Friday, September 19, 2014

Book Review: Looking for Jack Kerouac

Looking For Jack Kerouac  A Novel

Author: Barbara Shoup

Publisher: Lacewing Books

August 2014

First, what the media package says about Looking for Jack Kerouac: ( Read to the end for what I have to say)

“A relatable protagonist managing a delicate balance between uncomfortable realities and fertile possibilities makes for a memorable, mature coming-of-age story.” - Publishers Weekly Starred Review





A new young adult novel about self-discovery, “Looking for Jack Kerouac” releases August 12


INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Author Barbara Shoup’s newest young adult novel, “Looking for Jack Kerouac” (August 12, Lacewing Books), whisked her away on a fascinating journey where legendscame to life more than 1,000 miles away from her hometown.


With the help of a grant from the Indiana Arts Commission, Shoup

embarked on a road trip that took her from central Indiana to St.

Petersburg, Fla., the same adventure taken by the characters in her latest

book. In “Looking for Jack Kerouac,” Paul Carpetti picks up a copy of

“On the Road” by legendary beat novelist Jack Kerouac during a class trip

in New York City. The book has a dramatic impact on Paul, changing his

whole outlook on life. But when he returns home from the city, his world

crumbles. It’s 1964, and Paul is dealing with the death of his mother. He

needs to get away.


Paul hops in a car with his friend, Duke, and doesn’t look back. The two

land in Florida where Paul finds Kerouac, who turns out to be nothing like

the author he idolized. But, in the end, the writer helps Paul in his journey

to self-discovery in an unexpected way.


“Looking for Jack Kerouac” is a coming-of-age tale with heart. Relying on notes she jotted down on

her way to Florida’s Gulf Coast, as well as extensive research on Kerouac’s life, Shoup writes with intensity, passion and poignant reflection.

Shoup is the author seven other novels, including a School Library Journal Best Adult Book for Young Adults, “Vermeer’s Daughter,” and two others – “Wish You Were Here” and “Stranded in Harmony” –selected as American Library Association Best Books for Young Adults.


She is the executive director of the Indiana Writers Center and the co-author of “Novel Ideas: Contemporary Authors Share the Creative Process” (2000) and “Story Matters: Contemporary Short Story Writers Share the Creative Process (2006).

Now for MY REVIEW: It has been a long time since I have read a book that touched my heart and kept me engaged from the very first page. Looking for Jack Kerouac is one of those times and one of those books.

Barbara Shoup is one of those authors that knows exactly how to reach her audience with a story that tugs at the human heart with real experiences and real desires both joyous and sad. A coming of age story that rings true with the reader as we are carried down a road trip to find the piece of life we are missing. The real life details of the trip, the emotions the characters experience, and the journey to self discovery are moving.  In the end characters are changed but more importantly, the reader is changed. And that makes Looking for Jack Kerouac a great story. I think it will be award winning, read it and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Accountability as an Author

I am beginning a couple of new courses to improve my writing but also my business as a writer. But over the course of several years and two books, I know I need to do more to be successful. Up until now I really think I have not been afraid of failure as much as I feared success. When you fail or a book doesn't sell you have no expectations so you just slink into the background feeling like you really have nothing to say.

As I approach a new decade in my life it is time to stop worrying about success or failure and do what it is I feel called to do. Write, design, and write some more. And with that I need to hone those skills and take on new skills that I am not as good at.... the business side of writing. And that includes marketing, promoting, and selling myself. It also includes mastering those techie skills that keep me from prospering... sales pages, email lists. frequent newsletters, and developing new products.

Here is where you the audience comes in.   I need to be accountable as an author to YOU the reader. It doesn't matter if the reader is a child, tween, or adult I need to be accountable. So I am promising to post more, develop more, and hopefully engage my readers to care whether I have a presence or not here on the page.

So stay tuned. There will be a new email sign up soon for special interests. And with that will come freebies... I love the audience and the reader and I want to touch your hearts with honesty, humor, and maybe a few tears.

 Life in person can seem mundane even if we don't realize it is an exciting adventure everyday. Life on the page however, can take you outside your normal life and give you more than adventure... it can actually give you the skills to live real life to the fullest. Let's begin, for the best is yet to come.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Friday, September 12, 2014

Change can be good...

Writers get distracted, especially those who have day jobs and families and the list goes on. But all writers who are serious about getting their voices heard come back to the page to you guessed it... WRITE.

I am no different. Circumstances change, jobs get lost because of downsizing and age, families need attention, too many ideas come but don't get finished and a need to refocus inspires a change. A change in how the writing gets done and a change in how the business of writing is managed.

A writer needs help at times... a class to hone skills, a course to teach business skills, an editor or at the very least a critique group to help with revisions and I recognize this need. And I also recognize that having a wish to be a writer and taking a course or two won't make me a published or lucrative author. I have heard more than once that if you want different results you must change how you are doing things.

It is the main reason I am taking a different approach to my writing and have signed up with author Julie Hedlund and her new course How to Make Money as a Writer. I have writing skills, I have taught and authored two books but I do not make enough to call myself a writer or to support myself. ( Thank God for my Husband, but I digress) And after being let go of my nursing job at age 59 I do need to make some money.

I no longer have the excuse of not having time... I am unemployed. I no longer have the excuse the kids take all my time. Our kids are grown and have families and lives of their own. I can't say my hubby isn't supportive because he is the one who says ... stay home, write, create, sew, quilt, open a fabric shop, etc... what ever makes you happy and can bring you peace and satisfaction while I can still work. Who could be more blessed than that?

So I have two choices.... 1. Work and study and get my writing and designing back on track or 2. Let fear get in my way and do nothing productive.

I choose to work, study, and give 100% to making this dream of mine come to a lucrative and rewarding chapter of my life not because I want to be financially secure but because I feel God has placed it on my heart so He must have a plan for where I am going.

Stay tuned... good things to come, I feel it.


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