Guest Post: Author Aimee Brown

I’d like to welcome the fabulous Aimee Brown to my blog today. She’s just released her debut novel, Little Gray Dress. I asked her to share something interesting about her writing process. Here’s Aimee’s take on writing the Mean Girl.

Best wishes,

Kelee

Learning How to Write the Mean Girl Everyone Hates

By Aimee Brown

I’ve never been a mean girl in life. In fact I avoid conflict like it’s the plague. I hate to think that I’ve hurt someone’s feelings for no reason at all (if they earned it, that’s a whole other post lol).

Knowing that I needed some kind of antagonist in the book is something that really worried me at first. I didn’t know how to write a mean girl and since I’m not exactly the meanest of people (bitchy & irritated doesn’t count) I had to learn how to create someone who was believable, and over the top, yet despised from start to finish. How mean did I want to make her? Did I want the subtle drama or did I want the villain?

I chose the villain. Surprisingly, she was really easy to create and write and despite her story being someone simplistic it ended up being weaved a bit tighter than I had anticipated.

The first thing I normally hear from readers of Little Gray Dress is just how much they hate Greta. Here are some actual quotes that have found their way to my inbox-

“I wanted to throat punch Greta.”

“I seriously wanted to poke Greta in the eye with a stick.”
“Chapter Six made me want to strangle that Greta. She’s evil.”

That is music to my ears. I’ll admit, I have a bit of a soft spot for poor Greta. I think deep down she might be a bit insecure but sometimes in life we make the choices that brand us for life in a way we didn’t want and she unfortunately did exactly that.

When I first wrote Little Gray Dress I actually tried to redeem Greta in the end. I thought maybe she’d come off a little more of a mean girl than I’d wanted. I sent the book off to beta readers and immediately they suggested I let Greta go down in flames. They didn’t want any kind of redemption they loved her just the way she was.

WOW! Who knew mean girls could be so popularily hated? Greta stayed a mean girl and through-out my editing process she got even meaner, her secrets got more complicated and I truly feel as though Greta is now the definition of a manipulative shrew. Seriously, she is just awful.

Where did Greta come from in my clearly corrupt little head? I have no idea. I think a HUGE inspiration for Greta was picturing Judy Greer as the romantic comedy BFF turned arch enemy in 13 Going on 30. She can play a mean girl like none other. Anytime I see her as a mean girl in a movie I get excited because she makes the PERFECT evil BFF. Not that Greta is anything even close to being Emi’s BFF but they have a history that may or may not make you side with Emi even more than you already did.

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I truly hope you hate Greta and that you love the mean girl I’ve created. I was a little hesitant I could pull it off at first but… once I got started there was no turning back. Greta, as evil as she is, her entire storyline propels the story forward. I am really proud of her and have a high bar to keep up with for my next mean girl.

 
Title: Little Gray Dress
Author: Aimee Brown
Release Date: August 2nd, 2017
Publisher: Crooked Cat Books
Genre: Romantic Comedy/Chick Lit
GoodReads: add Little Gray Dress to your to be read list

Book Blurb:

Emi Harrison has avoided her ex-fiance, Jack Cabot, for nearly two years. Her twin brother Evan’s wedding is about to end that streak.

From bad bridesmaid’s dresses, a hyperactive sister-in-law, a mean girl with even meaner secrets, and too much to drink, nothing seems to go right for Emi, except when she’s wearing her little gray dress.

When she speed-walks into Liam Jaxon’s bar, things get more complicated. He’s gorgeous, southern, and has no past with Emi. He may be exactly what she needs to prove for the last time that she doesn’t need or want Jack!

Her favorite little gray dress has made an appearance at nearly every major event in Emi’s adult life. Will it make another when she least expects it?

AmazonUS: eBook – $2.99 | print – $9.99
AmazonUK: eBook – £1.99| print – £6.99
Barnes & Noble: print – $9.99

I have the cutest Giveaway for the tour – pictured here <– & opened worldwide.
Included is a ‘create’ coffee cup, some dark & handsome K-cup pods, a cute Life is Short, Eat Cake wall art, some tiny macaroons, a Little Gray Dress bookmark & postcard!
Enter here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Aimee Brown – author bio:

Aimee Brown is a writer and an avid reader. Little Gray Dress is her first published novel. My second novel is in the works now. She’s currently studying for her Bachelor’s degree in English Writing. She spends much of her time writing, doing homework, raising three teenagers, binge watching shows on Netflix and obsessively cleaning and redecorating her house. She’s fluent in sarcasm and has been known to utter profanities like she’s competing for a medal.

Aimee grew up in Oregon but is now a transplant living in cold Montana with her husband of twenty years, three teenage children, and far too many pets.

She would love to hear your thoughts on Little Gray Dress! If you’d like to chat with her she’s very active on social media. You can find her at any of the networks below. Stop by and say hello!

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Website/Blog | GoodReads | Amazon Page | Newsletter

Weds – August 2nd

Blog on the Run – Book Review/Author Guest Post after 2nd
Books and Photographs – Book Review
Judging More Than Just the Cover – Book Review/Author Interview
Nicole Evelina – Book Review/Guest Post
The Novel Girl Reads – Book Review/Excerpt/Author Q&A

Thurs – August 3rd
Chick Lit Central – Author Interview
NovelGossip – Book Review
Hey Said Renee – Author Guest Post
Romantic Reads and Such – Book Excerpt
Steamy Book Mama – Book Review

Fri – August 4th

BrizzleLass Books – Book Review
O.D. Book Reviews – Book Excerpt
He Said Books or Me – Author Guest Post
Corinne Desjardins – Book Spotlight
Where Dragons Recide – Book Review/Author Q&A

Sat – August 5th

JenaBooks – Book Review
Sylv.net – Spotlight Post
Got Books, Babe? – Author Guest Post
The Writing Garnet – Book Review

Sun – August 6th

I Read Novels – Book Review
It’s my Life – Book Excerpt
RaeReads – Book Review
Kelee Morris – Author Guest Post
GrassMonster – Book Review

Mon – August 7th

Living Life with Joy – Book Review/Giveaway/Author Q&A
The Belgian Reviewer – Author Guest Post
Book Lover in Florida – Book Excerpt
Haddie’s Heaven – Spotlight Post
Books in my Opinion – Book Review
Literature Goals – Book Review/Excerpt/Author Q&A

Tue – August 8th

Reading to Unwind – Book Review
Kristin’s Novel Café – Book Excerpt & Giveaway/Book Review
Key of Dee – Author Guest Post
FrankyBrown – Book Excerpt
Smokin’ Hot Reads Book Blog – Book Reviews (3)

Weds – August 9th

Ink, Maps and Macarons – Giveaway/Author Q&A
Heartalefix – Book Review
Tea Party Princess – Author Guest Post/(possible) Review
One Book at a Time – Book Excerpt/Spotlight/Book Review

Thurs – August 10th

ItaPixie’s Book Corner – Book Review/Excerpt
Rosa Temple Writes – Author Guest Post
Life at 17 – Spotlight Post
Daily Waffle – Book Excerpt/Author Q&A

Fri – August 11th

Pretty Little Book Reviews – Book Review
Sparkly Word – Book Review
Books and Readers – Book Review/Excerpt/Giveaway/Guest Post
Ali the Dragon Slayer – Book Review
Katie Lady Reads – Book Review
Rambling Lisa’s Book Reviews – Book Review/Book Excerpt

Sat – August 12th

Life of a Simple Reader – Book Review/Excerpt
Karlita – Goodreads/Social Media – Book Review
KD Reads – Book Review/Giveaway/Guest Post
D.K. Hamilton – Book Review/Author Q&A
20CC Reviews – Book Review
TrashyBibloBlog – Book Review/Excerpt

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Guest Blog: Author Melissa McClone

I’m pleased to welcome best selling author Melissa McClone to my blog. Melissa has published over forty romance novels with Harlequin and Tule Publishing Group and has been nominated for Romance Writers of America’s RITA® award. When she’s not writing, Melissa can usually be found driving her children to various activities. (I can relate!) Her latest novel is The Valentine Quest (Love at the Chocolate Shop Book 5). You can find links to all Melissa’s books on her website. I like her idea of writing the last chapter near the beginning of her writing process. I may try that myself just to see what happens. Anyway, welcome, Melissa!

Knowing the End by Melissa McClone

When I decided to try writing a romance novel, I was a die-hard romance reader who was working full-time during the day as a mechanical engineer and taking classes toward an MBA at night. I was left-brained to the max. This, however, served me well with plotting those first stories.

Forty-odd published works later, I’m still a plotter, but over the past two decades (my “call” from Harlequin to buy my first book came in November 1997 when I was pregnant with my first child who is now a freshman in college), my process has changed a little.

What’s the same?

I like to have an outline or synopsis to get a general feel for the story. I use this to make sure I don’t forget anything I should have. That means when I’m ready to outline, I pull out one of my plot/structure books/worksheets and decide which one I’d like to use. I wish I could say I found the perfect plotting tool or method that I use with each project, but I haven’t. These, however, are my go to resources:

My outline/synopsis is never set in stone. It’s just so I know where to start and have an idea of where I’m going. Next, I write the first three chapters. This is where I get to know my characters. Often there’s too much internalization and backstory in the first draft, but I don’t worry about that. That’s what revisions are for.

What’s different about my process now?

With a couple published novels to my name, I decided to try something different with how I wrote. After I’d drafted the first three chapters, I wrote the last chapter of the story. When I did that, something clicked in my brain. Something good, so that’s what I started doing and have been doing. I used to write only the last chapter, but lately (I forgot exactly when), I’ve been writing from the black moment to the end.

During the revision passes (I’m a draft writer), I’ll add more detail and description, and of course, clean up the writing, but the scenes don’t change much. The only significant rewrites have happened when I changed a character’s internal conflict, but I can’t remember ever changing the actual setting of an end scene.

Some of my writer friends don’t get this at all. We’ve had some interesting discussions about my process. I don’t know if it’s my left brain or what, but I need to know the ending to know how to get there. Writing the end first doesn’t take away from my enjoyment of writing the rest of the story. If anything, I can breathe easier and enjoy the journey to get there.

A friend once encouraged me to write the story linearly just to see what that was like. She felt I was missing the discovery that happens as you write from start to finish. I’m always up for experimenting, so I gave it a try with a novella.

The result?

A total mess and lots of tears.

D-I-A-S-A-T-E-R!

The bright side of the experiment, however, led me to completely embrace my process. When others tell me that they could never write the way do what I do or they’d never need to write the book if they knew the end, I just smile and continue doing as I’ve done. The way I write works for me, so why switch things up?

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Melissa’s uncredited coauthor.

Julieann Dove Blog Tour

I’m pleased to feature Julieann Dove‘s new contemporary romance The Secret He Keeps on my blog today. I’m doubly impressed by her work because she’s managed to juggle writing five books this year with raising five children. Read my Q and A with Julieann below along with a excerpt from the book. Then go out and buy it so you can curl up with a good romance on a cold winter’s night.

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What the genesis of The Secret He Keeps? How did you come up with the story idea?

The story came from an idea of what would happen if a shut-in, grieving woman was saved by an electric repairman. I was driving down the highway and passed a cherry picker repair truck, and poof, there was the idea! I never know where I’ll find my next idea.

You’re a prolific author, publishing five books in 2016. How do you keep up the momentum?

I have to put a lid on my mind sometimes. It wanders to all kinds of places and situations that I could write about for hours. Writing is one of my favorite pastimes! I do have to get up from the computer and come out to the light of day, though, or my family might forget what I look like.

You say you like to write about messy people encountering love. Why are messy people so interesting?

I try never to write in a box. People are more complicated than boy meets girl and falls in love after overcoming a hardship. I include the hardship, but spotlight the imperfections of people, too. We all have them, and the more I include in my books, the more relatable my characters are to readers. Waking Amy astounded me with the reviews by women who identified with Amy’s insecurities. I feel my job as a writer is to take the reader on a journey of self-discovery through my characters. The problems they encounter are only a part of the story. Messiness makes it more believable.

Where do you find inspiration for the characters you create?

A lot of my characters have pieces of me in them. Elise, in A Reason to Stay, represented my inability to commit to a guy, and the hardship of not having a relationship with my father. Amy, in Waking Amy became a little reflective of my best friend, who, after the first book was published, was left by her husband. In the third book, she was someone I used as inspiration. It was very important to give her a happily ever after—even if it was in fiction.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received as a writer?

From other authors telling me I can’t possibly please everyone. Reading poor reviews hits me in my soft spot. I realize what I write is not the taste of every reader. Not everyone is going to agree that the heroine is imperfect. “The Secret He Keeps” has made a few readers a bit upset with me. Reading is subjective, and I have to keep that in mind!

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Her neck was flawless, almost angelic. Soft and white, with tiny curls at the nape. His hands began to shake and he couldn’t fit the clasp together. He moved in for a closer smell while she was unable to see what he was doing. It was faint, but it drew him in for a better whiff. He closed his eyes, imagining he was able to do more than just inhale her.

“Are you having trouble?” She turned her head sideways to ask him.

“No, I got it.”

She turned back around and showed it off. “How does it look?”

His eyes never left hers when he answered. “Simply beautiful.”

He must have said something wrong because she kept quiet and walked to the mirror. “Thank you again. I really love it.”

He shouldn’t wear his emotions on his sleeve. He never used to have a problem with that. In his younger days, he rotated women—he didn’t even know their last names or occupations. But Rachel was different. A different class of her own. She didn’t let him get by with anything. He grew to like it. By the time he knew he loved it, along with her, she was engaged to his best friend.

“Well, I’m glad. I guess I’ll get going. Do you have any plans for tomorrow? It’s Christmas, Rach.”

She put her hand in her back pocket and leaned against the wall. “I know that, Dane. I don’t have anything pressing, no. I’m sure Mom will call and put me on speakerphone for the family to all wish me Merry Christmas.” She raised one of her fingers. “Which brings me to a favor.”

“We are all caught up on favors, Rachel. No more dates.” He was at the door, pulling up his boots. He figured she still felt uncomfortable with him hanging around, and the snow was coming down pretty hard.

“No, it isn’t a date. It’s a mission of mercy. I have to go home for New Year’s and Mom is planning to parade all the single men in the fifty-square-mile radius to our house. She promises she’s not, but I’ve been fooled before by her.”

“How could I help?”

“You could fly with me, all expenses paid, to Savannah, Georgia and pretend to be interested in me.” She quickly added, “Not like wildly interested, just like smile at me and seem fond. No, that’s a better word. Fond of me.