Everybody Lies

One of my closest friends has been in Europe doing a workshop at the Art Factory (which is a really cool idea). In preparation for the trip, she finally bought an e-reader, and a copy of Everybody Lies. Karen Spears Zacharias is a wonderful writer, leaning more toward memoir — After the Flag is Folded — and Christian commentary — Where is Your Jesus Now? Her most recent book is Silence of the Mockingbirds about child abuse. Her first novel Mother Rain will be out this fall. I admire them all.

So you can imagine I was holding my breath about her reaction. Would it be critical? Even worse, kind? Or the worst of all, deafening silent. But here’s what she said:

So I’ve been reading Everyone Lies and here’s the thing — you know I have zero interest in Alaska so the fact that I’m still reading says a TON about your writing. You have done a terrific job of pacing and description. Your characters are real, and I’m a tough judge about that. There are some format issues with the e-reader but the thing I keep thinking as I read it is Damn that Lois. She can do everything well. You make writing look effortless and that’s always the sign of a good writer. You did good girl.

And in my head is this little refrain: she likes my book, she likes it. She thinks I did good. She likes my book.

Of course, I’m that way about all my reviewers. As a journalist the feedback is immediate. Even as a professor, the feedback from students comes every three months. But fiction novels are different. Takes a long time to produce, and then you put it out there and wait. Wait for sales, for reviews, for anything. That’s hard on a person.

Reviews are the life blood of this new era in publishing — digital word of mouth. That’s why my new email signature says: Read books. Write reviews. Buy more books.

That’s the plan.


Sins of Omission is out

Sins of Omission is live at Amazon and Smashwords. It was the first real novel I completed. I’d written lots of stuff from as early as I could toddle. Short stories, fragments of stories, even novellas. But they were written to entertain me and I didn’t need them polished, or even revised.

In the late 80s I was part of a writer’s group. The challenge went up: can you write a chapter a week? The next week I showed up with chapter one of this book (titled shades of gray at that point. As you can guess, I didn’t stick with that title.). Everyone took it home to read and critique. Week two we did the critique of chapter one and I gave them chapter 2. And so on. I was writing for an audience, and as a journalist, I felt comfortable writing now that I had an audience. I finished the first draft in 17 weeks.
But I was stymied by the bureaucracy of the publishing industry, and it went into the proverbial bottom drawer to be joined by other novels.

Fast forward to now. Sins of Omission would have required more revision than I could contemplate to make contemporary. As I reread this series of novels I realized that raving them set in the 1980s gave them something to be said that couldn’t if I modernized them. So I’ve left them as historical novels. Watch for Pledge Allegiance coming soon.