on receiving live animals in the mail. The moment he walked away, Beth and I looked at each other and broke into laughter. After that, we became best friends very quickly.

Beth comes from a completely different world than I do. I was raised in a middle class family in Tennessee. We had a nice life, but nothing extravagant. My childhood consisted of what most would probably consider the “normal” things. I was a Girl Scout, I played softball, and I took dance classes. Beth was raised in a very upper-class family in Connecticut. Her childhood consisted of nannies, tutors, and polo matches. Her first vehicle was a new Range Rover. My first vehicle was a 1977 mint green Cutlass Supreme that I shared with my brother. My family took summer trips to Dollywood and Opryland. Beth’s family always sails to sunny places with “St.” in the name. Anyone who talks about where they “holiday” is definitely living a little bigger than the rest of us who just go on “vacations.” Even so, the two of us could not be better suited as friends.

Over the course of our friendship, we have learned practically all there is to know about each other. I know that Beth can spot someone who has had any form of plastic surgery, no matter how well it was done and no matter how small the procedure. She knows that I have an intense fear of mascots. I was there for her when her Chihuahua passed away. She was there for me when One Tree Hill quit being a good show and I had to find something else to watch on Monday nights.

If we were in junior high school, Beth would totally be wearing the other half of my “best friends” heart necklace. Now that’s friendship!

Venting about Edwards and his behavior is helping a lot. It helps until Beth says the words that everyone who has lost a job dreads hearing.

“I think this is a blessing in disguise.”

A blessing in disguise? I cannot see any way that losing my livelihood will be a blessing, but Beth is so sweet when she says it, that I smile in agreement. 

Dinner ends and I say goodbye to Beth. She is going to the subway. I want to take a long walk home. Even on the crowded sidewalks of New York City, I feel like I can be alone with my thoughts. It’s one of the things I love about living here. 

I begin my journey and start going over the situation at hand.

Eleanor Bennett, what are you going to do now? You have chit-chatted your way out of a job. You don’t have any sort of savings account. You have student loan and credit card debt as big as a mountain. You are living in the most expensive city in the country. You are single. You are thirty years old. You still don’t know how to cook. You have wasted your life. You are most definitely a loser.

I’m my biggest fan, and this is what I think of myself. I am doomed.

I walk into my apartment, my tiny overpriced and under-loved apartment. In my state of despair, I see the apartment through new eyes. I used to hate the fact that my living room was also my bedroom and my kitchen. I used to hate using my bathroom as a home office. I used to hate that all of my furniture and appliances double (sometimes triple) as other items. I used to hate that I live above a Kentucky Fried Chicken, and that the smell makes me dream about buckets of extra crispy. I hated everything about my apartment. But, the prospect of losing it is giving me a fresh perspective. My apartment isn’t small, it’s cozy. The KFC is a blessing – most people have to pay for that smell, I get to live it!

I love this apartment now. I don’t want to lose it!

My furry roommate runs out from the bathroom and acts like I’m not even in the room. Great, even Mr. Doe realizes what a loser I’ve become. Traitorous cat, I have fed and housed you for two years…and I don’t even like cats.

I think I am still in shock from the day’s events. I flop down onto my couch-bed and immediately realize I forgot to get a drink. Easily remedied, I just reach for a soda from the fridge-bookshelf, it’s right next to the couch-bed.

I pop the tab on my soda and the fizzy noise that escapes somehow breaks through my shocked haze. This is real, I am unemployed, and I am holding a soda in my hand. I examine the soda. Sodas are my one vice. I pride myself on the amount and variety of soda I keep in the fridge-bookshelf. Cola, orange, grape, lemon-lime, and yes, even ginger ale…they all fill my fridge and my life.

Will I be able to keep buying soda, or is this can in my hand a symbol of all that I must now give up? The thought of giving up my precious soda is enough to make me weep, but crying will waste time that I could be sipping on my delicious drink. I will save my tears for later, I’m sure there are plenty of other things that will make me want to cry tonight…the microwaving of a frozen dinner, the turning on of a light, the using of the telephone, the watching of a Law & Order: SVU marathon. These are all luxuries to me now.

I can only think of one other person who has ever faced as cruel and uncertain a future as I am facing, Scarlett O’Hara. Scarlett and I are of one spirit now. I visualize myself digging potatoes from the dirt, marrying a wealthy business man for his money, and fashioning a dress from my drapes. I eye my mini-blind covered windows and mentally slash the last item off my list. I look terrible in horizontal stripes.

Mustering my inner southern-belle (I am from Tennessee after all), I declare that tomorrow will certainly be another day, and I decide that I should go to bed. Surely everything will be brighter in the morning.

I turn couch-bed into bed-couch and grab some pajamas out of dresser-t.v. stand. Mr. Doe walks across the floor and meows at me.

“Mr. Doe, this isn’t a good time,” I say. The last thing I want to do is hear his opinion on the days’ events. I realize it’s his apartment too, but I’m senior tenant around here, so I make the rules. He meows at me again, but I walk in to the bathroom and shut the door. It’s the only place where I can get away from that cat. Sometimes I wish I’d never asked him to move in.

Mr. Doe came into my life two years ago. I had left the window open that leads to my fire escape. I was multi-tasking that day. I had just painted my fingernails, and they had yet to dry, and I was trying to eat some Oreo cookies without getting little black crumbs on my paint job. It’s really hard work.

I was completely consumed with my project, when I heard a meow at the window. That meow came from the scowling face of Mr. Doe. In our time together, I have learned that he is extremely judgmental, and that day I could tell he was disapproving of the number of cookies I had eaten.

Wondering just how long he had sat there, and just how many cookies he had watched me consume, I told Mr. Doe to leave. I explained to him that I dislike cats, and that he needed to go back down the fire escape. I didn’t want to risk any of his hair flying onto my nails or my cookies. Mr. Doe just sat there, blatantly ignoring my instructions. I had been on my way to shut the window in his smug face, when a mouse ran across my floor. Without hesitation, Mr. Doe sprang into action and caught the mouse before it could get away.

I could not deny Mr. Doe’s skill with the mouse situation, and living where I live, there is often a mouse situation. I invited Mr. Doe to live with me on the spot, but only as polite acquaintances. He could stay in my apartment as resident mouse-catcher, and I would feed him, but he had to stay out of my business. Mr. Doe agreed, and he has lived with me ever since. I’m sure he has a checkered past. Sometimes I think he’s on the run from the law because I’ve never been able to get him to tell me his name. Since he has insisted on an air of mystery, I declared him a “John Doe.” However, I have always called him Mr. Doe, as we aren’t close enough to be on first name terms.

“Meow,” he cries at the door. He is so nosey, it’s like he can sense when I’m thinking about him. He really is a terrible roommate.

I finish getting ready for bed and open the door to find Mr. Doe glaring at me.

“The room is yours, sir,” I say, and with a sweeping arm-gesture, I motion him inside. He makes a face at me and walks by. Sarcasm is never lost on Mr. Doe.

I turn off all the lights and lay down on bed-couch. Sleeping isn’t going to be easy tonight. I try counting sheep. I try counting the number of car horns I hear sounding on the street outside. I try counting the number of dollars I have left in the bank. None of it is helping. I decide to turn the TV on.

Sometimes the best way to self-soothe is through some feel good television. I flip through the channels until I finally land on the perfect show. Little House on the Prairie is just what I need on a night like tonight. Whenever I am feeling bad, happy shows always make me feel better. Nobody can make you feel better like the Ingalls: Laura, Mary, Ma, Pa….PA!!!!

Suddenly, a frightening thought hits me. I still have to tell Dad about losing my job. My problems immediately have become ten times worse.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my Dad. I adore my Dad. My Dad is the smartest, hardest working, kindest person I have ever known in my life. My Dad has been supportive of everything I have ever done…well, almost everything. My Dad didn’t think moving to New York City was a very good idea. Once he gets this news, he will be calling in the brigade to march me back home.

My mom passed away when I was a teenager, and as a result, Dad became very protective of my brother and me. My brother, Mark, did everything right: went to college, got a good job, married a nice girl, bought a house, had a baby, adopted a yellow lab, started wearing a fanny pack on family vacations, and pretty much has a Norman Rockwell existence.

It’s not that I have ever really done anything too terribly wrong. I think that not having a mom around made Dad focus on me a little more than he did on Mark. That situation has had several ups, and a few downs. On the upside, Dad may have spoiled me a little. I always had new things and plenty of pocket money. In college I got to go to France, and I always know that if I need something, Dad will be there to help me. On the downside, Dad has always tried to keep me on a short leash. If Dad had his way, Mark and I would build houses next to the house we grew up in and form a family compound.

I’m sure it’s natural for fathers to be especially protective of their kids…and I think if the father unexpectedly becomes a single parent of a daughter, the protective nature grows to a ghastly size. For most of my life, I didn’t mind. I’ve never been much of a rebel, and I always tried to follow my Dad’s advice. “Stay close to home, save some money, get some experience, then move,” he had said.

I had big city dreams, I had misplaced confidence, I had misguided judgment, so of course I didn’t listen to my Dad. After law school graduation, I bought a one-way ticket to the Big Apple and I never looked back. I have also never admitted that moving here with no savings and a mediocre job didn’t turn out as well as I’d hoped, and I’ve definitely not told my Dad about how my tiny apartment is in a really sketchy area of town. Nor have I mentioned that I have one set of credit cards to help pay my bills, and a second set of cards to help pay the bills of my first set. To top it all off, I never told him that I had no chance to be promoted to a permanent attorney position or to any position beyond the one I had, so how could I tell him now that I no longer have a job at all?

Maybe tomorrow isn’t another day, maybe the universe will spare me having to call my Dad, and let this night last forever.

Grabbing a notepad from my coffee table, I make a list of the wrong turns that have brought me to this moment in time. Maybe if I start from the beginning, I can pinpoint the moment where everything went off course.

1. Sucked my thumb until the age of five.

2. In the first grade, tried out to be one of the twelve drummers drumming, when I really wanted to be one of seven swans-a-swimming.

3. Let my mom convince me to wear corduroy knickerbockers to third grade picture day.

4. Didn’t wear my headgear as much as the orthodontist told me to.

5. Went to prom with Walter Scott.

6. Changed my major five times in college.

7. Ordered ham instead of turkey today at lunch.

Lists usually help me calm down and sort out my thoughts, but this list is going to take more time and energy than I have tonight so I throw the notepad on the table and flop back against my pillow.

My Book Review:

After working four years as an attorney for a New York City law firm, thirty year old Ellie is fired, almost broke, and unsure what to do next. She decides to follow her dream and follows a thirty day crash-or-burn plan to become an author. With enough money saved to live on for at least one month, Ellie embarks on a journey to write a book and become a famous author ... only to discover some things about herself along the way.

That Time of the Month is an entertaining story about a woman who decides to follow her dreams. This fast-paced story is told in the first person narrative by the protagonist, Ellie, who takes the reader along for the ride on her journey to follow her dream of becoming an author. With a lot of laugh-out-loud moments, Ellie's journey is wrought with trials and tribulations that will keep the reader in stitches. From her habit of writing out endless lists, to the pie eating adventures at the local coffee shop, to dumpster diving, and her clumsiness that lands her with a broken foot, Ellie's journey is anything but smooth but along the way she discovers things about herself that will change her life forever.

The cast of characters in this story are a crazy but wickedly fun bunch of people who are engaging and easy for the reader to relate to. I loved following Ellie's journey to pursue her dream: her sassy personality, clumsy ways, her habit for writing endless lists, and the adventures she got herself into were a hoot, I think I snickered my way through the whole story. With a crazy supporting cast of characters: best friend Beth, a truly supportive friend with a sarcastic personality; Jeff, the scruffy hippie turned dreamboat love interest; and Ellie's roommate Mr. Doe, each added a realistic and crazy fun entertainment value to the story.

Rich in detail and descriptions, laugh-out-loud witty dialogues and interactions, and a whimsical storyline that draws the reader in from the beginning, That Time of the Month is one heck of a funny story that will make you laugh and smile.

That Time of the Month is a must read for anyone who enjoys a wickedly fun and humorous story, it will even make you to ponder about pursuing your own dreams.



  1. Replies
    1. Thank you Samantha, I really enjoyed reading this book, it was a blast! Thank you for the opportunity to read, review and host the virtual book tour event. :)