Manhattan on the Rocks
Sourcebooks Landmark, 2004

Tired of novels about young New Yorkers who deserve an Academy Award for Self-Pity? Laura Smart is the rare heroine who doesn’t whine, have a weight problem, see a therapist, or think that finding the right pair of Manolos will solve all her problems.

The daughter of hard-working Hungarian immigrants in Cleveland, Laura has thrived in a job at Buckeye magazine that has let her write quirky and amusing stories like “Bowling-Trophy Wives,” an article about the wives of Ohio’s best bowlers.

But Laura can’t resist an offer to move to Manhattan and work for a talk-show-host-turned-magazine editor. She hopes her job at Cassandra will improve her troubled romance with an aspiring screenwriter and turn her into “Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s without the foot-long cigarette holder.” Instead, she gets a bruising reality check. She must deal with the gravity-defying cost of apartments, a flirtatious corporate power broker, a best friend with her own romantic problems, and a boss who wants her to track down and interview an elusive pop star. She also has to decide whether to break ranks with co-workers who see their cascade of perks from advertisers—free clothes, makeup, trips, and even cars—as fair compensation for their low salaries. The result is a sparkling comedy of manners that hilariously sends up the sex-and-celebrity driven world women’s magazines. Written from the insider’s perspective of a former editor of Glamour, Manhattan on the Rocks brims with the wry common sense of a heroine who gains a gloss of New York sophistication without losing the down-home values she brought to the city.

“Laura’s voice in this novel is spunky, and Harayda draws on references to both pop culture and literature to give Laura an intelligence that is the most compelling aspect of this novel. As her name indicates, she’s smart.”
Kelly Magee, Ohioana Quarterly

“Sophisticated chick lit.”
Pamela Redmond Satran, The New York Times

“Harayda, a former senior editor of Glamour, provides an inside look at the life of a New York magazine through an appealing heroine’s eyes.”
Kristine Huntley, Booklist

“Harayda teasingly pokes fun at the differences between Cleveland and Manhattan.”
Linda Feagler, Obio Magazine

A “blockbuster… autumn’s hot new book.”
Complete Woman

“Manhattan on the Rocks will make readers laugh out loud.”
Vince Brewton, ForeWord

 

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The Accidental Bride, A Romantic Comedy
St. Martin’s hardcover, 1999; Griffin paperback, 2000
Foreign rights sold: Greek

One month before her fairy-tale wedding to the third richest man in the second largest city in Ohio, Lily Blair is suddenly beset by doubts. Even though she appears to have it all—a budding newspaper career and a five-carat engagement ring from a wonderful man—she can’t decide whether to plunge headfirst into the security of married suburban life or follow her career dreams alone to New York. A lively cast of friends, family, and coworkers keeps pushing her toward the aisle.

But Lily knows that she alone must make the biggest decision of her life. And as she locks horns with her mother on nearly every detail, issues like chicken-wings-versus-veal-medallions turn into battles in an event being staged with the grandeur and precision of a full-scale military operation. The situation grows funnier and more desperate at every turn. Lily looks to her heroine, Jane Austen, for inspiration. But can she find what she needs in novels like Pride and Prejudice? Before the answer emerges, Janice Harayda deftly satirizes topics that include bridal fairs, Martha Stewart, personals ads, sports fanaticism, and self-help books with titles like Maybe He’s Just a Jerk. The result is a witty and sparkling comedy of Midwestern manners that will keep you guessing until the end. The Accidental Bride could make an ideal shower gift for a future bride who wonders, as Lily does, if she will lose her sanity on her way to the bridal salon.
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“Harayda’s debut novel is a witty and wise comedy of manners that pays homage to Jane Austen … Harayda fleshes out Lily with a refreshing combination of fragility and headstrong, illogical self-awareness, making her all the more endearing. Readers will find themselves rooting for Lily to triumph.”
Publishers Weekly

“The Accidental Bride delightfully sends up the carnivals we call modern weddings. In a style that careens from Austenesque to Corporate Memo-ese, Janice Harayda has written a farce that dissects the farce of the matrimonial ceremony. Lily is a charming character.”
Olivia Goldsmith, bestselling author of The First Wives Club

“A thoroughly entertaining first novel.”
Joyce R. Slater, Chicago Sun-Times

“Sparkling with wit and humor, this is a story that charms.”
Kirkus Reviews

“One of the summer’s best beach books.”
Cosmopolitan

“Harayda’s first novel has plenty of snappy, witty dialog, humorous scenarios, and sexual innuendo.”
Margaret Ann Hanes, Library Journal

“A frothy comedy … Harayda is an astute social commentator.”
Maggie Galehouse, The New York Times

“Harayda is quick with a quip and merciless at sniping at an unnamed Ohio city … Residents of that city may not find this funny, but everyone else will.”
Michele Leber, Booklist

“Vigorous wit, playful homage to the winsome heroines of great nineteenth-century novels, and a charming, irresolute heroine make this tale of a woman who doesn’t want to get married an unusually filling trifle.”
Karen Karbo, San Francisco Chronicle (“Recommended” book)

“Harayda’s sense of the humorously absurd, combined with her gift for timing and fun, make this book readable and fun … Did I ever put it down? No. I read it at breakfast, at dinner, in the bubble bath. I got to liking Lily and wanted to find out what would happen.”
Wendy Smith, San Diego Union Tribune

“The former book editor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Harayda has made Lily a displaced reporter. This gives the author a wonderful chance to skewer newsroom types … half the fun for the reader is helping Lily sort out her misgivings [about her wedding] and figure out which are real and which are only flutters.”
Kit Reed, St. Petersburg Times

“The Accidental Bride is a worthy counterpart to… Bridget Jones’s Diary [Harayda’s] hand at social satire rivals Austen’s… Lily Blair is a charming heroine… The reader is pleased to go along for the ride.”
Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel

“Nicely skewers today’s over-the-top weddings and the whole wedding industry.”
Linda Brazill, The Capital Times (Madison, WI)

“The Accidental Bride is a delightful romp of a book, both funny and wise and very much a story for our times. In Lily Blair, Jan Harayda has created a contemporary character who outdoes the best of Jane Austen’s most memorable women. When feisty Lily comes to terms with one of the biggest decisions of her life, the reader can do nothing but cheer.”
Ruth Coughlin, author of Grieving: A Love Story

“True laughs and true lover abound in this galloping romantic comedy. Jan Harayda goes after the smug assumptions of suburban weddings and the absurdity of ‘mandatory’ matrimony. The wit is civilized, the heart is romantic, and the wisecracks are indeed wise.”
Steve Szilagyi, author of Photographing Fairies

“The Accidental Bride is a charmingly witty, modern-day satirical tale of a woman trying to keep her balance as she teeters on the edge of matrimony.”
Charles Salzberg, co-author of On Clear Day They Could See Seventh Place

“You’ll be kept guessing to the very end.”
Marie Bruni, The Daily Star

 

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