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

Want to be a Writer? Don’t Have a Backup.

Tell your parents you dream of being a successful writer (or actor, artist, filmmaker, etc.) and, after they hopefully give some encouraging words, you’re bound to hear, “That’s great, but you should have a backup.”

We all know what that means. Few people make a living pursuing a creative career, they’re thinking, so you better have an alternative career path lined up when you inevitably fail.

But I’m here to tell you that you can’t fail at any artistic pursuit. Your first or tenth novel might never see the light of day, but if you keep honing your craft and putting words to the page, you’re allowed to put “writer” on your business cards. That means you don’t need a backup!

Now, I want to be clear, that doesn’t mean you don’t need another job. A backup is something you do after you fail at your first pursuit. A job is something that brings in money and other positive benefits while you’re a writer. (If it doesn’t, you should get a different job!) There’s nothing wrong with that. Many successful writers have held down other jobs. Kurt Vonnegut still worked as a car dealer after publishing his first novel. Philip Glass was a plumber while he composed music. Many successful writers continue to teach. A second job can provide community, inspiration, and interesting characters. It can keep you sane and get you out in the world instead of insolated in your home with your cat and laptop your only friends. Spending 40 hours a week writing is likely to make you crazy. You don’t want to end up like Jack Torrance, do you?

So, when you’re working on a report for your boss, serving up coffee at Starbucks, or suiting up as a professional wrestler instead of working on your next book, embrace your situation. Your job isn’t a backup, it’s a lifestyle choice.

Happy Writing,

Kelee

 

Say Hello to Author K.J. Farnham

K.J. Farnham writes contemporary fiction for women and young adults. A former educator who grew up in the Milwaukee area, she now lives in Western Wisconsin with her husband and three children. When not keeping up with her kids, she can usually be found reading or writing. Beach outings, coffee, acoustic music, and road trips are among her favorite things. She currently has several projects in the works!

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

If you haven’t checked out book 1 in K.J.’s series Click. Date. Repeat. you should!

Book Blurb

These days, finding love online is as commonplace as ordering that coveted sweater. But back in 2003, the whole concept of internet dating was still quite new, with a stigma attached to it that meant those who were willing to test the waters faced a fair amount of skepticism from friends and family.

Such is the case for Chloe Thompson, a restless 20-something tired of the typical dating scene and curious about what she might find inside her parents’ computer. With two serious but failed relationships behind her, Chloe isn’t even entirely sure what she’s looking for. She just knows that whatever it is, she wants to find it.

Chloe’s foray into online dating involves a head-first dive into a world of matches, ice breakers and the occasional offer of dick pics, all while Chloe strives to shake herself of the ex who just refuses to disappear. Will she simultaneously find herself and “the one” online, or will the ever-growing pile of humorous and downright disastrous dates only prove her friends and family right? There’s only one way to find out…

Click. Date. Repeat.

Buy the Book:

AmazonUS | AmazonUK | AmazonAU | AmazonCA

 

The Five Stages of Critique Grief

What does a writer want in a critique? Be honest now. I know deep in my soul that what I really want is to be told I’m an incredibly talented writer and that, other than a couple of minor revisions, my manuscript is perfect just the way it is.

I know I’m not alone in this because I often see that unacknowledged desire in other writers. I don’t know how many times I’ve read an independently published novel that begins with heartfelt thanks to a legion of beta readers, only to struggle through a book that’s poorly written with too many spelling and grammar errors to count.

The first step in accepting a pull-no-punches critique is to acknowledge that we need to go through the five stages of grief after our child is pummeled and left bleeding on the ground.

Denial

That reviewer doesn’t know what she’s talking about.

He doesn’t understand the genre.

It’s good enough. I can’t rewrite it anymore.

My boyfriend liked it.

Anger

The reader is an idiot.

She’s probably jealous she can’t write as well as me.

Julia Quinn said I showed a lot of talent.

I won a literary award in middle school.

Bargaining

I’ll show it to my mother. She likes romance.

Maybe if I just change this one scene it will fix everything.

I should take that other novel out of the drawer and worked on it for a while.

Lord, make me a best selling author and I’ll give half my income to the poor.

Depression

Why did I ever think I could be a writer?

I should go back to accounting.

I wonder what’s on Facebook.

I need a drink.

Acceptance

Maybe she has some good points. Time to get back to work.

Happy writing!

Kelee

One Hundred Followers

Some words of wisdom that stuck in my mind when I was exploring starting this blog was another blogger’s warning that it might take a long time to get my first 100 followers. Boy, was he right! But when author Ed A Murray started following me two days ago, I finally reached that milestone. (Welcome, Ed!)

I can now see the light at the end of a long tunnel for the second part of my Goddess trilogy and I’m working on a new novel in my spare time, so exciting things are happening. Stay tuned, and hopefully it won’t take quite as long to reach 200 followers.

Best wishes,

Kelee

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.

Writing By Hand: First Impressions

While I’ve been waiting for my beta readers to get back to me with notes on Goddess, Book 2, I decided to start writing a new novel. After creating a detailed outline, I’m now writing my first draft in my lovely red notebook using a fancy new pen I bought for the occasion. This is an experiment to find out what happens when I step away from the computer. It’s been interesting enough that I wanted to share some of my initial impressions.

  • Writing by hand means less distractions. There are no temptations to check Facebook or look at an email that just came in. I can’t look up the perfect word in my electronic thesaurus or check a fact on Wikipedia. Instead, I just plow ahead, making up what I don’t know, knowing I can fix it in the second draft.
  • Writing by hand is more spontaneous. There’s no need to start up, log in, and open my document. If I have a few minutes on a bus or waiting for an appointment, all I have to do is pull out my notebook and pen and write a paragraph.
  • I can’t check my progress. There’s no word count or page number at the bottom of the page. I have no sense as to how a handwritten page translates to a page in a published book. It feels like I’m moving ahead quickly, but who knows? I have to let go of worrying about that. I just write and the pages fill up.
  • There’s no going back. There’s no search box to find a sentence I already wrote. If I missed something I should have put in earlier in the story, it’s very difficult to add it in the right spot now. I either have to let it go or put it in where I am and move it elsewhere later.
  • Writing by hand is physically hard. I used to write morning pages – three handwritten pages of random thoughts. But writing a novel by hand is much more challenging. My hand cramps and I have to rest every page.
  • My handwriting is terrible. When I’m inspired, I write quickly, which makes my handwriting even worse. And when I’m writing on the train, my handwriting becomes almost illegible. It will be interesting trying to decipher what I’ve written when I transfer the first draft to my computer.

Happy writing,

Kelee