Chickalini Family Series

Books in the Series

About the Series

Life hasn’t always been easy for the close-knit Chickalini siblings of Queens, but one by one, they’re learning to believe in happily ever after.

The Nine Month Plan

The Nine Month Plan


WHAT’S A GIRL TO DO? Nina Chickalini has a plan: Get out of Queens. But something keeps stopping her. Maybe it’s the four siblings she raised almost single-handedly. Or the family pizzeria she’s running so Pop can take it easy. Or maybe it’s her best friend, Joe Materi, who’s just made an incredible request: Have his baby!

Nina doesn’t need another reason to feel tied down, but how can she refuse the man who’s always been there for her? Getting in the family way turns out to be easy, and suddenly she’s seeing Joe in a whole new light—his muscular arms cradling a baby, his sexy voice crooning a lullaby…

With the entire neighborhood meddling to get them to tie the knot—and Joe looking like he wants them to tie the knot—Nina might have to stop dreaming of grand adventures and settle for something even better: love.

“Wendy Markham has created a really special story in The Nine Month Plan. She has taken the special event of having a baby and added a meddling neighborhood of well-wishers hoping that Nina and Joe tie the knot…Ms. Markham has created the feel of New York perfectly in this book. With the witty dialogue and funny situations one feels as if they are in Queens watching this story unfold rather than just setting back reading about it. With four Chickalini siblings it is hoped that Wendy will take us back to Queens soon to visit this family again.”
— Barbara Smith,

“New York neighborhood humor is what keeps this charming contemporary romance from becoming a farcical soap opera. The story line amuses the audience with the antics of those wanting Nina to marry Joey. Readers who had early responsibilities will commiserate with Nina and all fans will like Joey who is a huggable hunk. Still, paying her debt by achieving the goal of The Nine Month Plan seems a bit excessive, but then again Wendy Markham keeps it just light enough to also make it fun to follow the Chickalini clan.”
— Harriet Klausner, The Best Reviews

“Wendy Markham has written a wonderful story about how what you think you need and what you really need may be two different things. I enjoyed going to Ditmars Boulevard in Queens and meeting the family and friends that live there. Ms. Markham gave me a real sense of community. I felt that I was a part of it and I would love to go back again and I can in the spring of 2004. Ms. Markham is going to give us Dom’s story. So get a copy of The Nine Month Plan and enjoy.”
— Lydia Funneman, Writers Unlimited

“Nina has dreamed her whole life of leaving Queens and traveling the world, and next year she’ll finally be able to do it. Before she leaves, though, she wants to return a huge favor to her good friend and neighbor, Joey. He wants to be a father, so she agrees to have his baby. But having raised her siblings after her mother died, Nina doesn’t want to be anything more than a surrogate. Plans change, however, and Nina learns that sometimes dreams can come true in your own backyard. The Nine Month Plan is a wonderfully touching romance with a good sense of humor. The struggle the heroine faces on her journey to discovering what she really wants is done superbly. I look forward to this author’s next book about Nina’s brother.”
— Susan Mobley, Romantic Times Magazine

“In Wendy Markham’s exhilarating romantic comedy, The Nine Month Plan, Nina gets a strange request from her lifelong best friend, Joe Materi—he wants her to have his baby. Joe’s ready for fatherhood, but Nina can’t wait to escape her Queens neighborhood and the maternal role that was thrust on her when she was barely out of her teens. And neither one of them has been able to forget their one night together—right after Nina had to tell Joe that his bride had bailed out on him. Finally, after 15 years, both have a chance to go after the dream each one wants most. Markham sends Cupid’s arrow straight to the bull’s eye with this sparkling tale.”
— Sandy Huseby, BookPage

“The Nine Month Plan—which is a cross between trendy chick lit and contemporary romantic fiction—is just lighthearted enough to make this love-it-or-hate-it, baby-making premise a bonafide success…it’s necessary to maintain a sense of humor and an open-minded perspective while reading Wendy Markham’s off-centered story about love and famiglia. Celebrating the colorful heritage of Italian-American families, and the utter contentment of finally settling down and nurturing one’s roots (when all one has ever dreamed about is escape), Ms. Markham’s novel touches upon the simplest of pleasures, the purest of joys, and the most complicated of human emotions. And all through a delightfully skewed, present tense narrative.”
— C.L. Jeffries, Heartstrings

Once Upon a Blind Date

Once Upon a Blind Date


Maggie is best buddies with Dominic. Charlie is best friends with Julie. Through the magic of the Internet, they set up their pals on the most romantic blind date ever. Naturally, Maggie and Charlie tag along for moral support—what are best friends for? Yet when the two matchmakers meet, their concerns for their charges take a backseat. As Maggie looks at Charlie, she thinks she feels the earth move. Laying his eyes on his fellow Cupid, all Charlie can think about is kissing her delectable mouth. Shes involved with someone. Hes Manhattans most committed bachelor. What will it take for a pair of modern matchmakers to realize this simple truth: that when it comes to finding a soul mate, true love can be found when you least expect it?

“With Julie and Dominic starting the story off, the reader can only hope they may have a future story of happiness to tell, who knows maybe ev en with each other? Aside from this the romance between Maggie and Charlie is wonderful and I hope to see them again in a future romance as well. It should be interesting to see how the two come together when parenthood strikes. They were characters one hates to say bye to, as they are both so real to the reader throughout the story.”

“Fans will enjoy this amusing matchmaking romance gone awry. The key to this Manhattan (and somewhat Queens) madness is that the four characters seem real with unique personalities. Once Upon a Blind Date is a fun tale with a humorous matchmaking twist.”
— Harriet Klausner, The Best Reviews

“Once Upon a Blind Date is a fast paced ride through the life of virtual dating. Charlie and Maggie are easy to identify with and the dialogue is snappy and well timed. As their relationship progresses, self-doubt starts to creep in and their emotional hesitancy to commit makes the reader agonize right along with them. Fans of Markham will not be disappointed with this book. It’s an enjoyable read that’s worth picking up.”
— Miz Savannah, Contemporary Romance Writer

“Breezy, scrumptious fun from the author of Slightly Settled.”
— Kristine Huntley, Booklist

“A light-hearted romance that focuses on Maggie, a friend of the Chickalinis (The Nine Month Plan). The ups and downs of Dom and Julie’s relationship intertwine with Maggie and Charlie’s growing attraction to each other. Their struggle to deny their obvious desire to one another, and Maggie’s determination to get Dom and Julie matched up, makes for many humorous moments. An altogether fun, fast read.”
— Susan Mobley, Romantic Times magazine

“A merry chase. Ms. Markham has a fun, yet unique voice which we’ll enjoy for a long time, even as her other “voice” is distinctive in the suspense genre.”
— Rendezvous magazine

“Fun and fast-paced, and with New York City as a backdrop there’s no way the story fails.”
— Livia Holton, Romance Reader’s Connection

Once Upon a Blind Date is a delightful contemporary romance. The characters are well-matched, and scenes contain plenty of humor that keeps the story moving along at a swift pace. I…couldn’t put the book down.”
— Round Table Reviews

“Wendy Markham’s new book Once Upon a Blind Date explores the modern-day electronic yenta known as Internet dating with sometimes hilarious and often poignant results.”
— Romance Ever After

“When I first picked up Once Upon a Blind Date, I figured that I was in for a pleasant and carefree read. Well, I found out that was indeed the case…but, this book is also so much more! It’s fun, light-hearted, and at times, laugh-out-loud funny. There’s no downside to reading Once Upon a Blind Date. Once you turn the last page, you’ll put it down with a smile on your face, and a renewed hope that maybe, just maybe, there really is someone out there who really is Our Perfect Match.”
— Romance Reader at Heart

“Features an intriguing twist on the matchmaking plot. For a fun book with interesting characters, be sure to check out Once Upon a Blind Date.”
—Jennifer Bishop, Romance Reviews Today

“Wendy Markham’s tale has a sincerity to it, which put together with the lifelike characters, makes the novel a pleasure to read. Maggie’s intensity and take-charge attitude interests the readers but frustrates her near and dear ones and this adds hilarity to the story. Charlie is so much her opposite that it’s fun to read when the two of them try to influence each other to change. Supporting characters help the story along quite a bit and the readers get to meet characters from the previous Chickalini story. The author incorporates the current trend of internet dating sites and the truth behind it, takes the reader on a delightful journey through the boroughs of NYC, and generally makes reading this book a treat. Funny, poignant and realistic, Once Upon a Blind Date is sure to warm readers’ hearts.”
— A Romance Review

Bride Needs Groom

Bride Needs Groom


Things to do before Grandpa Junie turns eighty-five, and I’m disinherited:

  1. Find a guy to marry (preferably a stranger of my own choosing, not Grandpa’s)
  2. Tell the groom it’s only temporary (and platonic, naturally)
  3. Tie the knot asap!
  4. Untie the knot asap!

Queens-born-and-bred Mia Calogera needs a husband-like yesterday. Eloping with her Internet pen-pal Derek sounds like a plan. Which is why Mia’s dressed in a to-die-for beaded gown and white satin shoes, headed for the Chapel of Luv in Vegas.

Advertising dynamo Dominic Chickalini has vowed to be the last single man standing. Then he spies the gorgeous bride-to-be in the aisle seat of the plane, haloed in a sunbeam. The sexual sparks fly, but this woman’s already spoken for. Or is she? When Mia’s wedding plans go south, she makes Dom an offer that’s hard to refuse. All Dom has to do is say yes. It’s not like it’s forever. It’s not like they’re even in love. So why does her heart pound at the thought of looking into his eyes and saying “I do?”

“Ms. Markham has penned a humorous yet touching romance that has you laughing in places and nearly crying in some. Fast paced with plenty of action, sizzling romance, and witty dialogue, Bride Needs Groom is a fun and entertaining read.”
—Coffee Time Romance

“The roller coaster of love and relationships is never easy, but in BRIDE NEEDS GROOM, Wendy Markham depicts these struggles in a way that will have you cheering instead of jeering at Mia and Dominic as they come together to work on the speedy “I do not know you” relationship. While Dominic and Mia are attempting to bridge the gap of getting to know each other as hurdle after hurdle takes places going from one thing to the next, I was pleasantly surprised at how well everything was portrayed, enticing and entertaining you without making [you] bored. Will they be able to make it or just give up as they get to know and cohabitate with each other? I encourage you to read the book, as I was intrigued and unable to put it down.”
—Fallen Angel Reviews

“I loved this book! There’s some great self-realization by both lead characters…and meanwhile, they’re just hugely entertaining. What a fun read!”
—Morgan Chilson,

“BRIDE NEEDS GROOM is a fun lighthearted romantic romp that fans of contemporary tales will appreciate. The lead couple are fun to read about as they marry for the wrong reasons, but all the right reasons are there too if either courageously reaches out to the other. Readers will enjoy Wendy Markham’s amusing tale of love across the tracks in Astoria.”
—Harriet Klausner

“BRIDE NEEDS GROOM is both funny and moving, not an easy combination to pull off, but Ms. Markham does it beautifully. The narration is in the present tense, something I quickly became comfortable with. Pivotal periods in Mia’s and Dom’s lives are told in flashbacks that elicit sympathy and understanding for their characters…. Several minor characters shine in BRIDE NEEDS GROOM, most notably: Grandpa Junie, who makes a late, but memorable personal appearance; Dom’s best friend Maggie, from ONCE UPON A BLIND DATE; Mia’s friend Lenore; Dom’s Pop and the rest of the large, loving Chickalini family, including his big sister Nina, from THE NINE MONTH PLAN. I won’t go into Mia’s Internet fiancé; him you’ll need to meet for yourself. BRIDE NEEDS GROOM stands perfectly well on its own, but you’re sure to want to read the connected novels if you haven’t already. Mia and Dom are a most engaging couple. Many of their antics and interior monologues are amusing, some are poignant, all are relevant to the well crafted plot and character building. In short: it would be hard to find a contemporary romance to top BRIDE NEEDS GROOM.”
—Jane Bowers, Romance Reviews Today

“In this story of the Chickalinis’ confirmed bachelor, Markham once again brings you laughter and tears in a wonderfully heart-warming romance. The characters are like family, and it is a joy to see many familiar faces.”
—Romantic Times Magazine (Top Pick, 4 1/2 Star Review)

“Entertaining and fun…I certainly let loose with a torrent of tears as well as some hearty chuckles throughout. Very well done! This is definitely a great book to take to the beach or for a weekend getaway – fun and lively with a lovely and touching romance.”

That's Amore

That’s Amore


Ralphie Chickalini is on the verge of living happily ever after with the perfect woman. His fiance Francesca Maria Buccigrossi of Astoria Boulevard is a curvaceous, fun-loving brunette. His late father, whose recent death the family is still mourning, adored Francesca’s homemade pesto sauce and declared her a “keeper,” his brothers think she’s a hoot, his sisters adore her, and his nephews and niece already call her “aunt.” But as the wedding date approaches, Ralphie begins to question his love.

When Ralphie bumps into two psychic sisters at a New Year’s Eve party, his life will be thrown in an unexpected direction. Daria and Tammy might not look alike, but they do have more than just a maternal bloodline in common. They both have a psychic gift. Tammy or “Madame Tamare” is a storefront psychic who predicted the marriage between Ralphie’s brother Dominic’s marriage and an unlikely bride. Now, Daria is channeling a spirit with a message for Ralphie: his father has returned to guide him to true love. But Daria has her own life to live, and she plans to move back to Arizona, messages from another world aside. Despite contrary inclinations, Daria and Ralphie will soon realize that their paths are destined to collide.

“Markham doesn’t play this one predictably, adding a few twists and sweet turns until our lovers realize home is truly where your heart is.”
—Library Journal

“Thankfully Ms. Markham apparently didn’t feel the need to fill this work of fiction with violence, profanity, or graphic sex. It’s great fiction that stands on its own and gives the reader hours of sighs and smiles and some anxious moments to boot. Ms. Markham has created real characters with fears, desires, and dreams. Characters who ultimately realize they’ve got to come to terms with who they are and where they’re going before they find the other half of themselves whether with each other or someone else. Characters whose lives and hearts need a touch of magic. THAT’S AMORE is poignant, classy, sweet yet spicy. A great romance.”
—Once Upon A Romance

“A very witty touching book about a woman who ‘sees dead people’ and that’s just one of her quirks… definitely one worth packing in your beach bag!”
—Hybrid Mom Magazine

“Wendy Markham gifts the reader with one of the sweetest and funniest stories of the year. Ralph is a forever guy who has found his soul mate in Daria. He, along with the ghost of his father, has to convince Daria that ‘taking a chance on love’ will be the best thing that will ever happen to her. THAT’S AMORE is caringly told and features the large, loving, boisterous Chickalini family, whom many readers have already met. Ms. Markham’s narrative is loud and proud of her Italian heritage. The characters are real, the dialogue is great, and the romance is just wonderful.”
—Betty Cox,

“As Wendy Markham, Wendy Corsi Staub writes highly original, heartwarming romantic comedy with a deft hand, and the Chickalini family has provided a showcase for some wonderful characters. Let the big loving family envelope you in warmth while two completely opposite protagonists face a bevy of stumbling blocks.”
—Jane Bowers for Romance Reviews Today

“The presence of the father’s ghost adds a nice touch to the story without becoming too schmaltzy. The characters are…well drawn, and Markham (Bride Needs Groom) captures the small town/big city contrast of the Queens neighborhood perfectly, with local touches that really make the atmosphere come alive.”
—Publisher’s Weekly

“I cried a couple of times while reading this book. Yet I still had a smile on my face when it ended. So if you’re looking for a frothy, lighthearted story…you may want to pass on this one. But if you’re looking for a story that will tug on your heartstrings, make you think and appreciate what you have, and rejoice with our characters when they get it right…then “That’s Amore” by Wendy Markham is a book you don’t want to miss.”
—Queue My Review

“This sweet romance is set primarily in the belly of a big Italian-American family, and the menus will make you drool. The inevitability of change–be it good or bad–provides the conflict…(and) the premise is one we can all identify with.”
—RT Book Reviews

“Markham doesn’t play this one predictably, adding a few twists and sweet turns until our lovers realize home is truly where your heart is.”
— Library Journal

“THAT’S AMORE is fantastic! Powerfully emotional with quirky, yet realistic and likable characters, Ms. Markham has created an unforgettable romance. The author takes care to show all facets of Ralph’s character (like his vulnerability or his fierce devotion to family) which make him so endearing. Daria as a heroine, seems at first to be in sharp contrast to Ralph, but as more is revealed, connections are established and nurtured. The vibrant narrative will keep readers glued in their seats until the end, but have those tissues handy! THAT’S AMORE is the first book in a long while which has made this reader bawl like a baby! THAT’S AMORE is one for the keeper shelf and I look forward to reading more from this talented author. Highly recommended!”
—Romance Readers Connection

“Daria and Ralphie are warm, fun-loving characters and readers fall for them after meeting them. Wendy Markham has a way of creating real and lovable personalities, and THAT’S AMORE is a wonderfully crafted story that will leave you feeling warm and fuzzy after reading the last page.”

“I have enjoyed (Wendy Markham’s) novels so much in the past. This story of a large family and much chaos is so funny, to say nothing of the ghost that is involved in the story. Markham has a twist to many of her titles. I will be sure to tell the customers about this title. Fun and mahem, you can’t beat that!”
—Sharon at Munchkin Books

“THAT’S AMORE is a poignant, touching, sweet story. The intensity of the pain and heartache that Ralphie is forced to face brought me to tears, but his character development was so well timed and so honest that the necessity for his journey was never in doubt. Daria had her own troubles to confront, and I loved watching the interplay between her and her sister Tammy. Anyone who has met the Chickalini family in Markham’s earlier novels will be delighted by the continuation of their stories and the chance to see the youngest Chickalini find a happily- ever-after of his own.”
— Fresh Fiction