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Lies, Love, and Breakfast at Tiffany’s

So the conversation at home went something like this:

Me: ohmystars, ohmystars, ohmystars!!! Guys, guys, guys!

Family: What? What is it?

Me: I just got a starred review! A starred review!!!

Family: That’s great! Good job! How many stars?

Me (frowning): Well only one, but–

Family (now also frowning): Isn’t one bad? I’m pretty sure one is bad. Gee. I’m really sorry, Mom

Me (exasperated): No! This is good. There’s only one available. It’s just one star. You either get it or you don’t. I got the maximum amount of stars offered.

Family: . . .

Me: Never mind. I’m going to go tell my writer friends. (tells writer friends)

Writer friends: ohmystars, ohmystars, ohmystars!!!

Here’s the review:

Issue: September 15, 2018

   Lies, Love, and Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

By Julie Wright

Nov. 2018. 320p. Shadow Mountain, paper, $15.99 (9781629724874)

One-eyed Silvia Bradshaw loves movies, and she quotes from them frequently. Additionally, she bears a striking resemblance to Audrey Hepburn. But Silvia’s career is not in front of the camera but rather behind the scenes as a film editor. Her job as assistant to a well-known editor is consuming all her time, since she increasingly ends up doing all the editing work as well as trying to get her boss sober enough to attend important studio meetings. In the last hours for the final edit of an important movie, Silvia has to drag her boss out of a nightclub, and Ben, a great pal from her last job, steps up to help. With her boss so drunk he isn’t conscious enough to even look at the film, Ben helps Silvia finish the job. But their fledgling relationship appears ill-fated when they are driven apart by misunderstandings and lawsuits filed by a rival studio. Wright (Lies Jane Austen Told Me, 2017) presents a terrific read for romance readers who like a “proper romance,” in which the social relationship, not the physical mechanics, is the point of the story. A thoroughly satisfying read with a great happily-ever-after conclusion.

And here is the book:

Lies Jane Austen Told Me

Back when I first started writing, I daydreamed of getting a Publisher’s Weekly review (the good kind–not the ones that make authors rethink their career choices), so when my publisher wrote me to let me know the review was in on Lies Jane Austen Told Me, it took me a long time to get up the guts to read the actual review. And then I cried when I finally did read it–not because the review was bad but because it was good and because I’m like that.

Lies Jane Austen Told Me
Photo credit to Shadow Mountain

“Wright does contemporary romance right in this diverting novel with just enough heft.”

-Publishers Weekly

“Employing her own deliciously dry sense of wit, Wright deftly pays homage to the inherent romantic wisdom found in Austen’s classic novels in this delightfully fun and refreshingly sweet contemporary romance.”

-Booklist

“Modern, clever, and funny, Wright’s novel is a smart remix of tropes from Austen’s work. Lies Jane Austen Told Me is a satisfying and sweet contemporary romance that knits together romantic classics with modern manners.”

-Foreword Reviews

These reviews are humbling to me in so many ways. They don’t mention the journey it took to get me here. They don’t say anything about the stupid books I’ve written or the rejection letters of my past. They don’t give a play by play on all the writing classes I’ve taken or books on writing I’ve read. Much like a diploma that declares a student adept at their chosen field of studies without showing the frustration of late nights and hours and hours of study and practice, these reviews feel like a graduation for me. This “diploma” was hard-earned and totally worth it.

Finishing

I recently finished writing my 21st novel which is a definite cause to celebrate! It feels so unreal to have written that many books. I remember feeling startled upon finishing my first novel. As I wrote those last few words, I blinked at them with genuine surprise and realized I had no more words to say for that book. How was running out of words possible?

It took me several years to write another book because I truly believed I had run out of words, but when that book was accepted for publication, it occurred to me to write a second book (I know, I know. How pathetic that it took me so long to figure it all out).

And now I know that running out of words is impossible. If I wrote one book a year and lived to be 100 years old, I would still die with novel ideas never fully realized and written.

My guru grandma once told me something that really stuck with me (most everything she said stuck with me because she was my best friend), but this particular nugget of wisdom is my talisman when things get hard and the idea to maybe run out of words on purpose becomes a terrible temptation. She said, “Be a finisher, Julie. If you care enough about something to start, then care enough to finish.”

Every time I finish a novel, I smile to myself, toss a wink heavenward, and think, “I finished again, Grandma!”

A career as a writer is not always perfect or smooth or everything you dream of, but if you care enough to start, then care enough to finish. If you’re having trouble coming to grips with your own writing career and need a boost of finishing energy, email me, and I will tell you all the reasons you should stay the coarse and just get it done all the way to . . .

The End

back in the days of film, where you didn't know someone blinked until after the film was developed. Grandma Peterson and me

Back in the days of film, where you didn’t know someone blinked until after the film was developed. Grandma Peterson and me (Don’t you love my 80’s rocker haircut?)

Connected

I’m a writer. Obviously.

I’m actually a lot of things: Wife, mom, daughter, sister, friend, housekeeper, student, marketer, photographer, cover designer, historian, cook (not a good cook though–more like the kind at a fourth rate restaurant in a creepy back alley; don’t ever ask me to cook for you if you value our life). In spite of all the things I do and am, writer defines me. My first indication of being a writer was in second grade. The teacher asked us to write down what we did best and how we thought we could use it as a career. I put down write as my thing I did best and put writer as my career choice. So I’ve known for a long time that this is who I am.

I’ve worked at being a writer my whole life, from poetry to short stories to novels to screen plays to articles to ad slogans. If a thing can be put into words, I’ve tried to be the one to make the words.

But I don’t always succeed. I have more rejection letters than most people I know. I have nice letters, form letters, letters that feel they were written by the head of the department of ruination, letters that sing praises to my words and curses to the timing. I have acceptance letters too. And I’ve actually made a career out of this thing I said I could do back in the second grade.

While cleaning out my garage the other day, I found something that halted pretty much all work: a box of old things. Really old things. The kinds of things where the paper crackles with fragility. Newspaper articles from my long dead great grandmother. Her name was Dezi Irene Dunlap.

She was a writer.

I had some vague knowledge of this before but never had I realized the depth of our connection. My great grandma wasn’t just a dabbler-writer. She was serious about her craft. The first news article–the one that caught my attention as I moved the box from one shelf to another– announced on the society page in bold print

Feasting the Muse . . .

The article shares the details of an awards banquet for short stories. A picture of my great grandmother ties up a good portion of the left bottom corner of the newspaper and the caption declares her to be a “national magazine writer for the Saturday Evening Post and other slicks” My great grandmother! How cool is she? And I hadn’t really known the extent to how much she wrote, to how dedicated she was to the craft.

Inside this particular box I found several of her stories as they were published in national magazines including the Ladies Home Journal, Saturday Evening Post and Good Housekeeping. I found rejection letters. I found signed contracts. I discovered she’d actually been the president of the League of Utah Writers at one point in her life.

And on April 16th, 1944, my grandma was featured in a newspaper article that  discussed how Salt Lake City would one day be a focal point of great creative writing. The article mentions how many Salt Lake writers were coming to the fore in ever increasing numbers, their names appearing in national magazines standing as a witness to their success.

It was interesting to me how seventy years later, Salt Lake could indeed be considered a focal point of great creative writing. With so many of my friends being on the New York Times list and so many more winning awards and signing movie contracts and myself achieving so many things in the literary world,  I can only smile. My great grandmother and I would have been great friends had we had the chance to know one another. She died just one year before I was born. We would have sat through banquets together, clapped and cheered for one another’s successes and maybe provided a thoughtful critique or two for each other. I am so glad I found this box and had a chance to connect to someone whose blood runs through my veins. Thanks, Grandma, for this connection to my past and congratulations on your successes, but more importantly . . . congratulations for sticking it out through the rejections and slush. That is an accomplishment to be truly proud of.

Grandma is the lady on the left

Grandma is the lady on the left

I wonder how long it took her to pin up her hair like that . . .

Cover Reveal

Boardwalk Antiques Cover small

Isn’t it cute?

It’s exciting to have a new work finished–especially right now when I feel overwhelmed with busy. Almost as exciting to completing a new project is completing it ON TIME. It’s the little things that make life great. And so I am happy to announce The Boardwalk Antiques Shop written by two of my favorite people and me. The book releases in January 2015 and is filled with sigh-worthy heroes and smart, sassy heroines. Lots of heart. Lots of fun!

In other news, I am heading to Southern California this weekend to sign books at the Disneyland hotel. If you’re in the area, come say hello.

Comic Con 2014 report

Attending Comic Con 2014 turned out to be a marvelous investment of time. My kids have all wanted to go since last year’s event and have been pestering me to make sure it happened, so when I was given the opportunity to be a presenter, have a booth, AND attend, all my previous arguments over how Salt Lake is so far away melted, and we loaded up the car and went.

I asked my friends on Facebook if I should dress up in a costume or go as a serious, professional author. One of my friends, Bruce Eschler, said that I should dress up as Jane Austen. That way I could go in costume AND be a professional author.

Does it surprise anyone that I actually own a regency gown? No? And this is why I love you people. So I dressed up as Jane and took her on a tour of Comic Con. Jane had many experiences:

Being abducted by a mad man in a blue box would certainly be traumatizing enough for any upstanding British author, but then to be dropped into a sea of fifty thousand science fiction and fantasy fans? Let’s just say that poor Jane felt a tad bit overwhelmed.

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But she made friends fast and managed to snag herself a badge so she didn’t get kicked out. She especially enjoyed the princess party with kindred spirits!

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Things were going well enough until she ran into a little Troll Trouble.

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She wanted to go home after that, and some kid in a contraption called a Delorean offered her a ride home, but she ended up in some place called Hill Valley where things felt as dangerous as they did with the troll. That will simply not do at all.

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And then she met a cheeky little fellow who referred to her as his “precious.” Oh the mortification of it all!

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She was able to speak on a few writing panels discussing things like creating strong women in fiction, writing for youth, and making time in life for creativity and art. She had to work with the very incredible distraction of the emergency alert telling everyone to exit the building  because some prankster pulled the fire alarm. But the distraction proved to be a wonderful real-life example of working through, and around, distractions. She loved the metaphor of it all. She met up with some lovely people, but ultimately decided she might be better off in her own time. The mad man in the blue box was too busy to give her a lift back to her home, but he introduced her to a lovely weeping angel who offered to send her back in time.

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Comic Con was a blast. So many people had elaborate costumes that were simply stunning (such as the weeping angel). And it really was great to reconnect with so many of my friends and meet readers. My booth was great! I was able to do some magic tricks and sign a lot of books (which is always nice). And even better, my kids were able to have a FABULOUS time wandering the floor and seeing the sights. We had a blast, spent a lot, and went home exhausted. We are definitely going next year!

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Comic Con Fun

Julie_Wright

I am privileged to speak at Comic Con and am so excited!  The panels I will be speaking on are:

 

Writing & Illustrating Books and Comics for Kids. Friday, September 5th, 6:00 pm.

 

Making Your Female Character Strong Without Turning Her Into a Fighting Machine. Saturday, September 6th,11:00 am.

 

Structuring Life to Support Creativity. Saturday, September 6th, 5:00 pm.

 

I will also be signing Spell Check and Hazzardous Universe at the Artist’s Alley throughout the whole weekend so if you are planning on being at the con (and let’s be honest, most the cool people WILL be at Comic Con if they can help it), please come visit me and say hi! And if you aren’t going to be there, you should reconsider; a world where the Tardis, a frozen Han Solo, and Studio C are going to be hanging out is definitely the place you want to be!

I love Dr. Who. And yes, I will be watching the new season premiere with the new Doctor tonight at 8. I can also be considered a rabid fan of Once Upon a Time. Emma Swan is my hero. She’s one of those strong female characters who doesn’t have to be a fighting machine.

What’s your favorite nerdy love?

Free on the 4th of July

Spell Check Sale banner

So the Kindle version of my new book is free. GO BUY IT! What better way to celebrate the 4th of July than with something FREE? It’s really easy. Click the picture above and it will take you to Amazon’s Kindle. Click buy now with one click and then it will download to your device. It will cost you nothing, nada, zip, zilch, naught, zero,  nil, zippo, not a significant amount of funding. Seriously, this deal is awesome and should be acted on quickly since it is only available at this price for two days.

Also my rebooted book “Loved Like That” will be only 99 cents during this promotion period too! It’s a fun romantic comedy. THANKS!!”

Spell Check

Spell Check

Spell Check

 

When it rains, it pours. Yes, I do happen to have two books releasing today. What are the chances? Apparently, pretty high. Crazy, but exciting. Having two books celebrating birthdays must mean that I’ve been busy. Tying the Knot and Spell Check, welcome to the world!

These two books are so entirely opposite in tone and content that it makes them having the same birthday fun–kind of like fraternal twins. They have parents in common and birthdays in common, but all similarities end there. Tying the Knot is the last of the Newport Ladies Book Club series. From inception to completion, it’s been a five year journey. This is the book that gives the rest of the story for each woman. The title is appropriate because a lot of loose ends will find their way tied up. It is so much fun! Just wow that we’re here. I love the ladies I wrote this series with and am in awe of their talent and hard work. It’s been an honor to work with Josi Kilpack, Heather Moore, and Annette Lyon. To celebrate we have a fun contest going with GREAT giveaways. Sign up now!

My second release is Spell Check: a young adult fantasy/romance filled with magic and mayhem–spanning the world from the United States, to the Amazon jungle, to Sweden. Oddly, I started writing Spell Check at the same time Josi and I discussed the details of writing The Newport Ladies Book Club series. Yes, folks, it really does take five years for things to happen . . . apparently. I did an interview with Jessica Day George on her blog while writing Spell Check. If it weren’t for that interview I wouldn’t have remembered when this book was started. So nice that the internet keeps track of my life for me. It’s like a really big journal.  To celebrate Spell Check’s birthday along with the birthday of our great nation, This will be a FREEdom weekend. The Kindle version of Spell Check is free both Friday and Saturday on Amazon. Make sure to get it while it is at a deal that can’t be beat!

And now . . . presenting . . .

SPELL CHECK

A skeleton is rattling its way out of the closet marked “FAMILY SECRET! KEEP OUT!”

Allyson Peterson believes that being hanged by the

Salem High Witches is the absolute worst thing that can happen. But when her powers, wrested from the trolls of ancient Sweden, manifest themselves, she realizes that a prank hanging by vindictive cheerleaders is the least of her worries.

Ally accidentally sends her parents to the jungle to fight anacondas, turns her brother into a mute, and curses the entire cheerleading team with an illness that has no cure, proving that her spells need a little checking. Her Swedish grandmother shows up to help her through the worst part of all—surviving the Troll Trials and saving the guy of her dreams from a vengeance that has festered through-out generations.

The power is in her, if she can just get the magic right.

Spell Check is an impossible-to-put-down, topsy-turvy adventure with fun, romance, and fabulous characters.”

–Heather B. Moore, USA Today bestselling author

 

Cover Reveal and Coauthoring

I wrote two books in the Newport Ladies Book Club series along with Heather Moore, Josi Kilpack, and Annette Lyon. The series will be completed at nine total books. Each of us wrote two and then we all coauthored the final book together. It was a great process and something I am so grateful to have participated in. The final book will be coming out within the next month.

A few things I’ve learned about coauthoring through this experience:

  • Ego has no place in a collaborative project.

What I mean by this is that egos are enormous. They manage to fill whatever space they’re given completely. You know the old saying, “give ’em an inch, and they’ll take a mile?” Well,  if you give an ego an inch, You’ll end up with world domination. There just isn’t enough room in a collaborative effort for anyone’s ego.  Egos are not creative spaces. They do not foster growth. They do not make things run smoothly. They never meet deadlines. If you want to work with someone else in a creative endeavor, you need to leave your ego at the door–or better yet, out in the trunk of your car. Choose to work with people who are willing to do the same. The most important element of my collaborative efforts with Heather, Josi, and Annette was that we put the project first, each other next, and ourselves last. As soon as an ego is involved, the project gets shoved aside and takes a smaller and smaller importance until the project fails altogether. Our project worked and was successful through nine books because we put the series first.

  • Choose like-minded individuals with equal talents and skills so that no one person is carrying the entire project on their own, and so that no one person is weighing the project down.

It helped a lot that The four of us ladies were all pretty equal writers. We’ve all won awards, we’re all bestsellers. We all LIKE and ADMIRE each others work. Granted, we’re not all the same. We have strengths and weaknesses, but our level of writing is even. None of us are beginners. We all know how to meet deadlines. We all know how to adapt storyline and weave dialogue and exude emotion. If one of us was a beginning writer who’d never finished a novel before, things might have been different. It made a difference that we were all balanced in skill.

  • Know which part is yours.

During the outlining stages of the Newport Ladies Book Club series, we divvied out parts. I knew who my characters were. I knew which book club group was mine to write. I had a basic idea where my characters would come together with other characters. This was all hammered out in the beginning so that we knew how to begin and how to keep going without stepping on each other’s toes. And even when we decided to snag someone else’s character for a brief scene, we had a general feel for that character, for their tone, for their feel, so EVEN THEN, we weren’t stepping on each other’s toes.

  • Never be the last one to show up to writing group because chances are good your plot and character will get roughed up. 😉

This happened a couple of times (alas, always to me . . .) but because my ego was left in my trunk, I went with it. Those few plot changes altered my story by quite a bit. And guess what? They made my plot BETTER. If I’d been a grumbler, I might not have rolled with the new ideas and would have missed out a much richer, fuller story as a result. And honestly, showing up to find my character suddenly has grandchildren and that her mother was dead added to the fun of creation. The creative process needs to be open to new ideas if it’s going to work.

  • Love the project

Because if you don’t, the readers can tell. If a writer writes to catch a trend, or because they’re sure something will sell rather than because they love it with their whole souls, their words give them away. You gotta love it. Otherwise, why are you doing it?

And now this collaboration project is done. It makes me a little sad because I love the ladies, love the characters, and love the worlds we’ve created together, but I think the last book will really leave the readers satisfied. It’s a great ending to a great series. Here’s the cover:

Tying the Knot

Tying the Knot