Been reading. Recommends.

Thanks to my friend, author Anny Cook, I read my first official Regency. LOL! Seriously – LOL! The book was off-beat, atypical, laugh out loud funny and no – there was essentially zero sex, which I very much appreciated in my current nonpron mood. Rake’s Ransom by Barbara Metzger.

Rake's Ransom
Entertaining as all get out.

My dear friend, author Penny Watson, introduced me to Cecelia London, author of The Bellator Saga. I read the first book, Dissident. Cecelia brings her characters to serious life. They are no holds barred, alive. I can see and hear her protagonists speak. They speak to me. If you hate a series, well, all I can say is don’t read it– the book ends in a big old cliffhanger. If you love a series, go for it. I’m on my way to Book Two.

Dissident
Pretty cover!

If you want to be all sad and inspired and, well, simply feel, read When Breath Becomes Air, by (the late) Paul Kalanithi with an introduction by Abraham Verghese. It will make you cry. I’m not sorry for that- there’s no avoiding tears.

When Breath
A beautiful book.

So now you got some good recs. Go! Read!

 

Pre-Release Gitters! Or Glitters! A Matter of Taste!

AMatterofTaste_antho

It’s almost here. A collection of foodie sweet, semi-sweet, spicy and extra-spicy romantic tales. Check it out. Here’s the link:

A Matter of Taste, from the Sweet to the Spicy, Romance for Every Palate.

Everyone participating in this collection is so different, so cool, such excellent writers! A great bunch of female foodie and wine-y authors. Each one of us is different, each perspective and style, unique. These stories are fun. I recommend you reserved your copy ASAP.

Gimme Some Sugar, Stephanie Berget~Pastry Chef, Cary Crockett, is more at home with city life, cupcakes and croissants than beef, beans and bacon, but she has to convince ranch owner Micah West she’s up to the job of feeding his hired hands. The camp cook on Micah West’s central Oregon ranch has up and quit without notice and his crew of hungry cowboys is about to mutiny. Maintaining a hands-off policy toward his sexy new cook becomes tougher than managing a herd of disgruntled wranglers. Spicy.

A Matter of Taste, J.R. Barrett~How to Make the perfect man: Once cup of mystery, one cup of tall, one cup of dark, one cup of sexy. Joy is thrilled to inherit her grandmother’s handwritten recipe book. There’s magic between those covers. She just doesn’t know how much magic, and which covers… Spicy.

Queen of Diamonds, Sandra Cox~Logan Hunter is a bestselling author with a penchant for the ladies. Kendall Theron, his efficient publicist, is prim and colorless- at least on the surface. Beneath the proper facade is a woman who will do anything to protect her family…even if it’s not quite legal. Sweet.

Anything You Want, Tina Donahue~With the big three-O only days away, Jamie has had it with dieting, exercises and being alone. Off she goes to Wicked Desires, a decadent Caribbean resort where clothing is optional but carnal and physical appetites rule. Her desires are perfectly in tune with two Alpha billionaires, Creed and Tav, determined to show Jamie a good time, complete with all the food she craves and a wicked touch of BDSM. Extra-spicy.

Hard Copy, Amity Grays~Aubrae Sloan is paying the piper-a handsome business tycoon she has unintentionally libeled. The cost? She must pose as his fiancee and accompany him to a vineyard in Southern Idaho. The plan is to avoid a lawsuit by helping him win back the land her rather scathing article has cost him. Semi-sweet.

100 Kisses, JW Manus~When baker Molly Larsen accidentally poisons the grandmother of scary, sexy billionaire Blake Connor, he demands she make amends. He wants his pound of flesh in the form of 100 kisses. His terms are any time, anywhere, and Molly cannot refuse Blake- or else. Sweet.

Announcements.

Will be offline for a few weeks in early September.

For the time being all my books are available on Amazon exclusively. Nothing personal. This is a financial decision, but it is not set in stone. I will be evaluating the situation daily.

One of these days I shall get around to telling the my story. In the meantime, keep writing. It’s food for the soul.

Julia

What are you waiting for? Like I tell my dog, 1, 2, 3… Write!!!

Go ahead. Write. What’s the worst that can happen?

Well, let’s get this over with.

I’ll tell you the worst– you fail. You fail miserably. Few people read your book. Those who do say you suck.

Done.

That’s it.

Don’t give up your day job… yet. (And never ever ever respond to bad reviews.)

I kept my day job for five years after I published my first book. And if I still had three kids in college at once I’d be working at least half-time.

If readers say you suck, keep writing. You will improve. Practice doesn’t make perfect but it makes better.

Write your book. Get some help with editing. Get some help with formatting. Get a cover. These things are not expensive. I know, I do it all the time. Uploading to D2D and Amazon is easy as pie. If I can do it, you can do it.

One, two, three… Write!

Tell a story in your head.

When I was a kid, I put myself to sleep every night by imagining myself as a character in a superhero comic. Sometimes I was the superhero (a girl regardless of the sex of the superhero), sometimes I was the villain (again, a girl), and sometimes I was the Polly Purebred heroine who needed saving. It was fun and, more important, it exercised the storytelling synapses of my brain. Keeps brain muscles from atrophy.

To this day (or night) I put myself to sleep by creating a story in which I am one of the main characters.

Do you do this? If not, do you want to do this?

It’s easy.

Pick a story, any story. Could be a Nancy Drew mystery, could be The Hunger Games, could be Outlander. Pick a body, or rather, a character, for yourself– either a preexisting character or make up an entirely new character and insert her/him into the story. Now, rewrite the story in your own words. Tell the story you would tell had you written that particular story.

I’m not suggesting you write fanfic. Except in your head.

I’m suggesting you grow your writing chops by learning from other genre writers. I prefer genre work because genre writers generally create more compelling, more romantic, and more relate-able characters. I’m not about to insert myself into War and Peace, although I’ve stuck myself into The War of the Roses plenty of times. (That Edward the IV was a hottie in his youth!)

Heroic books that make for great imaginary fanfic – Jane Eyre. Shogun. Outlander. Your favorite romance novel- insert title here ______________________________________________. Historical fiction. Norse mythology. Comic books– great for beginners. I mean, c’mon, who doesn’t want to fly or become invisible or shrink or make crazy weather? And Thor? He’s the best! Always been one of my faves.

Go for it. Like choose your own adventure. Rewrite your favorite stories in your head. Work those abs! Uh, I mean brain cells!

One Writer’s Manifesto– for my dear friend, Penny Watson.

Listen up, girlfriend, because I’m about to spill a writer’s most sacred secrets.

The cardinal rule of writing: and this little gem is going on my tombstone~ Fuck ’em if they can’t take a joke.

A writer’s world is personal. First and foremost. A good writer writes her truth. Her truth will resonate with a certain audience precisely because it is truth, a universal truth if you will, and her particular audience will see and feel her work for what it is. The secret to every compelling story? A kernel of truth.

Can you please all the people all the time? No. Can you please some of the people some of the time? Yes.

Rule number two: Writing is like believing in God (God is most definitely a verb.)– it is, was, and will always be a leap of faith. Scary shit, right? Do it anyway.

Rule number three: Never take advice from other writers. Except me, and even then take my advice with a grain of salt. Other writers have their own styles and their own agendas and agendas tend to rule the day. Write your story in your voice. Don’t sweat the small stuff. The small stuff is easy to clean up.

Rule number four: Writing is hard. Good writing is especially hard. A writer must do the hard thing. I’d love it if my books wrote themselves, but they don’t. The way to do this hard thing? And here’s a real piece of advice~ write in the present moment. Do not look ahead. If you consider how much you have left to write you will grow discouraged. Therefore live in denial. I repeat, do not look ahead. To paraphrase Alcoholics Anonymous – write one word at a time. In the end you will be at the end. Seriously. The End comes at The End.

Rule number five: Do not fear the story. I know… I know. A story is like Frankenstein. A serious monster. But Frankenstein lives because of us. Or, if you prefer, think of your story as The Golem. You create a man (Golem- an unshaped form) from clay and give him life or shape. How do you give him life? Well, in one version you write the word EMET, or TRUTH, on his forehead. So we’ve come full circle. Truth gives life to the otherwise unformed story.

I’ll end with the following words of wisdom~ A writer’s gotta do what a writer’s gotta do, and There’s a sucker born every minute. (Attributed to P.T. Barnum, but he didn’t really say it.)

Love you, Pens! Julia