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.

Blogosphere Blogosphere Make Me a Match, Find Me a Find, Catch Me a Catch

In almost all of the chick lit/romantic comedy novels I write, there is a central romance and after some missteps, my main character gets the guy—maybe not the guy she wanted on page one, but the guy she eventually falls in love with, and the guy who is ultimately her best match. The closing scenes of my books always leave me with the warm and fuzzies, but as thrilled as I am for my protagonist, I am also a bit envious. Despite being several years older than all of my main characters, none of my boyfriends to date have been “the one.” As a result, I often wish I was a character in a romantic comedy so that I would know that my happily ever after was around the corner. I feel like Charlotte York in Sex and the City when she exclaimed, “I’ve been dating since I’m fifteen, where is he?”

I always make my main character work hard for her happily after ever. I don’t let her get the guy until she is truly ready for him. First she has to make her mistakes (as we all do), figure her shit out and make amends (read: character development). This is because I believe that the blessings in our life are most appreciated and most likely to be nurtured when they aren’t spoon fed to us— when we actually have to work for them. Using this mindset, I understand why I didn’t settle down in my twenties or even early thirties. I was nowhere near ready. I didn’t know myself; I’m not entirely certain I really liked myself; and my priorities were not conducive to a healthy relationship. In my twenties and early thirties, we had not gotten to the part of the chick lit book starring Meredith Schorr where I figured my shit out and made amends. As a result, I so get why I didn’t get the guy at that time in my life and I am okay with it. I don’t look backwards (much).

I am more self-aware than the average person and I am fully cognizant of the mistakes I made in the past, however, my character development has been extensive. I’ve learned so much from my mistakes and have come to terms with them. I have taken responsibility for my failed relationships and those that didn’t make it out of the gate, but, equally important, I have also realized that the failings weren’t always a result of something I did or did not do, or someone I was or wasn’t. I have learned to cut myself some slack and I now understand that I can’t control everything; that relationships take two; and not every mistake is on me. I truly like (love) myself now, inside and out, and at this point in the Meredith Schorr chick lit book, it is time to get the guy. It took me over 40 years, but I am ready (hallelujah!), and I want more than anything to find my other half.

But I can’t! In a city as populated as New York, it is beyond challenging to meet available, somewhat age-appropriate men who are looking to meet a woman to eventually commit to and yes, I have tried online dating (hate it) and other avenues. Add to that finding a man with whom I have chemistry and actually want to date and…well, you can hopefully understand my frustration. I get hit on by married men and much younger guys who aren’t at the same stage of their life, but most of the other men I come into contact with are already taken or, if they are single, they are more interested in instant gratification and casual sex and disinterested in having a committed relationship. I don’t fault them for it, but I want something bigger, deeper, and more fulfilling! I’m aware that serious relationships aren’t made overnight but I yearn to find someone who, like me, sees it as an end goal.

New York is too big, too fast, too loud, too impersonal, too much sometimes and it is so easy to get lost. There must be true “catches” out there who would love to meet a woman like me but I don’t know how to find him, how to get his attention and how to connect.

This is where you come in (yes YOU). I need your help. Do you know a man who meets the general criteria listed below?

Single
35-50 (generally)
Lives in tri-state (NY/NJ/CT) area preferably
Physically attractive and fit
Healthy

Funny
Intelligent
Kind
Interesting

If you (yes YOU) know someone who fits the above description (everything else comes down to chemistry) who you consider a catch, I would love to hear from you (or him). If your introduction leads to an actual date, regardless of ultimate outcome, I will name a character in my next book after you! I am not interested in serial dating and will only go out with someone if he sincerely interests me, so be selective! As anxious as I am to find the “the one”, I will never be with someone merely to avoid being alone.

If he requires more information about me, he can read my blogs or simply ask me. A Google Image search will bring up lots of pictures too.

THANK YOU!

There was a time, probably not too long ago, when I would have been way too embarrassed to put myself out there in this manner. Each man I have dated in the past few years has taught me so much about what I want, need, and deserve in a relationship, and the fact that I am comfortable asking for help is indicative of how ready I truly am! I vowed to write my own happy ending and I’m starting here. Why should my characters have all of the fun?

 

Like to party? Hop along the Hump Day Blog Hop on Julie Valerie’s Book Blog. Click here to return to the Hump Day Blog Hop.

To my single sisters

Jane Frank, the main character in my novel A State of Jane is ready to fall in love again after terminating her only long-term relationship. Although Jane Frank and Meredith Schorr (me…) do not have much in common, we both did battle with the New York City dating jungle at one time or another and we both tried many different ways to meet “the one.”

Since A State of Jane deals at least in part with Jane’s journeys in dating, I was asked by Julie from Julie’s Chick Lit to write a post for her blog on 6 ways to go Man-Hunting and I have shared the link with you below. With the exception of matchmaking, I have tried everything in my post with varying degrees of success (and enjoyment). I tried to be as objective as possible…:

http://julieschicklit.com/2013/03/27/meredith-schorrs-6-best-places-to-go-man-hunting/

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 🙂