zoloft pills

Tag-Archive for » author «

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:

Goals, Resolutions, and Other Things in the Try-Fail Cycle

Writers understand the try-fail cycle. We understand it perhaps better than anyone because we know it creates good tension. If the character succeeds the first time they try anything, then where is the tension? Where is the conflict? How is that character to grow?

It’s interesting that we love it in our fiction and hate it in our reality.

Because the try-fail cycle is real. It happens. And it happens to more than just writers. At this time of resolutions, goal setting, and do-overs, I’ve been thinking about my personal try-fail cycle. A friend of mine made an incredible bucket list of goals she had achieved and other goals that were still out there. I loved her list and realized that, on the try-fail cycle, I have failed enough that I’ve been able to succeed too.

That is what comes from not giving up.

And so I am shamelessly stealing this idea  and making my own list. Thanks Melanie Jacobson (Truly, thanks, girl. You rock). The ones with the asterisk are achievements unlocked. The ones in bold are still out there to be achieved.

* See my book in print with my name on the cover

* See my book at Barnes and Noble

See my book in hardcover

* Hit a best seller’s list

* See my book on a bookshelf in another state (thank you, New York!)

* Have my books made into audiobook

* Win a major peer-reviewed literary award

* Get an agent (my agent is awesome)

* Get fan mail (not going to lie, I really love my fan mail)

Get published with Disney Hyperion. (Seriously, I want an acceptance letter with Mickey Mouse on the letterhead. I want it like I want to breathe)

Have a box of my books, printed in a language I can’t read, arrive on my doorstep

* Rock a school visit like a boss

* Have a signing with a line that takes hours to work through (this comes from rocking a school visit like a boss)

Sell movie rights

See my books translated to the silver screen (I’d even eat popcorn to celebrate the occasion—even though movie popcorn always makes me sick)

* Be interviewed by a magazine

Get a starred review

* Speak at Comic Con

* Have one of my hero authors stand in my line and buy my book without any prodding from me

* Teach at a major writing conference

* Go on a multi-state book tour

* Go to BEA

Be sent to BEA by my publisher

See a stranger reading my book in the wild (people tag me with photos of people reading my books in the wild, but I’ve never seen it with my own peepers)

* Be on a favorite’s list at a library

Write all the books that are currently in my head.

Be a force for good in helping other authors.

There aren’t as many bolded items as there used to be, which is awesome. But the thing is that I have rejection letters,  abandoned manuscripts, and reviews that are so not nice that they have become hysterical to me. There were a lot of fails that gave me the privilege of changing a bold wish to an asterisk of accomplishment. Something I got from all this is that it is okay to fall and skin your knee. It’s even okay to fall and skin your heart. That’s what band aids and new days are for.

So whatever your thing is–writer or otherwise– there are goals out there to reach and resolutions to be made to reach them. Go out and try today. Don’t worry about the fail part; it may happen or not, either way is okay. Either way, you grow, stretch, become. Either way, you are on your way. 

“Laughter is timeless, imagination has no age, and dreams are forever.” –Walt Disney

 

Life, the Universe, and Everything

LTUE is a highlight of my year. It is a time when I have the luxury of getting together with likeminded people to debate the finer points of the literature we all love. The symposium is one of reflection, education, and absolute fun. It’s a place to get your nerd on and wear it with pride. If you feel like talking nerdy with me, join us:

February 12-14, 2015

Provo Marriott Hotel & Conference Center

I’m kind of completely thrilled over this year’s schedule because, for the first time ever, I am on panels that will take a journey through the spectrum of being an author from start to finish. Panels allow a dialogue between  the panelists and audience that always feels like it’s just getting starting at the time it’s ending. Doing this series of panels will allow us to explore ideas of what it really means to be a writer with greater depth than we’ve had before. I’m serious. It’s thrilling. And I have very cool co-panelists.

Friday 9:00 am: From Start to Finish 1: Ideas and Preparation: Julie Wright, J.R. Johansson, Stephen Gashler, Tristi Pinkston, Bryan Beus (m)

Friday 1:00 pm: From Start To Finish 2: Drafting And Revision: Julie Wright, J.R. Johansson, Stephen Gashler, Tristi Pinkston, Bryan Beus (m)

Friday 4:00 pm: From Start To Finish 3: Publishing And Promotion: Julie Wright, J.R. Johansson, Stephen Gashler, Tristi Pinkston, Bryan Beus (m)

Saturday 6:00 pm: Writing for Children: Julie Wright, J Scott Savage, Ben Sowards, Andrea Pearson (m)

This is the symposium where I met incredible artist Kevin Wasden and Hazzardous Universe was born. This is the symposium that stretched me as an author and inspired me to write in a new genre. This is the place where a six foot tall steam punk dragon will be unveiled in anticipation of Jeff Savage’s new series. In short, this is the place to be this weekend. To learn more, and to be where all the cool kids are playing, go here: LTUE

And to celebrate the life the universe and everything, I leave you with a bit of fun trivia and an emoticon from God.

Trivia: The escape velocity to leave our galaxy (from Earth) is 42 Kilometers per second.

Latest picture from the Hubble Space telescope

Latest picture from the Hubble Space telescope

Find Your Story

I once had a writing teacher bring an old, muddy, scuffed-up boot to class where she plopped it down on her desk and said, “There’s a story in there somewhere. Start writing.” She sat down at her desk, and we went to work.

It’s been a good twenty years since that classroom and that boot, but the lesson was learned. There are stories surrounding us every day, everywhere we go, in everything we see. There is a story in the nail technician with chipped, cracked fingernails on her own hands. There is a story in the woman wiping tears from her eyes as she moves forward through traffic in her car. There is a story in the man who pulls into the driveway of a house after a long and grueling day at work only to remember that he hasn’t lived there since the divorce. I see stories in everything: in a smile, in a glance, in a snippet of overheard conversation. The ones I go after and dig deeper to unearth are the ones that usually have the most character–like the muddy boot. I want a story that’s been through something and is going somewhere.

I want a story that can walk over difficult terrain and climb mountains.

Recently,  I’ve come across a letter from my great, great aunt to my great uncle. I need to write the story found within for several reasons:

It’s my family history. It’s heart achingly real. And the story has feet wearing incredibly worn and muddy boots.

When I do school visits and other presentations, I am almost always asked, “Where do you get your ideas?” The answer is always the same: “There’s a story in there somewhere.” And by there “there” I mean everywhere.

So if you are in a creative slump, go out and find what kinds of stories you want to tell. What holds your interest? What makes you happy? What fills your creative well? Here are some exercises I do when it seems I can’t see the story through the mud.

  • Appreciate art. I am always inspired by someone else’s artwork. Kevin Wasden has been a tremendous resource and friend to my creativity over the years.
  • Find emotion. I need to have something that strikes an emotional chord. If I’m not feeling the love, neither is my reader.
  • Read. I get great ideas from reading, and usually those ideas have nothing to do with what I’m actually reading. It goes back to the art thing. I believe art begets art.
  • Listen. Everyone has a story–much like those old boots. Everyone has a past and a moment where they were either amazingly heroic or horrifically villainous. Listen to people. Besides, people are important and deserved to be listened to. My parents have excellent stories–some they would mind a great deal if I shared to my reading audience and others that they are happy to share. Tap your family resource (you know, without alienating that family).
  • Eavesdrop. This is a wee bit different from listening because you don’t want people to know you’re listening because it would maybe look creepy and stalker-ish.
  • Get back to work. Yes, work. Writing isn’t always fun, and sometimes you have to slug through the muddy words to get to the boot. Sometimes you have to look yourself in the eye in the mirror and say, “There’s a story in there somewhere.”

Because there *is* a story in you.

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.

IMG_1003

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!

IMG_1010

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

IMG_1000

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.

IMG_0997

 

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

IMG_1008

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.

IMG_1002

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!

2014-09-06 14.37.12

IMG_5728 (Small)

IMG_5752 (Small)

IMG_5754 (Smallish)

 

 

Do Over

I have been writing for most of my life. I started my first novel when I was fifteen. Obviously there has to be a learning curve when you’re starting out so young. It took several years to find my writer’s voice, but before that actually happened I had two books published traditionally with a small niche publisher. The books did well and were best sellers in their particular spheres, and I really doubt I would have continued to write if those first few stepping stones hadn’t been placed before me.

But I grew as an author, finally found my voice, my style, and worked on the craft. I took classes, attended conferences, and read books on writing books. I was picked up by a much larger publisher and my career became something respectable. The problem was that those first two fledgling attempts at novel writing were still out there. I’d grown. I was better than that original author, and I cringed when people told me they read one of my first two books.

It was a beautiful day when the books went out of print. It was like a phantom from my past had finally been excised, and I could rest easy. But then people began writing me–librarians who wanted their old, worn copies replaced, fans who wanted to let other people read their books but who were afraid to loan out their copies because they couldn’t get new ones.

So I decided to maybe have a do-over with the second book (the first is beyond repair and I am going to let it be). The second one, however, had good bones–not great bones–but good. It just needed a makeover. So I opened the old document for the first time in twelve years.

It was kind of like opening a crypt filled with horrors. I rolled my eyes at my past author self so much I became dizzy. I shouted at myself as I came across phrases that were so bad, I wanted to hide for the sheer shame of them. I wondered where the adverb police had been during the creation of that book.

I learned a lot about writing in comparing my present author self to my past author self. I saw where natural raw talent trumped actual skill and allowed me to get published in the first place. But I also saw the glaring mistakes, the repetition, the lack of character motivation, the fingernail thin plot.

It was a huge overhaul and a lot of work. I truly believe it would have been easier to write a new book than it was to resurrect an old one, but the book reemerged from the ashes to be something so much better than its humble beginnings. It’s still not the quality of my current writing ability (remember good bones, not great bones), but I’m not sorry I took the time to have a do over. The education was well worth it.

A wonderful, classy designer  by the name of Crystal Liechty reimagined my cover and did such an amazing job that I nearly wept with joy. My previous cover wasn’t exactly lame but close enough.

I guess the point of this rather long ramble is that it’s important to be stretching and improving–no matter what your “thing” is. My thing is writing. Yours might be music, photography, theater or science. Whatever your thing is, it’s nice to look back and see progression and growth. Take the classes, read the books, get the education necessary to thrive in that one thing that fills the measure of your joy. And when you look back, you’ll have a journey worth talking about.

Here is the new cover for Loved Like That. (I really love it!):

Loved Like That

 

Author Copies!

It’s super fun when the doorbell rings and I am still in black yoga pants and a t shirt with my hair pulled into a bedraggled sort of ponytail. Feet are bare. Teeth are not brushed. Yes, it is after ten in the morning. Thank you for asking. It is that moment when I wonder, “Do I dare answer? What if it’s important? What if my dog bit the pool guy while I wasn’t paying attention? Or what if it’s a random stranger selling girl scout cookies?” At the thought of the cookies, I actually get up to answer the door. The pool guy can take care of himself. I have homeowner’s insurance. The cookie salesman, however, waits for no one.Curses! It wasn’t the cookie salesman. I swear the Girls Scouts of America do not try hard enough to search me out and sell me calories I don’t need but desperately want. Happily, it wasn’t the pool guy missing appendages either. What it was instead was a box on my doorstep. Our postwoman always rings the bell when she’s leaving a package. She is terribly considerate that way.

Inside the box were my author copies of my latest book Victoria’s Promise! HOORAY! The Newport Ladies Book Club series marches ever onward. I love this book. It’s super fun, filled with heart and all those aching love-sicky feelings that a good romance should have. I dedicated it to my ever-inspiring editor, Kirk Shaw, who ditched me to go be a lawyer. He is so lucky I love him and haven’t used the voodoo doll I bought of him when he told me he was leaving me. Actually, I am super proud of him for making good choices for his family and am so grateful that he helped me be the writer I am. Victoria’s Promise turned out really well. I am pleased with my finished written product. Feel free to go see the nice reviews on Amazon. I love people who leave nice reviews. We won’t talk about how I feel about those other people. Didn’t their grandmothers teach them not to say anything when they didn’t have anything nice to say? So sad they missed out on a valuable education. Actually, there’s a lot to be learned in the not-so-nice reviews as well. Anyway, I digress.

The point is that I have my author copies and books in the mail is always super fun. Speaking of Super and books in the mail, my dear friend Marion Jensen has a new book out as well. His title is Almost Super! Legit funny book! Buy it. Read it to your kids. Laugh yourself sick! And feel free to buy my book too. I may not be Lord Byron, but I’m infinitely more entertaining.

Author Copies!

Author Copies! And as a fun aside, my book has a doppelganger. The first person to discover the title of my book’s doppelganger will receive a prize. Hint . . . it has something to do with the red bike. Leave a comment with the title to win cool prize.

 

 

A Lesson for Those who Feel Less Than

Strap in. This is a long entry.

I am an author. I am published in a niche market with a niche publisher. In the beginnings of my career I dealt with something very real: prejudice. Other authors who were published with big publishers in big markets assumed they were better than me (and they were right about that at the beginning). Not all of the big authors in my social sphere acted this way–in fact, most didn’t. But I, being young and insecure, assumed they all felt this way.

In the beginning, I didn’t know much. Character motivation, plot movement, story arc, setting–none of that meant anything to me. I wrote a story because I had a story to tell. I became published. So I wrote another story. The publisher acquired that one too.  I learned a lot, edited, became better–much better. I sent my third book to the largest publisher in that niche market and was accepted. It was exciting because I knew the book was good. It thrummed all those emotional strings. The characters were well-developed and the dialogue sang. But I was still in the niche market. And I felt inferior to those published in their huge markets. The thing was that there was a  stigma about writers in my niche not being any good. The rumors were that only hacks wrote in that genre. To be fair to the rumor mill, there were a lot of crummy books put out back then (my first two among them), but there were a lot of great books too. I decided to be part of the solution. I was in with a guild of authors and we decided to change the stigma by raising the quality of literature in our market. We did that through conferences, mentoring, and classes. We did a lot of good. And I wrote more books. And grew in the craft with every one of them.

I was traditionally published.

And felt inferior.

I made the top ten best sellers list in the entire market.

And felt inferior.

I sold out of my first print run and went to a second printing.

And felt inferior.

I had radio, magazine, and newspaper interviews.

And felt inferior.

I won awards.

And felt inferior.

And then one day at a science fiction and fantasy symposium, I met Orson Scott Card. I’m a huge fan of his–always have been. I stood in his line to get my stack of books signed. I became too awed to do much aside from slide the stack to him when it was my turn. He tried to engage me in conversation. I think I might have drooled in response. But the person behind me said, “She’s Julie Wright. She’s an author too.”

He stopped signing my first edition of Speaker for the Dead and looked up at me. “You’re published?”

I dug my toe into the tile floor and ducked my head into my shoulders in the shrug gesture you can only manage to pull off when you are desperately insecure.

He must have taken that as a yes because he then asked, “What do you write?”

I dreaded answering, knowing the prejudice among authors, but I replied that I wrote a lot of things but was only published in my niche market.

He frowned. “Did I hear an apology in that answer?”

Which made me hit the mental brakes.

And then he said something that changed me.

“Didn’t you choose to write in that market?”

“Well . . . yeah, but . . .”

“And you’re published in the market you chose to write for. There’s no shame in that. Who’s your publisher?”

I told him and he actually looked like he might reach across the table to smack me. “So you’re trying to tell me that you chose to write for a particular market, you’re published with the top publisher in that market, and you’re apologizing?”

It sounded so bad when he put it like that.

I don’t feel inferior any longer, and not just because Orson Scott Card demanded I feel better about myself. I don’t feel inferior because I know I am good at what I do. And I finally realized my previous insecurities were not because those big authors were looking down their noses at me. I felt inferior because I hadn’t accomplished all that *I* wanted to accomplish *YET*. It wasn’t them making me feel small. It was me making me feel small. So this lesson for me has been learned. This was all several years ago. So why am I writing about it all now?

Because whispers like wind shaking leaves have come to my attention of other authors feeling small and insignificant because they chose a different publishing path. They’ve achieved great things. They have succeeded in the spheres where they have ventured. They have sales, fans, some have awards. And they feel inferior.

This post is my request for them to stop apologizing for their accomplishments simply because their accomplishments are different from someone else’s. They have found success in the very thing they set out to do. Forget stigmas. And if you have goals not yet realized, that’s okay. To be going forward, stretching, becoming your best you . . . well, isn’t that what we’re here for?

As Rob Thomas says, our lives are made in these small hours, these little wonders. So make those small hours wonderful. Be happy.

xoxo

 

My New Book! Victoria’s Promise

A luxurious mansion. Thirty stunning bachelorettes. One very eligible bachelor. All of the ingredients are in place for a successful reality dating show, and behind the scenes, Tori Winters is set to pull the romantic strings as assistant director of Vows. Despite her distaste for public exhibitions of love—which spelled the death of her last relationship—Tori intends to give the public exactly what they want: scintillating footage of a bevy of beauties vying for the attention of Christopher Caine. But Chris, a consummate Southern gentleman and the star of Vows, seems almost too good to be true—and soon, even Tori finds herself falling under his spell. Despite legal obligations to avoid fraternizing with the talent, it’s clear her feelings are anything but unrequited. With the support of her friends in the Newport Ladies Book Club, Tori must make a life-altering decision: is she willing to jeopardize all she’s worked for in order to embrace her own fairy-tale ending?

I confess that it’s hard to not call this book Victoria’s Secret since the book that came before this one in the series is Ruby’s Secret and since that is a major national chain with serious brand recognition, but I will overcome this and call the book by the title the publisher has given. However . . . if you ever hear me slip up, feel free to giggle at me and then forgive me. I do not always behave intelligently. Regardless of all that, I can PROMISE that this is a fun read, one you will enjoy, with plenty of heart and laughs. Let the romance begin!
Victoria’s Promise releases to stores January 15th! So be on the look out for it!

Kanab Writer’s Conference

I am excited to be presenting at the Kanab Writer’s Conference :

http://kanabwritersconference.com/

I’m excited for several reasons.

  1. It’s a great conference for beginning writers due to its low price and the intimate setting. ($40 bucks is a steal.) There will be lots of amazing authors to learn from who will all be teaching amazing classes!
  2. Janette Rallison, my dear friend who lives in Arizona is going to be there! YAY!
  3. Liz Adair is in charge, and she is organized and lovely and will make sure the conference runs with all kinds of awesome.
  4. I moved to Southern Utah and feel a little disconnected from all the writer friends I love so much and this is a chance to see some of them.
  5. I need my own creative well filled.
  6. I am teaching two really awesome classes!

The first class is called Frankenstein: Using all the Parts to Create Something that Breathes. It is a primer for writing and will cover: Dialogue, Emotion, Voice, Character, Setting, and Plot.

The second class is called How to Take the Suck out of Success: Making Castles out of the Bricks Life Throws. This class is about taking away the excuses and following your dreams. It’s  about not giving up. Because let’s face it, sometimes it feels like someone planted booby traps on the ladder to success. Sometimes it sucks. This class will teach how to eliminate some of those pesky traps and ticking time bombs so that success can be a little easier.

I am SUPER excited for this. And with the whole government shut-down (because we’ve apparently sent a bunch of non communicating infants to Washington) Kanab could really use the tourist dollars. The businesses there have suffered a huge loss by the non-existent tourism from the national parks. Since I spent fifteen years running a business that only did well during the tourist season, I feel a great deal of empathy for their plight.

So sign up now! I promise we’ll have fun. And if you want to read about Kanab and their issues with the government shut down, here is a news article:

http://www.kcsg.com/view/full_story/23793695/article-Kanab-Writer-s-Conference-Taking-Place-Oct–25-26-Despite-Gov–Closures?instance=more_local_news1