Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Laughing All the Way

by Shelley Cooper from the March 23, 2015 issue

Once just neighbors and friends, Naomi and Jacob now saw each other through the eyes of love...

In a Nutshell
When the mother of the bride cries at the wedding and reception, the father of the groom tries to get her to laugh. As they reminisce about how their son and daughter fell in love, awareness of him flickers in the mom.

OMG. I totally teared up reading this one and I haven't done that in a long time. It was this line that did it:

"And what did that wonderful girl of yours..." He stopped, took a long breath, then cleared his throat. "What did Janey do when Julian came home from Afghanistan, broken in body and spirit?"

That pause as the dad has to rein in his emotions? And the fact that Julian was a soldier? I was a goner. I'd love to see in the comments below how many of you got misty as well.

While there was a slight info dump via dialogue when the mom answers that question (As you know, Bob...), I just glossed over it, anxious to find out what happened outside of that hospital room.

Then, there's the moment when Naomi realizes. Another big sigh. Cooper captured that moment perfectly. This is something that I sometimes notice is not done enough in Woman's World stories, especially ones that I edit. I know the word count is extremely tight, but if you're going to skimp, the emotional payoff moment is not the place to do it.

Also, notice that there is no black moment. None was needed, which is really interesting to me and worth noting.

Photo credit: Brian Reid via Flickr Creative Commons

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Healing Hearts

by Shannon Fay from the March 15, 2015 issue

Jamie worked so hard she had not time for love. Fortunately, her BFF was there to set her straight!

In a Nutshell
Jamie's BFF is laid up with a broken leg at the hospital Jamie works at. She's a bit miffed when the friend flirts with the guy she's had her eye on but was too shy to approach. But the friend turns out to be a crafty matchmaker.

Who among us hasn't longed for someone from afar? That's what makes this type of story so accessible to Woman's World readers. We've all also wished we had a forthcoming friend like Tara who goes that extra mile to help you out.

Characterization - I thought Paul could have used a tiny bit more personality, but maybe there just wasn't room.

Story Structure - The black moment comes at the middle of the story, which sometimes happens in Woman's World stories, as opposed to regular fiction. Perhaps it's the extreme brevity. Who knows? Anyway, it works. When Jamie sees her friend laughing it up with Paul, that's when you think all is lost. Jamie's shyness robbed her of her chance and now she's going to have to suffer through watching her best friend date the man she's had her eye on all this time.

Luckily, the best friend turns out to be a true friend after all and everything works out. I liked how in the end, Paul grew a backbone. Go Paul!

Photo credit: COD Newsroom via Flickr Creative Commons

Monday, March 16, 2015

Shameless Self-Promotion

I know this is a place for Woman's World discussions, but my book is coming out today and I have to shout it everywhere I can!

OUT OF THE GAME is the third book in my hockey romance series from Carina Press. It's very different from my Woman's World stories.

This book has sex.

There are F-bombs aplenty. (They're professional hockey players. They probably came out of the womb cussing.)

Speaking of F-bombs, there are scenes full of what I like to call "man banter," with men just being men, with no filters. These guys love to prank each other and put each other down, like guys are wont to do to show how much they love one another. :)

Here's a short excerpt.

Set up: For the past couple of days, the guys on the team have creating paintings to sell at an auction for charity. Claire has been helping them with the painting part, since they're athletes, not artists...

Hart picked up some more gold paint on his brush. “You know of course that they’re all going to call you Sarge now.”

Claire sighed. “Now you tell me.”

“It’s good,” Hart said. “If you’re going to be a hockey girlfriend, you need a nickname.”

“What is it with hockey players and nicknames?”

“What, does Alex have a nickname for you?” Ford asked.

“Bet he does,” Booth MacDonald said. “Tell us what it is.”

“No. It’s personal.”

“He calls her Cream Puff,” Dev said as he came into the studio.

“Dev, what are you doing here?” Claire asked.

“I wanted to check up on these guys and see how bad they were screwing up.”

“He calls her Cream Puff?” MacDonald asked.

“Yup. Heard him call her that yesterday.”

Claire got a nervous feeling in her stomach. “Come on, guys. How about you forget you ever heard that?”

MacDonald looked at Rutherford. Rutherford looked at Carpenter. Dev shrugged. Claire held her breath.

“Not a chance,” MacDonald said. “In fact, I’m having a vision of the future in which someone—I’m not saying who—finds a cream puff in his helmet.”

“Or his jock,” Rutherford said.

MacDonald pointed his paint brush at Rutherford. “Bingo.”

Claire cursed.

“Welcome to the world of hockey,” Hart said, patting her on the shoulder. 

If this sounds like your thing, grab yourself a copy of OUT OF THE GAME. Or start at the beginning with book one, ON THE SURFACE, which is only $.99 right now on Amazon.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

This Is For You

by Karen M. Leet from the March 9, 2015 issue

Gareth had met the woman of his dreams that morning. Now, it seemed, he'd let her get away...

In a Nutshell: Gareth gets off the bus before he can get this fascinating woman's name. Because he's a radio DJ, he uses the broadcast to try and find her.

I loved this story. It started out a tad slow for me. It wasn't until the middle of the story, when Gareth was executing the idea his buddy had, that I got interested. I thought it was funny how so many women called in, claiming to be "the woman on the bus." (And what idiots, because the minute he met them, he'd know she wasn't the right woman. Duh.)

I thought their solution to finding the real woman was very clever and her note was just right.

Because the beginning was a bit slow, I maybe would have liked to see some of the real conversation, or maybe just their goodbye. Or maybe you liked it just fine the way it was.

Photo Credit: Ross Murray vai Flickr Creative Commons

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Something Sweet

by April Serock from the March 2, 3015 issue

Jaime had worked with Brandon for two years, but somehow she'd never seen him--or the love in his eyes...

In a Nutshell
Jaime and Brandon both wait tables at a pub. She is coming off a bad relationship with a guy who cheated on her. She realizes she needs to date nice guys, not handsome ones, and guess who's the nicest guy she knows?

First thing, I was excited to see that they weren't waiting tables in a small town cafe. Been there, done that a few times in Woman's World. It's a pub. In New York City, no less!

This was a friends-to-lovers type plot, one that's a favorite among many romance readers. What I wanted to point out was that the high-point of the story where there was the most tension was not an emotional black moment where you worry that they won't get together. Instead, it was Jaime having an epiphany. It's always nice to see one of the main characters growing as a person. You're always rooting for them to figure it out and you feel proud of them when they do.

I liked the romance of the snowfall in the city and that they were going to walk through it and I really liked the last line too. Sometimes it gets a little tedious to get those so carefully contrived last lines, so this one was a pleasant change of pace.

Photo credit: Richard Hurd via Flickr Creative Commons

Monday, March 2, 2015

Forever and For Always

by Shoshana Brown from the February 23, 2015 issue


Eric was the love of Sherry's life--and the only one who could calm her pre-wedding fears!

In a Nutshell

Sherry is having second thoughts because she gave Eric an ultimatum. He reassures her he truly does want to marry her.

This is the first time I've seen a story about pre-wedding jitters. At the risk of repeating myself, I thought it was a novel idea for a story. I liked Eric a lot. He seemed like a great guy. Danni, the maid of honor, was terrific too.

Reading this story reminds me that one way to "attack" a story about an already-established couple is to identify a crisis moment or a problem like this and then get them past it, together. These types of stories are usually about the woman being afraid of something that has to do with their relationship. During the course of the story she is reassured. Sometimes it's a friend who helps her along. Sometimes she figures it out on her own. Sometimes, as in this story, the man reassures her. It's a nice option to consider if you're tired of writing first meet stories.

Photo credit: Suzie2q via Flickr Creative Commons