Monthly Archives: August 2012

The Booker Award

Fellow writer and all around really nice person Stephanie Lawton has nominated me for the Booker Award.

If you know me at all, you know this fits my philosophy in a rather scary way. The award targets literary and book-centered blogs. The rules are simple: post my top five books of all time, post the booker award icon, and nominate other bloggers to do the same.

My top five? (Can I just say this is almost cruel to have to choose only five) Here they are in no particular order:

1.

Books like PRECIOUS BANE are as rare as blue moons. A forgotten classic set in rural Shropshire at the turn of the 19th century blends a simple, rustic love story with a profound sense of nature’s mystic truth.

Prue Sarn is an original and appealing heroine of English literature as she triumphs over a physical handicap to win her heart’s desire. Skillfully woven through this story is the aura of the English countryside, its flora and fauna anticipating every turn of the plot.

Mary Webb’s work won her the admiration of her contemporary writers and in 1925 PRECIOUS BANE won the Femina Vie Heureuse prize.

2.

Twenty-seven-year old Anne Elliot is Austen’s most adult heroine.  Eight years before the story proper begins, she is happily betrothed to a naval officer, Frederick Wentworth, but she precipitously breaks off the engagement when persuaded by her friend Lady Russell that such a match is unworthy.  The breakup produces in Anne a deep and long-lasting regret.  When later Wentworth returns from sea a rich and successful captain, he finds Anne’s family on the brink of financial ruin and his own sister a tenant in Kellynch Hall, the Elliot estate.  All the tension of the novel revolves around one question:  Will Anne and Wentworth be reunited in their love?

3.

Orphaned into the household of her Aunt Reed at Gateshead, subject to the cruel regime at Lowood charity school, Jane Eyre nonetheless emerges unbroken in spirit and integrity.

She takes up the post of governess at Thornfield, falls in love with Mr. Rochester, and discovers the impediment to their lawful marriage in a story that transcends melodrama to portray a woman’s passionate search for a wider and richer life than Victorian society traditionally allowed.

With a heroine full of yearning, the dangerous secrets she encounters, and the choices she finally makes, Charlotte Bronte’s innovative and enduring romantic novel continues to engage and provoke readers …

4.

(You may see this as cheating. Go ahead.)

Celebrating the birth of J.R.R. Tolkien, this centenary edition of the classic volume is illustrated with fifty specially commissioned paintings by an artist whose vision matches Tolkien’s own. One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them. In ancient times the Rings of Power were crafted by the Elven-smiths, and Sauron, The Dark Lord, forged the One Ring, filling it with his own power so that he could rule all others. But the One Ring was taken from him, and though he sought it throughout Middle-earth, it remained lost to him. After many ages it fell, by chance, into the hands of the hobbit, Bilbo Baggins. From his fastness in the Dark Tower of Mordor, Sauron’s power spread far and wide. He gathered all the Great Rings to him, but ever he searched far and wide for the One Ring that would complete his dominion. On his eleventy-first birthday Bilbo disappeared, bequeathing to his young cousin Frodo the Ruling Ring and a perilous quest — to journey across Middle-earth, deep into the shadow of the Dark Lord, and destroy the Ring by casting it into the Cracks of Doom. The Lord of the Rings tells of the great quest undertaken by Frodo and the Fellowship of the Ring: Gandalf the Wizard, Merry, Pippin, and Sam, Gimli the Dwarf, Legolas the Elf, Boromir of Gondor, and a tall, mysterious stranger called Strider.

5.

This is the way the world ends: with a nanosecond of computer error in a Defense Department laboratory and a million casual contacts that form the links in a chain letter of death.

And here is the bleak new world of the day after: a world stripped of its institutions and emptied of 99 percent of its people. A world in which a handful of panicky survivors choose sides — or are chosen. A world in which good rides on the frail shoulders of the 108-year-old Mother Abagail — and the worst nightmares of evil are embodied in a man with a lethal smile and unspeakable powers: Randall Flagg, the dark man.

There are soooo many more books I could list, it’s ticking me off actually. 🙂 Oh well …

And my five nominees (aka super fantastical individuals) to pass the award on to are as follows:

1. Jocelyn Adams

2. L.S. Murphy

3. Christie Rich

4. J.A. Belfield

5. Emi Gayle

What are your top five favorite books? You know, the ones you come back to and read over and over? Leave a comment and let me know! 🙂


Picture Perfect

Today, I want to brag about friend and artist Francisco Etchart  the young man that did the cover for my debut novel Crux.

Buddy and talented writer J.A. Belfield  emailed me and suggested I blog about the road I traveled ( along with my publisher J Taylor)  to find the perfect cover for my book. Ha! Little did I know, Franciso had already put this collage together illustrating the steps we went through to get to the finished product.

And here it is!!!

Francisco Etchart    Artist | Professional | Digital Art     From:   Argentina

I wish I had kept every email. I didn’t, but I think you’ll get the idea. Fransico was so patient as we worked to get the cover right. Some of our emails went like this:

Fransico:

Hello Julie!

I know that you are in a hurry with the cover right now, so I will do my best.

Taking the sketch #3 as base I worked on a more elaborated sketch. Take a look
at the attached files. There you can see the original drawing, my idea for the
amulet and a sketch for the cover finished. I think that I could add some
celtic window/door in the background instead of the hero, don´t know if you
will like it. I like this idea because the background is really dark and I can
play with the contrasts. I would like to hear your opinion on this. Also, I
designed the amulet according to your instructions, but I don´t know if it is
really what you have in your mind. If you have more specific concepts, just
tell me. If you like it as it is, perfect! In the finished illustration, it
will be glowing between the blonde hair. What color do you have in mind for the magical stone? As details, I put a piercing/ring in the girl´s nose, probably
you like it 😉

That´s all for now. I hope you like it. Obviously the finished work will be
much more cool than these sketches.

Cheers.

***

Julie to J Taylor:

I like drawing # one.  Do you like these?

Regards, Julie

***

J Taylor to Julie Reece

I love picture 01 … but (there is always one, right?) Grey seems too ‘in focus’ if you know what I mean. I kinda expected him to be behind the windows because right now he’s like this thing in between Birdie and the Window which means he has no ‘purpose’. If he were behind the windows, then it would add mystery. As it is, he’s plunked in between.

It’s really hard for me to describe, but it has to do with depth and perception of depth. He’s perfect from a ‘Grey’ perspective, I just think his placement is off. Make sense??

Thoughts?

Otherwise, I think we’re 99% there. 🙂 It’s great, really. We just need to properly position Grey. 🙂

***

Julie to Fransico:

Did you get the notes from my publisher about the book cover I sent? Sorry, we’d like to make some changes, but I just want you to know I love your work.  In the end, if my publisher won’t go for your drawings, I will still pay you and use the picture on my website. Hopefully they will like it fine now, maybe you have a better idea of what they want. Have a good day.

Regards, Julie

***

***

Francisco Etchart to Julie Reece

Hello Julie! Take a look to the new amulet and tell me if you like it. Of course that this is just a sketch. I tried to include all the elements you wanted: water, fire, wings and fangs.
I hope you like it.

Cheers!

***

Fransico to Julie:

Hello Julie!

First of all, did you like the girl and the amulet?

Second, I added more details to the sword, Grey´s head and hair and his right fist, so I hope you like it now.

As you recropped the image, the structure of the window is almost out, so I decided to do another version (number 05) where I nudged a little the window, maybe you like it.

When you have the final version of the cover with the text, I would like to see it.

Cheers.

***

J Taylor to Julie:

Hi!

Grey looks wonderful. 🙂

Took me a while to see what he meant by ‘nudge’ the window. 😉 Looks like he scooted it down vertically. I prefer 04 in that case because we don’t want that frame to show at all.

If you’re happy with 04, I’m happy with 04 and we can call the imagery done. 🙂 We’ll work on the rest of the content very soon.

Can you get that release from him for version 04? 🙂

***

Fransico to Julie:

Hi again!

Well, I think it´s done. I added lots of little details to make it look real. I
really hope you like it. The whole picture is bigger than the front cover so
your designer will have to crop it. I did it on purpouse because the printer.

As you can see, I did different versions: “01” is warm colors (the
real ones), “02” is more blueish (just in case you like them) and
“03” is the cover how I would do it, cropped that way and with that
kind of letters, some spiky and rusty text. I know that your designer will do
it, but I just wanted to see how it would look.

You didn´t see any sketch about Grey so I hope you like how I made him in that
pose and with the sword. Personally I have to tell you that I love this
picture, the lights from behind through the celtic window, the little glowings
everywhere and especially the face of the girl.

I will wait for your comments and I hope you like it, and to your editor too 😉
and use it for the book, of course.

Cheers!

Fransico to Julie:

Hi Julie!

I have read all the notes and I guess I am going to have the full color version finished for tonight. Now, just for your eyes, I let you a preview from yesterday when I started with the colors. The current drawing is much more advanced and almost finished right now but I have to do some final touches tonight.

I hope you like it 😉

Francisco

***

Julie to Fransico:

Hello!

Picture is wonderful! Here is a copy of the release, please sign and return. Can you scan it or something to get it to me? Thanks!

***

Fransico:

Of course, when I put the artwork in my site I will link it to your site and Taylor Publishing. Thank you so much for chose me between so many artists in the net.

About the release, what is exactly to you the “release”? Sorry for my English, it´s not perfect and sometimes I don´t know some words or expressions. And “release” has many meanings. Just in case, I am sending again the contract (as an image and Word) and the final picture.

Cheers!

Note: Isn’t he so cute? I love the accent.

J Taylor:

Thoughts? I used the blue in the pendant for the title and your name because we need a color that is complementary (brown or yellow will not show well). 🙂

***

And that’s it! Some of the back and forth between artist, writer and publisher. This was so much fun to work together from concept to finished product and the beautiful result all lies on Fransico’s wonderful shoulders.

He is amazing! See more of his work here:

http://elengwat.deviantart.com/

http://www.facebook.com/francisco.etchart.5

I love my cover. Everyone has different taste because covers are art. Which leads me to this question … what draws you to a book cover? Which are your favorites? Leave me a comment and tell me, I’m dying to know!


Author interview with J.C. Martin

Oracle

by J.C. Martin

Release Date: July 30, 2012

Target Reader: Adult

Keywords: Thriller/Suspense, Law Enforcement

Description

As the countdown begins, the body count rises.
With London gearing up to host the Olympics, the city doesn’t need a serial killer stalking the streets, but they’ve got one anyway.
Leaving a trail of brutal and bizarre murders, the police force is no closer to finding the latest psychopath than Detective Inspector Kurt Lancer is in finding a solution for his daughter’s disability.
Thrust into the pressure cooker of a high profile case, the struggling single parent is wound tight as he tries to balance care of his own family with the safety of a growing population of potential victim
One of whom could be his own daughter.
Fingers point in every direction as the public relations nightmare grows, and Lancer’s only answer comes in the form of a single oak leaf left at each crime scene.

J.C. Martin

http://jc-martin.com/

J.C. Martin is a butt-kicking bookworm: when she isn’t reading or writing, she teaches martial arts and self-defence to adults and children.
After working in pharmaceutical research, then in education as a schoolteacher, she decided to put the following to good use: one, her 2nd degree black belt in Wing Chun kung fu; and two, her overwhelming need to write dark mysteries and gripping thrillers with a psychological slant.
Her short stories have won various prizes and have been published in several anthologies. Oracle is her first novel.
Born and raised in Malaysia, J.C. now lives in south London with her husband and three dogs.

JC Martin will now take your questions:

Q. 1. When did you start writing?

A. My first memories of writing was when I used to staple together sheets of paper to form a book, and drew and wrote comics about my grandfather’s two dogs. I called them The Adventures of Buffy & Misty & Friends. In high school, I wrote my first novel longhand in a notebook, and was one of those geeky kids who wrote a 3,000 word fantasy epic when asked to write about My Holiday. So I was bitten by the writing bug pretty early on. 🙂

Q. 2. Whose writing did you most enjoy as a teen?

A. I devoured R.L. Stine’s Fear Street series, and I also loved Christopher Pike, especially his Last Vampire series.

Q. 3. What is your favorite genre? What is it that draws you in?

A. Definitely crime and mystery. I read plenty of Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew in my tweens, and loved trying to solve the puzzle before the protagonists do. When I was older and started reading my Mom’s hand-me-down books, they were predominantly crime: James Patterson, John Sandford, etc. I was then old enough to appreciate the deeper, darker exploration of the killer’s psyche, and of the human condition in general.

Q. 4. Oracle is a fascinating story, and so unique. What was your inspiration for writing the book?

A. A year or so after London won the bid for the 2012 Olympics, the local newspapers were all reporting the many problems the organising committee encountered: budget issues, transport and congestion, being behind schedule with constructing the Olympic Park … I thought to myself, wouldn’t the organisers have a fit if they had a public relations nightmare to handle on top of all that, a serial killer stalking the host city, and right before the Games began? This “what if”, followed by research into the history of the Olympics, eventually materialised into Oracle.

Q. 5. What’s a typical day of writing like for you? Can you walk us through your day?

A. I wake up between 7 and 8, and have breakfast in my jim-jams while sitting at the computer. Breakfast time is when I sort through my e-mails, and all my social media stuff. Then, after a shower, I work on writing, be it blog posts, short stories, research, or my current project. Depending on priority, I switch tasks when my mind starts to wander, so I don’t end up staring at a blank screen for too long. On work days, this lasts till around 1pm, when I have to go to work, but on days off, I’m at my computer till it’s time to cook dinner.

Q. 6. How did you and your husband meet? Was it love at first sight? Did you make him chase you, or did you put the smack down on him? See … we’ve heard about your mad martial arts skills … and we’re a little afraid!

A. Oh, don’t worry! I don’t use my kung fu unless I have to. 😉 I actually met the Hubster at my martial arts school. I used to teach him! Apparently he had a major crush on me from day one, but I was with someone else at the time. Not long after my previous relationship finished, a group of us from the school went out for dinner together. He offered to drive me home after, and well, the rest is history!

Speaking of smack downs, he likes to think he’s better than me at kung fu, but I remain a grade above him. 😉

Q. 7. What project(s) are you working on right now?

A. My main project is a second book featuring Detective Lancer from Oracle, and I’m also toying with the idea of starting a thriller series with a kung fu fighting protagonist who made a cameo appearance in Oracle.

Q. 8. J.C. your bio states you have three dogs. Would you be willing to share with us about each of them, and what they bring to your life?

A. I LOVE talking about my doggies … now you’ve done it!

Alfie is my first first dog; unlike the ones I had growing up, who were technically my parents’ dogs, I got him while living on my own. He’s a long-haired Chihuahua, and despite being the oldest at 4-and-a-half years, he’s the baby of the lot. He loves cuddles, toys, and sleeping. His disposition is unusual, as Chis are usually one-owner dogs, and are wary of strangers. Alfie does tend to favour me to the Hubster (win!), but he adores attention from everyone!

We got Bubbles a few months after Alfie, because we both used to work long days, and thought Alfie needed a puppy companion. She’s a Pomeranian, and is the dopiest of the lot. Whilst the other two learned tricks easily, so far we’ve only managed to teach Bubbles “sit”, “down” and “off/out” (when we want her off the couch or out a room). She’s the kind of dog who’d run into a glass door, but she’s the most loving and loyal, happy to just sit at our feet all day. When I go to work, she would take my fluffy house slippers and ‘guard’ them by laying on them till I get home.

Finally, we have little Boo! (yes, with the exclamation mark), who is just 2 years old. Alfie and Bubbles erm, got it on, and had three litters before we finally neutered daddy. We found homes for all the pups, but just could not part with this one puppy from the first ever litter: a sweet little girl with white ‘socks’ on her front paws. As a cross-breed (Pom-Chi? Chi-Pom?), she’s really intelligent and healthy. She loves her exercise, and when let off leash in a field would happily zip around chasing pigeons all day long. Despite being handbag sized, she’s a proper dog: she’s the only one who would go swimming in the pond. Strangely, despite our efforts to socialise her in the same way we brought up the other two, Boo! is very wary of strangers. When the Hubster’s brother moved in with us, it took 18 months before she finally warmed to him!

All three doggies have such different personalities, it’s almost like having three little people around! We cannot imagine parting with any one of them. With them around, there’s never a dull day!

Thanks for appearing on our blog today, JC, it was awesome having you!!!

Learn more about J.C. here:

http://www.jtaylorpublishing.com/books/11

https://twitter.com/JCMartin_author

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5253905.J_C_Martin

http://jc-martin.com/fighterwriter/

 

*Note:  Oracle is an adult thriller

 

Wanna talk about the Olympics, your dogs, serial killers, martial arts? Leave us a comment and tell us your thoughts! 🙂


Young Adult Giveaway Hop August 8th to 14th

It’s finally here!

August 8th to 14th

*** Thanks for entering! This contest is now closed. Winners announced soon!!

Hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer & Reading Teen

First a blog shout out to the people who organized this great hop!

And …

Very nice.  Thanks you guys!

Now on to the free stuff.    So …

I’m giving away two books one book picked wily-nilly to two different entrants. Make sense? Awesome.

Here’s how to play …

Do one of the following: (though if you’d like to do all four that’s be skippy!)

Go here and like my author page http://www.facebook.com/author.julieareece?ref=tn_tnmn or go here and check out my debut novel, click to add it to your to-be-read list. http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13265572-crux or go here and follow me on Twitter https://twitter.com/JulieAReece or follow my blog 🙂

Pick one or more. That’s it. Easy Breezy! 🙂

And here are the titles I’m giving away:

Insurgent

Here’s the blurb:

One choice can transform you–or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves–and herself–while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable–and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

Crux

Here’s the blurb:

She should have run. Now, she’ll have to fight.

Eighteen year old Birdie may be homeless, but she’s surviving, that is until a mysterious guy throws money in the air like a crazy game show host, and she grabs some with the idea she’ll be able to buy dinner that night.

In that singular moment, unassuming Birdie becomes the girl in everyone’s viewfinder. Thugs want to kill her. Money-guy wants to recruit her. The very hot, very rich, and very out of her league Grey Mathews wants to save her.

Birdie, though, wants nothing to do with any of them, until she realizes fate didn’t bring them all together.

Her heritage did.

Now, with only twenty-one days left, she’s got to decide whether to follow in the footsteps of those before her or risk her life for people she’s only just met.

Here’s what people are saying about Crux:

“Crux was amazing! That’s as straightforward as it gets. Julie Reece has written a captivating story that will draw you in, and will keep you trying to put the pieces all together.” — Burning Impossibly Bright

“ I found myself truly engrossed, emotionally, within the story – tears threatening to fall, as well as smiles breaking out.   I cannot wait to read more work by Julie Reece!” — Romancing The Book

“Crux is completely original and addictive. Birdie’s voice is young and cool giving Crux a fresh tone that will appeal to all ages. A fun romance and adventurous read, Crux will stay with readers long after the last page is read!” — Lovey Dovey Books

“The story line is flawless. Reece escorts you through her book with what seems like effortless prose. She reveals just the right amount of information at just the right time, building a story that is completing intriguing.” — BrookeD (Reader)

“Reece pulls off some twists and turns that I didn’t see coming even though the clues were there all along. Thank you, Ms. Reece, for making sure I was so invested in Birdie and her mission I didn’t see the signs until she did.” — J. Keller Ford – Author, Amulet of Ormisez

“Crux is a smart, heart-rending and empowering addition to YA urban fantasy that will appeal to Cassandra Clare fans, lore fans and really, anyone who appreciates tough characters that know how to tug readers’ heartstrings.” — Stephanie Lawton — Author, Want

“Julie Reece has a gift for conveying deep emotions with her writing.  I felt Birdie’s regret, distrust, apprehension, excitement and joy.  And I love the characters – small and large!!!” — Known To Read

“I have to say that Ms. Reece has to be one of the most talented authors on the planet. I know I’m gushing right now, but I loved this book that much.” — ChristieR (Reader)

“Action-packed with a memorable cast of characters, Crux will easily appeal to teen and adult readers, whether or not they love urban fantasy.” — Mrs. ReaderPants

“Julie Reece’s CRUX is a refreshing and gritty young adult novel with glimmers of the paranormal, glimpses of the historical, and more than a dash of romance and mystery.” — Surrounded by Books Reviews

Check out all the other great blog giveaways here!

http://www.linkytools.com/basic_linky_include.aspx?id=154086

Good luck everyone! Thanks for stopping by. Leave a comment and tell me what you think of the hop!!! 🙂