List Post, nouvelle année (2015)

  • Almost finished UN-decorating the house for the holiday season
  • Writing back on schedule, after more than two weeks when I couldn’t remember what day of the week it was
  • Several signed copies of UNDERWATER are available for purchase at Dunwoody Bakery, open Wednesdays through Saturdays
  • Looking forward to my “Member Minute” talk at the Atlanta Writers Club meeting on January 17, 2015 at 1:30 pm, at Georgia Perimeter College
  • On the horizon: My appearance at the Augusta Literary Festival on March 6-7. Looking forward to attending, meeting readers and signing books
  • Planning the release of my work of creative nonfiction, titled ALL THE ABOVE this spring
  • Resolving to step up my exercise routine this year
  • Cheering for the Cowboys and the Seahawks during the NFL playoffs
  • Happy that I’m traveling to Chapel Hill, NC in April and in May
  • Glad to share family news with close friends and family

ee605e7f-224b-44f4-a1a5-f0184e945720Photo courtesy of Alliance Française d’Atlanta

Book Talk for Noel

Fun “Book Talk” moments at a recent holiday gathering:

  • Telling a writer friend and his wife about my experience at my first Bouchercon in Long Beach, CA last month (the glow is still with me).
  • Selling an audio version (CD set) of UNDERWATER to a member of my Writers Group I hadn’t seen in months, who said he spends a lot of time driving. He was a regular attendee when I brought scenes of the manuscript to the group for feedback.
  • Finding out that a friend loves LONESOME DOVE as much as I do, talking about the book, and lending it to someone else who wants to read it (despite its length).
  • Asking another friend if I can interview him to help me do research for my work-in-progress. He agreed, and suggested I speak to someone else we know who might help, too.
  • Talking about the German translation of UNDERWATER (“UNTER WASSER”) to be released on February 24, 2015.
  • Describing how I use social media to engage with readers and market my books.
  • Mentioning that my next book (Book 3) is a work of creative nonfiction called ALL THE ABOVE, which will be out in the spring.
  • Hearing a (lawyer) friend recite poetry by Ezra Pound.
  • Listening to a writer friend talk about his mystery series.
  • Explaining that after Book 3, I’m sticking with the psychological thriller genre and writing fiction.

Happy Holidays, and Bonne Année 2015!

Ç’est changé! My new website name!

Autrefois (ou, avant) – before – it was makethatjulie.wordpress.com

Maintenant – now – it’s juliamcdermottbooks.com

(If you type in the old one, you will be redirected automatiquement to the new one.*)

Pourquoi? Parce que it’s sleeker, simpler and more specific…and because, as I explain here, although many people call me Julie, my name is Julia. But if you want, you can make that Julie!

220px-Julie_and_julia

Another changement? It’s “julia mcdermott” at the top rather than The More Things Change…

But “The more things change, the more they stay the same” **  does seem appropriate! 

* It may take a day or two before it works automatically for some service providers…but it already does for mine.

** Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose

List Post, Numéro Quatre (de décembre)

  • Finished decorating the house for the holiday season (but trimming the tree next weekend)
  • Starting my Christmas shopping next week
  • Writing in between everything, including on the weekends; hope to meet my WIP word count goal for 2014
  • Nostalgic about past Christmases, when my kids found bikes and toys under the tree
  • Delivered 10 signed copies of UNDERWATER to Dunwoody Bakery, open Wednesdays through Saturdays…If you live in the Atlanta area, pick up your copy there!
  • Looking forward to a writerly holiday gathering next Saturday, where I’ll sign more copies and will have audio versions, too
  • Thinking about what I’ll talk about for 15 minutes for the “Member Minute” at the Atlanta Writers Club meeting on January 17, 2015
  • Happy that lots of UK readers have downloaded UNDERWATER during the last week! (and even more USA readers)
  • Excited (and thrilled) that the Falcons won last Sunday!
  • Recently tried “Abs” class, and going again tomorrow
  • Favorite Christmas candy (but must avoid): peppermint bark

photo 6

My (early) holiday rhyme

Here’s my holiday poem, two thousand fourteen
(the year, not the number; you know what I mean):
It’s the second I’m publishing in a blog post,
and, to write it well, I pledge, I’ve done my utmost.
 
I’ll begin with a rundown of news and events,
and I’ll try to be humorous, while making sense.
I’ll cover the highlights, a few lowlights, too,
kind of like a book trailer (or movie preview).
 
I started the year with a weekend trip north–
to visit some college friends, chat, and so forth.
We met in New York. Before saying, “au revoir,”
We had a great time catching up, in a bar.
 
Soon after, back home, in the snow, I got caught,
driving that afternoon (to have stayed home, I ought.)
But like tout le monde in this fair city, I thought:
“I can make it, I know the back-roads and what-not.”
 
Ha ha! I was wrong, I’m quite sure you have guessed. 
That fiasco made national news. We were stressed.
I got home that day just before dark, and was thrilled
To be off of the roads. Then my wine glass, I filled.
 
In March and in April, to Texas, I flew
To events for my mom-in-law, and my nephew.
One birthday, one wedding. And then, a vacation:
To taste wine, out in Napa; that was my destination.
 
To the west coast, I traveled again in November.
What I did in between? I can’t really remember.
Except, work on my books (what I do every day).
I come up with the words that my characters say.
 
I had fun in Long Beach, meeting those who love writing.
Talking books and releases was very exciting.
Now my thriller, redux, in two days, you can find! *
You can read it next weekend, if you’re so inclined.
 
I’ll close with these wishes: I’d like to say, clearly:
Happy Thanksgiving, Fête de Noel! –Me (sincerely)!
 
* Click here to find in print, digital, and audio versions
 

How “is” can be “good”

As a writer author novelist – well, okay, author * – language intrigues me. And as an author, I try to avoid clichés. A (fairly new) one that I’ve come to dislike a lot is: “It is what it is.”

It’s often always (it seems) used to suggest something negative. It basically means:

It’s not good, but it’s not going to change, so you just need to accept it.

I guess it’s a shorter way to say that (so, better), but it’s not very encouraging. Now, I’m in favor of acceptance – especially of those things that aren’t going to change.

But doesn’t everything have at least the possibility of changing? Maybe it’s just me. Maybe “It is what it is” is, well, helpful. But no one ever means by it:

It IS good, it’s not going to change, so you need to accept it.

Speaking of “good,” I DO like another commonly used phrase (and I say it myself): “All is good.”

(It’s short, it makes me feel good, and it’s kind of like the French phrase Ça va bien.)

“Good” suggests something positive, and though I’m a glass half empty sort of person, I’m very happy to recognize anything positive. 

“All is good” gives you hope, rather than dread or resignation. And hope is something I’m also in favor of.

Now, you tell me: Which do you prefer/say?

1. It is what it is
2. All is good

 

* I’ve written two novels and have a work of creative non-fiction coming out in 2015, so I guess “author” covers that better than “novelist”

 

“Bone Jour” Novembre!

C’est à dire, Bonjour, November! 

photo 5

Halloween is over…So click here and read about me, my thriller UNDERWATER, and its upcoming release this month by Thomas & Mercer, on PAGE 6 of the November 2014 newsletter of the Atlanta Writers Club!

equill

 

Getting it done, sans doute

“Begin at the beginning,” the King said, very gravely, “and go on til you come to the end; then stop.”
– Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
 

“Best advice I’ve ever received: Finish.”
– Peter Mayle
 

Sounds easy, right?

I doubt “the King” was talking about writing a novel (I never read Alice in Wonderland), but I think A Year in Provence* author Peter Mayle was.

When I wrote UNDERWATER, I did begin at (what I thought was) the beginning. But it didn’t turn out to be. To guess what I mean, click here and “Look Inside” to read the first few pages.

Now I’m working on Book 4, another thriller with tie-ins to UNDERWATER, and I’m at that part between the beginning and the end, where I must “go on.” (I’ve written about un tiers – a third – so far.) While I’m behind on my goal of 50,000 words** by Thanksgiving (looks like it will be Noel), at least I’m hitting my plot points. And when I’m finished, I’ll stop.

(Then I’ll begin revisions, editing, etc…but that’s another post.)

“Going on” right now is work, and it can be hard to focus sometimes. Doubt creeps in…and I push it away.

This book, like UNDERWATER, is set in Atlanta, and scenes take place in fictional neighborhoods here, with a few (real) landmarks as anchors. And, like in UNDERWATER, characters are not based on people I know, and events are made up. Drawn from my own experiences, observations, and imagination, they interweave and eventually turn into a novel.

“Focus more on your desire than on your doubt, and the dream will take care of itself.”
– Mark Twain
 
* Which I have read, as well as many of his other books
** Which is well over the mid-point of the story 
 
 
 
 

 

List Post, Numéro deux:

Because “the more things change, the more they stay the same,” here is my updated List for this week October:

photo

  • Two more (print) books purchased, to read this month: a memoir and a work of literary fiction. Both signed by the author, and both authors are new friends
  • On track (?): WIP at 15k words…If I write 1,000 words a (work)day between now and Thanksgiving (and allow for my trip to Bouchercon in November), I’ll meet my goal of 50k by then. If. 
  • Work on Cover for ALL THE ABOVE has begun. Thanks, Michael!
  • Atlanta area bookstores: Some will stock a few copies of UNDERWATER upon its release by Thomas & Mercer on November 25, 2014. Lesquelles? Books for Less in Buford, GA; Avid Bookshop in Athens, GA; Charis Books in Atlanta, GA; and possibly Bound to be Read Books, also in Atlanta! (If it’s not in your bookstore, ask them to carry it)
  • Keeping up with travel updates from friends in the Czech Republic and in France maintenant!
  • Trying out a new Atlanta restaurant with mon mari later this month to celebrate mon anniversaire
  • Preparing my presentation at my Author Focus panel at Bouchercon 2014; looking ahead, même chose, plus ou moins, at the Atlanta Writers Club January 2015 meeting (“Member Minute”)
  • Taking heed of some advice of un ami, un auteur bien connu, en ce qui concerne my (unnamed) WIP and its writing, editing and development
  • Following and watching football: the Atlanta Falcons, the Georgia Bulldogs (Dawgs!), and the UNC Tar Heels!

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