Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Game of Love by Mary Davis

from the May 29, 2017 issue

Tagline: His eyes held hers and Kelsey's heart skipped a beat!

Observations: Alas, although hockey is my sport of choice (watching, not playing!) I did enjoy this softball story. There was some cute banter between the hero and heroine, which I think is always a good thing. First, it's banter! Who doesn't like banter? Also, it shows us the hero and heroine interacting. Readers want to believe the couple has a chance of making a go of it, and showing them on interacting on the page is usually a step in the right direction.

I also liked how both characters stepped out of their comfort zones. Steve did it when he asked her to accompany him to the party. Kelsey was brave when she admitted she had a crush on him. That last one really requires some daring, because we can all imagine the awkwardness that would follow if he didn't feel the same way about her.

Photo credit (cc): Erik Drost

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Midnight Caller by Shelley Cooper

from the May 15, 2017 issue

Tagline: Sophie was anxious about meeting Luke...would they connect as well in person as they had by phone?

Observations: Loved this story! I don't recall a Woman's World romance about two people meeting via  a radio show before.

My desire for plausibility was challenged a couple of times. I doubted a professional radio host would ask a caller, even if she was familiar, about her personal life. I also didn't think the station would approve of him making a date while still on the air. However, I went with it anyway. I thought, maybe this was a smaller town where things are different.

I really enjoyed how Cooper brought back the dating rules in Luke's conversation. I thought it was cute that people showed up to the cafe to see what would happen between them. This was just a fresh story, well-written. It reminded me of a mini rom-com movie that was only five minutes long. LOL

P.S. Notice how she mentions the Bluetooth kicking in. It's a good idea to not show your characters doing things that are against the law or possibly dangerous like driving and talking on the cellphone.

Photo credit: curtis.kennington via Flickr Creative Commons License.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Courage to Love by Mary Jo Young

from the May 8, 2017 issue

Tagline: Rita wasn't looking for romance...but it found her when she began to live a more courageous life!

Observations: I liked this story a lot. I just finished editing a story and one of my main suggestions to the author was that she focus more on the main character and give him a character arc--something to get past, like shyness. It really helps people identify with your characters. When we see characters with challenges that we ourselves have battled, we automatically root for them.

I thought the conversation between them flowed naturally, one subject leading into the next. This is another tricky skill that is often challenging to beginning writers. We know, as authors, where we want the conversation to go. We need them to talk about x, y, or z and sometimes an author forces it that way.

For example, girl meets boy at the auto show...

"That's a nice model," Jane says. "It's so sleek and speedy looking."

"It sure is," Richard replied. "I love cars. That's why I come to the auto show, so I can see all the latest models."

Jane sighed wistfully. "I can't afford to get a new muffler on my car."

Whoa. Where did that come from? Maybe we need Richard to find out that Jane is poor and can't afford the upkeep on her vehicle, but do you see how that doesn't flow? Yes, her statement does have to do with cars, but it's out of place.

Another thing I thought was great in this story was the ending. In my class I talk about a plot device to bring your story around full circle, which is having a friend or family member say something sage or repeat a saying and then bring it up again at the end of the story. In this story, Rita's mom said "someone special would come into her life when she least expected it." And at the end of the story Rita realizes her mom was right. But Young went one step further and pulled in the fact that the lecture was about courage. This was very clever because it reminds us that Rita has grown as a person. She's become more daring and it's paying off.

Photo credit: Vee via the Flickr Creative Commons License.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

A Purr-fect Romance! by Nell Mulsolf

from the May 1, 2017 issue

Tagline: Fluffy liked her old home...and her owner liked Kate!

Observations: Nell Musolf is one of the most prolific Woman's World authors, with 11 stories under her belt, at my count. I don't think this was her best work. I liked "Free as a Bird" better. I wish I had more to say about this one, but I just don't. Sorry. I feel like I let you guys down when I can't find any teaching points. Maybe next week. :)

Photo credit: Jans Canon via the Flickr Creative Commons License

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Love in Bloom! by Charlotte More

From the April 10, 2017 issue

Tagline: Thad had moved to a new town and was lonely...until he met Jennifer

Observations: This story is a perfect example of the type of nice guy hero Woman's World likes. Let's look at a list of Thad's attributes.

As an accountant starting his own firm, he's a hard worker. He's smart too. He's done his research to make sure this new town can support another CPA.

He blushes. And he gets tongue-tied. How cute is that??? LOL

When he sees his chance, he does go ahead and ask if she might help him with his yard. It's okay for our heroes to be shy, but it's also nice to see them have some initiative.

So, when you're creating a hero, it's a safe bet to show us he's a genuinely nice guy. Don't just assume we know it.

I absolutely loved the ending. I'm not sure why. The fact that he is babbling about Jen to his friend is just adorable.

Photo credit: Laura LaRose via Flickr Creative Commons License

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Emma and the Prince by Jenny Welsh

From the April 17, 2017 issue

Tagline: Emma didn't have time for romance...until she met Byron!

Observations: Loved this story! I was entranced from beginning to end. Did anyone else predict the grocery cart crash before it happened? I thought it was amusing that he was a lawyer. I did worry about Emma, though. She really shouldn't be driving a car. LOL I don't really have much else to say about this one. I'm sorry. :(

Photo credit: Eddie Welker via Flickr Creative Commons License

Tuesday, April 11, 2017