“Next time gonna use a Nom de Plume”: Why a pen name?

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Major props if you figured it out and knew the title came from Aladdin. Even more props if you knew that Nom de plume meant pen name. There is a debate all over the publishing stratosphere regarding whether or not to use a pen name. I have only read part of the discussion and I can only tell you my reasoning and why I chose to use a pen name instead of my real name. I didn’t want my name famous. That may seem like an oxymoron. Why would I write if I didn’t want my name to be famous, but I have my reasons. I also very much enjoy my privacy. I don’t want my name famous because I don’t want this to be an ego-driven pursuit of fame and popularity. I don’t want to brag and say look what I did. I just want to write. The penname allows me to separate the writer me from myself. Two separate entities. My, the graduate and blogger and Lara Sean, the writer.

Lara Sean is also a simpler version of my name. It is easily recognizable, easy to pronounce and easy spell. I have had so many people butcher the pronunciation and spelling of my name that I don’t want to put myself through this for the publishing of my book. I want something easy and “author- sounding” yet still me. The name Lara Sean has been in my mind for a while. It comes from my middle name but I won’t say in what way (hee hee). I was going to make it a character in another book, but as I started toying with the idea of using a pen name, I realized I already had one in my pocket. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I stand by my decision to use a pen name and now you know why.  I am glad Lara Sean will soon grace the cover of my book.

From the #1 Rule-breaker,

My

P.S. Omg OMG OMG!!! The first copy of my book arrived two days ago. I actually have my book in my hands to touch and look at it. It’s surreal. This is actually happening. 28 more days and you can have your copy, too.

P.P.S. Don’t forget pre-ordering is still available to get your copy signed by me and sent to you by November 14th.

Why You’ll LOVE Last Look Back…

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Believe me when I say there is a little bit for everyone in Last Look Back. It seems that I  thought of everyone when I wrote this book and I put in something for everyone in this book. This book is primarily targeted towards woman aged 18-24. The topics of identity and relationship are something every girl has had to deal with. The universality of these topics enable women and men of all ages to be able to relate to it. I think I can safely say that we’ve all been through tough break ups and tragedies or at least those moments that made us want us to cry our eyes out. You’ll root for Vie in her journey wanting to her to succeed as much as you would want a close friend to succeed.You will swoon as she meets her leading men and you might wish you were her for at least a second. She’s a strong role model that is just trying to make it. She’s just like you. Reading Last Look Back, Octavia “Vie” Steele will be your best friend.

Now I know what you’re thinking gentlemen. You think I forgot about you.  I didn’t. There’s something in Last Look Back for you two. There are at least two explosions and A LOT of fight scenes. So, sit back and watch people kick the snot of each other. Also, the language Last Look Back is written isn’t super girly with a lot of like whatevers after every word. You won’t want to groan through the way she describes her world, but will appreciate having the chance to look into her mind. Note: there are fluffy and sentimental gooey girly moments when she is falling in love. You have my permission to skip over these bits. I completely understand.

Trust me when I say there is something for you in this book. And if you can’t find it, you’re not looking hard enough. But I don’t just want you to enjoy one page or another. It is my prayer that every page of this book is a joy for you to behold.

From the #1 Rule-breaker,

My

Let’s Start a Genre Revolution

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Yesterday, I was talking about how Last Look Back should be under a new type of genre and that I should come up with a name for the new genre. Well, I haven’t been able to come up with a name, so maybe you all can help me come up with it. I have been struggling trying to put this book into one set genre. It doesn’t neatly fit into one category because there is a little of everything in it. There is action, there is adventure, there’s romance and mystery. There’s also a real girl living a real life with real problems, she just happens to be a spy, too. I always wonder if every author has had to deal with this conundrum. I wonder if others try to make sure they write neatly into one genre so the book can be easily categorized. I’m not a fit-into-the-mold sort of person as evident in this book because I always seem to break the mold. So, my fellow rule-breakers, please help me out choose a name for this genre. We could be trendsetters and we’ll be changing the world of writing as we know it. Just think of it. How cool would that be? Just think of it. We might even start a revolution, a genre revolution. I can’t wait to hear your ideas.

From the #1 Rule-breaker,

My

Last Look Back Stats

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*drum roll please*

Today, for your reading pleasure, I will be giving you every stat and fact you ever needed to know about Last Look Back.

Let’s begin:

  1. I started writing Last Look Back on November 4, 2013.
  2. It began as a Nanowrimo project and the story came from a collection of personal experiences at college and an idea I had when I was younger. (Of course you already knew that.)
  3. I finished Last Look Back officially on October 2, 2014. It’s been almost a year. I worked on it off and on over the year and I was finishing my degree, so I could’ve probably finished it in less time if I focused.
  4. Last Look Back is over 300 pages long…
  5. It has 41 chapters and an epilogue…
  6. and it is over 90, 000 words long!
  7. Last Look Back is the longest book I have written in my life.
  8. I can’t really categorize the genre because there is a little bit of everything in this book. The easiest way to explain the genre is to call it Fiction or Adventure/Romance. That still doesn’t quite cover it. Maybe I should come up with an entirely new genre.
  9. I would classify Last Look Back as a Young Adult/New Adult book. I think ages 18 to 24 would identify most with the book, but the experiences throughout the plot are universal so I think people of all ages will find something that they enjoy about this book.
  10. I wish November 14th was here already so we could have the Launch Party and I could finally share Last Look back with you all . I’ll just have to be patient. The day will get here soon enough. 32 more days :-)

From the #1 Rule-Breaker,

My

When Designing a Book Cover…(tips to consider)

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Since “Choose the Cover” is over, I wanted to give you all more insight into what you should consider when your finishing your book and you need to decide on a cover. There are a lot of things that you need to keep in mind when you design your book cover.

  • Whether you’re designing the cover yourself or you’re getting someone else to design it for you, you should already be thinking of cover ideas. It’s a good idea to read through your book at least once and take notes on what images would best describe your novel.
  • Ensure that the image you choose is easily recognizable, but gripping as well. You have to look at your image and decide if it is something that people will pick up.
  • If you’re doing a series, make sure it is an image that can be easily transformed to carry through future books.
  • When choosing a design, make sure you know your designer’s limitations and your limitations as a designer (if you’re the designer.) Don’t have a grandiose design in your head that no one will be able to recreate. It’s better to keep simple, yet interesting. Find a balance, so it’s not too complicated or busy and everyone can enjoy it.
  • If you’re going to a designer, have a design in mind before going to a designer. Unless they read the book, you know it better than they do, so don’t make them guess what you want. They can’t read your mind. Only you know what you want. I had an idea of the design I wanted. I wanted the main character looking over her shoulder at the audience and an explosion in the background behind her. The cover I have now is better than I could have imagined because it’s simpler.  She’s looking back and instead of fire the darkish red color resembles that of a fire or blood.
  • Be willing to give your input  and listen to feedback and say so, if you don’t like it. My designer was my older sister. We of course know each other, so our working relationship will be different. That’s not always the case, so be sure to keep it professional or at least pleasant. Be clear in what you want. Don’t be demanding. Or rude. Like I said, they’re artists, not mind readers. If you want something, tell them. If you don’t want it or don’t like it, tell them. If you’re paying them, make sure you like what you’re paying for.

I hope this few tips were helpful. If you have any other tips, feel free to share. Just remember to be patient and appreciative of your designer’s time. Do not take them for granted. Don’t waste anyone’s time and your experience will be a joyful one. I promise.

From the #1 Rule-breaker,

My

And the Winner is…

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Here is the winning image for “Choose the Cover” that will be on the cover of my debut novel, Last Look Back!!! Thank you to everyone who voted and a special thank you to my sister Elayna of thinkinkeddesigns.com.

From the #1 Rule-breaker,

My

OOTD: The “Last Look Back” Way

From the title, you can probably guess what this post is going to be about. You’ve probably got your own expectations and guesses as to what you’ll see here. Put those expectations in your pocket because you’re probably wrong.

I was worried that if I did the ootd (outfit of the day) the traditional way, you all might actually think I know what I’m doing. So, we’re going to do it a little different, I’m going to show you two outfits of the day the Last Look Back way.

If you’ve been keeping up with the Promo Storm posts, you know that “spy” is one side of super-heroine Octavia Steele. In honor of that, the first outfit is a spy inspired ensemble…Jpeg

The completed outfit which consists of…

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a black tank top under a black leather jacket

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a pair of black jeans

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A pair of tennis shoes that are, you guessed it, Black

Why black? Because black is cool looking. Pair this with a cool pair of shades and you’ll have everyone convinced that you’re actually a spy. Actually, they won’t think that, but who doesn’t like to play pretend. I’d keep the makeup simple. Spies are too cool to care about make-up.

The other side of Octavia Steele is a college student. Most of Last Look Back happens the day before her college graduation. So, what does a spy wear to her graduation?

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tan plaid dress. Fun fact: I wore this dress to my college graduation that was, wow over 5 months ago. Let’s take a second and let that sink in. I’ve been out of college for 5 months.Jpeg

a pair of nude pumps and a graduation gown, of course

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Graduations are pretty interesting to dress for because there are so many factors to think about:

Is the graduation outside?

What time of the year is it? Probably spring. Is it a hot spring or a cold spring?

Should I bring a jacket?

Is there a dress code?

If it’s outside, will it be on grass? Heel’s are out then. Heels and grass do not mix.

What if the graduation is inside?

Will it be hot?

Will it be cold? Hopefully, they won’t have the industrial AC on. I should bring a coat because the graduation gown is not a suitable cover.

Make-up? As if I didn’t have enough things to worry about, I have to spend hours on YouTube looking at make-up tutorials to find the perfect look.

Lucky for Vie, her graduation was in a book and she didn’t have to deal with these issues. I hope you’ve enjoyed this unconventional OOTD.

From the #1 Rule-breaker,

My

P.S. There are 36 days until Last Look Back. Pre-order is going on right now. Order your copy before November 1st and it will be signed and you’ll get it by the release date, November 14th.

P.P.S.Have you ever been to a fictional character’s birthday party? You can on November 14th for Last Look Back’s Virtual Book Launch party. Click on the link below to go to the page and get more details.
https://plus.google.com/events/ceeoejnagr8o3pf36i8dicqtcc4

 

Who is Octavia Steele?

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It is my pleasure to introduce you to the heroine of Last Look Back, Octavia “Vie” Steele!

Vie was probably the easiest character for me to write because she was me. Well, she’s me and then she’s not me. I would say she’s an extremely exaggerated version of myself. I put a lot of myself in her. I wanted my first book to be semi-autobiographical. I wanted my book to be the truest part of me, while at the same time, giving people an entertaining story. She’s very close to the type of person I am and who I was in college, but as any writer will tell you, over time she took on a life of her own. She’s her own person.

Octavia Steele is a mystery, but if you know her like I do, she’s not that hard to figure out.

She’s your best friend. She’s analytical, but sometimes she doesn’t like to think. She doesn’t like crowds or sticking out. She’s loyal. She feels hard and loves harder. She’s someone you want on your side, but don’t cross her. She doesn’t take kindly to betrayal. She’s ruthless when it comes to protecting the people that she loves.

At one point, she doesn’t know who she is. She questions herself and her identity. Who hasn’t had those moments? Many people may think Octavia Steele is a character that is hard to relate to because she’s a spy. Yeah, she’s a spy, but really, what girl isn’t a spy in her own right. Say a girl has a crush, she will find out everything there is to know about him within the hour. Say she thinks her boyfriend is cheating  on her, one way or another, she’s going to do some Nancy Drew investigating and she’s going to find out. As you can see, there is always something that connects us to someone else even if the connection doesn’t seem clear.

Vie is a spy. She’s also a college student and a friend and an older sister and a girlfriend and a superhero.

Octavia “Vie” Steele is just like you.

To prove it even more, here are some fun facts:

Her favorite color is Vermilion (it’s a reddish-orange color.)

Her favorite song is All You Need is Love by the Beatles.

She’s named for my two favorite authors, Octavia Butler and Danielle Steel.

Her birthday is November 14th.

Speaking of November 14th (don’t you just love that segue), I have stapled down my plans for what we’re going to do for Book Launch Party.

We are going to have a virtual book Launch party on google+ hangout on air!!!

Here’s the link to where the hangout will be hosted: https://plus.google.com/u/0/events/ceeoejnagr8o3pf36i8dicqtcc4

I felt it was only right that the Book Launch party for Last Look Back fell on the same day as our heroine, the great Octavia Steele’s, birthday. On November 14th, we will be ushering Last Look Back into the internet stratosphere with a spy themed virtual Birthday party. Join me from 7 to 9 as I share writing prompts, read excerpts, show you a spy inspired craft and play a game of Last Look Back trivia questions. There will also be a Q and A section where you can ask me your burning questions about the book. Come with your questions and more importantly, come as you are. Come one, come all to what will probably be the best book launch birthday party ever!!!!

From the #1 Rule-breaker,

My

Where Last Look Back Began…

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Don’t worry this isn’t going to be a post to get you ready for Nanowrimo. (Though if you are doing Nanowrimo, you should start preparing yourself now, it is no joke.) Many of you all probably know this already, but my novel (that is currently available for pre-order *wink*wink*) began as a Nanowrimo project. Sadly, I didn’t get the 50,000 words in the 30 days, but I do have this wonderful book to show for it. A year late, but I’ve got a book nonetheless. What you might not know about Last Look Back is that some of the story line was inspired by a long forgotten story I had written when I was younger when I was in either middle or early high school. The story was called The DogHouse. Some of the characters from that story made it into Last Look Back, but the plot took on a life of its own and the new story is nothing like its predecessor. That’s a good thing because I would hate to be writing the same way now as I did when I was in middle school.

Last Look Back is very loosely based on my experiences in college. I write to remember and this book was my way of remembering  the best years of my life (so far.) I also saw this book as an homage to the school where I grew up and became the woman that I am today. I would’ve been crazy not to write this book. It’s not surprise that I based my heroine on me. Octavia Steele is me, but in a way she’s not. She’s not me and then she is. That probably doesn’t make any sense. I’ll just say I put a lot of my personality traits into Vie, but like any good creation, she evolved and became her own person. I wanted this book to be semi-autobiographical, but I didn’t want it too close to real life. Fiction is so much easier to write, so I put a spin on it and made the main character a spy. I love spy movies and the gadgets and I think I even wanted to be a spy when I was younger. That was until I saw that real spies are nothing like the movies. I was still in love with the image from the movies and used the book as a way to live my dream vicariously. I’m sure many wonder how an author comes up with a particular idea. Now you know how Last Look Back began.

From the #1 Rule-breaker,

My

P.S. Pre-order is underway. Click that picture on the right sidebar to be directed to the pre-order page. I can’t put into words how excited I am. 38 days left until November 14th, Last Look Back Release!!!