Last night, before a terrible tragedy ended one of my favorite parades, a member of the Sirens walking krewe looked at Aidan and dug through her bag to find this siren’s bottle just for him. Though she didn’t say why, I believe it was because of the note inside, and how powerfully it would resonate for a 3-year-old with a cast up to his thigh, stuck in a wheelchair during what is arguably the best time of year if you live in NOLA.
“I’m not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my own ship. “
My son is my hero. Period.
19 days ago he suffered an accident while out having the time of his life and found himself in more pain than should be fair for a small child - a broken bone, just under his knee near the growth plate.
In that moment, fun vanished for him. He wasn’t himself. My smiling, loud, non-stop talking child wouldn’t smile and he wouldn’t talk for
nearly 10 waking hours.
Within those first 24 hours, he was smiling and laughing once he was splinted. In that time, he also went to the ER. I had to stand by and listen and watch as he was essentially tortured (through no fault of the ER staff) in getting X-rays and a cast. Even still, he found calm and would sing and play.
Over the next 19 days, his world was different. My child who loved to say “I’ll do it” and run to do said thing, had no way to do it. The child who made it a game to climb on and off things to help, no longer could. The toddler who loved squatting down to build train tracks and race hot wheels, could only do so if someone let him - which we of course did. He couldn’t play with his friends. He couldn’t even go potty alone - something he’s been doing since before he was 2.
But you know what? He didn’t complain. Within a day of the full leg cast, he’d figured out how to butt scoot along the floor by putting his good foot under his bad. He taught himself how to roll over by tugging on the blanket and pulling himself - while mommy and daddy held it. Within seconds of being in a wheelchair on day 4, he was off, free once again.
He’s figured out how to play, admittedly by himself. He’s learned not to cry when his friends don’t stay by the wheelchair at school, play dates, and parades. Aidan “runs” through the house by scooting along the floor, giggling and grinning as he goes. He suffered through getting a cast off and a new one on at a hard angle for his stiff leg and while it sounded like an exorcism during it, five minutes later he was laughing and giggling asking to come back and see his leg photos again. He’s a fantastic terror, chatting everyone’s ear off and shouting “I’ve got a broken leg” to try and get stuff at the parades.
Throughout everything, he hasn’t lost his shine. He’s not once given into the sadness that I swear an adult would. He’s not complained about being stuck in one spot or losing his beloved bath time. (Though he literally pushed up off the ground with joy when I opened a cast cover that will let him swim!). Even last. night, when he was in pain because Mommy and Daddy didn’t do the best lifting jobs and made him sore.
He is a hero.
We write books with these strong, masculine leads and heroines we either identity with or strive to be. We often times forget that there are other hero’s, little ones with bigger hearts who tackle adversity in a way adults couldn’t fathom.
I only have a few novels with kids - and I’m not going to link them because that’s not what this is about - they’re not “characters.” They’re more plot elements, unique as they needed to be to let Mommy and Daddy shine.
I want us to do more. Romance is about the kids, too. Let’s all make a story where a young child is the hero in a parent’s life, not just an accessory.
Branding is important. It's what people say about your business. It's the vibe your business gives off. Most importantly, it's what draws readers into your business.
As an author, my brand is more than just my books - though those are the bulk of it for sure! My brand is me. It's what I put forth into the world. If you've followed my page or friended me, there's a good chance you know a few things about me.
You also probably know there's not much in the romance genre I shy away from. From Christmas holidays to cancer-stricken heroines, I don't hold many punches. I bet you're reading this and thinking "Okay, so what's the point of this blog." It's to talk about author logos.
When I first started in 2014, a dear and amazing author friend made me a logo. She charged nothing, she asked for nothing in return. I loved it. Slowly, I added the worlds, attempting to bring my tagline in a bit more. From there the worlds became people, as I felt that better represented a romance author, feeling my tagline could do the heavy lifting to imply I take two different characters and mash them into one happily ever after.
Two years went by and I started to feel like I needed a bit of a revamp - something that said "author". I wasn't even sure where to start. So, I ended up buying a premade logo from a friend's site. It was fun, to me screamed author and had just the right amount of color.
Fast forward to a few months ago. Logos started to evolve. They were more than just something "generic". Which lead me down the dreaded path of "am I where I should be?" After months and months of seeing logos I realized, "no, you aren't where you should be." Cute little illustrated drawings had been around forever, but were slowing gaining traction. I saw one posted for a book cover that the artist was selling as a separate file and it hit me.
I needed one. I needed a little Chibi-Lexi to showoff my business. Unfortunately, the artist never responded. However, luckily for me I work with three amazing cover artists (not including the premades I buy when they speak to me). Of them, Melissa Stevens from the Illustrated Author had already done an amazing series logo for me for my Relics of the Lost Worlds Series. (Bet you're interested in that, but that's another blog post for another time.
I went to her, uncertain if she would even do the project. Like every zany cover idea I've brought to her in the past year, she happily told me she would! Now, if you've worked with Melissa you know you get a pretty epic questionnaire before beginning that gets you set on the path. I'm pretty sure if you asked her, the one for the logo project was a hot mess and "all over". I knew what I wanted - a Chibi with something author-like. Too bad that was all I could tell her. Nonetheless, she didn't hesitate to accept the project.
Now, something I find important about working with any artist is their willingness to trust what you want mingled with their personal and professional opinion to do what's best. Once, I asked Melissa for an oasis cover - she came back with a winter wonderland that is actually my favorite cover of ALL my books. I trust her, her process, and most importantly, her designs without question.
What followed next was a month of what felt like presents and torture as she showed me tidbits of pretties. (She was being amazing and squeezing me in between projects and her personal life). So how did we start? With these two amazing sketches!
I was hooked. Without question I knew that not only was Melissa the perfect person to do the logo, but that it was just what I needed. Guys, look at the subtle nod to 10 with that sexy trench coat. Look how luxurious she made my lifeless hair. Plus, come on, check out those stacks of books! This was just the beginning and to say I was hooked is an understatement.
Like all good things, they take time. I'm sure I knew at the point how much, but now I don't - because life. I got a message and it was filled with more pretties. This time, Melissa was really just showing me steps, because she already knew where she was going and was just testing new poses to see which one stuck. I must have a tiny bit of a design eye, because I agreed! (You'll have to keep reading to see with what).
Meanwhile I'm over here like "ooo is she running with books? Is she going to get an adorable little octopus baby in her hand" because I knew there was no way with what Melissa knew about me from our time as customer-client (and friends), that she was not going to give me an octopus after giving me 10's trench coat!
By this point, it's probably not hard to tell that I was beyond excited. What could come next? Well, let me tell you, I 100% did not see the next part coming. You guys, it turns out the next step was more than I dreamed for, with not 1, but 2 epic designs!
Like, seriously, she has me riding on a freaking Octopus you guys! Riding a Mother F*ing Octopus - which is the exact message I sent my husband along with the photo while I was at work. She mentioned there were little tweaks coming and of course, I needed a body, but we were almost done.
Giddy didn't begin to describe it. Even incomplete, I felt complete. Suddenly, I felt professional - like a real business. Yes, I'd been operating as an author since July 2014, but now it was as if I was suddenly a step above where I'd started. But it gets better, you know why? Because Melissa sent the final babies the next day!
Without further ado, take a peek at the new and improved Lexi Ostrow, Romance Author.
There aren't enough words on the planet to describe how I feel. Look, I can describe acts of sexual pleasure in great detail from the male and female POV - so forgive me for this.
Melissa took a simple request and gave me a logo that feels like me.
There's a nod to my business - books.
There's a nod to me personally - aka the physical stuff (minus the mom bod I'm now rocking IRL).
There's a nod to my favorite things - doctor who and octopodes.
There's a nod to one of my main (and favorite) genres - steampunk.
More importantly, it's what it doesn't do that I love. It doesn't look out of style - which I love the others, but they did. It doesn't scream "I know what she writes". It leaves mystery. My career largely has been built upon steampunk and paranormal romance, but the coming years will see a fun shift, one that you'll learn about pretty soon. To me, this logo says "This author has more to say." However, instead of rambling I'm just going to sum it up with: Melissa, you nailed this so hard. It's everything I wanted it to be and more.
Need a logo? Seriously, go hit up Melissa at The Illustrated Author right now! just make sure you tell her to do the rest of Lexi's covers first (jk, jk. I kid, I kid.)
Also, I wouldn't be me if I hadn't rushed out and done brand new swag - I mean - check out this website for example. I've been sitting on this amazing logo for a week and a half, with the only people who saw it besides my husband being my street team. Plus, if you've hung around this long, click the third photo to enlarge it, and whip out your phone and scan that QR code on my sexy new business card for a FREE read!
I honestly have no idea where to start. Today is a day that I've been dreaming about since I was in second grade and decided I wanted to be an author. I didn't know then that it was a daunting task filled with so many different emotional journey's I would want to scream and cry and jump for joy all at once. But today, eighteen years, I've learned that.
A bored little seventh grader dreamed up a world where the book characters could be real; could protect her from things. Until I was 20 I had that fizzling in the back of my mind. Pretending it could be a really good book idea. Then last August I decided it was finally time to write it. Time to tell the story I'd randomly been dreaming for most of my life.
I may have always known I wanted to be a writer, but I didn't have the drive, or maybe it was the guts, to make it happen. I went to undergrad at UC Riverside for Creative Writing. I was told so many things by wonderful, and honestly, not so wonderful professors. More than once I'd been told that genre writing was a different ballgame than literary fiction and considered "smut". So I learned how to write brilliantly boring literary fiction - don't get me wrong I know some people love it, but it's just not enough for me.
I never had the drive to finish anything though because I got it in my mind that it wasn't being a real author. While I didn't let it get me down I did let it push me to pursue my second love, journalism and PR. Not a horrible thing but when I found myself unemployed and looking for something to do I decided it was time to finish just one of the few stories I'd started. Torn Between Two Worlds was the only one that made sense to finish.
A little less than a year later, I'm getting to say hello to my book being brought out into the world. I submitted to a publishing house that I knew was the right fit for me, and thankfully they felt the same.For the past 5 months I've been schooled in promo photos, cover creation, book trailers, Amazon stuff and more. Now it's time to see if I did any of it right ;)
I want to take a moment and thank all the people that I never could have done this with out. Thank you first and foremost to my private school librarian - Miss Burns. Without you I may never have even tried to write, my never have known how. To SJ Davis, thank you so incredibly much for taking a risk on a me. I hope to not let you, and Hot Ink Press, down. To my rockstar editor, Elizabeth, thank you. I don't think I will ever forget to have a man clean himself ever again! (P.S. I totally checked Nightmare in Steam after that convo to make sure everything was squeaky clean!). Thank you to Skye, Catherine, Mariana, Randi and Frances for holding my hand at various steps along the way to learn how to market and release this book. Thank you so much to Joe for his incredible gift that means more than he knows. A special thanks to Riley for my beautiful (and sexy) cover - Ciara and Stryder are exactly how I pictured them! And lastly, thank you to everyone outside my lit family who have been going on this journey and supporting me.
Now for some fun! Click below to grab your very own copy of Torn Between Two Worlds and check out the slideshow of my favorite promo images!
NEW RELEASE FROM Lexi Ostrow
Torn Between Two Worlds (Book 1 of the Guardians)
"A girl with an incredible gift must chose between good & evil, love & loss"
SMASHWORDS (epub format!) https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/457869
Stay up to date with any announcements and just general posts here!