Friday, July 29, 2011

Highway to Love

by Carol E. Ayer from the July 25, 2011 issue

Tagline: Normally, a traffic jam is bad news. For Laura and James, this particular backup was no problem at all...

In A Nutshell: Laura and James get acquainted while stuck in a two hour traffic jam. When the semi truck is finally cleared off the road, they decide to have dinner together.

Observations: I'm often surprised by the creativity of Woman's World authors and how many different ways they can think of for people to meet. I've read every issue of WW for about six years and I can't ever remember seeing a traffic jam romance, but this really worked for me.

When we think of romance, we think of tropes like candles, walks on the beach and, like in this story, gazing at the stars. But I've noticed that often romance can be found in situations in which the couple encounter a minor setback or problem, like, also in this story, being caught in a traffic jam at dinner time. So, stretch your brain a bit and try to think of a situation that might be everyday--like a traffic jam--but when paired with a first-meet, could be an acceptance-worthy idea!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

In A Spin

by Barbara J. Smith from the July 18, 2011 issue

Tagline: Caroline's birthday may have gotten off to an unpromising start, but it turned into the best one ever!

In a Nutshell: Caroline's roommate had to bail on their plans to celebrate Caroline's birthday at the county fair. She goes anyway and meets a great guy on the Ferris wheel.

Observations: This story has a wonderful example of how Woman's World prefers that you keep the tone upbeat and positive. Smith might have been tempted to play up Caroline's disappointment after her friend cancelled, but she didn't at all. There is but one sentence devoted to that...

I was disappointed but I certainly understood.

The next paragraph then shows her arrival at the fairgrounds and how excited she is to be there, even though she's alone. You can't help but admire her attitude. This is why women love Woman's World magazine--we read the stories and feel uplifted.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Can You Spell L-O-V-E?

by Barbara Catlin Craven from the July 11, 2011 issue

Tagline: The two little cupids recognized a match when they saw it--they just had to figure out how to make it happen!

In A Nutshell: Matt's young daughter is at a sleep-over and she forgot her pajamas. When the divorced dad delivers them, he's roped into playing a game with the (also divorced) mom and daughter. It's obvious from the romantically inclined words the girls are making that it was all a set-up. But Matt and the mom end up not caring.

Observations: I thought this story was clever. It was fun seeing two school-aged matchmakers at work. Note Matt's small character arc in that he makes the decision to move on with his life, two years after getting divorced. So, this is a story with dual themes -- the matchmaker and moving on. A two-fer! LOL

A couple things bothered me. One, my parents divorced when I was twelve and I can tell you that the daughter probably would not be so pro-active in finding a new woman for her dad. She'd most likely really rather her parents got back together. But, hey, this is fiction, not nasty old real life.

Also, if "Alphabet Jumble" was Scrabble in disguise due to copyright reasons, then it would be awfully convenient that the girls happened to get the letters that would enable them to spell boy, girl, date, kiss, dad, mom. But I was willing to let that go because the rest of the story was so charming.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

What's Your Number?

by Anna Jo Christopher from the July 4, 2011 issue

Tagline: When two strangers in a hurry shared a cab, their lives took a romantic turn...

In A Nutshell: After suffering through half of a truly horrible blind date, Valerie walks out. When she and a handsome stranger accidentally hail the same cab, they decide to share. They also discover they share the belief that they have lucky numbers.
Observations: I liked this story but was surprised to see such a vivid description of the bad date. Woman's World usually shies away from negativity and this loser that Valerie went out with was such a jerk! And yet the story wouldn't have worked without that description.

I hate to sound like a broken record, but note the motif of the lucky number in this story. It occurs first in the title. Then, right off the top we're shown that Valerie's lucky number is twelve. In the last third of the story, it's brought back as we discover that the hero, Kent, also has a lucky number. (Thankfully, it's not the same lucky number. I would have grimaced had Christopher chosen to go that far.)

One last observation--throughout the story they use the word "twelve," until the very end, when they use the roman numerals. It made me wonder why, bringing me out of the story. If I were submitting this story, I'd make sure I was consistent.

Okay, I lied. One more observation...this was the Fourth of July issue, and yet this story had no ties to the holiday at all. What's with that? Did no one submit a good Independence Day story???

Friday, July 1, 2011

A Week Without You

by Shelli Armstrong from the June 13, 2011 issue

NOTE: I'm catching up again! Somehow this issue got stuffed in my magazine rack and I didn't notice it until now.

Tagline: It took a lonely week to convince Darla and Gary that they belonged together...

In A Nutshell: When Gary moves on to another job, Darla is bereft, but during the first week without him, they manage to keep in touch. On Friday, he shows up and asks her out.

Observations: This story was cute. Gary was an adorable character even if he wasn't actually there, interacting with the heroine. Their notes and emails were endearing and funny. When it got to the part where Gary put his heart on the line with his email...

...Things are good here, but, okay, I'll say it: I miss you. Terribly...

I just melted. And then when he called her on the phone, he stepped up to the plate again when Darla said she'd received that email...

There was silence for a moment, [sic] "What'd you think of it?" Gary asked.

I melted again. That Gary might have been chicken for the two years previous that he'd worked with Darla, but he came through at the end. :) Again, it's really interesting to me that the character that grew the most during the course of the story wasn't even "on stage" half the time.