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Thursday, June 30, 2005

My Bad

Since the writers' conference I've been MIA here. Oops.

I didn't mean to go missing. It just happened. I had to change web hosts. Long story, but email coming through my domain mail was fine. It was email going out that was a problem. At least four large servers were bouncing all my email back to me. AOL (which I really hate and wonder why anyone is still with them, but that's another story), AT&T, hotmail (hello, hotmail is bouncing MY emails????!!!!) and nauticom.net (this one is pretty ironic, yes?). And no one had any idea how many others that I wasn't aware of.

Long story short, my web host or the parent company of my web host appears to allow adult sites. Therefore, the rest of us are being punished by using them.

So, I had to get a temporary new address so I could function. Then I had to find a new web host. One that doesn't allowe adult sites. And all of it takes time. Way too much time.

Plus my friend was about ready to launch my new design. And everything that could go wrong, did. Not because of her, but because Murphy and his law were out in full force.

If you're interested, take a peek at my new look. I think it makes it so much more Alaskan, which is what I was after.

Now it's back to writing. So much work to do and not enough decades left to get it all done.

Happy hen lit reading.

posted by Jody Pryor @ Thursday, June 30, 2005


Tuesday, June 28, 2005

NEXT Debuts

I feel like I'm blogging all over the place but I wanted to post about the NEXT debut books. I plan to visit B&N sometime over the holiday weekend just to see the display. I've heard it's really nice. I also read an excerpt from "SANDWICHED" by Jennifer Archer and my fears that there wasn't a chick lit voice in the 40+ set are unfounded. Anybody receive their copy and want to comment?

posted by Kathy Holmes @ Tuesday, June 28, 2005


This Ol' Hen Went Promoting!

Hey all you hen litters out there!

I know this isn't related to writing hen lit, but this old hen has come up with a new blog I'd like to tell you all about.

See, I was quite frustrated over the recent (TWO!) rejections from agents last week, so I took the time to regroup...adopt more strategies and perhaps figure out this crazy writing world...and started promoting my already established soul mate relationship advice column when I came up with an idea to blog my advice!

Yeah, blog'it, baby!

The new blog is called "Are You My Soul Mate?" and can be located at www.soulmateadvice.blogspot.com.

See, I don't write the "usual" relationship advice column; mine is more to instruct those searching for their soul mates. I have all this intuitive wisdom going to waste so I thought I'd come up with yet another way to not only promote my services (all free!), but my other books, ROMANCING THE SOUL and HOW TO FIND AND KEEP YOUR SOUL MATE, too.

Eventually I'll probably be putting all these questions and answers in a book further down the road, but for now, I'm having FUN trying to help all these people understand what the soul mate experience is REALLY all about.

So, check it out if you'd like. I think you'll like it.

Meanwhile, query, query, query is on the agenda for today.

posted by Dorothy Thompson @ Tuesday, June 28, 2005


Sunday, June 26, 2005

The Process

I’ve been mulling this over. It was part of an e-mail I got, in response to a remark I'd made to a friend, about his comfort level with professional writing.

He wrote: “And I'm not sure I ever want to become too comfortable either. I know I'm comfortable enough once I find the heat of the words. But outside of that...the comfort of knowing my process…”

“The comfort of knowing my process” really stayed with me. And I thought about what my process was, if I had one. I think I’m trying everything once. Since I didn’t know the beginning of the story, I started in the middle, with a fairly linear approach. But once I started coming up against some pretty big gaps – There were places I had to skip because I didn’t know what was going to happen – I switched to writing the parts I was sure of. One day I got to this great line and I knew it was my last line.

So then I had to go back and start hooking things up, writing segues and deciding, like with a movie, when to cut to the next scene, and what that should be; the order of events. And like with the rhythm of the words, I had to find a rhythm for switching scenes. The work I sent to my teacher had the third edit and that was adding the description and changing from present to past tense. I really prefer using both tenses, even though I know that’s the kiss of death. I don’t mean in the same sentence but, for the sake of immediacy, I like to switch into first.

I started writing 1500 words a day. This was for Nanowrimo. Every morning I’d edit what I wrote the day before. And I like to do it that way. But when I went back, after about four months – I wasn’t doing anywhere near 1500 words during the holidays – I found all kinds of things that needed fixing, things that had looked okay the next morning. I fuss with stuff a lot and I think it keeps getting better. But I know there comes a point when I can look at something one too many times and can’t tell shit about it. So I stay way away from that.

Because my story covers so many years, I am looking at a way to have the early years be backstory instead of the beginning. And I’m getting into this thing where the characters have secrets from each other, as a way to create tension. So much to learn.

So how do YOU do it? What works for you?

posted by sitting Tao @ Sunday, June 26, 2005


Markets for Hen Lit?

I discovered a blog for Intrigue Authors where they post some of their questions about writing for Intrigue, and I thought it would be interesting if we discussed some of the craft and business end of hen lit writing here.

I think we've all heard of NEXT and Transita, but I'm wondering if there are other markets for Hen Lit. I looked at the early books that Transita was publishing and didn't think the style really fit what I think of as Hen Lit. Because, to me, it's not just the age - it's also the voice or tone. It's chick lit for the over 40 crowd, as stated on our Hen Lit yahoo page.

An agent, who requested my full ms, did not want me to send it until I heard from NEXT, who recently requested a full. So, I'm thinking there must be other markets, if she would still be interested and they were not.

I keep reading how NEXT wants the focus of the story to be on the woman's journey and not romance. Well, I have to laugh because this is the first manuscript I've written with this much romance. But the romance is just a part of each woman's journey so, hopefully, I'm worrying about too much romance for no reason. :)

- Kathy

posted by Kathy Holmes @ Sunday, June 26, 2005


Tuesday, June 21, 2005

40+ is Fabulous!

Had to share my recent agent news here on the Hen Lit blog. Yesterday I received a response from an agent who loved the 40-something character in "Real Women Wear Red." She said she was fabulous! So, of course, I am feeling especially fabulous. Doesn't even matter if she felt the project wasn't the right one for her. I am still feeling fabulous - and it gets better. Today I received an agent request for a full. You just never know about those SASEs that show up in your mailbox. Sometimes it's a no and sometimes it's a go. Along the path to becoming a published author, we must celebrate our successes. And so I will enjoy a nice Australian red tonight and focus on the present.

- Kathy

posted by Kathy Holmes @ Tuesday, June 21, 2005


Friday, June 17, 2005

Hen Lit Personified

I am delighted to be able to share in this very-happenin’ Hen Lit -- And I do believe this is a “special community”-- so thank you, Dorothy, for the opportunity.

In 2000 I turned 50, and that April 15th I left my husband, after 30 mostly-good years. By April 15 of the following year I had no breasts, no hair, no man, didn’t know where I’d live or what I’d live on.

I started writing.

Today I am working on finishing my first novel (Hen Lit), I volunteer at Providence with the Breast Cancer Support Center, visiting patients after their surgery. I also write a monthly column in their newsletter, in addition to creating a monthly recipe.

I am trying my hand at fixing up houses (so far so good) and the stock market (Hmmmm, that’s been rough). I was a belly dancer but couldn’t wear the costumes any more. My oncologist said court reporting was too stressful so I left that world as well.

I have learned how to be the kind of woman I want to write about. Sexuality, adventure, nature, learning; the power of beauty is what drives me.

posted by sitting Tao @ Friday, June 17, 2005


A "Next" Step...

Just thought I'd share my great experience with you on my online Next pitch I had yesterday with editor Jennifer Green of Harlequin.

What was so great about this pitching opportunity was the fact that I had twenty minutes (okay...it was only supposed to be ten!) to really flesh out my story, the details, the emotions, the conflicts, the characters, etc. to Jennifer and she provided me with some excellent feedback! It was almost like getting an oral revision letter. She pointed out the strengths of the story and she pointed out what didn't work for her as an editor looking at the story. She thought the idea was fresh and original and had a lot of potential to it.

Things about the Next line for anyone interested...is that Jennifer was really stressing that this line isn't about romance. It's about the heroine's journey. Her life lesson. Where she's "at" at this point in her life...something that propels her to change. The endings aren't about a happily ever after with a man or a romance, but it's about a satisfying ending for the reader. I thought this was very important as we write these older heroine stories that might be targeted certain places that as wonderful as it is for the heroine to find that love of her life, that often times, with older women at changing points in their life, sometimes it's that recognized "love of self" that's even more important.

So...all in all, a great experience! I'm refreshed and excited and ready to make some revisions (and cut some pages since I went over the word count...duh!) and then I'll send in the requested full manuscript.

Definitely, if you have something to send in, Jennifer is a very fair, forthright and open editor.

Good luck!
Marley = )

posted by Marley Gibson @ Friday, June 17, 2005


Tuesday, June 14, 2005

This Little Hen Went to the Boardwalk!

Every once in awhile, there comes a time in every writer's life where she totally loses it, such as I have in the past week. Deadlines, and all those other "work" things that leaves you totally bonkers. I knew if I kept going at this rate, this little hen's heart was going to go, so I decided to take a little trip to the boardwalk...

It was a mother/daughter bonding day and what a great excuse to turn off the computer and get some much needed R&R. However, I was not only doing this for my sanity...I was on a mission. *Play the Mission Impossible tune now*

I was going to buy a bathing suit.

Now in my younger years, buying a bathing suit was no problem. There were always racks and racks of cute little bikinis and I could have my pick and choose.

However, as I've "gracefully matured," I finally had to come to terms with the inevitable...

I've graduated to a one-piece.

Yeah, you know the ones that either fat people or old ladies wear. One piece.

I've fought it tooth and nail for years as I've watched my belly grow from a soft little pouch to a double wide and I knew this year, I was going to have to accept the fact that I'm...er...old and it was no way jose was I ever going to fit into a bikini anytime soon. If ever.

So, that was my mission today - as hard as it was for me to accept - I was going to buy my first one piece bathing suit.

My daughter - who could pass for a model in any fashion magazine - and I went to Sunsations in Ocean City, Maryland, to buy each of us a bathing suit. She had bought one there last year and she told me that they have a great selection and it would be no problem to find what I was looking for.

Well, I don't know what planet she was from, but that wasn't exactly what happened....

I chose two suits - one all black and another black with pink flowers.

The Foreign Lady (why do all the clerks at Ocean City come from foreign countries?) led me to the dressing room where I unclothed and prepared myself for the inevitable. I looked like a beached whale no matter what I put on.


I walked out of the dressing room and Foreign Lady wanted to know which one I wanted.

"Too fat," I said and headed back to the bathing suit racks.

I came back with my third choice. It was slightly higher but I was desperate. I was not going to leave that store without a bathing suit.

Foreign Lady let me back in the dressing room where I unclothed again. I went to put the bathing suit on but it was kinda tricky. I finally managed to pull one part over my head and squeeze into it. Now not only did I look like a beached whale, I looked like a beached whale that had their innards sucked out by the seagulls. Yeah, my stomach was sucked in all right but I knew I couldn't hold my breath long enough for a day at the beach in that thing, so I gave it up.

I walked out of the dressing room and Foreign Lady only shook her head. I knew she didn't understand.

I gave it up and my daughter and I headed for the boardwalk. Maybe I'll find something there, I thought.

Now if anyone has ever been to the boardwalk at Ocean City, Maryland, you would know that this is not the place to buy a bathing suit for a beached whale...I mean, over the hill beach mamas.

This is the place the youngens go to buy their barely-there bikinis, which leaves people like me up the creek without a paddle.

But, I didn't mind. My daughter and I had a fabulous time, despite the fact that our mission was never accomplished.

However, another mission WAS accomplished. I was destressing by the minute.

We went inside one of the pizza places there and had a salad and shared a medium pizza. If I was going to be deprived of a bathing suit, I might as well not worry about what I ate at that point.

We hung out. And laughed. And remembered the old times when we'd think nothing of jumping on one of the amusement park rides and not throwing our dinner up. We watched little kids on the merry-go-round and remembered the times when I used to watch my kids do the very same thing.

We walked and talked and remininced.

It was time to go and we stopped at Dolly's for a tub of their famous caramel popcorn. We sat on the bench and ate it while we watched the crowd pass by.

And then it was time to head to the car when Melissa said, "I don't want to go home."

I turned to her and said, "I don't either."

She smiled. I looked at the crowd one more time, gathered my keys, and we headed back home.

If you'd like to see a live cam view of Ocean City, click here.

posted by Dorothy Thompson @ Tuesday, June 14, 2005


A new chick in the hen house...

Many thanks to Kathy and Dorothy for inviting me into the flock! Don't you just love all of the chicken puns? Ahhh...the pun, the lowest form of humor. Loves it!

But seriously, thanks so much for the invite and I'm happy to toss my voice into your lovely group. I just finished my first lady/hen lit book. Although, I'd say it's more lady than hen as my heroine is 38 years old and at a major crossroad in her life. It's the life experience, I think, of these older, wiser, more mature heroines that makes the genre so appealing to me, personally. Don't get me wrong...I love chick lit and love reading it, but I think as our society ages -- and let's face it, the baby boomers are getting into their late 40's and early 50's -- there need to be more stories addressing women at all stages in their lives. I mean, I have such obscure references in my book that I'm pretty sure the younger set won't likely get. Things like Rosie Greer and his needlepoint hobby...watching Carnac on The Tonight Show and The NBC Nightly News with John Chancellor and David Brinkley...hell, the Huntley-Brinkley Report!

I'm greatly looking forward to the new NEXT line by Harlequin that debuts next month. Already, a couple of titles have grabbed my attention and I'll be sure to pick them up. I like how they have a chick lit cover feel to them and I believe they're coming out in trade size with a mass market price. It will be interesting to see how this works and if these books resonate with people.

I have the great fortune of getting to pitch my lady/hen lit book to Jennifer Green of NEXT on Thursday in a special eHarlequin pitch. My book is titled FOUR WINES AND A FUNERAL and the high concept is "Sideways" meets "Garden State" meets "Sweet Home Alabama." Would be great if NEXT is interested in it.

Well, I've blathered enough for starters. Thanks again for inviting me along for the ride!

Marley = )

posted by Marley Gibson @ Tuesday, June 14, 2005


Will the Real Hen Lit Age Please Stand Up

It's been awfully quiet around here so I thought I should post something. So why not talk about age? How old is too old? How old is old enough? These seem to be the questions surrounding "hen lit." But age, of course, is all so subjective.

I've been concerned that hen lit would only be focused on characters that were in their 50s and up. Concerned because chick lit seems to leave off around 38. So what about those women just turning 40 and the lives they reinvent for themselves all throughout their 40s? Well, I needn't have feared. As you can see from her comment on my Real Women blog, Marley mentioned that her winning manuscript for the NEXT editor pitch has a protag in her late 30s. That is interesting, especially since NEXT mentions a sample story might be about a woman having her first baby at 45. I read that to mean that the protag had to be at least 45. Doesn't look so. That's great news to me.

So now the question on the hen lit board is "how old is too old?" Is 57 too old? What about about 60-something - the age of one of the 3 women in my manuscript, Real Women Wear Red?

Well, here's hoping that the age range is much more flexible than we might imagine. But, then, again, it probably depends on the age of who is being asked. 50 might sound ancient to somebody in their twenties but 60 might seem rather young to somebody in their fifties. Believe me, the older I get the younger these ages seem. So, how old is too old? I've always been fascinated by stories of people reuniting with their high school sweetheart when they're in their seventies and eighties. But maybe that's what the new EPIC Romance line is for. Because you're never too old for love.

- Kathy

posted by Kathy Holmes @ Tuesday, June 14, 2005


Wednesday, June 08, 2005


All day, I thought it was Thursday. When I do that, and realize I'm wrong, it's like being handed an extra day.

I'm working away on a new WIP. I want to have a very clear idea where it's going by Friday. Huh? Am I nuts? Of course, I am. I've been plunking out page after page a day. Friday is the start of our local conference and I want enough to be able to pitch the project to an editor.

So, I hope the other hens will keep posting, because other than maybe a conference update, I'll be in hiding until late Tuesday or Wednesday.

Happy hen reading.

posted by Jody Pryor @ Wednesday, June 08, 2005


Tuesday, June 07, 2005

HenLit posting on my xanga blog

Recently, I joined a mailing list called HenLit, which is a pretty clever name for literature that's post-chick lit. For those who haven't been paying attention, chick lit (or books for young women) has been the latest publishing bonanza. Well, the latest bonanza that doesn't have Dan Brown's name on the cover.

Ever since "Bridget Jones' Diary" (which I did not read), the publishing industry has gone wild turning out hot pink volumes by the truck-full. Most of them are pretty standard, however. They involve a young woman in New York who's trying to make it in the publishing/fashion/fashion-publishing industry while trying to find a really good guy.

Those of us who think there really ought to be something out there for women who've had, ahem, a bit of experience in life, Hen Lit was born. And there are some older-than-chick lit novels on the market that did quite well, including "The Revenge of the Middle-Age Woman," and "The Hot Flash Club." (I haven't read those, either.)

But I became interested in Hen Lit when in a chat with my agent, I learned that publishers are dying to reach the Boomer market, but haven't found the right books yet. Many are eager for heroines over the age of 40 or so. So, while I was awaiting critiques on my work-in-progress, I started a couple chapters of a really wacky comedy involving four women "of a certain age," who are going through such things as a surprise 40s pregnancy, husbands running off, learning how to date again, and facing an empty nest. I tried not to lean on the hot flash thing, which I don't really see as particularly humorous. Maybe I'm just weird.

Someday, when I'm done with my revision of Work In Progress, I'll return to the screwball comedy and truly give HenLit a try.

But anyway, the point of all this is that the Hen Lit group has a new group blog, of which I am a proud member. I still don't know how to put a list of recommended links on my xanga page, but here's the link for HenLit.

I hope some of you folks, especially those in the Zen of Middle Age and writers' blogrings enjoy it.


posted by Bastet @ Tuesday, June 07, 2005


Fiction for Women 45+ Must Be Hot

In surfing the internet, I stumbled across Nora Robert's latest book, "Black Rose" - the second in her "Garden Series" trilogy. It just happens to be about a woman who is: independent, 45-years-old, twice divorced, and, believing in second and third chances, about to embark on a new romance. While it's a romantic suspense and not hen lit, it's interesting to me that Nora has seized the opportunity to jump in and write to the 45+ market. Can't wait to see how far this trend goes and hope we're all a part of it.

- Kathy

posted by Kathy Holmes @ Tuesday, June 07, 2005


Sunday, June 05, 2005

In the Hen Lit Generation, but writing fantasy

I just thought I'd take the time to come over here and introduce myself. I'm Lynn Voedisch, a journalist and fiction writer who happened upon Hen Lit thanks to Jody Pryor. I'm not exactly doing Hen Lit right now. In fact, I'm doing final revisions on a contemporary fantasy novel about a reporter who discovers the remains of Atlantis. Not exactly Hen Lit, especially since my protagonist is 33 years old.

However, I have the first two chapters done of a Hen Lit idea--a pretty wild and crazy comedy. My agent said it is the kind of thing publishers are looking for these days. So, I'm hoping that I can get that written a lot faster than my fantasy novel. That took my two years to write and these revisions seem to be taking eons. I thought I'd be done by June, but guess what? I'm afraid I've missed the deadline I set for myself. All those editors will be traipsing up to the Hamptons by the time I get this thing done.

Anyway, I live in Chicago, used to write for the Chicago Sun-Times. I'm attempting to freelance. (Landed an assignment with Dance magazine and then realized it's a cruddy all-rights contract. Looks like I'm going to have to accept this cruddy deal and just hope I can renegotiate if they want me again.). I have son in college who will be moving out in about two weeks. It's hard it imagine having an empty nest.

My blog on xanga is listed on the Hen Lit site. Come on over. My blog is very general, and I usually just stick to any area of writing. I use the blog for thinking out character motivation, interviewing the characters, doing essays on life in general, stories about my life in the 'burbs, and then there's the political diatribe I get in there once in a while. I actually was introduced to blogging via political work and I thought I was going to just blog on politics, but things changed.

Hope you like it. I'm hoping to be doing Hen Lit soon.


posted by Bastet @ Sunday, June 05, 2005


Saturday, June 04, 2005

On the way to Alaska

Disclaimer: I don't edit blog entries. All typos and pathetic grammar are mine and mine alone.

Kathy's post about cruise ships reminded me of our ferry ride to Alaska.

Today is our official anniversary. Nine years ago, we stepped foot on the rock that holds the lovely inside town of Ketchikan. But this story isn't about Ketchikan, it's about what happened before we arrived there.

We drove to Prince Rupert and boarded the ferry there. It's 90 miles from Prince Rupert to Ketchikan, which translates to a six hour journey. No, don't bother with the Gilligan's Island theme music. We really did reach our destination.

The night before, we pulled into Prince Rupert. It really is a gorgeous area. It wasn't until we'd hit Alaska, that I learned Prince Rupert is an island, too. Most people don't realize it either. The bridge isn't all that long. I thought it was over a river. Nope. Prince Rupert is an island. Nine years ago, the first thing I noticed, besides the huge, gorgeous trees was the smell. There's a pulp mill there. It's a very distinct odor.

We'd been on the road for five days and I was sick of sodas. I wanted water. A tall glass of clear, ice cold water. Because it was almost 9 p.m. when we hit Prince Rupert, most of the cafes were closed or closing. We found a Subway. I ordered my sandwich, chips and water. I was handed a cup and directed to the soda fountain. I filled the cup with ice chips that made my mouth water. I had a severe case of travel food fuzz on my tongue. Then I found the button for water.

My eyes widened in horror. In the middle of Subway I had to fight my tears. Normally, I'm not a crier, but yellow water after five days of heavy traveling will make the toughest hen an on demand crier. I wanted clear water. You know, like in the bottled water type of crystal clear water. Not water that looked like it was siffoned off the local pond.

Anyway, we went back to the hotel and I checked the ferry schedule. We were supposed to leave the next night at about midnight. My hubby and I talked it over. We wanted on the first ferry out of dodge, or in this case, Prince Rupert. Luckily, there was one leaving that night. Yay!

I made a call to our future Alaskan landlord and asked if it would be a problem if we arrived a day early. Not a problem.

So, the room we'd checked into less than two hours earlier, we checked out of and headed to the ferry terminal.

We walked around outside. Even at that time of night, it was light out. Eagles dotted the landscape. Otters were playing in the water. All of us Cheechakos were ohhing and ahhing. We talked to a man and his wife who had an RV. They were boarding the ferry to explore the inside passage and then head up to the rest of Alaska. They'd worked all their lives for their six week Alaskan vacation.

I almost felt guilty. A month before we hit the Prince Rupert ferry terminal, we'd had no plans to live in Alaska. We knew we wanted to move, but we weren't sure to where. We decided we'd move to the first place that offered both, my husband and myself, fulltime jobs. That place happened to be Ketchikan. Sure, I'd dreamed of Alaska all my life, but my husband was really hesitant. The kids weren't all that thrilled either. One had just graduated middle school and the other one at home was approaching middle school. No, they weren't what one would call tickled pink.

So, we're chatting with the others who are getting ready to board the ferry. Meaning the other smokers who don't want to hang out inside the terminal, because we were invaded by a sports team of very noisy pre-teens and teens.

And there he is...the world traveler. The supposed Alaskan sourdough, who knows all and doesn't mind revealing his wonderful travel tips to those of us that are beneath his genius mind. My first questionable clue was his obvious lack of intimacy with soap and water. Just because I refused to drink the yellow water didn't mean I was above using it to wash the road grime from me.

When the ferry finally arrive, an hour late, we boarded. Actually, Mr. World Traveler and his equally filthy sidekick boarded. We were in our truck and drove onto the Taku. After we parked, we had to leave the deck and go to the top. We went to the observatory deck, where almost every one else had migrated to. That is everyone, except the ones who had also booked a berth.

Mr. World Traveler and Mr. Filthy Sidekick were there. Come on, if they can't afford soap and water, did you actually expect them to spring for a berth? Me, neither.

Every word out of Mr. World Traveler's mouth was uttered at a volume where everyone on board could hear him. Yes, even the crew in the engine rooms.

The kids and I rolled out our sleeping bags and tried to sleep. Good Lord, it was cold. Coming from the high desert of Nevada, temps that barely reached 60 degrees was nippy. The joint in my hip ached from the cold. The kids finally fell to sleep. I dozed every few minutes. Dear hubby had to explore the ferry. He was like a kid in a candy store. What made it move at so many knots? Would they let him see the engines? Would they let him steer the big old boat? Obviously, he didn't get to see anything or steer it either.

Sometime during the night, the crew closed all the blindes in the observation deck. They said the light reflected off the windows and back into the Captains eyes. Okay, that's not a good thing. Yeah, close them. By that time, the world traveler and his sidekick were snoring and drooling. Yes, they were doing both...in public. And during the night, they even passed gas.

During the early morning hours, dear hubby woke me. "Come with me," he said. A new day was dawning. Finally, I was able to see the landscape of this new land that was to be our new home. Islands littered the watered. Giant spruce were everywhere. A soft mist fell around us. Breath taking doesn't do justice to the scenery.

I tried to blink away the tears. Over the decades, I'd imagined Alaska, but nothing had prepared me for the reality. I inhaled a lung full of the cleanest, crispest air I'd ever breathed. It was tinged with the odor of trees, flowers, wild grass, moisture and salt water. The air was alive. We woke the kids. Others were stirring.

The world travelers woke. The blindes were still lowered. Instead of lifting them and using the straps to hold them up, our world travelers ripped them from the snaps and tried to shove the bottom behind the top to make them stay open.

Before they could destroy too many blinds, the crew came in and opened the rest. We watched as they shoved them up the window, then snapped the strap to keep them up. The world travelers had the decency to appear embarrassed. My family and I watched them. Their cover was blown. They knew even less about Alaska and the ferry system than we had.

I heard my husband snicker. Then a giggle escaped from me. Before long, all of us were laughing. Tears running down our cheeks. The world travelers slunk out of the room.

Within minutes, we'd also left the room. We wanted to see more, because the ferry had rounded another island and Ketchikan lay before us. In all her wonderful glory, she opened her arms for us.

Because we had a vehicle, we couldn't walk off the ferry, so we drove off. But as soon as we could, my husband pulled over and we touched Alaska. Tears filled my eyes, a smile covered my face and my heart sang. After all those years of searching, we were finally home.

What does this have to do with hen lit and hen lit writers? Everything. That's what the stories are about that we write. People, even after the age of forty, who find what every human strives for...peace with who they are and where they are, physically and emotionally.

Happy hen lit reading.

posted by Jody Pryor @ Saturday, June 04, 2005


Native Californian Living in Florida

I’m a native Californian living in Florida. I find myself setting most of my books in California, but if we were to move back to California, I'd probably write about Florida. It seems that I must write about some place that feels out of reach. It creates a longing and a passion in me.

One of the attractions to moving to Florida was the plethora of cruise ships. Well, not having cruised for awhile, in spite of the proximity, must have created a longing so great that I had to write a novel set on a cruise ship. At first, I thought I was writing 3 different novels. But when each character found herself on a cruise ship, I realized it was the same story but with all 3 women's lives connected: a 20-something, a 40-something, and a 60-something. I'm currently shopping this novel, Real Women Wear Red, to agents. This is what I call “where chick lit meets hen lit.” And that pretty much describes my writing. I love the voice of chick lit but I tend to write about women who are at least 40.

To read my Fiction for Real Women blog, go to chicksover40. You can also visit my web site at kathyholmes.net or read my LiveJournal blog where I'm known to go on about religion, politics, or some life issue. I guess it shouldn’t be too surprising that we writers have so many blogs.

- Kathy

posted by Kathy Holmes @ Saturday, June 04, 2005


Friday, June 03, 2005

The Frozen Hen

Okay, I'm not freezing right this minute. In fact, it will be a few more months before I start shivering again. Still, I'm the Alaskan Hen.

Amazingly enough, my works are set in Alaska. Some of the characters have lived in the 49th state all their life, others are new comers, and still others have felt Alaskan all their life, even if they weren't born in Alaska.

I had a hard time with that last sentence. Why? Because I wanted to say "even if they weren't born in the 49th state." Why is that such a problem? Because when most of my characters were born, Alaska was not a state.

What else makes Alaska a unique setting? On the southern end of the Kenai Peninsula, the local Safeway stocks frozen fish sticks. Why is that weird? Because Homer has adopted the title of "Halibut Capital of the World." Duh. Which one is going to be in your freezer? Mrs. Paul's or fillets of the 50 pounder you caught last summer? That's what I thought. While the characters in my stories haven't actually said it, almost all of them do wonder why the fish stick section isn't replaced with more Ben & Jerry's.

I guess it's appropriate for me to make my introduction mostly about Alaska. It was nine years ago, June 4, 1996 at 6:30 a.m. when we drove off the State Ferry the Taku and called Alaska home. I'm not going to say how old I was on that day, but I'm very much a hen. And Alaska is very much this hen's home. It's only natural to combine the two in my writing.

Which means irony is king...err...queen.

Hopefully, within the next couple years or so, my works will start hitting the shelves near you.

Until then, my skeletal web site is here. And my personal blog that can contain almost anything is here.

Happy hen lit reading.

posted by Jody Pryor @ Friday, June 03, 2005


Why I am a Hen Lit Junkie - Dorothy Thompson

Well, I guess I'll start. I'm Dorothy Thompson and I'm a hen lit junkie. Why? Well, I'll explain.

Before I even knew there was such a thing as hen lit or even chick lit, I wrote a book. I finished it in five months - a record for me, I must add. I was aiming for the romance market. It was about a romance novelist from New York who finds love in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains. Well, Avon rejected it. Too much like they already had, they said. Besides, romance wasn't the main point - the main character finding more meaning to life and finding herself was. Someone suggested that it leaned more towards women's fiction and not romance, even though the girl did get the boy in the end. The reasoning was that it focused more on the main character's feelings and actions and not the classic love story that the romance market was looking for.

I sent a chapter or two to one of my online friends and she said that it sounded a lot like chick lit, only the protag was too old.

After she said that, I put "chick lit" in google to see just what this "new" genre was all about. I checked out every link, read all the excerpts on Amazon and basically...

I fell in love.

And then...

I discovered my calling. A new genre. Actually, they were calling it a sub-genre. Hen lit.

Now I could write what I wanted! I could have my protags over the chick lit age and New York was buying!

That's when I started on another book I call "Over the Hill."

Now, "Over the Hill" is a fun little book that I enjoyed writing immensely. When it was oh about 50,000 words into the novel, on a whim I decided to query an agent and was I delighted when she requested the partial. Now, I'm nowhere near THERE, but it's a start.

Only, I had one teensy-weensy problem. I told her it was 70,000 words because no one would accept it that short and I figured I had plenty of time to finish it.

Well, that plenty of time was two weeks later and I was in a dilemma - write 20,000 words before she requested the full (you notice I said WHEN!).

Today, it's 80,000 and still counting. Actually, I'm having trouble saying goodby to the characters. So I guess I can sequel them?

Anyway, that's where I'm at right now.

I'm also the compiler/editor/contributing author of "Romancing the Soul - True Stories of Soul Mates from Around the World and Beyond" and a syndicated relationship columnist. If you would like to visit my website, you can go to www.dorothythompson.net.

My projects right now are a how to book for first time authors called "1001 Secrets First Time Authors Need to Know!" which will be published next year by Zumaya Publications and the sequel (or prequel?) to "Over the Hill."

posted by Dorothy Thompson @ Friday, June 03, 2005


The Hen Lit Writers Blog Debut!

Welcome to the premier of the Hen Lit Writers Blog where you get all the latest news on what happens in the hen lit writing genre. The writers of the Hen Lit Writers Blog come from a diverse background, but all share in the love of writing the hen lit genre. Thanks for visiting!

posted by Dorothy Thompson @ Friday, June 03, 2005