Friday, April 17, 2015

Life Happens

Two things.

One, I have not received the March 6 or March 13 issues. If anyone can scan and send to me, I would appreciate it.

Two, my father had a serious stroke recently. He is non-ambulatory and can't speak. It's been hard dealing with that and taking over his finances. So forgive me if my analyses aren't timely.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Romance Recycled

by Emma Courtice from the March 30, 2015 issue

Gayle enjoyed romance novels. Now it appeared some real life romance might be coming her way...

In a Nutshell
Gayle's granddaughter "needs a book for school" and the library is out of copies, so they must go to a used book store. The proprietor is a nice guy and it turns out he has a granddaughter too, who may or may not have had a hand in arranging the serendipitous meeting.

I wanted to point out a few of the things I noticed about this story. First, there was a nice addition of backstory in the sixth paragraph. The backstory is all the stuff the reader might need to know about the characters in order to enjoy the story that's unfolding now. We find out that Gayle is recently widowed. We had already discovered she has a high-school-aged granddaughter earlier. And we don't really find out much more than that at this point because it's not necessary. With only 800 words to work with, don't tell more than you need to.

There was a bit of characterization that I wanted to point out...

Gayle ran a finger along a row of titles. "Well, I used to read a lot, but nowadays it's hard to find the time."

"You have to find time for the important things," he said.

I loved seeing that he thought reading was important. I thought, "Gayle, he's a keeper."

I also noticed a sign that they were attracted to each other--or at least Bill was attracted to Gayle...

"Nice to meet you, Gayle." He held her hand a fraction of a second longer than necessary.

Notice, it's really not much. Just one sentence. But it's important to show the characters are interested in one another. It helps the reader believe the romance has a chance. Because haven't we all read stories where after you're done, you wonder if they're going to end up breaking up eventually?

Finally, I thought that the tying in of the important stuff line was perfect. We see the granddaughter, Kayla, speaking up and showing her true colors as a "meddling" matchmaker. We see that Bill isn't the only one who says that you have to make time for important things. (A tenet I believe, as well.) And we get that feeling of circularity--almost like tying up a loose end at the end of a novel--except this isn't a loose end. It's just that feeling of everything coming full circle.

Photo Credit: Stewart Butterfield via Wikimedia Commons

Friday, April 3, 2015

Rx for Love

by Julie Elstner from the April 6, 2015 issue

Jess realized that John Garrett might turn out to be just what the doctor ordered!

In a Nutshell
Jess is a reporter for the local paper and she has to do an interview with a doctor before her father's 60th birthday party. Later, she meets the doctor at the party.

I thought the "pink looks good on you" joke was cute and endearing. I liked the ending a lot and how Dr. John Garrett knows what he wants and isn't shy about letting people know.

However, I thought that the confusion about the name was (sorry!) a little weak. Jess, to me, is a female name. I had to actually think a couple of moments to think of what Jess would be short for if it were a man. Jesse, I guess. Whereas, Jess, in my mind is short for Jessica or Jessie. If you're going to go for the unisex name misunderstanding, then I would choose one  like Chris or Alex.

I also stumbled a bit when she finished the interview and went to get a bottle of champagne. Early in the story there was some concern over her being late to the party because of the interview. But then she takes the time to get the champagne. My thought is, poor planning, Jess. It's your dad's 60th. You shouldn't wait until 20 minutes before the party to think about a gift (if the bubbly was the gift.)

Photo Credit: CDC via Wikimedia Commons

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Laughing All the Way

by Shelley Cooper from the March 23, 2015 issue

Once just neighbors and friends, Naomi and Jacob now saw each other through the eyes of love...

In a Nutshell
When the mother of the bride cries at the wedding and reception, the father of the groom tries to get her to laugh. As they reminisce about how their son and daughter fell in love, awareness of him flickers in the mom.

OMG. I totally teared up reading this one and I haven't done that in a long time. It was this line that did it:

"And what did that wonderful girl of yours..." He stopped, took a long breath, then cleared his throat. "What did Janey do when Julian came home from Afghanistan, broken in body and spirit?"

That pause as the dad has to rein in his emotions? And the fact that Julian was a soldier? I was a goner. I'd love to see in the comments below how many of you got misty as well.

While there was a slight info dump via dialogue when the mom answers that question (As you know, Bob...), I just glossed over it, anxious to find out what happened outside of that hospital room.

Then, there's the moment when Naomi realizes. Another big sigh. Cooper captured that moment perfectly. This is something that I sometimes notice is not done enough in Woman's World stories, especially ones that I edit. I know the word count is extremely tight, but if you're going to skimp, the emotional payoff moment is not the place to do it.

Also, notice that there is no black moment. None was needed, which is really interesting to me and worth noting.

Photo credit: Brian Reid via Flickr Creative Commons

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Healing Hearts

by Shannon Fay from the March 15, 2015 issue

Jamie worked so hard she had not time for love. Fortunately, her BFF was there to set her straight!

In a Nutshell
Jamie's BFF is laid up with a broken leg at the hospital Jamie works at. She's a bit miffed when the friend flirts with the guy she's had her eye on but was too shy to approach. But the friend turns out to be a crafty matchmaker.

Who among us hasn't longed for someone from afar? That's what makes this type of story so accessible to Woman's World readers. We've all also wished we had a forthcoming friend like Tara who goes that extra mile to help you out.

Characterization - I thought Paul could have used a tiny bit more personality, but maybe there just wasn't room.

Story Structure - The black moment comes at the middle of the story, which sometimes happens in Woman's World stories, as opposed to regular fiction. Perhaps it's the extreme brevity. Who knows? Anyway, it works. When Jamie sees her friend laughing it up with Paul, that's when you think all is lost. Jamie's shyness robbed her of her chance and now she's going to have to suffer through watching her best friend date the man she's had her eye on all this time.

Luckily, the best friend turns out to be a true friend after all and everything works out. I liked how in the end, Paul grew a backbone. Go Paul!

Photo credit: COD Newsroom via Flickr Creative Commons

Monday, March 16, 2015

Shameless Self-Promotion

I know this is a place for Woman's World discussions, but my book is coming out today and I have to shout it everywhere I can!

OUT OF THE GAME is the third book in my hockey romance series from Carina Press. It's very different from my Woman's World stories.

This book has sex.

There are F-bombs aplenty. (They're professional hockey players. They probably came out of the womb cussing.)

Speaking of F-bombs, there are scenes full of what I like to call "man banter," with men just being men, with no filters. These guys love to prank each other and put each other down, like guys are wont to do to show how much they love one another. :)

Here's a short excerpt.

Set up: For the past couple of days, the guys on the team have creating paintings to sell at an auction for charity. Claire has been helping them with the painting part, since they're athletes, not artists...

Hart picked up some more gold paint on his brush. “You know of course that they’re all going to call you Sarge now.”

Claire sighed. “Now you tell me.”

“It’s good,” Hart said. “If you’re going to be a hockey girlfriend, you need a nickname.”

“What is it with hockey players and nicknames?”

“What, does Alex have a nickname for you?” Ford asked.

“Bet he does,” Booth MacDonald said. “Tell us what it is.”

“No. It’s personal.”

“He calls her Cream Puff,” Dev said as he came into the studio.

“Dev, what are you doing here?” Claire asked.

“I wanted to check up on these guys and see how bad they were screwing up.”

“He calls her Cream Puff?” MacDonald asked.

“Yup. Heard him call her that yesterday.”

Claire got a nervous feeling in her stomach. “Come on, guys. How about you forget you ever heard that?”

MacDonald looked at Rutherford. Rutherford looked at Carpenter. Dev shrugged. Claire held her breath.

“Not a chance,” MacDonald said. “In fact, I’m having a vision of the future in which someone—I’m not saying who—finds a cream puff in his helmet.”

“Or his jock,” Rutherford said.

MacDonald pointed his paint brush at Rutherford. “Bingo.”

Claire cursed.

“Welcome to the world of hockey,” Hart said, patting her on the shoulder. 

If this sounds like your thing, grab yourself a copy of OUT OF THE GAME. Or start at the beginning with book one, ON THE SURFACE, which is only $.99 right now on Amazon.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

This Is For You

by Karen M. Leet from the March 9, 2015 issue

Gareth had met the woman of his dreams that morning. Now, it seemed, he'd let her get away...

In a Nutshell: Gareth gets off the bus before he can get this fascinating woman's name. Because he's a radio DJ, he uses the broadcast to try and find her.

I loved this story. It started out a tad slow for me. It wasn't until the middle of the story, when Gareth was executing the idea his buddy had, that I got interested. I thought it was funny how so many women called in, claiming to be "the woman on the bus." (And what idiots, because the minute he met them, he'd know she wasn't the right woman. Duh.)

I thought their solution to finding the real woman was very clever and her note was just right.

Because the beginning was a bit slow, I maybe would have liked to see some of the real conversation, or maybe just their goodbye. Or maybe you liked it just fine the way it was.

Photo Credit: Ross Murray vai Flickr Creative Commons