Chick Lit Author Blog Hop 2012

I have changed a lot in the past 15 or so years. For instance, I’ve switched jobs a few times, added highlights to my naturally jet black hair, had a couple of boyfriends, amended my taste in men (partly because of said boyfriends), become aware of my strengths and weaknesses and more appreciative and forgiving of both respectively and, shockingly, I didn’t even know I wanted to be a writer 15 years ago! One thing that has not changed, however, is my love of books, specifically my addiction to reading “chick-lit”. Since the first books labeled chick-lit hit the stands in the mid-90s, I was hooked and swapped my earlier preference for legal suspense novels and thrillers to the lighthearted, fun books with, at least back then, pastel colored covers. I’ve been a goner ever since the scene in Marian Keye’s hilarious “Watermelon” when Claire Webster exercised on the stairmaster while three sheets to the wind. It doesn’t really matter to me if the plot is centered around a love story, friendship, career etc. as long as I can get lost in the pages and laugh out loud on occasion. What I love most about chick-lit is that for the most part, it is rooted in reality. Sure, it is an exaggerated reality but the conflict and added drama are what make it so much fun to read. I know some women who are in debt due to a shopping addiction but none of them have gotten themselves into the pickles of quite the magnitude of Becky Bloomwood in the “Shopaholic Series.” I also know some women who might have described themselves as “about average” on online dating profiles when “a few extra pounds” was probably more accurate, but as far as I know, none of them created an entirely fake online persona to impress a guy only to be invited to another continent to meet him in person and forced to become that “fake” person like Jemima in Jane Green’s classic novel “Jemima J.” I especially enjoy reading about relatable and sympathetic main characters but, honestly, even if the protagonist is in no way similar to me or my friends and I would likely not be friends with her in a million lifetimes, if she is written with humor and is carefully drawn to exude some vulnerability such that I care about her story and root for her happy ending, for example, Mattie Johns in Tallie Roland’s “The Hating Game”, I will probably enjoy it.

Throughout the years, some aspects of chick-lit have stood the test of time. There are trends in chick-lit that have not been broken, for instance, humor, fast paced and witty dialogue, occasional (or frequent) references to pop culture and, while it is often not the main focus, there is almost always some sort of romantic element. Additionally, in most cases, the heroine is a woman and while there have been a few distractions from that norm, for example, the recently published “The Wedding Beat” by Devan Sipher, “Beginner’s Greek” by James Collins and “Cancelled” by Elizabeth Anne West, it is the exception rather than the rule. Despite certain themes remaining static in the chick-lit genre, with the world constantly evolving, it is natural that the changes extend to what we see in books. I’ve leafed through my voluminous collection of chick-lit novels and noticed many interesting changes in chick-lit over the last 15 or so years:

1. Industry of heroine – In the past, you’d see a lot of main characters climbing the ladder in the world of public relations or publishing, for instance Andrea Sachs in Lauren Weisberger’s “The Devil Wear’s Prada”, Vig Morgan in Lynn Messina’s “Fashionistas”, Jane Rosenal in Melissa Bank’s “Girls Guide to Hunting and Fishing” and Jane Greg in Melissa Senate’s “See Jane Date.” In the past few years, I’ve noticed much more variety in our protag’s career choices, for instance, Ellen Dempsey in Emily Giffin’s “Love the One You’re With” is a photographer, Jennifer Hunter in Jessica Brody’s “The Fidelity Files” is an undercover “fidelity” investigator, Cassandra Hanley in Wendy Chen’s “Liar’s Guide to True Love” is a wedding planner and Emily Haxby in Julie Buxbaum’s “The Opposite of Love” is a lawyer.

2. References and themes about reality television – The first wave of chick-lit books hit the market somewhat before reality television exploded. Chick lit books such as “Unscripted” by Natalie Aaron and Marla Schwartz and the aforementioned “The Hating Game” are a testament to the country’s fascination with reality tv.

3. Age of heroine – Years ago, it seemed almost every heroine was in the realm of her 30th year. For example, all three main characters in Lauren Weisberger’s “Chasing Harry Winston” and Marian Keye’s “Last Chance Saloon” , Charlize Edwards in Kim Gruenenfelder’s “A Total Waste of Makeup” and Bridget Jone’s in Helen Fielding’s “Bridget Jone’s Diary.” Although there is still no shortage of main characters flirting with 30, over the last five years, we’ve also seen older, although not necessarily more mature heroines, for example, Zoe Tisdale in Erik Atwell’s “Thank you for Flying Air Zoe” is 41, Julia in Sarah Pekkanan’s “Skipping a Beat” is 35, Genie Michaels in Sarah Strohmeyer’s “Sleeping Beauty Proposal” is 36, Pat Keegan in Kathleen Kole’s “Favorable Conditions” is 45 and June Parker in Jill Smolinksi’s “The Next Thing on My List” is 34.

4.Common themes – It used to be that all chick-lit novels incorporated certain themes for example, evil bosses, losing weight, designer shoes and gay male best friends. These days, not so much. The genre of chick-lit has evolved beyond these themes such that the humor and lightheartedness are still there but the motivations of the characters have changed. You tend to see more “laid-back heroines” – for instance there are few designer names dropped by Abby Edwards in the aforementioned “Unscripted”, Savannah Leone in Allie Larkin’s “Stay”, Sydney Shephard in Dina Silver’s “One Pink Line” or Stephanie Cohen, the heroine in my novel, “Just Friends With Benefits.” And there is more focus on the bonds of friendships than over-extended credit cards, for instance “Second Time Around” by Beth Kendrick, “Best Friends Forever” by Jennifer Weiner, “Hope in a Jar” by Beth Harbison and “These Girls” by Sarah Pekkanan.”

5 Technology – Years ago, chick-lit books might have made mention of “the worldwide web” or the “internet” but without major developments in technology, books such as “Save as Draft” by Cavanaugh Lee, “Click-an Online Love Story” by Lisa Becker, “I’ve Got Your Number” by Sophie Kinsella and “Goodnight Tweetheart” by Teresa Medeiros would likely never have been published.

6. Paranormal – Society’s fascination with all things “paranormal” has had an influence on the chick-lit genre with such as novels as Sophie Kinsella’s “Twenties Girls”, Adena Halpern’s “Pinch Me” and “29” and Susan McBride’s, “Little Black Dress.”

As you can see, the past decade and a half has brought with it many changes in the way authors write chick-lit. As a new writer of chick-lit, I am pleased that the road has been paved for fresh material and as an avid reader, I love the variety in the books available to me within the genre. The changes have not swayed me one bit from my favorite genre and I am anxious to see what the next 15 years will bring (with the exception of pesky wrinkles on my face and sprouting grey hairs on my head, of course)!

DON’T FORGET TO LEAVE A COMMENT WITH YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS FOR A CHANCE TO WIN A FREE E-COPY OF JUST FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS!

Β Welcome to the inaugural Chick Lit Author Blog Hop! The blog hop will run between May 14th-20th and features 34 amazing writers who have donated their time, talent, and some very special prizes to make this inaugural event a huge success!

Here’s how the blog hop works . . .

Each of the 34 participating authors has written a special Chick Lit-centric piece.Β  At each blog hop stop, you will have the opportunity to enter to win a FREE Chick Lit e-book from that particular blog’s owner/author. All you have to do is leave a comment on the blog post, including your name and e-mail address, and you’re automatically entered to win. If you visit each blog hop stop, that means you have the chance to win 34 different e-books! Please see the list of all of the stops below.

In each of the author’s blog posts, there will be a “secret word.” This word will be italicized, so it will be easy to find. All you have to do is make note of this secret word at each blog hop stop. Collect all 34 secret words and submit your list to CLABlogHop@aol.com before midnight on Sunday, May 20th and you will be entered into the Grand Prize Drawing! The winner of this drawing will receive a $150 Sephora gift card! $150 to spend on make-up, fragrance, bath and body goodies, skin care, and hair products! This gift card can be redeemed online, or at any Sephora store in the US.

Winners of each of the participating author’s e-books, as well as the Grand Prize winner of the $150 Sephora gift card will be announced on Monday, May 21st.

Contests are open to citizens of the United States only.

Click here to see the list of other authors participating in the blog hop!

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Comments

  1. brn2shop9 says:

    Thanks for the contest.

    brn2shop9
    brn2shop9 at gmail dot com

  2. Rhonda D says:

    I feel the same way about reading. I love how it gets you lost in the pages and you just get a break from real life.
    Thank you so much for participating in the hop!
    Rhonda D
    slinkydennis@yahoo.com

  3. Natalie Aaron says:

    Love this post! I love that years ago they would have somehow weaved a computer into the plot just to fit it naturally in the story. ha. We’re old.

    Thanks for this!

  4. Bethany says:

    WONDERFUL giveaway!! πŸ™‚

    bethanyscruggs[at]gmail[dot]com

  5. Thanks for doing another giveaway Meredith! You rock!

    Tobi ❀
    tobihelton at gmail dot com

  6. I’m a new fan! I’m so excited about this blog hop because I get to meet new great authors like you. πŸ™‚
    caribellacreations at gmail dot com

  7. Lisa @ Lost in Literature says:

    Thanks for the giveway! I love the sound of Just Friends with Benefits. πŸ™‚

    And thanks for taking part in the hop. I’m really enjoying meeting new great authors, such as yourself! πŸ™‚

    Lisa @ Lost in Literature
    llongi717 (at) yahoo (dot) com

  8. Thanks for doing this, its fun!
    Pinksapphire118 at gmail .com

  9. PatriciaW says:

    Thanks for pointing out how chicklit has evolved. I haven’t read much in a while. Time to get back to the fun stuff! pwriter1(at)yahoo(dot)com

  10. Kassandra says:

    Thanks for the chance to read your work!

    sionedkla@gmail.com

  11. Theresa Crowell says:

    Thanks for being a part of this hop!!!
    theresacrowell(at)msn(dot)com

  12. Mimi Rose says:

    thanks so much for participating in the hop! I love finding new authors to add to my TBR list!

    mimirose41209 at hotmail dot com

  13. Mary Doherty says:

    I feel the same about books. I just don’t know what I would do without them. There is nothing I would rather do then read a book.

    gatormaryd(at)yahoo(dot)com

  14. Savannah Page says:

    Thank you for being a part of this Blog Hop. I’m really enjoying it! Chick Lit all the way…for many years to come!

    -Savannah Page
    info[at]savannahpage[.]com

  15. Mary Jean says:

    Fun and great way to find more books to read! FUN!

  16. Margaret says:

    Thank you so much for the giveaway!

    Margaret
    singitm(at)hotmail(dot)com

  17. gina herberg says:

    looking forward to winning a FREE Chick Lit e-book! i have seem to become a book whore lately!

  18. Allyson says:

    I love chick-lit, I can get lost in a book and sometimes have a hard time putting it down. Thanks for being a a part of this hop. I love finding new authors! Your book sounds great!

  19. Amy Sherman says:

    Great contribution to this hop, thanks!

    Amy Sherman

    abcdsherman at gmail dot com

  20. Wendy Chen says:

    What a great reminder of the books that got me hooked on chick lit and an intro to some fab new authors.

  21. Kristen says:

    I especially agree that it’s great more heroines are into something besides just fashion – a sign that chick lit can me evolved!

  22. Great post! Don’t fear the next 15 years, the wrinkles aren’t a big deal! Live it up and enjoy.

    • Glad you liked the post! I try not to worry about the wrinkles but our society’s hatred towards aging doesn’t make it easy 😦

  23. Lauren M. says:

    Thanks for all those examples. It is sometimes hard to differentiate what is chick lit to other genres.
    Lmackesy @ gmail.com

  24. You’re welcome Lauren! I don’t think there is a strict definition for “chick lit.” I consider any light and humorous novel, usually about a woman (or women) figuring out her life (love, friendship, career) “chick lit.”

  25. JoAnn A says:

    Just Friends with Benefits sounds terrific.
    Great post. Thanks for the giveaway.

  26. Erica Kincannon says:

    I love that the uaverage heroine’s age is increasing, because frankly so am I! It’s more fun to be able to relate to the characters you read.
    Erica Kincannon
    Ericalkincannon@gmail.com

  27. Barbara Barth says:

    Great post. I love to leave reality behind in a good book. Also write to find my place in life!

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