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,

Laura

 

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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: ljbethmann.com.

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,

Laura

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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.

amazon.com, barnes&noble.com, smashwords.com, kobobooks.com

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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 Amazon.com

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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