Promoting a Romantic Comedy

Rescued By That New Guy in Town
By Jeff Salter

Our blog schedule is ‘open’ this week, which some of us use as an invitation to promote one or more of our stories.

All the usual stuff is posted farther below, but I thought I’d first reveal two bits of what I call sidebar.

Opening Scene

I had read somewhere that the heroine and hero MUST meet before the end of page two … and that got my dander up.  “Who dares to make such rules,” I bellowed.  “Surely, if the story is interesting enough, the reader can wait ‘til the third chapter to meet the hero,” I intoned.

Well not long after that, I subbed a novel to a small publisher who declined it and also noted, “the hero doesn’t even appear ‘til the bottom of page five.”  Well, of course, I fumed.  And right there, I decided if that was the granite-engraved law of the land, I would find a way to tweak it.  So I opened my story with the heroine in total darkness.

In that way, even when the hero shows up a few pages later, she can’t see him … and won’t for several more pages of groping around.  And when she finally DOES see him, he’s dressed as a pirate (because they were both at a Halloween festival).  It takes at least another entire chapter before she even learns his real name!

First Person

Nobody’s inquired directly if it was difficult to write in first person from the heroine’s POV … or asked why I even tried.

Yes, it was difficult.  In fact I wasn’t certain I could do it, so I just started writing and told myself I’d give it 20,000 words to see if it was working.  If not, I could re-do those 20k words in third person and then finish the novel.

By the time I had reached that 20k point, I found I enjoyed writing first person … and (after the adjustment) it was kind of cool to be inside Kristen’s head.

Why did I try?  I had recently gotten burned (for manuscript A) in a contest for what the judge called ‘head-hopping’ … and I’d also received some feedback from a beta reader (of manuscript B) which suggested that she couldn’t follow the story because she didn’t know whose POV was operating.

My reaction to both points:  Who cares?  Why does it matter?  Let the story reveal itself … don’t worry whose head it is.  Et Cetera.  I had written both of those manuscripts in what I referred to as omniscient narrator.  I know it exists because I had to study it in high school.  So why wasn’t I allowed to use it?

Well, that’s a whole different blog column.  The point here is that I decided to silence all those critics by sticking with ONE POV.  But whose?  Knowing that the market of book readers and book buyers is predominately female, I figured the POV must be of my story’s heroine.  And that’s how/why I embarked on this direction.

So you can see that my romantic comedy had some strange beginnings.  Some were shaped by my reactions to so-called RULES … or my efforts to get around them.

I hope you like the result.

RBTNGIT-ver3-453x680           When Kris awakens in a costume, behind wooden bars inside a pitch-black community center, her only available rescuer is the hung-over new guy in town (who’s dressed as a pirate).  Problem is:  she’s sworn-off men, especially buccaneers.

            Badly burned four years ago by a player who ruined her financially, Kris Prima’s heart is locked down as tightly as her lifestyle is confined by those massive debts.  When first assisted by recent newcomer Ryan Hazzard, Kris is resentful, slightly afraid, and determined never again to trust men.  But when court-ordered community service brings them together once more, she begins to appreciate Ryan’s charm, good looks, and capable manner.

With all the rumors and assumptions which followed Ryan from a large metropolitan area, how can small-town Kris even begin to trust him?  And why won’t he explain any of those situations?  Through her efforts to learn Ryan’s mysterious past, they share further experiences:  many comedic, one quite dangerous, and others very tender.  Despite several misunderstandings, Kris’s bottled-up feelings slowly re-awaken and she finally learns enough about Ryan to know she wants him in her life somehow. Kris regains her ability to trust a man and her heart is freed from its jail.



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About Jeff Salter

Currently writing romantic comedy, screwball comedy, and romantic suspense. Fourteen completed novels and four completed novellas. Working with three royalty publishers: Clean Reads, Dingbat Publishing, & TouchPoint Press/Romance. "Cowboy Out of Time" -- Apr. 2019 /// "Double Down Trouble" -- June 2018 /// "Not Easy Being Android" -- Feb. 2018 /// "Size Matters" -- Oct. 2016 /// "The Duchess of Earl" -- Jul. 2016 /// "Stuck on Cloud Eight" -- Nov. 2015 /// "Pleased to Meet Me" (novella) -- Oct. 2015 /// "One Simple Favor" (novella) -- May 2015 /// "The Ghostess & MISTER Muir" -- Oct. 2014 /// "Scratching the Seven-Month Itch" -- Sept. 2014 /// "Hid Wounded Reb" -- Aug. 2014 /// "Don't Bet On It" (novella) -- April 2014 /// "Curing the Uncommon Man-Cold -- Dec. 2013 /// "Echo Taps" (novella) -- June 2013 /// "Called To Arms Again" -- (a tribute to the greatest generation) -- May 2013 /// "Rescued By That New Guy in Town" -- Oct. 2012 /// "The Overnighter's Secrets" -- May 2012 /// Co-authored two non-fiction books about librarianship (with a royalty publisher), a chapter in another book, and an article in a specialty encyclopedia. Plus several library-related articles and reviews. Also published some 120 poems, about 150 bylined newspaper articles, and some 100 bylined photos. Worked about 30 years in librarianship. Formerly newspaper editor and photo-journalist. Decorated veteran of U.S. Air Force (including a remote ‘tour’ of duty in the Arctic … at Thule AB in N.W. Greenland). Married; father of two; grandfather of six.
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24 Responses to Promoting a Romantic Comedy

  1. So many factors come together to make an idea evolve and become the final story, and it’s fun to hear about them. I’m glad you found what worked for you!


    • jeff salter says:

      Thanks, Patty. Of course this the only novel (of 7 completed) which is in first person. The rest — like Overnighter’s Secrets and (upcoming) Called to Arms Again — are a mix of several POVs. In both, there is so much happening at different places at the same time, it’s impossible for the reader to know about them unless we have a scene in the villain’s head, for instance.


  2. Before I started writing my first book, I did some looking, and I found a huge publisher of romance that listed a “formula” of things that have to happen in the book. Hero & Heroine meeting early on was definitely one of them. Though I didn’t submit my book to that publisher, I tried to follow the formula figuring “they must know what they’re talking about.” The end result is that there are still parts of the book that feel awkward to me. I decided to stop writing to a formula. The way I see it, if I feel weird writing a scene, then my characters are going to seem weird living that scene. I also think a little mystique is good! Kudos on your outside-the-box approach!


    • jeff salter says:

      thanks for commenting, Heather.
      If writing rules were like laws of science, proven & hard fact, then maybe I wouldn’t bristle so much. But most of what I see is more properly characterized as TRENDS or PREFERENCES. Whose preferences? Well, the gate keepers of course.
      that’s why I’m so pleased and honored to be on-board at Astraea Press — where the story & characters are given more importance than any particular formulas.


  3. You know I liked the book,Jeff; even n more so when I was shaken back to reality afterward because you mentioned that you did it in the heroine’s POV. I just accepted it.I love that.I could not give a better compliment than that. Well done!
    I agree about the so-called ‘experts’…good grief! Life and conversation is not governed by hard and fast rules.There are break-throughs all the time in writing.If it works, it works.There are plenty of poems that follow all the right amounts of form and rhyme which are just plain awful. Same with novels or other stories…music and anything else for that matter…society…civilization.
    If an editor makes suggestions that point out something that you just missed or needs another set of eyes on, fine. If they hand you a bunch of do’s and don’ts, RUN; they don’t know what they are talking about anyway and you don’t want to try to work with them!
    Now, if you’ll excuse me, that publisher with the rules told me that I must put on my hat and white gloves to go to the grocery store.


    • jeff salter says:

      LOL about the gloves & hat, Tonette.
      Yes, rules are great for keeping vehicle traffic flowing in an orderly manner. I mean, what travel be like without stoplights and yield signs?
      But most of the stuff in WRITER-LAND is so arbitrary. And you always read about the how classics in literature BECAME classics partly because they blazed new territory. In other words, they broke the rules.


      • Goodness, Jeff; I’m not an anarchist! I only meant ‘writing rules’! I meant that civilizations and societal rules change, that people , conversations and lives don’t follow a ‘formula’ and that not every piece of writing needs to follow strict formulas, since they are about PEOPLE. I agree, the break-out ones have been so because they ‘broke out’.


      • jeff salter says:

        I know, Tonette. I was just reaching for an example of some aspect of life that is “artificial” yet makes good sense and actually helps society. E.G., traffic laws.


      • I’m all for traffic laws, etc!


  4. I like to write in first person. One of the first stories I ever wrote was one where I alternated one chapter from her POV with one from his. I had a blast with it.

    Don’t even get me started on omniscient. I love it but have had to edit it out before.


    • jeff salter says:

      Im going to try another novel in 1st person, but it won’t be suspense or anything that really REQUIRES occasional perspectives of other parties. The big drawback about 1st person to me is that it sunds better using past tense. Whereas it ought to have the immediacy of present tense. But I find present tense 1st person difficult to read at times.


  5. I totally agree. I did that first one present tense and I can’t read it anymore. It’s like a raindrop on the forehead beating down over and over. There is a writer I can’t read because all her books are like that. They sound great and then I start reading and the torture starts. I finally got her name stuck in my head and know NOT to buy her stuff no matter how tempting.


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  7. Lisa Orchard says:

    Great post Jeff! This story is definitely on my TBR list!


  8. Jean says:

    Story sounds great. I agree about the first rule but I learned to stop head-hopping and now I appreciate, as a reader, how keeping one pov for at least 750 words makes it so much easier for the reader to understand what’s going on. I’ll definitely check out your book. Is it on B & N?


    • jeff salter says:

      Yes, Jean, it’s on B&N also. There’s a B&N link above at the very end of the post here.
      I agree with you that I’m much more conscious now about head-hopping and an careful as I’m drafting new material to tag a scene with the POV (for easy reference). That also helps me later as I’m revising … then I remove the tags of course.
      But I still like the flexibility to have a scene in which the reader can have a glimpse of several diff. perspectives wihtout having to make a large formal POV shift.
      Ive described that as “camera angles” within a particular scene. You know, there’s a two-shot, then a shot over the shoulder of Person A. Then a larger wide shot wth more people in the shot. Then over the shoulder of Person B. It’s visually more appealing to see diff. angles in film. and in a story, (my opinion) can be interestng occasionally to see sev. diff. perspectives within a short scene.


  9. I hate those rules. Formula writing is no fun.


    • jeff salter says:

      Totally agree, Elaine.
      Thankfully, my sr. ed. at Astraea has shown some flexibility in a few of these same issue. Still no cussing, of course, and no steamy love scenes — LOL.


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