Doing Things MY WAY…..

Doing Things MY WAY…..


While doing research for the first four novels in my Locke & Keye’ series, I was informed that publishers would not be even remotely interested in so much as looking at my final product (we’re talking the first completed novel) unless I had a blog. Not just “a blog”, but one that I manage entirely on my own, update regularly (which means more than once a month), where I connect with my readers, and that they want to see that people are interested in the every day things I have to say, not just what I write for them in printed format.

There were some other “musts”. One of which included Facebook. I have an author’s page. You won’t see me say a whole lot on there, but you can certainly friend me if you want to., just be sure I know who you are because I am not the type to just accept every single friend request sent my way. It is not a popularity contest for me in ANY way.

Twitter was another “must”, and there were a few other things I rolled my eyes at.

It is somehow the belief that you gain readers via social media, and ONLY via social media. I call BULLSHIT on that, and I’ll tell you why.

#1- Unless you have absolutely no life, you don’t care what I say or don’t say on Facebook. Why would you? There’s nothing special going on there. Anything you want to learn about me you can learn via my work, via sending me an e-mail, or via responding to the things I post. I will always answer a person, so long as they’re being respectful. If you’re going to be a jackass, I respectfully decline to communicate with you. Period.

#2- I am a reader and a writer. I read what my favorite writers’ have to say on their own blogs and web-sites, but when I’m busy and haven’t had the time to read their blogs, I stick to their books as they are released. I don’t care what they say on Facebook, Twitter, or anywhere else. I don’t care about their political views (In truth I think it’s important for publiuc figures to keep their political and religious views to themselves. That’s just me though.), what they had for lunch, that they just found a pair of cute shoes, or whether or not they got to the gym today. That doesn’t sell me a damn thing, the stories they write are the selling point. However, it does let me know at times that some people have way too much time on their hands and really need to quit discussing their sex life via Facebook. Why does anyone feel the need to share every single detail of their lives like that? When did we all become the Kardashians?! (And I say this despite the fact that I follow Khloe’ on Facebook and adore her.)

#3- If you have time to “tweet” all damn day, I really don’t care. It doesn’t prove anything to me, other than the fact that a lot of people can knowingly embarrass themselves in 140 characters, or less. I refuse to join Twitter. Do not expect me to be tweeting EVER. It’s not going to happen, not even on a bet.

About seven months ago I met an amazing guy who has the same thought process I do regarding Twitter. His exact words were “One day I’ll get drunk, post something completely inappropriate or rude on Twitter, embarrass myself and my family, and do I REALLY want to explain that to my mother when she sees it, even at my age? No. So I will take a pass on that whole thing. I think it’s a great promotional tool, but it’s not for me.” Agreed. Did I mention he’s amazing? 

#4- I did start this blog because of a publishing mandate, but I have grown to LOVE my blog. Unless I am really sick, or obscenely engaged in something I’m doing, I post at least one thing a day on here. I try not to miss too many days in a row without posting something. I probably lost 10 “followers” in May because I was unable to post every single day as I normally do, which sucks, but not for me, because I see it as defining the true from the fake.

I have met some really wonderful, kind, caring, hilarious, genuine, generous people because of this blog, many of whom I now have friendships with off the blogosphere. You all know who you are. For a person who values friendship to the extent that I do, for me to call you a friend is a big deal. I don’t call every single person I talk to in this world a friend. I do not use the word lightly, not ever, so if you’re my friend, be loyal and don’t discuss me behind my back. If you want to know something, ask me directly. I am an extremely private person, but I’m also incredibly direct and blunt. I will give you honest, kind, caring advice. I treat everyone the way I want to be treated in kind. If I see someone is hurting, I try to be supportive. I don’t say things to be cruel to people. That’s abuse to me, and I would rather keep my mouth shut than come off like some kind of crazed, cruel bitch. I can save that side of myself for those deserving of it.

#5- Deciding to commit to this blog and keep it going has sparked something in me and given me a fantastic sharing and sounding board. It is something I love doing and look forward to continuing. I do not expect every single person that “follows me” to buy my books. It’s an unrealistic expectation, so do not feel obligated. Buy only what you want to. I am not going to push myself on you. Everyone has the right to use their entertainment dollar as they see fit. If it’s your deal and your genre, or you simply want to check it out, then you will. You’ll give me honest feedback, maybe even come to events and introduce yourself to me in person. I will never treat you like I don’t know who you are. In fact, I will be happy for the support. I will appreciate your effort in showing up and I will listen to what you have to say. I’m invested in this, so please feel free to communicate with me whenever and however you choose.

#6- My books are important to me, but so are the people that will eventually read them. I will always do my best to communicate with readers and respond to their comments, just as I do here.

A lot has happened to me in my life. A lot has happened to me since I started this blog, and those I have linked to it. I have grown, I have changed, I have become a better, stronger person. I like and respect the woman that I look at in the mirror, even if I occasionally cringe and say “Where the !@#$ did that line come from? It wasn’t there yesterday!” I am by no means perfect. I suffer from Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain every single day of my life, but being a writer has saved me more times than I can count. I do it because it’s what I want to do and I will always do things MY WAY. Any of you with a strong personality knows what I’m talking about and why. If I don’t do it myself, it will never be done right, and I feel like I’ve got a great handle on “doing it right” here.

Thank you to everyone I can call a friend, to those that have supported me here on WordPress from day one, to the small group that supports me in my creative endeavors, to those who send me e-mails and leave me comments, and to the new people that have started following me in the last few months. I appreciate it and hope that I will continue to keep you interested, intrigued, laughing, smiling, and nodding your heads. And of course, to those who have been in my life for so long, you know what you mean to me.

Respectfully,

Lisa

So Says You……

So Says You…

“When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not yet ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back. A week is more than enough time for us to decide whether or not to accept our destiny.” ―Paulo Coelho

Moving Towards The Finish Line

” Writers are not just people who sit down and write. They hazard themselves. Every time you compose a book, your composition of yourself is at stake.” ~E.L. Doctorow

One of the things I love most about being a writer is being able to enjoy another writer’s work, especially when that writer is completely different from me in style, story-telling ability, and topic. Even if we’re technically in the same genre, I know where I excel and I know where I don’t. I don’t compare myself to anyone because I know I’m not the absolute best in the world. I’m also not idiotic enough to consider myself completely without talent. The nice thing about writing is that there’s an audience for everyone, and no true need for everyone to attempt to compete with anyone other than themselves.

I admit I had a moment about a year and a half ago when I was in a Barnes & Noble with my Aunt. She knows what I’m writing, she absolutely loves the story and the characters, but she hadn’t realized up until that point exactly how much competition is in this genre. Aisles and aisles full of nothing, but books you either pick up or leave behind.

Sci-Fi used to be more traditional in the sense that the sections were very clearly labeled. If you wrote about vampires, werewolves, witches, warlocks, etc., you fell into the Science Fiction and/or Fantasy genre. There weren’t a lot of sub-genres, but now sub-genres are a constant. You have a ton of books in the Young Adult Fiction section, and a great many more in Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Dark Urban Fantasy, etc., and it is very easy to get confused in the fiction section because so many of the covers jump out at you, but not every single story is worth every single person’s time. That’s why there are enough writers for all the readers of the world, we don’t all write the same things and we don’t all read the same things.

One very important thing for me, as a female in a new-to-me side of writing (Previously I wrote nothing, but outspoken opinions and facts. You will find that even my fiction work has a lot of factual information in it because of that. I do my research in an almost obsessive compulsive manner.), is to try to be as uncritical publicly about other female writers as humanly possible. I’m sick of women constantly bashing each other, constantly behaving like we all need to be put in separate corners, and just plain being mean and catty, when we have the choice to be polite and respectful. If you don’t have anything nice to day, don’t say anything at all. We’ve all heard that at least once in our lives, but acting on that tiny bit of poise and grace seems to be lost on a great many people.

Many years ago I openly admit to writing some pretty scathing, unpleasant reviews of Tanya Huff’s Blood novels. If you were a fan of the show “Blood Ties” and read the books which they are loosely based upon, you might be able to understand how shocked, dismayed, and utterly disappointed I was when the books and the show were 100% opposites of one another. Most of us can say that about a lot of books that are later turned into a TV show or movie, but for me, these were especially distracting. The show was so fantastic, so well written and well acted, and a huge part of me expected the books to be on the same level.

I refuse to say more than that because I’d be breaking my own rule. Right here, right now, I publicly apologize to Tanya if she ever read those reviews because as a writer, for me to criticize another female author’s work is just plain disrespectful. It’s one thing to tell a friend or a family member that you didn’t like a book and why, but to publicly tear it apart on several different forums where my book reviews are highly rated is wrong. I only have the ability to delete them from one site, and I plan on doing so because again, it was wrong and I own that. I would not want to be treated that way when my books are published, and I have to pay Tanya the same courtesy, kindness, and respect that is warranted.

For the record, I know I’m not for everyone and I do not expect everyone to fall in love with me, my work, or the style in which I write. I will have plenty of people who will dislike me, and many won’t even know why they dislike me, but it’s the nature of the beast and I’ve been there before, so I know how to handle it.

I have just finished reading “Ever After”, the 11th book in Kim Harrison’s Hollows’ series, which is a series of books I have been reading since day one. It is because of Kim that I became a reader of Vicki Pettersson’s Signs of The Zodiac novels, books I love and highly recommend to others. If Kim had not given Vicki’s work such high praise, I may never have read those books, so I thank her for that gift that keeps on giving.

After finishing Kim’s last book, “A Perfect Blood” in February of 2012, I casually mentioned how much I enjoyed it on Facebook. I can’t tell you how shocked I was when, later that same day, I received a response from Kim. That left a real impression on me. I like her and I respect her work, even though I threatened to stop reading her books several years ago after the death of a character I was extremely attached to. These books have become a yearly main-stay for me. Every year around January or February a new Hollows’ novel comes out and I pre-order it several months in advance.

I enjoyed “Ever After” in a way that puts my own work into perspective for me. It reminds me that I’m writing something different, even though the genre is the same, and that my current manuscript is chock full of my bizarre and twisted sense of humor.

Believe it or not, I am the person that can laugh at a funeral. Not because someone’s death or grief is funny, not because I’m morbid, but because I can tell you something about that person that will make you laugh and smile, and remember them in a positive way. On the way to my father’s funeral the limo driver actually turned to me to say “Are you sure we’re going to a funeral?”, because everyone with me was sharing stories and telling jokes, and it helped lighten a very heavy day where, at times, my anger was thicker than the laughter. We laughed, we cried, we had our moments of silent remembrance, but we were all being honest and real and to me, that is always genuine, quality humanity. Even if the day ended with me wanting to commit murder, tell people off, etc. I am sure we have all felt that way at one time or another in regard to family.

I have had to write this current novel as a means of healing from a lot of loss. It didn’t start out that way, but it became therapeutic at some point to get it all out of my system. I come from a huge extended family, but there are days when I feel like the sole survivor because out of my immediate family, I am one of the only people remaining. It’s a painful part of life, but we survive, we move forward, and someplace along the way maybe we end up less alone than when we first started.

If you’re on the fence about “Ever After”, it is 100% worth reading and completely unlike my own work. It was a good outlet for me to read it this week, and now I can go back to writing my own work which was re-vamped early last week and is moving closer and closer towards the finish line.

Until next time…..Lisa

**For those that are interested, the ABOUT LISA section has been re-vamped as well.**

Goodreads Challenges

On Goodreads.com I challenged myself to read 80 books for 2011. It seemed like an immense stretch, until I passed 65 (the first goal I’d set) and thought “What the hell?! I can do this.” I achieved that goal and for 2012 decided to step it up to 90. For those that do not read a lot, the idea that one would challenge themselves to 90 books probably seems insane, not to mention daunting. Especially since I am in the middle of writing my own books, and reading other people’s work is the greatest distraction for any writer. I have three more books to read in order to reach my goal for this year. Crazy? Not when you own a Kindle Fire that can hold thousands of books. Before that, I was buying every single book I read. I still love to buy books. On my last three vacations I came home with brand new books tucked into my suitcases. Barnes & Noble can see me coming a mile away!

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I recently finished Cold Days by Jim Butcher, his newest novel in the Dresden Files series. I love these books with a passion. I cannot write what Jim writes. Sure, I can list magical beings until you tire of hearing my voice, and my mind is chock full of facts that most people will never understand, but I cannot put together a body of work like he does. I read it and think “My mind cannot bend in those directions.” His work is on the most beautiful of epic scales, and it offends me that the TV show for these books was scrapped amid the writer’s strike in 2007.

Cold Days is movie worthy from start to finish. It is the book you read and say, “Man, I’d love to see this in the theater.” That’s my selfish wish, that one day these books will be optioned for movies, movies that are clearly already winners because the material for the screenplays is brilliant, snarky, hilarious, imaginative, slightly terrifying, and 100% enjoyable. If you’ve never read a Jim Butcher novel, you need to pick up the first four (Storm Front, Fool Moon, Grave Peril, & Summer Knight) and if you don’t come away hooked, pass them on to a friend. Honestly, I don’t foresee that, but if you do love them, make sure you tell your friends about it. I know I have.

Are there any books you’ve read this year that you’re stoked about? If so, drop me a line and tell me about them.

Welcome To The Madness!

How does one introduce themselves on such a platform when they’ve been writing for 25 years and the “old ways” still work? If it “ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, but you do have to adapt sometimes, even if it seems kind of pointless in the beginning. For the record, I loathe the mere fact that I somehow found a way to use the word “ain’t” at all. It is one of many words that never fails to make me cringe. Whenever I see a fellow writer use it (or even a friend), I have to stifle myself not to say something. Improper use of the English language is such a pet peeve for me. Know this now: If you ever see a misspelled word in anything I write, it’s a rare typo that got away from me, not a descension into illiteracy.

Word of mouth has gained me a following from day one, but I walked away from the work I did in several different sports, life, death, & women’s issues to pursue fiction. So far, so good. Fiction, for me, is a challenge to go further. It’s my way of saying to myself “You can write this, even if you don’t think you can. You can be just as good, or better, than those very same stories you read and want to change.” I’ve been an editor for over 20 years as well. I do it for my own work and for others. I’m the crazy woman that can self-edit her own shopping list, need I say more? LOL.  

I write the exact same way I speak. I’m direct, about as subtle as Thor’s hammer, snarky, and I have my own style and way of doing things. Writing has been an important form of expression for me from the very first moment I realized I had it in my arsenal. Initially it was like pulling teeth, but it helped shape a person who was once painfully shy into the opinionated person she was clearly meant to be. I still have my shy moments, but they’re few and far between.

What can you expect here? I’m not 100% sure. That’s honest, because I have no expectations of what this may or may not become. At some point I am sure I will mention the book series I am currently hard at work on. It’s a huge project with more than 17 stories laid out. Each character is strong, apparently I don’t know how to write weak characters because I, personally, detest weakness. Not just in myself, but in others as well. In turn, I introduce one strong, interesting character after another and even I sit and think about what their back story is at times, because they’re just that unique. I enjoy escaping into their world and getting everything they think and feel on paper. Sometimes the pages flow out of me, and sometimes I have to pull back, do my research, and not push my brain further than it can go in 30 seconds. I’m not the first person to write something of this nature, nor will I be the last. Hopefully this can be a bit of a journey diary as I progress.

For those of you that don’t know me, WELCOME! For those of you that do, should you really be admitting it?

I welcome questions and comments, and look forward to sharing my madness with you.

~Lisa