Saturday, February 14, 2015
Last week I was watching my new favorite show, How to Get Away With Murder, when my husband, Rich, came into the living room and watched about 30 seconds of it with me. Well, Rich is never afraid to make snap judgments and that night was no exception. “I don’t get why Shonda Rhimes’ stuff has to jump around so much. It’s just confusing. I mean, I know that’s the style right now, but if it’s a good enough story, it shouldn’t be necessary. She should stop trying to hide weak writing with time jumps.”
“Yeah…” was all I could say. I wasn’t agreeing with him, but I wanted to watch my show, not get into a debate. Because in truth, MY stories jump around in time. I love using flashbacks and weaving them in with present day scenes. Does that mean my writing is weak? I don’t think so, but it is the sort of thing that some readers will have strong opinions about.
And I certainly have some strong opinions of my own. There are many things that will make or break a book for me, and here are a few, in no particular order:
#1 – First Person Point of View
I only ever write in first person, and I prefer books that are written this way too. Yes, if I want to grow as a writer I should try something new, and I shouldn’t limit myself with my reading material. Occasionally I do read a book written in third person, but not often. I just really like that sense of being spoken to by a close friend. It makes the story more interesting, like I’ve gotten inside someone’s head.
#2 – Strong Female Characters
The last book I can remember reading that DIDN’T have a strong female character was The Goldfinch, and that was a great book. But normally I prefer the central character – the one who is telling the story – to be female. I guess it goes back to my “sense of being spoken to by a close friend” thing.
#3 – Showing versus Telling
I don’t like it when authors simply summarize dialogue or important scenes. As a reader, I want to be pulled into the middle of the action. J
#4 – Ambiguous Endings
If a book sets it up so a character needs to make a major decision, and that decision is what’s driving the entire plot, then that character better darn well make the decision by the end of the book! I was furious after finishing Jennifer Weiner’s Good Night Nobody and Jodi Picoult’s My Sister’s Keeper. I won’t go into spoiler territory, but I REALLY felt that both ending were total copouts.
#5 – Cliches
A lot of authors use clichés, probably because it’s so hard not to. For instance, in The Next Breath I realized my characters were staring into each other’s eyes A LOT, because that was my go-to action whenever I ran out of ideas. I went through and got rid of a lot it, replacing it with other stuff, but I’m sure my characters eyes are still pretty tired. I try not to be too clichéd, because when an author leaves that stuff in there it can get pretty tedious. Keeping with the eyes thing, recently I read a book where the author would say, “I saw sadness in his eyes,” or “I saw fatigue in his eyes,” or whatever, every time there was a dramatic exchange going on. Well, this was a pretty dramatic book, and I wanted to yell at the author, Find a more original way to say it! Since most of her book was well-written, I knew she could be more original, so it bothered me all the more.
#6 Time Inconsistencies
I don’t know of anyone who gets more hung-up on this than I do, so it really is my own problem. I had to stop reading The Time Travelers Wife because I couldn’t handle all the mental arithmetic that reading it was compelling me to do. “Wait,” I’d tell myself, “if she’s fifteen now, how could she be 35 in 1994?” Or whatever – I was always calculating it out, and it drove me crazy if it didn’t match up. I do that for every book I read, calculating out the character’s ages and making sure the number of years that has passed matches up. If it doesn’t, it drives me crazy! I don’t know why I get so worked up about it, but I do.
Friday, February 13, 2015
Chick Lit Dirty Laundry – Rachel Naples Jerry Maguire ruined my life. Did he have any idea of the impact of those three little words on people's lives? I got married because of them. But I'm getting ahead of myself. I'm Lucy Stars and I give advice to the lovelorn on a podcast from my kitchen table. My qualifications? None whatsoever, except for the fact that I've had more relationships than I can count or even remember, so by definition, I'm an expert. And all because I was looking for someone to complete me. My life reads like a chick-lit bestseller. Swear. Or a good beach read when you want to hit the pause button on life. But for me? My story doesn't end on the last page. My incredibly romantic husband, Kraft Conboy, is a successful and oh, so handsome life coach. His specialty? Women. Relationships. Romance. He was nothing short of inspirational. My plan was to live happily ever after...with him. The pages of our lives would unfold like a sexy, romantic comedy or maybe even a contemporary romance novel. And? He was good in bed. But my life zagged when it should have zigged. It took a left turn when it should have gone right. I remember the exact moment because I was about to start my show. That's when it happened. The zagging, I mean. Kraft walked in and announced he wanted a divorce. I was so stunned that I actually asked him who was getting divorced because I thought he was talking about someone else! But then he said it again. I didn't know what to do, so I begged him to stay. I know, bad move. And then? He turned on his heel and walked out the door. I turned back to my computer. In the shock of the moment, I'd gotten distracted; I still had a webcast to give. What in God's name was staring back at me? Lights. Lots of lights on my screen. My callers were trying to get through. Oh, no, my microphone was live! My entire audience had just heard me get dumped! And heard me plead, no, beg, for him to stay. I give relationship advice and I tell people not to do that! My romantic comedy had turned into a horror film and there was no pause button to hit. What happened next I couldn't have predicted. Call it genius. Call it serendipity. Call it meant to be. Look, I can't tell you everything, you'll have to read the book! Original Price: $2.99 Sale Price: $1.99 Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1AsouWW Twitter: @RachelNaples1 Tweet: #VDayBookSale: DIRTY LAUNDRY by @RachelNaples1 #chicklit http://amzn.to/1AsouWW There Are No Men – Carol Maloney Scott Divorced thirty-something Claire doesn’t know who’s in her dating pool—but she’s doing her best to avoid shark infested waters. Leaving her clueless and insensitive husband behind was a smart move after losing her fertility, but now she’s riding the wave of flying toupees, strange men in leather thongs and drunken nights in painfully impractical shoes. Claire desperately wanted to be a mother, but now she’ll settle for one middle aged man worthy of a second date. After a long drought, men are flooding her shores and she’s drowning in choices. There’s Justin, the 25-year-old IT boy-genius with the GQ looks and cougar fetish, who won’t take ‘no’ for an answer. A woman would have to be a blind, lesbian nun not to fall for him, but he reminds Claire of her wasted youth. And then the charming but mysterious Dr. Nathan appears, but he’s cheating on her with his medical mistress—a demanding cardiology practice. To further rock her boat, Claire’s ‘stable’ career in publishing has been tossed about by her floundering company’s launch of a new line of trendy, salacious books. Cookbooks aren’t selling these days, but erotica is flying off the shelves—and challenging Claire’s attitude about sex, work . . . and her tempestuous new life. When her best friend convinces her to buddy up to the aspiring writer who just moved in across the street, Claire rejects the idea—he has already caught her in more than one embarrassing and scantily clad situation. Giving in to her friend’s nudging, she tries to ignore the details she discovers about him, including his hard rock night gig and his mesmerizing blue eyes, in the hopes his literary talents can pull her publishing house up from the bottom of the ocean. Claire’s dilemma begs the question: Are there NO men or TOO MANY? Original Price: $2.99 Sale Price: $.99 Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1KcyMMG Twitter: @CMScottAuthor Tweet: #99cent sale! Get THERE ARE NO MEN by @CMScottAuthor during the #VDayBookSale! #chicklit http://amzn.to/1KcyMMG When Girlfriends Collection 1-3- Savannah Page This digital boxed set includes the first three novels of the When Girlfriends collection: When Girlfriends Break Hearts, When Girlfriends Step Up, and When Girlfriends Make Choices. WHEN GIRLFRIENDS BREAK HEARTS Follow Sophie Wharton as she learns what to do about matters of the heart when things don’t quite go according to plan. A novel about the bonds of friendship, the power of forgiveness, and the lessons you learn when you let go. WHEN GIRLFRIENDS STEP UP Join mom-to-be Robin Sinclair as she embarks on a journey she never could have imagined. A novel about love and support, and learning that with enduring friendships, no woman is ever alone. WHEN GIRLFRIENDS MAKE CHOICES Follow Lara Kearns as she struggles with how far she’ll go for true love…however forbidden… A novel about forbidden love, the choices you make, and discovering what’s important in life. Original Price: $7.99 Sale Price: $1.99 Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1s92x6C Twitter: @Savannah_Page Tweet: Get 3 titles from the WHEN GIRLFRIENDS series by @Savannah_Page at a discount for #VDayBookSale! #chicklit http://amzn.to/1s92x6C When Girlfriends Chase Dreams – Savannah Page A novel about chasing dreams, for better or worse, and living your love story. Claire Linley is finally a bride! After nearly ten years with her college freshman sweetheart, Claire is going to become Mrs. Conner Whitley. She’s got her bridal magazines, is the biggest Martha Stewart fan, and subscribes to all the major wedding blogs. She’s been dreaming of this moment for years! How could planning her dream wedding be anything but perfect? The easy-going and bubbly type, Claire will obviously have a blast planning, and with her fantastic group of girlfriends-made-bridesmaids she just can’t go wrong. Whether it’s wedding gown shopping, makeup trials, or cake-tasting, Claire’s friends are there in a pinch. But how big does the pinch get? All Claire wants to do is get married, but at every turn something seems to go awry and she’s starting to lose it. How is a girl supposed to remain cool and collected when the pricey dream wedding planner isn’t turning out to be so dreamy? When DIY projects and the perfect venue are going up in smoke? How is Claire supposed to marry Conner when the special day that’s supposed to join them together, forever, is slowly tearing them apart? This is the charming story about how sometimes the biggest events in life are defined by the smallest acts of kindness and love. It’s a love story about dreaming large, loving deeply, and, in the end, truly having the happiest day of your life, no matter what happens (or doesn’t). About what happens when girlfriends chase dreams. Original Price: $3.99 Sale Price: FREE Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1tAt3dC Twitter: @Savannah_Page Tweet: FREE #chicklit from @Savannah_Page when you grab WHEN GIRLFRIENDS CHASE DREAMS! #VDayBookSale http://amzn.to/1tAt3dC http://amzn.to/1tAt3dC Miss Adventure – Geralyn Corcillo When a freak fast-food accident almost kills dayreaming city girl Lisa Flyte, she decides it's time to get a backbone and really start living out loud. But how is a shrinking violet like Lisa supposed to get tough all of a sudden after a lifetime of watching from the couch? Jack Hawkins, that's how. When Lisa finds out that the outdoor extremist needs a clueless urbanite to test his top-secret line of idiot-proof adventure gear, she gets the most outlandish idea of her life: she will be his undercover test dummy if he helps her become brave on their adventures in the wild. They strike a deal. Lisa survives the treks, jumps, and dives (barely!) But can she use her bumbling...uh, blossoming outdoor moxie to become the alpha hero of her everyday life? Will she find the grit to pursue a career she really wants or the nerve to stand up to her bullying family? And will she get gutsy enough to go after Jack? He's a man who's not afraid of anything...except maybe falling for Lisa. Original Price: $2.99 Sale Price: $.99 Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1DxZRWm Twitter: @GeralynCorcillo Tweet: #VDayBookSale! Get #Amazon #BestSeller #chicklit Miss Adventure! #99cents or #kindleunlimited http://amzn.to/1DxZRWm #romcom French Toast – Glynis Astie Sydney Bennett is back! And her pursuit of perfection is alive and well. Naïve to the core, Sydney believed that when she finally married the man of her dreams, the hard part was over. Following a civil ceremony as a means to keep Louis from being deported, Sydney continues to plan the fairytale wedding that she had dreamed of since the age of five. Much to her chagrin, she discovers that her mother-in-law is planning what seems to be a rival wedding in France that SHE has been dreaming about for her only child since before he was born. How will poor Sydney be able to ensure two perfect weddings in the midst of Louis’ fruitless job search? Especially when her mother-in-law’s idea of perfection appears to be having Sydney embarrass herself in front of hundreds of French people that she has never met? As if she didn’t have enough on her mind already, Sydney finds herself faced with the trials and tribulations of being a wife. Sydney had always heard that marriage was hard, but she thought that this was just a ruse that married couples portrayed in a bid to make single girls feel less desperate. But as the bills pile up and emotions run high, she realizes that there may just be some truth to this statement. And as she watches Louis’ perfection fade away before her very eyes, she begins to wonder if she made a rash decision in marrying a man that she had known for a mere six months. With all of the obstacles that Sydney and Louis will encounter, will they be raising their glasses in celebration or watching their impulsive marriage crash and burn? One thing is for certain, Sydney and Louis Durand are headed for one hell of a toast… Original Price: $2.99 Sale Price: FREE Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1yS3vLZ Twitter: @GlynisAstie Tweet: #VDayBookSale: Get #chicklit FREE on your eReader! FRENCH TOAST by @GlynisAstie http://amzn.to/1yS3vLZ Dangled Carat – Hilary Grossman For every girl who wondered if she should love him or dump him..... For every girl who listened to her heart instead of her friends advice.... For every girl who l wondered if she was wasting her time dating that guy.... meet Hilary.... She had gotten used to dating the commitment-phobic Marc, thirteen years her senior. They had a great relationship--why rush into things? She saw no need to pressure him for marriage, believing that when the time was right, he would propose. But after they had been together for four years, their friends decided to take matters into their own hands, pushing Marc to propose and making Hilary realize how much she really did want to marry the man that she loved. Unfortunately, Marc still wasn't ready--and their friends' meddling in the form of a faux engagement party led to a disastrous New Year's Eve that brought their relationship to an inevitable turning point. For anyone who has ever dated a commitment-phobe, who has found their patience wearing thin with the one they love, or who has sat around wondering if he is ever going to pop the question while trying to remain the very picture of patience and grace, Hilary's humorous and honest story will hit home. Original Price: $2.99 Sale Price: $.99 Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1LM3Qof Twitter: @FeelingBeachie Tweet: Love him or dump him? Find out for only #99cents during the #VDayBookSale! DANGLED CARAT by @feelingbeachie http://amzn.to/1LM3Qof Zoey & The Moment of Zen – Cat Lavoie When coffee shop owner Zoey Everwood takes her obsession with ex-boyfriend Braden too far, everyone—except Zoey—is convinced a bit of fun in the sun at the Moment of Zen Wellness Resort will help her get over him once and for all. But Zoey's relaxing vacation turns out to be anything but peaceful when she meets Shane Lawson, a resort guest who bears a striking resemblance to Braden. And things get even more complicated when the resort's owner starts spilling secrets about Zoey’s aunt Nessa, the woman who raised her. Add a snarky Wellness Coordinator and Nate Holmes—Shane's grumpy friend—to the mix, and you've got the recipe for a perfect tropical storm. When Zoey comes back home with a new husband instead of tacky souvenirs, she must convince everyone she hasn't completely lost her mind. As Zoey and Shane struggle to keep the magic alive outside the resort, Zoey discovers that she isn't the only one having trouble letting go of the past. And when Nate drops a bombshell that changes everything, Zoey must decide if the old saying is true—what happens at the Moment of Zen stays at the Moment of Zen. Original Price: $3.99 Sale Price: $.99 Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1EBDcKl Twitter: @Catenabi Tweet: Grab ZOEY & THE MOMENT OF ZEN by @Catenabi for only #99cents during the #VDayBookSale! #chicklit http://amzn.to/1EBDcKl Give Your Heart a Break – Helen Peterson Gorgeous? Check. Wealthy? Check. Sweet? Double check. When Rachel Thomas meets Mason Conner, it seems she has found a man who is everything she’s ever wanted. After years of the single girl life in New York City, she’s due for some luck in the romance department. But with her less than stellar track record, Rachel can’t seem to let go of her past failures to fall too hard. That is until Mason’s ex-fiancé reappears, determined to steal him back. With more than winning Mr. Perfect’s heart on the line, is Rachel finally ready to give her heart a break? Original Price: $2.99 Sale Price: $.99 Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1z9RLzf Twitter: @HelenPeterson37 Tweet: New #chicklit for only #99cents! GIVE YOUR HEART A BREAK by @HelenPeterson37 #VDayBookSale http://amzn.to/1z9RLzf Rock Star’s Girl – Jennifer Farwell Emily Watts just wants a weekend break from the workaholic hours she's taken on to keep her business - a popular fashion-snark web site - up and running. What she gets is overnight celebrity and a career-killing media scandal. While taking time out to attend a concert in support of friend Jesse Cinder, a struggling musician, Emily meets Cory Sampson, the lead singer of a chart-topping rock band. When she agrees to a date with Cory, making entertainment headlines is the last thing she expects. Even so, it's a minor surprise by comparison to her discovery that in the music world, media notoriety trumps all. Tabloid allegations erupt when Cory and fame-hungry Jesse use Emily for personal gain, and her tarnished image spells disaster - personally and professionally. To save the web site and writing career she's made her life and dream, Emily must go from being a pawn in the Hollywood headline game to becoming the media mastermind. Original Price: $2.99 Sale Price: $.99 Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/16huQuJ Twitter: @JennFarwell Tweet: #99cents for ROCK STAR’S GIRL by @jennfarwell during the #VDayBookSale! #chicklit http://amzn.to/16huQuJ Women’s Fiction November Surprise – Laurel Osterkamp
- Twenty years • Six presidential elections • One consuming love affairFor Lucy Jones, the distinction between love and politics is hazy at best. Both can be all-consuming, and either can lead to a heart-breaking loss or an exhilarating win. Whatever the case, if you’re seen as a loser, you probably are one. Lucy first learns this lesson in 1988, when she’s a shy girl, battling a high school bully and rooting for Dukakis. Through the years Lucy will experience stunning victories and agonizing defeats as she makes the choices that define her. Meanwhile, she also struggles to define her relationship with Monty, who comes in and out of her life like the changes in public opinion. Is Monty simply a one-night stand, a kindred spirit, or the love of her life? And by 2008, can he offer her a change to believe in?Over the course of twenty years and six presidential elections, Lucy grows and adjusts with the times. Filled with snarky political and pop-culture references, November Surprise is about the journey we take to believe in a candidate, in love, and in ourselves.