The first annual Women’s Fiction Day is this Saturday, June 8th! Women’s fiction is about the emotional journey of the protagonist, how she grows and changes throughout the story. It can include elements or romance, suspense, paranormal, sci-fi, fantasy, and more as long as the emotional journey is the reason for the story.
Today I finished We Hope for Better Things by Rachel Bartels, a fellow member of the Women’s Fiction Writers Association. It’s about three women from separate generations of one family and the racial issues of their times that influenced their lives. Four stars. I was lucky and snagged an Advance Reader’s Copy (pre-pub) copy at work.
Next, I’m on to giving Nora Roberts another try. I picked up Whiskey Beach from the Library the other day. I’ve tried her once or twice before and could never finish a book. Same with Daniel Steele and Nicholas Sparks. I’ve never been one to fall for what’s extremely popular.
I’m also reading The Recovering by Leslie Jamison. It’s another advance copy I picked up from the library I used to work at. Ms. Jamison is a recovering alcoholic. I’m still at the beginning and she’s talking her drinking experience when she was a student at the Iowa Writer’s Workshop. Evidently, she was in good company, past and present.
I’ve lost that urgency to write that I had for about the first 10 years of my writing career, if you can call it that. I still write almost every day, but am easily distracted and fairly unproductive when I sit down at the computer. I’m back to Lilyland 3, tentative title Frame by Frame, Shot by Shot. I lost focus on Lily and Charlie’s relationship and my muse pointed that out to me by means of something related to editing. I’m currently rewriting part one and hoping to greatly reduce the word count.
The kind you go on with a special someone. Not the fruit.
The only other D word I considered was dogs and I’ve only had 2 of them and I just did cats.
The first date my husband and I went on was to a Lebanese restaurant in Waterville, Maine. It was across the street from his apartment. It was pretty popular but I always thought it was a bit out of place in Maine, but what did I know? I forget what we had. After that we had to go to something for our job (where we met.) I remember we held pinkies during the speaker.
I didn’t go on a lot of dates. Being a fat girl even then, I guess I didn’t generate much interest. I responded to a couple of ads in the Maine Times paper and met the guys. But meh–on both ends.
So, to liven things up, we’ll accompany Lily and Charlie on a date in their early relationship to the opening night of the Phoenix Film Festival. Which coincidentally opens here tomorrow night. (From Another Place on the Planet, Ch. 6)
My heart jumped into my throat when I looked out the peephole and saw Charlie waiting. “Calm. Down.” I whispered. It was only yesterday that I’d last seen him.
“Hey, Charlie,” I said warmly as I opened my door. My heart flipped at the sight of him in suit and tie.
“Lily Mayfield,” he crowed. “Good glory, girl. Let me look at you!”
Heat rose to my face, as I twirled once. He looked me over from top to bottom and back to the top. “Wow. That’s one lucky dress.”
His hands on my shoulders sent a shiver through me I knew he felt. Embarrassed by my uncontrolled reaction, I looked down.
“You’re stunning, Lily. Absolutely breathtaking,” he said gently.
“Thank you again,” I murmured.
“I’m sure you don’t hear that nearly enough. I have a little gift for you.” He pulled a jeweler’s box from his interior jacket pocket.
Caught completely off guard, I gasped. “That was entirely unnecessary.”
“It’s been a long time since I had a beautiful woman to give gifts to.”
The box held a slim circle bracelet shaped like a vine and studded with some small light colored gemstones. I slipped it on my wrist.
“Charlie, it’s lovely! Thank you!” Impulsively, I threw my arms around his neck. His response was to hold me to himself for a few seconds and kiss my cheek. Not much, but his breath in my ear was enough to cause the underutilized private places of my body to spring to life.
He pulled away abruptly and said with a husky voice, “Well, let’s get going, shall we?”
“Oh! A new car,” I said in the parking lot. “What kind is it?”
He opened the door and held my hand as I lowered myself into the seat. The supple gray leather caressed my body with luxurious comfort. “I think I’m finding this Maserati sexier than your Ferrari if that’s even possible.”
He laughed as we roared through the parking lot of my apartment complex.
“You look very nice, by the way,” I said. “Damn delicious, actually.” I slapped my hands over my mouth, shocked at my boldness.
He looked over at me, his smile soft in the spring sunset light. “Guys like to be appreciated, too, you know.”
“You’re very easy to appreciate. God, I’m sorry. I’ll stop now.”
He chuckled, caught my hand and raised it to his lips, thrilling goosebumps to glorious life. I hugged myself and turned to the window.
“You okay over there?” he asked.
“Sure, just keeping my mouth shut to stay out of trouble.” I recrossed my legs and pretended I was the cool, sophisticated woman I wanted to be.
He laughed again, and I got the impression it was something in his natural God-ordained personality he would do a lot if the hard things of life left him alone for a while.
“Congratulations on your award, by the way,” I said. “Thanks for letting me know.”
“Oops!” he said with a chuckle. “It’s nothing. I didn’t do anything to deserve it.”
“Well, the Phoenix Film Foundation believes you’ve contributed to the community.”
“I’m on the board of directors and have a recognizable name.”
“That’s a result of your hard work and integrity. Why did you get involved here?”
He rubbed his jaw before he responded. “When I was building my house and thinking we’d be living here, I jumped into a few things but dropped out of everything but this. Maybe I’ll start a production company here one day.”
People pointed at the Maserati as we drove through the shopping center parking lot to the theater. With his hand on my back, we mingled with film buffs of all stripes. His charm enchanted everyone, and I was arm candy—which amazed me. All I did was grin like an idiot, standing with his arm around my waist. Often he would look down at me with appreciation, that seldom-seen expression. If I didn’t force myself to focus on the conversation, my thoughts raced to the future and all the possibilities, including how this could end and how much it would hurt, even if we spent no more time together.
Charlie received his Visionary Award from the film foundation’s president and gave a short speech. I stood with the rest of the audience for a resounding ovation. He remained onstage for a photo, then motioned for me to join him. “This is Lily Mayfield,” he told the press. “One day in the not too distant future, she’ll be making her own films.”
“Any plans, Ms. Mayfield?” someone asked.
“Nothing definite,” I said with a slight laugh.
“Your first encounter with the paparazzi,” Charlie said as we walked away.
Welcome back to mt 2019 a to Z Blog challenge, day 2. Obviously.
Other possible B topics for today included birthday (mine is on Saturday!) bullsh!t, babies, beds, bathtubs and binge watching. I’m going with baseball. Obviously.
Note: If my posts are funky-looking, blame WordPress. They haven’t been allowing me to see previews lately. And I’m still figuring out this new block editor.
I used to watch the Phillies on TV with my dad, circa late 1960s to early ’70s. I found it easier to understand than football. Since I was a girl, the closest I could get to being a player was being a players wife. I figured my husband would be gone a lot and I could be independent but spend lots of the money he made. The closest I got to that is that my real husband, an ace pitcher in high school, was scouted by the pros, and got a baseball scholarship to Marrietta College. But in his senior year, he was in a major car accident (before I knew him). His recovery, while miraculous, wasn’t complete enough to allow him to be competitive.
As a kid, late elementary, early middle school, I sent away for the Phillie’s yearbook because I didn’t get to the stadium until after high school even though we were less than 2 hours away. I copied pictures of the players in action. Once when pitcher Steve Carlton was having a bad run, I sent him a letter of encouragement. For my efforts, I received an authographed photo, seen here. For some reason I kept it all these years.
I used to get really caught up in games and playoffs and championships. I was highly emotional, cussing, crying, all that. It wasn’t until I was an adult I realized the value of turning all that off. Wins and losses of my favorite teams didn’t affect my life at all. I never got one nickel if my team won the World Series. But now, as an Arizona Diamondbacks fan, I get great pleasure from detesting the Dodgers.
I even add baseball to my fiction writing. (Actually, there is a subgenre of Romance about baseball players. Here’s a scene from one of my published novels.
Another Place on the Planet, the start of Chapter 5, Snickerdoodles
Charlie continued to brood as we ambled around central Phoenix, my hand warmly in his. It seemed more like a habit than an intentional sign of affection. Not that I minded. I liked being seen like that.
“I wonder,” I said
absently as we walked past Chase Field on Jefferson Street, “if the
Diamondbacks open the season at home this year.”
“You like baseball?” he
asked with the first smile I’d seen in a while.
“I do. I’ve been hoping
to meet someone to go to games with.”
“If I go to some games
here with you, you’ll have to go to Dodgers games with me in L.A.,” he said.
“Yikes!” I cried with
mock—mostly—fear. “Going to L.A. to see the Dodgers? That might be a little
more trauma than you’re worth.”
“What do you have
against the Dodgers?” he asked, his step lightening a little.
“Everything. It’s a Phoenix thing. Like hating the Braves is a Philly thing.”
“A beautiful woman who loves baseball and understands its rivalries. I’m in heaven.” He kissed my cheek as we waited for the light to change. His mood seemed to lift a bit. Mine did.
Later in the book, there’s a poignant scene at a Diamondbacks game.
So, that’s a very brief history of my affection for baseball. Thanks for reading! Feel free to leave a comment about how baseball has impacted your life. Or any other kind of comment. As long it’s friendly.
It’s early on November 15th, 2016 and my NaNo word count is at 30,000 and change. 5000 words ahead, 20,000 more to go to win at 50,000.
I’me being a NaNo rebel this year, meaning I’m not writing a new novel, I’m doing whatever the heck I want. I don’t really need a new story in my head at this point.
Here’s what I’m doing instead:
Continuing to revise Killing Julie. This started out as What Deosn’t Kill You for 2010’s NaNo. I had started to revise it a few years ago, but it got lost on my broken hard drive, but that’s okay. I’m liking this better. For NaNo I’m adding 2 new points of view, one first person POV (as is Julie’s) for the love interest Dan and one 3rd person that will cover Julie’s experiences with her psycho ex-lover. I changed the title becaseu there are literally thousands of book and series title that use What Doesn’t Kill You somehow.
Here’s the premise: Three things converge on Julie to change her happily productive although lonely life in Phoenix, Arizona. She’s diagnosed with a rare leukemia in an advanced stage. Dan walks into her shop and her life. Through Dan, accidentally, she encounters Craig, her ex-lover from who she escaped and gave up her promising career in L.A. as a costume designer. Craig is not a nice man.
Continuing with Lilyland book 3, Places Like Home. That’s the working title. I have lots of it written but kept getting stuck with the beginning part, but I’m getting that worked out. I don’t work on it as often as Julie at this point.
Premise: Lily marries David and adopts his special needs daughter. She’s tapped to direct the first film of the reboot of a major fantasy/sci-fi franchise and encounters sexism in many forms, more than ever. A devasting loss sinks Lily almost to the bottom, but with a young child she can’t afford to stay there.
I’ve set up and gone to two write-ins, where WriMos meet somewhere with their writing instruments and write, chat, write, chat, etc. Because of write-ins, November is my most social month. Because I’m a dork.
Oh yeah, and because I’m a NaNo Rebel this year, these 372 blog words count toward my 50,000.
A Facebook writer friend who lives in Israel posted that someone gave her an MLB something for her birthday and now she can watch the Dodgers. She used to live in Los Angeles.
That reminded me of the baseball rivalries of my life. I touch upon this topic in Another Place on the Planet.
“I wonder,” I (Lily) said absently as we walked past Chase Field on Jefferson Street, “if the Diamondbacks open the season at home this year.”
“You like baseball?” he (Charlie) asked with the first smile I’d seen in a while.
“I do. I’ve been hoping to meet someone to go to games with.”
“If I go to some games here with you, you’ll have to go to Dodgers games with me in L.A.,” he said.
“Yikes!” I cried with mock—mostly—fear. “Going to L.A. to see the Dodgers? That might be a little more trauma than you’re worth.”
“What do you have against the Dodgers?” he asked, his step lightening a little.
“Everything. It’s a Phoenix thing. Like hating the Yankees is a Boston thing.”
“A beautiful woman who loves baseball and understands its rivalries. I’m in heaven.” He kissed my cheek as we waited for the light to change. His mood seemed to lift a bit. Mine did.
Dbacks General Manager Kevin Towers. He probably never said this, but probably wanted too. I know I’ve wanted to hit Puig in the face. At least.
I grew up in eastern Pennsylvania watching baseball with my Dad. The Phillies. Occasionally the Mets. I tried football but didn’t understand it very well. Baseball I could keep track of. A few season, I sent away for theyear book. Once when the star pitcher at the time, Steve Carlton, was having a bad season, I sent him a letter of encouragement and was awarded an autographed photo for my effort. I think I still have it. I also drew a poster of various players copied from photos in the yearbook. Guys in white and red uniforms on a blue background. Guess I was a baseball geek at the time.
This is the photo I received that was autographed by Carlton. It would take all day to find the actual photo. longer if I don’t have it any more
When we moved to Maine in 1975 for my dad’s midlife crisis (there really is something to be said about getting a sports car your family won’t fit in as opposed to forcing them all to move to another state and subculture, dads) we became Red Sox fans and I learned about rivalries in baseball. That the Red Sox Nation (although it wasn’t called that at the time because TV was harder back then) detested anything to do with the New York Yankees. That’s just how it is. If you’re a Yankees fan in New England you had better be tough. We all know how much fun it is to hate a rival, even though we know if our location was New York, we’d hate the Boston Red Sox.
In Maine and I met and fell in love with my native New England husband and appreciated the Red Sox even more. (He was actually scouted by several major league teams in high school, but a book-adapted-into-a-movie worthy car accident ended his baseball career when he was a senior.) We even got to a few games at venerated Fenway in Boston.(I saw the Yaz hit one of his last homeruns.)
He quickly adopted the Phillies when we move to Pennsylvania. The Phillies rivalry with the Braves was in full swing, made worse by the fact the Braves almost always tromped the Phightin’ Phils.
After 20 years, we ended up in the Phoenix area with the Diamondbacks and marveled at how easy it is to get to games in downtown Phoenix at Chase Field as opposed to the nightmare of Philadelphia.
The Dbacks have only been around since the late 1990s and the state of Arizona still has Dodger holdover fans from when there wasn’t a major league team here. Plus the thug element sides with the Dodgers because they’re a bunch of thugs anyway. This was perfectly illustrated when, after winning pennant in a postseason game, the LA thugs desecrated the pool at Chase Field by jumping the outfield fence and rollicking in it, cleats and all. Every Dback fan there ever was was supremely insulted by that deliberate action of disrespect, as was the intention.
Lord, help me forgive.
But sometimes, you have to put the rivalries aside. Our lovely daughter fell in love with a Yankees fan (and a New York Giants fan which is hard to ignore when you grew up in Eagles territory.) This was something we had to work through. She was with us (albeit in my belly) when we witnessed Yaz and his homerun at Fenway. But we decided to love him anyway, for the sake of our daughter. As far as we can tell, being a New York fan is his only fault. But he grew up there, so you can’t blame him too much. If he grew up in New England and was a Yankees fan, that would be a completely different story. We might have had to disown our daughter.
Not really. We’re not hardcore. It’s just fun. When you finally realize it’s only a game and your life won’t change one iota if your team wins or loses, even the World Series. (I’m talking about you, 1986 Red Sox) you can let go of the red-hot-gut-churning-soul-consuming anger of being defeated by the entity you hate more than ever hated anything in the history of your existence (and oh, how we know that agony, given the histories of these teams) and move on and live a normal life.
Mine might be a little different from the other books on this hop. (The story of my life.) My writing tends to be a bit on the serious side, more like the classic definition of Women’s Fiction.
Honestly, I was a bit disappointed in myself when I realized that Lily the protagonist of my Lilyland Trilogy* is a Cinderella spin-off. I thought I was being more clever than that. But, I became okay with it. After all, the rags-to-riches Cinderella theme has been popular in many cultures for centuries. In other words, it works.
Cinderella planted a tree at her mother’s grave. When she needed dresses (she went to the ball on three different days) she went to the tree and asked the birds who lived for a dress. Each time the dress was more magnificent than the last.
Like Cinderella, my Lily starts off as underappreciated. Knocked down by life, she’s having a hard time getting back up. Her step-mother is Insecurity. Her stepsisters Shame and Guilt. During that time, she meets a Prince Charming Charlie (a bad boy and accomplished film director)at a fund-raising gala—like a ball. They light each other up during the evening of dancing and conversation, even exchanging phone numbers, but neither initiates contact.
Maybe her golden slipper is her smile and the way she touches Charlie’s heart. A twist of fate reunites them a year later, and the magic is still there. He even calls her princess…
“Thank you, Lily.” His solemn expression turned into something goofy, something I hadn’t seen yet. “I keep wanting to call you Princess.”
“Princess? Like on your phone?”
“The night we met you said you felt like a princess.”
“So I did.”
…and invites her to an elite party in Los Angeles where he lives and works. Lily is unaccustomed to the lifestyle of the rich and famous and she’s helped by several of Charlie’s women friends to dress for the occasion. She even compares herself to Cinderella.
“I have something for you,” Charlie said and opened a black case he had been holding. “These are only leased, mind you.”
“You think of everything, don’t you?” I whispered in awe. “Thank you so much! They’re beautiful.”
In front of the hall mirror he placed a simple but elegant diamond necklace on me and clasped it. Sophie and Rachel each inserted an earring.
“Thank you, everyone,” I said. “I feel like Cinderella with all the birds and bunnies dressing her for the ball.”
(Yes, from the Disney version. Face palm.) Birds help our heroine in the Grimm’s version.
Of course, there are several differences. In Lily’s story is we get to see her life after she lands the prince and gains the castle. In fairy tales, we never see the prince’s flaws. Lily’s Prince Charlie has a few of them. The biggie is his sex addiction, putting happily-ever-after in serious jeopardy. We also never see the day-to-day life. Does Cinderella spend the day inspecting the palace’s cleaning staff and offering handy household hints she learned during her years of oppression sweeping hearths and picking peas and lentils from ashes? Does she train birds and design slippers? Lily eagerly jumps in as Charlie’s production company and film directing partner. No Real Housewife life for her!
Cinderella’s slipper was actually “golden” and not glass as in the versions we’re used to. One stepsister cut off a toe and the other her heel to get their feet in the magic shoe.
Another difference is age. Lily is a middle-aged Cinderella with a grown daughter and a painfully failed marriage. And her prince may display charming behavior, but he’s no kid in search of his first wife.
In Grimm version of fairy tales, the baddies are always brought to justice. The good girls and guys always win, unlike real life sometimes. Lily’s princess life throughout the trilogy has its share of challenges that take the composure, wisdom and grace of a queen to handle. Does she get her happily-ever-after? Read Lilyland and find out.
To enter the blog hop contest for a chance to win the prize described below. Simply answer my question below in the comment section here on this blog. You must include your email address so the winner can be notified. Entries without email address won’t be qualified for the contest. (You won’t be subscribed to anything. Promise!) Open to US addresses only. But, I’d love your comment if your not in the US. Winner will be drawn by Rafflecopter on Feb. 16, 2015 and notified by email.
Congratulations Sprite 24 Gift Box from Fairytale Brownies which includes a snack-size assortment (Caramel, Chocolate Chip, Mint Chocolate, Original, Peanut Butter, Pecan, Raspberry Swirl, Toffee Crunch, Walnut, White Chocolate, Espresso Nib, Cream Cheese) of 24 delicious gourmet brownies
Question– Even though Lily’s prince has a huge character defect, she gives him a shot. Well, plenty of shots. What would be a deal breaker for your prince? Loud beer burps? Leaving his underwear where you step on it or leaving the toilet seat up? Picking on your mom? Enter your deal breaker in the comments.
Visit with each of these #chicklitlove authors and leave a comment (and email address!) for another entry in the Brownie contest.
Starting Tuesday Feb. 10, I’ll be participating in The Fairy Tale Blog Hop with other authors of women’s fiction and chick lit from the ChickLitHQ FaceBook group. A bunch of us will be comparing one of our characters to a princess–fairy tale or otherwise.
At each stop, you can post a comment for a chance to win a brownie assortment from Fairy Tale Brownies.
Curious to see what fairy tale princess Lily reminds me of? Watch my social media for a link or just hop back here!
Too much to do! I can’t think! Oh no! Oh My God! What to do next? covers? Final read-through? Look for promo sites? Write long and short blurbs and back cover copy? How do I get a email newsletter sign-up on my blog?
I don’t know!
Ugh. That was my brain exploding. If a piece landed on you, please send it back. I need it.
I’m getting ready to publish Places Bright and Dark, book 2 of Lilyland. It seems like it’s taken forever to get this far, but not as forever as the first book. Like the week before opening night of a play, it’s crazy-town. So much to do! Will it ever get done?
Of course it will. And unlike opening night, there’s no set time. I have time to stitch on that last bit of lace that will make that Shakespearean costume complete, time to sweep the stage, clean the house toilets and vacuum the green room. Unlike a curtain that doesn’t rise on time, no one will notice my book didn’t come out.
Because I didn’t set an exact date. Bwahahahaha!
And even then…
But I do have a few fans waiting. They politely remind they are. And that is so nice!
Give my cover ideas a look. Here’s the blurb:
Lilyland book 2, Places Bright and Dark: Lily’s fairy tale continues when she and Charlie marry. He flourishes in recovery from sex addiction and their business, film and personal projects thrive. Even though the 12 Steps and service to the program and other addicts are a huge part of everyday life, Lily is grateful for the stability and friendships she’s gained from attending co-addict meetings at the same time as Charlie’s Sex Addicts Anonymous meetings. They’re surrounded by supportive friends and healed family relationships.
But the fairy tale gets real, and challenges have a domino effect on Charlie’s sobriety. Each episode of his acting out sexually—or is he simply making his same old choices?—wears on Lily’s heart, soul and determination to love him, no matter what. Remembering the dark end of her first marriage, Lily has to make her own choices in order to preserve the bright places she regained during her good years with the wounded Charlie.
Here are cover ideas…so far. The final one will be tweaked with more info and a few finishing touches. Comment here or on Facebook with your vote! Thanks!
Drum Roll, please! (Keep it going until my book is live on Kindle.) Thanks!
Good grief. The trials of a truly indie author. By truly indie, I mean too poor to be able to afford editors, formatters, etc. Not that I’m complaining. Being able to do all this is a joy and privilege I never expected to have.
Last year, I decided to republish my fist book, Another Place on the Planet. I hadn’t sold one in a while and was never really satisfied with the cover and knew of some issues that needed to be fixed. In the meantime, my mother passed away and my husband was diagnosed and then successfully treated for cancer. My brain just wasn’t in the place to do the technical side of things.
I worked on other projects, finishing up book 2 of LIlyland, then doing the rough draft of book 3. Then I spent weeks and months on Word and Scrivener perfecting formatting to the best of my ability only to have it look less than wonderful when Kindle got a hold of it. I designed a new cover.
There are people who do these kinds of things for indie writers and I hope in the future to be able to afford them so I can spend more time writing. I also hope that next time I make a cover or format a manuscript I can remember what I learned during the previous bouts of learning. I like learning and don’t mind the kind of work that needs to be done, but…
So, as I write this, Kindle is in the process of publishing my book. I hope the margins and paragraph indentations are as pretty as I made them in the writing program. They weren’t last time…sigh.
In the meantime, I can update Pinterest, post some tweets, figure out how to use Google+ and network with other writers. Oh. And write the other books.
I’ll post a link in the sidebar to Kindle when I have it all prettified. While you wait, you can read the first chapter here under the My Books tab.
Writing and publishing independent of traditional publishing is perfect for me. Lilyland probably wouldn’t have a home otherwise. It’s the story of Lily, and secondly Charlie who are believers in God and Jesus, aka Christians, but struggle a lot with their faith and their behavior. It’s probably too Christian for regular publishers and not Christian enough for Christian publishers, what with the sex and swearing that even they themselves do. But it’s the story that came out. I like it. I hope you do, too.