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Tuesday, July 26, 2005

What's A Woman To Do?

I agree with you, Kathy. I also thought Next was devoted to at least the over-40 age group. Like you said, it's very difficult to know what to send where.
I read an article earlier today on the new book out, Younger by Pamela Redmond Satran. The ARTICLE can be linked here.
Seems this author was trying to appeal to all age groups with her book. But like the article said, was it just a marketing strategy? I know publishers love "gimmicks" ie: what will stand out and sell in the marketplace.
But..........what's a woman to do? Especially when said woman is an author trying to break into that marketplace?

posted by Terri @ Tuesday, July 26, 2005


Monday, July 25, 2005

Hen Lit - RDI or NEXT?

Okay, so now I'm really confused about hen lit - who wants it and what are they expecting. When I first heard about NEXT I interpreted it to be for the 40+ crowd. "Hen lit" I thought. The examples on their web site was "somebody having a baby for the first time at 45" or a story about "3 generations." Since I was writing a book that had 3 different age groups, although not all related, I said "perfect." Then the NEXT books came out. And guess what? No chick lit or hen lit voice. Not really. Not to the extent of my ms. So I figure NEXT is about the age - not the voice.

Then I heard about a new release from NEXT and the main character is 30. Huh? Guess it's not the age after all. "It's about a major change in somebody's life" I read. And "hen lit is over at RDI." Huh? Okay. The RDI web site says it's all about Fiction with Attitude. And that RDI has grown up. Excellent. This sounds like it's right up my alley. But recently somebody had posted on one of the writing loops that RDI was focusing on the 18-34 crowd. So, is it about age or voice?

I have a full over at NEXT but I'm wondering if it's more suitable for RDI. Maybe they'll love it over at NEXT and think this is just what the line needs. Or, if not, maybe they'll forward it to the appropriate editor. I can only hope. In the meantime, it sure is confusing about where to submit what. An agent would be nice but I think they're just as confused as I am. :)

posted by Kathy Holmes @ Monday, July 25, 2005


Friday, July 22, 2005

My Debut

Thanks for the invite to join this blog. As a baby boomer and author of women's fiction, "hen lit".....my protagonists are over age 50.....I'm looking forward to blogging here. A little background on me....I'm originally from the Boston area, have lived in Florida for 18 yr. and recently relocated to an island, 24 miles from the mainland, off the west coast of Florida. For the past year I've been writing mysteries and am now in the process of revising my completed manuscript for agent representation. Did I say "revising?" "Birthing" would probably be a better word, as what I'm doing is taking some characters, some plot and a little of this and that from my two other mysteries and creating a whole new manuscript. I'm hoping to strengthen the overall market appeal. So we shall see where this leads me.......
To balance my sanity on those days that writing leads me to drink way more caffeine than I should, I love to knit. I find it not only soothing but I love the quiet time that lets me visit with my characters and get to know them even better. Knitting allows me "thinking" time for those plots to germinate and hopefully grow. At the moment, I'm making a poncho for my 11 yr. old granddaughter.
I also love to read.....is there any writer that isn't also an avid reader? Obviously, the past year I've been reading lots of mysteries to improve my own craft of writing, but every now and again, I toss in something else. Since I'd never read MacDonald's Travis McGee, I'm reading the first one and enjoying it a lot. Also recently read some of Carolyn G. Hart's mysteries, along with Monica Ferris. Both great mystery authors.
Well, that's a wrap for my debut blog and I hope to see you again soon..............

posted by Terri @ Friday, July 22, 2005


Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Move Over Howard Stern, Hello Dorothy!

Too bad my name isn't Dolly or that title up there would be kinda cute. Reminds me of Carol Channing...think that's who sang it...ANYWAY...

Well....today I am a radio star.


I don't see how people can do that stuff every single day. Guess practice makes perfect, but as this was only my third radio interview and there was a lot of time in between gigs, I guess I'm not there yet, but you wanna know a secret?

It's cool as *#%@!

After a few trips to the bathroom *if you catch my drift*, I settled in my chair, waiting for them to call. And then...something ocurred to me. With all the goings on in my house, I decided very quickly that the bedroom would be the perfect place for my interview. It was where the air conditioner was and if I got a hot flash, I'd be better off in there than in the living room where not only is it warmer than the rest of the house but noisier, too.

I grabbed my book (just in case I forgot the name of it), my notes (just in case I forgot what I've been preaching for years about soul mates) and my pepsi. I laid out everything on the bed and waited. It approached 10:30 when they were supposed to call and nature decided to make her appearance again and I flew back in the bathroom. Why is it that I always get the shits when I have interviews? Oops, delete the bad word...sorry (I'll go back and do it later).

Anyway, I'm sitting there thinking and trying to hurry the process since the phone was in the other room and if it rang, I didn't want to be caught with my pants down (no pun intended).

I finished up as quick as possible and flew back in the bedroom. Ten minutes had passed and still no call and the first thing in my mind was that I had gotten the time all screwed up. Central time is different from eastern time, and maybe central time is two hours, not one hour, difference - you know how it is when you got the runs, you're old and you're about to make a fool of yourself in front of millions (well, a few anyway) of people.

Five minutes more went by and I decided to stretch out on the bed and rest. My heart was pounding through my body and I thought wouldn't it be cool to die and have everyone say Cuzin Eddie killed Dorothy? I'd really make headlines then.

Anyway, the phone rang. Well, that was enough to give you a coronary right there.

I jumped up, took a deep breath, and breathed a hello into the receiver, hoping it was Aunt Matilda down the road or a telemarketer or something. I have no problem hanging up on either.

"Hello, Dorothy?"

It was THEM.

But a funny thing happened once I heard the angelic voice of Penny Sansevieri, co-host of the Cuzin Eddie Show. I don't know what happened to me, but I became THE SOUL MATE EXPERT.

Hell, it was so much fun, I couldn't shut up. Twenty minutes flew by when Cuzin Eddie had to interrupt us to say we'd run out of time.

I went nooooo...but I have so much more to say, to preach, to enlighten the world with! I actually didn't say that, but I wanted to.

Cuzin Eddie was real cool. I wasn't sure how he was going to feel about the whole soul mate thing, but he winged it real well. Penny was excellent, need I say more. Both made me feel so comfortable. They asked me to come back and I said hell yeah. Well, it was more in the lines of "Thank you! I would love to!" (you can't look redneck over the air waves or no one will buy your book, that I have learned).

Afterwards, I felt elated. One more stepping stone towards overcoming stage fright and hopefully it will result in a sold book or two. I have another radio interview in August and this one everyone can hear on the web AND archived. Eek.

So, anyway, I did it and I feel great about myself and that's what it's all about. *grin*

posted by Dorothy Thompson @ Tuesday, July 19, 2005


Monday, July 18, 2005

Dorothy Thompson to Appear on Cuzin Eddie Show Tomorrow!

Hi everyone!

Just a note to let you know that if you're going to be in the Illinois area, I will be appearing on the Cuzin Eddie Radio Show with co-host Penny Sansevieri tomorrow morning at 9:30 Central Time. I will be discussing my book, Romancing the Soul, and how you can find the soul mates in your life. Hope to see you there!

Dorothy ThompsonEditor/Co-Author of "Romancing the Soul"
Don't forget to check out my new advice column blog at:

posted by Dorothy Thompson @ Monday, July 18, 2005


Tuesday, July 12, 2005

I've been tagged!

I've been tagged by Pam, so here are my answers...

Number of books I've owned...

Wow...I don't think I can count that high. I started buying books when I first started getting an allowance at like 11 or 12 years of age. I used to religiously buy the First Love by Silhouette books the moment they hit the revolving rack at the store. In fact, I still have all of the books in three boxes. I read a lot from the library in my early days, but once I got a job and started buying things with my own money, I really bulked up. I'd say currently, I have about 200 books scattered about next to the bed, on the book shelf, in storage or at my sister's house so she and my nieces can read them.

Last book I bought...

This is easy...from my favorite place to buy books -- Amazon.com -- I bought my friend, Eileen Rendahl's second lady lit called BALANCING IN HIGH HEELS and am reading it right now. Right before that, I bought (also from Amazon), THE TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE, which I haven't read yet, but am looking forward to. Oh...actually, you've got me on a technicality here because there was a promo on eHarlequin for the new NEXT books coming out and I bought all four of the July books for $13.00 -- but I don't have them yet.

Last book that was given to me...

My friend, Diana, sent me our friend, Shanna Swendson's ENCHANTED, INC. to read. I think she was giving it to me...maybe it was just a loan. LOL! If that doesn't count, then my friend Megan in Santa Monica gave me a kick-ass Weight Watchers cookbook that I can't get enough of.

The next book I plan to buy...

Well, see, this is a hard one to answer because I'm constantly telling myself I'm not going to buy any more books because I get so many for free through friends and conferences or because I have a book person living next to my bed in the form of the 50 some-odd books sitting there in the "To Be Read" pile. I am looking forward to Sandra Brown's WHITE HOT that I'll probably pick up soon after release in August.

Last book I read...

Ummm...well, still reading one, so technically that's not the last one, right? I think it would have to be my friend, Jessica Bird's RITA nominated AN UNFORGETTABLE LADY, which was really good. Jessica has an excellent way with words.

Five books that mean a lot to me...

This is a no-brainer to me...

1. GONE WITH THE WIND -- and I know that sounds cliched, but this book is amazing. Simply amazing. The characters are so real, so deep, so 3-D. The story unfolds during a time of turmoil and sadness for our country, yet these characters all pull together to try to make their world right again and just keep on going. I love Scarlett O'Hara. She's totally a chick lit heroine. People think she's a bitch...but it's not that. She's young. Naive. Unexperienced. And she's thrown into the dire situation of growing up fast, taking care of herself and tending to those she loves. And make no argument...Scarlett does love fiercely. Why else would she work so hard to put food on the table and keep Tara from being sold because of taxes. She tells us straight up -- telling off God, in fact -- that if she has to lie, cheat or steal, she'll never go hungry again. And she doesn't. She has an amazing mentor in Melanie and a tumultuous love affair with Rhett. It's just an amazing story, well written and brilliant. The first time I read it was in 7th grade for a Civil War book report. I wanted to read it and the teacher said it was "too grown up" for me. I told her she was wrong and I got the highest grade on that book report in the class...A+...so there! :)

2. ASHES IN THE WIND -- loved, loved, loved this book. It was the first romance I ever read when I was 11, I believe. It was my sister's book and on the shelf in her room, but I would sneak in and read it in pieces. I cried over the love story and my heart melted for the characters. Just all around a changing experience that totally turned me on to romance books for the rest of my life.

3. THE THORN BIRDS -- again, loved this book. So detailed. So epic. So tragic and painful. Forbidden love and what people would do for it and to protect it. The passion and politics of the church were very interesting and so true, even today. Father Ralph was beyond a hero. He had flaws. He had ambition. He had a heart. And Meggie...man, you just grew up with her and knew her. It was a lovely story of family and heartbreak and love and moving on with your life. Excellent book. Too bad Colleen McCullough went all Roman and wrote like five Caesar books when she should have been writing more books like this one.

4. OUTLANDER -- Diana Gabaldon had me on the first page with this one. And, I picked it up at a tiny little bookstore in Halifax, Nova Scotia back in 1998 before the Outlander books became the cult that they are now. I couldn't put this book down. And, I totally bought into the fact that this WWII nurse went back in time and fell in love with a Scotsman. The historical details were riveting, the characters intense and the romance...just made you melt. The three books that followed were equally as outstanding and I consumed them like a Michelin three diamond meal. I haven't read the last book in the series, THE FIERY CROSS, but it's on the list of books to read.

5. BRIDGET JONES'S DIARY -- one of the funniest damn books I've ever read. (That and THE EDGE OF REASON.) Love this character. Love, love, love her. She is every woman. She does stupid shit that we all do. And she owned up to it and said, "love me in spite of it." She was flawed, made tons of mistakes, but was loveable and identifiable. The voice in this book just sings like an opera. This also turned me on to Chick Lit and made me realize that *I* might be able to write characters like this who are real and flawed and sympathetic. The book, of course, follows PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, but the twists and turns and angles that Helen Fielding did make it modern and a true classic in its own right. I've read this book three times and could easily fall into it again.

Well...there...I'm done. A lot, but hopefully gave some good recommendations. And now...I tag Kathy to see what she has to say! Go for it, Kathy!

Marley = )

posted by Marley Gibson @ Tuesday, July 12, 2005


Wednesday, July 06, 2005

This is why I write

After hours of sleep and a lovely conversation with a dear friend/former family member, I know why I write.

I write because I'm not scared to tackle characters that make others uncomfortable. I'm not scared to write the scenes that leave me drained and sobbing when I'm finished. I'm not scared to feel their pain so I can find the words to express it on paper.

That's why I write. Because I'm willing to go where others refuse to go.

In the end, I think that's an important reason to write.

I love books that bring me nothing but happy tears. I also like books that twist my gut and force me to quesiton my beliefs about things.

As a writer, I want to write the books that bring tears of sorrow and joy, the books that also make the reader squirm with discomfort because maybe my character is a little close for their comfort and I want them to question their feelings about some of their prejudices.

Let's face it, each of us has prejudices against something or another. We make rash judgment calls based on how a person speaks, dresses, presents themselves or even based on what mode of transportation they use.

I'd love to think we were past the days of when the color of a person's skin mattered, but I realize even those prejudices still exist. I'll leave that topic for other writers. Ones who have more authority to broach that topic than I have.

I'll tackle the ones that are more common. The one who talked to me today has a phrase that I really adore. She says she feels like the granola queen and she's sick of living in an area where she sticks out in her granola attire. She's sick of worrying if her shoes match her outfit perfectly. She wants to move back to flannel shirts and Carhartts land.

That's not the one I'm dealing with in my book, but it's requiring readers to take another look at a character they'd rather just slap the label of loser on and be on their merry way.

So, my earlier post wasn't about my lack of self-esteem. It was about my confusion of friends basically telling me I shouldn't be writing about this character.

Sorry. That's the character for this book and if I can find a home for it, at least two more books. This is the story of one person's life and it absolutely fasinates me. It's a life that should be honored, not scorned. Which is why this character is so important to me. In real life, most people do scorn people just like my character.

Happy hen lit reading.

posted by Jody Pryor @ Wednesday, July 06, 2005


Why we write

Why do we write?

When things are going really well, I can come up with a zillion reasons why I write. When things aren't going so well, I stammer and stutter. I pause. Usually a very pregnant pause.

I worry if I've only got one book in me. Now, on the surface this is really pretty humorous. I've written six complete manuscripts and each is different from the other. I've completely revised three of them. So, I should know that I have more than one book in me.

Yet when I strip everything away and when I'm in the middle of creating a new work, I worry that that one is the only one in me that will be any good.

I'm tired. I shouldn't be blogging. I'm sick. And I've surpassed frustration.

I know what I want to write. Why is it so hard to find people who will read my work and help me write what I want to write better? Most want to tell me how to write the way they'd write it if they were to write it. That's not what I want or need to hear. I want to know how to make my characters better. My story better. Not shred it and write your image of it.

I have a dear friend who wants me to write funny stories. Okay, except it's hard to write 300 pages of funny. Very few people can do it and even fewer can do it well.

Chick lit and hen lit are supposed to have a certain voice. There's supposed to be humor in them. But out of all the chick/hen lit books I've read, most don't do several hundred pages of funny. There are humorous moments, but there are serious moments, too. Kind of like life.

There's supposed to be this kick a** attitude. But really, none of them carry it all the way through. When your heart has been broken, or grandchild is in the hospital fighting for his or her life, no one has a kick a** attitude.

So here's the deal. My protags are over 40. They've been knocked down a few times. And guess what? If they don't get knocked down a few times in the story there is no story. So, they're going to have to struggle. How can all their struggles be funny?

They can't. Or at least in anything I write, they can't.

So when my readers tell me to be funny. I want to scream. When my readers get hung up on the teeny, tiny, I want to scream. When they tell me a character can't be like that, it doesn't do me any good. Tell me what bothers you and then I can either adjust it so it comes across as I meant it to come across. But the truth is, I love my characters. They're real to me. If you, the early reader, sees something that makes you strongly dislike that character, I need to know.

But if that trait is there, it's there for a reason. Don't tell me to get rid of it. Tell me how you perceive it and give me the option of revising it so you can see the same layers and complexities that I see.

Because anything less than that only makes me wonder why in the hell I'm writing anyway. And today, over something so minor, I'm wondering just that. Why in the hell am I writing?

But it's not just today, it's an accumilation of friends letting me know that I'm not writing the type of story they want me to write. They want me funnier. They don't want me to dig so deeply into my characters. They want them to be...dare I say it...shallow.

Happy hen lit reading.

posted by Jody Pryor @ Wednesday, July 06, 2005


Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Mature and Settled?

Hey everyone!

Sorry for the long absence. First, I was on vaca at my parents' house, enjoying being babied, spoiled and fed three times a day at all-u-can eat buffets! What is it with 70 year olds feeling the need to stuff themselves until they fall over asleep? :)

Also, I've been in a flurried frenzy of job interviews and I'm happy to report that after six months of unemployment, I am newly employed! I'll be starting at a great, successful asset management company in downtown Boston on August 3rd and couldn't be happier.

I thought I'd share something "hen lit" related and age related that might be of interest.

During the interviewing process these past few months, I've found that I've been the "top candidate" at most places I've gone to. Why? Because I've been competing with twenty year olds and college graduates for the positions I've been applying for. See, I've been a Marketing and Events Director/Manager for the last 16 years and when I lost my job in February, I decided to downsize my life a bit and go for Executive Assistant roles. I'm tired of the travel, the stress, the deadlines and the frenetic pace that marketing has played in my life. But in doing so, I've had to convince headhunters and recruiters that yes...at nearly 39, I do want to do this type of work.

And in doing so, I've been up against the twenty year olds. Yeah, I've seen them sitting there with their little pony tails and perfect blue suits and their folder full of samples from whatever college internships they've had. I know, because I was one of those people 16 years ago. Hell, I was more grown up and mature at 23 than I am now at 38 1/2! But, it's very interesting because I can see those people getting asked the "where do you want to be in five years" question and the "how would your best friend describe you" inquiries. With me, I don't play the bull$hit question and answer game. I'm too old for that crap! *EG* I talk straight forward, I let my experience and computer skills speak for themselves. I laugh. I joke. I'm me. I don't play games. I poo-poo them when they ask text-book standard interview questions. And I get asked back for second interviews.

Please don't interpret this as cocky...I'm anything but that! I'm the world's most insecure person when it comes to certain things...but not job interviewing. I know that if I can get my foot in the door, I can win them over. And I did. But I had no idea I'd be competing with people 16+ years younger than me.

Then, I was told by the company that hired me that I was "mature and settled" and that's what made them like me so much. Me? Mature? Settled? Damn...I sure fooled them, eh? *EG* But seriously...it was a turn around for me...expecting to lose out jobs to someone younger, thinner and blonder, but for once, my age, experience and life knowledge played in my favor.

So, I think it's cool to be mature and settled. After all, I have a husband of nearly 16 years, enough credit card debt to make a college graduate weep and a mortgage that gets paid on time every month. Suppose you have to be mature and settled to do all of those things...right?

Good thing they figured all of that out without me having to demonstrate a hot flash for them. *giggle*

Now, it's off to finish the lady lit and get it out to NEXT before I start the new job!

Marley = )

posted by Marley Gibson @ Tuesday, July 05, 2005


Sunday, July 03, 2005

Is Europe More Age Friendly?

I read an article that quoted Actress Charlotte Rampling, who turned 60 this year, as saying that Hollywood has a "barbaric" attitude towards older actresses. "Having wrinkles is not a reason to be put away. In Europe, they understand that, thank God."

So maybe I should have titled this "Is Europe More Adult Friendly" because my comments go beyond just age-friendly. Recently a couple of people commented on my blog that Europeans were not quite as family obsessed as the US. Good news to me because while I respect a person's choice to have children, I also want to find my place - without children. I would like to go to a restaurant with my sweetie and not have to worry about a baby sitting behind us and jumping up and down on our heads. A very clever French friend of mine always said she was careful to seat couples far from the families. If only there were more of those clever people in the service industry. But it figures - she was European. And now I read that Europeans are not quite as age-phobic either.

Or maybe I should have titled this "Is Europe More Body Image Friendly" because I remember trying to starve myself when I was in my 20s and, having a naturally voluptuous body, I could only get so thin. A coworker married to a Brit said my trying to lose more weight was nonsense. Her husband would think I was the perfect size. Thankfully, my husband does too. :)

I'm starting to wonder if I belong in Europe. And here I say this on the eve of the biggest American holiday. While I really don't want to leave my country, I would like for some of those European sensibilities to make their way over here. Sometimes it seems to be getting worse rather than better. But with Harlequin's NEXT series of books for real women over 40, we're headed in the right direction. And that's something to celebrate - no matter what country you live in.

posted by Kathy Holmes @ Sunday, July 03, 2005


Saturday, July 02, 2005

Put Away Those Rockers, Granny, We’re Going Skydiving!

There’s a discussion over at TWL Author Talks about hen lit.

One member asked just what it was and Kathy (of this group blog) and I are trying to explain it to her. It’s really simple, but I’d like to add a little bit of what I said so that if anyone happens upon this blog, they will know where we are coming from and, hopefully, it will help them to understand just what “hen lit” is all about.

So, what is hen lit...

I think that what we writers of this genre are trying to say is that as women of this particular age group, we should have come to a place in our life's journey where we have finally found ourselves (and if we haven't, we don't have much time left to do it, so you better get cracking!) so that is true life to us. If we rely on others to fulfill our needs and make us happy, we better backtrack and fix that. So if we want to portray the "real" life of someone in this age genre, let's stick with the facts.

By this time, we should be comfortable in who we are and are finally accomplishing some of those goals we have set out for us and if we haven't, we are working on it.

So what we are doing with our time, besides taking care of our family life, we are working, writing, whatever in order to accomplish those last few goals before time runs out.

Now I know that isn't going to happen in every hen lit story...some may be about finding love in their later years...but I think that what hen lit readers are going to want to read are ways to get through these last years without going totally bonkers.

I think they are going to want to read about women who are making strides in their personal lives and careers and reading how they are going about doing that so that it would encourage them to do the same.

Gone are the days when grannies are sitting on rockers on the front porch. They are out there taking skydiving lessons and exploring the continent.

That's the kind of story I'd want to read...to give me hope that once I reach the golden years, it's not going to be all about complaining over what ailments I have or wishing I were younger again. Make sense at all?

posted by Dorothy Thompson @ Saturday, July 02, 2005