The Alice Proposal

Here’s your link to the Haunting Alice Proposal. (If you’d rather go looking for it, it’s up at the top under the Works in Progress page; just scroll down til you hit the section on Haunting Alice.)

Most of you have read most of the first thirty-plus pages before, but there’s also the first page of the synopsis, which is the first act/first third of the book. You don’t get the rest because of spoilers. (A full proposal would be the pages, the synopsis of the full book, and a query letter.).

And now back to Nita.

65 thoughts on “The Alice Proposal

  1. Sorry to be “that guy”and you’re probably already on it…but just in case not… I think the proposal needs to be published before we can view it. When I click either on the post link or from the WIP page, it says it’s in drafts.

    1. Well, crap. Hold on.

      ETA: It says it’s published on my dashboard. Visibility Public. Can you get to it through the Works in Progress Page?

  2. Okay, I took it down, changed the date, and reposted it, and then changed the link.
    If that doesn’t work, I’m stumped. It was posted as published with Public Visibility. Argh.

    The other thing to try is to go up to the Works in Progress Page in the menu above and then scroll down to the Haunting Alice section. There’s a link there that should work, although since it’s the same one as in this post, I’m not optimistic.

    If that doesn’t work, I’ll just slap the whole thing in this post. Let me know.

    1. It works now. And I particularly love this bit:

      “Wrong, I need a lepidopterist.” He smiled down at her, much closer now.

      “You’re being creepy,” she said, and he stepped back immediately, not smiling.

      Why is this sort of speaking up/boundary setting so horribly rare in fiction? Why are all the heroines FLATTERED when the hero acts like a creep? For that matter, why do all the heroes act like creeps?

      1. Because the difference between a guy being passionate and a guy who creeps is whether we want him close.
        In this case, Ethan is too close because he’s slipping her his card; later on when they’re on the porch and he’s too close, he’s lifting her keys. Later on, he’s going to get too close and it’s not going to be creepy because by then, she wants him close.
        Perception is reality. The problem with creepers is, their perception of reality (“She wants me”) is not ours (“You’re creepy”).

      2. I just copied this sentence to paste here and say how much I loved it, but you have it covered! LOVE IT. For all the reasons you say, calling it out, giving it a name, and his immediate genuine repentance, so we love Ethan.

        I love this whole thing, so zippy and free and easy to read.

  3. OK, for me the link from this page works now. I scrolled all the way to the synopsis, all good.

    Weirdly the link on the WIP page still gives the error message, but that’s OK–off to read now. Thank you!

        1. I was unsure about that because Nadine’s world doesn’t have any supernatural in it, and then I remembered that her many-many-times-great-uncle Nick was over in New Jersey fighting with white supremicists from beyond the grave and thought, Don’t over think this, Jenny.

          1. Because of the Faking It connection, the name Betty threw me initially, doesn’t Davy call Tilda that?

          2. I’ll have to go look. Matilda, Vilma, and . . . ?

            ETA: Yep.
            Rats. Did anybody. else trip over that?

          3. I didn’t trip over Betty because you have reused names often in your books (Ethan in Wild Ride and in Faking It, now in Haunting Alice. Also Liz the cat in Cinderella Deal and Phin’s mom in Welcome to Temptation… I think there are some others — more than one Daisy I think too… oh, yes, in Cinderella Deal and Don’t Look Down).

            Not a big deal, but you really do seem to have favorites you return to.

            If this Betty doesn’t play all that big of role here, I wouldn’t worry too much…


          4. I was thinking that, too. This isn’t my first Nick, either (in the Nita book). Not to mention I’ve done a Linc and a Zack and a Jake, so that sharp-sound for a hero’s name is evidently something I gravitate to.

  4. WIP page link works too, now, and I loved the pages. I don’t remember reading them before. Just as well there’s no more for now, cause I need to go to bed and otherwise I’d click the buy link and keep going.

    Thank you so much for this, and good luck with the proposal.

  5. This is wonderful.

    Every once in awhile, I used to read the old excerpt and then sigh, wishing for more.

    It’s cool to get the Carter/Nadine scene and exciting to look ahead a year. Ish.

    Thank you, Jenny!

  6. I will be so happy when this is published. I’ll have one more book to read over and over.

  7. Love it! I am so happy you’re picking it up again, since I also read the original snippet some years ago. Noticed one thing:

    The two men she loved best in the world turned to look her with exasperation, one tall and broad and contained, his pale eyes boring into here, and the other tall and thin from illness but equally pale-eyed and reserved.

    Should be “boring into HER,” which I mention only because a spell-checker will never catch it. The joys of being a proofreader.

    1. Also a former proofreader. (Almost destroyed my ability to read, if that makes sense.)

      A couple of other’s:

      Shut up, Ethan,” Alice said, and then winced and said, “I’m sorry. I’mm being rude.

      She picked up her coat and shrugged it on. “But I must going. Close this room until Isolde can get rid—can help Kimberley move on.

      –>I’mm and I must be going.

      Neither stopped the momentum. And neither stopped my enjoyment of reading this. 🙂

  8. I am sad. No, bereft. I will not be able to buy this book for forever! Or at least it will seem that way. 🙁

  9. Alice and Carter and North (and Andie, please tell me we’ll get to see Andie) AND the Faking It crew! So excited!!!

    Maybe I’m missing something (probably) but Ethan is wearing a green canvas Goodwill coat when he’s in Betty’s house, but a suit coat when they get out to the car.

  10. Well, that was delightful! I usually don’t read the WIPs because I don’t want to spoil the excitement when the final version is published, but this really has the characteristic Crusie snap to it. Reading it has reversed what was an unnecessarily frustrating day.

    Thank you!

  11. I’m fine,” he said to her. “And even I died, you could still talk to me so–”

    I think you mean even if I died.

  12. At first I thought: wow, love the energy / possibilities and would definitely read more.

    But I did get thrown out of the synopsis. So I went back to re-read.

    Sorry, these characters actions just don’t make sense to me. e.g., Why in the world would Isodle ask Alice to come with her to this meeting? Alice is just not someone I’d take with me for a client meeting if I was a medium, especially when Alice is going to take over said meeting and be negative aka impact my livelihood.

    And wow, I do NOT like Alice. Sorry. She’s angry, extremely judgmental, and patronizing. She’s a know-it-all and she got it wrong with her 1st and 2nd impressions of Kimberlee. The boobage with a mobcap should’ve prompted an internal reevaulation of her conclusions. Nope BIMBO and a blonde one at that. Aren’t she and Nadine also blonde. Judgmental, judgmental, judgmental. Closed off even. Absolutely nothing piqued her curiosity in that opening scene. IMO, she’d make a horrible scientist.

    I did love the writing. It was fun, energized and made me want to go along for the ride.

    Thank you for sharing and sorry I’m the wet blanket to the party.

    1. Wet blankets are welcome also (g).

      The part I don’t get is why Carter would pay Ethan to take Alice south. I’m assuming it will become clear as I write this.

      1. Maybe Carter just convinced Ethan to go with Alice because Ethan is interested in Alice and in haunted houses because …..because…… oh something. You’ll work it out. And Agnes was angry but as we got to know her, it became clear she had good cause and we started relating to her.

      2. It would only make sense if Carter thought she was in danger somehow. Maybe he doesn’t truly believe, deep down, that the ghosts are really gone and, even if on a subconscious level, believes they could still harm Alice? So he doesn’t want her there alone.

        1. I’ll have to write to it to find it. Something happens when he meets Ethan and Nadine. I’ll figure it out.

        1. At this point, it’s part of the “Don’t look down” approach to Discovery Draft. It’s a small thing that absolutely will have to be fixed, but I can go back and get it later. I think I’ll probably have to write the first couple chapters of Stealing Nadine to figure it out.

          1. I’m sure you’ll fix it.

            But yeah – I wondered why would Carter send Ethan – a total stranger- to go with Alice to such a personal and scary place. And Ethan is younger and therefore more likely to have kids than someone like Ulrich, so not a great prospective alternate buyer from Alice’s perspective.

            And in 2015 for a 20-something-ish Carter to not even text Alice that he wanted Ethan to go with her seems off to me. Like if I was Alice I would have needed to see Carter’s signature on the check and/or confirmed with Carter to verify this story.

            It made me think Ethan was lying that Carter had asked him to go and/or lying that Carter was paying him. And I know Ethan from the past, so I figured if he was lying there was a reason…but Alice seems way to wary and practical to take a road trip with someone she’s known for less than 24 hours to a place she feels insecure about…especially with someone who’s already stolen her keys. I could shrug “but Ethan’s cool because ‘Faking It’ ” but I have a hard time believing Alice could. I don’t remember from MTT – was she able to like read auras/sense people’s innate goodness or something in addition to seeing ghosts?

            It almost seems more likely to me that Carter would pay Alice to let Ethan tag along and to keep an eye on him, as part of the investigation of Nadine.

      3. The part I don’t get is why in the world Alice would go along with it. Besides the whole safety factor after he’s already invaded her personal space without permission, why wouldn’t she take friends well versed in her world, scientific paranormal equipment or more likely just go by herself.

        Given that it’s only scene 3, I don’t see how Ethan makes the top 10 to spend 4 plus hours trapped in a car with. Not unless she was seriously in lust with the guy and hoping for sex along the way.

        I also don’t get why Carter would bother investigating Ethan. I know he needs to meet Nadine. But nothing in that scene says professionally investigate me personally. If anyone needs to be investigated from Alice’s POV, it would be murderous Betty. Why protect a murderer from a possible con-man, especially when you’ve dismissed the whole thing by leaving the house and waiting out in the car?

  13. I really like it so far and am looking forward to this one coming out (more my cup of tea than a fantasy like Nita, which I will anyhow buy and read when it’s out, ‘cause Crusie…)

    One little thing. When we see North for the first time here, he’s described as her stepfather. Now from MTT, we know the kids are orphans, that Andie is their aunt/guardian and by the end she wants them both. But by the end she wants North back again too.

    So….my assumption was that Andie (re)marries North and they BOTH TOGETHER adopt the kids, making North their ADOPTED father, not stepfather.

    (It’s been a while since I’ve re-read MTT, so I might have missed or forgotten something. But the scenario in my head is both kids adopted by both adults…)


    1. I was wondering about that. And basically, at this point, North is her dad so no point in calling him anything else.

      1. Yeah, it was the “step” which threw me off. For a reader who hadn’t read MTT it wouldn’t be a stumble but for me it was “huh?”

        1. To Alice, too, I think. It was an easy transition from Bad to Dad, so she stayed with what she was comfortable with for awhile before switching over, but she still calls him Bad now and then. Good father/daughter relationship.

        2. I totally forgot she called him “Bad” in MTT, and thought it was just a typo on my first read through. I clearly need to re-read MTT!

      2. “Theodore Archer, a distant cousin, died two years ago and made me the guardian of his two children.”

        He’s their third cousin and the legal guardian? I see no reason for adoption. Possibly, if the probate court hasn’t already affirmed guardianship, something more binding. But they are already Archers. Andie and Alice call him Bad without malice. I like that pet name for a guardian.

        I get confused. Is it third cousin or second cousin once removed? Southie’s kids would be third cousins, yes?

  14. Love the promise this shows, because I loved MTT. (Big Turn of the Screw fan).

    Thanks for sharing this much. I have loved watching Nita evolve and your posts help me figure out why I like some books and not others…



  15. I had an almost opposite reaction to Alice than JustQ. I was looking for sequins, out of balance extrovert/introvert behavior (as in, not great at people-reading, but tops in ghost-conversing), in a way jagged. Carter has the control; Alice has the brilliance. Not being a great scientist doesn’t mean she isn’t a great lepidopterist: it does mean she has an all-consuming focus. (That bolsters her belief that she is apart from all others and happy to be that way.)

    My adopted niece uses “Mom” for her adoptive mother and “biological mom” for her birth mother. Names can go whatever the kid wants. I like “Bad.”

    I don’t mean to tell you how to tell your story. 😉

    1. Everybody tells me how to write my story. I pick and choose opinions (g).

      It’s still so early in the process, but I see Carter as super-reserved and strongly emotional under that. Passionate about the people he loves, cold on the surface. Fun to write.

      Alice I see as angry (gee, that’ll be new, an angry Crusie heroine) and ignoring her anger because she doesn’t know what to do with it. So she projects a calm, cold exterior, but that rage is close to the surface. That’s why she has no patience with Brittany who, after twenty years as a ghost, is still obsessing about her legs. It’s not that that’s supposed to be admirable, it’s that it’s Alice. Going back to Archer House will mean confronting everything she refused to face in therapy after Andie and North got her to Columbus. Alice is the original Everything-is-FINE girl.

      That gives me two crunchy relationships: cool Carter and hot Nadine, and angry Alice and laidback Ethan.

      Although now I want to think about what makes characters likable (I know that) and whether it’s important (not sure about that). “Fascinating” is crucial. “Likable” is not.

  16. Gee, I would Never make it as a critic. I really enjoyed it. Maybe i’m Used to Crusie heroines
    Being cranky.

  17. can’t wait til this book comes out it has started as fun as the rest of your books

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