Friday, June 29, 2012

Are unsolicited bad reviews essentially assvice?


This week I have read 3 books. 2 that I loved. 1 that I liked but had issues with.

The 2 I loved  you’ve already heard about:

The 1 that I have issues with is my subject today. See I waffle back and forth about what to do when I don’t like a book or have issues with it.

On the one hand,


I want to be supportive of writers.

On the other hand,

is it really supportive to say nothing when you have issues with a book? Is it not, in a sense, crippling the author by not giving them feedback they might be able to use?

For today I am of the opinion that it is like the difference between advice and assvice. Advice is asked for and wanted. Assvice is not.

Better to say nothing.

Although in this case I’m not going to completely say nothing because what’s wrong with this book, IMHO, is wrong with lots of books:

paragraphs and even pages of stuff that isn’t necessary and doesn’t move the story along.

I have written a blog about my irritation with Diana Gabaldon regarding this. I feel free to discuss this as she is so successful nothing I say will matter to her. In her case she really needs an editor who says NO. No I’m not going to print an 800 page book for you when 400 would be sufficient to tell the stories you are spinning.

In the case of the writer of this book I'm talking about today, I should admit up front that I have a bias. The book genre is historical romance which I generally don’t enjoy. That said; her characters were engaging. Her setting was enjoyable. The story was entertaining. I just didn’t enjoy picking through the book to find it.

Again, I don’t want to give assvice but it’s tempting when I know, Susan Elizabeth Phillips early books (Honey Moon, Hot Shot, Fancy Pants) were just like this for me; engaging characters, enjoyable settings; entertaining stories in books that were filled with way too much stuff that didn’t move her stories along. But her later and current books aren’t like that. She grew as a writer and I love her.

I hope the same will be true for this writer.

Good:

Better:


 Best:


Did I get those in the right order?
How do you feel about reviewing books?

(Pics from bing images turned into thumbnails for legal purposes.)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Romance Novel: The Last Good Man, Author: Kathleen Eagle, willwriteforchocolate Yahoo group

Where the heck did the month of June go?

That was a rhetorical question having little to do with the subjects in this blogpost. Just me thinking out loud. Venting. Done.
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Over yonder on the right is a list called Cyber Space Cronies. I put someone new on the list. Jessica Lemmen of Smile Feel Good One blogger's encouraging journey through writing, life and everything in between.

I have to say thanks to another Cyber Space Cronie, the amazing Linda Grimes whose book, In A Fix, debuts September 4, 2012*, for the cyber introduction to Jessica Lemmen. Jessica is a graphic artist as well as a writer and she designed a stylish new logo for Linda.

Anyway, I bring this up because in this post Jessica is discussing Alpha heroes and Beta heroes and which she and her friend, Christina Wolfer, like better.

Jessica asks her readers which they prefer. My answer to that is not simple. I like Beta heroes for sure. But often what I like as a reader and what I write as a romance novelist, are heroes who are Alphas towards the world but Betas to the women they love. Somewhat. They usually need some arcing even for the women they love.

I just finished reading an excellent book, The Last Good Man by Kathleen Eagle. This is not a book I would ever have selected to read based on any description. Barbara Samuel O'Neal recommended it on facebook and I decided to take her on faith and check it out of the library. I'm so glad I did. Thanks for that, Barbara.

(I swear we'll get back to heroes soon.)

In The Last Good Man:
Savannah Stephens, the lovable heroine, a former underwear model, has been brought almost to her breaking point by her battle with breast cancer. Uber-depressing, right? Not really. Also not white washed with faux positivity.

She goes back to her roots to her tiny hometown in Wyoming. And there waits our hero, Clay Keogh. The man who has always loved her since they were children. She wasn't able to appreciate him, then. She does now. Of course, they both have to do a lot of arcing to be the couple with the happily ever after that is required of romance novels. And, of course, they arc beautifully.

IMHO Clay Keogh is the perfect example of an alpha to the world, beta to his woman, hero. Although, as I sit here trying to explain to you why I think he's this way, it almost seems the reverse is true. He's a natural caretaker of everyone; children, old horses, Savannah. He works way too hard and he sees Savannah's desire to help him as something to fight because he should be able to take care of her and not need her.

Nevermind. Maybe.

Anywho, since I've thoroughly confused everyone, especially myself, perhaps you, my readers can shed some light. Who do you like, Alpha heroes, or Beta heroes, and why do you like them?

Guess what I know for sure? I like Kathleen Eagle's voice. If this book is a true example of her work, she's a great storyteller. And her setting, the world she created in this book, is very endearing, full of natural wonders and engaging characters.

Her website says her latest release was One Brave Cowboy in September of 2011. She's working on a book titled The Prodigal Cowboy. No release date is listed.

Never thought I'd like cowboy romances but Kathleen might convert me.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~                                                                                                                           

CHOCOLATE BOOTCAMP FOR WRITERS NEWS:

I decided I have way too many committments in July to do bootcamp but I didn't want our writing community to lose momentum. Kate George kindly volunteered to moderate in July!!!!!

If you're a writer who needs motivation and companionship, check us out. New BOOTCAMP starts July 1st, 2012. Join us!
~ ~ ~ ~ ~                                                                                                                             
I have been powered to do this blogpost by the Florence and the Machine MTV unplugged CD which I just downloaded. It is so rocking fabulous! Here's a taste:


Florence herself is the placekeeper for the sister and the mother of the heroine in my current work in progress.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~                                                                                                                            
So to recap:

Check out Smile Feel Good.
Which do you prefer - alpha or beta heroes?
Check out Kathleen Eagle.
Do you want to join chocolate bootcamp?
Do you like Florence and the Machine?

How's your week?
~ ~ ~ ~ ~

*Thanks for the cool In A Fix bookmark, Linda Grimes.

P.S. Some of you may be familiar with Linda's habit of posting a camel pic on Wednesday's to celebrate humpday. Well Jessica has ThurSTUDday where she puts up pics of - you guessed it - a stud.



Friday, June 22, 2012

Erotica Romance Novel: Jacked Up, Author: Erin McCarthy

Erotica with a plot and an eye-candy cover

I just received Erin McCarthy's new release, Jacked Up in the mail today.



So I decided to put up a link to my previous blogpost (March 2011) about the Fast Track series that this book is from.

Go here for my take on this funny sexy series. Hint: I love it.

This is the sixth book. They all have eye-candy covers like this one.

I will surely have read the book by Tuesday and I'll update this post when I finish with how much I enjoyed the book, because I know I will, and why I enjoyed it; other than the obvious reasons, of course.

What are you doing this weekend?

UPDATE #1 before this even gets posted:
OH. MY. DOG. Y'all tiny spoiler alert here - the hero has convinced the heroine to drive in the DEMOLITION DERBY. I kid you not. If you know me, you know, I'm happier than a Monarch butterfly in a field of Milkweed.

UPDATE #2 "...her smile made him feel like a kid with one fist full of candy and the other full of fireworks." Jacked Up by Erin McCarthy
Serious envy here. I will NEVER  be able to write such a clever line as that. Dammit.

UPDATE #3 It's official. I loved it. I'll probably scammingly reread it twenty times before I put it on the bookshelf, only to pull it off again with the other five books in the series, to reread at least twice a year. Characters - I love them. Story - fun, sexy, compellling. And Erin's voice well...

FINAL UPDATE #4 Another of Erin's clever sentences that I so envy - "She was going to make fun her bitch." Jacked Up by Erin McCarthy --- I have a new life motto, y'all.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Dark Shadows movie, Dark Shadows soap opera


My random thoughts - origin - Dark Shadows

For me there are many fascinations stemming from this topic. I tried not to go to long on them.

First off a little history of the original television show - Dark Shadows:

-It was an American gothic soap opera, unprecedented in it’s time. It had the first ghosts on a television series. It had werewolves and monsters and, one year after it started, it had the amazing Jonathan Frid as Barnabus Collins, vampire.

December 2, 1924 – April 13 or 14, 2012 RIP

-It was on for five years – 1966 to 1971. (Dating myself here but I was 9 years old when it started and 14 years old when it finished. I was a fan. That will come as a surprise to some because I detest the current day vampire books / movies.)

Johnny Depp is purported to have been obsessed by Dark Shadows and Barnabus Collins when he was a child and therefore made the recent movie with Tim Burton.

According to current Depp statistics he was born on June 9, 1963. That would have made him 3 years old when it started and 8 years old when it ended. Odd that he should have been obsessed by this grown up show and very adult character.

Years ago I heard that Depp was born in Owensboro, KY. I felt compelled to look up info on him because that would mean we were born in the same hospital. That’s the only hospital there and I was born there, too.

I swear to you at that time the information said that he was born June 9, 1957. Maybe I misread it but it’s hard to believe I did because that would mean we were born in the same hospital and he was one month older than me exactly, which would make more sense considering his purported obsession.


I’ll let you draw your own conclusions from that.

To get back on track - Dark Shadows the movie out in 2012:

I loved it. I saw people leaving the drive in early. I suspect that people did not understand just exactly what the movie was.

In the 60’s television as a common household thing was fairly new and soap operas were new. They were high drama and they were OVER-ACTED.

If you haven’t seen the television show, take my word for it – Johnny Depp hit the nail on the head in his version of Jonathan Frid’s portrayal of Barnabus Collins.


The movie soundtrack is amazing. There are great songs like this one by Donovan:

(There's an advertisement at the beginning but you get a chance to skip it.)

And then there are little sections that sound like the haunting, unique, original music from the television show.


I can’t talk about the movie without mentioning the performance of Eva Green as sexy villainess Angelique Bouchard. Mesmerizing, entertaining, convincing, darkly funny – I can’t use enough superlatives to describe how good she was.


Speaking of sexy – I’ve seen Johnny Depp in so many movies. Most of the time he is either sexy the whole time or I think there is something sexy about him somewhere, even when he played the Mad Hatter; except he wasn’t sexy as Willy Wonka.

While I thought he was fabulous here, I didn’t think he was sexy (except one very brief instance – there’s a moment that is very funny and as Helena Bonham Carter kneels in front of him to…(movie is PG13, y'all)...the voracious look on his face is very sexy).

Vampires are just not sexy to me. They are either martyred, tragic victims or evil creatures who love their destructive natures. Neither of those things is appealing to me. And if you take a man who is normally gorgeous and make his skin sickly white - yuck.


Last thought, I promise.

We saw this at the Calvert Drive-In in Calvert City, KY. I took my gdaughter for her very first trip to a drive in (she’s 14 yo). It was such fun. We took our own popcorn and drinks just like back in the day.

This is most likely the last season for this drive-in and many others. The movies are “going digital” and it would cost two-hundred-thousand dollars to convert.

That is tragic, imho.

Do you like drive-ins? Have you seen Dark Shadows the movie? The television show? What did you think?




Friday, June 15, 2012

Memoir: Let's Pretend This Never Happened, Author: Jenny Lawson

DRUNK POSTING, ONLY NOT DRUNK ON BOOZE SO MUCH AS DRUNK ON JENNY LAWSON AND POSSIBLY SLEEP DEPRIVED

Again I totally forgot that I was supposed to launch a blogpost at 12:05 am cst today, it being Friday and all. Sorry about that.

On the plus side, instead of putting up a placekeeper this time I sat right down to write the late blogpost as soon as I realized. (Well not actually as soon as I realized. Three hours later really. The reason will become apparent.)1


Eamon Sullivan, Olympic swimmer for Australia (and no matter what  you do, the picture won't go any lower, not that I tried or anything. I'm just warning you so you don't waste time.)

imaginary bottom of the page------------------------------------------------------------------------
1 Rereading this I'm second guessing myself because you may not consider the lack of a placekeeper as being a plus. My placekeeper last time was a gorgeous male. I think I'll put up a random picture of a gorgeous male just because I love my readers and don't want to deprive them. You're welcome.


I'm reading a fabulous book. I'm on page 246 out of 318. It's 4am and I know that I'll stay up until I finish. I couldn't bear the guilt of leaving all my blog readers in the lurch any longer so I took a break. (Actually I got very sleepy and I was afraid I'd go to sleep without blogging but it's not really much of a lie because the gist is still that my readers are my first priority. Well, not my first priority but you get it, right?)

What am I reading, you may ask? I'm reading Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson, the Bloggess.

This computer totally tried to thwart me as I was trying to underline the name of the book and the awesome author. This usually lovely HP thought I said "mix all the words up" and I had to yell - no asshole, I said "bold"  and "underline". How do you get mix all the words up from that? Geez.



Of course, I didn't really yell because my mother is sleeping and she wouldn't appreciate yelling. She would especially hate my yelling the word 'asshole' because she's one of those weird people who take it very seriously when you arrange certain letters in certain orders that she considers to be curse words.

I may have to do some creative rearranging of the truth tomorrow when I talk to her anyway. This book is making me laugh maniacally in some parts and I'm pretty sure I was laughing when she got up to use the bathroom at one point. I'm, in fact, certain that I was laughing at the idea the book mentions that Jesus should be considered to be a zombie as he rose from the dead. My mom would so not appreciate the humor in that idea. In fact, I might get a lecture on how I'm going to hell for even reading such things. Probably not, though. She gave up on lecturing me about that stuff long ago. I think she's resigned herself that I am indeed going to hell. Which when you think of it, what kind of mother does that? Maybe a mother who's going to hell for being a bad mother, huh?

All I can say is, this is a wonderful book. Read it. The footnotes alone are worth it. Like this one:
"After I read this chapter to my editor she pointed out that I've been using the phrase "whip-its" incorrectly for my entire life, as it really refers to getting high from nitrous oxide and can totally kill you. Which explains why people look at me so strangely when I tell them that some of my most cherished childhood memories include doing "whip-its" with my grandmother. My editor consoled me with the fact that maybe people thought I was talking about the dog (whippet), but then admitted that didn't make it much better."2



The sacrifices I make for you people. Do you  have any idea what happens when you put "squirting whipped cream into your mouth" in bing images. Shudder. Don't. Do. It.

Are you back now? I knew you couldn't resist. Disgusting huh? Did you have to change your safe setting?
imaginary bottom of another page----------------------------------------------------------------------------
2That footnote makes more sense if you know that Jenny was referring to the practice of squirting whipped cream from the can directly into your mouth.


Okay, so as I was saying a long, long time ago, Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson is a deeply moving book. And by deeply moving I mean your bowels might move from all the laughter so you might want to read it on the toilet. Especially the chapter about colon cleansing.

There's also some cry-y bits but they're worth it.

Just read it, okay.

ps. You can't just say that you read it because you want to be cool but you're too lazy to read it. Those of us who are really cool will know you're lying and we'll rat you out.

pps. By rat you out I mean we'll make fun of you endlessly and probably call you names, but only in our heads, because we know you might be armed and we don't want you to kill us.

ppps. I don't think anyone who reads my blog would try to kill me because I ratted them out for pretending to be cool and lying about reading the book. Except for the unnamed one. You know who you are. Maybe you should consider therapy. Or anger management. Or a cold shower. Oh wait, that's for if you're horny not murderous. Sorry.

Now I really feel like Jenny because I've started this and I don't know where to stop and it's getting awkward and embarrassing so I'm just going to say

"Love you Jenny Lawson. Love your book."

Then I'm going to go hide in my bathroom. Or read until I fall asleep in the recliner. One or the other.

What are you doing? Or are you afraid to tell me now?

Disclaimer: I'm an atheist. It took years of hard work on my part to get my mother to stop lecturing me about going to hell. I want to make it clear in the unlikely events that a-she read this blogpost and b-she survived reading this blogpost without dying of a massive, shock-induced heart attack; I do NOT want her to start in again lecturing me about going to hell.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Paranormal Romance Novel: Crystal Gardens, Author: Amanda Quick, Demoliton Derby, Mad Dog Trophy


In a minute I’m going to tell y’all about my latest fun adventure at the demolition derby but first – I’m late posting because I got distracted and forgot that I generally post on Tuesday 12:05 AM CST.


Oh well.


I am waffling about a decision concerning the course of my current WIP which is causing me to have 0 word counts. While I’m not deciding, I’ve been reading again.


I got distracted tonight because I am reading Crystal Gardens by Amanda Quick. I don’t even need to say this because she is Amanda Quick, aka Jayne Ann Krentz, but it is so excellent. And I am happy to say that it is the first in a trilogy.




On to the demolition derby! Some of you may know I am planning on writing at least one romance novel in which the heroine is a demolition derby driver. To that end, I’ve been going to some demolition derbies (and because they’re good fun.)


I attended one on Saturday and there were two amazing women drivers. I’m going to tell you about one here today.


Her name is Sami. And she came in third in the lawnmower derby. That’s right. The demolition derby on lawnmowers.



Now here is something even more amazing – she did it with only 3 wheels. Right away one of her 4 wheels came off in a crash with another lawn mower. Did that stop the brave, resourceful Sami? No, it did not.


She spent the rest of the heat leaning to one side while driving so that she could stay up on 3 wheels. She stayed up that way while drivers all around her got knocked out of the heat. Dead lawnmowers littered the track.


Finally when it was down to her and 2 other lawnmowers, she lost a second wheel in a crash involving all 3 remaining mowers. That took her out.


Not only did she get the third place trophy – she got the Mad Dog trophy which is given to the most ‘tenacious’ driver.


Now there’s a heroine for a romance novel.


If you’re a writer, who is inspiring your current heroine?


If you’re a reader, who is currently your favorite heroine?


At the moment, as a reader, mine, of course, is Evangeline Ames of Crystal Gardens by Amanda Quick. But I’m very fickle when it comes to such things.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Romance Novel: The Garden of Happy Endings, Author: Barbara O'Neal

I recently had the pleasure of reading Barbara O'Neals latest book, The Garden of Happy Endings. It is so good, y'all. It really moved me. I urge you to put it at the top of your tbr pile.

I had very passionate reactions to parts of it. Not negative reactions in the sense that I don't like what she wrote or how she wrote it, but rather I simply disagree with her premises or the conclusions her characters come to, in some places.

I wanted to write about it but I didn't want to offend Ms. O'Neal or negatively impact her sales in any way. It seems silly to think that my little blog could do that, but, just in case, I wrote to Barbara on facebook.

This is my facebook message and her generous, gracious response.

"Barbara - I was profoundly moved by The Garden of Happy Endings. I highly recommend it. As a feminist and an atheist, it stirs things in me that I really want to address but I don't know how without spoilering. I would never disrespect you. My question is - if I wrote a blogpost and shelved it for a while - how long would I need to wait before posting it? 6 months? Not that I have enough readers to effect your sales but I would hate it if I did."

"Barbara Samuel-O'Neal Judy, please go ahead and write your blog. Make plain at the start that there are spoilers, but please pour your passion into that blog before it dissipates. Discussion is powerful, even if you object to everything I wrote. Books are a dialogue, and I'm honored that you're moved. Let me know the link when you write it."

I already loved her but after that response, I love her even more. This is her fourth book under O'Neal. She also has many under Barbara Samuel and Ruth Wind.

So here goes - let's do the spoiler thing:

SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT!

First of all, one might think this is a strange book for an atheist to read to begin with. It tells you very clearly on the back that it's about a reverend in a small community and her crisis of faith. So why did I read it? Because I've read many of Ms. O'Neal's books and I knew she would take me places I wanted to go and the scenery on the way would be compelling and beautiful. She did, and it was.

Surprisingly, my biggest objections aren't religious, they're feminist.

This woman, whom you will come to love, Elsa Montgomery, becomes a reverend because she can not become a priest. In fact, as an innocent fourteen year old girl, she plays at being a priest in the sanctuary and is caught by the priest who calls her a 'dirty daughter of Eve' and hits her.

She leaves the sanctuary and ends up being comforted by Joaquin, the boy who will become her fiance. Comforted in the sense that they have sex, which makes me not like Joaquin.

It later becomes important that Joaquin had a visit from an angel at age eight.

Fast forward some years and Joaquin and Elsa are walking the Camino; a sacred path that leads to the Cathedral de Santiago de Compostela. They are engaged and have been for eight years.

Joaquin again sees his angel for the second time at a stop they make along the way. When they reach the Camino, Joaquin announces his decision to become a priest, devestating Elsa.

This infuriates me. Why? He could have chosen to serve god through a different religion. One that allows him to have a wife. And why in hell would he serve a religion that treated someone he loves so very abusively?

Another thing that infuriates me is the angel thing. Joaquin sees an angel at eight and again before becoming a priest. He has measles at eight and he's deciding to be a priest later.

Elsa always wants to see an angel. Eventually she does. But the price she pays is horrendous. A young woman in her congregation is brutally raped and murdered before Elsa sees an angel. And she doesn't recognize him as an angel for some time.

Then Elsa herself is raped while trying to save another woman. This, too, warrants a visit from angels. At the same time Joaquin is safely at home getting his third visit from an angel who tells him to go find Elsa.

So Joaquin gets angels through almost no suffering on his part. Elsa, on the other hand, has to see a young girl raped and killed and be raped herself before any angels deign to visit her. Who the hell needs that kind of angels?

What if it were the other way around? What if Joaquin witnessed a boy raped and murdered and was raped himself? Much more horrible, right? Why?

And this is written by a woman. Even women can not give other women the easier life.

Then there is the god thing. Elsa turns her back on god three times. The last time being when the sweet, innocent young girl is tortured, raped and murdered. Elsa knows that the girl must have begged god for help and her prayers went unanswered.

I have heard so many justifications for why this could happen in a world where there is a god. I don't buy any of them. If there were a god or a designer so intelligent that she/he/it created this world, that same designer/god would have been intelligent enough to make this world happen without rape, murder, child abuse or neglect. The very fact those things happen is one proof there is no such god / designer.

And I don't understand why people are so scared to let go of the idea of them. Life makes so much more sense and is so much more enjoyable when you aren't seeing it in terms of why would god / designer let this happen, or what would god / designer want you to do.

There is a statement towards the end of the book that I love.

"It came to her that there would always be evil in the world, that there would be error and doubt and loss and things that could not be explained, but there would also be hope and goodness and kindness and love." The Garden of Happy Endings by Barbara O'Neal

A completely true statement, IMHO, and having nothing whatsoever to do with god.

Thank you Barbara, for so graciously letting me express myself. I disagreed with some things but I certainly did not "object to everything" you wrote.

As is true with all your books, the story was compelling and the scenery was delightful. You never disappoint.

Now I just have to convince myself once again that I'm not wasting my time writing since I can never write as well as you.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Romance Novel: Rescue Me, Author: Rachel Gibson, Romantic Comedy movie: One For the Money

Rachel Gibson's new book, Rescue Me, is out. And it's good. To me that comes as no surprise. I simply love her as a writer (don't know her as a person so can't say.) It's a page turner that I stayed up most of the night reading.
Go for it, y'all. It's worth every penny.



You know what else is worth every penny that really did surprise me, the movie, One For The Money. It's damn good. I didn't think I'd like the guy playing Morelli, but I did. He's not as hot as Joe because he's an Irish guy playing an Italian guy. But he is hot for an Irish guy. And there's good chemistry between him and Heigl, who does a great job as Stephanie Plum. The guy who plays Ranger is also hot and does a good job. In fact, everyone did a good job. Even Sherri whatever her name is, whom I don't really like, did a great job as Lula.

Guess what else is great? The script. If you've read the book you know, the reason the script is good is because it had a solid base of a great book. But still, they could have screwed it up, and they didn't. They don't stick strictly to the book but pretty close.

It's set up so there could definitely be a second movie and if Evanovich had the same genitalia as Nicholas Sparks or any of the other men out there writing romantic suspense comedy mystery whatever you want to call it, there would already be one. Sparks blows his nose and they try to read the snot in his kleenex and make a movie out of it but the same does not hold true with successful women. And don't try to tell me she's not successful. The Plum series alone is eighteen books worth of successful and that's not the end of her body of work.


I may be mad at Evanovich right now but I'd love to see some more of these movies if they all maintained this quality.

If you haven't been reading this blog for long you might ask, why am I mad at her. Short version - after 16 books she started writing for the Ranger fans instead of the Morelli fans BUT in the Morelli books, Ranger is treated with respect; in the Ranger books, Morelli is not treated with respect. Not cool Janet. Not cool.

Fran's Chocolates version of the old bait and switch

Editted again to add: Fran's has decided to lower their minimum purchase price. Nice.

Editted to add a comment from Fran's at the bottom of post.

What is one of the most popular things in candy right now? Salted Caramels right?


I went on bing and I looked up salted caramels and that search led me to Fran’s Chocolates. There’s this cute little box of 7 chocolate salted caramels for $12.50. Reasonable. Seemed like the perfect prize for the first chocolate bootcamp.


The end of the month rolled around and I declared a winner and went to order the prize. Guess what? Fran’s has a minimum order of fifteen dollars. That’s right. They won’t sell you the cute little box that they know draws people in. No. No. To get salted caramels from Fran’s you have to buy 2 boxes. Or you have to go up to the next size. Which is more than double the price. $28.


I’m going to relate this in something other than absolutes because my memory of exactly who might be wrong, but I think it was Sears. Many years ago, they did this thing where they would advertise one thing but when you’d get to the store, they wouldn’t have it. They would, however, have a more expensive version of whatever it was.


This practice was called the bait and switch. At that time, the justice system cared about the marketplace in America, and when someone sued Sears or whoever, the company lost and they stopped this deceitful practice.


Of course, the practice has since been tweaked in various ways and taken up by other companies. That’s what this looks like to me. Fran’s knows that people want salted caramels. So they price some very reasonably but when people actually are in the throws of purchase on the internet or on the phone, they inform them that they can’t buy that cute little reasonable box, no, they have to buy 2 or a more expensive one.


Fran’s the president might like your product, but I’m betting he wouldn’t like this business practice. Cause it stinks. It stank way back when. It still stinks now.


It didn’t get me, though. I just went to another company that sells salted caramels, in this case Ghirardelli’s, and bought almost the same product.


The whole thing makes me sad. Because my preference would have been to go with a company which for all appearances originates in Seattle, WA USA rather than one who originates in Switzerland (no offense to Switzerland intended).


Here’s my suggestion to Fran’s Chocolates. Either take the cute little green box for $12.50 down or better yet, lower your minimum purchase requirement. Cause what you’re doing now, ain’t right. I don’t care how you justify it.


This is all my own humble opinion. YMMV.

After having this up one day, I got a comment from Fran's. This is the comment:
Judy,

I am so sorry for your experience with our website, and I completely understand your frustration.

We are a family-owned chocolatier (my mother Fran, my brother and I all work together) celebrating 30 years of hand-crafting confections in Seattle, Washington. We began making our salted caramels about 10 years ago. For many years we did not include smaller gift boxes like the 7 piece caramel box on our website, as the cost associated with shipping a small box is high in relation to the price of the product. But, many of our customers requested that we add smaller gift boxes on-line so they could add a smaller box to their order or so they could order several smaller boxes for gifting.

But, in light of your comments and experience I will review how we present this on our site.

Thank you for your honest feedback.

Please feel free to contact us directly at 206.322.0233, with any questions or concerns.

Best Regards,
Andrina Bigelow


This feels like people who are concerned with doing business ethically and who care about their customers experience. I'm going to write a new blogpost (even though it's not Friday) and take this one down when the new one is finished.

Thank you, Fran's for responding.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

willwriteforchocolate Yahoo group

May Chocolate Bootcamp Winner Declared

April won and not surprising considering she wrote an impressive 29 days out of 31 in May!

April 65811 (29)


Frequent commenter London Mabel was second despite getting a week late start. She wrote an impressive 23 days out of 24. 

LM 55728 (23)


 Yours truly was third. I slacked at the end and only wrote 20 days but I'm still proud of myself considering I've only been writing for 2 months and my first draft of my wip is at 70K.

Judy 44018 (20)


 Frequent commenter Judie came in fourth. Despite having some personal sorrows she wrote 23 days this month.

Judie 38150 (23)

 And our own lovable, funny, mystery write Kewl Kate was fifth. Despite being the mother of children and dogs, she wrote 24 days this month.

Kate 28825 (24)


Christen 13683 (15)


Jen 9191 (13)


astros28 3992 (4) aka Jennifer Comeaux who wrote the book Life on the Edge


Melba 2900 (2)

Zeba 2230 (1)

IN THE WORDS OF MR. GRACE FROM 'ARE YOU BEING SERVED?'
"YOU'VE ALL DONE VERY WELL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Friday, June 1, 2012

willwriteforchocolate Yahoo group, Cactus: La Diabla

Wow. Thank goodness for placekeepers.

I had a nasty fever all last night, including at work. At a place where I'm usually hot, I was wearing a sweat jacket and going from cold chills to raging hot. When I came home, I sacked out in the chair in the living room for 'just a minute' and woke up almost twelve hours later. For those of you who don't know, this is amazing because I usually suffer from insomnia and rarely get more than 5 or 6 hours of sleep on a good night.

I'm better now.

So - May bootcamp is over except for the posting and tallying of the word counts, the naming of a winner and the awarding of the Fran's Salted Caramels. I'll keep you posted.

June bootcamp is just beginning.

I am having such a good time writing with other writers. For someone as isolated as I am, it's precious. And I 'm writing so much more. I'm at almost 70K for Tangible Taffy. That 70 k would not have happened without bootcamp in April and May. So many times when I stumbled and would have taken days or weeks to figure something out and move on, the longing for a daily word count gave me the motivation to buckle down, solve the problem and forge on.

In terms of quality, I'm also happy. The novel has taken some twists and turns that I didn't expect but I like them. In terms of structure, I'm happy, too. Act 1 is 29553 words and ends in a turning point. Act 2 is 34760 and ends in a turning point. Act 3 is 4522 and about one third of what the length will be. If you've studied structure, this is classic.

On a personal note I have someone new to introduce you to. Meet La Diabla:

My gdaughter actually named her El Diablo because of her wicked prickles but she's a girlio so I had to change it to La Diabla. I picture her in one of those big coffee cup planters but I haven't gotten one yet.

Alfonso, the cross-dressing Thanksgiving cactus whom I introduced here is practically twirling his mustache in fiendish desire sitting on the screened in porch on the shelf above her. I was glad to see him looking so handsome since he had a bad winter for some reason.

If you're new here you won't know this but not only do I talk to my plants they have backstory and personalities.

Taffy, protagonist of my work in progress, has two plants that are her best friends whom she interacts with more than the outside world.

Well, that's all. Thanks for being patient with me. (And Julie I know you hate it when Dan is right but indeed, the world didn't end because I didn't have my post up in time.)

What simple things seem apocalyptic to y'all?

Pro Soccer: Rio Ferdinand

I'm late. I'm late. For a very important date. No time to say hello, goodbye. I'm late. I'm late. I'm late.

I didn't get my blogpost  pre-written so this is going up at 12:05 am Friday June 1st as a placekeeper for the real blogpost that I will write when I get home.

You know, kind of like this guy is a placekeeper for Taffy's love interest, York:

Uh oh - the phone's ringing again. Another client with a crisis...