Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Someone to Lean On

by Jody Lebel from the December 31, 2012 issue

Tagline: Beth was in meltdown mode when the handsome, confident detective stepped in to calm her down and cheer her up.

In a Nutshell: Beth's apartment was burgled. She is particularly upset over the loss of her grandmother's teapot. The kind and observant detective retrieves the teapot and they share the pistachio ice cream he brought to replace the half gallon she lost.

Observations: I thought this was a solid Woman's World story. It had a humorous, thoughtful and observant hero. He notices she's on the verge of a breakdown and he lightens the mood.

It had a strong heroine who has proven herself by living on her own for six years successfully, but we see she is still vulnerable when she finds someone has broken into her home.

It has a sentimental item--Beth's grandmother's teapot, which is returned. Sentimentality and nostalgia are commonly seen in Woman's World stories.

It has a cute ending in which the detective cheekily says:

"I told you [the burglar] wouldn't be back. I never said I wouldn't."

LOL. How cute. He's a guy I would definitely want to share ice cream with. Of course, I'll gladly eat ice cream alone too. Heh heh.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Christmas Gift

by Connie Ferdon from the December 24, 2012 issue

Tagline: The postman mistakenly delivered a very happy holiday surprise!

In a Nutshell: When Hannah opens a package without looking at the shipping label, she finds something that belongs to the man down the street. She just moved into the neighborhood, so she hasn't met him yet. He also opened a mis-delivered package meant for her. They decide to have coffee together just as it starts to snow.

Observations: My mouth is all puckered from sour grapes. I think my holiday story was better than this one. But Johnene didn't think so, for whatever reason, and that's the way the cookie crumbles. I'm good with that. Sort of. LOL

I had difficulty suspending my disbelief when reading this story. I started out with anticipation. I noticed Hannah's optimism when she reassured her sister. "I know you worry about me, but I wish you wouldn't. When I meet the right guy, it'll happen." I thought choosing a golf club as the gift was amusing because it allowed for Hannah to have visions of a retiree as her neighbor.

But then I began encountering tiny niggling things. Adam opens the door and pulls on a sweater, allowing Hannah to see his fit body. Convenient for the author, but strange for me as the reader. I thought it was strange that he wouldn't have put his sweater on before opening the door. This wasn't a big deal for me, though, so I read on.

Adam has gotten a package at his house for her, another mis-delivered package. Hmm. Their UPS driver needs to be fired. Two mistakes on the same street? That was hard for me to swallow. Plus, I had to believe that both Hannah and Adam opened the packages without regard to the address label.

Ferdon introduced the slinky nightgown as a humorous conversation starter, but that, too, was strange. I just don't see a woman giving her sister a negligee, even if she worries about that sister's love life.

So, to quote Johnene, this story just didn't work for me. It had many elements of a good Woman's World story, but those elements didn't add up for me. I really would have liked a really warm fuzzy feeling from reading the December 24th issue story, as well. This issue more than any other should have made my heart swell up with emotion.

Maybe your mileage differed. If so, let's discuss.

Photo by: makelessnoise (cc)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Holiday Bells

by Anna Jo Christopher from the December 17, 2012 issue

Tagline: Ryan thought his first Christmas away from his family would be a lonely one. Then he met Maggie...

In A Nutshell: Ryan has recently moved and not looking forward to a holiday with no family nearby, but he has had his eye on Maggie, a pretty bank teller. One day as they chit-chat, he finds out she volunteers to serve meals at a shelter. He decides to volunteer, too.

Observations: Surprisingly, this story didn't tug at my heartstrings as much as I would have liked for an issue so close to Christmas. It was solid, make no mistake, but I always expect more emotional umph from a Christmas themed story.

Anyway, I did enjoy the ribbing that Ryan's coworkers gave him at the beginning of the story. The mention of direct deposit sets the story firmly in current times. It also shows that Ryan can take a joke, even at his own expense. This is a nice bit of characterization, something that's sometimes difficult to add when working with only 800 words.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, negativity can have a place, but you have to temper it. Ryan is wistful about being alone for the holidays, but Christopher doesn't belabor this. And in the paragraph after the description of his situation, she writes:

The queue advanced quickly, and Ryan shook off his melancholy thoughts. He didn't really have any friends yet, but he would in time. 

There she shows him to be a positive person, a role model for the reader, if you will. :)

I also liked how she handled the simultaneous speaking:

The spoke at the same time: "Would you like to help--?" she began, as he asked, "Will you need help--?"

They both laughed.

It's nice to know how to punctuate that type of situation.

Finally, I wanted to point out another subtle thing that I think helped flesh out his character and give him a sincerity that all Woman's World characters need. A reader might question his motives in volunteering at the shelter, thinking he might just be doing that to connect with Maggie. But cleverly, Christopher already established that Ryan is a giving sort of guy by showing him making the generous donation for the canned food drive. Smart writer! All that talk between Maggie and Ryan was more than filler.

Photo by: Chase Lindberg Photography (cc)


Saturday, December 8, 2012

Success is Sweet

I just got my contract for the Chinese New Year story I submitted! I'm very, very excited. Johnene wrote that it was the first story written for that holiday they've ever received. The on-sale date is January 24, but look for it a week ahead of that.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Glow of Love

by Sherri Mostaghni from the December 10, 2012 issue

Tagline: Karen wanted to light up their new home with the magic of the season. If only she could persuade her husband to see the holidays her way...

In a Nutshell: Karen and her husband Jim just moved into their first house. She wants to decorate the exterior with lights, but her husband is reluctant. When she gets home from work, she finds he's done the house up right after all.

Observations: This is a wonderful story about an already established relationship, something I find hard to write. In one of my classes I talk about these stories and how they often show a problem in a marriage being solved. This story doesn't do that. It merely demonstrates what a great marriage looks like. What a refreshing change.

Even though we see the surprise a mile away...

"I know. I'm jealous you still have a few days to putter around our new house. Maybe you can do some Christmas decorating." 

...it's still heart-warming to live vicariously through Karen.

While the surprise was fantastic on it's own, I thought that Mostaghni added extra holiday sentiment by adding that final paragraph.

"It's beautiful, sweetheart! Absolutely brilliant!"

He thought I meant the lights. But I meant him and the gift he'd given me: the gift of listening.

Bam. See what I mean? Then she adds this last sentence, which ups the warm fuzzy feeling even more, making it a perfect ending.

And I told him so later that night in the glow of our Christmas lights.

Photo by Jo Naylor (cc)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

"The Locket"

by Kitty Russell from the December 3, 2012 issue

Tagline: When Emily looked into Jasper's eyes, she was ready to believe that, yes, there was magic in the necklace she wore.

In A Nutshell: Emily notices a man staring at the locket she's wearing. He asks if it might be the one his grandmother lost before she died. It contained a picture of his grandfather. It is.

Observations: I absolutely loved this story. Russell had me at this paragraph, about a third of the way in:

"It's just that it looks exactly like a locket that belonged to my grandmother," he said. "It was one of our family treasures, because it contained the last picture taken of my grandfather before he went off to war." He shrugged. "It was lost somehow, and now I...I'm wondering if it's the same one."

Of course, we savvy Woman's World readers know that of course it's the same one. If we could bet our life's savings on that assumption, we would. Right then, Russell promises us a story filled with sentiment and romance, and she sure delivers.

In the middle, she gives us a second, cute, romance story, the one about Jasper's grandparents, and then ties it it in oh so neatly at the end by having Emily repeat what his grandma said...

Emily looked at the locket in his hand, then into his eyes and said, "Don't you think you'd better ask me out on a proper date first?"

That is an AWESOME last line because it not only brings back that cute line from the story-within-a-story, it shows Emily being a modern, assertive woman.

The only complaint I had was the drawer would not have shut if the locket had fallen behind it which probably would have prompted Emily to pull the drawer out right away. However, the excellence of the story made that little glitch inconsequential.

Photo by: Jim is Nice (cc)

Friday, November 23, 2012

Recipe for Love

by Lynn Cahoon from the November 26, 2012 issue

Tagline: Later, Mark and Cassie would tell their friends that they'd never have met had it not been for turkey leftovers--and one very persistent matchmaker!

In a Nutshell: Mark's sister signed him up for a meal prep class focusing on turkey leftovers. "Coincidentally," her friend Cassie is in the same class. While both declare they're not looking for a relationship, during they class they connect enough to warrant a dinner date afterward.

Observations: I wish I had thought of this idea for a holiday story--something revolving around the Thanksgiving leftovers! What a clever idea.

I liked Mark's honesty when he tells Cassie he's not looking for a relationship, and it shows some character growth when he gradually comes to change his mind.

I thought this part was cute:

Cassie had been right when she called the process idiot-proof, so Mark found himself making up reasons to ask her for help.

I thought the ending was cute, too.

Photo by Jeff Kubina (cc)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Love Is in the Air

by Mariah Nichols from the November 19, 2012 issue

Tagline: Handsome, smiling, green-eed Henry walked downt he aisle and took the seat next to Mandy. To Mandy it felt like destiny...

In an Nutshell: Mandy is flying back home for her sister's wedding even though she's afraid to fly. The man sitting next to her is going to a conference. They connect on the two hour flight and part. Then, at the taxi stand, she sees him and he asks her to dinner.

Observations: I usually think I'm a pretty smart gal, but sometimes I read a story like this, expect one thing (a matchmaker or blind date story) and get another (not a matchmaker or blind date story!) I thought for sure the man on the plane was going to be the blind date her sister had planned for her, but he wasn't.

There was a very nice black moment in this story when they're saying goodbye on the plane. It was much longer than the quick black moment we usually see.

"You did it." Henry unbuckled his seat belt and smiled.

"I did. Thank you for keeping my mind off the flight." I sat while he got his overhead bag. I grew breathless and wanted to say more.

"It was really nice to meet you, Mandy. Enjoy the wedding." Henry paused, as if he might say more, but then his phone vibrated and he fumbled in his pocket. Henry gave a wave, and then he was gone.

We really feel that they were both on the verge and wish one of them had taken the initiative. And even though we know that they will end up together, we still worry. Isn't that weird? Anyway, I found myself reading faster here to find out how they would meet up again, and was, of course, gratified to see him hold up that really cute sign.

Cute story.

Photo by Andrew Malone (cc)

Friday, November 9, 2012

Tempting Fate!

by Marie Savage from the November 12, 2012 issue

Tagline: Laura's grandmother had always thought that Laura and John belonged together. Years later, it seemed Grandma had been right all along!

In A Nutshell: After her grandma's death, Laura is cleaning out grandma's attic and finds the business card of her high school boyfriend, now a real estate agent, clipped to their prom picture. She dithers about calling him, but her mom nudges her, claiming they are interested in listing the house for sale. After reconnecting, they make a date to go out to dinner.

Observations: This story was structurally different and had a different feel. It's first person, which is nothing new, but the tone is girlfriend to girlfriend, like Laura is telling you her story directly. Laura is chummy with you.

The ending was different than the norm as well. It ends, not with an active scene, but with Laura summarizing where things stand now. We don't witness him asking her to dinner, but get it from Laura who sort of skips over the asking part.

Other than that, it was a classic meeting of old flames, but with a "twist" of granny perhaps arranging the match, or at least smiling down on the couple.

My Favorite Part: "Are you kidding? What would I say? 'Hi, John. This is Laura. Do you remember me? We haven't seen each other in years, but I wanted to know if you're married."

Photo by Aoife city womanchile (cc)

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Rules Are Rules

by Rosemarie Naramore from the November 5, 2012 issue

Tagline: Officer Holly Tanner knew that if she started making exceptions, the owner of the trucking company might start taking advantage...

In a Nutshell: Holly pulls over an 18-wheeler. When the driver, new to the job, doesn't have the vehicle's registration, she insists on the driver calling his boss. Holly insists he bring the registration to her, or the truck isn't going anywhere. The boss, Dave, unhappy at having to make the trip, produces the paperwork, and calls her nitpicky. When the driver is appalled, Dave offers to take her to dinner to make up for it, then takes her into his arms. What??? Turns out Dave the Boss and Officer Holly are married!

Observations: OMG. Talk about a Sixth Sense twist!!! I was totally pulled in by this story and didn't begin to suspect the twist until way later than I would have expected. I absolutely loved how different this was from the usual, and flabbergasted and delighted that they chose to publish it. If I had thought of this idea, I might not have submitted it, thinking there was little chance they'd buy it. I would have been very wrong!

For those of you who doubted the wording of the guidelines where they talk about "relationships" not romance, here's proof. This is clearly a story about their relationship and how a husband accepts that the wife is merely doing her job and needs some tender loving care because she's been doing entirely too much of it lately. When I read this story, I got a warm fuzzy feeling about marriage and what a good one looks like.

If you haven't read the story twice, I highly suggest you do. You'll see exactly what I'm talking about, everything appears totally different when you read with the knowledge that they're married.

He passed her the paperwork and their hands made brief contact. Holly felt a jolt pass between them. She knew he felt it too when their eyes connected over the document.

Here you see the physical attraction, just like a normal Woman's World story. That's where you take the bait. Then, Naramore reels you in a little, here:

Dave walked over to the driver. She watched him walk away. Tall and well-built, he looked great in his jeans. She shook her head, rejecting the thought. She was working, for Pete's sake.

Seems like a regular first meet, but knowing they're married, that last sentence makes sense from a different perspective.

Also way back in the beginning, this paragraph:

She realized [the driver] was nervous about his mistake, but she couldn't let this particular trucking company off the hook. Even if they had the biggest fleet of trucks in town, they had to follow the rules, same as everyone. Besides, the driver's boss, of all people, knew better than to let a driver leave without that registration.

See what I mean? "This particular trucking company" and "the driver's boss, of all people," are phrases that don't raise any flags when you read the first time, but take on a new meaning the second time around.

By the end of the story when Dave is crossing the line verbally and physically invading Officer Tanner's personal space, you're realizing and smiling and nodding.

I thought this story was masterfully written. Brava!

Photo by Timitrius (cc)




Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Pretend Pirate

by Patrice Howell from the October 29, 2012 issue

Tagline: When the make-believe gypsy met the make-believe pirate, their mutual attraction was definitely for real!

In a Nutshell: Jen doesn't want to go to a friend's Halloween party because her ex will be there. She stays home to greet trick-or-treaters instead. As the number of kids decreases dramatically, a little mermaid appears, accompanied by her pirate father. Turns out they just moved in down the street. Also turns out he's going to the party Jen didn't want to go to, but when he asks her to go with him, she changes her mind!

Observations: I saw a few things in this story that I wanted to point out.

Jen is your everyday woman. We've all been in her shoes...not wanting to attend a party for one reason or another. We feel slightly guilty about not wanting to go and perhaps even throw ourselves a small, private pity party. We try to lift our mood in some other way. Jen immerses herself in the fun of Halloween. Creating a heroine we can identify with is a good thing.

Did you notice the foreshadowing?

Then a man I didn't recognize strode past. Hmmm, I thought, leaning forward to see where he was headed. Probably the house on the corner. I'd seen a moving van last week, and a child's tricycle in the drive. 

Of course, that's our hero.

I really liked how the little girl had difficulty with her Rs. It was cute. I also thought her dialog was very believable, unlike in that movie Liar, Liar that I had the misfortune of watching part of the other night when my son wanted to watch it. That kid laughed at jokes that no five year old kid would understand. It was ridiculous.

At its core, this story is just like any other cute meet story in WW, but it happens during Halloween. Perhaps that's something to take into consideration. The only exception I can think of is Christmas themed stories because I think those need to be a bit more poignant and meaningful.

Photo by wwarby (cc)

New Service

A comment from a reader yesterday got me thinking. She said she'd been trying to get published by Woman's World for ten years. Ten years! That's got to be a lot of stories. When I read that, I immediately wanted to get a hold of all her stories and skim them to see if I could pinpoint the problem for her.

It got me thinking again about my editing service. For a while now, I've been wanting to create a new, quicker, more general service for you guys that isn't so expensive. Forty bucks is a lot to pay, even though you get a full line-by-line edit for your money.

So I wanted to float a couple of ideas off you.

1. What do you think of consultations? You could send me a story and we could instant message about the story for a certain length of time, perhaps half an hour. We would discuss general things--tone, characterization, plot, beginnings/endings, dialogue, etc. We might even end up brainstorming.

My son suggested Facebook as a vehicle for communication... My problem with this is that I suck at figuring out time zone changes. LOL I'm thinking $20/hour.

2. The other idea I had was to offer a service in which I look at a story and rather than do a line-by-line edit, give a 500-1000 word general opinion of it, similar to what I do on the blog but obviously about your story, not someone else's. Price...$10?

3. The last idea I had was to look at three rejected stories and give you my short opinion (a paragraph or two) as to what might have been the problem. I'm thinking $10/three stories for this also.

Comments? Suggestions? Are these services that would interest you?

Monday, October 29, 2012

Woman's World Fiction Guidelines



**2/15/16 UPDATE FROM PATRICIA GADDIS, THE NEW FICTION EDITOR, BELOW **


WOMAN'S WORLD

FICTION GUIDELINES

Romance guidelines:

We buy contemporary romances of 800 words. Stories must revolve around a compelling, true-to-life relationship dilemma; may feature either a female or male protagonist; and may be written in either the first or third person. Characters may be married, single, divorced or widowed; should be down-to-earth (no yuppies or jet-setters); and their dilemma should be poignantly or humorously conveyed. Please think carefully about a story's setting, mood and plot, and tell the story with interesting action and dialogue. (Every sentence, paragraph, and scene of the story should deliver more information about your characters and their situation and/or briskly advance the storyline).

We are not interested in stories involving life-or-death matters, nor are we interested in fluffy, flyaway-style romance. When we say romance, what we really mean is relationship--whether it's just beginning or is about to celebrate its 50th anniversary. The emphasis in our stories is on real life-which is why we do not buy science fiction, fantasy or historical romance.

We pay $800 per romance and retain First North American Serial Rights for six months after publication.

Get to know us: Please familiarize yourself thoroughly with our romances and mini-mysteries before submitting your work.




ADDITIONAL NOTES

Manuscripts should be double-spaced in legible size type. 

Please send as an attachment.
Include name, address, phone number and email on the manuscript.

Where to send manuscripts: 


If you have not previously been published by Woman's World magazine: 
Fiction@WomansWorldMag.com to Patricia Gaddis' attention   

If you have had a romance or mini-mystery published by Woman's World:
FictionPro@WomansWorldMag.com to Patricia Gaddis' attention

For problems only you may contact Patricia at Prose@dnet.net


Woman's World does not send rejection notices. If you have not heard from them in four months, assume your story has been rejected.


Edited 8/4/16 to add: There is an automated response system that should notify you when your first submission has been received. If you do not receive notification, your spam filters may be set too high. After that, subsequent submissions do not trigger an auto respond.




Friday, October 26, 2012

Love in Disguise

by Lisa Weaver from the October 22, 2012 issue

Tagline: When Dan met Laura on Halloween, they looked all wrong together. But Dan had a feeling that in this case, appearances were deceiving...

In a Nutshell: Dan notices a woman dressed as Wonder Woman has a flat on the side of the road. He's dressed as a vampire himself, but she doesn't mind when he stops to help her. They connect and make a  date for dinner the next week.

Observations: I thought this was a cute, if formulaic story. I've seen man-to-the-rescue car trouble stories before many times over the years. (And I kind of wish they weren't a librarian and a teacher. Those professions seem to be over-represented in the pages of Woman's World stories, too.)

What made this one different was it was first person, present tense, and from the man's point of view. I always find it fun to temporarily inhabit a man's head, even if it's fictional. I thought this man was funny.

My favorite lines:

1. It's not the spooky atmosphere that concerns me as much as how the super heroine will react to a vampire stopping to lend a hand.

2. Still, despite her heroic appearance, this avenger of truth and justice is having a hard time budging the tire wrench.

3. "I would have looked udderly dashing in it, don't you think?"

Photo by skyfaller (cc)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Darcy Story

A while back I had posted about a story of mine that got rejected. People said they wanted to read it and I said I would post it. Someone reminded me that I never did, so here it is.


Finding Mr. Darcy

by Kate Willoughby


     Gillian wished that gloves weren’t part of her costume. She was nervous and her hands were sweaty.
     “I’ll never find him,” she said to her friend Sue.
     “Yes, you will. He’s already checked in. Look for a top hat.”
     Sue was an up and coming party planner. This Valentine’s Day costumed mixer was her promotional brainchild, a brainchild that had gone viral within the singles community of Woodland Hills. The rules were simple. If you wanted to go, you paid the fee and RSVP’d online. The catch was that you had to come as one half of a famous pair—Antony and Cleopatra, Clark Gable and Carole Lombard, Bonnie and Clyde, etc. When you arrived at the party, you were supposed to find and dance with your other half.
     Gillian had always loved Jane Austen’s work. Pride and Prejudice was her favorite, so she wanted to go as Elizabeth Bennett, but although she’d posted her character/costume choice early, no one signed up as Mr. Darcy. Finally, on February thirteenth, Sue called—a Mr. Darcy was coming.
     “Thank goodness!” Gillian had exclaimed. Even though Sue had planned other ways for people to mix and meet besides destiny, Gillian had imagined how romantic it would be to interact with a man in Regency clothing and who probably liked Austen as well. She speculated about the type of man he was. Tall, hopefully. Funny. Humble. Not living with his mother.
     Now at last, the moment of truth had arrived. Gillian tried not to be obvious as she made her way around the room, searching, but although she spotted Romeo, Superman, and Indiana Jones, she saw neither hide nor hair of Mr. Darcy. Until...
     “Pardon me,” a voice said behind her.
     Turning, she saw a man magnificently dressed in a cut-away coat, brocade waistcoat and boots. No top hat, but a nicely tied cravat that looked like it might have been a wedding veil in another life.
     “Elizabeth Bennett?”
     She curtsied and managed to stammer, “Y-yes.”
     His smile was warm and his bow, utterly romantic. “I came especially to meet you, Miss Bennett. Would you care to dance?”
     She focused for the first time on the music, a techno club song that didn’t lend itself to the gentility of their costumes. “I’d actually rather talk if you don’t mind,” she said.
     Offering his arm, he suggested they venture outside. The night air felt refreshing as they exchanged real names. She discovered that Thomas had been born and raised in Los Angeles, like she was. He managed a pub not to far from where she lived. She told him about her job as a pre-school teacher.
     “So, let me get this straight. You make a conscious choice to spend the day with small uncivilized children?”
     She laughed. “It’s my job to civilize them. Besides, you make the choice to spend the evenings with intoxicated adults...”
     “Touché,” he said with a wry, Darcy-like smile. “You’re absolutely right.”
     They spent an hour there, away from the party, discussing Jane Austen’s work, more recent fiction (they were both avid readers), and their mutual wish to visit England someday. Just as they were about to go inside, his phone rang.
     After glancing at the screen, he apologized, checked his watch, and texted a reply.
     “I’m sorry,” he said afterward. “My mom wanted to know what time I’d be getting home.”
     Oh, no! Gillian blanched and her heart sank. He did live with his mother. This was a disaster. He was such a mama’s boy he even had a curfew.
     She must have let her emotions show on her face because he frowned. “What’s wrong?” Then it dawned on him. “Oh, it’s not like that. I have my own place. Mom’s recovering from a hernia operation and since Dad passed away and I’m an only child, I’ve been helping her out since she got released from the hospital. In fact, that’s the reason I waited so long to RSVP for this dance. I wanted to make sure she was healing up all right.”
     Smiling in relief, she said, “I think it’s wonderful that you take care of your mother like that. I’m afraid I jumped to the wrong conclusion.”
     “No harm done,” Thomas said, laughing. “Say, my house may not be as grand as Darcy’s, but maybe you could come over next Friday for dinner. Mom should be fine by then and I’d like to show you that book I was talking about.”
     Gillian was happy to accept his invitation. In fact, a few months later, she accepted another of Thomas’ invitations—this time not for dinner, but for a lifetime. The next Valentine’s Day at Jane Austen’s house in Chawton, she and Thomas got married, dressed in the very costumes they’d worn when they first met.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Garage Sale

by Sheila Cronin from the October 15, 2012 issue

Tagline: Doug and LeAnne discovered that, sometimes, getting rid of old memories opens the door to new beginnings...

In a Nutshell: Doug and LeAnne's marriage is crumbling. They hold a garage sale to get rid of their stuff. They each foil a possible sale because the item was one that was important to the other and realize maybe they can work things out after all.

Observations: This is a plot that you don't see often in Woman's World--the troubled marriage story. I think it's because this is difficult to pull off. Perhaps it's personal though. My parents divorced and it deeply affected me. I had harbored hopes for a long time that they would get back together, but they never did. As a result, I think I'm more cynical about this type of story.

I didn't quite believe that Doug and LeAnne were going to succeed. LeAnne seemed negative to me. When someone buys the clock, she mutters "Good riddance." Then when she sees Doug chatting with customers, she thinks, "When had he last paid her any real attention?" Doug seemed a little snippy when he said, "I need some help over here."

True, the author showed LeAnne refusing to sell the painting that was special to Doug. That was a nice gesture. In the same vein, the hero sold the boom box because of the look of pain on LeAnne's face, but in my opinion, the look of pain was because of the music, not the box. Lastly, the couple have a moment agreeing that they always shared the same taste. Hm. Sharing taste is not the basis for a strong marriage. I realize that this is only the catalyst that makes them realize they should give it another go, but, cynical me, I thought it a bit weak.

I also thought the ending felt tacked on. A good inch and a half of space was dedicated to the exchange between their neighbors.

But again, I can be a tough audience with these types of stories, and obviously Woman's World liked it enough to publish it.

Photo by Eastlaketimes (cc)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Beginner's Luck

by Diane Crawford from the October 8, 2012 issue

Tagline: Laurel had been attracted to Jared from the start. Turns out Jared felt the same way about her...

In a Nutshell: Laurel is attending the company picnic and spots a guy she's had her eye on for a while. He's by the horseshoe pit. A rival for his attention declines the invitation to play, so Laurel gets him all to herself. They strike up a conversation and make a date for dinner.


Observations: What I found interesting about this story is that it had a villain. There are almost never villains in Woman's World stories. First of all, there usually isn't room. Eight hundred words doesn't allow for a lot of extra characters. Plus, villains are inherently negative. Negativity is something Woman's World likes to avoid. However, Crawford managed to insert a female villain in "Beginner's Luck."

Laurel's friend says:

"Celia the Piranha sashayed over there as soon as she caught sight of those guys from Tech."

This is pretty catty, but it's the friend saying it, so we readers can understand. Friends can get away with stuff the heroine can't. And yet, Laurel herself thinks Celia is overdressed. Again, this is acceptable. We've all seen people who overdress for this or that occasion.

Celia has perfectly manicured nails. Laurel doesn't. Crawford turns this difference into an opportunity to show Laurel as a more three dimensional character with worries about her appearance, just like all of us. We identify with her because of this. We all have things we wish we could change about our appearances. We know how Laurel feels.

To perhaps balance some of this, Crawford has Celia behave in a civilized way. Sure, the two women are basically competing for the guy, but they don't play games. (Actually, I guess Laurel does because it's horseshoes! LOL) Celia makes it clear she's not the horseshoes type and let's Jared know where she'll be should things not work out with Laurel.

Of course, things do work out with Laurel. Jared makes it clear he's not interested in the well-manicured, well-dressed Celia, and the way is clear for our heroine. Yay!

Photo by tehbieber (cc)