May 26, 2015

in the end

I've been thinking about endings a lot lately. It probably has everything to do with Parks and Recreation and Mad Men airing their series finales. I'd imagine The Mindy Project's cliffhanger of a season finale also has something to do with it (and the fact that I would have had sleepless nights if Hulu hadn't stepped up to air Season 4).

Watching these final episodes stirred something in me, which naturally led to my considering endings as a reader and writer. I definitely have a set of standards for what I like best in endings.
  • I like to be surprised.
  • I like the characters to end up in a better place (even if it's only a little better or optimistic) than where they began.
  • I like it to move quickly and not drag out.
  • I only like epilogues if they're quick and not too spoilery, because...
  • I like to be left with room to interpret what else could have happened next beyond what occurred on the page and screen.
Okay, so maybe that isn't as brief of a list at seemed in my head, but there it is. And it's funny that I haven't given this a ton of thought until recently, because I realize this has always been the case. Maybe it's because I have an overactive imagination. Like in The Velveteen Rabbit, once I love characters they become real to me. And I like to imagine their stories for myself.

This is likely the reason I'm not a big fan of sequels coming out years after the previous installments. Even though the author/filmmaker probably knows best for their story, in my mind I've already told it. And I don't want to be wrong. (Which is why I won't watch The Little Mermaid 2: Return to the Sea or read Mad About the Boy.)

This is also why when you read one of my stories, the ending isn't long and leaves room for you to keep imagining what else could happen. Brevity is beautiful, but more importantly, I think a story is like a party. You should arrive late enough that the fun is already in progress and leave before you're asked to go (or worse, clean up). If there is enough of a story to tell after the story, well, you can always throw another party, right?

Anyway, this is just my rambling take. I'm curious about your thoughts, though. What do you like best in an ending as a reader/viewer/creator?

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May 19, 2015

interview with the author of 'the truth about ellen'

I'm delighted to welcome Sarah Louise Smith back to the blog, this time to talk about her new novel, The Truth About Ellen, which is now available. Congratulations, Sarah, on the new release. It sounds like a great one.

Change the Word: Can you tell us a little about your book?
Sarah Louise Smith: The Truth About Ellen is about a girl who meets Tom, a guy from a band she used to be a huge fan of in her teen years. She doesn’t mention she was a fan, or that she once spent an evening with Jasper, Tom’s ex-bandmate – or that Jasper is her long-term celebrity crush. Things get complicated when Jasper tries to get back in touch with Tom…

CTW: What inspired you to tell this story?
SLS: It’s been swirling in my mind for a long, long time. I used to get obsessive about bands when I was a teen, and I guess a lot of the inspiration comes from there – my imagination getting carried away!

CTW: Where do you find your ideas to write?
SLS: I’m always writing down little ideas that come to me during every day life, often just a conversation or a ‘what if’ question that lingers in my mind for a while will then turn into a whole story.

CTW: How do you come up with your book titles?
SLS: I guess I started a theme with my books to include the protagonist’s name, so I was always going to include ‘Ellen’ in there. In this case, there’s actually a line in the book where someone says it’s time to learn “the truth about Ellen” so this seemed to bit nicely.

CTW: How has your writing process evolved since writing your debut novel?
SLS: I’m much more dedicated and determined. I guess having got on board with a publisher and received nice feedback from readers has made me feel it’s worthwhile and given me a confidence boost. Having said that, I’ve still got those pre-launch nerves; I hope everyone likes book 4!

CTW: How do you stay motivated to keep writing?
SLS: I just keep reminding myself how much I want to put stories out there. But it doesn’t take much motivation; I enjoy writing and have always done it for pleasure most of all. I don’t put pressure on myself to write on a regular basis.

CTW: If you were holding a dinner party and could invite three writers (living or deceased) who would be on your guest list and why?
SLS: Ooh nice question! Jane Austen (I adore her books, she’s like the original rom com author). Marian Keyes (I enjoy her books but I also find her hilarious, follow her on Twitter and you’ll see why… she’d be fun at a dinner table). And Paige Toon – my fave modern chick-lit author.

CTW: What is the best book you have read recently?
SLS: Zanna’s MacKenzie’s Amber Reed stories, they’re fun romantic stories but with a murder mystery twist – highly recommend them!

CTW: What is the best piece of advice you have ever received about your writing career?
SLS: To never give up. Even when you get a rejection or a bad review; if you love writing then you gotta keep writing.

CTW: What's up next for you?
SLS: I’ve got a bunch of ideas for book 5, but I haven’t sat down and actually started writing it yet. Watch this space! Thanks so much for having me, Laura! :)

About The Truth About Ellen
It’s every girl’s dream to date a pop star...  
When Ellen starts dating Tom, a member of the band she adored as a teenager, she can’t believe how lucky she is.  
She neglects to mention that she's a huge fan because that just wouldn’t be cool, would it?  
Ellen also keeps quiet about how she once spent an evening with Tom’s ex-bandmate/ex-best friend Jasper, her long-term celebrity crush. Tom doesn’t need to know about that, it’s all in the past.  
That is until Tom and Jasper get back in touch… and the truth threatens to ruin everything Ellen has ever dreamed of...
Buy the Book
Amazon UK
Amazon US

About Sarah Louise Smith
Sarah Louise Smith lives in Milton Keynes, England with her husband, step-daughter, loopy golden retriever and cheeky tortie cat.

Sarah has been writing stories since she can remember and has so far completed four chick-lit novels, all published by Crooked Cat: Amy & Zach, Izzy’s Cold Feet, Independent Jenny, and The Truth About Ellen.

Connect with Sarah

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May 18, 2015

times are a-changin'

I had a funny thought occur to me over the weekend. While I was flying to a conference in Minneapolis, I remembered the last time I'd flown somewhere. I realized it had been almost exactly two years. (Which is a long time when you consider how often I used to fly for my first post-college job.)

Two years ago, when I flew to and from California, I finished the first draft of my novelette "Twelve Drummers Drumming." I also worked on the last draft of Hard Hats and Doormats, my debut novel.

Now both of those stories (along with another short and a novel) have been published. And during this series of flights, I worked on edits for a third novel and novella. There are other little differences from then and now.

But going from aspiring to published author in that time is a strange, lovely mix of insanity and amazement.

Isn't it amazing how much a person's world changes over time? It reminds me of a favorite line from Nora Roberts' Genuine Lies, "Don't you think it would be deadly boring to wake up every morning of your life as exactly the same person?"

I wonder who I'll wake up as tomorrow.

A couple of photos to share from my business trip for the day job...

Me with this adorable cat quilt on display at Spring Market. Look at the bespectacled kitten!

The Kittens, pattern by Elizabeth Hartman

Meet my new favorite food: lobster guacamole.

At Smack Shack

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May 14, 2015

pick up 'the marrying type' for only 99 cents this weekend

Love a good sale? Love romantic comedies? In need of a new story to add to your eReader?

In honor of International Chick Lit Month, I am delighted to be able to offer The Marrying Type for only 99 cents this weekend on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo.

And for the next four days, you can also pick up these other Marching Ink titles for only 99 cents, too.

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May 13, 2015

happy publication day to 'french fry'

Happy publication day to Glynis Astie and her third novel, French Fry. Glynis is quite possibly one of the loveliest people I've met in this writing journey, and I wish her nothing but great luck and joy with her newest novel.

Check out the details on her book, and U.S. readers should enter to win her release week giveaway (details at the end of the post).

About the Book
Sydney Durand had finally achieved the perfect life she had always wanted. After a whirlwind romance with a charming Frenchman, she endured the three weddings it required to satisfy the members of the newly formed Bennett-Durand clan. All she had left to do was stroll into the sunset with Louis to enjoy their long-awaited happily ever after.

But everything changed when the stick turned blue. Suddenly, Sydney finds herself facing the daunting task of becoming a mother before she has even returned home from her honeymoon. Keeping a tenacious hold on her hard-won happiness, Sydney is determined not to give up without a fight – no matter what or who is thrown in her path…and that includes an overbearing mother-in-law, a know-it-all father and her own anxiety about having a baby.

Will she finally be able to tame her neuroses for the sake of her unborn child? Or will her hormone-induced panic cause a meltdown of epic proportions? One thing is clear: Sydney and Louis’ nerves are going to fry…

Buy the Book on Amazon US and Global!

About the Author
Glynis never expected in her wildest dreams to be a writer. After thirteen years in the Human Resources Industry, she decided to stay at home with her two amazing sons. Ever in search of a project, she was inspired to write the story of how she met and married her wonderfully romantic French husband, Sebastien, in six short months. The end result became her first novel, French Twist. As this was just the beginning of their epic love story, Glynis continued to chronicle their adventures in the sequel, French Toast and the final installment in the series, French Fry.

When Glynis is not writing, she is trying to keep the peace amongst the three men and two cats in her life, finding missing body parts (Lego pieces are small!), supervising a myriad of homework assignments and keeping a tenuous hold on her sanity by consuming whatever chocolate is in the vicinity.

Connect with Glynis
Facebook Author Page:

Enter to Win!

Giveaway begins on 5/13/15 at 12:01 AM and ends on 5/20/15 at 11:59 PM. 3 prizes will be awarded:
1. $25 amazon gift card & ebook set of the French Twist series
2. 2 e-book sets of the French Twist series.

The giveaway is open for US Only.

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