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Freedom Giveaway Hop – July 1st – 7th

Freedom Giveaway Hop!!!

July 1st – July 7th

I’m excited to be a part of this hop sponsored by I Am A Reader Not A Writer

and co-hosted by Simply Stacie


This is a YA Giveaway made of AWESOME.

I have recently been turned on to an incredible series from Cassandra Clare. In honor of my newest YA addiction, I’m giving away the first THREE novels in the Mortal Instrument Series. Yeah, I said it. You can have them all. Brand new, shipped to you by me. *Sighs* They are delish!

See below for details of your prize package.

To be entered to win the prize package you must follow me on Google Friend Connect by clicking on the button at the top of my right column  —>

If you’d like to have additional entries, you can follow via twitter or like me on my Facebook author page, or with networked blogs or GoodReads. All those buttons are over there on the right too. But Following with GFC will get you entered. No worries.

The Mortal Instruments Series

Book One: City of Bones

In City of Bones, fifteen-year-old Clary Fray is introduced to the world of the Shadowhunters, a secret cadre of warriors dedicated to driving demons out of our world. And she’s introduced with a vengeance, when Clary’s mother disappears and Clary herself is almost killed by a grotesque monster sent by the evil and powerful Shadowhunter, Valentine. How could a mere human survive such an attack.


Book Two: City of Ashes

In the second novel, City of Ashes, Clary just wants her life to go back to normal–but that turns out to be impossible. For one thing, her mother is still in the hospital, in a mysterious coma. For another, she and her newfound brother Jace have fallen under a cloud of suspicion now that the Shadowhunter world knows that Valentine is still alive–and that Jace and Clary are his son and daughter. Then Clary’s best friend Simon is turned into a vampire and kidnapped by Valentine, who intends to sacrifice him as part of a bloody ritual that will make the Mortal Instruments Valentine’s forever.

Book Three: City of Glass

In book three, City of Glass, Clary has to use all her ingenuity and newfound magical skills to get herself to the Glass City in Idris, the secretive Shadowhunters’ home country, where she is forbidden to go–for it is only there that she can find the cure to the enchanted sleeping sickness to which her mother has succumbed. When Valentine attacks the city and destroys the demon towers, Clary and her allies are all that stand between him and the total annihilation of all Shadowhunters. Love is a mortal sin and the past tangles inextricably with the present as Clary and Jace face down their father in the final installment of the Mortal Instruments series.


After you enter, be sure to use the linky list below to visit the 200 other sites giving away books all week!

Thanks for hopping by and Best of Luck!!

A Year of Blogging & What Have I Gained, Really?

Well, well, what have we here? I’ve been blogging a whole year this month and I’m asked on a regular basis Why? What’s the point? Why bother? I don’t know. I kinda like it. Sometimes it’s a pain. Sometimes it’s a hoot. Kinda like writing. Kinda like marriage. Kinda like everything worth doing. I know many people out there don’t blog and are probably curious about things – I know cause like I said, they ask. SO, I figured today I’d tell you one person’s blog experience. Mine.

I blog because:

It gives me an outlet, a sounding board and a place to document the insane quest for publication I am on.

  1. I meet people. Writers. Readers. Bloggers. I really like people. People are crazy and crazy is good and therefore blogging rocks
  2. I’m getting my name into the the world. I’m “building a brand” some call it. I’m “creating a web presence” others say. I think this one goes back to “I’m making friends.” If I ever have a book on shelves, I’ll get to throw a bigger party cause more people will want to come :P *I also like to party*
  3. I am getting all the scoop on books! Books! Books! Blog hopping isn’t only good for the lats and quads (This is a joke about muscles, but I don’t really know where these muscle groups are located) but I get to see what’s coming out and what’s coming up and what’s getting all the buzz. *swoon* I LOVE getting my hands on a delicious new read. Bloggers know these things and I can mingle with them now ;)
  4. I meet authors. To an aspiring author, actual authors are like super bookish celebrities. I get to chat with , interview, etc real life paid-for- their-prose authors. Love it.
  5. I’m writing. Blogging is writing and I’m serious when I say every word counts. Writing is practice and I like to write and I need practice. There ya go.
  6. Blogging about writing keeps me on my toes in search of more information to share. I’m always reading and learning and seeking and this is good for me.

Now, I thought I’d share some statistics about my humble blog…

  1. I’ve been up for a year *curtsy* Thank you.
  2. I’ve interviewed dozens of authors of genres ranging from Steamy Romance to YA Fantasy, Childrens books and Steampunk for my Writer Wednesday feature.
  3. I’ve connected with over 600 friends using Google Friend Connect
  4. Received over a thousand comments
  5. Written three hundred posts
  6. Participated in memes such as “Follow Friday”  hosted by Parajunkee, “The blog hop”  at Crazy-for-books, “IMM In My Mailbox” from the Story Siren, & “Mailbox Monday” hosted by rotating blogs.
  7. Participated in oodles of giveaway hops and given away like 50 books.
  8. I’ve had about 10,000 unique visitors from around the globe, some places I’d never heard of and tripped out that they spoke English. Blogging teaches me geography and cultural things too LOL
  9. I’ve had about 80,000 page views and most of you drop by way of twitter – which I love
  10. All and all, I’m a tiny amoebae fish in a real big ocean, but that’s alright with me.

That’s about all I can tell you about my year in blogging. It’s meager, but worthwhile. The friends I’ve made here have lasted and some have carriedover into regular email & twitter friendships, become beta readers and critty partners. I’ve come to know some commenters on the blog better than people I go to church with every week. Blogging is a great way to meet like minded people, book lovers, aspiring writers and authors.

I wouldn’t trade it for chewed toffy. (<–totally just made that up #Julieisms). Huh. That’s not a bad idea for a blog post.


Writer Brain Melt Down

My crazy-writer-brain is on the fritz. I’ve reached maximum capacity and there’s a blinking orange sign on my forehead screaming TILT!!! TILT!!!

I’m trying to get into writer mode. I have a sequel I need written and critiqued and revised by the end of the year. I’m about 10K words in right now, meaning 70K short so far. Boo. I’m having fun writing it, but I’m struggling to apply myself because I started a new short sweet romance. I like those. They can be written, polished and submitted in a month or two. Then, I hear back on them fast too. SO, those little romances give me a big boost of enthusiasm to keep going. Problem is I’m only about 5K words in and need about 20K more. So right now, both my writing projects seem like a long road ahead. Sooo I do what any good procrastinator would do and I read. Nomnomnom gobbling up awesome and smiling wildly at the fabulous books out there. Problem: My TBR pile is growing faster than I can read and I read pretty fast. Problem: my TBR pile is kinda starting to look a little more like work than escape. I hate being behind on things and now I’m behind on my writing and my reading. *huffs*

Fine. A career procrastinator knows there’s more than one way to avoid stressors. I just log into my precious *strokes laptop* Tweetdeck. I heart twitter, and I begin to chit chat with my tweet peeps. Time escapes me and before I know it I’m in super-huge trouble cause it’s 5pm and I’m in my pajamas, my house is in disarray and the kids are swinging from the chandeliers. — I don’t actually have chandeliers–Please don’t call child services–. So, I quick brush my teeth, shove the mess into a closet and throw on a pair of shorts with the tee I slept in. Ponytails are my friend. Lipgloss = voila!

Life looks presentable in time to greet Hubsy who I’m totally not fooling, but he lets it slide cause he loves his crazy wife. Ah, victory!

Problem: I still have a TBR pile that could squash and bury my toddler and two unfinished novels.

I think all writers have these moments where life and writing collide. They come and go and come again. There will always be more books to read – THANK HEAVENS – and projects unfinished because that’s a writers life, but on days like today I feel like the lady in the pic up there.

Anyone wanna make me feel better by sharing a story from your nutty juggling act called writing with kids/a job/a life outside of cyberland? Please do.

A Tuesday Funny:How Twilight Should’ve Ended

Alright. I have no solid writing tips for today. I’ve been super busy writing two manuscripts and it’s midnight and I have nothing, BUT when in bloggy doubt, there is always YouTube. **There’s my bogger advice for you bloggers out there. See there’s always some priceless Julie opinion to be found here**Where would I be without YouTube? Probably working on something, but alas, there is YouTube.

Everyone knows I am a twi-tard so this is a  funny for you from me. A cutsie cartoony that makes me laugh. The ending to this, not so awesome, but the lines -oh-the lines- are too much.



Gettin’ Girlie in the Name of Research

Research means many things to a writer. Sometimes research means endless hours alone in the library basement learning the history of paraffin wax. Sometimes it means learning to bake. Research can mean a lot of things, but for fiction writers research always means understanding the characters. If a writer doesn’t know her characters, how can readers be expected to know them? Character research is my favorite part of this business.

Researching characters takes time. Making lists of attributes, their like and dislikes, desires and weaknesses, is a good start in understanding what makes a character tick. It’s important to know what motivates characters and how they respond to provocation. There are times this research can be done within the context of a word document. Other times it can take a writer out of her comfort zone and into something she’d never have ventured to do or learn on her own.

Knowing what makes a character tick requires more than a little effort. When that knowledge can’t be accomplished by making lists, walking the walk will go a long way to building a storyline people believe and a main character readers will root for. Writing about a ninja, for example, might require some time at a dojo.

Never shake a stick at the value of people-watching. Observation is part of a writer’s job and as a bonus, it’s fascinating. Don’t be afraid to hang out in the local emergency room on a Friday night. That experience can make the difference between a believable medical thriller, and a disjointed tale based upon WebMD.

Don’t be afraid to get out there, watch, take notes, and talk to people. Writing a crime drama? Call the local police department to see if there’s a public relations program. Some departments will take civilians on ride-alongs, station tours, and even provide a glimpse at their training. Take a self-defense class, an art class, or just ride the public transportation system for a full loop. Whatever is in a character’s day-in-the-life should be in a writer’s day-in-the-life at least once during the process.

Getting a writer out of her office and into mischief isn’t always easy, but it’s worth the effort. While some characters are tough, for example a Vegas showgirl, not everyone can register for a day in the life of that one. Others are incredibly simple like the teen in a YA. YA research can mean a trip to the beach, the mall, or the local Starbucks. Grab a fro-yo and eavesdrop. Getting into character can be liberating. (Says the thirty-something typing this article with hot pink disco nail polish she over-layed in purple shimmer).

Writing women should embrace the awesome. What other profession can justify a trip to Sephora, a new Marc Jacob hobo and auburn highlights in the name of research? Face it, as working women, mothers, wives and friends, forgetting the euphoria of shopping like Pretty Woman is easy to do. New shoes and a facial are necessary for mental health from time to time and writers can call it research.

If you’re not writing a chic lit novel or don’t have a YA work in progress right now, maybe it’d be fun to start one? This is the perfect time of year to get a tan, buy a slinky dress, or try body shimmer and your luck in stilettos. Learn to salsa, or surf, or something else outside your comfort zone. Summer’s coming, the days are longer, the weather’s better, it’s time to seize the moment. Shed your age for a few months, follow your heart, test your boundaries and have some fun. Your manuscript, characters, and readers will thank you.


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