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Friday, May 10, 2013

Guest Post from Boomer Lit Author Lisa Deckert (Beth Carpenter)

When I Grow Up

When I was a little girl, long before the existence of the World Wide Web, I loved to read. I read books, and magazines, and cereal boxes. I would hide behind my bed to read so my mother wouldn’t disturb me to make me do chores, but she must have forgiven me, because every month, when the Scholastic Reader form was passed out at class, my indulgent mother would allow me to order more books than the rest of the class combined. She also took me to the library every Saturday.

I grew up on a farm, about five miles from town, and so every day after school meant a forty-five minute ride on the school bus. I would have loved to spend that time buried in a book, but unfortunately, reading on the bus made me carsick. My solution was to close my eyes and make up a story in my head. I’d create the characters, imagine the scene, and compose the dialogue. Horses tended to figure heavily in my stories, usually beautiful white Arabians with flowing manes and tails. Then I’d arrive home and go about my business, forgetting about the story until the next bus ride.

Now, many, many years and thousands of books later, I’m doing it again, but this time I’m writing the stories down. A few years ago, I decided to see if I could translate the pleasure I received from losing myself in a story into creating one from scratch. I discovered, like most would-be writers undoubtedly have, that it’s harder than it looks. So, I followed my usual procedure when I try something new; I checked a pile of books out from the library and started reading about how to write.

My first story that I felt was good enough to share was a young adult mystery, sort of a modern Nancy Drew story. I wrote and polished, rewrote and polished some more, and then I checked out another stack of books on how to sell a book. That turned out to be even harder than writing one.

In the meantime, I wrote a nonfiction book. They are supposed to be easier to sell than fiction, but it didn’t work for me. I admit that by that time I was sick and tired of packaging up manuscripts along with self-addressed, stamped envelopes and paying to ship them into a black hole somewhere, so maybe I didn’t work at it as hard as I might have. Then I discovered Kindle.

I bought a Kindle because I was in love with the idea of carrying around a library in the space of single volume. You have to understand that my house was in danger of exploding if I brought in one more book, and I had a habit of packing a dozen paperbacks in my suitcase every time I took a trip, shedding them as I went. The idea of being stuck on a plane without a book is terrifying for me. Then one day, as I was shopping for new books for my Kindle, I noticed an link that said “Publish with Amazon.”

That ushered me into an alternate reality. Instead of spending my time and money trying to catch the eye of an agent or a publisher, I could concentrate on writing. I didn’t have to impress the gatekeepers, only the readers. So far, I’ve published three YA mysteries, a nonfiction book on financial planning, several shorts, and four boomer lit romances. I haven’t had huge financial success, but I’ve received nice feedback on the stories, met some great people online and overall, enjoyed the process.

I’ve also read dozens of stories published by ‘indies” like me, and I’ve been favorably impressed with the talent they display. Not all were great, but the percentage is much higher than I would have thought it would be. Electronic publishing serves as an amazing matchmaker for the readers and writers of the world to find one another, but it’s still all about the story, just as it was for that little girl on the bus so many years ago.

About the Author

I live in a split entry house in Anchorage, Alaska. From the front door, a short flight of stairs leads up to the main floor and another leads down to a hallway lined with overstuffed bookshelves. One Halloween, I opened the door to two trick-or-treaters, about nine years old. As I offered them candy, one of the boys asked in an awed voice, "Are you rich?" Laughing I asked him why he thought so, and he said, "All of those books!" Afterward, I looked at the paperback mysteries, the old encyclopedia we'd acquired one volume a week at a grocery store, the assorted hardbacks from bargain tables and secondhand stores, and I realized that he's right, I am rich. 

Connect with Lisa (Beth) on Goodreads


  1. Here's to an author rich with imagination and artistic creativity! A lovely post, I enjoyed it very much, and I certainly recognized in you the little girl I was once too!

  2. Loved your writer's journey. The best is yet to come.

  3. I think every writer can relate to your love of books. Thank you for sharing!

  4. How wonderful to live in an age when technology and innovation team up with inspiration and intention to make dreams come true! I love how your story captures the nostalgia of childhood while staying totally focused on the present. Enjoyed this very much!

  5. What a delightful read! I could so relate to the little girl who couldn't get her hands on more books fast enough! You paint a very lovely picture about where book-a-holics like us stand in time and space. Nice job!

  6. Wonderful journey! When we brought our cruising boat home, my husband unloaded so many boxes of books that now my house lists to one side instead of the boat. Thank heavens for Kindle, or my ever-patient husband might find himself buried under the stacks.

    I remember those Scholastic book order forms! How fun it was to feel the anticipation, the sweaty palms and thurumping heart when the boxes arrived.

  7. Thank you, everyone, for the kind words. Books are a wonderful thing. Keep writing.

  8. Thank you all for the kind words. Books are a wonderful thing. Keep writing.

  9. It's cool isn't it, how much we're all getting into Kindle? One book, carrying, as you point out, a virtual library! And now that I've figured out how to create highlights and notes, and access those on Amazon, I'm doing more reviews than ever. Life is good! Best wishes.

  10. Hi Beth,
    I've had so many parallel experiences, from ordering from Scholastic Books all through elementary and junior high school to imagining entire stories in my head! I've also had moments of panic when boarding a plane without a book... until they started offering movies, which I love too :)

    Thanks for sharing!
    Anne :)

  11. Thanks Lynn and Anne. It sounds like we are all avid readers.

  12. Enjoyed your reflections on your past with books and reading. I was a Nancy Drew fan, too. Sometimes I think I need to write a book about a grown up version of her. Maybe someday.

  13. Nancy Drew all grown up, maybe even a grandmother by now, solving crimes. I'd read it.

  14. I enjoyed reading about your writing life, and am going to check out your Boomer lit books. I was so happy to get a Kindle too, since y bookshelves (while not as populated as yours probably) were running out of spots for new acquisitions.

  15. Alaska! Oh, that's a place that's high on my bucket list! :)

    Like you I was brought up in a small place (called Zvishavane in the Zimbabwean midlands) and reading was a great pleasure! Now I live in the great city Johannesburg and reading is still my pleasure ... especially on my Kindle!

    I love indie publishing and the technology that allows everyone to express their innate creativity. We live in a brave new world! :)

  16. Thank you Lynn. Kindles are wonderful.

    Judy, isn't it interesting that our lives have so much in common half a world apart?

    Happy reading!