Saturday, June 18, 2016
Blogiversary Excerpt: Novelista Girl by Meredith Schorr
Kim runs the most popular chick lit book blog on the web, loves playing house with her sexy lawyer boyfriend, Nicholas, and is finally pursuing her lifelong dream to become a published author. At first glance, her life is five-pink-champagne-flutes worthy.
But is there more to the story than meets the eye?
After hearing the phrase “chick lit is dead” more times than she’s read Bridget Jones's Diary, Kim is driven to desperate measures, seeking advice from up-and-coming chick lit author, Hannah Marshak, her high school nemesis and resident “mean girl.” As if Kim doesn't have enough on her plate balancing her secretarial duties with her blog Pastel Is the New Black, shrugging off the growing pile of agent rejections, and keeping her best friend from turning green over Kim’s budding friendship with Hannah, Nicholas is so blinded by his career ambitions, he doesn't see that their home sweet home could use more than a dash of sugar.
This is the year when all of Kim's dreams—professional and romantic—are supposed to come true, but will the story have a happily ever after, or will Kim end up unpublished and all alone?
Subject: Re: Query—A Blogger’s Life
Dear Ms. Long,
Thank you for your interest in Knox Literary. While I found the premise of A Blogger’s Life interesting, I’m afraid I wasn’t sufficiently intrigued to ask for more at this time. Because this business is so subjective, and opinions vary widely, we encourage you to query other agents.
After all, it only takes one.
Best of luck on your journey to publication.
I let out a deflated sigh before resting my head on my boyfriend Nicholas’s shoulder. It was a Sunday afternoon, and after a late lunch, we had come back to my place to watch television. Well, I was watching television—a romantic movie on the Hallmark Channel. Nicholas was doing work. As the in-house attorney for a cosmetics company, he often took work home with him.
Nicholas stopped typing furiously on his laptop. “What’s the matter, Kimmie?”
With my eyes closed, I responded, “I got another rejection from an agent.” Making it fourteen rejections in total for my chick lit novel, A Blogger’s Life. When I finally gathered the courage to write a novel—a complete manuscript with a beginning, middle, and an end, as opposed to a partial story that I shoved in the back of my closet unfinished—I knew the journey to publication would be difficult. Now, I was thinking “impossible” was a more befitting adjective.
Giving my hand a gentle squeeze, Nicholas said, “I’m sorry.”
I opened my eyes and sat up. “Me, too.”
“It’s just one agent. Did you know Kathryn Stockett received sixty rejections of The Help before she got an agent?”
I jerked my head back in surprise. “I did know that. How did you know that?”
Nicholas smiled. “I did some research after your last rejection.”
I kissed his cheek and ran my palm up against his ever-present five o’clock shadow. “How nice of you.”
“I’m a nice guy.” Nicholas paused for a beat. “For a player, that is.”
When I first met Nicholas a little over a year ago, he was an attorney at the New York City firm where I worked (and still work) as a legal secretary. He was single, successful, hot, and flirtatious. Naturally, I assumed he was a player when we first hooked up. Either that, or out of my league. What would someone with his credentials want with me—a measly legal secretary with a nice rack? When Nicholas gently suggested my dreams might extend beyond book blogging to book writing, I worried maybe he was the one who wanted me to be a writer so I would be “good enough” to hang with all of his successful friends. I was blinded by my insecurity, but after some soul-searching, I concluded he was right, and I was wrong—something he enjoyed reminding me of on a regular basis. It had been almost six months since our reconciliation, and sometimes I still had to pinch myself to confirm that the guy I adored—the one who not only caused my knees to go weak and the butterflies to dance in my belly whenever he touched me, but also made me laugh and encouraged my dream to be a published author—was equally crazy about me. I was in love big time but too chicken to be the first to say the words.
I playfully punched his arm. “Are you ever gonna let that go?”
Nicholas flashed me a sexy grin. “Not likely.”
I shook my head in mock annoyance. Inching closer to him on my love seat, I draped one of my legs over his and sighed. “Maybe I should have tried to publish Read My Mind first.” A Blogger’s Life was technically my second novel. I had given up writing Read My Mind in high school only to pick it up and finally finish it ten years later. Although Read My Mind was the novel that qualified me as a “finisher,” I ultimately decided to shelve it and pursue A Blogger’s Life instead.
Crinkling his brow, Nicholas asked, “I thought you said this one was much better.”
Rubbing the opal pendant on my necklace, I said, “Do you not think so?”
Nicholas shook his head. “I can’t say. I haven’t started reading it yet.” Probably noticing my face drop, he added, “I promise I will soon.”
“It is better, but apparently, chick lit is dead among traditional publishers unless you’re an established author in the genre. Young adult paranormal, on the other hand, is hot.”
“Considering how many fans Pastel Is the New Black has, I’d say chick lit is pretty hot, too.” Patting my knee, he added, “Almost as hot as its founder.”
Nicholas was correct that my book blog, Pastel Is the New Black, had thousands of followers. Unfortunately for me, none of those fans were literary agents as far as I knew. “Why couldn’t I have written A Blogger’s Life ten years ago when chick lit was on fire?” I whined. Considering I didn’t even know what a blog was when I was nineteen, it was a rhetorical question.
“It is what it is, Kimmie.” Nicholas ran one hand along my thigh and then slowly up to the zipper on my black skinny jeans. “Anything I can do to make you feel better?” he asked.
“You can try, but it will be hard.”
Placing my hand over his crotch, he said, “It’s very hard, but you’re worth it.”
There was nothing I wanted more—besides an offer for agent representation—than to get down and dirty with Nicholas right then and there, but I was so behind on book reviews for my blog. I also wanted to make some revisions to my agent query letter based on suggestions from one of my author friends. And I knew Nicholas was swamped, too. I decided a compromise was in order. “How about we do it in an hour?”
Nicholas frowned and tugged at my zipper. “But I want to do it now,” he said, adopting the bratty entitled voice of Veruca Salt from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.
Sliding away from him, I said, “It’s called delayed gratification. You should try it.”
Nicholas got up from the couch and stood in front of me. Extending his hand, he said, “You don’t want to make my brown eyes blue? Do you, Kimmie?” He frowned, drawing my eyes to his full and completely bitable lower lip.
I couldn’t help but smile. “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue” had become “our” song the night we got back together. I sang it to him at karaoke in a grand gesture when my two best friends, Bridget and Caroline, dared me to stop moping about and write my own happy ending.
I reached for Nicholas’s hand and allowed him to pull me to a standing position. “I don’t want anything of yours to be blue,” I said as my eyes dropped down to his groin.
Leading me to my bedroom, he said, “That makes two of us.”
As promised, Nicholas made me feel better. He had mad skills. But even as I writhed in ecstasy beneath him, I wondered if my fifteenth rejection letter had already landed in my in-box.
“Can I tell you how much I hate the commute downtown from here?” Nicholas asked later that night. He was sitting on the edge of my queen-sized bed and stood up to pull his jeans over his hips.
I gazed at his lean but muscular chest and reached forward to run my pointer finger up and down the happy trail of dark hair that extended from his belly to the button of his jeans. “Why don’t you stay over?” I might have been preoccupied with catching up on my blog a few hours ago, but now I just wanted more Nicholas.
“I don’t have work clothes here, so I can either go home now or stay and stop at my place before work first thing tomorrow.” Crinkling his nose, he added, “But the thought of getting up extra early to go downtown just to go back to midtown is not at all appealing.” He leaned down to plant a soft kiss on my lips. “Sorry, Kimmie.”
I reclined against my headboard and sighed. “I suppose I’ll do some reading. The exciting life of a book blogger.”
Nicholas narrowed his eyes at me. “You love reading.”
“Not as much as I love …” You. Not as much as I love you! “Spending the entire night with you.”
“Then why don’t you move in with me?”
I sat upright. “Wha-what?” My heart was beating rapidly, and I wasn’t sure if it was due to excitement about possibly cohabitating with Nicholas or terror at possibly cohabitating with Nicholas. What would my parents say? I was almost thirty, and my younger sister was already married. They wouldn’t say anything.
His brown eyes probing mine, Nicholas said, “Just think about it, Kimmie. We spend several nights a week at each other’s apartment anyway, and mine is more spacious. Why pay the extra rent?”
I gaped at him, still in a semi state of shock. “Isn’t it too soon?”
Nicholas shrugged and ran a hand through his short, dark hair. “Later this month will be six months we’ve been dating … would be longer if you weren’t such a stubborn brat.”
I opened my mouth to protest, but he put his finger to my lips and smiled. “Joking.”
Nicholas sat on the bed and kissed the top of my head. “I’ve been thinking about us moving in together for a while.”
“You have?” This was news to me, albeit good news.
Nicholas nodded. “Unless you’re not taking this relationship seriously.” With a straight face, he went on to repeat verbatim what I said to him after the first time we had sex. “I’m not interested in a fuck buddy or friends-with-benefits situation.” And yes, I’m aware I should have mentioned that before getting naked with him.
I jabbed his elbow with mine. “Okay, I’ll give it some thought.”
While Nicholas continued getting dressed, I began thinking out loud. “My lease is up next month, so the timing is good. It would be weird living so far away from Bridget, but since Jonathan moved into her apartment, I don’t see her as much, anyway. At least your place is close to the subway, and the Village is hipper than the Upper East Side with more coffee shops for me to write—”
Chuckling, Nicholas said, “You keep thinking about it, Kimmie.” He bent down and twirled a strand of my long, light brown hair around his finger. “I’ll text you when I get home.”
“Sounds good,” I said. As I followed him to my front door, I visualized his apartment, already mentally redecorating it with splashes of femininity. I wrapped my arms around his neck and stood on my tippy-toes to give him a real kiss good-bye. At four foot eleven, I was still significantly shorter than Nicholas, who was also somewhat vertically challenged (but hot) at five foot seven. “Get home safely.”
“I will, Kimmie Long.” He gazed into my eyes for a moment and then gave me a soft smile. “I love you.”
Before I could digest the magnitude of those three words—words we had yet to exchange in the entirety of our relationship—he turned his back on me and jogged down the two flights of stairs to the ground floor of my building, whistling to the tune of “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue.”
“I love you, too,” I whispered to the air before closing my front door and leaning against it with a huge smile on my face.
He loved me. I couldn’t wait to tell Bridget.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
A born and bred New Yorker, Meredith Schorr discovered her passion for writing when she began to enjoy drafting work-related e-mails way more than she was probably supposed to. After trying her hand penning children’s stories and blogging her personal experiences, Meredith found her calling write chick lit and contemporary women’s fiction. She secures much inspiration from her day job as a hardworking trademark paralegal and her still-single status. Meredith is also the co-founder of Bookbuzz, a live author/reader event held annually. She is a loyal New York Yankees fan and an avid runner. Novelista Girl is Meredith’s fifth novel.
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