There is a unique blend of happy and sad that accompanies the end of the annual Romance Writers of Australia conference. For a brief few days, every year, our tribe of Romance Writers gathers in a city hotel, and so commences an intense time of learning, networking, and arguably most-essentially, socialising with our favourite, like-minded writers. Be they aspiring, emerging or established, RWA is a place to simple *be*, in a state of open-minded brain-expansion, assimilating new ways of thinking, working, and managing our writing careers.
From informal dinners on Wednesday night to publisher commitments on Thursday, to the amazing, in-depth all-day workshops on Friday (Rachel Bailey should be required attendance at any and all conferences – she is a font of creative wisdom and has an almost-freakish ability to break things down and explain them in a way that leads to many, many lightbulb moments). Then, there’s the Harlequin cocktail party, always a fun time to let our hair down and mingle, before the core conference kicks off in earnest. The dinner on Saturday is a combination of fine dining, fun, great wine (Moet this year, thank you very much) and it is a time to raise a glass to the award nominees and recipients, and honour their achievements. Not to mention Keri Arthur’s spine-tingling STAND UP, which is a reminder that we all form a valuable thread of this evolving community.
And we are a community – a thriving, growing, ever-changing community filled with brilliance and generosity of spirit and so, so much love. Which is why I’m feeling a hint of melancholy as I sit here, in the airport, waiting for my flight to board. As a die-hard homebody and committed introvert, I am desperate to get home to my normal routines and rhythms, and to see my lovely little family. I’m also inspired and reinvigorated, champing at the bit to hit my keyboard and write all the stories and ideas that have flooded me over the last few days. But there is also sadness here, at leaving behind this crew for another year. Our days together are too short, and very special, and I’m already counting down to 2019.
CC: Charles is cooking! And half-beard is the perfect compromise.
KC: *swoon* Divorce talk is soooo sexy.
CC: Talking about real-world stuff – divorce, children, and she’s working in his house…
KC: Oooh! A story of addiction set in the world of publishing? I’d actually read that.
CC: Liza is so comfortable being herself now and Charles adores her. This is pretty sweet.
KC: Charles totally makes passes at girls who wear glasses.
CC: Lauren! Lauren and Josh! And Kelsey. This is all too good.
KC: Lauren’s skirt is so cute.
CC: Yes. And her hair is still so on point. Oh, Malkie and Maggie and Liza is MIA! Aw. Her loss.
CC: OH MY GOD
KC: ALISON JANNEY
CC: ALISON JANNEY
KC: SHE BETTER BE HERE
CC: I’M IN OVERDRIVE
KC: I WILL DIE
KC: I WILL ACTUALLY DIE
CC: ALL MY FAVOURITE WORLDS ARE COLLIDING
KC: I CAN’T BREATHE
CC: Lauren to Kelsey: “I’ll be even happier when you put me on retainer. That’s a conversation for later.”
KC: Enzo and Diana in bed.
CC: I’m not sure she’s vibed. God… Enzo’s… honk.
KC: And Enzo honks!? I mean, does his mom listen to that?
CC: Honk if you’re horny?
KC: And the episode title suddenly makes so much sense.
CC: And a scene at the Empirical offices to remind us all that these people ostensibly work
KC: Kelsey is feeling her press. So much attitude.
CC: Oooh, and our favourite (slash, apparently the only) New York agent is back. I actually love a world where Lauren is Kelsey’s publicist.
KC: Diana to Kelsey: “You certainly have the hair for it.” Oooh Glamour-cover-model blow-out burn 🤨
CC: Oh, Diana. So Cold! Diana’s outfit is so perfect. Those earrings.
KC: Oh, Diana. “I do have a personal life.” With someone who honks.
CC: Charles’s breast pocket!!
KC: Charles’s splendor extends to the sartorial.
CC: Oh, my, God. That scene! The looks! The secret texting! So flirty and hot! They do good text!
KC: What wine would go with PB&J? It would depend on the jam, right? Like red for strawberry and white for apricot? It’s red for red and white for white. That’s the way it works. Meanwhile, Diana and Lauren are also flirting.
CC: Where does Lauren know Enzo from? Oh, it’s okay. She’s on the case.
KC: I did not know that I needed Diana and Lauren together in one scene. But I so did.
CC: Maybe they’ve made him honk because he’s about to become a bad guy?
KC: Hello, Redmond!
CC: REDMOND. The only agent in NYC happens to be in the same neighbourhood Liza and Charles have sneaked off to for a secret dinner.
KC: And the Crigger manuscript is back.
CC: Redmond about Kelsey: “Our mean little friend.”
KC: Oops. This is awkward. Also, Liza is going to call him ‘sir’ again very soon. Probably naked. Do you think Charles will take the Crigger?
CC: That would be bad if he did. Poor Liza. I think she’s probably really sick of lying. About everything.
KC: Redmond is actually a pretty good agent. He’s doing good agenting here. I mean, until he insults Empirical to the boss. That’s not great agenting.
CC: I don’t think Redmond is doing himself any favours there. Oh, NO!
KC: OH MY GOD, ENZO IS IN PORN.
CC: But… that hairstyle. It looks like a long time ago. OH! The honk!
KC: vintageporn.us I’m so googling that later. THE HONK.
CC: Josh is so hot. I need him to find out about Liza and Charles now.
KC: “I thought all men came like geese.”
CC: So Lauren. Oh, Liza’s dress! I love it. I’m so glad Diana is off her cleanse.
KC: Diana is buying a table at the Glamour awards? Yes, Diva.
CC: Kelsey: “But let’s do it now, before you change your mind.” I’m so glad to see Kelsey’s pants are better this week. Uh oh. Charles going over Kelsey’s head is not good.
KC: I mean, he is her boss.
CC: But still. Millenial is her baby. Oh, poor Liza.
KC: This is something that would totally happen.
CC: WAIT UP. HOLD UP. Liza was a little too obvious there? Oh, a half-truth. Okay… I mean, I’m glad she’s telling Kelsey the truth but Kelsey not being okay with Chiza is HYPOCRITICAL. As you have pointed out a billion times, she has literally no line between work and play.
KC: Also, she’s being a diva here. And so hypocritical. And BTW, I’m not on board with ‘Chiza’. We are going to discuss that later.
CC: Agreed. In a pitch meeting and Kelsey needs to calm the eff down.
KC: Seriously. Kelsey.
CC: So unprofessional. It’s a business pitch. I really don’t think Liza deserves to be frozen out like this. I’m not happy with Kelsey. Do you think it’s a coincidence that Liza’s dress is very school girl? And this is so school yard? Is Kelsey going to blackmail her boss? OH MY GOD. :O
KC: SHE TOTALLY IS. THIS IS SO NOT ON.
CC: NO. What’s happened to Kelsey!?
KC: KELSEY, LIKE WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK?
CC: First season, first ep, Kelsey, “I’ve got you, girl.” Where’d she go!? Charles tells Liza, “We need to talk.” What about!? OH MY GOD, Lauren’s dress! “Kelsey Peters, Maverick.”
KC: Diana and Lauren watching porn at the Glamour party is my new aesthetic.
CC: I want to be at that table. “Thank you, Diva.” I’m in love with this.
KC: Anytime, Diva.
CC: Their new friendship could be world-ending.
KC: Diana and Lauren need to open their own marketing firm. And then film it. And have a Younger spin off.
CC: Okay, Charles is going to bite back….Kelsey is his protégé! She can’t blackmail him.
KC: And Charles is totally giving into the blackmail.
CC: “What I do in this company, and in my life, is my business. Because it is my business.”
KC: Yes, Charles! Tell her!
KC: She was WAY out of line.
CC: Wait. Why has he shaved off his half-beard?
KC: Because all beards have faecal matter in them.
CC: Even in 2mm?
KC: WHAT THE HELL IS UP WITH KELSEY?
CC: She’s all over the place, I know. I have goosebumps though. That was a beautiful scene.
KC: Also, Liza is making Kelsey feel all the bad feelings she should have been feeling in the first place.
CC: I mean it’s also a catch 22, because any friend that would make you choose between them and a man you love isn’t a friend worth having.
KC: No! No! NO ALLISON JANNEY!
CC: And WHAT? NO ALLISON JANNEY? I’m feeling very anxious about this. Is Kelsey (new, kind of crazy Kelsey) going to spill some kind of danger beans?
KC: Agreed. Kelsey better be making one hell of a public apology right now.
CC: “A partnership like ours is rare, and sometimes challenging.”
KC: Keep going, Kelsey.
CC: Yes, okay. That was better. This makes me happy. But woah, she was cray cray for a while there.
KC: As apologies go, I’m going to grudgingly accept on Liza’s behalf. But I’m going to be watching her. 👀
CC: Ooooh, Enzo explaining the porn. It just makes him hotter.
KC: Enzo- I come with baggage. Diana – I know how you come.
CC: “And it’s not like anyone else.”
KC: Diana! SAUCY.
CC: Oh, this is adorable. This episode has all the feels. Oh, God. Is Charles going to put the brakes on things!? Again!?
KC: This episode is all chicks before dicks.
CC: Oh, no, phew. Just reinstating secrecy.
KC: Ovaries before brovaries. “Nothing worth having comes easy.”
CC: I’m love that.
KC: New status quo obtained. And still Diana is in the dark.
CC: Okay, that was good. But yet again, Younger play it a bit fast and loose with their characterisations!? Kelsey doesn’t really have that reaction in her. I mean, yes, be disgruntled, but to take it out in a business meeting? And not to show any concern or want to talk to Liza about this development? But there’s a new secret – because the age secret had kind of lost its juice.
KC: New secret trumps old secret.
KC: That could be the big reveal though. Diana? I’m sleeping with Charles. Also, I’m forty, but Charles and I are together. It’s like a shit secret sandwich.
CC: t’s totally a shit-secret-sandwich.
KC: I wonder if Diana and Enzo are going to watch the video together.
CC: Same! I also wonder about their long term. Could Diana be heading for marriage!?
KC: I mean, if she can find the honking appealing, that’s long-term potential for sure.
CC: That honk is like a barge pulling in.
KC: It takes all kinds, my friend. It takes all kinds.
The third book in my five-book The Evermore Series hits e-shelves today and I am so excited.
I had the idea for this series a while ago, and this couple in particular and their conundrum really lodged in my mind. The series itself is about love and romance, but also: destiny and fate, and the wheels that are always turning to pull us closer together. These are love stories that are bigger than time and space – they are forged in the stars. My couples in this series have so much thrown at them, from other people and life circumstance, but also from their own emotional vulnerabilities and character traits, that it’s almost impossible to see how they’ll find their own HEA. 💔
Fortunately for us, they do, and I so love their journeys!
Xavier and Ellie’s book is out today (CLAIMING HIS SECRET BABY), and later in the year, we’ll get Arabella’s story (you’ll meet her in this book) and her sister Sophia’s story. And they’re Christmas books (my very favourite!). If you haven’t read any of the books in The Evermore Series, I’d recommend starting with THE SHEIKH’S BABY BARGAIN, followed by THE GREEK’S VIRGIN CAPTIVE. While each book is a stand-alone romance with its own very satisfying resolution, you meet the characters for the following book in the preceding book and they’re written to be enjoyed chronologically.
For now though, I’m going to bask 😊 in the delight of knowing that the thousands of you who preordered CLAIMING HIS SECRET BABY will have it live on your kindle within the next twenty four hours. If you haven’t already pre-ordered, the price will only be 99c until the book is live in all territories, then it will skip up to my usual $2.99.
One thing that would be so very helpful, if you’ve read this, or any of my books, is to leave a little review (or even a ⭐️ star rating). It makes the book much easier for lovers of love and readers of romance to find when it’s getting lots of reviews.
I’m off to celebrate 🥂 having a new book out in the ether, and one I love so very much, and I hope you have a lovely day (full of good fun, and great books!).
CC: Liza and Charles on a date opens the scene – wow. This is amazing! They’re nervous!
KC: Oh, Charles. He’s flirting with his open-neck shirt again. WHAT!
CC: It’s a super sensual vibe. Music, lighting, so beautiful. The slow undressing. Oh, Charles’s zipper. This is hot!
KC: Forget the collar! Those ABS! I’m so in love with Charles right now.
CC: Yes! So much better than super-sternal notch.
KC: And it’s not just his abs.
CC: This is a really beautiful scene. Intimate and funny. It feels very right.
KC: ‘Never the same’ is right. I’m so stressed about Diana finding out about this. She’s going to be devastated. Now that Liza finally has The Man. She needs to figure out how to keep her mentor.
CC: Saying ‘goodbye’ outside Liza’s apartment, the juxtaposition of his limo with her graffiti-covered building – is all so symbolic of the differences between them. Annnnd… ten days later.
KC: Liza is definitely starting to dress older. She’s her normal cheery self. I love it.
CC: Charles is back… with a beard?
KC: OH MY GOD. THE BEARD! WHAT IS WITH THE BEARD? MAKE IT STOP! NO BEARD.
CC: Diana, Kelsey and Liza don’t know how to react to that. This is awkward! Charles is speaking personally to each of them but not Liza. Nothing for Liza. Diana is so us in this moment – that beard!
KC: Ugh crumbs. Diana is definitely me.
CC: Aw. Him texting Liza ‘hi’ is EVERYTHING. Start of a secret relationship is the best.
KC: Why is Kelsey in jeans!?
CC: It’s so not Kelsey!
KC: Yes, that text message is just…so sweet and so shy and so everything.
CC: Zane is back to being bastardy. OH BOY. The beard. Just when you think you’ve forgotten, it’s back.
KC: BUT I’M STILL STRESSED ABOUT THE HR IMPLICATIONS. I AM BREAKING OUT IN HIVES. And sleeveless in January in New York is… It’s unlikely. I am so looking forward to Sophia Bell. The new Dr Ruth.
CC: The conversations between Liza and Charles – They are doing SO WELL with this (and this is coming from someone who is squarely TEAM JOSH).
KC: Clare, I feel like there is subtext in this scene.
CC: It’s a lesson on communication in romance. ‘Mystery is where the erotic thrives’ — timed with Charles touching Liza’s leg beneath the table.
KC: Like, maybe I’m wrong. It’s pretty subtle.
CC: STOP LOOKING AT CHARLES, LIZA!
KC: Busy having sex. THAT BEARD IS SO TERRIBLE.
CC: With him grabbing her at every opportunity and her staring at him. And cut to Josh! Josh, josh, josh. Stop being so damned hot. Now that is a man who can pull off a beard.
KC: Maggie is dressed super subtly. I don’t like it. Don’t tone down my Mags.
CC: I’m loving Lauren. Maggie. Josh. Three of my faves.
KC: ‘We shouldn’t, until you shave.’ I hear you, Liza. No kissing with the soup strainer.
CC: Oh, God, No. Liza putting the brakes on everything and Charles just wants to stay in the ‘bubble’ for another night.
KC: I love when Charles has ideas. He always has great ideas.
CC: I can’t handle the beard. He’s reminding me of someone.
KC: Ready to take a ride!? I mean, HELL YEAH, Charles. Oh, not that kind of ride.
CC: Look, I know you are all about Charles, but can I just say, I’m not sure about this. She’s already done fun and hip. That’s Josh.
KC: I feel like this is a New York attraction that paid a lot of money to be in that spot.
CC: Yes. It definitely has that irrelevant kind of feeling.
KC: Wow. Jake is going to places that Kelsey is not.
CC: Why is Kelsey freaking out about the idea of Jack/Jake/John moving to New York?
KC: ‘I’ve been here before.’ Yes you have, Kelsey. YES. YOU. HAVE.
CC: “I’ve made the mistake of getting involved with people I work with.” YES YOU HAVE. HA! SNAP! Kelsey wants to pull back, and be there for Josh professionally, when he’s just practically asked her to move in with him. OUCHIE.
KC: I really don’t think that you’re going to be able to manage this, Kelsey.
CC: I mean, Jake, FFS.
KC: Kelsey has so very little self-control. Or impulse control.
CC: I think she’s right to be cautious and honest and look after her brand. BUT I think this horse has bolted. And it was always going to be difficult to manage, so why even go there!?
KC: I love that we’re seeing Lauren develop into an actual secondary character this season, with her own (shallow) plot lines. WAIT
CC: Maggie and blondie will hook up. NO have hooked up.
KC: We know her!
KC: Oh Malkie. This is not going to be a good date for Lauren.
CC: Poor Lauren.
KC: Why is Malkie laying all her stuff on the table?
CC: I LOVE Josh. Right here, this is why he’s the best. Look at how he cares for Maggie.
KC: She’s embarrassed!? Yes, she should be! Like, geez.
CC: “Shall we do more wine? Smoke a joint?” He is the best.
KC: Josh is very caring. Never disputed that.
CC: Poor Maggie. Asking Liza if she has issues. “We all have issues.” Never truer than in Younger. Kelsey is having another pant fail? This feels unlikely? Could Hillary Duff maybe be pregnant?
KC: She’s definitely changed her style this season? I don’t know? Maybe?
CC: Diana in coffee withdrawals, smelling the coffee – God, I love her. This is me with wine right now.
KC: Even Diana’s jewellery seems to be on a cleanse.
CC: Ah! The stairwell kiss is perfect — two people who can’t bear to be away from one another.
KC: MAKING OUT AT WORK STRESSES ME OUT. THEY ARE GOING TO BE CAUGHT. HR NIGHTMARE!!!!! Lauren’s hair is so cute. I wonder if she follows the Curly Girl method.
CC: I see you are following the curly girl method! Love it. Lauren is actually amazing.
KC: Ummmm…. Malkie and Maggie couldn’t even sit together and chat politely, but now they’re playing flirty face?
CC: And I’m not really sure about the recycled flowers. Maggie bought those for Lauren.
KC: Malkie is all composed and fine now?
CC: Maggie’s lashes! I’m lash obsessed when I watch this show. I feel like they could release a line of false lashes.
KC: I call BS on the consistency of this characterisation.
CC: Yeah, it’s weird. I didn’t feel she would turn Maggie down… is this just Maggie filler?
KC: She’s only there to make Maggie have some sort of revelation.
CC: Jake is talking to Charles and this is making me very, very nervous.
KC: Ohhh, Jake.
CC: Jake’s a bastard. How can their relationship go forward for his asking for his book to me taken from Millenial!?
KC: More proof he is not the nice guy that Zane told Kelsey he is.
CC: Damn it, who is that beard making me think of?
KC: And HERE is how they get Liza and Pauline in the same space! DRAMA.
CC: And Diana is fasting! She’s going to be sooooo hangry! This scene feels very dangerous.
KC: ???? WHAT!!! Oh, poor Diana! She’s still got her thing for Charles.
CC: I’m not happy about this. I don’t want Pauline to be like this, all threatening.
KC: No! Pauline!
CC: On, no! Liza! Don’t go there!
KC: Oh, Liza. No. No.
CC: Oh, dear! I’m not coping with my mommies fighting like this.
KC: This is not a good conversation. Kate is going to tell Empirical. I mean, Pauline. I don’t remember when Pauline found out?
CC: About age? She doesn’t know? Does she? But about Charles and Liza, she definitely suspects.
KC: No, about her and Charles. …
CC: Well, at Pauline’s book launch, Charles got angry with Liza in front of Pauline and the penny dropped for Pauline and she got cross with Liza, remember? Second episode, I think.
KC: Wait. Zane is being complimentary about Kelsey to Charles? I mean, he’s still a dick and definitely doesn’t respect the women he dates. But in this scene, he was okay.
CC: Zane is definitely being an okay guy here, yeah. Charles gives Liza the lowdown on Pauline’s offer. She’ll keep quiet about them but she wants the option to her sequel back. She can get double at Random House. :O
KC: Penguin Random House. I mean. If you want to get technical.
CC: “I just want to stay in our bubble.”
KC: “As long as we can.”
CC: Bubbles always, without fail, burst, friends.
KC: And Liza FINALLY gives us what we all want right here:
CC: Yes, LIZA! CAN THE BEARD!
KC: YES. SHAVE. GO GET RAZORS RIGHT NOW.
CC: No, you can’t work with it! Because I can’t work with it. Charles is not Josh.
KC: Oh my God, this reminds me of an article I read earlier this week about how all beards, even those washed daily, still have faecal matter in them.
KC: Yeah. NO BEARDS.
CC: NO BEARDS. Are they painting the wall outside Malkie’s? This is ADORABLE – especially the Josh helping Maggie bit.
KC: THAT, my friend, is a big gesture.
CC: Talk about grand gestures! Diana in that collar, earrings and a red jacket, asking for three almonds and hot water with lemon?! #SoDiana
KC: Diana’s necklace is getting bigger. She might be feeling cleaner.
CC: OH MAN! THAT BEARD IS GONE!
CC: I am so glad he’s no longer a faecal face.
KC: NO MORE BEARD!
CC: OKAY, Wow. So, in summation, that was an amazing set up for the tension that’s there for them. The danger in their relationship. Plus, we get to see them happy together before they (undoubtedly) experience bubble burst.
KC: Liza’s face in this last scene is my new ‘smug’ gif. But I’m sad that this means we’re probably done with Pauline for good now?
CC: Oh, no way! I don’t get that feeling. I suspect she still wants another kind of revenge. I think she’ll be a thorn in their side. Make life difficult.
KC: I dunno. I feel like getting her to a new publisher is firmly removing her from the picture.
CC: I don’t think Kelsey is going to be happy about another HUGE secret being kept from her. Especially if it has ramifications for her imprint.
KC: I mean, the number of workplace inappropriate people Kelsey hasrelationships with probably doesn’t give her too high a horse.
CC: That’s a very good point. But Liza’s secrecy is another issue.
KC: That’s true. Kelsey has the worst taste in men. Like, seriously, has she dated anyone who wasn’t a self-serving skeeze?
CC: Remember Kelsey’s fiancé?
KC: A very not nice guy. I do feel like Liza and Kelsey’s friendship has taken a backseat anyway. Kelsey is juggling so many men and Liza seems to have re-established her friendship with Maggie. Natural attrition?
CC: Or a side effect of Liza’s original deception.
KC: I mean, I’m not suggesting that Liza’s secret won’t cause issues. It totally will, not least of which because Charles holds all the power and also he can’t control himself at work. OH MY GOD. THE WORKPLACE ISSUES. I REALLY CAN’T, CLARE! I AM A BALL OF ANXIETY AND NERVES.
CC: Yep. The workplace issues are problematic. But I’m less tied up in knots about the HR ramifications and more worried about how their colleagues will feel. People fall in love at work – the power imbalance is dangerous, but ultimately, it’s an eyes wide open situation. HOWEVER, he should at least be trying to toe the line at work. Diana is going to feel so betrayed, and for MANY reasons.
KC: I know! It’s going to tear Diana’s fragile, insecure, tender beating heart wide open.
CC: And also because she likes Liza. And this is a betrayal.
KC: I’m really happy for Charles and Liza and also Charles abs, but Liza has two big secrets from Diana now. I’m pretty sure they both won’t last the season…
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.
Birthdays are a great time of reflection, and I’ve been thinking about what this journey has taught me. So, without further ado, here’s:
FOUR THINGS I’VE LEARNED IN FOUR YEARS.
1. WHEN YOU LOVE WHAT YOU DO, IT DOESN’T FEEL LIKE WORK.
My doctor asked me today what my hobbies are, and I had to stop and think about that for a minute. There are lots of things I love, like cooking and walking on the beach, but nothing I love so much as writing romance. It’s the last thing I do before bed each night and the first thing I do when I wake up, and I spend the day plotting and tinkering and writing and wishing I was writing when I’m not able to write.
2. DON’T READ TOO MUCH INTO REVIEWS – GOOD OR BAD
I’ve become much better at ignoring reviews – good and bad. It’s hard to write the books you want to write when you have other people’s voices in your head. Not my characters’ voices, but reviewers’. Everyone has opinions, and those opinions are valid, but they’re not particularly helpful when you’re trying to do something creative. I can’t write the story I want to write if I have other people’s opinions swirling around my mind. Nurture the vision you have for a book, protect it from anyone’s bubble-popping until you’re one hundred percent happy with the book you’ve written.
3. WRITING IS A JOB – A *REAL* JOB
This one took me a long time to accept. After all, if you love what you do, can it really count as a ‘job’? The answer is ‘yes’, absolutely, and it’s important to prioritise it as such. I keep a to-do list, and schedule my time, making sure I tick off small tasks in the morning, then hit my daily word count, before returning to some other marketing chores in the afternoon. Anything remaining gets dealt with after dinner, and then, if there’s time, I write a little more before bed. I have to guard my work time fiercely – and this is even more important if you’re juggling writing with another job, or other time-taking family commitments.
4. REFILL THE WELL OFTEN, AND WELL
It’s important to switch your creating-brain off sometimes, and simply soak up someone else’s work. I regularly take a few days to read or watch a TV series or movie (When Harry Met Sally is a favourite of mine!), and find this time my most productive for solving plot problems or hatching new story ideas. I always feel more refreshed when I next return to my work, seeing a project with more clarity.
It’s important to carve out regular breaks, as well. I’m not actually good at this, but I know I write better and feel happier if I force myself to take a weekend with my family- or minimise my work to an hour or two at most.
I guess there’s a lot more I’ve learned along the way – the nitty gritty of self-publishing, the workings of traditional publishing, the pleasure of seeing my book on the shelves of major shopping chains, the joy of knowing people are reading and loving my books, the importance of finding your awesome book tribe and cheering on their successes whenever you can, and the delight of being able to do this for a living …