Health and Wellness · Writing

When Plans Fall Through

Have you ever worked hard to be where you want to be only to lose it? It doesn’t feel good, at first, to know a job or dream has slipped through your fingers. I had a decision to make this May after a publisher I worked with went out of business. Since I’d only published one book with them (three others, on my own, before that)-I could re-publish the book again as a self-published author or I could inquire for a book agent (I’ve heard they live somewhere over the rainbow) and take my chance again in traditional publishing.

So where have I been since May of this year?

In a dark hole of grief and introspection.

I haven’t re-published. Here are only a FEW reasons why:

I’m sick of re-editing the same damn book a thousand different ways.

I’ve lost my love for the process (at least temporarily)

I’d rather be reading

It probably goes without saying after a publisher ditches several hundreds authors to go out of business, I’m a little distrustful of traditional publishing. In the defense of my former publisher, I know for sure they set out to encourage many authors-and they have certainly been a learning tool for me, showing me how a traditional publisher works.

However, I will not sign-on with traditional publishing anytime soon because:

Authors are expected to invest a shitload of money into marketing and I don’t have time to market myself as much as I’d like.

Until I finish my third novel, I probably won’t see a dime of payment straight out of the publishing gate.

In the mean time, I have a job not having to do with writing or publishing, and I’m quite content. Also, the mess of discouragement has actually helped me to remember a few things I COULDN’T do because I HAD to write.

Reading, for instance:  www.bookescapereviews.wordpress.com  |  Goodreads

And graphic design and web designing.

But as you can see, I’m not COMPLETELY done writing-I’m continuing to blog and who knows, I might put a few stories out there sometime next year. I’ll let you know if I do!

Thanks for stopping by!

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Writing

Feel The #Love : #Free and Discounted Books

In celebration of all things love and happiness, what if I told you my newest romantic fiction book-Serendipity Summer-is now on sale for a mere .99 cents for Kindle and is free on I-tunes?

IT IS.

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Here’s your chance to grab my book for less than a cup of coffee. Who knows how long it will stay on sale. Get your copy today!

P.S.Newsletter subscribers are the first to have access to exclusive giveaways. Below this post is a picture of me sending out a signed paperback copy of Serendipity Summer with a Valentines mystery gift to the lucky winner of a giveaway through my newsletter. Would you like to take part in VIP reader opportunities and giveaways? It’s not too late.

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In Laurie Kozlowski’s contemporary romance novella, Serendipity Summer, friends once separated by life’s unexpected challenges discover they have a second chance at love in the charming mountain town of Riverbend, Tennessee. Jake and Anna reunite during a sensual, late-night swim and restoring an old inn together blasts their chemistry off the charts. But as destiny urges their hearts forward, intruding secrets from the past threaten their opportunity to finally have lasting happiness. 

Serendipity Summer is the first book in the Riverbend Way series and reflects small-town life, includes some comical relief, and incorporates heartwarming characters who triumph over difficult life circumstances. 
Please note: This series is recommended only for those 18 years and older.

Serendipity Summer on :  Amazon | I-Tunes

Would you like to explore more free and discounted books? Runaway Goodness has books of several genres and sub-categories for free and at super-discounted prices. Go now and fill those bookshelves, read, and feel the book-love! 

Runaway Goodness on Facebook | Runaway Goodness on Twitter 

WritingPosts2016

How To Understand Your Author

The triumph of typing THE END on a manuscript never gets old. In some instances it takes years to complete a novel, but even those who write fast generally spend several months homing in characterization, story pace, plots and sub-plots, pesky typos and inconsistencies…etc. For non-writers out there, it’s like tearing a mobile phone apart piece-by-piece. Reconstruction is ongoing. After months or years a writer says, “it’s time.” Meaning: they share every nook and cranny of their writing with the world, for better or worse. It takes commitment!

It is also scary-at first.Tweet: The first book release speaks to a writers confidence in a big way. It's a special time in life. #LaurieWriting  The first book release speaks to a writers confidence in a big way. It’s a special time in life. There are those who are waiting to be inspired to write the book that’s in them; by the way, I’ve haven’t caught on to this saying because I’m not sure quite what having a book in you means. It doesn’t sound too pleasant. Anyway! Then there are those who DO.

For the ones who do, after a while, it’s less about the new book release feeling and more about fortifying their resources and energy for the next project. But I remember the first time I hit “publish” as a self-published author back in 2014. It was a proud moment (wow! This is happening!), a conflicted moment (I’ve double and triple-checked, but what if  some minor detail makes someone hate it?), an elated moment (whoa, momma. My name is on this book cover. I own this. I love this. This is my destiny. Angry unicorns couldn’t stop me from writing), and a trillion other thoughts on top of it. Yet I don’t think anything can replace keeping a sense of humor as we write.

With this in mind, I’ve pulled together a saterical post to capture the humorous side of going through the emotions and thoughts of an author’s book release. This isn’t a meanspirited way of minimalizing the experience, just a lighthearted look into it. I can’t say for sure If I’ve actually gone through this, but to some extent, I have.  🙂  Enjoy!

How To Understand Your Author

Let’s say your author finally breaks through the first book-stage and they want to share the moment with you. The excitement of completing this year-long project makes their demeanor glow. They know it’s possible to keep the big news secret and wait until book-release day, but they trust you with thier pride. The hours, days, and months of writing, editing, and making time to connect with you and others-but they choose you. Aren’t you thrilled for them?

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Left to their own vices however, the ingenuity and happiness of the moment isn’t wasted if you decline to be thrilled with them.

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Your author may begrudgingly treat themselves to one too many McCafe’s and wear strange headdresses while using a rubber-knife as a lightsaber to illuminate their joy.

Or your author may, like this tired pup, seek comfort from a friend who will take time understand what an accomplishment it is to complete a book or project.

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img cred: dawgsports.com

Authors who ruminate over perceived minimization can be pretty tough to re-train through positive reinforcement. They have special requirements for affirmation and acknowldgement. But deep down, they have a lovable side that is loyal to the end. (If the fictional character based on you makes it that far into the fiction novel they write.)

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NEVER FEAR. Here are ways to CURB the odd and inconvenient behaviors of YOUR AUTHOR.

First: Offer congratulations to them and show happiness for their latest achievement. No matter how disgusted you are that they can go days at a time wearing PJs while working from home, remember: everyone, including you, puts their shirts on one arm-hole at a time.

Also-take a minute and remember dancing with your first crush, or attending a favorite concert, or the whiff of accomplishment of getting promoted. Times that feeling by 100. Set differences aside to forgive the bubble wrap (authors are the complete package, flaws and all!) and acknowledge their commitment to finishing their project or writing goals. This will win you mega points for being a great friend.

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Next: Buy their book, tell them you’ll recommend it to others, and actually do it! Word of mouth is a powerful thing. Your author has the ability to give back in a big way to those who help them along the way. It could be signed book-merchandise, an advanced reading copy, or any number of creative ways-but authors rarely lack ungratefulness for support when they truly care about their professional growth!

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Last: Expect to support them from a distance as they continue working on the next project. Tweet: the true nature of many creatives is to preserve as much energy for their art as humanly possible. #LaurieWritingThis may sound harsh at first, but the true nature of many creatives is to preserve as much energy for their art as humanly possible. This means when they are in intensive focus mode, leave them alone, but show support in little ways so they know you’re there. Chocolates, coffee, tea, hugs (for those who like to be hugged), are all acceptable ways to tame your writer when they aren’t intensely focused on their work. When they break out of their creative focus-bubble, you’ll be the first to know because they often reciprocate the support they receive from you (times 10.)

By following the steps above, you are sure to have a HAPPY AUTHOR. 

hfma

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Humor · Writing · Writing Life · Writing Tips

Directing Professional Growth Through Stress

An author is a force to be reckoned with as they juggle endless duties. From administrative tasks, to marketing implementation; then continuous study/brushing up of the writing craft and publishing; also, reading books in and out of their chosen genre for a well-rounded literary palate. This is only the tip of the iceberg for most authors. For those who are new to reading my blog, I write romantic fiction and multi-genre short stories. In professional terms, I consider myself a newbie self-starter at three years into the journey. For a year I blogged and have continued to blog. The next year I added in self-publishing two works of fiction – Serendipity Summer, a heartwarming and comical romance, was picked up by Booktrope Media and Publishing. October of 2015 Serendipity Summer was re-published by Booktrope. And now as we approach 2016 I’m looking forward to continuing the second book to follow Serendipity Summer in the Riverbend Way series.

In the time I’ve been building a social platform, writing, and publishing, I’ve noticed a majority of authors (including myself) are fueled by the challenge and madness of it all. After three years of being self-published and hybrid-published, there are many writers who are “rich” in giving of themselves even with no immediate monetary success. I think several authors experience what I have experienced at one time or another in their career: we continue to do what we do because our lives are enriched in some way with the process of writing, producing, publishing, and connecting with others who appreciate it, too.

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Whether authors and writers (one and the same, IMO!) want to admit it or not there is an emotionally rewarding “payoff” to the madness. The return on investment (ROI) surely isn’t immediate when we start out and for some unfortunate ones not at all. Then if caught in a weak moment and discouragement sets in, it’s easy to buy into the “art doesn’t pay” trope just about every writer has heard from friends, family, and strangers alike. They do have a point. Tweet: Many writers have separate careers from writing and publishing. It takes time. #LaurieWriting Many writers have separate careers from writing and publishing. It takes time. Everyone has an opinion and they have a right to it! Authors know about the right to opinions better than just about anyone. So then the author has a big decision to make each time they are challenged with so much it’s nearly too much to manage: act out or act on the pressure-task-cooker they’ve stewed in for the love of their art.

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Yet there are OPINIONS ALL AROUND. Little is more valuable to a writer than to be able to visit a website knowing that what they read will lift their spirits. Perhaps it’s time to weed out some of the more negative perspectives on the people I follow, like, retweet, and friend to reflect my own positive outlook for writing and author community. I get that authors can sometimes be difficult, moody, and hard to work with-but diverse types of personalities are everywhere. Generally everyone goes through slumps, defeats, and success.

I wonder sometimes when I skim articles shaking their proverbial finger or fists at authors for not doing EVERYTHING if the people writing the pieces have actually re-read their manipulating content of all the things authors could do better. Sure, a lot of the posts hold great writing craft and marketing tips, but at what cost to the writers value of their individual process? Writers, haven’t we heard over and over and over: PROTECT YOUR CREATIVITY.

So why do we (yes, me too-though not as much as I used to because there are times when it doesn’t serve my writing process or motivation) continue to absorb what I like to call “tough-love” information in our precious reading time?

It could be tough-love motivates you (me)? Suggested content of an article screams :”here’s the heart where my art was born, please stab it with your scoured word-spear” -your mouse clicks the link- and the brain replies, “yes, please!”

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Facing the negative, not responding to it, and taking from it what serves your writing process is a clear indication of professional maturity. As we continue to write, we allow an internal compass to guide us. This compass is a combination of self-discipline (directly benefits our interests) and what some call a thick skin (directly benefits others interests): Our Interests + The Interests of Others = The Sweet Spot where stress has potential to become a compass for professional growth and direction.

If you take something with you from my ramblings today, please remember it’s okay to re-direct your goals this year and adjust your internal compass. Tweet: Stick with what nurtures your health and well-being. Always be writing. #LaurieWriting Stick with what nurtures your health and well-being. Always be writing. 

I’ll leave you with a paraphrased quote from  friend who guided me into the publishing waters:

I realized after nine books, working with an agent, and treading water in traditional publishing -then going into self-publishing and being my own agent-that someone somewhere wanted to read my books. Then gradually many someones read my books. Now I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

Next Week on LaurieWriting: 

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Contemporary Romance · Fiction · Giveaways · Laurie's Works Of Fiction

Cover Reveal of Serendipity Summer and Giveaway! #Booklove #Booktrope Love

Today I’m happy to reveal the new cover for Serendipity Summer, my first book published by Booktrope! A random commenter will have a chance to win an e-book copy (upon book release) of this sweet, sexy, and heartwarming story!

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*COMING SOON* OCTOBER, 2015

Published by Booktrope

In Laurie Kozlowski’s contemporary romance novella, Serendipity Summer, friends once separated by life’s unexpected challenges discover they have a second chance at love in the charming mountain town of Riverbend, Tennessee. Jake and Anna reunite during a sensual, late-night swim and restoring an old inn together blasts their chemistry off the charts. But as destiny urges their hearts forward, intruding secrets from the past threaten their opportunity to finally have lasting happiness.

Serendipity Summer is the first book in the Riverbend Way series and reflects small-town life, includes some comical relief, and incorporates heartwarming characters who triumph over difficult life circumstances.

Please note: Serendipity Summer contains detailed sex scenes and occasional strong language. This series is recommended only for those 18 years and older.

~*~*~*~

The winner will be announced Thursday, September 10th. All you have to do to be enter is COMMENT ON THIS BLOG POST and tell me about one of the happiest moments in your life. Don’t forget to include your email addy, e-book preference (Kindle or Nook), along with your response so I can send the e-book directly to you when it goes live!

Was it an award you received? A daily goal you reached that you never thought possible? Someone did something special for you? An unexpected and pleasant surprise? A special something that helped you discover you have a talent?

Tell us about a happy moment in your life in a sentence or a paragraph for your chance to win Serendipity Summer!

Here’s the formula to enter:
Comment on this blog post + tell about a happy moment in your life + include email address + your preference of Nook OR Kindle e-book copy

Have a great weekend. Good luck!!! ❤

~*~*~*~

Check out lauriekozlowski.com for more about Laurie and for a full list of publications.

Humor · Writing Life

Playing Hooky! #crochet #writing #humor

My daughter informed me that she and her friends do the “OooOooh… I’m telling” thing at school but they do it different than I’ve ever heard. They say “OoooOh…you look nice today.” When she shared this with me I could not keep the giggles in.
So I’m ‘telling’ on myself today. 😉 I crochet between writing sprints to give my eyes a break from the screen. I love learning new designs. After two days, I’ve gotten the star stitch down. It’s beautiful! ( OoooOhh.. it’s beautiful.) Lol. 😀
Here is what my painting/craft desk looks like:

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But now it’s back to writing! No more playing hooky.
Have a great weekend! 

Health and Wellness · Humor

To Su-shi, or Not to Sushi:That is The Question #food

I’ve always wanted to live near the ocean, but not because of the beach or sailing or sunrise over gorgeous, expansive waters–for the fresh seafood. One of my favorite places to visit is Charleston, South Carolina. Southend Brewery in downtown South Carolina has delicious she-crab soup. One year, before our daughter was born, we went just for the soup! Plus my husband is a curious student of history and Charleston overflows with unusual, entertaining, and sometimes disturbing historical truths. But this post is about a lighter topic: to sushi, or not to sushi?

Back to the thing about seafood.

Seafood and chicken are a reliable source of protein to avoid hunger pangs and I’ve been pre-preparing weekly meals. I’m taking my time and not depriving myself, exersizing a few times a week and eating delicious and fresh food. I’ve lost five pounds in a month, and energy is increasing more each day. I pre-prepare meals on the weekend (and sometimes in the middle of the week, if possible because fresh veggies and fruit from the farmer’s market).
Foodies will understand when I say, I did not want to mess with sushi. Unless it is from the kitchen of a sushi chef, it couldn’t be remotely good.I love sushi. Cooked or uncooked. Drizzled with sauce or not. Ginger, ginger, ginger, nom nom nom nom —
Er…yeah. So it’s goooood.
But I am not a sushi chef. I do not aspire to be one. I respectfully resign from the notion I could or would ever be a decent fish-slicer, seaweed roller, or sticky-rice super sushi-chef ninja.
So now that we’ve established THAT: this weekend I made sushi.
Here is my first attempt:
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BEHOLD. The enormous and overly-stuffed lemon-peppered talapia, fluffed jasmine rice, and seared asparagus in a common, disposable tupperware container.

And (better) second attempt:
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OH LOOK. My tiny sushi ninja-chef emerged. 

Hey. Let’s not forget the nom, nom ginger (below the sushi roll slices) and drizzled hoisin sauce.

Ohhhhh….yeaaaaah.

It may not be from a sushi-chef kitchen, but it’s fresh and delicious from my kitchen! Quite a delicious meal to eat until we make it to Charleston, or somewhere near the ocean again. 😀

Thanks for stopping by to read my post. I write romantic fiction with heart and humor and I am represented by Booktrope publishing. My newest release will be launching soon. That means I’ll be giving away book swag to readers soon though my blog! Don’t miss the giveaways. I love to show my appreciation for your support. Giveaway announcements and other fun opportunities are announced first and foremost on this blog. Be sure to follow my blog so we can keep in touch! Also, I have a Facebook page, if you’d like to connect there. Don’t forget to like the page and choose to “show first in newsfeed” or else Facebook may hide the post from you! Have a great week and take care. ~ Laurie Kozlowski