Wednesday, June 26, 2013

To-do List

by Joyce Soule from the July 1, 13 issue

Tagline: Being totally unprepared for the drenching summer storm was a stroke of good fortune for Cheryl!

In a Nutshell: Cheryl has just moved to Florida and is caught unprepared when the rain comes pouring down out of a sunny sky. A man shelters her with his umbrella then gives it to her because he's a weatherman and he has a pile of them. After the storm abates, he asks her to coffee.

Observations: This was a nice tight first meet, man-to-the-rescue story, but nothing to write home about. Right off the bat we see her goals via her to-do list. As a veteran Woman's World story reader, the minute I saw the list--New job, groceries (check), new friends, car--I knew that one of the unfinished items would be checked off by the end, and I was right.

Their conversation is cute. I liked Cheryl. She was a proactive, confident woman who reminded me a little of Mary Tyler Moore for some reason.

One of my favorite parts was where she repeats his "bio" word for word in her thoughts...

I looked up the avenue, hoping the bus wouldn't come any time soon. A rain delay, maybe? I was enjoying my chat with Ron Byers, on at five on Bay News Nine.

But the ending, where she checks off the "new friends" to-do item, was good too.

Photo by: Colin McMillen

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

New Email

I am having a lot of trouble with my Yahoo email, so I am changing to Gmail. My new address is katewillow, the number 727, at gmail d0t c0m.

Thanks for understanding.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Lean on Me

by Krista Weidner from the June 24, 2013 issue

Tagline: This time, it was the firefighter who needed help--and Kendyl was more than happy to come to his rescue...

In a Nutshell: Kendyl is volunteering at the blood drive as a "walker." A firefighter she's supposed to be walking to the snack table faints and she helps him back onto the cot. They hit it off.

Observations: I really liked this story a lot, but then again, I have a thing for firefighters. When they come into my store, I go all weak-kneed.

This was one of those stories that was so smoothly written, I have trouble finding the good things to point out, because they all meld together so seamlessly. I saw nothing "bad" at all.

Oh, wait, maybe the last paragraph.

"Very funny," Sam said, taking the napkin, grabbing a donut, and heading toward the door.

I thought that seemed like it could be sarcastic. Of course, we know the hero likes her and is giving a compliment, but it comes across as slightly matter-of-fact.

Other than that, it's very easy to see why Johnene bought this one.

Photo by Charleston's TheDigitel

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Must Love Dogs

by Karen Thurber from the June 7, 2013 issue

Tagline: Jenna worried she might be lonely when she moved from the city to a small town. Then she met Matt...

In a Nutshell: Online dog treat entrepreneur Jenna isn't sure she's going to like living in a small town. She hits it off with the postmaster when she's mailing her parents' anniversary gift and realizes she does like it after all.

Observations: This story had several things going for it, Woman's World-wise.

1. It tried to show how nice small towns are. Sometimes I think Woman's World readers exist in a vacuum of perpetual Americana, or maybe that Johnene thinks they do. Either way, the goodwill of small town America always seems to be welcome within the pages of Woman's World.

2. There are dogs in the story. 'Nuff said.

3. Thurber included a Sentimental Item - Jenna's grandmother's wedding ring.

4. She also created an hero
ic hero. In WW, heroic behavior can take the form of gallantry and here, Matt offers to pay for the postage when Jenna realizes she left her wallet.

My Favorite Part: "I'm the postmaster...and you're new in town.

"Still unpacking," Jenna said. "I guess you know most everyone."

"Not most everyone. Everyone," he said, flashing a warm smile.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Matchmaking Neighbors

by Marie Savage from the June 10, 2013 issue

Tagline: If only Mrs. Nelson next door would take the hint: Katie didn't need any help meeting guys...or did she?

In A Nutshell: Katie's neighbor, Mrs. N, is a self-styled matchmaker. Katie expects her to try again, but is surprised when Mrs. N only asks Katie to let a plumber in while they're away. The plumber comes and through conversation, they realize that Mrs. N created a perfect storm.

Observations: As you may know, I have three workshops geared toward teaching people how to write and sell romance stories to Woman's World. In one of the "advanced" classes I talk about the matchmaking story.

Here's an excerpt from the workshop in which I describe how the straight matchmaker story differs from a blind date story.

1.  There may not be an actual date.

·      The hero and heroine may meet, but soon they realize—surprise!—they’ve been set up. But the magic happens anyway, and the date gets planned.
·      They may be at the matchmaker’s house for dinner or whatever. Sometimes the matchmaker is there to oversee everything. Sometimes they may contrive to be absent.
·      The matchmaker arranges for the hero and heroine to meet at an event, like the school carnival, the blood drive, the Annual Rubber Ducky Regatta, etc.
·      One of the matchees is a professional painter, plumber, piano teacher, etc. and the other matchee needs that service. What a coincidence!

2. The matchmaker may actually appear and/or play a large part in the story. There was one tale I remember told from the point of view of the matchmaker herself. That was a refreshing twist on the cliché.

3. And once in a while, the matchmaker is unaware they’re playing Cupid. They drop an offhand comment that gets the hero or heroine thinking romantically, and the rest is history.

This story by Savage is a combination of the #1 variations, solidly written, but not particularly memorable for me. I did laugh at this line, though.

Mrs. Nelson was at it again.

Photo by Spierzchala (cc)