Who Am I Now?

We can ask ourselves that question a dozen different times in our life, and come up with a dozen different answers.

When I write a story or a novel, the character arc is the journey that the character goes on from start to finish. We start out a certain way, believing certain things, working toward certain goals. But along the path, something happens, something or someone gets in our way, tragedy, drama, conflict – and before we know it, we’re on a different path, and we become a different person.

The life I had envisioned for myself, is not the life I’m living today. And I look at that and wonder, do I need to get back on that path? Am I going the wrong direction? Did I miss something?

And I sit back and view the new landscape and realize, I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. The path didn’t change, I did.

I am the hero of my own story.

Embrace the hero in you, for you are the hero of your story too.

How Do We Get Over?

“One gets over the loss of a wallet or a watch. But a loved one, they never leave you. You never get over, you only get through.”

Fourteen years ago today my youngest sister left us.  A slick curve, a winding road, a raging river. And in a splash, a crash, a flash of light, a split moment was all it took. And Andrea Lynn Rutledge was taken from our family. 

I’m reminded not to feel the pain today, but rather to feel the joy of how she touched my life in her 32 years with us. How she touched so many lives.

I could not write a book with more feeling, more tragedy, more tears, than this one day brought fourteen short years ago. But Andrea is not gone, and I don’t have to ‘get over’ her. Because I can’t. I will never do that. But I can get through the pain and the feeling of emptiness just by looking at her picture that sits in my living room, and knowing she was one of the most gentle souls I have ever met.

Some day I may write a character that is like my little sister. Beautiful, giving, authentic to the core. But watch out, she may break your heart!

What’s In a Name?

Being a fictional writer, I’m always scouring and searching for the best names to use for my characters.

Have you ever noticed that some names are so amazing they invoke an image as soon as you hear them?

That’s what happened when I saw an obituary for Mayme Divine. I never knew her, I didn’t know anything about the woman who had passed away. But that name came to life in my imagination.

Now, Mayme Divine is a character in two stories in the Mists of Garibaldi – Tales of the Supernatural. But she doesn’t stop there. I have already started laying out a whole series of books with Mayme as the main character. And I promise, you’re going to love her.

Mayme will connect with her best friend from college, Estelle, and the two of them together will be solving mysteries. But what you need to understand is that they really don’t want to solve mysteries. They want to meet cute guys (even though they’re in their late sixties) and find the best martini in town. Mysteries are just something that falls in their lap along the way.

I know you’re going to love Mayme and Estelle, so stay tuned for more!

What’s On Your List?

I have a shopping list on the side of my fridge. It helps me remember what to buy when I go to the grocery store.

I have a list of errands to run. I use it to create my route, saving as much gas and time as I can, and still get everything done.

When I was on a dating site, they have you create a list of what you’re looking for in a partner: fit and trim, non-smoker, age range, geographical area, successful, likes movies and travel, that list can go on and on.

A friend of mine gave me a gratitude journal to write down the things I was grateful for each day. Besides the obvious, I wrote things like a summer rain storm, chai latte in the morning, the ceramic kitty that sits on my desk at work. These lists are very important, they remind us to keep a proper, and positive perspective.

As a writer, I always keep lists of unique names, character traits, places, and dialogue I can incorporate into my stories.

Lists are more than just a collection of words. They can be liberating. They can provide direction and clarity, organization and insight. What’s important? What’s not?

What’s on your list?

Forgotten Lives: Where Evil Lurks

The first book in the Ninth Miracle trilogy has done very well. For all the fans of this book, the second book will be out in just a couple of months.  Shattered Souls: When Angels and Demons Collide is almost ready for you.

In book one Forgotten Lives, you met Maya, Isabella, and Raye. In the next book, you’ll meet Adriana, Chantelle, and Leila. I know you’re going to love reading their spell-binding, nail-biting stories as much as I have enjoyed writing them.

Stay tuned for more!

 

Julie Howard, Mystery Author

I always enjoy getting to know other mystery authors, and sharing them with you. This month we meet Julie Howard, author of the Wild Crime series.

Julie has published a number of short stories, and edited and co-produced a memoir by former Hewlett-Packard executive, Ray Smelek. Before settling down into writing fiction, she used to be a reporter for The Sacramento Bee, Las Vegas Review-Journal, and a national news service.

Julie Howard

Today Julie writes fiction similar to her taste in reading: mystery/suspense, and historical and literary fiction. Her current series was born when she was a newcomer to Idaho, feeling overwhelmed by the wide-open spaces and curious about the isolated locations where people live. She found it a great setting for mystery and suspense. And though not planned, her trilogy came to her all at once.

Crime and Paradise, her most recent book was released August of 2017, and is the first in her Wild Crime trilogy. It’s a story about Meredith, a young woman who moves to a remote location in Idaho, and who believes the only way out of her abusive marriage is to kill her husband. When he ends up murdered, she becomes the prime suspect. Despite all the evidence pointing to her, Meredith finds an unlikely supporter and friend in the county sheriff. Together, they uncover some ugly truths about her husband and their small, isolated town.

Crime Times Two, the second in the Wild Crime trilogy, is currently with the publisher and will be released in summer of 2018. In book two Meredith becomes wrapped up in a series of mysterious deaths in a nearby mountain town. At the crux of the story is the theme of belonging, and the ambiguities that exist along the borders of guild and innocence. Julie is currently writing the third book in the trilogy,

Download a free short story, Three Ghosts, from her website: www.juliemhoward.com.

Julie Weston, Author Interview

Julie Weston grew up in Idaho and practiced law for many years in Seattle, Washington. Her debut fiction, Moonshadows, A Nellie Burns and Moonshine Mystery, was published in 2015, and was a finalist in the May Sarton Literary Award. This book was followed by Basque Moon in 2016, which recently won a WILLA Literary Award in historical fiction.

Julie Weston

Why she writes: Weston’s first book, The Good Times Are All Gone Now, was a memoir of place about a mining town and her childhood years in the 1950’s and ’60’s. For a long time, she had fooled around with a mystery and decided to try her hand at it-in part because she had read and still reads lots of mysteries. When a full moon in snowy Idaho presented a unique photo to her photographer husband, it also presented in her mind a mystery plot tied to an old cabin in the snow, and Moonshadows was born.

Weston’s most recent release, Basque Moon, A Nellie Burns and Moonshine Mystery, is the second in the series. Both mysteries are set in Idaho. The second book is set in the Stanley Basin, an area surrounded by the Sawtooth mountains and the White Cloud mountains, and features sheepherders, cowboys, moonshiners, and Nellie and Moonshine. 

She is in the process of completing the third book in the series with Nellie Burns and Moonshine. This one is set in Craters of the Moon, which is also in Idaho. This book should be out summer of 2018.

Check out her website at www.julieweston.com, and Like her on her Facebook page. Her books are available at most independent bookstores, including Rediscovered Books in Boise, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon.

The Writer In Film

There are a ton of movies about writers. Here are some of my favorites. I hope you’ll add to the list though. What are your favorite movies about writers?

Sunset Boulevard (1950) Directed by Billy Wilder, starring William Holden and Gloria Swanson

The Shining (1980) Jack Nicholson

Throw Mama From The Train (1987) Billy Crystal and Danny DeVito

Funny Farm (1988) Chevy Chase and Madolyn Smith

Her Alibi (1989) Tom Selleck and Paulina Prizkova

Misery (1990) Starring James Caan and Kathy Bates

As Good As It Gets (1997) another Jack Nicholson feature

Finding Forrester (2000) Sean Connery

Adaptation (2002) Nicholas Cage and Meryl Streep

Stranger Than Fiction (2006) Will Ferrell, Emma Thompson, Dustin Hoffman, and Queen Latifah

Julie and Julia (2009) Amy Adams and Meryl Streep

The Ghost Writer (2010) Ewan McGregor and Pierce Brosnan

Saving Mr. Banks (2013) Tom Hanks

This Beautiful Fantastic (2016) Jessica Brown Findlay, Andrew Scott, and Tom Wilkinson

Author, speaker