blogging in darker times – guest blogger at Chick Lit Club

I was asked to do a guest post for Chick Lit Club, a fabulous blog with news and reviews on some of the hottest novels in chick lit and women’s fiction. With the death of my dear friend, I’ve been having trouble writing “light” posts and when I confided this to my fabulous book manager, Jennifer Gilbert, she suggested I use my grief as inspiration. This is what I came up with:

Darker Times

 

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likeable “unlikeable characters” in chick lit starring Jane Frank & Giveaway

The winner has been chosen – congratulations to SusieQ – you have won an ecopy of my first novel, Just Friends with Benefits!  Thanks for playing all 🙂

 

“Somehow, rather quickly Jane became that friend who you love, but drives you crazy along the way.”

Jane Frank, the main character in my novel, A State of Jane, is a twenty-six-year-old woman who has had a pretty easy life.  She comes from a well-to-do family, her parents are still very much in love, she earned good grades in school and her first romantic relationship was a loving and supportive one.  Jane has never wanted anything she couldn’t have and her childhood dreams of becoming a partner in her father’s law firm and being married by 30 are only 3 years of law school and a great boyfriend away.  Or so she thinks

 Sometimes I found Jane to be naïve, childish and rather self-absorbed but I also found her to be funny and just trying to find her path.”

Jane re-enters the dating world a year to the day after her break-up with her first and only boyfriend of nine years only to discover that finding a second boyfriend isn’t as easy as she thought and studying for the LSAT is a little difficult when all she wants to do is decipher the Manhattan male.  Why are they all completely smitten with her one day and then gone the next? 

“As the story went on I saw how Jane had to go through this dating journey to end up where she did.”

My desire in writing A State of Jane was to tell a story of a girl whose life spiraled out of control after she realized that things didn’t always go according to plan.  Jane Frank is a good person at heart but she is naïve and sheltered.  She would never intentionally hurt anyone’s feelings but is ill-prepared to handle what she deems as failure.  Jane becomes obsessed with controlling her destiny to the detriment of her career aspirations and her relationships with friends and family.  She becomes self-absorbed and unlikeable but it’s all part of her path to self-discovery and growing up.  I don’t want to spoil anything for people who haven’t read A State of Jane yet but Jane ultimately sees the error of her ways and makes amends.

“Through her vulnerable, all-about-me phase, I enjoyed watching her character arc of becoming just plain Jane.”

Jane Frank has a strong character arc and a lot of readers have commented that they found her extremely relatable, even though they wanted to shake her at times.  I’ve also received comments from readers who couldn’t warm to Jane despite her character development.   Jane is definitely a flawed character and if that is not your cup of tea, you probably will not enjoy A State of Jane.  I feel very protective of Jane as if I gave birth to her, which I kind of did.  But I know that if Jane really was my daughter, I’d probably have to sit her down at some point and explain that not everyone would like her and that’s ok – it’s part of  life. I might introduce her to some other imperfect female characters in chick lit, such as the following:

Darcy Rhone – Something Borrowed/Something Blue – Emily Giffin –Introduced to readers in Something Borrowed, Darcy is the completely self-absorbed, selfish and conceited best friend of Rachel Green and the fiancée of Rachel’s love interest. 

From Publisher’s Weekly: “Perhaps beautiful Darcy Rhone isn’t really wicked, but she is one of the most shallow, materialistic, self-centered and naïve 29-year-olds around.”

Darcy was an unlikeable character yet most readers appreciated her growth as a character.

“You really did come to care for and root for Darcy as she became less self-centered.” 

 “Emily Giffin has done a great job creating a character that, at first, I found myself disliking, and then in the end rooted for her as she founded her happy place in life”

Maggie Feller– In Her Shoes – Jennifer Weiner – The younger and more “beautiful” of two sisters, readers instantly dislike Maggie when she sleeps with her older sister Rose’s boyfriend.

From Publisher’s weekly, “Twenty-eight-year-old Maggie Fuller relies on her looks and size zero body to flirt her way through life while working dozens of dead-end jobs and dreaming of stardom.”

Maggie was easy to dislike at the beginning of the novel having betrayed her sister in one of the worst ways imaginable. It is also difficult to relate to a woman who is completely lazy and irresponsible, relying on her looks to get by in life.  However, readers see a different side to Maggie as she comes to terms with her inferiority complex and works hard to be a better person and sister. 

 “Maggie was so irritating and unlikeable, that the first half of the book was difficult to endure.  The second half brought redemption, healing, and transformation to Maggie.”

 “Just as you start hating Maggie, the one who has it easy getting jobs and men, Weiner emphasizes a hidden dimension of her character that allows us to empathize with her and realize that maybe she doesn’t have it so easy after all.”

Mattie Johns – The Hating Game – Talli Roland – Mattie Johns is very tightly wound to say the least.  She has built walls up around her to keep others away and she’s not a very nice person.  However, as the story develops, readers learn that Mattie is in fact capable of true love and selfless behavior. 

 “At first I found Mattie unlikeable.  But even in the beginning, I could detect her vulnerability within her uncompromising exterior.  This is a woman who wants to be in control, so it’s interesting to see how she grows as her life becomes more and more out of control.”

Just like these characters, Jane Frank is not always likeable.  She’s not always nice.  She doesn’t always do the right thing and she can be flat-out selfish.  In a word, she is human.  Another word is “flawed.”  But just like these other characters, there is an explanation for Jane’s behavior, and the consequences of her actions lead her to the path to redemption.  I hope that readers will forgive Jane’s “all about me” phase and admire her for putting her flaws out there for the world to see. 

“I liked that Jane was not perfect, and even got a little mad at her myself while reading.  But that is what makes her a real character.” 

What about you?  To win an ecopy of my first novel Just Friends With Benefits, please comment with your email address AND the name of one of your favorite flawed females in fiction! 

My interview with author Susan Buchanan

One of my virtual writer friends, Susan Buchanan, author of two chicklit novels “The Dating Game” and “Sign of the Times” recently interviewed me for her blog. She asked me some tough questions, for instance, whether I’ve ever been so wrapped up in my love life that I allowed my other relationships to fall by the wayside (like Jane Frank did in my novel, “A State of Jane”) and some of my more embarrassing dating moments. Read on to see my answers, but please note that the giveaway of A State of Jane is over. The book is still only $2.99 though… 🙂

I am also currently reading “The Dating Game” so stay tuned for my review on Amazon and Goodreads!

http://susancbuchanan.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/interview-with-us-chicklit-author.html

Love is in the air – Valentine’s Day Q & A with Jane Frank

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Love is in the air and since it must be celebrated, the price of A State of Jane has been lowered to only 99 cents until Sunday, February 17th.  Get it while it’s cheap(er)!  If you’re already downloaded it (and I thank you from the bottom of my heart and hope you enjoyed it), I’m excited to announce that eight of my favorite authors have also lowered the price of one of their ebooks to 99 cents!  I’ve read most of these books and they are fabulous.  See below for buy links to these fun and flirty romantic comedies. 

These other authors and I thought it would be fun to ask a character from our featured novel to answer some personal questions about her love (or lust) life.  I asked Jane Frank, the main character from A State of Jane if she would participate and after some blackmail (I threatened to tell everyone about her infamous strip tease) and some bribery (I promised to consider writing a second novel with her in the starring role), she agreed. 

Meredith:  Are you currently in a relationship?  If so, tell us a little bit about your significant other. And if not… what are you looking for in a romantic partner?

Jane:  I am not currently in a relationship and this is the first time since I was 16 that I’ve been single.  It’s been a year since Bob and I broke up though, so I am ready to fall in love again!  I’m really not that picky.  He needs to be intelligent, hopefully with an advanced degree.  He should be taller than me by at least four inches and preferably two years older.  He must be a non-smoker with a full head of hair, preferably dark, and he can’t be a vegetarian because that would be a waste of my stellar cooking skills.  Finally, he should be generous with good manners.   And physically fit. Other than that, I’m completely open. I’m not really picky; just selective.

Meredith:  Wow, your flexibility is astounding.  *rolls eyes*.  So, how old were you when you had your first kiss – and can you share what you remember about it?

Jane: I was actually 15 which, as my older sister reminded me often, is kind of old, but I was shy around boys and my boobs hadn’t come in yet so boys didn’t pay much attention to me.  I was at my friend Melanie’s birthday party and the cooler kids were playing spin the bottle.  My closest friends didn’t want to play because you had to French kiss but I was determined that the saying “16 and never been kissed” would not apply to me so I played.  I had my first three kisses in the same night.  I can’t remember the first one because I was so nervous.  It was like an out of body experience.  The second one was gross because the guy was like a lizard. He was all tongue!  But the third kiss, Ryan Branson, was heavenly.  He must have felt the same way because we made out at every party for the rest of the school year.  We even got to second base.   He never spoke to me in school though.  These douchebags start early!  

Meredith: Kissing 3 boys in the same night.  Even as a teenager, you were all about the extremes,  Jane Frank!  Moving on, describe your ideal evening.

Jane: If you asked me a few months ago, I would have probably said something about a fancy dinner but now all that really matters to me is being completely comfortable in a guy’s company and confident that he likes me for who I am and not just to get in my pants.  On the flipside, there’s nothing wrong with a guy only wanting me for sex as long as he is up front about it and not pretending to be smitten with me. “Oh, Jane, I love your curves!”, “Oh Jane, you are so sweet and romantic.  I’ve never met anyone like you before.”  “Oh Jane, we have all the time in the world.”  Please.

Meredith: Oh, dear. I didn’t mean to touch on such a sensitive subject.  Let’s skip to the next question.  What food gets you in the mood?

Jane: Good question!  People think that oysters are the best aphrodisiacs but I think they’re gross.  Chocolate and licorice.  If at all possible, chocolate covered licorice.  I know it sounds kind of crazy but I experimented once with some melted chocolate and black licorice and, oh my, Bob and I must have had sex like five times that night.  Word to the wise, stay away from rack of lamb.  Trust me on that one.

Meredith: Consider me duly warned!  Can you tell us about your worst date ever?

Jane: Oh, Meredith.  Where do I begin?  I’ve had so many bad dates lately!  Well, some of them seemed like good dates while they were happening but later, after some thought and well, lots of tears, I realized the dates kind of sucked!  There was the embarrassing strip tease for one.  Can we skip to the next question please?

Meredith.  Of course.  No worries.  Okay, how about this one.  What’s the best romantic gift you ever received – and the best one you ever gave?    

Jane: One year, I bought Bob courtside seats to a Knicks game.  He was so excited!  Especially since they were playing the Packers, one of their bigger rivals!

Meredith: You mean the Pacers? 

Jane:  Pacers, yeah. Isn’t that what I said?  My favorite gift was the year Bob bought us tickets to a James Beard Foundation dinner.  Some of my favorite chefs were in the house, like Tom Colicchio, Danny Meyer, Charlie Palmer, Jean-Georges Vongerichten.  Charlie Palmer made the best Poached Mediterranean Sea Bass I’ve ever had.  Heavenly.  I tried to recreate the recipe but it didn’t work. 

Meredith: You’re making me so hungry!  Okay, last question. How far will you go on a first date?  And how many dates do you need to go on before you knock boots?

Jane: Honestly, I’m so done with rules.  Rules Schmules!   The so-called “third date rule”?  Total bullshit.  A guy is just as likely to dump you if you sleep with him after five dates as he is after one.  I’m so sick of playing these stupid games.  Done. 

Meredith: Nicely said, Jane. Yes, we are done!  Thanks so much for being so open and honest with me.  I will get on the sequel as soon as I can!

You can read the other Q&As here:

http://www.catlavoie.com/blog/
http://samanthastrohbailey.blogspot.ca/
http://libby-mercer.blogspot.com/
http://traciebanister.blogspot.com/
http://samanthamarch.com/blog/
http://luciesimone.blogspot.com/
http://clippingsintheshed.wordpress.com/
http://www.chicklitbee.com/

And before you go, check out all of the books in our Valentine’s Day Promotion below – Amazon buy-links  included for ease of convenience!

A State of Jane by Meredith Schorr – Jane Frank is newly single after nine years and looking for a second chance at love. But when she dives head first into the NYC dating scene and finds it infested with flakes who are interested today and gone tomorrow, it may be time for Jane to turn the tables! http://www.amazon.com/A-State-of-Jane-ebook/dp/B009CDVZ64

Finding Lucas by Samantha Stroh Bailey – Daytime talk show producer Jamie Ross is beyond fed up with her toxic bad boy turned metrosexual boyfriend. Spurred on by her gang of quirky friends, she goes on a hilarious, at-times disastrous, and totally life-changing hunt to track down the ”one who got away.” But are some loves best left behind? http://www.amazon.com/Finding-Lucas-ebook/dp/B007VIIU6A

In Need of Therapy by Tracie Banister – Handling the problems of hysterical hypochondriacs, lovelorn neurotics, and compulsive man whores is all in a day’s work for super-shrink Pilar Alvarez. But can she deal with her crazy Cuban family, a trio of unsuitable suitors, and a threat to her practice without ending up on the couch herself?  http://www.amazon.com/In-Need-of-Therapy-ebook/dp/B008N6Z36Y

Rita Hayworth’s Shoes by Francine LaSalaJilted bride Amy’s down on everything until she convinces herself to purchase a cute, ridiculously expensive pair of second-hand shoes. Once she does, life starts looking up, and she falls into an unexpected new romance with the last man she’d ever expect to love. But can a pair of shoes really be magic? And is her new prince really just a frog? http://www.amazon.com/Rita-Hayworths-Shoes-ebook/dp/B007ZHVB1I/ref=tmm_kin_title_0

Breaking the Rules by Cat Lavoie – When Roxy Rule shares a passionate kiss with her lifelong best friend, she must come to terms with her feelings for him while dealing with two sisters in full crisis mode, a boss who makes her want to stab herself with a letter opener and a fiancé who can’t wait to walk down the aisle. Can she keep it together–or will she break under the pressure? http://www.amazon.com/Breaking-the-Rules-ebook/dp/B008UZYPLW

The Green Ticket by Samantha March – College junior Alex Abrams scores her dream job at the ripe age of twenty, but her good fortune quickly turns disastrous when she realizes her job is filled with lies, betrayal, and cover-ups. Keeping up with classes, her girlfriends and a budding romance, Alex feels the pressure – but will she overcome the challenges? http://www.amazon.com/The-Green-Ticket-ebook/dp/B00AI02BO0

Unmasking Maya by Libby Mercer – Disgraced New York fashionista, Maya Kirkwood, is fashioning herself a new life as an artist in San Francisco when she’s hired to do an installation of her work by dorky, yet dashing dotcom executive, Derek. The sparks soon start to fly, but this could mean disaster for Maya – a woman with an explosive past and far too many secrets.http://www.amazon.com/Unmasking-Maya-ebook/dp/B00AN7CCV0

True Love Way by Nancy Scrofano – When her high school sweetheart, Josh, suddenly returns after twelve years in Paris, Marlo Spencer travels to her hometown to try to rekindle their relationship. But when dreams of a blissful reunion are shattered as old secrets and betrayals are revealed, can she forgive and forget, or will true love find a different path to her heart? http://www.amazon.com/True-Love-Way-ebook/dp/B007VA4AZI

Picture Perfect by Lucie Simone – Lauren Tate’s perfectly planned life quickly unravels at the seams when a smear campaign threatens her career as a top TV executive, but she learns just how cutthroat showbiz can truly be when the hottest scandal in Tinsel Town turns deadly and the Hollywood hunk who’s stolen her heart goes missing. http://www.amazon.com/Picture-Perfect-ebook/dp/B0093H0326

Valentine’s Day ebook sale – 9 authors, 9 ebooks, 99 cents each!

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Love is in the air . . . and it can be on your Kindle, too!

Do you want to fall in love with a good book this Valentine’s Day weekend? How about 9? Then don’t miss this special promotion. For four days only (February 14th – February 17th), 9 popular Chick Lit authors will be lowering the prices on their favorite rom-coms to 99 cents on Amazon.com! At that price (A bottle of wine costs more!), why not sample them all? Some delicious literary treats await you, and unlike chocolates these goodies are calorie-free!

And guys: If your sweetie is a book-lover, you’ll make her Valentine’s Day by gifting her with one (or more) of our fun, romantic stories! 

Finding Lucas by Samantha Stroh Bailey – Daytime talk show producer Jamie Ross is beyond fed up with her toxic bad boy turned metrosexual boyfriend. Spurred on by her gang of quirky friends, she goes on a hilarious, at-times disastrous, and totally life-changing hunt to track down the ”one who got away.” But are some loves best left behind? http://www.amazon.com/Finding-Lucas-ebook/dp/B007VIIU6A

In Need of Therapy by Tracie Banister – Handling the problems of hysterical hypochondriacs, lovelorn neurotics, and compulsive man whores is all in a day’s work for super-shrink Pilar Alvarez. But can she deal with her crazy Cuban family, a trio of unsuitable suitors, and a threat to her practice without ending up on the couch herself?  http://www.amazon.com/In-Need-of-Therapy-ebook/dp/B008N6Z36Y 

Rita Hayworth’s Shoes by Francine LaSalaJilted bride Amy’s down on everything until she convinces herself to purchase a cute, ridiculously expensive pair of second-hand shoes. Once she does, life starts looking up, and she falls into an unexpected new romance with the last man she’d ever expect to love. But can a pair of shoes really be magic? And is her new prince really just a frog? http://www.amazon.com/Rita-Hayworths-Shoes-ebook/dp/B007ZHVB1I/ref=tmm_kin_title_0

Breaking the Rules by Cat Lavoie – When Roxy Rule shares a passionate kiss with her lifelong best friend, she must come to terms with her feelings for him while dealing with two sisters in full crisis mode, a boss who makes her want to stab herself with a letter opener and a fiancé who can’t wait to walk down the aisle. Can she keep it together–or will she break under the pressure? http://www.amazon.com/Breaking-the-Rules-ebook/dp/B008UZYPLW

The Green Ticket by Samantha March – College junior Alex Abrams scores her dream job at the ripe age of twenty, but her good fortune quickly turns disastrous when she realizes her job is filled with lies, betrayal, and cover-ups. Keeping up with classes, her girlfriends and a budding romance, Alex feels the pressure – but will she overcome the challenges? http://www.amazon.com/The-Green-Ticket-ebook/dp/B00AI02BO0

Unmasking Maya by Libby Mercer – Disgraced New York fashionista, Maya Kirkwood, is fashioning herself a new life as an artist in San Francisco when she’s hired to do an installation of her work by dorky, yet dashing dotcom executive, Derek. The sparks soon start to fly, but this could mean disaster for Maya – a woman with an explosive past and far too many secrets.http://www.amazon.com/Unmasking-Maya-ebook/dp/B00AN7CCV0

A State of Jane by Meredith Schorr – Jane Frank is newly single after nine years and looking for a second chance at love. But when she dives head first into the NYC dating scene and finds it infested with flakes who are interested today and gone tomorrow, it may be time for Jane to turn the tables! http://www.amazon.com/A-State-of-Jane-ebook/dp/B009CDVZ64

True Love Way by Nancy Scrofano – When her high school sweetheart, Josh, suddenly returns after twelve years in Paris, Marlo Spencer travels to her hometown to try to rekindle their relationship. But when dreams of a blissful reunion are shattered as old secrets and betrayals are revealed, can she forgive and forget, or will true love find a different path to her heart? http://www.amazon.com/True-Love-Way-ebook/dp/B007VA4AZI

Picture Perfect by Lucie Simone – Lauren Tate’s perfectly planned life quickly unravels at the seams when a smear campaign threatens her career as a top TV executive, but she learns just how cutthroat showbiz can truly be when the hottest scandal in Tinsel Town turns deadly and the Hollywood hunk who’s stolen her heart goes missing. http://www.amazon.com/Picture-Perfect-ebook/dp/B0093H0326

 

The Future of Chick Lit

As part of the A State of Jane blog tour with Chick Lit Plus, I was asked by the lovely Isabella “Chick Lit Goddess” Anderson to write my thoughts on the Future of Chick Lit. There have been whispers that “chick lit is dead”. Do you think I am in agreement? Here’s a hint, I have published two novels which clearly fall in the definition of “chick lit” within the past three years and am in the process of editing a third. Read more here:

http://chicklitgoddess.com/category/guests-authors/meredith-schorr/