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Saturday Conversations 01/19/2013

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Today we introduce a new topic to our Saturday Conversation posts… this will be a reoccurring chat (see schedule below). I hope you enjoy this read along!
Mmmhm. The Boss is here! Twice per month, we will have author Abigail Barnette here on the blog to discuss the latest installment of her serial contemporary erotic romance, The Boss. Ms. Barnette is providing The Boss free to her readers, with new chapters on the 15th and 30th of each month. If you’re wondering, WTH is The Boss???, here’s a synopsis to whet your appetite:  
Sophie Scaife almost ran away once, trading her ticket to college for a ticket to Tokyo. But a delayed flight and one incredibly hot night with a stranger changed her mind, putting her firmly on track to a degree and a career at a New York fashion magazine.

Six years later, she’s shocked to find that irresistible stranger is now her boss, billionaire Neil Elwood. And Sophie can’t stop thinking about their one amazing night.

But Neil has eccentric tastes, and he wants to be sure Sophie can handle them. Sophie will have to prove she’s his match both at work and at play, and surrender to her Master’s every erotic whim.

Torn between their professional duties and their sensual desires, Sophie and Neil embark on a journey into their darkest sexual fantasies. But when Sophie gets the chance of a lifetime, will she follow her dreams, or her heart?
This week, we’re sending you to read Chapter 1 HERE, then come back to this post to discuss your thoughts on The Boss, and read what others have to say.  No.  Don’t scroll to see what they’re saying first.  Cheater.  Go. Read.  It’s only about 20 pages!  We’ve included a handy SCHEDULE below so you’ll be ready for the next installment discussion. Just bookmark Abigail’s site, and then you can devour the next chapter the moment it goes LIVE! 
We’re excited to have Abigail here, sharing her serial, The Boss, with us.  Here’s what she has to say about the story:
It’s no secret that a large number of female readers feel unrepresented by the heroines and stories that seem to be dominating the romance landscape. Books about feminists being cured by a good spanking from macho Doms, or sexually inexperienced young heroines healing their billionaire boyfriends’ BDSM lifestyles through the magic of 24/7 submission, seem to be the norm. For almost a year now, I’ve been deconstructing the most popular offering in this genre, 50 Shades of Grey. I was horrified by all the misogyny and downright abuse in what is now the best selling paperback of all time.

Of course, a lot of people blame the misogynist, rape-culture aspects of 50 Shades on the fact that it’s a romance. Years ago, I was asked if I thought there was such a thing as a feminist romance novel. At the time, I said no, and if there was, I wasn’t the person to write it. Turns out… I kinda am. I cracked the code. I just have to write a believable, passionate romance by doing the opposite of all the anti-feminist things I really don’t like about other books.

Since this is an experiment or a prototype or what have you, I’m not going to try to sell it to a publisher. Because let’s be honest, it’s not what they’re looking for right now, anyway. I’m going to just give it away for free. That way, anyone who feels like they need to arm themselves as a romance apologist can say, “Here’s a link to a free book. You have no excuse not to read it and see if you’re wrong.” Also, self publishing it for free means I don’t have to worry about adhering to some of the rules I would have to if I were trying to sell it to a publisher. I can make it as long as I want. I can use naughty words and stuff. And if the experiment fails, no one has lost any money, except in the nebulous sense of time being money, if you subscribe to that theory. In which case, you know… swim at your own risk.

I’m really having a great time writing The Boss, and I can’t wait to share it with everyone!
Thank you for stopping by, Abigail! 

Here’s your last chance to read Chapter 1 before you see what we are discussing (and possibly get spoilers). In case you haven’t read Chapter 1 yet, GO. DO. IT!  
The Boss Read-Along
Let’s start off our discussion of Chapter 1 with thoughts on Sophie.  What do you like about her, what are you hating, and what do you think is going to happen with her?  Gimme your predictions!  A lot of readers have already commented on Sophie’s relationship with her best friend and roommate, Holli. Who are your favorite fictional BFFS, that you feel truly embody the spirit of female friendship?
Discuss amongst yourselves!  Abigail and VampBard will be around to kick in their 2 cents until Tuesday!
About the Author
The alter-ego of USA Today Bestselling Author Jenny Trout (Jennifer Armintrout), Abigail Barnette was born during a conversation with author Bronwyn Green, who encouraged Jenny to develop an elaborate fantasy persona– complete with nom de plume– under which to pen erotic romance. Abigail enjoys long naps in fairy-filled glades, running through corridors in tragically romantic haunted castles, and drinking goblet after goblet of spiced wine.
Schedule
Chapter #
Release Date
Read-Along Date

Chapter 1
01/15/13
01/19/13
Chapter 2
01/30/13
02/02/13
Chapter 3
02/15/13
02/16/13
Chapter 4
02/28/13
03/02/13
Chapter 5
03/15/13
03/16/13
Chapter 6
03/30/13
03/30/13
Chapter 7
04/15/13
04/20/13
Chapter 8
04/30/13
05/04/13
Chapter 9
05/15/13
05/18/13
Chapter 10
05/30/13
06/01/13
Chapter 11
06/15/30
06/15/13
Chapter 12
06/30/13
07/06/13
Chapter 13
07/15/13
07/20/13
Chapter 14
07/30/13
08/03/13
Chapter 15
08/15/13
08/17/13
  • http://vampbard.livejournal.com/ vampbard

    Pssst. I’ve been itching to talk aboit this since early December when I read the first chapter! *bouncebouncebounce*

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13981675765453263520 Purva

    The latest trend for making people read their books has become: “If u loved FSOG, then u’ll definitely like this”…but your should be preceded by “If you absolutely hate FSOG, loathe ana, are disgusted by christian, and want to read a real book, then this one’s for you”. the first chapter was totally exciting, and i just can’t wait for the next one!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03654099780429487821 Kayla Curry

    I like how Sophie lets her thoughts run wild, but she doesn’t go completely dumb when it happens. Like when they had just come into the office and she started think about him and their night together and whether or not she would have a job, but when they asked her a question she was able to respond somewhat coherantly. I think it’s unrealistic when characters make huge fools of themselves and AB has found a great middle ground with that scene.

    • http://vampbard.livejournal.com/ vampbard

      I totally agree. I mean, there *are* times when I’ve been struck dumb by a comment, glance… but more often than not, I think that women of the 21st century want to be recognized for their merit. We need to maintain a facade, at times, to ensure our emotions aren’t taken advantage of-and I think that, instead of running, screaming from the office, Sophie more accurately depicts a modern woman.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08759432656586252689 Jenny Trout

    Thanks for reading guys, I’m having so much fun with this book!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09417165718948987609 Mama Kitty

    Just read the first chapter and I’m loving it so far. Sophie seems like a woman who has her head on straight, and I like that about her. Can’t wait to read more!!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08759432656586252689 Jenny Trout

    I think I’m guilty of really being drawn to (and writing) heroines who do sort of lose their heads and get wrapped up in men and abandon their lives. I think this is going to be a healthy exercise for me. Just because I’m more interested in the relationship aspect of a romance doesn’t mean it has to be or should be the ONLY thing a heroine is interested in.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09079980319033515517 Bianca Teofana Bodri

    loved chapter 1 cant wait for chapter 2:)

  • http://vampbard.livejournal.com/ vampbard

    @Jenny – great point. I think some of the reason I get wrapped up in a ‘traditional’ romance is simply because I can escape into the fantasy that I don’t have to work a full-time day job, come home, do the mom/wife thing, and ensure that everyone has their needs met. For a brief, shining moment, I can live the fantasy. The fantasy isn’t realistic anymore. The psychology of this effect would be truly fascinating to study. LOL.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11267961339110264525 marina

    Great first chapter!

    I like the setting and I like the fact that out heroine is surrounded by people (friends and coworkers). Sometimes I get the feeling that the writers leave their characters “deliberately” alone.

    Can I bring the “age thing” forward?! When they met she was 18 and he was 42!!! And now she is 24 and he is 48!!!!! Isn’t that a big age gap?! I’m a little skeptical about that.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11267405113503713323 Twimom227

    @Marina: That was going to be my comment re: age!

    I have to admit, as much as I really enjoyed this first chapter – and the “hook” at the end was perfect! – I am not a fan of 1) the huge age difference and 2) that she is that young.

    With that said, I like Sophie so far… I like that she has every day worries like a lot of us, but she’s still living the glam life (I totally see Anne Hathaway in THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA). I like reading her POV and knowing her insecurities.

    I reserve comment on her relationship with Holli – not enough info yet.

    Overall EXCELLENT first chapter, and I want more NOW! Thanks Abigail & Vampbard!!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08759432656586252689 Jenny Trout

    I’ve heard from a lot of readers that they’re not into the age difference. Which I totally get, some age gap pairings just do not ring my bell at all (like forty-something women and twenty-something guys, mostly because I feel like I’ve already done my penance with twenty-something guys, LOL). I chose to make Neil so much older than Sophie for a few reasons, two that I can disclose without spoilers being 1) that gives them one hell of a hurdle to overcome in terms of romantic conflict, and 2) I’ve been having a difficult time suspending my disbelief for these heroes in their late twenties/early thirties with tons of power and money and their own company. Especially since they all act a lot older on the page than I suspect their real life counterparts (Zuckerberg etc.) do in real life.
    Oh, that and I have craaaaaaaazy daddy issues and hot older men really turn my crank, LOL.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04006714975060315632 Nicki Merz

    @Twinmom: This really reminded me of the Devil Wears Prada as well!

    One thing that has been driving me nuts about a lot of “pro-feminist” or “anti-feminist” storylines is this idea that if you want to be feminine and still
    “strong and independent” you have to be vapid and/or a bitch. In the Devil Wear’s Prada (and I admit I haven’t read the book, so am basing this opinion off the film), all of Andy’s friends and boyfriend were angry with her because she was so wrapped up in her work, but sorry, this is her job, and unless she wants to get fired, she can’t just say “no.”

    On the other hand, if you want to be “strong and independent” and have people respect you, you have to reject everything feminine. What I am super excited about with this book is that Sophie seems like a strong female character who embraces her femininity and yet expects to get attention (and hopefully attraction!) through her competence and hard work.

  • http://vampbard.livejournal.com/ vampbard

    The age thing never crossed my mind, as a reader. I suppose it is quite a gap, but I guess it all depends upon your belief system regarding those things. We take a leap of faith in PNR that the 3000 yr old vampire totally belongs with the 24 yo ingenue. Yeah, it’s PNR so that’s ok. I think society has been programmed to expect couples to be close in age. *nods head* that’s one perspective. However, allowing someone with more experience to guide you through life -especially when they appear to be your perfect match in every other way – that is how I view destiny.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11267405113503713323 Twimom227

    @Jenny: I agree that if you want your hero to be an owner of a successful company & wealthy on top… being older is better than younger. I won’t have a problem reading the story or with the characters; it’s just I won’t identify as much as I would if the heroine was in her 30s and hero in his 40s. It’s more what I would like personally, if that makes sense.

    @Vampbard: PNR can get away with it because it’s paranormal – not “real.” Plus, those 3000 year old males usually look in their 30′s so it’s easier to digest. LOL!

    @Nicki: I only saw the movie, but I agree with you! I love a strong female who isn’t afraid to embrace being feminine (without using sexuality to get ahead). I think Sophie is going to be a fun character to follow!!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11267961339110264525 marina

    I really don’t mind “older” heroes! at 42 I don’t personally consider anyone THAT old and I totally agree with what Jenny said about thirty something heroes with tons of money , it’s just not real !
    i think its time for our MC’s to start growing up a little, if your audience is 40 with family and kids how can they relate to 20-30 heroes?!

    In contemporary romance AGE is a huge mater to me, as huge as feminism!!!! I really enjoy an Alpha shifter or vamp but if a “human” tries to pull something alike…. I start running the other way!!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08759432656586252689 Jenny Trout

    Twimom, I know exactly what you’re saying. I occasionally change the ages of characters in my head when I’m reading if I can’t really connect because of it. I remember reading a contemp years ago where the heroine was in her twenties, but worrying about time running out to have a baby. And I was like, “This makes no sense for this otherwise healthy twenty-five year old to be trying to beat the biological clock, I’m going to make her forty in my head canon.”

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10910709966587153292 Megan

    This book is going to kill me slowly. I’m going to be counting down the days until the next chapter released. What a great start!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11646511289171302379 Lucy

    So far The Boss lives up to all my expectations and I think it will be fantastic!

    One thing I do not like, though: The best friend being named Holli with an i. I dont know if it is just my personal bias, but I feel like female characters with names that end in an i where they usually end in y are frequently the vapid, vain, frivolous, and not particularly bright – airheaded, maybe – character, and the i instead of y trick is used to show those character traits. Whereas Holli doesnt seem like she will be that kind of character.

    Otherwise, I am super pumped to continue reading this book and the two weeks between chapters may kill me!

    Also, I think a hot older guy is like 30 times as sexy as a hot younger guy, so right on Jenny!

    (excuse the lack of punctuation, the apostrophe and quotation marks on my keyboard are currently not working)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06600385921333865758 Irene

    @Lucy, in my opinion that bit about Holli makes the author so much greater – I feel like she’s almost criticizing that “trick”. Because in the end, in reality that’s not how it works at all (what does a particular speling your parents chose have to do with your personality?). I like how she breaks through those stereotypes. Lacis, Hollis and Stacis can be deeper characters too :)

    I agree that two weeks is too long and I will die. lol.

  • http://vampbard.livejournal.com/ vampbard

    @Lucy – I’m gonna go with Irene on this. The spelling thing doesn’t bug me. My kids have pretty traditional names with unique spellings, though. I know alternate spelli.gs, especially the ‘i’ thing, signals the ‘ditz’ character. As readers, I think we allow ourselves to be pigeon-holed. Original Star Trek series… if the character was wearing a red shirt, s/he was getting killed off. Picard wears a red uniform. *shrug* I like the color red :-) <– probably only makes sense to a Trekkie.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17940104071597476200 Tabi Burleson

    I’m very much loving Sophie, and I can’t wait to read more.

    Re: Age difference, as a 27-year-old woman married to a 51-year-old man, it doesn’t phase me. (Yes, I acknowledge that I likely have unresolved daddy issues, and I don’t care. :P )

    Further, I agree about the businessman needing to be older than his freaking 20′s to be so successful. That drives me insane in FSOG. And I could see conflict arising with doing your boss while being young enough to just be getting your foot in the door, career-wise. Good stuff!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02973250495578678254 imcesca

    A very good start to a story I’m very much looking forward to!! I follow Jenny Trout’s 50 SHADES Recaps religiously (damn influenza, robbing me of my weekly fix!!), and if she can pull this off, it’d just icing on the cake. Go Jen!! :)

    So far, I like both Sophie and Holli, although it’s rather early to really form an opinion on either of them. I agree that the setting feels very much like a post-Miranda DEVIL WEARS PRADA office, with Andy/Sophie being the one who stuck to the magazine and Miranda the one who left, but I’m sure the change in management will make things much more unique and intriguing for Sophie.

    The one I really like is Neil.

    I agree, in part, with the age issue. Romantic male leads who are depicted as famous, rich, charismatic entrepreneurs should definitely be on the older side to be really believable, but as a 25 yo working in a law firm with 44 yo partners, a couple of which might easily serve as Neil impersonators, I’d have enjoyed a smaller age gap between the characters. Say, 25-40 rather than 24-48. Maybe Neil wasn’t so incredibly accomplished when he first met Sophie, but it’s still plausible that a 33 yo who’ll turn out to be really successful at 40 might already have the cash to pull off the plane ticket stunt.

    Which brings me to what I really like about Neil: the plane ticket stunt. Sure, it was a bit presumptuous of him to force Sophie’s hand, but in the end all he did was nudge her in the right direction. He didn’t simply switch her ticket: he took away the one she had and left her with its value in money. If Sophie had been sure about postponing college and going to Tokyo all she had to do was go back to the ticket counter an get another ticket to Tokyo. Neil (42) despite feeling that she was making a mistake, respected Sophie’s (18) agency in a way Chedward (27) never did with AnaBella (22).
    What this also implies is that other than crazy awesome sex, the two had at least one coherent conversation in which Neil listened to Sophie and figured out she would miss something in not going to college. Which is also something one hardly finds in FSOG.

    Re: the final cliffhanger. Cute, and I’m sure it’s what is seems: a sign that Neil remembers Sophie. But it wouldn’t have been implausible for a considerate boss to inquire after the identity of the assistant that’s bringing him his breakfast and that he’s gonna have to work with for a while, even if Sophie didn’t give her name.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11267405113503713323 Twimom227

    @imcesca: It’s like you read my mind! Your points are all things I felt while reading this chapter. And as for the cliff-hanger… my note to myself “Any good boss would have asked her name as soon as she left.” LOL… but even though that is true, I want to believe it’s because he does remember her! Your point about the pair having a decent conversation is spot on and makes their future that much more positive!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11646511289171302379 Lucy

    @Irene, @vampbard – I agree fully that the “ends in i” name seems to be used kind of ironically in this situation. Just gives me a little twinge of irritation reading any girl’s name ending with an “i”, probably half due to the frequent characterization of these girls as bimbos and half due to the fact that I grew up in the generation of Brittani-s and Tiffani-s who seemed to take it to heart that the “i” on the end of their names meant they had to act like idiots… I’m sure I will get used to it as the novel progresses and it’s certainly no reason to stop reading!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16437768075665138028 smadronia

    I like Sophie, and I think she’s going to be interesting. My only gripe? I started writing an erotic novel in September, and the character’s name is Sophie. So I keep seeing her, and not this Sophie. I’m hoping my brain will make hte correction soon.

    I was a little concerned about the novel from the start though, because it gave off a Devil Wears Prada sort of vibe. Thankfully, it’s nothing like it, but the opening couple of paragraphs has me a little worried.

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