My Birthday Gift to You

Pennsylvanian L. E. Harvey, author of “Unbreakable Hostage,” “Loving Her,” “Imperfect,” and the recently released “Impeccable,” contributes today’s guest post. The Kindle edition of Impeccable was released on September 9 by Vanilla Heart Books. The trade paperback edition is due out in November. You may also like Lauren’s previous guest post “On Writing as Entertainment” which appeared here in April.

My Birthday Gift to You

Today is my birthday. Normally, I’ve hated my birthdays. And today throws me one foot deeper into my thirty-something’s and one frightening step closer to the big four-oh. Yet, today, I can’t help but have a stupid grin on my face.

You see today just plain rocks.  Today is bringing me quite a bit of change in my personal life in addition to the bigger number.  Professionally, though, I am celebrating not just my age, but also the release of my newest book, Impeccable.

Impeccable is the sequel to Imperfect, a book that I have discussed with the fabulous Malcolm Campbell previously. (See L. E. Harvey’s novels focus on women’s strengths.)  Now, we continue the story.  Now we see how everything from Imperfect ties together and affects every character.  Now we, and the characters, move forward.

So many people were shocked to hear there was a second book.  Ah ha!  Leave it to a writer to be tricky (we love doing that)!  Anyway, yes, there is a
second book.  Yes, Impeccable is it.  No, Imperfect is not the ending to it all.  And Impeccable is not the ending you expected.

Impeccable is the emotional, cerebral twin to the logical Imperfect.  Together, they blend and create a full story of which I am tremendously proud.  I always say that these two books are sure to touch your heart and change your mind.  I say that with good reason: as I wrote them, that is how they impacted me!

These books are not thrillers, nor are they erotic, nor are they fantasy, nor are they exciting.  They are simply touching.  They were written from my heart and I was literally transformed in the process of writing them.  I know that if I can be that affected by a book, you most certainly will be too!

So today, I am celebrating! I am celebrating my day, but moreover, I am celebrating my book.  I am celebrating a book that I loved writing.  I am celebrating a book that touched me on a spiritual level.  And I am celebrating a book that I hope – no I know – will have a tremendous impact on its readers and our society today. That is worth celebrating, don’t you think?

Would you please celebrate along with me?  Could you help me revel in my birthday?  Would you go out on a limb and purchase your copy of Impeccable today?  You might just be surprised at just how deeply this book touches you.  And it will only make my birthday grin bigger!

Thanks, and happy reading!

Publisher’s Description for Impeccable

Carol – abandoned – waiting… for what, she couldn’t know. She couldn’t see that there was more life waiting for her. Carol is forced to face the demons of her past as well as begin to face life without Alex. Struggling to make sense of it all, Carol experiences her new life and all of the highs and lows that come with that life. Will Carol finally make peace with both her past and present?

Teaser from the Novel

She couldn’t feel her body. She felt nothing, no pain, nothing, no heat, and no cold. She couldn’t feel anything. Where was she that she lacked all sensation? Carol diligently tried to focus on her surroundings and tried to make sense of all the activity going on around her, but she was unable to sustain that for long. Once again her eyes rolled back and Carol was consumed by black.

On Writing as Entertainment

Today’s guest post is by L. E. Harvey, author of “Loving Her,” “Unbreakable Hostage” and “Imperfect.” Lauren posts articles about writing and related joys on her blog “The writings & ramblings of a Philadelphian.”

On Writing as Entertainment

I recently caught a co-worker reading a well-known author’s book. Like any good writer, I asked her if she was an avid reader. She told me she was. My excitement level sky-rocketed. It was when I asked her what her favorite genre was, though, that I was surprised by her answer: smutty romances. The smuttier the better, in fact.

Now, she did have a point in the fact that we work at an intense, high-paced practice and that as medical professionals we deal with death, heart-break and the like. She wants to escape from reality and not think. She wants entertainment.

That caused me to think. As a writer, I’ll admit that I have never considered my books as entertainment. There was always a social or political purpose to them. No escapism here. So now, who is better: the famous author whose work is strictly mind-less entertainment or me, the no-name who writes with the purpose of making people think?

Can you really compare apples to oranges?

Not in my world.

Every writer, ever genre has its place. There is nothing wrong with any genre, nor is one genre better than another. Though not comparable, they are all equal.

I will admit that my bubble had been burst when my co-worker informed me of her lust for entertainment. This person in particular is someone who I would love to have read Imperfect. She still might. I am an optimist, after all.

So what does this mean to me? Do I abandon my genre and personal writing style to simply entertain?

No.

Do I write books and stories that are simply cerebral?

No.

Balancing Purpose and Entertainment

A good writer finds a balance between purpose and entertainment. I may not be there, but it is a good goal; something for which I will continue to strive.

At the same time, I cannot and will not dismiss my works thus far.

Imperfect is very emotional and thought-provoking. It is entertaining too. You can’t tell me that driving a muscle car on a perfect summer day, cranking out the classic rock music isn’t entertaining.

By all accounts, I’m a realist: my writing background is in historical and scientific non-fiction (not to mention the fact that I work in a scientific/medical field). Boring, I know. Black and white. Factual. Not entertaining. I am, however, coming around. Imperfect is my first full-length novel I ever attempted to write. The facts and reality may be in there, but there are definitely elements of entertainment as well.

My bottom line: the truth is, ALL stories are entertaining. My book is just as much a form of entertainment as that famous author’s book. It may not be smut, but it is definitely a story you can get swept into.

Celebrating Earth Day 2011

Lauren’s “A Summer of Butterflies” appears in Celebrating Earth Day 2011 from Vanilla Heart Publishing. Click on the book cover to download a PDF copy of this FREE GIFT from the Giveaway Anthology page at PayLoadz.

The book includes the work of Anne K. Albert, Charmaine Gordon, Chelle Cordero, L.E. Harvey, Malcolm R. Campbell, Marilyn Celeste Morris, Melinda Clayton, Robert Hays, S.R. Claridge, Smoky Trudeau Zeidel, Victoria Howard and Vila SpiderHawk.

L. E. Harvey’s novels focus on women’s strengths

L. E. Harvey, author of “Loving Her” (2009), a collection of short stories and “Unbreakable Hostage” (2010), a suspense/thriller, turns her attention in her latest novel “Imperfect” to the love and chaos of a relationship between life partners who are not only confronted with small-town prejudice against interracial gay couples, but are also coping with AIDS. As a sickly child, Carol Mathers received a blood transfusion in the early 1980s before blood donors were screened as they are now. When she is diagnosed with AIDS in her mid-30s, she fears she may have unknowingly infected Alexandria, her partner of twelve years. The e-book addition of “Imperfect” is available now from Vanilla Heart Publishing. The trade paperback is scheduled for a November release.

Malcolm: Welcome to the Round Table, Lauren. In Unbreakable Hostage, released earlier this year, your protagonist, a PhD candidate in algebra, is kidnapped by one of her classmates and ends up using algebra-related messages to get word to the outside world. How difficult was it to shift gears from the life of a hostage to the world of a young couple who meet in Imperfect, fall in love and decide to share their lives together?

Lauren: Thanks so much for having me, Malcolm! I’m thrilled to be here! There was actually no real transition for me. The intensity of Unbreakable Hostage mirrors the intensity an interracial lesbian couple would face in a not-so-gay-friendly environment. Granted the situations are different, but on an emotional level, they’re actually quite similar. Fear is fear, hatred is hatred and love is love, no matter what situation you’re in.

Malcolm: To what extent is the tone of your daily life affected by the joys, sorrows and challenges of the fictional characters you’re writing about? That is, did you feel tense while writing about the kidnapping and angry and sad while writing about Carol and Alexandria?

Lauren: Very much so. I’m a very emotional person as it is, and I get swept up into my characters’ emotional states as well. To boot, I typically play music that’s reflective of what I’m writing, so I am very much engrossed and enveloped in their lives and emotional states. My books can easily sway my emotions! LOL. I’m sure that can’t be easy on my family! 🙂

Malcolm: What do you hope your will take away from reading Imperfect?

Lauren: My hope is that this book really causes people to stop and think. I want them to throw out any stereotypes or judgments they may have had after reading Imperfect. Perhaps it’s a lofty goal, but I really want my readers to walk away from this book seeing us all as human beings, hopefully diminishing some prejudicial thoughts/assumptions.

Malcolm: To what extent does your women’s rights and gay rights activism shape the plots and themes in your fiction?

Lauren: I think it shapes my books tremendously. If you look, I have very strong heroines. Not that the male characters are weak, mind you, but the women definitely take the spotlight! Whether intentional or subconscious, my three current titles all have themes regarding the strength and capabilities of women, equality for all people, etc. I guess I have a hard time separating my various passions & work!

Malcolm: I haven’t met many authors who also work as “pin-up girls.” How did you get started in that business? Are you finding any good story material in your modeling experiences?

Lauren: LOL. I kind of accidentally fell into modeling. I’m only 5’1″ and don’t look “model-ish” at all! 🙂 But for some reason, people like taking my picture! It’s fun, so I won’t stop ’em! 🙂 As far as pinup work goes, I just happen to be naturally inclined to make those silly, over-the-top cheesecake pinup facial expressions, so it all just kind of worked itself out. 🙂 You know, I haven’t thought to look at my modeling work for inspiration, but now that you said that, I’m going to start thinking about that! 🙂

Malcolm: Your website is promising a sequel to Imperfect. What can you tell us about that without giving away too many spoilers?

Lauren: Well, what I can tell you that is that Impeccable, the sequel to Imperfect, lives up to its name. I hate to sound like an ego maniac, but I am just so proud of this book! I really think it’s going to touch people’s hearts. You will have the same cast of characters, but you get to know them on a much deeper level. You’ll learn things about them that you never could have imagined. It gives you a more clear and defined understanding of the entire story and all of the players involved. Impeccable is very cerebral and also very emotional. If you liked Imperfect, you’ll love Impeccable! 😉

Malcolm: When you’re not writing and not modeling, do you find time to relax and smell the roses?

Lauren: Do I find the time to relax and smell the roses? LOL. Ummm…I am a self-admitted workaholic. Actually, working with my partner on our house or her sculptures is very relaxing for me. Doing anything with my family is really the best down time I can ask for. Whether it’s sanding wood or making dinner with our little one, family time is my down time. So, I do stop and smell the roses, in my own unconventional kind of way.

Malcolm: I’ve enjoyed our conversation, Lauren. I must tell you that after your powerful ending for Imperfect, I’ll be waiting to read Impeccable as soon as it’s hot off the press.

You can also find Lauren’s work in Vanilla Heart’s With Arms Wide Open anthology of poems and prose celebrating living and loving. You can read excerpts from “Loving Her,” “Unbreakable Hostage,” and “Imperfect” on fReado. Lauren’s books are also available to coalition troops serving overseas via Operation E-Book Drop.

To keep up with Lauren and her work, visit her blog “The writings and ramblings of a Philadelphian.”

Malcolm