Deadly Ever After

Archive for the category “Running Home”

The Most Exciting Thing You Can Do Sitting Down or A Day With Julie

TODAY’S BREW: Rainforest Crunch. This is a delightful Green Mountain flavor that my mother in law has made all nostalgic for me.

By Julie

Things in Julie Town have been EXCITING. Sitting on your bum in sweatpants, making stuff up and yet still being a part of this humongous, ever-changing literary world all day is intense. Here’s what’s happening in a frantic monologue indicative of my mind right now:

HEY WORLD, I FINISHED THE SEQUEL TO RUNNING HOME (now available for the price of a Cumberland Farms cup of coffee) AFTER 6 GODDAMN MONTHS OF TIRELESS WORK! HEY, HERE’S MY 6 MONTHS OF WORK FOR YOU 10 PEOPLE, PLEASE TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK BUT BE NICE BUT NOT TOO NICE BECAUSE I WOULDN’T WANT ALL THAT WORK TO SUCK! I’LL BE OVER HERE, EDITING THIS OTHER BOOK ABOUT SEX GODS AND OCD WHILE YOU READ! WHAT? YOU’RE ALREADY DONE? OH, YOU LIKED IT? LIKE, A LOT? LIKE MORE THAN RUNNING HOME? THAT’S FUCKING WONDERFUL! (Jumps for joy, hurts self several times). I HAVE TO SIT DOWN FROM THE INJURY AND I HAVE THESE BLOG POSTS TO DO. WAIT, WHAT, SOME REJECTIONS HAPPENED ON THAT OTHER BOOK, YOU SAY? THAT’S COOL, PAR FOR THE COURSE BUT WHAT IF I SUCK? NOPE, NONE OF THAT, NO SUCKING. BUSINESS, BABY. SHHHH NOW I HAVE TO EDIT MY OTHER OTHER BOOK AND THIS OTHER BOOK FOR THIS AWESOME WRITER WHO’S AWESOME. WAIT I’M DESPERATE TO READ THIS OTHER BOOK BY CHUCK WENDIG WHICH COUNTS NOT ONLY AS FUN BUT AS RESEARCH BUT NOW THAT I GOT FEEDBACK ON RUNNING AWAY I HAVE IDEAS FOR THE THIRD BOOK IN THE RUNNING HOME TRILOGY BUT WAIT SHUT UP BECAUSE THAT’S NOT THE NEXT BOOK I WRITE, THE NEXT BOOK I WRITE IS THIS YOUNG ADULT WITCH AND DEMON BOOK THAT I’M DYING TO PUT OUT. BUT WHAT IF I DON’T BECAUSE THE NEXT BOOK COULD TOTALLY BE THIS YOUNG ADULT HORROR I’VE ALREADY STARTED THAT PEOPLE LIKE! WAIT, THOUGH I HAVE TO EDIT THIS SEX GOD BOOK, STILL, SHUT UP! I WANT IT DONE BY THE END OF THE MONTH! BUT, BUT, BUT…..

Aaaaaand repeat a bunch of times. My points are these:

A) When treated like a job, writing and publishing becomes your job, not just your passion and hobby.

2) Rave reviews, rejections, glimmering pride and disgusting self-doubt happen all at once. Continue to see through the creative to the business end of what your creativity is worth, and the ups and downs won’t drag you into a depression; they’ll make you feel like every minute gets more exciting.

Next) Through the overwhelm, both good and not-so-good, moving forward is progress. Keep going. Move forward. Don’t allow yourself to be anything less than what you want to be. My advice to a friend today was FIND WHAT MAKES YOU SPECIAL AND EXPLOIT THE MOTHERFUCK OUT OF IT.

Next Things Last) Don’t forget what you’ve already done. I’ve got a long way to go, but I’ve written all these books, and I got the agent, and I got the one published, and it’s done really well, and I got reviewd by FEARNET.com for Chrissakes, and I made all these amazing friends and I love it. BUILD ON WHAT YOU’VE DONE.

Second Things Next) I wrote the books I had to write, no matter what happens next.

End Note First) RUNNING HOME IS CHEAP AS HELL RIGHT NOW! If I don’t sell you on it, let this review on The Bookie Monster do it. http://t.co/5BIhfZEYvN. And THEN go buy RUNNING HOME before the sequel comes out and you have to catch up, because guys. I hear that through my mania I wrote a pretty cool book. http://t.co/wXBPE87nMX.

Running Home by Julie Hutchings

http://t.co/wXBPE87nMX.
“I wanted to high five the author after reading the last line,” makes me happy, happy. (Mark Matthews, author ON THE LIPS OF CHILDREN).

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Immersion vs. Obsession

TODAY’S BREW: More coffee than you can even believe exists considering I have to deal with this dinosaur laptop.

By Julie

Since finishing the edits on RUNNING AWAY, a book that took me 6 months to write, all in all, I’ve been able to look up from the laptop and really enjoy the world around me without those characters fighting for my attention in my mind. It’s been great to read a book without all but timing myself to make sure I don’t waste too much editing time, to go to the park with the kids and Tim and not feel like I was taking an unauthorized work break, to watch movies and play games and enjoy the simplicity of my life outside of my head.

Hacking away at the jungle that was RUNNING AWAY was incredibly involved and time consuming. I’m not accustomed to having to dig through so much information without just starting from scratch, which is so much easier. I was a missing person on Twitter, have not checked Facebook for weeks, missed working out at the gym a few times, haven’t returned phone calls, and haven’t been what you’d call Susie Homemaker around the house. I pored over every sentence in that book, careful to make sure nothing seemed transitory, a means to an end, or superflous. I committed myself until I felt like I might need to be committed, if you know what I mean.

I entirely own that my editing and writing process borders on obsession. Such is the way of life when you live inside your own imagination.

“Bordering” on obsession for me means that I do and can stop myself, eventually from letting the process consume me. I read for an extensive time to my boys every night, I make sure to eat meals and not snack like a fiend, to work out pretty regularly. I take time all day long to hug my kids, talk to them about what they’re doing, to cuddle with Tim, and be part of this family. I make sure that while my family knows I’m entrenched in my work, that it’s making me better, not deteriorating me. That’s the difference between being immersed in your work and obsessing with it; does it improve you and and itself, or does it tear you apart?

Now that I’m working on THE ANIMAL again, it feels like spring is all around me. The timing has been perfect. RUNNING AWAY begged for me to be trapped inside with snow piling up against the windows, delving deep inside my head. This book is streamlined, and only asks me to tell the reader more, show the inner workings more, not weed through a tangle to pull out what’s necessary. Writing Trent Dixon feels like a release, for both him and I. He’s a character with more inside him that needs expulsion than just the god that’s possessed him. He suffers from OCD, deeply rooted in his painful past, and being along for the ride that he brings us on is intense. Trying to free Trent’s obsessions is the best way to immerse myself in my work without letting my work pull me apart.

I’m happy that my work isn’t something I just HAVE to do, it’s something I WANT to do. The need to write these books and perfect them is only seconded by my desire to do it. It doesn’t run away with me, I’m the one in control. I can be obsessed with immersing myself in them, and never have to tell the two apart, and I ache to do it for the rest of my life. Healthy or not, it’s a passion I can’t live without, and one I don’t intend to.

 

Hard and Fast Ahead

TODAY’S BREW: Coconute Creme Cheap Stuff that tastes like caffeinated rainbows.

By Julie

I AM SO EXCITED IT’S LIKE THAT TIME WHEN YOU FIRST DISCOVERED ATARI GAMES AND YOU DIDN’T LEAVE THE HOUSE FOR LIKE 6 MONTHS OH IS THAT JUST ME?

PEOPLE. The editing on RUNNING AWAY is oooovvveeeeer.

This book took way longer than I expected. I came to terms with the fact that it was going to take as long as it needed to. I made sure not to slack on it, I worked on it every day with the occasional necessary break. It was a long-hauler, but I think the product of it was worth it. I worked hard at expanding the Japanese mythology without letting it run away needlessly on me. I introduced new characters with real precision and purpose, some of which you’ll love, some you’ll hate, and some you’ll wish you didn’t love quite so much. And I think I’ve set up some trails to follow into the final book of the trilogy.

Of course, the debilitating fear that I’ve written ALL WORK AND NO PLAY MAKES JACK A DULL BOY 120,000 times is on high frequency.

SO, WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING NOW, JULIE?

Don’t look at me like that, I don’t ever stop.

RUNNING AWAY is being read by a few folks who I desperately seek the opinion of. You know who you are. While I throw up hourly awaiting their reactions, I’m busting out ye olde manuscript, THE ANIMAL, and fine tuning that dirty thing to send to my illustrious agent, Eric Ruben, Esquire. Then, I shall throw up again, awaiting to see what he thinks of it.

For those of you unfamiliar with THE ANIMAL, it’s a little different from RUNNING HOME. A little bit. *clears throat* *checks for mother’s whereabouts on internet*

THE ANIMAL is about Trent Dixon, a womanizing Boston banker with OCD, who becomes possessed by a defiled Egyptian fertility god. Filth ensues.

Filth is part of the story, but it is not THE story. And I think you’ll fall in love with Trent the way I did, and suffer from PTSD….Post Trent Stress Disorder…when you finish with him.

If you want to meet The Animal, you can be offended here: http://wp.me/p2x7oj-hc.

Getting down and dirty with Trent requires a little bit of a gear switch, so I’m giving myself a day to recuperate from Eliza and Nicholas and all our new buddies in RUNNING AWAY, and then I’m diving into the dirt. Prepare yourselves, Trent brings you for many bumpy…rides.

My fear of what The People will think of both of these books is trumped by my excitement over having written them. A firm believer in WRITE THE BOOK YOU HAVE TO WRITE OR EVERYTHING BREAKS, I have to think that anything I feel so passionately about will find an audience. That my intensity over these projects will show through. I get only more intense about my work the longer I do it, so to give you THE ANIMAL, and then to start by the end of the month work on my first attempt at Young Adult is really exciting for me, and I hope it will exite you all, too. Not in a sexual way. Not all the time. Sometimes in a sexual way.

Branding Vs. Bite Me, I Write What I Want

TODAY’S BREW: A lot.

By Julie

Edits on RUNNING AWAY will be finished by March first, and while my beta readers dig in, I move on to the next project.

And with that, comes the initial worry of, “Well, shit. My readers aren’t ready for this.”

RUNNING AWAY feels very cohesive in character to RUNNING HOME to me, as well it should. The few people who have read THE HARPY, which is currently on submission to publishers, got an eyeful of Charity Blake, who, shall we say, has quite a bit more edge than Ellie Morgan. Charity would as soon give you the finger as make out with you in public.

March’s project is final edits on a book that I’ve let sit for a while, waiting for me. And it’s as different from THE HARPY as that book is from RUNNING HOME. There has been an excerpt or two on Deadly Ever After of THE ANIMAL, and it’s certainly not going to be for everyone. Erotic, aggressive, and in some parts probably offensive, it very well may not appeal to the same readers as RUNNING HOME. I have to wonder if I’m broadening my horizons or upsetting my readers by giving them Trent and Min, and all the debauchery the two are capable of.

The best part? Today’s plan is plotting my newest book, and man alive have I struggled with whether or not I should write this. Because naturally, the progression from Japanese vampires to a bitter, vengeful, punk Harpy, to an obsessive compulsive man possessed by a defiled sex god is straight to young adult. Naturally.

Yeah, that’s right. The adventures of an Egyptian sex god and the beginning of a young adult novel, all in the same month. Right after that, I might be making INSCRIPTION, my short horror story series that never seems to go away into a full length novel. And THAT features a teenage boy. So YA horror.

My mantra is to write the book you have to write. Don’t listen to what the trends are, don’t worry about what the Joneses are writing. Write the book that itches at your soul like a wound that won’t quite heal, and there will be an audience for it. Anything that ignites that much passion in you is going bleed onto the page, and that kind of power gets heard. I firmly believe it.

But then you’ve got the other side of life, which is branding. Am I making myself unpredictable? Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Am I right in relying on my voice and unique style to carry me through these wild ideas I have and make them have mass appeal based on that alone? Am I right in thinking that if the author connects with readers now more than ever, then my readers will expect me to write something unexpected, wild, often brash and always strong? Is it me selling the story, or the story running off without me?

What are your thoughts on sticking to the straight and narrow as opposed to giving all your work the attention you think it deserves? HELP ME, PEOPLE, I’M DYING.

 

 

Julie Tells JC Lillis Dirty Penguin Jokes And About Her Books

TODAY’S BREW: Friggity French Toast blend, baby. Kristen gets the good stuff for me.

By Julie 

I got to do this interview with one of the most refreshingly hilarious and talented people on Twitter, Jen Lillis. Now that RUNNING AWAY inches ever closer to your dirty little hands, here’s a bunch of random stuff about me, including a dirty joke.

 

Okay, full disclosure: Julie Hutchings is one of my favorite writer-types on Twitter. Whenever she tweets I’m all like

so when I interviewed her I was afraid I’d be all like

“Remember that time you were in the Beatles?”

I briefly considered conducting the entire interview as Ali G. since Julie and I recently discussed our mutual obsession with that one episode where he calls farms “rubbish zoos,” but then I’d have to ask all sorts of rude and oblivious questions about her awesome book, Running Home, which totally deserves better. So I asked her 17 questions as my regular self, and much like Bon Jovi in “Wanted Dead Or Alive,” she ROCKED THEM ALL. (And, unsurprisingly, told a spectacular dirty penguin joke.)

Here’s the interview, followed by my review of Running Home!

 

Julie Hutchings

Hey Julie—thanks for joining me. Let’s start with some questions about Running Home and the writing life:
Q. Can we talk about Eliza first? SHE’S SO GREAT. Refreshingly low-key, funny, antisocial in a relatable way. So much of her character hinges on this feeling that no matter where she is, she doesn’t quite fit in. Does that come from personal experience, or did you have to stretch to put yourself in her shoes?

A. Ahhh, thank you! I had plenty of time being the odd girl out, the one with the huge boobs and weird hair. It was after I accepted that I wasn’t like anybody else that I found my strength and knew I had somethingelse. Still not sure what it is, but it’s in there. A lot like Eliza, yeah.

Q. I loved the female friendship in Running Home and I kinnnnnda want to write Kat/Eliza femslash, just a little. Since the book is from Eliza’s POV, I’m curious: what did their friendship mean to Kat, and how did she really view Eliza’s whirlwind relationship with Nicholas?

A. Kat always felt a little like a pinup poster and Eliza was the first person to really see Kat for the witty, trusting, generous woman she was. For that, Kat loved her and even though Eliza was a little of everything she wasn’t—self reliant, resourceful, never needing anybody, not wantinganybody—Kat was never jealous. She only wanted Eliza to feel the openness that she felt all the time. So when Nicholas showed up, Kat really wanted Eliza to let herself feel, no matter what feelings he brought on.

Q. This is a vampire book with a difference—you draw on Japanese Shinigami mythology, so your vampires are bound by fate to lead certain people to predestined deaths. What’s the hardest part about writing a romantic lead who’s fated to kill?

A. You know, I never want my characters to be all likeable. Nobody is all likeable all the time. So even though fate picks these victims for him, Nicholas still enjoys the kill. He may have mixed feelings about it, but at the end of the day he’s resolved to stand behind who he is. Insecure, but strong. I think knowing when to turn off the sarcasm with him and turn on the emotion was the hardest thing. His first response is snark all the time. Letting Eliza in to his feelings when he didn’t expect it was tough.

Q. Smell is such a vivid part of Running Home—totally agree with the reviewer who said it should be scratch & sniff. Why did you choose to focus so intensely on smell, and how did you pick the special scents associated with Nicholas and his awesome cabin?

A. Scent is the sense that’s strongest with people. One whiff of something and it can transport you to another time, someone you wish you were, someplace you wish you never left, a moment of longing and happiness all at once. This, to me, is what vampires should stand for, all of these dichotomies and intensity. The smells of home were what I wanted for Eliza, warm things—peppermint brownies, hot chocolate, cloves, all the things that make you want to crawl under a blanket and smile that you’re there. Because she doesn’t get that feeling any other time.

Q. Eliza’s bond with Nicholas gets really intense, really fast (and later in the book it’s obvious why). Do you believe fate has a hand in real-life relationships, or was that just a theme that meshed well with the Shinigami myth?

A. I think there are soul mates, absolutely. People that are meant to be in our lives. I think if I didn’t believe it, I wouldn’t be able to write it convincingly. Having someone fated for you isn’t all roses. Sometimes it feels suffocating. Sometimes you can’t get enough of them no matter how hard you try. And no matter how you feel on the surface, you never feel RIGHT unless they’re next to you. And yes, I speak from experience. J

Q. What piece of writing advice has helped you/influenced your work the most?

A. “Write the book you have to write or everything breaks.” (A.M. Homes)  Don’t worry about whether it will sell, or if it makes sense, or what genre it fits into. If it’s so powerful that you have to get it out of your soul, it will feel that way regardless of any of these things. Write the book because you’re a writer, not because of what anybody else thinks. Write it if it hurts, or if it takes 12 years.

Q. I love that advice. I need you to cross-stitch that for me, okay?

So I gotta ask, because none of us actually want our books to take 12 years: When you hit a wall and don’t want to write, tell me what happens in your brain to get you past that. How do you talk yourself out of a motivation dead zone?

A. I am such a militant bitch. First, I drink like a sonofabitch. Then I sit my ass down and I force myself to write something, no matter what it is. The only reason I’m not motivated is if I don’t try. It’s a vicious circle. Forcing myself to write just one damn sentence, literally with zero idea of what was going to come out was how I wrote the first line of THE ANIMAL, the book I pray my agent will like after editing.

Q. Forcing it is so hard, but you’re right – sometimes it jumpstarts some great ideas you never would’ve had otherwise.

One more writing question. As a fellow mom, I gotta ask: how on earth do you balance the writing life with motherhood? Any tips for the inept jugglers among us?

A. Oh holy Jesus. Sometimes I suck at being a mom. I just don’t want to play Legos. I just don’t want to do crafts that we’ll all be bored of in 5 minutes. And sometimes all I want to do is play with the kids or screw around outside with them. But I remind myself every day what the two most important things in my life are: My babies and writing. (The husband is in there, I couldn’t do any of it without him.) It may mean that I write in 15 minute intervals, or a sentence here and there as I run around the house, and it often means I get my ass out of bed at 5 to have those 3 solid hours to myself to write. And I’m always tired. But it’s a happy tired. There are days of such overwhelm I can’t breathe, and I take anxiety meds every day, but this is the life I want, and I try to remember that when the kids are climbing on me as I edit. I also schedule like a bastard. I give myself a quota, not a goal, of what I want written, and I don’t let myself slack. End of story. It’s non-negotiable.

Q. YES. Writing moms are superheroes. I’m convinced.

Okay – so since you love answering “weird shit,” I have some rapid-fire oddball questions before we go:

Describe your favorite pair of shoes.

A. Oooooh, I love these patent leather nude stilettos that I just want to lick.

Q. Tell me a dirty joke.

A. It’s long, so get ready. (That’s not the joke.) A penguin’s car breaks down, so he walks to a garage. The walrus mechanic says, “this is gonna take a while, why don’t you go to the diner across the street and come back in an hour?” The penguin is starved, so he orders a huge bowl of ice cream, but penguins don’t have hands, so he flips into his mouth like crazy, getting ice cream everywhere. An hour passes, and he goes back to the garage, still wiping ice cream off his penguin face. The walrus says, “well, it looks like you blew a seal.” The penguin says, “no, it’s just some ice cream.” J

Q. What movie makes you angry?

A. Eraserhead. It makes me dizzy, which makes me angry.

Q. What book makes you cry?

A. THE INVISIBLE MAN by Ralph Ellison. Ugh. *kicks feelings*

Q. If you had to write a short story inspired by a song, which one would you pick?

A. UGH AGAIN. Waiting for the Miracle by Leonard Cohen.

Q. What do you think about at night when you’re trying to fall asleep?

A. The coffee I shall drink in a mere 8 hours.

Q. When you meet someone new, what’s the first thing you notice about him/her?

A. Their laugh. Then their hands.

Q. What do you think Oscar the Grouch does on trash day?

A. Eats a shitload of cake.

Q. As a fellow Ali G fan, I must know: Does you believe in mahogany?

A. I DO believe in mahogany because of all the fairy tales and things about it.

 

Thanks, Julie, for stopping by and painting this blog with amazing. Here’s my review of Running Home:

 

First things first: is Running Home a good vampire novel? Does it bring something different to the table? Yes, and here’s why. It was an incredibly smart decision to spice up the Original Recipe vampire tale with elements of Japanese Shinigami mythology. It adds depth and shading to what’s usually a pretty straightforward obstacle to romance. In this universe, a vamp who wants to sidestep a human kill has to fight more than just hunger and base instinct – he has to fight fate itself. It’s a powerful, agonizing dilemma that really bears fruit in the second half of the novel, when [SORT-OF SPOILER ALERT] romantic lead Nicholas learns he’s fated to kill someone close to Eliza, the girl he loves.

That brings me to Running Home’s secret weapon—the thing that sets it apart and makes it a hugely appealing read even if you’re not into vampires. Eliza is a great narrator with a specific voice that resists cliché or easy categorization. She can be sullen and withdrawn, but she’s also capable of great tenderness and vulnerability. She’s wry and smart (how can you not love a character who warns her best friend not to dress her “like a human cupcake”?), but she never comes across as a cookie-cutter snarky heroine. She has a quiet strength, but Nicholas is her weakness, and Running Home has the guts to fully explore all the beauty and ugliness of a first love that starts to snowball into obsession. There’s a very good reason Eliza and Nicholas fall for each other so hard and fast (which I won’t reveal here), but even if you take out the vampire element, there’s so much to relate to here: the insecurity and maddening uncertainty of a relationship’s early stages, the almost palpable joys of discovering someone who really gets you. Those relatable parts really anchor the story and keep us on Eliza’s side, even as we facepalm at some of her decisions (hooray for heroines with realistic flaws!).

The deliberate pace of the book’s first half is somewhat surprising, but I actually found it refreshing, especially since the writing is so strong and vivid. I liked that the character development wasn’t perfunctory; we spend a nice stretch of time really getting to know Eliza and her best friend Kat (great female friendship, by the way) and seeing her relationship with Nicholas develop before the plot amps up in the second half. If I didn’t know Eliza so well before the plot started twisting and turning, those twists and turns might have been much less affecting. Plus Hutchings seeds the first half with just enough mystery and small-scale horror, so it’s still a page-turner that builds smoothly to later events.

Also: the end. There’s a development in the final chapters that made me gasp and put my Kindle down for about five minutes. I hated that it happened, but I knew exactly WHY it had to happen, and I respect an author who follows a plot thread to its logical end, even if it devastates the reader. What happens at the end raises a ton of fascinating questions, and I can’t wait to see how it all plays out in the sequel, Running Away. (I hope we don’t have long to wait!)

To sum up: recommended for fans of paranormal horror-romance, unusual heroines, love affairs with equal parts passion and nuance, and richly evocative writing. It’s got a five-star average on Amazon and costs less than a latte. RUN AND GET IT.

And also, follow Julie on Twitter (@HutchingsJulie). You won’t regret it.

Building The Poop Robot

TODAY’S BREW: Mocha Mint S’mores because I mixed them together. AS I AM A GENIUS.

By Julie

You may or may not have heard, but I’M EDITING FOREVER AND EVER AND EVER. The sequel to RUNNING HOME is a lengthy summabitch, and extremely involved, because I’m so deep and stuff. This leads me to sit for 12 hours at a time in front of my laptop, messing with it in a series of highlighting and scribbling and swearing processes that absolutely delight me.

Writers complain about editing all the time, and I get it. You can’t believe this word puke came from your previously-believed-to-be-at-least-averagely-intelligent brain. You have things to FIX. Stuff that should have worked, doesn’t, so now you have to change all this other stuff, and make sure it all works together like a bunch of gears you found at the junkyard. At first you just make this half-robot-half-poop thing that you throw your hands up and say “TA DA!!” at, then you realize that it’s going to fall apart any second, so you have to build it again. And again. All while convincing yourself that a Poop Robot is absolutely necessary and a good idea.

I’m here to tell you that even if your work is the suckiest thing on Suck Mountain, working on it IS a good idea. You thought it was a good idea to write it, (though this can apply to whatever artsy fartsy or non-artsy fartsy thing you do), so stand behind it. Don’t give up on it until the horse is so dead, kicking it hurts your foot more than anything.

NO MATTER WHAT KIND OF SHIT YOU’RE SLINGING, NO ONE HAS SLUNG SHIT QUITE THAT WAY BEFORE.

Remember that. Every idea was something that some dude thought up, just like you. There is no wrong way to perfect your art, whether that art is coal mining, writing, chicken training or parenting. The one thing YOU can do for your art is do it your way, and stand behind what your way is.

Until your way doesn’t work. Then, try a new way.

The point is, enjoy the learning process. Even if you SUCK at it, you’re still learning. You need to try to learn. Every mistake you make, every thing you do that isn’t quite right, is all part of growing. Enjoy it. The moment you stop enjoying it, is the moment you either think you know fucking everything, or the moment when you realize you’re doing the wrong thing after all. But don’t give up because you think you can’t do it. STOP if you think you don’t want to do it. That’s all part of trying, too.

Of course, in the next blog post I’ll probably tell you to stop trying and just fucking DO IT, like the militant bitch that I am. 🙂 Prepare.

Fighting For Unsuckitude: Editing

TODAY’S BREW: Mocha mint and probably beer.

By Julie

Editing RUNNING AWAY looks like this:

That’s me, in the middle, with the glasses.

I LOVE THIS PART. Right now I’m in the phase where I dig through my Terrifying Binder for bits that didn’t make it into the first draft that I think still have relevance. Before that I went through my notes from hearing Donald Maass speak with Kristen at Backspace Writer’s Convention during Hurricane Sandy last year. And I found this:

NICHOLAS LURES ELLIE IN. FIND 3 MORE WAYS HE CAN DO IT

When I first started to write RUNNING HOME, Nicholas was fated to be Eliza’s creator, her Shugotenshi. That was the extent of their bond. I wanted it to have an intimacy, but not be just your happy go lucky love story. So I darkened it up, and I made their story as complex and questionable as it should be. Think about what he’s telling her, what his appearance in her life means to who she is and what’s happened in her life. (Trying not to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t read. But it’s happening.) So, I did this:

WAYS NICHOLAS LURES ELLIE IN

  1. Shinigami have scents that tailor especially to the victim or person they’re trying to lure in. Nicholas’s becomes a scent of comfort, home, being with people who love you. Appeals to the thing she wants most and never has.
  2. Ellie is never sure if Nicholas really cares for her, or if he just has a duty to her.
  3. The Shinigami have their classic vampire thrall that even they don’t realize they’re using, and Ellie may just be a victim of it and not be in love with Nicholas at all. She questions it.

After making this list, I found myself questioning things about how Nicholas felt, too. Naturally, he would wonder if Eliza was actually in love with him, or if she was just under a sort of spell that he himself placed on her unwittingly. He’d wonder if he was feeling love for her, or if he was just feeling the draw between vampire and their fated offspring, their unmei fumetsu. There should be as much insecurity on his behalf as on hers, no matter how much of an egotistical thing he can be.

Apparently I'm volatile, self-obsessed, don't play well with others.

Apparently I’m volatile, self-obsessed, don’t play well with others.

The great thing about editing for character development is seeing the domino effect of what one little change can make. (It’s how I realized I wanted to start Editing For Cash, also known as Undeaditing.) How would the feelings of both the characters affect what happens next? What will these feelings make them do? (Remember, characters make the action happen, the action doesn’t happen to the characters.) And the most fun; how can I make it worse?

So, for those of you in Editing Land, give this a try, and for the love of Jesus, read one of Donald Maass’s books. First, read all of Chuck Wendig’s blog at http://www.terribleminds.com. THEN read the Maass book. Prepare for this edit like you’re going into battle. Fight for the Unsuckitude of your book. Believe in it with unconditional love. Give it the A at the start of the class, and make it earn the A. Delve into all the aspects of your plot and characters and think of 3 more ways you can make it more intense.

Or I’LL DO IT GODDAMMIT.

RUNNING HOME and RUNNING AWAY News!

TODAY’S BREW: Mint chocolate coffee and  BOOZE.

By Julie

I started writing the sequel to RUNNING HOME around this time:

AND NOW. IT IS COMPLETE. Like my organs and brain development. I’ve come a long way since the above photo.

Now I shall embark upon the journey of editing and wondering if this thing is worth a goddamn or not, but I think it is. I do. But I’ll still wonder if the last 6 months were really just a lot of ALL WORK AND NO PLAY MAKES JACK A DULL BOY.

Me, maybe.

While you wait for the this sequel that features a boiling hot Irish rebel, a defiled saint, a god of creation, my friend Chynna Blue Scott, and all of our old friends that are now experiencing the dark night of the soul,

YOU CAN GET RUNNING HOME FOR ONLY  99 CENTS!

That’s right! For the price of a cup of coffee, and not even Dunkin Donuts coffee, but that sub-par Cumberland Farms gas station coffee, you can own the fruits of my first labor! (Sidenote: I quite enjoy Cumberland Farms coffee & all of its glorious creamer options.)  (Second Sidenote: “The fruits of my first labor” refers to my book, not my child.)

 

https://deadlyeverafter.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/857a2-runninghome-cover.jpg

BUY ME, LOOK AT HOW PRETTY I AM. http://t.co/QOJxBFmimo

“Running Home has a dark beauty which entwines the mundane and the magical.”
~ J.C. Michael, author of Discoredia

“I can’t remember a time I’ve enjoyed a vampire novel so much. The blend of self-aware characters and unique, fresh mythology made for an engaging, addictive read. I believe I have found my new favorite urban vampire story.”
~ Frances Button, Opening Line Literary ‘Zine

IF YOU ALREADY OWN A COPY OF RUNNING HOME, THANK YOU!!!! Thank you for buying it, reading it, hopefully leaving a review on it (hint hint), and for believing in me. Writing is the thing that makes me me. You make it worthwhile for me. You help me show my kids and other writers that there’s value in this storytelling thing. You make it true that the greatest investment you can make is in yourself.

Now, I have some celebrating to do. Thank you all! Happy reading!

(P.S. If you want a signed copy of RUNNING HOME, leave me a comment, tweet me or email me.)

 

 

Taking Your Time Takes Time

TODAY’S BREW: S’more to Love. Seethe with your jealousy. Embrace it.

By Julie

Giving myself time is something I am just plain not accustomed to doing. I do everything on a minute to minute schedule because I work at home and because I’m a stay at home mom. These things make me feel like even though I’m doing the most difficult things I have ever done every day, that I’m still not doing anything because I’m in my pajamas. This is ridiculous.

I read a study once that said when you wear comfortable clothes you take something insane like 350 more steps in a day. And yet, if you work a sit-down job, you gain an average of 10 pounds per year even if your diet and excercise routine are strong. So, if you’re running around with kids but sit on your butt a lot in front of a computer and go to the gym on the regs, YOUR HEAD WILL EXPLODE FROM TRYING TO FIGURE THAT EQUATION OUT.

Also, when I don’t go to 100 places per day, or bring in an hourly wage, I feel like I don’t get to ever take a break. This is dumb. Working in jobs where time is money, you don’t ever fully recover from that. And when you entirely adore everything you’re doing, it doesn’t feel like work, no matter how important it may be. Making lunch for your kids is important. Making up wild stories to share with the world is important. Playing Chutes and Ladders is important. Helping people hone their art through editing is important. Working out is important. Reading like a writer and an editor is important. And taking a break is important.

I’ve been busting my ass on the sequel to RUNNING HOME. Today, I put the finishing touches on it, and then IT IS FINISHED. I took some time away from my writing schedule to do developmental editing for some incredible authors, and working this into my schedule means that not only do I have less time to write, but it means I’m working harder. So that means I need to rest sometimes.

REST? WHAT THE HELL DO YOU MEAN, REST? I’VE BEEN IN MY PAJAMAS FOR 16 DAYS!

Yes, rest. Because doing a lot of things you love is hard because you put all of your energy into them every minute of the day. And it isn’t until I say, “Jeeez, my legs feel like if I stood up right now, I may fall down,” that I realize it is okay to take a day off to screw around playing video games and watching TV. EVEN IF EVERYTHING ISN’T DONE.

I write first drafts in 3 months. That’s what I do. Until I don’t. RUNNING AWAY is going on 6 months! P.S.   I AM WRITING THE FINAL CHAPTER TODAY. I let it sit for one day so every word will be absolutely perfect. Also, not as planned, this book is the longest thing ever written since THE BIBLE. 

But everything unfolds with purpose, in the proper amount of time without being overindulgent and without being rushed. Every word is carefully plotted. And if it took one hundred thousand words before editing, then that’s how long it took. And if it takes the same amount after editing, that’s how many it takes.

I guess taking time applies to more than just the clock.

Time is something we need to use to our advantage, not just something we need to use. Take a break before you break.

 

 

This Ain’t Your Momma’s Pinterest

TODAY’S BREW: A lot.

By Julie

I love Pinterest.

But how can that be, Julie? you say. You can’t cook worth shit, and you don’t crochet, and you’re possibly the most inept crafter in existence.

Well, THANK YOU VERY MUCH, and maybe you’re right, but if you’re looking for inspiration, let me tell you, Pinterest never fails me. Just before I wrote this blog I texted Kristen “What am I gonna blog about? I’m so boring.” She didn’t answer me, so point taken, Kristen. WHAT THE HELL EVER. So, I popped on Pinterest and found THIS the second I opened it up:

Byronic by Boris Pelcer

And I said, “OOOOOOOHH!” And I pinned it to my RUNNING HOME board, because OH MY GOD, IT’S ALMOST PERFECT FOR NICHOLAS’S HOMECOMING SCENE, AND IF YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT PLEASE BUY MY BOOK. And immediately I was pumped to write. (Sidenote: For those of you wondering, the RUNNING HOME sequel will be finished in the next 2 days. EEEEEEEEEE!)

But anyway, Pinterest kindles a spark in me for a lot of reasons. I’ll share with you some of my favorite pins in posts from now on. Today, I give you  a smattering, things that stick in my mind and light my imagination up. Go play on Pinterest, you might be shocked what you find there.

Perfection.

.

Imagine waking up to that landing on you.

LOVE. Jessica Harrison, "Karen" (2013), Found ceramic, epoxy resin putty, enamel paint

I don’t know what else to say except I want one.

Cottage in the Woods

I want to live here forever.

metamorphosis by Natalie Shau 08

Black Swan meets vampires meets creep.

Icicle cave at Misotsuchi, Saitama, Japan (三十槌の氷柱)!

Actual place in Japan. Did you know this was real? I didn’t know this was real.

Cryptic

Imagine what happens in that city above. Who tht girl is, where the animal came from. Why they’re below the city. It just makes me swim with plot lines.

watercolor by darcy

What a love story here.

Okay, that’s enough of me being a creep for now. This is so not even a one hundreth of what I have pinned to refer to. I saved you from the creepiest stuff, because I know my mom looks at this. But what I think the moral of the story is, don’t rule something out that you think won’t give you inspiration. I’m proven wrong time and again when I think “there’s nothing for me there” or in doing this, that or the other thing. Find inspiration wherever you go. Don’t just stumble upon it, seek it out. It keeps your mind alive.

That being said, go spend the next four hours staring at Pinterest recipes.

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