Thursday, June 23, 2016

Passing the Test! by Elizabeth Palmer

June 27, 2016 issue

Tagline: Rachel had nerves of steel...until she met Kelly!

Observations: This was a refreshing premise I've not seen before. It was totally believable that a grown man from New York City would need driving lessons. I liked how the story spanned six weeks, however, I was still somewhat surprised when he leaned over and actually kissed her. It seemed a little out of the blue to me, but it wasn't enough to sour me on the story. I liked it a lot.

One other thing to point out is the use of the sexually ambiguous name to create a brief misunderstanding. This is another tool you have in your Woman's World Toolbox. The misunderstanding is a trope we see often in WW stories. They never last long, but they're handy. Usually the main character jumps to a conclusion, like in this story, about the sex of someone, or that the love interest has a significant other. It's good to know about all these tropes so you can mix and match and hopefully come up with something new and refreshing.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Running for Love! by Amy Michaels

June 13, 2016 issue

Tagline: Jenna isn't a natural at jogging...but the cute runner and his dog keep her going!

Observations: I loved this story for many reasons.

I really identified with Jenna. I hate running and this paragraph was funny...

The fact that I'm running at all is a miracle. I'm a nurse whose exercise routine has mostly consisted of carrying fast food up two flights of stairs to my apartment after a 12-hour shift.

So, the premise of the story is that Jenna is a proactive woman. She sets goals and she meets them. It's fun to see her try to meet the cute runner, and fail. We've all been there. We've all told ourselves we're going to do something and then chicken out. So we feel for her.

Here was another bit that had me laughing.

The next day I'm back at it, determined to speak to him when we pass. I've practiced running in place and talking at the same time until I can say a few words without supplemental oxygen.


Shortly after that, we have a mid-story turning point, which is a great thing. It's that point in the story where everything is turned on its ear. You think the story is going this one way and then BAM, it switches gears. Brent sprains his ankle and we suddenly have a woman-to-the-rescue story.

It's icing on the cake that he has to put his arm around her to hobble back to his car, right? LOL And then he confesses...

"To tell you the truth, I tripped because I was checking my watch to see when you'd appear."

Score! This shows he's attracted to her as well. Showing the attraction is something I think you should always do in a Woman's World story.

At the end of the story, Jenna overcomes her fear and asks him out. Okay, he already made it clear he'd be amenable, but still, she does it. I think that's a big part of why I enjoyed this story so much--I feel proud of Jenna at the end as well as happy that she's going to go on a date with Brent.

Photo credit: Candida.Performa via Flickr Creative Commons License

Friday, June 10, 2016

Perfect Casting by Nell Musolf

June 6, 2016 issue

Tagline: Caitlin found her leading man for what may be the role of a lifetime!

Observations: There wasn't really anything wrong with this story, but it didn't particularly grab me. The characters didn't engage me too much. When Nick tried out for the part, I wasn't sure if he was trying to appear bewildered or if he actually was. I think Musolf did a great job showing that they have a future together, but I find myself not that interested in reading about it. Your mileage may vary.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Cup of Love! by Rosemary Hayes

May 30, 2016 issue

Tagline: Nikki liked the coffee messages Ethan set to her...but would he ever ask her out?

Observations: Well now. I happen to be a barista with ten years experience, so the coffee shop details were particularly interesting to me. (The photo used in the magazine isn't true latte art. It looks like someone shook cinnamon onto the drink using a template.)

I liked, but didn't love, this story. I think I've seen this plot before: a character is stood up for a blind date at a dining establishment, and the owner or employee notices and commiserates, and they end up together. In fact, I kept thinking I'd actually read this story before.

My gripes...

There were more exclamation points than I like. (Sometimes if you add too many exclamation points to a man's conversation, it makes him seem a little silly, maybe even effeminate.) I counted nine and if it had been my story, I don't think any of them needed to be there. If in doubt, leave it out.

It's not "coffee art," it's "latte art." You can't make art in a cup of coffee because there's no foam. And you don't usually see words because the art is created by pouring the foam and sometimes using a tool like a toothpick to add detail. But this is not something your average coffee drinker would know.

I felt frustrated by the convenient interruptions by Ethan's somewhat incompetent employees and then his vacation on top of that...but I liked the ending a lot. It had that cheery optimism and was very believable.

Photo credit: Kenny Louie via Flickr Creative Commons

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Fee Change

I wanted to let everyone know that the price of my edits is now $50 per story.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Parking Spot by Kay Layton Sisk

May 23, 2016 issue

Tagline: Patience never dreamed she would meet a special someone at her daughter's softball game!

Observations: Unfortunately, this story didn't grab me. I didn't feel the connection between Patience and Ben was convincing. Perhaps it's because I've been in that situation where you're really wanting a spot and someone zips in and rudely takes it. That is some serious anger and frustration. Maybe Patience is a better person than I am, because I would have a very hard time forgiving that person. And Patience is peeved for quite a while, right up until he says his daughter is on the same team and then she gets kind of femininely flustered.

I thought his leaning close--because there was so much noise from the home run--was odd, especially considering what he said...

"Lisbeth told me her new friend's dad had died of cancer. Your husband?" he asked.

I nodded. "Heidi has a bit of the tell-all in her."

He laughed. "So does Lisbeth. I doubt there are any secrets between them by now."

That's kind of a personal question and an odd circumstance in which to ask it. Why not wait until you don't have to talk into her ear? Also, his laugher seems impolite. I would like to have seen him utter some sort of condolence or recognition of that horrible circumstance. That would have gone a long way toward me believing that these people have a chance at love.

And then, it's "break time" and the two girls come over to their parents. (I'm not a big baseball fan, but as far as I know there aren't any breaks during which the girls could leave the game, so maybe the game was over?) Anyway, the girls have come over and they all make plans to have pizza together and Patience's spirits soar. Again, I found this odd. She didn't like the guy at the beginning and not enough happened in the interim to convince me her tune had been changed to this degree.

However--and I haven't had to say this in a long time--my opinion is just that. Woman's World obviously thought enough of it to publish it and I am admittedly a very picky reader.

Photo credit: slgckgc via Flickr Creative Commons License

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Kiss The Cook! by Amy Michaels

Tagline: Sophie wasn't passionate about cooking until she got together with a chef!

Observations: I loved this story, partly because I LOVE TO COOK. I loved the authenticity. Michaels certainly knows how to cook, or she did a great job of convincing me.

I did wonder about a grocery store allowing a chef to come promote his restaurant, but I suspended my disbelief.

I thought the way Michaels arranged for Greg to help her with dinner was very natural, and like I said before, it was totally correct for the chef to disdain the dried herbs in favor of fresh ones, although it might be hard to find fresh bay leaves.

I disagree about cake being more trouble than creme brulee, but there's a much bigger wow factor with creme brulee and they did have five hours, so there'd be plenty of time.

I thought the ending was terrific and with just the right amount of intimacy--the cheek kiss--for the amount of time they'd spent together and their budding relationship.

Photo by Clotee Allochuku via Flickr Creative Commons