Friday, August 3, 2018

Teacher's Pet

Photo by Magic Madzik (Flickr cc license)
by Diane Crawford from the July 23, 2018 issue

Tagline: When Abby attended a former teacher's birthday party, she didn't realize it could lead to romance...

Observations: Adorable story. Also, a setting/premise I don't remember seeing before - a former teacher's birthday party. I saw the chocolate bar gift coming, but it didn't diminish the delight I felt when I saw my prediction come true.

Did you notice the story had a villain? LOL It's kind of a stretch to call Dean a villain, but in Steve's mind, Dean was definitely a minor threat to his courtship of Abby.

Romance by Accident

Photo Credit: Rusty Clark (Flickr cc license)
by Ann M. Janis from the July 30, 2018 issue

Tagline: Amy wasn't looking for romance, but her improbable meeting with Jim was a nice surprise!

Observations: I think I'm going to do a stream-of-consciousness analysis today, which means I type what comes into my head as I'm reading.

First paragraph - I immediately sympathize with Amy and her feelings about the family reunion. Who among us has not ever felt like we weren't going anywhere with our lives and worried that people were judging us for our lack of forward motion? This kind of thing establishes a bond with the reader right away. They think, "I've felt like that too. I want to keep reading so I can see if things turn out all right for her." And the reader, after reading that Amy ends up happy, feels more optimistic about her own life, or at least feels happy for Amy.

After the crash - Hm. That guy seemed very cool and collected for someone who could very likely get chewed out.

The flowers were a nice touch.

"I was mesmerized by the hard hat's blue eyes." - Hats don't have eyes.

Thursday she receives the check - I am admiring Jim Stevens's persistence. LOL

I'm surprised at her suggestion of a picnic and super surprised about the reunion because I totally forgot the story started with that! Awesome.

Okay, I just got to the part where Jim explains to Amy how his family is sparse and widely scattered and that nailed it. This is what you should try to strive for in a Woman's World story. You tell a romance, yes. That's obvious. What's not as obvious is that you should try to show how a character grows just a little and learns a small (or even big) lesson about herself/himself or life in general.

Think about what the story would have been without that part where Amy realizes how lucky she is that she has this caring but sometimes annoying family. It would have been a cute tale about a meet cute and a construction guy who isn't afraid to go after what he wants. But with the realization, it becomes so much richer, plus it strengthens the two characters' relationship and brings them closer.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Announcements from Patricia Gaddis

So, Patricia asked me to pass on some information.

Stephanie Saible has retired and has been replaced by Carol Brooks. According to Patricia, Carol is a lovely person and loves the fiction in Woman's World. So everyone should just carry on as before unless otherwise noted. 

The second announcement is that her book, "Escape to the Biltmore" is available on Amazon and soon in hardcover. She has this to say about it:

"The story is loosely based on the life of my great grandmother who practiced medicine in 1895 and spent much of her time helping others. She was also friends with the Vanderbilts who owned the Biltmore House in Asheville. I am looking for people to review my book on Amazon, so anyone willing to participate will be greatly appreciated. Please, no less than 3 stars."

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Back in the Game

by Mary Ann Joyce from the July 9, 2018 issue

Photo: Hakan Dahlstrom (Flickr CC license)
Tagline: Ava had a crush on the cute guy at the gym...but would he ever notice her?

Observations: Ha! This was a story that used the title at the end successfully. When you do this, it has to make sense and not feel contrived. I thought the idea of physical therapy as a vehicle for a first meet was novel and his attempt to impersonate a jail bird was funny.

Pro tip: The humor in Woman's World stories is often slightly goofy like that. It's almost never sarcastic. It usually shows one or both of the main characters to be affably adorable.

Fireworks and Love

by Tina Radcliffe from the July 2, 2018 issue

Tagline: Kate thought the honeymoon was long over...then Jack gave her a surprise.

Photo: Jim, the Photographer (Flickr CC license)
Observations: I'm still having to get used to the thicker paper. More than once as I was thumbing through this issue, I thought I had two pages stuck together. LOL

Okay, I LOVED this story! Probably because it hits pretty close to home. My excuse for not prettying myself up anymore is because I had gained so much weight that I didn't like buying clothes, I didn't like trying to make myself look good because what was the point? However because of a new program I'm on, I've lost 17 pounds and I feel so great. TMI: I have shorts that I can pull off without unfastening. LOL Anyway, my point is, I could identify with a couple who don't go out of their way like they used to when they were first in love.

It's hard to write these types of stories and not have the wife or husband appear catty or disgruntled or complaining. Tina Radcliffe did this really well. She also showed both characters taking action, which is how it should be in a marriage. :)

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Man's Best Friend

by Amy Michaels from the June 18, 2018 issue

Photo: Jim Leary (Flickr CC license)
Tagline: Jeff and his beagle admired their neighbor...little did they know that the feeling was mutual!

Observations: Happy Independence Day, people! I hope you enjoy your holiday.

Before I get started, I wanted to also celebrate the fact that Woman's World is using thicker paper! Finally! I think too thin paper was why some of my issues were going missing. Either the entire cover or the part with the address label was getting eaten by the postal machines. I'm excited.

This was an adorable story! I was smiling throughout as I read it. I think part of it might be because it was written in first person, from Jeff's point of view. There was so much personality in the narrative.

My favorite line was, "Seriously, Oz?" LOL

The only slightly clunky thing was that man's best friend line at the end. It didn't seem natural for him to say that, so to me, it felt like they were trying to tie in the title but not very successfully.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

On Track for Love

by Jody Lebel from the June 11, 2018 issue

Tagline: Nora wasn't looking for love, but she found it on a romantic train ride...

Photo credit: Stanley Wood (Flickr CC license)
Observations: It's so good to see a story from my friend, Jody. I thought this was a charming story. It's difficult to construct a plot in which the couple meet while traveling because, in order for the romance to continue, they need to spend more time together--difficult to do if you live in different cities.

It was interesting to see a sort of "villain" in the story. If you're a regular reader of the Woman's World romances, you knew that Colette was not a serious contender. I think Jody did a good job of showing Nora analyzing the other woman without seeming catty.

Notice the moment when their hands touch near the beginning of the story. I thought that was a lovely snapshot in time. It also showed Ken being a gentleman.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

The Setup

Photo credit: Josh Dionne (Flickr cc license)
by Anna Jo Christopher from the June 4, 2018 issue

Tagline: Cassie wasn't looking for love...but there was something special about Ben!

Observations: This week we had a matchmaker story about a game night. I love game nights! I recently went to visit my brother in Texas and we played games almost non-stop. But I digress.

I didn't see anything in particular I wanted to point out except for the fact that the suspenseful black moment happened in the middle of the story and not at the end. Did you notice it? It's when the mystery man is 20 minutes late. It's odd how in these short stories, you can get away with things you wouldn't normally be able to in a novella or novel.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Catch of the Day

Photo credit: Fuzzy Gerdes (Flickr CC license)
by Diane Crawford from the May 28, 2018 issue

Tagline: Paul was fishing for his dinner...then he caught Lynne!

Observations: Obviously, this story stood out a bit for being in the male, first person point of view. It was refreshing! It was also another example of a story that goes against my oft offered advice to give the couple more screen time together. This story mainly occurred in Paul's head. We get a very detailed picture of who this man is and we end up liking him.

I liked the surprise of Lynne being the one in the hat, and the moment he spotted the red cap, I knew it was her. Also I wanted you to notice at one point in the story, Paul wondered at the scarcity of women who liked the outdoors. Sure enough, he finds one right under his nose. Crawford didn't feel the need to repeat this info in a sentence like, "Paul knew he and Lynne would spend many a day in the sunshine and fresh air." It wasn't necessary. The reader already knows this is a good match.