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“WISCONSIN TOUGH” by Pam Ferderbar

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Windy City Raves About Feng Shui + Charlotte Nightingale



Feng Shui and Charlotte Nightingale. Pam Ferderbar. Three Towers Press (an imprint of HenschelHAUS Publishing), Milwaukee, WI, June 21, 2015, Hardcover and Kindle, 240 pages.

Reviewed by Starza Thompson.

It’s very rare to find a book that is so imaginative that visualizing the characters and places in the book becomes effortless for the reader. In Pam Ferderbar’s Feng Shui and Charlotte Nightingale, the story comes alive. Ferderbar’s novel is imaginative, hilarious, and sweet—a great quick read for anyone who can relate to feeling unlucky, who likes romantic comedies, or who just needs a good laugh.

Charlotte Nightingale isn’t just down on her luck, she is plain unlucky. Her apartment is falling apart; her boyfriend is a liquor-drinking, money-stealing, unemployed womanizer; her car is a piece of junk; and her job at a less-than-reputable car dealership comes with massive abuse from customers and coworkers alike. What’s worse, her sister Charlene seems to have everything Charlotte does not: good looks, a gorgeous doctor for a fiancé, her parents’ devotion and respect, and more. Weirder still, Charlotte’s Chinese-food delivery guy, Kwan, keeps showing up at her apartment uninvited. Little does she know, Kwan is a Feng Shui master. As he quietly unclutters her house, her life seems to change for the better.

Feng Shui and Charlotte Nightingale is Ferderbar’s first novel. The story began as a novella and movie rights to the story sparked a bidding war between movie production companies. She sold the movie rights to New Line Cinema, but in a typical Charlotte-like moment, the executives on her project were fired and her movie was tabled indefinitely. Ferderbar’s book takes the typical romantic comedy/chicklit genre and adds quite a few unexpected twists, making this story both laugh-out-loud funny and heartwarming at the same time.

One of the first of many pleasant surprises in this novel was the use of multiple points-of-view. In many books of this genre, the audience is often confined to the perspective of the female character or her love interest as the story draws the two characters together until their lives intertwine. In Feng Shui and Charlotte Nightingale, we follow three different protagonists: Charlotte, her boyfriend, Frank AKA Joey, and her Chinese delivery person, Kwan. While the male characters are connected to Charlotte, their stories don’t depend on her love or affection. Each character has his own unique purpose in the book outside of helping the female character find love, which is very refreshing.

Further, while there are some elements of love in the story, it isn’t the sole focus of the book. The protagonists display a depth of character beyond who they love and whether or not they end up with their love interests. The characters are quirky and interesting, which makes it easier to fall in love with each of them.

I found only a couple of faults with this novel. First, the secondary characters seem like caricatures of the people they represent. Charlotte’s parents hate Charlotte as much as they love her sister Charlene. Charlotte’s sister is an extremely vapid and selfish Barbie-like girl. Kwan’s father is a disciplinarian who doesn’t like his employees to slack off, and the list goes on. If Ferderbar had spent as much time developing her secondary characters as she did her primary characters, the book would have elevated from a funny rom-com to a quirky and heartwarming masterpiece. Second, I wish the book was longer! At times, it moved too fast. Each chapter could have been a little longer to allow the audience to learn more about Charlotte and the people in her life. At only ~64,000 words, there is some room to add and flesh out the story even more.

Overall, Feng Shui and Charlotte Nightingale is a fantastic read. With surprise twists, imaginative characters, and crack-up funny scenes, this novel has something for every reader. If you are looking for a story that is a little different, and characters that will make you laugh as you fall in love with them, then this is the book for you. I highly recommend Feng Shui and Charlotte Nightingale.

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Huffington Post adds blogger Pam Ferderbar

As of September 23, 2015 you can find Pam Ferderbar’s hilarious blog at HuffPo!

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Chicklit Club Guest Post

September 11, 2015

NONE OF YOUR FUNNY BUSINESS, a guest post by Feng Shui and Charlotte Nightingale author Pam Ferderbar

Pam Ferderbar writes about confidence and what it takes to laugh out loud.

My publisher recently sent me to a regional Romance Writers of America convention although my genre, contemporary fiction/humor/chicklit, is not romance. Assured I would make great contacts and “learn something,” I landed on a planet completely other than my own. In this world the women wore tiaras during the day, some sported fairy wings and hot pink boas, and every single one of them wrote multiple books each year.

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This impressed the hell out of me, but I was also mortified. How on earth was it possible to write even one whole book in a year? Some of the scribes in stilettos wrote five and six in a contiguous 12-month period. Knock me over with a fuchsia marabou quill.

My weekly little blog often takes days to complete and it usually comes in around 600 words, or one and a third pages in book math. At that rate it takes a year to write a 300-page book, and that assumes the author is “on” and “productive” and “writing sentences.”

As if those requirements aren’t daunting enough, now make it funny! Nothing inspires anxiety more than trying to be witty. I know I’m weird. People reinforce that concept daily. So even though I crack myself up all the time, I can’t be sure others will he-he along with me.

Sure, your friends will tell you “of course it’s funny. You’re funny!” But there is always a weird blip of silence right after that comment, which is just long enough for someone to ask silently, without lips moving at all, ‘It was supposed to be funny?’

These are the thoughts that prevent me from writing two to seven uproarious volumes of repartee every 365 days. At the same time as I’m spooked by the thought of that, another more horrifying thought occurs to me. Imagine, day after day, week after week, angsty month upon angsty month … of trying to write sexy?!

Do the gals with the tiaras and the sneezey pink stoles, who are sooo in touch with their inner sex goddesses, somehow just know there’s a great audience of readers out there who will find their specific combination of words on the page to be steamy, romantic and oo la la?

I have discipline, drive, and a thesaurus. What did the prolific romance authors populating the conference have that I didn’t? I looked around and immediately ascertained that for one thing they had sparkly tiaras and diaphanous fairy wings affixed to their backs. And that’s when it hit me. Confidence. It all boils down to confidence.

If a plus-sized woman can wear fairy wings and 73 layers of Stevie Nicks silk and tulle, with Crocs — in public — and write six books a year (that sell like hotcakes) in which a horny cowboy/vampire ravages a slip of a shape-shifter girl with long legs and a tiny waist, then what the big-boned gal has over me is 3X confidence. She’s not worried that people are silently asking her “was it supposed to be sexy?” She just keeps writing.

On Sunday evening at the end of the conference, I was in the restroom wiping bits of pink fluff off my lip where it had stuck to my lip gloss, when I had a funny thought. Conjuring my own powerful amulet of confidence, I dictated my funny thought into my phone. A lady in the stall beside me started to giggle, then others joined in. Soon the whole place was roaring.

Will I ever be able to write six books a year, or even one or two? I couldn’t tell you. But I will say that whatever I write will make someone laugh out loud. I’m confident.

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The Roanoke Times Book Review











Three Towers Press. 240 pages. $24.95.

Posted: Sunday, August 30, 2015 12:00 am
Reviewed by Anne Shaver | Anne Shaver is a communications consultant in Roanoke.


Charlotte Nightingale is having a bad day.

In fact, Charlotte Nightingale is always having a bad day. She has a job that’s going nowhere at a used-car lot, plain looks made worse by her thrift-store wardrobe, a lazy boyfriend, parents who prefer her younger sister, a falling-apart car and a rundown apartment.

Things rarely go her way.

At the beginning of “Feng Shui & Charlotte Nightingale,” we meet the down-on-her-luck Charlotte, as well as Kwan, who lives in her Los Angeles neighborhood. Kwan delivers Chinese food for his father’s restaurant and is a student of feng shui. One day, Kwan takes pity on Charlotte and decides to use feng shui to improve her life — without her knowledge. On the pretense of delivering food, Kwan visits Charlotte and begins rearranging her apartment.

At first, things appear to get worse instead of better. Charlotte discovers her boyfriend is cheating. Her car breaks down for the last time. She loses her job.

But things aren’t always what they appear, and Charlotte’s worse-than-normal bad luck slowly results in positive outcomes.

Along the way, readers are taken for a whirlwind trip through Charlotte’s life.

Her bad luck turns into a series of adventures, some of them seemingly implausible. One of her co-workers is arrested, and Charlotte finds the co-worker has left a quarter-million dollars in Charlotte’s car. Charlotte heads to Nordstrom for some new clothes, and the newly fashionable Charlotte entices her sister’s plastic-surgeon fiancee. Kwan continues his feng shui work and begins to fall for Charlotte himself.

At the end of the day, Charlotte finds her happy ending.

“Feng Shui & Charlotte Nightingale” is a quick, fun read. It’s a bit lacking in character development — it would be interesting to learn more about Charlotte’s inner dialogue and how she got to be the “bad luck” girl. But the plot is engaging and readers will enjoy watching Charlotte’s transformation.

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Midwest Book Review: “a deftly crafted novel…”


July 2015 Edition

“A deftly crafted novel of wit and whimsy, with memorable characters caught up in a story of unexpected twists and turns, “Feng Shui and Charlotte Nightingale” by Pam Ferderbar is an enormously entertaining read from beginning to end. Certain to be an enduring popular addition to community library General Fiction collections.”

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Chick Lit Central features Feng Shui + Charlotte Nightingale

Chick Lit Cent graphic


July 6, 2015

Chick Lit Central will feature Feng Shui + Charlotte Nightingale on its prestigious bookshelf through July 19.

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The Dr. Briar Lee Mitchell Show (radio)


June 30, 2015

A one hour radio interview with Dr. Briar Lee Mitchell. Click to play.

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What if you could change your luck?



Screen Shot 2015-06-26 at 10.40.15 AM

June 25, 9AM

Pam Ferderbar guest appearance on the Morning Blend, WTMJ 4, with Tiffany Ogle and Molly Fay.


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Bad Luck Feng Shui

Pamela Ferderbar’s charming novel about romance and karma

June 9, 2015

Charlotte Nightingale, the central character in Pamela Ferderbar’s charming debut novel Feng Shui and Charlotte Nightingale, has serious shar chi (“poison luck”) in the realm of feng shui. From her dead-end job as a cashier at a shady auto repair shop to her mendacious boyfriend and run-down L.A. apartment sans working plumbing, Charlotte thinks her luck can’t get any worse. But it can, and it does after she attends a family dinner in honor of her younger sister’s recent engagement to a successful plastic surgeon, only to have the evening go horribly and unexpectedly awry. Providentially, however, she has Kwan, a Chinese take-out deliveryman, in her corner, surreptitiously rearranging her home in proper feng shui style in the hopes of improving her ill-fated karma. Told with witty humor and genuine candor, Feng Shui and Charlotte Nightingale is a lighthearted and captivating tale of fulfillment and redemption.

Ferderbar was born and raised in Wisconsin. She recently returned to the state to live full-time after a hiatus on the West Coast. Ferderbar will discuss her book Feng Shui and Charlotte Nightingale at Boswell Book Co. at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 16.
Boswell Book Co.
2559 N. Downer Ave.

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