L A Johannesson

Romantic fiction with a geeky twist

L A Johannesson - Romantic fiction with a geeky twist

Review of Stephen King’s ON WRITING – A wise, intimate and revealing tale told by a regular guy.

Dare I be bold enough to review a book on writing, penned by the modern master of contemporary horror, suspense, science fiction and fantasy?

Why the hell not?

On Writing, A Memoir of the Craft is not new book. In fact it was published over 13 years ago. Whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, the thing about great writing is that it transcends time.

On Writing

I had wanted to read King’s most notable diversion from fiction for a number of years now. And, unlike my experience with reading some of his other books, I suspected that after reading it I would be able to sleep without having to leave the lights on.

Why I hadn’t read it before now, I can’t tell you. But, I am glad I finally did.  If you’re a writer and haven’t yet, I urge you to read it. And, don’t wait.

This book affected me. It challenged how I looked at writing and writers. It encouraged me to adopt the daily writing habit again. It was the personal insight from the man behind the massive imagination that added a layer of authenticity and intimacy that served as the foundation that delivered a truly compelling read.

Before leaving for a recent trip to Canada I purchased On Writing through Audible, downloaded it to my iPhone and thought I’d begin listening to it on the 15 hour plane ride, but instead I had an idea for a Novella that filled much of the time.

While in Toronto, I was living my own author adventures and during those whirlwind few weeks I thought about starting it, but ended up being more a case of, ‘Stephen, I know you’re there, closer than you’ve ever been, but it’s just not the right time. Soon, I promise.”

I returned home and settled back in to my Aussie routine. One day last week I left to take Buzz on our usual neighbourhood jaunt and instead of automatically tapping the podcast icon, I chose the Audible one instead. That was the day I began reading, (actually listening to) King’s Memoir of the Craft.

Four walks and five days later I was finished.

As with any book I truly enjoy, my emotions become mixed about three quarters of the way through. As I get closer and closer to the end, I get sadder and sadder that its conclusion as imminent.

I did not want On Writing to end.

To be frank the book is not what I expected. It was better, way better – better but different. I’ve had time to let my reactions form over the past few days so that I could distill them down to their lasting impressions. I needed to define what it was that about Stephen’s book that resonated so powerfully with me.

I think it was this:

  1. Listening to, rather than reading, this book was a serendipitous gift. Hearing King’s words being read by him, rather than from my own voice chirping away in my head, added a layer of authenticity, personality and raw connection that would not have existed for me, had it been my voice reading it (Audible there’s a USP for you to exploit.)
  2. It was enlightening hearing the stories of Stephen’s childhood, of his hardworking and devoted Mother, his brainiac brother with the big ideas, his parade of shocking sitters, his initial attempts at writing, his influences, his supporters. These all gave glimpses into Stephen’s formative years. They provided an insight into the man behind the imagination and perhaps some understanding as to where and how some of the darker bits of it were formed. The depth of the memoir portion of the book was a welcome surprise that leant credibility to the rest.
  3. He both shows and tells much about the fundamental importance of focusing on the story. He suggests that you might be best not to get too caught up in plot lines, imagery, theme, character development, You may not want to immerse yourself in all the writing accouterments, but to focus first and foremost on the story. What is it you want to say and to whom? And even if you’re not sure about all of it, start with the bits you are sure about. Stephen says that story is a fossil you find in the ground and you dig it out slowly, gradually uncovering its full potential. Some are small, some gargantuan, but the techniques of excavation are the same. Good advice. I added, don’t be afraid to dig deeper or in a different place.
  4. Being dedicated to the Ideal Reader will serve the writer well.  What to keep, what to discard, which darlings to kill, which characters need which traits, decisions on setting, thematic devices, choices in dialogue – all become clearer when put through the filter of the Ideal Reader and what it is that will resonate best with him or her.
  5. If you want to be a writer you need to read a lot and you need to write a lot – it’s that simple.
  6. However, if you want to be as prolific as “The King”, you must write, write, and write and then write some more – there are no magic bullets. Writing is a craft and true craftsmanship requires time, effort, guidance, feedback, practice, and the dedication and commitment required for its continual honing.
  7. I loved his suggestion to write first with the door closed then with the door open. In no way is he discounting the power of feedback to improve your writing, but he suggests that there is an optimal time for it and that’s after you have created your first draft on your own.  Keeping the door closed allows you to stay true to your initial version of the story, free from critique and questions and the doubt that they often ignite. You wouldn’t have someone taste your new recipe before all the ingredients were in there, so don’t taste test your story until it’s done. Once it’s ready, throw open the doors and feast on the advice and feedback offered for refinement especially that provided by your Ideal Reader.
  8. The journey and path one finds to writing doesn’t much matter. Embrace it whether it’s indulging a guilty pleasure discovered during your teens or a newly attempted retirement pastime that your gnarled fingers can barely endure. It does not matter whether you were destined for it or your love affair was one that was lit by happenstance. What matters is that you found it.  King says that writing begins with a love for reading. I agree, but I’d add that it begins with a love of storytelling. I think that stories beget stories.  A love for writing can also originate from a love of people. A desire to uncover and share their stories is as true a motivator as the love for written word itself.
  9. We all have demons and diversions. While not everyone is seduced by the allure of drugs and alcohol, we all have them in various forms. They can either enhance our writing by providing unique perspectives and conflicts to draw from or they can harm it by toying with our focus and stealing the precious time that could be much better spent refining our craft.
  10. Stephen King is a regular guy. There’s a sentence I never thought that I’d type. Am I mad? No. The overwhelming impression I got from Stephen’s Memoir of the Craft was that he was a regular guy. He had great experiences and horrible ones that shaped his life and he draws from both. He had a Mother whom he loved and who loved him. He has a supportive wife, children, friends and a job. He has experienced rejection and acceptance when introducing his creations to the world. He also admits to his fair share of fears and demons, yet chooses to focus on the love, support and inspiration that surround him. He has been affected by the randomness of life, been physically and emotionally scarred and challenged and fought hard to overcome a great many of these obstacles. He is relatable on so many levels and it was that honesty and intimacy that provided the surprising inspiration from this book.  Maybe it’s because famous people are often such mysteries or maybe because of their achievements we see them as larger than life. But, maybe it’s because, it made me think that, hey, I’m a regular person too. I love the craft of writing, I know I’m not great at it yet, but I possess enough skill to argue that I’m at least good at it. And, as my grade school teachers would attest, ‘she shows incredible potential in this area’. While I’m no Stephen King. He has inspired me to keep writing, keep indulging my creative soul, to put fingers to keyboard, keep writing and honing and reading and writing and honing and reading. He also reminds us to do it because we love it, not because it’ll make us famous or rich (I wouldn’t mind a decent living from it though). It’s almost as though this accomplished author, this man responsible for creating some of the most colourful fiction of my lifetime has given me encouragement to take my own path, to embrace the author in me. He did this masterfully by sharing himself, his vulnerability, his success and his wisdom in the most honest, engaging and captivating book he’s yet to write.

CA: Premiere Of Paramounts' Remake Of "The Manchurian Candidate" - Arrivals

Stephen, I am so grateful that in choosing to pen On Writing you ventured beyond the familiar. I am thankful that you were courageous enough to embrace the unknown, to dig in a different place, to step away from your usual genres and apply your storytelling talents to this book instead.

I suspect there are many of its readers who would agree that in doing so you have added the titles of teacher, coach, cheerleader, mentor and maybe even regular guy to that of best-selling author for which you are best known.

 

 

 

 

“A book every man should read,” says author M. Joseph Murphy

It’s reviews like this one that remind me why I love to write, why I love to tell stories, why I must continue on the author path and why I must share them with as many different people as possible. mjm

Thank you M. Joseph Murphy for your kind and supportive words. From one author to another, it means so much to hear your feedback.

You can see the full post it all right here on his blog.

Not only does Joseph share a great review, a bit about the author, he did a quick author interview with me during The Word on the Street Festival and has included it too.

 

Enough about me! If you’re a reader of the urban fantasy genre, check out Joseph’s debut novel, Council of Peacocks, Book One in the Activation Series.

council of peacocks

It’s a tale of good over evil, the evolution of the human race and saving the world. Its comes complete with a colourful cast of sorcerers, demons, humans and reptilians that move the story at a engaging pace, with many a battle for power and ultimate supremacy.

 

 

Click here for more eloves me, eloves me not reader reviews.

I’d love to hear what you think too – have you shared your review on Amazon, Goodreads, iTunes?

eloves me, eloves me not’s Word on the Street, Toronto debut was a Stellar Success!

The Word on the Street Festival in Toronto certainly delivered on its promise!IMG_3367 

We had a great day connecting with other authors and services dedicated to the literary world.

 

I met fans and readers, shared insights about the book, took photos with friends old and new.

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catherine and LA

And I even sold some books to curious readers and gave away some Aussie schwag.

Thanks to everyone who came out, those who bought books, those who took photos, interviewed me, brought me flowers, promoted the event through social media and to those who brough us Timmies and especially to my friend Wendy who, as she’s been since the day we met, was there beside me from start to finish.

Thank you! You are all priceless treasures! And, when it comes to friends and fans I am truly blessed. xxx

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A Whole Lot of Love!

When you embrace a topic like online dating in a novel and market your book solely online, if you’re smart, you’ll also look for ways to connect with the global dating community.

Over the past few months I’ve been doing just that, reaching out to various members of this gigantic global online community. It’s brimming with great people who are interested in, supporters of, service providers to, and active participants who devote their efforts to helping single people everywhere with dating, love and relationships.

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Do you know what I’ve learned from these efforts?

There’s a whole lot of love out there!

So many virtual strangers have been willing to connect, willing to advise, willing to share, willing to make introductions and willing to promote eloves me, eloves me not and me as an indie author. I guess the quest for love, promotes a little love of it’s own. As a new member of this supportive group, I’m happy to show a little love too!

Here’s one lovely lady I’ve met on this journey. Neely is about as focused on dating, love and relationships as a girl can be. And, she’s offers some pretty unique expertise.

For the past decade, Neely Steinberg has been writing and speaking about dating, love, and relationships. She has been a featured expert in a wide array of media outlets and has created and hosted two radio shows and an internet TV show on the subjects of dating, love, and relationships. Drawing from her Master’s degree in Counseling and her passion for helping others, Neely’s dating coaching practice The Love TREP™, based in Boston, is dedicated to teaching and coaching smart, educated, professional women across the world, ages 27-45, how to use an entrepreneurial spirit, mindset, and approach to find healthy, happy dating lives that lead to healthy, happy relationships. To check out her coaching services and packages, and to learn how dating enTREPreneurially can work for you, you can visit her website at www.thelovetrep.com and tell her LA sent you!

Sharing my book and my story with the Mr n Mrs Romance Podcast

I recently had the pleasure of being a guest on a fabulous new podcast called Mr n Mrs Romance. Mr Romance, known as Jack, interviewed me about eloves me, eloves me not, being an author, my experiences with online dating and finding love.

Podcast #16 – eloves me, eloves me not with LA Johannesson

Jack was a terrific host. He asked some refreshing questions and we had a few laughs while I got to share a great deal about the inspiration for the book, the story, its characters and my own views on dating and love. Any conversation that can move from Star Trek to Shakespeare covers a lot of ground as is worth a listen. You can go straight to the audio here!

MrnMrsRomance (mrnmrsromance) on Twitter

Mr n Mrs Romance is a UK-based podcast with the aim of exploring the extraordinary breadth of the human condition in relation to romance, love and sex. With input from an amazing collection of individuals, they aim to compile a fascinating picture of relationship culture in the 21st century. Mr n Mrs Romance believe that in today’s society that there is no one way by which relationships are played out and as such, each podcast will aim to capture the many varied outlooks and practices of today’s relationship lifestyles.

As you’ll see from the diverse topics covered in the first 16 episodes, it is definitely delivering on its promise.

I had a blast as a guest. I’ve also learned a little from some of the other episodes (I’m just not saying which ones ;-) . I encourage you to have a listen and subscribe to it on iTunes.  

Mr n Mrs Romance are bound to keep it interesting!

You can also connect with them on twitter as @mrnmrsromance and on facebook.

 

PS – Thanks again Jack, you give good podcast!

 

eloves me, eloves me not was Dianne’s first!

Never knowing where your next connection is going to come from or with who it will be, is part of the fun and serendipity of the web. It’s one of the reasons I love it so much.

I recently connected online with Dianne Velazquez-Hunt over on Google+.

A crochet addict, wife and mother of three children, she is also a blogger. Being an avid reader she thought it was time to take this passion, combine it with blogging and start reviewing books.

eloves me, eloves me not was her first review! Thanks Dianne and congratulations. You did well. You’ll always remember your first!

Her review can be found on here on her blog.

Dianne, I applaud you for taking on the additional challenge of book reviewer and thank you for your kind review. I also appreciate the social support you’ve been showing for eloves me, eloves me not and I wish you great success with all of your passions!

To everyone reading, if you’re on G+ or blog surfing I urge you to reach out and say hello to this enthusiastic lady – tell her LA sent you!

 

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