The Comfort Zone and Getting Out!

As 2017 comes to a close I’m reflecting on my personal progress.  I accepted a challenge last year to do something outside my comfort zone. Let’s face it, writing and publishing the Emily Series was not comfortable. Putting myself out there is not comfortable at all. But it’s how we grow, so I  will continue to publish. I digress – back to 2017. My main focus to move outside my comfort zone was showing my abstract paintings to the Auburn community and my Social Media community.

Hanging my art in a downtown Auburn business was the first step. I also added a copy of the Emily Series to their bookshelf just for fun. What surprised me was that while I did have a number of inquiries about my abstract paintings, it was a bit of a slow response. My Emily Series novels, however, were quite the hit. I saw an increase in my website traffic as well as an increase in sales. The moral of this little story is that while my intent may have been to show and hopefully sell paintings, that exposure boosted my novels. Kind of a trip.

The second step was to photograph and post my paintings on Social Media. With the addition of a couple little hash tags I had artists following me from all over the world. Since then I’ve come to know these artists (as best as you can on social media) and received quite a bit of support.

It’s been a great experience showing my art, both written and painted. I feel like I’ve grown as an artist and as an author and wouldn’t trade any of the uncomfortable moments.

So what’s in store for me in 2018? Wouldn’t you like to know. Actually, I’ve been tossing around the idea of creating audio books of the Emily Series. This is something I’ve been thinking about for years and now it’s time. There are many factors to consider; platform, voice actor, price, and a slew more that I’m just now getting into. Stay tuned. This is about to get interesting.

Yours in writing,



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Social Media and Today’s Author

Social Media set-up. Wow! It’s a ton of work.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’m working on a new novel, The Fifth Day. I’ll publish this work under the pen name LJ Bethmann as it falls into the Adult Fiction Romance Genre. Writing, editing and publishing a novel is work enough, but add in all the social media set up and I’m in for it. I wrote and published the Emily Series from 2009 to 2012 and set up all of the respective websites and social media accounts. It’s safe to say I’ve forgotten the magnitude of work. Between Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Instagram, Amazon, Create Space, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords and so on, it’s daunting. Let’s not forget the design, hosting and launch of my new author website:

So if you’re looking for advice, keep looking. Just kidding! It’s one step at a time for me. And keep in mind there most definitely avenues not mentioned here that I have yet to learn about. But I will. Ask the right people the right questions and boom; the perfect hook-up.

Check back here for updates and directions to the new websites.

Best, as always,


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It’s Not You…It’s Me!

I have been a remiss blogger. I know. I hang my head in shame.

To update you, The Emily Series is still my first love, but life has thrown me some curve-balls as of late, and I have been focusing on a new job. I love it, but it takes most of my time and all of the energy that I would otherwise give The Emily Series and subsequent novels.

But hey, it’s summer and when I think of warm summers and long ago loves, I think of Meet Emily. If you haven’t read the final novel in The Emily Series, now’s the time. Here’s a little teaser:

When Emily Parker returns to her hometown after several years, she’s reminded of the rolling hills and captivating quiet, the fond memories of growing up and one lost love. Years of relationships falling short behind her, she’s finally happy on her own. So why when she makes the turn into her hometown does she think of that one boy, that one relationship that only lasted the span of a summer but stayed on her mind over the years? Why have all other relationships paled in comparison?

Two Rivers

Introducing  Christian

   I was impressed, but he brushed it off as if it was no great feat. We laughed and talked about so many things, yet really nothing at all. We stood by the water and skipped rocks, counting how many skips the rocks made.

“So these are two separate rivers?” he asked.

“Yeah. See over there?” I pointed. “See where they come together?”

He leaned in closer to me and looked down my arm. “Oh, Yeah I see it,” he replied stepping back just a half step. “But then …”

I looked over my shoulder at him knowing what he was seeing. “Then they separate. I know.”

“So they don’t meet up again?” he asked.

“No, they only come together here.” I dusted my hands off against my legs and moved away from the water’s edge. I sat back against a tree and crossed my legs. He moved in beside me.

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For You Locals – The Emily Series Available at Wildflower

For all of you Auburn folks The Emily Series is now in stores. OK, a store, let’s not nit pick. Wildflower in downtown Auburn now carries Call Me Emily, Emily Calls It, Emily’s Calling and Meet Emily. My teen fiction series is perfect for anyone, but that special teen in your life that is just about to embark on one of the most tumultuous and exciting times in their lives – College – would love the Emily Series.
Wildflower is located in downtown Auburn at 809 Lincoln Way.

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Emily’s Calling Release Date Revised: December 4th

Emily’s Calling paperback and ebook copies will be ready for purchase December 4th. This particular cover gave us a little trouble, so I’m a little behind. But bear with me, Emily’s Calling will be ready for your Holiday shopping by the first week in December., barnes&,,

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Emily’s Calling: Book Three in the Emily Series available November 23rd

That’s right. Black Friday is the day to order or download your copy of Emily’s Calling. The third book in the Emily Series will be available for those special people on your Holiday list or for your own reading pleasure. Just visit Amazon, Barnes&Noble Smashwords or Kobo.

And don’t forget to pick up the first two for a three book set: Call Me Emily and Emily Calls It.

The forth and final book, Meet Emily, will be released this spring. Check back for a firm release date.

Emily’s Calling

When Emily graduates from Cal West University she discovers a career with great opportunity and status, the promise of something special with not one but two men, and friends and family at every turn. For Emily, things seldom stay the same for long…what challenges and choices will her career and relationships bring? Who’s a friend, who’s a lover? And will the watchful eyes and opinions of everyone who means anything to her get in the way? Out of college and into the “real world” tests Emily’s biggest choices so far.

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Emily Calls It Released September 20, 2012

That’s right! Emily Calls It will be released September 20th.

Look for it in paperback and Kindle versions at

All other ebook versions at:

Barnes and Noble, Smashwords and Kobo.




Don’t waste any time getting your hands on a copy because the next book in the Emily Series, Emily’s Calling will be released winter, 2012.



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Releasing Books Two and Three: Emily Calls It and Emily’s Calling

That’s right, folks. Stay tuned because I’ll be releasing book two and three of the Emily Series: Emily Calls It and Emily’s Calling. Look for Emily Calls It early this fall and Emily’s Calling following shortly behind.

My work is done. Well, not really. I now become the project manager of the world’s most personal project. The writing is finished, but now it undergoes one final round of editing, cover design and interior layout. And I have people for that – thank goodness.

Many of you have already purchased a paperback copy or downloaded Call Me Emily. And I thank you for that. I hope you’ve enjoyed it thoroughly. As you probably already read, there’s a little bit of Emily Calls It tacked on to the end of Call Me Emily. But for a little treat, here’s a little more.

This scene is one I really enjoyed writing. Emily is home for a week trying to regain her balance after a very tumultuous first year of college. Her good friends feel the need to throw a little distraction Emily’s way in the form of a very good looking, tan, green-eyed guy.

Chapter Three . On The Mend

I pulled up to the restaurant and saw Scott’s car immediately. Inside, he was at the bar talking to the bartender.

“Hi.” I slid onto a stool.

“Hi Emily.” He pivoted toward me. “You look nice.” He touched my hand as he had before and leaned into me, kissing my cheek. The bartender went back to drying glasses but kept an eye on us and a smirk on his face.

“Thank you,” I said a little nervously. He looked good too, but I didn’t think to say it. He wore jeans again; this time rip free, and a white, button down shirt with the sleeves rolled up. His white shirt set off his tan, and the green of his eyes seemed even more vivid. He was a good looking guy, and I was noticing.

“Should we get a table or would you like to have a drink here first?” He tapped his finger on the bar.

I was actually pretty hungry. “Oh, I think I’m ready to get a table if you are.” He swung his legs around and hopped off his stool with ease. Something that I could never have done. I scooted off my stool, trying to be as ladylike as possible. While we waited for the hostess, I felt Scott rest his hand in the middle of my back. I mentally replayed my “relax” mantra a few times before it took effect.

During dinner the conversation came with ease. I wondered once or twice what we were doing there. He knew I was leaving in a couple of days, and I knew it, too. Our date seemed superfluous. Yet, here I was enjoying his company. I learned a few things about him that evening.

He was majoring in Business at San Francisco State. He knew Doug, Shayla’s boyfriend, from football. He was from a small neighboring town where he lived with his parents (still married) and two sisters. He seemed to have all of the northern California qualities including the summer pear orchard job. But there was something else about him I couldn’t quite pin down. Maybe it was spending the school year in San Francisco. Maybe living in the city had added something to him and I was picking it up. I wanted to know more, which kind of surprised me.

After dinner I was completely stuffed. I ate everything on my plate, not the least bit self-conscious about it. That whole act of eating a little green salad on a date never really appealed to me. Scott was a good eater too, but that wasn’t unusual for a nineteen- year-old guy. At least not in my experience. We both relaxed after our plates were cleared.

“I was thinking, Emily, maybe we could go out to the lake?” He paused and played nervously with his napkin. I thought it was cute.

“That sounds nice.” And it did. It was a warm night and a walk by the lake sounded like a pleasant idea. I hadn’t been back to the lake since the summer before, and I always enjoyed being there. The lake was manmade and had once been a deep valley. It was a couple miles below the highway surrounded by camping spots. Leading to the lake was a long expanse of lush, green lawn spotted with purple clover. During the day you had to be careful not to step on the bumblebees, but at night you could run around without the threat of a sting. I’d spent every summer there since grade school.

“Come on,” he said playfully taking my hand. We passed my car on the way to his.

“Hang on a second.” I paused by the passenger door of my car and reached inside for my sweater. It was a warm night, but you never know.

“Nice car.” Scott commented with a smirk. Why did everyone have to make fun of my car? Yes it was old, big, and bright turquoise, but come on.

“What?” I love my car.” I swung the door shut waiting for its creak and slam as older cars do. Scott just smiled, running his hand along the roof. He was making fun of me, but I didn’t really mind.

He opened the passenger’s side door of his car and rested his folded arms on the top of it while he watched me sit. It seemed I always lucked out with the chivalrous dates. And who was I kidding, I loved it. I reached across and unlocked his door for him, nestling into my seat and fastening my seat belt. His car was smaller than mine, but that’s not news, as mine’s kind of a tank. Scotts’ car was a Saab of some sort, a car I’d never ridden in before. The ignition wasn’t up by the steering wheel like you might expect, but instead lower on the console. Pretty cool.

On the way to the lake we talked more, mainly about school. I listened to him, of course, but my mind started to wander. Would he try to kiss me? If he did, how would I react? Usually I knew the answer, but tonight even my own emotions, as they came, were unexpected.

The heat hadn’t dissipated at all, even by the lake, so no need for my sweater. I guess I’d become used to living by the ocean and the whole “breeze off the water” thing didn’t apply here. I slipped off my sandals as we walked across the grass. The cool grass felt almost cold underfoot. I watched each step for the bees even though I knew there wouldn’t be any lurking. Scott looked at me sideways with a grin.

“You know there aren’t any bees, right?” How did he know that’s what I was thinking? I let out a half-sigh, half-laugh and started walking normally. We reached a picnic table, and Scott sat on the top resting his hands beside him.

“What’s interesting,” I used the table seat as a boost to sit next to him, “Is how still and tranquil the lake looks. I don’t remember it like this, and I’ve been coming here for years.”

“You probably haven’t seen it at night recently.”

“I guess you’re right.” I leaned back resting my hands behind me. “It’s really pretty here. I almost forgot.”

“Yeah, I felt that way too.  Now I really appreciate how peaceful it is here.” He leaned back.

“I haven’t heard many people say that, but you’re right. I can’t believe how much I took for granted around here.” It was nice we shared a respect for the area. I saw it with new eyes: I couldn’t explain it, but he knew. It was quiet between us for a dozen or so seconds. My eyes were fixed on the water, until I realized we were both quiet. I looked at him, noticing he may have been looking my way for a while. I smiled, acknowledging his look, but my smile faded I watched his stare travel from my eyes to my lips and back. He drew me into those deep green eyes of his and I felt hypnotized. I didn’t move. I don’t even know if I breathed. He moved closer. I felt the warmth of his breath on my neck, and the touch of his fingers on my hand, my wrist, my arm, until he rested his hand on my shoulder. When he moved away a little I put my hand on his arm. He paused with his face an inch from mine. He looked into my eyes waiting…just waiting. Then he swept his lips across mine. Moving his hand from my shoulder to my cheek he continued to kiss me, gentle at first. Once I responded things changed and the kisses deepened. Then I panicked. I pulled away. I didn’t want to hurt his feelings, but I just couldn’t. Then I saw the look on his face.


More to come…




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Character Introduction #6: Shayla and Jessica

This character introduction might be the most fun I’ve had telling all of you about my characters.  Shayla and Jessica are ever present in the whole Emily series as it spans the four books.

Jessica is Emily’s best friend from way back. They’ve known each other since grammar school, so to them it feels like sisterhood. Jessica is a soft and sweet soul. She’s the friend that is always there even when she’s not. Much time can pass and Emily and Jessica hardly skip a beat; jumping right back into conversation as if the phone was never hung up. Jessica goes to college in Washington State, miles away from Emily, but during the summer break they meet back in their home town and mischievous events occur.

Speaking of mischievous. Shayla fits into that word like a hand does to a glove. For as far back as anyone can remember, Emily, Jessica and Shayla were inseparable. Jessica the calm and Shayla the instigator. If you ever need a laugh, a lift or a smile, Shayla is your girl. She’s fun to the core, and you can’t help but unconditionally love her – although you wish for conditions every moment you are around her. Emily considers herself the buffer between Jessica and Shayla, but no buffer is every really needed. The dynamic between the three of them is priceless and beautiful.

And now comes the part of the post when I tell you what these characters mean to me.  As I have mentioned in past character introductions, many of my characters have no basis in my reality. They are fiction through and through. I’d be lying if I told you Jessica and Shayla fell into that category.

Jessica is based upon my friend Larise. A truly wonderful person who spends her days enlightening the minds of second graders and her nights tending to her beautiful family. She lives far away and we rarely are able to talk, but when I hear her voice or see her handwriting I can’t help but be pulled from whatever I’m doing and placed smack back into the last time we communicated; as if no time had passed at all.

Shayla is based upon my friend Shannon. Shannon is another truly amazing person who has the power and energy of a small child yet she’s perfectly evolved.  She’s funny. – I mean really funny, but soulful at the same time. She’s almost hard to describe, but to really nail it I’d have to quote the reaction everyone has to her. It goes something like this: “I just love that girl.” and “You can’t help but love Shannon.”

What’s been amazing about the writing process is that even though I have been apart from these two amazing women for far too long, I felt like I saw them every day while I brought my stories to life. We recently reunited, and when I finally pulled them into my arms and gave them a well deserved hug, I felt like I missed them less than I would have had they not lived in the pages I spent the last few years writing.

So, thank you Larise and Shannon for being at my side while I rounded out this story of love and friendship. Because you both are truly my love and my friendship.

In this scene, Emily goes back to the Valley for Thanksgiving break. She’s home only minutes when Jessica and Shayla arrive.

Call Me Emily

Chapter 9

Home for Thanksgiving

“So, I’m sure you kids want to catch up to your friends, but be sure to be home for dinner.”

“Sure Mom.” I knew she missed us and I wouldn’t miss dinner with her for anything. At the same time, I knew Jessica would be in town and probably Shayla too. I couldn’t wait to see them. I looked around and ran my tongue across my teeth. I needed to clean up before I saw anyone. “You know what Mom? I feel scummy from such a long drive. I think I’ll take a bath. Do you mind?”

“Go ahead honey,” she hugged me and added a little kiss on my cheek. “It’s good to have you home,” she smiled, holding my shoulders. She switched gears quickly yelling for my brothers. I took that as a good indicator that I could slip into a hot tub without being bothered. I grabbed some jeans and a tee-shirt and retreated to the bathroom. Passing the linen closet, I grabbed a washcloth and towel and locked the bathroom door behind me. As I inched my way into the piping hot tub, I thought about my week ahead. I was looking forward to seeing my friends and family. It was good to be home. I yawned and closed my eyes letting the hot water seep in and surround me. Just as I thought I could easily drift off to sleep, I was startled with a knock at the door.

“Guys, I’m in the tub,” I shouted without opening my eyes.

“It’s not your brothers!” a voice shouted back at me.

“So let us in,” said a second voice.

“Jess? Shayla? Grab the key above the door.” We kept the key there in case my little brother locked himself in; as he used to do. I quickly got out of the tub and wrapped myself in a towel.

“Hey Em! You didn’t have to get out,” Shayla said with a smirk. Jessica just smiled at me.

“No big deal. I just needed a quick soak.” We gave them each a quick hug. “How did you know I was here?” I asked perplexed by their quick arrival.

“Please, Brad saw you guys drive by and called me.” Shayla’s cousin could always be counted on to keep the town up on its gossip.

“So what are your plans while you’re home?” Jessica asked putting one of her fingers to her chin.

“No real plans. My mom wants me home for dinner tonight. But other than that, I’m free. What’s up?”

“So, she won’t mind if we steal you?” Shayla asked.

“No, we don’t have anything going. What do you want to do?” I couldn’t wait to fall back into hanging with Jessica and Shayla. I really missed them. I wanted to find out how they were doing in school, how it was going with Jessica’s new guy, and how all the gang was.

The three of us took off shortly after that. A bunch of people we knew were getting together in town at the coffee shop. There were a few people I would love to see and a few I wouldn’t mind avoiding, but that was another story.

As we drove out of the valley I watched the blur of the pasture fences, the occasional farmhouse and the mountains in the distance. Everything passed my vision like a slideshow. It was fall now, and the valley looked different than when I left it, but still every bump and turn mixed with the scent of fresh, damp hay smelled like home. I felt myself sigh and my chest tighten. I don’t think I bargained for how much I would think of Christian.

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