Blogger Review: The Phantom Paragrapher

Thanks for the fab review on The Phantom Paragrapher!

Here's an excerpt:

Later in the book it gets a little darker and we find ourselves in the middle of a romantic suspense uncovering secrets and lies from the past and present.  I quite liked reading Crushed as it showed readers that even after the main character's divorce and the rocky beginning that Grace could succeed and stand on her two feet - I enjoyed the fact that near the end she became a strong female character.

Here's a link to the review. 

Blogger Review: Jersey Girl Book Review

Huge thank you to Kathleen of Jersey Girl Books for her 5-star review of Crushed!

Here's an excerpt:

With a quirky cast of characters, witty dialogue and humorous interactions, a rich description of the Bay Area setting of San Francisco, and a realistic storyline that women can relate to, Crushed is a wonderful story of strength and renewal.

To read the full review, click here

Blogger Review: Coffeeholic Bookworm

Thank you, Claire, of Coffeeholic Bookworm for the lovely review of Crushed! Here is an excerpt:

Intrigues, scandals, bitter exes, demanding wives, controlling husbands and lies abound Finedale, and Grace was caught in this cacophony of deafening alarms. Thanks to her new friends, they were able to discover the truth about this rehab for divorcees, and Grace had finally learned how to deal with her husband, once and for all.
This was a charming read! Grace wasn’t the kind of woman I expected her to be. I thought she would crumble and fall when her marriage was on the rocks. But she surprised me with her wit, innocence and attitude. The charming ladies of Finedale were a hoot! I had a grand time laughing at their expense (sorry, they were just really adorable, I couldn’t help but laugh with them).
What I loved the most is the San Francisco setting. I have always wanted to go there, visit my relatives and walk among the grape fields of Napa Valley and San Fran. Thanks Layne Gray for a wonderful story and beautiful scenery!

 

Blogger Review: Blurbs and Words

Thank you to Miranda of Blurbs and Words for the fabulous review of the book, Crushed!

EXCERPT:

My Thoughts on the Book……..

Layne Gray’s new book Crushed is an excellent read and story of hope and renewal.  If you are a  woman who has ever tried to restart your life, then Crushed is the book for you.

A chick-lit novel for sure, but of course we all need those!!  Am I right ladies??

I loved reading this story and realizing that all is not lost when you have to pick yourself up and start over again.  In fact, amazing things can happen when life throws you a curveball.

Joining Grace on her new journey was excitement, to say the least.  I laughed with her, cried with her, and got angry with her.  But I also felt proud of her for not letting her bad situation win!!

And doesn’t FInedale sound like the perfect retreat?  I know several women who would love to join in!

I hope you will join Grace as she steps from her old life into her new one.


Thank you Miranda for the lovely review!

Blogger Review

I love Kate. And I love her website which is 'The Website For Kates, By Kates and About Kates'! And I love the fact that she did a book review of Crushed and liked it!

Here's an excerpt of her review:

Kate’s Book Report:

Crushed: Happily Ever After 2.0 should really be listed under the comedy genre, because this book is seriously funny. Not my usual fare, but I’m happy that it came across my desk because it is an entertaining read. I’ve heard some griping lately that there aren’t enough books that feature romance for mature characters (read anyone over the age of 25). Crushed is one of the answers to that complaint. Grace isn’t old, but she’s old enough to have been married for so long she’s on autopilot with a teen son who’s basically self sufficient. When her friends put her up to a sexy surprise for her husband arriving home from an overseas business trip, that moment-gone-terribly-wrong sets into motion the wackiest set of events that will take Grace from housewife to divorcé in a blink. What does a well-off woman in the prime of her life do after divorcing her husband? Everything!

These characters live a life outside of my own circle–West Coast bank money; the sums the characters lose in this book are ridiculous and could probably fund entire towns for years. But that’s kind of the point. Life happens to everyone. The happenings here might make you bust a stitch laughing. The mix-ups are internal and external, big and small, and the smartest character in the entire book is the fifteen-year-old son, which proves a theory I’ve had that we don’t really grow up we just grow older. If you can get passed some of the more ridiculous plot devices, you might find yourself crushing on Crushed.


Thanks, Kate, for your awesome review!!!

The Hero's Journey, Part IV

Photo courtesy of JD Hancock. Flickr Creative Commons.

Photo courtesy of JD Hancock. Flickr Creative Commons.

The Hero's Journey is a pattern of narrative identified by the American scholar, Joseph Campbell, that appears in drama, storytelling, myth, and religious ritual. It describes the typical adventure of the archetype known as The Hero, the person who goes out and achieves great deeds on behalf of the group, tribe, or civilization. In the case of the main character in the book, Crushed, it is on behalf of womanhood. 

The second four stages of The Hero's Journey were discussed in the previous blog post, The Hero's Journey, Part III. What follows is the third and final of three phases. How each of these relate to the book, Crushed, is highlighted in italics. Please note that spoilers to the story lie ahead so if you haven't read Crushed we recommend doing so first. 

9.        THE REWARD.  The hero takes possession of the treasure won by facing death.  There may be celebration, but there is also danger of losing the treasure again.

Grace puts the pieces together to realize Lucille's motivations are not what she says they are. 

10.      THE ROAD BACK.  About three-fourths of the way through the story, the hero is driven to complete the adventure, leaving the Special World to be sure the treasure is brought home.  Often a chase scene signals the urgency and danger of the mission.

Grace agrees to become one of Lucille's Ambassadors and offers to host a party of past Finedale alumna. 

11.     THE RESURRECTION.  At the climax, the hero is severely tested once more on the threshold of home.  He or she is purified by a last sacrifice, another moment of death and rebirth, but on a higher and more complete level.  By the hero’s action, the polarities that were in conflict at the beginning are finally resolved.

Grace confronts Lucille at the alumna event to which Lucille spews resentment. Grace convinces Lucille to step down or face prosecution. 

12.       RETURN WITH THE ELIXIR.  The hero returns home or continues the journey, bearing some element of the treasure that has the power to transform the world as the hero has been transformed.

Grace meets with her friends at the restaurant she left from when she went to pick her husband up at the airport at the start of the story. Not only are long-time friends in attendance but her new friends, as well. In the Epilogue Grace is with Peter, Nick, her father - George, and Joyce and talks about transforming Finedale and bringing Peter on-board as part of the team. 

 

Thank you for participating in The Hero's Journey. For more information or to read the book, The Hero of a Thousand Lives. click here. 

 

*http://www.thewritersjourney.com/hero's_journey.htm 

The Hero's Journey, Part III

Photo courtesy of JD Hancock. Flickr Creative Commons.

Photo courtesy of JD Hancock. Flickr Creative Commons.

The Hero's Journey is a pattern of narrative identified by the American scholar, Joseph Campbell, that appears in drama, storytelling, myth, and religious ritual. It describes the typical adventure of the archetype known as The Hero, the person who goes out and achieves great deeds on behalf of the group, tribe, or civilization. In the case of the main character in the book, Crushed, it is on behalf of womanhood. 

The first four stages of The Hero's Journey were discussed in the previous blog post, The Hero's Journey, Part II. What follows is the second of three phases. How each of these relate to the book, Crushed, is highlighted in italics. Please note that spoilers to the story lie ahead so if you haven't read Crushed we recommend doing so first. 

5.        CROSSING THE THRESHOLD.  At the end of Act One, the hero commits to leaving the Ordinary World and entering a new region or condition with unfamiliar rules and values. 

At the end of Act I, Grace is honored with the coveted Golden Challis award as she graduates from Finedale, as given to her by her mentor, Lucille. She is returning to the real world and it is not known yet what lies ahead in terms of her marriage (or divorce), her career or her love life. 

6.        TESTS, ALLIES AND ENEMIES.  The hero is tested and sorts out allegiances in the Special World.

Grace is tested in many ways - from the divorce trial to her starting her new business. 

7.        APPROACH.  The hero and newfound allies prepare for the major challenge in the Special world.

Grace employs her new friend, Gigi, as well as many old friends to help her launch her new business, which she's never done before. 

8.        THE ORDEAL.  Near the middle of the story, the hero enters a central space in the Special World and confronts death or faces his or her greatest fear.  Out of the moment of death comes a new life. 

In the middle of the story Grace actually does face death, including the reflection of her sister's death as well as dealing with the death of her mother. 

 

The Hero's Journey, Part II

Photo courtesy of JD Hancock. Flickr Creative Commons.

Photo courtesy of JD Hancock. Flickr Creative Commons.

As highlighted in the previous blog post, The Hero's Journey, Part I, Joseph Campbell addressed the story of an ordinary person stepping up to an extraordinary journey. George Lucas used the concept for his epic Star Wars films.  

Although this model was not followed whilst developing the story of Crushed, there are definitely similarities. The following first four stages of the Hero's Journey are addressed below with the correlation to the story of Crushed in italics (Note that there are spoilers so if you haven't read the book we recommend doing so before reading on):

1.        THE ORDINARY WORLD.  The hero, uneasy, uncomfortable or unaware, is introduced sympathetically so the audience can identify with the situation or dilemma.  The hero is shown against a background of environment, heredity, and personal history.  Some kind of polarity in the hero’s life is pulling in different directions and causing stress.

Grace thinks she sees her husband having an affair and she doesn't know what to do. 

2.        THE CALL TO ADVENTURE.  Something shakes up the situation, either from external pressures or from something rising up from deep within, so the hero must face the beginnings of change. 

Brett tells her best friend, Grace, of a place she can go to get back her self-esteem and build her confidence - a secret retreat for discarded wives. 

3.        REFUSAL OF THE CALL.  The hero feels the fear of the unknown and tries to turn away from the adventure, however briefly.  Alternately, another character may express the uncertainty and danger ahead.

Even though Finedale sounds attractive Grace doesn't want to go without talking to her husband, Peter, first. When Peter doesn't respond Grace makes the personal decision to seek out her own truth. 

4.        MEETING WITH THE MENTOR.  The hero comes across a seasoned traveler of the worlds who gives him or her training, equipment, or advice that will help on the journey.  Or the hero reaches within to a source of courage and wisdom.

At Finedale Grace meets Lucille, the owner of the retreat. Grace admires her greatly and Lucille makes Grace her protege. 

The next blog post will address Stages 5 through 8. Stay tuned!

 

The Hero's Journey, Part I

Photo courtesy of JD Hancock. Flickr Creative Commons.

Photo courtesy of JD Hancock. Flickr Creative Commons.

The script for George Lucas’s 1977 movie Star Wars was influenced by The Hero with a Thousand Faces, a 1949 book by the American mythologist Joseph Campbell. Campbell believed that at the heart of all the wild and varied myths and stories which mankind has dreamt lies one single archetypal story of profound psychological importance. He called this the monomyth. As Campbell saw it, the myths and legends of the world were all imperfect variations on this one, pure story structure. As Campbell summarised the monomyth, “A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.”

Campbell found echoes of this story wherever he looked; myths as diverse as those of Ulysses, Osiris or Prometheus, the lives of religious figures such as Moses, Christ or Buddha, and in plays and stories ranging from Ancient Greece to Shakespeare and Dickens. This story is now known as “The Hero’s Journey.” It is a story that begins with an ordinary man (it is almost always a man) in a recognisable world. That man typically receives a call to adventure, encounters an older patriarchal mentor, undergoes many trials in his journey to confront and destroy a great evil, and returns to his previous life rewarded and transformed. George Lucas was always open about the fact that he consciously shaped the original Star Wars film into a modern expression of Campbell’s monomyth, and has done much to raise the profile of Campbell and his work.

So that has to do with mythology. But many stories, Crushed included, follow similar stages. Our next blog post will outline the first four stages of the Hero's Journey and the correlation to the book, Crushed.

 

* From http://www.thewritersjourney.com/hero's_journey.htm

Chapter Thirteen - Wine Reference

Poet’s Leap, Riesling, Columbia Valley

To be or not to be, that is the question indeed.

 

I was having fun with this wine reference for this particular chapter. The reason is that Peter is so blustery he is quite the opposite of a poet during his meeting with Brett. As the author I really felt this showed Peter's true colors, or at least those colors that come through given his lifestyle and work environment (if you've already read the book you'll know that there are some changes in store for him). 

Read Chapter 13 >

Music - Chapter 20

This photo is from the song "Hope Has Come" - an original song from Generation  unleashed. 

This photo is from the song "Hope Has Come" - an original song from Generation  unleashed. 

When writing Chapter 20, where Nick performs in a school concert with Camille, and both Grace and Peter show up, not expecting to see each other, I based the song he supposedly wrote on the track, "Hope Has Come". Generation Unleashed is a youth ministry based in Portland, Oregon for teens age 12 - 18. Here's a link

I really love this song - the lyrics, the melody, the meaning. I played it over and over again as I wrote the chapter, trying to get the soulfulness just right. 

Generation Unleashed. To get your copy of the CD go to iTunes and download today. http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/hope-has-come/id482607902

If you would like to read Chapter 20, click here

Chapter Eleven - Wine Reference

Jake’s Creek Cabernet Sauvignon

Calistoga

Rich dark fruit that makes a big, rugged cab.

So in Chapter Eleven is when we first meet Jake who is brought in to help the women attending Finedale get their 'flirting on' (he ends up doing a lot more than that, right?).

It would be difficult to visualize him drinking a soft white wine. If wine at all it needs to be a big, hearty Cab, like the one found here. 

Read Chapter 11 > 

The location of Finedale

The southern end of the Napa Valley. Photo courtesy of Wally Gobetz. Flickr Creative Commons.

The southern end of the Napa Valley.

Photo courtesy of Wally Gobetz. Flickr Creative Commons.

 

The fictional camp for discarded wives - Finedale, is supposedly in the Napa Valley. The camp does not exist even though many readers have suggested it be built since it could go to good use in real life! 

 

High above the Napa Valley. Photo courtesy of Youtwo. Flickr Creative Commons. 

High above the Napa Valley.

Photo courtesy of Youtwo. Flickr Creative Commons. 

The location I visualized when describing Finedale was in the southern end of the valley called the Carneros Region. It is where they primarily grow Chardonnay grapes. The photo below is from on top of the hill where I described a field of lavender - that's where Grace sits with Lucille and talks about relationships. Within that chapter there are several clues dropped that the reader hopefully picked up on about Lucille. 

Looking toward the west over the Carneros Region of the Napa Valley. 

Looking toward the west over the Carneros Region of the Napa Valley. 


The art of aging gracefully (according to Hollywood)

I just snuck out to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens, this afternoon. Again. I actually really loved the film. Twice now; and it definitely held up the second time. 

But I also loved the fourth-quarter Oscar-worthy films of 2015: The Big Short, Room, Carol, The Danish Girl and, my personal favorite fun-fest, The Martian. But back to Star Wars...and Carrie Fisher.

DISCLOSURE: I do not consider myself a feminist. But, man oh man (woman oh woman?), I am shocked as to how Internet trolls are treating the 'aging' of Carrie Fisher aka Princess/General Leia.  

I've actually never really pondered the issue of age discrimination. But based on the following 'now' versus 'then' - everyone seems to be talking about how Carrie Fisher has not aged well. How about Harrison Ford - huh? They've both aged...considerably, like humans do. So why is it everyone's talking about Carrie Fischer's aging and NOT Harrison Ford's? 

I dunno. What do you think?

CARRIE FISHER (Princess Leia)

 

 

 

HARRISON FORD (Han Solo)

 

 

 

 

ANGELINA JOLIE (A Hollywood beauty as a 'control specimen')

 

We all age; if we didn't it'd be super weird. And, yes, there are many people out there who poke and prod in an effort to tap into the fountain of youth. But Carrie Fisher I think looks fabulous. And for all the life experiences she's had, she wears her badges of honor with smooth elegance and grace. 

What do you think? Comment below!

Grace in the movie

If a movie were to be made of the book, Crushed, who would you want to play the main character, Grace? 

Write your choice in the Comments section below!  And scroll down to find out who author, Layne Gray, visualized as Grace while writing the manuscript...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Yes, Jessica Chastain could be the perfect Grace. Although Layne would be happy with any of the selected actresses. Who would you choose?

Music - Chapter 1

When I wrote the book I had a lot of inspiration - I visualized certain actresses and actors in the various roles of my characters. I also listened to a lot of music and certain songs resonated with me for certain chapters.  In particular, Chapter 1 has always been correlated to U2's song, All I Want Is You. 

The pacing of the chapter I got down to actual time marks.  The first few minutes of the song I visualized Peter flying in over the Golden Gate bridge on his way home from Hong Kong while Grace drove to the airport to surprise him by picking him up. 

Here are some additional time marks in the song:

3:00 mark: Grace walks into the airport

3:45 mark: Grace sees the younger woman come into the Arrival Waiting Area

4:10 mark: Peter exits through the Arrival Doors

4:30 mark: Grace runs away

Read Chapter 1

Chapter Ten - Wine Reference

 

Leitz Out, Riesling, Rheingau

            It may be sweet on the nose but it goes down very, very dry.

This wine reference is a direct correlation to the semi-erotic massage Grace gets from Hans, the German massage therapist. I don't know if the Riesling is any good but I loved the name of it. For more about Leitz Wines, click here.  

CLICK HERE to read Chapter Ten.