International Chick Lit Month Author Blog Hop

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Welcome to my stop on the Second Annual International Chick Lit Month Author Blog Hop!

As you probably know by now, one lucky hopper will win the GRAND PRIZE: A FREE Kindle Keyboard 3G, with Free 3G + Wi-Fi, and a 6″ E Ink Display. That lucky grand prize winner will also receive a “chick lit starter library” filled with great chick lit books written by the indie authors participating in the blog hop. Please see bottom of post for instructions.  For More Information Click Here:

The topic of this Blog Hop is “What’s on Page 25” and today, I am sharing the contents of page 25 of my chick lit novel, A State of Jane.

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On page 25 of A State of Jane, my main character, Jane Frank, is assuring her doting father that she is studying hard for the LSAT exam. There’s one problem though: Jane is lying.

Jane’s father is definitely her favorite of her two parents as she considers her mother to be a bit on the critical side. Whereas her mother often encourages Jane to wear dark clothes to disguise her curvier lower half, Jane can do no wrong in her daddy’s eyes and she’s a daddy’s girl to the Nth degree. Since she was a little girl, Jane and her father talked about working side-by-side on multi-million dollar deals as legal partners. Jane’s life plan includes kicking butt on her LSAT exam so that she can get into a top tier law school like the Ivy League Columbia.

Unfortunately, Jane’s life plan also includes finding a serious boyfriend. She waited the requisite year after breaking up with her first and only boyfriend of nine years and is ready (and eager) to fall in love again. Jane is afraid that if she waits too long to commence the boyfriend search, she will start law school single and have no time to date. After a few “false-starts” on eHarmony, Jane is getting ready for a first date with a guy she randomly met at an ATM machine and her daydreams about their future together are getting in the way of her studies. (Win the grand prize! The 7th secret word in the 25-word sentence is: Blog) Jane is positive that she can juggle preparations for the exam with her romantic aspirations and she does not see the need to concern her father with minor details like how much she has strayed from her studying schedule ( a lot).

Does Jane really have it all under control or is she about to encounter a rocky road on both the academic and romantic fronts? You must read the book to find out and I hope you will 🙂

Learn “How to Hop & Win!” New to blog hops? Want to learn how to win the grand prize? Find complete information here.

Keep hopping! Click here to return to the list of blogs.

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P.S. Speaking of buzzing over books and summer parties… If you happen to be in NYC on Thursday, May 30th, please come on down to Stone Creek Bar and Lounge on East 27th (between Lex and 3rd) from 7pm to 9pm for a mix-and-mingle event a few of us in this Hop are hosting. Should be a hoot! Book Buzz 2013–click here for details!

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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! 

Girly Books Blog Hop – location!

girly book promo with prize info FINAL

Congratulations to Kimberly Holgate – winner of the gift card for $5!  The winner has been informed and the prize has been delivered.  Thanks to everyone for participating and see you next time!

I am so excited to be participating in the 2nd ever Girly Books Blog Hop!Thank you to Libby Mercer for organizing yet another fabulous blog hop, this time on location, location, location.  Please read for your chance to win a $5.00 gift card from Amazon or Barnes & Noble.  And don’t forget to read the posts of the other authors and bloggers for chances to win even more prizes and a fabulous grand prize!

What inspired me to write A State of Jane was my experience dating in New York City.  I have a boyfriend now but at the time, I was single and one after another, guys who seemed to be completely smitten with me would simply disappear.  Sometimes it was easy to figure out what happened, for instance, when the guy came on super strong, was oozing with charm and then never called me again when I refused to go home with him.  Other times, I was completely thrown.  Like the time a guy disappeared in the middle of an email exchange.  We had gone out several times and I thought we got along famously but once I confessed that I preferred Mr. Furley to Mr. Roper as the landlord on the television show Three’s Company, he ceased our email exchange and never asked me out again.  I didn’t hear from him until years later when he asked to connect with me on Linkedin of all places!  Another guy pulled a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde on me in the middle of New Year’s Eve.  Yes, he was all touchy-feely and excited about ringing in the New Year with me at 11:59pm on December 31, 2007 but by 2:00am on January 1, 2008, he was more interested in his buddy at the sports bar he took me to after dinner.  Oh, and let’s not forget about the guy I was dating for a couple of months who made me breakfast at his place after a sleepover, showed me the home movies of his students practicing for crew, took a nice leisurely walk around the lake and waited with me for an hour after I missed my train, only to never call me again as well as ignore my phone call and email to him.  Not only did he lack the decency to initiate a “break-up”, he couldn’t even locate the balls to respond to an email I sent asking him if everything was ok.  If he didn’t want to see me anymore, he could have lied and written an email saying he was too busy with school to date.  That would have at least been an attempt to spare my feelings, but no, it was like I ceased to exist and it hurt.  I wasn’t in love with the guy but I felt so violated and, well, stupid!  I cried for days.

As mostly anyone who has been single for a significant period of time can tell you, dating in NYC is brutal.  I’m sure it is brutal elsewhere but NYC is a whole other type of brutal.  So, when I decided to write about a naïve woman who dives head first into the dating scene after a long term relationship, all optimistic and expecting to meet the love of her life, only to find an island full of men who are interested today and gone tomorrow, the location was a no-brainer – New York City – or as I like to call it “The planet of the flakes.”

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In A State of Jane, there are many mentions of New York being a difficult place to find “the one.”  Without giving any spoilers, I thought I would share some of these lines with you:

“Yes, Manhattan is full of eligible bachelors.  Eligible bachelors who are looking to get laid, unemployed, not interested, or gay!”

“I’d like to know the reason God put all the asshole single guys on the island of Manhattan!  They are only good for one thing, some of them better than others.”

“I think normal has a different definition when it comes to guys in New York City. There are so many girls here that for guys it’s like eating at a Chinese buffet.  They want to sample everything.”

“I got him unjaded.  Unlike some of these others New York City guys.”

“I’d heard that New York City girls were a ruthless bunch but, blimey, I wasn’t expecting it from you.”  (Yes, sometimes we ladies are pretty messed up too….)

He just faded into oblivion – like every other guy I dated before him since my reentrance into the dating world. I didn’t think my mom would understand behavior like that was par for the course in New York City, especially since three guys flaked on me before I wised up.

“Not as difficult as finding a husband.”  I pointed out the window of the bus. “Especially in this Godforsaken city!”

“It’s because of the men in this city!  You dump us when we don’t sleep with you.  You dump us when we DO sleep with you.  And sometimes, you dump us for no reason at all!”

True that!

For a chance to win a $5.00 gift card from Amazon or Barnes & Noble, please leave a comment with your email address and the city you think is the best place to fall in love.  And don’t forget to check out all of the other participating blogs!

Click here to enter the grand prize and to continue hopping:

http://libby-mercer.blogspot.com/2013/01/enter-to-win-girly-books-blog-hop-grand.html

Jane Frank’s New Year’s Resolutions 2013

As part of the A State of Jane blog tour with CLP Blog Tours, I was asked to write a guest post on Jane Frank’s New Year’s Resolutions. From studying daily for the LSAT to being nicer to her ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend, read on and decide for yourself if you think Jane will be able to keep up with these resolutions or if she will give up by Friday Happy Hour!
http://chicklitplus.com/meredith-schorr-post/

Jane Frank’s Top 10 Dating Tips

After breaking up with her first and only boyfriend of nine-years, Jane Frank enthusiastically dove into the NYC dating pool with very little experience under her belt.  To say Jane got her ass kicked by NYC eligible bachelors would be a huge understatement and while I cannot tell you if she eventually met the man of her dreams and lived happily ever after without spoiling the book, I can tell you that she learned quite a few lessons.  Although sometimes a bit spoiled and a bit self-absorbed, Jane is at heart a very generous soul and so she has decided to share some of her dating lessons with you:

Dating Tip 1:

If you want to seduce your man with a scintillating strip tease, don’t do it while wearing tights.  First of all, tights are not a sexy look and second of all, it is almost impossible to remove them gracefully and you can hurt yourself.

Dating Tip 2:

If a guy ends his date early with some lame excuse like having to drive his roommate to the airport, he’s probably lying.  Especially if this happens mere minutes after telling him you are not ready to go “all the way.”

Dating Tip 3:

Just because a guy is nice to you, it doesn’t necessarily mean he wants to date you.  Don’t read into things.  If a guy is truly interested, he will eventually ask you out directly. You might need to show blatant interest but he will eventually take the bait, assuming he has any balls.

Dating Tip 4:

If you are a girly girl, don’t date a man who is addicted to sports unless you are truly interested in learning more about the games.  Otherwise, the conversations can be very boring indeed.  Trust me on this one! 

Dating Tip 5:

If your date takes you to a bar and is overwhelmingly friendly with the pretty female bartender, run.

Dating Tip 6:

Even ugly guys in this Godforsaken city already have girlfriends!  Don’t make assumptions that just because you are pretty and he is gross, he will fall all over himself to date you. 

Dating Tip 7:

Don’t take an apology at face value.  Actions speak louder than words.

Dating Tip 8:

Sometimes it happens when you least expect it.  Not necessarily to you, mind you, but to someone!

Dating Tip 9:

Some players, (male and female) do settle down eventually.  It might be excruciatingly painful to take advice from those hypocritical know-it-alls who have “been there, done that” but try to suck it up because you might learn something.

Dating Tip 10:

When you have a one-night-stand in someone else’s apartment, try not to leave intimate clothing items behind.  Embarrassing!

And there you have them.  Read them.  Live them. Happy Dating 🙂

Meet Jane Frank

 

I am gearing up for the release of my sophomore novel, A State of Jane on September 17th. I am extremely excited for you all to read it as I am very proud this book. That is not to say I didn’t feel immense pride two years ago when my first book, Just Friends with Benefits, was published, but it is different. I started writing Just Friends with Benefits on a whim and while I always hoped it would ultimately get published, it seemed more like a fantasy than a goal I could actually reach. I wanted to prove to myself that I could write a novel. On a personal level, I also wrote it seeking closure. A State of Jane (formerly known as Taking Back the Fadeaway and Planet of the Flakes), on the other hand, was written with the intent of getting it published.

Additionally, most of the characters in Just Friends with Benefits were loosely based on people I knew. By contrast, while the plot for A State of Jane was inspired by my own frustrations dating in New York City, the characters were created entirely by my overactive imagination. Any similarity to real people, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

People close to me recognized the character of Stephanie Cohen from Just Friends with Benefits because she was a lot like the person who created her (me). This was not the case with Jane Frank, the main character of A State of Jane. I am nothing like Jane. Jane had a relationship with her High School sweetheart that lasted nine years. I didn’t have a boyfriend in High School. Although Jane and I are both paralegals, Jane aspires to be an attorney whereas law school was never in my plan. Jane is an amazing cook and I (hahahahahahaha) am NOT. Jane is a neat freak whereas I absolutely abhor cleaning my apartment and do it out of mere necessity. Jane is certain that her happily ever after is just around the corner whereas I am always fearful of the rug being pulled out from under me. Jane doesn’t drink beer and never smokes whereas I have been known to drink too much beer and smoke the occasional cigarette. Jane only watches sports when trying to impress a guy whereas I love baseball.

On the surface, it might appear that Jane is a bit of a goody-goody but as you will discover while reading A State of Jane, she is quite surprising, very spontaneous and more than capable of letting her hair down. Jane has a life plan for herself – she wrote it down and everything. What she fails to take into account is the inability to control the actions or reactions of other people. It is this discovery that drives Jane to do things that are nowhere on her to-do list. It is also this discovery that shows Jane that some of lifes most cherished moments are those that cannot be planned for in advance. I am nothing like Jane Frank but there were times while writing this book, I wished I was.

Who would I want to play Jane in the movie version of A State of Jane? Ashley Williams, probably known best for her role as Victoria in How I Met Your Mother.