Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Confessions of a middle reader.

Let me explain. I have friends that when they buy a book, they instantly go to the back and read the last word or the last paragraph. My friend tells me this is her way of ensuring that she will enjoy the book. But for me, the thought of knowing the ending before you ever read the beginning disturbs me just a little.

So, I read the middle. I find out the page count, and go straight to the middle of the book, and read a couple of paragraphs, and sometimes if it captures me a whole page or two. This way I know some of what the book is about, but I haven’t ruined the ending, because for me and for maybe some of you, the ending is the best part. But I like reading the middle. I know I’m holding a gem in my hands as I carry it up to the register to pay for it. The anticipation I feel knowing a little bit more about the characters then what the back page told me carries me home with renewed eagerness to escape into another place or time for at least twelve hours of reading bliss.

Just the thought of finding a book that intrigues me, and adding it to my collection of lovelies has me thinking about leaving the comfort of my home during a snowstorm. Then I can come back home, wrap myself up in a blanket in front of a blazing fire and read until the sun comes up. Hmmm, ten minutes of driving in the cold for a whole night worth of warmth, and pleasure. I think it’s worth it.

So does anyone else have some confessions to make? Are you a middle reader or an end reader? Or do you really just judge a book by its cover.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Some of my favorites

When someone finds out I write books, they usually ask, “So, what’s the best book you’ve ever read?” or “Who is your favorite author?” I have to say my favorite book—well, I can’t pick just one. It’s like choosing one chocolate candy and sticking with it as your favorite and sometimes you feel like M& M’s and sometimes you need a little Reese Peanut Butter Cups. As for authors it's the same, I like Jodi Picoult, Barbara Delinsky, Jane Austen—of course, Janet Evanovich, Stephenie Myers, Kate Jacobs, and so many others.

But these are some of my favorite writing books that I use. I have found them helpful, inspiring, and sometimes down right annoying. Usually, that's when I've done a major mistake and I have to go back and fix it. But, all in all, I think these books have helped me grow and become better at what I love to do. So here are my picks for the best books for writers.

So, tell me what are some of your favorite authors or books?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

You like me, you really like me.

I just sent my manuscript into a small publishing company for consideration. I hope they like it. It's one of those things where you are excited to send it in, and at the same time you're scared to the bone to hear what they might say. And yet, you must hear what they have to say, to move forward with your work, and to learn.

But there is a whole lot of self doubt going on in my head right now. I wonder if they are going to find the story compelling, will it touch them in a way they can relate, and therefore, feel for the characters in the book. Will the book evoke emotion, where I want it to, and will the reader be able to picture each scene as it unfolds?

This reminds me of when Sally fields received her Oscar for Places in the Heart, in 1985? (I know, this totally dates me.) As she is accepting her Oscar, she says, "This time I really feel like you like me. You really like me." I hope I get to say those words someday, when a publisher says, they want to publish one or all of my books. (I’m hoping it will be the publisher, I just sent my manuscript to.) Or when one of my novels has sold over a million copies and is being translated into ten different languages. I want to be able to stand in the middle of the street and yell, "They like me. They really like me." I know, I know, this is a bit over dramatic, but I think if you're going to dream, you ought to dream big.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

An interesting day.

Today, I woke up to the sound of the telephone screaming in my ear, at six in the blessed a.m. It was our friend, saying that he had just recieved an instant message from my husband, telling him he was stranded in London and needed money. I rolled over and looked at my dazed husbands face. When my brain finally kicked in, and I said, "No, it's a scam don't send money. My husband is home."

I would post the actual message if I had recieved it for you to see, but I didn't get one.

In fact, my husband raced down to his computer and watched little hacker man, hack away. He logged on from my sons account, and said, "Hi."
Little hacker man, replied back with, "Hi, how are you?
My husband said, "You're up early."
To which there was no response from little hacker man. My husband had changed his password and the hacker got off.

We reported it to facebook and changed our passwords. Facebook answer was to shut his account down. He lost everything. He had over 540 friends on his account. It is sad when honest law abiding citizen get hurt by others who are trying to fraud the system.

I know this is a big scam going on. I actually saw it two days ago on The Today Show. I am so grateful that we have wonderful and loyal friends who checked to see if we we're okay and to let us know. Because of them we were able to respond in a matter of minutes to shut little hacker man down. Although, I am horrified to think what would have happened if we had not been made aware, and someone we know and love had been scammed out of their hard earned money. Thanks, everyone for being on your guard.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

I like that!

I like the word that. That is to say, I edited my manuscript using search and replace and it took me ten hours to look through all the times I used the word that. “What’s that?” You said, “Really, that long, wow!” So I decided to see how often that four letter word comes up in everyday conversations. Here’s what I found out. It is obvious that we as Americans like the word that. Not only do I like the words that, but others like me do to. It can be a valuable word and yet it is quite possibly highly over used. However, I have come to realize through editing my manuscript that I have a personal relationship with the word that. That’s crazy, I know, and it’s not enough that I’ve gone through every page and changed, deleted, and yes, sometimes left the word in. That’s because I like it. Somehow, it’s a four letter word that has become special to me, although, I do realize as a writer I’m just going to have to keep that to myself and try to keep it out of my manuscript. Sigh, that’s too bad, I think I might miss that.

Monday, October 5, 2009

'What's in a name.'

As I have been getting ready to submit my first manuscript. I've been going over pseudonym. At first, I chose L. B. Bennett. Then my youngest, said mom, "What will people call you?" Huh, now there's a thought. So as a family we discussed it at the dinner table. It's funny how you think you want your children's opinions, until you ask. Let me just say, I got an ear full, of it's to masculine, it's not personable enough, but the ultimate decision is mine and I wanted L.B. Bennett. Then, the more I thought about it, the more I realized the only people who have ever called me by my initials are men, and although I like men, they are not my target audience--women are.

Sheesh, I wonder, do all writers have a problem coming up with a pen name or just me?

The next step was to Google my name and see if anyone else has it. I'll spare you all the details, but yes it is being used. However, it is with an ie at the end, and not ee, which is me. And for some reason, I feel this makes me unique and special, since, I have never met anyone who spells their name like mine.

After much deliberation, Google and talking to other writer's. I have chosen to go with Leslee Bennett. The reason I went with my maiden name and not my married--is this. My parents have three lovely daughters, and no son's to carry on the family name. So when my father died eighteen years this Thanksgiving, our last name died with him. In a small way this is my way of keeping my family name and legacy alive.

I hope you like it. I know I do. Here's hoping we'll see it on every major bookseller shelves in the future in big embossed letters...Leslee Bennett, just wanted to see how it looked. :)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

This may be foolish.

This may be foolish, but all new writer's were asked to write a writer's resume if they had a one on one interview at the League of Utah Writer's Conference. I worked really hard on mine and thought why not post it on my blog. I hope you like it.

I have been writing for the last ten years, during this time I have also been an aerobics instructor, and office manager for the family business. My first novel, Moving Forward, was a learning experience that I enjoyed immensely, but has indefinitely been laid to rest. My second novel, Turmoil, is a historical romance novel, which will be re-visited upon the publication of my latest projects.

For now, I’m putting all my attention into my last two novels Dying to Live, a contemporary mainstream, and Proof Positive, a contemporary romance. Dying to Live deals with a single mother rebuilding her life with her seventeen year old son when the unimaginable happens. Karen’s life, perspective, and priorities all come into question when a searing pain seizes her chest, leaving her breathless, scared and dealing with breast cancer.

At the young age of 22, I lost my father to cancer. Although I was old enough to understand that I would live the rest of my life without the day to day guidance of my father, I couldn’t understand what questions I would have later in life. This is my way to heal, and address some of the questions I wish I had asked my father during the last months of his life.

I have studied fiction writing through numerous writing workshops, including UVU and the Jordan extension courses. I am a member of the RWA and League of Utah Writers. I believe my writing can touch many people, with a focus on women, eighteen and older.

I majored in Broadcast Journalism at Ricks College and the University of Utah. I also volunteer for a non-profit called Young Entrepreneurs of America where I organize and speak to teenagers. YEA caters to thousands of students a year and I have presented to up to 400 teenagers in one conference. I really enjoy showing young people that they can take a hobby or interest and turn it into a career.

I’ve been married for twenty years to a fantastic man and have three amazing children.