List Post, août 2016 (August)

It’s the Dog Days of Summer, and I’ve got a new list!

  • The Georgia Writers Association has just released the judges’ notes for Finalists and Winners of the 2016 Georgia Author of the Year Awards. Here’s what judge Iraj Omidvar said about my book: 
    • “Julia McDermott’s All the Above, My Son’s Battle with Brain Cancer is replete with powerful dialogues and descriptions that bring to life the circumstances leading to — as well as the significance of — each of the often life-and-death decisions involved in fighting brain cancer. At the center of this drama is Jack, the courageous and much-loved young man whose struggle reminds us of the often invisible social ties that underpin our lives. In recounting the events, McDermott exposes the powerful relationships among parents and children, siblings, and relatives and friends that sustain life and work, here in face of tremendous stressors. The memoir is also a poignantly appreciative look at the dedicated physicians, nurses, and other medical professionals the family relied on for Jack’s surgeries and recovery.”
  • After my “Personal Journey” was published on July 10, 2016 by the AJC – Atlanta Journal Constitution – titled Fear and Gratitude, (click here to read), I connected with the Georgia Chapter of the Pediatric Brain Tumor Association (headquartered in Asheville, NC). They help families with children who have been diagnosed with brain tumors, and they do great work.
  • I’ll appear on the Atlanta Writers Club Thriller panel at this year’s AJC Decatur Book Festival on Sat., Sept. 3 at 11:15 am at the Decatur City Hall. Afterward, I’ll sign copies of my novels DADDY’S GIRL and UNDERWATER, and my memoir ALL THE ABOVE: MY SON’S BATTLE WITH BRAIN CANCER
  • That same day, from 2:00 to 3:00, I’ll be at the Atlanta Writers Club booth, to chat and sign copies of my books. I’ll also appear at the Sisters in Crime booth, time and date TBA.
  • Later in September: I’m traveling to New Orleans to attend Mystery Writers Conference, Bouchercon, and will appear on a panel titled Watch That Man – Thriller on Sunday Sept. 18 at 9:00 am. 
  • In November, I’ll be a participating moderator/panelist on a nonfiction panel at the Milton Literary Festival, and next March, I’ll be a “Regional Writer” at the Dahlonega Literary Festival.

 

List Post, juillet 2016 (July)

  • Read the “Personal Journey” article I wrote in the AJC – Atlanta Journal Constitution – titled Fear and Gratitudehere (and in the Sunday July 10, 2016 print edition)
  • Check out my Events tab for my upcoming appearances, including the one on Thursday July 14 at 6:30 pm at the Book Exchange Marietta
  • I’m hard at work on my next novel, and hope to have half of the story written by the time I appear at this year’s AJC Decatur Book Festival on the Thriller panel!

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Publication day for DADDY’S GIRL!

My women’s fiction/psychological suspense novel DADDY’S GIRL is out today! Find it on Amazon, or download it on your Kindle!

A spoiled, entitled princess risks it all to join a technology startup, loses it all, and then embarks on a mission of revenge and retribution.

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Cover Reveal: Daddy’s Girl

After rejecting 2 earlier (working) titles, and 3 other (very different) cover images, the cover for my new suspense novel, DADDY’S GIRL, is set in stone! I can’t wait until it’s published, only days from now!

What’s it about?

A spoiled, entitled princess risks it all to join a technology startup, loses it all, and then embarks on a mission of revenge and retribution…

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List Post, avril 2016 (April)

  • My next novel will be published this month! The title is DADDY’S GIRL, and the genre is women’s fiction/psychological suspense (with an emphasis on the latter). Choosing the cover was difficult, but I love it. Stay tuned to my blog for a preview of the cover and for the exact publication date!
  • I’m getting great feedback from both writers groups I’m in, on my work-in-progress, which is another novel. Thanks, Linda Sands, for connecting me to the newer one!
  • I’ve been selected to be a nonfiction presenting author at the Milton Literary Festival this fall. Read my updated bio here.
  • In case you’re wondering, we skipped a few Pizza and a Movie Fridays recently. There aren’t many films out right now that we want to see. 😒
  • Later this month, I’ll join phenomenal photographer Lynn Crow and Beautycounter consultant extraordinaire Valerie Langman, at a Social in Johns Creek, GA, to benefit CURE Childhood Cancer. I’ll be signing copies of ALL THE ABOVE, UNDERWATER, and possibly, DADDY’S GIRL!  See my Events Tab for more information. 😀

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Where I’ve worked on my books, and when…

Where I was (and what the season was), when I began writing each of my books:

  • Book 4 (title to be revealed soon): My home office, in the winter ❄️
  • Book 3 (ALL THE ABOVE): My room at the One Ocean Resort & Spa in Atlantic Beach, Florida during spring break👙
  • Book 2 (UNDERWATER): The Library Coffee Company in Atlanta (now closed), in the summer ☕️
  • Book 1 (MAKE THAT DEUX): My kitchen, in the fall 🍁

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Where I was, when I found my editor: My writers group meeting in Atlanta, in the spring 🌷

Where I was, when I found my cover artist: The Resort at Longboat Key Club near Sarasota, Florida, in the spring 🌴

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Where I went to do research:

  • Book 4: McKinney, Texas 🌵
  • Book 3: Winston-Salem, North Carolina 🌳
  • Book 2: New York City, and Nice, France 🚖
  • Book 1: Montpellier, France 🇫🇷

Where I was (and the season), when I finished the edits for each:

  • Book 4: My home office, in the summer 🍉
  • Book 3: My home office, in the winter ⛄️
  • Book 2: Winter Park, Colorado, during a big family reunion vacation week and golf tournament, in the summer ⛳️
  • Book 1: My kitchen, in the fall 🏈

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Wine with Wendy on Wednesday, numéro six

For our March rendez vous, Wendy and I met at a French bistro in Buckhead (in Atlanta).

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Some Atlantans may guess which one from the mural above (inside the restaurant). We had a lovely table near the front, lunch was very tasty, and it was wonderful catching up.

Here are a few things that I either learned, or that we talked about:

  • Wendy has never been to Paris (!) But she’s been to Europe many times – much more than I have.
  • We’d like to go to France together someday – at least, I’d love to go with her.
  • Current events (how could we not); football and other sports; travel destinations, domestic and international; our kids’ college news; and what our kids (of any age) choose (and choose not) to tell us
  • Wendy’s art projects, her approach to them, and her course(s)
  • The fact that she can create a painting (she calls it a “before” – it’s the model, sort of) in an hour! (Seen on her facebook page)
  • My inability to multitask on book projects right now, as I wait to view images to consider for my next novel (soon to be published), and try to craft the storyline and characters for my next one, which I’ve begun writing (I’m on Chapter 3)

It’s so much fun to talk about our creative endeavors, and Wendy continues to amaze me with hers. We agreed that it takes discipline for each of us to do what we do: If we don’t sit (or stand) in front of the canvas (or other surface, I’m guessing) or in my case, the computer, and work at it, it simply won’t get done.

No matter what else is going on!

 

Deciding what to read…and a flashback!

Start to finish, it takes (me) about two forevers to write a book. Then, when it’s finished, it gets dropped into the ocean of everything that’s available for people to read: books (in tons of genres, fiction and nonfiction); news articles/newsfeed; essays and opinion pieces; blog posts; social media updates on Facebook, Twitter, etc.; and even short stories, flash fiction and poems.

And that’s not all. There’s also entertainment like films, TV, videos, and plays–yes, plays– that pull us away from the printed written word on a page or device. So when I finish writing a book (make that, birthing my baby, because when you’re writing a book, it feels like you’re having a baby), I know it’s competing with a gazillion other things out there, to catch your eye and your attention.

So – how do I get you (y’all, and more important, all of y’all) to give my book a chance, for your time? How do I get it in front of you, even as one of your options? It’s hard, Mesdames et Messieurs. It’s quite hard.

Flashback to the 90s, when I had little kids at home, and very little time to read. But I did read. I read in the carpool line, and before I went to sleep. I read at the park. I didn’t have a device or even a laptop, and I spent little time at the desktop computer we owned. I watched movies and some TV, but I liked to read. A lot.

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My four enfants (kids) on a family trip to San Francisco in the 1990s

How did I find books to read back then? Good books, that is – books that I was going to enjoy and remember? I had little time to myself, and even less to spend in those big fancy bookstores that were coming into vogue. I remember one time I got a generous gift card to spend at one of them, and I had a little time to browse while one kid was at a piano lesson, another was at dance, and the other two were at soccer. I walked into the fiction section and began to walk down the aisles.

I wanted to make some good choices; I was BUYING some books for me, and I didn’t want to regret my purchases. But I wasn’t in a book club, nor had I heard what the new must-have novels were. I was suspicious of anything positioned at the front of the store; maybe there was something for me there, but maybe not. I didn’t have time to watch Oprah, so I didn’t know what she was pushing. All I had read recently were classics that we already owned, that I either hadn’t read, or had read (but didn’t remember), or that my oldest kids were reading in school. But I didn’t want to buy a classic that day. I wanted something new and something great.

I wanted to discover something.

The clock ticked by and I made my selections. I don’t know if I wandered back to the front and picked up a best seller, or took a chance on a book whose cover I liked. Maybe I bought something written by someone whose other books I had already read and liked, such as Peter Mayle, Maeve Binchy, Ferrol Sams, David Sedaris, or Nicholas Sparks. Back then (and now) I read (and read) lots of different genres. It was great to find something new I liked, and tell people I knew about it. And now that I’m an author, that’s just what I want readers of my books to do (if they like my books, that is): tell others about them.

Even though what I like may not be what you like (or even, what I write may not be what you like), talking about books seems fun to me. I may give what you recommend a chance, and love it. But even if I don’t love it, I’ve tried it. I’ve sampled something new. I’ve given something a chance for my attention (and my brain) that somebody, somewhere sat down to write. And it may have taken them a couple of forevers to finish it.

I’ve tried my best to get the books I’ve written in front of potential readers. I’ve set up and appeared at book signings. I’ve participated in book festivals and served on panels. I’ve sent out emails, newsletters, and updates to my friends on Facebook, and followers on Twitter and Instagram. I’ve offered my books as free downloads and giveaways, produced book trailers, and thrown parties. The publisher of my suspense novel UNDERWATER has done a great job promoting it and has included it in various promotions and Kindle deals. And I’ve asked readers to write and post reviews of my books on Amazon and Goodreads.

I hope that if you discover my books, you enjoy reading them. In different genres, two are written in first person, and one in third, with multiple points of view. Two are novels (fiction) and one is a true story (memoir). My fourth book, another suspense novel, will be published very soon. Lately, I’ve begun writing my fifth book, a novel. My characters are clear in my head (and on paper), and so are some of their conflicts. But I’m still struggling with some pieces of the plot.

If you’ve read this far, you like reading; you might even love it. If you don’t love my books, or my writing, then I hope you find something in them to like–no matter how different they might be from what you expect, or usually read, like, love, or see at the front of the bookstore, in Costco, in People magazine, or on Oprah (is she still doing that?). With each book, there was a day that I got up in the morning, sat down in front of a blank computer screen, and tapped the first letter. And, IF you read one of my stories and like it, I hope you will take the time to write a review of it on Amazon. Don’t worry about exactly what to say. I promise it won’t take much time to do. I recently wrote a review of a book I had read, and it took me about five minutes.

Because what gets a book to buoy up to the surface of the reading (and entertainment) ocean–and stay there, for a while–is the number of reviews it has (and not what they say, exactly). The more reviews, the more people who find the book somehow start to think, “Hmm. That might be interesting, because so many other people thought it was.” They also know that many more people (than the number of reviewers) bought the book as well, but didn’t review it.

S’il vous plaît…Just do it. Because I did.

Merci!

List Post, mars 2016 (March)

  • If you haven’t already, please SIGN UP for my bimonthly Newsletter! (See “Newsletter” under “For Readers”). This month’s edition out very soon!
  • Announcing a TITLE CHANGE for Book 4, a women’s fiction/psychological suspense novel! It’s no longer called A ZERO-SUM GAME. New title is better and shorter. As you might guess from the below, two characters’ names are Valerie and June. I don’t know how I came up with those names – but they worked.
  • No travels this month – so I hope to get lots of writing done. Then, I’ve got long weekends away in April, May, and June. Destinations: Texas – bro-in-law’s wedding; North Carolina – a “Sisters in Crime” (writers organization) presentation I’m doing with another Georgia author; Las Vegas – a sis-in-law’s (big) birthday celebration!
  • Book 5 (work in progress) update: I’m not even ten thousand words in (yet), but it’s taking shape…
  • Glad to serve as Publicity Chair for the Atlanta Chapter of Sisters in Crime. If you live in the area and receive a “Neighbor Newspaper,” check it for details on our monthly meetings!
  • Looking forward to connecting with a local reporter about a piece on my book ALL THE ABOVE: MY SON’S BATTLE WITH BRAIN CANCER and its nomination for the Georgia Author of the Year Award in the Memoir/Autobiography category!

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Page and Word count (and other things) about my next novel, out soon. It’s finished!

 

 

Wine with Wendy on Wednesday, numéro cinq

This month, Wendy and I met for lunch at another Atlanta French restaurant.

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We ordered our wine immediately, but we took a few minutes to order our food. The restaurant is a favorite – I’ve been to parties there – and the salmon salad I had was delicious.

We talked about travels (past and upcoming), schedules (she has a busy one!), movies we’ve seen, and books we’ve read. And, movies we’ve seen based on books – some that we’ve read – and whether we felt they were well adapted to the big screen. I described what’s going on with my books, and revealed the (new) title for my next novel, which is coming out soon.

It’s NOT A Zero-Sum Game, after all. I’ve chosen a shorter, catchier title that fits the story much better. Wendy said she thought it was awesome!

Which made me feel even more convinced that I’ve made the right decision.

Here’s a hint: It’s two words, and describes the main character. I can’t wait to see how it looks on the cover. Who knows, I may have the book in my hands the next time Wendy and I meet (in March) for déjeuner!

 

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