When a Review Stands Out, LIFE’S WHAT HAPPENS

Every now and then I run across a review of one of my books that just is so amazing I have to hold it up as an example of someone who really got the story.  Their review made the whole effort of writing the book worth while.  Their review, standalone, is worthy of a five star review.
Life’s What Happens unfortunately has received some negative feedback because the subject matter, the Vietnam War, the draft lottery and protest.  Even though told as a New Adult genre novel,it is just too upsetting for many people, even today.
You can find Life’s What Happens on Amazon and all major online sellers.
THUMBNAIL Life's What Happens Amazon_edited-1
This was New Adult unplugged before new adult got cool!
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Life’s What Happens does for Kent State students what Derek Robinson’s Piece of Cake did for WWII pilots in 1939. A large cast of characters, often irreverent, teasing, hard-working and hard-playing, comes to life in the first part of the novel where students ponder what the future might bring, and threats of a draft lottery begin to loom large. The photographer, the dissector of dead cats, the poor rich guy and the newly successful poor friend, and more, live out their everyday lives against a backdrop of eateries, drink, tests and dreams. Girlfriends abound, and the relationships have that vivid teenage immediacy of indestructibility and rebellion. But destruction looms large.

The day of the lottery is captured in photos by the photographer, and becomes hauntingly real to the reader as numbers are called and accidents of birth offer the destruction of dreams. But life goes on, through physical exams, unanswered appeals, the folly of regulation, and the sudden danger of overwhelmed emotions.

An innocent trip downtown turns disastrous near the end of the novel, and tension rises with the terrors of historical events, making this novel truly haunting and hard to put down. The author wisely keeps politics out of the picture, telling just the story of real people, caught in an unreal situation. By the end it’s clear that nobody ever sees the future, and all of us see differently when we look back at the past. I’m glad to have seen through the eyes of these students, through the words of this author. And Life’s What Happens is highly recommended.
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What’s In A Name? Everything It Seems.

There’s something very satisfying about having decided on a title for a book.  In fact I cannot write the first word on the first page of the first chapter if I cannot write the title in first.

So imagine how hard it was, after having written 29 books, had 23 published and actually published six others myself, that I had the title all wrong?  It was an awful feeling and one that only the best of reviewers and friends would tell you. So recognizing what one of my husband’s former bosses who would say “if three people tell you to sit down you’re probably drunk”, well?

So book #1 in the SCANDALS New Adult romantic suspense series, BABY DADDY, has had a title change.  But before I divulge the change here are a couple of reviews that got me thinking.

“The title of this book is pretty awful but the book itself is actually pretty good. All in all, the only real negative things I can say about this book are the title and …” 

and

“This story pulled me in right from the start and ended up not being at all what I was expecting. Don’t let the title of the book fool you.”

Then the worse thing imaginable hit me this week while at my appointment at the Hair Central Salon in Round Rock Texas.  The really gutsy fans, readers and reviewers are the ones that will tell you straight away, Texas style, “I normally wouldn’t buy a book with that title but since I know the author, I did and I loved it.”  My husband and I don’t have a Wharton Business School MBA between us but some quick back of the napkin higher level math and we’re going to fall short of out $1 million a year income goal from publishing or we’re going to have to find a way to get more people to know us.

Bottom line, the title needs changed.

Sole searching with my co-writer husband, Bob, we concluded the recurring theme of the SCANDALS New Adult romantic suspense series is “date” and that the lead character in the first book, Killeen, is actually confronted with more than one critical due date in her immediate life.  That said, book #1 has been re-titled, DUES DATES and the cover is as follows:

DUE DATES AMAZON

And with book #2 now 75% completed, plus or minus, the planned title of TRAMP STAMP seemed doomed to experience the first book’s fate.  So book #2 will be named KILLER DATE and when you read about the details of the case that walked into the agency at the end of DUES DATES [remember the tramp stamp tat?] KILLER DATE fits the story well.

What about book #3?  Think about WORSE DATE EVER.

 

Add Your Voice to the Reviews for the New Adult Suspense series Scandals

SCANDALS BABY DADDY 10282013

The NEW ADULT genre has been added to with the release of BABY DADDY, book #1 in Kathy Clark’s NEW ADULT romantic suspense series, SCANDALS.

BABY DADDY is the first book in the series and is told from Killeen Ames’ point of view.  Killeen has it all…beauty, brains, a college scholarship and a rich and handsome boyfriend…until she finds out she is pregnant.  The boyfriend disappears and the scholarship is in jeopardy.  When an attorney arrives at her door with an offer she can’t refuse, she has nothing to lose.

She travels to Austin and is surprised to find that her birth father was a popular music star who is now dead.  He has left her a generous inheritance that includes a highly successful P.I. agency, Scandals…and four half-brothers and sisters.

The catch is, they must work together at the agency.  Are they willing to leave their old jobs, schools and lives for a father’s dream…a father they never knew?  Killeen’s decision is further complicated when she and Christopher, the totally irresistible manager of Scandals, share a hot night of passion.  She knows they have no future.  He is not her baby daddy and would never want to be. 

New evidence indicates that their father had been murdered, and they must focus on finding the killer…who also wants them dead.  When Killeen is faced with the decision to save her baby, her lover or her new brothers and sisters…who will she choose?

You get a sense of Killeen’s starting point on her journey with the opening of the book.

He left me with two broken DVD cases, a pair of worn-out Nikes and a plus sign on my pee stick.

I was sitting on the floor, leaning against the couch with my legs stretched forward under the coffee table.  Sunlight filtered through the crack where the drapes didn’t quite meet, which told me it was morning… the morning after the worst night of my life.

A banner saying “Congratulations Graduate” strung between the light fixture and the curtain rod.  A dozen maroon and gold balloons that had been bouncing on the ceiling last night now lay sadly on the floor, no longer buoyant.  I knew exactly how they felt…deflated and totally used.  Their short, happy lives were over.  Just like mine.

Bottles, beer cans, red Solo cups and other trash covered every surface imaginable.  Somebody was going to have to clean all this shit up.  That somebody was not going to be me.

Fuck Brandon!  I thought we were going to be together forever.  Well, apparently, he had a different definition of forever than I did.  Last night was supposed to have been really special.  His graduation party and our pregnancy.  I’m just glad I was smart enough not to announce it at the party.  No, I waited until everyone had left to tell him.  I wasn’t sure what his reaction would be, but I hadn’t thought he would have a meltdown.

I knew it would be a surprise.  It had been for me.  A baby was the absolute last thing I needed in my life right now.  Brandon was the only guy I’d ever gone past second base with in my life.  Imagine that!  I was an eighteen-year-old virgin two years ago when we met.  That’s like finding a unicorn in a used car lot.

 

Find BABY DADDY on line at several retailers…

Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/BABY-DADDY-SCANDALS-Kathy-Clark-ebook/dp/B00GQC1S3O/

Barnes & Noble –  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/baby-daddy-kathy-clark-aka-bob-kat/1117448913?ean=2940149013364&itm=1&usri=2940149013364

Kobo – http://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/Search/Query?query=9780988343672&fcmedia=Book

All Romance – https://www.omnilit.com/product-babydaddy-1360180-149.html

And while you’re at it please add your voice to the reviews, currently at 4.7 stars.   

Good Romantic Suspense Novel with Likable Heroine 

Great fun, irresistible story…

“He never could resist a girl with a tramp stamp.”

Good Suspense Novel with Erotic Flair

Great Romantic Suspense!

Nail Biting

Scandalously Good

Scandalously Sexy

Well written, like I was really there

Entertaining read

Masterfully written

Solid

This is good!

Intense, suspenseful and passionate, the perfect combination!

scandals tile

New Adult Romance Genre? New Adult Genre in general.

I’m amazed at the amount of interest concerning the “New Adult” fiction genre.  Blogs, book blurbs and redefining what it means to grow up has been taking over the books and the news about the books over the past year..

It’s interesting what happens when the rules of the game change.  For example, a book about college life and romance set in 1969 -1970 and the struggles of the 20 – 22 year olds seniors about to graduate was published as a book about kids or adults depending on who’s talking and listening, and their lives in 1969 – 1970.

Viola!  Ta Da! The New Adult genre comes to town.

And I have to admit that I like it.  A lot.  This same book is much more interesting.  Yeah it’s still about the obvious –

  • Boys and girls transforming into men and women, ages 21 to 23 years old
  • College life
  • Drugs, sex and rock and roll
  • Consequences of making one decision over another

But, the emergence of the New Adult genre and the inevitable list of criteria that follows anything new as we try to understand it, the novel, Life’s What Happens, has been pushed to the forefront of interest for one reason.  It looks at what it means to be a new adult in another time.  Here’s the NA Romance “Life’s What Happens” and some insight into the book.:

ü  College life – Life’s What Happens is told in flashback and the flashback is 100% the senior year for nine fraternity brothers and  their friends.  It’s all college all the time.

ü  Moving out of your parents’ house and living alone for the first time – Most of  the characters in the Life’s What Happens story live on campus or in town and not at home and all for the first time.  What’s interesting is the character arc of those that maintain a weekend tie to their families and those that are immersed into the on-campus life.

ü  First jobs – By senior year they have studied and majored in the classes necessary for their first real job as an adult.  This criteria is part of the angst that some of the characters go through. What happens if you’re not allowed to start your career?  What will you do about it?

ü  Deciding who you want to be, career-wise, and in general. Identity issues. Existential issues. – By senior year they have made these decisions and are actively trying to make their decisions come true.

ü  First serious relationships, finding love – Anyone who has gone through college knows that it was very rare that anyone retained any opposite sex relationships by the time they reached their senior year.  In Life’s What Happens one of the nine fraternity brothers set out in their senior year to accomplish this.

ü  Sex – It’s less important that it be a “first time” as it is in YA. But the character should still be figuring stuff out. Since our readers can watch R rated movies, we can also be a little more explicit here without as much controversy. –  Because this is all about New Adults in 1969 and 1970 and despite the publicity or history of the sex in the sixties, sex then was different than sex in the 21st century especially compared to the beliefs and actions of the millennial generation, the target market to a degree of the New Adult genre.

ü  Experimentation – Sex, drugs, alcohol. Of course, not all new adults engage in experimentation, but the phrase, “I experimented with “x” in college,” is a phrase for a reason. –  Drugs were relatively segregated to some of the class of 1970 but wine, beer and hard liquor were center stage.  Even states were confused back then with the application of blue laws and 3.2 beer.  Fake IDs were a cottage industry for one purpose and that wasn’t to outsmart and outwit the TSA.

ü  Isolation – Living alone for the first time can be difficult –  Most of the characters in Life’s What Happens lived in the fraternity house where living there was more difficult to living alone.

ü  Single life – New adults often do not have life partners and families yet, so their main relationships may be with friends and boyfriends/girlfriends. –  Many stories centered around the characters living their life with their brothers and girlfriends on campus and no longer at home with family.

ü  A struggle to “find yourself” – This was the mantra of the 1960’s.  No further comment needed.  Yes there is actually.  The major plot point in the book is what happens when everyone finally is on the path to fining themselves and someone totally blocks the path.

ü  Change – Moving out, going to college, finding a job…it’s a lot of transition. –  Triple check and then add the draft road block thrown at them with a last minute Thanksgiving Eve congressional vote.   You never can say enough about Nixon.

ü  Money challenges –  Goes without saying.  In some cases in the story a temporary shortage of money and the decisions made can lead to a life time change in goals.

Don’t let the term romance and new adult fool you.  Experts today are still explaining how the book series Fifty Shades of Gray qualifies as a new adult romance but a comparison with the preceding checklist and it becomes obvious. What’s interesting is what passed for normal and beyond normal in this arena in 1969.

Here’s the book.  Enjoy!

Life's What Happens REVISED COVER - Copy