It’s a very strange feeling when your wildest dreams come true. Stranger still when life exceeds them. Just over eleven months ago, my debut novel for Mills & Boon was published and this week, my sixth Mills & Boon novel will hit the shelves.
That’s SIX MILLS & BOON books in less than a year.
Reading that, writing it, just blows my mind, but I’m also cognisant of the fact it creates the impression that my dreams came true ‘overnight’, when nothing could be further than the truth. My story isn’t one of ‘instant achievement’, so much as it is one of persistence.
I have wanted to be a romance writer for almost as long as I can remember. I wrote historicals as a pre-teen, when I had already been caught in the delightfully addictive nets of Austen and Heyer. It wasn’t long however before I turned my hand to Mills & Boons. I began to write, and to write earnestly, at fourteen, submitting my first manuscript to Mills & Boon at fifteen. It was rejected.
I continued to write and began to submit seriously back in 2013. I wasn’t writing cleverly though. I loved my stories but they weren’t a good fit for the series lines, and I wasn’t part of a writing group or support crew that would help me see that. To be honest, though I read Mills & Boons voraciously, I think I’m unusual in that I never gravitated towards a particular line so much as I did my favourite authors and tropes. More often than not, that took me to Presents/Modern/Sexy books, but I also adored medical and romance, so long as the hero was a dashing millionaire (inflation hadn’t caught up with our fictional heroes and a millionaire was still awe-inspiring). So I wrote love stories with scant attention paid to any one line in particular.
Rejections hurt. Every book we write, as authors, carries a lot of blood, sweat and tears and represents genuine, bonafide work. Never mind that writing might be, for you as it is for me, an absolute pleasure, it is still an act of effort. For me, writing also represents sacrifice. Time away from my family, socialising with friends that I’ve chosen to miss so I can hit my (often self-imposed and utterly crazy) deadlines. But we sacrifice because we can’t not – in my experience, it’s not a choice. I see my stories as the springs in my Jack in the Box, and they keep winding and winding until eventually they pop out of my head. If I don’t sit down to write, the spring keeps turning and my head just hits against the tin of the box! It hurts my brain! I needs to write, preciousses.
Each story I write is a story I cherish and love, and so the prospect of having it be rejected, having someone read it and not ascribe the same value to it as I do – it hurts. But it’s a part of the process, for most of us, and it helps to take comfort from the fact that you’re following in the steps of many, many, many authors that came before you.
It was seventeen years after I submitted my first novel to Mills & Boon that I had a manuscript accepted by them. My resulting experience with them has been beyond anything I could ever have hoped. I’m lucky because I didn’t give up in the face of rejection, and I’m grateful because I persisted, clinging to my dream of becoming a part of the romance publisher that the world trusts with its heart. What an honour; what a thrill!
I was contacted by a social media friend this morning and asked for advice. It’s got me thinking along these lines, you see.
So, here’s what I would say to myself five years ago.
No matter what you’re writing, I urge you to write for the love of it, because you can’t not, and see rejections as a stepping stone along the way. Like life experiences, each book teaches you something, and while it might not be a book that achieves publication, it will show you something valuable that leads to your next book’s success. Don’t let anyone else’s criticism frame your own love of what you’re doing. If writing is what you do, do it. Remember that rejections don’t mean your work isn’t good, they mean it’s not commercially viable for a publishing house at that point. If you want to write to become published to make a career from your writing, I believe you have to be, in part, commercially-minded. Pay attention to what’s selling, and if you’re targeting romance series, do as I say, not as I did, and familiarise yourself with that series completely, particularly the authors who are releasing lots of books and selling well.
And keep writing! As soon as you submit, begin the next book. Move on, let the other one go – it takes the sting out of rejection if you’re already knee-deep in the wonderment of a whole new world of people and their problems.
This was a far wafflier post than I intended so if you’re still here, thanks for reading and happy writing!
*I’m not counting my indie books in that total – if I were, it would be a fourteen book year. Okay. Imma gonna go nap for a decade now.
CC: Okay, so last episode finished with a whole new Liza – much more willing to own her true self, more confident, and truly shirty with Charles (go, Liza!).
KC: And this one starts with Maggie! All episodes should start with Maggie. And she is getting bling!
CC: She’s looking stunning, yet again.
KC: Is this a Christmas in July ep? A real Christmas ep?
CC: They’re wearing summery clothes? So maybe Christmas in July?
KC: Nope, definitely Christmas.
CC: Is Liza… knitting?
KC: And is Caitlyn sleeping … on a bunk bed?
CC: Oh, here we go! Caitlyn asking Liza to come to a party that David (Liza’s ex husband) will be at.
KC: And meanwhile, Kelsey is clearly embracing the ‘just go with it’ attitude.
CC: Liza and (I want to say) Jake in bed together…
KC: I love Kelsey’s negligee.
CC: And she’s texting Zane, ugh! Just, no.
KC: Also, can we talk about how well Younger incorporates texting and social media? OF COURSE all of their characters text and tweet and stuff. So incorporating it without some weird conceit works really well.
CC: Oh, no! There’s very, very audible kissing noises.
KC: And I do not love that she’s sleeping with her author. Wait. HI CHARLES!
CC: Oh, here you go. Kicking off with Charles. And Liza, as my true spirit animal, is wearing a necklace that lights up like Christmas tree decorations.
KC: WHAT IS LIZA WEARING AROUND HER NECK?
CC: This is so holiday-themed it hurts.
KC: Oh, Zane. Sit your ass down. SIT YOUR ASS DOWN. Do not take this moment away from Kelsey.
CC: Right? Although, it sounds like he’s the reason Jake got this great exposure.
KC: I REALLY, REALLY DO NOT LIKE HIM.
CC: Diana to Liza: “Keep that epilepsy trigger as far away from my eye line as much as possible.”
KC: I love Kelsey’s dress so much.
CC: Oh, Kelsey! Chatting to Zane about a party they’re all going to be at later. Kelsey, Kelsey, Kelsey. What a tangled web we weave! Hasn’t Liza’s story taught us anything?Seriously, I love both their outfits but I actually needLiza’s necklace. Where can I get one?
KC: I’m not even sad for Zane. He doesn’t deserve Kelsey.
CC: Liza is us in this convo with Kelsey, not happy about Kelsey seeing both Zane and Jake. Kelsey counters with the fact Liza’s been ‘gaslighting’ the whole company for years… I don’t know if Liza’s deception could be called Gaslighting?
KC: I mean, no. Not strictly. But she has been keeping a secret. I would have edited that. 😉
CC: Kate! Enzo is giving Diana a Christmas tree! This is such a sign of LOVE.
KC: And yet… he lives with his mom.
CC: Yeah, points lost there.
KC: And yet… does Diana scoot? Is she a scooter?
CC: What’s a scooter!?
KC: Oh, Enzo! He is just such a great guy. Who lives with his mother!
CC: At the party…
KC: What is with Jake’s hair in this scene? It’s… got serial killer side part.
CC: He looks like a fourth grader ready for his school photos. Like has mum has given him his one day of ‘tidy hair’.
KC: I love Christmas parties so much. I can’t wait for Christmas! Tangent. OH ZANE! DO NOT KISS KELSEY IN PUBLIC.
CC: Jake saw it!
KC: What the hell!
CC: Zane is SO tone deaf!
KC: Yes, Kelsey is pointing that out to him.
CC: Uh oh. Jake, who’s used to wheeling and dealing in political circles, is ready to strike back.
KC: If you’re going to bang your author and your co-worker, there needs to be a privacy rule. Jake’s serial killer hair is about to be on point.
CC: Meanwhile, Enzo has set up the tree (because, perfect) and he’s waiting to do like a presidential style lights-turn-on. And it does look so pretty. Aw, and there’s champagne.
KC: OH MY GOD. HE’S PROPOSING. HE’S GOING TO PROPOSE. I KNOW IT! I CAN READ THE SIGNS!
CC: I think so too! But…no. Just dousing her apartment in champagne. Thank GOD she laughed. Oh, boy!
KC: I mean, that could have been a proposal.
CC: At the holiday party: the sweaters! OH THE SWEATERS! They’re wearing family holiday themed sweaters. I can’t cope. Meanwhile, David, Liza’s ex, semi-embraces Liza
KC: Yeah, don’t touch her. What is with all the men handing out unwanted touches in this episode? Liza looks so much more sophisticated in this scene than EVERYONE else.
KC: It’s really showing how her life has changed.
CC: Right? An insight into the true Liza.
KC: They finally got Sutton Foster to sing!
CC: There is YODELLING and this is ADORABLE. CHARLES ENTERS. Oh my GOD, my hear is RACING ! !
KC: OH MY GOD, HE’S ACTUALLY HERE, OH MY GOD, OH MY GOD.
CC: His seeing her like this is AMAZING.
KC: I HAVE REFLECTED SHAME SO BAD.
CC: In a good way! My heart is racing! He can’t hide his smile!
KC: Yeah, because he has blackmail material for DAYS. Maybe Charles can starting thinking hard about why Liza is doing this. Oooh, ‘quite an act’, he says. This is a different life.
CC: This scene is actually amazing.
KC: The subtext in this conversation. It’s crazy.
CC: I’m going to need to watch this again and again to break it down, but it’s a very successfully executed turning point for them. I am loving Charles here, too.
KC: Charles hair is so good in that scene. But I’m not sure about the brown suit. There is so much going on here. Back to Mags.
CC: Maggie’s sense of style is BEYOND amazing.
KC: I’m not sure about the pussy bow. I myself am not a fan.
CC: I am.
KC: But Maggie is pulling it off.
CC: DOOR KNOCK, again. MY NERVES ARE SHOT. It’s JOSH! My heart is about to burst out of my chest!
KC: SECOND HAND EMBARRASSMENT ALL OVER THE PLACE. Why is Liza wearing a tank top in December?
CC: And what’s with all the double takes between Maggie and Caitlyn?
KC: Caitlyn is the voice of wisdom.
CC: Uh oh. Charles wants to see Zane and Kelsey in his office – I feel like we’re about to get a bombshell.
KC: Serial killer hair having its effect. Jake is going to fire Zane. Ha! Who’s the nice guy now, Zane?
CC: Oh dear! “The author gets what the author wants.” I really don’t feel good for anyone in that scene. But Zane doesn’t need to be such a drama queen about it.
KC: Zane underestimated Jake so hard. Zane is ALWAYS a drama queen. He is incapable of being professional.
CC: He’s genuinely upset here, though. I think they’re trying for a Zane v 2.0
KC: …Also, does Zane have monkeys on his tie? Whatever, Zane. Stop emotionally blackmailing her. I’m SO NOT here for Zane.
CC: GAH! Liza and Charles alone together, and it’s too good. I’m mentally juxtaposing this scene with the scene in the second episode of this season when Liza didn’t realise Charles knew and chased him into the copier room and he was super cold and standoffish and now, she’s being quite cool and reserved (in a lovely Liza way) and he’s being all charming.
KC: TENSION. SO MUCH TENSION. Oh! She brought in nudity! She actually mentioned nudity!
CC: And backpedaled awkwardly! I have been waiting for this for so long. Poor Charles. His smile is SO rusty.
KC: And now he’s totally thinking of her naked.
CC: “It’s amazing the things we do for our kids,” he says. And Liza replies, “Caitlyn’s why I worked so hard for my job. Why I did what I did.”
KC: Aw, parenting bonding!
CC: He gets it. Forgiveness. The real them.
KC: FINALLY, A REAL MOMENT.
CC: This is a really emotionally charged conversation. There’s so much subtext and it’s killing me.
KC: Peter Hermann did such a great job with that scene.
CC: Yeah, he did. He reminds me a bit of Colin Firth in Bridget Jones’s Diary. Like, learning to be happy, and relatable.
KC: Charles does have a bit of Darcy about him.
CC: And now, a Diana and Liza gift swap…
KC: It feels like new beginnings! Christmas miracles! Love at Christmas, all around! Aww, Diana! THAT IS SUCH A DIANA NECKLACE.
CC: This is so sweet.
KC: Jewelery should inspire envy, not seizures. Love it.
CC: “Never gift up. The wealth disparity just makes it awkward for both of us.” But with a look of being sooo touched. I actually can’t handle all the beautiful moments in this episode.
KC: Oh my god, everyone is being so lovely in this episode. I’m getting all teary.
CC: Mmm, so Diana has given Liza her Christmas bonus from Charles. “It’s more than I suggested, but you’ve earned it.”
KC: So Charles giving her more money than Diana suggested. Is that… I mean, is that…?
CC: Yeah… Inappropriate?
KC: I dunno. It feels like he’s trying to apologise with extra zeroes? It’s tacky.
CC: Yeah, that’s not perfect.
KC: Or maybe it’s right? She’s needing money and she’s done a lot of work, and women suffer so hard with pay disparity. Giving her a bigger Christmas bonus is the right thing to do, but THIS IS WHY WORKPLACE ROMANCES ARE SO FRAUGHT BECAUSE I CAN’T EVEN WATCH YOUNGER NOW WITHOUT THIS ANALYSIS.
CC: Maggie’s about to ruin things for herself.
KC: Yep, that’s over. That scene feels like it was trying to be nice but was slightly not as well.
CC: THINGS I’M NOT ONBOARD WITH: ANY HINT OF ANYTHING BETWEEN JOSH AND CAITLYN.
KC: Oh man, no. Josh. No mother-daughter things. No.
CC: Josh wearing the hat Liza made even though it pushes his ears WAY out?
KC: No, no no nooooooo! Oh, Caitlyn.
CC: You know, I think it’s just that Josh has raw sexual energy so he literally can’t talk to anyone without passion coming through.
KC: So Caitlyn is #teamjosh
CC: In great company. Charles is on his way to the airport for his solo Christmas trip and the cab has a screen. It cuts to a yodeling video (because, obvs) and suddenly he’s asking the cab driver to turn around. And now… Liza’s in the snow, walking home, weighed down, and someone’s at her door…
KC: BIG MOMENT. BIG MOMENT.
CC: It’s Charles! OH THE MOMENT!
KC: SOMETHING IS HAPPENING! IN THE SNOW!
CC: “I don’t care anymore,” dramatic statement from Charles before swooping in for the kiss. ERrrr, NO.
KC: OF COURSE IN THE SNOW.
CC: Wrong sentiment.
KC: I mean, right sentiment but wrong words. YAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAY. It doesn’t really say, “I understand”, but I think that’s what he meant? KISSING! KISSSSSSSING!!!
CC: I don’t know. I needed more there. He was pretty ruthless towards her, and I write ruthless for a living. I get it. But there needs to be good grovel and ‘I don’t care anymore’ is totally not enough. ‘I should have listened to you,” would have been better. Am I ruining the kiss moment for you? Sorry!
KC: We’ll see what happens next episode. I mean, this episode is all about passion and possibility, but next will be the process of actually making it work. Including all the HR nightmares.
CC: Pauline and Diana will be notable issues to overcome, and yeah, HR. I love the idea of their needing to be a secret romance.
KC: I mean, fictionally a secret romance is great. But wearing my industry hat, they are also a huge nightmare.
CC: Yeah. I can’t see they can go public with this. I also think they need to find a way to keep the Josh/Liza/Charles love triangle going.
KC: Agreed. They wouldn’t get rid of their cash cow and then flagrantly ignore the rules here, I think. But I guess we’ll see? Either way a magical Christmas episode with so much hot, sexy Charles. Even if he didn’t show off his supersternal notch this time.
CC: But his smile was some consolation, right? The ep was definitely all my Christmas wishes come true.
CC: Okay, so we are loaded up and ready for Younger season five, episode six, and I’ll have you know I’m watching this streaming on my phone, in my car, on the eighth floor of a parking garage, with my laptop jammed beneath the steering wheel. Because COMMITMENT. (Also, Younger.)
The episode is called Sex, Lisa, Rock & Roll and I feel like the producers are taunting us here. Will there be sex? Is something going to happen with Liza and one of her beau? We shall see.
KC: Why are they suddenly spelling Liza’s name with an s?
CC: Last week was such a filler episode, no Charles, and minimal (but welcome) Josh. And Liza’s would-be suiter Don Ridley was exposed for trying to reveal Liza’s secret.
KC: …Exposed as an opportunistic pig
KC: Yay, Maggie!
I really love that Maggie gets to be successful, too.
CC: Agreed. She’s got great news and wants a drink to celebrate despite the fact they’re both still in their pajamas. Liza tells her, “Mimosas ARE breakfast,” but Maggie demurs, “Let’s skip the OJ.” Both suggestions are excellent.
KC: And the art acknowledgement is a big deal because Diana knows all about it. She’s got an invitation (naturally) and is bringing Enzo. “Blue collar to black tie”. Love it.
CC: Will there ever be a situation in Diana’s life that she can’t sum up with one simple sentence of sass? Also, I need a moment to just absorb Diana’s pearls. Wait a second – here comes: Charles! It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for. Oooh, and he’s so cold. Like ice.
KC: He’s back to being measured and hotly restrained.
CC: So they’ve bought the memoir of an ex rock star and delivery is waaaay overdue.
KC: This is feeling too real. Too. Real. I’m getting reflected stress.
CC: Liza is an absolute groupie, which is sweet. Charles tells Diana, ‘Let’s organise a skype meeting.’ Charles walks off and Diana turns to Liza: “Let’s means you.” I want to be Diana when I grow up.
KC: Me too.
CC: That was quick! We’re in the conference room, skyping with wayward memoirist rockstar Chrissie Hart.
KC: I mean, clearly supposed to be Chrissie Hynde. How does Younger get away without being sued all the time?? OMG, is the rock star being played by Gina Gershon? I’m sure it is.
CC: Not sure, but she’s so all over Skype Charles.
KC: She’s calling her book her baby and telling Charles she wants to hand it to him personally but I think she wants to hand him more than her baby. If you know what I’m saying. And I think you do.
CC: Poor Liza! Caught between her girl crush and her man crush.
KC: Ugh, Zane. You know what I think it is about Zane? He just wants to win. And he doesn’t care how he gets there.
CC: Jake and Kelsey are fooling exactly no one with the both his editors cover up. Kelsey knows it, as evidence by that expression.
KC: Look, I don’t want to disparage another editor, but this is not good author care.
CC: Not to mention he’s being a major asshat. He’s obvious jealous and is taking it out on Jake.
KC: For a politico, I feel like Jake’s terribly indiscreet. Like he should know better? Also, Kelsey should not be making personal calls on her office phone. It’s unprofessional AND your company can totally listen in on your calls. It’s a thing.
CC: Chrissie’s home is AMAZING! Part gothic, part arts and crafts, all kinds of wonderful. Charles goes a-hunting for Chrissie and finds her lying on the couch with her legs out.
KC: Damn! That is a house. What is she doing? I mean, that’s one way to make sure a little skin is showing….
CC: Why do I want to have it done to me when I have no idea what it does? Maybe cellulite erasure?
KC: Man, Charles is so hot in this scene. The unbuttoned collar, the jacket, the well-fitting jeans. Hello, little notch between the collar bones. Whatever it’s called.
CC: Yeah, I’ll give you that. It occurs to me I should clarify that Charles IS hot, just not right for Liza IMO.
KC: I should remember what that notch is called.
CC: Do you mean the little divot near the Adam’s apple? He gives good divot, actually. Chin divot, neck divot.
KC: The English Patient made a big deal about it and I was OBSESSED with that movie.
CC: Chrissie rings a bell and tells Charles to ‘Taste her booch’.
KC: I bet you want him to taste your booch, Chrissie! Clearly she’s read page 58.
CC: Ha! A Marriage Vacation groupie.
KC: Did you see how she was pointing when she said that? Direct crotch point. And I love how her little session is never explained. Like she’s doing something weird with electrodes. NBD. Nothing to see here.
CC: So Younger. Like last week it was bread facing and now it’s body conditioning (maybe?) via electrolysis.
KC: Ooh Maggie’s name is printed on glass. That’s commitment. Oh, and here’s Josh. You must be delighted.
CC: You know I am. And he’s looking divine.
KC: They’re going in for a group hug, Maggie, Liza, and Josh. Awww!
CC: Because: Friends. I wonder if Maggie would like Charles. Hold up. Am I crazy to think Diana and Maggie could have a thing? They’re building something up there, right?
KC: DIANA AND MAGGIE! That would be amazing!
CC: You feel it, right? Though I still love Lauren and Maggie.
KC: And I really like her with Enzo, too.
CC: Diana really is the perfect mix of neurotic and quintessentially unflappable.
KC: Diana’s staying the night at Enzo’s. And she’s packed a suitcase. Of course.
CC: She doesn’t know what to expect at Enzo’s!
KC: “I need to prepare for polyester.” Diana is EVERYTHING.
CC: She really is. I love how she’s so unashamed of her snobberies. It’s such an honest part of her. And as someone who takes pillow protectors away to hotels (because other people’s breath and skin cells do not need to be so close to my mouth, ugh, I get her vibe there.)
KC: Enter Enzo. He cleans up so nice!
CC: He looks so good, right? Love the suit. And his gravelly voice is 💯
At Chrissie’s house, it’s all TMI and not enough book. A weird tour of her somewhat macabre collection of skulls. Charles trying valiantly to KEEP THINGS ON TRACK. And… now Chrissie wants to show him a ten thousand dollar dildo.
KC: Look, I know Charles is uncomfortable, but Iwanted to see the ten thousand dollar dildo.
CC: YES! I mean, is it diamond tipped? Platinum?
KC: Why are Jake and Kelsey at a hotel and not at her office??
CC: She wants to work.
KC: At a hotel? And it’s clearly not working. Because Jake has a one-track mind.
CC: And there’s a huge bed framed in to shot right behind them. As Jake points out. I feel like it doesn’t bode well for his permanence that I can never remember his name. Is it Jack? Josh? Joe? Jake?
KC: Her self-tanner is still a funny hue.
CC: I think it’s hard for her to be pushing him to be professional right now when she’s blurred all these lines. She’s wanting to be his editor and his lovverrrrr. Ha, lover wins, apparently.
KC: Didn’t Kelsey learn her lesson from that guy in the first season? The scandi-noir guy?
CC: You would think. Okay, back to the fabulous party. I’m thrilled Maggie is getting her moment.
KC: Oh, yes! Yay, Maggie!
CC: Diana and Maggie meet and, obviously, bond over accessories. Maggie’s surprised Diana’s so hip and Diana’s surprised Liza’s never mentioned it.
KC: Because all ‘rompers and fanny packs’.
CC: Ooh. Charles is trapped at Chrissie’s house. And Diana can’t go because of her suitcase.
KC: I mean, clearly Liza was always going to go.
CC: Liza is going! I want to reiterate that this episode is called Sex, Liza and Rock and Roll so I am bracing for something big to about to happen here.
KC: But first, we’re at Enzo’s house. Oh, Enzo’s HOUSE!
CC: It’s so nice! All yellow and elegant. Diana is impressed.
KC: I love that hutch!
CC: So now we’re in Chrissie’s house.
KC: Damn, Charles. Enough with the supersternal notch! You’re killing me! (See? I remembered J)
CC: And Liza is singing Chrissie’s songs because Liza is a groupie.
KC: ‘Are you here to cock block me?’ I really hope so, Chrissie. I really hope so.
CC: Charles calls Liza one of their best editors, and that’s nice. Professional. Complimentary. Maybe he’s thawing?
KC: Poor Liza. Now she has neither the girl crush or the man crush.
CC: Jake’s come through with details about the Obamas…
KC: Is Jake making this shit up? Because I know Michelle would never do that.
CC: Also, I wonder how Younger gets permission to use these details? Look. I’ll be honest, there’s tension here and I’m not loving that Kelsey and Zane might hook up over Jake’s book.
KC: KELSEY. STOP ASKING ZANE QUESTIONS. AND LETTING HIM PSYCHOANALYSE YOU. ALSO DON’T SLEEP WITH YOUR AUTHOR AND YOUR COEDITOR AT THE SAME TIME.
CC: Yeah! They’re having a D&M and Zane is saying Jake’s too sweet for Kelsey and now… oh no. He’s told Kelsey to stop toying with his emotions. It’s catnip to Kelsey who leans in for yet another passionate kiss. Noooo! Remember seasons one and two Kelsey who was all engaged and somewhat monogamous?
KC: This is tacky.
CC: Right? I mean, probably don’t sleep with your author ever or your colleague ever, but with those barriers down, don’t sleep with both?
KC: It’s only like the on the first page of Strunk & White.
Oh, Liza and Charles are looking chummy on that couch. And Charles is … is he drunk?
CC: Well, they did apparently have Absinthe and Chrissie’s take on Stranger Things in the afternoon, which btw, is my idea of a perfect afternoon. I want to be Chrissie’s friend.
KC: Oh my God. Me too. We should do Stranger Things next. Oh! They are joking. ABOUT HER AGE. THEY ARE CLEARLY MOVING ON. AND THEY ARE BOTH DRUNK!
CC: They are definitely sitting close and I think we’re seeing real Liza here. And Charles is (drunkenly) noticing that. They have to stay the night at Chrissie’s because they’re too drunk to drive. The book’s been brought out but taken away again.
KC: Separate rooms. Boo.
CC: But they’re in the hallway. They’re laughing. They’re having fun. But… no. Liza can’t let a laugh go by. SHE WANTS TO TALK.
KC: Liza is not one to let things go.
CC: See he IS a bastard in relationships – I’m sorry. He is so immature to keep punishing her. That’s not love. Charles does NOT deserve Liza. How can anyone look at his behaviour and think it’s heroic? He’s made no efforts to understand why she got into this mess.
KC: I’m not disagreeing. Charles is showing a distinct lack of analytical thinking. They go into their separate rooms and wait! Charles is hovering outside Liza’s! KNOCK! KNOCK DAMN YOU! DAMN YOU, KNOCK!
CC: This is the season 3 Friends finale, the cliff hanger with Ross/Rachel/Bonnie at the beach house. Will he or won’t he? Oh, but he won’t. He doesn’t. Because: Charles.
KC: At least we know Diana and Enzo got some.
CC: Diana is clearly here for Enzo’s personal chef.
KC: OH MY GOD, IS THAT HIS MOM???? ??
CC: Oh, no. Kate! No! I can’t cope with this. He’s so perfect is all other ways.
KC: A raisin instead of a grape?? Man, that is cold. And super ageist.
CC: BUT Diana speaks Italian. And speaks it with all the Diana-ness in the world. She tells Enzo’s mother she is a raisin! And she’s right. She needs an age-queer line.
KC: Age-queer. Oh my god, I forgot about that. Lauren is being reassuring. I mean, get yours, girl, but maybe not at work?
CC: We are not reassuring.
KC: We are not.
CC: Josh walks in and he’s all, ‘I’m a one woman kind of guy’
KC: Yeah. One woman per night.
CC: Josh is looking for Liza. Kelsey tells him she’s with Charles. WORKING. But Josh is heartbroken. His face!
KC: I love Lauren so much.
CC: Telling Kelsey to: have them both, diva! It’s healthier for your flora!
KC: The best.
CC: Aw Chrissie and Liza are bonding, and there’s so much angst behind Chrissie’s antics.
KC: Is Chrissie’s eyeliner tattooed on?
CC: Can I just say, Liza is like the place Charles’s ex’s/wannabes go to die. She’s like the confidante extraordinaire to all the women who want Charles. Chrissie’s talking about her insecurities with her book, about sharing it with the world – what if it’s not good? And she is Every. Author. Ever.
KC: Liza is all wisdom here. And I totally feel her. Talking authors off the edge. It’s a huge responsibility.
CC: And we thank you for taking it so seriously. Hold up. They’re having a big heart to heart and Liza’s talking about her age and her divorce: why is she being so honest here? Isn’t her age still in the closet? Theoretically, doesn’t everyone think she’s a twenty something?
KC: I guess she could be that young and also divorced?
CC: OH! Back in the office, Liza has the book!
KC: And she is HOT and IN CONTROL.
CC: Or cold and in control. I feel like we’ve hit a Liza turning point this episode. Look how she’s wearing clothes that are more reflective of her real persona rather than twenty-something Liza? And how she was honest with Chrissie? And now… she’s slammed the book down on Charles’s desk.
“How did you get that?” He asked.
“Because I didn’t run away, Charles.” And she stalks out of his office leaving him gaping.
KC: And I do believe there is subtext there!
CC: Hell yeah. And she’s spot on. Charles has run from all his major relationships.
Wow! What an episode. Still no pay off on the Charles or Josh front but I’m loving Liza’s development.
CC: We’ll be back next week – hopefully not from a parked car.
CC: So we’re starting the episode off with the return of Liza’s college-bound daughter Liza. Oh, and she’s breadfacing. WTF.
KC: This is clearly a cry for help.
CC: Yay! Lauren!
KC: I’m still stuck on bread facing. Is this a real thing?
CC: Definitely not one I’ve heard of. I’m clearly missing out. Meanwhile, Lauren’s assistant is SO. EXTRA. They are gender-queer. Josh isn’t completely on the same page though as the whole ‘can’t assume pronouns’ situation.
KC: I feel like living where Josh does, he’d be more au fait with the queer spectrum.
CC: Definitely. And just being who Josh is. Who’s the villain guy waiting for Josh?
KC: What? WHY DO WE HAVE A JOSH SUBLOT? WHO CARES?
CC: Can I just say how happy I am to have a JOSH SUBPLOT? I CARE. And it will be important in some way, to bring Liza back to her true love. Meanwhile, at Empirical, the entire Empirical staff is in a meeting with cute politico, Joe.
KC: YOUNGER is the worst name-dropper ever.
CC: I’m only here for the Zelsey tension, especially because Joe is flirting the pants off Kelsey.
KC: Like, SO name droppy.
CC: Oh, Zane is BURNING here!
KC: I’m down with Kelsey hooking up with the new author. I mean, professionally it’s a big ‘no no’, but fictionally it’s way better than Zane.
CC: These parties always make me want to move to New York and run my own imprint. And have Kelsey’s clothes and eyelashes.
KC: We all want Kelsey’s clothes. Hilary Duff should only ever wear baby blue. But her self-tanner is a bit off?
CC: Baby blue is definitely her colour. I’m not sure about Joe’s manners though, dragging her away from other potential authors. New York is so sparklyin this scene! And they’re all a deuxand Josh really puts the moves on. Kelsey pretending she’s surprised by his attention, and demurs with a: “I am your editor!” before leaning in for the kiss.
KC: Super not profesh, Kelsey.
CC: Oh, jeez. So Liza is still dating Don – I’d forgotten about this guy! I cannot understand why we have him as a potential Liza interest? I mean, obviously he’ll be a villain but, no. Just, no.
KC: They give Liza the worst secondary love interests.
CC: And now he pronounces ‘GIFS’ as Jifs. Or am I saying it wrong?
KC: OH MY GOD HE’S A JIF GUY! DUMP HIM! DUUUUUMP HIM!
CC: Not least of which is they’re on a romantic date and now suddenly he’s talking about herpes? Ugh! And Liza is falling all over the place.
KC: Oh, he’s about to find out!
KC: Oh HE’S ABOUT TO FIND OUT!
KC: OH HE KNOWS!
CC: Noooo! He is NOT A GOOD VAULT for this information.
KC: Right? Because he’s totally broke, and looking for a big break! CRAP!
CC: This could be very dangerous for Liza. Don says he hopes he can think of a way to make his own career great again and I feel like all the foreshadowing is there.
KC: Why have we not seen Charles yet?
CC: He’s no doubt being all broody and cross somewhere.
KC: So now, Liza and Maggie are at one of Lauren’s fabulous parties, and as they walk in, Liza gets a text to say Don can’t make it because he’s writing.
CC: Oh, gee, I wonder what he’s writing facepalm.
KC: Kelsey confides in Liza that she’s got a crush on her new author. I love how Kelsey and Liza’s friendship is still so solid.
CC: They are friendship goals, for sure.
KC: Lauren is being told by her intern that EVERYTHING CAN’T BE IN ALL CAPS ALL THE TIME.
CC: I fundamentally disagree with that.
KC: So wait. Did Younger introduce a non-binary character just to make this scene a punchline? NOT. COOL. YOUNGER. SO VERY NOT COOL. Like, this is not a Liza’s age thing, but a general respect thing. That could have been handled somuch better.
CC: Yeah, it feels like a strange choice, given the show’s viewer demographic. Moving from the party, we (finally) come to Josh, sitting in Inkburg all alone (and smoking hot) and he’s calling Liza. JOSH IS CALLING LIZA. JOSH IS DRUNK CALLING LIZA!
KC: Of COURSE you would put that in all caps. At least we know who the mystery guy is. Not a villain, just a landlord.
CC: I can’t type because I am HOLDING ALL MY BREATH and crossing all my fingers! Please let there me Josh and Liza sex! They’re touching! And getting closer!
KC: Josh is just being really emotionally manipulative here.
CC: Because he LOVES HER.
KC: But Liza is wise.
CC: How do you not feel their tension?
KC: It’s in the past! There is too much hurt to get past. JOSH IS AN ENTRÉE.
CC: Okay, I love Josh, but I have to laugh at him calling Liza and asking her to leave a party for like a thirty seven second conversation. That’s not okay.
KC: OH GOD. And from the pages of the ‘we all saw this coming’ book, Don is writing an article about Liza’s age. A fact checker from Vanity Fair – name drop – calls Liza.
CC: Liza and Kelsey are freaking out about this – the fact checker is all over this, calling everyone who’s ever had anything to do with Liza or Millenial, but the sound of it! ‘New phone, who dis?’ is Liza’s choice of dodge.
KC: I love everything about this scene in Reese’s office. EVERYTHING.
CC: Age-Queer is about to become a thing.
KC: But it’s EVERYTHING
CC: So obviously Liza needs to confront Don about the article he’s writing. I feel like “The only thing Don cares about is the free food”. should have been her early warning sign..
KC: He actually says that, as a middle-age white man, he’s the one who’s marginalised! HE ACTUALLY SAID THAT! HE WENT THERE!
CC: Liza and I are in total agreement. Don is an asshole.
KC: Is Caitlyn just here to remind us all that she exists?
CC: Gah! Liza is now bread facing! “I like it on my chin. Really crusty.”
KC: That was amazing. I mean, Liza really sold that. I’m thinking of trying it myself.
CC: THE INKBURG SIGN IS BEING PULLED DOWN!
KC: This is a nice speech from Liza, about how they’re all there for Josh. Josh replies with subtext.
CC: Josh goes in for a hug. And there is subtext: it’s game on. He wants Liza back, that much is obvious. I’m really so happy with this. I’m so team Josh and this is exactly why.
KC: No, let it go! It’s over! Why was there no Charles in this episode?
CC: I don’t think we needed him this week.
KC: Age queer being a thing is amazing. I think it reframes the show from Liza’s lie towards a broader industry problem.
CC: I’m happy with that episode. Lots of tension and lots more fun, plus I think we might have seen the last of Don? Let’s hope, anyway. Next week will reveal all!
Clare: So, last week we finished with a long overdue confrontation between Charles and Liza over her age-lie.
Kate: in which Charles showed absolutely no self-awareness about the challenges of women working in publishing (or at all), but he’s hurting, so I’m hoping that comes later.
This week opens with MAFIA!
Clare: So much room for angst between Charles and Liza.
Kate: I love Mafia so much. I also love how much Diana loves Mafia. I also just love Diana.
Clare: It’s really just an excuse for Charles to go all jilted ex-lover on Liza and for her to make big sad eyes at him.
Kate: Also an excuse to introduce a new love interest (Thank God. Replace Josh. Josh is SO two seasons ago)
Clare: So, not. Josh is evergreen. But yes, there’s a new kid on the Liza block. Enter Don Ridley, a freelance journalist writing for magazines like GQ and People. Oooh er.
Kate: and Diana gets her flirt on. Also Zane gets Mafia murdered and I’m so here for that. I’m still holding on to residual Grey’s Anatomy angst when that actor played a girlfriend basher. Also, Charles, enough with the subtext. I’m #teamyou, but enough already.
Clare: I’m not there yet in Grey’s so I still have the Zane love. This is, of course, contingent on how he treats Kelsey… Post Mafia, Diana has a plumbing emergency, and apparently she thinks Liza might have some special skill?
Kate: I think it might be that Liza is her assistant in everyway. Also I was reasonably willing to get on #teamnewguy until he bogarted a porkchop. Who does that?
Clare: Charles is all of us at that moment.
Clare: Oh my god, it’s Enzo! Good Time Enzo! What season was that? Three?
Kate: Thank goodness. Diana definitely needs a good time.
Clare: Oh, Enzo has been pining!
Kate: Diana is definitely feeling that downtown man thing. I really hope the Thursday night date gets onscreen time. Enough with Liza’s dating adventures, bring on Diana’s!
Clare: Speaking of, Don is not going to take no for an answer.
Kate: I mean, the People party sounds like it would be amazing, but also he stole a porkchop?
Clare: Charles is so convincing in this scene. Like, oh yes, you have to go, Liza. You have to go to the party with another man. Because I’m so over you and I don’t care about you and your new porkchop-souveniring boyfriend.
Kate: I love a good Tupperware burn.
Clare: It’s so Charles to go to Tupperware. Like the most banal of insults.
Kate: Look, I work in publishing, and there are parties, but I am notinvited to those kinds of parties. Damn. Also, I like the ‘you can pick one celebrity’. I would totally pick Taylor Swift. Or Oprah.
Clare: I love that Liza knows no celebrities and has zero interest. Can you imagine if Lauren was there? Anyway, works out well for Don because Liza listens to his celeb-gossip and asks him to pitch a book. Oh! We’re back in the office and now it’s late and Zelsey is on screen. Love this. Zane has a date with someone else and Kelsey takes a leaf out of Charles’s book and is all, “I don’t care” but her look says, I do care. I really do.
Kate: I know you’re in Zelsey land, but I am so bored with this story line. Kelsey needs to get better taste in men.
Kate: Don is the biggest name dropper that has ever dropped names.
Clare: But they’re loving his name-dropping. Uh oh, until Charles swans in all possessive and territorial and super-critical.
Kate: Yes, he’s being super professional and not at all punishing Liza. *calls HR
Clare: I like that Kelsey isn’t making Liza’s thing all about her…
Kate: But she could totally do an I-told-you-so dance right now.
Clare: Liza is so insistent in her meeting with Charles. Go Liza!
Kate: I can see the cold, methodical Charles that Pauline spoke about. He’s positively icy here.
Clare: As opposed to his usual bundle of warmth rolls eyes Oooh! Liza slams his door when she leaves the office… It’s satisfying.
Kate: I think all of the Kelsey/Zane plot line should be replaced by Diana dating.
Clare: I am there for that, but you know I’m also in the Zelsey zone. Meanwhile, Diana’s earrings are out of this world, like extra extra extra. I need some immediately.
Kate: Diana refers to Liza as a drunk toddler and I suddenly had an anxiety attack about having a drunk toddler and now I have to practise yoga breathing for a second.
Clare: Speaking of being a bit extra, as Diana leaves, the camera pans out, and Charles literally looms up, out of the shadows.
Kate: Yeah, they played up the creepy there a bit.
Clare: I know I should find this creepy but there’s an intensity that I’m liking – I guess it’s on the emotional register and I’ve been waiting for Charles to, you know, discover his.
Kate: You and your thing for intense men.
Clare: I mean, I like intensity but really, I would settle for the hint of a pulse with Charles.
Kate: I myself am here for Charles being somewhat more self-aware and recognising Liza’s value as a personand not just a young person. But Liza does notread the room with her ‘let me share my life story’.
Clare: So we’re in Staten Island now and Diana and her earrings are having quite the date with hot plumber (much to her – and my – obvious surprise). Enzo assures Diana he’s not mobbed up, but seriously, the gold chain?
Kate: ‘I’m trying to impress you…it’s a first date, don’t get used to it.’ …wait, I’m #teamEnzo now. I’m sure that the mob thing is just a phase.
Clare: I love their date. Much better than this. What is that? Where are Don and Liza eating?
Kate: I’m definitely not Team Don. I mean, I get that being a writer is very hard, but a lousy tip rather than letting Liza pay?
Clare: I think we’re meant to find this charming but I don’t. They skip out and everything seems hunky dory as the camera pans out but alarm bells are screeching for me. He’s a hard-on-his-luck journo writing unscrupulous stories just to make a buck, and Liza’s sitting on the mother of all secrets. Really, what could go wrong?
Ominous drum roll…
Kate: I also do not approve of his facial hair grooming choices.
Kate: And fin! No Josh, no Lauren, no Maggie, no Pauline…
Clare: and not enough Zelsey
Kate: Too much Zelsey!
Clare: Let’s hope next episode brings the whole gang back together. Younger resumes July 11.