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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!