You know what I love? A lighthearted book that keeps me guessing, keeps me caring about guessing, and carries me through to the end on a fun-sized roller coaster of concern for how things will turn out for the characters. The Bitches of Brooklyn is such a book.
Rosemary Harris has done a fantastic job crafting realistic characters, realistic friendships, and making the lives of the five bitches from Brooklyn feel distinct, varied, and interesting. You personally know at least two of these women, and have probably met the other three. Some of them are your best friends, and at least one is your arch nemesis. Each character is instantly recognizable as someone who could be sitting next to you at the movie theater.
Even better, the writing “for every woman who’s ever had a best friend and wondered…is she really,” is quick witted, clear, and keeps you hopping and hoping. You’ll find yourself wanting the best for each of these women, and wondering just exactly what that will entail. You certainly won’t be disappointed.
This was my lunchtime novel for about four days, and I really looked forward to cracking it open for company on my lunch hour. As much as I wanted to get to the end to find out how the original set up was resolved, I was sorry to get to the final chapter because I really liked these women. I would read spin-offs of this book, but I would really love to see a prequel.
For a light, fun chick-lit read, this one is 5 stars for me.
5 out of 5
About The Bitches of Brooklyn and Rosemary Harris:
Rosemary Harris has been a bookstore manager, a video producer and a public television exec. Her debut novel, the Agatha and Anthony-nominated, Pushing Up Daisies, was followed by The Big Dirt Nap,Dead Head andSlugfest, all titles in her Dirty Business mystery series. She is past president of Mystery Writers of America’s NY Chapter and Sisters in Crime’s New England Chapter. Like some of the characters in The Bitches of Brooklyn she was born in Brooklyn but now lives in New York City and Fairfield County, Connecticut.
From the author of the Anthony and Agatha-nominated Pushing Up Daisies and Dead Head.
Are they really bitches? That depends who you ask…four friends await the arrival of a fifth at a secluded Cape Cod bungalow where they spend an all-girls weekend every summer. But this year the fifth woman doesn’t show. Instead she sends a note that reads – “I’ve run off with one of your men.”
Has she? Is it a prank? Do they run for the phone or try to enjoy the weekend without her? Fun, flirty and filled with Harris’ trademark snappy dialogue and quirky characters forced to reevaluate their marriages, their friendships and their memories, The Bitches of Brooklyn has been called “a cross between Pretty Little Liars and Sex in the City.”
Inspired by a classic Hollywood film, The Bitches of Brooklyn will appeal to readers of Jennifer Weiner, Cathleen Schine and Susan Isaacs and is for every woman who’s ever had a best friend and wondered…is she really??
“Rosemary Harris is a GEM of a writer.” Joanne Fluke, NYTimes best-selling author of the Hannah Swenson series. “Smart, sassy and sophisticated,The Bitches of Brooklynmay be the best female buddy book yet. I dare you to put it down.” Elaine Viets, best-selling author of The Dead End Job series andCatnapped!
Follow the blog tour! Rosemary is on tour until December 23rd.
It is a banner day all around! The best news is that my mother is being released from the hospital today, having had a successful surgery, and excellent recovery. She’ll be back to top form in no time.
The other good news is that I sold the romance novel! I can’t share too much right now, other than the title, PLAYING ALL THE ANGLES, but I am thrilled. I’d had word from the publisher several weeks ago, that I should have an answer within the week, but hadn’t heard back from them. Yesterday, sleep deprivation and stress broke down my “don’t bother the nice people” mentality, and I contacted them. I had a response within the hour, and I was sure it meant a rejection was on the way. I had steeled myself for it, so when I started reading the email from the managing editor this morning, I had to read it three times before I was convinced it wasn’t dyslexia playing tricks on me.
Now, here is the importance of objective, impartial readers: Nicole and I started this story a decade ago. While I was shopping TIARA TROUBLE, I found a piece of the romance file, and started working on it again. I rewrote a good deal, added a new opening, and finished it off, then sent out a few queries.
Meanwhile, I won a critique spot on one of openings on Miss Snark’s First Victim, and based on the commentary there, I did another harsh edit, and went through with the critique suggestions/questions in mind. I sent off the next submission and…sold it! –If you are a writer, I highly suggest Miss Snark’s site. You can learn a lot from reading the critiques, and get an idea of what is working well for people. You also have lottery style opportunities to share your work with some great agents.–
I really credit that critique commentary for helping me streamline and bring some clarity to a story with three plotlines and a lot of characters. I think it’s a pretty decent stab at a Judith Krantzian style of melodramatic romance.
Right this second, I am typing from my iPad in Mom’s hospital room. We’re waiting for her release. She’s napping, and I am freezing because the a/c is set at 60. But, I’m very, very happy. Very.
Today, our writer guest is Meredith Schorr, author of JUST FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS, STATE OF JANE, and her latest novel BLOGGER GIRL. We were fortunate to get a little time to interview Meredith about her new release.
The Outside Lane: Kimberly Long, the main character of BLOGGER GIRL, is relatable and beleaguered. What is the challenge in taking an ordinary girl and making her extraordinarily readable?
Meredith Schorr: My brand is “chick lit for real chicks” and so common to all of my books is a very relatable heroine – someone who might remind the reader of herself or at least someone she knows. While I strive to create likeable characters, they are always flawed. I allow them to make mistakes, to feel jealous and insecure, to snap at a friend or colleague, to make dumb choices. I care a lot about my characters and it often hurts me to put them into difficult situations especially when I know their judgment is off, but if it is important to the story and adds an element of depth to my characters, it’s the right thing to do.
TOL: What do you like best about Chick Lit?
MS: I like that chick lit is often grounded in reality but peppered with a lot of humor and *usually* a happy ending. Chick lit takes real life situations and struggles and makes you laugh about them. I often nod my head in understanding while I am reading a chick lit book and feel that I am not alone. And when I read the last line, the book often leaves me feeling warm and fuzzy inside with an optimistic spirit.
TOL: How do you think writing for women has changed since Bridget Jones?
MS: I think initially, many authors tried to ride the coattails of the Bridget Jones phenomenon and write similar stories. Most did not succeed in my opinion but some did. Some authors captured the humor and realism and created unique characters to love but others were just poor imitations. As a result, the market was saturated with unimaginative books full of clichés until editors stopped publishing chick lit unless the author was already very well established. During this time, in my opinion, there weren’t nearly enough humorous books written about women as some of the bigger authors changed their style to write more serious women’s fiction but with the growth of self-publishing and smaller “indie” publishing houses, I am seeing a lot more well-written, original and hilarious stories again. I don’t only write chick lit but I read it as well and so I am thrilled to have discovered so many new authors over the past few years.
TOL: What has been your biggest learning experience in releasing your third novel?
MS: I have learned that giving away free copies of your book in exchange for reviews before the book is released really does make a huge difference in spreading the word. With my other two novels, I didn’t have nearly as much time pre-publication to contact bloggers and readers of the genre. By the timeBlogger Girl was released, there was already a certain amount of buzz from people who had read and enjoyed it and so sales picked up quickly whereas with my other books, it took several months
TOL: Talk about your publishing experience—how did you choose Booktrope?
MS: After I finished writing my second novel, A State of Jane, I wasn’t sure what my next steps would be. I wasn’t interested in spending years querying agents who would then spend years shopping around to publishers. I also didn’t want to self-publish because with my busy day job, I knew I needed the support of a publisher behind me in terms of editing, formatting, cover art, marketing etc. Unfortunately, I was not happy with the publisher of my first novel. A writer friend told me about Booktrope. I knew a few authors who had published with them and had enjoyed their books. Upon doing research, I was incredibly impressed with Booktrope’s “team publishing” philosophy. Every Booktrope author is teamed with an editor, cover artist and book manager and everyone on the team receives a portion of the royalties of the book. It also seemed that Booktrope was very much in tune with the changes in the publishing industry and willing to take risks. I loved that they offered marketing support because my original publisher did not. I also liked that their books were priced competitively, that they were always looking for new ways to market books, that they were staffed with experts in the field yet allowed the author a certain amount of control as well. Although they weren’t accepting unsolicited submissions at the time, I was lucky in that one of their best-selling authors, Tess Thomson, referred me to them and they offered me a contract. I had a great experiencing publishing A State of Jane with Booktrope and so when Blogger Girl was finished, I did not hesitate sending it to them. And now they have taken over the rights to my first novel, Just Friends with Benefits, too. I look forward to a long writing career with Booktrope!
TOL: Cast your book for the movie version. Pick your stars!
MS: Kimberly – Isla Fisher
Nicholas – Matt Long
Bridget – Blake Lively (with red hair)
Hannah – Kristin Ritter
Jonathan – Adam Brody
TOL: How much of your own world figures in to the worlds you write about?
MS: Although all of my novels are 100% fiction, most of my inspiration comes from real life. Characters are often loosely inspired by people I have met. And I will admit that I often take bits and pieces of real life, tweak them and use them out of context. Life is too humorous not to!
TOL: If you could get a cover blurb from any author in the world, whose words of praise would you want on the back of your book?
MS: Well, my chick lit “crush” is Sophie Kinsella but I would have to go with Judy Blume. Her YA books kept me (somewhat) sane turning my tween/early teen years. I read every book over and over again (and not just Forever…) It was like she just knew what I was feeling. To have an icon like Judy Blume endorse one of my books would be a dream come true.
TOL: Meredith, thank you so much for joining us today. We certainly appreciate your time.
I received a promotional copy of BLOGGER GIRL through Chick Lit Plus to review (and I bought a copy, too, because I know how writers rely on sales.) There is a lot to like about Meredith Schorr’s third book, BLOGGER GIRL. There is more to like than not. It is a well written, well edited Chick Lit book that follows the expected rules of the genre while taking some unconventional twists and turns that keep the story original and fresh. I liked how real the relationships between the characters felt, and had fun with the meta aspects of the main character’s (Kim Strong’s) daily life.
Meredith writes assertively and assuredly.
I wish I had liked Kim Strong more, but I have this feeling that she and I would not enjoying sharing a seat on the train. This is mainly because Kim reminded me way too much of the worst parts of my younger self, and I would either be lecturing, or shaking her by the shoulders. No one likes to get yelled at on the train, and certainly no one wants to be shaken.
BLOGGER GIRL really hits its stride right around the halfway mark, and was not a bad way to spend a few hours.
The only thing keeping me from giving the book 4 stars is the fact that Kim and I have a personality conflict, and I am afraid she will make fun of the size of my rear as soon as I am out of earshot. This does not mean that you and Kim will have a personality conflict, so take my opinion with a grain of salt.
4 out of 5 stars for me
A born and bred New Yorker, Meredith Schorr discovered her passion for writing when she began to enjoy drafting work-related emails way more than she was probably supposed to, and was famous among her friends for writing witty birthday cards. After dabbling in children’s stories and blogging her personal experiences, Meredith found her calling writing “real chick lit for real chicks.” When Meredith is not hard at work on her current work in progress, she spends her days as a trademark paralegal at a law firm in New York City. Meredith is a loyal New York Yankees fan and an avid runner. She also loves to read and is always on the lookout for her new favorite author. A State of Jane is her second novel.
November 4 – The Little Black Book Blog – Review & Excerpt
November 5 – Book Mama – Review, Guest Post & Excerpt
November 6 – Books in the Burbs – Review & Excerpt
November 7 – The Gothic Ballerina – Guest Post
November 11 – The Outside Lane – Review & Q&A
November 12 – Chick Lit Club Connect – Guest Post
November 14 – Livia Ellis – Review & Excerpt
November 18 – Bee’s Knees Reviews – Review, Guest Post & Excerpt
November 19- Storm Goddess Book Reviews – Review & Excerpt
November 20- Leigh Bennett – Review, Guest Post & Excerpt
November 22 – Chick Lit Plus – Review
November 25 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review, Guest Post & Excerpt
**Everyone who leaves a comment on the tour page will be entered to win a $20 Amazon gift card! Anyone who purchases their copy of Blogger Girl before November 25 and sends their receipt to Samantha (at) ChickLitPlus (dot) com, will get five bonus entries.**
There is a lot going on today! First, please visit FUOnlyKnew.com for a Ramblin’ review from Laura of TIARA TROUBLE–be sure to browse her blog because she’s got a litany of great books listed. An amazing review that made me fly around the living room (because this is the review I’ve been sweating!) is up on Chick Lit Plus. I was out of touch this weekend, helping my mom, so I wasn’t able to post about the 4-Star review and giveaway over on Books ‘n Kisses. Please visit them today, too, because the giveaway is still on!
I will also be visiting with Amy Beth Arkawy on her blogtalk radio show today at 12 EST. Amy Beth is a fellow Cozy Cat author, and we’ll be talking about cozy mysteries and whatever else sounds like good fun. And in that spirit, I’d like to introduce you to Amy Beth, author of Dead Silent.
About Dead Silent:
It’s summertime, and in Goodship, New York, the living is anything but easy. Controversial radio shock jock Paul Hackett is found strangled to death with his headphone cord around his neck in the studio of local radio station WSHP. There’s little evidence beyond the initials V.O.S. scrawled across the studio window in red lipstick and a list of suspects that could easily fill the Goodship phone book. And that’s not all. Eliza Gordon, former soap star turned local soup aficionado and amateur sleuth and her pal and unwitting snooping partner radio DJ Midge Sumner must contend with in Dead Silent, the second in author Amy Beth Arkawy’s Eliza Gordon Mystery series. The locals are also on edge thanks to the rumors rolling across The Goodship Grapevine, a new toxic gossip site, and bemused by flyers heeding folks to follow an enigmatic cult known as “The Quiet.” Eliza’s instincts have her searching for clues and connecting the mysteries together, but they also put a strain on her burgeoning romance with Tom Santini, Goodship’s dishy police chief (who also happens to be her late husband’s best friend). The sudden reappearance of her elusive playboy brother-in-law, Jonas Gordon, sparks unexpected feelings in Eliza and may hold the key to connecting the mysteries and solving Hackett’s murder. Join Eliza Gordon and sidekick Midge Sumner as they embark on this intriguing and dangerous sleuthing escapade. Will they solve the mystery or wind up Dead Silent?
Amy Beth Arkawy is the author of Killing Time: An Eliza Gordon Mystery (Hen House Press). Her story “Dangerous Appetites” is featured in the collection, Fiction Noir, also by Hen House Press. She is also the author of several plays including: Psychic Chicken Soup (McLaren Comedy Award nominee); Full Moon, Saturday Night; Listening to Insomnia: Rage Amongst Yourselves; Crazy Vivian Doesn’t Shop at Bloomie’s Anymore; The Lost Mertz and The Postman Always Writes Twice. Her work has been produced in New York City and across the country and featured in several anthologies.
Amy Beth is also a creativity coach/writing teacher, freelance journalist and radio talk show host. She is the Arts & Entertainment Editor for the popular website News Junkie Post and writes the Radio Graffiti and Scribbler’s Folly blogs. Her film/TV reviews and political commentary are featured on PopNet and other outlets.
A graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, Amy Beth was awarded a Master of Fine Arts Fellowship at the University of Massachusetts and earned her M.S. in Mental Health Counseling from Long Island University.
The Outside Lane: How did you get started writing?
Amy Beth Arkawy: I’ve always loved stories. As a little girl, my dad regaled me at bedtime with colorful tales from Winnie the Pooh to Amelia Bedilia and I made up little stories and skits to entertain my sisters and friends. I actually wrote my first two (VERY short) books from a kit my mom bestowed upon me at seven or eight. And when I got to high school an inspiring English teacher recognized my talent and encouraged me to nurture it. In college, at Sarah Lawrence I was privileged to study with such literary luminaries as Alan Gurganus and Russell Banks. In fact, the first story I ever sent out was a finalist in the Redbook Young Writer’s Contest. Pretty heady stuff for nineteen. Of course, I’ve amassed my share of rejections and taken a few detours, the most joyous being my misadventures in Marconi’s box. Radio, too, is a great place to tell stories. Along the way I have also been a freelance journalist, playwright and trained as a psychotherapist and now work as a creativity coach and writing teacher.
TOL: Where do your ideas come from?
ABA: It’s hard to say. Characters and stories are always rumbling around in my head. The one that screams the loudest, comes through the most clearly, is the next one that needs to be told. Before Eliza Gordon ever entered my psyche I was playing around with the idea of doing a mystery series. I had never really done one before, but certainly read a bunch and thought it would be a fun genre to try. At some point, Soup Opera, the little café that Eliza runs came into my head. And I guess it made sense that an ex-soap star would run such a place. Then Eliza emerged with her back story, which continues to unfold organically, along with her sidekick Midge Sumner and the rest of the Goodship crowd.
TOL: What was your greatest Learning Experience from your first release?
ABA: I guess I learned just how daunting marketing and promoting a book can be. And like many writers I prefer the actual writing. But I do want people to discover and read my books so the efforts are essential to success. Perseverance is key. And networking with other writers and readers through social media makes the journey less treacherous.
TOL: What’s coming up next for you?
A: Much to Eliza and Midge’s chagrin, I’ve just started working on a psychological thriller. But I’m sure they’ll get at least one more turn to solve a murder in the third Eliza Gordon mystery.
TOL: Do you have any advice for writers?
AA: the oldest advice is the best: if you want to be a writer you have to write. Every day. No excuses. And read everything you can that sparks your imagination. Experiment with different genres. If you‘re already out of school and feel isolated, join a writers’ workshop. It’s a great place to garner feedback and keep you accountable to a writing schedule. It’s amazing what you can actually produce with a deadline looming. But whatever you do: always cultivate your own voice and hone your own style.
TOL: How did you come to Cozy Cat Press?
ABA: I was searching for a new home after my original publisher, Hen House Press which released the first Eliza Gordon mystery, Killing Time back-burnered new releases-, when I came across an article about Patricia Rockwell and her burgeoning little company. I sent off my Dead Silent manuscript and she offered me a contract on my birthday! Talk about a great present—and a good omen.
TOL: That is a great omen. Amy Beth, thank you so much for being with us today!
It’s here! It’s that day! The official launch date of TIARA TROUBLE! Yay! Wahoo! Woo! *confetti*
Kate Eileen Shannon has a review on her blog, Rantin’, Ravin’ and Reading–she calls TIARA TROUBLE “criminally funny”, and there is an excerpt up on Lavender & Camomile Press. Check out both blogs for even more reading goodness.
Right now, though, for Author Monday…How exciting is this?! I get to interview myself.
So a little bit about me. I’m Lane Buckman, and I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. My first major work was some decent tabloid journalism, cataloging bits of information I had overheard at an adult’s party, carefully transcribed and hand copied, and delivered to the doorsteps of all pertinent neighbors. I expected they would be thrilled to find themselves included in my fledgling newspaper. Thus, I learned all about bad reviews at the age of 7. My mother fired me from my own tabloid, and I went to work on a novel about a duck who goes into land development. Thus, I learned all about the importance of writing from a perspective you actually understand at the age of 8. (and the importance of having a good book cover. Ducky Wonder was done with glitter. it was beautiful.)
Tiara Trouble is my first cozy mystery, and I could not be happier to present it to you. Without further adieu, here is me, interviewing me.
The Outside Lane: Lane, how did you come to writing?
Lane Buckman: I come from a long line of story tellers. It was just natural that I start telling my own. Since I can remember, my parents and grandparents have been entertaining me with fact and fiction, and now I do my best to entertain others.
TOL: How do you craft your ideas to build a novel?
LB: I’m not very organized. I roll things around in my brain, working them like a puzzle until they fit. When that last piece clicks into place, I write like a monkey on crack. I do use Scrivener to list out my characters. I am terrible with continuity and have to keep notes so I don’t end up writing about 1946 when it’s really 1972. Otherwise, it’s scraps of papers with notes, napkins with bubble charts, and emails sent to myself with ideas.
TOL: What’s been the biggest learning experience of your first release?
LB: The amount of marketing required has been staggering! It’s really funny because you labor so long and hard to produce a book, and it’s really like childbirth. Then, you have your book in your hands and, just like your child, you still have to raise it. Calling and setting up author events is a bit like trying to get your child into that super exclusive play group. You want what is best for your baby, and you work to get it.
TOL: What are your plans for your next novel?
LB: I am finishing up the second Destinee novel, Miss Mayhem. Right now, that’s the only goal I have. December 31.
TOL: What advice do you have for writers looking to be published?
LB: Find a good editor. I really believe that having Arwen Bicknell edit Tiara Trouble for me made the difference in how quickly it sold. It certainly made the difference in how proud I was to show it. Thank you, Arwen! I was also extremely fortunate to have Darice Moore and Nancy Wardle doing simultaneous tertiary edits after Arwen had taken two go’s at it.
TOL: What is your best advice for published authors who are trying to market their work?
LB: Have your sales pitch ready. Marketing is just a different sort of querying. Expect to be called upon to tell bookstores why they should have you, your book, your bookmarks in their stores–be ready to tell them why you, your book, your bookmarks are awesome, special, and why they will make the store some money. Above all, be gracious. Be extremely gracious.
TOL: How did you come to your publishing house?
LB: I pulled lists of agents and publishers who were interested in cozy mysteries, and I started working my way down the lists deciding which ones best matched my work. Then, I started to query. Patricia Rockwell, the managing editor and owner of Cozy Cat Press contacted me and the rest is lovely history.
TOL: Lane, thank you so much for being with us today! You are delightful, and brilliant, and your hair smells like love. What is the best way for readers to contact you?
LB: Thank you! This is my favorite blog. I come here every day. Readers can find me on Facebook, Twitter, and can email me at lane (at) theoutsidelane (dot) com .