Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Time For Love

by Kay Layton Sisk from the April 22, 2013 issue

Tagline: Ella and Geordie were too young when they fell in love the first time. Now, the time seemed just about perfect.

In a Nutshell: Ella enters her cinnamon rolls in the Fair baking contest. The judge is her ex-husband from many years ago. They'd married too young and divorced two years later. Now, after they both achieved their professional goals, it seems as if the spark is still there.

Observations: Here we see Americana striking again in the form of the county fair. The fair as a setting for Woman's World stories is becoming as common as the animal shelter or flower shops. It provides that comforting, traditional ambience that Woman's World likes.

What I liked about this story was that I could totally believe that Ella and Geordie still had feelings for each other and that the only reason their marriage had failed was that they'd been too young to deal with it.

I was surprised that they let the thing about him using the family recipe go. But I was glad to see she wasn't falsely cross about it.

I loved how they talked about the missing secret ingredient, which we readers knew immediately was love. It was such a brilliant way to have them talk about their love lives, but in a secret way known only to them. Using that intimate knowledge from their past only helped push them a little closer to reconciliation and it was so sweet how he opened that door for them by exposing himself before she did.

Photo by stephan.maloman (cc)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Annabelle Knows Best

by Rochelle Banks from the April 22, 2013 issue

Tagline: Rob's aunt told him about her neighbor Molly. Molly's neighbor told her about her nephew Rob. And that was that...

In a Nutshell: Molly's driveway is blocked by a tree that fell due to a storm. Annabelle's nephew has been helping Annabelle with clean up and comes over to offer his help to Molly as well. They hit it off, and guess what! Annabelle has been trying to introduce them to each other for a long time.

Observations: This is one of those stories that might have evolved from a real life experience. Sometimes when I need inspiration for a WW story, I just think about what's going on in my life at the moment. Basing your stories in real life can establish a commonality between you/the characters and the readers. They might say to themselves, "Oh, we have storms like that around here."

Something I noticed in this story that I don't often see is the hero being--well, to me--sexy. The guy is all sweaty in her front yard with a power tool! And yet, he still has that aw, shucks boy-next-door quality to him.

This matchmaker story was solid.

Photo by nikoretro (cc)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Brighter Days Ahead

by Wendy Hobday Haugh from the April 15, 2013 issue

Tagline: After meeting Carrie Hanson, Joe was ready to take a new chance on love...

In a Nutshell: Joe takes his daughter and her best friend to the town carnival. He's intrigued by the pretty woman painting faces. When the girls insist he get his face painted too, he works up the courage to ask her out.

Observations: Here is Americana in the form of a carnival or fair. I think I've said before that reading a Woman's World romance is sort of like stepping into a Norman Rockwell painting, but with modern touches. For instance, I don't think they painted kid's faces in Rockwell's day.

Anyway, I think this story worked because we get so close to Joe, the hero. We get to see him having a great time and being a fantastic father, but we also see his vulnerability, which is irresistible to me. When a guy lets his guard down, I go all weak-kneed. And then he puts himself on the line and asks her out. You can't help but find yourself rooting for him.

I thought the last line, referring back to a line the love interest says earlier in the story was wonderful.

She says:

"There were too many kids waiting for me to bring out the lion, tiger and fairy princess in them."

At the end of the story after she's accepted his invitation to dinner, we read:

Smiling, he drew a deep breath, leaned back and let his inner lion roar.

So cute!!!

Photo by slightly everything (cc)

Monday, April 8, 2013


by Anna Jo Christopher from the April 8, 2013 issue

Tagline: Keith moved back to Pine Valley for a fresh start--and gave his old romance with Allison a fresh start too...

In a Nutshell: Widower Keith has moved back to his hometown with his young daughter. Allison's daughter is the same age and they are getting along famously. Allison hasn't dated much since her divorce two years ago, but she remembers Keith from when they were kids and likes him. When she overhears the two girls talking about Keith and a "Miss Reed," Allison fears he's interested in someone else, but Miss Reed is a spinster neighbor. Keith asks Allison out.

Observations: In my opinion, the story from last week had too many characters and I thought the story would have been easier to follow if it had only been one friend, not three. This week, the story has a lot of characters, too, but they all play an integral part. The two daughters have to be in the story because they present the reason why Keith and Allison are spending time together. Allison's mom is there to provide some backstory on Allison and to nudge her along her character arc. So, when writing a story with a largish cast, make sure the characters are necessary.

I experienced a little bump where a better transition was needed here:

     Keith was such a great father, [sic] and a really good guy. "That sounds like fun," she said. "Mandy and I will bring dessert."
     "Of course I remember Keith," Allison's mother said on the phone. "Didn't his family move away when you were in high school?

There is a scene change here, but because Woman's World doesn't do line breaks, it's not immediately apparent. Keep this in mind, also. Here's what might have been an easy fix:

  Keith was such a great father, [sic] and a really good guy. "That sounds like fun," she said. "Mandy and I will bring dessert."
     The next day, Allison told her mother Keith was back in town.
     "Of course I remember Keith," Allison's mother said on the phone. "Didn't his family move away when you were in high school?

Despite that, I thought the story was darling.

Photo: Denise Mayumi (cc)

Friday, April 5, 2013

Posting is Postponed

Sorry, everyone. Yesterday I Twitter-pitched my hockey romance to Carina Press and three editors responded and asked to see the full manuscript and a synopsis.

Since I only finished the first draft a week or so ago, there is A LOT of work on it to be done, and I haven't even started the synopsis.

So, I'm sorry to have to tell you that I won't be posting here until Monday at the earliest. Hold tight. I will come back as soon as I can. I just didn't want you to wonder where I'd gone.

Thanks for your patience.