The Cinderella Deal’s Evil Twin

Feb12010

So The Cinderella Deal is out now, reissued from its 1995 (?) publication. And now that it’s readily available, I should probably explain why it’s so much like Strange Bedpersons. You didn’t notice that? Yeah, you did, you’re just being nice. Here’s what happened.

The first year I started writing, I wrote three novels: Keeping Kate, The Cinderella Deal, and Bet Me. They were all Very Bad, but I loved them and didn’t know enough to know they were Very Bad. So I kept sending them out and getting them back with form rejection letters Xeroxed crooked on the paper because they were in such a rush to get them out of the offices. Then through one of those miracles, Keeping Kate ended up on the desk of a book doctor at Harlequin, Sherie Posesorski, and she said, “If you will do what I tell you to, you can fix this and we will publish it.” And I did and they did and that was Manhunting. (Yes, I hate that title.) Then I wrote Getting Rid of Bradley, and that went well. And then I sent her The Cinderella Deal and Bet Me, both still Very Bad unbeknownst to me. And she rejected them. This is publishing, folks.

So I was getting another proposal together for her, but I still believed in TCD and Bet Me, so as a courtesy, I called her and said, “I’m sending these to Bantam Loveswept. I understand you don’t want them, no hard feelings, but I’d like to keep trying.” And she said, “You can’t, you have an option clause with us.” And I said, “You rejected them, the option clause is voided.” And there was a long silence and then she said, “Let me call you back.”

While we’re waiting for her to call back, you should know that The Cinderella Deal was about a woman named Daisy who was an artist and had father issues.

About an hour later, she called back and said, “We’re buying The Cinderella Deal.” Hooray! “We just have a few changes we need you to make.” Sure, no problem. “Her name can’t be Daisy, she can’t be an artist, and she can’t have father issues.” Long silence on my end. Finally I said, “Why are you buying the book if you don’t like any of it?” And because she always told me the truth, one of the many things I loved about Sherie, she said, “Because we don’t want to lose your option clause. Write anything you want, just don’t write that.”

Okay, I was young and stupid, so instead of starting a new book–say something called Whatever MaeBelle Wants, another great title HQ screwed up–I tried to rewrite The Cinderella Deal and ended up with something that wasn’t at all what I wanted because what I wanted was The damn Cinderella Deal. Still, Harlequin liked it, and they let me keep my new title, Strange Bedpersons, and they sent the check, so I chalked it up to experience and moved on.

Two years later, HQ and I parted company because of a contract dispute and my brand new agent, Meg Ruley the Fabulous, said, “Okay, we’re going to take you single title, do you have any manuscripts we can sell to keep the wolf from the door while you’re working on Frog Point Wallow? (That one got changed to Tell Me Lies. Thank god.) I said, “Well, The Cinderella Deal,” which I had been working on off and on for awhile because I still loved that story and because I’d had to cut a good 85% of it to please the HQ editors, and I wanted that 85% back. So Meg called Beth de Guzman at Bantam and said, “Have I got a book for you, baby,” and sent her TCD and Beth said, “Absolutely,” and gave me a two-book wolf-repelling Loveswept contract, and I looked at the last rewrite of TCD and thought, “Hmmm.”

Loveswept, for those of you old enough to remember, was Bantam’s category line. When I sold to them, it was on its last legs which meant we all knew that nobody was going to read my Bantam books. Given that, I figured this was my chance to go outside my comfort zone. The criticism my books most often got was that they were a little cold. So I thought, Okay, we’re going for the heart on this one, I will no longer fear melodrama, for this one book, I will embrace it. And I did. And to this day, there are people who swear that TCD is their favorite Crusie, I think just because of that. It gets pretty schmaltzy in there, folks. Unlike Strange Bedpersons. Loveswept published it and sold 97% of the copies they printed and I still owe them half the advance, that’s how few copies went out there. Which is probably good because the cover was awful. Even worse than than the new one. But I digress. [Before I forget, the other Loveswept book was a hotel caper because I wanted to see how fast I could move a story. Turns out, pretty fast. Trust Me On This, reissued by Bantam this November, I believe.)

So here’s why TCD and SB are twins: They started from the same embryo. I deliberately took Strange Bedpersons away from the key components of The Cinderella Deal because I was told to, and because of that I was even more detached than usual in that book. Then I picked up the same starting draft because the book Strange Bedpersons ended up becoming was nothing like the book I wanted The CInderella Deal to be, and I wrote toward warmth and emotion and melodrama.

Keep in mind that when I was doing this, all of my HQ books went out of print in a month, and Loveswept had rack space in about three stores, so the chances of anybody reading both books was pretty slim. And I really wanted to do The Cinderella Deal my way.

Then of course, Things Changed, and HQ has been an absolute champ about keeping my backlist in print, and now here’s a bright shiny new edition of The Cinderella Deal from Bantam, so a lot of people are going to be saying what Kira said in the comments to the last post: “You know, those books are a lot alike.”

Yep. Twins. Fraternal twins but twins nonetheless.

You got me.

Filed in Writing

122 Comments to 'The Cinderella Deal’s Evil Twin'

On February 1, 2010 at 8:37 pm Susan said...

Interesting. I’m curious, though. You mentioned writing “Bet Me” that same year, but it was shelved until much later, right? Did the final version (which is my favourite of your books) bear any resemblance to the original?

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On February 1, 2010 at 8:42 pm Jenny said...

Almost none. It really was a stinker. I think the only things I kept were the best friends and the bet, and the bet is the weakest thing about the book. Min and Cal used to be Jane and Mac and they were very different. Jane hadn’t just been dumped. There was no cat, no fate, no nephew, no doughnuts, no sister-in-law. I think Emilio’s was in there. If there’s 5000 words from the original ms in the final book, I’d be surprised.

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On February 1, 2010 at 8:49 pm r. said...

No doughnuts? I bought stock in Krispy Kreme after listening to that part. Ah, I need more stocks, so could you…….?

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On February 2, 2010 at 3:25 pm PG said...

Given that Atkins seemed to have beat out Krispy in that round of the food culture wars, I’m afraid the winners in Crusie novels are not necessarily the winners of the stock market. Then again, Dr. Atkins has passed away and his company went into Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2005, so maybe it’s time to believe in doughnuts again. I could definitely see them replacing cupcakes as the easy-to-carry sweet.

The Cinderella Deal is my favorite of your genre romance novels. I keep two copies of the original Loveswept edition so I have one to loan out. I remember I loaned it to one friend who had just been in a car wreck that caused her to miscarry, and her engagement was breaking up at the same time. It was the right book at the right time: she really identified with Daisy’s maintaining her own identity, particularly as an artist, while still growing up. I think The Cinderella Deal is a fairy tale and therefore timeless, whereas Strange Bedpersons was cute but already a bit dated by the time I read it (in 1998).

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On February 1, 2010 at 8:57 pm J said...

I just read the Cinderella Deal this weekend and it was the perfect book for reading while it was snowing. I’m glad it was reissued. I’d read the first chapter on your website a few years ago, and couldn’t wait to read it, but also couldn’t find it anywhere.

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On February 1, 2010 at 9:19 pm Lynn said...

Just bought Cinderella Deal today, it’s in my suitcase to read in the hotel tomorrow evening in Columbus.

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On February 1, 2010 at 11:48 pm Briana said...

Ooh, I live in Columbus and I just read it too (for the first time). Very fun! I hope you enjoy it. And your visit here. :-)

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On February 1, 2010 at 9:26 pm Nancy said...

Does it make me a strange person if I tell you that I still own the entire Loveswept line after all these years? So just so you know somebody did read your Loveswept books :)

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On February 3, 2010 at 11:33 am Kate said...

I loved the Loveswept line too. I kept many of the books especially Kay Hooper’s and Iris Johansen. Of course they were at my mom’s and got tossed eventually. BUMMER!

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On February 3, 2010 at 2:22 pm CrankyOtter said...

I read every Loveswept my library had from number 1 to about 600 when I went off to college and lost touch. Once I found them, I dumped harlequins almost utterly. (At the time I read only category and no single title.) They did have some very good authors including Kay Hooper – who I remember as being fantastic, but have not liked the last 3 of her books I read for various reasons so I’ve given up on her. But for a teen looking for safe spice, with some realism I could relate to (aka not 42 year old doctors marying their 19 yr old nurse after a close mouthed kiss…) that Loveswept line was manna. I’m forever grateful to Bantam for it.

I think a couple of my very favoritest authors, like Jenny, whose work I read and re-read, were picked up by Loveswept just after I stopped reading them in favor of not failing at higher education – I always wonder if I would have seen them for the gems they were or if my “I don’t read books twice” mentality would have driven me right through them and on to the next without a thought.

I seem to have lost several of my Crusies in my move, including “The Cinderella Deal” and “Manhunting”. I still have “Trust me on this” (ebay acquisition) which shared shelf space them both so I’m at a loss as to what happened to them. Yay for reprints!

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On February 1, 2010 at 9:57 pm Hannah said...

I love Bet Me, Although the bet isn’t my favorite part. We named a rescue lab Minnie for Min

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On February 1, 2010 at 10:06 pm RfP said...

I read your Loveswept books. The local library system had multiple copies of every Loveswept because the librarians felt that the line was consistently well-written. I know this because the Librarian In Cowl Dresses said so every time I checked out a Loveswept. She didn’t even say it with a sniff; it was more self-congratulatory: “Yes, those are consistently well-written, aren’t they. A good choice for a smart library.”

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On February 1, 2010 at 10:13 pm Becky said...

I think I maybe read TCD years ago, but I’ve slept since then. Was there a scene with the heroine doing portraits in a subway or train station or something, and another, um, interesting scene at his boss’s dinner party, and maybe the couple nursed a set of kittens, or am I remembering a totally different book? (Or perhaps mashing up a couple of books together in my mind. I do that, too.)

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On February 2, 2010 at 11:26 am Jenny said...

Nope. Different book.

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On February 2, 2010 at 6:06 pm Becky said...

I guess that means I haven’t read it yet. So yay! New Crusie!

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On February 1, 2010 at 10:14 pm Steff M said...

I too just picked up TCD and can’t wait to read it.
Today is my son’s 11th birthday and when I asked him what kind of cake he wanted he said he didn’t want cake he wanted donuts. So naturally I took my cue from Bet Me and made a “donut cake.” He loved it!

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On February 1, 2010 at 10:16 pm Steff M said...

Sorry – I mean doughnut.

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On February 1, 2010 at 10:27 pm robena grant said...

How interesting. I love the story of your writing journey. We only see you as the mulit-talented, multi-published goddess. We forget you had to come up through the ranks and deal with all the crap.
I read TCD this past weekend and commented on the prior post. The interesting thing for me was I’d just finished our bookclub read, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, by Steig Larrson. It was a thriller, a cold book and dealt with sadistic sexual violence, very graphic, and I didn’t really care much for any of the characters. It left me with a twitch. : 0
Anyway, the next day, after a fitful sleep, I went out and bought TCD and read it in one sitting. Had to cleanse myself of all of the trauma of the book before. It worked. I loved the story and it left me feeling warm all over.

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On February 2, 2010 at 7:41 pm J said...

I felt the same way after The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
Jenny’s books are good turn to books when you need something that is a warm, fuzzy blanket for your soul.

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On February 2, 2010 at 8:33 pm Carol Anne said...

Absolutely agree. If I cannot sleep, Bet Me or any JC or JC/BM is my sleeping pill. I can go to sleep with a smile on my face. I will try to find TCD, I am on holidays in Hawaii, poor me. There were roosters crowing at 2 AM this morning, really “poor me” I could not go back to sleep. Apparently there was a full moon and the roosters thought it was the sun!

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On February 3, 2010 at 8:44 pm Carol Anne said...

“Life is not the way it’s supposed to be. It’s the way it is. The way you cope with it is what makes a difference.” ~ Virginnia Stair

A woman without sleep is very cranky indeed. A woman without a Jennifer Crusie to read is even crankier. My other self who is very gracious, gave me a good talking to for being rude while people have it far worse in life and I bitched all over someone else’s blog. Off to see if the grocery store has a TCD in the book section. So glad it is Number 11 and you were surprized.

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On February 1, 2010 at 10:34 pm GatorPerson said...

The old TCD cover? The one with the photograph of a man? Loved it. By now he’s fat, jowly, and bald. But then? OMG!

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On February 1, 2010 at 11:12 pm Tawna Fenske said...

My copy of THE CINDERELLA DEAL just arrived today and I almost hugged the UPS delivery guy. I’ve read every Crusie title I could possibly get my hands on over the years, but this is the one that’s always eluded me. It’s so fun to read the back-story on the book here, but not nearly as fun as reading it is going to be. I can’t wait!

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On February 2, 2010 at 12:03 am Kelly S said...

First – libraries are awesome! I found copies of TCD and Trust Me On This at a Friends of the Library sale. It was a giant box of Loveswept novels and I dug thru them looking for Crusie books. I had just found you as an author the year before (2005). Pay dirt, baby! I could have gotten them for 25 cents each, but I bought the box for $5. I have found many a treasure in that box of books. So, I have the black and white photo of a dude on the Cinderella Deal aka Linc and the lovely couple where the woman is wearing a purple knit dress for Trust Me On This.

Second, I hadn’t really noticed TCD and SB being twin like. I mean besides the opposites hooking up, well, and the woman being the wild artsy person with the dude being straight and conservative. So, I guess there are some similarities. I actually would have paired Crazy For You and Getting Rid of Bradley as being a lot alike. Crazy ex working to get you back while you want nothing to do with the weirdo.

Third, for Becky, TCD has a big painting scene but not in a subway or train station. She paints two portraits of her husband and he’s flattered when they are private but has some adjusting to do when they are shown in a gallery. I don’t remember the dinner party or nursing kittens. Strange Bedpersons had a “interesting” scene during a house tour that involved a piano…

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On February 2, 2010 at 6:32 pm Beki said...

Oh boy. I seriously loved that piano…

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On February 2, 2010 at 12:09 am Kelly S said...

Okay, so after I post I realized I’d like to share two more things…
1) I made up for what I didn’t spend on TCD and TMOT when I bought Sizzle
2) Apologies to Jenny since she didn’t get royalties on either of those purchases and for bringing up Sizzle

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On February 2, 2010 at 11:29 am Jenny said...

Honey, don’t ever apologize for buying used books. I get a lot of new readers that way. It would be nice if booksellers would wait a month after the book is out to sell it used, but once that first month is up, it’s every woman for herself. And then there’s the part where I buy a lot of my research in used books since most of the weird stuff I want is out of print. So no worries.

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On February 2, 2010 at 1:18 pm Kelly said...

Thanks! I actually have bought many used copies of your books so I can loan them out without worrying about getting them back. Although, you should see my original copy of Bet Me. Ragged aka well loved/used. I’m doing what I can to promote your work.

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On February 2, 2010 at 2:25 pm Rosa said...

MeToo – i’ve bought a ton of used copies of Smart Women, Bet Me, and Tell Me Lies to give away because I do not share my original copies.

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On February 2, 2010 at 1:11 am Meredith B. said...

I always know when I probably need to read a Crusie for my own good because something in the first 50 pages makes me freak out a little inside. It is never (ever!) the writing, which is uniformly charming. It is always something that, if I made more money, I would probably go and talk to a therapist about.

I got my copy of TCD a couple of weeks ago, just a couple of days after it hit the B&N distribution center, read the first few pages, thought, ‘Oh Lord, the protagonist is struggling to make a living, marries a well-employed man and all her problems are solved. I cannot bear to read this right now as a partially-employed, barely-paying-the-bills single girl!’ But I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that no Crusie novel ever written would actually be quite like that. So I made my coworker and fellow Crusie fan read it first, and when she swore to me that despite my neuroses I would not fold into a basket case over it, I finally read it this weekend. And of course it was nothing ‘like that.’ :-) I really enjoyed this one.

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On February 2, 2010 at 11:31 am Jenny said...

My heroines are always so screwed up that marrying a well-employed man just deepens the hole she’s in. I think there’s a place in Faking It where Tilda says something like, “Money would solve my problems,” and Davy says, “No, it wouldn’t.” Smart guy, Davy.

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On February 2, 2010 at 1:00 pm emily said...

i think davy is my favorite character in all your books.

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On February 2, 2010 at 1:12 pm Meredith B. said...

You’re right, Jenny, and that’s why we love them– because they’re realistic! Davy is a favorite of mine, and now that I think about it, it’s probably because he has such a thorough understanding of screwed up people. And I have a sneaking suspicion that I, too, am so screwed up that marrying a well-employed man would send me right over the edge of the cliff. But it’s hard to ignore all of those mental voices from my childhood that patiently explain that my ‘real’ problem is that I’m not on the path to married HEA bliss. My parents’ marriage makes it worse– they’re one of those exception-to-the-rule couples that make you actually believe that marriage and money will solve your problems.

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On March 24, 2010 at 1:50 am Megs said...

Hey! That coworker is me!

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On February 2, 2010 at 1:45 am Judy Long said...

Just got Cinderella Deal in the mail from amazon today. Don’t understand what is going on with amazon an MacMillan publishing but still I am glad to have this book and I’m gonna start it in just a few minutes.
BTW I liked Strange Bedpersons.
Haven’t read Trust Me On This cause the cover looks like my mom’s old Harlequins that were always angel woman changes devil man and they kiss chastely at the end. Should I look beyond the cover? Is it worth the read?

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On February 2, 2010 at 11:34 am Jenny said...

Amazon tried to set prices for publishers, thereby dictating terms for all books sold. Macmillan pointed out that unless Amazon is publishing the books, it can’t set prices, and it was going to set its own cost per book. Amazon said, “Fine, then we won’t sell your books.” Macmillan said, “Good luck with that.” Twenty-four hours later, Amazon decided to back down because they were in the wrong and getting some seriously bad PR.
The good guys won on this one.

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On February 2, 2010 at 1:17 pm Meredith B. said...

My favorite part was when Amazon accused Macmillan of “monopolizing” their own books. I laughed myself into stitches over that one. If you want a good detailed summary of what happened, Kristin Nelson’s blog has one, over at pubrants.blogspot.com.

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On February 2, 2010 at 5:22 pm SonomaLass said...

Well yes, except that it’s been 2 days and Amazon still hasn’t relisted those books. I feel bad for the authors who are losing print sales over a fight about e-book pries.

Can’t wait to read TCD!

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On February 2, 2010 at 5:23 pm MaryG said...

Wasn’t this in part over Kindle book prices? Amazon is eager to keep the Kindle editions to $9.99 for bestsellers, while Macmillan wants higher prices. I get that Macmillan gets to set the price for their products, but given the cost savings of epublishing (no printing, transporting, retailing or remaindering paper), and the reduced value of the electronic edition (I can’t sell, trade or loan my Kindle books), I don’t think a serious price break is out of line.

Again, it’s Macmillan’s product, it should be their price, but I don’t think it’s entirely good guys vs. bad guys. But that’s from a Kindle owner’s perspective, not someone in the book business, so take it with a grain of salt.

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On February 2, 2010 at 7:11 pm Jackie said...

On the Amazon/Macmillan deal, if they are reselling, then Amazon can set the price as low as they like. If they are an agent with a specific contract to sell at a given price….that is Macmillan’s business. Or not if Amazon doesn’t take the deal.

I would like to see eBooks going for lower prices. I would also like to see them sold in a variety of formats so the readers become a more open standard that isn’t owned by MS, Apple, Sony or Amazon. And that’s what Amazon is up to. They don’t want to sell cheap eBooks they want to undercut the other big guys so you’ll buy their Kindle and get locked into their products. That’s the monoply we need to worry about.

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On February 3, 2010 at 12:34 am Meredith B. said...

This is absolutely what’s going on. It’s the structure of the sales contract that Macmillan is arguing with Amazon about, it’s not that Macmillan is getting greedy. Macmillan wants ebook sales to operate on the same sale structure that print book sales operate on, which by the way would give Amazon more profit percentage and Macmillan less than they have under the current system. And I suspect that Amazon could still sell that $14.99 Macmillan ebook for $9.99 if they wanted– but they’d have to swallow the $5.00 difference themselves. (I think that would be possible, any way.) But what the new system would not allow Amazon to do is to arbitrarily set a price for a product that they do not themselves produce (so how do they know at what price it is possible to sell the ebook and still pay everybody who worked on it?), as well as preventing them from effectively monopolizing the market. That’s why Amazon doesn’t like it. But the current model simply isn’t a stable system for the future of ebook sales, and it is ridiculous for Amazon to think that they can dictate sales prices and proceedures for a product that they neither produce nor own. That isn’t the way a Free(ish) Market works. Publishers need to be able to set their own prices so that they can figure out if the epublishing business is going to be profitable or not, and what they need to do to make it profitable, and so they need Amazon to quit monkeying around and playing God of the Market.

And Jackie, yes, they all need to get their acts together on the DRM (file security technology) and get the files more mobile and open, but nobody’s yet been able to figure out how to do that without opening themselves up to book piracy on a massive scale. (Down with pirates!!! *ahem*.)

But yes, I do feel terribly sorry for the authors whose books can’t be sold through Amazon right now. On the other hand, I work for Barnes & Noble, so… :-) All of the above with a grain of salt. But I think everybody but Amazon agrees right now that the good guys won this time.

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On February 3, 2010 at 1:09 am Jenny said...

It is good guys vs. bad guys. It’s Amazon trying to establish prices for something they neither produce or market, so it’s a flat out power grab they thought would work because they’re Amazon. And the production cost of e-books is pretty much immaterial because most of the cost isn’t in production. There’s a huge overhead in publishing, not just editors but marketing departments and publicists and advertising budgets, the profit margin in publishing is notoriously low already. I’m really furious with Amazon over this, it’s just a naked grab for power, but I’m proud of Macmillan/SMP for fighting back. Big props to John Sargent and Sally Richardson and everybody there.

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On February 3, 2010 at 11:56 am SnarkMaiden said...

http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2010/01/amazon-macmillan-an-outsiders.html is an nice economic analysis from SF writer Charles Stross

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On February 3, 2010 at 1:27 pm Meredith B. said...

Yeah, when I was talking about the cost of production I was thinking of all the people that have to be paid out of the price of that e-book file: The author, her agent and all of their employees, the publisher and all of their employees, the company that produces and maintains the actual technology, the people that work for the retail website, and probably lots of other people that I haven’t listed. I am so proud of Macmillan that I could burst. I want to wave a pennant or something. Somebody had to take a stand, and I’m proud of Macmillan for doing it. I just want to cheer about it.

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On February 3, 2010 at 9:49 pm CrankyOtter said...

Huh. I guess we readers assume there’s overhead but that the majority of the cost and risk is in printing a bunch of things no one buys. Why else would magazines routinely sell subscriptions for 10-15% of the newsstand price if they weren’t expecting to lose 50% of the product on the newsstand? Working in manufacturing, I do understand having predictable customers like subscribers in reducing risk and calculating inventory, but still, our material/production costs range in the 65% and overhead is supposed to be kept under 20%. (It may matter whether or not R&D comes out fo the manufacturing or the overhead budget bin for comparative purposes. This varies from company to company and I’ve fudged those numbers a skosh to avoid liability, but they’re real enough to work with.)

So from *my* mental model, 65% is paper, ink, printing equipment, art, transportation, and people to do all that and 20% to run the business. If the 65% for publishing is in editors, and marketing, the publishers should be making that case to the public because (a) we don’t currently believe that and (b) we assume they’re saving roughly 60% of their costs by going to eBook. (By we, I mean me.) So for something that used to go (on sale) for $19 when we assume their costs have gone from $16 to $6 and their risk of overproduction has been cut by 2/3, and has possibly lower value to the consumer? $15 is ridiculous. But if my/our assumptions are not true, they should let us know why it’s not cheaper to make ebooks because it appear to be a LOT cheaper to make ebooks.

The fight about who sets the prices isn’t ridiculous, I agree there. But from my perspective as a person who manufactures things for a living, one reason I haven’t bought an eBook yet because I feel like I’m getting ripped off still. If I better understood how publishers make and spend their money, I might be more sympathetic. (I’m including author payements in the publishers’ money.) I don’t have a problem with people making a profit on their efforts, I do have a problem with people trying to rip me off by charging me a premium for a lesser good. Although technically the good is “story” not “paper” or “electrons” or “CD”, I want good story AND good paper/electrons/CD for my money.

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On February 3, 2010 at 3:36 pm Deborah Blake said...

That was the clearest, most succinct summation of the Amazon debacle I have seen. And I’ve seen a lot. Damn, you rock. And I just found (and bought, of course) Cinderella Deal at my local mini-B&N. But I am FORCING myself to wait to read it until I am on the plane to CA on the 11th. I don’t like to travel–especially alone–so this is going to be my reward and my consolation for doing so. Whew. Thank goodness for a new Crusie!

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On February 3, 2010 at 4:29 pm Meredith B. said...

If you want a really funny, snarky take on it, try John Scalzi’s latest blog entry: http://whatever.scalzi.com/2010/02/01/all-the-many-ways-amazon-so-very-failed-the-weekend/

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On February 2, 2010 at 5:13 am Laura Vivanco said...

Judy, it’s definitely worth the read. The protagonists are catching a criminal, having unchaste sex, and it’s the woman who has the most changing to do, not the man (he’s definitely not a “devil man”). Here’s a review of Trust Me On This.

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On February 2, 2010 at 9:14 am Kira said...

I see what you mean about “warmth”, it’s one of the main themes in the book (that isn’t in SB). The walls, the portrait, the clothes.

If my questions are being addressed ( Jenny knows my name! ), one thing that threw me is how quickly they put together that wedding. I can’t imagine any woman agreeing to make a wedding within a week, no matter how good a planner they are. What was the rush, anyway? They could have scheduled a month later, couldn’t they?

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On February 2, 2010 at 11:36 am Jenny said...

Okay, keeping in mind this is a book I wrote FIFTEEN YEARS ago . . .
As I remember it was Chickie who was in a rush. And it wasn’t a big wedding. Didn’t they have it at Chickie’s house? I don’t remember Daisy really caring about the wedding at all; I think she was obsessing over the house. But again, haven’t read this sucker in quite awhile, so any of you who just read it are more up to speed than I am.

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On February 2, 2010 at 3:34 pm PG said...

I haven’t read TCD in almost a year, but I’ve got it nearly memorized. The reason for the rush was that Linc had promised himself as a candidate for the professor position at a very conservative college, as a respectable guy with a nice little traditional wife. (I found this plot point totally convincing; even at my super liberal graduate school, some students would snicker that an unmarried prof who wasn’t chasing everything in a skirt must be gay.) When Linc showed up to start teaching with no wife in tow, the dean got upset and insisted that they patch things up and get married ASAP. Chickie facilitated that, and I think a hasty wedding was what helped Daisy go through with it, since otherwise she’d have had to think too much about what she was doing.

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On February 2, 2010 at 9:36 am colognegrrl said...

Never mind about the stories being twins. I know it’s like heresy to talk in a negative way about a certain author whose initials are N.R., but her stories are much closer together.

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On February 5, 2010 at 2:19 pm Joanna said...

Foul fiend, repent! Ye shall burn!
On the other hand, I totally agree, but I still read everything she writes! Every love story is basically the same, when you get down to it, but nobody’s story is like mine…

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On February 2, 2010 at 10:12 am Kate George said...

Boy did I find this interesting. Of course I’m right at the beginning of my career and I can’t tell if my books are any good or not. Although the first one was published so maybe that means something? And now I have to go look at my contract but I don’t think I have any CLAUSES in it. But maybe I do.

The thought of actually getting an advance on a book makes me quite giddy!

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On February 2, 2010 at 10:13 am Kate George said...

And if that’s not a group of disjointed sentences I don’t know what is.

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On February 2, 2010 at 10:16 am Laura Vivanco said...

“I can’t imagine any woman agreeing to make a wedding within a week, no matter how good a planner they are”

I don’t see why not. Apparently “Since Las Vegas has no waiting period for getting married, spur-of-the-moment weddings are a common occurrence” there. Maybe Daisy didn’t want a complicated wedding. In any case, it wasn’t a real wedding, so even if she’d wanted something else, she’d have gone along with Linc’s timetable, because it was part of the upgraded Cinderella deal they had.

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On February 2, 2010 at 11:37 am Jenny said...

Kentucky doesn’t have a waiting period, either. Which is very convenient when you write romances set in Southern Ohio. One trip over the bridge and you’ve got yourself a bride.

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On February 2, 2010 at 3:21 pm Lora said...

Hey! I’m from Southern Illinois and 70 years ago my (future) grandparents crossed the bridge to Morganfield, KY to get elope w/o telling their parents! That no waiting period thing has always been popular here in podunk :)

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On February 3, 2010 at 5:19 am Micki said...

(-: I love that — could Kentucky replace Las Vegas as the “Gretna Green” of hasty marriages? Makes me smile. Got married, saw the derby, picked up a bucket of chicken, and called it a day. LOL!

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On February 2, 2010 at 11:44 am Cary said...

Now I understand why I never could get into Strange Bedpersons. I’m a huge fan of Cinderella Deal and encountered it first.

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On February 5, 2010 at 2:21 pm Joanna said...

The best part of Strange Bedpersons (for me) has to be the friendships. I liked the book a lot, but more for the friendships than the romance. And I loved Lenny!

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On February 2, 2010 at 11:50 am Diane (TT) said...

One couldn’t put on a “perfect” wedding in a week -but the attempt to make weddings perfect is probably responsible for more misery than shingles (which is pretty horrible, by what I understand). You can put on a pretty nice party in a week, the minister (or, in this case, judge) knows what to say, and the only problem is that distant friends/ family can’t make it, but Daisy and Linc weren’t going for that.

If lightning were to strike, I don’t think I’d want to wait months and months – just long enough for my parents to fit it into their schedules (which, now I come to think of it, might well take months and months). Because I would definitely want them there, but all that lots of time gets me is lots of time for me to both a) procrastinate and b) stress (partly because I’m procrastinating).

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On February 2, 2010 at 12:09 pm Skye said...

Other than it being kind of an academic-shotgun wedding, I thought the wedding a fairly reasonable affair. I never did get the whole grand event wedding thing. (Single here, but no huge-wedding fantasies ever.) One of my best friends, who is extremely practical and down to earth, planned a huge wedding when she got married and turned into this absolutely bat-shit-crazy stage manager / bridezilla. Think of all the worst stories, including yelling at the bridesmaids who were attempting to assist her. (And we are all intelligent, kind, considerate people, not trying anything weird.) The ushers pulled two amusing, tame visual pranks at the wedding and I’m not sure she’s forgiven them 15 years later. The need for the perfect wedding, the perfect event, far outweighed even the hint of sanity. I figured that Linc and Daisy saved themselves some crazy, so they had plenty left over for the coming months!

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On February 2, 2010 at 3:41 pm PG said...

I was told in retrospect that I’d really been a calm, “good” bride (only two bridesmaids, told them to pick out their own dresses so long as they were either blue or yellow and appropriate for a church), but I had a complete meltdown just before my big, multi-site, multi-lingual, multi-day wedding. I basically locked myself in a hotel room and refused to do anything more for the wedding, including a religious ceremony my mother wanted. My fiance was worried (he was afraid either I was getting cold feet or that he was marrying a crazy woman), but his brother saved the day: picked up the place-cards, talked to the planner, and charmed my extended family into leaving me alone. I will always owe him big for that.

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On February 2, 2010 at 1:23 pm Santa said...

I love to hear about first books that eventually get published. It makes me feel all the better about the one that’s under the bed now.

I’ll be picking up The Cinderella Deal because I keep thinking I’m all caught up and am happy to find I have more to read! I’ll need two copies because I brought another one into the Jenny Crusie fold. She adores your books and I am constantly steering her to your fabu back list so she can finally catch up, as well.

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On February 2, 2010 at 1:42 pm Katy Cooper said...

Years ago, I got into a discussion with a bunch of people about TCD v. SB, and pretty consistently, people preferred the book they’d read the first.

TCD was my favorite Crusie for years, partly because there’s so much of Linc and Daisy in me and my beloved. It helped me see us more clearly. I still have my original Loveswept, treasured and beloved.

And now I need to trundle up to B&N and get my copy. Because one can never have too many.

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On February 2, 2010 at 1:45 pm Melissa Blue said...

At first I couldn’t really get into Strange Bedpersons, but I kept reading and then I got to the restaurant scene. My DD thought I’d finally cracked because I laughed so hard. Fast forward, I let someone borrow the book. After a few months I hunted them down to get it back…for that scene alone. So it may not be the book you wanted, but it has some damn good dialogue that I’d hunt someone down for.

Sidenote: I can never find a used Crusie in my town. So I appreciate the reissues.

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On February 2, 2010 at 2:51 pm Bethany said...

I actually hadn’t noticed similarities to Strange Bedpersons, but I did like seeing that the art was so prominent even in early Crusie books. Some of the painting scenes and the way she felt about the act of painting reminded me of Faking It and Dogs and Goddesses.

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On February 2, 2010 at 3:22 pm Lora said...

I love Bet Me. I agree that the bet itself is not the most delightful part of it, but it is the catalyst for the relationship and I do adore that warm, funny, infuriating central relationship! So thank you for rewriting it, for never giving it up. Because it makes me smile. My mom has my copy right now. Kinda miss it.

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On February 2, 2010 at 4:32 pm Kira said...

Oh, there are many ways to make a non-complicated impromptu wedding. But the description was actually of a fairly complicated impromptu wedding. “Garden” is more work, not less, and “small” is irrelevant – you still have to have food, a band, a photographer, flowers, wedding party, etc. And in TCD, there was even mention of a rehearsal dinner. That’s all very different from “let’s get it over with”. And not one word from any of the “3 mothers” re “WTF a wedding in 4 days?!!”

Just saying.

The relationship with Chickie was a little too sudden. They were bff’s in seconds, and that was never explained.

Whereas, the dog was bff in seconds, which was totally obvious.

Jenny, do you ever read your books again after you’re done with them?

Because you know, they’re really a good read. I recommend them highly ;)

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On February 2, 2010 at 9:45 pm Jenny said...

The wedding was Chickie’s, and it was her way of getting Daisy there. I never thought of her as Daisy’s BFF, that was Julia as I recall, but I did think of her as Chickie’s surrogate daughter. And neither Linc’s mother or Daisy’s mother was the kind to go wedding crazy, Gertrude because that would completely alien to her, and Daisy’s mom (can’t remember her name but it was a flower) would want somebody to do it for her. Most of the stuff they’d need they could borrow from the university where Chickie’s husband had pull, and they’d make a reservation at some restaurant for the rehearsal dinner (I don’t remember that part at all but I’ll take your word for it). I think Chickie could do it. Of course, they probably sent invitations by e-mail or something. But all Linc and Daisy cared about was getting married, and all Chickie cared about was a fun party and Daisy in Prescott permanently, so there wasn’t any personal investment in the wedding itself. It’s more like Chickie threw a party and Daisy and Linc got married in the middle of it.

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On February 2, 2010 at 11:24 pm marly said...

Pansy.

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On February 2, 2010 at 11:26 pm marly said...

Pansy is Daisy’s mom. Thought I should make that clear.

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On February 2, 2010 at 9:47 pm Jenny said...

Oh, forgot to answer the second question.
No, I usually don’t reread my books. It makes me twitch because I can’t fix the things I see wrong in them. But I did just reread Faking It because I’m thinking about doing a Nadine book about four books from now, and I wanted to see what I’d written about her and Ethan. No, she doesn’t end up with Ethan.

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On February 2, 2010 at 9:56 pm J said...

Oh! I’d love to see what happens with Nadine! (Just so you know there would be interest.) :)

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On February 2, 2010 at 11:27 pm marly said...

Ditto! Can Ethan have somebody else wonderful? He’s such a great kid.

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On February 2, 2010 at 11:31 pm marly said...

And a muffin! Ethan is one of your best (and youngest) muffins.

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On February 2, 2010 at 11:32 pm Jenny said...

Yep, I have plans for Ethan, too. SECRET PLANS.

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On February 3, 2010 at 12:16 am Judy Long said...

A Nadine book yeah! Faking It is my favorite JC book, Welcome to Temptation my second favorite!

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On February 6, 2010 at 11:26 am Herdys said...

Oh that would be so cool!! But.. I would love to read about Eve too!! It would be great if she ended up with Simon!! *_*

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On February 2, 2010 at 4:50 pm Kadieg said...

Thanks for not giving up on Bet Me, which is my absolute favorite of your books.

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On February 2, 2010 at 5:34 pm JenK said...

I haven’t read TCD yet, because my Target doesn’t have it and I’m still in a snit about Amazon’s Big Ego so I can’t buy it there. Although I’m sure I’ll go back to them soon. It’s a vicious cycle. I love them, I hate them, I love them. Free shipping, yo. It’s the free shipping.
Wait…what was this about?

Oh yes. TCD. It’s next on my list To Buy. And I’m going to buy it NEW, which never happens. But I bought a lot of Crusie’s from Ebay a while back and then loved them so much and read them so often that they are falling apart. So. New. I’ve been planning to read Strange Bedpersons first because I’d heard this myth that those books were fraternal twins. I want to compare and contrast and possibly break out my highlighter and write notes in the margins when I see similarities. I’m not sure what’s wrong with me.
Of course that will be after I gobble it up in one sitting. It’s like getting the first orgasm out of the way so you can take your time with the next. Ummm… Did I just write that? No. No, I didn’t. Ignore me.

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On February 2, 2010 at 5:58 pm Diane (TT) said...

Strange Bedpersons has a lot of funny stuff in it. I love the sampler and a LOT of the dialogue, but I like Daisy better, because she’s less hyper-reactive. But then, my self-image, unlike that of Tess, does not depend on being a rebel, so I guess Daisy and I are more simpatico. But I thought Nick was funnier than Linc.

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On February 2, 2010 at 5:59 pm Diane (TT) said...

Oh, heck – I messed up my italics. Because Preview still doesn’t work and I’m a rotten proofreader.

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On February 2, 2010 at 9:51 pm Jenny said...

You know, I looked at it in Edit, and they weren’t screwed up. WordPress uses “em” for italics instead of “i,” so that might have been part of it.
Anyway, fixed it for you.

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On February 2, 2010 at 6:01 pm Bethany said...

Oh JenK, thank you for making me giggle at the end of a long day. Half my bosses seem to understand that I’ve been flatout sick for the past five days and thus am still getting better and also, digging out of a mountain of work. The other half keep making ridiculous requests that lack extremely useful information. I.e. “Ship this to the hotel” without mentioning, what hotel, to whom, or even which project I’m supposed to bill the shipping to–and then are unavailable for half an hour.

So the giggle was needed. Thank you. I knew visiting here would make me happy again.

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On February 2, 2010 at 7:36 pm SandieS said...

Glad you shared this story with us because I always thought TCD was an outlier. I loved it but it didn’t have the same kind of snarky humor or at least it wasmore muted. You’ve mentioned before that one book of your’s was heavily edited over your objections, and I always wondered if it was TCD. Now I don’t know which one it was.
For those of of you who haven’t read Trust Me On This, there is one scene in that book (in the bar) that made me laugh for a solid five minutes. I laugh a lot reading anything by Jenny, but that one scene has to be one of my all time favorite Crusie minutes.

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On February 2, 2010 at 9:56 pm Jenny said...

The heavily edited one was Strange Bedpersons, I’m pretty sure. I was with Sherie for Manhunting and Bradley, and then she quit and I ended up with a new editor who was awful, rewrote big chunks of the book. She added 27 adverbs, mostly to dialogue tags. She changed “affect” to “effect” and made it wrong. She . . .
But really, I’m over it now. I screamed bloody murder, told them I’d buy the book back before it went out like that, which made me a difficult author so they foisted me on a senior editor, Birgit Davis-Todd, who was wonderful. But Strange Bedpersons was just a doomed book from the get go. Then I wrote Whatever MaeBelle wants with Birgit and was happy again. Until they changed the title. Argh.

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On February 2, 2010 at 10:53 pm Hannah said...

Yes please to Nadine’s story. And maybe some time Suze and Rileys story?

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On February 2, 2010 at 11:33 pm Jenny said...

You know, I’m just not intrigued by Suze and Riley. Maybe some day, but as Sweetness keeps pointing out, I’m old, so “some day” is not a good sign.

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On February 3, 2010 at 12:18 am Judy Long said...

I feel like we know Suze and Riley’s story. What more is there to say?

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On February 3, 2010 at 12:20 am Jackie said...

It doesn’t have to be Suze and Riley….. Just write Slow Men.

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On February 3, 2010 at 12:21 am Skye said...

So do you tell Sweetness on a day by day or an incident by incident her chances of survival to reach the age of dating? :) And I would prefer a Nadine story to Suze and Riley. Suze and Riley will work it out, I think that is a given, or so it seemed to me when I read it. (Perhaps a reread is in order … I love that your books are so thoroughly rereadable! Altho’, I have kind of memorized WTT and have had to set it aside for the time being. Bummer.)

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On February 2, 2010 at 10:57 pm Stephanie said...

I just finished The Cinderella Deal this afternoon and it felt familiar in a cousin kind of way. It’s interesting to hear they’re really siblings instead.

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On February 2, 2010 at 10:58 pm Brandy said...

I’ve read Strange Bedpersons and am looking forward to picking up The Cinderella Deal, and now comparing them. However, HI! Nadine’s book? YAY!

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On February 2, 2010 at 11:45 pm Kerry K. said...

Yes to Nadine’s story. Sorry about Ethan as I loved seeing him going where he never planned on going. Running with regrets at the end.

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On February 3, 2010 at 1:06 am Jenny said...

Ethan will be very happy. Trust me on this.

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On February 3, 2010 at 1:40 am r. said...

Somebody is wondering if this is a clue. She reads a lot of mysteries.

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On February 3, 2010 at 1:48 am r. said...

arghhhhhhhhhhhhhhh getting strangled here

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On February 3, 2010 at 3:07 am Carol Anne said...

Nadine’s story – hmmm great. Ethan will be very happy. Trust you completely. We also get to meet up with the rest of the great cast of characters from WTT and FT. Bet Me still my favourite, FT & WTT close seconds, then there is Agnes/Shane and …… on … and on.

Marly and r. – you crack me up. You must be a fun couple!

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On February 3, 2010 at 4:47 am Jenny said...

As you deserve. But not a clue.

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On February 3, 2010 at 12:16 am Jennifer said...

Oh, yay! Nadine *and* Ethan! I know it’s too early to get excited about this, but I can’t help myself. :-)

I’m saving the The Cinderella Deal to read on vacation next week. I can’t think of Strange Bedpersons as an evil twin, though. I really like Tess and Nick. If their story is what you come up with when you’re not working on what you actually want to write, that’s pretty damn impressive.

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On February 3, 2010 at 12:21 am Judy Long said...

Just finished the Cinderella Deal. Loved it. I fell in love with Linc when he through the dress out the window. It was warmer than Strange Bedpersons, even though I liked that one, too.
I am now convinced and will be buying Trust Me On This. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover – right!

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On February 3, 2010 at 12:22 am Judy Long said...

Oh for the love of fudgebars – threw the dress – not through the dress.

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On February 3, 2010 at 5:24 am Micki said...

(-: This is going to be my new epithet. “For the love of fudgebars!” Because I do love a good fudgebar, yet it sounds kind of naughty (as 90 calories of sugar and cocoa powder probably should). I hope you don’t mind me stealing it (-:. If you do, I will try and find my own. “Oh for the love of fried gizzards!” Hmm. I really hope you let me steal yours.

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On February 3, 2010 at 11:30 am Judy Long said...

go for it – i once heard someone say ‘oh for the love of puppies’ so i stole it and changed it and made it more me – help yourself to it word for word

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On February 3, 2010 at 12:25 am Skye said...

I read SB twice, the second time because I couldn’t remember having read it the first time. It did feel awfully detached. Good writing, of course, but never drew me in like TCD did, which I read second to SB. So I guess that makes me an outlier in Katy Cooper’s test! Ya can’t have a normal curve without outliers! I guess people like me define normal … in the other way. :)

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On February 3, 2010 at 2:56 am Bharti Wahi said...

TCD and Bet Me are my favorite Jennifer Crusie books. You may have thought they were not so great to begin with, but you certainly brought them around. They both have a lot of heart and wit.

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On February 3, 2010 at 5:25 am Micki said...

It came! It came! One of a few bright and shining lights in a pretty crappy day . . . I probably will be pretty quiet until I get it read (-:.

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On February 3, 2010 at 12:18 pm SnarkMaiden said...

I just finished TCD, if you count re-reading the last 25 pages 5 times finished… love it as always. (we grabbed the only copy from B&N on the 24th, our last evening in San Jose before coming home till March – yay). I can see where the similarities to SBP are, but they diverged so much I wouldn’t peg them together.. it feels more like an ur-story with bits of reminders of books yet to come (like the way Daisy thinks Linc will see that her stuff works – as if it was the furniture in the house in Getting Rid of Bradley where it does all work, but she thinks about it like Bill in Crazy for You except she doesn’t stay delusional – or the painting like Scarlet Matilda in Faking It); which isn’t to say it’s repetitive, it’s to say themes and tones. I love the way your intro talks about not backing off from emotion and taking big bold strokes, like Daisy’s yellow portrait – but just a wee bit more snark would have made it even better. say if Daisy could have vented to Julia in full-fat snark like a greek chorus…

should I yearn to read the original treatment they both came from or should I stick to my usual opinion (as a writer and editor myself, though not of fiction) that a good editor makes a good book better? I find myself wondering as the Amazon Macmillan stropfest rumbles on and the writers seem to get left to one side by both parties if books are going to go the way music has; the ‘CD’ release makes little money for any artist but the tours and T shirts and gig recordings become lucrative. Limited editions and reading tours and copies of the manuscript and lots of neat things but none of being the books that most writers of my acquaintance would rather spend their time writing…

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On February 3, 2010 at 12:51 pm Jenny said...

Book tours always lose money for the publisher and authors don’t get paid for them, so no worries about that.
And my editor is fabulous and SMP protects my writing like a big conglomerate dragon, so it’ll never be like the music business.

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On February 3, 2010 at 9:32 pm SnarkMaiden said...

oh, my inner nitpicky proofreader says on about p270, the printed page says he pulls her onto his slap (rather than his lap); unless I’m seeing double…

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On February 3, 2010 at 2:39 pm Savvy2 said...

I’m sorry to hear about no Suze and Riley, but mostly I’d love to see a Riley story. He’s such a great character. And hearing there’ll be an Ethan story is super.

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On February 3, 2010 at 2:41 pm Courtney said...

Well, I had to go and re-read Strange Bedpersons so I could adequately respond to this discussion. I can see the similar seeds, certainly, but I don’t think that they’re too similar by any means. However, I now understand the strong sense of deja vu I had while reading the first chapter of The Cinderella Deal: they are the most similar parts of the books, with the descriptions of the apartment, the cat, and conversations with best friends. The Strange Bedpersons opening is funnier though, with the back and forth with Nick through the door. And it has better cover art. ;) At any rate, I loved them both, and can attest that they’re not so much evil twins, as close siblings.

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On February 3, 2010 at 6:26 pm Kira said...

Is it possible that Nadine’s book might be suitable for a younger audience? I would love my daughters to read your books, but the sex scenes are TMI for them at this point…

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On February 3, 2010 at 6:36 pm Jennifer said...

I just had an idea: Nadine + Dillie in a book.

Yeah, I know, not happening, but it’d be fun.

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On February 5, 2010 at 2:32 pm S.R. said...

Dear Ms. Cruisie,

It is easier spotting anybody else’s typos, that to spot one’s own. However you are paid less because you clearly overpay for help spotting them!

On the very first page of C.D. there is a typo:

“Ideas Illminated”

and on page 59:

“and he’d though that”

Also on this webpage in the comment form fields, it says “will not published”

Just a friendly bit of proofreading help from a big fan, may you thus be able negotiate for better help,

S.

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On February 5, 2010 at 9:18 pm Jenny said...

This book was published in 1996 and hasn’t been proofread since. If there are only two mistakes, it’s a miracle.
Comment form fields: I’ll ask the webmistress. Thanks.

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On February 6, 2010 at 7:18 am Berni said...

_Bet Me_ is my favorite of your books. I plan to go to the bookstore tomorrow and will look for _The Cinderella Deal_. It sounds like someone could make an interesting paper out of the evolution of your idea into the two books, _Strange Bedfellows_ and _The Cinderella Deal_. Is there any litcrit out on your works?

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On February 6, 2010 at 1:06 pm Jenny said...

Yes. Your best bet is to go to Teach Me Tonight, the great academic romance blog, and look there. They’re a great resource and can point you toward other sources.

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On February 7, 2010 at 10:09 pm Gloria Vargas said...

I feel in love with Bet Me. I don’t know what it is about it, it just pulled me in as soon as I saw it on the shelf. And after fast reading it while standing there…I was hooked. This past Wed. I was in the book store looking for a book to keep me busy thru this weekend because of bad weather that was perdicted. And sure enough I found one, and it couldn’t have been better. TCD was a very good book. Although I read it all in one evening….hehe, once I started to read it, I was so hooked. Thank you for such a good book. Although Bet Me will forever be my favorite.

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On April 5, 2010 at 6:47 am Venus Vaughn said...

I just thought you should know that I picked up TCD this afternoon and finished it tonight. (It’s been in my TBR since the week of its re-release.). Great read.

I laughed so hard that I cried when Linc said, “Rat snacks.”. Thank you SO much for that scene.

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