Thursday, August 25, 2011

Neverending Celebration

It's time to celebrate! I am on the final step of the GIGANTIC revision of the Get Well Soon sequel (which, may or may not, finally have a title)! All I have to do is type up the little changes I made (okay, there is one scene that I left open and need to write when I get to it. Damn me!), and then I send it out to my editor. I will be free! For a little while, anyway. So, in honor of this joyous occasion, here are some more pictures from the Chicago Comic-Con. Thanks to Harrison for taking these and posting them!

I wonder what I was saying here. See how he humored me?

I'm so charming! Look at him laugh!

My nose looks weird in this picture. I couldn't resist. I am a huge Planet of the Apes fan! I think I made the wrong expression. Wish I could go back and do it over.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Get Well Soon Sequel Help!

Dear Readers,

Home stretch here on sequel work, and I'm looking for a few fave moments from the original Get Well Soon, especially between Justin and Anna. Doesn't have to be anything major, but I would love to reference two or three actual events from the book (and I am too lazy and time-crunched to re-read it AGAIN). If you have any scenes that you consider favorites, please shoot me a quick email (and if you have the page numbers, even better):

Thanks for your help!

PS I don't know why I wrote this in the form of a letter.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Fall Fashion

I know what I'll be wearing this fall!

Now, how to choose between Oatmeal and Taupe...

Monday, August 22, 2011

Scary Quickie

Just a quickie morning hello before I get the babe out of bed to report I am more than halfway through reading my revision. That means, once I finish this step, all I have to do is type in the small changes and it's off to the editor! Do I hear a huzzah?

I also have to report that I will not be appearing at this year's Anderson's Young Adult Literature Conference as previously planned. I hope the folks at Anderson's don't hate me (and they might, since I haven't heard back from anyone after I sent them a sincere apology email). You see, that weekend I will be attending Scarefest in Lexington, Kentucky. I am going with Tracy, the friend in both Get Well Soon and the sequel, to bring back my love for horror films that was so prevalent in my teens and twenties life. The main character in my next book, which I started then stopped to work on the Get Well Soon sequel, is a horror movie connoisseur as I once was, and I am looking to the Scarefest to bring back a lot of those warm, gory feelings I had about horror when I was younger. Should be interesting! I'm just sorry I had to choose which event to attend.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

What I'm Watching: Summer 2011 Edition

I don't know why I'm having so much trouble thinking of things to blog about. I would think the world would have commented at the top of its lungs about Atreyu, but, no, one comment. So what are people looking for or expecting from me? Is it just that I don't have blog readers who like to comment? Ah, sweet mystery of blog.

It's been a while since I typed a What I'm Watching post, so here's a list of what's currently rolling around on my DVR:

1. Ice Loves Coco - This one officially ended last week, but I promised a shout out to this surprisingly sweet show. I have always had a place in my heart for Ice T (the man was in Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo),

but Coco has fascinated me since I saw a picture of her butt. Who knew there was more to her than that? She is so cute and funny, and Ice really does love her. Can you believe they've been married ten years? Right on!

2. True Blood - I know people are mixed about this season, but any season that has less Bill and more Eric is fine by me. Poor Tommy. I'm not loving Lafayette's hair, and I am very confused by the scary baby doll story line. Tara looks awesome, no? I'm enjoying it.

3. State of Georgia - I adore Raven-Symone. I think she's a comic genius with brilliant timing and execution. The show is still a little confused about what it wants to be, but I'll keep watching. Last episode of the summer season is on tonight. And now, please enjoy my favorite scene ever from That's So Raven (skip to 57 seconds for the best part):

The skeleton dance is masterful.

4. Paranormal Challenge - This doesn't compare at all to Ghost Adventures. I'm feeling a little like Zak's head is getting far too big for his already huge body, and this show isn't helping. Looking forward to fall when new Ghost Adventures episodes are back.

5. Project Runway - I'm not overly committed to this anymore, but I'm watching. There's sort of a bare spot on the DVR lately, so I'm filling it with mediocre, relaxing fare. Heidi Klum looks grossly skinny this season, so I'm enjoying that. Tim Gunn is totally phoning it in.

6. Whisker Wars - Okay, I haven't watched this yet, but it's ready to go on the DVR. Maybe tonight, if I can force myself to stay awake past 9:30.

7. Tia and Tamera - I just started with this one, and it's a little annoying - Tia (or is it Tamera) is such a snot to her sister. Still, I do love a set of twins from the 80s. This is one Matt's making me watch alone.

I stopped watching Curb Your Enthusiasm, even though the new season just started. Larry David has always disturbed me, but now that he is a swinging single on the show and somehow dates beautiful, young girls every week, I'm done. He is so lecherous, and I know he's trying to gross me out with those sex scenes, but that doesn't mean I have to watch them.

I'm not sure if I forgot anything. My DVR is only on my bedroom cable, and I'm on the couch right now.I am very impressed with how I stretch my viewing across a variety of cable channels. Comcast should reward me somehow for that.

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Day I Met Atreyu

This past weekend (last weekend? Why do I always struggle with that?), the whole family went to the Chicago Comic Con (or Wizard World. I don't know which is the official title). Matt and I have been going to this con for about ten years. What's sad is that when we first started going, there were tons of comics vendors. Now, there were very few. Matt says this may not only be an indication of the way things are headed for comics; he read somewhere a while back that the company that books this convention pissed off a lot of comics vendors, thus making the number dwindle. All of a sudden, the Chicago Con is looking a lot like a mini San Diego Con: fewer comics, tons of celebrity guests. A lot of them were rather high caliber (Patrick Stewart was there-- charging $100 for a picture! Wha???). Still sad for the comics buyers, but it did make for a crazy fun weekend.

The first day, Friday, Matt's mom, brother, and sister-in-law flew into town. I really, really needed to get to the Comic Con, even though we had the plan of the entire family attending on Saturday. But, you see, I needed to go NOW (then. You know what I mean). The urgency came for two reasons: 1) I feared if I didn't go on Friday, somehow I would miss the two people I really wanted to see (Noah Hathaway, AKA Atreyu from "The Neverending Story" [Do I have to keep writing that? I feel like I've been blogging about this forever at this point] and Aaron Goodwin from "Ghost Adventures"), and 2) I felt weird having these crazy star sightings with my il-laws. I love them, but maybe they don't need to see me in all my wacked-out, fangirl glory. Luckily, one of my favorite students of yore, Harrison, agreed to meet up with me at the Con, so I had a partner in crime to film my exploits. [Side note: it was so much fun hanging out with Harrison! Other side note: I have never sworn so much in front of a student. But that's what happens when I'm nervous about meeting famous people!]

The second I met up with Harrison and we walked into the convention hall, I could see Noah Hathway's table. I wasn't ready! So I paced around for a few minutes before I got up my nerve. And then, this happened:

[For those folks who don't know what we're talking about: in the movie, Atreyu tells someone, "I'd be happy to go back hunting the purple buffalo." Because he was a kick ass child hunter.] You cannot possibly know how many times I've watched this. Could it BE more perfect??? He was so sweet, so huggy (the fourth grade girl inside me was like, OMG!!!), and totally game for my ridiculous request. And don't we both seem so happy? I'm floored by my interaction with Noah. Yowza. Seriously, one of the pinnacles of my starstruck life. Certainly, the one I've waited for the longest. And then he signed a picture and wrote this:
How much do we all love Noah Hathaway now?

Next up was Aaron Goodwin. He was not at his own booth but the booth of an artist who is painting pictures of his nightmares (intriguing, no?). There were only a few people in line to meet him, and when he saw me wearing one of his Big Steppin' shirts, he gave me a friendly acknowledgement. When it was my turn to talk to him, I was so happy he was as awesome as I expected him to be. I have two blurry pictures with him because I like to turn my flash off for more natural lighting, but that was a mistake. Harrison has more pictures of the day, so hopefully I'll get those from him to share.

I'm sorry, but could I look any cuter? You can really tell when I'm having a genuinely happy time. On the flip side, you can also tell when I am annoyed, pissed off, bored, sad, etc. My face is an open book! I don't know why I put an exclamation point on that. I guess because it sounded funny, seeing as I'm an author.

The following Con day, Matt's family, my daughter, and my sister joined the Comic Con adventure. I actually introduced Matt and Romy to Aaron, and added my sister when revisiting Noah. We were all old friends by the end. In addition to dancing with the stars, we saw a couple panels, one with the original kids from Willy Wonka, and bought a whole lotta crap. Good crap, of course. Like a Beetlejuice doll for Romy to play with, complete with shrunken head underneath his real one!

I can't wait until next year's Con, although I don't see how it could possibly top this year's!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Counting Down to the Purple Buffalo

5:30 am. That is the time I woke up today because my brain will not shut up in its harassment about needing to work on my book. So I awoke, turned on the computer and began typing. And you know what? I actually accomplished what I wanted: I finished typing in all of the changes I made to the original manuscript before my in-laws arrived for the weekend. Now, all I have left is to type twenty-eight new pages (not as bad as I thought!), print this sucka out, and reread the whole thing to make sure the changes are good, make sense, and didn't screw up the awesomeess that was the previous draft.

In celebration, I am going to the Chicago Comic con twice this weekend! Once today with a couple of my old students, and once tomorrow with my family: mother-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, daughter and husband. I couldn't possibly meet Noah Hathaway (Atreyu) with the entire family in tow. Mortifying, for sure. At least the students I'm going with have seen me both play Dungeons and Dragons AND do karaoke. Yes, that was the kind of library I ran.

Hopefully, I will have hysterical video footage of my Atreyu encounter. If I don't, then something is truly wrong with this world.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

I See the Light

It's almost over. Not really. I still have SO MUCH WORK to do on the sequel. It is truly plaguing me now. I have never been this stressed about a book, and I can say that with certainty. Yesterday, I found a place where my notes told me to move some text to the WRONG spot. I knew that was going to happen. I just wish I could get to the part where I can print the pages and start to read through everything I changed and added. I'm hoping then I can breathe a sigh of relief and see that it's not so bad. Unless it is so bad. Holy hell, this sucks. Strangely, I slept for six straight hours last night. Unheard of. I guess I needed it.

This weekend will be an enjoyable respite, as my in-laws are coming to town and it's finally time for the Chicago Comic-Con. We all know what that means: Julie meets Atreyu! It will be a monumental (momentous?) occasion for all involved. All, being two of my old students (who I now consider friends), me, and, of course, Atreyu. I hope he isn't afraid of me. But Atreyu is afraid of nothing. Or, actually, he wasn't afraid of The Nothing. Ha! This is a horrible blog post. Forgive me. My brain should return sometime in the next few months.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

What's Done

This morning, I finally finished rewriting the draft of the Get Well Soon sequel (possible title: Have a Nice Day. Which I sort of hate.). I have no feeling of relief, though! I think it stems from knowing how much I now have to type up, and how it is still a work in progress. After everything is typed-- all of the additional pages I've written in the last month (over 100) and all of the changes I've made to the existing pages-- I have to reread it at least one more time before I send it back to my editor. Then she has to read it and send it back to me again. All of this has to be done by October 1, which is crazy scary. That's when the copy editor gets it, and if I keep making big changes after the copy editor see it, who knows what the book may look like? Also, I hate to make significant changes after the book has been printed as a galley because reviews are important, and yet the most important version is the final version.

Blah! This is boring! I hope this does not at all reflect on the book. Oy.

On to more important things: I don't know which day to go to the Chicago Comic-Con! I'm frustrated because Matt's family is coming in this weekend, and although I think they would enjoy going to the Con maybe even more than one day (like I would), Matt is all fuddy duddy about the whole thing. I now want to go Friday instead of Saturday, since that is when Aaron Goodwin of Ghost Adventures will be there all day. He will only be at his booth on Saturday from 12-2, which means that there will be more people in that concentrated amount of time. However, none of this will matter if I get the go-ahead about my trip to The Scarefest, another convention where Aaron will be. This is all probably not making sense, since I woke up before the buttcrack of dawn, have already written too much this morning, and am slightly delusional. My point is that I want to meet Aaron, but I don't want to wait in a big long line to do so. The only person at the Con who I shall wait in a long line for is Noah Hathaway (Atreyu from the NeverEnding Story). He better be there, or heads will roll. At least mine will.

Is it too early to swim in a vat of ice cream?

Sunday, August 07, 2011


So sorry for the absence. I am in full on defcon 80 panic mode on The Sequel. This morning, I wrote a chapter. But I still have several chapter to go, and then I have to type them all up. I want to get this to my editor ASAP, since she said it has to go to copyediting in October. I want a BIG read through still after this round. I have written over 70 pages of new material(!!!), which brings my notebook count to 8 for this book. I am also worried that adding so much after what I already wrote will ruin the flow of the book, take away the tension I had already built. Ug! There are so many things I'm worried about. So that's why I haven't' been blogging. All of my work time is going towards this book. I'll be around, but my posts will probably look like this one. Although I did start writing one about Ice Loves Coco-- finale tonight! Hope you'll stick around!

Wednesday, August 03, 2011


Here's a look into my revision process (for this book anyway. It may differ with each book. I don't know. It's been a while since the last revision). To recap from earlier posts, my process is this:
1. Write a book. I do this by handwriting into a series of notebooks. Click here to see my tools. I always write straight through. Never look back! I do not outline, although I often keep a list of characters and a calendar-esque list to help me remember what has happened where and when something else should happen.
2. Type all that stuff up. The suckiest part of the process. I also revise as I type it into my computer.
3. Print the manuscript, read it, revise it on paper, type up the new changes.
4. Send it to my editor.
5. Wait.
6. Lose my shit.
7. Get back manuscript from editor. Hopefully find my shit.
This is where the Get Well Soon sequel is already different from my first three novels. This time around, my editor didn't send me a marked-up copy of my manuscript. Normally, it comes back with all sorts of scribblies. This time, all she sent was a two page letter with thoughts on what to add, move, or change. She said she only had a few mark-ups in my manuscript that we can tackle in the next round of edits. Because I'm that awesome. Or something.
8. Print up last version of manuscript and read through, all the while changing little things, adding things, moving things, and straightening things out. Let's take a looksee:

A perfect page, with nothing changed:

A simple page, with only a tiny edit:

A page that requires me to turn it over, so I can type in the new words I wrote on the back:

A page requiring so much new/changed stuff that I have to go to my handy dandy notebook to write it:
Yes, I spelled separate wrong. That's what happens when I'm writing really quickly. And other times. Sometimes I write notes telling me where to move stuff. This is when my brain feels like it might explode. What if I can't figure out my notes later? What if I misplace my pages or forget to include something?

My floor after I start typing in my changes. It's very satisfying to throw the pages when I complete the edit:
I may have mentioned that my editor wants a new ending to my book. It's not that she didn't like the ending, but the character said something big was coming up after the end of the book and Liz, my editor, said I MUST include that scene. Because of that, I not only have to write that specific scene but everything chronologically leading up to it. I am figuring about fifty more pages. This morning, I actually managed to write the first new scene, plus a list of all of the scenes I will need to get to the end. I feel a little more sturdy about the whole thing. But I still have to do it. In a relatively short amount of time. Pressure's on.

Monday, August 01, 2011

The Revision

I don't normally fret about a revision as much as I am fretting about the Get Well Soon sequel. Okay, that's a crock of shit, but this one's been particularly hard. Technically, the difficulties have come from a lot of page shifting and trying to expand one plot line, which then made it move all over the book in a variety of tweaked ways. Did that make sense? But guess what-- I finished going through my draft that was returned to me by my editor! That should be a huzzah, right? Normally, yes. All I'd have to do now is type up my changes, reread it, and send it back. But this time around my editor would like me to attach something on at the ending. I don't want to give anything away, but what I now need to add could potentially mean writing another 50 pages. Or 10 pages. I have no idea. What's complicated about it is that I am a writer who writes straight through, from beginning to end. I already did that. Now, I have to write another end, and the momentum of writing from beginning to end that I had eight months ago is definitely lacking. I don't doubt I can do it, but I am certainly putting it off, eating my cuticles, and generally freaking out about everything else going on in my life as a result of this piece not being completed. My  mom is coming over this afternoon to babysit, so I can work. But she came over yesterday, too, and what did I do? Exercised, went to Target, had a giant Oreo sundae at Dairy Dream, and then went to the grocery store. Did you see any writing going on in that list? Me neither. Can I do it today? Only time will tell. I better get to it soon, or I may be out of cuticles.