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A quick glance at The Fifth Day


The Fifth Day is a departure from my young adult novels, The Emily Series. It’s a more “grown-up” novel, if you will, exploring the fast-paced world of successful adults in the tech world. Can they balance their careers and their social lives? Can romantic flings be more than just romantic flings? Alexandra and Ryan are about to find out.

My most recent novel, The Fifth Day, is currently being edited, but what’s a little preview between friends?


I’ve come to know the conference circuit quite well over the years. There are several types of registrants in what I refer to as the “conference subculture.” And these type stay true to themselves. Of the speakers there are those that have a high opinion of themselves and love to hear words come out of their mouths, especially behind a podium. Ego is their middle name, and they are often found massaging said ago by not only speaking to the organized group but also to smaller groups before, in the middle of, and after sessions. This group is abundant at every conference.

Second are the self-promoters. The networkers. These people strive to gain copious business contacts from the event. They’re the first to belly up to the bar at the end-of-day reception and the last to leave. Business cards safely tucked in their jacket pocket or handbags, they snake through the crowd with intention and purpose.

Next are the avid learners. This group can be spotted at ten paces. They’re rarely dressed appropriately; either overly formal or simply too casual. They carry their laptops and notepads everywhere, and lean forward in their seats while listening to the speakers. Their enthusiasm always makes me smile.

I was once surprised by the next group, appalled even. These motivated individuals spend more time trolling the sessions for their next conquest than listening to the speakers: the conference whores. They rarely sleep in their rooms, and are often spotted wearing some combination of the clothes they wore the day before. They’re always in the bar until it closes, rarely leave the venue, and as all humans seek like-minded humans, they travel in packs. I guess everyone needs a wingman…or five. The Seattle group I encountered before are true and true conference whores.

My favorite group, however, and another of the speaker type, is the teaching group. These individuals love to give back and find imparting best practices fills them with a joy once reserved for inner-city school teachers. This group is small in number―almost mythical like the jackalope, much to my dismay. They’re serious, humble and above all they bring the most substance to the event.

For this particular conference, Tech Con, we kick off the first day with a keynote speaker over lunch followed by afternoon sessions. I’m embarrassed to say I know nothing about this particular speaker. Matt booked him. Our original Keynote cancelled unexpectedly at the last minute, and Matt was able to secure this new speaker in a pinch. As I trust Matt’s expertise implicitly, I didn’t duplicate our efforts and research this particular speaker. He said he’d be perfect and I take Matt at his word. I do however look at the program now, on my way to the event and notice something. Although not the best photograph, he looks strikingly like the guy I spotted in line with those eyes. Those beautiful blue eyes. 

What’s Your Passion?

Yesterday I watched a documentary about the history of rock climbing in Yosemite. To this you probably arch an eyebrow. “But Laura doesn’t rock climb,” you say to yourself. And you would be correct, but I found it absolutely fascinating. While I listened to the interviews and watched the athletes climb I was struck by their passion. Climbers have been referred to as dirt bags and adrenaline junkies. Both of these labels might be accurate and from what I’ve heard, often self-proclaimed, but I dare to say one-dimensional as well. It’s passion. Once a person is “bit by the bug” so to speak, you can’t hold yourself back. It can be anything. You can be a voracious reader without inching your way up the side of a sheet of granite.

I love to write. Clearly, that’s no secret. I’m passionate about writing. Even the thought of writing a new novel gives me a rush. And when I’m in the throws of writing – that’s just amazing. Not always euphoric, but emotional, crazy, and above all, essential. I’m also passionate about running, hiking, yoga, and most recently kayaking tickles me pink. Most importantly I allow myself to indulge in all of my passions so that I can be the best at being me. And trust me, my loves, Randy and Lane, appreciate that.

While I watched these climbers I respected them and their passion. I was happy for people I don’t know because they have a passion or many passions and they’re doing what they love.

So what is your passion?

Finding A Great Editor

When I made the transition from short stories to novels and made the decision to publish my work, I had no idea how the publishing world worked. I envisioned an editor pouring me a glass of whisky and making suggestions while I sat in front a roaring fireplace making notes.  Maybe I wasn’t that idyllic, but close. Needless to say, that’s not how it works.

As a self-published author I have contracted with an editor for the entire editing and development of my novels. I’d recommend that for any author that wishes to self-publish. But what about authors who choose to pitch queries, hope to land an agent and then a publisher? You still should hire your own editor and this is why. When you submit queries your novel must be complete. All agents require a complete novel or they won’t respond to your query at all. Typically with your query, agents require a chapter or a number of pages. You want these pages and your entire novel to be submission ready. You want the best possible version of your work out there. Not anything short of what you consider to be story and copy perfect.

The next important decision is aligning yourself with an editor. I use the word “aligning” intentionally because you are glued to each other’s sides for the duration of your project. Maybe not literally, but definitely figuratively. Each editor has a style and so do you. Contact as many editors as necessary, have each one give you a sample edit on about six pages of your novel, meet in person if you can, have long conversations about whatever and anything, and evaluate your compatibility. Compatibility is the key. An editor that you are compatible with will coach you, urge you to make better writing decisions and encourage you to turn out your best work.  With a great editor, all of this will happen without you even knowing it.

Where do you find an editor? Start with referrals, then look online. I have built an entire publishing team by doing internet research. There are many, many freelance editors out there. Do the research, make a list, and start interviewing. It can be time consuming, but in the end it will be quite worth it.

Good luck to you. Your amazing novel is just around the corner.

Yours in writing,

LJ Bethmann


The Fifth Day by LJ Bethmann

LJ Bethmann Alexandra Keller has seen it all. Years of events – conference planning – and all the same people. Going through the motions: that’s what she does. Until one day. One normal day. The first day actually, of a five-day conference. He’s simply standing in line. She’s simply walking by. But that’s all it takes and her mundane world stands on end.
Ryan Wright has spent the last decade building his business. Relationships? Who has the time? A self proclaimed geek, he’s hardly a player. Then with one smile from her he’s considering dusting off his figurative playbook. But something tells him even if he had the moves, she wouldn’t buy anything short of authentic.
She has five days. Five days to break all of her rules. Five days to wonder if he’s too good to be true. Five days to see the truth.  He has five days. Five days to make her see she can’t live without him – regardless of the truth.