Deadly Ever After

Archive for the tag “running home”

Julie Gets Sappy About Living the Dream

TODAY’S BREW: Chocolate Cappuccino Something or Other

By Julie

Work/Life Balance is this unicorn everyone is always chasing, correct?

I finally have it.

I almost said I “think” I finally have it, but no. I do. I have it. At least for now. I might lose it again, but looking for it is fun, too. Trying to achieve is never a bad feeling. Exhausting, sure. But not bad.

Last night a book club in my neighborhood that’s been meeting for twelve years brought me to dinner (lobster ravioli and harvest sangria), and these wonderful women not only read RUNNING HOME, but loved it. We talked books, and the neighborhood, and kids, and I talked shop about being an author and that it’s what I’ve always wanted to do my entire life, and that I went to school for it, and that I had a great job and I got rid of it and we laughed and I was so happy. So grateful.

It’s one thing to be recognized in the world of publishing as a solid author. It’s another thing when your neighbors and the community you live in recognize that this is YOU.

Yesterday afternoon after school one of Bennett’s classmates came up to me and said, “I learned today that you’re a writer and you’re coming to talk to my class.” My heart stopped as it does every time one of these kids finds this out.

Friday I get to go to Bennett’s class and talk for an hour about drafting. They came home with packets about how a particular author they’re reading developed her novel through five drafts. I get to show these incredible kids and their incredible teacher that there’s not just one way to write the story you want to write. Everyone has their own process, everyone finds it on their own by trying. That getting it “wrong” in the first draft is an illusion–that the first draft is telling yourself the story, and every draft after that is about making it what you want it to be. Drafting, editing, revising–it isn’t about fixing what’s wrong. It’s about knowing what you want it to be and shaping it to be that. By your standards and nobody else’s.

I do a lot in a day. It’s not always easy, but greatness rarely is. Greatness by my standard–no one else’s. I get to bring my babies to school every day and bring them home. I got to carve pumpkins with Sam’s class on Friday, and host a giant trick or treating parade Saturday night. I learned that a novel I edited was nominated for the Bath Novel Award. I made scrapbooks with my kids and watched movies all weekend and write in short spurts, making every word count. Every single day we go to the park after school and my kids and their little troupe leave the swings behind and play in the woods, and their parents and I have made these amazing friendships while our kids play together. And while I worry about Christmas money and car inspections and new tires and rent, I remember that amazing literary agents are reading my latest novel, one that I believe strongly in, and growth comes with growing pains. And I remember that living the dream is exactly that–living it. Not getting it. But getting there. I want all these things: the bonding, the creativity, the time, the comfort. I’ve worked for it, I’ll work to keep it, and I’ll work to make it better all the time. Success for me comes in succeeding, and in all the steps it takes to get there. Feeling all the rocks underfoot in the road and smiling at the potholes. The potholes are deep, but my strength runs deeper.

Work/Life Balance isn’t just about time for me. It’s about meaning. Doing something meaningful myself, showing my family and community that they’re a part of that every step of the way. Seeing all the parts form the whole. The whole is my standard, and no one else’s.

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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.

Relishing Rejection with Julie

TODAY’S BREW: Target brand anything. It’s my favorite morning coffee.

By Julie

This week begins the dreaded querying. This is the process by which a writer boils down the book they’ve poured their heart into for a bunch of months into a letter that is one part storytelling, one part ass kissing, one part making yourself sound like you somehow enjoy writing query letters.

Yet, this is not what writers seem to overall hate about querying. That actual letter, that is the thing that makes me cringe. For most others, it’s the inevitable wait of six to eight weeks as you watch a thousand other books be born, all to be told nine times out of ten (or more appropriately 59 times out of 60) that:

  • while your storytelling is unique, I didn’t quite connect with the character
  • the story seems too much like XYZ book
  • in a crowded genre, the story and character would not stand out enough
  • it sounds wonderful but isn’t the right fit for me at this time
  • I wish you the best of luck

Rejection is the reason why writers generally hate querying. It’s disheartening to say the least. It’s not only a matter of “I didn’t like your book,” it feels like, “I don’t like YOU.”

I feel like a jerk saying that rejection doesn’t bother me. It really doesn’t and it never has since I began querying RUNNING HOME years ago. I’m not bragging. I hope to give you some of the same outlook for when you get that sonofabitching email in your box. This is my mindset:

I expect it. Rejection is part of the game. Just is. It’s low-level hazing. But know this as the rejections continuously roll in…..it only takes one agent to love it.

I wrote the strongest possible book I could write. This is more helpful when it comes to getting reviews. I just got a one star review a week ago. I harbor zero resentment. It wasn’t that reader’s cup of tea, but it is mine. If I wasn’t confident in my book, I’d hurt over every bad word said against it, but I love the book, know that it was the best book I could have put out then, and that’s why I write. Not to please everybody else. (Sorry, everybody else.) Now, when it comes to querying to agents, you really want them to love the book. Not just any ol’ reader but this specific person who you’re trusting with your life’s work. With that in mind, I submit the strongest book I can, and I listen to alllllll the feedback I can get. I take what works for me and I apply it. And what I don’t find useful for me, I discard. This isn’t a yes/no test. You won’t ever just GET IT RIGHT. There’s always something that can be tweaked in a concept, the delivery, the writing style….it’s evolution for every writer. But in the end, same rule applies…..the book is YOURS. Make it to suit you, nobody else. Be confident in what you’ve done and that means knowing when to listen to how it could be better as well.

Querying is a process of elimination. This is the most important element for me. This is the one thing I remember above all else, to the point now that I don’t have to remember it, it just IS.

MY BOOKS ARE COMING OUT. ONE WAY OR ANOTHER. REJECTIONS JUST MEAN THAT IT ISN’T THAT WAY WITH THAT AGENT OR PUBLISHER.

The agent is round one. If I don’t pick up an agent, or if I don’t find the right one for me, I go to small press. If I don’t find a small press (highly unlikely, as I love small presses and one in particular WINK WINK), I will self-publish. The book is coming out. All of the books.

BE DETERMINED TO GET YOUR BOOKS OUT WHEN THEY’RE UP TO YOUR STANDARD, AND REJECTION BECOMES PART OF THE PATH, NOT THE END OF IT.

Having an optimistic outlook doesn’t just mean that you think, “This is the agent that’s going to love me and they’ll land this publisher that I’ve wanted all my life and I’ll get the biggest deal and I’ll be on the red carpet in two years.” That’s the dream, and don’t get me wrong, LOVE THE DREAM. FANTASIZE ABOUT THE DREAM, STRIVE FOR THE DREAM. But I don’t make my dream my measure of success. If it happens, it will be the most lovely thing that I can ever, well, dream of. But success comes in steps and it comes in hard work. It comes with mistakes. It comes with burnt bridges. It comes with trouble and sadness and small victories and excitement and exhaustion. To me, success means I worked for it until I was absolutely satisfied with what I’ve made and I feel as though I’ve grown. Rejection can’t touch that feeling. The best part? You can feel that over and over and over again until you achieve the dream, or the dream changes.

Don’t reject yourself. Looking at that rejection letter, do not take the words “not for me” and make them in your tired little mind into “not for anybody.” Don’t turn “crowded genre” into “not a chance in hell, little person.” Don’t make “characters I couldn’t connect with” become “I couldn’t connect with YOU and nobody ever ever will.” Be honest with yourself IN BOTH DIRECTIONS….if the criticism is that the characters seemed one dimensional, ask yourself if it’s true for you. Do you think they could be deeper, really? If it’s not quite a standout concept, is there something you could do to make it MORE STANDOUT? But also, be honest in your own favor, too. Maybe the characters are deep enough by your standard. Maybe the concept is solid enough, and this just isn’t the right agent or publisher for you. Be a good friend to yourself. Be honest.

The triple bitch. I use this in everything that has to do with a book. IF I HEAR THE SAME CRITICISM THREE TIMES, I WILL FIX THE PROBLEM. If I hear it once, unless it really rings true, I don’t change a thing. I made the mistake before of listening to EVERY opinion and catered to them. It violated my honesty rule: I didn’t honestly think the changes made the book better and so I ended up going back to my original plan. And yeah, the majority can still be wrong, you could still feel absolutely the same about the way you did whatever the thing is that nobody likes. Again, be honest with yourself….would it hurt you to change it to be more appealing to the masses? Maybe. Maybe you want it your way and you’ll defend it. Or maybe it’s a little thing and if you change it, it might mean one less rejection and it didn’t affect the story or the characters for YOU in a bad way. I might be repeating myself here, but THE BOOK IS YOURS. MAKE SURE YOU’RE HAPPY WITH IT OR YOU’LL NEVER BE HAPPY WITH WHAT HAPPENS WITH IT.

Now get out there, writerlies. Be brave. Be ready. Be awesome.

JULIE ANNOUNCES ALL THE THINGS!

TODAY’S BREW: The Vanilla of France

By Julie

Holy mother of all Hell and creatures of many shapes and sizes, I HAVE THINGS TO SAY. So many of them, I cannot fit them all here but I will goddamn try.

First. FIRST. There’s this amazing podcast, Haunted Nights Live? Yeah, Christopher Rice was on last week. You know, CHRISTOPHER RICE. Go ahead, go listen:  http://t.co/vn8mGyiVeW. Then in a couple of weeks? Laurell K. Hamilton will be on. OH YOU KNOW, LAURELL K. HAMILTON. And right in between them, this Thursday, June 11th? OH IT WILL BE ME ON HAUNTED NIGHTS LIVE, BETWEEN THOSE FOLKS. You know, just Chris Ricey and ol’ LKH. Holy Christ.

Annnnyway, it’s on Thursday, June 11th at 9pm EST. Like Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights Live so you can get the heads up when I talkeroo: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Thorne-Cross-Haunted-Nights-LIVE/360703350753608 and/or also at Authors on the Air here: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorsOnTheAir.

PRETTY PLEASE LISTEN TO ME! I’m giving away a couple of signed copies of RUNNING HOME, and I have things to yap about and you know me….I have OPINIONS.

Also, I’ll probably talk about OH NOTHING, JUST THAT FINALLY, FINALLY THE HARPY HAS FOUND A HOME AND IT COULD NOT POSSIBLY BE A BETTER HOME I COULD NOT BE MORE EXCITED.

REUTS Publications has given the bitter, brutal, anti-Batman, Charity Blake a go. You guys. This is really emotional for me. Charity is close to my heart because she’s close to nobody’s heart. But you want her on the page. You guys are going to love/fear/want to hang out with/run fast from her.

For the full press release, and to read a little more about what to expect, here’s my new publishing home!  http://blog.reuts.com/julie_hutchings_signs_the_harpy/

But if you want some quickies, which Charity isn’t afraid to give, she’s a little of this:

charity burlesque

Maybe not that sweet though, she’s got a lot of this:

steampunk charityboozin

But with more booze and raw meat? Oh, there’s also some of this:

EvanRobbieBut also a place kind of like this:

harpies danteBut more fun than THAT, for crying out loud. Like this:

red hellAnd with folks like these:

harpy hell

harpy skull

But to lighten the mood, there’s one of these:

canary

You guys will be into it, I promise! Go add that girl on Goodreads! https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25665403-the-harpy?from_search=true&search_version=service_impr Support that you don’t always want the good girl to win.

Anyhow, thank you guys for being here when I want to blab at you and please listen on Thursday! YOU OWE ME. You totally don’t, but listen anyway.

Worldbuilding: Preparing to Build Your World with Julie

TODAY’S BREW: Fancee coffee from Mistobox because Sam won’t let me go to the store to get cheap stuff, and hasn’t for 3 days.

By Julie

A friend suggested I write a post on worldbuilding. My immediate response was, “I’m not good enough at it yet.” So, this is exactly why I’m writing a post on it.

It would be easy to write only about things I know, just like someone famous said about writing book, actually. If you know it, you have something valuable to add. Well, I think writing about things you’re unsure of is what drives you to become an expert in them. You try harder. You have to, or you’ll look like a jackass.

I didn’t think I built worlds all the time, but I do actually, and have a hell of a process for doing so. I’m going to do a short series of posts on what I do to build a world, because it’s hard work and something anyone can do if they put the work in. This post is about getting ready to build your world.

Even though I forge ahead and dive into my work as if I know exactly what I’m doing, I PREPARE to build a world.

I look to the greats: Chuck Wendig is always the first place I look. http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2013/09/17/25-things-you-should-know-about-worldbuilding/

I take notes. On important stuff like know the world’s rules to adhere to them, but the reader doesn’t need to know them all. Oh wow, that’s important. You know how you keep reading articles and lists about the things you didn’t know about Hogwarts? Because Rowling knew the rules, but we didn’t have to. You WANT to tell the reader everything…..but it’s “masturbatory,” as Chuck says. I realized that in exposition of a world you’ve made, the same rules still apply….. if it doesn’t move the story forward, it has to go. Not to mention that yeah, it’s cool to have a world where the author has thought of everything and goddamn do you know it, but I want to create worlds that INSPIRE and have tone. I want my worlds to have mystery. There’s a fine line between having mystery and coming across as half-cooked.

How do you not appear to be half-cooked? Chuck also says to know how the real stuff works in your fancy-land. Do your research. I know what vegetables and fruits grow on the mountains in Japan in winter, for instance. Add in the flourishes of realism that make your place real. You can only do that by knowing them.

The other guy I pay attention to is John Scalzi, who said something that I won’t forget. Make sure your world is 2 questions deep. http://whatever.scalzi.com/2009/08/21/worldbuilding-briefly/  On every page, if a reader asks why, I should have answers for that, and a backup answer for it. Again, if  the reader asks. I don’t have to give all the answers first. Let their imaginations wander.

I pay attention to video games. I’m not a gamer, but video games have worlds as complex as any novel on a good day. There’s a lot to be learned from video game worlds for a writer:

  • They’re visual. I can see the world. The trick is to look at the game like a writer. Everything is both complex and simply done. Lighting creates a scene. How would I describe the lighting, as a writer? Watch a bunch of YouTube clips of games and ask yourself questions. Just from looking at him, what do I know about that character? How would I say it in my words? That kinda thing.
  • Video games suck you in. So if I jump into a game mid-story, what keeps me there? How can I make my reader feel like they’re already part of a story that’s been going on all along? How can I make my world easily understood, but still deep? Games show you that.
  • Read articles written by gamers and designers. They tell you things.

Stop me if you heard this one, but I read books. Read like you’re looking to learn. This is why I read so strategically–I have an agenda. I read a book looking for something in particular. With THE HUNGER GAMES, I wanted to know how Panem was so convincing and steeped in so much history, without us being hit over the head with backstory. With DIVERGENT I wanted to see how the world shaped the way characters spoke, how mannerisms were a product of their environment. With Valente’s Fairyland series I look for the ways in which the world is painted so richly that I can see it but never feel inundated with description. So on and so forth. Take notes.

Make your world all over you like a cheap sweater. Notebooks forever. For THE WIND BETWEEN WORLDS, I have two 5 subject notebooks PACKED, a 3 subject notebook, a scrapbook, an inspiration board, a million Pinterest boards….. I keep track. I surround myself with the world as much as I can so it’s bursting onto paper when I’m ready.

I make the minutiae central, but only to me. Goddamn do I have fun with this. If my MC wears a piece of jewelry to represent her place in the world, I search for the damn thing. Etsy, Pinterest, Amazon, art shops, craft stores…. until I have the vision of the thing I want so deeply ingrained and have turned down so many options that the one I’ve created in my head is more real than anything I’ve seen. I hunted down a decades old magazine for a photo I saw on some website because the tone of it was exactly what the tone of a particular scene was. I gather up bits and pieces of things that contribute to my vision like a frigging bobcat making a nest or whatever bobcats do. I like to see it all in front of me so I can make it REAL.

Then when I start to write, I boil down the feeling of it all into very careful wording so YOU feel that it’s real. Building a world has purpose: to give the reader someplace they feel they know, or to give them somewhere to escape to. Sometimes both. So take it seriously and get yourself ready. Commit to it so the reader will be committed, too.

Then and Now: The Evolution of the Synopsis

Today’s Brew: Iced Honey Vanilla Tea. The obsession continues.

by Kristen

For some reason, this blog post always gets a ton of hits. We get a lot of searches for “the hardest paragraph to write.” The hardest paragraph to write is actually the one I’ve been dicking around all day instead of really concentrating on what I’m supposed to be doing, but whatever. This particular post is about writing a synopsis.

Twelve books later, it still sucks. Twelve books! You guys. Anyway, I know there are a bunch of contests going on, and constant querying and book readying, so I thought you may enjoy a comparison of what our synopses were in 2012 for our first books and what they became.

JULIE::RUNNING HOME
Then–
Ellie Morgan is used to losing everything. She thought she was comfortable with her life as an advertising executive, until she and her best friend both became captivated with newcomers to their secluded New Hampshire town. When fate connects her to Nicholas French, she is enthralled by his supernatural allure and his belief that she is meant for so much more. Ellie struggles to reconcile falling in love with the vampire who gives her the home she longs for, while being forced to make impossible choices, and sacrifice the unthinkable.

Now–
Death hovers around Ellie Morgan like the friend nobody wants. She doesn’t belong in snow-swept Ossipee, New Hampshire, at a black tie party––but that is where she is, and where he is: Nicholas French, the man who mystifies her with a feeling of home she’s been missing, and the impossible knowledge of her troubled soul.

Nicholas followed an abomination that is one of his own, but finds that fate has driven him to New Hampshire. He is a being of the Shinigami, a heroic vampire order that save their victims from more tragic ends. And he knows why Ellie is human repellent… why physical agony grips them when apart.

KRISTEN::BECAUSE THE NIGHT
Then–(it was called Immortal Dilemma)
College freshman Callie can’t wait to leave the confines of her sheltered life on Martha’s Vineyard to reconnect with her first love, Tristan.  Finding him is easy–he is the face of the explosive Vegas vampire rock scene and the star of his own reality show.  Getting close to this larger than life rockstar is more of a challenge.  Callie must weave her way through a constant stream of insatiable groupies, security guards, paparazzi, and all the other complexitites of Tristan’s fame to try to save him from himself.  She finds herself drawn to him by some inexplicable force, and finds what she’s looking for where she least expects it.  What is she willing to do for her happily ever after?

Now–
Sex, Blood And Rock n’ Roll

Immortal Dilemma is the hottest band in the Las Vegas vampire rock scene. They draw insatiable fans from around the globe, thanks to a supernatural attraction called Bloodlust. Tristan craved such an opportunity to fill his empty mortal life, and now he has eternity to earn his place along the legends of rock n roll debauchery.

Callie always feared that Tristan’s excesses would get him into trouble, but she never thought they’d lead him to immortality. To reconnect with him, she must weave her way through a world not only she had no idea existed, but does not welcome her.

Blade turned down a spot in Immortal Dilemma after learning what he must sacrifice for that lifestyle. He finds Callie a refreshing change from the girls in the vampire rock scene. When Callie drags Blade back into the world of Immortal Dilemma, his resistance drives her into the waiting arms of Tristan, who shows her the true meaning of Bloodlust.

But the very things that Callie fights so hard to save are the very things that fight to destroy her.

How Wearing a Tutu Was a Business Decision by Julie

TODAY’S BREW: Chestnut Praline Latte. (It has replaced the Peppermint Mocha for me. Also, I’m just drinking my crappy home coffee.)

By Julie 

The Undead Duo had our first book signing TOGETHER this weekend at Penny Watson’s Holiday Book Bash. It was also a Christmas party, so there were gorgeous alcoholic drinks AND NO I WAS NOT THE FIRST ONE TO BUY ONE but maybe the second.

But this was a business event. Forty authors, lots of publicity around Boston for it.

And I, Julie Hutchings, knew ahead of time I would be out of my element. Here’s why:

  • I knew two people there. Everyone else knew each other.
  • It was a romance writers’ party. I don’t typically read romance, I don’t write it, and forgive me for saying so, but I don’t come across as one either.
  • Everyone there would have a half dozen books published and know self publishing from the inside out. I have two out, the rest working their way through traditional publishing and small press.

Kristen has told me some of what to expect at a Romance Writers of America function, and I knew it wasn’t necessarily my crowd. But that has never stopped me. In a crowd that size with names more known than mine, a person could easily fade into the background.

Operation: Stand Out Like A Sore Thumb

Trying to fit in doesn’t work for me. Never has and I don’t want it to be something I ever do. Being as ME as possible is what works for me.

How to Be Julie For Business:

  • I bought a goddamn tutu for this event. Go big or go home. THIS IS IT (lovely lady pictured not me):

my tutu

It was my intention to walk in there and have all eyes on me. No shyness allowed.

  • We took the first table, right next to the food, across from the bar.
  • When Penny’s microphone died, I stepped up in front of the room full of strangers and said in my voice which is WOW, “PENNY IS DOING A GIVEAWAY NOW.” Then I announced the names for the giveaway with her.
  • I showed up with party favors. If my book wasn’t the thing sought after that day, I was going to make them remember it. So I thought of the thing that makes my book stand out to EVERYONE which is the strong scent theme. (The Shinigami vampire scent is tailored to appeal to specific people.) I made tiny stockings with a malted milkball and French Vanilla marshmallow “shooter,” a candy cane Hershey kiss, a Christmas cookie tea light with a sticker on the bottom that has a quote from Running Away on it, and a peppermint tea bag with a bookmark and all my links attached. “This tastes and smells like Running Home reads,” I said and handed them out to everybody. I didn’t wait for people to come to me, I went to them.
  • I STOOD UP. I didn’t sit behind our table full of books and stuff. I stood up and spoke to people. I did it first. I said, “Hi, I’m Julie,” and shook hands with a big smile on my face. (Sidenote: The next sentence out of everyone’s mouths was “Your tutu is amazing” or something close to. Easy conversation starter.)
  • When talking about going through a small press, I was loud and proud about having been the only woman published through Books of the Dead Press that summer, and still only in the company of a handful. It makes me different, special, and I’m proud of it. (There’s no such thing as a man’s world, baby.)

You know what? My plan worked. I sold books, gained some new followers, made friends, learned a bunch. I owned the crowd the only way I know how.

Writing a book is hard, publishing a book is harder, selling it is hardest. So sell what makes it unlike anything else out there: YOU. This works in all walks of life. Find the thing that makes you like nobody else in the world, and the thing that makes your product that way, and make the world know it. Be proud. Be you.

The Undead Duo Do Smart Things Sometimes

TODAY’S BREW: Tim got this Godiva pumpkin coffee and it’s almost gone and I might eat the bag.

By Julie

Holy hell, it’s Monday. Hey you guys know what’s available now?

Running Away Final Cover

THIS IS. IT’S THIS. THIS IS AVAILABLE.

That thing came OUT. Oh, you’d like to read it, you say? HERE, PLEASE DO. Amazon:

http://t.co/nDVwNx3b9z

OR OVER HERE.

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/running-away-julie-hutchings/1120408618?ean=2940046196108

I couldn’t be more excited at how well it’s been received, but I’m even more excited about how soooooo many people I respect and love came rushing to my aid to spread the word. (My Million Page Thank You Post will be coming soon when I can do it without crying.) This release was so much different from releasing RUNNING HOME, and I can barely type this without crying SO NOT RIGHT NOW. HERE IS A FUNNY THING SO I WON’T GET TOO EMOTIONAL.

Finally. Someone writes my biography.

Another important piece of literature, my biography.

I’ve had one of those dreamlike weeks that make me so stupidly happy I’m intolerable at best. The most recent of my HOLY JESUS, THIS HAPPENED moments was that I, Julie Hutchings, the person who sat on the edge of a bouncy house bumper last month, sunk to the floor on it and rolled onto the ground, me, I was on Chuck Wendig’s blog. If you don’t follow me on Twitter, you may not know that I command an army of raccoons in Chuck’s driveway and live in his trash cans. He’s my HERO. And he, (quote, unquote) “hands me the keys to Terrible Minds” this one day. If you want to know how surreal that is, go look. Go ahead: http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2014/10/02/julie-hutchings-do-the-thing-that-makes-you-bleed/

I feel like I’ll be riding the high of putting out a second book for a while, but that’s not what I want to yap about right now.

I want to yap about this gal:

IT'S KRISTEN, YOU KNEW THAT.

IT’S KRISTEN, YOU KNEW THAT.

This broad is publishing, by herself, her first contemporary romance, vampire-free. Not that she had a problem or anyth– well, it was a manageable situation with vampires, but there were a LOT of vampire books. So this is a huge change for the other half of the Undead Duo. The book is about people, and it’s close to home in a lot of ways, and it is very close to her heart. I’m wildly proud of her for putting books out period, let alone THIS book, and at a time when she’s working so hard at her other job that she can barely see to feed her bird. Not to mention that both of our lives have been so FULL lately that we scarcely see one another, and to not have that physical, in person support from the other makes publishing a difficult thing. I’m not even doing it alone and it’s hard for me. I don’t know how she does it.

Sometimes we text each other this when asked “whatcha doin’?”

Questioning all my life choices. You?

This is not one of those times. There’s no doubt in my mind that this book is going to be the one that turns a whole different set of heads. God, that sounded weird.

SECOND HAND HEART is going to be a stunner. It’s bringing something totally different to the world of New Adult, and I expect no less from Kristen. She never gives you something you’ve seen before. And I’m overjoyed to be a part of her blazing trails again.

I love you, heterosexual life partner. We did this thing, and we’re doing it still.

Painfully And Unapologetically Yourself: How To Do It Without Being A Jerk

TODAY’S BREW: Tastes like coffee. I think it’s coffee. It’s hot and I need it. That’s what she said.

By Julie

I wear a shit ton of hats. They don’t all always work together. Sometime preschool teacher’s aid at my son’s preschool, former Panty Peddler In Chief and corporate propaganda monkey, PTA member and writer of vampire books, lover of offensive horror and smut and punk rock and fishnets and leather and I also read to first graders. I’m watching Bubble Guppies while writing scenes about threesomes with strangers. I looked like a pretty, pretty princess in my wedding dress and my bridesmaids were covered in tattoos, my guests consisting of former bosses and pro BMX riders and elderly aunts and a dude wh0 makes his own leather body armor that he never removes. I drink like a fish sometimes, but I’m the most responsible person you know.

Talking with The Undead Intern Sara and Kristen about how much of yourself do you let leak into public, I’m a little extreme. Twitter, for example. I talk regularly with everyone from my friend’s little sister who’s obsessed with Nikki Minaj or whoever the hell she is to one of the most successful literary agents in the UK to gamer geeks to kids to old dudes and renowned authors to dominants and submissives and everything in between. I like who I like. Everyone has something to offer, and I connect with a lot of different people. Because I have a lot of different conflicting qualities in myself.

One thing that never ceases to make me say “hmmmmm” is that THE ANIMAL is pretty dirty. THE HARPY is edgy, racy, offensive at times. I’m sure I’ll write something else that makes the world shudder. That’s sort of my thing. I don’t plan to ever use a pen name because my brand is that I keep you guessing, that I give you what you wouldn’t expect, that I make you think and be uncomfortable, and find comfort in places you wouldn’t dream of.

What do you think my kids will think of that when their friends are old enough to know what I think about and write about for a living? I never want to HURT anyone, least of all my children. I never want to cause them embarassment or make them uncomfortable. I still haven’t worked out what exactly that will mean when my kids are in middle school. But I try to keep in mind that I shouldn’t underestimate the ability of people to handle what you give them. If I raise my kids to know anything, I want them to know that they should like what they like and make no apologies for it. They should pursue what makes them happy, no matter who disapproves. That appropriate is a state of mind, and handled intelligently and conscientiously, is both honest and accepting. That being who you want to be doesn’t always mean you’ll have to defend yourself.

I’ve gained more acceptance from people I would never expect by being unapologetically honest in what I say and do. I don’t hold back, but I don’t offend. I think before I act, but I don’t restrict myself. I make sure that what I say and do matters, and that I don’t just release the inner idiocy for the sake of FUCK YOU, I DO WHAT I WANT. There’s a difference between being offensive, inappropriate, and a leader. A leader has reasons. A leader has a greater vision and a duty to themselves. and wants you to come along for the ride. A leader accepts the faults in themselves, the chinks in the chain, and revels in yours, sees your oddities as assets, as beautiful. Your weirdness intoxicates the right people, inspires them. Be the person that sees the inner freak and says, “I like it. Keep it coming.” You, yourself are a work of art before you create one. Own your eccentricities and remember that the person you’re looking at, talking to? The middle grade kid, the IRS agent, the dog walker, the cashier, the CEO, your own kid…..they all have a thing that makes them wince to reveal. Be the person they want to reveal it to. Be that leader by doing it first and smiling when they show you theirs.

I’ve learned that putting every aspect of myself in the open for all to see shows me a lot about others. I don’t ever want to be the saleslady that says “I’m not showing you this, it’s out of your price range” to the grungy kid in jeans. That grungy kid in jeans might have a pocketful of cash from their super rich mom. You don’t know anything about the person you’re looking at until you open yourself up to it. By underestimating the people you interact with, you limit yourself. Don’t be an asshole. Know that the world is full of complexitites, and every single person in it has warring identities inside them, looking to come to a peace agreement. Get to know every one of them. There was a time when if some well-to-do sophisticate asked me what my book was about, I’d find any way I could not to say “vampires.” How the hell do I know that the suit doesn’t have a secret love of classic horror? I DO NOT. So, I don’t cringe anymore based on what I think will be the reaction. Because if I do that, the other guy will do the same thing about the thing he’s self-conscious about, and it’s one more nail in the coffin of being honest and confident in who you are.

I may have answered some of my own concerns in writing this. When I inevitably go to the parent-teacher meeting where my stuffy neighbor says “What filth have you written this time, Juie?” I’ll probably say, “the kind of filth you and a lot of people want to read.” It doesn’t mean that I even have interest in doing the things I write about. I don’t want to have a threesome with strangers in a restaurant bathroom. But I do want to write about the darkest corners of my characters’ minds, push them and make them utterly real in that they do things they’re ashamed of, do things that they regret.  I’ll apologize for hurting someone, but I will not apologize for who I am and what my interests are, and where my imagination takes me. I hope that translates well when some kid shows up with a copy of THE ANIMAL in Bennett’s high school classroom.

All The Undead News You Can Use!

Today’s Brew: Blueberry. I bought 2 boxes yesterday

by Kristen

Things have been busy around here, and it’s the good kind!  Julie is wrapping up edits on Running Away. My Night Moves will be out in less than a month.

But that’s not all we have to tell you about!

  • Running Home and Because the Night are now available at The Book Shack in The Independence Mall, Kingston, MA! If you’re in the area, please stop by and visit our books! We’re working on distribution in additional indie bookstores as well, but you always remember your first.
  • We have an intern!! We’ve known Sara forever, but it had been a while since we’d seen her. Now she’s back in our lives, and she’s a little bit Kristen, and a little bit Julie. Just like the Donny and Marie song but clearly so much cooler. Not only is she going to be helping us out with The Things, but she is writing as well! Her ideas are unique, well developed, and they will blow you away as much as they did to me and Julie. The coolest thing about when we asked her to share her stuff with us was she wasn’t the least bit shy about it. It took Julie and I a long time to get to that point.  I know you don’t believe it, but it’s true.

Without further ado, meet our intern, Sara!

Tell us about yourself. I’m a TV and media producer and costume designer, and sometimes a bellydancer, and now a writer.

What are you writing? Fantasy/sci fi, strong female characters in worlds that are fantastical and familiar.

 Fave food: I’m a total foodie, but Japanese food is my favorite.

 Fave movies: Chick flick: Fools Rush In. I’m Salma Hayek obsessed.  Under the cherry moon with Prince, and he talks in it. And best movie ever made is Malena. It’s Italian. Just watch it, don’t read the back or the reviews.

Fave band: Can I pick 5? Doro Pesch,System of a Down, Rage Against the Machine, Incubus, Pat Benatar. If you ask me tomorrow it will be slightly different. I feel single right now, not having one favorite band!

Describe your perfect day:  One when you  wake up naturally with sunshine, lots of sleep, see cool people, have cool conversations, go to the beach, and have an inventive meal.

I told you she was awesome! Stay tuned to see what Sara’s got up her sleeve!

And Julie will have more news to share tomorrow!

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