lisa writes stories issue #1 If romance novels have taught me anything…
My life is a mess
Welcome, welcome, welcome! (She says in John Oliver’s voice.) Thank you for the small but mighty people who have come over to this side of my life. I’ll try to refrain from boring bullshit and keep it funny and sweary. I also didn’t plan on sending out an issue so quickly but when I have shit to say, I have shit to say.
On with the show.
I’ve been working on my primary book when Erika sent me a link to a set of memes that began with, “If romance novels have taught me anything…”
I mean, jesus christ.
And it gets worse…
Hi. It’s me. I have been called out.
Here’s the, more or less, plot of my book (as yet untitled):
Aubrey Jones is burned out.
Tired of the constant need to push herself, working 60-70 hours a week on projects funded by tech bros family money that go absolutely nowhere, Aubrey finds herself exhausted and wanting something more.
Then her favorite aunt dies.
Aubrey quits her job and finds herself in N. Michigan attending the funeral only to find she’s the sole inheritor of her aunt’s estate which includes her aunt’s bookshop, Epilogue Books. Aubrey tells the tech bros to eat it, and moves to Cedar Falls, MI.
With bookshops, new and used, in almost every village in a 25-mile radius, Aubrey isn’t sure she can make Epilogue Books a go. Her aunt somehow did, but how?
Aubrey needs to find ways to make Epilogue work, find peace within herself, and maybe find love.
I thought it was a brilliant idea. I used to work in tech and lived in the Bay Area so I could talk comfortably about it (I HATE when it’s clear the author of a book has zero knowledge of a topic and just make it all up. I see you.). I picked Northern Michigan because we have a cabin there where we spend five to six months out of the year there. Plus, it’s cozy as fuck. (Truism: Yes, there are nearly somekind of bookstore in nearly every village within a 25 mile radius. The county is very literate.) I thought about skewing the idea more towards general fiction and less romance but I’ve been inhaling a lot of romances lately so tottering towards a mainly romance book isn’t surprising.
However, my invisible internet BFF Erin (okay, she’s not invisible, we’ve met, and I’ve hugged her) pointed out that if I swerve one way with the story, I’m getting slutty hallmark vibes and if I go another way, I’m getting slutty You’ve Got Mail vibes.
(Oh, there will be sex in the book. Yes, there will be.)
Not gonna lie, I am feeling pretty distraught right now. In the last week I’ve been working on the backstory, plot, and basics mechanics of the story and then wrote about 1500 words of the story itself last night at my writers group (I’m about 5000 words in). I was feeling pumped until I saw that meme this morning.
Back in graduate school, I was thinking about doing a capstone project for my final semester and when talking with my mentor, I was distraught (sense a pattern) that nothing I could say would be original. They assured me that there are always fresh voices in academia and writing worlds. Your story is your point of view, and no one can take that away from you.
I felt somewhat mollified.
I know first books are training wheels and are often quite bad. Sure, people have made sales of their first books but that is rarer than you think.
I really believe in Aubrey and I really want to see this to completion. Sure, it’s trite and sure, it’s not an original fresh idea but what I’m bringing to it is fresh and new so that hopefully counts for something.
I dug into my archives and blew the dust off my in-process stories from years ago (2018 is the newest!) and started to clean them up. I’ve submitted three pieces: two to publications I’ve been published in before and the third to a new to me publication. I also whipped up a quick website that’ll be my “authors” site. I do own the domains for my name (lisarabey.com, rabey.org , and rabey.net). Two first two points to rabey.net which is my day job resume. I have a full list of my clips over here but since I’ve been writing more reviews then stories for some time, the stories get swallowed up in the list hence the need for a separate site. I thought about doing a blog on lisa writes stories but who reads blogs anymore? No one, that’s who. My primary newsletter, A Most Unreliable Narrator, is also small but mighty but I’m boring them with my writing talk (they don’t say but I can feel it).
So, here we are. Long winded, aren’t I?
I also blew the dust off of my submissions tracker. The last time I was submitting stuff was back in 2018, (five years!), so I cleaned that up and I’m starting fresh. In addition to submitting to places I’ve been accepted to before, I use Duotrope to find publications accepting submissions and keep track of those.
I’m going to drop a few lines/ paragraph of what I’m working on that week in every issue as a teaser. I hope you like it!
I delete some personal files from the hard drive, mainly memes and pictures cute dogs I wish were mine. If I had time, I’d erase the hard drive, but I want to get out of there quick. That was another failing about Cyber Tech: we didn’t really have an IT department, so I had full access of my laptop. I sling my bag over my shoulder, make sure I have my personal cell and keys, and turn to walk out.
Patrick is standing behind me.
“What’s going on Aub?” he asks.
“Fuck you Patrick” I say to him, his surprised face worth every syllable.
I walk past him, nod to Stephanie and then John, and leave.
I got my wish.
P.S. When I announced this newsletter, I thought about running it twice a month but it may be more depending on what’s going on but no more than once a week.