Thursday, June 13, 2013

Just Like Elizabeth Taylor

WINNER — Utah Arts Council Original Writing Competition, Juvenile Division

WINNER — League of Utah Writer’s Juvenile Novel & Diamond Quill

Twelve-year-old Liz Taylor has known for a long time that she would escape—escape the abuse against herself, and against her mother. She just didn’t know how or when.

Then the perfect opportunity comes—money left of the table by her mother’s abuser—and Liz is on the run. But a girl her age doesn’t have many options when it comes to hideouts, making a K.O. A. Kampground and a nearby middle school her perfect choices.

If only she can keep to herself, Liz, now using the name Beth, knows she can make it on her own, until things change, and she realizes she must face her situation head on if she is to save herself and her mom.

Excerpt: I was named after a movie star. Elizabeth Taylor. When Mom was pregnant she watched National Velvet on a cable station playing old movies.

“She was so beautiful, and with our last name being Taylor, I couldn’t resist,” Mom told me. “The doctor in the delivery room placed the tiny bundle that was you across my stomach. Your eyes almost looked violet, and you had a head full of dark hair and a little birthmark on your cheek, just like Elizabeth Taylor. I knew that had to be your name.”

“Liz, if you please,” I reminded her for the millionth time.

I’d read some of the biographies. I didn’t want to spoil Mom’s impression by telling her that baby Elizabeth Taylor had been ugly, her little newborn body covered all over by dark hair. Mom didn’t have any idea that my life—and hers—would turn out to be filled with those same unglamorous experiences her idol had faced. Life wasn’t all movie stars and parties like Mom imagined.

JUST LIKE ELIZABETH TAYLOR, a young adult novel from the Small Town U.S.A. series, is historical fiction with the feel of today. Liz faces challenges too horrific to think about, yet learns much about life and herself as she struggles to survive.

Like with the works of Carol Lynch Williams (Miles from Ordinary), or Sara Zarr (Story of a Girl), readers will find a main character in Liz that they will love, as well as want to save.

Lu Ann Brobst Staheli is a three-time Utah Best of State Medal recipient for Literary Arts and Education, winner of Utah’s Original Writing Competition and the League of Utah Writer’s Diamond Quill for Juvenile Fiction.

Use the Look Inside feature to read more, or click the LIKE button above to share on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. Reviews are appreciated on Amazon or GoodReads.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Now That I Got THAT Out of My System

Last month I wrote a long blog entry that was very well-received by so many people in the writing community who have been frustrated with the whole road to traditional publication, as I myself had been feeling. But a funny thing has happened to me and my creativity in the three weeks that have passed since I wrote that blog—I’ve suddenly been filled with ideas for books and magazine articles that would fit perfectly with the traditional market.

WHAT?! You might wonder what happened. Did I change my mind about Indie publishing? Have I suddenly turned my back on all of you, who might be struggling like I am to not only publish, but also sell books like the ones I self-published?

The answer is NO. Indie publishing has done something wonderful for me. Actually, many wonderful things:

The manuscripts I’ve been working on for so many years, the ones that never seemed to fit the right niche, or to be just what an editor was looking for, are now either available for family, friends, or a growing fan base to purchase.

Because those manuscripts are no longer just sitting, waiting, hoping to be the very thing an editor or agent connects to, they are also not staring me in the face, the characters begging for me to find them a publication home, which has freed my mind toward more creativity.

New ideas have poured in to take their place, and unfinished manuscripts are crowding my thoughts, hoping now is the time for them to be finished and see the light of day. Some of them will be direct to eBook, but others have long hoped for a traditional publishing deal.

At least two of these not-quite-finished manuscripts have made my critique group sit up and pay attention in the last two years, causing them to ask, “When are you going to bring more pages?” One of the books has had interest from two agents and two NY editors in the past. “Send them to me once you’re ready.”

So, why haven’t I done so? Somehow I think those completed, yet homeless manuscripts, have somehow held me back. It’s not that they weren’t good books; they were, and I thank so many of you who have purchased them and written nice reviews. I hope many more readers will discover them in the future, now that they are available on Kindle. They just weren’t the right thing for the major markets to buy at that time, and that’s okay. I never saw them as anything more than sweet books for the mid-list anyway, yet they have given me an incredible opportunity to tell a story, hone my craft, and introduce my work to those who do appreciate a nostalgic story. 

I still have my list of books to release this year, with a new YA novel coming out very shortly, but I also now have my list of manuscripts to complete. Those books will be polished, query letters prepared, and their stories will get the chance to visit agents and editors, looking for a match, a phone call and an offer saying, “I love it!”

Writing is part of me, and I’ll never give it up, even if sometimes I try to tell myself I want to. I can't get over it. Good stories are a part of me, and when it comes right down to it, I’ll never get THAT out of my system. When it comes to publishing, Traditional or Indie, my stories deserve to be shared.

I hope that you, my readers, will still come along on that journey with me.