Why I love constructive criticism?

Can you -show- not -tell- her

 

Criticism is most often thought of as a negative. Who wants to hear that their outfit is unflattering, their singing voice is out of tune, they lack rhythm when they dance, are a horrible kisser—that in sum, they suck? As a person, I much prefer compliments to insults, and I really don’t like when people provide unsolicited opinions, especially when they are unfavorable. But there is a difference between flat-out insulting someone and offering them constructive criticism—insulting someone most often serves no purpose but to make the person who delivers the jab feel good, but constructive criticism is usually delivered with the hope and intention of helping someone get better at whatever it is they are doing.

I don’t like insults, but as a writer, I have learned to LOVE constructive criticism, so much so that I seek it out from people I know won’t hold back. It stings to receive negative reviews of my published novels, but I have learned to embrace negative feedback for my drafts. I didn’t always have such a lovefest with constructive criticism. I took it in stride and learned from it, but I credit loving it to one of my author friends who, when she asks me (or anyone) to provide feedback, she asks us to rip it apart and she means it. She never gets offended or hurt by it and, to the contrary, is excited about the hours or days of revising ahead of her because it means her finished product is going to be even better for it. At the end of the day, we all want to write a top-notch book and sometimes it takes (more than) a few tries to achieve it.

When I hand a manuscript off to my beta readers  and later my developmental editor, there is a small part of me that hopes they’ll come back and say, “This is perfect. It’s the best book I’ve ever read. Don’t change a thing.” But the fact that I choose extremely critical beta readers and ask them to be completely honest with me belies that desire. I know these readers will spot things in the manuscript that, as the author, I can’t see anymore because I’ve lost objectiveness or I’m too close to it, and they will bring all of them to my attention. They won’t stroke my ego for fear I won’t like them anymore. They point out pages where the story might drag. They might tell me that I’ve lost my characters voice on Page 43. They remind me that my character’s friends and families have lives too. They tell me when my character is being too bitchy even for her or when she’s uncharacteristically behaving like a doormat. My beta readers show me the places in the manuscript where I need to flesh out how a character is feeling or what is going on in the background. They remind me to use my five senses. What does it smell like on the school bus? Are they eating anything at the restaurant or just talking? They say, “Your characters blush too much” and “Stop using the word ‘beam’ so much!” “This character is supposed to be mean, she hasn’t really done anything to evidence that yet.” “This character seems kind of crazy. Is that your intention?”

I seek out these comments before the book is published because I’d so much rather hear it when it can still be fixed than after the book is up on various platforms, and readers are writing reviews that say “The characters blush too much,” “The story dragged in the middle,” “The main character never thought about anyone except herself.” I don’t always agree with my beta reader’s comments and I trust my instincts, but I’ve learned to see the difference between not wanting to make a change because I’m lazy and tired and not wanting to make a change because I truly believe the novel is better off without it. But either way, I would rather know how readers might react and be given the opportunity to fix things rather than be blindsided by a bunch of reviews that say the things my beta readers and editor were too bashful or afraid to bring to my attention.

In the same vain, I have a side business of conducting manuscript critiques for other authors and I am extremely critical in my work. I tell my potential clients this up front. I would never attack their work or provide feedback in a cruel manner, but they are paying me to help them write the best book they can and I can’t take their money without pointing out every potential weakness I find. What they do with it is up to them, but I like to assume other authors will want to hear everything negative a reader might say while they still have time to fix it.

One reason my later books have been stronger than my earlier books is because I have honed my writing skills and become a better writer, but another reason is that I have embraced negative feedback on my unfinished product and purposely relied on tough critics to tell it like it is.

And that, my friends, is why I love constructive criticism.

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Release days, free days, sale days: Oh My!

Today is a big day. Huge. COLOSSAL.

It’s the release day of my fifth novel, Novelista Girl. The standalone sequel to my fan favorite third novel, Blogger Girl.

Readers first met sassy Kimberly Long in Blogger Girl, and now the feisty New Yorker is back in a sequel packed with quick wit, friendship, heartache, and of course, romance.

Kim runs the most popular chick lit book blog on the web, loves playing house with her sexy lawyer boyfriend, Nicholas, and is finally pursuing her lifelong dream to become a published author. At first glance, her life is five-pink-champagne-flutes worthy.

But is there more to the story than meets the eye?

After hearing the phrase “chick lit is dead” more times than she’s read Bridget Jones’s Diary, Kim is driven to desperate measures, seeking advice from up-and-coming chick lit author, Hannah Marshak, her high school nemesis and resident “mean girl.” As if Kim doesn’t have enough on her plate balancing her secretarial duties with her blog Pastel Is The New Black, shrugging off the growing pile of agent rejections, and keeping her best friend from turning green over Kim’s budding friendship with Hannah, Nicholas is so blinded by his career ambitions, he doesn’t see that their home sweet home could use more than a dash of sugar.

This is the year when all of Kim’s dreams—professional and romantic—are supposed to come true, but will the story have a happily ever after, or will Kim end up unpublished and all alone.

This novel can be read as a sequel or as a standalone and is best accompanied by a cocktail, preferably a pink one.

Barnes & Noble

Amazon

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But wait, there’s more:

My fourth novel How Do You Know? is FREE on Amazon. Yes free! It is currently number #23 in the entire FREE Kindle store and #1 in Women’s Humorous Fiction AND Coming of Age!!

Life doesn’t happen on a schedule, there are no deadlines in love, and age is just a number.

On the eve of her thirty-ninth birthday, Maggie Piper doesn’t look, act, or feel much different than she did at twenty-nine, but with her fortieth birthday speeding toward her like a freight train, she wonders if she should. The fear of a slowing metabolism, wrinkling of her skin, and the ticking of her biological clock leaves Maggie torn between a desire to settle down like most of her similarly aged peers and concern that all is not perfect in her existing relationship. When a spontaneous request for a temporary “break” from her live-in boyfriend results in a “break-up,” Maggie finds herself single once again and only twelve months from the big 4.0.

As Maggie reenters the New York City dating jungle, suitors present themselves quickly, but who is “The One?” Is he a sexy coworker, one of many bachelors at a speed-dating event, or is he the man she already set free? How do you know? Her fun-loving friends and supportive family, including meddlesome “no-filter” Aunt Helen, eagerly share their (often unsolicited) opinions, but Maggie is determined to find her own way, even if she falls on her face—repeatedly.

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And finally, my bestselling debut novel, Just Friends With Benefits, is only 99 cents!

When a friend urges Stephanie Cohen not to put all her eggs in one bastard, the advice falls on deaf ears. Stephanie’s college crush on Craig Hille has been awakened thirteen years later as if soaked in a can of Red Bull and she is determined not to let the guy who got away once, get away twice. Stephanie, a 32-year-old paralegal from Washington, D.C., is a 70’s and 80’s television trivia buff who can recite the starting lineup of the New York Yankees and go beer for beer with the guys. And despite her failure to get married and pro-create prior to entering her thirties, she has so far managed to keep her overbearing mother from sticking her head in the oven. Just Friends with Benefits is the humorous story of Stephanie’s pursuit of love, her adventures in friendship, and her journey to discover what really matters

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Three novels for only $3.98! It’s big, huge, COLOSSAL, but it will only last, well, a week! So grab your copies now!

 

Why does author Laura Kilmartin write chick lit? Find out here!

Thank you, Laura Kilmartin, for taking over my blog today and telling us why you love chick lit. I agree wholeheartedly with your definition of chick lit, and I found your post as interesting and engaging to read as your delightful first novel, Next Year I’ll Be Perfect. I am anxiously awaiting book 2!!

 

Meredith – congratulations on the release of Novelista Girl!  I loved Blogger Girl and can’t wait to read your new book!  Thank you also for inviting me to post to your blog today and share why I like writing chick lit. Before I discuss my own writing style, though, I want to share what I consider to be characteristics of the chick lit genre.

At the highest level, chick lit novels feature female protagonists who try to overcome some kind of obstacle or achieve a goal that is relatable to readers.  These novels often – but not always – include a romantic element, but unlike romance novels, chick lit love interests are generally important more for what they bring to or reflect in the main character.  Most chick lit is written in a light-hearted narrative style and almost always ends on a positive note for the main character. This doesn’t mean that the main character always succeeds in achieving the goals set for herself, but she is satisfied in the way life has unfolded and has learned something new along the way.

Now, this is just my definition of chick lit, and I’m sure there are dozens of incredibly well-written exceptions out there that prove the rule.  In fact, if you poll ten different chick lit readers and authors, you could come up with different definitions, which I’d love to discuss in the comments.

But back to the original question:  Why do I enjoy writing chick lit?

First and foremost, I love to craft a happy ending.

I’ve read and will continue to read wonderful books where things don’t end well for the main characters.

I mean, Beth March dies, people! My 12 year old self was not prepared for that heartache, but I love Little Women all the same.

When I write, though, I make sure that the people I’ve come to care about will have their happily-ever-after.  That doesn’t mean that bad things don’t happen throughout the course of the story.  In fact, bad things have to happen so that readers feel satisfied that the main character has earned the happiness that has come her way.  That also doesn’t mean that the main character will achieve the happy ending she set after at the beginning of the novel.  Plot twists and turns often take her in an entirely different direction, but I like writing stories that ultimately ends in a positive way.

Another reason I write chick lit is because I like writing main characters who are likeable, but flawed. I’ve read a few novels where the main character is perfect, and while bad things may happen, her actions and reactions are always of the pitch-perfect, Papa-John-Walton-would-approve variety.

I don’t know about you, but that isn’t real life to me.

People are flawed.  They overreact. They get cranky and say things they don’t really mean.  They misread situations because they don’t have the benefit of hindsight or knowing what is going on in other peoples’ heads. They also leap in head first to defend their friends without worrying about petty annoyances like facts. Real women worry about office politics, raising healthy children and ways to express their social consciousness.  They also worry about looking too hippy in their new little black dress and wonder why the other soccer moms didn’t like the status they just posted on Facebook.  Writing real, balanced women is both incredibly challenging and so much fun when you get it right.

 

Finally, I love to write in the chick lit style which is light-hearted, but not light.  Breezy and whimsical at times, but always set on a substantial foundation.  There is humor, but not at the expense of the emotional depth of the story.

In a nutshell, life is fun and life is funny and the way I enjoy writing humor peppered with pop culture references gravitates toward a style that is common in the chick lit genre.  Here’s an example from my next novel when the main character returns to find her paralegal rushing to tell her that their office is in crisis:

As I walked through the door to my office reception area, Natalie leapt from the front desk and came running toward me. I took an involuntary step backward, fearing she might play Dino to my Fred Flintstone returning home for the day.

Like a dog sensing the edges of an invisible fence she’d been trained not to cross, she quivered a few inches shy of throwing herself at me in a full body hug. “I am so glad to see you! David Hastings is on the phone and Eric is in your office.”

 

Something serious is about to go down for our main character, but I didn’t have to write about it in a serious way.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that a good chick lit story is like taking a day hike up a mountain.  The main character takes along her best friends, they share some laughs along the way, and even though she encounters some barriers and may even need to change paths a few times, the reader isn’t too worried, knowing that she will eventually reach the summit.

Except, of course, I don’t really like to hike.

But I do like to read and write about people hiking. While I’m on my couch. Covered with an afghan. Drinking tea.

LauraKilmartin

Laura Kilmartin

lkilmartin@msn.com

http://laurakilmartin.com

@LauraCKilmartin

NYIBP

 

 

 

 

 

 

Novelista Girl – Coming January 6, 2016

Readers first met sassy Kimberly Long in Blogger Girl, and now the feisty New Yorker is back in a sequel packed with quick wit, friendship, heartache, and, of course, romance.

Kim runs the most popular chick lit book blog on the web, loves playing house with her sexy lawyer boyfriend, Nicholas, and is finally pursuing her lifelong dream to become a published author. At first glance, her life is five-pink-champagne-flutes worthy. 

But is there more to the story than meets the eye?

 After hearing the phrase “chick lit is dead” more times than she’s read Bridget Jones’s Diary, Kim is driven to desperate measures, seeking advice from up-and-coming chick lit author, Hannah Marshak, her high school nemesis and resident “mean girl.” As if Kim doesn’t have enough on her plate balancing her secretarial duties with her blog Pastel Is the New Black, shrugging off the growing pile of agent rejections, and keeping her best friend from turning green over Kim’s budding friendship with Hannah, Nicholas is so blinded by his career ambitions, he doesn’t see that their home sweet home could use more than a dash of sugar. 

This is the year when all of Kim’s dreams—professional and romantic—are supposed to come true, but will the story have a happily ever after, or will Kim end up unpublished and all alone?

This novel can be read as a sequel or as a standalone and is best accompanied by a cocktail, preferably a pink one.

Welcome Laura Donohue to the Celebration of Chick Lit Tour!

I’m excited to welcome author Laura Donoahue to the Celebration of Chick Lit to tell us why she loves chick lit. Sing it, Sister! (And PS, I have “First Sight” on my Kindle waiting to read 🙂 )

 

Why I Love Chick Lit

One of the reasons I love reading is for the escape!  It’s fun to experience someone else’s life for a while. Everyone loves a story where they can root for the heroine.  What’s better than seeing the main character of a novel face many of the same struggles we do in real life—work, family, kids, relationships—with a little bit of humor thrown in?  Although the character is relatable to us, the levity and dash of humor keeps the story light and interesting.

While I do enjoy other genres, I love that chick lit focuses on the heroine.  Everything is seen through her perspective—when we read the book, we’re quite literally stepping into her shoes.  Whether it’s a coming of age story, a budding romance, a new marriage and baby, or a character simply coming into her own, the reader is along for the ride.  And unlike in real life, the story is usually wrapped up nicely in the end.

Reading provides an escape and an adventure.  What better way is there to sit down with a cup of coffee or kick back at the beach than with a fun new chick lit book in hand?  Happy reading!

 

BIO

Laura Donohue

Laura Donohue is an author and freelance editor. She blogs at Love Chick Lit about books, fashion, and kid’s activities. Laura loves coffee, the beach, and reading. She lives in the DC metro area with her husband, daughter, and a baby on the way. Blog: lovechicklit.blogspot.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lovechicklit Twitter: https://twitter.com/lovechicklit

FIRST SIGHT

Maddy Smith writes for a trendy website in Washington DC, has two fabulous best friends, and her own apartment. When a girl’s night out ends with her locking eyes with the handsome stranger across the room, the last thing she expects is for him to show up at her office on Monday morning. Travis Emerson, her attractive and single new colleague, just moved to town. Although an immediate friendship between Maddy and Travis forms, she soon finds herself wishing for something more. After a misunderstanding between them occurs, not only is her hope for a relationship ruined, but their friendship is in jeopardy as well. Is any chance that Maddy had with Travis over? Or could he possibly be what she’s been looking for all along? Follow Maddy and Travis on a series of adventures that will quickly have you cheering them on. First date jitters? Not when you’ve been in love since First Sight!

First Sight Cover High Res

Buy on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1MAkQxY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Novelista Girl – January 6, 2016

Readers first met sassy Kimberly Long in Blogger Girl, and now the feisty New Yorker is back in a sequel packed with quick wit, friendship, heartache, and, of course, romance.

Kim runs the most popular chick lit book blog on the web, loves playing house with her sexy lawyer boyfriend, Nicholas, and is finally pursuing her lifelong dream to become a published author. At first glance, her life is five-pink-champagne-flutes worthy. 

But is there more to the story than meets the eye?

 After hearing the phrase “chick lit is dead” more times than she’s read Bridget Jones’s Diary, Kim is driven to desperate measures, seeking advice from up-and-coming chick lit author, Hannah Marshak, her high school nemesis and resident “mean girl.” As if Kim doesn’t have enough on her plate balancing her secretarial duties with her blog Pastel Is the New Black, shrugging off the growing pile of agent rejections, and keeping her best friend from turning green over Kim’s budding friendship with Hannah, Nicholas is so blinded by his career ambitions, he doesn’t see that their home sweet home could use more than a dash of sugar. 

This is the year when all of Kim’s dreams—professional and romantic—are supposed to come true, but will the story have a happily ever after, or will Kim end up unpublished and all alone?

This novel can be read as a sequel or as a standalone and is best accompanied by a cocktail, preferably a pink one.

Kickoff to the Celebration of Chick Lit Tour and Cover Reveal!

As the release of my fifth novel draws near, I’m gearing up for the Celebration of Chick Lit Tour happening right here on meredithschorr.com. I’ve invited authors of my favorite genre onto my blog to talk about why they read and write chick lit despite the naysayers and the folks who (wrongly) insist that “chick lit is dead.” The posts are landing in my in-box daily and as I read them, I nod and smile in agreement. I feel a kinship with these novelists.

The main reason I write chick lit is because I often relate to the main characters in a way I don’t in other genres. Many of them are searching for their happily-ever-after and stumbling along the way—just like me. Sometimes they make bad decisions; often they trust too easily and get hurt or put their faith in the wrong person; and occasionally they don’t see what is right in front of them. Been there, done that. Usually protagonists in chick lit novels have some amazing friends who pick them up when they fall, commiserate over their failures, and drink to their successes. They sound like my friends! Family members often provide comic relief. Mine sure does. And sometimes the main character has no idea where she wants to go until she gets there. My life, too, is an ongoing journey of self-discovery.

In short, reading a chick lit novel is like hanging out with a friend, and writing a chick lit novel allows me to give my friend the happily-ever-after she deserves. Sometimes the destination is not what she expected or thought she wanted, but it’s always what she needs.

Like me, the main character in my upcoming novel, Novelista Girl, is a cheerleader for chick lit. Some of you will remember her from my third novel, Blogger Girl. Although Novelista Girl is a follow-up to Blogger Girl, the books can be read and enjoyed separately.

Stay tuned for the posts from my fellow chick lit authors right here over the next several weeks. In the meantime, for the very first time, I hereby present the blurb for Novelista Girl!

Readers first met sassy Kimberly Long in Blogger Girl, and now the feisty New Yorker is back in a sequel packed with quick wit, friendship, heartache, and, of course, romance.

Kim runs the most popular chick lit book blog on the web, loves playing house with her sexy lawyer boyfriend, Nicholas, and is finally pursuing her lifelong dream to become a published author. At first glance, her life is five-pink-champagne-flutes worthy. 

But is there more to the story than meets the eye?

After hearing the phrase “chick lit is dead” more times than she’s read Bridget Jones’s Diary, Kim is driven to desperate measures, seeking advice from up-and-coming chick lit author, Hannah Marshak, her high school nemesis and resident “mean girl.” As if Kim doesn’t have enough on her plate balancing her secretarial duties with her blog Pastel Is the New Black, shrugging off the growing pile of agent rejections, and keeping her best friend from turning green over Kim’s budding friendship with Hannah, Nicholas is so blinded by his career ambitions, he doesn’t see that their home sweet home could use more than a dash of sugar. 

This is the year when all of Kim’s dreams—professional and romantic—are supposed to come true, but will the story have a happily ever after, or will Kim end up unpublished and all alone?

This novel can be read as a sequel or as a standalone and is best accompanied by a cocktail, preferably a pink one.

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don’t sweat the small stuff (or at least try)

When really bad, like tragic things happen, I often feel petty and more than a little guilty when I complain (even to myself) about what could be seen as minutiae in comparison. I remember when my late best friend was in the midst of chemotherapy and waiting every day for news on whether his blood cell count went up, it was the winter of my never-ending cold. I had cold symptoms daily for months—headache, sore throat, congestion et cetera. I would sit with an ice pack on my head at work! I hated complaining to Alan about it because, compared to leukemia, a cold is, well, a cold. But we spoke every day and it was impossible to keep it from him. He insisted I shouldn’t feel guilty for feeling sick—that my discomfort was valid, and it sucked in general to feel crummy. He would check up on me several times a day to see how I was feeling. I think it was probably a nice change of pace for him to be the caregiver – the one urging me to take it easy, skip the gym, get more sleep et cetera.

Given what’s going on in Paris, I once again feel petty and more than a little guilty venting about my daily grievances, but doing so doesn’t make me any less grateful for the current well-being of me and my loved ones in an age where safety is not a given. And perhaps focusing on the annoying pesky problems might get my mind off of the grander issues of the day. Let’s see, shall we?

For example, anyone else hate snail mail? It never stops coming!!! I can spend an hour on a Saturday morning going through it—shredding credit card offers, saving useful coupons, filing away correspondence related to my various financial accounts—and by the following Wednesday, like a lizard able to cast off a body part and regrow, the pile of mail replenishes itself. It’s impossible to make progress because it keeps replenishing! The last time I let it pile up, by the time I went through it, I found two expired checks.

Another thing that annoys me to no end is when I’m walking to work during rush-hour traffic and even though I have the right of way—the sign says WALK in bright white letters—I can’t cross the street because the cars coming in the opposite direction overshot and are now blocking my way. Especially irksome is when a bus driver insists on going through the light at the last minute knowing full well the vehicle is too long to make it to the other side without blocking traffic. As a result, pedestrians like me need to either walk behind the bus or in front of it (despite oncoming traffic) to get to the other side of the street. If you hear someone cursing loudly the next time this happens to you, say ‘Hi” as it’s probably me. Sure, I know the cars want to get to their destinations but so do I. (Well, not entirely true since my destination is work, but it’s not like I can turn around and go home.)

I’m a morning exerciser and take a 6:30 a.m. spin class several times a week. Just because I prefer to get my daily workout over with does not mean I’m a morning person. I repeat: DOES NOT MEAN I’M A MORNING PERSON. I’m an “I can stay snugly in bed all day person” who happens to have a very good workout ethic, so the last thing I want to do when I force myself out of my comfy bed is stand outside the entrance to the gym in the freezing cold because the person in charge didn’t bother to show up at six to open the door.  This happens at least three times per winter.

Logic would suggest that, unless I reside in a dormitory or youth hostel, if I live alone, I do not share a bathroom with anyone. Unfortunately for me, my life defies logic because I cannot take a shower at the same time as my neighbor unless I’m in the mood for third degree burns. If I wake up and hear my neighbor in the shower, I wait before getting in. I try to multitask by shaving my legs at the bathroom sink or laying out my clothes for the day. Clearly my neighbor doesn’t have this problem unless she’s a masochist because by some stroke of bad luck on my end, she frequently starts her shower right in the middle of mine, causing me to risk breaking my neck by jumping out as quickly as possible to avoid getting burned. Either that or two seconds before I’m about to climb in, I’ll hear the water start through the wall. I have been known to scream, “IT’S MY TURN!!” when this happens, but she doesn’t listen.

Finally (at least for the purposes of this post), in the lobby of my building, carts are available to the residents so that we can bring luggage, groceries, furniture, and other heavy packages to our apartments in one trip. I’ve used the carts on several occasions and always bring the cart back to the lobby when I’m finished. I get so riled up when I walk into the elevator and there is an empty luggage cart with no one accompanying it. I wonder who the person who left it there expects to bring it from the elevator to the lobby. If she thinks I’ll do it, she’s … right. Ugh. I curse to myself that people can be so lazy and discourteous, and I mentally threaten to just leave it there—after all, I wasn’t the one who put it there—but I can’t do it. I’m a sucker. But I still think it’s rude.

After airing out some of my non-life-altering grievances, I still don’t feel any better about the terrorist attack in Paris, but I’m even more excited for my upcoming vacation to the Caribbean when I’ll leave the rush-hour traffic, unstable showers, and lone luggage carts behind.

If only visions of a full mailbox of snail mail upon my return would not dance in my head.

Move over Sephora, we’re talking book makeovers!

Every once in a while, I need to shake things up. For instance, I’ll switch up my pink lipstick for red, wear high heel boots instead of ballet flats, or even cut bangs. One time, I actually dyed my hair blonde. It wasn’t the result I had hoped for, but it was certainly a change. If I’m allowed to change my appearance on a whim, shouldn’t my books have the same opportunity? I certainly think so, which is why I gave my fourth book baby, How Do You Know? a cover change.

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Nothing within the pages has changed, it’s still the book that got five stars from Readers’ Favorite, Chick Lit Central, Chick Lit Plus, The Book Bag, The Book Chick, Books Etc. and more, but I think it just has a prettier face. And you can never be too pretty!

Life doesn’t happen on a schedule, there are no deadlines in love, and age is just a number. 

On the eve of her thirty-ninth birthday, Maggie Piper doesn’t look, act, or feel much different than she did at twenty-nine, but with her fortieth birthday speeding toward her like a freight train, she wonders if she should. The fear of a slowing metabolism, wrinkling of her skin, and the ticking of her biological clock leaves Maggie torn between a desire to settle down like most of her similarly aged peers and concern that all is not perfect in her existing relationship. When a spontaneous request for a temporary “break” from her live-in boyfriend results in a “break-up,” Maggie finds herself single once again and only twelve months from the big 4.0.

As Maggie reenters the New York City dating jungle, suitors present themselves quickly, but who is “The One?” Is he a sexy coworker, one of many bachelors at a speed-dating event, or is he the man she already set free? How do you know? Her fun-loving friends and supportive family, including meddlesome “no-filter” Aunt Helen, eagerly share their (often unsolicited) opinions, but Maggie is determined to find her own way, even if she falls on her face—repeatedly.

What do you all think of the new cover? I hope you like it as much as I do!

celebration of chick lit tour

I’ve been a very bad blogger. Someone should spank me—please? JUST KIDDING! That’s a shout-out to a private joke between me and my late boss/BFF, who would have turned 58 today.

 

Anyway, I’ve been extremely busy gearing up to release my fifth novel, Novelista Girl. We have a blurb and cover (both to be revealed in a couple of weeks) and a tentative publication date of December 14th. I’m in the midst of going through the proofed manuscript and putting together a fabulous pre-release tour which has left me little time for blogging.

 

When I released Blogger Girl in 2013, I hosted a Celebration of Bloggers tour on my blog to turn the spotlight off of the author and onto the fabulous book bloggers I work with regularly. When I released How Do You Know? in 2014, I hosted an Age is Just a Number tour and asked authors, bloggers, and others to share their thoughts on aging. To ring in the publication of Novelista Girl, I’ve decided to host a Celebration of Chick Lit tour. As anyone who has read Blogger Girl knows, Kim Long is a champion for the genre of chick lit and since Novelista Girl follows her journey, I want to know why some of my favorite authors write chick lit despite the pesky phrase we always hear that “chick lit is dead.”

 

Chick lit is so not dead and I will have about fifteen authors on my blog to prove it, including Erin Brady, Cat Lavoie, Becky Monson, Laura Chapman, Stacey Wiedower and more. I will also tell you why I write chick lit.

 

This tour will get underway as we approach Thanksgiving. For now, I wish you all a happy Tuesday!

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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