Deadly Ever After

Archive for the tag “Eric Ruben Esquire”

Julesenstein’s Monsters: Breathing Life Back Into My Monstrosities

TODAY’S BREW: All of It.

By Julie

I did a thing I haven’t done in a long, long time. I read a chapter of THE HARPY. Forget what that book was? I nearly did, too. It’s been on submission with publishers through my agent, Eric Ruben, Esq. for a long time. I’m fine with the length of the submission process for a few reasons: I know that the world of traditional publishing is going through a lot of transition and isn’t the most stable we’ve ever seen. I know that Eric is doing as much as he can to get the book into reader hands. And my writing career isn’t stagnant because I continuously write books, all the time, while I wait.

But in my persistence to move forward and my constant reminder to myself that writers write, and to go to work every day like a good writer should, I’ve forgotten how much I loved that book. THE HARPY makes me happy. (If you want to read an excerpt of THE HARPY, you can go HERE ) I even searched #TheHarpy on Twitter to read some of my tweets from writing that book and I was grinning ear to ear.

Related, I’ve been totally overwhelmed with book stuff. RUNNING AWAY was released, a year in the waiting, and I barely stopped to breathe….. or promote it before jumping into writing a new book. I have another book just sitting around, too.

I need to slow down. Shit.

One of the reasons I don’t do NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is because I cannot conceive of writing an entire book in one month and making it worth anything or enjoying a second of it. Yet, I’ve kept up a different kind of breakneck pace to try and cover every base possible in the writing world over the short time I’ve been a published author. (This of course doesn’t include working as an editor in the meantime, being a full time mom and trying to hold my head up straight.)

Writing is my job, but it needs to be savored once in a while. I feel disconnected from a couple of my books because I have put too much distance between us. We are estranged. And in effort to not put all my eggs in one basket, I’ve filled about FORTY BILLION BASKETS, and cannot keep up. Constantly writing and not stopping long enough to give justice to the books I have out is giving me a feeling of self-defeat that I just plain should not have.

So what am I doing about it? Scheduling time for promotion of RUNNING AWAY. Revisiting my intentions for THE HARPY and THE ANIMAL. Making sure I didn’t write them off too quickly in my effort to keep moving forward. And writing my new book at a pace that is fair to me.

I work my ass off to make sure every one of my books is something to be proud of. I deserve to see their titles up in lights, to celebrate them and give them their day in the sun. Because as rewarding as it is to finish a novel, it should be more rewarding to see it come to life.

Time to give my Frankenstein’s monsters a little mouth to mouth.


Book Beatdown: Being Brave in the Battle of the Book

TODAY’S BREW: PUMPKIN SPICE. Oh, it’s happening.

By Julie

The Back to School Book Beatdown has really heated up. We have more writers committed to this than I EVER thought we would!

Side note: Prepare, beta readers ad crit partners. October will be busy for you.

I’m so proud of all of you. I know how hard it is to get the kids to school, sit your butt down and make yourself THINK and FEEL and WORK when you might be able to watch a movie and fall asleep 6 or 7 times through it. Putting the pedal to the metal on your book is goddamn hard. Even when you’re in a flow and totally into it, you’re always questioning yourself, always feeling like you have no business writing. Plugging forward through that feeling is one of the bravest things I think a person can do. I absolutely mean that. To push yourself forward when you have no idea if you’ll finish, if anyone will care, if it will make sense or if you’ll fail your own standards can be soul crushing. And yet writers not only do it every day, they FIGHT to do it every day.

Bravery come in many forms but this one can grab your heart and make you think things of yourself you wished you never did. And then you push to find out just a little more. It’s knowing there will be pain involved, and that you absolutely will not be well received by many, but saying, “I’m doing this thing no matter what.” Goddamn, that is the kind of bravery I want my kids to have.

My buddy Matt White, who will hate me for putting him on the spot this way, I know feels inadequate about his writing. And this week he tweeted out that he read some of his own work and thought to himself that yeah, he’s on to something here, that he can write some damn good stuff. I already knew this because I know Matt, but what I think doesn’t matter when he sits down, feeling crappy and plow through his words to come out on the other side. I’m wildly proud of Matt for this.

Felicia Anderson is a writer who I begged to let me edit for her because her work is that frigging amazing. (she’s @Fifi_the_Ninja on twitter.) This girl browbeat the crap out of her work in progress this week, giving me writing days of over 3000 words sometimes. I MEAN, HOLY CRAP.

Peter Damien, Book Riot contributor and ginger, made some killer progress on the most intriguing haunted house idea I’ve heard since House on Haunted Hill, AND he found an actual haunted mansion he can visit all the time that will fuel his words and keep him focused. So exciting.

There were a lot of writers that reached out to me to tell me how well their work was going. There were some that didn’t quite make it, too. Who ducked when I showed up on Twitter looking for them. You know who you are. Looking at you, Adam Dean. I say your name not to shame you, but because even though you didn’t get done what you wished to do, you still reported in to me. That shows commitment. This isn’t a race–it’s creation. It cannot be timed.

I’m holding myself accountable, too. And I’m not where I want to be on THE WIND BETWEEN WORLDS. I had something else to attend to: approving the final edits on RUNNING AWAY, which has been done completely inches from publication. And I have a cover. A COVER. But I’ve been reading THE WIND BETWEEN WORLDS, and I’m so happy to have taken the time from it that I did. I’m eager to dive back in. I love it and I’m not afraid to say so. Having the encouragement from my early readers on it, particularly Jolene Haley of Pen and Muse, has kept me rigid in what I demand from this book. I want something utterly different, but familiar feeling, and I wont settle for les than glee when I finish it. It’s also wonderful to have my ever-supportive agent and personal Esquire, Eric Ruben telling me that there’s no pressure and to take care of myself first. He remind me that taking care of myself means finishing this book.

So while some are pushing limits every day word-wise, others are pushing by not letting themselves off the hook and not doing what’s easy. What’s easy is to just not do it. Don’t do things the easy way. Sneak up on your book when it thinks it can get away. Never let it get away.

How I Got My Agent: The Hutchings Way

TODAY’S BREW: More champagne! This is getting to be a habit! Okay, it already was.

By Julie

So, um, it looks like nobody has figured out I’m a hack yet, because I HAVE A LITERARY AGENT. It’s not just any literary agent. It is ERIC FUCKING RUBEN, ESQUIRE. He’s an Esquire, for the love of God and we belong to each other now.

You want to know how I got an agent? (I do love phrasing it this way; I “got him,” like he’s some sort of disease or large fish.) All right, I’ll tell you but you might not like it.


I didn’t formulate a query that appeared to be made by the hands of angels and deliver it to him with a manuscript that I claimed would save the world. I didn’t suck up, chase down, play by a bunch of stupid frigging rules to do it. I was me, and we connected. I always knew I wanted an agent that I connected with on a personal level, or I couldn’t really be me. And yes, Eric was the dream agent.

I DESPISE the rigamarole of querying. Trying to tell each individual agent what makes them bright, shiny and special for you when you’ve queried 43 of them that day, and they’ve read 9887 queries is superficial and senseless. Catering to the individual tastes of an agent who you don’t know from a hole in the wall when you come right down to it, is just plain kissing ass. It has nothing to do with your ability.

My queries flopped, every one of them. I had my query read out loud on a projector in front of dozens of other authors and agents and Donald frigging Maass. I live pitched by phone, I did it all. But it wasn’t until I put my work out there in snippets and made a buzz for myself the way I knew how, the way it worked for me, that I caught the attention of the few agents I truly WANTED, and Eric in particular. Being genuine is still the best way to do business.

If you’re looking for tips, I will give them to you. I want you to know that there’s more out there than writing the Golden Query. There’s more than yapping to any agent you can find all day on Twitter. So here are some things I did that made this not a happy accident:

  1. MAKE YOUR BLOG OR WHATEVER IT IS HAVE PURPOSE.  Deadly Ever After was a business plan. We commit to having it say something about us. We watch what our readers like and we post accordingly. If your readers don’t care about your day at the farmer’s market, why do you write a post about it every week? Show that you understand your audience. And plan the thing. If your blog reads like a phone call to your mother, what reason does anyone have to believe that your novels read any better? Also, ASK PEOPLE TO BE ON YOUR BLOG. Writers you know, writers you don’t quite know. Not only have these people become some of my most dear friends in the universe, but I learned from the way they write, and each and every one of them was there for me when I needed help to promote Running Home, which helped to catch the attention of my new agent. All from reaching out and asking them to help out on the blog.
  2. WRITE THE BOOK YOU HAVE TO WRITE, NOT WHAT YOU THINK AN AGENT WANTS TO READ. Don’t tailor yourself to fit into a niche. Write what you have to write, and make the niche fit you. You are the niche. You have the product. Don’t make it what someone wants, make it what you have to give them, and it will stand on its own.
  3. TWEET LINES FROM YOUR WORK. There’s plenty of #amwriting, #waswriting, #hadbeenediting, #willbeoutlining, #editedthenrevisedthenwroteandamwriting hashtags. TELL US WHAT YOU’RE WRITING. Give us something. Trust me, make it the right thing, and it catches the right eyes. I have a habit of making one line at least in every writing session that’s strong out of context, and tweeting it out with the hashtag of the novel’s title and #amwriting. THIS WORKS, PEOPLE.
  5. 5.       ASK PEOPLE TO READ YOUR WORK. Don’t make it top secret. I tweeted out that I had just written the grossest thing I ever wrote, and my good friend, Jessie Devine, one of Eric’s clients, wanted to read it. It was just a chapter, out of context, but it caused a stir on Twitter with a couple of the right people, and before I knew it the man himself was asking to read it. TRUE STORY.
  6. 6.       FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS HOLY, BE YOURSELF ON TWITTER. This does not mean be the ugliest side of yourself consistently. Don’t tell us forty times how much you hate Monday. Don’t complain constantly. Don’t be dull. You swear? Go ahead, swear. Give us a little of the person that throws themselves into that manuscript and comes away feeling like they just made magic. BE THAT PERSON ON TWITTER. Make people listen.
  7. 7.       GET INVOLVED. Eric was speaking about the state of publishing at a Mystery Writer’s meeting. So we crashed it. And we took notes, and spoke to him. We treated him like a regular, awesome guy, which he is. Be the face that’s remembered if you have the opportunity, and learn something along the way.


I hope this helps all of you looking for that perfect agent to find them. Know the rules of querying, but know when you fit outside them. Know that there’s more than one way to skin an agent. Figuratively.




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