Lisa A. Kramer

Author, Speaker, Creativity Facilitator

Life On My Own Terms: A Personal Manifesto

by Lisa A Kramer
Do you ever feel like you can't win for losing? Do you ever feel like you are lacking, in some significant way, the Je ne sais quois that will allow you into the winner's circle . . . that you are destined to stand on the outside forever, toes just dipping over the line?

Sometimes those feelings overwhelm me.

This has been a difficult summer for me. One where I faced  some painful realizations about myself, my goals in life, my dreams, my morals, my relationships with others, and the way the world functions when you aren't willing to compromise everything and hurt others just to get ahead.

Basically, if you aren't willing to play a vicious game then you have to accept the reality...

Celebrating Our Unique Powers: The Gift of Inspiring Others by Kate Johnston

by Lisa A Kramer
I think I first met Kate at 4am. Literally. I was wandering through a period of insomnia while I struggled to figure out how writing, creativity, and dreams could fit into my life when I finally gave up and sought solace in the world of blogs. That's when I found my way to 4amWriter. I found in Kate a soul sister of words--someone on her own journey to fitting the dreams of her childhood into a life that doesn't always honor or respect those dreams. She offers simple words of wisdom and guidance for anyone who ever doubts they can be (and are) a writer, but she also shares the powerful gift of language and storytelling that joins us all...

A Review of SINGULARITY: Psychology, Terror, and the Power of the Mind

by Lisa A Kramer
"Pulvis et umbra sumus {We are but dust and shadows}" --Horace When Helena Hann-Basquiat asked if anyone would be interested in reading an advanced copy of Singularity I jumped at the opportunity, despite the fact that I have limited time to read/write/think/create this summer. Why? Because I love the way these collaborators work, and the beauty of their words even when they write terrifying or horrific things. Reading one of the Jessica B. Bell stories is like taking a journey into the deepest, darkest secrets of your own mind--the place where sex, violence, desire, and power all whisper their most precious secrets. This book does not disappoint. Each story, each character is rich and intriguing, as you are brought into a place where you...

What I did on my Summer Vacation by Helena-Hann Basquiat

by Lisa A Kramer
It has been a while since we have celebrated anyone's unique powers, but I am thrilled to be able to celebrate Helena Hann-Basquiat, the voice behind Memoirs of a Dilettante, Volumes I & II, plus the fabulous Shakespeare-esque play Penelope, and the chilling Jessica (all links can be found below). I can't wait to read her next book, Singularity.  More important than her amazing talent, though, is that this person has slowly become my friend. She is raw, honest and supportive. She shares insight, reads drafts, and, more lends a sympathetic ear in times of trouble. I loved receiving  this piece, where she dips into her 12-year-old self for all to enjoy.


What I did on my Summer Vacation (by Helena Hann-Basquiat,...

Singularity Cover Reveal: The Power of Community, Support, and Social Media

by Lisa A Kramer
While the act of writing might be a solitary one, in the modern world of books the reality is that in order to succeed even the most talented author needs help. Sure, those with more traditional contracts have teams of support (if they are lucky) from editing to publicity , but there is no guarantee. When published through smaller, independent publishing houses (like Word Hermit Press) or self-publishing, it becomes even more important to develop a team of supporters to help spread the word and make sure your work is the best possible product. You need reliable  beta-readers, fantastic editors, and a supportive network that believes in your work and wants to see it succeed. This can be a challenge for...

How to Write Terrible Characters

by Lisa A Kramer
I'm not talking about the characters we love to hate--they are usually layered and intriguing.

I'm not talking about the characters who seduce you into believing they are charming and good but then reveal their inner demons. I believe that darkness and evil hide itself in beauty sometimes, that's what makes it so fascinating. I also believe that interesting characters have layers of complexity, and that good stories uncover some of those layers as we go.

I'm not even talking about a distrustful narrator, one whom you are never sure whether you are supposed to like or dislike them, and question the story they tell. Those characters are intentionally complex and layered, you aren't supposed to like them necessarily, but you are supposed to empathize and understand...

A P.O.W.ERful Update

by Lisa A Kramer
I just spent the weekend celebrating my 25th college reunion with my daughter, surrounded by the incredibly talent, passionate, and amazing women who attended Smith College.

The theme for our class was "We are All Wonder Women" which I loved, although I do find the idea of striving to be Wonder Woman a complicated one. As much as we would like to believe we can have everything, we can't really, and I think it is healthy for us to recognize that.

Still, it was an empowering theme for this moment in my life. I loved spending this occasion with my daughter, especially walking in our Ivy Day Parade (a Smith Tradition) wearing our Wonder Women capes.

On the first day I was there,...

Books: The Story of When You Are

by Lisa A Kramer
I've been doing a lot of reading lately.

To be honest, I've been doing much more reading than writing. I know I should be writing, I know that becoming a "successful" writer means you must go beyond your first book. I still have many stories to tell, but at  the moment those stories are a jumbled mess of ideas that refuse to find their way to the page.

So I read.

In addition to reading, though, I am making a greater effort to review anything and everything I read (or at the very least give the book a star rating). Why? Because Reviews Matter!!!! {There's your (not so subtle) reminder to help your favorite authors by reviewing their books. That goes for P.O.W.ER as well. Here's...

On the Loss of Wordless Love

by Lisa A Kramer
Queen Lizzy KramerLeeMay 1, 2001-May 14, 2015 A dog-shaped hole fills my heart as silence fills the house. She is not here to follow my every move in the hopes I will succumb to the begging mind-control eyes that say "Love me, give me a treat!" She will no longer push away anything that separates her from her goal of becoming my 60 lb. lap dog. In her first weeks with us long before Sarah was born she pinned me down in a papasan, unwilling to take a chance that she might lose her new family. The beginning of love. She chose us. We were blessed.

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A Letter from My Brain on Creativity, Writing, and Achieving Dreams

by Lisa A Kramer
Dear Lisa,

Stop! Stop thinking so much. Stop trying to control your creative process, and give yourself a break.

You know, deep inside, that the creative process can't be forced. When have you ever been able to lasso those imaginative forces and wrangle them into control? Never, that's when. Your creativity comes from being inspired, when the energy of imagination swarms around you with unseen sparks.

The energy of creative chaos.

I know you best. You've relied on me for a long time. I love our relationship, but I also know when it is time to let go.

That time is now. I need a vacation and so do you.

I need you to take me to a place where the sun shines,...

The Power of Spirit

by Lisa A Kramer
Mackenzie's Senior Thesis at Emerson 2013

Once upon a time in the land between a young spirit was born. She sparkled with energy and light, and exuded warmth and comfort. She zipped around the world between asking questions, challenging answers, sharing stories, and wanting to know everything there was possible to know.

One day, as she was in search of something new to discover she noticed a break in the swirling energy that defined the borders of Between. She'd heard of those breaks before, they were the little leaks that allowed the creative energy of Between to travel to other places. Sometimes she saw other spirit beings peeking through the little rifts, and sending energy in strange directions.

"What are...

Lessons of an Independent Author: The Power of Inspiration

by Lisa A Kramer
This post might also be subtitled: Lessons I Learned from Andra Watkins-Author I confess that I haven't been to a lot of author events or book readings, unless you count my attendance at two SCBWI conferences.  I have attended a lot of talks and presentations by theatre people who write, but rarely do I attend things that are specifically about one person's book or books. On those rare occasions of attending book readings and author presentations I've seen a gamut of styles, which can be broken down (in my opinion) in the following way:

1. Ben Stein Presenters: people who read their own work in a monotone voice that motivates their audiences to sleep even if the words are wonderful

2. Wonders of the World; people...

Finding Power through the Pain: A Review of Surviving Mental Illness Through Humor

by Lisa A Kramer
One of the first gifts blogging gave me was my friendship with the wonderful, talented, and amazing Kathy McCullough, who I met through her powerful words and beautiful art at her (somewhat defunct) blog Reinventing the Event Horizon. You can now find her enjoying life and creating idiomArt while living as an ex-pat in Cuenca, Ecuador. Kathy is the first blogger I met in person, and am so blessed to count her among my friends.

Kathy, Tori Nelson, Lisa and Thomas meet at Kathy and Sara's old home in Lexington, KY.

I mention Kathy here, because she was the first person who introduced me to the incredible beauty, energy and power that comes from people who survive and thrive...

I Yearn for Music

by Lisa A Kramer
Now for something different. Inspired partly by Lizzi Roger's journey into Spoken Word over at Hasty Words a while back, partly by the fact that April is National Poetry Month, partly by the fact that I have been struggling with prose lately, and partly by the desire to challenge myself, I've created this for your listening/reading pleasure experience. [audio mp3=""][/audio] I yearn for music I wish I could reach inside my soul and let the sound escape fingers flicking over strings or dancing over piano keys. Black and white steps to the secret inside of me. My heart-song. But I do not have the power. I yearn to raise my voice in melody perfect pitch climbing the skies so that the heavens open up to joy, or perhaps sultry, husky crooning in the deep dark depths of a...

The Power of the Unreliable Narrator: A Review of Memoirs of a Dilettante, Volume One

by Lisa A Kramer
One of the things I struggle with when reading memoir is trusting the narrator. That may seem strange because the very nature of memoir implies that it is being written from the person who lived the experience, through their honest and perceptive eyes.

But let's be honest, we all view our lives in retrospect, and color our stories through the blurred lenses of memory. Whenever I read a memoir of times long past,--20, 30, 40 years--filled with explicit details of what people wore or ate any given day, I immediately wonder, how can you possibly remember that? I don't trust the narrator. Unless someone has kept anal, detailed diaries of every moment of their lives or has a photographic memory of...

In Search of Inspiration: Thoughts from a Coffee Shop

by Lisa A Kramer
Why do we write? Why do we create? Why is my life guided by this nebulous passion to share stories through creative means, when there is (minimal) hope that I will ever get rich or anyone really cares?

Any creative person goes through these periods of doubt at times. The doubt consumes us  and we find ourselves wallowing in our inability to express ourselves in the ways that make us most comfortable. I'm not talking about writer's block, exactly, but a deeper questioning of purpose, of goals, of dreams that makes every word you write, every image you create, every project you start seem unimportant compared to those who are out there changing the world.

Their lies fallacy.  For stories and art help change...

The Power of Hate: Antisemitism, Racism, and Legal Discrimination

by Lisa A Kramer
Did you know I am going to hell?

I am, there's no denying it. (Unless, of course, you question the existence of hell--but that's a whole other issue). I'm probably going to hell for numerous reasons, but I am destined for the land of fiery torture.

I know because the first time I was told this I was probably 11 or 12 years old. I was studying to become a Bat Mitzvah and I went to Hebrew School at least two or three times a week. But, two of my closest neighborhood friends (Born Again Christians) informed me that I was, indeed, going to hell because I didn't embrace Jesus as the Savior or as the son of G-d.  We didn't talk...

Lessons of an Independent Author: Book Store Signings (Part 2)--The Human Element

by Lisa A Kramer
Several people have asked how I did it? How did I, an unknown author with a debut novel, no publicist, and an extremely limited budget get onto the calendar at bookstores?

I wish I could say I knew the magic spell--that I could wave my wand like Hermione and make my books appear on shelves all around the world. Bookstoricus Popularitus! Trying out my new magic spell.

Unfortunately that's not the way it works. I have plenty of non-responses from people, if not outright "No's!" to prove that there is no magic spell. I have a long list of "must and shoulds"--of people I need to contact if I want to continue growing as an author/presenter/independent artist (because remember I...

Lessons of an Independent Author: Bookstore Signings

by Lisa A Kramer
At the beginning of my signing.

I suppose the people with the big names and the big contracts get to have the dream signings at a bookstore. You know, the ones you see in the movies, where people gather around wine and discussion all because of one author. Perhaps it is a reading as well, but the author is treated as royalty and fans swarm around in the hopes that some of the genius will rub off. If you've ever seen the film CROSSING DELANCEY (1988) you know what I mean. (Although, I admit that the events are a little snooty and over the top).

I don't think that happens as much in the current world of books.


Words Matter

by Lisa A Kramer
Freedom of Speech.

That has become the catch phrase lately for anyone to say anything they want, especially hateful, abusive, discriminatory, sexist things. It has become the fall back defense for people who think their right to say and do whatever they want trumps other people's rights to feel safe and secure from harassment and abuse.

The past few weeks have provided abundant examples of this freedom's potential to be hurtful and hateful: Dolce and Gabana's statement about IVF children which has prompted a huge response from celebrities and non-celebrities alike. A fraternity busted for a posting pictures of (mostly unconscious) women in compromising positions trying to argue that, because it was a private Facebook page, it was their right to post anything they...