Mar 212015
 

Banner - Saturday in Serendipity

The Guest Post

by Margo Hoornstra

Saturday In Serendipity – And A Little Secret I’d Like To Share

It’s great to be here at the Serious Whimsy on my Saturday In Serendipity blog tour. Thank you, Jolana, for having me.

Saturday In Serendipity, my first foray into self-publishing, is a compilation of three novellas which revolve around a twentieth high school reunion at Serendipity High School. Serendipity is a mid-sized town located on the shores of Lake Champlain in Vermont.

Three Strikes Thursday, leaves Barry Carlson, professional baseball’s former golden boy, with some serious making up to do. A love ‘em and leave ‘em attitude of his youth has finally caught up with him and his future. Amanda Marsh is the one he foolishly pushed away. He has his work cut out for him if he hopes to ever win her back.

Two On Tuesday, has Serendipity High School graduate Blane Weston viewing her upcoming class reunion  as a chance to renew a former, but not forgotten, love. Enter Matt Durand, someone she’s recently considered, and quickly rejected as a potential business partner. Turns out he won’t take no for an answer and has other ideas for her time and activities at the reunion.

One Fateful Friday, is the story of forever friends Jake and Bethany, two soul mates through high school who went their separate ways after graduation. Brought together twenty years later, both involved with careers in healthcare, they assume they’ll re-establish their relationship with flawless compatibility. Except, they now hold different philosophies that might jeopardize their chance at a happy future.

Today, just for fun, I’d like to share some background information on the creation of Saturday In Serendipity. All three novellas were originally published separately as part of a reunion series. One of those stories  – One Fateful Fridayhas seen it all, if you will. Allow me to explain.

I was once asked what I felt were the major differences between short stories and longer novels. With many of each under my belt—some published, some not—the simple answer is length to write and time to read. But there’s more to possible differences than that. With both short stories and long, ie novels, the goal is to create vibrant, believable characters and put them into interesting situations that need to be resolved. The short story format doesn’t allow for extensive descriptions or character development, requiring the scene or scenes to be written tighter and more concise. On the other hand, the novel can sometimes become bogged down with irrelevant details, character enhancements and back story explanations that are, quite honestly, better left unsaid.

Fortunately, or not, I speak from experience on both underwriting and overwriting, too.

One Fateful Friday began as a short, short story of  less than one thousand words that actually received a contract. However, I felt, and my editor agreed, the story deserved to be longer. So off I went to write it. The full length novel version came in at around 75,000 words that—my editor’s opinion which I ultimately agreed with—had great characters in interesting situations with no real all-encompassing plot. The novel I had such high hopes for, she declined to contract.

Disappointed but not defeated, I trimmed out almost half of those seventy-five thousand words. A humbling experience, to be sure, but one that produced, I think and my editor ultimately agreed, a more entertaining read.

The bottom line, length and time are the only true differences between short stories and long. But well connected plot lines, character development that is neither too much or too little, and strong, believable situations that reach satisfying conclusions, make all the difference between what comprises a good story versus one that is bad.

About the Book

Saturday in Serendipity - CoverSaturday in Serendipity (A Three Book Anthology)
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: August 11, 2014
Length: 427 Pages

amazon_button

A twenty year high school reunion changes the lives of former classmates and leads to unexpected futures.

Three Strikes Thursday
Barry Carlson, a pro baseball success, could have any woman he wanted. Except one. Twenty years before, Barry won Amanda Marsh’s love, only to crush her heart. He’s returned to Serendipity, determined to win her back. Recently divorced, Amanda is happy—until Barry slides back into her life. Can they put aside old wounds and new misunderstandings to find a forever love?

Two On Tuesday
Blane Weston’s construction company needs the venture capital Matt Durand has. With his reputation for hostile takeovers, she wants no part of him. Mixing business with pleasure, she’s off to Serendipity to hook up with a former flame. Not used to being denied, Matt follows. How can Blane enjoy a journey to her past when Matt is determined to dictate her future?

One Fateful Friday
His high school reunion in Serendipity over, hospital CEO Jake Holbrook regrets his single state. When a special woman from his past tumbles back into his life—and his bed—he’s determined to keep her there. Family practitioner Bethany Thomas avoids an entanglement with her new boss, but unknowingly betrays him. As the holidays approach, can they overcome a lack of trust to find their Christmas miracle?

The Excerpts

Three Strikes Thursday

The solution was simple. Get out of the car, walk up to the house and ring the bell. Apologize for the intrusion when her father came to the door, and ask to see Amanda.

Only for a couple of minutes. Please.

Then he could fall all over himself telling her how sorry he was.

“Yeah that’s gonna fly.” His whisper filled the emptiness around him, and he dropped his head. “Face it, asshole. You blew it.”

In an odd way, talking to himself, he didn’t feel quite so alone.

He turned his gaze back to stare at Amanda’s window. The shade was still down. Her light was out.

So that was it.

Moving like a rigid, soulless robot, Barry put the car in gear and drove slowly away. Picking up speed as he left Amanda’s subdivision, he floored it once he hit the highway. With the windows down, the warm night air cooled as it roared around him.

He flicked the headlights on high. Their beams lit up the trees, telephone poles and bushes as they whizzed by. Nothing could stop him as long as he kept his foot down hard on the gas pedal. Then something did.

Pulling to one side of the deserted road, he jammed the gear shift into park, jumped out, ran around to the back bumper, bent over.

And puked his guts out onto the warm asphalt.

Two on Tuesday

…up until a few years ago being alone suited her just fine. Lately though, call it a change in her biological timepiece, she entertained the idea of someone to share her life. Maybe even have a couple of kids.

All that remained was to find the right man for the job.

Car wheels crunched gravel, and she glanced out the window. A shiny black sedan pulled into a parking spot a ways away. Had Malcolm come out to the site for some reason?

She waited a moment to see. It was hardly the slight form of her business partner who emerged from the driver side a few minutes later. The green polo shirt on this man was unbuttoned at the neck and stretched to the limit over large, sturdy shoulders. Her gaze dipped to follow the expanse of a trim male torso then on to the jean covered outline of a noteworthy ass and long legs.

No doubt one of her foreman’s recruits reporting for work. An assessing gaze skimmed over him again. He certainly looked healthy enough for the job. Though she didn’t get why he drove a shiny new car instead of a rugged pick up like most of the others. Edging her head back in the seat, she studied him out the side window. Feet planted wide, something in the way he took in everything around him told her this one knew his way around a construction site. Doing another quick onceover of the man, she let out a sigh. Or life in general.

One Fateful Friday

…up until a few years ago being alone suited her just fine. Lately though, call it a change in her biological timepiece, she entertained the idea of someone to share her life. Maybe even have a couple of kids.

All that remained was to find the right man for the job.

Car wheels crunched gravel, and she glanced out the window. A shiny black sedan pulled into a parking spot a ways away. Had Malcolm come out to the site for some reason?

She waited a moment to see. It was hardly the slight form of her business partner who emerged from the driver side a few minutes later. The green polo shirt on this man was unbuttoned at the neck and stretched to the limit over large, sturdy shoulders. Her gaze dipped to follow the expanse of a trim male torso then on to the jean covered outline of a noteworthy ass and long legs.

No doubt one of her foreman’s recruits reporting for work. An assessing gaze skimmed over him again. He certainly looked healthy enough for the job. Though she didn’t get why he drove a shiny new car instead of a rugged pick up like most of the others. Edging her head back in the seat, she studied him out the side window. Feet planted wide, something in the way he took in everything around him told her this one knew his way around a construction site. Doing another quick onceover of the man, she let out a sigh. Or life in general.

About Margo Hoornstra

Website 3 Twitter Facebook Google+ Goodreads Amazon
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALike many writers, it’s hard to determine exactly when my fiction writing career began. I remember composing a short story in grade school (I have no idea about what) which was chosen for publication in an all school anthology. A journalism class taken in junior high school led to a job on the school newspaper and a weekly column.

I always loved reading. I loved writing too. Someday, I thought, maybe when I grew up and received the right training, I could actually write a book. After all, I was often told, laughingly most times, I had an extremely vivid imagination.

Through the years, the desire to write was always there. I had so many ideas and characters roaming around in my head, so many stories. But the business of living—going to college, getting married then raising a family—took precedence over something as frivolous as writing a book.

Then one day out of the blue I was downsized—effective immediately—from a job I’d held for over thirty years. What seemed so unfair at the time, I now recognize the tremendous gift I was given that day. As I’m now able to spend more and more time doing what I love—writing romantic fiction—I find I really do have an abundance of stories to share.

The Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

  • Wow, Jolana. You went all out for my visit today. Thank you. PS – You’ll notice I left the ‘comedy’ writing to you. You do that so well!

    • Thank you for the compliment, Margo. It was my pleasure to have you as my guest today. I hope you’ll visit again soon. 🙂

  • Great insights! I’ve discovered the major difference between short and long for me is plot complexity. With short, I focus on one major plot problem. With long, I can afford to add extra complications that need to be worked out. Nice post!

  • Margo, these look wonderful! One Click here I come . . .

  • Nancy. Great to hear that. Thank you.

  • High school and college leave such impressions on us. I went back for my 30th reunion last year and it was fun to see everyone and to share all the changes in our lives. I think we all have a person from our past that we’d love to reconnect with. Your stories are gripping and engaging! All the best!

  • Thank you, Melissa. I appreciate your comments about my work. it’s always interesting to explore our pasts with an eye toward the future.

  • Diane Burton

    This sounds like a great anthology. Can’t wait to read.

  • So impressed with the way you turned One Fateful Friday from a short story into a novella and made it work without losing the story you loved. Determination plus talented writing paid off in a big way. Nice work, Margo!

    • Loralee. Hmmmm. Some of that determination I’m thinking I learned from you. Thanks for the vote of confidence and compliment.

  • What a neat idea to connect these three stories in an anthology. I love the “One, Two, Three” titles, and that you combined short to create a longer book rather than simply padding the stories. Wishing you many sales..

    • Late getting back here to comment. Sorry. Thanks Maris. The anthology idea started as a what if conversation with my CP and just seemed to grow from there.

  • I love the “One, Two, Three” titles, and that you combined short to create a longer book rather than simply padding the stories. Wishing you many sales..

  • Julia Masters

    Margo, I can’t wait to read these stories! I love how you described the journey of “One Fateful Friday” from its original inception to its final version. What a great idea to tie these three stories into an anthology.

    • Thanks, Julie. One Fateful Friday did enjoy quite a journey in its making. Tying the three stories together seemed like the natural thing to do.

%d bloggers like this: