Sunday, March 11, 2018

New Year. New Novel.

I participated in National Novel Writing Month last year and completed more than half of my new novel. I was months behind when I wanted to write these two words in the said novel, but I finally did it
last night. Hallelujah. I did it after years of not thinking I could write anything else. 

First draft - check

Here's to revisions and edits.

I'm so proud of myself and hope good things come from this book. Although, I feel I've accomplished that already. 

Happy dance time.

How's your writing going?


Writing Jewels 

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Favorites from 2016

2016 wasn't one of my most adventurous and extravagant years, but I do have to say I had some favorites. 

My favorites (in no particular order. Just as they come to mind)
  • Concert: ColdPlay (wow, oh wow, they are amazing). Best concert EVER!
  • A band I love: ColdPlay (why did I not catch the ColdPlay train earlier?)
  • New person: my niece, Olive. She's a cutie pie and crawling now at only 8 months old. She's going to conquer this world.
  • Trip: San Francisco. I took one trip this year and it was a work trip, but I filled it with some fun when I wasn't at the conference. 
  • Experience in San Francisco: riding a rental bike to the Golden Gate Bridge.
  • Music to listen to at work: Taylor Swift
  • New album: OneRepublic's "Oh My My"
  • Job: Mine, of course. I heart it and my coworkers. Cheers!
  • Fiction book: "The Selection" series by Kiera Cass. There were many a read-until-3AM-nights to finish this series. Couldn't get enough of it!
  • Non-fiction book: "Seabiscuit" by Laura Hillenbrand
  • Author book signings: Marissa Meyer, Ally Carter, Kiersten White, & Robin M. King (ok, that's 4, but 4 amazing authors I must give props to)
  • Hiking buddy: my dad. Love you.
  • Christmas tree: mine, of course.
  • New friend: Allison. You're a gem of a gal.
  • Season: summer
  • Birthday: again, mine, of course.
  • Movie: Zootopia
  • TV revival: Gilmore Girls 
  • New thing: ankle boots
What are your 2016 favorites?


Writing Jewels

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Author Book Signing: Marissa Meyer

Another author book signing under my belt; however, this wasn't the first time I've met Marissa Meyer, but she wowed me but once again at her STARS ABOVE book tour event in Salt Lake City. She's the amazing author of the LUNAR CHRONICLES series. Must read books!
Some things I learned from Ms. Meyer:
To stay motivated while writing or rather to "trick your mind to write" she mentioned...
 - Set small goals so it doesn't feel like such a huge project, even if it is just one sentence a day.
 - Bribe yourself for productivity
 - Write in a different environment. ie: enjoy writing by candle light
Something remarkable Marissa shared with us: she started crafting stories as a little girl. She vocalized the stories and her mom wrote them down.
I love author signings and reading and books. And I love Marissa Meyer's books. She's one of my favorite authors to date!
Have you had to chance to meet one of your favorite authors? What's some advice they gave for writers?
Writing Jewels

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Author Book Signing: Ally Carter

With great joy, I met Ally Carter yesterday at a book signing. She is a delight, so funny, and quite engaging. I think I was the oldest person there. haha
For those whom don't know who Ms. Carter is, you definitely should. She wrote some amazing series, including GALLAGHER GIRLS, HEIST SOCIETY, EMBASY ROW, and CHEATING AT SOLITAIR.
All of these series are MUST reads!
The lovely Ally signed all of her books that I own. I said she didn't have to because of the long line and her poor hand, but she still did. What a wonderful gal!
Tidbits I learned from her talk:
1. For aspiring writers, just write and don't worry about being published so much. Just enjoy the experience.
2. The first draft is, as she put it, "dirty water." Don't dwell on what you've written. You need to get it all on paper or computer, then you can worry about clearing up the "dirty water." That's what editing and revising are meant for.
3. She mentioned that for a good while, when she first starting writing and eventually when she was traditionally published, she had a day job. Ultimately, she quit her job and focused solely on her writing (she could support herself by then). I asked her "how she did both the day job and writing?" (I have a stressful day job and would rather chill when I get home). She didn't necessarily give me any pointers, but I did pull from her answer that I don't have a publisher giving me deadlines and that makes it easier, so feel blessed to not have that added pressure with juggling a day job and writing. Phew! That makes me feel better.
Anyway, I thought these would be of use to my writing friends out there! What is some advice you've been given from writers when you've been at book signings or other events?
Writing Jewels

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy 2015! & Happy 2016!

Bon voyage to 2015. Welcome 2016! This is our year! All of our year!

2015 was a fun year for the Jules. A lot happened and I'm happy to share a bit of my year.
  • Became an adult, officially. Ditched my twin bed for a queen-sized bed fit for a King.
  • Attended Comic Con for the first time & saw Matt Smith there (Doctor Who). Smitten.
  • Celebrated my 33rd birthday.
  • Saw U2 in concert for the 5th time. I love those boys.
  • Did a bit of hiking in the Utah mountains at the beginning of the summer.
  • Colored my hair very blonde. Loved it!
  • Traveled Down Under to Fiji, New Zealand, and Australia. On a broken foot, to boot. No pun intended, as I was wearing a boot cast. Nothing holds me back. Although, it probably should have. Loved loved loved the trip!
  • Broken foot is healing, hopefully will be 100% better one of these days.
  • Read 47 books. The goal was 50, but I came in pretty darn close.
  • Trying my hand at painting. I'm somewhat good. Read "somewhat" very loosely.
  • Toyed around with some writing ideas.
  • Spent good times with family and friends.
How about you?
2016 is going to be a year of joy! I'm certain of it. Not sure if I will be adventuring unless if someone wants to pay for me to go to Africa with them... Maybe Morocco? Any takers? :)
I plan to get back to my writing roots, hone in my painting skills, and reading 50 books. I would definitely like to start dating someone whom I will eventually marry. If you know any LDS great guys, let me know. :)
Well, happy to be blogging again. Not sure if I will consistently blog, but Id' like to say hello and hope you have a delightful new year!
Hugs all the way from Bag End...
Writing Jewels

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Peru Experience

I returned home from a two-week vacation to Peru recently. The tour turned out to be quite an enjoyable time but life changing too. I relaxed and gained a new outlook on life.
Pre-Peru Julia lived her life longing for the time when she was able to crash into bed at the end of the day.
Post-Peru Julia lives her life taking in all she can throughout the day until she is able to happily tuck herself in bed at night.
This may make me sound like a depressed person (of which occasionally is the case), but that is not the point; the point is that something changed in me in Peru.
Here's how it happened: The first day of the tour we were in the Amazon jungle and I was tired. All I could think about was hitting the sack at the end of the day. In my mind I scolded myself saying: "Julia, you are in Peru only once in your life! Enjoy it! Every minute of it!" The rest of the tour, I lived deeply every experience from nighttime caiman spotting in the jungle, to scaling the endless steps of Huayna Picchu, to enjoying countless Incan ruins, to visiting native communities on the Uros Islands of Lake Titicaca, to strolling along the streets of Cusco. 
I pulled so much strength and resolve from this tour and, surprisingly, without even knowing it. It was about a week after I arrived home that the realization of this delightful paradigm shift had occurred and I am happy for it. 
The thing is I have to work hard on keeping this resolve. There have been a few times since returning home that I have found myself sliding back into my old stress bucket ways, and I have to take a few deep breaths and exhale a healthy "Don't sweat it."
Life should be beautiful and enjoyable, not a routine of longing to go back to bed all the time.
Have you had a similar experience? Are you hoping to have this kind of a change occur in your life? I just hope you don't have to travel across the world to figure it out.
And for those who want to see some pics, here you go:

Relaxing in the Amazon jungle at my bungalow.
 Julia's gone native.
 I made friends with some alpacas.
 Cristo Blanco high in the hills of Cusco.
 My alpaca friend I named Frazzila May.
 Julia at Machu Picchu! This place is wondrous and magical.
Uros floating reed islands on Lake Titicaca near Puno, Peru.

 Eating alpaca. It was beyond delicious.
 Eating guinea pig, a Peruvian delicacy.
In front of what is considered Peru's white house in Lima.

Writing Jewels