Preface to the Revised Edition of Libby

The deed is done.

I’ve revised Libby. I’ve resubmitted the novel for publication. I’ve asked Amazon to notify people who have already downloaded the book, so they have the opportunity to switch to the revised edition if they’d like.

I’ll let you know how it goes . . .

In the meantime, here’s the preface I wrote for this edition.

What a Character

When I write, I don’t exactly “create” characters. But I don’t not create them, either.

Instead, there’s a kind of meeting point where my characters and I collaborate. I begin with vague, shadowy ideas of what they’re like, and as I work they gradually take on lives of their own. They make decisions and do things that I haven’t consciously chosen. They stay within the confines of my original vague ideas, but within those confines they have a great deal of autonomy.

So it shouldn’t surprise me when readers of this book’s first edition saw, in my protagonist Libby Samson, a character I didn’t know I’d created. Continue reading

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Run away. Run away.

Watch out. This “pushover” bites.

I’ve pulled “When Libby.”

Many readers love the book. A typical reaction is this recent 5-start Goodreads review:

great story of personal growth. funny quirky, with a bit of romance tossed in. :) was a great read.

But I can’t ignore the fact that many readers also hate hate hate it. They think Libby is too much of a “pushover.”

Honestly, this represents a major disconnect for me. Take for example the crucial scene toward the end of the book where Libby confronts her overbearing bullyish sister.

[SPOILER ALERT. This excerpt gives away one of the book’s plot twists — turn back now if you haven’t read the novel :-)] Continue reading

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Goodreads Book Giveaway! 101 Dog Training Tips!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

101 Dog Training Tips by Kirsten Mortensen

101 Dog Training Tips

by Kirsten Mortensen

Giveaway ends September 25, 2012.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

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I heart my (violent) readers

You MUST create characters I admire, or I will leave a nasty review!

News flash!

“When Libby Met the Fairies” is NOT a stock romance.

So no — I’m not sorry Libby isn’t a “strong,” Feminist, heroic character — because that’s not what she is.

She’s a troubled and rather weak woman, yanked about by circumstances out of her control. Yet she manages nonetheless to find a little peace and happiness in her life.

Anyways. Here’s why I’m posting — this TOTALLY cracks me up.

There’s an obvious trend now among readers who are posting negative reviews. They want to physically abuse my poor protag!

“There were several times throughout the book when I wanted to slap the protagonist.”

“I wanted to smack Libby for being such a push over.”

“Have you ever wanted to slap a protagonist silly?”

“I wanted to jump into my Kindle and punch her in the face.”


Guys, you sound like Libby’s evil sister, Gina!

You know what? I LIKE that people have such a strong reaction to my character. I hit a nerve. Good!

Readers are reacting to Libby as if she were a 3D, living person.


Notice as well what readers are saying who have posted positive reviews:

It can be quite difficult to tell a tall tale which keeps a reader turning the page. Kirsten Mortensen does this via her characters – all are believable.

It’s that verisimilitude, that insight into the messiness of relationships, that makes LIBBY such a pleasure.

. . . more realistic depictions of human faults than many romance novels . . .

Notice a pattern?


What do you think? Should authors only create protagonists who are saintly and admirable? Or do you like to read books about people who are suffering from real-life flaws?

Haven’t read the book yet and can’t wait to jump on and pummel someone? Click here to get your copy!


Posted in Book Reviews, Books | 2 Comments

Are you afraid?

Many years ago, a very wise person who was listening to me talk about some problem I was wrestling stopped me and said, “Why are you holding your breath?”

I’ll never forget that question. It was a pivot point in my life — one of those moments which mark the end of one thing and the beginning of something else. I had, before that day, believed that I was a brave person. But the moment I stopped holding my breath, feelings I’d been pushing down for years suddenly rose up in all their demonic magnificence.

I was terrified. I was a quivering coward. Those “brave” acts of mine — the time I’d quit college, the leaps I’d made into relationships — they were covers, they were things I’d done not because I was brave but in order to hide my fear from myself.

I’ve had throughout my life what I refer to as moments of bravado — a sudden urge to push myself beyond my fear in some big way.

That’s from a lovely and insightful essay on fear (and also btw on love) by Jana Richman in the New York Times.

I would add this: fear is a function of the physical body, in many ways. Many of us tend to live so much in our heads that we forget this. It’s important to pay attention to the body, and to calm it the way you would a child or a pet. It helps . . .

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Black Dog, Second Chance needs some help


My sweet Tessa.

Black Dog, Second Chance, the rescue org that connected me with my sweet beagle-lab mix, Tessa, has put out a call for help: they need to cover vet bills for Jack — who has a painful limp from a leg break that wasn’t properly treated; Marlee, a puppy who is blind in one eye; Runty, a puppy with a congenital defect that needs surgical correction; and three abandoned kittens.

Click the link to donate.

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THANK YOU! Libby hits #11 in Free Kindle Store!

w00t! We’re number 11!!!

I am so grateful to ALL of you who downloaded my novel over the past few days.

Thanks to you, “When Libby Met the Fairies” is now up to #11 in Amazon’s Free Kindle Ebooks store!

This is the kind of thing writers live for — to be read; to find readers who are interested in what you’re doing and want to read what you’ve written.

THANK YOU everyone!!!

You made my day!

(P.S. there is still time if you don’t have a copy — Click here to grab it! Still free through Tuesday July 17!)

Posted in Books, Romance Novels, Writing | 3 Comments

Loose dogs . . .

Loose dogs don’t follow rules. They aren’t predictable. They don’t keep to the sidewalks or respect property boundaries. They don’t come when called.

Loose dogs are elusive things.

— Paige Newbury

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“Libby” is free for Kindle for the next five days . . .

I’ve made my romance novel, “When Libby Met the Fairies,”  free again, Friday July 13 – Tuesday July 17.

Click here to download your copy!

Posted in e-publishing, Writing | 3 Comments

Announcing: my e-newsletter :-)

I’ve been meaning to do this for a long time.

Now here it is: an easy way for you to stay in touch.

Be the first to know when I’m running promotions or have a new book or story out.

I’ll also be asking for your help from time to time. I sometimes need beta readers, for example, or feedback on covers.

My promise: the newsletter will be short, sweet, and easy to delete :-)

Thanks for signing up!

Be the first to know! Sign up for my e-newsletter here!

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