Wednesday, March 30, 2011

And the Winner Is...

First of all, I want to thank everyone for entering my very first ARC giveaway contest. I hope to have more in the near future. I really can't believe the response I received--that made for a hard decision. I'm more happy than I probably should be. hehe. I can't believe I have so many followers now. Thank you everyone. This was totally a collective effort to get me over 100 followers. Cheers!

Now, you probably have already scanned down the post to find out who the winner is, and I totally don't think less of you for having done so. I would have done the same thing. In writing this, I want to add a little suspense. I'm mean but in a really angelic way. 

So, lots the entrees talked about how they love dystopian books. Others, discussed how they loved The Hunger Games series and can't wait to get their hands on another book of similar genre. A couple people said they'd share the book with others. Some wrote poetry, even haiku. A few were writers and really needed a break from the madness of writing. One person's stuffed animals were jealous of my stuffed animals. One said if she didn't win this ARC, she better get one of my book's ARC. I'll have to see what I can do on that one. I sort of need a finished manuscript and a publisher first. hehe.

All in all, I loved your entrees. They were so fun to read. But I must choose one winner. And the winner is: 

Audrey! For this really creative reason why she should win an ARC of DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth!

"If I were Mr. Darcy, Divergent would be my Elizabeth. At first, I wasn't really sure about her, she had a great cover and danced well, but nothing awesome enough to tempt *me*. But after a while, I began to see her everywhere, see the great stuff to be said about her, and soon learned she was everything I liked in a book. Sure enough I began to fall in love with her. And then after entering contest after contest and being rejected (in the rain, even!), I feel this is the final showdown Longbourn... please think of Mr. Darcy. I don't think he can handle another rejection from Elizabeth. 

=D Thank you so much for the contest!"

I giggled when I read her entry. Thank you so much Audrey for your creativity. I will email you later on today to get your address to mail you the pretty ARC.

I wish I had a whole box of ARCs to give everyone that entered, but alas, I could only choose one person.

Thank you for entering. Much love to all my followers and visitors, too. 

PS: There will be no "What I've Learned Wednesday" this week for obvious reasons. So, I pose this question to you: What have you learned in the process of writing?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Time is Running Out

My blog posting creativity is greatly lacking today. It's a Monday morning. I'm tired. I'm beginning a new work week. Where's my creativity, guys? It probably will come back. I do have to admit that I was listening to my iPod this morning and a Michael Jackson song came on. Can't remember which song it was, but I was totally rocking out in my bathroom as I did my hair. I felt like one of those 70's dancers. I probably looked pretty funny. Who cares, though. I was having fun. Maybe I'm not as tired as I think I am. Perhaps some creative juices are flowing. Wahoo.

Well, I hope that your creative juices are going strong today. Why? With some creativity, you totally could win an ARC of DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth. If you haven't entered the contest I'm holding to win the said ARC, what are you waiting for? Follow this link to fill out the form.

You have until 4:00 p.m. mst TODAY. Get to it kids. I will announce the winner on Wednesday, March 30, 2011.

Since time is running out for the contest, I will share Muse's music video for the song Time is Running Out. Such a great song.

Have a really nice day!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Randomness on my Bloggy Friend

I'm pretty much in a giggly mood today, and pretty sure that everything I post today will make absolutely no sense, but I post anyway. Hopefully, I can get some laughs out of you on this fabulous Friday!

First of all, I went to dinner last night with the lovely, authoress Morgan Shamy. I know you’re all jealous, as you totally should be. The two of us had so much fun. Laughing, talking about writing, and encouraging each other to keep going. Seriously, I want Morgan to be my new best friend. What luck that we live like 15 minutes away from each other.

I have decided that the writing industry is by far the coolest industry ever. I love the bonds of friendship formed here. I love the creative atmosphere. I love how writers are all rooting each other on.

Now, I want to thank all of my new followers for joining my Bloggyworld and Twitterworld. With great surprise, between Saturday and today, I have gone from having 79 blog followers to 127. That is phenomenal. I could not have done it without you! Thank you for stopping by and sharing your love with me. Gracias. Merci. Danke. Arigato. Xie Xie. Grazie. I’m multi-lingual, too! Hehe

Whatever you do, don’t forget to enter to win an ARC of DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth. The contest closes Monday, March 28, 2011 at 4:00 p.m. MST. Follow this link to enter.

Last, this video makes me snarf every time I see it. Enjoy the Homestar Runner Fun! What’s your favorite Homestar Runner clip? Let me know cause I want some more giggles today!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What I’ve Learned Wednesday: Where’s the End

The End. That’s what a book concludes with, right? While writing a book, the ending (I will call him Chuck), decides to take a vacation but never tells you the destination. While Chuck is on holiday, he didn’t leave you a phone number, email address, twitter name, nothing! He just skipped town, leaving you struggling to finish your story. All the while, you eat pounds and pounds of chocolate (at least that’s that's what I do). Eventually, Chuck returns and wonders why you look so disheveled and exhausted.

You tenderly take Chuck in your arms and say, “It’s ok. I finished the story without your help. I made you better than you were to begin with. Now, you owe me big time!”

So, your story is finished. It’s sparkling, glittering, like a vampire. Hehe!

Right now, I want to finish my book more than anything, but Chuck keeps wriggling his way out of my fingers. And what do you know; I’ve decided to do a huge overhaul on my manuscript. Yep, Chuck is so not in sight anymore. He is being very naughty, much like a puppy. I can’t teach him to stay, or to come, or to poop outside. What am I to do with the little Chuckster? Just keep working until he obeys, I guess.

What I’m alluding to is: Writing sometimes feels like a long road with a mirage glistening in the distance. You think you can catch up to it, but you can’t. It keeps lingering in the distance, taunting you while it sneers and wickedly laughs at you.

But Chuck, the end of writing your story, will come. It can be caught, tied into a beautiful, perfect story. Well, more perfect than you ever thought it would be. How do I know this fact when I’m only working on my first book? I know it because I’ve been to libraries, and book stores, and I’ve read a lot books. Those books are physical examples that Chuck can be wrangled in. The end of writing, editing, revising, and rewriting your story is within your grasp. Finishing your book takes perseverance and time, with an added couple hundred cups of patience, too.

Follow the rainbow until you reach it, finding your pot o’ gold—your finished, stunning book.

Have you ever felt like Chuck’s left you stranded? How do you cope during these times?

PS: Don't forget to enter to win an ARC of DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth on my blog. Follow this link to fill out the entry form. Good Luck!

Monday, March 21, 2011

ARC of DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth Contest Begins...

In celebration of reaching 100 followers on my blog, I'm holding an ARC giveaway contest. The lucky winner will get a *sparkly* ARC of DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth. Follow this link to fill out the entry form.

Contest Rules:
  • Contest closes on Monday, March 28, 2011 at 4:00 p.m. MST
  • Its open Internationally.
  • The happy winner will be chosen by having all the needed points (5) and has the best and most creative response to the question.
  • The winner will be announced Wednesday, March 30, 2011. 
Thank you for helping me reach 100 followers. I couldn't have done it without you! Seriously, I am giddy and happy and all of the above!


My stuffed animal, Mr. Monkey, said he'd protect the book for the time being.

However, a group of my other stuffed animals felt left out. They will be protecting it, too! The book is in good hands until it reaches yours.

Thank you again!

Friday, March 18, 2011

ARC Giveaway Contest

Once I get 100 followers on my blog, I'm doing my very first ARC Giveaway Contest. The ARC, of which is in my possession as I type, is DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth. I will have more information about the contest on Monday, March 21, 2011. Follow my blog and if you're on Twitter for a chance to win!

Put a "Spring" into Your Step!

Photo by my dad:
First flowers to come out
on the foothills near my parent's home.
So, I slept in today, which, on normal circumstances, would have resulted in me running around like a chicken with its head off. Thankfully, I’m off work today. Phew. I work at an institution of higher education. This week is Spring Break for the lucky students. As an employee, I get Friday off, of which is total awesomeness!

As I dragged myself out of bed, it donned on me that today is Friday! That means I get to write a blog post. I love posting for you guys. It makes me giddy. Well, anything can make me giddy. I’m easily entertained.

While I was talking to my dad this morning, I asked him what I should write about. My day off for Spring Break made him rant off this:

“Spring has sprung. The grass has ris. I wonder what this white stuff is.”

Uh, so it took me a second or two to get it. I’m slow on the uptake when it comes to jokes. It can make the joke funnier when two minutes later I start laughing wildly. 

Tangent. Anyway, I’ll get back to the point. What my dad said got me to thinking about spring and how I desperately need it to come. I need the sun. I need the flowers. I need to go outside without the need of a coat. I need to go on reading-walk-a-thons.

You heard me right! I go on what I have coined, “Reading-Walk-a-Thons.” It’s like a read-a-thon but you’re walking. Way to be a multi-tasking, huh? You just have to watch where you tread, and that’s not difficult at all. Yes, you’ll get people honking their horn at you, but all in all it’s rather fun. Just make sure you walk on a road that’s not highly trafficked.

Are you excited for the winter to fade into spring? What activities do you like to do during this season of the year? Are you going to try out a reading-walk-a-thon now that I’ve told you about it? Go on, I dare you.
Disclaimer: If you go on a reading-walk-a-thon and trip, you can’t get mad at me. I will take no responsibility for any accidents. Tehehe.      

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Only Since It's My Favorite Holiday

St. Patrick's Day is my favorite holiday. I love all things Irish. I love U2. I love Bono. I love the movie Waking Ned Divine. I love Ireland. I love Irish Spring soap. I love claddagh rings. I love Dublin. I love the Dingle Peninsula. I love the accent. I love Enya. I love Celtic dancing and music. I love clovers. I love it all.
Here are some St. Patrick's Day pics I thought were fun!

I hope everyone has a fantabulously wonderful St. Patrick's Day!
What's your favorite holiday? Are you doing anything fun for St. Patty's Day?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

What I’ve Learned Wednesday: The Many Hats of Writing

December 2009. I had a dream. Dream turned into a plot. Plot turned into a manuscript. Manuscript turned into an endless string of edits. Endless string of edits turned into me pulling my hair out. Pulled out hair eventually will turn into a published work! Published work will lead to wearing more hats than I do now. Wearing more hats than I do now will be really cool.

In December 2009, I had absolutely no idea what industry I was getting myself into. The writing industry is way more than just plucking away at your laptop. Being an author requires many hats. I haven’t even put on all of the hats, but still am way excited to wear them all.

I attended a writing conference last year. Brandon Mull, author of the Fablehaven series, The Candy Shop War, Pingo, and The Beyonders (released 3/15/11), was the keynote speaker. He spoke about all the hats that authors get to wear. “Get to” cause it’s way fun! He said a few things, among many, that left an impression on me.

You get to be a speaker, marketer, small business owner, and reading advocate. I hope to be an author who gets to go around speaking to people about writing and other related topics. I’m already marketing my name, my book. I’ve got a social networking business up and booming. I wouldn’t call it a business, though cause I have way too much fun with it. And I get to be an advocate for reading. Seriously, what an awesome job it is to be an author.

Being an author has lots of other aspects other than the writing part. The writing part is the most important, but you have to remember that there are other parts to this industry, especially if you want to be published. I’ve found that during my writing/editing stages, social networking has been king. I have to get my name out there, my brand, Writing Jewels. I really enjoy blogging and have to admit that I’m obsessed with Twitter.

Which authoring hats to you love to wear? Are you just as giddy about all these pretty, fun hats as I am? Were you surprised at all the other things you’d have to do in order to get published? Or were you pleasantly surprised?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Jewels Hates. Jewels Loves.

I hate . . .

Repetitive noises like a ticking clock or a dripping faucet. Ugh, the personal hell that is found in these noises; they quite possibly could drive me absolutely crazy.

People calling me Julie is my biggest pet peeve. When people call me Julie, I will cringe and instantly correct their grievous mistake. If my parents wanted people to call me Julie, they would have named me Julie. You may call me Julia, Jules, or J, but never Julie. I have no problem with the name Julie. I know a lot of people with the name and adore them. I just don’t feel like a Julie. I’m a JULIA!

Pulp in orange juice is disgusting to me. I will go to the trouble of straining the pulp out of orange juice because I hate it that much. Pulp is nasty and icky to me.

Wet hair in the bathtub grosses me out (IE. on the wall, drain, or soap). I’ve been close to throwing up because of the matter-out-of-place hair. It disgusts me even more if it is on my body. Yuck!

I love . . .

Dogs are my best friend. I once went on a date with a guy who was allergic to dogs. Instantly, I knew things never would work out between us. A, yep, I never went out with him again. A miniature beagle is my choice for a dog. Her name will be Elliot (Ellie for short).

Being warm is a must for me. If I am cold, I am a way unhappy camper. I have a couple blankets that always are tucked around me at home. It makes me feel like Linus from Charlie Brown. I love being warm and love my favorite blankets.

Sleeping in is my favorite thing ever. Well, not really, but it sure is nice. If there was a degree in sleeping in, I’d have at least a couple hundred diplomas. *Sigh*

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies are my favorite and most beloved cookie. I could eat a whole batch in one setting. Really! My mom has this super good recipe that I’m gonna share with you here. They are nummilicious.

½ cup shortening
1 egg
1 ½ cups sugar
1 cup pumpkin
2 ½ cups flour
1 t. salt
1 t. nutmeg
1 t. baking powder
1 t. vanilla
1 t. cinnamon
1 bag (11.5 oz) of Guittard milk chocolate chips (must be Guittard)
1 cup butterscotch chips (I added this to the recipe, it’s nummy)
Stir shortening to soften, gradually add sugar and vanilla, cream together until smooth, add egg and mix well. Sift flour and seasonings and add to creamy mixture alternately with pumpkin. Beat until smooth. Fold in chips. Drop on greased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes at 375.

What are some of your loves and hates?

Friday, March 11, 2011


I'm going to be way honest with you right now. As the cliché says, honesty is the best policy. I have been suffering with symptoms of what I’d like to call “Early-On-Set-Mid-Life-Crisis.” So, I’m going to turn 29 next month. Relatively speaking, 29 is way young. I’m still in my prime. However, and this is going to be a massively gargantuan however, I feel like I’m having an identity crisis. Why? Because ever since I was a little girl I’ve wanted nothing more than to be the blushing bride with a hunk of a husband, and to be the mom who walks her adorable kids to school. Has that happened? No. Do I hope it happens? Absolutely I do. If not, I am going to ask for a major refund at life’s ticket booth.

Life has required me to take an alternate path, that of a career. A career I haven't really figured out yet. I never, ever thought this is where I would be at the age of 29. However, and this is an Empire State Building times 100 however, I’ve had a way great life thus far. I’ve been able to travel A LOT, live in a couple different countries, learn Mandarin Chinese, obtain a bachelors degree in Anthropology, gain a great work ethic through many years of employment, and most importantly have successfully driven a car for 13 years of my life.

And now my friends, I desire to be an author. If you would have told me even 18 months ago that I would be aspiring to be a writer, I would have spat in your face and then ran away giggling with a heart shrouded with guilt for spitting on you. Over the years, I have found that the best way to make it through life is to be constantly progressing. Becoming an author is helping me to progress, to make something more of myself. Since I don’t have the family life that I always dreamt of, yet, I can at least be doing something that gives my life greater meaning.

Now my life carries three desires:

1. To be the blushing bride with a hunk of a husband, and to be the mom who walks her adorable kids to school.
2. To be a published and successful writer.
3. To travel, travel some more, and just for the heck of it, travel a lot more.

What are your greatest desires? How are you making those happen? Have you ever had a mid-life crisis, even the early on-set variety? And how have you overcome such feelings? Man, I feel really philosophical right now. Tell me to shut up before I turn into Kant, Plato, or Socrates.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

What I’ve Learned Wednesday: Voice

I started listening to “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert the other day. From the very first word I fell in love with the book’s voice. Glibert’s writing voice is so unrestricted, so playful, so extraordinary. If I could eat a writing voice, I would gobble hers up in about two seconds.
Not only is the writing voice beautiful, but Elizabeth Gilbert’s speaking voice is stunning (fyi: she narrates the audio book). Her voice is like being stranded on a deserted island for twelve years, and then you finally are rescued by someone. When they speak, their voice rings in your ears as the most beautiful sound you’ve ever heard. That is how I feel about Elizabeth Gilbert’s voice. I sort of wish mine sounded that breath-taking. In other words, I’m going to say her voice rocks!

Taking all of this into consideration, I have been thinking a lot about writing voice. I’ve found that reading A LOT helps me to develop my voice, my style. With reading other authors, you can see what you like about their writing voice and what you may not like as much. Like I said, I really liked Elizabeth’s voice, however, it doesn’t lend itself easily for my book. It has given me some ideas, though, of how I can polish my manuscript and make it even better.

So on this “What I’ve Learned Wednesday, I am going to suggest that you read a lot and study how other authors relay their voice to you through their stories. You may even want to do the same with blogs. I’ve found some way awesome voices through the blogs I that frequent (ie: Carrie Harris & Kiersten White). This may help improve your own voice with the added benefit of eating up a good story at the same time.

So tell me, how do you cultivate your own writing voice? And which author’s writing voices do you absolutely love?

Monday, March 7, 2011

Blabbings by an Aspiring Writer

I have no idea what to post today. Does anyone have any suggestions? JK. I think I'm just going to blab. I'm good at blabbing.
I went to this really cool thing on Saturday. It was a dinner for a bunch of Utah book bloggers and Utah writers. I met a couple Twitter friends. It was cool to see them in person. I even met up with a high school classmate. She is a writer, too. That was great. I have decided that Utah is just a talented place. We have tons of dancers who have been on So You Think You Can Dance, and I'm starting to see that Utah has a lot of writers coming out of the woodwork. People should totally move to Utah if they want to be talented. Tehehe. I'm funny!

On another note, I am feeling more motivated to write. Last week I was in a writing mid-life crisis. I felt like this monkey:

Now, I am coming out of the depressive, sleepy state with added devotion to my manuscript. It needs a lot of work, but I am up for the challenge. Ok, I am still apprehensive to be completely honest. Ick, I'm scared.

Sometimes a manuscript is like a puzzle. You have all of these pieces and have no idea where they should go. It is daunting because the pieces are so similar. The edge pieces go in first--the foundation, and then you have to plop all the other ones in to have it make sense. It takes time and a lot of patience. Hopefully, in the end it looks like the picture on the box.  Or in other words, what is envisioned in my head.

Well, I hope I have given you something entertaining enough to make you follow my blog. The more followers I have the better. I want you graced on my blog with your pic on the sidebar. What do ya say? Click follow and all your dreams will come true. Uh, not really, but at least you'll be making my dreams come true. Dream--100 followers. That would be cool.

Thanks! Have a great Monday!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Inspirational Muse

Another song that has been an inspiration for my book is “Endlessly” by Muse. I like to think of my book as a “Horrific Love Story.” This song delves deep into the darkness of my book, making it horrific and a love story at the same time. The dark undertone of the music expresses the blackened element of my book. My book appears hopeless, and endless; it’s encompassed with dreams and is allusive. It totally is this song, but much, much more. Enjoy a live version of “Endlessly.” BTW – if you haven’t seen Muse in concert, you’re missing out. They are incredible live. Above is a pic I took from when I saw them in concert.

What inspires you to write? Is it music, literature, dreams, food, trips? Bring on your writing inspirations!

Here are the lyrics:

There's part of me
You'll never know
The only thing
I'll never show

Hopelessly, I'll love you endlessly
Hopelessly, I'll give you everything
But I won't give you up.
I won't let you down
I won't leave you falling
If the moment ever comes

It's plain to see,
It's trying to speak
Cherished dreams
Forever asleep

Hopelessly, I'll love you endlessly
Hopelessly, I'll give you everything
But I won't give you up
I won't let you down
I won't leave you falling
If the moment ever comes.

Hopelessly, I'll love you endlessly
Hopelessly, I'll give you everything
But I won't give you up
I won't let you down
I won't leave you falling
But the moment never comes.
 - Muse - Matthew Bellamy, Christopher Wolstenholme, Dominic Howard

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

What I've Learned Wednesday: The Ups & Downs

Over the past few days, I've been feeling way overwhelmed with writing. I haven't even touched my manuscript. *shame on me* It's happened many times before, and will happen again and again, I'm sure of that fact. One thing I've learned along the way is that being a writer is hard. It is a difficult process; one that has many ups and downs. One day I feel like I'm the queen (or King cause that's my last name) of writing and other days I feel like I'm the scum of the earth type of writer. Writing is tough, can make you depressed, and yet, can make you more happy than you could ever imagine. Writing is not for the faint of heart, that's for sure.

More for selfish reasons due to my being in a bit of a writing funk, I pose the following questions:
  • What do you do to get past the lows of writing and rise back to the writer who feels like he/she can conquer the world one one at a time again?
  • How do you cope with the downs?
Lets start a conversation right here on my blog to help not only me, but all those writers who may be struggling as we type. Lets help each other get back on the top again!

Yippee! Hallelujah! Hot Dog! Did I just say "Hot Dog?" Yep, and I'm keeping it there.