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Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Babe in the Woods by Jude Hopkins - Book Tour - Guest Post - Giveaway - Enter Daily!

Hey, lovelies!!  It gives me great pleasure today to host Jude Hopkins and her new book, “Babe in the Woods,” here on FAB!!  For other stops on her Goddess Fish Promotions Book Tour, please click on the banner above or any of the images in this post.

Be sure to make it to the end of this post to enter to win a $20 Amazon OR Barnes and Noble Gift Card!!  Also, come back daily to interact with Jude and to increase your chances of winning!!

Thanks for stopping by!!  Wishing you all lots of good luck in this fabulous giveaway!!

Babe in the Woods

by Jude Hopkins


GENRE:   Women's Fiction



It’s September 1995, the first year of the rest of Hadley Todd's life. After living in Los Angeles, Hadley returns to her hometown in rural New York to write and be near her father. In addition to looking after him and teaching high school malcontents, Hadley hopes to channel her recent L.A. heartbreak into a play about the last moment of a woman’s innocence. But she seeks inspiration.

Enter Trey Harding, a young, handsome reporter who covers sports at the high school. Trey reminds Hadley of her L.A. ex and is the perfect spark to fire up her imagination. The fact that Trey is an aspiring rock star and she has L.A. record biz connections makes the alliance perfect. She dangles promises of music biz glory while watching his moves. But the surprising twist that transpires when the two of them go to Hollywood is not something Hadley prepared for.



“Have you ever fallen in love?”

He winked at her. “All the time.”

She’d have the last word, something she realized was important to her. “I think it’s wrong, all these women you lead on. Don’t you? I mean, they may get attached, fall for you. But you seem to use them, to see what you can get out of them for your own purposes. I think that’s wrong, They’re human beings, after all. With feelings.”

He turned around, his eyes drained of any light. “They use me, too. It’s not like they’re not getting anything out of it.”

“What am I getting out of this?” she asked him, if not rhetorically.

He stood on one hip, a move that made him appear more rakish than usual. “I really don’t know, Miss Todd. I wondered that myself. I thought perhaps you were bored or intrigued. Or maybe you’re a control freak.” He took a step toward her so he was within half an inch of her face. “Or maybe you’re just like the rest and can’t resist me.”

Hadley stood her ground. “How do you know when it’s over? The moment when love, or lust, turns into something else. Something not as passionate?”

“I don’t think about it,” he said, returning her gaze. “It’s something that happens. Maybe it’s not one moment. It just is.”

He turned around and walked out of the room.



I remember the first agent who requested a full (the entire manuscript) of my book Babe in the Woods.

She was a well-known New York agent. I remember being so excited, I had to take a long drive and listen to music just to calm down. Surely she would love the rest of the manuscript; after all, she’d read the first 25 or so pages. I was certain the good-news email would follow with a contract.

But it didn’t happen. She didn’t like my protagonist. “Too negative,” she wrote.

My protagonist, Hadley Todd, had a lot going on. She was a 35-year-old single woman who was determined to find love with a man who not only cooked, but did the dishes, too, as she put it. She would be in control in her next relationship, having always been the one dumped in previous ones. Hadley was also worn down from teaching English to high school malcontents and had an ornery father she was watching over.

But too negative? Complicated, yes. Hadley certainly expressed her disappointment in not being in love, was often sarcastic, and admitted to being tired, somewhat embittered and in need of “a jolt.”  If that’s too negative, OK, but it’s not as if women don’t feel all of those things at times.

Women are human, too. They aren’t always upbeat, comforting, and sunny.

Not long after that rejection, I got another request—this time from a dream agent, another well-known and well-respected New York agent. Her assistant wrote that the agent was interested in seeing the full manuscript. She also asked me if the manuscript was out with other agents. It sounded very hopeful because this agent, as the first, had read a hefty sample of the manuscript already, so she knew my writing style.

But this agent, too, rejected it—for the same reason. My protagonist just wasn’t positive enough.

Good grief! Does the publishing world want only Stepford Wives as main characters? I thought Hadley was a strong character in spite of her constraints. In addition to all her duties as a teacher and a daughter, she had the impetus to write. Toward that end, she was a member of a local writing group so she could melt her writer’s block.

Hadley was trying—and she had a goal, a personal goal. Hardly “too negative,” in my opinion.

Several other agents followed suit—requesting a full, then rejecting the manuscript because of Hadley.

Either the entire publishing world wanted something I couldn’t give them, or I needed to take another look at my protagonist. I figured it would have to be the latter.

Because I was unable to “see” my problems with Hadley, I found an editor whom I thought would be just right in pinpointing what was wrong. At least I was right about the editor. She told me two things about my protagonist. First, for someone so acutely self-aware, Hadley didn’t seem to be using that quality to get out of her depressing situation. She was stagnating. Write her, my editor advised, so that her self-awareness extends to her desire to change herself, to explore new avenues to improve her situation.

Next, give her an opening scene where she is the one highlighted. In my previous manuscript, I had opened up with Hadley surrounded by numerous other characters. Readers couldn’t get to know her. By giving her an opening scene in which she was the main focus, readers would be more apt to sympathize with her. In doing this, the editor said, Hadley’s strength and intelligence will be spotlighted. Readers will root for her.

So, I did that. The results were startling. The qualities I had written into Hadley—intelligence, ambition, willfulness, compassion and humor—were now illustrated in the first scene where the point of view focuses mainly on her and her reactions. Readers could become invested in her and her goals and how they were difficult to achieve given her busy life. They could also see that her way out of her “jolt-deficient” life lay in her writing a play about a woman’s last moment of romantic innocence. They would want her to succeed.

As a result of these two perspectives, I was able to make Hadley shine as the strong, but sensitive, woman she was, more inviting to readers as someone they would like to follow on a journey.

After I made these changes, I was offered a book contract shortly thereafter.



Jude Hopkins has published essays in The Los Angeles Times, Medium, the belladonna—and poetry in various journals including Gyroscope Review, Timber Creek Review and California Quarterly. She is currently working on her first novel, Babe in the Woods.

It has always been her desire to write. She was featured in Dickinson College’s literary magazine when she was an undergraduate. One poem in particular, “Mixed Metaphors,” contrasted two viewpoints in a lakeside scene: one of a romantic young woman who thought the wind was blowing through her hair like an Aeolian harp; the other, that of her suitor who believed the water looked as cold as hell. Ah, love’s different sensibilities! What she lost in that relationship, she gained from her sojourn at Dickinson, earning her Phi Beta Kappa key while there, as well as a desire to continue her education.

Then it was on to graduate school at Arizona State University where studying for her master’s degree in English and grading essays as a teaching assistant took most of her time (and partying — it was ASU, for Pete’s sake). However, she did have a germ of an idea for a self-help book that she began outlining, fueled by many a Thermos bottle of Dunkin’ coffee.

It wasn’t until she moved to L.A. that she thought about writing a proposal for that self-help book. She got some bites from agents. Top agents. But working three jobs took precedence. (One of those jobs was at a Hollywood record company where she met a Beatle, among other artists.)

When she finally moved back to Pennsylvania, she began seriously writing again, squeezing in time to pen some poems between endless essay grading at one of the University of Pittsburgh’s branch campuses. As an adjunct English instructor, Jude was uncompromising on what she expected from her students, knowing they were capable of achieving great things when challenged, but she tried to balance the hard work with humor. Nevertheless, she knew that discipline and knowledge could turn even the most reluctant student into a pretty good writer. To achieve that end, the cellphones had to be put away, and attention had to be paid. The result? Some model research papers and essays from memorable students (she taught English in Pennsylvania, New York state, California and Arizona).

The need to write something besides comments on student essays gnawed at her. One day, she took out her old self-help book manuscript from a cobwebby drawer and began the process of turning it into a novel. That novel became “Babe in the Woods” and will be traditionally published by Wild Rose Press sometime in 2023. She blogs about that novel, so, readers, please follow her blogs as she updates everyone on the book's progress. Please also check out her essays and poems, also featured herein.







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Jude will be awarding a $20 Amazon OR Barnes and Noble Gift Card (Winner’s Choice!!!) to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

**This post contains affiliate links and if clicked and a purchase is made, I may receive a small commission to help support this blog.  This does not cost you anything, it just helps pay for all those fabulous community outreach projects and awesome giveaways on here**

This contest is sponsored by a third party. Fabulous and Brunette is a registered host of Goddess Fish Promotions.  Prizes are given away by the sponsors and not Fabulous and Brunette. The featured author and Goddess Fish Promotions are solely responsible for the giveaway prize.


  1. Sounds like a fun book, and a really interesting point about getting someone else to give you feedback on your characters. I was lucky enough to have great beta readers who could point out when my characters get too whiny :D

  2. Sounds like a terrific book.

  3. I enjoyed the post. Sounds really good.

  4. I'd love to read this!

  5. I like the book cover. Was it exactly how you originally envisioned it?

  6. This sounds like a book that I will really enjoy.