Women’s Fiction VS. Chick Lit

I write romance, but I wanted to see if I fall under any other categories as well. I researched women’s fiction and chick lit (from all the websites I looked through, they all pretty much said the same thing).

Women’s Fiction

Women’s fiction deals with issues of family, birth, death, sex, money, love, careers, men, motherhood, aging, etc.  It’s aimed for a female readership.  The novels require the female characters to overcome personal and external adversity–meaning strong, female main characters often have crossroads in their lives.  She has meaningful relationships with her family, friends, co-workers, and/or lovers.

With women’s fiction, it’s not required to attach the main female character with a significant other.  If romance is involved, love scenes don’t have to be written on the pages; it can be implied that it happened off scene.  Since love isn’t the main interest of the book, it doesn’t have to end with a traditionally, happy ending (like marriage or a long-term commitment agreement).  As long as it ends in a satisfying way to the female character, that’s all that matters.

  • I think I fall under this as well because most of my main characters are female, who are independent.  I like to balance my stories with tension from her work like, friendly arguments, etc.  I don’t like to just spend time on her romantic relationship.  If she’s having second doubts about a career choice, then I want her to decide on her own what to do.  I don’t want it to be she can’t make a decision unless her lover agrees with it. 

Chick Lit

Chick lit often includes love and relationships.  It shows the main female character struggling with men, friends and family, own sense of self, but it’s written in a light-hearted way.  The novels are usually fun, down to earth, quirky, and entertaining while narrating women’s dating issues, career mishaps, or inner-conflict within herself.

  • Never say never, but I couldn’t see myself writing under this category.  Most of my stories are dramas, so I don’t see anyone laughing through my novels.  But, it would definitely be fun to try chick-lit–just to see if I could do it.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

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No Luck of the Irish

All Donna, Lisa, and I wanted to do was order food for lunch.  There’s a new Irish pub that opened up right across the street from where we work. The menu looked decent. Any place that serves mac and cheese can’t be bad. Or can it?

No phone number on the menu.  Okay, maybe they did it on purpose.  Maybe instead of call-ins for carry-out orders, they’d rather have customers come in–that way customers are more likely to order a drink from the bar if they have to wait awhile.

Since it’s fairly new, we knew the place wouldn’t be in the phone book.  Next best thing–google ‘Paddy’s Pub’.  The address, reviews, etc. instantly popped up.  Well, guess what?  Still NO phone number on anything–not even on their official Facebook fan page.  Say what now?  The reviews claimed the food was great; Matt, the reporter who ate there, said the food was delicious.  When was it our turn to try it out?

Being clever, we dialed 411 to receive the mysterious phone number.  We finally call in to try and place our order. Well, lookey here–they no longer serve mac and cheese.  So, basically I got my hopes up for nothing; I decided not to order anything.

My co-workers asked for the price of their fountain sodas (the only menu item without a dollar amount near it). Apparently, that’s the hardest question ever because they were on hold for about five minutes, while the person on the other line had to ask someone else to find the answer.  She was in the office–total valid reason not to know pricing.  She had to walk all the way downstairs where prices were listed.  No wonder that place doesn’t want customers calling in hee hee.

Since the total cost wasn’t expressed at the end of the order, Lisa and Donna estimated using the menu and figuring out sales tax. When Lisa came back from across the street, she explained that the price was higher than expected.  Apparently, the Irish pub raised their prices.

Say what now?  They literally just opened a little while ago.  So let me get this straight:

  • Items on the menu disappeared (NO mac and cheese.  I’m still pouting over that.  I could’ve been a regular, loyal customer–ask Daily Grind who used to be around the corner)
  • Prices go up
  • Customers have to search high and low to contact them because phone number isn’t easily accessible

My co-workers agreed that the food was very delicious. Was it worth all the drama to find out though?

Now, I know how it feels to be frustrated with a business and their carry-out order process.  My traumatized memory will stick with me forever, where if any of my characters experience such an ordeal in my stories, I can write vividly about it.  I’m sure I’ll have nightmares over this–okay, maybe I’m just exaggerating with the last part.  But you know what, sometimes a person with a creative spirit is just born dramatic hee hee.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

P.S. For anyone concerned for me, I went home after work to fix my Velvetta cheese shells (in the yellow box).

Book Review: The Banishing By Fiona Dodwell

One day I browsed through the Announcements section on Absolute Write, Fiona wrote that she had an interview on someone’s blog, so I clicked on the link.  I enjoyed the interview and found her book description interesting.

The only thing–it was horror.  I’m a huge scaredy cat, so when I watch scary movies, I cover my eyes a lot.  The background music warns me; when reading, there’s nothing to warn a reader about a frightening scene coming up, so I was hesitant to try this genre.  Getting over my fear, I’ve decided to try horror stories, and I’m loving it!

The Banishing is the fifth book of my reading challenge.  Here’s my thoughts:

When Melissa first notices the change in her husband–subtle at first–she thinks it may be the stress of moving into their new home.  Or working long hours.  But soon he turns into something far darker, far more sinister.

Who or what is the dark shadow living beneath her husband?  What is haunting him?

Melissa must quickly find the answer to these questions, because Mark is changing, and fast.  Soon her fight will be for her life, as well as for her marriage.

The Banishing is a dark, disturbing novel exploring the world of demonic possession, spiritual oppression, and domestic abuse.

This 34 chapter story reminded me of an Edgar Allan Poe creation.  I loved the creepiness of it all, and the way the author tended to repeat the same phrases in different ways back to back.  It worked because it showed Melissa being frightened, desperate, wondering if she was going insane.  This book is told through her point-of-view (third person narration).

I jumped a lot while reading–that’s how scared I was.  It was spooky the way the dark shadow appeared out of nowhere all the time.  I had two favorite scenes.  First, before Melissa enters her house, she sees the dark shadow standing by the window waiting for her; she was so brave for dealing with that.  Second, Melissa had a patient named Elsie, who died from a stroke.  That hit home for me because that was my grandma’s name and that’s how she died in the hospital in 2008.  I took a moment to recollect my thoughts, then BAM!!!  Elsie comes back from the dead to warn Melissa that she’s next!

I understand love and all that, but I wanted to knock some sense into these characters LOL.  I would have been out of that house so fast.  And, if someone told me disturbing things were happening at their place, I would listen, investigate, etc.  I wouldn’t let them keep suffering because they said they’ll take care of it.  If my husband beat me, I would say adios and keep it moving.  Forget love conquers all LOL.

I enjoyed when Melissa found out the reasoning behind everything–like going to the library to research, and visiting the psych ward to find answers.  I love mysteries.

It was a fast read, and the ending was perfect.  I was like ‘oh no, she didn’t.”

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

For more information on the author or book, please visit:

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

Book Review: Malice By Griffin Hayes

I began my reading challenge after viewing this author’s sig–book covers and brief descriptions of his books–on Absolute Write Forum.  His horror stories sounded intriguing, so I wanted to take a chance on new authors instead of always buying the same stuff.

I downloaded his free The Second Coming: A Horror Short Story, which the plot is Jack Barrow has traveled back in time to save his family from a sadistic killer.  All he has to do is convince Dr. Sims at Bellevere Heights Mental Institution that he isn’t crazy.  Even though the story is very short, the set-up was amazing.  At the end, I was like ‘I KNEW IT!’–in a good way.  The plus side is you get a look of Griffin’s writing style, and you get a 7 chapter preview of Malice and an excerpt of Bird of Prey.

Malice is the fourth book for my reading challenge.  It would have been my first review, but I couldn’t find him on Absolute Write for awhile.  My stupidity had me write down the names of books and the AW screennames (instead of the actual author’s names).  I’ve learned my lesson hee hee.  I’ll blame it on the fact that during the holidays, my right-bottom wisdom tooth gave me pain, so I was doped up on painkillers and antibiotics.

Anyway, here’s my thoughts on Malice by Griffin Hayes:

Something unspeakable is murdering the townspeople of Millingham and only seventeen year-old Lysander Shore knows what it is.  A dark shadow that can possess its victims and force them into grisly acts of suicide.  Lysander knows because he has seen it and he’s pretty sure it saw him too.

Now he can’t shake the eerie feeling he’s being watched.  And when his friends and neighbors begin to die under mysterious circumstances, he knows his only hope is to uncover what the shadow wants.

Lysander’s frantic search for answers leads him to a dark secret.  One that traces back to a witch’s brutal torture and execution 350 years before.  A secret about himself Lysander never knew.  A secret he desperately wishes he could forget.

This 3 part, 36 chapter novel spooked me from literally the first sentence–“The stranger grinned and his sunken cheeks made his face look like a skull.”–to the very end.  It was creepy like a movie you’d find on the Chiller channel.  With chills running down my spine, every so often I stopped reading to look around my room, definitely over my shoulder.  There’s a painting of five ballerinas that I kept staring at to make sure their eyes didn’t move.  That’s how great the author is in being very descriptive and creating a frightening vibe.

I loved that it was a mystery.  Lysander tried to figure out why he’s seeing unusual things, Samantha (a.k.a. Sam) doubted her mom commited suicide, and Deputy Alex realized something went on than meets the eye.

  • Even though Lysander was the main character, readers get a chance to understand everyone else as well through their third person point-of-view narratives.  I liked that I knew the reveal of a solved clue before certain people in the story realized what was going on.

The most frightening scenes for me were when Lysander enters Millingham and the sign says ‘STAY AWAY’, whenever it described the character’s suicide in detail, and whenever it mentioned Peter Hume and Reverend Small.  I could picture them looking so deathly and menacing.

I loved the sarcastic sense of humor, especially in the library scene.  I enjoyed Lysander, Sam, and Derek’s friendship.  I liked Derek, so with the house party scene, I was like ‘NO!”  The story brought me back to my high school days with the classroom and hallway scenes, and with teens being frustrated with their parents but not communicating it in an effective way.

When everyone was finally on the same page in believing Lysander, my heart raced.  I hated Deputy Alex, but he redeemed himself at the end.  Griffin Hayes was brilliant in keeping me in suspense until the last second; I loved learning about the witch, the people in the past who tortured her, and the reveal of who each person represented from their past lives (the characters who were dying).

  • Moral:  Don’t mess with a witch LOL!!

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

For more information on the author or book, please visit:

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

Thanks To All My Blog Visitors!!!

I began this blog in November, and I’m proud to say in January I’m at the halfway mark to 1,000 hits!!!  As of today, I’m a little over 500 hits, and I couldn’t be more ecstatic.

Thanks to the new and repeated visitors.  Thanks to my followers.  Because of you, I’m not writing to myself hee hee.

My ultimate goal is to have this blog be search-engine friendly.  I do a happy dance everytime I check my blog stats (yes, I’m still at that stage where I obsess over it).  Here are some of the popular searches:

  • riverwood fish kill
  • character sketch for arrogant person
  • tale of two ladies
  • end of world theories
  • how to be a palm reader
  • romance novel with asian heroine
  • how to create new voice characters

Once again, thanks everyone for getting me to 512 hits so far!!!!

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

Testing Your Characters

1.  While writing your short story or novel, you should be comfortable resorting to all sorts of communication.  Not just through conversation, but through answering machines, voicemails, emails, letters, texts, Facebook, etc.  This keeps your story realistic.  Of course, if you’re writing about the past, your characters can’t use all these methods, but you could resort to letters.  People used to write letters much more than they talked on the phone in the olden days.

Here’s an exercise you could try:

Choose one of your main characters and reveal him/her through several means of communication.  Write a note or brief letter.  What’s his/her voicemail greeting sound like?  How does he/she leave messages on other people’s phones?  Write an email and text to another character.

  • When you write this, it doesn’t have to be in paragraph form.  You can just label ‘Note/Letter’ then write it.  Label ‘His/Her Voicemail then write it, so on and so on.  It helps if you have an event or situation already in mind–maybe your characters like to gossip about current events.

2.  Pick two characters (main or supporting ones).  For your first one, only describe where they work.  What does the place look like?  What objects are in the room?  For the second person, describe a place where they relax–either at home, work, or at a hobby.  What objects are in the room?

  • This exercise helps you indirectly introduce your characters.  You get a feel for them by the way they arrange their surroundings, and by the way they treat their possessions.  It also reveals some character traits.  For instance, if your character is resourceful but have too much on their plate right now, make him/her have a messy office.  If she/he is a control freak, make the office or home spotless with every item in its correct spot.

3.  Another way to portray characters is by describing what they do (their work or hobby), and how they do it.  It will make your story realistic with people balancing their passions and responsibilities.

  • Working doesn’t have to be a 9-5 job.  If your character is unemployed, you could show them attempting to find a job through interviews, etc.  Or perhaps they are stay at home mom’s and dad’s–taking care of kids and the household is a job.  Maybe your characters aren’t old enough to work yet or just retired.  Working could mean a hobby and/or interests.  Also, being a student whether in school or at college is a job all in itself.

4.  Pick two or three characters (main or supporting ones) and have them meet, interact with each other.  Perhaps they’re roommates or classmates, or a student and teacher.  Imagine them hanging out.  If your characters are total strangers, have them meet at a car accident, flirt in a bar, or fight for a seat on public transportation.  Choose anyplace–doesn’t matter if it’s normal or an unusual place.

  • If your characters are total opposites, all the better.  It can bring tension and conflict.  Let them talk; they should be themselves.  This could mostly be a talk scene, like a play.  Because conversations between two people liven up when a third person joins sometimes, this is why the third character is optional.

Those four exercises help you test your characters to see if they can come alive in your mind.  You have to be interested enough in order to create them.

Also during the testing stage, you can see if a certain character fits or if you want to create someone totally different.  Not all characters will excite or give you enough passion to invest in them.  It is best to find out in this stage instead of wasting time incorporating them into your novel, then feeling lackluster about it.

Creating characters is my favorite part of the creative writing process.  I always spend the longest time in this area by getting to know the people in my story on a personal, intimate level.

  • I like to think of their tone of voice (do they have an accent?  Do they talk like a snob or surfer?); I like to think of their catchphrases.  Are they approachable in other’s eyes, or are they standoffish?  I spend the majority of my note-taking putting my characters through different obstacles to see how they’d handle it.  I practice with mock journal entries, fake Facebook profiles (not actually creating dozens on the website; I mean drawing them in my notebook), taking them to a karaoke bar, etc.  All these ways, I’m getting to understand my characters better, so when it’s time to begin writing my story, I’m set.

For all the writers out there, is there a certain routine you do to get to know your characters?

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

Book Review: Scream for Charity By Alex Sabo and other authors

Scream for Charity is the third book in my reading challenge.  I found ThatFantasyBlog scanning the wordpress dashboard.  The book cover and title caught my attention, so I clicked on the post; I wanted to help out charity and the horror genre interests me at the moment.  There was something intriguing about horror/thriller short stories surrounding Christmas time.  I brought this book after my reading challenge list was complete; I’m happy I did.

Here’s my thoughts on Scream for Charity by Alex Sabo and other authors:

This e-book is a compilation of five short horror/thriller stories.  The aim of this e-book is to raise money for UNICEF this Christmas time.  If you have managed to secure this e-book for free we ask only that you donate a small amount of money to UNICEF.

I found the collection very entertaining.  I was nail-biting, sitting on the edge of my seat, wanting to knock some sense into certain characters all at once.  The authors did a great job of conveying a frightening vibe within their stories, and each one had their own writing style that I appreciated.  If this is how the horror genre is, then count me in!

1.  12 Hours By Jamie Hall

I loved this story because it was so descriptive that it read like a Quentin Tarrantino movie, and everyone knows how violent, entertaining they are.  A serial killer was murdering prostitutes and strippers in Vegas.  I liked that the author opened the first scene as knowing that Sarah, the main character, was killed.  Then, throughout the rest of it, the story flashbacked to her day before it happened.  Every new scene revealed the time, so readers could count down.

The cafe scene was the scariest for me.  I was like ‘can’t this girl catch a break.  She lives with roaches, her boss stole her money, and now some crazy dude is stalking her’.  I felt so bad for her LOL.  When the killer’s name was announced, it was dun…dun…dun…Bye Sarah!

2.  A Rosary, A Fume Cabinet and a Music Book By Alex Brant

I enjoyed this story as well.  It was told in first person point-of-view through Genny’s perspective.  Her crush, a teacher, was found murdered in the school library, and she decided to play detective to guess who the culprit is.  I never knew a library nor science lab could sound so creepy or dangerous.  Bravo to the author for making me scared.

My favorite line was “Although I was not sure what to expect, as one never knows how the death so described in books will be transposed to reality, that first moment was the one in which I truly looked into Death’s menacing eyes.”  At the end, I was excited when Genny told Miss Cathy Raynor who she thought the killer was.  In my mind, there were three suspects: Genny (she seemed kind of obsessive), Miss Cathy Raynor, and Mr. Smith (the science teacher).  I’ll never know–only Genny does.  I was like WHO’S THE KILLER?  TELL ME NOW!!!  But in a good way.

3.  High Price for Hope By Rebecca Besser

Now, this story was very sad.  It was a year after the zombies arrived, and Jerrold just wanted to give his two kids and wife the Christmas they deserved.  I loved that the story opened with the two parents sitting in front of the fireplace.  It made me think of spending time with family during the holidays.  I loved the contrast of feeling warm and fuzzy to be knocked into reality that this family’s Christmas sucks LOL!

I knew trouble was coming when he said he wanted to explore the city to find food and presents.  I loved the author’s description of the store scene when she reveals two zombies–a granny and a little boy.  The image of the granny’s dentures falling out of her rotted mouth, and her pulling off the boy’s arm by accident was so nasty–in a good way.  At the end, I was like “he’s back!  He made it!  Jerrold’s so close to making it home safely!…NO, NOT THE FAMILY!!!!”

4.  The Christmas Chainsaw Massacre By Alex Sabo

This is the excerpt I read on the blog to know I wanted to buy this book.  The whole story gave me chills–I’ll never look at Santa the same way.  Michael Olsen (a.k.a. Psycho Killer) dresses up like Santa and kills a family on Christmas Day.  It shows how the day before he stalked the Thompson family.

Since the narration was written in present tense in Psycho Killer’s point-of-view (using third person POV) it was so freaky!!  I loved it!!

It was so crazy the way Michael is the local reporter, so he can broadcast his murders to the world without anyone suspecting him.  The ending gave me goosebumps; I could picture him giving a sinister smile while relishing on the fact he killed that family.  His reasoning behind murdering five families over five Christmases made me hope I’ve never pissed anyone off.  I enjoyed justice at the end–karma’s a bitch.  You’ll have to read what happens; I don’t want to give it away.

5.  The Dragon and the Moon By Katy Hulme

This story was my first sneak peek into the fantasy genre, and I didn’t mind it.  The moon, where a golden dragon claws out of, falls into Windfall Valley.  I was expecting the dragon to slay the villagers or to have their hospitality somehow bite them in the butt.  But, I was pleasantly surprised that the story had a positive ending.  The moral of it:  if people can set their differences aside, the world would be a better place where we all could get along.

I RECOMMEND this collection to read.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby