Thursday, May 31, 2012

ICLM - Guest Post- Kathy Gilmore

As we come to a close of International Chick Lit Month, I would like to say a HUGE THANK YOU for all the guest posters who helped promote International Chick Lit Month on The Phantom Paragrapher and last but not least, I present to you the last Guest Poster for International Chick Lit Month 2012 - Kathy Gilmore

Women Literature Today 
I want to thank Paula for letting me guest host. The broad subject matter that she gave me kept me sleepless for a couple of nights. There are so many ways to take this wonderful subject that I had trouble eliminating all the paths but one. 

I am a woman author and continually write when I can snatch a moment here and there from our fast paced world. I, like many authors today, thought that the only way to publish my manuscripts was to get an agent who then would work tirelessly to get me a publishing deal with a major company. 
Many, many rejections later a good friend of mine, Victorine Lieske (New York Times best seller) convinced me to try independent publishing with eBooks. I was hesitant and more than a little leery about such a new endeavor. But I trusted her and have worked hard to put out my first eBook (launched on Cincho De Mayo). From what I have learned, this is the way to go if you actually want to make some money at this (since not all of us are Stephanie Meyers). 

Something else I have learned is that eBooks is a real boon for female writers. In the past there has been discrimination against women in the arts. Many women use their initials instead of their first names so it won’t be known they are women. The reason for this is because the powers-that-be’ over selling art (books are included) don’t take women seriously. Oh sure a woman can crochet a doily, tole paint a chair, even write a short romance but they don’t think a woman can do anything serious. 
Now, in eBooks, there isn’t a ‘powers-that-be’ -as we’ve known traditionally- over the Indie Author. All Indie Authors are treated the same, male and female. Now authors are truly judged on their ability, not their gender. And, it is we, the reader, who are the new ‘powers-that-be’ over selling books.

A word to writersAs an avid reader I’m always on the outlook for an author I can trust. Trust, you ask? Yes, there are a lot of good writers out there. But there are a few that don’t know how to use spell check or publish their hard work without a good editor (more and more this is also true of traditionally published works). Which is a shame, because, most of the time the idea behind the story is very good. I love fiction of all kinds. Give me something that can really happen or at least induce me that it could happen. If an author can’t persuade me that it could be real then that author loses my trust. Without trust I stop reading and go on to something else. When I’ve lost my trust it is hard for me to buy anything else by that author. So don’t BS me, convince me. 

A word to readers: Take a few extra minutes to get a feel for a book before you click ‘Buy’. There are a lot of very good eBooks out there that are only .99. Take your time and find authors you really like. Then enjoy as many wonderful stories as you can. Remember to leave a review. You can leave a short and sweet or long and in-depth. Authors live and learn from reviews. And for those who think only traditionally published books are for you … enjoy as many wonderful stories as you can. For me, I don’t care who publishes the book as long as I enjoy it. 

Again, thank you Paula for letting me romp across your blog. It was fun.

Review: Glaen- Fred R. Lybrand

Have you ever wondered about relationships and love ? Ever read a FICTION book that makes you actually stop and reflect on your life ?
Review: Glaen - Fred Lybrand - February 2010
Have you ever read a fiction book and thought OMG that actually relates to my life now and what I am going through ? Why, would you when fiction is supposed to be fake but every now and again you will get an author who can write so amazing and be able to go out and touch many and speak to them through their fictional writings. 
What attracted me firstly to the book was the unusual name and then of course the coffee cup on the front cover reminded me of a Starbucks coffee. 
Glaen was one of the best books I have read as it was not only easy to read and fast-paced but it made you think and re-evaluate your life and the way you do things especially when it comes to romance and relationships which was the main aspect of the novel.
Glaen is set around two main characters Annie and Glaen- a college professor.  The novel starts with Annie signing up to take a Non-Fiction writing course and then she discovers that her parents are getting a divorce and soon all that she has ever thought or known about romance and relationships are blown into the open. So she decides for her class project to write a Non-Fiction book on Romance and Relationships and so begins her journey into observations, note-taking and discussions with friends, family and of course the help of her local coffee shop.
A fun novel of romance, love and relating to one another and after reading this book it definitely put into a clearer perspective of what many of us actually perceive dating to be and how we should look at it to improve ourselves and boost our happiness meter.

ICLM - Guest Post - Lisa Heidke

Today celebrates the last day of International Chick Lit month and to conclude , I have a Guest Post from one of my all-time favourite Australian Chick Lit authors Lisa Heidke.

Hi Paula,
Thanks for inviting me to do a guest post at The Phantom Paragrapher for Chick Lit Month.

Is it just me or have you noticed that chick lit’s been getting some bad press lately. Recently, I spoke on a panel at the Gloucester Writers Festival in NSW, Australia, explaining why I think Chick lit is not dumb lit and then I wrote a blog about it. http://blog.lisaheidke.com/

But what I’d really like to talk about is why I write chick lit...Firstly, I think the definition has become muddied since Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones’s Diary was first published in 1996. Way back then, most readers, writers and publishers believed that chick lit referred to books written by women about single, twenty-something women, searching for Mr Right, finding the perfect career (preferably in magazines and or public relations), shopping for the perfect shoes and accessories, and agonising over weight gain and flat hair. Yes, that’s a superficial definition, but you get my drift.

These days novels written by Marian Keyes, Jane Green, and Jennifer Weiner are still called chick lit, yet their books often deal with older characters and meatier issues such as alcohol addiction, divorce, blended families and missed opportunities.

The books I write get labelled chick lit too, even though I predominantly write about women in their thirties and their relationships; women facing career crises, marriage breakdowns, aging parents and rebellious children. My characters probably go shopping from time to time but it’s generally to the supermarket and sometimes, after fifteen years together, they’ve found Mr 
Right’s sparkle has dulled.

My books have also been called contemporary women’s fiction, modern women’s fiction, popular fiction, hen-lit and lady-lit. New labels are being coined almost weekly, but generally, I don’t care how people define my books as long as they pick them up, read them, and enjoy them.

That’s why I write what I write – because I want readers to enjoy the stories and characters as much as I love creating them. I write about everyday life with humour – at least I hope it’s humorous - and I get a kick out of writing characters who could easily be my next door neighbour, my best friend or me, and then explore the possibilities. What if this happened? Or that?

My books don’t have fairy tale endings because real life’s not like that but I love the process, that of forming realistic characters who manage to get themselves into extraordinary or mortifying situations and still come out on top, or at least heading in the right direction.
My books most often get called chick lit...because they’re light, easy reads, and I’m fine with that. But just because they’re readable doesn’t mean my characters aren’t on a wonky path to self discovery and fulfilment. However, my characters aren’t trying to save the world, my writing doesn’t have a political agenda to push and I personally don’t have an axe to grind. I just want readers to read my books and maybe smile and thank the universe that they are not my characters!

Happy Chick Lit Month!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Review: More Beauty, Less Beast - Deborah M. Coty

Do you love looking beautiful ? Wanting a book to show you how to look beautiful on the inside and outside?
Review: More Beauty, Less Beast - Deborah M. Coty- March 2012
Do you love to look Beautiful and feel beautiful but worry that you aren't looking at yourself as a whole ? Are you turning into the vain beast from "Beauty and The Beast" ? Are you the female version of Kyle Kingsbury from Alex Flinn's "Beastly" ?
With Deborah M. Coty's new book "More Beauty, Less Beastly" , you will be taught how to not only transform your outside into looking the beautiful stunning person you are meant to be but also how to more importantly transform your inner self as being Beautiful is meaningless unless you have a great personality and a beautiful inside. 
This book is an easy read – separated into 3 larger unit sections containing smaller chapters of about 7 pages.  The sections focus on outer beauty, inner beauty, and beautifying your world.  Reading one of these chapters could be an inspirational start to your day!  Questions to prompt additional thought/action on the day’s topic appear at the end of each chapter.  Topics like “maturing gracefully”, “building confidence”, and “forgiveness”, and “marriage” are related with optimism, terrific humour, and personal stories.  Every topic is also told with a view of how our Lord would view His children as they obsess over relationships and appearances. 
More Beauty,Less Beast is the perfect guide for all Christian Teenage girls as spread throughout the novel are bible verses, references to particular books in the bible, Talks with "Papa God" .
Aimed at 13-16+ Girls.

ICLM - Guest Post, Rose McClelland

There's two more days left in the celebration of International Chick Lit Month, so readers a question for you all "What is your all-time favourite Chick Lit Book "?
Today's Guest Post is written by Rose McClelland on "Why she loves reading Chick Lit and Why she is a Chick Lit Author"?

Why I love reading chick-lit and why I’m a chick-lit author
by Rose McClelland
I love reading words that jump off the page.
I love characters who are fun, vulnerable; loveable – who make me want to stay with them on their journey.
I love reading about modern girlie issues – our friendships, relationships with family, work problems, boy trouble.
I love a story that reads itself – one where I can vividly imagine what the character is up to and one where I can see the scenes perfectly in my head. You know when that page turns effortlessly? When you’re so engrossed in the character that you need to know what’s going to happen to her? So much so, that forget about that load of washing in the machine or the fact that you need to do that bit of housework.
I love the escapism.
I love the feeling that it’s as if you’re opening another woman’s diary, sympathising with her trials & tribulations and rejoicing with her happy moments. You’re identifying. That quiet chuckle when you realise that you’ve experienced something similar. That feeling that you’re not the only one.
I love that bit near the end, when there’s been so many twists and turns that you’re not quite sure how the ending will pan out. You’ve a fair idea that the author will leave you satisfied with the outcome but you’re still not sure what that destination will be.
Oh, and then I love that happy ending! The satisfaction of a story well wrapped up. And the realisation that you’ll have to get back into the real world. Until the next book comes along.


Review: Innocent Darkness - Suzanne Lazear

Do you enjoy Steampunk ? Looking for a new series to read ?
Review: Innocent Darkness - Suzanne Lazear- Book#1 The Aether Chronicles- August 2012
Steampunk is one of those genres , that you either enjoy it or don't. For me, I enjoy the mixture of thee Victorian era with the modern/fantasy world and it's aspects. 
Innocent Darkness by Suzanne Lazear mixes Steampunk with Fantasy as the novel starts with a girl named Annabelle who is being hunted by fairies as in order for the fairies to keep their magic, every seven years they have to sacrifice a girl who is vivacious and contains that extra ommph, a special spark. Seven years ago, Annabelle not wanting to be sacrificed took the way out via suicide. Now seven years later, they are on the lookout for a new girl and it seems that Noli is the one. Noli, loves all the things that girls are not supposed to as she lives in the time when girls are supposed to be ladies and their future lies in getting married off rather than becoming mechanics and air-pilots which Noli loves. When Noli finds herself shipped off to a boarding school in San Francisco, home of the Fairies - she finds herself sucked into a world of magic, abuse, torture and most of all having to learn to survive if she ever wants to return home to her mother and best friend V.
A great start to a series that if Suzanne Lazear continues to write in the way she is headed , it will be a series I wouldn't mind continuing.
Perfect for those who love Steampunk and those who love Fairies. 

ICLM - Guest Post -Louise Wise

Wow, as we wind down International Chick Lit Month. It's been such an awesome opportunity to have all these great Guest Posts and it has given me ideas to run in other months of the year.
Today we have author "Louise Wise" and her Guest Post about Partying and Chick Lit.

Party like a Chick Lit Writer – by Louise Wise
‘You’re an author? Wow, that’s really cool.’
‘Thanks. I enjoy it.’
‘So what do you write?’
‘Chick lit.’
‘Sorry, just thought when you said you’re an “author” you write real books.’
‘I do write real books. Paperbacks and eBooks.’
‘But chick lit?’
‘A genre that usually means books written by women for women with relationship and or work issues. Sometimes they are romance; most have a dose of reality, but all are humorous and light hearted. Yes, chick lit. I write chick lit.’
‘I guess it’ll be practise for you until you begin to write proper books.’
‘I do write proper –’
‘I suppose it’s because they are easy to write and you can churn them out in a week. You know, you ought to learn to write a classic. That’ll bring in big money.’
‘You can’t just write a classic. A classic depends on its popularity and staying power --’
‘Or a good thriller. The Miss Marple books do very well. Can’t you learn to write a Miss Marple?’
‘Don’t think that’ll go down too well with the family of Agatha Christie.’
‘I read a book about a boy who grew up in 1940 London and had to be evacuated during the war. Can’t you write something like that? Hmghghh!’
I walk away, grabbing a glass of Bolly from a tray of a hovering waiter. The waiter is looking on in shock at the woman with a prawn canapé stuffed in her mouth who is staring after me in absolute shock.
‘Never,’ I say to the waiter, ‘criticise an author’s genre.’
My name’s Louise Wise and I write chick lit. It’s an admittance that causes raised eyebrows, smirks or pity in some circles. Shame. But everyday issues are in a chick lit novel; issues that today’s women sometimes struggle with: relationships, men, children, parents, money, work, unemployment, loneliness.
I tend to write about loneliness, and how possible it is to be lonely when surrounded by people. 

My fourth novel is called: Taming of the Misanthropist

Being a misanthropist is Valerie Anthrope’s defence.She is a cut-throat business woman and happy being alone. She has no time for romantic trivialities, and definitely no time for Ellen who nominates herself as her fairy godmother. But what of Ellen’s playboy nephew? The one who Ellen coerces into helping Valerie and buys insurance from her brokerage? The one who is full of himself and smitten with Valerie’s cool demeanour. His cocky know-it-all manner, posse of female admirers and playboy reputation are more than enough to put Valerie off – or is it enough to keep her interested? After all, being in a relationship with a playboy means there’s no burden of commitment.
Or is there?

The launch date for Misanthrope isn’t finalised yet (hopefully August), and the cover is still working progress so I can’t offer that either. But I can offer an excerpt. Here’s the opening:

There was that woman again.
I saw her out of the corner of my eye. She was sitting on the wooden bench looking up at the church and then occasionally in my direction. I crouched at the graveside, pushing stems of daisies and carnations through the wire holes in the top of the vase.
Crikey, it was cold. I stood up and pulled my gloves back on before stepping back to admire my handiwork. The flowers looked pretty. There was a plaque – but only my brother was buried there, my parents’ ashes had been scattered over the top.
I picked up the paper the flowers had been wrapped in and mashed it in my hands. I could still feel the curious stare of the woman, whom I did my best to ignore. The bins were by the bench. I headed over, keeping my head low.
‘Hello,’ she said.
I nodded, dropped the litter and turned away. I pulled up the collar on my coat, not only to block out this stranger’s inquisitive eyes but because the air was stinging my cheeks. I wondered how she could sit for so long without freezing up.
‘I’m Ellen,’ she said. Good manners made me turn back.
‘I’m Valerie, good day.’ Oh, how very English and polite, I thought, as I walked away.
‘November’s turned cold, hasn’t it?’ she said standing and falling into step beside me. ‘Do you think we’ll have snow?’
I walked faster, but the woman kept pace with me.
‘We’ve been lucky with the weather so far, but I think it can be safely said that winter has arrived,’ she said. ‘Are you a winter person, Valerie?’
Not only had she invaded my space, she was asking anal questions too. She didn’t bother to wait for an answer, which was good, seeing as I wasn’t going to supply one but prattled on with another:
‘Who’re you visiting?’ She nodded over to my brother’s grave.
‘Close family?’
With the gates in sight, I afforded her a brief glance. ‘Not any more.’
Her smile waned a little, but I strode forward, hoping to be first through the gates. But it didn’t happen like that and we ended up locked together between black iron.
She burst into peals of laughter before stepping back and allowing me to exit first. I gave her a no-nonsense smile, and stepped through the gates towards my car. The car park was almost empty, so I couldn’t understand why a bright red Mini was parked so close to my Vectra.
I heard Ellen giggling behind me, and I had a horrible feeling the Mini was hers. I bleeped my car open, but there was no way I could get access unless it was from the passenger side.
I turned to Ellen. She grinned at me, aimed the keys and bleeped her car. ‘Brilliant things, aren’t they?’ she said.
She jiggled her keys. ‘These bleepy things.’
I placed my bag on the bonnet of my Vectra, and pointed at her car. ‘You’ve an entire car park at your disposal, and you chose to park not only next to me, but right on top so I can’t get in!’
She stared at me, but much to my chagrin, her smile only got wider. She winked, then circled to the driver’s side of her car where she slid behind the wheel. ‘Take care of that blood pressure of yours,’ she said and closed the door.
She drove away leaving me staring after her in shock.
‘Cheeky bitch,’ I said. I climbed into my car and drove towards work.
There was a holdup at the traffic lights, which I couldn’t understand because the lights were green. Impatiently, I stabbed at my horn with the heel of my hand, and a car in front of the car I was behind shot off just as the lights changed to red. I noticed it was the Mini from the graveyard. ‘Typical,’ I muttered.
I thought back to the first time I’d seen her. It was summer time, and she was on that same bench and I was tending to the grave. She’d smiled but hadn’t attempted to speak. Come to think of it, I’d seen her before then too, and I remembered her because she was wearing a bright green raincoat with a huge sunflower on the back. At first glance I thought it had been a target board.
The lights changed and I eased my car forward. Obviously she had lost family too, I thought. I’ll change my visits from the middle of every month to the end. That way I’d not encounter her again.

Review: Fever, by Lauren DeStefano

Do you love Dystopian Books ? Did you enjoy Lauren DeStefano's debut novel "Wither" ? 
Get ready for Book #2 "Fever".

Review: Fever - Book #2 The Chemical Garden Series - Lauren DeStefano- February 2012
"WARNING : If you have not read Book #1 "Wither" - Do not continue reading the review as this is one of those series, where you have to read Book #1 "Wither" first.

At the end of Wither, we read as Rhine and Gabriel - one of the servants at the house she had been made a wife in escaped the clutches and into the real world. Rhine , has one goal in mind - to find her twin brother Rowan. We read as Rhine and Gabriel make their way through the country , on boat/foot/trucks. However, one wrong turn will turn out to be bad news and good news as the pair of them end up in a Madam's tent as Rhine is a good-looker , she is bound to fetch the Madame lots of money. Can Rhine and Gabriel escape the compound and continue on their journey ? It is in the compound, that they are befriended by Lilac and her daughter Maddie. When tragedy strikes, Rhine and Gabriel are left with Maddie and the three start to make their way to Manhattan - Rhine's hometown looking for Rowan. In Manhattan, though Rhine gets sick - is she dying ? Has she caught the fever ? In a horrible turn of events , Rhine is captured and returned back to the Housemaster's house. Here she finds herself getting sicker by the day , is she destined to die a horrible death and never to escape from the Ashby's clutches ? Will Rhine ever find and locate her brother Rowan ?
A wonderful series and now due to the way that Fever ended , I'm like OMG I can't wait to read book #3 Sever. It's such a shame though when you have to wait almost a whole year for the next one to be released.

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