An Interview with Chelsey Krause - Author of the Week

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1.  As the Author, which character in the story was your personal favorite?
(Come on now, we all have 1 character we fall in love with more than the others, they're not like children, they’re fictional)

HA. My personal favorite is Ravi (Samira’s opinionated Indian father). He was completely unexpected. I didn’t mean to write him, but he just showed up! I love him because he says whatever the hell he wants (something I wish I could do more often), has a great sense of humor, and is surprisingly insightful.  

2.  Realistically, how long did your story take you to brainstorm, write, rewrite, edit and sell to a publisher?

OH boy. Now you’re really making me think! 
2 years to brainstorm
6 months to write
6 months to rewrite & edit
3 months looking for a publisher (which is very unusual!!!! Usually it takes much longer)
6 months of editing/copyediting/preparing for book launch 

3.  Why a writer?  There are so many exciting careers in the world, how did you know that writing was the one for you?

To me, writing IS the most exciting career!  


I’ve loved books for as long as I can remember. 
I started writing short stories when I was in the fifth grade. I’ve dabbled with poems and journaling over the years. I was one of those weird kids in school who actually enjoyed writing essays. In my early twenties, I started analyzing my favorite books, trying to figure out how they were worded and pieced together. For me, it wasn’t so much as question of “if” I’d write books, but “when.” 



4. So the questions every aspiring Author wants to know: How many times did you submit your manuscript before you were accepted?  Did you, or did you not, use a literary agent?  Thoughts on the process?

I sent query letters to about 50 literary agencies, and 3 digital imprints (more on that below).  I tried getting an agent (as this is what most books on writing suggest), but I found that most agents are either too busy to take on new clients, or only read specific genres (ex. literary fiction and NA were the most common), and the vast majority don’t want anything to do with (whisper it) women’s fiction. 

So yeah. Long story short, I didn’t get an agent.  And without an agent, you’re pretty much screwed. You can’t send unsolicited manuscripts to publishing houses. Your beautiful manuscript that you cried over and invested thousands of hours into will simply be tossed in the trash. 

So that left me with two options: 

1) Self-publishing
2) Digital imprints 

Everyone has heard about self-publishing. There are a bazillion different ways to publish your own books. But I doubt that many people have heard about digital imprints. 
I hadn’t heard of them either, until I discussed my dilemma with an author friend of mine, and she told me about the wonderful world of digital imprints. 
A digital imprint basically means that a book is being published digitally (i.e. no paper copies). Publishers are using “digital imprints as a way to publish new authors as well as to bring back once popular titles that have gone out of print.”

Excerpt taken from Publisher’s Weekly. See the full article here: Digital Imprints Take Root.

Random House has several digital imprints that will take unsolicited manuscripts. They currently have four digital imprints (see links below for details).
Loveswept (Romance and Women’s Fiction)
Alibi (Mystery and Suspense)
Hydra (Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror)
Flirt (New Adult)

I sent a query letter to Loveswept using their online submission form, and hoped for the best.  Loveswept’s editor (and one of my new favorite people!) emailed me a couple of weeks later, saying she was interested in publishing my manuscript. I still sometimes doesn’t’ seem real. The summer of 2014 was a flurry of contract details, word counts, cover art mock ups, copy edits, etc.  It certainly isn’t a typical publishing story! I know of many authors who try for years to get their books out there. I think that timing and how you present your content is just as important as the content itself. 

5.  Has the 'becoming an author' experience been what you had expected?  And why?

Yes and no. My day to day life is pretty much the same. I play with my kids, fold laundry, and make supper. I work, buy groceries, and watch Netflix with my husband. 
But it’s totally weird when friends talk about my books and the characters in them. It feels strange to have something I wrote is being discussed and analyzed by others! 
Going to New York to meet my publishing team at Random House was pretty cool. I could hardly believe I was there! And seeing that my name belongs beside famous authors like Sue Grafton, Elizabeth Gilbert, Janet Evanovich, etc. It’s very humbling. (And makes me gulp and think, “Oh shit, I’d better step up my game!” lol) 

6.  Your top 3 books/authors?

I can’t possibly choose just 3. I’ll give you 5.  These are books that I could read over and over. 

Fight Club – Chuck Palahniuk 
(Watch the movie first. You’ll “get” the book way more if you do.)

Lord of the Flies – William Golding 
(I could talk for days about the metaphors in this book. Seriously.) 

A Girl Like You – Gemma Burgess 
(Pure chick lit. I love it, it’s one of the funniest and most believable love stories I’ve ever read.)

Remember Me?  - Sophie Kinsella 
(This one asks an interesting “what if” question: What if you woke up and suddenly were rich, gorgeous, and married to a man with abs that Brad Pitt would kill for? What if your new wonderful life wasn’t as great as it seemed? Sounds amazing, right? I read this about once a year. I’ll never look at sunflowers the same way again.)

The Bronze Horseman – Paullina Simons 
(I’m not usually a fan of romance novels, which is ironic since I write romantic-comedies, but this… This book is epic. Everyone should read this. Especially if you’re a history buff, or love WW2.) 

7.  If there was an event in your life that triggered this book, or even a scene in the book, what was that?

In Canada, women get a year of maternity leave. I was about 6 months away from having to go back to work at the understaffed, super stressed out hospital I was employed at. I dreaded the idea of going back. I had struggled for a long time to accept the fact that hospital nursing wasn’t what I thought it was going to be. And so, in order to deal with all of this emotional crap, I wrote this book.  

“Can’t Always Get What You Want” is a combination of me coming to terms with the realities with my nursing career, and the original story spark (i.e. What would happen if you found “the one,” and then lost him?). 

On a side note, I now work at a specialist’s office as a nurse case manager, and am very happy. I feel like 

I’ve found my niche. Allowing the main character, Sophie, to work through my conflicting emotions (and hatred for scrubs and running shoes) helped me to find a job that I really, truly love. 

8.  Tell me about your favorite t.v. shows.

In recent years, I’ve enjoyed Breaking Bad, Dexter, Grey’s Anatomy, and That 70s Show re-runs.  (I mean, come on? Who doesn’t love That 70s Show? Lol)  I’ve just started watching Sons of Anarchy. Generally though, I prefer to listen to podcasts, comedians on YouTube, or TED Talks. 

9.  If you could choose 3 foods to live on the rest of your life, what would they be and why?

Butter Chicken – because I love all things Indian. Hence, the Indian wedding in “Can’t Always Get What You Want.” 

Sweet n Sour Meatballs – because they’re delicious. That’s why. 

Sushi rolls – because they’re my weakness. 

10.  If you could give an aspiring author 1 piece of advice, what would it be?

Read Stephen King’s book, “On Writing: Memoirs of the Craft.” 

11.  Have you already started on your next book?  Give us a tiny pitch...

I have written my second book!  Of course, I can't reveal much at this stage (and details are subject to change), but I'll give you a few teaser words: 

1950s, Rockabilly, thrift stores, mysterious photo album, stack of letters, and a guitar playing Irish fireman (ooh lala!).

Intrigued? I sure hope so! 

I love hearing from readers, so feel free to message me on: 

Email: chelsey@chelseykrause.com

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Thank you Chelsey!  I asked Chelsey a few months ago her advice to an aspiring author (me) and she told me about Stephen King's Book... I read it, love it and would give the same advice!
Check back tomorrow for an excerpt of Chelsey's Book 'Can't Always Get What You Want.' You won't want to miss it!
-Aimee

I Wish for You
By Author: Camilla Isley

Blurb:

If all your wishes could suddenly come true, what would you do?
A year ago when the love of her life dumped her for no apparent reason, Ally thought she had hit rock bottom. But now that she has seen him with another woman, and one she knows only too well, her life seems to have reached a whole new level of low.
Yet, when she stumbles across an ancient object infused with magical powers and a stranger with a dark past appears out of nowhere promising to grant all her wishes, she finds herself hoping again.
Suddenly Ally’s life is turned upside down; she has a mystery to solve, a rival to beat, a millenarian curse to break, and well, she wants to have some fun playing with her new “gifts”…
But can she wish her way to happily ever after?

Buy the Book:


My Review:

Ally's thinks her life is over until she visits a flea market with her mother and is drawn to a small jewelry box.  You'd think it would end there, but it doesn't.  I'm going to be honest with you guys... Camilla requested I read and review her book in June, I apparently liked the sound of it but since I was booking up quickly she got pushed out all the way to the end of September.  I had forgotten what the book was actually about but knew I LOVED the cover.

When I started this book last Thursday I didn't re-read the submission blurb, I just opened it up and started reading.  The first chapter almost lost me until there was mention of a flea market... then me being the thrift store lover that I am I was hooked but still really had no idea where it was going.  Guys... OK, so there's magic, a lost love, an irritating co-worker and SO much more!!

I gave this book 5 stars.


I hate magic... I LOVED the magic in this book.  I read this book in 4 hours... could not put it down.  My heart did flip-flops many times... I hated the people Ally hated and I knew exactly who she should end up with.  But I never really knew until the end!  You root for not just one heroine in this book but two... you want to know Ally's story and you want o know Arthur 's story... and two different stories they are!

This book has earned a spot on my buy list, and on my favorites shelf (it's a hard one to get on people).  I can say honestly that this book may be in my top 3 of the whole year so far.  If you haven't read it... WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!

What I Loved:

-Everything... from the magic to the revenge to the heartbreak and the flea market.
- The details in Arthur's story!  I just loved hearing the two very different worlds mesh.
-The ending!!
-I'm a fan Camilla and I will read anything you write!

What I didn't Love:

-The first chapter was a tad slow, but after reading it, necessary for the story.
-I didn't want it to end!

What I thought of the Cover:

-Who couldn't love the cover!!??  True Chick Lit for a true Chick Lit book!  This book would have fallen into my arms before I had a chance to look at anything else had I seen it in the store.

About the Author:

Camilla Isley

Bio:

Camilla was born in 1984. She's an engineer that has always had a vivid imagination and a more creative approach to life. After working in a corporate job for some years, she left everything to follow her husband around the world in a new adventure. Upon finding herself with loads of free time for the first time in a long while, she decided to begin pouring some of her fantasies into words...

Find her here:



My Interview with Camilla

1. What made you want to write a book?

I had left my job to follow my husband in a new country, so I had a lot of free time and many ideas bouncing up and down in my head, and I finally decided to put them into words…



2. What did you (or do you) want to be when you grow up?

Well what I know is that I didn’t want to be a writer, I just never thought of it. It was one of life’s big surprises, and I’m glad for it.



3. Are any of your characters based off of people you personally know and what made you choose them?

Ally’s best friend is a lot like mine in real life, I’m not even sure I decided to write it that way, I think it came natural to me without even realizing it.



4. How did your story come to you?


It was such a long journey that I’m not sure anymore. The original idea was to create a magic world where wishes could come true… I wanted it to be romantic, humorous, and to have some twists here and there. I wrote the book in a weird order, I knew the end before I knew everything else, but after I drafted the beginning the book took a life of its own and every chapter was an inspiration for the next one.


6. If you could give an aspiring author 1 piece of advice what would it be?

Take notes, you’ll never know when inspiration might strike! I have a notebook at home where I write possible ideas, and when I’m out I use my phone constantly.

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Thank you Camilla for allowing me to read & review your story.  I'm so glad to be able to get to know you on all the social media!  I loved your book and can't wait for your next!

-Aimee


The Morning After Memoirs
By Author: Kate Michaels

Blurb:

A smart, irreverent slant on modern dating, Kate Michaels’ sexy, laugh-out-loud debut reimagines the world of Sex And The City with the biting realism of Lena Dunham’s Girls. Twenty-nine-year-old Jess wakes up on New Year’s Day a touch hungover and a whole lot confused. The man in bed next to her is not her boyfriend, Ben. In fact, she doesn’t even remember Not-Ben’s name. It won’t be the first time she finds herself in a questionable situation in a year that proves her new single-in-the-city lifestyle is far from the glamorous, Sex And The City world she’s been promised on TV. Between hacking through last year’s leg hair, accidentally snogging someone who may well be her cousin, getting hit over the head with a sex toy that isn’t even hers, and ending the night with a walk of shame into her parent’s garage, Jess’s single life is turning out more cockroaches than cocktails. The Morning After Memoirs is the story of one woman’s search for love, meaning, and a low-calorie alternative to wine. ‘A delightfully fresh and funny take on single life in the city – best enjoyed with a glass of wine in hand!’ Belinda Jones, bestselling author of The California Club ‘A funny and insightful read, which every single girl can relate to.’ Take A Break

My Review:

I thought Jess was a great main character, she's funny, snarky, bitchy and real.  Who doesn't love that in a chick lit novel?  It made me laugh out loud in the first chapter, which is always good.  Her life is a bit of a mess... a disaster really and her luck isn't much better.

The writing style was a tad similar to Sex in the City but I maybe am too old for this particular 'storyline'.  It was a lot of drinking, partying and sleeping around and well... let's face it... I'm well past any timeframe that that scenario could have been in my life.

I gave this book 3 Stars.


The story was funny, but I felt like there was way too much narration and not enough action.  I felt like there was page upon page where no one spoke, that loses me right there.
I wanted to like this book, desperately, but it and I just didn't click.  Does that mean I won't try Kate's next novel... I will definitely read her next one.  I think her writing style is witty and fun and she has the potential to put out a novel I will truly love.

What I Loved:

-Loved her writing style.  I love snark, wit and slight bitchiness in books.
-Loved the Cover!  How chick lit is that?!  Fabulous job there.

What I didn't Love:

-I just didn't love the overall story line.

What I thought of the Cover:

I LOVED the cover... so chick lit and if I was walking past this book in the story I'd definitely check it out.

About the Author:

Bio:
Kate Michaels was born in Birmingham. After studying English, drama and film, she moved to London where she currently lives with her boyfriend and two cats. As a journalist and copywriter she writes about everything from bars and theatre to luxury property. The Morning After Memoirs is Kate's debut novel.

Find her here:

My interview with Kate:

1. What made you want to write a book?

I’ve always loved writing, ever since I was at school. English was one of my favourite subjects and writing stories or poems came quite naturally to me. Humour has always been quite important, too. I remember when I was about 13 I wrote a poem about a chaotic family Christmas (not unlike Jess’s family in The Morning After Memoirs!). It was passed around the English department because it made my teacher laugh. 
I realized how much fun it was creating characters and then letting them free to do crazy things! Now I write and edit for a living, so it’s nice to step away from other people’s style guides and let loose on a novel of my own.

2. What did you (or do you) want to be when you grow up?

This changed so much when I was younger. I can’t think of any kid that didn’t want to be a pop star! I also really wanted to be a waitress on roller skates at one point… I really love the theatre and dabbled in acting and directing, but I always enjoyed the writing side the most. I think it’s safe to say I want to be a writer when I grow up, and to keep writing for as long as I still love it.

3.  Are any of your characters based off of people you personally know and what made you choose them?

None of my characters are based on one particular person. Most are entirely made up, but some might take on vague characteristics of people I know or have met – one character might have personality traits of five or ten different people, but always only the good bits! I tried to make them likeable and as varied as possible – friends you might want to hang out with and a family you might find absurd, but hopefully readers would warm to!

4.  How did your story come to you?

The initial set up of a twentysomething newly single on New Year’s Day came to me quite early on, and I decided to begin each chapter with her waking up ‘the morning after’ as a fun way to structure the story. 
From there, it was a lot of sitting back and daydreaming and letting the characters run loose to see what kinds of trouble they’d get themselves into. They did me proud!

5.  Has the 'becoming an author' experience been what you had expected?  And why?

I guess the idea of ‘becoming an author’ is ongoing. There hasn’t been a point where I’ve stepped back and thought that I feel like author now! So far it’s been so much fun hearing from people online – on blogs and social media. Every time someone says they enjoyed my book it really makes me smile! I’ve also had so many friends and colleagues who I haven’t been in contact with for a while who have found out about the book and got in touch, which is great! 

6.  If you could give an aspiring author 1 piece of advice what would it be?

I would say go for it! Most people don’t have much free time these days and it can be a really scary thing to start writing a novel. But you CAN find the time. Squeeze it in wherever you have a free second – instead of that crap TV show, on the bus, first thing in the morning, whatever works for you. If you’re having trouble starting, just write something down. You don’t have to use it, you don’t have to let anyone else see it, but at least you’re on your way. Good luck!

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Thank you so much Kate for allowing me to read and review this book!!

-Aimee
Guest Post by Author of the Week - Tilly Tennant

A Letter to my unpublished self

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Dear Tilly,

Listen up! I know you have this grand delusion that you’re going to be a famous 
singer but, really, nobody wants to hear it.  You think you open your mouth and you 
sound like Mary Poppins. The reality is that you crack mirrors, dogs howl and small 
children flee.  Ditch the warbling.

Have you thought about writing books? You love reading, right? You love wordplay 
and humour? You love happy ever afters? Sometimes you get grumpy that the story 
you’re engrossed in doesn’t turn out the way you want it to? Well, hold the phone, 
because if you’d written it, it would have been exactly the ending you wanted to see. 
See? 

I won’t bull you; it’s going to be tough. Possibly tougher than one of your Sunday 
joints. Almost certainly tougher and less financially rewarding than singing (at least, 
other people’s singing). You will have to hold down about fifteen jobs for a while. 
You will have to work late into the night and get up at the crack of dawn to start all 
over again the next day. You will sit in darkened rooms on the sunniest days of the 
year when everyone else is out leaping in fountains and eating ice-cream because you 
have a deadline. At times your kids will think you’ve left home when you’ve actually 
been holed up in the loft for three days crying over a plot that won’t work. There will 
be times when you want to throw the laptop from the nearest window, times when 
your characters will misbehave, times when it seems that nobody wants to buy the 
stories you’re peddling and when they do they only have bad things to say about 
them.  But one day, one glorious, heavenly-choirs-massing-in-the-clouds day, 
someone will love what you do. Enough to hand you a contract and take you under 
their wing to nurture what you grain of talent you have. One day, you’ll publish that 
book. 

That’s when the adventure really begins.  And in the words of a wise old(ish) Irishman: Life is a rollercoaster, you just gotta ride it. 

That’s my advice. What you choose to do with it is up to you.

Love from Tilly xxx

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Loved this Tilly!
Thank you SO much for being my Author of the Week!
I've enjoyed getting to know you a bit and allowing my readers to get to know you a bit!  I can't wait to read everything you ever write.
Me trying to write my own first book, I can relate to this letter... (I almost want to print it out and hang it on the wall next to my desk! lol)

-Aimee
6 things you should’ve learned by 25

In my early twenties I had my entire life mapped out in five-year blocks. Within in the next 10 years I’d planned to complete my Master’s degree by 25, get married by 26, and have three kids by 30. Somewhere along that line, it all went to hell. Well, not all of it. I did complete my Master’s earlier this year… yay! But now, at the landmark age of 25, I’ve been forced to carry out a mid-decade review of my goals. Here are some of the key things I’ve learned: 

You have no idea who you are, or what you want

In your early twenties your identity is not your own. Most of us are trying to break into the world of work, find a career that fits, and forge a name for ourselves in that field. All while trying to dig ourselves out of mounds of student loans, scared silly we’ll get arrested for messing up on our taxes, and completely mortified when we realize we’re no longer on our parents’ health insurance. Quite possibly all of this is happening from the upstairs bedroom of our family home because we can’t afford to move out yet. To everyone, we’re still Margaret’s daughter, Kayla’s baby sister and daddy’s little princess. 
Uggh!

The worst thing you can do at this stage is make rash decisions in attempts to assert your 
independence (think Miley Cyrus. Hello!) Until you’re safely settled into adulthood, you have no idea what you need - much less what you want. And there’s no rush. Financial plans, career plans and wedding plans can wait until you’re sure. By 25, you’ll realize that half the things you were worried about have no bearing on your life.

Life plans are more like guidelines, not rules

The biggest mistake I made was trying to follow my plans to the letter. When jobs, friendships - or even cars! - didn’t work out, I was convinced my entire life was going to unravel like a domino effect. (Seriously. There were times when I thought I was going to be a homeless bum feeding pigeons in the park). But guess what? It didn’t. This happened enough times that I eventually learned the following four lessons. 

Don’t get me wrong, plans are still great for keeping you focused, just don’t get so caught up in them that you forget to live life. 

There are several paths to the top

Simply put, there’s no tried and true recipe for success. Much like lightning, preparation and opportunity never seem to align the same way twice. Just because your friend ‘made it’ by taking uncalculated risks, doesn’t mean you have to. Focus on yourself and your path and you’ll always be ahead of the curve. Your journey is unique to you, so sit back and enjoy the ride. 

Always have a ‘plan B’

Perhaps paramount in appreciating my previous point is understanding and accepting that as life twists and turns, snakes and snags, you’ll likely encounter situations where things don’t go according to plan. That’s okay… as long as you have a backup. Remember - guidelines, not rules.

Relationships change, and that’s okay 

As you discover who you are and where you want to be, it only makes sense that your 
relationships will undergo change as well. You’ll be attracted to different people - platonic and otherwise. You’ll enjoy different personalities. You’ll be different. Some relationships will thrive on this change, others will fester and die. And again, that’s okay. 

It’s not that serious 

Reading this may seem discouraging for some who thought they had it all together. You might be wondering, “well, if it’s not going to work out anyway, why bother?” That is not the moral of this story! What I’m saying is that no matter what happens - whether you get married at 24 or 34, flunk out of your MBA, or never have kids - Monday will always come after Sunday. Life will go on. The most important thing is that you become a person you love, who appreciates and enjoys every moment of their journey - no matter the outcome. 

About the Author:

Bio

Aprille L. Thomas is the author of the Barbados-based chicklit Sunday Afternoon series. These light-hearted novellas follow the lives of strong, ambitious career women trying to balance boyfriends and bosses, clients and cocktails, while unknowingly uncovering one of the biggest scandals to hit the island in decades.

Find her here:


Her Available Books:
(click the cover to buy)

Karlie Washington is a smart, sexy, savvy copywriter, and she’s in line for the promotion of her dreams – Creative Director at NJH Communications, Barbados’s trendiest ad agency. Karlie’s been eyeing the job since moving back home five years ago, and when the old CD resigns, Karlie’s more than ready to accept the new title. 

But there’s just one problem – Hosea Young. She has to compete with the boss’s pet for the coveted spot. Oh, and everyone else in the office, too. 

Determined to come out on top, problems abound for Karlie as she tries to navigate her way up the career ladder. She struggles with a know-it-all coworker, a my-way-or-the-highway boss, and never-ending boyfriend drama. Her chances of success start looking slimmer at every turn, and she soon finds herself at her wits' end. 

So when she accidentally stumbles across the opportunity to secure her success, it seems like a simple decision. But an overactive conscience forces a torn Karlie to reconsider what’s more important, and she quickly realizes that things aren’t always what they seem. 

When a Spade isn’t a Spade, Aprille L. Thomas’s debut novella, brings a poetic flair to the complications of corporate life, complex love, and chasing your dreams.

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***RATED 18+ for sexual content*** 

What if one day, in one evening, all of your shocking secrets came to light? 

As an up-and-coming real estate agent at one of Barbados’s well established firms, Joline Osborne spends her days helping people find their perfect match. And she’s found hers… in Brian, Rafi and Nash. 

Life in paradise couldn’t be better as Jo manages to keep her fast-paced work life and complex private life totally separate. At work, her colleagues watch in wonder as the free-spirited, easy-going shopaholic fashionably juggles a hot-tempered boss and clients who never quite seem to know what they want. After hours, she drives men wild with her allure, elusiveness and effortless beauty. 

But everything is thrown off balance when her isolated worlds collide during her best friend’s charity dog show at Apes Hill. Jo’s neatly woven web of secrets unravels and it all comes crashing down around her. Her colleagues are shocked to learn the ugly truth. Natalie wants nothing to do with her. And her disgruntled lovers give her the worst ultimatum ever: love me or list me. 

Can Jo pick up the pieces? Will she mend her broken relationships before it’s too late? And who will she choose? 

Love Him or List Him is Aprille L. Thomas’s second novella in the Sunday Afternoon Series, bringing a poetic flair to the complications of corporate life, complex love, and chasing your dreams.

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Thank you Aprille for guest posting on my Blog!!  I can say with certainty that your post is completely true.  Take it from someone almos whole decade and a half older than 25, you are quite wise, for real. :)
I loved When a Spade wasn't a Spade (review here) and I can't wait to read Love Him or List Him and review!

-Aimee