Sunday, July 8, 2012

DRAGON DANCER - Six Sentence Sunday

Simone lifted her eyes to gaze into his face. He pushed back from the table and stood, never once releasing her from his hypnotic stare. Trent’s muscles bunched in anticipation of the kill. Hunter and hunted. She stepped back, slamming into the side of the refrigerator.
       They were a hairs length from one another.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Professionalism in the Writing World

I've waited quite some time before drafting this post for one main reason. I didn't want to become a member of the society I'm about to malign.

I was recently humiliated in a public forum. It was a slap of cold water in the face and absolutely stunned me speechless. If anyone knows "me," you'll realize exactly how shocked I was. Speechless is not something I do well. My first reaction was to write an angry blog about the exchange that embarrassed me. I didn't. My second reaction was to apologize to the individual who decided it was necessary to smack me down. I did that. My third reaction was to get the hell out of dodge and disconnect from an association that harbored the "I rule the world" mentality. I did that, too.

The individual who felt it necessary to slam my knuckles with a poker in front of many of my peers believed they had that right because it was their forum. It might be your forum, sweetheart, but you are no professional. This is the heart of my post. Professionalism. In this day and age of being able to interact via the internet opens a wide door for misbehavior. It is NOT OKAY to purposely embarrass someone. When circling through a writer's world, you never know who can help you build your dream or offer an insight that opens a door. You NEVER KNOW. Why would you take it upon yourself to purposely alienate and offend? Stupid, if you ask me.

This same mentality is blowing up all over the internet with the argument of "indie v. traditional." I am so sick of the circular thought patterns and direct attacks on authors from other authors, I just want to scream. Who gives a flying f*ck whether you have published traditionally, independently, or both? Are you selling books? Do you have a fan base? Are you happy? It's about the READERS people. Get over yourselves. We write because telling stories is what we're passionate about. We don't write to get rich. Sure, it would be wonderful if every single one of us were successful enough to write full time. That's our goal, right? To write full time! Not to drink champagne and eat bon-bons all day long. At least, that's my goal. I love my job but balancing work and writing is exhausting. If I ever reach a level where I have the luxury of choosing one over the other, it will be a difficult decision. I'm lucky enough that my passion lies on both sides of the road. Anyway, the point being here is that we strive for our stories to be our jobs. And that's an awesome goal. Keep it in focus!

This is a business. In business, people behave professionally. If you are traditionally published only, please don't think you have a clue about what it is to write as an independent author.Your opinions are ridiculous, because you don't know. If you are independently published only, please don't think you have a clue about what it is to write as a contracted author. Your opinions are ridiculous, because you don't know. If you are published both traditionally and independently, your opinion is helpful to those trying to determine which path is best for them. You may compare the two avenues as it adds value.

The bottom line here is that we write because we have stories to tell. Our first thought needs to be to the reader. If you have crafted a great story, the reader doesn't care who published it. The reader isn't out on the internet Googling the mud-slinging blogs that are so link-worthy in the writer's world. If we spent more time honing our craft and less time arguing the publishing basics, we would all be better writers.

This is a new world for writers, and I say get over yourselves and just write on!!! Oh, and please be professional and courteous to all. Support one another. Do not, under any circumstances, publicly embarrass a fellow artist. You never come out looking smart or savvy or knowledgeable. Ever. It's simply not a good thing.

Peace out.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

All Creatures Great and Small...

As a young reader, I inhaled all the James Harriett books. I blame him for this morning's stray from sanity.

I have a wonderful backroad, countryside commute to work. This morning was stunning with bright blue skies and streaming sunshine. Living in the humidity-filled South, I always appreciate the snap of crystal air. My commute began around 7:30 a.m. and around 7:45 a.m., I delved into the land of the clearly-not-in-her-right-mind.

Rounding a bend, I glanced to the right, and what do I see? A poor, pitiful newborn calf all alone. I mean ALL ALONE, people. His mother apparently needed to have the animal version of DFCS called on her. She needed an immediate smack down. As an advocate of all creatures great and small (thank you, James Harriett), I pulled over.

What on earth did I think I could do? I glanced down at my feet. Clearly, I had not donned the appropriate footwear for traipsing here:

I did what every other right minded animal activist would do. I got out of my car and opened the trunk. Much to my dismay, I apparently did not have a stray pair of sneakers hidden beneath the piles of reusable shopping bags.

With a sigh, I glanced at the tiny little creature abandoned by its hideous mother. It truly wasn't so tiny. In fact, even if I still owned my gas-guzzling Expedition, this poor baby would probably not fit. About this time, a soft breeze ruffled my perfectly coiffed work-do, and on that soft breeze, an undertone of eau-de-manure assaulted my senses.

An image played around in my head. What if I managed to shove this little forgotten piece of steak into my sporty, leather adorned Fusion? Would I be cow stealing? I searched the horizon for any sight of a barn, farm, tractor, man, woman, missing she-bitch-of-a-mother. Nothing. Nada. Nunca.

Reality dawned. Here I was, standing in knee high weeds, in heels and a skirt, contemplating shoving a 150 pound calf into the back seat of my car. I imagined making it a quarter-mile up the road before the blue lights of a sheriff's car pulled me over and arrested me for cow stealing. I imagined having to call work and explain that I needed to be bailed out of jail for cow stealing. I imagined having to call my husband and explain why the back seat of my beloved car was shredded and scented like a milk barn because of cow stealing.

I apologized to Mignon (yes, in all this imagining I named him) and prayed his mother would return. I then continued my commute to work. I ask, though, if faced with this:

Would you, too, not be tempted to turn into a bovine's superhero?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Still lousy at blogging...

Yes, I'm still very very very lousy at blogging. I am a writer that is actually writing. A few updates to add here:

ANGEL FALLS - Release Date April 2011, Medallion Press
(this is the second installment of a three book trilogy following Jake and Cassidy)

DEVIL'S GOLD - November 2, 2009 - will be the featured thriller for Dear Reader

I have been writing monthly reviews for International Thriller Writers - Here

Also, if you are a debut thriller author with your very first book in print, please stop by and join ITW Debut Authors program - Here


Sunday, April 5, 2009

74W is where?

Last weekend, my husband Bob and I embarked on our road trip to Asheville, North Carolina. As I was wrapping up logging my hours for work, Bob decided to map quest our route and print a map. We live in the northern section of Georgia and decided to take the scenic route through the mountains as we had plenty of time to reach our destination before my 7:00 p.m. signing.

One hour into the trip:

Bob: Check the map and let me know where to go?
Julie: (glances at the minuscule square that's supposed to be a "map") Seriously?
Bob: Yeah, why?
Julie: The map is too small. I can't make out the route numbers because of the fat blue line that shows us where to go.
Bob: Oh.

Two hours into the trip:

Bob: We're in Franklin, NC - check the map and tell me where that is.
Julie: (glances once more at the flippin' tiny map, puts on her reading glasses to see if that will help and then glares at her husband) Seriously?
Bob: No Franklin?

Three hours into the trip:

Cell phone rings:

Mother-in-law: Hey we're here. Where are you?
Julie: Seriously?


We did make it well within our time limit. And I'm the first person to tell you that I love the feeling of not really knowing where you're going but knowing everything will be okay. It's adventurous and fun.

Leaving Asheville was an entirely different experience.

Bob: 74W right?
Julie: (feeling smug) Yep.
Bob: Ok. 40W to 74W right?
Julie: (definitely the superior gender) Yep.
Bob: Ok. That sign says 240W to 74W.
Julie: Seriously?
Bob: Yeah. Do I turn?
Julie: Uhhhhh...yep. (decisiveness is always good)

Ten minutes later:

Bob: That sign says we're on 74E.
Julie: Uhhhhh...go that way 40W.
Bob: (cannot print what was said)
Julie: There...that sign says 40W, 74W uhhhh and 26W and 74E. How can we be going both East and West?
Bob: Seriously?
Julie: (cannot print what was said)
Bob: (cannot print what was said)
Julie: (really can't print what was said)

We made it home. We didn't kill one another. And we have learned not to follow what the signs say in Asheville, never to print anything from map quest, and to invest in a GPS system.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Book Signings...

I am a rather shy person. I see y'all who know me rolling your eyes and shaking your heads. But I am shy. I don't like to toot my own horn, and I certainly am NOT a salesperson. In this business, however, I need to just get over myself.

In January, when I received my box of books, I dragged myself here and begged my friend who happens to be part-owner of the bookstore to allow me to have a book signing. Ellen was extraordinarily gracious and, much to my surprise, more than happy to offer her services. On March 7th, I had my first book signing. It was great fun. I had threatened all of my friends and family appropriately and forced my father to serve wine to prevent people from running out the door. Phew, book signing number one was a success.

Onto book signing number two. With the help of family, I managed to secure a signing at Malaprops in Asheville, North Carolina. Finding Malaprop's was a piece of cake. It was finding North Carolina that we had trouble with. That story will be told at a later time. Anyway, Malaprop's wanted a reading. Please refer to Paragraph 1 of this post regarding my inherent shyness. This was a nightmare to me. A huge obstacle and one I sweated about. My kind friend, Ellen, laughed and told me to pick a paragraph or two and keep it under three minutes. Three minutes is a life time when reading ones own words.

I didn't read. Couldn't. Nope. No way. What I did do is play on one of my strengths -- talking. I love to talk. And I had a whole room full of people ready to listen to me. So I talked about the Niger Delta and about the plight of the gray wolves. I was nervous. I kept that "three minute" number in my head and blabbered away. In hindsight, I probably could have slowed down just a bit and relaxed. But Ellen said three minutes, damn it. And that's what I was going to do. So in three minutes, I educated everyone on the Niger Delta and the gray wolves. You can imagine how fast I was talking. But I survived.

And now I am on a mission to find other independent book stores to allow me a signing. It's not easy to garner book signings. Actually, it's plain frustrating. But it's my job. Because after this month, Devil's Gold is no longer new. I am the person that has to push it out there and keep it fresh.

On a totally unrelated subject -- I have some very cool bookmarks. So if any of you have my book and would like a bookmark, just let me know!


Marketing...who me?

My boss, who you can find here, is an inspiration when it comes to marketing. I am a lousy blogger but have come to the realization that this is an important tool and should not be overlooked. I sat back and thought about what I can do to make this an interesting place that readers would want to come back to again and again. Honestly, I know none of you care about what I had for dinner or how much weight I need to lose. I had to figure an angle out, similar to how my boss has cornered the market on Father's Rights. I am a curious person by nature and nosy. In addition to that, I do live a rather unusual and larger than life existence. I'm also a klutz and know how to laugh at myself. So I have thought that my angle to this whole blog thing will be to allow y'all a small insight to my crazy existence while connecting the dots to influences in my writing. This will either be extraordinarily boring or slightly entertaining. AND, most of all, having just had my book released this month I thought that I would also bring you on the journey of self-promotion and all the thrills and frustrations I am finding along the way.

So to break it down...I am going to have three focus points of this blog:

1. Writing - my personal insight into the craft
2. Marketing - my personal insight into promotion and book sales
3. Another dreaded moment - your insight into my person

Here we go....