In My Next Life

At the outset, I want to enter a disclaimer that even though this blog post is entitled “In My Next Life,” I don’t really believe in reincarnation. Based on my own experiences with deceased loved ones, while I do believe our souls don’t die with our bodies, I don’t think they take on an entirely new life. Nevertheless, for shits and giggles, I’ve put some thought into my next life—the kind of person I would like to be—and decided to share some of them with you. Most of these are tongue-in-cheek so don’t judge me. Or if you do, keep it to yourself 🙂

In my next life, I want to be comfortable in my own skin right out of the gate, or right out of my new mother’s…never mind…you catch my drift. I want to embrace my quirks and imperfections early and not be self-conscious of them.

In my next life, I don’t want to care so much about what other people think about me, aside from people whose opinions I value.

In my next life, I want to discover my passion—whatever it is—early on so that I can hopefully make a living at it.

In my next life, I want to feel more comfortable using guys for sex. OR

In my next life, I’d like to meet the love of my life in high school, marry him, and live happily ever after so I can go my entire life without ever going on a really bad date or experiencing heartache or rejection.

In my next life, I want to be the kind of person who has the confidence to stick up for herself and walk away from toxic friendships before she gets burned. (I am this person now, but I’d like to be born this way…)

In my next life, I’d like to have the kind of butt that’s small enough to look good in bicycle shorts.

In my next life, I want to have cleavage.

In my next life, I want to be an old woman by the time someone I truly love and need passes away.

In my next life, I want to like driving (and be a good driver).

In my next life, I still want most of the same family members and friends as this one.

In my next life, I want to be the type of person who does not require validation from outside sources.

In my next life, I want to worry less.

In my next life, I never want to put someone undeserving on a pedestal or harbor feelings for someone who does not return them.

In my next life, I hope my crushes are less crushing.

In my next life, I hope to bruise less easily. I mean that in the literal sense, but the figurative sense applies too.

In my next life, I want to have a good sense of direction.

In my next life, I want to have a great singing voice and awesome dance moves.

In my next life, I want to be my best self so that I never imagine what I’d like to be in my next life! Until that happens, I’ll work on those things above that don’t require a time machine or surgery 🙂

Thanks for reading! To return to the FICTION WRITERS BLOG HOP on Julie Valerie’s Book Blog, click here: http://www.julievalerie.com/fiction-writers-blog-hop-sep-2015

Real Chick Lit for…Young Adults?

Now that I’ve completed the heavy lifting with respect to my upcoming novel, Novelista Girl, I can take a break from writing. Right? Wrong! I’ve already begun my next project—a prequel to the Blogger Girl and Novelista Girl series. I took a slight genre leap when I wrote How Do You Know? as it was somewhat deeper in themes than my previous novels and more contemporary women’s fiction than classic “chick lit,” but I was still dealing with grown-up characters (maturity levels notwithstanding)! In my new project, I’m bringing Kimberly Long and part of the gang from Blogger Girl back to the tenth grade which sets the book squarely in the Young Adult genre—quite a genre jump. The novel is already close to seventy pages and while I am truly having a blast with it, it is not without its challenges. For instance:

  1. I’m writing this novel from the first person perspective like I did with my last five novels. (Can we stop and take a moment to let that phrase sink in? My last FIVE novels. I’ve written five novels. Holy crap! I’m still astounded that I wrote one! Ok, pause over.) However, unlike my other (FIVE) novels, I am writing this one from the perspectives of two (very) different characters. Although I know the character of Kim very well, having written two other novels with her at the helm, this time, I’m getting inside the head of high school “mean girl” Hannah Marshak. She’s not that bad. She’s not that good either but…just wait. So far, I’m not having any trouble keeping their voices distinct, but alternating back and forth is not always a smooth transition.
  2. Anyone who has read even one of my books knows that my characters do their best bonding over wine, prosecco, beer etc. Since my characters are now fifteen-years old, I need to come up with different ways for them to drown their sorrows, share their secrets etc. So far, eating ice cream and plotting revenge are working well. But no spoilers.
  3. My characters in the past have also liked to curse and have sex. A curse word slips in every so often in this novel, but not as freely. And my characters’ sexual experience is limited compared to their curiosity. One of the reasons I took them back to fifteen instead of seventeen or even sixteen was because I wasn’t comfortable bringing sex into the equation. My characters are definitely more Gilmore Girls than Gossip Girl.11170312_1069995196347139_787521516213843014_o
  4. If you’ve noticed, all of my characters until now have worked in the law firm environment. I have two paralegals, a legal secretary, and a legal marketing manager under my belt. Unless I was planning to write a Doogie Howser-type prequel where Kim was a fifteen-year-old legal secretary, the law-firm setting wasn’t going to work. So, the setting is high school. Being that I haven’t been in high school in over twenty years (almost as scary as the fact that I’ve written five books), I had to wrack my memory (and search the internet) to remember there were eight periods in a day and each period lasted forty-something minutes. I even searched trigonometry and earth science terms to make the classroom scenes authentic.
  5. With the exception of Just Friends with Benefits, all of my novels take place in New York City. It’s become part of my brand. It’s weird to not describe the bustling restaurants, and tourists-filled streets of the Big Apple, but since Kim grew up outside of the city, I have to write the prequel with a suburban setting. So far, most of the scenes have taken place either within the walls of the high school, or Kim and Hannah’s respective houses.
  6. Since this was a prequel set fifteen years in the past, I obviously couldn’t write the book in the present day. Since Kim would be turning thirty in 2015, I set the book in 2000 to make her 15. I had no idea what it was like to be a teenager in the year 2000 since I was already in my late twenties (another scary fact). Thankfully, I have several younger friends who were generous enough to share some of their memories from back then—their favorite books, movies, televisions shows, celebrity crushes, fashion preferences etc. They also guided me with respect to technology and lack thereof, although watching back-to-back episodes of Gilmore Girls is also helping in that regard. But it’s a very interesting writing a book where no one checks his/her iPhone or is on Facebook. I quite like it!
  7. Parents, particularly mothers, have always played a significant role in my books. However, none of my characters lived under the same roof as her parents during the course of the book. The parents might have bestowed advice (solicited or not), but they never imposed a curfew or were needed to chauffer my characters to and from their friend’s houses, the mall or the movies. Remembering to include family dinners and typical teenage angst with respect to parents is something I’m not used to, but remember all too well from experience.

Thus far, the above are the differences that spring to mind when comparing my process of writing a chick lit/women’s fiction novel to writing young adult. What’s interesting is that my reading preferences have shifted somewhat along with the writing of this book. I still love reading women’s fiction and chick lit (as well as suspense novels and thrillers), but I’m definitely reading a lot more young adult lately as well. I devoured Jenny Han’s To all the Boys I’ve Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love You books, re-read The Carrie Diaries by Candace Bushnell (also a prequel to a women’s fiction novel), and have already pre-ordered Rainbow Rowell’s upcoming novel. I’m also quite addicted to the aforementioned Gilmore Girls on television. It has become the light to the darkness of The Walking Dead, which is another addiction of mine and decidedly not young adult!

carriediaries

I will probably not be sharing too much more about the prequel at least until after Novelista Girl is released, hopefully later this year. Stay tuned, however, for the blurb and cover reveal of Novelista Girl —coming soon.

Cover and blurb reveal for PLAN BEA by Hilary Grossman

I’m thrilled to welcome my friend and fellow Booktrope author, Hilary Grossman, to my blog today to reveal the cover and blurb of her soon-to-be released women’s fiction novel, Plan Bea. I’ve been waiting impatiently for this book for a long time and the wait is finally almost over.

Blurb

How well do you really know the people in your life?  

Annabel O’Conner has the perfect husband, two adorable children, an amazing job, and the mother from hell! Annabel doesn’t like it but has come to terms with the fact that her relationship with her mother, Bea, deteriorated to the point of forced and strained communications. However, an unscheduled call from Bea turns her world around and makes Annabel question everything she believed about her life.

Despite the fact secrets, lies, and misplaced blame have destroyed the women’s relationship; Annabel reluctantly agrees to help Bea plan her wedding. Little does Annabel know the impact of her decision.

In this Women’s Contemporary Fiction novel, Hilary Grossman explores the complex relationship that exists between mothers and daughters in a light-hearted and relatable manner.

Plan Bea

 

Author Bio

Hilary Grossman loves to find humor in everyday life. She has an unhealthy addition to denim and high heel shoes. She likens life to a game of dodge ball – she tries to keep as many balls in the air before they smack her in the face. When she isn’t writing, blogging, or shoe shopping she is the CFO of a beverage alcohol importer. She lives on the beach in Long Island.

Hilary Headshow

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