Deadly Ever After

Archive for the tag “sequels”

Getting Sappy About Sequels With Julie

TODAY’S BREW: The bottom of the barrel. Seriously, it’s the bottom of all the coffees, mixed together.

By Julie

Weeeelllll, maybe I personally haven’t done so well in the Back To School Book Beatdown. HEY, THIS WAS AN EXPERIMENT, AND I HAVE A LOT GOING ON AND BESIDES I HAVE A BOOK COMING OUT FRIDAY WHAT THE HELL DO YOU WANT FROM ME.

YES, RUNNING AWAY is finally coming out THIS VERY FRIDAY. But I already wrote that book. AND I MUST NEVER STOP.

I should be disappointed with myself that THE WIND BETWEEN WORLDS is suffering this month, but I’m not. I haven’t wasted a minute. And I deserve a little time to be excited about the sequel to my first book and prepare for that.

I’ve been doing some interviews and guest posts to get ready for the release of RUNNING AWAY this Friday, and it makes me FEEL things.

When I wrote RUNNING HOME, all five of those years, it was miraculous to see it evolve and be published. I’ve written since I was a kid. I went to college for it. It went from a hobby to a THING. And I made it that way. I wrote after working all day and taking care of my babies, and I finished it, FREEHAND. Didn’t even own a laptop. UPHILL. BOTH WAYS.

I went from sneaking around the stock room, telling my co-workers shyly about my book to shouting about it from the rooftops on this blog, at conventions, to agents, to publishers. I beat the world to death around me with it until I made it come out. I told the story of a woman who knew she was meant for something more, and how difficult finding out what that is can be.

And that character, and that book, changed my entire life.

The sequel somehow means as much if not more to me. Because I didn’t just do it, I kept doing it. I did the thing I wanted to do, and I was RIGHT goddammit. This is what I’m supposed to be doing. Taking the risk wasn’t just worth it, it was everything. This means everything.

Writing at home with my kids by my side, this is all I’ve ever wanted. I couldn’t ask for more than this. And yet, it keeps getting better. I have a fantastic agent, and that feeling of HE PICKED ME! never goes away. I have more books in the works than I can fit in my head. I have incredible friends in this business that give me the most selfless support I’ve ever had in my life. So yeah, I live the dream a little bit. I made the dream.

I know my kids will see that I worked for my dream. I started with nothing, I created it over and over and over, and I built on it and tore it down, and pushed it out the door then pulled it back in and never let myself stop. Some things are worth working tirelessly on. I will forever write the books that I need to write, and trust that the need will come across on the page. I want them to live lives with that much need. Hunger. Passion and energy.

So, yeah, maybe I didn’t get a lot written on the newest book this month as I wanted. I was being mommy A LOT, and that’s where my material comes from. And a couple of weeks over the course of my lifetime isn’t going to break the streak. The streak goes on.

*streaks*

ADD RUNNING AWAY on Goodreads! https://t.co/pYpl6swa8I

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

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

By Julie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Running Home by Julie Hutchings

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

Immersion vs. Obsession

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

By Julie

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

RUNNING HOME and RUNNING AWAY News!

TODAY’S BREW: Mint chocolate coffee and  BOOZE.

By Julie

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

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

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

Me, maybe.

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

YOU CAN GET RUNNING HOME FOR ONLY  99 CENTS!

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Getting My Life Back and Other Things That Might Save The World

TODAY’S BREW: 47 gallons of Chocolate Cappuccino laced with NyQuil.

By Julie

BOOOOOO, CHRISTMAS IS OVER.

I love Christmas, and am never happy to see it go. Ask my husband who will beg me to take the tree down, only to receive visions of me clinging to it, wailing. But I have to admit, today seems a little back-to-normalish in a really good way already.

THIS HAPPENED.

Sam, my three year old, who we also call “Frats” due to his Belushi hours and the inevitability of him wearing a beer hat long before he ever should, FELL ASLEEP BEFORE 9 LAST NIGHT.

This is a godforsaken miracle. I have been up with Frats until well after midnight, sometimes until 3 in the morning EVERY NIGHT for over a month. It happened around the time we introduced the Big Boy Bed. This made bedtime, normally a lovely routine for six year old Bennett and I, become a RAGING HELLFIRE DESTRUCTO DEMON PARTY THAT THREATENS TO CONSUME THE NORMALCY WE ALL KNOW AND LOVE.

So, if Mama is staying up until the wee hours of the fucking morning, that means I’m not waking up until way too late. Which means my day is starting without me, complete with kid breakfasts, dishes, laundry, Things To Do, kids to enrich, not to mention holiday here and theres to handle. So, yeah. NO WRITING A SEQUEL FOR YOU, JULIE.

I’m so close to the end of the sequel to RUNNING HOME, it burns little cigarette holes in my psyche. I long for my 5Am Writer’s Club and starting the day before anyone else knows it showed up. Last night, I hit the wall and lost my shit over the impending idea of spending another night up with Sammy and losing another complete day of writing.

Then, he fell asleep.

So, as fast as I could, I got my ass in bed, set my alarm to the tinkling sound of little chimes for 5 this morning, and I buckled down, showered and caffeinated, to work on RUNNING AWAY. Though I may be ever so slightly behind the schedule of my own making, I am back and invigorated to get this first draft done, and see the return of normalcy in my not so normal life. I’m dying to get this book into the hands of readers, and I want the first draft finished and tucked away by the time I leave for ConFusion in Michigan on January 17th. So, that is fucking happening, and two weeks too late, I may add.

You may recall that I have a ball busting writing regimen, and wonder how I’m handling that it did not go according to plan FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MY WRITING HISTORY. Well, I’m actually perfectly cool with it. Sequels are hard, yo. I’m okay with the plan falling to the wayside so that this book gets the attention it deserves. I want to do it right the first time. I don’t want to rip up half a crappy manuscript. So to have my routine screwed with is pretty okay. I’m a writer, rules aren’t really my deal, even if they’re my own.

Rules are, however, Sam’s deal. And that little walking Frat party will have his ass in bed before the sun goes down if that’s what it takes for me to finish this book by January 17th.

Flash Fiction Friday: Excerpt from RUNNING AWAY, the RUNNING HOME sequel

TODAY’S BREW: Egg nog coffee! For all the best things in life.

By Julie

I’m trying to breathe here, but it isn’t really working.

I promised you all an excerpt from the Bethlem Royal Hospital scene in the sequel to RUNNING HOME, and here she is! I didn’t give you alllll of it, but hopefully enough to whet your appetite and not feel spoiled. You very briefly meet a new character who I’m inappropriately obsessed with, and see something monumental for Eliza, right when she needs it. I hope you all feel it like I do. Thanks so much for reading.

Excerpt from RUNNING AWAY

*work in progress*

“You’re a Stephen King book waiting to be written, woman,” he said out of the corner of his mouth, nodding at a matronly nurse who looked like she could use a little mental help herself. “But I have to say, I’m impressed with how you’re holding yourself together.”

I tore my eyes away from the doors at the end of the hall, suddenly curious about him. “What was it like for you the first time you fed?”

The scent of old smoke from him. I wondered if it was consuming him or giving him strength.

“Angry. Sad. I didn’t want to do it, but I had to, of course. And the man I killed wasn’t ready. He didn’t want to die.” He was quiet, but the fire in him blazed so much I thought it might singe me next to him. I couldn’t believe the expressionless people around us didn’t feel it.

We went through the set of double doors at the end of the hallway, and I saw the sign for the kitchen. It was all I could do not to run there, leaving every questioning staff member and Kieran behind. I wanted her more than anything in the world.

“You knew the man,” I said before I realized I’d said it. I was transfixed on the kitchen doors, my fangs impossible to retract.

“I did. But how did you know that?” Kieran said from next to me.

“I don’t know. I’m sorry you had to do that to your friend. It should never happen that way.”

The kitchen loomed ever closer.

“You’re creeping me out, Eliza Morgan,” he said, but I couldn’t look at him to see how much he was kidding.

We’d arrived at the kitchen doors. They were as foreboding as all the others we’d passed with droning buzz that opened them.

“Do you want me to go in there with you?” he whispered.

Clara was whistling from the other side of the dingy white doors. I put my hand on the door, and wanted to cry.

“Yes, please.”

I pushed open the door, Kieran at my side.

The hospital kitchen was a jail cell in itself. Water-stained walls brought shadows of metal pipes to life, industrial puppets clanking and banging from within. Cracks littered every ceramic tile on the walls over the sink and stove, discolored and rusty like the slop basins and trash barrels around them. The cabinets would never be white again, the window never quite clear. One wall was cement, blackened in spots with age and damage. Every corner underneath the rusty metal work surfaces was brown with leakage and dirt that could never be hidden. Nobody may be looking there, but the grunge seeped onto the floor, as old as the horror that lived here. It was vacant of scent, not like any kitchen should be; there was no soup boiling, or cooking meat wafting through the air, or even cleaning fluid. Empty. The huge window over the sink housed a sadly spinning fan at the top, high enough that an inmate couldn’t reach it to escape.

And under that streaked window that looked out to nowhere, a gleaming thing in the yellowing disease of this place. Clara stood with her back to us, humming sweetly as her body gently shook with the scrubbing of dishes. Stacks more waited for the same. Stacks had already been done. And still, she hummed, despite the relentless filth here.

“Clara,” I said, not with a whisper. There was nothing to hide from her.

She spun on us, the whites of her eyes the brightest thing I’d seen in London.

“Oh,” she said, her fear spreading to a welcoming smile. She dried her hands as she walked towards us, her shapeless skirt swishing around her, and wiped a tendril of orange-ish frizz out of her eye. “I wasn’t expecting any visitors.” She positively glowed with simple happiness that was too good for the hospital, and yet so desperately necessary.

I hated what I was going to do, and wanted it even still.

“We aren’t really here to visit, Clara,” I said, looking as hard into her eyes as I could while her heart still beat.

Her eyes slid between me and Kieran. Panic set in, making her back away. God only knew the kind of danger she’d found herself in this place. But I would be the last danger she faced.

“What do you want? I don’t have anything,” she pleaded. Kieran was shuffling his feet in my peripheral vision, rubbing his fingers together, wishing he had a cigarette I was sure.

“Don’t be afraid,” he said, not knowing what else to say. She laughed at him. She may be sweet, but she wasn’t stupid.

But within a beat of her heart, her shoulders relaxed, and she stopped backing away. She looked at me, confused, but becoming less afraid, until there was no fear there at all. I made to walk slowly to her, but realized that was a human thing to do, a human thing that would frighten her again, make her think I was trying to diffuse the situation.

So I pictured myself next to her, and I was. She gasped, but her eyes remained unafraid as she met mine.

“That smell—“ she muttered.

“What do you smell?” I said. So, this was my first thrall. Designed especially for my victim.

She breathed in deep. “Peonies.”

I went cold at the mention of Kat’s favorite scent, the one she wore no matter what the season or event. Clara reminded me of her; the decided obliviousness to the cruelties around them. That light in them that created happiness wherever they went. Tears sprung to my eyes, and I touched Clara’s hair, remembering Kat’s red locks, and thought Clara’s might be that beautiful if she had the mind to bother with it.

“Clara, I’m so sorry for what I’m about to do.”

Her eyes welled with tears, and something in me responded.

“My mother had peony perfume,” she said quietly. It was hard to say who was more mesmerized, her or me. She gasped suddenly, a tiny noise. “And when she smelled just like that,” she said, pointing her finger at me, “a mix of lemon pie and peonies, I knew she had something bad to tell me. It didn’t happen often, but when it did, she put on a squirt of her perfume, and made me a lemon pie. She hated that pie, said it wasn’t sweet enough. I told her I had all the sweet I needed when I smelled her perfume and saw her smile. We were alone, you see. Always alone, and she was so sick. I loved her more than anything. Even when she had to tell me bad things.”

My throat was thick with tears I couldn’t bear to shed for her. I wanted to hold her, and kill her.

“You have bad things to tell me right now, don’t you?” she asked, entranced.

I closed my eyes ever so briefly, and hoped she had wonderful love in life. I hoped she wouldn’t remember how awful I was in her last breath. I wished it wasn’t all my fault. Kat, I wish it wasn’t all my fault.

“I forgive you,” she said.

And with a roar that deafened only me, I plunged my fangs into her neck.

 

Eliza and the Bethlem Royal Hospital: Julie Gets Choked Up

TODAY’S BREW: Something from Costa Rica. Or Target.

By Julie

THERE IS A BIT OF A RUNNING AWAY  SPOILER IN HERE. IF YOU ARE AFRAID, TURN BACK NOW.

I’m hot and heavy into the sequel to RUNNING HOME, and RUNNING AWAY has become a part of me. Eliza has grown, transformed, and her new life has been forged in a lot of suffering. When writing this book, I needed to pay close attention to keeping the tone and themes of it as dark and complex as Eliza has become, so when I wrote the scene of her first feeding as one of the Shinigami vampires, I needed to make it more than just a bloodfest. Embracing a little darkness when writing a vampire scene isn’t always hard, but keeping it a thing of beauty and depth without any form of eroticism is a bit more difficult. It needed to be significant, symbolic. The first feeding needed to carry a lot of the tone of the book, and so I took my sweet ass time working on it.

I knew where I wanted her first feeding to occur, and there is plenty of reason for it which I won’t be so cruel as to divulge to you now. It had to be a place that had patched-over horror, hidden ugliness in plain sight. It needed to be dank, riddled with ghosts, melancholy and be the variety of dirty that can’t be cleaned. And I wanted a pinnacle of light and glistening freshness in the middle of it that couldn’t escape her fate, no matter how brightly she glowed in its dimness.

http://stlawrencesbodmin.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/kitchen.jpg

Inspiration for my Bethlem Royal Hospital scene. The Kitchen. http://stlawrencesbodmin.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/kitchen.jpg

I was so disturbed by the research I did on the Bethlem Royal Hospital of London (http://wp.me/p2x7oj-j7 ) for our March Madness blog series last year that it never left my thoughts. I wanted to do more to commemorate what had happened there, to show my respect for this terrible piece of history the best way I knew how; to write about it. When the idea hit me to make it the scene of Eliza’s first feeding, it worked itself in so perfectly that I breathed a mental sigh of relief to write it. Now that it’s done, and the end of the book is just a series of falling dominoes, my pride in this scene is a little overwhelming. I mean, I’m kind of a jerk about it in my head. I love this scene and all the subtext to it, the meaning it has for all the characters–I just can’t wait to share it.

This Flash Fiction Friday, I’ll let you see it. I’m desperate to share it, and also entirely horrified about letting go of it. It still feels so much a part of me, entrenched in me. But I promise to loosen the grip, and give you some of this scene come Friday. Unless you don’t want me to. Then say so and I shall cling to it like a tiny life preserver for a while longer.

Spitting in the Face of Battle and Kicking Ass in the War

TODAY’S BREW: Water. I’m moving furniture.

By Julie

I shall tell you a short story. I have yet to determine if it is a sad or happy story.

We’re poor as dirt, right? That’s fine, I’m okay with it, my husband’s okay with it. We knew it would happen when I quit my job. We don’t need a lot, we have what we want. But of course, Christmas is around the corner, and this is the first time we won’t be able to just get what we want to get the kids. We have to plan, borrow and beg, make sacrifices, more of them, and hope for the best. We aren’t looking forward to Christmas any less, that’s for sure. Actually, I am super excited for this holiday, more than ever.

This is the part where I wonder when I’ll start seeing money from the sales of RUNNING HOME. Because, writer and reader buds, I don’t know if you know something nobody I know does, but there is no way in Hell to know what you’ve sold until that check shows up. It could be enough to pay for a car, or enough to buy the gas you’re putting in it. You just don’t know. But based on my Amazon rankings, where I rank relatively according to what others have sold, and the reviews, I thought I had a pretty good idea.

Apparently, I was shit wrong.

I never expected to get rich, or do much more than come out of the red, but to find out that I may not have even earned out my advance is like having a steamroller filled with demon blood run over my heart and then suck it out and pour said demon blood inside the aching cavity it left.

I am a positive, do it and do it well kind of person. I’m super easily pleased. I know there’s more I can do to sell books, that it’s a marathon, not a race, that it’s continuous and limitless. I have great faith in what I’ve built, the support I’ve had from the most amazing people on the planet, and I know that this is a stepping stone. Everything is going according to plan.

What troubled me about this figure was how much work I already did put in to promoting the book. The incredible blogs I’ve guested on, the contests, the reviews, the street team that busted their ass for me. Not to mention the revisions, the edits, the 5 plus years of working on my first novel. All that for a couple of hundred bucks?

FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER EVER EVER I WONDERED WHY I BOTHER WRITING.

I’m agonizing over a sequel to a book nobody cared about? My husband works 7 days a week so I can do this? That’s not fair. This is a charade, a fun hobby with a solid pipe dream attached. I had my fun, and now it’s over.

Writing is not the hardest work you’ll ever do, I don’t care who says so. It’s gut wrenching, has thrown me into depressions that last for weeks, has challenged me to find out things about myself I never wanted to. But lifting shelves over my head at 3 in the morning with a bunch of 18 year old girls trying to build a bra display, knowing that your regional manager who fucking hates you is going to say it has a scuff mark on it when she shows up the next day in her bitch scarf and pampered fucking Ann Taylor suit with her $200 hair cut that still looks like shit when you have bags under your eyes, your feet hurt from running in heels to fit old people for bras, and you miss your kids and husband because you’ve only slept for 3 hours is worse. That’s worse. (run-on sentence, anyone?) It’s worse to make phone calls at 8 in the morning to southerners who don’t want to pay their phone bills and call you horrible names is worse. Done that, too. Wondering what you’ve done wrong to make your 3 year old such a raging tyrant is worse. Worrying that you’re not giving your kids enough attention because you’re too worried about keeping your shit job is worse. Having to fire a 7 year veteran whose husband is out of work because she gave a discount to her neighbor is worse. Lifting literally hundreds of 50 pound bags of gravel in and out of a Jeep is worse. Getting sunburned and bitten by mosquitoes weeding someone else’s yard for 8 hours straight is worse. I’ve done all this stuff and then some. Writing is the second easiest job I have ever had.

Pet store manager is the easiest. And the most fun.

I have no right to complain that I’ve worked too hard to have earned hardly anything this early in the game. I realize RUNNING HOME has only been out for a couple of months. I am eternally grateful for every single person who ever picked it up, said “this ain’t half bad,” and am humbled that people connect with it. It’s all I ever dreamed of. I kid you not. It’s all I ever wanted.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t buy Christmas presents. So, I’m sent into the pit of despair where I wonder what the fuck I was thinking when I said this was the best thing I could do for my kids. My kids won’t go without presents, don’t think that. We’ll find a way to get them what they want, and what we want for them. We’ll still adopt a family for Christmas, because no matter how poor we might be at a given moment, there is always someone worse off.

BUT WHAT THE FUCK, I CAN BE DISAPPOINTED NOW AND AGAIN, CAN’T I???

You guys love this book! And you tell me so, to my face, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on Facebook and Twitter!

AND THAT IS WHY I WILL CONTINUE TO WRITE THE SEQUEL. I created something people are connected to, and that’s what my passion is.

So, I’ve done what I should do. I took a few days off writing. I moved all the furniture in the house to make it more Zen-like. I played with my kids, spent time with my husband, and read. And now, I’m ready to win the war, whether I lost a battle or not. Losing is all in the eye of the beholder, and it’s all relative. I’m still living the dream, even if I woke up faster than I wanted to. This is one stone in the path of a long road, and I’m ready to pick my head up and keep walking.

Thank you, everyone who supports me and all the writers out there that kick ass every day and create. I love you all for making it worthwhile.

WHAT THE HELL DO YOU DO ALL DAY? Progress on RUNNING AWAY

TODAY’S BREW: NyQuil, but just enough that I can still roam around and be parenty.

By Julie

Sure, sure, I’ve gotten these emails this week during the smashing week of BECAUSE THE NIGHT’s release:

Where have you been, Julie?  and

Our lives hurt without you, Julie. Come back to us.and

Please, tell us you’ll be back after BECAUSE THE NIGHT takes the world by wicked storm and you’ve had your brief hiatus to celebrate Kristen’s dreams coming true.

Okay, there’s a chance that none of those things were ever said to me. But now that you mention it, Julie, what the hell have you been doing, you lazy bitch?

Hey, I’ve been writing, don’t look at me like that! Put that pitchfork down! What the hell?!

*clears throat*

I hit 55,000 words on RUNNING AWAY, the sequel to RUNNING HOME last night. YEAH HUH, I DID TOO.

Oh, also, IT WILL NEVER, EVER END. The end is not almost near.

To update you on how my progress is after I wrote the little post about how I refuse to have my ass kicked by this novel, which, in all fairness, is a little daunting, I’m swimming with it easily. This book is going great. There’s so much happening, it’s like a whirlwind of life slapped Eliza in the face then kicked her a few times, but she still looks good despite being in her pajamas the whole time and having hamburger bun bits under her fingernails. There’s a new cast of characters, building upon some of the old ones, new surprises, old resolutions.

Also, we’re in Japan now, on a mountain top temple that may or may not exist to the ordinary human eyes, and hundreds of vampires live there.

Originally, RUNNING HOME was written completely by hand, so I had no idea how long the book actually was. Turns out that it was really two books, so RUNNING AWAY had a great start. But after revisions and making RUNNING HOME everything it should be, the sequel needed new work, too. So I have a pile of binder clipped loose pages, a bunch of handwritten notes that don’t go together, and random thoughts on more random word documents in my laptop machine to sift through as I write this book, to see what fits. Then there’s the occasional research on a place I have never been and a language I scarcely speak. There’s new mythology to thicken the familiar one from RUNNING HOME, so making that seamless is a job. It’s a process that’s different from writing THE HARPY and THE ANIMAL (which has yet to see the light of day) in that it’s just plain slower.

That being said, I’m still miraculously on track to finish the draft by the end of November. Some days I can write my requirement of 1,000 words, other days I can do 2,400.

But one thing I have made sure to do that’s a little new for me is to make sure I STOP.

I stop before I’m exhausted. I stop before I WANT to stop. That way I’m always fresh and ready to hit it again the next day. Slow and steady is winning this race. It’s easy to say “I’m on a roll!” and write for hours and hours, but that isn’t the long haul smart idea.

My writing process has to change with me. There can’t be one process that works all the time for every book BECAUSE REASONS:

1.  Every book is different. DUH.

2. If you do the same thing every time you write, how do you grow as a writer?

3. Writing is an experiment. If you don’t mix it up a bit, you never discover the next best thing.

I’m a pantser. I don’t have an outline, per se, ever. Like, ever. But a new thing I have to do for this book is at the end of every writing session, I write a quickie bullet point whosey that says what I need to focus on the next time I sit down. It helps keep me on the straight and narrow. Also, I’m writing this book basically music-free. It’s HARD, yo. But I need a lot of quiet for this one.

Now, I’m no hippie, so there are some rules that I have stuck to. In a former post, I gave a THIS IS HOW IT’S GOING TO GO sermon, and I’m on point. (See how I make it my bitch here http://wp.me/p2x7oj-wj). My timeline has changed a bit, but the essentials are still in place. I’m nothing if not a motherfucker about hearing the phrase, “my muse is hiding,” and “I’m just not inspired.” Hell, no. This book works for you. You’re the creator, make it do what you want, when you want. Don’t let some mystical fucking force call the shots on your idea. So, yeah, RUNNING AWAY is going according to plan.

Thanks for giving a crap! I shall post an excerpt, maybe, one of these days. If you’re good.

YOU DON’T SCARE ME, NEW BOOK. A story told with Matrix images.

TODAY’S BREW: Caramel Apple Coffee because that is a real thing!

By Julie

I’m a bit of a writing jerk, I’ve realized. I never have had the dreaded writer’s block, and when the time hits that I feel like I have no new ideas, I get one just from being angry that I haven’t got one. They may not be the next Cathcher in the Rye, but when I settle down to write a book, I do it. The words come.

I began re-working my first draft of Running Away, the sequel to Running Home September 3rd. It’s a mix of new material, and a first draft that is so old at this point it’s like the grandmother of books. So, there’s WORK involved, and writing a sequel is HARD, yo, because you have to make sure you give enough basis that a newbie would understand the book if they hadn’t read the first one, but weave that information in seamlessly and in a storytelling fashion, that doesn’t take the reader out of the moment.

So, the whole thing has made me a little slow on the uptake with this book. I don’t like that. I have what the husband calls the ME FIRST attitude. I always go first, it’s sorta my thing. I don’t hesitate. You can’t hesitate in life, or you’ll miss it.

Right now I feel like this.

RUNNING AWAY IS SAYING “STOP TRYING TO HIT ME AND HIT ME!”

I am tired of pussyfooting (pardon my French) around this book. Time to write it and if it sucks, write it again and again. But it has to be dove into. This is the point in all those boxing matches when everyone starts yelling “HIT HIM ALREADY!”

Time to hit the book. Time to get whatever crappy words down I have, and then make them better, and better still. This is different from the way I usually work. I write sparsely, and make every word count, then go back and embellish. I leave a good 10-15,000 word opening at the end of a first draft, so that I can ADD instead of DELETING words that I labored over. I did the deleting thing with Running Home. No thank you, Writing. No thank you.

But every book I write has its own process. My process for Running Away is different, still. That’s cool. It means there’s a new thing to be learned, and a new challenge to master.

SO HELLS YEAH, I’M READY TO WRITE A BOOK. I’m ready for you all to meet the new characters, one of which I am in love with to the point that even Nicholas would be jealous. And I’m dying for you to see the way Eliza is transforming. How she plummets into her own despair, and what changes in her, for her.

And I am absolutely dying to see what these changes do to me.

Bring it on, Running Away. Bring it on.

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