Monday, December 27, 2010

The Power of a Blank Page

It seems wherever I've been going in the literary world lately, I've heard how intimidating a blank page is. Really? I keep hearing this, so it must be a universal phenomena, yet it is not anything I experience. What is wrong with me?

I LOVE blank pages! There is limitless potential there. Dear God, I could stare at a blank page for hours. Not out of fear, but out of wonder! Will it be a romance? A thriller? Dark and mysterious or light and sweet? Who will be born? What will people look like? Where will this story take me?

One of my favorite gifts during childhood was a blank journal-type book. I had so many over the years. I still wouldn't turn one down! ;)

Blank pages are as exciting as they come. That page represents all the potential in the world. How can I be afraid of that? It's exciting to see what I will be able to paint with my words. That is fun, at least to me. :)

Blank pages are extremely powerful. They hold the key to our next world. They are what our imaginations should be: infinite!

So the next time you're staring at a blank page, don't be intimidated. Be inspired!

Happy reading and writing, y'all!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

My Yule Holiday Gift

Howdy, folks! So, the powers that be gave me a wonderful gift for Yule yesterday: an interview on! Please check it out! :)

Thanks! And happy holidays, of course! ;)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Holiday Gifts

Today, I was simply going to write about the power of a blank page, but instead I find myself GLEEFULLY distracted! :)

Don't get me wrong, there is much to be said about a blank page (I'm serious), as well as the power of words. BUT...I'll bore y'all with that another time!

Today, instead, I want to tell you about happy, wonderful, holiday things!!! :)

First and foremost, Vanilla Heart Publishing is running an INCREDIBLE special on e-books for the holidays. They're just $3.99, folks! Only three dollars and ninety nine cents! That is an incredible price! It's the perfect gift for yourself and all the other readers on your list! Just think of how many copies of Imperfect, Loving Her, Unbreakable Hostage, and all the other FANTASTIC VHP titles you can buy!

Secondly, I will be on tomorrow for a great interview about Imperfect! Don't miss this one! :)

Last, and certainly not least, I am thrilled, honored and excited to announce that I, little old me, yours truly was listed as the NUMBER THREE Facebook Author for 2010! HOLY CRAP! I was floored. I'm still giddy with excitement! :) Check out the link and let out a little squeal of joy along with me! :)“/ron-knights-top-50-facebook-authors”

YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ok, that's it for now. I'll be back to harass you some more later.

Happy reading! :)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Happy weekend, everyone!

This is a brief blog today because...well, I don't want to bore you. :)

First off, I have the honor of having Imperfect featured on Authors Promoting Authors!

Please check this link! :)

Next week, I will be guest blogging on Romancing the Book. I'll be there on Thursday, the 16th. I'm THRILLED to be there and...we're doing a contest!!!! You don't want to miss out on that one! Here's the link-y poo:

Lastly, for those of you who have not yet heard (and who don't mind a good, hot political debate), my partner proposed to me this week! :) Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek! That was my girlish squeal of excitement. I'm thrilled. She makes me so happy! :) So...Yayness!

Of course, I've already run into people who can't simply be happy for us. Yeah, I've gotten some lovely lectures from people who disapprove.

Perhaps I should disapprove of heterosexual marriages. I don't know. Just a thought.

Anyway, I am who I am. I am madly in love, we ARE getting married. If you don't like that, I'm sorry. You are entitled to your opinion, however, I don't need that opinion shoved in my face 24/7. I get enough of that from Fox news. ;)

Those people, those naysayers are the exact reason I write, folks. Their bigotry is my motivation. I use their prejudice to write stories that I hope will open peoples' eyes and create some more understanding and acceptance in this very cold world of ours. You know what? It seems to be working, too. Thus far, Imperfect has been read and reviewed by STRAIGHT people. The reviews have been wonderful. Yes, straight people LOVE an LGBT book. Be horrified, be thrilled. Makes ya wanna go out & read it, doesn't it? ;) The newest review came yesterday from Dr. T. Davis:
"I like a book that makes me uncomfortable. And this book does just that." SWEET! I made a Ph. D. uncomfortable, folks! He likened Imperfect to a psychological thriller, sans the morbidity. That is what I love to hear. STRAIGHT people who are intrigued by LGBT writing. Proof that our stories are, in fact, universal.

Ok, I'll stop rambling. I promised y'all I wouldn't bore you. Hopefully I didn't. Hopefully I did interest you in picking up a copy of Imperfect, though. ;)

Friday, December 3, 2010

How Writing is like Sanding

Happy Monday, y'all!

Sorry I've been a bit MIA, but with an ever-changing schedule and ill children, my butt has had great difficulty finding its way back to my computer. LOL.

Today, I want to discuss how writing (GOOD writing) is like sanding.

For those of you who don't know, my partner is a chainsaw artist and incredible home-do-it-yourself-er-just-as-well-as-those-construction-baffoons-for-less-than-half-the-price people. Yeah. She's that good.

Anyway, between home construction and carvings, there is much sanding to be done. Enter the giddy nerd who just loves to sand.

That would be me, folks.

Yep, she taught me how to use the orbital sander, and I haven't looked back!

It's a blast! Sawdust flying all over - making you look old because it covers your hair. Getting black lung if you inhale it. Yeah, good stuff. ;)

So, one day, I was sanding the antique floors in out new home-to-be and I watched my little sander dig and grind away to peel off the old layers of dirt, weathering, and even some of the old dents. God I love what sanding can do to wood!

But, as I watched my floor become revitalized, I thought about how that applies to writing.

GOOD writing should peel away those old layers. The layers of dirt and weathering. The layers that are scratched and imperfect. Good writing slowly grinds all of those defects away and you're left raw and vulnerable. Naked and as unmarked as the day you were born. Seriously. That's what sanding does to wood, and that is what we as writers should be doing (and readers get to reap the benefits).

First, you have your coarse sanding pad.

That's the rough stuff that gets rid of all the big black, nasty dirt. It leaves the wood with a feeling of texture. This is your rough draft. It's rough, it's coarse, but it gets the main job done. The first part is always the hardest, right? The hardest part of writing a book is actually writing it! Using the rough sanding paper can be tough at times, but it's worth it in the end. Just like seeing your completed first draft.

Second, is your mid-grade sanding pad.

This is where you're editing. You go back into those crevices and make sure they are truly cleaned out. You go over the wood again to make sure it's looking good and clean. You'll notice, it starts to feel smooth to the touch. Just like a well-edited draft is smooth to read.

Finally, you have your fine sanding pad.

This is the final detail work. You go over the wood with the fine pad just to polish it up. When you're writing, this is adding those few final touches that really make your piece shine. Know what happens when you touch wood that's been sanded with fine grit paper? It is so smooth! It's an incredible feeling. So is that final, complete, beautiful manuscript! Those details are what make your story smooth and gorgeous. It completes the process.

You need all three steps just like you need all 3 grits in order to have a solid, complete work.

You have all heard me say that Imperfect and Impeccable are my "standing in front of the world naked" books. And they are. I took a figurative sander to myself and kept digging until I was light and raw and unblemished. What you have is a set of two very increbly powerful and touching books. The first of which has been receiving some great accolades thus far. These books are nothing like what you've read in the past. They are touching, tragic, sweet and sad. They are personal. They are gritty. They are raw.

So, the next time you sit down to write, stop and think. Do you want to look like another old, weathered wooden board that someone is just going to throw away or you do want to look revitalized, new, different? Sanding yourself equates to damn good reading!

Happy weekend and happy reading, everyone! :)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Book Review: Dream Bigger by Julie Wise

Happy Saturday after Turkey day, everyone! :) I hope you've all had a wonderful holiday and that your holiday weekend is going well. :)

Today, I am reviewing Dream Bigger by Julie Wise.

And just to be uber sweet to y'all, I am giving away a $10 Amazon gift card! What must one do? 'Tis simple, really. Just read this review and post a comment. The winner will be chosen at random (PLEASE make sure I have some way of contacting you via e-mail! LOL). So, read on and good luck!

Again, I remind you that I am a novice reviewer, so please pardon me if this isn't perfect. ;)

To get right down to it, I like this book. Dream Bigger is not your stereotypical self-help book. It is anything but cliche.

Ms. Wise uses absolutely incredible examples from her own life, as well as her clients and truly inspirational people. I love her honesty in the book. She does not paint her life out to be perfect, which is great for imperfect people like me! I could relate to her stories, her struggles, and her triumphs.

What is most incredible is that I was reading this book during a rather important time in my life. One day, my partner began reading it along with me. Next thing I knew, we were both fighting to read it! LOL. This book really touched and inspired my partner. At a time when she was at a cross-roads, Dream Bigger gave her the tools, guidance and inspiration to follow her heart! I am truly indebted to Ms. Wise for this book and the good it has brought to my partner's life!

If you or someone you know is looking for good holiday reading, and reading that will truuly inspire you, this is the book for you! Enjoy, Dream Bigger!

Happy reading! :)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

VBT Author Spotlight: DR. J. Sivak

Good Wednesday and Thanksgiving Eve morning, everyone! :)

Today, we have author and MD, Dr. J. Sivak with us,

discussing his book, When Can I go Home? This is very touching, so I ask that you please help me welcome him here today. I think you'll enjoy what he has to say. :)

I first started writing When Can I Go Home? back in 1989 when I was in my last year of medical school. That was about a year after my mother died from Alzheimer's disease.
The book is a memoir about my mother's futile struggle with the disease. After she passed away I had a tremendous need and sometimes furious drive to record the journey in a timeless and permanent way. As a teenager, I had been my mother's primary caregiver for a few years , as the disease progressively robbed her of her cognitive abilities, personality and her very essence. At the time writing about it was very cathartic.
The disease process is profoundly isolating for families and I wanted to scream out and tell the world. That element is there in so many Alzheimer's memoirs. Unfortunately the issue of isolation has not improved in our society and much as we like to pretend it has in the last thirty years since my mother was diagnosed. At that time most people had not heard of Alzheimer's disease and of course now it is a household term, but as a society we are still ignorant and terrified about it till it affects our own family. The isolation is still there.
The book is a bit unusual or even paradoxical from an Alzheimer's memoir point of view in that It presents a dual perspective. First is a family caregiver specifically a teenager son, which is a bit unusual and at times even bizarre, since that is not the prototypical demographic of a caregiver. The other perspective is a clinical one from a physician. I have treated thousands of patients and their families affected by many psychiatric and neurological problems including many Alzheimer's victims. The clinical information is broken down and translated for the reader.
So you essentially have these two very different points of view sort of flip-flopping but sort of coming into what I hope is a harmonious symmetry. The third aspect of the book is an underlying and ongoing commentary on all the relevant sociological and psychological issues this book interfaces with. Such issues as the state of health care delivery, being a doctor, and the aging population are addressed and sometimes not in a very convenient way for those that need to hold onto pretense and prejudice for security. For example as a society we really don't treat the aging population with the honor and dignity they deserve. We are pretty much obsessed with youth and appearance. We also have a lot of bias toward the medical profession if not at times completely vilifying the field. So in that sense speaking candidly about things albeit my opinion yet based on experience may open the readers eyes, on some issue conversely it may propel some to try to look the other way even more. It's not always politically correct, but it is a memoir and it is honest. It is sort of visceral, some people will cry some will laugh some will get more angry, it makes you feel first, then think.
The manuscript was hard to finish, it lay dormant for some fifteen years, I never had an ending. Even after the death of an Alzheimer's victim, there is never an ending for the five million families affected by the disease. something hit me, after all these years. We are all universally humanly connected by this disease process, and I had the clarity to finish this book.
I love writing, but most of my energy and creativity is spent in my day job. I am currently working on a novel about psychiatric residency. Fiction is obviously a much different prospect than a memoir but it taps a different part of your brain and soul to create something like this compared to a memoir.

Joseph J. Sivak MD
twitter @whencanigohome

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Busy Blogging Week

Good Tuesday morning, folks! :)

First off, I want to thank everyone for the Blog Jog. It was great. I had an absolute blast and it was an honor to have so many of you stop by, comment and even follow me! Thank you all so much! :)

Our winner has been selected and notified. Congratulations and happy reading!

For everyone else, thank you so much for commenting! I greatly appreciate it! If you are interested in reading my books, I have some GREAT news! My publisher, Vanilla Heart Publishing, is running this INCREDIBLE offer right now where you can purchase three e-books and get a fourth free! Here is the blurb from their website,

Seasonal Ebook Supersavers!

Secure Shopping Cart- Credit Cards or Paypal


We're Thankful for Great Books!

Buy 3, Get 1 FREE through December 16, 2010
Just copy and paste (or type) the code 8GI4SE3R

All These Vanilla Heart Publishing Authors!

Vila SpiderHawk, Smoky Trudeau, Chelle Cordero, Marilyn Celeste Morris, Misha Crews, Robert Hays, L.E. Harvey, Victoria Howard, Collin Kelley, Sandy Nicks, Malcolm R. Campbell, Charmaine Gordon, Janet Lane Walters, Anne K. Albert, S.R. Claridge, Melinda Clayton, Barbra Annino, our VHP Anthologies, and our non-fiction titles (more coming soon).

51 Great Books to Choose From!

Please check it out! There are some incredible books to be read! :)

As for yours truly, I have a couple of new blogs coming up here in the very near future. ;) For now, I'd be honored if you visited GLBT reading blog where I have a guest post.

Tomorrow, I am hosting a guest: Dr. J. Sivak, author of When Can I Go Home? Please stop by and visit him. His book sounds simply amazing! :)

Thank you all so much!

Happy reading! :)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

It's Blog Jog Day!!!!!

Welcome, joggers! My name is Lauren Harvey, and I write as L. E. Harvey. And this is my humble abode - I mean blog! :)

ONE very lucky jogger will be selected to win signed copies of all three of my current titles! The winner will be chosen at random, so be sure to leave a comment to put your name in the running! :)

I am THRILLED to be in this blog jog, and I am honored to have you here! :)

Let me tell you a bit about myself and my blog.

First off, I am an LGBT and contemporary fiction author. My writing background is non-fiction, but I began writing fiction in 2006 and haven't looked back. ;)

I am from Philadelphia, and have lived all over the United States. I like to bore people with my various stories and expeditions. ;)

My partner and I have a beautiful four year old daughter, 4 cats and a dog (I'm a licensed vet tech by day, writer by night). There are countless stories about said family members.

I call my blog the Writings and Ramblings of a Philadelphian because (a) I'm a writer and I write; (b) I talk a lot, and thus ramble and (c) as previously stated, I'm a Philly girl. Go Eagles! LOL.

My blog is informal. I like to make my readers feel comfortable and know that I am very approachable. Most of my blog posts are about my books (Loving Her, Unbreakable Hostage, and Imperfect), but there's the occasional funny life story, moving life story or political ramble. I want my readers to get to know me,

so that I'm not some strange being who just asks for book sales.

For Blog Jog Day, here are some randome tidbits about yours truly:

1) I do not jog. Unless my house is on fire, that is.

2) I like to post silly pictures in my blog. Because silly pictures (and the Hokey Pokey) are what it's all about it.

3) I am short.

4) I like to wear animal socks.

5) I can curse people out in Slavish.

Thank you so much for stopping by on your jog today! From here, I'd like to send you to Pat Bertram's blog. Pat Bertram blogs about writing, life, and the writing life. Also, she will be offering people a chance to win a copy all the titles published in 2011 by Second Publishing. So you don't want to miss out on that! Bertram's Blog

Happy reading and happy blog jog day! :)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A giant leap...bakcwards?

Yesterday, I had the tremendous opportunity to sell myself, and my books, to a local book store.

Considering the local atmosphere (mentality, politics, call it what you want), I'm quite lucky this gal gave me the time of day. She did order a copy...of Unbreakable Hostage. She was going to look into my other books and decide from there.

Did yours truly tell her they were LGBT contemporary fiction?


Did yours truly even identify herself as a member of the LGBT community?

Ha! Yeah, right?

Remember that recent blog post of mine about coming out to my readers? Yeah, I completely nullified that one in one fell swoop. Good job, right?

The thing is, I don't want to push people away. I don't want to make people uncomfortable. I simply cannot handle the rejection. They'd be rejecting me - and my work - to my face. Have I not endured enough prejudice over the years that I must be personally rejected because my writing is LGBT fiction?

Ok, the truth is: I'm a wimp.

So, what am I to do? I'm a writer. I need sales and to have my books in stores! How can I approach this sensitive subject with tact? How can I handle my tremendous fear of rejection?

My partner told me I need to get over this, and she's absolutely right. I just don't know how. Any suggestions?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Book Review: Living Inside the Testimony

Living Inside the Testimony, Betty Collier

Please excuse any errors. This is my first formal review, so please bear with me. :)

Living Inside the Testimony is by new author, Betty Collier.

Though she calls herself an unexpected author, I must say that I'm glad she branched out and wrote this book.

Mrs. Collier takes us deep into her personal life. Albeit small, this book is chock-full with a deep and touching story.

I wasn't sure what to expect from this book. What I found surprised me, quite pleasantly.

Her story is one of strength, determination and faith. She is very open and honest about her struggles.

What I like about this book is that it's as if you're sitting at a table having coffee with Mrs. Collier and she's telling her story. It's warm, familiar, and personal. You get a good sense of who she is as a person. It's a very endearing trait of this book.

The one thing I didn't like? I wanted more. That's actually a good thing. They say that the mark of any good artist is to leave your audience wanting more. Mrs. Collier DEFINITELY does that with her book. There is so much to her and her incredible story. There are some parts where she just glazes over the story and you find yourself smiling, silently begging her for more!

It was a pleasant, quick read. Thank you, Betty Collier, for taking me on this journey with you.

Happy reading! :)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Good Tuesday morning!

Like many people I know, I'm participating in National Novel Writing Month,

or NaNoWriMo as we uber cool people like to call it.

Here's the thing about Nano. I originally wasn't going to do it. I'm still editing Impeccable and working my tail off in about 50 other places as well. Then a good friend said an unexpected word. She said ass, folks. LOL. Just not a word I'd expect to hear from this lady. Just because she said the word ass (the context was that you write your ass off during Nano), I decided to do it. Nearly a week late, I jumped in and typed away.

I've been using this idea for a novel that I've had floating in my head for Nano. Basically, I'm using Nano as my launching pad for this book. Will it be done, completely edited and ready for my publisher on November 30? No. Absolutely not. But that's ok. It's started. That matters more.

As I write it, I find myself slightly at war. You see, this book-to-be is COMPLETELY different from anything else I have ever written. It's as much of a reach as can be. And I wonder if it's really any good. It's so different from Imperfect and Impeccable that I can't help but wonder if it can stand next to them, so to speak. These are emotional and cerebral books. They're deep and touching. This new one is a story. Not that it's bad or weird. Just different. Different genre, different feel. It feels very real to me as I write it, but again, I'm incredibly good at doubting myself. It could be fine and I am simply letting my insecurities get the best of me.

Regardless, I'll keep plugging along. If it flops, at least it's flopped in my hands and nowhere else. I gave her a try. If it's not meant to be, then it's not meant to be. But the WORST story is the one never written, right?