Friday, November 10, 2017

First look at Isabella Louise Anderson's The Hollywood Setup!

Congratulations to my friend Isabella, whose new novella comes out Friday, November 17th! Today, we’re pleased to offer the first look at her cover!




THE HOLLYWOOD SETUP

Chelsey Rhodes just landed her dream job in Hollywood working as an assistant to actress, Hattie Marten. Chelsey’s first task is to find someone to accompany the actress to events in the hope of reviving her celebrity social status. When going through the list of potential suitors, one catches her eye and she’s shocked to find he’s someone from her past. As payback for years of torment in high school, and knowing Hattie isn’t the most pleasant person to work for, Chelsey decides to set her up with Bennett Grayson.

What will happen when Chelsey and Bennett come face-to-face again, and will the setup be a success or will Chelsey’s first Hollywood job be her last?

Links for THE HOLLYWOOD SETUP:
Amazon
Goodreads

About the Author:
Isabella Louise grew up with a book in her hand, and to this day nothing has changed. Aside from writing, she focuses her time on featuring other authors on her blog, Chick Lit Goddess, along with sharing book reviews. Isabella Louise is also a member of the Romance Writers of America.

She lives in Dallas with her husband, enjoys spicy Indian and Mexican food, margaritas, and red and white wines. She loves spending time with family and friends, and cheering on the Texas Rangers. When Isabella Louise isn’t working on her next release, her attention is also on her Scentsy business, where she’s a consultant.

Contact Isabella:
Email: ila@chicklitgoddess.com
Chick Lit Goddess Website: http://chicklitgoddess.com
Facebook – Isabella Louise Anderson: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Isabella-Louise-Anderson-Author/253277964716883
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7382151.Isabella_Louise_Anderson
Instagram – Isabella Louise Anderson: https://www.instagram.com/ila121209/
Instagram – Chick Lit Goddess: https://www.instagram.com/chick_lit_goddess/
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/chicklitgoddess/
Twitter – Isabella Louise Anderson: https://twitter.com/ILA121209
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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The Secrets of a Successful Indie Writer: Interview with Margaret (Megs) Lashley

On November 7th, author Margaret (Megs) Lashley will release the final book in her “Val and Pals” series. Comprising five books over all, the romantic comedy series follows Val, a “redneck Bridget Jones” as she navigates life, love and losers on the Gulf coast of Florida. Lashley is currently working on a new series, which will be a science fiction comedy. Lashley is the most successful indie writer I know, and she’s agreed to share some of her secrets with me!

The “Val and Pals” series has been a whirlwind for you. When did you start work on the first book of the series? When was it released?

That’s a bit of a convoluted story. I wrote the first draft of Glad One in 2016. It released April 1, 2017, which is the birthdate of the protagonist, Val Fremden. However, after its release, I felt a prequel was in order, so I wrote Absolute Zero. It released a few weeks after Glad One.

What was your inspiration for your characters?

The characters in my novels are part me, part people I wish I was, and part people I’m glad I’m not! I find inspiration everywhere, but my family and people I’ve met during my travels have given me a wide net from which to draw ideas.

You released a prequel after the first book. What made you decide to write it?

I wrote Absolute Zero because I wanted to not only entertain readers, but inspire them as well. The main character, Val, starts her life at rock bottom in Glad One. But I felt I could offer more insight and empathy for Val if people understood her journey from riches to rags. They might understand her moods, thought processes and actions more, and see her as more than a one-dimensional, funny character.

Tell us something about your writing process. Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I am SO a pantser. Every once in a while, I try to plot out things, but more often than not, the characters in my novels hijack my efforts and force me to write chapters full of dialogue before I know what’s happening. Having said that, I feel I many have found a happy medium with “fat outlining.” I just finished a 5,000-word outline for the first book in my upcoming sci-fi series. In it, I outline scenes one by one, and write down any dialogue that comes to me at the time. I’m hoping this will help me keep on track while not getting stifled by the rigid demands of dry, plot-point outline.

How long does it take you to complete a book? What is your editing process like?

Glad One took me almost a year. Absolute Zero, three months. While writing the Val & Pals series, I found a rhythm that helps me write cleaner and leaner. Now I can finish a first draft in six to eight weeks, when I work full time on it. The first two books I hired a professional editor. Her work was extremely helpful in finding a structure that worked. Now I used a dedicated team of BETA readers who provide specific feedback on a wide range of things, such as flow, dialogue, pacing, consistency, satisfaction of endings, etc. Editing is, in the end, one person’s opinion. I enjoy gathering a wide range of feedback from my BETA team of readers who specifically enjoy this genre. I feel it is a well-rounded approach.

Did you begin book one knowing you were going to write a series? If not, what made you decide to expand the idea?

I really didn’t have a series in mind, but Val wouldn’t let me rest. She had a lot to say, and I let her keep talking. The series follows her from riches to rags, then back to riches. But the new riches aren’t necessarily monetary. Val wanted to tell her story of personal growth, too. From jaded victim to finally taking control, assuming responsibility, and learning to love again…especially herself.

At what point did you know you would stop with five books? Did you always plan on having the ending that you did?

I didn’t know how long it would take Val to get to the emotional end of her journey. She surprised me. I thought it would take six books. But she was ready at five. I love the ending of book five. She said her own goodbye, her own way. I have to confess, I miss her already.

You’re one of the most successful self-published authors on Amazon. What do you think is the most important factor to your success?

The most important? Gee. That’s the problem I’ve run into. I realized that EVERYTHING is important. The first challenge, of course, is to write a good book. The second challenge is to climb out of obscurity. On Amazon, that means you’ve got millions of other books to climb over! I suppose the third thing is determination. And fourth? Education. I’ve learned so much about publishing and marketing this year that I should have earned a degree!

How do you balance your time between writing and marketing?

Badly. I write some, market some, read some, network some. I usually start my day by doing any immediate marketing chores. Next, I write for several hours, then I might take a break and read other authors in my genre. If I feel like it, I write some more. If not, I look for other marketing and networking opportunities.

What platforms do you use to reach your readers? Which has been the most popular?

I use Amazon ads, mostly. They work well, when they run. But that in itself is unpredictable. I have done paid promotions like Fussy Librarian and Ereader News Daily. They are especially good for discounting books during a new release. I also have a popular newsletter. People can sign up for it on my website or Facebook page. Speaking of Facebook, I just finished a course on setting up a Facebook store and reaching folks more with interesting posts. I plan to do more of that in the coming weeks.

How do you come up with new material to keep your platforms fresh?

Well, my books are humorous women’s fiction. I’m guilty of reposting things that I think are hilarious. But I plan to beef that up, following the marketing course I just took. Today, for example, I posted a wonderful review I got for Glad One. I also plan to ask my Facebook and Newsletter fans what they’d like to talk about.

Tell us something about your new series. How did you get the idea to delve into sci-fi comedy? What is your protagonist like? What kind of research have you been doing to develop your ideas?

Humor is a great love of mine, but it’s not a huge genre for readers. I LOVE sci fi, which has a big genre following. So I thought, why not blend both of my loves? My series is yet to be officially named. I’m toying around with title ideas and character names at the moment. But my characters will be funny – and flawed – you can bet on that! To get into the sci-fi mindset, I’ve been reading a lot lately. I find John Scalzi’s books like Red Shirts both funny and satisfying. (This is my goal.) I’ve also read silly sci-fi satire like Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and the Space Team books by Barry J Hutchinson.

Do you have a target date in mind for the first book of your new series?

I wish! I’m hoping for perhaps February or March of next year. Knowing what I’ve learned this year, I want to have a lot more things in place before I launch.

For a new writer about to embark on a self-publishing journey, what’s the most important piece of advice you’d give?

Expect to work hard. Read books on your craft. Join writers’ groups for support and critique. Don’t take criticism personally. Learn from it instead. And take as many courses on self-publishing and marketing as you can. Also, find Facebook groups with writers in the same genre as you. They have great advice to share. And, most importantly, they help you remember you’re not alone in the journey. Good luck!

Thank you for spending time with us, Megs! Five books in the same calendar year is an amazing accomplishment. But I wouldn't be surprised if you managed to produce ten books in 2018! Looking forward to the last book in the Val and Pals series, and the funny new sci-fi one!

Check out Megs' books on Amazon:
Absolute Zero
Glad One
Two Crazy
Three Dumb
What Four

And her social media sites:

Sign up for her newsletter on her website

or on her Facebook page

You can also find her on Amazon

BookBub

and Goodreads

Monday, October 23, 2017

Win a free copy of House Divided!

My book HOUSE DIVIDED is about a married couple who happen to be Democrat and Republican. They have a happy life with good jobs and two well-adjusted kids, until she loses her job and he becomes a TV star. Then the see-saw that is their marriage goes out of balance, and their differences come to the forefront.

It’s a saying that opposites attract, but can they build a life together? As Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof says, “As the Good Book says, ‘Each shall seek his own kind.’ In other words, a bird may love a fish, but where would they build a home together?”

Politics isn’t the only thing couples might disagree on. These days, partners marry someone from a different religion, someone who roots for a different football team; creatives marry techies; Trekkers marry Star Wars fans.

Are you in a mixed marriage? Would you like to receive a free copy of HOUSE DIVIDED for your Kindle? I’m looking for funny anecdotes about couples who have differing perspectives about life to feature in my newsletter. Please email me your story (fake names are fine!) to JDeise1002@gmail.com and I’ll send you the MOBI!

And if you’re not in a mixed marriage but you’d like to get my monthly newsletter, which will feature funny stories, book recommendations, and other authors, feel free to drop me a line, too.

Here’s a funny anecdote of my own: My Republican husband and I are both very regular voters. We live in Florida now and vote by mail, but when our son was a baby and we lived in Maryland, we would head up to the church or the elementary school or whatever place was hosting the election that year. And we would fight about who got to take the baby into the voting booth! I usually won these fights… but my husband won the war. Our son turned out to be a Republican.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Announcing my new book! House Divided!

I am very proud to announce that my new novel, HOUSE DIVIDED, will be available on Amazon starting November 8th (the one-year anniversary of the worst election in United States’ history.)

Abraham Lincoln warned the country that a house divided against itself could not stand, but Erin Murphy never realized his words would hit so close to home!

When it comes to the work/life seesaw, Erin is a balancing-act expert. True, she works for Democrats while her husband Jack is a spokesman for Republicans, but at home they’re in sync. Their jobs stay at the office. Their children -- 13-year-old animal-nut Jessica and 8-year-old Batman-obsessed Michael – come first. And her career is just as important as his.

But on Election Day 2014, everything changes. Suddenly, Erin is out of a job … and Jack is the new star of The Right Choice TV network! As Erin searches frantically for her next position, Jack begins to practice what he preaches. Their house turns into a battlefield: What’s wrong with saying “Merry Christmas” to their Jewish neighbors? How can there be global warming when it’s cold outside? Jessica takes her mother’s side (her father is a “disgusting planet murderer”), while Michael just thinks it’s cool that Dad’s on TV and he’s making a million dollars.

And Michael’s not the only one impressed with the family’s new money: Who are all these new people floating around Jack, and what do they want? As Erin’s friends take sides about what she should do with Jack 2.0, the only person who understands is a fellow stay-at-home parent: Scott. Scott is easy to look at, and just as frustrated with his marriage as Erin is…

But the biggest battle is Erin’s alone: Should she keep pounding the pavement? Or become a perfect trophy wife and mother that Jack now wants her to be? Without a title and a salary, how can Erin figure out who she really is?

I’m looking for 5-10 book lovers who can read the book between now and November 8th and leave me a positive review on Amazon. (If you read it and hate it, no worries, but I’d appreciate no review in that case.) I have the MOBI available and can send it to you if you have the time! Please email me or leave a comment below if you’re available!

Monday, October 2, 2017

Glory Days

I penned this essay for the Modern Love column in the New York Times, which is more difficult to get into than Harvard. I didn't get into Harvard and I'm not getting into the New York Times, either! So I'm posting it here in the hopes that someone will enjoy it.

In the fall of 2002, my husband Tom took our son “Bear” and me to the baseball diamond behind the local middle school. Bear was eight and in the third grade; he was starting kid-pitch in a few weeks. Tom gave me a bat and crouched down behind the plate, with Bear on the flat pitching rubber. “Whatever you do,” Tom warned me as I squatted in the batter’s box, “don’t swing. You could foul one off on my head and kill me.” Never an athlete, I wanted to close my eyes as the baseball whizzed by, close and fast. I prayed that it would be over soon.

Fifteen years later, it finally was.

On May 20th, my son walked off a competitive field for the final time. His baseball future, once so promising he was written about in Baseball America, is over. It feels like watching the person you love marry someone else. The dreams I had for him over the past few years—of awards, of hearing his name called in the MLB draft—they won’t come true. An ordinary life awaits him, as I look back and wonder what might have been.

I never wanted him to be an athlete. Tom enjoyed baseball and tennis, but I loved stories, and I signed up Bear for acting lessons when he was four. They never took. Soon our lives revolved around soccer, tae kwon do, tennis, swimming, and baseball. Like most helicopter parents in Montgomery County, Maryland, we tried to get him on a travel team. The first two times Bear tried out, he didn’t make the cut. Finally, when he was 10, we put him on a “pay-to-play” squad with other kids who weren’t good enough to make better teams, just so he could play during the summer. That first summer, dominated by the Bush-Kerry election, his team only won one game. Still, rather than being discouraged, Bear just wanted to get better. I took him to pitching and hitting lessons. He was inconsistent, but when he connected, he hit and threw with power. Tom hoped he’d be good enough to make his high school team. Being on a team in high school, he told me, would give him a place to belong.

Bear got better. His teams got better. I found him a pitching coach who tweaked his mechanics and told me he was Division I college or even draft material. He was eleven. But he was also taller than my five-feet six inches, broad-shouldered and barrel-chested, and threw a fastball a good five-to-ten miles an hour harder than his teammates. And he was a lefty.

By the time they reach middle school, most kids are told to put aside their dreams of being a ballerina, an athlete, an actress, and focus on more practical pursuits. For Bear, the childhood dream burned even brighter as he got better and better on the mound. And his success validated my choice, to give up my career so that he’d have one parent fully available to him. I had lost my identity… but Bear gave me one back. I was a Baseball Mom... and he was one of the most well-known travel ball players in the county. In the eighth grade, he was recruited to play baseball for a private high-school powerhouse program. We gave up one of the best public high schools in the country to pursue his dreams. Bear had far exceeded his father’s goal to “be good enough to make the high school team.” The hope and anxiety I had over his future kept me from sleeping.

Even though the coach immediately designated him a “pitcher-only,” it looked like the right choice. He gave up hitting and playing first base in order to become one of the team’s—and the region’s—most dominant pitchers. He gave up friends, parties, and vacations to concentrate on classes, conditioning, and playing. Schools starting calling. The summer after his junior year, as his classmates sweated out college essays and SAT prep, Bear applied to college on the baseball field, pitching in tournaments in front of college coaches from all over the country. Bruce Springsteen’s “Glory Days” blared on the overhead speakers, a warning that life could peak at 17 for those who didn’t get chosen.

Watching him stopped being fun. Every pitch determined his future. A poor outing would mean a small college in a minor college. Strike-outs meant the SEC or ACC; a life on the field rather than in an office. I’d crouch near first base, nauseated as he threw, my hands shaking so hard I could barely take a clear picture of him. No matter – I was too superstitious to take photographs during the actual game, so I only shot his warm-up pitches. I made deals with the universe – if Bear’s baseball dreams came true, I’d happily sacrifice my writing ones.

The first whiff of trouble happened the fall of his senior year. For the first time since we’d starting gunning him, he hadn’t gained five miles an hour in velocity over the year. The top schools he was interested in didn’t offer him scholarships, and he ended up accepting a walk-on offer from an SEC school. He hit the weight room, but rather than helping his velocity, his numbers went down, and he struggled with control in the spring. After a disappointing summer in a wooden bat collegiate league, his freshman fall performance was equally underwhelming. Redshirted, he hit the books and transferred to a junior college for his sophomore year, planning to use baseball to get into the best school possible.

But the junior college had a unique conditioning program, and in five weeks, Bear gained five miles an hour in velocity. Once again, he dominated, winning awards and regional recognition. We crossed our fingers for the draft, but his name went uncalled.

Then, finally, the big schools started calling. I warned Bear that he should go to a school that had the same type of conditioning program, but he brushed off my concerns and accepted a scholarship with a winning ACC program that relied on weights. After a terrific fall, it caught up with him in the spring. He lost his velocity and his place in the bullpen, only pitching when team was losing by double digits. Tom and I found ourselves in the horrible emotional position of silently rooting against our son’s team so Bear would get playing time. Still, he finished that year with 15 innings and an ERA under four. Then a slight injury over the summer took months to heal and rehabilitate, and he only threw three innings his senior year. With a year of athletic eligibility left, Bear signed up to pursue his master’s at a high-profile academic school with a losing baseball program. He thought he’d help the team while strengthening his own profile, maybe play independent ball after the season ended. Instead, he and every other bullpen pitcher threw inconsistently. With his velocity in the basement, it was obvious during his last outing—a scoreless inning in a dismal game—that baseball was finished with him.

It’s hard not to look back at the past several years and wonder how things would have turned out had he made different decisions after his sophomore year. Two schools he’d turned down as not good enough made the top twenty this year. What if he’d remained a starting pitcher rather than going to the bull pen? What if he’d followed the pitching coach who’d had the same conditioning program? What if we’d told him not to go to the big powerhouse school—that he might not be able to compete at that level? But how can you tell your kid that he might not be good enough?

I know he’s lucky just to have played at the Division I level. But several of the kids he played with over the years have been drafted—some in the first round. Hearing about them is so painful, I had to unfollow their parents on Facebook. I couldn’t bear to see their pictures and read their excited status updates. And oh, those Facebook memories. Every day there’s something else. Seven years ago he threw a complete game, two-hit shut-out in the high school championship series. Three years ago he was named relief pitcher of the year by the Florida junior college sports association. Two years ago he got national attention for leading his ACC-team to a come-from-behind win. I used to think my divorced friends were too sensitive when Facebook reminded them of the happier days in their relationships. Now I understand them completely. Baseball broke my heart more than any boy ever did.

On May 21, I took off the baseball schedule from my refrigerator for the final time. Bear came home and watched former teammates on TV, playing in their respective conference tournaments. A few weeks later, his old ACC team made the College World Series, and many kids he played with got drafted.

This will be the first summer since that year of Kerry-Bush that hasn’t revolved around baseball, and I wonder if eventually he’ll resent sacrificing his childhood to a dream that didn’t come true. Right now he’s handling it better than I am, excited about a paying internship and LSAT prep, excited about what the future might hold. It won’t include playing baseball, but perhaps there’s a job he could love just as much. Maybe marriage. Maybe children. Maybe a son he’ll one day take to a baseball field and set up on a pitcher rubber as his wife leans over the plate, a bat in her hands.

If you liked this, please check out my novel KEEPING SCORE, currently (or soon will be) on sale for 99 cents!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Bitter Past is an Easy Cup to Swallow!

My friend and one of my favorite writers, USA Today bestselling author Caroline Fardig, has done it again! Please join me in congratulating Caroline on the publication of the first book in her new Ellie Matthews series, Bitter Past!!

Three years ago, criminalist Ellie Matthews was blindsided when a grisly homicide case suddenly became personal. She abandoned the danger and stress of crime scene investigation for a professorship at a posh private college and never looked back.

Now, Ellie’s pleasant world is shattered when she finds the dead body of a female student. The campus is in chaos, reporters are circling like vultures, and Ellie is trying her best to distance herself from the situation. Not an easy task when her closest colleague becomes the prime suspect.

After the college community is rocked by another suspicious death, Ellie’s mentor, Sheriff Jayne Walsh, convinces her to consult on the case. Partnered with quick-witted Detective Nick Baxter, Ellie reluctantly bottles up her personal demons and dives back into the world she left behind, racing to make sense of the evidence before the killer strikes again.


I was lucky enough to get to read an advanced copy, and the story had me hooked! Unlike her earlier series, Fardig plays the mystery straight here. And Ellie is tough! She can hold her own, whether the battle is verbal or physical. A tough childhood and complicated personal life make Ellie no one’s fool.

And the research Fardig has done to write the book is obvious. Although she weaves the forensic information into the plot seamlessly, by the end of Bitter Past, I felt like I’d taken an introductory course in forensic science myself.

Kudos to Caroline!

Buy links:
Amazon

Barnes and Noble


About the Author:
CAROLINE FARDIG is the USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR of the Java Jive Mysteries series and the Lizzie Hart Mysteries series. Fardig's BAD MEDICINE was named one of the "Best Books of 2015" by Suspense Magazine. She worked as a schoolteacher, church organist, insurance agent, funeral parlor associate, and stay-at-home mom before she realized that she wanted to be a writer when she grew up. Born and raised in a small town in Indiana, Fardig still lives in that same town with an understanding husband, two sweet kids, two energetic dogs, and one malevolent cat.

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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Bring Back that Lovin’ Feeling Blog Hop!..... Some books are like fine wine…

Glad to be the last stop on this hop!

When Deb suggested a “bring back that lovin’ feeling” blog hop to follow up on her “you’ve lost that lovin’ feeling” series, her timing was uncanny—and not just because as a resident of a town with a median age of 70, I hear that song on the radio all the time. Struggling through the umpteenth draft of my fourth novel, I’d begun looking at books from my childhood to see if I could recapture the feelings that led me to sleep with books as if they were in my collection of stuffed animals. I’d already been wondering whether I’d find them as charming as an adult as I did as a child.

As a pre-teen, I had an affinity for 1950s YA, written by authors such as Beverly Cleary and Rosamund du Jardin. My mother introduced me to these books, and while Cleary is best known for her children’s series about Ramona and her sister Beatrice, she also wrote about older girls. Fifteen had been my favorite; a friend suggested I also take a look at The Luckiest Girl. Du Jardin wrote about twins. At the same time, I was eager to revisit my favorite 1950s heroine – Henrietta “Snowy” Snow, protagonist of Ruth Doan MacDougall’s book The Cheerleader. The latter was actually published in 1973, although it takes place in 1955-1957.

What a difference a life makes. Reading the books made me realize that Cleary and du Jardin were writing fiction for middle graders dreaming about their teenage life. Their heroines were so squeaky clean, they’d date a boy for months and never even kiss him. (This may have been due more to publisher rules at the time about what was appropriate for teenagers than the choice of the writers, however.) MacDougall, on the other hand, may have been writing for adult women who wanted a clear-eyed look back at their teenage years.

Unlike the other books, which I’d merely enjoyed, I was obsessed with The Cheerleader for years. In middle school, I studied it as if it would give me clues as to the type of high-school experience I could aspire to. By the time I made it to high school, I knew that my experience would be nothing like Snowy’s. Still, she was the girl I wished I could be. A hard worker, naturally smart, who pulled all As. A cheerleader who took her school-support duties seriously. And the girlfriend of a boy she crushed on anonymously for a year. As an under-achiever without an athletic bone in my body, the one thing we had in common was the name of the boy we crushed on. But Snowy dated him for a year while my crush only saw me as a friend. In the end, Snowy leaves him behind, eager for a future where she goes forward rather than back.

Revisiting Snowy as an almost-fifty-year-old was a delight. There was so much I didn’t see, but must have grasped on some basic level. Here’s one line that drew me: So she’d sit on the riverbank and watch for a seagull, and the longing for something, she didn’t know what, was as intense as pain.

That sums up the experience of being a teenager better than any sentence I’ve ever read.

I also realized how much MacDougall’s voice had influenced my own writing at the time. Sometimes I wrote short, fictionalized pieces about the life I wished I were living rather than the life I was currently stuck in. I came across these writings not too long ago, and was surprised to find myself writing in a voice I didn’t recognize. It was hers.

The overarching irony in the book, something I couldn’t see as a teenager, was that no matter how hard-working and diligent Snowy was, her 1950s female existence meant her choices were so limited, she didn’t even see the barriers to her future, blaming a lack of imagination because she didn’t want to be a teacher, nurse, or secretary. (Eventually she decided to be a poet.) Relationships and marriage were so important to these teenage girls because they literally did not have a future without a man.

The only aspect that bothered me about the writing was that MacDougall was somewhat guilty of the crime we now call “head-hopping.” Although the book is written from Snowy’s point of view, the author occasionally goes into other characters’ heads to reveal how they see Snowy. As a reader, I found this enlightening, but the writer in me wondered about rule-breaking and the difference between head-hopping and the omniscient point of view.

Finally, the best part of this journey about looking back for Snowy was the discovery that, twenty years after The Cheerleader was published, MacDougall came out with a sequel, Snowy. And eleven years after that, Henrietta Snow was published, taking Snowy’s journey from a teenager to a woman in her 60s. Apparently I was not the only reader obsessed with this character, and enough of them hounded MacDougall enough that she came out with two more books. Perhaps we’ll see a final one this decade. Reading these books, reuniting with Snowy after so long, and getting to know her as a grown-up, was a privilege I hadn’t anticipated and one I appreciated every minute I read those books. But—and not wanting to give away too much unless I’ve inspired you to check out the collection yourself—the feeling I got at the end of The Cheerleader—of Snowy heading full-on into the future, of college and life without her small-town boyfriend with small-town goals—was misplaced. In the end, though, Snowy was a product of her generation, and the future she did earn was perhaps the best one available to her.

Thanks so much to Deb for suggesting this topic! I hope you all check out the Cheerleader books… here they are on Amazon!