Thursday, July 5, 2012

My Blog is Moving/Combining!

I have been super busy over the past couple of years, and with the launch of "Momnesia," I've become a little... um... overwhelmed trying to maintain five (yes five!) separate websites about the various things I do. (Writing, women's issues, speaking, business consulting, dog training articles, etc.)

Soooo... I've decided to combine all of my sites into one fabulous place where we can all play together! My goal is that once it's done, it will be much easier for me to keep up with, thus leaving me with more time to get my writing done and enjoy my life.

What happens if you're already a blog follower? I will now have all of my subscribers in one place.... my newsletter. This newsletter will inform you when new articles are posted, and you will NEVER receive more than a maximum of one e-mail per week. I also NEVER share my list, so you don't have to worry about becoming overloaded with junk.
To continue following my blog, you will need to take a second to subscribe to my newsletter (follow). Please go HERE

I invite you to come to my new site and check it out! It is still under construction, but a lot has already been accomplished and I'd love to have you visit! While you're there, you can give me some feedback, say "hi" and ENTER MY TWO GIVEAWAYS CURRENTLY GOING ON! (Dog Lover's Giveaway & Summer Reads Giveaway... you'll see them both when you get there!) PLEASE CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT MY NEW SITE!

ALL of the articles from this blog have already been moved over. PLUS, there are LITERALLY HUNDREDS OF NEW ARTICLES ON THERE THAT YOU'VE NEVER SEEN BEFORE! Come on over and check them out!

Thanks for bearing with me during this transitional time!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Nora Ephron: A Different Kind of Tribute

When it comes to celebrities, the honest truth is, I don't usually care much. I mean, of course I don't wish them harm, but I also don't usually get torn up over the things that go on in their personal lives (or deaths). The reality is, they're just people like anyone else, and like any other stranger, I don't actually know them.

Nora Ephron is different though. I felt like I knew her, not only because I've enjoyed so much of her work over the years, but also because of the recent publication of my novel, "Momnesia," which includes passages from Ephron's book, "I Feel Bad About My Neck."

One of my favorite books of all time!
Here's a tip for writers: If there's any way possible to NOT quote other people's books and/or songs in your book, avoid it like the plague. It is a HUGE ordeal to get permission to reprint these things, and if I had known, I never would have included them. In "Momnesia," they were such an integral part of the storyline, I couldn't remove them. So I invested months and months (and months) of grueling paperwork and inumerable phone calls to ensure I secured the permissions necessary.

Except for Nora Ephron. Of the five I sought, permission to quote her book was the simplest, quickest, and least painful. Of course I realize that I was not dealing with her directly; however, the guidelines are set forth by the artist and it meant a lot to me that I didn't have to write that part out of my novel.

In my story, the main character is trying to come to terms with the "new her"... the woman she is now after having had kids. Who is not in high school anymore, has a muffin top, and will likely never fully return to her formerly-smooth, non-pendulous physique.

Not surprisingly, this passage is meaningful to me not only as an author, but also as a woman. A woman who, um... is a mom, has a muffin top, and will likely never fully return to my formerly-smooth, non-pendulous physique.

In honor of Nora Ephron's life, career, and all of the pleasure and wisdom she has shared, I'd like to say, "thank you." I hope she hears me from up in heaven, where she will hopefully be entertained as much as she entertained us throughout her lifetime!

In celebration of Ephron's life, here is the excerpt that quotes "I Feel Bad About My Neck," as it appears in "Momnesia": Enjoy!

(Context: The main character is going through a difficult period in her life and has turned to books and music as a source of inspiration. To see what other books and songs are quoted in "Momnesia," see bottom of this post.)

One such book was Nora Ephron’s “I Feel Bad About My Neck,” which is written from Ephron’s first-person, outrageously honest, hilarious perspective. Throughout the book (in between wiping my tears of laughter), I realized that the reason it’s so funny is because everything she says is uncategorically true.

One portion that really stood out was when she was speaking from the perspective of a sixty-four-year-old woman, looking back at her younger self:

“Oh, how I regret not having worn a bikini for the entire year I was twenty-six. If anyone young is reading this, go, right this minute, put on a bikini, and don’t take it off until you’re thirty-four.” 

Laughing (and thirty-six), I chuckled to myself, That is so true.

Then it occurred to me that something else I’d read a few pages earlier penetrated even more prominently as an undeniable truth. Flipping back to the passage, I reread, “Anything you think is wrong with your body at the age of thirty-five you will be nostalgic for at the age of forty-five.”

Now, of course I realize that in my overwrought state I was particularly vulnerable to be influenced by a statement that most would have simply thought was funny. But the combination of those two passages made it dawn on me that she was right. And more importantly, that I should apply this concept to my own life before it was too late. 

I’ve always been the type of person who tries to learn from other people’s experiences. I am not one who personally needs to smell the milk if someone has just told me it’s gone sour—their wrinkled expression of distaste is enough for me. Whether as simple as milk or as complex as a life issue, I find it decidedly unnecessary to personally suffer through each and every malady life throws my way. 

I accepted the fact that it was indubitably too late for me to go back to when I was twenty-six and appreciate my figure by wearing a bikini all year long. But it definitely wasn’t too late for me to try and appreciate my current thirty-six-year-old body. Despite my Chicken Belly Flap Thing, my bevy of purple stretch marks, or the fact that the only way of me having any cleavage at all was by using my Miracle Bra to hoist my boobs up as high as they would go, the undeniable truth was this: It was highly unlikely that I would look back in ten years and think I look any better then.

Realizing the impact this could have on my overall thought processes, I contemplated it further, analyzing my current physical state. 

Did I need to lose a significant amount of weight? No. While I did weigh about fifteen pounds more than when I was twenty, I was unquestionably within the window of a healthy weight for my stature. Which translates to mean (by today’s media and fashion industry standards) that I’m a heifer simply by virtue of being average rather than emaciated. But since I’m neither a runway model nor the hostess of a high-end morning show, I deemed my weight acceptable. Of course, I would still love to lose those fifteen pounds but the fact was, I wasn’t twenty anymore. I was thirty-six and I’d had two kids. 

Did I have hideous hair? Disfiguring facial scars? Any other impediment to legitimately hamper the possibility that I might try to consider myself a somewhat attractive woman? Nothing on those fronts either. While I was certainly not perfect, I did recognize that I should at least try to think of my appearance as less-than-grotesque.

Then I thought about my Chicken Belly Flap Thing and all fantasies of embracing my newfound non-grotesqueness went right out the window. The more cynical me—the one who is not wearing a Miracle Bra, doesn’t have on an empire-waisted blouse to hide those unsightly bulges, and constantly has a “muffin top” due to the lack of availability of jeans that actually come up to your waist—was not able to withstand such scrutiny.

Knowing there was not a thing I could have done to prevent those afflictions, I resentfully acknowledged that nothing would make them go away completely. No amount of exercise (of which I already did plenty), no amount of starving (ditto), no amount of anything. There was not one thing I could do that would ever make those aspects of my body go back to their formerly smooth, non-pendulous state. Nothing short of plastic surgery that is, and since I was in no position to undergo the knife at the moment (and honestly, I felt that I’d just be trading one scar for another anyhow), I realized that the original fact still held true: In ten years it would be extraordinarily unlikely that I would look back and think that I look any better then than I did right now. The Chicken Belly Flap Thing and all the other imperfections would undoubtedly still be there, but there would also be innumerable other blemishes; physical woes I hadn’t even thought of yet.

I decided then and there that I wasn’t going to be so critical of myself anymore. Sure, I would continue to do my one-hundred abdominal crunches every day, walk five miles with the neighborhood women three times a week, follow a healthy diet, and wear clothing that disguises my flaws. But as of that moment I promised myself that I would try to appreciate the good things about my appearance and stop berating myself for my shortcomings. Because I truly recognized, in my heart of hearts, that someday I would regret it if I didn’t.

I hope you enjoyed the excerpt, and that you've enjoyed Nora Ephron's work as much as I have over the years!

Curious about other books and songs quoted in "Momnesia?" Here they are:
Jane Porter's "Flirting With Forty": Received permission. (Thanks Jane!)
Metallica's "Holier Than Thou": Received permission. (Thanks Metallica!)
Rush's "Freewill": Received permission. (Thanks Rush!)
Evanescence's "Bring Me to Life": Denied permission. (Yes, seriously!) 

If you enjoyed this post and would like to share with others or comment, please do so below. Thanks!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Free Short Story!

Available soon on Amazon! My short story, "Banking On Instinct."

What's it about?
When it comes to love, the choice between pride and forgiveness has this feisty woman banking on instinct.

Want it FREE?
The first 25 fans to request it will receive my short story FREE! (It will be .99 on Amazon.) Plus, you'll be one of the first to read it!

Just enter your info here!
Please give the entry form a minute to load! Enjoy!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, June 15, 2012

New Writer's Challenge: Please Vote!

Back in the spring, I participated in World Book Night as an official "Book Giver." I had the honor of giving out 20 copies of "The Lovely Bones," and the group I selected to give them to was a classroom of adult students working on getting their GED through the WakeTech Adult Education Department.

I was very excited to meet everyone, and they welcomed me warmly. In fact, so many were interested in hearing about writing as a career, that I decided to create an opportunity for them:

I created my very own NEW WRITER'S CHALLENGE!

Every entrant receives a prize just for participating. The top three finalists have their articles published on my blog (here!) The Grand Prize Winner will receive a copy of each of my books, signed by me, and an assignment as a guest blogger here on LoriTheAuthor!

So, here is where you come in!... We need voters to decide which story wins!

Please take a few minutes to READ ALL THREE articles before voting. (Don't worry... they're short!) AFTER YOU'VE READ THEM, please go to the survey to register your vote! (Below.)

Thank you very much for giving a few minutes of your time to help encourage those in our community who are working hard toward a better future!

Entry: Brushing Up Against Coco

Entry: Overcomer

Entry: The Person Who Changed My Life Irrevocably

I hope you enjoyed reading the entries. Now it's time to VOTE! Please access the voting form here... there are only 3 questions... it will take under a minute! THANK YOU SO MUCH! 

Want to stay posted on who wins? Follow my blog (on the right) so you'll know when I post the winner!