Friday, October 25, 2013

F-It List Friday: Supernatural Con

I woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning ("woke up" being a relative term, since I was awake approximately fifty percent of the night, as is the norm, thanks to my crappy-sleeping four month-old). Therefore, this blog isn't actually about The F-It List. I'm hoping I'll get a kick ass night of sleep tonight (keep hope alive and all) because tomorrow Matt, Dean, and I will be attending Supernatural Con. That's right: an entire convention devoted to the television show Supernatural. It should be interesting. I do love a good Con, so there's that fun aspect, and I obviously love the show (my son's name is Dean). But Supernatural has an intense fanbase I have yet to experience in person. There are factions. There is much fanfiction. And there are tons of people who have conspiracy theories about supposed relationships between characters and/or actors. It's a little weird and somewhat creepy, but it's also kind of awesome that a show elicits such devotion. I'm stoked. Also, Dean will be dressing up as Dean Winchester for the costume contest. My kids and their cosplay. Romy will not be joining us at the convention, mostly because if she did I would miss most of everything because she wouldn't want to sit and listen. And she'd be all, "Where are the Futurama toys?"

Here's a little F-It List action: a group of bloggers named The F-It List to their Selective Collective. Start here for a review, then follow the links at the bottom for an interview, discussion, casting of the movie, and a few other fun pages, including a contest for you to win the book. Thank you for the Selective Collective nod!

Time to put Dean down for a nap. Again. And again. There must be a book in this slice of my life somewhere. Either a book or another loony bin lock-up. Must. Get. Sleep.

Friday, October 18, 2013

F-It List Friday: I Got It!

As I said, this was a great week for mail (see yesterday's post). I now have my first hardcvoer copy of The F-It List in my tired, little hands. It's gorgeous! It has a die-cut spot on the cover:

Skeleton kiddo not included.

I can't believe we still have to wait until November 12 before it hits stores!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Have a Nice Day, Paperback

I received a couple exciting packages in the mail these past weeks (and, yes, I'm including my bumper sticker that reads, "Driver picks the music, shotgun shuts his cakehole"). First, the paperback edition of Have a Nice Day arrived. The cover looks very similar to the hardcover, except for the lovely starred review quote on the top:
Here's the back:
I always wonder why my third novel, Don't Stop Now, is missing. It's the only one of my books not in paperback. I'm hoping it will have a comeback someday. I liked the book. It was my love letter to road trips. Anyway, you know what's funny? I haven't even read what the back of the paperback says. I get all weird and avert my eyes when my books come home. I like seeing them, but I don't want to see too much of them. Do other authors do that? I don't pour over every page, and I don't read the content over and over, looking for the good or the bad (as my husband does when his books arrive). I only just noticed what it says at the top of the back. I wonder who wrote that. Is it weird I don't know? When did I become such a space cadet?

Here's another page:
Here's Don't Stop Now! We didn't forget you, girl! And I like what it says at the top of the page. Awww.

If you buy the paperback, you get to read a jazzy, new interview with me, too!
Look for Have a Nice Day in paperback on November 5, wherever books are sold! Or, at least, wherever copies of Have a Nice Day are sold. Tomorrow-- my copy of The F-It List arrives!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


I just started a tumblr account. Because it seems easier to update than my blog but less fussy than Twitter. I'll still post here when I have LOTS to say. Follow me on tumblr here (subscribe? I still need to get the tumbly lingo down.):

Friday, October 11, 2013

F-It List Friday: One Month!

Tomorrow marks the start of the one month countdown to the release of my next novel, The F-It List! I like to use a chocolate-filled advent calendar to mark the occasion. Not really, but that just gave me a really good idea to make my own life-sized advent calendar and fill it with full-sized candy bars hiding behind doors. Maybe I'm hungry. Or delirious. The baby boy, who turns four months today, is a crappy sleeper. He's still up every two hours. It's killing me, both mentally and physically. I think I've aged twenty years in the last four months. As you can see, this Friday post has a lot of month-measuring going on. And that's a big theme, both in the writing of "The F-It List" and the story itself. I used a friend's mom's online cancer journal to help me reference the progression of the disease and its treatment in the book. But in my own life, the months during the writing and publication of "The F-It List" have felt like centuries. Before I started writing the novel, but after I signed the contract, we lost a pregnancy (or was it two?). I had a lot of anger and hatred at my body and, sometimes, life in general. But there was that contract and a lightly looming deadline (nobody at my publisher pushed, but I knew I had to write a book). Not that I was dealing with cancer, but having medical issues helped fuel a lot of the questions and observations I used in the novel. Then I got pregnant again, something that should be joyous and anticipatory but becomes terrifying when you haven't always had success. That was last fall when I sat down for a few months to wrote the novel. Through morning sickness and endless doctors appointments, needles, and test after test after test, I wrote the story of a girl whose best friend gets cancer and how she helps her accomplish items from her bucket list. It wasn't the most uplifting subject while I was going through my own tumultuous medical adventure. So I added sex scenes. Because those are fun to write. And then my tests came back okay. And the morning sickness went away. And the possibility of actually having another baby seemed almost possible. This past spring, during the final pass through the pages of "The F-It List" where I look one last time for things I want to change (practically one word on every page), my beloved cat, Tobin, lost his own bout with cancer. He rested on my chest as I finished my final read-through (and before I knew he wouldn't be around much longer). The weight of his absence still drives me to tears (you'll find his name in the dedication of "The F-It List," and my son's middle name is Tobin). The last couple months of the pregnancy were fraught with gestational diabetes and the lack of sweet treats that come with it, plus the fear and uncertainty of what would happen during the birth. Then the baby came in June, healthy and sleepless. And here we are now, only one month away from The F-It List's release. Pretty much one year since I officially started writing it. Looking over this post, remembering the things that happened, it's been a really long year. A rough one. But also a happy one. Which I guess is what life's all about. "The F-It List," out November 12, is a book about life, not just about cancer. It sounds silly, but I found myself quoting Matthew McConaughey from "Dazed and Confused" (and I remember reading that he actually was quoting his own dad) a lot over this year: Just Keep Livin.' And I did.

Friday, October 04, 2013

F-It List Friday: Questions!

For this installment of F-It List Friday, I'm answering some reader questions (Okay, technically ONE reader's questions. Thank you, Becky, for asking!).

Does your writing process change with each book, or has it remained the same?
I think this question would be easier to answer if I felt I actually had a process. Let's see: I come up with an idea and some characters, and then I sit down to write. I don't outline, although as I write I tend to jot down things I don't want to forget. These include funny lines, movies I'd like to reference, or events I want to include. Depending on the book, I do have a certain method for keeping track of order. This may sound like an outline, and I suppose it could be considered as such, but I feel like it's more of a calendar method of organization. I am always concerned with the time frame of events; for instance, when I wrote Get Well Soon, I used a method similar to an assignment notebook. I made a list of events that needed to happen, and then I plugged in the events on one of the twenty-one days the book took place. For Don't Stop Now, I used a map to plan the book, since the characters were on a road trip. And for The F-It List, I used a real-life online diary from a mom whose daughter had cancer in order to keep track of what types of treatments the character would be getting and how sick she would feel at the right times. Other then these structural similarities, I tend to very much write from the headspace and voice of the narrator. I don't always know what she's going to say or what's going to happen next, so writing the book is just as fun and surprising as reading the book.

Do you write your early drafts on paper, or on the computer?
I write in spiral notebooks with pens. You can read about my specific tools of choice here. I find that my creative brain works best in this method.

What is your selection process when choosing a new brand of deodorant?
A fine question! I alternate deodorants sometimes, since I've heard that bodies become immune (or something) to deodorants after using them for a while. I hate a strong or musky or floral smell, so I usually go with something food-like. I really like Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty, so I've been using their deodorants. Plus, they have several food-smelling choices. When is someone going to come out with a cupcake deodorant smell? I'd be all over that.

Thank you, Becky, for your questions! Remember, folks, I'll be blogging about my new novel, The F-It List (out November 12!), every Friday and would love to answer your reader questions. Send me an email @ or comment on this post with any questions you have about the book or writing in general. Or deodorant smells. Or cupcakes.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

First F-It List Review!

October 1st, and the first review for my new novel, The F-It List (out November 12) is finally here! And it's a good one! From Publishers Weekly:

The F– It List
Julie Halpern. Feiwel and Friends, $16.99 (256) ISBN 978-1-250-02565-4
Alex Buckley is reeling from the death of her father and the nearly unforgiveable thing her best friend Becca did the night of his funeral. Then Becca is diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which forces a reconciliation between the two high school seniors and gets Alex entangled with helping Becca live out her expletive-based version of a “bucket list.” Halpern (Get Well Soon) takes a familiar YA formula and makes it fresh through Alex’s honest reflections about life, death, and especially sex as she navigates the objectives on Becca’s list, many of which revolve around sexual experiences (both solo and with a partner). Alex’s sarcastic narration and bawdy conversations with Becca and sweet, outsidery Leo (who helps Alex check off a few entries himself) are funny, smart, real, and even endearing once readers get the hang of Alex’s way of looking at life (of Becca’s sexy homeschooled neighbor: “He totally wants to bone the cancer right out of you”). A memorable novel about a rock-solid friendship surviving trying circumstances that never loses its sense of humor. Ages 13–up.

How hilarious is the quote they pulled? I don't mean hilarious in that it's a super funny line (although some might argue...), but hilarious in its randomness and pervitude. Perhaps that can be my next book title: Randomness and Pervitude.