Thursday, April 15, 2010

Lee Libro

Happy Tuesday!  Say what?  You know me and Delusional Thursday... Tuesday was my L day, but here we are on Thursday, doing it all again.  Say it with me--WHOOPEE!

But seriously, I was very excited when Authors Promoting Authors came forward with the Blog Book Tour to help authors with upcoming book releases to get their names and books OUT THERE, and this writer's network on the Blogosphere is fantastic--a wonderful, helpful bunch, so if all of YOU could help this process, and help THESE AUTHORS by tweeting, posting, etc., then hopefully the happy karma will come back to you when it is your turn.  So without further ado, I welcome my first guest for the blog book tour.

Thank you to Authors Promoting Authors for organizing this opportunities for both writers and Bloggers, and thank you Lee for joining me--you're my first, you know!

And without further ado (or take some ado if you like, but please keep reading)--I welcome Lee Libro!

Why I Self-Published My Novel, Swimming With Wings

While the title of my novel, Swimming With Wings, pertains to the story itself, in a sense, the title also might describe my experience of getting published. The newest technology available for authors allows one to break free from the traditional routes and limitations placed on the writer by the big six publishers. No longer is one at the mercy of the corporate “bottom line” as a gauge for being published. One can simply break out on their own, publish through a variety of print-on-demand or ebook platforms, and with the freedom of their individual spirit, let their voice be heard.

About Swimming With Wings

Have you ever felt like you were out of your element living here on earth? Have you ever imagined that in a sense maybe you really had wings and were mired down by preconceptions, whether they were religious, artistic or sexual mores?

In my first novel, Swimming With Wings, my central female character’s coming of age story spins from this dilemma. Swimming With Wings is a blend of southern literature, mystery and romance. However, unlike your typical “bodice ripper” or gothic romance, this love story sports a more cerebral brand of sexual tension, one based on differing moralities against the backdrop of the 70’s, a time when strict religious dogma was being challenged on one side by cults and evangelism and on the other by the birth of the new age. 

Meet Salvatore Roma, a light healer who can raise the dead, Lark Jennison, an eccentric, would-be debutant teen and Peter Roma, a suspected gypsy-turned-evangelist. Though they are completely opposite, the two main characters, Lark and Peter, find themselves magnetically attracted to one another as they struggle with small town judgments surrounding the mysterious deaths of their two fathers. The differences with which they seek answers place them on a collision course that, despite their deep connection, tears them apart. One seeks answers through a misguided cult-like religion; the other through free-loving artistic expression.

Intertwined with the present day romance is the story of how Salvatore Roma, Peter’s grandfather, came to be a mystical light healer. This juxtaposition forms a stark contrast with Peter's “being saved” interpretation of his ancestral roots and his divergence into a corrupted cult. Through it all Lark and Peter remain in love, but in the end who saves who?

Though it fits into the genre of Romance, Swimming With Wings is ultimately literary fiction, a story about searching for direction, the hidden influences of ancestral roots and the forces that shape belief.

I wrote the book partially as an expression of the soul-seeking, gypsy-like route many take to find love and a way to make sense of spirituality in earthly existence, outside of religious structure, especially where grief, prejudice and pain can color one’s experience of it.

My Experience of Getting Published

Defining the genre of the book was my first obstacle to getting the attention of agents and publishers.  Because of the complexity of the story and the many topics it touches, it was difficult to fit the novel into any one genre for marketing.  My initial querying process to was consistently met with the same response. Because religion plays a big role in the story, they kept labeling it as “Religious” or “Christian Fiction”, when in fact it’s anything but. On the contrary, the story is about breaking away from religion.

The story addresses a timely topic appealing to a broad range of audience, mostly people of my generation and younger who have discovered that often religion is counter to love and tolerance—to anyone who has found alternative ways and means that challenge the status quo of religion and more specifically that move one toward what we loosely term, spirituality. In the story, Lark represents the 1970’s roots of this movement in her compulsion to break away from structure, to cast away the “scaffolding” of religion in favor of the unfettered spirituality she feels through art. Similarly she sees M.C. Escher’s block print entitled Water and Sky as a simile for the evolution of religion to pure spirituality…and it’s no coincidence that her name is that of a bird.

And now after this most rewarding experience of having self-published, I’m on to my next project. I’m currently working on two additional novels. One is based on the true life story of her own great, great aunt, Dr. Alice Lindsay Wynkoop, accused and convicted of murdering her daughter-in-law on the surgery table, a nationwide case covered by media in the 1930’s. The other is a modern adaptation of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story, “Rappaccini’s Daughter”, involving a modern day neurobiologist who tampers too far with the chemistry of the mind, and in so doing, discovers the threshold of the soul.
Where to Order the Book

At 277 pages Swimming with Wings is available at in both paperback and kindle format. It is also available through the major wholesalers, Ingram and Baker & Taylor, to any brick and mortar bookstore or library across the United States. So, if you’d prefer to purchase it from your local bookstore, simply request it and they will order it for you.

For more information, to read an excerpt or learn about me and the novel, visit To learn more about the writing process and read my own book reviews, visit


The Alliterative Allomorph said...

Good on her for self-publishing. I admire people with the courage to do that. I would feel like cop out to do it. No to mention time and money I just don't have. Awesome. book sounds interesting too. I just might purchase ... :)

Leigh K Cunningham said...

Lee, congratulations on the release of your first book. Congratulations also for having the conviction to publish independently although, given the statistics out yesterday, independent publishing is no longer the alternative but the primary route (76% of books published in 2009 were self-published). Your story sounds intriguing and compelling, and I look forward to reading it!

Hart, great to see this wonderful initiative, Authors Promoting Authors. This is the first blog tour I've followed, but I expect it will be the first of many!

Member, Association of Independent Authors (AiA)

Watery Tart said...

Lee-very intriguing tale, and thank you for sharing it with my readers!

Jessica-I am holding out, too, though one of MY reasons for trying to go traditionally has to do with all this genre crossing stuff, so I will have to keep an eye to see how well it works. I don't have a ton of time or money to self promote, but even traditional publishing requires the time part anymore... it is just the money.

Leigh-welcome to you! It's great that you're following the book tour (this is my first leap in the ring, too.) My side bar lists everyone I will host this spring, so I hope to see you again.


Congratulations on your published book,I wish you all the best of luck and may it be the first of many.
Take care.


Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Congratulations Lee! Sounds like an interesting book--and your current WIPs do, too. I do love Hawthorne. :)

Mystery Writing is Murder

Raquel Byrnes said...

So excited for you book. Congratulations! Best of luck and thank you to Authors Promoting Authors.

Marjorie said...

Your book sounds interesting and I do love a little romance in my reading. I am always on the lookout for something new. As I don't confine myself to any one religion this looks like something that would really be up my alley.

Lee said...

Thank you everyone for visiting. And to answer everyone's concerns about the cost of self-publishing, the costs are minimal really. Check out for print on demand publishing. You basically pay for your proofs at a minor cost each, depending on the size of the book, and if you want to include expanded distributions lines via the wholesalers databases, there is a premium upgrade that I believe was only around $50. No matter how you publish, in today's climate, as an author you will have to do some self-promoting through all the electronic and social media formats. The method of publishing, as long as you ensure the quality, is secondary.

Ensuring quality is paramount and is where costs come in. I recommend hiring an editor or manuscript evaluator at several stages of your book, because no matter how keen your eyes and ears, no writer is flawless.

I also recommend joining writer's groups to share critiques and read aloud. You can read more about this aspect of my publishing experience on my April 26th blog stop at

The Alliterative Allomorph said...

I find it hilarious that everyone keeps congratulating YOU. LOL. Looks like there are some skimmers out there ... dun dun dun

Watery Tart said...

Thanks everyone for stopping in and checking things out, and Lee--I'm glad you dropped in. Thank you for answering some of our questions on self publishing!

Jessica--I do that Tartish mind control thing sometimes.

Helen Ginger said...

I'm quite in awe of authors who self-publish. It seems so intimidating to me. Congratulations on getting your work out there.

Straight From Hel

Helena Soister said...

Hart -- Thanks for having Lee as your guest. I'm so impressed with the way your blog keeps growing, expanding, and generously encompassing the literary community.
Lee -- Congrats big time on your self-publishing venture. I'll be doing the same myself soon, and will happily check out your book and experiences.

BK said...

Great post and quite informative.

Watery Tart said...

Helen and Helena, whenever I see your names together I always slide into the Kids in the Hall skit: 30 Helens agree! Man, I loved that show... sorry... digressing...

Helen, I agree--so intimidating!

Helena, thank you so much, hon!

BK--WELCOME! And thank you!

Anonymous said...

Wow - this seems like quite the intriguing tale! I'm thinking this book will make my next round of purchasing from Amazon. Truly.

Thank you so much for taking part in Authors Promoting Authors and enabling me to find out about this book. :)

Watery Tart said...

Wonderful! Lee--it's working!

Thanks, Kimberly! I think that's what this is all about--matching readers with reading material.