Category Archives: chick lit

21 Days of Christmas Blog Post at Hello, Chick Lit

Standard

21-days-of-christmas-graphic

For an extra chapter/teaser of my short story in our Christmas anthology It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Chick Lit, go here:

http://hellochicklit.com/2016/12/on-the-5th-day-of-christmas-amy-gettinger-said-to-me.html

christmas-anthology-flyer-2

Thanks, Merry Reading, and Merry Christmas! Also Happy Hanukkah and Happy Endings!

New Christmas Anthology coming out next week!

Standard

christmas-anthology-graphic-1

In bookstores near you this Christmas? Nah. Find it online and download in three seconds! And I have a fabulous story in it full of Christmas trees, glass peacock ornaments, good girls, bad guys, and Three Wise Women. Hey, it’s about time for equality of wiseness, right? Coming in early November.

Celebrating Indie Books Day–Why I’m an Indie Author/Publisher

Standard

twitter-header-july-2016

I’m an author because I like it.

I like writing.

I like research.

I like pantsing the story. (I am not a detailed outliner.)

I like editing my own stuff as I go.

I like playing with the story and tweaking it until it shines.

I like playing with the words and the syntax until they shine.

I like it when the characters tell me what’s happening next.

I like it when the story reveals itself to me, and it’s not at all what I thought it was going to be. Yee-haa!

I’m an indie publisher because

I even like proofreading, as weird as that sounds, since I was an English teacher and I know the rules pretty well. Proofreading makes the work all shiny. Shiny is good.

I’m not as keen on the promotion part, but I’m becoming more adept at it. Bookbub, ENT, Freebooksy, Book Gorilla, Booktastik, Awesome Gang. I’ve never had a Bookbub, the holy grail of us indies. Sniff. It’s like not getting to go to the Big Leagues. Sniff. But then I haven’t tried that hard. I did get a new book cover, but now I need a promo assistant.

And a bunch of other stuff. See my Ancient History.

Ancient History

I didn’t write much when I was young because my typing skills suck. I took a typing class in high school and they still sucked. See, I never wanted to be a secretary, get stuck behind a desk typing someone else’s correspondence or be a sitting target of sexual harassment, so this was my way to rebel. Easy. I’d suck at typing. I would then have to be a waitress (who is not a target of sexual harassment? Go figure.) and hire people to type my papers for me all through college. Typing was excruciating for me then. Part of this was using all the white-out and correcting tape if you made a mistake, and you’d better believe I made them a lot. It didn’t serve me very well to be bad at typing, but that’s what I did for years. I became an English teacher, and hand wrote my tests and handouts to ditto off for the students. Purple fingers. Remember them? Yes, it was that bad.

Until we got a computer in 1995 and I found out I could make a mistake and correct it on the fly! (I just corrected the word “correct” four times on the fly as I typed it.) YES!!!! FREEDOM!!! FREEDOM!!! Did I say FREEDOM??? No more white-out or correcting tape! No more stopping and ripping the damned paper as I grabbed it out of my damned Brother typewriter or positioning it wrong so the lines were askew. No more retyping complete pages of work!!! (Sorry Brother. It wasn’t your fault. I just wasn’t that into you.) Also, I could now abuse the exclamation point with total abandon in one key stroke!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Okay, I promise never to do that again.

Just a couple of years later, the computer was my bosom buddy, the place where I churned out handouts and tests with ease, despite my crappy typing skills.

But we only had one, and the kids were on it constantly, playing World of War Craft.

Then I got my laptop, and I started finding daily reasons to sit down and churn out more than tests. Textbooks were expensive, and copiers were available, so I had been relying on copying jazz chants and skits for grammar practice for the students from a couple of my favorite sources—other people’s books. But that wasn’t really legal. At all.

Sad face.

So my little brain poked me on the way home from classes. “Hey, you could write your own jazz chants and skits that you could use legally. How about this one? I am riding, riding, riding in my car, car, car. I am running, running, running out of gas, gas, gas.” Or this.

What are you doing?                                   I’m walking, I’m walking.

Where are you going?                                To the jungle, the jungle.

What’s in the jungle?                                  We’ll see, we’ll see.

Who’s going with you?                               My puppy, my puppy.

Where are you now?                                   By the river, the river.

What’s in the river?                                     A hippo, a hippo.

What is it doing?                                          It’s swimming, it’s swimming.

Where is its baby?                                       Behind it, behind it.

What’s on the river bank?                          A crocodile, a crocodile.

Where is it moving?                                     Toward us, toward us.

How do its eyes look?                                 They’re bigger, they’re bigger.

Why is it coming here?                               It likes us, it likes us.

How many teeth does it have?                  A hundred, a hundred.

What is it thinking about?                          Lunch, lunch.

Why are you running?                                Guess!

Yeah, they were a kick. I loved writing my own skits and jazz chants. I still have them around somewhere. I need to put them out in book form.

Anyway,  from there, I made the jump to stories. I took a couple of creative writing classes at the local college, and the creative well cap deep within me popped off. WORDS spurted up from there (or maybe from my spleen or tonsils) with fun ideas for weird stories that went nowhere. I was well into my 40’s, and I was having the time of my life with my lifelong friends: WORDS.

See, I am a language person. I studied German starting at age 11 in 7th grade. Followed by Spanish, French, and Italian. I even lived in France for a year to learn the language. Plus I have a degree in math, but only because it’s another language. I LOVE language and WORDS. I taught English to foreigners for 20 years because it was an excuse to play with language and words and get paid for it. Give me words put together in an interesting way and you’ve hooked me for life.

So the challenge was to put my own words together in an interesting way for other people to read and enjoy. Which took years. And classes. And many rewrites. And commentary from editors. And writers’ conferences. The first chapter of each of my books was rewritten probably 50 times each.

In 2003, I wrote Alice in Monologue Land, a humorous mystery/romance/adventure about a college instructor who reluctantly does a monologue in a college production for women and has the ride of her life, meeting three odd, interested men and solving some weird disappearances along the way.

It was a little long.

“You have a 150,000-word manuscript?” the agent or editor at a conference would choke out. “Uh, see. You can’t have a first book over 100,000 words published. Try again. Get it down to 90,000. Or could you cut it in half and have a series?”

Why? Why should I write this story shorter than it wanted to be? And it was not a series. It was a fun book.

Well apparently, paper and ink cost money, and the publishing houses didn’t want to waste money on printing extra pages for the first book of an unknown author, so the book had to be under 400 pages.

Grrrrrr. I’d actually started with 175,000 words. I’d already cut out 1/7—real chaff. But word count was prominent in all submissions to agents and editors.

Fine. Whatever. With great determination and much acute sadness, I cut Alice in Monologue Land to 100,000 words. But Alice was just like me on a starvation diet at my lowest weight. She would not stay put at that very precarious place. She really likes chocolate—and cheesecake. When I reread the book, much of it made no sense, so I put back some words. A bit later, I realized Alice needed a complete overhaul, as the book was based on a certain famous monologue production, and I was never going to get an OK from those famous monologue producers to use their material in my non-famous book. So I invented my own monologue production. And I rewrote. And every time I rewrote, the MS grew again. It needed clarity. It needed to be funny and not rushed. It would not fit in the “ready to print” box of a publishing house. It ended up at 120,000 words. Or so. That’s what it says on Alice’s driver’s license, anyway. I believe her.

Alice also wouldn’t fit on the traditional bookshelf. Print books in brick-and-mortar stores get categorized into a very limited set of narrow genres right off the bat—so the store clerks, who are apparently total nincompoops, can tell where to shelve a book. I mean, seriously? Writers are actually told to limit their books’ scope—i.e. not to mix genres—in order for bookstore staff to be able to shelve the books properly! No matter that readers (like me) are always looking for something new, or that even editors might want something new. Hah! When you give editors/publishers something new, they get all prissy and say they really just want the same old thing, something that fits into their hundred-year-old genre boxes. Grrr.

But Alice in Monologue Land (available on Amazon) is a mystery, a romance, and an adventure, and it’s funny. I put all this in the book intentionally, as a combination of genres was what I wanted to read. (Hey, I like Castle and the movie, Australia. That pretty much says it all.) For me, plain old mysteries needed a little romantic spice, and plain old romance was dull as dust without some mystery. (Sorry, romance writers, but how many men are that commitment phobic? Are there no other personality types in the world to write about? No other types of conflict?) And for my taste, most writers needed to lighten up a LOT and add some humor. Artfully written humor is what brings me to a book and keeps me reading. Hence my fondness for Spencer Quinn’s work, featuring first person narrative by a dog.

So. Genre. My book was not romance—too complex, too many scenes without the hero. And not really women’s fiction—too funny. It was a mystery, but what type? Not a procedural. Not a thriller. Cozy mysteries were not supposed to include sex scenes, and were supposed to be rather short. Not exactly Alice.

Frig.

I decided the book was probably chick lit. Chick lit mystery. Yeah.

But to confuse things no end, the publishing houses/agents/book critics decided right when I wanted to publish my chick lit mystery that chick lit was no longer a viable genre.

Wait. What?!? It’s what I was reading and writing. What gave them (A bunch of fuddy duddy old males?? Surely women would not do this to each other?) the right to say that the exact books I liked–women’s humor = chick lit–weren’t a viable genre?

Actually, they called it a dead genre.

Deaaaaad? Reallllllly? They need to check out all the indie chick lit books that make a lot of money in this “dead” genre.

Upshot: I think there should be a chick lit shelf in all bookstores. Take that, Barnes and Noble, and every other store, brick and mortar or online, that doesn’t have a chick lit section.

Upshot 2: Poor Alice was too pudgy (large word count) and her genres were mixed. The genre she fit into best was “dead.” Not very PC of the publishing houses to hold this against her. I realized that my book would never sell to a big publishing house or get me an agent, even though it was pretty funny and full and it kept me entertained for a long time while I wrote it.

Upshot 3: It was time to write another book, a shorter one.

Which I did in 2006. Roll with the Punches. Starring Rhonda Hamilton, a librarian and author, whose manuscript got stolen by a big, hotshot bestselling author, and who went in search of the thief with the aid of a bunch of derby girls. Despite her dad acting totally weird. The book ended up to have the same mix of genres as Alice in Monologue Land. (Who would have guessed?) Now to her credit, Rhonda started at a svelte 120,000 words. (I had learned a thing or two about conciseness.) I shaved Rhonda down to 100,000 words, trying to make her salable to a big press. That lasted about a minute. She, too, would not stay skinny. When I finally self-published this book on Amazon last year, after a bajillion rewrites, it was back up to 120,000 words. Or so. Don’t ask Rhonda about it. She’s sensitive about her size. She’ll punch you.

Needless to say, my books were not a (narrow-minded) publishing house’s dream. But they were my dream, so when I realized I had another option, I became an indie publisher to get them out there and share them with other people as my vision, not someone else’s. And I haven’t displeased too many readers thus far. Yeah, I have some requisite 1-star reviews. Badge of honor for all indie publishers. Funny = juvenile. LOL. But plenty of readers find my books delightful, even if they don’t exactly fit on the bookstore shelves. Imagine that, Harper Collins. Or Simon & Schuster.

Seriously.

Onward.

Recently, I finished a set of three seasonal short stories: sequels to Alice in Monologue Land, featuring secondary characters from that book. I published them under the title: Kiss My Sweet Skull. They’re chick lit, and two are mysteries. Please read them. The stories are nice little chunks of fun, easy to read in one sitting. I also have a short story coming out in a holiday anthology called: It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Chick Lit. It will be out in November, free on all platforms. Read it! It’s fun! And because I said so. And if you haven’t read my 2 novels and reviewed them on Amazon, get with the program and do that. Good grief. Don’t make me stop this car and come back there.

Now, I have a third novel started, and need to finish it between writing short stories and the 5000-word plays I write to perform with my group of nonagenarian reader’s theater peeps at the local assisted living. (Not for the timid, working with old peeps—they die on you and have strokes, etc.—but lots of dress-up fun for the living.)

Wish me luck on finishing the novel.

But I don’t need too much luck, as I have this handy-dandy laptop here, just waiting to bring my words to life, and correct me when I’m wrong. LOL. I hope you have as much fun bringing your dreams to life as I have had writing these books and stories.

Thanks for reading.

For more blogs about the indie author experience, here’s a link to Kathryn R. Biel’s  fabulous Indie Books Day Pinterest board. https://www.pinterest.com/kathrynrbiel/indie-book-day-2016/

Go there now. We indie authors/publishers deserve your attention.

Chatting With the Chicks of Chick Lit

Standard

Chatting with the chicks of chick lit Wed blogpost graphic 2016

In honor of #ChickLitMay, we dispense with the formalities and join our local TV channel 7777 mid-broadcast.

talk show host Chuck

Chuck: Ha ha ha ha! Welcome, welcome everyone to Chatting With the Chicks of Chick Lit! I’m your host, Chuck Lottateeth, and I am so thrilled to be able to introduce you to some of the most fascinating characters in literature today. I’m talking about the leading ladies of Chick Lit—those enchanting, romantic, darling, sexy, sweet, funny, headstrong—and, let’s face it, sometimes downright frustrating—modern women who headline this fabulously fun genre. I’m sure you’re going to love getting the skinny on these “novel” heroines, and who knows? You might just find your new BFF on the pages of one of these books!

So. Without further ado, please put your hands together and show some love for today’s guests: Rhonda Hamilton from Roll with the Punches and Alice Chalmers from Alice in Monologue Land.

Audience: Yayyyyy!

Chuck : Rhonda is a librarian with the Orange County Public Library, but when the clock strikes five, she enters that extra-tall phone booth and dons her cape, mask, sexy fishnets and roller skates to become a hot-to-trot roller derby queen! She’s killin’ it on the flat track, right, Rhonda?

derby girl

Rhonda: Actually, a cape and mask would really get in my way on the roller derby track. It’s the reason I didn’t pick “Superwoman” as my derby moniker. I prefer a more solid, regal name, like “Queen Hat Cheap Suit” or  “Empress The Adored One” or “Queen It’s A Belly of Cast Iron.” And I hate masks. We all do. We gotta see where we’re going so we don’t trip over other skaters and cause a dogpile on the track.

Chuck: But you are the sexiest (and tallest) librarian on skates, right? A whole lotta woman there. Listen, I saw you in that red harem girl garb at the fundraiser with that jingly velvet bra that got whipped off, and hello, baby! Va-va-va-—Ow!

Rhonda: Oh, gosh. Does your shin hurt? Put some of this ointment on it right away.

Chuck: Thanks. What’s in it?

Rhonda: Just some capsaicin plus a little battery acid. Great for all the lacerations and contusions we roller derby girls accumulate during a bout. Wanna see my latest road rash? It’s got the pattern of my fishnet stockings etched into the scab. Nice, huh, that purple and green tinge?

Chuck: Ew, not hungry for lunch any more. Well, our other guest today is Ms. Alice Chalmers. Alice teaches English at a local college, where she recently starred in a stage production of The Chronicles of Narnia. You must have made a splendid White Witch. Doesn’t she look the part, everybody?

teacher vector for Alice

Audience: Yes!

Alice: Uh. White Witch? Do I look that bad? I’m only 41. Give a girl a break.

Chuck: Oh, no. Of course not. Well, I’m sure you knocked their socks off as the—the—was it Aslan the Lion? Or maybe Father Christmas? A centaur?

Alice: The Lion? Father Christmas? A centaur? Oh, my God. Do I need a makeover, Rhonda?

Rhonda: Geez. Excuse me, Mr. Lottateeth. Alice was never in that play.

Chuck: So why is she here?

Rhonda: You want me to punch his lights out for you, Alice?

Alice: Not quite yet.

Rhonda: Just say the word.

Alice: Deep breath. Look, Chuck, I was in a production called The Venus Monologues at my college. Only it wasn’t a play. It was a collection of deep, poetic, and powerful monologues, written and performed by the students and faculty at the college. All about being female.

pole dancers 1

Chuck:  Ooooh. Sexxxxy. Are the rumors true? Were you all pole dancing throughout?

Alice: Oh, yeah. We were all pole dancing. You should have seen all us teachers in our black dresses and pearls swinging around those poles while we shrieked out our lines.

chubby pole dancer

Chuck: Oh, man. Will there be another performance?

Alice: You doofus! There was no pole dancing! We were reading monologues! About all the amazing and varied facets of being female in this world, from birth to being a mother to being an artist to blazing powerful trails for future women in business and leadership.

woman reading

Chuck: But you had a superhot romance going at the time, right? I believe a little bird told me it was more like threeeee hot romances?

Alice: Sort of. But—

Chuck: And I heard that you Venus girls wore black bustiers and feather boas on stage and then you all stripped at the end, like in Hair.

Alice: No way! Okay, Rhonda. He’s yours.

Chuck: Now, now, ladies! Put away your knitting needles! Hahaha! Moving right along, I have a few questions to ask you two today. First: If you were a shoe, what kind of shoe would you be?

Rhonda: Duh. A quad roller skate, maybe with wings and custom yellow wheels, just for fun.

Retro Style Winged Roller Skate

Retro Style Winged Roller Skate.

Chuck: And you, Alice?

Alice: Comfortable. Blue, maybe.

Chuck: Is that it, Alice? No favorite brand?

Alice: First, you can call me Ms. Chalmers, and second, I need comfort. I teach on my feet all day long. If you want to badger me about it, I can just go read a few grammatically hideous student papers that will be way funnier than you.

Chuck: Touche! Next question. What are the three items you would absolutely need to have with you if you were shipwrecked on a desert island?

Rhonda: My laptop with a battery charged for life. An ice pick to break coconuts open. And my skates. Assuming the island has some sidewalks or roads to skate on. In fact, even if there weren’t any roads, I’d still have them there to look at. They are soooooo awesome.

Chuck: Alice? Er, Ms. Chalmers?

Alice: Oh, wow. A cook, a gardener, and a carpenter. All male, in their thirties.

Chuck: Excuse me? Those aren’t items.

Alice: I know, and you’re excused. But it’s my dream. Stay out of it.

Chuck: Okay. If you had only $15 to spend, what would be the perfect date?

Rhonda: Get ice cream at the beach and walk the cliff walk at Besker Park with my best dude.

Alice: Wait. How did you know I had only $15 to spend on my last date? Did you hack my phone?

Chuck: Of course not! How about if you had $50 to spend?

Rhonda: Take a Gelson’s deli picnic to Anaheim Stadium for a game.

Alice: We’d got out to eat Indian food at the hole-in-the-wall restaurant down the street. I like it spicy.

Chuck: Oooh. You do, huh? Are you free later?

Alice: No.

Chuck: Well then, what’s your ideal date for $5,000?

Rhonda: Are you kidding me? A week in Paris with my BFFs. No men involved.

Chuck: Nice. Alice?

Alice: $5000? To blow on a date? Well, that would be me accompanying my son to the University of California for his first quarter.

Chuck: Okay. Your best friend is asked to describe you in five words. What would they be?

Rhonda: Persistent, clever (shut up—I am, too), devious, strong, and blunt. Maybe loyal. Depends which friend you ask.

Alice: It’s gonna take more than five words for me. Let’s see. Loving, motherly, talented, sometimes a little frustrated, world-wise—no, make that world-weary. Possibly a bit nervous—okay, a lot nervous. And maybe … full. Satisfied. Replete. Who needs men, anyway? They’re so complicated.

Chuck: Hah! Yes, we are, aren’t we? But what if your nemesis is also asked to describe you in five words? What would they be?

Rhonda: Persistent, clever, devious, strong, and blunt.

Alice: I don’t have time for a nemesis. But if you find one, and they want to describe me, I think I’ll just put my fingers in my ears. La-la-la.

Chuck: Ahem. If you could be the heroine in any chick flick, who would it be and why?

Rhonda: Lara Croft. OMG. I’d be all over raiding tombs.

Alice: Oh, I’d be Joan Wilder in Romancing the Stone, cutting loose and sliding down the muddy slopes of the Amazon River, swinging on vines across chasms, riding in the “Little Mule.” Wait. Did I say that out loud? Oh, sorry. I … mean … I’d be Miss Pettigrew in Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day. Much safer.

Chuck: Well, this has been quite exciting and illuminating, meeting the two of you. Can you two lovely ladies visit us again soon—maybe wearing your bustiers and boas next time? Wink, wink? Nudge, nudge? We’ll provide the poles if you do the dances!

Rhonda: Now, Alice? Please?

Alice: Go ahead, Rhonda. Make my day.

kapow

Amy Gettinger’s books:

Roll with the Punches

What happens when the novel you’ve just finished writing and started hawking to agents gets published by a nationally bestselling author—just when Dad starts storing milk in the tool chest? You hunt for the book thief, of course, aided by a goofy roller derby team and two drool-worthy guys. Whether skating in treacherous derby bouts or downhill chasing Dad, one thing is sure: you’d better not fall, girl. http://myBook.to/RWTP

Alice in Monologue Land

Practice your snort laugh! College instructor Alice is headed down the campus rabbit hole into a world of adventure, romance, and danger. Add a splash of chaos and some cringe-producing talk of female body parts–on stage. But her students are going missing. Can Alice find them in time to avert tragedy in this “carnival ride of a tale with more spins than a tilt-a-whirl?” ~ #DiiBylo of Tome Tender Blog http://myBook.to/Alice

Kiss My Sweet Skull

A collection of seasonal short stories featuring the faculty and students of Garden Beach College, the fictional home of my novel, Alice in Monologue Land.

“Cupid, with a Eucalyptus Tree, in the Teachers’ Workroom”: Annabelle Lopez’s anonymously delivered valentine is so perfect that she knows her soul mate is tantalizingly close by, except none of the local candidates seems quite right.

“Apples and Goat Cheese, and a Red Bikini (In France!)”: Frannie, an au pair girl for a surfing family on the sunny French Riviera, finds  romance … and trouble lurking in the dark. The clue could be in the apples and goat cheese.

“Kiss My Sweet Skull”: Is pumpkin pie seriously the best answer for anthropology professor Dr. Betty Hundleby’s awful skull nightmares at Halloween? Or could an oddly timed kiss be just the thing she needs?  http://myBook.to/Skull

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chick Lit May Scavenger Hunt “R”

Standard

CLCMayAtoZgraphic2016

“R” is for Romantalicious.

What? That’s not a real word you say? Well, just look at it sitting there on the page. Fun. Dazzling. Silly. Innovative. Inviting. Doesn’t it apply perfectly to chick lit?

In romance novels, the reader watches a romantic relationship develop step by step, with the hero and heroine present (and misbehaving) in every scene. Success and satisfaction in the heroine’s journey is measured by seeing her land that guy. But we’re talking chick lit here. While romance is important to chick lit, it’s not the only thread. There may also be elements of mystery, adventure, family issues, work woes, and nearly any problem of modern womanhood that can be dreamed up and played with on the page. Yep. In chick lit, we play on the page–and humor is what binds our books together.

Chick lit gives a broader feel for a woman’s life: warts, laundry, acrobatic training, multiple boyfriends, and all. The chick lit main character (we don’t call her a heroine) is goofy and weird and klutzy and human. She may be tall or wide or only have one eye. She may be an overachiever or have a superpower. She may solve mysteries in Japan (see Stephanie J. Pajonas’s The Daydreamer Detective) or have an embarrassing weakness for Hostess Ho Hos (see Katheryn Kopach Biel’s I’m Still Here). She may constantly quote movie and TV lines (see Geralyn Corcillo’s Miss Adventure) as she tackles a life problem on her own, or with her sidekick(s). And she may be hella tall and get into dangerous situations where she needs saving–and have to save herself (see my Roll with the Punches). Men are not necessary to her survival. They’re nice, sexy, maybe even too cool for school, but not vital. The most important thing in the story is getting through life with a laugh. And wine. And possibly fashion.

So the romance in a chick lit story is often much lighter and sillier than that in a romance novel. Chick lit romance is comedic, feathery, offbeat, and … romantalicious. No ten-page sex scenes here. Chick lit readers prefer two pages of goofy, delicious near-sex, including a tad of realism. After all, how many times does a romantic encounter come off perfectly in real life? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

Roll with the Punches cover March 2016 jpeg

Here’s an example of a romantalicious scene from my book, Roll with the Punches.

“My goodness, Little Red Riding Hood,” (James) laughed. “Tired of Grandma Yvette being around every corner? Let Mr. Wolf take the sting out.” He took the book and laptop, set them on the flowered day bed, and pulled me close. “I’m sorry, Rhonda. She’s a bit rabid. But that Jackson, now he’s evil. Stealing your stuff wholesale, wrecking your career and your dreams. I’d like to deck him.”

Or her. My heart still beat fast from the confrontation with Yvette. But at least James believed me over her. I relaxed, breathing in his smell: hospital soap and breath mints. And found my voice. “She thinks I’m crazy.” I gulped air. “Or a criminal. I’d like to …”

He wrapped his arms around me. “Shh. I think I found something. Remember Marcella Anderson? She’s got a son connected to the Enron scandal. He may be the guy we’re looking for.”

“No, forget about Marcella.” I said. “The final changes from the last summer rewrite are in the book, so she can’t be the culprit. But please don’t tell anyone yet.”

“Don’t be too hasty.” He kissed my hair. At which point I should have turned all liquidy, but my mind was whirling about Yvette and the book and who could have taken it and why.

He kissed my neck, and I pulled back, distracted. “Who? Who? Who took my book in the summer?”

Jackie called us from the living room.

This bedroom had a very big closet. Laughing, James scooped up the book and computer and took my hand and pulled me inside it. Then I found myself crouched down under the clothes rod, crammed between Jackie’s fancy dresses and over six feet of sexy man-hunk.

He said, “Well, the group is not exactly out of the clear yet. Jackie was a Communist in college, you know. She got in pretty heavy with all those Greenpeacers and environmentalists and shit. And neither George nor Marian has sold a book all year, so they must have a monetary motive.” His hands went for my breasts. “Did you like my roses?”

“Uh,” I stammered. The closet reeked of mothballs. My eyes teared up as Jackie’s letters slipped down my front. I tried to nudge them back up and they crackled.

I talked to cover up the sound. “The roses—very nice. How did you get Yvette …”

Mothballs had never been my friend, and now they were burning my sinuses something awful. James leaned in to kiss me just as I wiped my dripping nose on my sleeve. My elbow whacked his chin.

“Ouch.” He sounded peeved.

Steps came down the hall.

James held a finger to his lips as the bedroom door opened, then closed. Then suddenly, he was sitting down. He pulled me onto his lap and his tongue made its way halfway down my throat. Reflexively, my hands went under his shirt. Amazing realization: Tattoos didn’t matter in the dark. Now, if an image of Dal’s nose would just leave my mind screen.

James’s hands hit the letter paper on my stomach.

“That a girdle?” he laughed. “Or stuffing?”

I thought fast. “Take your shirt off, big boy.” I pulled the edge of his shirt up over his head and left it there.

“Ooh, you’re one hot author.” As he pulled it off, I dropped the epistles behind me to the shoe-infested closet floor.

“But I just can’t see Jackie or George—” I tried, but suddenly, my shirt was unbuttoned and his hands and lips were an assault on me. And so were the mothballs. I started to wheeze as his lips found my neck. “Listen. This could be fun, but I can’t breathe.”

He breathed hotly in my ear. “Hmmm. Your bra needs loosening,” he crooned, unfastening my front bra snap, “And your laptop needs to be checked for hacking.”

Huh? My laptop? Odd subject for foreplay. Oh, well. I tried to respond in kind. “But I need it, big boy. Check it fast, okay?”

He plunged a hand down my pants.

“Not that fast!” Ticklish, I bolted up to a bent stand, laughing and wheezing and swatting at his hands. I’d always envisioned passionate lovemaking with James, but this …”Slow down!”

“Better safe than sorry.” He started to rise, still caressing my jean-clad backside.

Was this the romantic tryst I’d imagined for months?

“Safe?” My insulted lungs and the images of the group’s worried faces wilted any lust I might have had. “I’m not safe,” I wheezed, pushing his hands away. “I’m having an asthma attack.”

“Safe for your motherboard.” Laughing, he reached over and unzipped my jeans, then yanked them down.

“Stop!” I shot up straight, hitting my head on the clothes rod. “Ouch!” I wheezed and my knee jerked up, pushing him into the door, which popped open, sending him toppling out of the closet.

I tried to follow, but something pulled hard at my hair. “Ouch! Ack! I’m stuck! I can’t move.”

Dazed, he straightened up, all tousled and gorgeous in the light, and examined my hair, which got caught more tightly with my every move I made.

“Ow! Ooowwww!”

“Oops. Designer jacket. Your hair’s caught on the beads. We’ll have to cut it off.” He pulled the jacket’s wooden hanger off the rod and walked me out into the room, where he produced a pocket knife. I took one look at the blade and lurched away from it. He lost his grip on the heavy hanger, which fell, bonking my shoulder and yanking my scalp to China. I howled in pain and flailed around, narrowly missing being impaled by the knife.

And there was Jackie in the doorway. “Oh, it’s not the cats. It’s you. Pants down. At knife point. God love ya.”

frustrated woman

There you have it. A romantalicious chick lit scene: kinda hot, kinda sexy, kinda closetus interruptus. With the requisite beaded designer jackets and fancy shoes. What else did you expect? Here’s hoping the next book you read is full of romantalicious chick lit scenes.

And here’s hoping you read it on your new Kindle Paperwhite. See details below.

 

Kindle paperwhite

Are you a book junkie? Want to win a Kindle Paperwhite + a $100 Amazon gift card? Visit each of the 26 stops on the #ChickLitMay A to Z Scavenger Hunt and collect the alphabet word at each stop (A, B, C, D, etc.), then submit the A-Z list of words via e-mail to traciebanister@gmail.com with the subject “A to Z Scavenger Hunt Entry.” Entries will be accepted until Sunday, May 22nd at midnight E.D.T. A winner will be chosen on Monday, May 23rd. Good luck!

The next stop on this Scavenger Hunt is the letter “S,” which is at 

http://www.tracykrimmer.com/2016/05/15/chicklitscavengerhunt/

If you’d like to start back at the beginning of the Scavenger Hunt with the letter “A,” go to http://katieoliver.com/ko/2016/05/chick-lit-a-to-z-scavenger-hunt/

$100 gift card

Amy Gettinger’s books:

Roll with the Punches

What happens when the novel you’ve just finished writing and started hawking to agents gets published by a nationally bestselling author—just when Dad starts storing milk in the tool chest? You hunt for the book thief, of course, aided by a goofy roller derby team and two drool-worthy guys. Whether skating in treacherous derby bouts or downhill chasing Dad, one thing is sure: you’d better not fall, girl. http://myBook.to/RWTP

Alice in Monologue Land

Practice your snort laugh! College instructor Alice is headed down the campus rabbit hole into a world of adventure, romance, and danger. Add a splash of chaos and some cringe-producing talk of female body parts–on stage. But her students are going missing. Can Alice find them in this “carnival ride of a tale with more spins than a tilt-a-whirl?” ~ #DiiBylo of Tome Tender Blog http://myBook.to/Alice

Kiss My Sweet Skull

A collection of seasonal short stories featuring the faculty and students of Garden Beach College, the fictional home of my novel, Alice in Monologue Land.

“Cupid, with a Eucalyptus Tree, in the Teachers’ Workroom”: Annabelle Lopez’s anonymously delivered valentine is so perfect that she knows her soul mate is tantalizingly close by, except none of the local candidates seems quite right.

“Apples and Goat Cheese, and a Red Bikini (In France!)”: Frannie, an au pair girl for a surfing family on the sunny French Riviera, finds  romance … and trouble lurking in the dark. The clue could be in the apples and goat cheese.

“Kiss My Sweet Skull”: Is pumpkin pie seriously the best answer for anthropology professor Dr. Betty Hundleby’s awful skull nightmares at Halloween? Or could an oddly timed kiss be just the thing she needs?  http://myBook.to/Skull

Readers’ Favorite 5-star Review for Alice in Monologue Land

Standard
Readers’ Favorite 5-star Review for Alice in Monologue Land

Below, find the amazing and wonderful review for Alice in Monologue Land http://www.amazon.com/Alice-Monologue-Land-Amy-Gettinger-ebook/dp/B00VVK8NFM that Readers’ Favorite said via email last summer that they had found no one to do. Guess this lovely lady did do a review in September, after all, and the email about it to me got lost in political spam. Well, I didn’t go hunting for Alice’s page on Readers’ Favorite until today, when I thought I’d bite the bullet and pay for a review. But to my surprise, here it is! A freebie! 5 Whole Stars!

FROM READERS’ FAVORITE

“Fun, fun, fun! That’s definitely how I would describe Alice in Monologue Land by author Amy Gettinger. following the story of Alice Chalmers, adjunct English professor, single mom, and basically all around stressed out woman. And when she’s ‘encouraged’ or, more aptly, ‘required’ to read a part in her campus’ upcoming “Venus Monologues,” things in her carefully orchestrated life start to fall apart. A coveted job opens up, but Alice is certain that the conservative selection committee would not appreciate her participation in the Venus Monologues. Her Dean pretty much forces her to continue with her participation though, and, resigned, she does so. It’s at practice for the monologues, that she meets the “Venus Warriors,” an interesting group of fearless college women who aren’t afraid to discuss or do just about anything. Throw in some special attention from not one, but three men interested in her and the fact that some of her female students have gone missing, and you’ve got yourself one heck of wild ride of a book.

I so enjoyed Alice in Monologue Land. This was an exceptional read and I read it from cover to cover in just a few days. Author Amy Gettinger has done a fantastic job in creating characters that are funny, intriguing and exciting, sometimes all at once. The story is truly laugh out loud funny at times, and in one scene I actually laughed until I had tears in my eyes. Alice in Monologue Land is a book that would be enjoyed by any reader who enjoys a book with a fun female lead, a book with a little mystery, a little suspense and a little romance all wrapped in one, or just a plain good book. I certainly hope that Amy Gettinger is working on her next novel in this same vein, because I, for one, will be eagerly waiting to read it!”

~ Tracy Slowiak for Readers’ Favorite

I am overjoyed! Thanks, Tracy, for reading and reviewing!!! Alice was meant for just your type of audience!

 

Apples, Goat Cheese and a Red Bikini (In France!) A sequel to the novel Alice in Monologue Land Part 1

Standard

Apples, Goat Cheese and a Red Bikini (In

Hello, Peeps.

I recently wrote a short story for an anthology called Girls of Summer. It’s a sequel to my novel, Alice in Monologue Land. The anthology has been taken down from Amazon, so here is the story in chunks. I hope you like it.

Copyright 2015 by Amy Gettinger

This is a work of fiction, originally published in the anthology, Girls of Summer. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Apples, Goat Cheese, and a Red Bikini (In France!)   Part 1

July 9, 2004

“Let’s go back to Carmen’s. Gotta pee.” Sandee Kinney hopped a little, her pink-and-blue-striped ponytail flapping as she picked her way up the rocky beach toward the path back to Cassis, a Mediterranean village near Marseille. (In France!)

“Wait.” Fran Whittier put a hand on her sunhat to keep it from flying off in the whipping wind. She gazed over the heaving Gulf of Cassis toward Cap Canaille: an impressive, layered rock formation, the highest sea cliff in Europe. Which, in typical stony French fashion, had completely ignored Fran’s question. What good was a wise old rock that wouldn’t help a girl with her problems?

“Frannie! Now!”

“But …” Fran stood up. The two girls had spent the afternoon on a small, pebbly beach called Plage de Corton, five minutes’ walk to the west. When some cute guys toting surfboards had sauntered by, the girls had followed them here to rocky Plage de l’Arène, where the guys had joined a couple dozen surfers catching some nice waves.

Of course, the girls were just curious. The surfers weren’t that good-looking, with their Roman noses and intense gazes and long, muscular frames. On the beach itself, there was no one else except two skinny boys in tight French maillots and sandals. Maybe seven or eight years old, they were shrieking at the surfers riding the swells.

“Remy! Basile!” they shouted, jumping up and down. “Allez, allez, allez!

“Frannie!” Sandee said. “There aren’t any public restrooms around here.”

“Oh, use a bush! I’m not done here!” Fran’s time in Europe was about up. She would not be hurried away from this gorgeous scenery (in France!) “Or ask to use somebody’s toilet.” She pointed inland, where creamy old villas with orange tile roofs sat amid brilliant green vineyards and olive groves.

Sandee scrunched her nose. “Frannie! These people scowl when you ask to use a bathroom. Or else it’s filthy. I’m going back to Carmen’s.” She took off down the pathway towards the sleepy town, where their friend Carmen Polaski had rented a summer villa that the two girls were sharing this week. Before that, Fran and Sandee had done a two-week tour of Europe using Eurail passes. They were due to go back to Southern California in four days—back to work, freeways, cheeseburgers and college.

And Fran hadn’t even had a European kiss yet.

“Chickenshit!” Fran yelled at Sandee’s retreating form. Seriously. Why not squat behind a cypress tree? Mothers here let children pee everywhere. She turned back toward the beach to beseech the giant boulder one last time.

“What’s next for me?” she asked it. “Two years of general education at Garden Beach College: done. European adventure: nearly done. Now what do I do? Study ichthyology? Race cars? Become an astronaut? Learn Chinese?”

Nothing but stony silence from the Cap.

“Hey, rock! I don’t have all day!”

The surf pounded.

“Stupid rock.” She turned her attention to memorizing the whole sparkling scene—azure sky, foamy waves, olive-green cypress and scrub plants, red-and-gold-striated cliffs, chunky white beach, jumping kids. And gorgeous surfers—worth some serious memorizing. California had surfers, but French surfers (In France!) were just so cool, or blasé or—hard to put a finger on it, but vive la difference.

Her hat flew off as the wind picked up. She scrambled to grab it before it blew off into the trees behind her. When she turned back toward the ocean, three surfers were riding a huge wave toward the beach. A tall, handsome dude rode a red board off to the left side. A stockier guy took the middle, and a young teen navigated all the way in and beached his board right by the kids, smiling and breathless.

“Remy! Chouette!” the kids yelled, excited. “Mais où est Basile?”

 

Watch for my next installment later this week!