Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Interview from Smashwords

Interview with Lisa S Litberg

What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Facebook! Not only because my friends have been supportive and instrumental in spreading the word about my novel, but also because my book is of interest to a very specific subculture of people--those who followed the Grateful Dead around. I belong to several groups for Deadheads, and my novel has been received warmly there. I appreciate the love and hope it helps people relive those days that we are so nostalgic for!
Describe your desk
It is a mess! Right now it's covered in books, papers to grade, lesson plans, lotions, hand sanitizers, fake flowers, a little koala bear....an enigmatic bunch of clutter!
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Chicago, so I have been exposed to everything. There is so much culture in Chicago, so much ethnicity, great food, great art, great theater, great museums. There is also crime and all the problems that plague a huge city. Even though I had a pretty good life in a pretty good neighborhood, you can't grow up in Chicago without being exposed to that other side. I'm currently writing a book of short stories about urban youth, somewhat influenced by my students and somewhat influenced by things I've seen in my life.
When did you first start writing?
I have written for as long as I can remember. I wrote my first poem before I was in Kindergarten. I have always loved to write: poetry, short stories, essays, speeches....I even enjoy writing research papers! I kept a journal from the age of 14 until the age of 25 in which I wrote religiously--mostly about boys, in retrospect--and I believe that might be the only thing that kept my sanity through those tumultuous years.
What's the story behind your latest book?
When I was in my late teens and early twenties, I followed the band the Grateful Dead around the country. There was a whole subculture of people following them from show to show, camping together, selling things in the parking lot. It was a unique experience that can't be truly understood unless you were there. The protagonist of my novel, Free, brings that scene to life for readers who didn't experience it, and will be pleasantly familiar to those who did. I always went home after each tour, but there were plenty of people who remained nomadic until the next one, who went to new towns, stayed with new people, found new ways to survive. This intrigued me, and Free is the story of one such person.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Well, I wrote a book! After years of writing short stories, poems, and unfinished novels, I finally finished one. Then nothing happened for the next few years, because I had no idea what one does after writing a book. Eventually my friend Kevin encouraged me to get it published, and I found a small-press company who published it. They are no longer in business, so recently I republished my first novel under my own label, Scribomusings Press.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
I am very new to Smashwords, so time will tell! But Smashwords is user friendly and very fair to authors from what I have seen so far.
What do your fans mean to you?
I love the feedback I've gotten on this novel. My fans see things in my book and in my characters that I might have missed, adding a richness to the story. My fans inspired the book I'm currently working on. So many people have asked for a sequel. They want to know where Free is now, how she turned out. My next book isn't going to be about Free directly, but it will answer these questions. I'm really enjoying revisiting her.
What are you working on next?
I'm working on two things at the moment: a compilation of short stories featuring urban youth, and my second novel, which is not a sequel to my first but does piggyback on it. The short story project will be completed first, and will probably include an excerpt from the novel. I have been a high school teacher in an urban community for over 15 years, and my students have influenced a lot of the stories in my compilation. They find it meaningful to read literature that reflects their lives, that they can relate to. I want to be able to give this to them. 

I started writing my second book due to multiple requests from my fans. They want to see where the main character from my first book is now, and as I thought about it her story began to unfold. However, this time it will be told through someone else's eyes.
Who are your favorite authors?
There are so many. Harper Lee and Carson McCullers are probably at the top of my list. I think To Kill a Mockingbird is the greatest book ever written, and The Heart is a Lonely Hunter a very close second. I have also read nearly everything Stephen King has written. He is a master at characterization. No one can develop a character like King. My favorite books of his are his Dark Tower series. Lately I've been reading Hugh Howey, a science fiction writer who got his start through internet publishing. His Wool Omnibus series is brilliant. Another favorite book is The Mists of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley. It is fantasy meets historical fiction, and takes place during the time of King Arthur. I could go on. S.E. Hinton, who probably influenced the style of my first novel more than anyone else. William Golding. Barbara Kingsolver. Douglas Adams. Neil Gaiman. Maybe I should compile my top 100 list!
What inspires you to get out of bed each morning?
Well, I'm not a morning person by any stretch of the imagination. If I had my way I'd sleep until at least 9 every day. But what inspires me? People. My son. My family. My friends. My students. I am naïve enough that I still believe deeply in the inherent good within people. I see this manifested every day, in so many ways. I see beauty in everything. It calls to me. It beckons my soul. I have seen enough hardship in my life to know that sadness and beauty are inseparable, that suffering is crucial to living, and that 'this too shall pass'. If there is pain, there will be joy. You'll see it in children playing, in a cat curled up in the sunlight pouring through a window, in flowers pushing up through frozen ground. This is what inspires me to make art. This is what inspires me to live, to breathe, to be.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I remember the first play I wrote! It was called "The Car Crash", and it was about a mother whose children were yelling in the car and caused her to crash. All the children died but she survived. In the next scene she is at home mourning her children, and their ghosts come back to haunt her. It ends with her jumping out the window to her death. I think I was six when I wrote this. I was always a little macabre.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Re-release of Free, more on the horizon....

Big news over here! I am no longer working with the publishing company that originally published Free. However, Free has been rereleased under my own label, Scribomusings Press!

You can order a print copy of Free through the following online sources:

 And you can order the ebook here:

 And Free is still available in various independent bookstores, including Women and Children First and City News.

In other news, I have begun working on my next novel! While it is not a sequel to Free per se, it does answer my fans number one question: "What happens to Free?" Stay tuned.......

Thursday, December 25, 2014

New holiday giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

It's that time again!  Click the above link to visit rafflecopter and win entries by following the directions there.  And share, share share!

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

No more sexy-shaming!

I am so tired of us 'sexy-shaming' women.

If you haven't done it, you've seen it.  Judging women for dressing too sexy, or acting too sexy, or dancing too sexy, or being in a line of work that we consider sexual, or doing things we associate with sex.  And if you're a woman, chances are you've made excuses for yourself for looking or acting or being sexy.  "I didn't realize this dress was so tight!"  "I had no idea these shoes made me look like a hooker!"  "I was only dirty-dancing because I was drunk!"

It's old, people.  I'm really tired of it.

I really started thinking about this when I saw a thread on a hula-hooping facebook page.  Most of the participants in this group are young women, much younger than me.  One of them shared a comment someone left on a picture of video of her hooping that insinuated that she was being sexual.  She defended herself, saying "Don't make hooping sexual!"   The ensuing discussion consisted mostly of people saying either "hooping isn't slutty" or "haters gonna hate", but my thought is this:  so fucking what?  So what if her hooping is sexy?  Women are sexy!  It's part of our nature, and it's been so for ages, even before Salome had poor John's head served up on a plate.  Granted when I hoop there's nothing sexy about it.  I'm lucky when I can keep the hoop going around my hips and throw in a few tricks--adding sex appeal would be nothing short of disastrous.  But if I could hoop sexily?  Then heck yeah I would!  So does that make me a slut?

The obvious answer is no.  But that doesn't stop the pervasive judgement. perpetuated by a conflicted society that bombards us with pictures of barely legal lithe girls in undergarments and touts them as sexy, and then turns their noses up at strippers.  When I started belly dancing, years and years ago, people judged me for it.  After all, you're half-naked, gyrating your hips around.  Doesn't this make you a slut?  I made excuses, concessions.  I didn't dance in restaurants for men--I danced as an art form.  I was sensual, not sexual.  I kept all my lady parts safely tucked away.  MY belly dancing wasn't slutty.  But truth was, when I danced I felt sexy.  Very, very sexy.  No matter what I wore or who I danced in front of--even when I danced alone--I felt hella sexy.

So did that make me a slut?  How about when I started pole dancing?  Again, I was surprised at the judgement, especially by other women but by men as well.  Again, the defenses:  It's athletic!  It's basically aerial gymnastics.  It's not like I'm stripping while I do it!  You can't wear a lot of clothes or your skin won't stick to the pole!  But once again, the truth was buried beneath the defense.  While I liked the acrobatic parts of the sport, I loved the sexy part of the dance. It made me feel beautiful, alive, sinuous, sensual, and yes--sexy.  My clothes got skimpier and sexier.  I danced in heels.  I emulated strippers and their hypnotic seductive moves.

So is that where I became a slut?  No.  And here's the bottom line, which we need to be reminded of again and again and again---dancing sexy does not make one a slut.  Dressing skimpy does not make one a slut.  Stripping for a living does not make one a slut.  Sleeping with consenting adults does not make one a slut.  No matter where, when, or how many.

But slut-shaming is pervasive, so pervasive that I know I lost some of you in that last paragraph.  Our culture really wants to hang onto the notion that women are not supposed to do what they want with their bodies, and that women who do should be scorned and judged.  So we make excuses for ourselves when we do things that could be perceived as slutty.  Or we avoid doing such things completely to avoid judgement.

All those Halloween costumes we scoff at--sexy nurse!  Sexy zombie!  Sexy pirate!  That's in all of us, every day, in real life.  Sexy doctors.  Sexy lawyers.  Sexy EMTs.  Sexy chefs.  Sexy professors.  Sexy baristas.  Sexy CEOS, accountants, dancers, graphic artists, stay-at-home moms.  We don't need a silly costume once a year to be sexy.  We just need to be who we are, comfortable in our own skin, doing our own thing.  For some of us, that might mean dancing in 5 inch heels.  For others, that might mean wearing comfortable clothes and reading a book.  But let's stop the judgement, of ourselves and of each other, for being sexual beings.

So go ahead and be sexy.  Wear what makes you feel good, move in ways that make you feel good.  Sleep with who you want to, when you want to.  But be safe about it.  Know that the judgement is not going away.  Protect yourself.  Don't put yourself in unsafe situations.  Be as sexy as you want to be, and when you hide the sexy side from those who will use it to hurt you, do it not because you are ashamed of it, but because you are strong and smart and safe.

And sexy.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Some of my reviews.....

Thanks to all who reviewed.  I really appreciate it.

I loved loved loved Free! I read it in one night,I couldn't put it down. She seemed so real to me & the descriptions of different cities & towns painted such a clear picture, I felt I was right there. I can't wait to read more from Lisa Litberg! --
Neelie Sammon Koulouvaris

It seems to me that Lisa Litberg in this novel, do not offer to be philosophical or to have the answer for all the questions, nor the characters don't promise to be the ideal people that you would love but in the in the end, it is a precious jewel of a story and Free is an endearing character that could be anyone of us at some point in life - the rawness to the story, the transience to it, the unapologetic sense of what have become of the characters in the story is the beauty to this novel. It doesn't teach you what to do, it just shows you what could happen and the consequences of the choices that the characters made. The book makes the reader think, or perhaps makes us wiser in making our own choices. --Jeques B. Jamora

What a terrific read. Could not put this book down. I had to find out where Free was headed. Wonderful book and I hope hope hope Lisa Litberg has more stories to tell. --Adam R

This is a great read! Read it in 2 days. I loved getting to know Free (I can totally relate to her at times) and I hope to read more from author Lisa Litberg. Download it or buy the book -- you won't be disappointed. --C. Stewart

AMAZING FUN READ! I'm already hoping for a sequel or a movie! Author does an excellent job of developing the characters and holding your interest. The book covers a young girl finding herself as she follows the Grateful Dead across the country and her experiences and the people she meets along with way. It is very identifiable for those of us who grew up in the sixties and to every young person just following their heart. Highly recommend taking the time to read this one. --Patricia Somogyi

This is a great read! Read it in 2 days. I loved getting to know Free (I can totally relate to her at times) and I hope to read more from author Lisa Litberg. Download it or buy the book -- you won't be disappointed. --Amazon Customer (Huntington Beach, CA)

Free is an excellent book, and very easy to read. The characters are well fleshed out and draw us in from the very beginning. Ms Litberg brings the culture of drugs and the 90s into life. Free is a character that we like, a character we can understand and someone we cheer for from the opening pages. I couldn't put this book down once I started to read.

Bravo to the author on her first book! --Amazon customer

Free personifies the wanderlust many of my generation experienced at that age. Regardless of the forces that kickstart Free's experiences, you get drawn into her journey of self-discovery as she learns about herself through her encounters and travels. Her final geographical destination never concerned me as much as seeing Free find peace of mind. I'm hoping to read more about Free soon.
--Original Wild One

Free pulled me into her world so quickly I found myself halfway through the book the first time I opened it! A great read that kept my attention through the end, which by the way was the only thing I didn't like, it ended! Hope to read more about Free soon or any book by author, Lisa Litberg. --Sunshine Baba

I couldn't put this book down and finished it in its entirety on a 3 hour plane trip yesterday. I felt like I was tagging along with Free on her travels across the U.S. Very unique voice and a great summer read especially if you're on a U.S. road trip (or just dreaming of taking one!). --Amy Bizzarri

_Free_, by Lisa Litberg, is a haunting tale that evokes a myriad of emotion in the reader as it follows the plight of a lost young woman self-named Free on Grateful Dead tours. The first person point of view perfectly suits this story. It allows us to feel her sense of estrangement, fear, and all-too-rare happiness. In one sense, it's a coming-of-age story as we follow Free's exploits around the country, but this is no feel-good tale. I found myself worrying about her as she flew by the seat of her pants in oftentimes dangerous and volatile situations. Free represents just one young girl of a lost generation of kids running away from painful home lives. While many of these kids fall prey to the specter of drugs and predatory people, Free has the grit to maybe make it through the morass of street life to find and save herself. Litberg has created a well-written, compelling story that engages readers as we take the metaphorical and physical journey with this young woman. But it leaves us wondering if freedom isn't just another cage. I'm a fan of intimate character studies, so this book captured my interest and imagination. As with most great books, it leaves us with lingering questions—and wanting more. _Free_ is highly recommended! --Cyn O.

An evocative tale of a few troubled years in a young woman's life. I only wish it had been longer. Recommended! --Hunter

I absolutely love and recommend this book to everyone. While Free could be anyone, she is one of the best identifiable characters I've ever had the pleasure of reading about. She goes through her life learning like most young women do, she has hardships, she becomes stronger and she most of all, should empower young women everywhere to take the journey to find out who they are. This was a quick read for me because I couldn't put it down, when I did, I had to go back and read more because it had me hooked. I had to know what happened to Free next! If you are looking for a quick, fun read that keeps you turning the pages, this is one!! --Jennifer Gunn "J. Gunn"

I found Free to be a very engaging read. It is a unique coming of age story. --
sara monner -

Really enjoyed this book & didn't want it to end. Hope there is a sequel .--Kathy Hebeisen

This is a fun quick read. There are moments that lead the reader to pause and reflect on their personal life experiences and lessons learned. Free has all these adventures that could be (is) a dicey life style. Will her lessons be learned and acted upon. One just travels along with her.
Where is volume 2? --J. Dale

Kept me interested hard to put down. So realistic I could picture the scenes as I was reading this. Last time I read a book like this was Joy In the Morning. I could picture that book as a movie and it became a movie. I'm hoping there's a sequel to the book and a movie. --Babynurse Rachel

Just finished reading Free by Lisa Litberg. The book is easy to read, the story keeps moving, and I think there is definitely a call for the next book for this character. Lisa keep up the good work. Looking forward to reading more of your work in the future. --Linda S. Wright "Ronald P Wright"

Brings me back to a long ago time - when I too was Free. But freedom has a cost, I see that now and am glad the glass is half full, and I am not empty. --Matt Gallagher

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Jewel's of the Universe Author Spotlight blog radio show!

Here is the recording of the blog radio show I was on tonight!  http://www.blogtalkradio.com/jotugems/2014/09/25/lisa-litberg-free  Thanks to Author Tyleishia Douglass for featuring me!  I talk about Free, but I talk about more than that as well.  Give it a listen!