Monday, August 13, 2012

VBT Guest Post - The Whole Package by Cynthia Ellingsen

Please welcome to my stop on the Virtual eBook Tour for The Whole Package by Cynthia Ellingsen.  Today we have a guest post from Cynthia on Sex and The Whole Package.  Please be sure to read to the end of this post for instructions on how to enter Cynthia's contest, where you can enter to be one of three winners of a signed copy of The Whole Package.

Sex and The Whole Package

Hi Queen of the Night Reviews! Thanks so much for hosting me. I’m delighted to chat with your readers, especially about the scandal of this year.

When “The Whole Package” first came out, I received some startled reactions. Women would stare at me, their eyes wide.

“Wait. ‘The Whole Package’ is, essentially, a Hooters for women? The men are like, waiting tables in thongs?”


Even though the actual plot of the book is about women friendship - three best friends lose everything (one loses a job, one loses a fortune and the other, a husband) and decide to open a saucy business together - the fact remains that in the book, the business was inspired by a trip to the male strip club.

Is the idea scandalous? Well, that’s up for debate. In the past few months, the sexy and oiled up waiters in “The Whole Package” have certainly become quite tame. And I bet you know why...

Now that bondage, whipping and all sorts of sexual deviance is served up at every airport bookstore, the idea of a restaurant staffed by scantily clad men has become decidedly G-rated. The fact that “Fifty Shades” has been holding strong on the NYT Bestseller list has made it socially acceptable for women to read whatever. And not have to try and hide it! (Remember those ugly, cloth book covers from the eighties, that women would use to cover up their romance novels? Those are long gone. Thank goodness.)

This year, a little something-something at the movies also made “The Whole Package” seem quite tame. Apparently, Channing Tatum was a stripper before he became an actor. So, this year, he starred in “Magic Mike”, a movie about male strippers. On the opening night, women of all ages streamed through the doors. They giggled, screamed and had a hilarious time. I, of course, handed out “The Whole Package” bookmarks at the door. (Was more than one woman ready to read it after spending an hour in the dark with scantily clad men? You betcha.)

Is the book scandalous? No way.

Especially not this year.


Title: The Whole Package
Author: Cynthia Ellingsen
Publisher: Penguin/Berkley
Length: 409 pages
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.”


"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


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

Please be sure to follow Cynthia's tour here and enter her contest via Rafflecopter below.

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  1. This sounds like an interesting one. Sorry I got here so late,

  2. Sounds like such a sweet read! Love the book cover too. A restaurant with very attractive men? Yes please!

  3. As much as I loved Magic Mike, I also love the details a book affords. The Total Package sounds fabulous.

  4. This sounds really good!! And you are right, nothing should be scandalous after the year we've had but I think it's a great thing that we are at that place and time where we don't have to be ashamed of our tastes.


  5. I might be the only woman on the planet that hasn't seen Magic Mike and I'm dying to see it. I will definitely pick this one up.


    1. I haven't seen it yet

  6. LOL you're not, I've not seen it yet either! :) Cynthia, I love the concept of your book, "Hooters for women" had me busting out laughing, now I will have to pick this up.

  7. I loved the excerpt! I have this in the TBR pile....

    Harlie, I haven't seen it either. So I stand with you :)