Sunday, July 29, 2012

VBT: "The Whole Package" by Cynthia Ellingsen Guest Post and Giveaway (Ends 8/23 ) U.S.

Title: The Whole Package
Author: Cynthia Ellingsen
Publisher: Penguin/Berkley
Length: 409 pages
Genres: Contemporary Women's Fiction (Comedy)

Available at:

Life has thrown childhood friends Jackie, Cheryl, and Doris a few curveballs. Widowed and broke, Jackie returns home after an extravagant life in Paris, Doris is reliant on anti-depressants, and Cheryl’s plans for a corporate take-over are replaced with walking papers. But after a drunken night sampling the delights at strip club for women, the ladies stumble upon a genius idea and decide to open up The Whole Package—the world’s first restaurant staffed exclusively by very attractive men. Armed with Jackie’s connections, Doris’ ambition, and Cheryl’s business sense the ladies set out to make their mark in the world.

French is a sexy language. Except, of course, if you are standing in line at a French café and the French you hear is a nasal, drawn out, “Fat American.“ Unnecessary, especially if you are simply trying to buy a chocolate croissant to dip into the first cappuccino of the day.

Jackie - and yes, it was Jackie and not Jacqueline even though she was closing in on forty instead of the throat of the snickering girl behind her – whirled around.

“Did you just call me fat?”

A French girl stared back at her. The girl had the audacity to cock her head. A yes.

Jackie was stunned. Okay, fine – and a little hurt. Such a judgment was the last thing she expected in this cheerful neighborhood cafe with its brightly painted walls, kitschy produce art and erratically placed wildflowers. Even the French sayings on the wall, written in such careful, scrolling script were meant to inspire good cheer, not snappy little insults.

 “Well, I am not fat!” Jackie said. And this was not in French, because after two years in the country she spoke French perfectly and proving it was no longer important. “I am sexy.

A mustached host had been writing out specials on a blackboard with squeaking chalk. At this, he paused and took a look. Jackie ran her palms over her curvy hips and considered giving a slight shimmy. The man gave a nod in agreement and went back to the specials.

The French girl sniffed. She was dressed all in black, a total cliché. She was holding a sniveling, trendy dog. Its shaky face was framed by a bejeweled collar and its droopy eyes stared, along with everyone else in the cinnamon scented café.

“Perhaps you should order something to eat,” Jackie said, pointedly eyeing the girl’s bony frame . “You’re probably just suffering from low blood sugar.”


Jackie’s jaw dropped. Drawing herself up to her full height of 5’3” (5’6” with her three inch pumps), Jackie said, “If you want to live off of cigarettes and red wine and ignore the delicacies your country has to offer, you go right ahead. But I would rather get chased out of Le Bon Marche by a firing squad than strut around in a body that looks like it was stolen from an eight-year-old boy.”

The French girl gasped.

“I am going to embrace my sensuality,” Jackie said. “I am going to improve upon it. And,” she stood a bit taller, “it is gonna happen with a chocolate croissant.”

Author: Guest Post
Hi My Devotional Thoughts! Thank you so much for hosting me. I’m delighted to be here to discuss my debut novel, The Whole Package. It’s about three women, friends for life, who embark on a saucy business adventure. In writing this book, I discovered something that, in the midst of our busy lives, we often forget: Friendship makes the world go ‘round.

Finding a true friend, someone that will be there for you for life, is just as valuable as finding true love. If not greater. Sure, a friendship might not give you butterflies in your stomach, a ring on your finger or the opportunity to plan a wedding, but friendship can give you something even stronger - a sister that will be there for life.

For me, the fun part of writing The Whole Package was creating a sisterhood between the characters - Cheryl, Doris and Jackie - that most women long for. When Cheryl loses her job, Doris loses her husband and Jackie loses her fortune, they feel like they’ve lost everything - and are grateful to still have each other.

Jackie, Doris and Cheryl are in and out of each other’s houses like college roommates. They interfere with each other’s families, relationships and lives. And most of all, they make jokes and celebrate each and every little victory they can with one another, because that’s what true friends do.

It’s given me great pleasure to see women get copies of the book (it’s available in both eBook and as trade fiction, from Penguin-Berkley) for the sole purpose of passing it along to their group of college or childhood friends. To me, that means that my objective of portraying a fun, realistic and relatable friendship between Doris, Cheryl and Jackie has been achieved.

This summer, when you’re not reading or checking Facebook or Twitter - set aside some time to spend with your friends! Life has a sneaky way of taking up all of our time but if there’s anything that writing The Whole Package reminded me, it’s that friendship - good, solid, strong friendships - are what make us, as women, whole. 

Today, after grabbing yourself a copy of The Whole Package, I encourage you to pick up the phone and reconnect with an old friend. Better yet, set up a date to chat face to face. Time is a precious commodity - invest it where it counts. Spent some time developing one of your friendships today.

Come see me at Cynthia Ellingsen - author page

About the Author:
Cynthia Ellingsen is a fiction writer and screenwriter. She lives in Lexington, KY with her husband.

To follow the entire blog tour, click here.

"The friendship between the women is realistic, the characters funny, and the premise well-executed. Readers will giggle and grin from start to finish, and will surely be eager for Ellingsen's next novel."

“The Whole Package is a delightfully frivolous romp. An excellent beach read, this light but enjoyable fare will have you chuckling (and likely blushing!) throughout...”--RT Reviews

 So how would you like to win your own copy of this book?  Just enter the rafflecopter below, and you are entered to win. Three winners will win, and this is a U.S. only giveaway  Please enter by August 23!


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