I've been thinking a lot lately about the best approach to my journey to publication. Should I go through a traditional publisher? Try to get an agent? Or maybe try out one of the smaller presses that seem to be popping up everywhere? While these are all good choices for some, I have decided that for now I am going to self-publish. This decision wasn't brash, and it didn't come to be easily. I put a lot of thought into this decision and think that this is the best decision for me.
Though it's taken me a long time to put this plan into motion, I actually came to this decision in early 2011. At that time, I sought counsel from all kinds of people: family, friends, fellow authors. I surfed the internet, making lists of potential agents, publishers and the like. One thing that I think pushed me over the edge was the advice I received from a very successful self-published author (Tina Folsom). She told me to get great covers, that series were gold and to be as prolific as I could be without compromising the writing. Great advice! So what did I do? I immediately went out and bought a cover for the first book in the series (Sacking Austin) then promptly sat on the entire project for over a year. Why did I do that? Well, partially because real life does have a way of intruding but mostly I think it was because of my inner self-doubt and truly being afraid of going forward.
Jump ahead to summer of 2012 and the dream was beginning to take place. I had just signed a contract to release a newer work called Love Remembers. I was so excited about finally becoming published and announced the good news to everyone I knew. Then the unexpected happened a month or two later: my publisher closed its doors. I literally went into shock and sadness that lasted about half a day, then I decided that there was nothing I could do about it. Companies shut down all the time, big ones and smaller ones alike. I had no control over this. Yet, I could control my own publishing schedule. I decided immediately that I was going to self-publish (Which I prefer to call Indie-publish). Because I want to start with a series and Love Remembers is (at least for now) a stand alone, I dug out Sacking Austin from the hard drive archives. It needed a little work, but looking at it with fresh eyes is a good thing, right?
With the decision to self-publish Sacking Austin, I also decided to hire a freelance editor and order new cover art. I felt that both of these were important to present a polished and profession product. (Alliteration, anyone?) There was nothing wrong with my old cover, but something about it had always nagged at me. It just wasn't quite what I wanted and when I had ordered it in the first place, I think I had just been so excited to see my name as the author on the book that I ignored my inner voice. Well, now I've got a cover that I love. The rest of the covers in the Score! Series will have similar looks. I am so excited about this project. The heroes and/or heroines in the series are athletes, with each book highlighting a different sport. If you like sports, you're sure to love these novellas, and even if you don't, give them a try! I promise there's not too much technical sports talk. Ha!
Thanks for reading the ramblings of this wannabe writer.
Love and peace-
Lori Beth :)
I've been struggling lately with this little gal inside me called my inner editor. I liken the inner editor to the little devil on your shoulder whispering in your ear, telling you everything that's wrong or stupid about your writing. There's a saying, "Turn off your inner editor and just create!" While I think this is great advice, I also think it's easier said than done.
When writing, especially if not yet published, it's so easy to question every word, every motive, everything. I find myself wondering what people will think about this or that. For instance, they say that many authors' first works or early characters are in many ways autobiographical. And for me, this may be partially true. Because I am writing what I know. I am writing characters and situations that I am familiar with. I do not write fantasy or science fiction. Everything I write has a sense of realism (I hope.). I feel very vulnerable when writing my characters' actions or dialogue because in a sense, these are my words.
Am I a character in my stories? No, but I can identify with all of my characters at least on some level. My heroines all have some characteristics which are mine, but others which are not. I am not trying to write "me" but because I'm the author, my own thoughts are bound to influence the characters. So I think the challenge is to really let go and let the characters do the talking. Let their story unfold without any regard as to my own personal views or thoughts. I want the characters to speak for themselves, be multi-dimensional and be different from one another.
This is a challenge, but it's one I have to conquer to move forward.
Love and peace,
Lori Beth :)
Remember when you were in kindergarten and every week you would have show and tell time? I don't remember much of my own experiences with it but I do remember my children participating in this activity while in school. In fact, my favorite memory of this was when my oldest son took his baby sister to show and tell in kindergarten. His classmates loved her! Sadly, I've heard that many teachers or administrators no longer see this activity as worthwhile and have stopped the practice. Personally, I think S/T is great because it gives young children an opportunity to stand, or sit, in front of a small audience and speak. It's a confidence-builder. How many adults are afraid to stand in front of a crowd and give a speech? Maybe we need to bring back show and tell and keep it through high school. Hmmm I'll think on that.
So what does all this have to do with writing? Think of the two elements involved: Showing and Telling. Show and Tell is an oral presentation. The telling comes from the voice and the showing comes mainly from physically presenting something to the crowd. In writing, it's a whole different ballgame.
Recently I was working on Sacking Austin. I asked my son to look over it for me as he is a college English major and one day may work in publishing. He's an excellent writer himself and I trust his opinion. When he finished reading, he wasted no time in saying that I was telling way more than showing. But, I thought, isn't that what I am? A storyteller or sorts?
Plus, I liked my chapter the way it was. I thought it was fine, but I decided to humor him and work more on that showing-business. So after going back through my chapter and consulting several of articles/blogs online I came up with what I thought was a much better chapter. It felt tight. It felt cohesive and flowed better than the first one. Wow, so the kid was right.
So did I tell at all? Was it all showing? Not really. I think the trick is to know when to tell and when to show and blend the two in what will look effortless to readers. Easier said than done, but I shall keep on trying.
Love and peace,
Lori Beth :)
If a family member or your best friend told you that he or she was hearing voices, how would you respond? Would you laugh, thinking it was a joke? Would you be concerned and think that a trip to the psychiatrist should be in order? There is no doubt that you would be at least curious as to what was meant by the comment, and at the most, you would be concerned. Right? RIGHT?
Well, guess what? I've been hearing voices.
Yep, you heard me. I hear voices. Like all the time. Should I have my doctor's number on speed-dial? Or should I just head straight to the local mental ward? Hmmm Decisions, decisions.
Am I crazy? I guess that can be debatable, depending on whom you ask, but I don't think I am. Let me explain what I mean by hearing voices, and then you can decide. How's that?
I hear conversations between my characters. I hear their dialogue. I even hear, or feel, a character's inner thoughts. You might think this is normal for a writer, and it actually probably is, but what you might not guess is that these voices come calling at odd times, not just when I'm sitting in front of a computer with a Word document open.
For me, the most common time my characters speak to me is early in the morning. You know the time.... When you're almost awake, but trying desperately to hang on to those last few moments of sleep. I will try my hardest to sleep, but invariably, I will think/hear/dream some conversation and then it's stuck in my head. I can't get it out for anything. So what do I do? Well, sometimes I run to the computer and type the whole thing out. Sometimes I have my notebook nearby that I grab and jot down the basics. At other times, like this morning, I grab my phone and type out what I'd just 'heard' in a text. Yes, a text. Then I either save it as draft or send it to myself. Isn't technology grand?
And just who is it that speaks to me? Well, it could be someone from one of my currents WIPs. Or it could be someone who I don't even know yet. (Ok, I know, you really do think I'm nuts now.) Seriously, though. Sometimes I just have some dialogue or a scene totally play out in my mind and I know right then and there that this is a new story with new characters. This morning they weren't new, though. It was Kathleen and William speaking that I heard, an intimate scene, with them sharing feelings long put away. I almost felt like I was intruding by hearing them, but then, am I not their vehicle to get their story told?
Maybe I should just shut up now before the men in white coats come knocking on my door.
This was a long post, but it's a long time coming. I haven't blogged in awhile and I need to be more consistent. More soon.
Lots of love and hopes for peace-
Lori Beth :)
So I thought I'd go ahead and give you a quick update regarding my current project(s). Right now I'm working on something with the working title, Sacking Austin. Austin Cook is a professional football player who suddenly finds himself single. When he's not really looking, love seems to wander back into his life in the form of a gal who is not his type, at all. They fall hard and they fall fast until he discovers her identity and then everything changes.
It's still very rough and is not nearly long enough but I think it has good bones and will hopefully turn out well. I hope to get a lot of writing done on this story over the next few days and even though I don't have a deadline for submission, I really want it to be sooner rather than later. My life's pretty busy and tends to interfere with my writing, but I am going to try and focus a little more and carve out some quality writing time.
There are many secondary characters in this story that could have their own story someday and as I'm writing this, I'm keeping that in mind as I weave this story together.
I also have a series in mind for books set in the small town of Wolf Ridge, Indiana. Write what you know. Isn't that what they say? Well, this town will actually be even smaller than where I live but the book will definitely have a rural, Midwestern feel yet I hope the themes throughout will be universal enough to appeal to the masses. This series starts with divorced and single dad Ryan who gets fired from his high school coaching job (basketball, of course, it's Indiana!) at a large urban school in Indianapolis and moves back to his hometown of Wolf Ridge. He will discover that while some things never change, there have definitely been things he's missed while away. One thing he'll learn is that his high school flame, Annie, has died. This will hit him like a ton of bricks and when he comes face to face with Annie's little sister, Elizabeth or Lizzy, who he used to call Lizard, he'll want some answers. But he'll get more than he bargained for. I have a ton of characters in this story, well in the series, and if it ever sees the light of day, hopefully you all will like it.
That's about it for now. I promise to be more prolific in my blog posts. Promises, promises…..
Lori Beth :)
Well, I turned 46 yesterday. Not exactly a milestone, but at only a few years to the big 5-0, it caught my attention. As I approached this particular birthday, I began to reflect on my life so far. My health is something I need to think about as my body is starting to remind me that just maybe I don't take care of myself as well as I should. When younger, this isn't so much a big deal, but as we age, things like exercise and nutrition are important. Big news, right? We all know it. It's the putting it into action that is the hard part. I'm working on it.
I have also been mentioning my bucket list in conversations more and more recently. This list, though, is a sham. No such thing exists. While I have many ideas in my mind of the things I would still like to do or accomplish before I pass into the next world, I have never actually written any of this down. Nor have I typed a list and saved it as a document. Why not? Because I am a procrastinator. It's what I do. Seriously.
I should start the list. Right now. This won't be a complete list. Actually, the list will not ever be complete because I want to everything. If not everything, a lot of things. Lots and lots of things.
Here are the first ten items on my list. (In no particular order, of course.)
1. Ireland. With Amy. We were supposed to go on our 40th birthdays. Hmm Maybe we'll shoot for our 50th? 60th?
2. Go to a Colts game at Lucas Oil Stadium. I've never seen them in person, which sounds ridiculous, but it's true. Anytime we get a couple of tickets, I tell my husband to take my son. I'm a mom, what can I say?
3. Return to Salzburg, Austria. I went to Europe as a 16 year-old and loved Salzburg but am sure that I would appreciate it so much more as an adult.
4. Learn Spanish. This should be on everyone's list. It's going to be important. And while I'm at it, I'd like to re-aquatint myself with German, also. I love languages. Do I sound nerdy?
5. Read more of the classics. This is something that will never be crossed off because there are enough classics to keep me reading for a long, long time. I'm ashamed to say I haven't read many (generally the ones assigned in high school or college). I'm going to get on this soon. Any suggestions?
6. Take cooking classes. My friends and family are laughing reading this one, but I mean it. I love to watch the cooking shows on TV and would like to learn how to do some of the cool stuff. I still probably won't cook every day, but at least I'll have a meal or two that I can fall back on.
7. Family vacation to Hollywood. I'm the only one who's been there and I know without a shadow of doubt that my hubby and kids would love it. We're all entertainment industry geeks and if there is one place we're meant to visit together, this would be it.
9. Take my mom to England. I'm not sure if she would go, but I really want to explore our heritage.
10. Get published. Enough said.
Yes, much of my list involves travel. I probably could make a list of hundreds of places I'd like to see. I love to travel. So much of this great big wonderful world that I still want to see.
Love and peace-
Lori Beth :)
Unless you lived under a rock the last twenty years or are incredibly young, you are probably familiar with the television program, Seinfeld. The show is still a favorite in this house. My husband Charlie and I both love it and our kids, while not loving it as much as we do, appreciate the humor and like it, too. Seinfeld was supposedly a show about nothing but I'm not sure I agree with that. It was a show about life, about everyday things that happen to normal people. What? you're saying. Jerry, Elaine, George and Kramer were normal people? Well, maybe they were caricatures of normal people. Maybe each episode was an example of hyperbole. But it worked. Isn't it the mundane, every day tasks that make up our lives? I think Seinfeld had a purpose and I think this blog does too. This post may seem about nothing, but it is helping me stay focused and keep writing. I keep having to remind myself that I have promised over and over to post more regularly on this blog. Have I kept my promises? Not really, so far. I do intend to do better this year, however. The main purpose of my blog is to talk about my writing. What I'm currently working on. What I want to write about. What inspires me. And of course, the rocky road to publishing.
Yet, every time I start to blog I can't think of anything to say. Or, I always think of a great idea and wonder if I should save it until a later date when I'm more established and my opinion will matter more. It's almost as if I'm afraid to use all my good topics in the first few weeks. Silly, isn't it? I know! But I'm somewhat neurotic when it comes to writing and blogging, maybe that's why I'm thinking like this. Did I ever mention George is my favorite Seinfeld character?
In any case, what I've done is start a list of blog topics. Other than actual real-time updates of my progress, I feel like I want to talk about things having to do with writing, as well. So what if I end up talking about the same topic more than once, several months (or years) apart. Will that really matter? No, I don't think so because with each post will come new wisdom that comes with experience.
So there you have it. A post about nothing but the ramblings of my mind. Whew, aren't you impressed? My next post will be about something. I promise.
Hugs and peace!
Well, I've tried this before, haven't I? I began a blog once, years ago. I posted once, then promptly forgot about it. Well, I could always make excuses such as my father's illness. It's true that he was sick and died shortly after the creation of said blog, but you would think that having the blog, having the outlet to express my feelings would have been a reason to blog. But you see, I hadn't quite developed the habit or the discipline to blog regularly so I never went back to it. Recently, when a friend mentioned that I really should be blogging, I relented and said, sure why not? So with Jenn's help (Thank you, Jenn!), here I am.
Notice that my blog calls me a wannabe writer. Well, I'm actually a writer already, at least I like to think so. I'm just not yet published. Note I said, yet, as the dreamer in me tries to stay focused and keep my eye on the prize. I will use other blog posts for my list of a million reasons (excuses) why I'm not yet published, so I won't dwell on that now. Also, my next blog is to be on my New Year's Resolutions, which of course include guess what? Getting published! J
Although most of my blogging will revolve around writing, I suspect you'll see other areas of my life bleed in. That's just the kind of person I am. I tend to be an open book when I write, and blogging is, most certainly, writing. You'll get to know my family, which includes my husband and my three children. You'll probably end up knowing about the music I listen to, or the athletic teams I follow. I'll try not to get too political, but those of you who know me, know I will from time to time. I'm quite opinionated and occasionally that may show in my blog posts.
But for now, I'm going to leave you wondering why you came to my blog. It's nothing much yet, but I hope over the next several weeks, months or years, you'll come here and get to know me better. I hope you'll see some progress in my writing, and maybe I'll grow as a person in the process. One can only hope.
Lori Beth Johnson