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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:

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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Funny

My son saw an advertisement for a KISS concert and I made the comment that KISS had been around when I was his age and even longer than that. He squinted up at me, his face twisted in disbelief.  “They’re old guys?”

“Yep . . . really old guys.”

“What are a bunch of old guys gonna sing about? Is their title song going to be Get Off My Lawn?”

One of our neighbors was in the store at the time of this conversation and we laughed at him. Encouraged, he titled the rest of the songs in the album.  I wish I was as quick witted as this kid, but since I’m not, I’ll content myself to share his wit:

  1. Get Off My Lawn
  2. My Walker’s Broken
  3. Dentures Really Bite
  4. Wheelchair Races
  5. Got a New Hip Today
  6. Don’t Slap my Bald Spot
  7. WhipperSnapper Brats
  8. My Achey Brakey Back
  9. Turn Down That Radio!
  10. Don’t Rush Me; I Don’t Walk That Fast

The Sapphire Flute

Lesson learned: never leave a manuscript you’re working on unattended. I came back to my computer to find my son had finished my sentence for me: “And then her head blew up.”
I guess it’s better than some of the “sentence-finishers” my husband has left me when I’ve left my computer open.
I promised to review a book a while back and then never got around to writing the review so I am doing that today (since I am now done with taxes, wrote 3300 new words in my work in progress, and the kids are in school–and yes, I am putting off preparations for the class I’m teaching at the writer’s conference in two weeks).
Karen Hoover is one of my very dear friends. She is my favorite roommate for the LTUE science fiction and fantasy symposium. She puts up with my whining, my snarky attitude, and the fact that I snore. Seriously. She is a true friend. When I first met Karen, it was at a storymaker writing conference. James Dashner invited her to dinner with us and things just grew from there. After that dinner, she went home and wrote a poem called the poser because she felt so out of place at a table full of published authors. I told her she was wrong. She is not a poser. She was working on her writing and she’d be published soon enough.
And now she is.
And I couldn’t be more proud of her. Karen is such a humble, good person. She makes me a better person when I am with her. I am grateful for every twist of fate that put her in my path and allowed her to like me. And so it is with honor and excitement that I get to review her book, The Sapphire Flute
 
The Sapphire Flute
It has been 3,000 years since a white mage has been seen upon Rasann.

In the midst of a volcanic eruption miles outside of her village, Ember discovers she can see magic and change the appearance of things at will. Against her mother’s wishes, she leaves for the mage trials only to be kidnapped before arriving. In trying to escape, she discovers she has inherited her father’s secret–a secret that places her in direct conflict with her father’s greatest enemy.

At the same time, Kayla is given guardianship of the sapphire flute and told not to play it. The evil mage C’Tan has been searching for it for decades and the sound alone is enough to call her. For the flute to be truly safe, Kayla must find its birthplace in the mountains high above Javak. The girls’ paths are set on a collision course…a course that C’Tan is determined to prevent at all costs.

Ember, Kayla, and C’Tan are all strong female leads who carry a very character driven story. The magic system is brilliant and something I never would have thought up, so now I have magic system envy. And the action is strong enough to pull along the reluctant reader. When I first read this book, Mr.Wright  asked what I was reading. I told him and then he asked, “Is it any good?”
“Of course, it’s good, or I wouldn’t be reading it.”
“You’re just saying that because she’s your friend and you love her,” he said.
“No. I’m saying it because it’s true.” At this point I’m ready to throw a boot at Mr. Wright’s head.
“Prove it. Read me the first page and if, when you get to the end, I want you to turn the page and read more, then we can safely say it’s a good book.”
So I read the first page and stopped.
“Hey!” He became indignant. “Why are you stopping?”
“The first page is over.”
Then a little sheepishly, because he was so caught up in the story that he’d already forgotten our deal, he said, “Fine. Turn the page.”
Turn the page indeed. Great job, Karen! Great book!

Cross My Heart

Cross My Heart!

That’s the title to my new book and I really like it. It goes along with a bitter piece of poetry I wrote back in college when I’d determined all men were evil minions of Satan. I think the title works great for the story and am excited for the release!

It’s coming out in October, and if you couldn’t tell from the title, it’s a romance novel–romantic comedy to be exact. My previous two books were a wee bit emotionally draining, so I needed a pick-me-up and wrote Cross My Heart. I laughed pretty much the whole time I wrote it and loved every minute of that story. I was able to go back to Boston a couple of years ago on a research trip which helped me write both Cross My Heart, and the novel I just turned into my agent, Spell Check. It was a whirlwind trip of filming locations, taking pictures, figuring out plots, and romancing Mr. Wright  in the city that lies at the space between my childhood and growing up.

I lived in Boston for a short while when I was eighteen. I loved going back. I loved going back with him. And I’m excited to share the fruits of that trip with my readers. Seriously guys. You are going to love this one.

And how weird is this, I was doing genealogy and came across some things that belonged to my great grandma. Turns out she was a writer. Turns out she was published in several little magazines and such. What I came across were several suspense/mystery short stories. The stories were fun to find and read, but what was really fun?

She had a rejection letter from Ladies Home Journal attached to one of those stories, and along with that, she had the actual magazine where the story finally found publication. It was an odd sort of kinship I felt, reading this letter sent to my great grandmother in 1952. I love that she saved the letter, the original story and the magazine. All those things together paint a vivid picture about my great grandmother. She believed in herself, and she didn’t give up.

It must run in our blood. I have rejection letters to books I’ve later held in my hands as published works.  Giving up is never an option. As I sit here with my fifth book about to be published and several more completed and awaiting their turn in print, I wonder what would have happened if I’d quit with that first letter? What would I have lost? What friendships and associations would I have never known?

It makes me physically ill to think of all I would have missed.

Thanks Grandma. May whatever’s flowing in our DNA never die.

Academy Award Winning Movie Trailer

Okay, this made me laugh a lot:

Academy Award Winning Movie Trailer

And I know I’m a dummy who can’t figure out how to embed a video, so if you’re smart and know how, feel free to enlighten me.

Oh for the love of . . .

. . . my kids.

Mr. Wright is out of town tonight, so it’s just the Wright brothers and me.  Already we’ve argued about what will be on the television while I make dinner. The argument was over whether we’d watch the Disney Channel or Unwrapped on the food channel. I lost.

So guess what we’re watching . . .

Yep. Unwrapped on the food channel. I swear these children are not mine. Why would they want to learn something on TV when they can have mindless entertainment? So, instead of a silly but fun show about teenage wizards, we’re learning about how the PEZ dispenser came into being and about some odd new pancake product called Batter Blaster.

The elder Wright Brother wants Batter Blaster bad. He is our family pancake maker and the Batter Blaster apparently is the newest rage in pancake making. I hadn’t made my first pancake until I was in college, and here is my ten year old, scoping out new ways to fine tune his breakfast making experiences.

The younger Wright brother has determined he wants an edible bouquet instead of cake for his birthday because it’s healthier (fruit instead of pastries), and he no longer drinks soda pop because he thinks soda pop is bad for you. Honestly! I did not teach them any of this. They are totally on their own when it comes to this total weirdness. I now get lectures about my Dr. Pepper habits.

The kids teach me a lot as we move through our time together, but I’ve taught them some pretty valuable things too, such as:

  • How to cuss in traffic
  • How to brush teeth
  • How to critique the dialogue in movies out loud in the theater
  • How to throw tantrums
  • How to read
  • How to irritate people with semantics
  • How to pick up litter
  • How to be a sore loser at Monopoly (which I refuse to play with them anymore because they gang up on me)

As you can see from the list, some of the stuff they learned from me is actually useful. I miss the daughter a lot and, in spite of teaching mostly less than useful life skills, still wish she was around for me to teach. She’ll be home for the summer in just two and a half months. Yay! This whole child rearing business is one well worth taking on.

Oh and I finished writing the manuscript, Spell Check, last month and have already started my new WIP tentatively called Dream Writers. I’m into it nearly fifty pages and so far loving the manuscript.

Well . . . He Did What I asked . . .

I was at World Fantasy in San Jose over the weekend and had an excellent time with old friends and new friends alike. I had great roommates: Stacy Whitman and Heidi Summers, and great hang out buddies: Rob Wells, Marion Jensen, Josh Perkey, Joshua Bilmes, Dan Wells, Eric Stone, Lee Modesitt and his lovely daughter Catherine Modesitt, and some guy named Nick–who was hilarious.

The weekend wasn’t much for furthering my career as a writer, but it *was* great fun. Guy Gavriel Kay watched the Yankees stomp the Phillies with me and he bought Catherine and me chocolate-covered strawberries. He is a complete keeper. Not only am I a huge fan of his books, but I get to be a huge fan of the man. It constantly amazes me how wonderful these famous authors are. How Lee Modesitt befriended me even back when I had little to offer as an author. Good people are in the writing world folks–some seriously good people.

I did get to help a few of my friends meet agents and get business cards and make acquaintances that will help their careers so the weekend was definitely worth experiencing. Even though it meant leaving Mr. Wright in charge of Halloween.

The boys all fared well enough for face painting in spite of everything and the house wasn’t in near the disarray I’d imagined I’d return home to. But I did ask Mr. Wright to start a pagemaker document for the relief society christmas dinner. That way I could get the times and dates entered, print up the invitations, and send them off to my relief society president without delay.

When I opened the document this morning this is what I found:

We’re going to eat, drink, and be merry. No men are invited so we’re having Chip and Dale Dancers coming. Bring your dollar bills and a side dish! Love, the Relieved Society

Good thing I looked before I printed. I am sure Mr. Wright thinks he’s amusing. I know I think he is.

Here are some pictures from the con:

world fantasy 2009

world fantasy 2009

pimping the new dan wells book

pimping the new dan wells book

Jules, Rob, and Nick

Jules, Rob, and Nick

Blog Awards and MEME

Josi Kilpack chose me and four other bloggers for this blog award—which was very sweet since she said so many nice things about me and she’s got it all backwards. SHE is the one who is always listening to me. I find it amazing that she is such a great friend and that I really can tell her everything. So the deal is since she tagged me, I get to answer all her questions and then tag some others.
Now, on to the questions.
1. Where is your cell phone?…. I don’t know. It was in my purse the last time I saw it this morning, but we went hiking and I’m out of town and honestly, dealing with a phone while out of town seems lame so I never bothered with it again today. The battery needs charged. Dang. I hope my agent didn’t try calling . . .
2. Your hair? …… Is like it always is–one braid to the left of my face and the rest all tied up in back and spilling over with a stick hair clip thingy.
3. Your mother? …… Is a saint for taking on the challenges of raising my teenager. She deserves flowers and chocolate every day.
4. Your father?….. Is the other saint for being willing to take on the challenges of raising my teenager. He deserves books and back rubs every day (not that I’m giving these things out, mind you. In fact I fully plan on stealing several of his books next time I see him.) Even though my daughter’s pretty easy to take care of, they have gone above the call of duty and I can never repay them for this.
5. Your favorite food? …… thai–at that little thai place I went with all the LTUE people. DANG that was awesome eating. Let’s go again, okay guys?
6. Your dream last night?…. Mind your own business! Okay just kidding, I don’t remember my dream. I remember waking up feeling disturbed but had no idea why.
7. Your favorite drink?…. Dr. Pepper baby!
8. Your dream/goal? …. To find success in every aspect of my life–family, writing . . .
9. What room are you in? …… my sis in law’s guest room. Guys are playing wii in the other room and I am supposed to be writing. Slacker.
10. Your hobby? …. hobby? people have time for those things? Really?
11. Your fear? ….. failure
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years?… happy healthy and on the new york times best sellers list after having just won the Newbery.
13. Where were you last night?…..At my sis in law’s house. she is an excellent hostess. We’re here doing halloween party stuff which I will blog about and post pictures for some time in december (since I’m flaky and behind on everything) What? You think Halloween pictures in December is a dumb idea?
14. Something you aren’t?….. sated . . . ever.
15. Muffins? …..raspberry lemon
16. Wish list item? …… A huge contract! Please Santa! PLEASE!!!!
17. Where did you grow up?…… Salt Lake City
18. Last thing you did?…… laughed until I cried while Mr. Wright read a spooky story during our Halloween dinner. The story wasn’t really funny, but Mr. Wright IS really funny. I love how he makes our kids laugh.
19. What are you wearing? …… red shirt. red fuzzy socks, blue jeans. I know. No black. Is anyone else as surprised as I am?
20. Your TV? ….. usually off. I am not a tv watcher only because I know I have no self control. If the tv goes on–my eyes widen and my brain shuts down as I plant myself in front of it.
21. Your pets? ……… 2 dogs–Shadow–black lab, hound mix and Copper–chow. We’re down to one fish. I’m hoping to kill him off so I can revamp the fish tank.
22. Your friends? …… Everywhere. I once had someone ask me one of those psychological test questions where they said, “You look around you. How many trees do you see?” The girl I was with who was also answering those questions said, “Two. Off in the distance.”
My answer was, “I see a whole forest.”
The trees were supposed to represent how many close, personal, sacrifice-everything-for friends you felt you had. Whether those little psych tests have meaning or not–that answer is 100% true.
23. Your life?…… pretty awesome. I am so grateful for each day, for my family, for everything.
24. Your mood? …. content.
25. Missing someone? ….. every day.
26. Vehicle? ……Honda. Grey. Boring.
27. Something you’re not wearing? …… LOL
28. Your favorite store? …….these questions keep going!!!!!! Home Depot
29. Your favorite color? …… Black
30. When was the last time you laughed? …… laughed all night tonight.
31. Last time you cried? …..On the way home from St George when we left our daughter after a short visit.
32. Your best friend?…… My husband. I’d be lost without him. Literally. I have no directional skills. But beyond that–he is everything great in my life.
33. One place that I go over and over? ……. Crazy. Kids are usually driving.
34. One person who emails me regularly?…….Josi. We’re planning a book tour and it requires a lot of communication. I love emails from Josi
35. Favorite place to eat? ……. anywhere I’m not cooking.
If you’re someone I tagged, be sure to tell me so I can read your answers.
And I am tagging Karen Hoover, Jaime Thelar, Janet Davis, Alice Beesely, Janette Rallison. These ladies are getting tagged simply because I love them and want to know more about them.

9 WORDS WOMEN USE

9 WORDS WOMEN USE

1. Fine: This is the word women use to end an argument when they are right and you need to shut up.

 2. Five Minutes: If she is getting dressed, this means a half an hour. Five minutes is only five minutes if you have just been given five more  minutes to watch the game before helping around the house.

 3. Nothing: This is the calm before the storm. This means something, and you should be on your toes. Arguments that begin with “Nothing” usually end in “Fine”.

 4. Go Ahead: This is a dare, not permission. Don’t Do It!

 5. Loud Sigh: This actually is not a word, but a non-verbal statement  often misunderstood by men. A loud sigh means she thinks you are an idiot and wonders why she is wasting her time standing here and arguing with you about nothing. (Refer back to #3 for the meaning of nothing.)

 6. That’s Okay: This is one of the most dangerous statements a women can make to a man. That’s okay means she wants to think long and hard before deciding how and when you will pay for your mistake.

7. Thanks: A woman is thanking you, do not question, or Faint. Just say “You’re welcome”.

8. Whatever : Is a women’s way of saying YOU SUCK!!

9. Don’t worry about it, I got it: Another dangerous statement, meaning this is something that a woman has told a man to do several times, but is now doing it herself. This will later result in a man asking “What’s wrong?” For the woman’s response, refer to #3.

I laughed when I got this in my email box because I use ALL of the above statements. My poor husband . . .
Number nine and I are intimate friends because I usually have a chip on my shoulder and am always too proud to ask for help. It’s because I think I shouldn’t HAVE to ask. He’s a smart man. Surely he knows when I want something done. And yet he is still MALE which does not equate into mindreader.
Last week, I was desperate for help. Desperate enough I *asked* for help. And do you know what he did? He helped me. It’s an odd phenomenon. I might try it out again and see if it works next time too. I might be on to something.
Yesterday, Scott framed in half the ceiling for my daughter’s room. I didn’t have to ask or anything. He just went and did it, and did a great job. If the other half gets done soon, I can go in and pull wire and hang insulation and we can call the sheetrockers! For the first time since we moved here, I looked at my basement with a real hope that it might actually get done. I hope it gets done before book signings and school tours start. That would be a mess to try and juggle all that together . . . In the meantime, I need to get back to writing; what am I doing musing about basements on my blog when there is a little girl trapped in my book who will never get untrapped if I don’t get to it? Have a great weekend everyone!