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
Website
Twitter
Facebook


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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
Website: www.glynisastie.com
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/glynisastieauthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/GlynisAstie
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7271294.Glynis_Astie



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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#chicklitmay - chick lit rocks


It's no secret I love making playlists for my books. I've blogged about it here and here and here. It's part of my plotting and writing process. It's also a wonderful way for me to connect or reconnect with my story even when I am not working on it.

(Psst... Be sure to scroll to the bottom to learn about a chance to win a fabulous prize!)


My latest novel, The Marrying Type, tells the story of a wedding planner with a lot on her plate. She has to save her family from bankruptcy...


The one who got away is back in the picture, and she's conflicted about it (her feelings are stronger than ever, but he doesn't seem too happy about it)...


She has some of the most high profile and complicated profiles of her career...


And all of it will be broadcast on TV as part of a reality TV series that will pay off her family's debts.


There's a mix of happy, sad, complicated, and funny moments. It's also a contemporary take on Jane Austen's Persuasion.

The story's playlist needed to reflect all of that.

I built the playlist factoring in weddings, old heartaches, timeless feelings, classic, and new. Some of the songs are ones I imagine for specific scenes. Others are for the story at large. They're listed in no particular order aside from the one in which I added them to the playlist.

I hope you enjoy the playlist and the story.


The Marrying Type the Playlist
"If I Walk Away" by Josh Groban
"One and Only" by Adele
"Angels" by Robbie Williams
"You're Still You" by Josh Groban
"Hidden Away" by Josh Groban
"Save The Last Dance for Me" by Harry Connick Jr.
"Silver Lining" by Rilo Kiley
"The End of The World" by Skeeter Davis
"When I Was Your Man" by Bruno Mars
"Say Something" by A Great Big World with Christina Aguilera
"Doesn't Mean Goodbye" by Jon McLaughlin
"You Make Me Feel So Young" by Michael Buble
"It Had To Be You" by Harry Connick Jr.
"The End" by Nancy Sinatra
"I Need a Dollar" by Aloe Blacc
"At Last" by Etta James
"Misty" by Johnny Mathis
"Unforgettable" by Nat King Cole
"Let It Be Me" by The Everly Brothers
"Last Song" by Edward Bear
"Make Someone Happy" by Jimmy Durante

Subscribe/listen to the playlist on SpotifyThe Marrying Type is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo.

GRAND PRIZE
A one-pound package of caramels from Whitney's Goodies. The winner can choose their flavor from those listed below.

This giveaway is open to residents of the USA only.

  • The Girl Next Door (Crème Caramels): A scrumptious, full-bodied caramel. Old fashioned, melt-in-your-mouth bliss!
  • The Charmer (Chocolate Crème Caramels): This smooth, chocolate cream caramel will add panache to your day. An exquisite and elegant morsel, simply irresistible.
  • The Movie Star (Orange Crème Caramels): A timeless treat that will satisfy caramel fans of all ages. “The stuff that dreams are made of!”
  • The Bombshell (Lemon Crème Caramels): A bodacious bit of heaven with a bold citrus pallet. They will leave you satisfied and refreshed. Caramels are a girl’s best friend!
  • Always a Lady (Rose Caramels): A delicate bouquet of rose essence infuses this lovely caramel: alluring, tantalizing and reminiscent of another era. They are perfect for weddings and bridal showers. A definite for ladies who lunch or breakfast at Tiffany’s.
HOW TO ENTER
To enter, answer the following question in the comments section below: Which of the songs on my book's playlist is your favorite?

Entrants must leave their full name, along with an e-mail address (Make sure you underline, bold, and highlight this as we must have a way to contact the winner!) A winner will be chosen via Random.org on Wednesday, May 20th.

Be sure to check out other great Chick Lit playlists today with #ChickLitMay:




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May 12, 2015

#chicklitmay - what's on page 45


May is International Chick Lit Month, and this week I am celebrating with some wonderful authors and bloggers with #ChickLitMay. (Be sure to check below for a chance to win a fabulous prize!)

Today, we authors and bloggers have been challenged to share what is on page 45 of our books. This seemed like an easy enough task. I have a copy of my chick lit novel, The Marrying Type, sitting on my bookshelf, and if I flip to page 45...


Well crap. There are only a handful of brief, dialogue-heavy paragraphs on that page, because it's the end of Chapter Four. Well shoot.

So I'm going to cheat a little and share what what you will find on pages 44 and 45 of The Marrying Type, but first let's fill in a few details...

Picture it: Charleston, South Carolina, present day. Elliot Lynch is the youngest, under-appreciated daughter of former South Carolina wedding royalty. Her family event planning business is on the brink of bankruptcy. To save the company, Elliot agrees to participate in a reality TV show called "The Marrying Type," which tells the behind-the-scenes stories of weddings from the perspective of the planner. A couple of weeks into the summer of filming, Elliot has already experienced a few not-so-made-for-TV mishaps.

She's also received a semi-distressing new business prospect. The younger sister of her ex--the one who got away, and the only man she's ever loved--wants Elliot to plan her big-time wedding.

On page 44, Elliot is having coffee with her family's long-time friend, Rosalyn. Elliot is being coy about this new business prospect and pretending she isn't the least bit affected by what could happen.
"Are you sure the money is worth taking this job? Won't it bring up bad memories?" 
"I'm fine." Maybe Elliot would believe herself if she repeated the phrase a few more times.
On pages 44 and 45 we learn that Eric, her ex, isn't just a big deal social media developer, he's basically the next best thing since Mark Zuckerburg--he's even been on the cover of Time. We also find out that when he was beginning his ascent into greatness, he'd invited Elliot along for the climb, but for some reason she'd declined.

Rosalyn wonders if Eric and his sister are going to create trouble for Elliot as payback for the nasty breakup. But here's the catch: Elliot never met Eric's sister, and she thinks (or rather hopes and prays) it's all a coincidence related to the buzz her business is getting from the TV show.

But even she isn't sure.
"We'll have to wait and find out for ourselves, won't we?"
I suppose we'll have to get to Chapter Five to find out.

I hope you've enjoyed this little peek into Elliot's world. The Marrying Type is available from AmazonBarnes & Noble, and Kobo.

Be sure to check out other page 45s with #ChickLitMay:



GRAND PRIZE
A one-pound package of caramels from Whitney's Goodies. Winner can choose their flavor from those listed below.

This giveaway is open to residents of the USA only.

  • The Girl Next Door (Crème Caramels): A scrumptious, full-bodied caramel. Old fashioned, melt-in-your-mouth bliss!
  • The Charmer (Chocolate Crème Caramels): This smooth, chocolate cream caramel will add panache to your day. An exquisite and elegant morsel, simply irresistible.
  • The Movie Star (Orange Crème Caramels): A timeless treat that will satisfy caramel fans of all ages. “The stuff that dreams are made of!”
  • The Bombshell (Lemon Crème Caramels): A bodacious bit of heaven with a bold citrus pallet. They will leave you satisfied and refreshed. Caramels are a girl’s best friend!
  • Always a Lady (Rose Caramels): A delicate bouquet of rose essence infuses this lovely caramel: alluring, tantalizing and reminiscent of another era. They are perfect for weddings and bridal showers. A definite for ladies who lunch or breakfast at Tiffany’s.


HOW TO ENTER
To enter, answer the following question in the comments section below: In 4 or 5 words, why do you think The Marrying Type would be a good read?

Entrants must leave their full name, along with an e-mail address. A winner will be chosen via Random.org on Tuesday, May 19th.

About The Marrying Type



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May 11, 2015

#chicklitmay - miss chick lit 2015


Announcer: Welcome to the inaugural Miss Chick Lit Pageant brought to you by Chick Lit Chat. You'll be meeting a wide scope of women who represent the genre and their novels well. Coming up next is Elliot Lynch. She hails from The Marrying Type and Charleston, South Carolina. Ms. Lynch works for her family's event planning business and is the star of a new reality TV show about the lives of wedding planners. Elliot, why don't you tell us a little bit about yourself.

Elliot walks across the stage with an overly bright smile on her face.

Source

Elliot: Uh... Hi. Thank you for having me. Like you said, I'm from Charleston and I plan weddings. (Crickets.)

Announcer: Err... Why don't you tell us what you like.

Elliot: Baseball. Wine. Cupcakes. I try not to eat too many of those, though, because I don't have much time for cardio these days.

Announcer: And what is your dream?

Elliot: I'd like to pay off my family's debt and make it through the taping of this reality TV show without anything horrible happening. (Catches a producer urging her to go on.) Oh, and of course I'd like to find a cure for cancer and world peace. (Smile.)

Announcer: Well thank you, Elliot. That was... interesting. While you change into your swimming suit, we'll tell you a little bit more about The Marrying Type. Did you know it is a modern re-imagining of Jane Austen's novel, Persuasion? In fact, Austenesque Reviews called it "A lovely and inventive homage to Persuasion! But you don’t have to love and be familiar with Jane Austen’s Persuasion to find The Marrying Type an entertaining, charming, and enthralling read." (pauses) Let's welcome Elliot back to the stage for the next portion of the pageant.

Elliot steps out wearing this:

Source

Announcer (continued): Well don't you look... lovely Tell us a little bit about your swimsuit.

Elliot: Well... (looks down) this is the one I wear when I have time to go to the beach. Which hasn't been for a while come to think of it. I like that it has polka dots and it's classic. It also covers up some problem spots well.

Announcer: Wonderful... Go on backstage and get ready for the talent portion. While she does that, let's tell you a little more about The Marrying Type. Believe it or not, this lovely young lady doesn't do too much dating. Rumor has it she has an ex from her past, who sounds like a catch. At least that's what, Annabel & Alice said: "This book was hard to put down, and left me with a smile on my face – albeit a little sad that I don’t have an Eric of my own to live happily ever after with!" Oh look, Elliot is back... And she's...

Elliot: For my talent, I'm going to dry a bride's tears, resolve an argument between the mother of the bride and mother of the groom, and give the florist an earful for showing up an hour later than promised.

Announcer: You're going to do that right now?

Elliot: No, but you can read all about it in The Marrying Type (beams).

Announcer: (sighs) OK, let's go ahead and do the interview. Would you rather be 20 and the most beautiful woman in the world, 30 and the smartest woman in the world, or 40 and the richest?

Elliot: That's easy. I'd rather be 30 and the smartest woman in the world. Looks will only get you so far, and 20 wasn't my best year. And while I have no problem being 40--age is just a number--I can assure you money doesn't buy everything. Even if it would help me pay off my family's mortgage without having to resort to a reality TV show. And maybe if I was smarter, I wouldn't have let the love of my life leave, and I wouldn't let my father and sister boss me around, and I'd have a better way of dealing with all of this chaos. (Blinks, then looks uncomfortable.) Those are all hypothetical situations of course.

Announcer: Right, well, thank you Elliot for that. As a reminder to all of you watching at home, there is a PRIZE available. You can be a beauty queen too with a gift card. The Grand Prize for this international drawing will be a $100 gift card to Sephora (US/Canada winner), £65 gift card to Lush Cosmetics (UK winner) or a $125AUD to Mecca (Australia winner). A winner will be chosen via Random.org on Monday, May 18th. Entering is easy, just leave a comment answering this question, like Elliot: Would you rather be 20 and the most beautiful woman in the world, 30 and the smartest woman in the world, or 40 and the richest? 

Announcer (continued): And of course, you should check out The Marrying TypeThe Marrying Type is now available on AmazonBarnes & NobleKobo and Marching Ink.

Be sure to check out these other contestants in the Miss Chick Lit Pageant. Be sure to comment on their posts to increase your chances for winning the fabulous prize!




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May 5, 2015

owning change

Change can be scary. Trying new things can be too. But they can both be blessings. And while you can't always control the outcome of something new, you can decide how you're going to approach that scariness. Will you fight it or will you take ownership of it?

I'm being a little cryptic, but basically I need to try something different in my life, even if it might be difficult or scary. I need some change.

Book three is in good shape, and book four is almost done. I've finished the first draft of my holiday novella. After I finish the final draft of three and the first of four (not to mention sending the novella off to the publisher), I'm going to take a little break from what I've been working on writing wise to try something different.

I'll still be writing, but it won't be quite like anything I've published already. I've been an avid reader most of my life, and I've always been drawn to different types of books. As a writer, I find myself thinking of various stories that don't always fall into the same genre. In the past couple of years, I've tried to push away any of the idea that don't already fall into the particular brand I've been building.

I'm not going to get into the specifics yet (What's the genre? Will you use a pen name? etc.), but I'm owning it and having fun with it already, which is just what I need right now in my life.


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