Excerpt to “Blogger Girl” sequel and Introducing Felicia Harrison

This time last year, I put out a challenge to the “blogosphere” to set me up with a man – not just any man but an appealing and available man I actually liked. In return, I vowed to name a character of my next book (the sequel to Blogger Girl) after anyone whose matchmaking led to an actual date. You can read the post here:

Well, it’s a good thing I have my own ways of getting dates because you guys FAILED miserably. Seriously. Thanks for nothing people…

One person did, however, stand out among all others. My interactions with this woman were very limited at the time, but she really made it her mission to set me up. She, also, failed. But her efforts have earned her the prize as well as a true friend who adores her.

After much discussion, she has chosen to remain anonymous so rather than use her real name, I have named a character after her alter ego, aka the fake name she gave to men when she was single and not interested.

I’d like to introduce you all to Felicia Harrison. The below excerpt is subject to change since I’m still in editing.

I spotted Felicia immediately. She was sitting on a black upholstered couch scribbling in a leather-bound journal. As I approached, she looked up and smiled. Standing up, she said, “Kim?”

I returned her smile and nodded. My throat was dry and I swallowed hard, praying my voice wouldn’t crack. “Hi.”

Motioning toward the couch, she said, “Is this okay? I got here early and snagged the only open spots. I’m glad you got here before I had to fight someone for the space.” She laughed.

I scanned the crowded lounge and smiled timidly. “It’s fine. I hope I’m not late.”

“You’re right on time. Do you want a drink?”

The answer to her question was an unequivocal “yes” but I didn’t know the proper protocol. Was it a trick question? 

As if reading my mind, Felicia said, “Having met with many new authors in my fifteen years as a literary agent, I find a drink calms their nerves and they almost never make drunk fools of themselves.”

I bit my lip. Almost?

Felicia laughed. “I’m making an executive decision and getting us both glasses of Champagne. You sit and protect our space.”

I chuckled. “Okay. Thanks.”

Even though I had seen pictures of Felicia during various stages of agent-stalking, I discreetly checked her out as she ordered our drinks at the bar. With fifteen years’ experience, she was probably about forty, although she could easily pass for thirty-five. She was tall (at least compared to me) and thin with killer legs and warm brown eyes. Her chestnut brown hair was styled all one length except for bangs. She was pretty and so far, seemed as kind as her appearance suggested. 

Returning from the bar, Felicia handed me a glass of Champagne before sitting down next to me. Then she clinked her glass against mine. “Better?”

I took a small sip, determined to pace myself. “Much better,” I confessed. The Champagne took the edge off my nerves, but I was far from tranquil. I had conversed with many agents in my blogger capacity, but this was my first face-to-face as an author and I didn’t want to blow it. 

Felicia smiled. “Good. Thanks for meeting me today.”

“Thanks for asking me! And for reading A Blogger’s Life.” I felt a pulsing in my throat in anticipation of the conversation about to take place.

Felicia put her glass down on the table in front of us. “It was my pleasure. It’s a great story, Kim. You should be proud.”

Lifting my chin, I said, “Thank you.” So far so good.

“Although the market is flooded with bloggers turned authors, a fictional novel from the perspective of a book blogger is fresh.” Tipping her head to the side, she queried, “It is fiction, right?”

“Yes. I mean, I relied on my own experiences as a book blogger for authenticity, but the story itself as well as the characters are completely fictitious.”

Felicia nodded. “You’ve got talent Kim and I think the novel has a wide appeal for younger readers of chick lit, romantic comedy, and humorous women’s fiction. But…”

But what??? Nope. You’ll have to wait until the book is released to read what comes next.

For those of you who didn’t win, it could have been your name up there. Aren’t you jealous?

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-june-2015/

These television shows would make great chick lit books!

We, and by “we,” I mean my author/blogger friends and I, often discuss what books we could totally see turned into movies. I even cast all of my books as if the screenplay adoption is imminent. But I’ve never heard anyone discuss what movies/television shows they think would make really good books. Since there is a first time for everything and I like to be a trend-setter, I’ve decided to dedicate this blog post to those television shows I think would make really good chick lit and, in some cases, young adult books:

Veronica Mars – I watched this series when it was in first-run and I loved it. To me, it’s a cross between Nancy Drew and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Blonde, petite, and adorable, Veronica is intelligent, has a snarky personality, a wicked sense of humor, and doesn’t take shit from anyone. Her father is the former sheriff of Neptune, California and currently a private investigator. Veronica assists him on his cases and has her own clientele too—most often her fellow classmates. She also has a group of adorable male admirers and the love triangles are very well done. (Team Logan!) I would love to read a book (or series of books) with Veronica at the helm. I also think she’s a great role model for young women as she is wise beyond her years, strong-willed, not prone to peer pressure and just all around the coolest high school chick ever.

Drop Dead Diva –Aspiring model Deb dies in a car crash, but rather than stay in heaven she presses the “return” button and returns to earth just in time to inhabit the body of recently deceased Jane, a plus-sized attorney in a law firm where Deb’s ex-fiancé Grayson is a partner. Of course, Grayson has no idea that Jane is really Deb and Jane is forced to witness Grayson grieve Deb’s death and eventually move on. In my opinion, this series would make the ultimate chick lit book with a touch of paranormal. There is humor, romance, fashion, and even law-changing legal cases thrown in for good measure.

The New Girl – After breaking up with her long-term boyfriend, quirky and “simply adorkable” late twenty-something Jess moves into a loft with three bachelors. Typical comedic moments ensue, along with relationship drama. Combine a cute, if not somewhat awkward and self-deprecating young woman with three handsome, single men under one roof and you have a recipe for a great chick lit book. I gave up on the television show when Jess’s quirkiness became a bit over-the-top, but I would absolutely be up for a stand-alone novel based on the television series.

The Mindy Project – The series follows thirty-something obstetrician/gynecologist Mindy as she tries to balance her personal and professional life, surrounded by quirky co-workers in a small medical practice in New York City. This series, in my opinion, embodies all that is beloved in chick lit—a multi-faceted main female character who, although professionally successful, struggles to get her personal life in order; hilarious dating disasters; an enigmatic and sexy hero who is always just slightly out of reach; well fleshed out secondary characters; and a seemingly revolving door of possible love interests to keep things interesting. I am addicted to watching this show on the small screen, but would love to read it on my Kindle too!

I certainly enjoy other television shows, but I don’t necessarily think they would transfer as well into a novel as well as the aforementioned. For example, I think a character-driven show would make for a better chick lit book than a plot-driven series where the story changes every week without much character development. I also limited my choices to those categorized as comedy, since humor is a key element in chick lit, and romance, since chick lit lovers in general love a happily ever after.

How do you feel about my choices? What television shows would you like to see made into books?

My Trip to Toronto Part II

Welcome to Part II of my trip to Toronto

When we left off, the BookBuzz Toronto event had come to a conclusion. *Tear* In this post, I will recap my experiences from the following day.

I failed to mention in my earlier post that while getting a pedicure for my trip, my phone charger accidentally fell into the water. (If you have to ask how that happened, you obviously do not know me very well.) I didn’t realize that the charger was defective until after I arrived in Toronto and I was freaking out about traveling without access to my phone. Kaley was kind enough to meet me before brunch and escort me to the Toronto Eaton Centre mall where I could purchase a new phone charger. It was nice to have a few minutes alone with Kaley to get to know her better. While walking through the mall, I kept expecting to run into someone I knew. And then I remembered how unlikely that was since I was in another country…

torontocity

Although not everyone was around the following day, the majority of us (me, Sam, Kaley, Cat, Samantha, Lydia Laceby and Heather Wardell) agreed to meet for lunch at Senator Restaurant, a diner in the heart of the city. I was committed to drinking a Caesar, the Canadian version of the Bloody Mary, and was very relieved the restaurant was serving alcohol. I was the only one to partake in a boozy beverage but, like I said, I was determined. It was delicious. Nice and spicy, just the way I like it.

senator

Caesar

After brunch, we visited the World’s Biggest Bookstore, walked up and down the Toronto streets, stopped for tea, and then for lunch and a drink before heading back to the hotel to pick up our suitcases. Throughout the afternoon, we discussed our common obsession: reading and books in general. Spending the afternoon with women who share my love of reading was priceless. And since almost everyone was an author, we were able to discuss reviews, the writing/publishing process, sales etc. without anyone feeling left out or rolling her eyes in boredom. My local friends are amazing and I would not give them up for anything in the world but spending the afternoon with women who totally get that very important aspect of my life was incredibly special.

tea

Saying goodbye to my new friends who weren’t really “new” was painful because I knew it would be a long time before we met face-to-face again. I was so happy for some extra time with my friend Sam who actually walked with me from the Eaton Centre in the heart of Toronto downtown to the airport at the waterfront. I’m sure most of you are unfamiliar with Toronto, so I’ll just say it was a long walk and leave it at that! As much as I did not want to leave, I was also afraid of missing my flight but Sam and I agreed that in Toronto traffic, taking a cab would probably take me longer than walking and so we walked. And talked.

In conclusion, my trip was 99% successful. The missing 1% accounts for my failure to come home with autographs from the cast of Degrassi High! I guess that means I will have to come back…

senatorgroupbookbuzzca

Hollywood Hits & Misses – take 2

I initially wrote this blog for a third party website but, for reasons unknown, it was never posted. I’ve decided to post it on my own blog for your reading pleasure.

I would think almost all of us have read books that were made into movies and just as many of us have probably seen movies that were adapted from books. When I devour a book and find out it’s being turned into a movie, I literally count the days until I can watch the scenes play out on the big screen. (Most recently, I organized an outing for my friends to see The Hunger Games.) Most of the time I do not expect to enjoy the movie as much as the book and most of the time, it works out that way, for example, Bonfire of the Vanities – Loved the book, HATED the movie. But sometimes I am pleasantly surprised.

Listed below are my picks for three best movies that were adapted from books and three worst movies that were adapted from books. My list is limited to books/movies in the chicklit/rom-com genre because that was the “assignment” for the third party blog.

Hits:

1. The Devil Wears Prada – Book by Lauren Weisberger

Although I enjoyed this book, I preferred the film version for several reasons. Most importantly, I liked that Merryl Streep brought vulnerability to the role of Miranda Priestly. I also enjoyed Andrea’s makeover and watching her transform from a somewhat sloppy “plain Jane” to a sophisticated fashionista. And, of course, any film starring Simon Baker is cool with me.

2. Bridget Jone’s Diary – Book by Helen Fielding.

I recall finding the book humorous but, in my opinion, the movie kicked serious ass! The casting was completely on point and I found Renee Zellwegger’s portrayal as a British single woman very authentic. Also, while reading the book, I got bored with the diary entries of how much she weighed, drank, smoked etc., but the narrative during the movie made me laugh. I have watched this movie more times than I can count on my fingers and toes and quite honestly, I can’t wait to watch it again! HIT with a capital H!

3. In Her Shoes – Book by Jennifer Weiner

The movie perfectly captured the complex relationship between two sisters, Rose and Maggie. The casting of Toni Collette and Cameron Diaz, not to mention Shirley Maclaine was spot on. I don’t recall major discrepancies between the book and the movie but if there were any a) they were subtle and b) they worked. I loved the book but I think I might have enjoyed the movie even more.

Misses:

Something Borrowed – Book by Emily Giffin

1. Something Borrowed is probably my favorite chicklit book of all times. It is one of the only books I’ve actually read more than once and I was beyond excited to see the film adaptation. In fact, I actually counted down the months with a friend. Unfortunately, I was unimpressed. For one thing, I didn’t like the casting of Kate Hudson as Darcy Rhone. The character was supposed to be a dark-haired sophisticated head turner and, while obviously an attractive woman, I consider Kate Hudson more of a ham. Her performance actually exceeded my low expectations in that regard, but I HATED what they did to the character of Marcus. In the book, Marcus was a viable contender for Rachel’s affections and made Dex feel somewhat insecure. In the book, he was a complete train wreck, like a court jester. Additionally, the book character of Hilary, Rachel’s work confidante, was completely written out of the movie and much of her advice-giving role was given to Ethan. While I adore John Krasinski, the character of Ethan was in London for the entire book. The movie completely foreshadowed the eventual romance between Ethan and Darcy in the follow-up Something Blue and I just didn’t like it. The one thing I loved about the movie – Colin Eggilsfield was some serious eyecandy! But in sum, I wish the movie had followed the book more closely – why mess with perfection?

2. One Day – Book by David Nicholls

I admit to being torn by the book but the chemistry between the main characters Emma and Dexter was undeniable and I was completely sucked in as I waited to find out if they would eventually find the right timing to be together, as they belonged. Where the movie succeeded in spanning two decades, the movie felt too rushed, the connection between Emma and Dexter seemed forced and I was left thinking “is that all there is?”

3. The Lovely Bones – Book by Alice Sebold

This book will always hold a special place in my heart. I found it hauntingly beautiful. While the violent death of Susie Salmon at such a young age was tragic, the descriptions of her afterlife were magical and I loved being able to imagine what “her” heaven looked like. This novel touched me in such a major way that whenever I see the soft blue cover, I feel the urge to pick up the book and leaf through the pages. The movie adaption, on the other hand, was just too commercial for me and I was majorly disappointed. I also never pictured the parents as good looking as Mark Wahlberg and Rachel Weisz and while I would never complain about watching Mark Walhberg on the big screen, it seemed a bit too hollywood for me and detracted from the magic that exuded from the pages of the book.

And there you have them. Agree? Disagree? Indifferent? What about you? What are your picks? They need not be limited to any particular genre!