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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

Launch Party for Olivia!

I don’t know how much I’ve shared about my experience with writing the novel Olivia, but I am so excited to announce its release! Olivia,-the first book in the Newport Ladies Book Club series was shipped to stores today! This means that in the next week-ish this beautiful cover will be looking at you from book store shelves:

Olivia

How it all started was Josi and I went on a booktour in 2009.

Josi and Julie Booktour

I’m really glad we put the date in the picture because I’m a little flaky when it comes to remembering stuff like that. And don’t you love our toes. Josi treated me to my first ever pedicure. I tell you people–she is the friend to have! It was a great experience (the whole thing, not just the pedicure). Josi is the sort of person I can talk to all day and all night and never get tired of it. She is an amazing woman.  Even when she’s feeling evil . . .

Josi grinning in evil joy

Josi likes to keep a strict time schedule. This is a good thing, since I tend to be flaky about schedules too. I wanted to stop every few minutes while on the road because there were lots of cool things to see. We’d basically planned the tour right down to the minute which means had Josi given in to me, we would have been late to everything. So I had to settle for to settle for drive-by Photography:

Drive by Photo

While we were driving, we talked about everything. We talked about books. We talked about books we really liked.  We talked about authors who wrote books we really liked. Then Josi had an idea. A brilliant, magnificent, WONDERFUL idea.

I’d like to claim it as my own, but really I was just in the passenger seat listening to her tell me her brilliant, magnificent, WONDERFUL idea.  The important thing to remember here is that *I* was in the car when it happened,  and therefore my contribution of being present was vital.

The idea was to get with two other authors, ones of the awesome book-writing variety, and two who we really loved and wanted with us, and write a series with them. Not just any series, but a series where the stories interconnect and weave together.

Four Women.

Four Books.

Four lives changed through friendship.

See! I told you it was brilliant!

We met with Annette Lyon and Heather Moore for breakfast when we got home and pitched the idea to them. We were all on board. And that was the birthplace of the Newport Ladies Book Club. We each wrote from the viewpoint of a different character so in each of the books, you’ll get some of that character’s story, but only by reading all four books will you get the full picture or find out the endings to the other character’s stories. It was great fun to write the books–to get together and discuss the characters. We’d be typing away and then one of us would look up and say, “Oh, by the way, your character is going to do this in the second meeting.” or “Hey, what color is your character’s hair again?” And wow. Reading the finished products? WOW. Each story is so unique and interesting and beautiful.

And Olivia has been shipped to stores today!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (insert freakish girl scream here).

We are celebrating the release of the Newport Ladies Book Club:

Saturday February 18th  1-3 PM

Deseret Book  1110 FORT UNION BLVD  MIDVALE, UT  84047

There will be food and prizes and fun and BOOKS!

Please come join me in the celebration!

Ring Out Wild Bells

I decided to start the year with a january Blog Hop giveaway. So read to the bottom if you want to participate.

I love the poem by Tennyson: Ring Out Wild Bells. Love it. It’s been put to music in the LDS hymn book, and it’s haunting and beautiful and feels full of promise all at the same time. The song gives me chills. I was disappointed we didn’t sing it on new Year’s Day in Sacrament meeting, but maybe next year.

With two books coming out within the next three months, I have been insanely busy. This means I haven’t blogged very much, which is probably a relief to everyone because then they don’t have to hear me whining over edits, over the fact that every time I think I’ve uncovered the secrets of the comma I realize I haven’t uncovered anything at all, over the fact that my kitchen counters are never clear, over the fact that Mother Nature is a real slacker with the whole winter thing.

I’m really glad I spared you all of that whining. Lucky you guys!

But since it is tradition that I start the year by looking back at the previous year, I’d decided I’d better write *something*. I had things I wanted to do last year, and things that actually were achieved.

Writing. I had tons of writing goals. Long term . . . short term. I wanted to write three books. I wrote two and three quarters. I would have made this goal except the year ended with all kinds of stuff getting piled on me at once and honestly . . . I have three kids who need to know they’re loved. I had to put something aside, and the work in progress was that something. It’s mostly done . . . which feels quite the same as mostly dead. I will pick that up again in another week or two. The two books that did find their way to completion are also the two coming out in the next few months. Olivia (which is part of the series written with Josi Kilpack, Heather Moore, and Annette Lyon) is coming out in February. And Hazzardous Universe: The Magician’s Last Words (Loving that title!) is coming out in March. The book that is mostly done is called Capes and Curls. It’s a fairytale retelling featuring Little Red Riding Hood and Goldilocks. It’s been a fun write, and I cannot wait to go back to it.

I wanted to read 70 books and I read 78. One of these days maybe I will be as well read as Jessica Day George. But probably not. That girl is a machine! I fell in love with Jim Butcher’s writing over the year and ended the year with James Dashner’s Death Cure. It was an epic ending to the series. It was fitting and believably human. I genuinely loved it. if you haven’t read it–then a pox upon your head. Dashner did a great job and Death Cure was a great book to end my reading year. Thanks James.

I wanted to get into shape. But one ACL snap and torn meniscus later, I am just grateful to be walking. I’ve come to the point that I can walk without a limp most of the time. I still struggle on stairs. I can do them, but sometimes if my knee is really hurting, it’s slow going. A rather severe depression overcame me at the time I injured my knee. It’s strange how a physical ailment can have such an emotional impact. I’m clawing my way out of it. Some days are great and there’s no pain at all. Others are less than great. It is the way of things.

I wanted my kids to be safe and happy. They are that for certain. I’m so grateful for the joy those three kids give me. I love listening to them laugh and hearing their ideas. I love the way they see the world and the fact that they aren’t afraid to share their thoughts with Mr. Wright and me. I love their jokes and hard work, and the way they care about others. Families are important things. And not every day is perfect in any family, but every day is worth experiencing because they are there: parents, siblings, in laws, nieces, nephews, children, spouses. I’m glad for the people in my life.

It was a good year. I was able to do some cool things and spend time with cool people. I’m glad to have another year at my disposal. Maybe I’ll get three books written this year . . .

I wish all of you a great New Year. May you accomplish your goals and be happy. As a way to kick off the year, I’m joining

I Am A Reader, Not A Writer in a blog hop giveaway for a young adult novel. I have in my possession a hardback copy of James Dasher’s Scorch Trials. To qualify for the giveaway, either follow my blog *or* follow me on Twitter http://twitter.com/scatteredjules and leave a comment on this post. That’s it. If you already follow both, then just leave a comment and tell me you’re awesome. And make sure to go to the blog hop link to view all the other blogs giving away YA books so you can have chances to win other way cool books by way cool authors. The giveaway runs from January 27th to 31st US only entries please.

Writing Rocks

Today I found out my book Hazzardous Universe is being featured on the Seagull Book and Tape home page of their website near the bottom.  I don’t think that’s ever happened with one of my books before. How cool is that???? The book is being featured alongside the video my publisher did of Kevin Wasden and me. The sound is really low so turn your speakers up. The background music is fun.

Go have a look: http://www.seagullbook.com/

I am lame in the video a little, but I am lame all the time so it won’t be a surprise to anyone.

Book two to the Hazzardous Universe is done and into the publisher, and I’m a little antsy to start working on book three. So much fun stuff ahead!

Something I discovered while working on my newest book today was that sometimes accidentally adding a letter to a word can really really change the meaning to a sentence. My main character went from being busy to being busty. No surgery involved 😉 Glad to have caught that one.

I’m almost finished with my latest Work in Progress and am beyond thrilled about it. It’s one book that will be part of a four book series. The other three books are being written by Josi Kilpack, Heather Moore, and Annette Lyon. I am so excited for all the coolness of this series! It’s women’s fiction that deals with relationships and the importance of friendship. It is such an honor to work and write alongside the three women who have changed and altered my writing path for the better.  They are all such incredible writers as well as incredible friends that it humbles me and fills me with gratitude to be associated with them.

We’ve had a few writing get-togethers, which includes food, laughing, talking, more laughing, and actual writing. So cool to work and collaborate with great minds.

I’ve been thinking a lot about collaboration lately and found that my experience has been really positive with working with others. Kevin was and is an absolute joy. He’s been really wonderful to let me have creative freedom in writing the story of Hap Hazzard and Tara Jordan. And now, working with Josi, Annette, and Heather, I’ve found even more joy. Working with creative people who all respect each other really is key. That’s how collaboration can work. If everyone is there for the sake of the project and can put their own egos aside–the project suddenly becomes a life unto itself and creativity flows.

I always warn people when they mention they’re planning on collaborating on a project. There are so many things that can go wrong. I’ve seen friendships die on the vine due to projects that went awry. But my own personal experiences have been so phenomenal. I’d love to take the credit and say it’s because I’m just so darn easy to work with, but really . . . the opposite is true. I am sometimes beyond lame. I think my collaborations have worked because I’ve surrounded myself with good people. They make up the differences where I fall short.

I guess that’s the secret to successful collaboration–work hard, be willing to make concessions, and surround yourself with good people. Today is just a good day and writing rocks.

Whitney Awards, Conference, and Good Stuff

I have never been speechless in my entire life. Never. Not once that I can recall. I think I was born talking. My dad used to take me to his business stuff and military stuff when I was incredibly small because I had a huge vocabulary and absolutely no fear of using it. He liked showing off the baby who spoke in full sentences even before she had enough hair to qualify her as a girl. Seriously. Never. Speechless.

Until Saturday night.

I had not allowed myself to prepare any kind of acceptance speech if Cross My Heart should win the Whitney Award. Any time my mind wandered in that direction, I immediately yanked it back. After my freakish month of feeling wretched, I wasn’t emotionally up to disappointment. I’d read the other finalists. They were good. I closed one in particular and thought to myself, “She is definitely going to win.” But it didn’t really bother me to think I’d lost. I attributed it to their excellence, rather than my mediocrity. Good books should win. And that was okay with me.

So I went to the conference feeling surprisingly normal. A lot of that normal feeling stemmed from the fact that I FINALLY finished Hazzardous Universe Book 2 and got it turned in to my illustrious editor, Kirk Shaw. Getting the book done and in, and feeling good about the end result of that product, went a long way toward feeling normal. The conference went well, meeting up with friends, and making a few new ones, went a long way toward normal as well.

And then Saturday night happened. I wore black . . .  because that’s what I do, found my seat with wonderful online friends that I pretty much only see once a year, picked at my food, and listened to the opening statements. It started so quickly. The romance category was announced first, and it seems I had barely enough time to blink as I wrenched my cloth napkin in my hands and felt my legs turn to water.

Then they were announcing my name . . . the title of MY book. My brain froze. I couldn’t process the words, yet my emotions experienced no such freezing as I immediately melted into a snotty, sodden mess of waterfall. Had they really called *my* name? I knew I had to go up there, but my legs wouldn’t move. Mr. Wright had to tap me and remind me to walk to the stage.

People talk about slow motion where every breath inhaled and exhaled feels as though they mark the passing of minutes rather than fractions of seconds. Where the time in which every step forward seems monitored by hours. I can’t really remember the walk to the platform and the microphone, but it felt like it took forever. I remember the hugs from the people who announced the award for the 2010 Romance category. Sheila, Shanda, and Mindy were hugging on me and crying right along with me.

And then I turned and faced the podium, stepped up to the microphone, and experienced the impossible.

I was speechless. It wasn’t just about having nothing to say. I literally could not get the air to flow past my pipes to create sound. I made some odd orangutan movements, squawked like some mental bird, and looked pretty silly in general before the words finally came.

Granted, the words were rendered difficult to understand through the blubbering and squawking. And, granted, they weren’t all that brilliant, or poignant, or entertaining, or even well thought out.

But at least they did show up.

It was a humbling experience, and I still feel a little weepy (absurd . . . I know), and I still feel a little giddy. And that beautiful award shaped like a book that really opens and closes and has my name and title etched into its perfect acrylic face looks absolutely stunning on my bookshelf.

My daughter reminded me today that when I first bought that particular bookcase, I remarked how well a Whitney Award would look on it.

I love being right.

Thank you, Kirk, for being such an amazing editor. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the first three winners were your authors. Thank you, Josi, for the incredible work you put into the awards this year and the work you’ll have to put in next year. Last weekend Josi Kilpack, Heather Moore, Annette Lyon, and I spent the weekend in a hotel together so we could work on a series we’re writing together. Heather, Annette, and I were finalists. Josi knew the results. And she didn’t say a thing. She didn’t so much as breathe a clue in our direction as to how things had turned out.  She should get an award for THAT. It’s pretty amazing that each of the four of us have one of these awards now. What an amazing group of friends I am so lucky to have in my life. Thank you, Covenant, for being such a great publisher, for standing behind me in all the things I write, and for being so amazing to work with.

Thank you to the academy of bookstore owners, reviewers, publishers, and storymakers who voted. My smile muscles obviously need more exercise because they still hurt, and my eyes still feel a bit blurry from all the camera flashbulbs, and I still feel genuinely loved from all those hugs. Thank you, everyone. Thank you.

Here is the list of award winners:

Outstanding Achievement Award
Rick Walton

Lifetime Achievement Award
Susan Evans McCloud

Best General

Best Historical

Best Mystery/Suspense

Best Romance

Best Speculative

Best Youth—General

Best Youth—Speculative

Best by New Author

Novel of the Year (Tie)


Congratulations to all the winners!

And Congratulations to all those eating “loser pie” and snapping silly pictures. A part of me hated not being able to join in on those pictures. You are all amazing writers and there is nothing loser about that group . . . not even remotely. Though I still love the joke of the pie 🙂

Women of the Book Of Mormon Review

Okay, take a moment to ooh and aah over the cover, then get back to me and my review. Don’t worry, I’ll wait. I’m just generous like that.

In Heather Moore’s book, Women of the Book of Mormon, we are allowed glimpses into the lives of all the women who were mentioned throughout the entire Book of Mormon.  We learn about the twenty-four Lamanite women who were taken captive by Amulon and his band when they were found dancing by the river. We learn of Abish, King Lamoni’s wife, and of our first mother, Eve. Much of what is written in this book is background on the lives of the women from that time period. We learn about the daily work they had to do, the value they had in society, and the importance of the faith they taught to their children.

Heather’s previous books show the possible trials and faith of the women of the scriptures, which has been one of the many reasons I have found myself drawn to her writings. What was fun with this book going over the intimate implications of these women was the comfort women gain from other women. In a very real way, we need each other. We need those examples of faith to carry us through times that are too difficult for us to handle alone.

I found it interesting how Sariah gained comfort going through her trials by leaning on the faith of other women mentioned in the scriptures. I especially liked the reference to that mother we all share, Eve. It never occurred to me to think of the pain she had as mother raising Cain and then losing him to the jealousy and hatred he had for his brother. Heather points out that not all of us grow up with a mother who teaches the belief in Christ, but that we all share our first mother who stands as a supreme example to all of us.

There is an astounding amount of research put into this book and it’s obvious Heather as meticulous at crafting each segment.

A quote from the back cover:

Explore the lives, circumstances, and choices of women in the Book of Mormon in this uplifting and inspiring volume that illustrates the parallel between the lives of the women of the Book of Mormon and LDS women today. With new insights on practically every page, author Heather B. Moore explores the written and unwritten stories of the prominent women in the Book of Mormon—taking familiar material and providing vivid details about family dynamics, domestic practices, and other aspects of daily life. By applying historical and cultural contexts to the situations of women like Sariah, Abish, Eve, Mary and the faithful mothers of the stripling warriors, you will peek beneath the surface of the scriptural accounts to better understand both the righteous women of the Book of Mormon—and the women who didn’t use their agency wisely.

I recommend this book to any who desire a better understanding of what it might have been like to have been a woman throughout the ages of scriptural history. I walked away from reading this book edified and expanded in my knowledge, and appreciate the opportunity to have read it.

It’s Out!!

Eyes Like Mine is officially available!

eyes_like_mine

No, the launch party has not yet been totally nailed down. I am drowning in my things to do list. But the book is OUT! My dear friend, Heather Moore (who helped me in the editing process of this book) wrote me yesterday to let me know she bought a copy at Seagull Book and Tape. I am so jealous of her. I haven’t even seen my baby in its physical form yet. But I am wicked excited about the release of this book simply because it is a really awesome book. 🙂 You guys will all love it. I promise.

And to celebrate, let’s do a giveaway thing. Become a follower of this blog and leave a comment stating you’ve done so and I will have one of my kids do the drawing. If you’re already a follower, just leave a comment stating such. The contest will close on July 14th, just because that’s my daddy’s birthday and everyone should celebrate my daddy’s birthday (the entire country of France does every year). 

The prize? Well duh–it’s a free copy of Eyes Like Mine, and because I love you all so much and want you to be blessed with good reading, we’ll do a second drawing where the lucky winner gets a copy of English Trifle.

EnglishTrifle

Getting a copy of English Trifle is way cool because it isn’t even available in bookstores until late July. You will want to read this book asap because it is simply so much fun! Since I have such awesome connections in having Josi Kilpack as one of best friends, I can get you a copy now. It’s true; I am cool. Actually, it is because of Josi that I didn’t give up or give in when things in my publishing life looked dark and terrifying. She helped me edit this book, advised me on conflict (which she is so good at) and acted as all around cheerleader when I got depressed. Everyone needs a Josi Kilpack in their lives.

Since Eyes like Mine is a time travel novel, it might be kind of fun to know if any of you could have a visitor out of the past stay in your home for a week , who would you want and why?

For me, if the person we’re meeting is a relative, I would want my Great Great Grandma Minnie Crawford. I found a journal page she wrote while doing my genealogy and felt such a connection to this woman who lived through so much and persevered to the end.  Grandma Minnie lived 99 years. She died two months before she hit the century mark two years before my birthday. I would like to meet her and have her meet me. I would like her to know what her life story meant to me in my life.

If I could meet up with a non relative, I’d want to spend that time with Jane Austen. I know I’m predictable, but wouldn’t she be fun to show the future to? I’d take her to see her own movies to see what she thought of them. I think she would be sooooo much fun to hang out with.