Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Escapades of Glamour Grannies

Author: Micki Street
Genre: Comedy
How long it's been on sale: Since July
Current price: $2.99
Marketing: At the moment nothing – I am in the process of setting up a blog.
Total sold so far: 1
Link to book on Amazon: Escapades of Glamour Grannies

Product Description:

Toss the bloomers, get a bikini wax and slip into a thong: life begins at sixty!

Dotty, Nora, and Wilma are enthralled by the charismatic Lucas, who dupes them to holiday on the island of Brazzina, blissfully unaware he’s a drug baron with an ulterior motive.

Enter Major Ramsay Milestone, whose green eyes and cookie-duster moustache has Dotty’s hormones do the tango. Milestone, an undercover agent for the Drug Eradication Unit, rebuffs her amorous advances: he's focused only on catching Lucas, the drug baron – while clandestinely preventing Dotty and her friends from getting themselves killed. Will Milestone nab Lucas after Dotty and her friends unwittingly obstruct his covert military operation? Will Milestone forgive Dotty and allow her to toss the thong and rev his libido?

The escapades of the glamour grannies’ innuendos cause havoc like a ticking time bomb.

First 300 Words:

It was a cold February lunchtime; Dotty Crowdy sat next to the roaring fire and moodily watched the brown liquid of her sherry coruscate as she twirled the stem of the crystal glass. Mozart’s musical masterpieces played softly in the background. She looked at the £90 Timeless piece she bought, impulsively, which ticked at an irritating slow pace.

“Bollocks to this boring lifestyle,” she said, and leaped to her feet to get her mobile phone from her handbag on the hallway table. She grimaced at the mirror above; sixty-five years old and she still had a lot of living to do.

“Age is a state of mind,” she reminded herself. She dug deep into her handbag, retrieved her mobile phone, and sent a message to her two dear friends: Meeting at my house this afternoon at three o’clock – don’t be late.

* * * *

“This freaks me out,” Wilma Christie stomped, impatiently pushing long strands of dyed blonde hair out of her face. Every word hissed steam. “Fifteen months ago we led a peaceful, normal life with Dotty living in Scotland. Since Sydney died and she moved here, she’s become irrational and demanding.”

Her life-long friend Nora Worthington, her coat pulled tight around her slightly chubby figure, ignored her as she negotiated the slippery path.

“For heaven’s sake, answer me.”

Nora stopped in her tracks. “Why are you complaining? You know peace doesn’t last forever. She’s probably invented a rocket to fly us to the moon and needs our important opinion.”

“No way am I flying to the moon – that would be hell!” Wilma kicked a patch of ice out of her path and lost her balance. Nora caught her before she fell.

“You must be careful, Wilma; falling at our age is dangerous.”

“Aw shucks, Nora, we aren’t that old. I’m pissed off my hair is damp and a mess.”

Nora looked up at Wilma’s frizzy perm. Such a minor issue compared to breaking a leg, she thought.

“If you had worn sensible shoes instead of those ridiculous heeled boots, you’d have more traction,” her reply, dogmatic.

In silence, they completed the short distance to Dotty’s house.

Vicki's Comments: I think the cover could definitely be improved. The font doesn't look professional, and I'm not fond of the picture. I don't get a good feel for the genre from the cover. I would suggest getting a graphic designer to help out. (Which, by the way, isn't always expensive. Mark, who was featured on here, said there are designers on who will design a book cover for $15 or $20.)

I actually like the description. With some minor tweaks, I think it can be fantastic. I would see if you can workshop the blurb on a critique group, or get some opinions from other writers. (For instance, I would cut the questions, and rephrase them as statements.)

The story starts at a good place, I think, but I would suggest joining a critique group to tighten up the writing. It's got good bones, but there are some issues that need to be smoothed out. For instance, "stomped" is used as a dialogue tag. People can't stomp words. They can shout, whisper, or say words. Stomped should be used as an action after the dialogue. It's a minor thing, and can be easily fixed, but I found several issues within this first bit that makes me think this book needs a little more work.

What do you guys think?


  1. I think the cover looks like a coloring book. Also the writing needs to be more organic and not laden with so many details that tend to slow the story down (ie chains of adjectives).

  2. Yup.

    Cover is a non-starter for me. Typography and graphic don't work. Yes, it says "humor" but more "cartoon" than "comedy."

    Blurb has some promise, but the first paragraph didn't paint the picture I think it needed to. I wasn't thrilled with the interchange that followed...altho I agree with Vicki that it has considerable promise.

    I love the premise and the set up in the blurb but the cover and the first few paragraphs are pushing the readers off.

  3. My biggest issue is that I didn't get that it was a novel at first because I've seen similar covers (with cartoonish images) that are collections of humorous essays and the like.

    Also, "Comedy" as a genre didn't say "fiction," either. Then the first line of the description only supported my assumption that it was non-fiction, so I was thrown when I kept reading and figured out that it's fiction.

    So after revamping the cover like Vicki suggests, I'd also tweak the description to launch right into the story conflict.

    One writer who has older women as main characters and covers that I think might have the general look to shoot for is Tristi Pinkston (Secret Sisters, Dearly Departed, Hang Em High).

    I think there's a big market for this kind of book, especially with the Baby Boomers nearing retirement.

  4. For me, the cover was a stopper, though I'm not sure why. It looks like comedy, and the title sounds like fun, but as a package, it didn't draw me in. I'm not sure the image is really right for the book.

    Also, I found a grammatical issue in the description:

    who dupes them to holiday on the island of Brazzina, blissfully unaware he’s a drug baron with an ulterior motive.
    grammatically, this says that Lucas is unaware that he's a drug baron.

    “Fifteen months ago we led a peaceful, normal life with Dotty living in Scotland. Since Sydney died and she moved here, she’s become irrational and demanding.”
    This reads like an "As you know, Bob." Avoid having characters say things that the listener already knows unless they're arguing or debating.

    I agree with Vicki's comment about stomping words. It appears you might need help with dialog mechanics. For example:

    “If you had worn sensible shoes instead of those ridiculous heeled boots, you’d have more traction,” her reply, dogmatic.
    As a sentence, this is grammatically incorrect. Think of dialog as the direct object in a sentence. For example, He said yes.
    He is the subject, said is the verb, yes is what he said (the direct object). You can rearrange the words:

    "It's going to rain," Mark said.

    Mark is the subject, said is the verb, and "It's going to rain" is the direct object.

    Looking at your sentence with a simple X in place of what was actually said...

    “X,” her reply, dogmatic.

    There's no verb. Some correct versions are

    "X," she said, her reply dogmatic.
    "X," she replied dogmatically.

    Now just replace the X with the actual spoken text and you'd have

    “If you had worn sensible shoes instead of those ridiculous heeled boots, you’d have more traction,” she replied dogmatically.

    (Although I think the adverb 'dogmatically' sounds quite odd there. I'd suggest dropping it altogether.)

    There are some great web sites on how to construct dialog. Just google "dialog tags" and you'll find a ton.

    I urge you to read some books on writing mechanics to help with punctuation and so forth, too. A critique group can really help point out where the writing goes astray.

    Good luck.

  5. My immediate take on the cover, just glancing at it, was that it looked like a Dick and Jane book. I hate saying that, but it's what hit me. Looking more closely, the biggest problem is the font. It must go. I'd invest in some professional help for the cover.

    The title also bothers me; "Escapades of THE Glamour Grannies" seems to flow better.

    The blurb needs some work but it's not hopeless. First suggestion is getting rid of the questions. They answer themselves, which is why I don't like using them.

    As to the opening, I'm afraid it needs work. I get a strong sense that you can do better. Get together with a critique group or hire an editor.

    The number one problem is the cover. Start there.

  6. The cover is cute, but doesn't fit the title.

    It seems like a good premise, but the blurb has major grammatical problems as does the first 300. I kept stopping to figure out what the author was trying to say. That means I was falling out of the story before it even got started.

    Being a granny myself, I sure could use some pointers on glamming up my image. :)

  7. Cover - Ditto everyone else. It looks like a children's book, not a humorous novel for adults.

    Description - Pretty good, but it feels like ten different genres: adventure, humor, chick lit, mystery, suspense, romance, etc. I don't have a clear sense of who the target reader is.

    Opening - It feels like a bunch of tacked-on scenes so you can "hurry up and get to the good part" in chapter 2. Dotty has a meaningless 3 paragraph intro, and then Wilma and Nora show up to supply some quick exposition. It doesn't feel like a real story unfolding at its own pace. I'm guessing the story starts when Dotty announces the big plan, so try starting the story right there in that conversation.

  8. The cover makes me cringe. But the first line of the blurb is great!

  9. Wow. Thanks everyone for your comments. I truly appreciate them. However, I do have to mention in my defense, I did pay for an editor and a professional artist for the cover. But, with due respect to the artist, this is what I wanted. I would hate to you to think I have skimped on this novel and produced trash.

    I will certainly adhere to the advice given and Vicki, thank you for posting this on your site. I honestly hope more advice is forthwith and promise a better novel.

  10. I don't think anyone believes you produced trash. Unfortunately there are cover designers and editors who don't do a good job. The cover is cute, but I don't think it sells. Any editor who passed on those problems needs to be beaten with a copy of CMOS.

    I absolutely agree that the cover is just too cartoonish, too similar to what you see on humorous essay covers. It definitely doesn't say what seems to be an adventure romance for older women. (And a lot of them buy ebooks so I think that's a great market)

    I would suggest reading some books on the craft such as King's On Writing and King and Rennie's Self-Editing for the Fiction Writer. (Both fairly short) Most of the problems you have in the writing are EASILY fixable.


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