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The Perks of Being an Author

April 8, 2020-Happy Wednesday, everyone! I hope that you’re having a great week so far. As I sit in my home office during self-isolation, I can’t help but be very grateful to be in the line of work that I’m in. Of course, I miss the public events, book signings, and opportunities to meet my readers face to face, but I know that sometime soon, I’ll be able to do that. Have you ever wondered what the perks are to being an author? Here are some of my favourite things that  writing has done for me:

1. Friendship– I have met so many delightful people over the years through conferences, social media, and events. Some of us have stayed in touch and connect frequently through social media. It’s always fun to meet an old group of friends at writing conferences and to make new ones! I’m so grateful for each friendship that’s been cultivated through writing.

2. World Travel-New York, Boston, Pittsburgh, and London are a few of the cities that I’ve been to because of my career as an author. I love travelling so much, especially when it’s for continuing education to improve my writing skills. Learning new ideas and ways of conveying those thoughts are what keep my mind sharp and my storylines interesting. Next on the list are Paris, Moscow, and Milan once things settle down!

3. Seeing your book on the shelf or in a major publication-This is a pretty cool feeling; walking into a book store and seeing your book on the shelf or reading an article that you wrote with your name on it in a major magazine is kind of surreal and it never gets old. A lot of other fun things happen with this as well, such as being chosen as a featured author at Indigo or Barnes and Noble and being interviewed for different media outlets to talk about your books. I’ve been fortunate enough to have my work in Women’s World Magazine, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Best Health Magazine, Angie’s Diary, and newspapers.

4. Additional opportunities-There are things that never occurred to me when I first became an author, such as the fantastic opportunities that I would have in different fields. In the past I’ve been a speaker at The Ontario Library Super Conference, I’ve been the guest presenter to students in almost 100 classrooms, I’ve given talks and taught classes on writing at various campuses, and I was nominated for Best Local Author in 2019 for my city. I’m so grateful for each opportunity that comes my way, and there are so many things that are available to authors to help them connect in their communities.

5. Open closed doors-Hundreds, sometimes thousands of hours of research go into writing a book. As authors, we’re fortunate to be able to access things that are not necessarily available to everyone; when writing my novel, Obsessed with Her, I got advice and guidance from the head of Toronto Police,  Homicide Division. I was able to ask them questions about specific scenarios to make my work more credible. I’ve stayed at some of the best hotels and have had some of the most amazing experiences in the name of research for a book, and people have been more than accomodating and so wonderful in helping me get things right for my novels.

6. Creating something that outlives you– As an author in Canada, we have to register our books with the Library and Archives of Canada. That in itself is a pretty special honour, we have effectively created something that will outlive us. Long after we’re dead and gone, our work will be available for generations to come.

Again, I’m so grateful that I get to do what I do; I’m thankful for so many people, and I’m forever appreciative of being able to tell stories and create art. Thank you. X LLB

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Your Next Novel Could Already Be On Your Bookshelf…

February 13, 2019– First, let me say a very happy birthday to my momma. I love you and thanks for supporting me in everything. You are the best, and I’m so glad you’re my mom.

You read the title of this post correctly in that your next novel or storybook could very well be sitting on your bookshelf right now! I’m not talking about plagiarizing or copying other artists work, I’m talking about inspiration. As authors, we own a ton of different books that range from fiction to non-fiction, to romance, thrillers, biographies, magazines, historical fiction, and everything in between because we read as much as we write.

A few months back when I decided it was time to pitch a children’s story to some agents in New York, I knew I needed some fresh material. I also knew that I made a promise to myself that in 2019 I would use what I have. Now, normally, I would have gone to the bookstore and bought a bunch of books for inspiration, but this time, I went to my well-stocked library and pulled a book off the shelf. I was determined to take an idea and make it into a story, and that’s precisely what I did. I can’t give you any more details on this until it’s the right time, but I’ll update this post with news from what transpired with the agents:)

So, how can you use what you have on your shelf to write a great story that’s your own? Here’s how:

  1. Start with non-fiction. You’ve heard the old adage that truth is stranger than fiction and if you’ve ever thumbed through a newspaper you’ll know that it’s true! Use headlines from your daily delivery that catch your attention. Here are few that I’ve put in my back pocket for later use: Woman searched for 24 years for the daughter she was forced to give up, Kitty hitches 40 km ride to Grimsby in a garbage truck, and Spiders Alive-The eight-legged exhibition. Also, think about using some headlines from around the world, a quick Google search will help you find inspiration.
  2. Page 47, paragraph 2, sentence 3– This is a fun way to start a story! Quick, go to your bookshelf and choose a book. Turn to page 47, paragraph 2, sentence 3. Here’s what I found from the book that I chose by following the above directions: Toe wrestling began in the town of Wetton in 1970. How awesome is that for a starter? You can do this with any book and with any numbers you choose.
  3. Turn to professional publications– I subscribe to a bunch of publications that are relevant to writing and publishing and one of my favourites is Writer’s Digest. It’s always packed full of information and good advice and sometimes even an idea or two. Pick up your trusted magazines either digitally or the ones that are covering the sofa and flip through them for ideas. Here’s one that I picked up from the most recent issue of Writer’s Digest: Investigative reporting often involves tracking down reluctant sources… Are you thinking what I’m thinking? What about a story about a reporter who goes to get answers from a source and they end up running for their life? What if they’ve uncovered a secret that’s too big to keep hidden? What if the reporter finds out that the reluctant source is their spouse? And the list of ideas go on and on.

There you have it; inspiration for your next book is almost certainly lurking in the corners of your bookshelf! It’s up to you to find it:) Happy Writing! X LLB