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Category: Random Chatter

On original ideas … Sondheim says it best

On original ideas … Sondheim says it best

I’ve been obsessing this week over the 90th Birthday celebration for Stephen Sondheim last year and especially this song from “Sunday in the Park with George.” It’s not one of my favorite musicals, but this song is definitely a highlight and Jake Gyllenhaal and Annaleigh Ashford absolutely nail it.

One of the best lines comes around 2:30:

I get some variation of this worry a lot, especially from new authors. I don’t know how many times someone has told me they have a cool idea, but they’re worried it will seem tired, the idea has been done, the story has been told already.

Well, true. There are not a whole lot of stories that haven’t already been told. But … they haven’t been told by YOU. Don’t steal other people’s work, but tell your story. You have a unique voice and the world will be richer hearing it.

The sharp edge of the blade

The sharp edge of the blade

Oh you guys! Life has been giving me the sharp edge of the blade for a while and today it cut deep. My dad’s last remaining sibling was killed this morning in a car accident, along with his wife. Dad’s two other brothers passed within the last year or so, though not as tragically.

Aside from sorrow over losing these wonderful people, I grieve for my dad. He’s the youngest of six and we always knew there would be this day eventually, but it feels like it came way too soon.

This has not been the only hit we’ve had lately. Last week there was the surprise death of an uncle on the other side of the family, and we are all still feeling the sting from my cousin losing his five-year-old son in another tragic accident just last month.

I feel like this has been an entire year of loss. Important, wonderful people are gone and I miss them. I still  miss Koda desperately. I miss being younger and feeling invincible. I miss feeling hope. And I miss the people who are still here on earth, but who have chosen different paths and are no longer in my life. The hurt never goes away.

Today is my birthday and I have never been a big fan of celebrations, but I’d definitely take that over the tears.

Q&A – 5 Things About Me (Part 2)

Q&A – 5 Things About Me (Part 2)

This will be an ongoing series where I answer the most common questions I get from readers:

Q1:  What is your favorite book?

A:  Jane Eyre! I have always had a soft spot for anything gothic Victorian and for unconventional characters. Did you know that Charlotte Bronte wrote it to prove she could sell a book in which the main characters were not conventionally attractive? I’d say she nailed it. I love Jane and Rochester and their banter makes me swoon every time. Okay, the gypsy scene is a bit much, but I’ll forgive her that considering the environment and time in which she was writing.

My other favorite books include the Little House books (Laura Ingalls Wilder) and the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series (Laini Taylor).

Q2:  What genres do you like/dislike?

A:  I’ll read almost anything, but my favorites are young adult, women’s fiction, adventure, and sweet romance and I do like the thrills that come with a good suspense novel. I don’t really like anything that’s too heavy on the military or tech lingo, like Tom Clancy, and I stay away from erotica or anything too graphic.

Q3:  What is your writing Kryptonite?

A: Wikipedia. When I’m writing a first draft, I have to turn the internet off because it’s way too easy to click over for a quick bit of research for the story and then an hour later, I’m twenty pages deep into serial killers.

Q4: Do you read your book reviews?

A:  Absolutely. I want to know what’s working and what isn’t. I don’t put a lot of stock in one bad review, I just figure it wasn’t a good fit for that reader; however, if multiple readers start mentioning the same problem, I take notice. But I ignore the trolls. I had one person leave one-star reviews on all my books after I refused to send him money. Lame.

Q5:  Do you write characters with actors in mind if the book ever became a movie?

A:  I will sometimes draw inspiration from an actor’s look, but I try to let my characters develop on their own and not base them off anyone in particular. There are several bookstagrammers who like to cast the main characters when they do a book review and I always love to see who they pick. So far, they’ve never used the same actor I did when writing the book, but there’s always a first.

I love to hear from readers! If you have any questions, you can send them to me at: AuthorJeanetteLewis@gmail.com

Q&A – 5 Things About Me

Q&A – 5 Things About Me

This will be an ongoing series where I answer the most common questions I get from readers:

Q1:  When did you start writing and why?

A: The first thing I remember writing was a story in first grade. We were given a picture of a duck, and we had to color it, then write a story for it. In mine, the duck was sad because it couldn’t find any friends. Then (plot twist!) a big group of animals showed up and they all became friends, the end. My teacher took me around to all the first and second grade classrooms and had me read it to them, so I guess it was probably above what you’d expect from a six-year-old. From then on, I started writing stories and trust me, my early versions were all just as riveting as the lonely duck story!

Q2:  What have you done besides write books?

A: I have a bachelors degree in marketing and I worked for several years in market research. I have also been (in reverse order) a legal secretary, an airline reservations agent, a retail clothing employee, a receptionist, and my first job was at McDonalds.

Q3:  What is your family like?

A: My husband and I recently celebrated our 28th anniversary. We have four kids, ages 22, 20, 13, and 12 – two girls and then two boys. The large gap is because we weren’t sure we were done having kids after the first two, then decided we weren’t. Our 13yo has autism and several other health issues, so he can take up quite a bit of our time.

Q4: What is your advice for new writers?

A: Figure out why you’re writing. Some people write because they have stories inside them that need to be told; others write because it’s therapeutic; and some write because they are skilled at it and can make a living. Your approach to writing will be different depending on why you’re doing it.

Q5: How did you get started?

My first book is a short Christmas story called An Unexpected Angel that was published in 2012 by Cedar Fort Publishers. Through that story, I met Lucy McConnell, a fellow Cedar Fort author, and we decided to write sweet romance and create the Snow Valley series. From there, it grew slowly. I’m definitely not as fast at writing as some of my author friends, but I’m at 20 books now and working on the next one.

Stay tuned for more! If you have any questions, you can send them to me at: AuthorJeanetteLewis@gmail.com

Is this it? Is this The Old?

Is this it? Is this The Old?

You guys… what has happened to my coordination? Today I had to change the code on the garage door opener and as I was getting down the ladder, I just … stepped off? When I was still halfway up the ladder? Like my brain just said, that’s enough, we’re done here. And then I landed on the floor of the garage.

Last month, when we were camping at my parents’s house, I did the same thing. Got up in the middle of the night to go in the house for water (because we dry camp at their house) and just did a Peter Pan off the top step of the trailer and landed on the cement pad.

I’m fine, just a few dignity bruises. But seriously, what? Did something in my brain switch to self-destruct mode when I wasn’t paying attention? This does not bode well for my next decades of life. Eep.