Deadly Ever After

Archive for the tag “Julie Hutchings”

In Which You Learn About ALL SMOKE RISES by Mark Matthews and He Gushes About Me But I Didn’t Ask Him To.

TODAY’S BREW: Blizzard Brew by New England Coffee and it is STRONG.

By Julie

As an editor, I get to play with books before anyone else, and sometimes I feel like I’m finding treasure. ALL SMOKE RISES by Mark Matthews, a long-time friend published alongside me at Books of the Dead Press, is one of those glinting jewels. Visceral, beautiful, horrible, speaking of the human condition and of what it could be for both good and bad, frightening and hopeful and destitute. In this post that I SWEAR he asked me to put up, I didn’t as HIM to put up, he raves until I’m in tears about how awesome I am as an editor, but let me tell you that Matthews has a style and unique perspective on his subject matter and in his craft that gleams like a shiny apple. Not to mention that I got to spend time with him at a convention once and it was awesome. He’s just the most genuine, thoughtful and hilarious guy, and it shows in this book.

 

 

All Smoke Rises releases this week, a follow up to my last novella, Milk-Blood. While it takes place just weeks after Milk-Blood ends, it also serves as a stand-alone read. *Hi, this is Julie. It totally stands alone. It will beg you to read MILK-BLOOD, though.* The book tackles drug addiction, urban decay, mental illness, and a host of other real-life horrors.

 

Even though it’s a story, it doesn’t mean it’s not true. The material is not fiction. It’s happening, right now. Addicts are roaming the streets, craving heroin the way a vampire craves blood. Children are living in urban squalor, with poverty so deep their best meals of the day come when they go to school. As Kealan Patrick Burke so generously wrote in the introduction, “All Smoke Rises perfectly encapsulates horror as a reflection of real life.”

 

The inspiration for writing All Smoke Rises came from my own work as a substance abuse therapist. For nearly 20 years, I’ve worked with hundreds of addicts from the Detroit area, many of them indigent. Before this time, I spent years in my own addiction. I woke up each day and my daily efforts were how to get high and get by. I now have 23 years clean and sober, and will never forget the immense power addiction has over the human soul.

 

All Smoke Rises is a book I’m damn proud of, but certainly did not create it on my own. I’ve got a long list of beta-readers and an incredible editor. Julie Hutchings. The most demure woman in the twitterverse. *It’s true, I am.*

I should point out, before I go on, that it was my idea, not hers, to guest blog and thank her for what a great job she did in editing my manuscript.

 

Readers would thank her, too, if they could, for the book they would have read would have been a much lesser piece had not Ms. Hutchings poured her own heart into the story.

 

Nuts and bolts were tightened. Extra parts were thrown away as needed. Paragraphs were reshaped, certain sentences were turned into stand-alone paragraphs, others were ended on a different note to keep the plot flowing. Overused phrases and words were smashed over my head until I saw stars. Rewording these descriptors made me work harder as a writer and created a better product.

 

If you’ve ever had a word document edited, you’ve come to know those little comment bubbles on the side. Well, Julie’s comments were different. They came alive. They spoke to me, made me laugh, or reached out from the screen and gave me nugies. If a nugie wasn’t enough, they grabbed me by the neck and squeezed until I heard my own esophagus crack. All of this to challenge me to be the best version of myself, and I responded in kind best as I could.

 

I’m so incredibly excited for this book. The producer of Monkey Knuckle Films is reading it now, and I hope some of the plot-line will be included into the movie adaptation of Milk-Blood. John F.D. Taff said, “All Smoke Rises makes Milk-Blood look like a freshman writing assignment.” Kealan Patrick Burke agreed to do the introduction after giving it a read, and seeing what he wrote was a highlight of my writing career.

 

But I did not write it alone, so thank you, Julie, for your invaluable contributions. Worth adding that, if you are only a digital friend of Julie, she is exactly as you would think in real life. I spent just a few hours hanging with Hutchings at a convention, and it was like swimming in a pool full of her tweets. She’s genuine good people, with genuine editing skills that I’d recommend to anyone who listens.

 

 

 

ALL SMOKE RISES

Ten year old Lilly is the victim of a terrible house fire and a wretched family. Her father is an addict with mental illness, her mother was murdered and then buried across the street, and her uncle got her addicted to heroin. Lilly’s tragic story has been told in the book ALL SMOKE RISES, and it may be true, for the author has broken into your house, and placed Lilly’s body on your kitchen counter. He demands you read the manuscript, before cutting his own wrists and bleeding out on your floor. Now you have decisions to make, for Lilly’s body may not be dead, and her family is coming for her.

 

“Make no mistake, when it comes to citations of true horror, you will be hard pressed to find a deeper and more challenging example than you will here. Matthews knows the heartbreak and tragedy of his subject. By the time you are done reading this, you will too.” ~KEALAN PATRICK BURKE, Bram Stoker Award winning author of KIN and Sour Candy

******

 

ADVANCE PRAISE “Heartbreakingly sad, overwhelmingly disturbing, creepy, violent and poignant. Highly recommended.” ~JOHN FD TAFF Bram Stoker Finalist “Filled with such dread and depravity that even the most desensitized among us will feel the pain. Matthews’s prose vividly shows the viciousness and hopelessness of drug addiction, and the beautifully horrifying images will stay with you long after the final page is digested.” ~JON BASSOFF, author of Corrosion, winner of the Darkfuse Reader’s Choice Award “True reality horror, with supernatural elements that only serve to make it more believable.” ~MICHAEL BRADFORD, Executive Producer, Monkey Knuckle Films.

 

Check out ALL SMOKE RISES on Amazon. Just $2.99 for kindle

Advertisements

When Compromise is Fear by Julie

TODAY’S BREW: Chocolate Mint now and forever

By Julie

So last time we talked, I was feeling pretty grim. Looking at a reality where I might not be able to write for a living, looking at an end date when I would finally have to admit I couldn’t live off of what I love. It looked like facing reality but what it was really something else.

Fear.

Fear that once I had MORE time to write, with both kids in school full-time, that even then I wouldn’t be able to call it a job and be able to pay a bill with it.

Fear of going back to a job where I can’t be me all of the time. Every single second of the time.

Fear of not being able to give my kids THINGS, giant things because explaining to them that are better gifts than things feels like failure.

Fear of not being able to write another book.

Fear of changing my jump in with both feet approach to writing into a next-stage serious commitment to make it work no matter what.

Fear of being selfish.

I’ve always prided myself on being flexible, on being able to not look at one choice as the only choice. Being able to compromise and not let it feel like defeat, it’s part of what makes me a leader and a person that people look to when they feel despair.

It doesn’t mean that I’m not prone to despair, too. But no matter how grim things can get in my mind, I face them. Expressing my fear, my desperation and hopelessness, but still staying the course is my strength. Looking at that in times of difficulty as beating a dead horse rather than seeing it as unwavering dedication is okay–I’m human. And being human, vulnerable, is what makes me a good mom, a good leader, a good writer.

So it’s in this knowledge that I say there is a time when being flexible isn’t an option. As a leader, it is my job to see the forest for the trees, and to look up from the rocks at my feet and climb over the boulder in front of me. As a mom it’s my job to show my kids that having a bottom line that is absolutely solid and unquestionable is courageous. It’s okay for me to say, “No. This is what I need for me. My self-care is crucial for me to keep being the me that you need, and the absolute pinnacle of my self-care is knowing that there iare some things that I not only can’t give up, I won’t give up.”

Writing and being the person to challenge ideas and rules and make my own is at the core of my being. It is who I am, not just part of who I am. Everything else stems from those things.

The idea of sacrificing those things was me internally saying I would die for my family’s betterment. Because stopping this passion to go back to an environment that stripped me of myself is a death sentence–it physically nearly killed me before, more than once, and mentally I still survived. Emotionally I bottomed out, long-term, and yet I still managed to write. I couldn’t stop.

I actually thought in my head and gave in for a few days there, that I would just work myself to death because I gave it a go, and writing didn’t work. But I was wrong to think that a dream has an expiration date. I refuse to allow it to. I’m Wolverine when he faces the torrent of wounds that Dark Phoenix throws at him, and still he trudges forward, knowing there is no other way. No compromise. I’m some historical general that drove his soldiers to near extinction and utter hatred of him, and still stayed the course. Fanatical, maybe. Driven. Determined.

Unafraid.

Absolutely.

When the Dream Is Still a Dream by Julie

TODAY’S BREW: Dunkin Donuts White Peppermint Something or Other

By Julie

I’m lucky enough to hear often that I inspire people. To hear that makes me stronger, and I’m already pretty strong. But I feel weak often, and that’s okay too.

For all the wonderful people that tell me how much my optimism in times of difficulty is inspirational, know that there are many times I don’t want to go on.

Know that there are many times I get impatient with waiting for an agent to love my book.

Know that there are days I spend more time crying than not crying.

The worst of this is that I truly do not get saddened by rejections from literary agents. I write what I need to write, and I’m not looking for approval. Same goes for my occasional bad review. That stuff is par for the course, and I love the course! The hardest part of being a writer for a living is that it’s not always a living. It’s like any self-employed person goes through, of course. You don’t turn a profit for a while. I’M okay with that. Seeing what it does to my family because we aren’t financially stable is what hurts. Knowing that I can’t throw the big birthday party for my kids  partly because I’m working for the greater good, but partly because I’m selfish and afraid NOT to write for a living. The idea of going back to work is absolutely terrifying to me. I’ve only recently seen my nightmares subside about working. So when seeing that my husband works more because I can’t, it hurts. When I don’t run things fantastically well at home all the time, I feel horribly guilty and wonder who I’m helping by being at home with the kids. Not being able to have enough money in the bank to see my husband be able to breathe a sigh of relief is partly my fault, and at one point I will need to remedy it–get a full-time job and stop writing–because I cannot do both and pay proper attention to my family–or make writing work.

When it’s impossible to see what MORE I can possibly do to make my writing career succeed, it hurts to acknowledge that there has to be a time when I say it’s affecting my family the wrong way. That quitting my job to live the dream would have been nice if the dream came true. That I tried. God, I hate TRYING. Do or do not, there is no try. And I don’t want to stop, but it looms overhead that someday I may need to. I hate that with more fire inside me than you can imagine.

The moral of the story is, writers’ lives aren’t easy. Sure, it can be rough to get rejections and bad reviews, but quite honestly I love all of it! I love that stuff because it means I’m making a mark, and that I’m progressing. I’m meeting my quota, getting my initiation. I would be perfectly happy having my cult following forever, never getting a huge book deal if my family didn’t suffer for it. I don’t write to be rich, but I do need to contribute. It’s a sad feeling, but sadder is that contribution has to be monetary no matter how much work you put in that has no price on it.

So writers, and all of you who have a bigger plan out there, I understand. I see the guilt, I feel the heartbreak of not having great news for your loved ones, I see the sacrifices. And yes, keep trying. I’ll not stop until I absolutely must. All parts of my fight won’t be pretty ones. But it’s my fight and until it starts falling to my family’s responsibility, I will be happy to wear my armor.

My Fight

TODAY’S BREW: Starbucks with Kristen

“I’m so sick of having something wrong with me. I don’t even want to talk to anyone, I feel like it’s all they see.”

This was my text to Kristen this morning, and the real reason why I haven’t been blogging. Yes, a vacation to enjoy the holidays with my family–which I did, I really, really did. Despite All The Things Wrong With Me.

You don’t see it here much. And I try not to talk about it much, because even though every woman on the planet has a period, I still feel like it’s something we hide. And of course we feel that way, but that’s another blog post.

This one is about how I forever have some weird goddamn thing wrong with me, often related, sometimes not, nobody knows and it keeps getting worse. And now it’s just plain crippling. Let’s give you the December Weirdness which brought it to a whole new level.

The week before Christmas I had a hairy-feeling throat. Like someone had waxed their legs and somehow that wax strip ended up in my throat and I had the sniffles. Didn’t hurt, I could swallow, eat, but my tongue was white and it felt like Chewbacca throat. Weird enough that I went to the clinic, afraid it was a thing I could give to my kids. My throat was all red, but my tonsils were good, I didn’t have strep, no fever, was hydrated, taking allllllll my vitamins (of which there are many), and had a good temp and blood pressure.  That lasted for two days. Then gone, like none of it ever happened. Throat all better, nose clear.

The next two days I had such physical soreness on both sides that I couldn’t be touched. The kids couldn’t hug me, it hurt to wear clothes. I had the occasional stabbing pain in my left side. Figuring kidney infection? Though I had none of the other symptoms at all, I called the doctor who insisted I go to urgent care. The lovely, wonderful doctor there (who said something to me I’m not likely to forget: “you’re minimizing your pain. Don’t minimize your pain.”), tried so hard to figure out what was wrong. I had the best blood pressure I’ve ever had, no temp, no other pain, same as before. But because of my shortness of breath the two days earlier, he ordered me to immediately go to the hospital and get a chest x-ray, bloodwork, and a kidney ultrasound. Made me an appointment for an hour after, and boy that was fun, getting the kids from school and finding someone to watch them through that. By the time I got to the hospital the stabbing pains in my side had me crying out in pain while waiting for my stuff to get done.

And guess what? Everything was normal. Yaaaaaaay, right?

Then I figure out that it all happened with the timing of when I usually suffer PMDD. This is a Feels Like It’s Made Up premenstrual disorder that I am the absolute poster girl for, right down to the occasional thoughts of suicide coinciding with my period. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Premenstrual_dysphoric_disorder

My symptoms generally start about 10 days before my period and disappear like magic after it. But this? Pain that lands me in the hospital for 5 hours the day before Christmas eve? And this time, the emotional symptoms didn’t go away, when surprise, two days after they started, the kidney thing did go away.

Every month like clockwork I suffer debilitating anxiety and depression for two days at the start of my period or the two days before. It causes me to villainize the people I love most for the most minor thing, which then convinces me they don’t love me, and then I tell them to go away and find someone better to spend their time with. Often this leads to suicidal thoughts, it always leads to utter hopelessness, where everything contributes to my sadness from the washing machine leaking to getting a rejection letter. All of it adds up to not having a life worth living except for that people depend on me. It’s not how I feel any other time of the month generally, and even though I see it coming, I can do nothing to stop it. I guess that happens when you have “an unhealthy amount of bleeding” monthly that just plain comes with having a fibroid in your uterus that nobody wants to remove.

If it seems like I’m rambling, it’s because the anxiety still has not dissipated and I can’t focus on anything at all. Making me more anxious. Usually getting out of the house helps, but this month it made me a disaster. I was twitchy, nervous, kept dropping things, couldn’t concentrate. Still feel that way. I had an actual dream of dropping the peanut butter jar and woke myself jumping up to grab it. I can’t slow my head down. And to this minute I’m taking the 800mg ibuprofen prescribed to me for the kidney pain to deal with the breast tenderness that is worse than the kidney pain was.

This all can be attributed to my hormones, maybe? But then I start thinking of the extensive list of other things that have gone wrong with me that have doctors rubbing their hands with experimental delight when I enter the office. Things I’ve never gotten answers to. High prolactin levels that had me getting brain scans and taking tumor shrinking meds–when I didn’t have a tumor. The sudden appearance of an uber rare fibroid tumor that had to be removed immediately. A sickening burning pain under my ribs that we inspected with tubes in every part of my body, to find nothing. Rectocoele, which happens during childbirth, not to be discovered often for months or years later–except I had my kids by C-section.

Emotionally, this has left me feeling like The Girl Who Never Shuts Up, The Girl Who Never Has Good News, The Girl Who Cries Medical Problem, and The Girl Who Feels Really, Really Happy Just Being Who I Am, But Is Constantly Kicked In The Lady Parts.

I’m finally now getting to a point where the illness is my life, not just part of it. I’ve always been very proud that I can smile through sickness, of which I’ve had plenty not even listed here, and that it doesn’t stop me. Now, it’s stopping me. Stopping me from feeling like a worthwhile human. Stopping me from being unstoppable. I can deal with any amount of pain if I can see the end in sight, if I know it’s being solved. Now, I just wait to see what will happen next. It’s making me a sad person. I get sad, like all people do, but I’ve never been a sad person. I don’t want to be.

There’s no uplifting message to this blog, guys. There’s not a moral or a joke at the end. I’m feeling defeated, and the only thing holding me down is that I don’t want to live like a wounded person. I want to be strong. And I can’t. Hopefully for the next year on this blog you’ll see that disappear and see the old Julie come back. But fighting is something we all have to do, and this is my fight.

 

 

MARK MATTHEWS GOT A BOOK DEAL! And you can get a free book!

TODAY’S BREW: Like you need to ask. Pumpkin. Pfft. Obvs.

By Julie

Many of you know I got my start with Books of the Dead Press, who published RUNNING HOME and RUNNING AWAY. In addition to introducing me to the world of publishing, Books of the Dead did something else for me–introduced me to a few amazing friends. Mark Matthews’ ON THE LIPS OF CHILDREN was published alongside RUNNING HOME a few years back with Books of the Dead, and since then Mark has become a very close friend that I trust, rely on, and just plain love. He’s very kind, incredibly funny, and someone I’m better for knowing. Look at him, he’s so pleasant!

mark matthews

(go find Mark on Twitter https://twitter.com/matthews_mark.)

So when I got the news that his novel, MILK-BLOOD got a movie deal? Well, yeah, I cried, and I begged to be part of announcing it for a lot of reasons. It’s wonderful to see my friend have such success, and it’s fantastic that MILK-BLOOD was self-published.

YES. MOVIE DEALS HAPPEN FOR INDIE AUTHORS, FOLKS.

MILK-BLOODFinalCover.jpgMKF

MILK-BLOOD, a novel by Mark Matthews, has been optioned for a full length feature film by Monkey Knuckle Films. The option includes rights to the short story, The Damage Done, a companion piece to the novel.
damaged
“MILK-BLOOD is true reality horror, with supernatural elements that only serve to make it more believable,” explains executive producer Michael Bradford. “The story will certainly hold an audience.”

MILK-BLOOD is the story of a ten year old girl named Lilly, born with a heart defect, who lives on a Detroit street where poverty, urban despair, addiction, and both the living and the dead threaten her outside her doorstep. The author has tapped into this experience as a
social worker to create what one review site calls, “an Urban legend in the making.”  The author’s previous novel, On the Lips of Children, was a number one best-selling kindle novel on amazon.

The title, ”Milk-Blood,” comes from the Neil Young song, “The Needle and the Damage Done” and refers to the extensive lengths a heroin addict will go to in order to maintain their high.

Monkey Knuckle Films is a newly created LLC, but the founders have a long history of horror, and have worked with actors such as Sid Haig from The Devil’s Rejects, and much of the cast of The Evil Dead. They are currently in post-production for the horror film, “Elder Island“, set for release in 2016. MILK-BLOOD was a semi-finalist for the 2015 Best Kindle Book Awards and is available in paperback, kindle, or audiobook on amazon.

A sequel to MILK-BLOOD is scheduled for release in early 2016. (And I, Julie Hutchings, gets to edit it!) “The sequel is some twisted material,” says Matthews, “but with a purpose. Horror without heart doesn’t appeal to me, and I don’t think to many readers.”
To celebrate the movie contract, the author is offering up to ten vouchers for a free kindle download on amazon. Just email your request to WickedRunPress@gmail.com

Interested in some MILK-BLOOD? Well, you’re in luck. Below are five codes for free Kindle Versions. Just be the first to enter one of the codes into this link here: www.amazon.com/acceptgift  and BAMN! free MILK-BLOOD to your kindle.
Gift Claim Code GS9TU9RCKPGTSAC
Gift Claim Code GS4WEEN9X355NCZ
Gift Claim Code GS6QTAT5HMSRFYC
Gift Claim Code GS99HX2C245U5DT
Gift Claim Code GSR4X27F4W8JWC9
Mark, congratulations, from the bottom of my heart. Couldn’t happen to a better guy.
 

Cover Reveal! HALLOWEEN NIGHT: TRICK OR TREAT

TODAY’S BREW: Caramel Apple Spice!

By Julie

I’M EXCITED ABOUT MY STORY IN THIS AWESOME ANTHOLOGY COMING OUT OCTOBER 27TH! CHECK IT OUT!

Graveyards, spirits, witchcraft, black cats, candy, and haunted houses.  

Strange things happen on Halloween. All Hallows Eve is the single night where the veil between the living and the dead is opened. And now spirits, monsters, and candy will collide!  

Seventeen authors and illustrators set out on a horrific journey to set the record straight. What really happens on Halloween night? Trick or Treating is not all fun and games. There are more tricks than treats scattered through these pages. Sure, All Hallows eve can be a scream. But sometimes, it’s straight-up murder. 

Halloween Night: Trick-or-Treat is a middle grade and young adult horror anthology that falls on Halloween night.  

Read if you dare! You’re in for a scare! 

FINAL-Halloween_night_large

Stories & Illustrations Include: 

Big Brother Zombie by Evan Purcell

Give Us Something Good to Eat by Rie Sheridan Rose

Halloween Ritual by Amy Giuffrida

Haunter by Ryan Bartlett

Hello Annie by Tiffany Morris

It’s All a Bunch of Hocus Pocus by Violette Ulalume

Knock, Knock by Jennifer Moore

Ms. Holstein’s Special Halloween Treat by Chad P. Brown

Night of Monsters by Matthew Wilson

Something Good to Eat by Patrick Hueller

The House of Sam Hain by Betty Rocksteady

Sweet Nothing by Julie Hutchings

The Ghost by David N. Smith and Violet Addison

The Peeping Trick-or-Treaters by Kevin Lewis

Tricks and Treats, and Chicken Feet by Shawn Anderson

What Lurks in the Darkness by Kathleen Palm

Halloween Night: Trick or Treat on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25673465-halloween-night Available October 27th!

More from the Publisher

Hocus Pocus & Co. believes in in all things scary. We are a small publishing house that wishes Halloween was all year long and loves what goes bump in the night.

Hocus Pocus & Co. is headed by Jolene Haley, who noticed that horror was an unrepresented category in MG, YA, and NA and is working hard to change that!

Hocus Pocus & Co. on the web: http://hocuspocusco.com/

Hocus Pocus & Co. on Twitter: https://twitter.com/hocuspocusco

Cover Design by Cara Vescio

Join the book buzz using hashtag  #HocusPocusReads

The Illusion of Routine and the Mad Scientist Mom by Julie

TODAY’S BREW: Pumpkin FacePunch. (This is what I named it because it is SO pumpkiny.)

By Julie

I realized a few minutes ago as I woke up and cleaned the kitchen, drinking a cup of coffee that I reheated from last night’s pot, listening to the kids fight over Matchbox cars as they slam onto the wood floor, that this is not what I usually do.

I also realized that what I usually do is an illusion. I have an ideal of what I want to do every morning, a routine that I like to think of as mine: Make the coffee, clean one chosen thing and make breakfasts while I wait for it to brew, do 20 pushups before I sit down to edit while the kids watch TV before school. But this is not even MY ideal.

This is me, working around a series of non-negotiables and squeezing in time to do what I want to do, which is write 1000 words, edit for clients, drink my coffee in peace and—happens AROUND the non-negotiables.

I also realized that my ideal routine—and I’m not talking about My Perfect Day Routine If I Was Only One Thing and Not Twenty Each Day—my ideal routine that involves the things I need to do and want to do and the incidentals that prevent me from doing them seamlessly DOESN’T WORK.

It’s okay that it doesn’t work. Routines need to change consistently as your non-negotiables grow and real life gets in the way. I’ve always been of the mindset that you need to change your routine or things will always go exactly the same.

I can’t do anything NEW if I do everything the same.

I can’t grow if I don’t implement change.

I can’t be excited about doing if I’m always doing the same things.

If I really change my routine all the time then routine becomes experiment—and experiments fail.

To be clear, I’m happy. My stuff—all my stuff—is working. But it could work better. This is the first month of school drawing to a close. All new routines for everyone in the house. I am the captain of the routines—their routines are dependent upon my implementation. So now that I have found what works for my family, I have to adjust my routine accordingly.

I don’t come first in the planning scenario. That’s okay. I’m going into October with a few new thoughts:

  • MY time and needs are still important and non-negotiable despite being the last to get planned. Timing and importance are not the same thing.
  • Having multiple routines in the house that I am the captain of means that I have a crew. A crew means that everyone has responsibility that I hold them accountable for. The new change that I have to implement is that responsibilities are not favors to me—they’re important to everyone. (Bringing dishes to the sink and navigating your own quiet time are responsibilities to yourselves, kids. Not favors to me.)
  • My time to do necessary things needs to feel less like stolen moments—even if they are. Otherwise my time to do stuff I just feel like doing makes me resentful.
  • Implementing accountability and realization of responsibilities for a whole family takes time. If I don’t take the time to set those up now in light of all the new stuff we’re doing, I will regret it later. Also known as: THE EVOLUTION OF THE CHORE CHART WHICH NEVER WORKED ANYWAY.
  • CHECKLISTS AND CALENDARS AND ROUTINES ARE NOT THE SAME THING. Chew on that one for a while, organization freaks.

I guess at the end of this whole seemingly well-organized ramble, what I’ve realized is that my responsibilities need to be as important to my family as theirs are to me. We’re a crew. While writing, editing, and all the things that contribute to that are MINE and belong to me alone, respecting what each of us does as individuals on the crew has always been part of our routine. Growing how we view each other’s non-negotiables is how we grow our respect for each other and ourselves. It’s that perfect balance of routine and individuality and growing great kids that value themselves and people that I don’t just want and demand, but that I’ve already started. This is the next stage. Life is an experiment and one that almost never seems to totally blow up on me, so I look forward to this next phase of life with a smile on my face and a stack of calendars and lists in my hand.

The Muse Can Suck So Many Eggs by Julie

TODAY’S BREW: Pumpkin spice. Like you had to ask.

By Julie

I’m a huge Chuck Wendig fan, and one of the greatest reasons I love him is because of his JUST FUCKING WRITE policy. Like this one: http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2015/09/15/dear-writers-and-creative-types-you-dont-need-motivation/

I make no bones about how much I hate this elusive goddamn muse everyone talks about.

“I can’t write today, my muse is missing.”

“I have no inspiration to write, my muse is being lazy.”

“I could be writing but the muse wants to watch ten episodes of whatever this tv show is.”

This inspiration that has to punch you in the frigging face in order for you to write your book is an illusion. That broad works for you. You call the shots.

This isn’t a post about how you have to write every day or you’re not a writer. This is a post about how I make the muse show up for work and half the time I send her home because I don’t need her.

“How do you come up with your ideas?” We get this one a lot, right writers? Few of us have an answer. Our brains are built that way, we think in stories. I fuel the brain to make the stories. If you have a tough time finding inspiration, try this stuff. Because getting the inspiration is great—that blast of dream sequence brilliance that suddenly turns into a book? Love it. It’s fun. But writing is my job. So I work for it. I earn that inspiration by searching for it. Here’s some stuff I do to keep the ball rolling:

  • I get a scrapbook. One of my favorite places to get a really beautiful one that begs to be touched is https://www.etsy.com/transaction/1029658438. I fell on the Halloween one pictured and it took my breath away—how perfectly it fit THE WIND BETWEEN WORLDS. Now I have a spot to put all the little things that remind me of my characters, and build upon. THE WIND BETWEEN WORLDS started with one picture in a magazine. Then I built upon them by asking questions. What’s the relationship between these six girls? What’s different about them? What do they DO? Who’s the strongest, meanest, funniest, etc…? And I gathered things that spoke to me about each of them and putting them together in a scrapbook helped me keep them all distinctly different, but with an overall tone, a feeling that united them.
  • Coincidentally, I didn’t FIND stuff to put in the scrapbook–I SEARCHED for stuff. Celeste is the Witch of Stars. Suddenly I was looking everywhere I was for stars to put in the scrapbook. Then it became that I was looking for the colors associated with her—silver, purple, blue. I’d bribe the kids to let me dig through the clearance bins at the craft store, I’d look through things I’d saved over the years that could fit in. I search eBay, Etsy, Amazon, Pinterest of course….. Things that struck me I’d ask myself why they did, and how it related to the book. Sure, maybe I’d fall for a dinosaur soup ladle and that had nothing to do with anything. But a lot of times I’d come across something I knew would be in Celeste’s bedroom, a lipstick shade I knew one of the Witches would wear, a map, a piece of jewelry, all kinds of things that would be in their world. And the scrapbook filled up. More importantly, I was ALWAYS looking for things to put in it. Every place I went provided an opportunity to add ideas, to thicken the soup. Oh, maybe the ladle had something to add after all.
  • I think about words. No, I’m not kidding. Words that sound good together, pretty poetry, gross words mixed with beautiful words, and I write them down. And I build around them. I heard once that you buy a piece of art and build the room around it. I do this with words. The line, “I swallowed a Hell splinter,” spawned THE HARPY. THE WIND BETWEEN WORLDS was a phrase that showed up in my head after seeing the magazine picture that gave me the idea, and I wrote around it. Write all the words down, whether they mean something or not. Then MAKE THEM MEAN SOMETHING IF YOU LOVE THEM.
  • I read magazines LOOKING for something to spark interest. Good interest, bad interest. A phrase, a look in the eye, colors that do or don’t go together, a picture I HATE and ask myself why, then make a character that would hate it too, etc…. But I never read a magazine just to read it. I’m LOOKING.
  • When I can’t think anymore and I do Buzzfeed quizzes? I take them from my characters’ points of view. You’d be shocked at what this does for me.

I have tons of this crap that I do. I won’t go into all of it here, but what I want you to get from it is that if you WANT to write, everything you do, see, think, don’t think, is story fodder. It’s all in the pot. Store shelves, movie theaters, commercials, tourist traps, museums, zoos, the post office, they all offer something. Because I want them to. No minute is wasted, but it doesn’t feel like work even though it is. I want to do it too damn badly. The muse can take notes.

COVER REVEAL AND GIVEAWAY! Young Adult Horror, HARROWED by Jolene Haley and Brian LeTendre

TODAY’S BREW: Pumpkin spice! Get used to it.

By Julie

I’m so excited for this cover reveal. For this book. For my dear friends Jolene Haley and Brian LeTendre, folks with hearts of gold that write like the dickens. Not Charles Dickens, just some other dickens. And WE NEED YOUNG ADULT HORROR. Anyway, LOOK:

Harrowed-Cover-Reveal

Young Adult Horror coming 9/22/15 by Horror Twins Press! Harrowed on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25728924-harrowed

Woodsview Teaser _1

ENTER TO WIN HARROWED!: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/YTdmM2RlYjFhMDQ0NmM1YWQxNjA5MTk3ZGNiYTk3Ojg=/?

ABOUT HARROWED:

Journalism Rule #1: Always report the story. Never become the story.

Avery Blair has accepted the fact that nothing exciting ever happens in her small town of Woodsview, Massachusetts. As the editor of the high school blog, she prays for something—anything—to come along that would make for a great headline.

When Beatrice Thompson’s body is found in the girls’ bathroom, Avery has her biggest story ever. The rumors circulating the school say that Beatrice took her own life, but Avery doesn’t believe it for a second. Her instincts prove true when the next day brings another body bag.

The tiny community of Woodsview has become the hunting ground for a killer known as the Harvester. The killer targets Avery and her classmates, stalking their every move and terrorizing them with morbid messages.

With the help of her boyfriend Jason, her best friend Quinn, and an aging detective who can’t keep her off the case, Avery dives head-first into her own investigation. She discovers that the secret of the Woodsview Harvester is buried in the town’s history and its annual Harvest Festival celebration. With every clue she uncovers, Avery grows closer to unmasking the killer—and becoming the next victim.

Avery Blair has finally found a story to die for…if she can stay alive long enough to write it.

Harrowed on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25728924-harrowed

Brian LeTendre Author Pic

Brian LeTendre is the writer of the Parted Veil horror series, which includes Courting the King in Yellow, Lovecraft’s Curse, and Lovecraft’s Pupil. Brian currently writes a webcomic called Mo Stache, which can be read for free online and will be collected in print in 2016.  Brian lives and works in Massachusetts.

Brian on Twitter: https://twitter.com/SeeBrianWrite

Brian’s Blog: http://www.seebrianwrite.com/

Brian on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Brian-LeTendre/e/B00AGFTZFA/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Brian’s Podcasts: https://soundcloud.com/seebrianwrite

Jolene Haley Author Pic

Jolene Haley is the author of the Woodsview Murders series, Harrowed (out 9/22/15) and Haunted, coming fall 2016. She’s also the curator of the best-selling horror anthology The Dark Carnival through Pen & Muse Press.  She runs a YA horror blog The Midnight Society, the author resource site Pen & Muse, and Hocus Pocus & Co., a small horror press.

Jolene on Twitter: https://twitter.com/JoleneHaley

Jolene’s Blog: http://jolenehaley.com/

Jolene on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7753660.Jolene_Haley

Jolene on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jolenelouisehaley

Woodsview Teaser _5

I CAN WRITE THREE BOOKS AT ONCE OR MAYBE NOT by Julie

TODAY’S BREW: Pumpkin anything.

By Julie

SUMMER IS OVER. Also known as The Dark Night of the Writing Soul, at least for me. Our summer was awesome. My little boys were happy most of the time just being home. So wonderful and weird. Last year we had a difficult summer—okay, it was an absolutely torturous summer—and this year it was twice as easy. But tiring. My days were a tumult of park visits, querying THE WIND BETWEEN WORLDS, endless games of chess, Uno, Rummy, doctor visits and therapy appointments, playdates, editing for clients, readying for THE HARPY release, maintaining a sort of working household….. so many things.

And also plotting books.

Every summer I say, “By the end of the summer I’ll have X Book’s first draft finished!” I never do. Then I put this wild deadline on myself to finish the project in the first month of the school year. Too hard. So this summer I gave myself a break and didn’t pressure myself to write 1000 words a day. Instead I planned. I planned a lot.

Turns out I planned three books, all of which have equal space in my head. I’ve been trying to figure out which one to write first: the final Shinigami vampire book, the prequel to THE WIND BETWEEN WORLDS, or the sequel to THE WIND BETWEEN WORLDS. (We need not mention the post-apocalyptic badass character that keeps popping up in my head.)

I tried, and tried to figure out which to write first. They all have a good argument. So guess what?

I’M WRITING ALL THREE AT ONCE.

Yeah, you heard me. A lot of it will probably be on paper, and one will emerge victorious in the race, but right now I’m feeling all three books.

NEVER SLEEP AGAIN.

DON’T YELL AT ME, I HAVE REASONS. HERE:

  • My writing routine changes with every damn book anyway. Why not make MASSIVE CHANGE? I make the damn rules around here.
  • For the first time ever I will have 2 hours five days a week to myself, now that both Sam and Ben will be going to the same school—five minutes from home. This is a luxury for me.
  • Editing business is strong. I’m busy. And the more I edit, the better writer I become. Also, as nuts as it is, the more I have to DO, the more regimented I become. The less likely I am to let free time slide.
  • With three books to work on, my 1000 Word A Day Diet will be easy to achieve. It will probably become 2000 words or more on some occasions. This keeps my mind healthy, and keeps me IN the books. And finally….
  • If it doesn’t work, IT’S OKAY. I will let it be okay. There are no mistakes in creativity. And if I find out there are, well, I’ll make better mistakes tomorrow. And trust me, I know mistakes. I could write a fourth book on HOW TO MAKE PUBLISHING MISTAKES. But there is one indisputable fact: I couldn’t fail unless I try.

Post Navigation