Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Happy Hour

Author: Michele Scott
Genre: Women's Fiction
How long it's been on sale: March 2011
Current price: $2.99
Total sold so far: 500
Link to book on Amazon: Happy Hour

Product Description: 

Every woman has that group of friends in her life ~ her "go to girls" The friends that she can turn to who "get it." The ones who are there for you no matter what. The ones who laugh with you and cry with you. The ones that will always be there. These are the women of Napa Valley.

Jamie is the editor-in-chief of Wine Lover's Magazine, a single mother and caretaker to her senile mother-in-law ~ a woman who thinks her daily caregiver is Dean Martin. Jamie is still recovering, financially and emotionally from the death of her husband several years earlier. And when she finds what could be the key to happiness, can she open the door and let it in? Or will her feelings of guilt and betrayal hold her back?

Danielle is a vintner and the divorced mom of two. She's basking in what she knows is going to be a successful launch of her new wines. Wines she created on her own after her divorce. But what she doesn't expect is for her daughter to come home with news that will shock her to her core. Will an old flame help her accept the changes that are coming and find the love she's been missing in her life for so long? Or will a tragedy that no one sees coming change their lives forever?

Kat is a sommelier, co-owner of a magnificent restaurant with her chef husband, and mother of a blended family. But is being deeply in love with your husband enough to get them through the teenage years, step-children and exes? And what happens when old faces return and she's faced with the knowledge that not everything is what you thought it was. What happens when she finds she was mad at the wrong person and finds out the "right one" was in the wrong? Can she forgive and move on? Can love overcome everything and truly bring a family together?

Alyssa is an artist and gallery owner with a secret of her own. One she was hoping would stay buried deep in her closet. But the time has come for her to put someone else first, to face the past and to deal with her demons. What she never expected to find was love and her "home."

No matter what is going on in their own lives, no matter the heartache or joy they're experiencing these four women are always there to love, support and encourage each other.

First 300 Words:

Chapter One


Kat McClintock was late.  This was not good.  This would not be good.  Damn.  Damn.  Damn.  “Okay, boys, listen.”

Neither one of her pre-pubescent sons looked at her.  They were far too absorbed in whatever new Game Station, Game Cube, Play Station, Wii, (whatever it was these days) game their father had recently purchased for them.  She turned the TV off.

“Hey!” Jeremy yelled.  “What are you doing, Mom?  Not cool.  Turn it back on.”  Jeremy had evidently bypassed pre-pubescence altogether and jumped right into raging adolescence and his day-to-day tone with her ranged from apathetic to surly.

“Mommy, we were about to kill the boss,” Brian, her ten-year-old, said.  “The like, big boss, you know?  The guy to win!”

Thank God.  He was definitely still not even close to adolescence.  He was still sweet.  No one going through puberty would dream of calling their mother Mommy.  “I’m sorry, boys.  I have to go.  Your Aunt Tammy was supposed to be here by now.  Typical.”  She shook her head.  “Anyway, Jeremy, I need you to take out two frozen burritos and put them in the microwave.  They’re some bananas and I have some broccoli already cut up in there.”

“I hate broccoli,” Brian said.

“You like it with ranch dressing.”

“No, I don’t.”

“How come we can’t go out to eat?  Dad always takes us out to eat,” Jeremy said.

Because Dad is an asshole.  No, no, she couldn’t say that.  Dad screwed me over in our settlement and while he’s out wining and dining, I’m trying to get a job to support us.  No, no, not that either.  Let go and let God.  Wasn’t that what Mom was always saying to her?  Breathe!  Now there you go.  This is all one growing experience that will get you to another side of things.  The silver lining, or pot of gold, or whatever the hell it was at the end of the rainbow.  Better be a pot of gold.

Vicki's Comments: The cover for this book is well designed, my only complaint would be it seems like the book is a character driven story, and yet there are no people on the cover. That might be turning a few readers away from trying the story. I will say that I'm being nit picky here, because I do think the cover is nice.

The description is very long. I'm afraid people are clicking to check out the book and then getting too bogged down with the long description. I also noticed a missing period in the first sentence. That's probably not giving readers much confidence in the book.

I usually tell people to get rid of questions in the description. To me this looks amateurish. I would change them to statements or leave them out all together.

Does this book have a protagonist, or do all four women share the spotlight equally? If there is a main character, I would focus my description on them. If they all are equal players, I would keep the separate descriptions, but I would cut them down so there's not so much text to read.

The book starts with a busy mom trying to get her kids off the video game. Unfortunately that wasn't a strong beginning for me. I did see one blatant error which makes me think this book needs an editor. ("They're" instead of "there are.")

I would get some opinions on the opening of the book, maybe get some critiques from other authors to see if you can't make it a stronger start. The beginning is the most important part of the book, and if readers are bored at the start of the book they probably won't stick around for much more.

What do you guys think?


  1. Cover: I agree with our hostess, a book about a woman and her friends should have a cover photo of said women. Something more dynamic than a few glasses.

    Description: I agree, way too long. I didn't read past the first paragraph. Long bios on 4 characters is too much. I recommend focusing on just the main character.

    First 300: I don't love the narrator's voice. There's too much of this: "this, that, the other, or whatever it was." It makes her seem exhausted and detached and apathetic, like she really doesn't like or care about her family, and barely even wants to be telling her story.

  2. Okay, I'm writing my comments without reading Vicky's. I usually find that she is spot on and then I have nothing to say. So, I'll just say what I want and who cares if I repeat. The cover doesn't strike me as women's fiction. It looks like a book a wine tasting. It doesn't look like fiction at all. I think you need people on the cover. The blurb is too long and doesn't draw me in. After a while I just started skimming. I like the first 300 words. I love books that get right to the dialogue.

  3. Beautiful cover but I agree with the other comments. Your blurb is all about women and the cover should be about that. As a matter of fact, it took me a minute to realize those were glasses of wine.

    I also did not read past the first paragraph of the blurb. If you want to mention all of the women, one line for each is enough.

    I immediately identified with the first woman. I take care of my 13 year old grandson a lot and he is definitely moody and hooked on video games. Raising kids on your own is exhausting. She's a newly divorced mother without a job, which adds to the frustration.

    500 books in the first six months is pretty good. Tighten up the blurb and redo the cover and I think you'll have a winner.

  4. I loved the cover but must agree it doesn't fit the genre. The opening is good, with the exception of the one typo/misuse, and you need to take a chainsaw to that blurb. :)

    Otherwise: My goodness, 500 copies in six months is nothing to sneeze at, my dear! :D

  5. Actually that's quite decent sales for the first 6 months so you must be doing something right. I agree about the blurb: too wordy. And the cover is nice but might could be better.

    Mainly the blurb. Tighten that. I actually rather like the snippet but I'm not your target audience because I hate "women's fiction" so my liking it might be a bad thing. LOLO

  6. The cover - I would warm it up with some humanity. It's a little cold the way it is now, and like others have said, doesn't tell me as a reader what to expect to find inside. I'd look at that cover and think "Oh, whodunit murder mystery reprint from the eighties". Don't know why, that's just what comes to my mind. I could see something like a table with wine and cheese, set against a backdrop with a meadow and four women walking through the grass away from the table.

    The description - Again, agreeing with everyone. It's way too long, and splits the reader's focus. I kept reading (skimming, sorry) long enough to see that each paragraph was about different women. Who am I supposed to focus on here? Any one of them or all of them? That makes me wonder if the prose inside is that split.

    The excerpt. Oh, boy. As someone who does not have children, this completely turned me off. Now, not being a mom, I can't say with 100% certainty, but if I had a child who acted like that older child? There would be no arguing over video games because his butt would be grounded. That Kat let's him talk to her like that irritated me. I wouldn't think that's the reaction you're aiming for.

    Now, how do I say this next part? In addition to the boy making me want to pass the mom Self-Esteem and Parenting 101 books, I'm not particularly interested in reading something that deals with sulky children. I imagine that, even if readers are parents, this might not be the best foot to start out on for them, either. A lot of us read to escape, and starting out with a mom who is struggling, especially if it's been a long day for your readers who might be dealing with their own sulky teens, could be hurting you a little. Could you start the book out with a different character, perhaps?

    All that being said, 500 copies is pretty darned good. Like J.R. said, you're doing something right. :)

  7. 500 since March? at $2.99? What on earth are you worried about? That's pretty good sales considering how awful the summer was for most people.

  8. "Go to girls" is all that's needed in the first paragraph. It's clear and doesn't need 4 descriptions of what a go-to-girl is among a group of women friends, so a cut could be made here. The opening chapter doesn't have a hook and didn't grab me - it's a very ordinary scene. I don't like the cliches in the last paragraph - pot of gold, silver lining. Also agree 500 sales is decent indeed in the time frame.

  9. I have to agree. I am your target market. I adore women's fiction and only buy books I can get on kindle unless it is for a class. I'd go with a better stock photo. I don't know what the ladies look like or I'd link to one for you. If your reader is younger try a vector if your reader is older go with a real person as close to the fit of your protagonist as possible. The blurb is too long. I didn't get past the first paragraph.What kind of marketing are you doing?


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