Friday, August 16, 2013

Welcome, Lydia Laceby!

I first met Lydia Laceby, founder of Novel Escapes, when she told me that the incredible author Cat Lavoie was doing a guest review of Finding Lucas on her blog. Well, I was thrilled because I love Novel Escapes and Cat. Lydia also did her own review of Finding Lucas, and I was so touched. Lydia and I began chatting, and we decided to do a beta reading exchange. Not only was I pumped to have a book blogger as a beta reader, but I was so excited to read Lydia's debut novel, Redesigning Rose. Lydia's beta read of my second novel (still in the editing stage) helped immeasurably, and I loved Redesigning Rose. I am very happy to welcome Lydia, my fellow Canadian author!

Book Blogger-Turned Author

Since I began book blogging and writing a novel simultaneously over four years ago, the two ventures have complimented each other in ways I could never have imagined. I shouldn’t have been surprised, though. They’re a perfect match just like peanut butter and chocolate – my only decadent downfall with my preference for cheese over chocolate.

There are quite a few of us book bloggers-turned authors out there. Liz and Lisa from Chick Lit is not Dead, Kirsty Greenwood from Novelicious, and Samantha March from Chick Lit Plus. Then there’s me from Novel Escapes. And I know there are many more of us out there, in various forms of author-hood. Maybe we should have our own title: Blogthor’s? Boblothor’s? BBA’s?

Here’s my list of fabulous things about being a blogger turned author:

1)      Meeting other writers, authors, book bloggers, publicists, and publishers. I’m amazed at the connections I’ve made – and I haven’t even been as plugged in as I probably should have been over the last couple of years.
2)      Making new friends who love books and writing as much as I do!
3)      Among the incredible bookish folks I’ve met, I’ve uncovered some wonderful beta readers and fellow indie authors – a shout out to the Chick Lit Goddesses! How I didn’t know you existed until a couple of months ago is beyond me.
4)      Here was my biggest surprise:  Reading horrible books improved my writing dramatically. I’ve been forced to figure out exactly why I didn’t like a novel (or why I loved one) and then worked to apply this to my own writing, either adding or removing or changing as necessary.
5)      I’ve improved my time management and project management skills, both of which are critical for self-publishing.
6)      Writing reviews over the years has helped me hone my editing skills.
7)      I’ve learned how to pitch a book blogger which, as a book blogger, I cannot stress the importance of.
8)      Watching and chatting with other authors via social media has inspired and encouraged me to continue when I hit those pesky pessimistic days.
9)      I gathered a social media following and built my audience for years before I even realized what I was doing.
10)   The constant sharing of other authors with tips and links to articles and blog posts about writing were invaluable to my writing education.
11)   I’ve been provided with a plethora of books to study, including those outside my comfort zone which I may have never picked up otherwise.

It’s not all roses though and there are few areas I’ve come to loathe.

The first is reviewing a novel that didn’t sit well with me. I struggled with this, especially knowing how difficult it is to write a book. It is equally difficult to write a review for a book I didn’t enjoy. We don’t shy away from penning negative reviews at Novel Escapes, though, as some book bloggers do. We prefer to be open and honest and I try to make my negative reviews as much of a critique as possible and we never bash a book or slam an author. Not every book will appeal to every reader, and that’s just a fact. It doesn’t mean no one else will like it, though.

I also find I have difficulty reviewing books for authors I’ve become personally acquainted with. I now forward their novels onto the other Novel Escapes reviewers so as not to feel the urge to skew my opinion.

My only other grumble about the two is time. I don’t have enough of it. I need eight hours sleep. I want to spend time with family and friends. I have to make some money somehow, which means I must work. All of this means either the writing or the book blogging sometimes takes the backburner. Other times sleep or friends and family takes a hit. Sometimes it’s even gainful employment. I can’t do it all. Even though I want to.

So, other than feeling overwhelmed with all I need to accomplish on any given day, the experience of book blogging and book writing has been fan-book-tastic.

About Lydia!

Lydia Laceby is the co-founder of Novel Escapes, a chick lit and contemporary women's fiction review website. Since 2009, she has read and reviewed as much women's fiction as humanly possible while designing, organizing and expanding the website from two reviewers to five.

In her spare time, she knits cute baby hats, would pick cheese over chocolate-if she had to choose-and regularly cheats on her allergy free diet.

Lydia has always wanted to write and began her career writing a soap opera at the tender age of thirteen. It never aired. Redesigning Rose is her first novel.

Rose Parker's husband has been lying. About everything.

When a conversation with her husband triggers questions, Rose Parker uncovers alarming answers that shatter her perfect life. But it is only when she shoves her belongings in her SUV and drives off that Rose realizes just how far from perfect her life actually was. She has nowhere to turn.

While debating between distressing sleeping arrangements-her mother’s house full of questions or a hotel room with too much solitude-Rose bumps into an acquaintance from her gardening class and allows bubbly, exuberant Becky to indulge her in a wild night full of whiskey, weeping, and whispered confidences. Suddenly, Rose has a new friend, a roof over her head, and two gorgeous men moving her out of her marital home.

As Rose struggles to settle into her new life, she remains determined to comprehend her past. And with time and distance and especially wine, comes knowledge. Frank wasn’t the only one lying to her. Rose was lying to herself.

Connect with Lydia!

Buy Redesigning Rose!


  1. Great post, Sam! And so nice to know more about Lydia. I'm not a book blogger, but I understand the difficulty of loving the author, maybe not liking the book so much. In most cases, I think it's just me. Either way, we writers empathize with all the hard work that goes into creating a novel.

  2. This book sounds like a great read! I just added it to my TBD on goodreads. I hear you Lydia about the struggle with time. Sometimes it's so hard to juggle everything.

  3. Great post, ladies. Even though I'm not a book blogger, I struggle sometimes with writing reviews too. It's tough when you like the author, but the writing... maybe not so much. Like Martha said above, it's probably me since I can be picky about my reading - especially now that I'm writing my own novels. I find I'm especially hard on traditionally published book now, wondering why the editors let certain things stand! (Recently read a book by a BIG best selling author - who I really like - that had head hopping in it. How does that get past the editor?? Maybe the author has gotten so big, the editors feel like they can't touch the manuscript!) Off to add Redesigning Rose to my TBR list!

  4. Lydia, I read this post three times because I enjoyed it so much. You are so right about everything you said about book blogging and I really enjoyed getting to know you better. (Thanks, Sam!) Redesigning Rose looks like a wonderful book. Congratulations on crossing over that invisible line and becoming an author. I wish you every success with your wonderful book blog and book. Cheers!